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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Soldiers, Civilians Arrested - Implications

Apparently, 6 civilians and 11 soldiers (including 3 officers) were arrested in the aftermath of the January 27th clashes between the army and protesters who had "spontaneously" rioted against electricity cuts. Investigations were launched after several protesters from Amal and Hizbullah had been killed in unclear circumstances with opposing Lebanese sides hurling accusations at one another and interestingly, at the army.

I for one am completely for the rule law and support the arrest of all individuals - military and civilian - involved in either breaking the law, abusing authority and endangering or taking lives.

What is disconcerting however is that there have been several brazen attacks on army barracks and checkpoints, which according to the army "serves Israel's interest" but somehow not Syria's.

I seriously hope - but clearly do not expect - that all these "incidents" be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice. The loss of life that occurred on that fateful day in January is more than deplorable and the nonchalance with which the Lebanese treat each other's lives and well being is more than despicable. This goes for the leaders whose rhetoric can only fuel violence, hatred and dangerous "spontaneous" riots. It goes for the army and security forces whose attempts to quell the riots are unprofressional and open the door to confrontations that lead to confusion and loss of life. It also goes for the Lebanese people who pimp themselves to the wills of domestic and foreign leaders at the expense of their own safety, prosperity, and well-being.

In any case, I can only wonder at the circumstances surrounding the investigation, from the threats and warnings that the opposition hurled at the army and its commander in chief, regarding his almost botched bid for presidency, to the spew of attacks against army baracks and outposts... It make me wonder about the kind of message being sent when some of the only perpetrators brought to justice in 2 years time are military personnel - while the people who attack the army roam free.

The oppostion, the government and especially both their supporters, not to mention the leadership of the army and security forces, should all pause to think about the consequences of their actions and about the strain they are placing not only on the fabric of Lebanese society but on the fabric of one of the supposedly secular institutions that is supposed to safeguard it - the army.

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