News from Beirut August 15 1997 ...Search

Jezzine- The Pull Back From Saidoun a trap

-The story of the SLA's pull back from Saidoun at east Sidon that preoccupied Lebanon and was introduced as a puzzle has proved to be a trap according to Lebanon, a military tactical retreat according to Israel, and a redeployment according to SLA. The Israeli backed militia SLA said deployment of the Lebanese army in the area cannot take place without his approval. Commander of the militia Antoine Lahd said "the Lebanese army will not be allowed to enter to Jezzine or any area in the region except through negotiation between us and the Lebanese state". An SLA force including 3 tanks, 10 armored personnel carriers entered once again the Saidoun area which it evacuated earlier and combed the valleys and hills with its machine guns and artillery fire. News reports said the force, after entering the area, dismantled some of its special installations and once again returned back leaving the area vacant as before. Hizbullah official in south said the SLA patrols entered Saidoun and the area is still under the security control of the SLA, while former ambassador Simon Karam confirmed that the SLA withdrew from the area. Lebanese military sources said the Lebanese army deployment in the area and its clash with the occupant force would have led to forcible exodus of the residents, and that's what Israel was planning. News reports today said that amid the conflicting news and the tension that prevailed some families moved to the nearby Jezzine town and others went to the village of Berti.

-President Elias Hrawi yesterday predicted that the SLA's reported pull back was a political and military deception. He said the first step to be made in case of an Israeli total withdrawal and not a limited area is to deploy ISF and other security agencies before the army moves in to the region. President Hrawi said Israel has some agents who shelled the Israeli settlements for the purpose of political blackmail and to raise demands before the ceasefire committee.

-House speaker Nabih Berri told the Lebanese Journalists Association he called on telephone the US ambassador twice to talk to him over the situation in Jezzine. He said the ambassador did not convey yet any clarification on the issue. During the day he said he is in agreement with the president, prime minister and the army command, that unless an answer is given and assures the fate of the army units which will move in and also the fate of the people in the area, the army won't move in to avert falling in a trap. Mr.. Berri told the journalists' delegation "one should not happily dance if the Israeli forces pull out from Jezzine region or part of it, as its not important to see the conspiracy but the importance is not to fall in it". He said the Israeli forces are trying to press on Jezzine's activists, "last year they burnt the house of MP Suleiman Kanaan and this year they provoked an explosion at the house of MP Samir Azar". Mr. Berri warned the "Jezzine's grouping" of falling in a trap similar to that of the Palestinians who decided to go on independently. He said the Israeli move was merely a game that aimed to fragment the people in framework of the so called "Jezzine First". He said the Israelis have played the same game in the mountain when they withdrew in 1983, and "we should be careful not to play such an Israeli project".

Bekaa-Security Dragnet And Rural Development

-President Elias Hrawi said he is relaxed to the Lebanese army stationing in Bekaa because it will lead to restoration of security and stability, implementation of law and order, and calm the public and end the car robbery spate. He said all the Lebanese are equal before law and there will be no rebel against the state at any place in Lebanon. He said the stationing of the army is not an orphan move, but the agriculture projects planned for Bekaa will make a remarkable revive in the sector. He said he is working to ensure considerable financing to encourage and support the sector, especially the alternative cultivation, the products for industry, sugar beets and cereals. The president said the public administration was overloaded with civil servants and the agriculture sector is a chance to earn living for so many Lebanese. President Hrawi was inaugurating the 104 room Kadri hotel in Zahle which was renovated and rehabilitated.

-House speaker Nabih Berri yesterday said he is satisfied with the government policy on dealing with the hunger revolution, especially the decisions taken at a recent meeting under premier Hariri, that decided to go ahead with development projects in Bekaa and Akkar. He said the government planned projects will cost more than the allocated amount of L.L150bn. He said if the government continues to work that way the time will come when sheikh Subhi Tufeili will say we do not want more. He reiterated that the hunger revolution cannot be treated by the military oppression and said the central government had deprived these regions and let things develop to such extent.

-Sheikh Subhi Tufeili in another rally at Nabi Reshadi in Bekaa demanded the government to pull out cells and employees who itself planted in the region to be used to carry on illegal actions, such as car robbery, in order to introduce the region as an epidemic and of ugly figure. He gave the example of a thief who was arrested three days ago at Hermel and was suddenly released.


-Premier Rafik Hariri is out of Lebanon for a special vacation with his family that will continue until this weekend.

-A decree on a Parliament extra session that will start 14th August and continues until 15th Oct. is already signed and published today. Batroun Mp Boutros Harb considered the extra session a victory for the opposition. House speaker said the session was his own demand and not a result of a troika package.

-Patriarch Sfair cautioned that the country should not be rebuilt on hands of the increasing foreign labors and that the Lebanese youths should realize their responsibility and proceed to work not shameful of any profession. He stressed the need to take care of the young generation by providing cultural and sport centers.

-42 Lebanese entered the security zone via the crossing of Kfar Tabnite and visited 11 of their detained people at Khiam. Delegation from the Canadian branch of the amnesty international that was banned to enter Khiam is to hold a press conference Monday.

-Zahle community in Brazil are preparing a massive welcome to president Elias Hrawi during his coming visit. The community said to have hired more than 1,000 car to participate in the rally upon his arrival.

-Lebanon's nationalist and Islamic parties at a joint meeting called on all the Arab states to boycott the Doha-Qatar economical conference.

-A delegation from Hizbullah met leader of the Kataeb party George Saadeh and Sidon's MP Mustafa Saad to discuss a broad meeting of the political parties that will lay down a joint working program.

-The French daily LIBERATION new edition on Tuesday was banned by the Lebanese general security because of an article reporting the health policy in Lebanon and said the government tend to privatize the sector on B.O.T basis.

-The private audio-visual media stations in north Lebanon announced it will abide by law and close down also said it is discussing to merge in one radio station. Bekaa is isolated after closing all the unlicensed television stations and because the state official station tele Liban's transmission is not yet available in the region.

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