Powered by WebAds

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Lebanese Prime Minister begs for cease fire

The Lebanese Prime Minister went on television tonight to speak to his nation and to the world. Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora was apparently doing some wishful thinking on Friday when he released a statement that said "President Bush affirmed his readiness to put pressure on Israel to limit the damage to Lebanon as a result of the current military action, and to spare civilians from harm."

Tonight, his voice cracking with emotion, Siniora called for a cease fire:
"We call for an immediate cease-fire backed by the United Nations. Lebanon cannot rise and get back on its feet if its government is the last to know. The government alone has the legitimate right to decide on matters of peace and war because it represents the will of the Lebanese people. We call for working to extend the state's authority over all its territories in south Lebanon, in cooperation with the United Nations, and working to recover all Lebanese territories and exercising full sovereignty of the state over those territories."
Note the bolded part above - that was directed at Hezbullah's current action. The last setence is a bid to get the UN to 'help' him to implement Security Council Resolution 1559, under which the Lebanese government was supposed to assert control over Southern Lebanon six years ago. The Lebanese people have had it with Hezbullah. But Siniora is still afraid of triggering another civil war if he goes after them. Sounds just like 'moderate Palestinian President' Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen, doesn't it?

There are many good reasons that Siniora is begging for a cease fire. The IDF pounded targets all over Lebanon today. Here are some of the highlights from HaAretz:
Witnesses said IAF planes fired four rockets at the Masnaa crossing point between the last Lebanese post and the first Syrian army position on the Beirut-Damascus road. Three civilians were killed in the strikes.

Israeli naval gunships attacked central Beirut for the first time in Israel's four-day-old assault on Lebanon, striking a lighthouse and the city's seaport, witnesses said. Radar installations along the Lebanese coast were also destroyed.

After the IAF hit targets near Lebanon's border with Syria, military officials emphasized only Lebanese targets were attacked. "It's very important to understand that we have only targeted bridges and access points in Lebanon," an IDF spokeswoman said. "We have not bombed anything in Syria."

A Syrian official also said Israel had not attacked Syria.

A helicopter gunship flew into the Lebanese capital from over the Mediterranean and fired a missile at the lighthouse, located at the tip of the city in the Ras Beirut district, witnesses said.

The top glass section of the lighthouse was shattered, but the building, erected two years ago to replace an older one nearby, remained standing.

Witnesses also said the Beirut seaport - the country's main commercial port facility - was also hit, as was the nearby seaport of Jounieh, which houses a Lebanese army base.

IAF planes also blasted Beirut's southern suburbs for the second time on Saturday, causing two huge blasts, Hezbollah's Al Manar television reported.

The TV's correspondent said the Israeli airstrike targeted the Hezbollah stronghold of Haret Hreik, which was attacked by Israeli jets earlier Saturday.

Two major explosions echoed from the Haret Hreik neighborhood and reverberated across Beirut.

There was no immediate word on casualties.

IAF planes also launched four bombing raids on residential areas in the eastern city of Baalbek, where senior Hezbollah officials have residence or offices, witnesses said. Heavy black smoke billowed from the area and ambulances were seen rushing to the scene.

One person was killed and 17 others were wounded in the air raids in Ba'albek in the Bekaa, the official National News Agency reported.

The houses of two senior Hezbollah officials in Ba'albek, Sheik Mohammed Yazbek and Hussein Musawi, were destroyed in the airstrike, security officials said. The Hezbollah figures were not in the buildings when they were hit.

Also Saturday, IAF planes destroyed the Beirut office of senior Hamas official Mohammed Nazzal but he was not hurt in the attack, a spokesman for the group said.

It was not clear if Nazzal was in his office at the time or if there were any casualties.

IAF warplanes renewed attacks on Lebanon early Saturday, targeting bridges, fuel storage tanks and gas stations in the east and south, security officials said.

Jets also bombarded the south Beirut suburbs Friday as well, destroying the headquarters and residence of Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. Nasrallah was unharmed, Al Manar said.

The Haret Hreik neighborhood houses Hezbollah's security compound, a sealed-off bloc of buildings where Nasrallah has an office and residence, and where the Shura Council decision-making body is located.


IAF jets dropped leaflets on Beirut depicting Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah as a cobra threatening to strike out at the Lebanese capital. "To the Lebanese people, beware: He appears to be a brother, but he is a snake," said the green leaflet showing a caricature of Nasrallah's face, with his black turban rolled in the shape of a snake.

Packages of leaflets, tied to parachutes, were dropped at dawn in downtown Beirut, but were swiftly rounded up by Lebanese security forces, AFP reported.
Someone had better tell those security forces to get with Siniora's new program.


Post a Comment

<< Home