By Abir Bassam    

Tripoli riots: The third step to topple Lebanon

February 6, 2021 - 10:23

 A few days ago, one of my friend’s comments attracted my attention. He said: “America loves Lebanon, as much as Juha loves his stepmother”. Juha is an authentic Arab character, who is known for his exceptional anecdotes that grew as parables in people’s perceptions. He was an exceptional figure in the Arabic culture. 

Going back to the love of the stepmother, when Juha was told that his stepmom loved him, he said she must be going nuts because his stepmom always treated him with cruelty and hate.  Actually, this madness applies to everyone who believes in the American love for Lebanon. America loves only one party, which serves its interest. Since the American’s main interest in the region is “Israel”, it is difficult to accept the love of Lebanon.

The comment was not in vain. It was related to the excessive American diplomatic visits to Lebanon in the last two years. In fact, these visits coincided with the tremendous achievements of the Arab Syrian Army and its allies in liberating most of its occupied territories by terrorists, by the end of 2018. 

The Syrian achievements sent a clear message that it is going to be impossible to defeat Syria and altering its political decision as to the supporter of the resistance movements against the Zionist and the American existence in the region; in addition, it is impossible to dismantle the strategic alliance between Syria and Iran.

It was a crystal-clear message so that it pushed the American administration into retreating to a backup plan to secure “the Zionist regime” and their interests in the region. The plan B was mainly set to end Hezbollah’s role in Lebanon as well as any Iranian existence near the northern Palestinian borders.

 Plan B was based on stirring the Lebanese population against Hezbollah and pushing towards a new civil war in Lebanon. It seems that the American mentality cannot elevate its comprehension beyond its colonial perception, and the colonial occupation of Palestine and the Arab lands. America has enormously invested in the creation of Israel so that it is impossible to retreat from its project now.

Accordingly, the American decision was to end Hezbollah in Lebanon and by the Lebanese people. Therefore, a huge campaign is now led against Hezbollah by accusing it of being the main reason behind starving the Lebanese people and disempowering the political decision in the country into its own interest.  

The initial plan was to turn Hezbollah Party’s social base against it by imposing an economic blockade. Mainly, the Party’s supporters were targeted, but it failed. The partisans were aware that it was an American blockade and it targeted the whole Lebanese population; ironically, the least affected people were Hezbollah members and immediate supporters.

The economic blockade did not serve its intended purposes. Therefore, there was an additional need to stimulate the streets and reestablish the “Arab Spring” experience in Lebanon, which would eventually lead to toppling the regimes or to massive chaos. The first step was after the visits of American diplomats to Lebanon in September 2019 and one month later the riots started in Beirut on the 17th of October, and it spread all over Lebanon. 

It is unrealistic to say that the first demonstrators, who were in the streets of Beirut, were not people who were living in difficult economic conditions and were demanding transparency and reforms of the political system. However, the demonstrations were manipulated and were steered and redirected against Hezbollah and its allies in Lebanon by the pro-American friends and allies. And eventually, demands were redirected to be against the current parliament and called for new elections. The situation escalated to become a call for the resignation of President Aoun.

The second main attempt to topple al- Ahed, [an expression used to describe the presidential era of President Michel Aoun] was through the tragedy that shocked Lebanon, which resulted from the tragic explosion in Beirut’s Harbor. Lebanon once again witnessed riots in the streets, demonstrations, and attacks on the Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The result was the resignation of the Hassan Diab’s government, which calmed the streets for a short period of time. The riots after the explosion of the harbor raised the numbers of the daily infected population of Coronavirus from several hundred to reach almost 2000 people.

Tripoli’s riots do not fall far from the goals set behind the two attempts to topple “al-Ahed’ to siege Hezbollah and his allies. The American’s manipulation in the Lebanese streets is very clear in Tripoli’s riots. However, there were far more dangerous manipulations in the recent events. Outside powers and protesters were present. Many unfamiliar persons were arrested by the police. The prisoners were Syrians who were active as part of the terrorist groups of al-Nusra in Lebanon. 

In addition, news leaks spread on the relation between Qatari officials’ interference and releasing the unfamiliar persons. The news was directly connected to the role the Turkish intelligence has been playing actively in Lebanon since the harbor explosion. It also referred to the Turkish-Saudi competition to assert control over the Sunni community in Lebanon. The competition was manifested in the struggle of the al-Hariri brothers in Lebanon. Bahaa openly declared his position on Hezbollah's weapons, while Saad is still conservative towards the matter because he knows the unrealistic demands behind excluding Hezbollah from the Lebanese scene.

No one can deny the difficult situation and the high level of poverty in Tripoli. It is the highest in Lebanon. However, the riots of Tripoli are analogous to the ones started in Daraa in Syria in 2011. The same groups of terrorists and radicals who manipulated the riots in Daraa were dormant in Tripoli. In particular, the ones who threw bombs at the army soldiers and burned Tripoli’s municipality destroyed documents and archives. 

They were demanding concessions from President Aoun and Hezbollah, although both parties did not nominate al-Hariri as the coming prime minister after the resignation of Mr. Diab.  
 
On Thursday, another act towards toppling the Lebanese state was performed, which is the assassination of a political opponent, Luqman Salim. He was found shot dead in South Lebanon. Certain media choirs have already named him as a martyr and started pointing the accusations against Hezbollah. Salim was living all his life in the al-Dahia, i.e., the Southern Suburb, the largest gathering of the Shiite community. However, naming him as a martyr is a matter of inquiry. 

The big question is, why now? Why would Salim be shot now and in the South of Lebanon? The second question that may follow, how many assassinations are going to take place to start a series of riots in the South, Or in al-Dahia? It is most likely never! However, this does not deny the fact that the tendency to eliminate Hezbollah's existence as an armed resistance has become an international effort. 

Many regional powers are involved in the process. It is clear that plan B is needed as a process against the national resistance and to create a vertical crack in the Shiites community in Lebanon. The main goal is clear, which is to push Lebanon towards normalization with the “Israel”, or at least towards another civil war that may lead to the ultimate division of Lebanon as we know it today.

 “The Syrian achievements sent a clear message that it is going to be impossible to defeat Syria and altering its political decision as to the supporter of the resistance movements against the Zionist and the American existence in the region.”
 

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