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MENAFN - Arab News - 11/11/2012

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(MENAFN - Arab News) Vice President of the Lebanese Coalition Party Tareq Suleiman accuses the Syrian regime of planning to send its forces to Tripoli as part of the regime's attempt to frustrate opposition attacks from northern Lebanon and stop arms smuggling in addition to ruling out the possibility that the region become a security haven for the Free Syrian Army.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News reporter Ibahim Naffee, Suleiman said the March 14 team has begun the countdown to bring down the Najeeb Mikati government for its complicity in the assassination of the Maj. Gen. Wessam Al-Hassan.

The March 14 has called on its supporters to be prepared to make a move to bring back the balance of power in Lebanon so that it gives peace, stability and security to the people. He said his movement will begin with civil disobedience, followed by a wave of peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins aimed at paralyzing the Mikati government and mount pressure on the prime minister to step down.

How do you evaluate the Saudi role to support Lebanon and protect it against the impacts of Syrian crisis?
The Saudi government always supports Lebanon. The Saudi efforts play a big role in providing Lebanon with a political stability against the external interventions in Lebanon.

How do you describe the political situation in Lebanon after the assassination of Maj. Gen. Wessam Al-Hassan?
The country is affected by the crises in the neighboring countries and its condition has worsened with increasing incidents of political assassinations. The domestic sectarian strife is also exacerbating the internal situation in the country. The current situation could lead to a sectarian war that would be costly to the country. Day after day clashes and security failures are increasing in Beirut and other places and the bloody development is reminiscent of May 7.

What are the possible Syrian tactics to stoke a crisis in Lebanon?
The Syrian regime is betting on the situation in Lebanon. The incidents, particularly in north Lebanon on the borders with Syria such as the Jabal Mohsen-Bab Al-Tabana battles and the bloody events in Tripoli, signify that the regime is bent on provoking a sectarian war and spread subversive acts throughout Lebanon. The Syrian regime aims to seek revenge on the Lebanese people for their remaining neutral in the Syrian crisis and it wants also to divert world attention from Syria's internal bloodbath. The Syrian regime has succeeded in persuading its supporters in Lebanon, such as militias, to engage in riots and vandalism in Tripoli reminiscent of its tactics in the past when it wanted to take control of the city and drive out Yasser Arafat. I have information about the preparation of the Syrian regime to send its forces to Tripoli and bomb it with the aim of destabilizing the security there. The possible military action will make it easier for Syria's allies to take control of north Lebanon's capital. It will also help cut off attacks by Syrian opposition.

Do you think the suspected Syrian role in the assassination of Wessam is affecting the regime's influence in Lebanon?

Wessam's assassination is identical to the Rafik Hariri assassination in 2005 in its impact and volume. The Syrian campaign will not stop with Wessam Al-Hassan who had unearthed the role of former minister Michel Samaha and his accomplice Ali Mamluk in destabilizing Lebanon. Wessam was killed with direct orders from Bashar Assad. When Samaha revealed the name of Bashar before an inquiry commission, National Security chief Ali Mamluk informed Bashar of the revelation. He (Bashar) then ordered the assassination of Wessam. Another reason for Wessam's elimination was his close relations with Saad Hariri and also because he was a man who undertook tough tasks.

What are the options of the March 14 Party to return to the political arena in the present circumstances?

The Mikati government is viewed as protecting the murderers and assassins and so the March 14 Party has called on its followers to launch a movement to end the murders and to continue the struggle until the restructuring of the government and peace, security and stability prevails in Lebanon and the country regains is dignity, honor and is set on the road to progress. This movement will begin with civil disobedience and be followed by a wave of peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins to mount pressure on the prime minister to step down. There are some leaders of the March 8 Party who had good personal relations with assassinated Wessam but their political stance in general is in favor of protecting their interests.

Can you describe the stand of Walid Jumblatt after the assassination of Wessam?

Jumblatt's stance reflects the depth of the political crisis in Lebanon. He wants the survival of the government but without any harm to the national unity and if Mikati resigns there should be another government ready to take the vacant place. Jumblatt does not support Hariri's demand for the resignation of Mikati."


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