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TAYYOUNEH CLASHES

Nasrallah levies accusations at Lebanese Forces in wake of Tayyouneh clashes, warns party against inciting further civil strife

Nasrallah levies accusations at Lebanese Forces in wake of Tayyouneh clashes, warns party against inciting further civil strife

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah speaks during a televised interview on Oct. 18. (Credit: Al-Manar)

BEIRUT — In his first public speech since Thursday’s Tayyouneh clashes, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah accused the Lebanese Forces of inciting civil strife with the aim of setting up a Christian canton  in the country over which it can govern, warning that Hezbollah has 100,000 armed fighters ready in case the conflict escalates.

Here’s what we know so far:

    • “All the evidence confirms that the Lebanese Forces party is the one that killed the Tayyouneh martyrs, and although these martyrs are from Hezbollah and the Amal parties, the head of the [Lebanese] Forces party focused on accusing Hezbollah,” Nasrallah said, calling an investigation into the incident as the “right path.”

    • “Christians in Lebanon are being used as material to promote a political party, and its head’s, leadership. … I’m talking about the Lebanese Forces,” Nasrallah said. “[The LF] has no problem causing bloody events ... even if it will lead to a large-scale military clash or a civil war.” He added that his party had not engaged in disputes with the LF in past years because it did “not want problems” and is “keen on civil peace.” The LF does not want “openness between Muslims and Christians,” he said.

    • Nasrallah’s speech came less than a week after supporters of Hezbollah and its ally the Amal Movement met with gunfire on Thursday in Beirut’s Tayyouneh area amid a protest called for by the parties against the Beirut blast probe’s lead investigator. The firefight left at least seven people dead and injured dozens of others. 

    • Hezbollah has claimed the fire was initiated by affiliates of the rival right-wing Christian party the Lebanese Forces, although the LF denies the allegation. He also said Hezbollah had asked the Lebanese Army to deploy in Tayyouneh in the leadup to the incident.

    • The Shiite parties had called the demonstration in protest of, as a Hezbollah spokesperson put it, investigating Judge Tarek Bitar’s “politicization” of the Beirut blast probe. Bitar had recently summoned Amal MPs Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zeaiter for questioning in relation to the investigation. When Hassan Khalil failed to present himself, the judge issued a warrant for his arrest. Last month, Hezbollah’s security head, Wafic Safa, allegedly threatened to remove Bitar from his post “by force.”

    • Thursday’s clashes — the worst sectarian street violence in Beirut in years — prompted general concern that Lebanon may spiral into deeper sectarian crisis. The dispute between Bitar’s supporters and his opponents has also paralyzed the cabinet, with Premier Najib Mikati saying his “Together for the Rescue” ministers will not convene until they reach a resolution on the issue.


CORRECTION: This article originally erroneously reported that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah accused the Lebanese Forces political party of wanting to install total Christian leadership in Lebanon. Nasrallah in fact accused the party’s leader Samir Geagea of aiming to start a civil war with a view to establishing “a Christian canton [within Lebanon] over which he can govern on his own.” 


BEIRUT — In his first public speech since Thursday’s Tayyouneh clashes, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah accused the Lebanese Forces of inciting civil strife with the aim of setting up a Christian canton  in the country over which it can govern, warning that Hezbollah has 100,000 armed fighters ready in case the conflict escalates.Here’s what we know so far:    • “All...