Posted by: sean | October 16, 2006

Update on grenade attacks

The Daily Star has a write up of the grenade attack downtown. According to the Minister of the Interior, the two recent attacks were aimed at the Internal Security Forces (ISF) and not the UN.

“The grenades launched were similar to the ones launched on the police barracks last week,” acting Interior Minister Ahmad Fatfat told The Daily Star.

Fatfat was referring to two bombs thrown at two police stations last week that caused minor damage but no injuries.

It is suspected the recent attacks on the Internal Security Forces (ISF) have come in retaliation for a deadly clash earlier this month along the airport road outside the southern suburbs that left two boys dead during an ISF operation to clamp down on illegal construction in the area. …

“While it is still under investigation and nothing is certain yet, the attack seems to be a political one targeting Lebanon’s stability, with a special focus on unsettling the Lebanese security apparatus,” Fatfat said, dismissing earlier reports the attack had targeted the United Nations building.

“The attackers could have easily hit the UN building with that kind of weapon if that was their intention,” he added. …

“It is the first time that civilian buildings were hit in downtown Beirut, perhaps as an attempt at destabilizing the country and causing security fears to spread,” Fatfat said.

Fatfat will convene on Monday an exceptional meeting of the Central Security Council to discuss security.

Meanwhile, local daily newspaper As-Safir quoted security sources on Sunday as saying that the ISF was “punishing” some of its members involved in the deadly riot incident earlier this month.

Fatfat told Reuters in an interview on Saturday that he had recently received a message from someone “close to the Syrians,” telling him and Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to “take care.”

The message had said the Syrians are “more angry than they were before February 14, 2005,” the date of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s assassination, Fatfat said.

Regardless of what the source of these attacks is, I’m a little uneasy about recent events.

Conventional wisdom here has it that another civil war is brewing. I really hope that prediction proves to be wrong.

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Responses

  1. Civil society under destabilized political conditions often develops anti-state-antagonists. As I’ve mentioned earlier, the international effort should focus on helping Lebanon build a strong state, and not a flimsy one – this is the very route that the new SG, Ban Ki-Moon will emphasize (http://www.icasinc.org/2006/2006l/2006lkmb.html) -, but one which plays the shaky ground of not attempting to interfere with Lebanon’s internal political proccesses. The big problem, as pointed out by numerous state-based scholars (Tilly, Habermas, A. Marx, in particular), is that post civil war conditions often require a comprehensive process of “othering” a target group in order to promote national solidarity. Hence, we have here the case that contentious actors that run amok and promote shaky alliances throughout and throughout. In the larger historical scheme, post civil-war Lebanon found a good way to diffuse the accountability of violence at a defined enemy, *outside* of its own national borders – Israel -, and hence was the violence checked within national borders.

    Now, we’re back to stage one where the borderlands are monitored by an international regulatory force. We worried about Hizbullah over the summer, but now we’re on our toes thinking about something even *worse* about to come out of the woods. And like I mentioned during the brief Israeli air strikes, I said that emphasis should be focused on the *social* and *economic* reconstruction of Lebanon, an area which Hizbullah seems to be heavily capitolizing upon. In order to build a strong state in Lebanon and ensure regional stability, the international community MUST out-do all of these rotten apple religious militants in the arena of strong social and economic institution building, and in this way, Lebanon would do good as a viable state actor in the international stage. As far as I see it at this point, the state-of-Lebanon must play a fine-line game by juggling all of these actors in and around it, but by no means should it ever again surrender its sovereignty to such anti-state or foreign contentious actors, be it Syria, Hizbullah, or some random fundemantalist organization which I don’t even want to know about.

    From what I’ve heard and read, it seems that Hizbullah alone is badly outdoing everyone in social service capacity. They are, indeed, the world’s greatest NGO.

    -km


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