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“…The escalation plan of Damascus’ allies in Lebanon: isolate Beirut…”

“…The escalation plan of Damascus’ allies in Lebanon: isolate Beirut…”

On January 4, Al Seyassah, an independent, anti-Syrian daily, reported that: “The Lebanese opposition forces have started to look into the escalation steps that they will adopt in the upcoming days to topple PM Fu’ad Al-Sanyurah’s government, amid calls from some poles of the opposition to act sooner than planned. Reliable Lebanese sources assured Al Seyassah that the rush of the opposition forces to carry out their plans is due to a prompt recommendation issued by Iranian President Ahmadinezhad and delivered by the Iranian embassy in Beirut to the leadership of Hezbollah last Thursday.

“This recommendation aims to make this escalation serve the confrontation plan which was started by Tehran against the sanctions that were lately imposed on it by the Security Council and the international community. The sources revealed that the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, General Michel Aoun, as well as the leader of the Marada movement, Suleiman Franjieh and his colleague, former Minister Talal Arslan, had suggested that the escalation starts on Monday, January 22… This suggestion was supported by most of Syria’s allies in Lebanon.

“According to the same sources, the escalation plan included two phases of field action, the first of which is to be implemented in areas outside of Beirut in order to cut all links with the capital through a series of protests in the North, the Kesrwan coast, the Metn, the southern suburb and the South in general. These protests will be staged on the main roads that link the governorates and the districts with the capital Beirut. This will be directly followed by the second phase which will include the staging of protests aiming to block the main roads leading to the Beirut International Airport, except for a narrow road that goes through the area of Burj Al-Barajneh in the southern suburb.

“It will also include tightening the siege around the Government House, downtown [Beirut] and the areas surrounding the ministerial headquarters, closing the main Hamra road where the Central Bank is located and the area of the Beirut Port. The escalation plan is also witnessing intensive contacts being made by opposition poles, namely Amal, Hezbollah and General Aoun’s movement, with a number of officers and elements from the Lebanese army, in order to influence them and forestall their participation in any action that will be undertaken by the army to ensure the daily action in the state facilities.

“In this regard, a list including the names of 7,000 officers and soldiers was [drawn up]. They will be asked not to report to their posts along with ministries’ and administrations’ employees who will also be asked to do the same by the opposition. The same sources revealed that the opposition poles will elude issuing a position vis-a-vis any Arab or Lebanese initiative, including that of Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa and the attempts being conducted by Egypt and KSA. As for Speaker Nabih Birri’s anticipated initiative, it only aims to remove the blame and prepare for the escalation plan at the political level.

“The sources added that a ‘scenario’ was drawn to invest the outcome of this escalation that will last for days during which Lebanon will be completely paralyzed. Following that, Emile Lahoud, the president of the republic whose term was extended, will move on the basis of protecting the state and its institutions, will announce that he considers PM Fu’ad Al-Sanyurah’s government as though it has resigned and open the door before parliamentary consultations to form a new interim government whose main priority would be holding early parliamentary elections from which a national unity government will emerge according to the plan.

“The same sources stated that the March 14 forces learned about the details of this plan which was taken into consideration from the start, and specified the methods and the ways with which to confront it. In this regard, one of the poles of the March 14 movement contacted one of the opposition poles last Monday, revealed the information he had about the escalation plan and said: ‘We advise you to try your luck and we are ready to protect the legitimacy [of the state] and its institutions’.” - Al Seyassah, Kuwait