Friday, December 01, 2006

Friday at 3 p.m. is the "Zero Hour"

And now we come to the next powder keg in the Mid-East. Don't ya just love how well things are going there since Bush took office?

[Update below]

Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah has announced that Friday at 3 p.m. (conveniently after Friday prayers) would be the “zero hour” that his supporters and political allies would take to the streets to force the resignation of the current Lebanese government.

The so-called March 8 movement, which takes its name from the massive March 8, 2005 demonstration that was to “thank” Syria for its 29-year occupation of Lebanon, is dominated by Hezbollah, the Shi’ite militant group that fought Israel to a standstill the summer. Because of its “divine victory,” as Hezbollah called it, and what Nasrallah says was insufficient fealty to the group’s war on the part of Fuad Siniora and the Lebanese government, Hezbollah, Amal and the largely Christian Free Patriotic Movement were demanding veto power in the cabinet. (It’s widely assumed that the March 8 movement, which is supportive of Syria, is trying to derail the U.N. tribunal set up to try suspects in the case of the murder of ex-premier Rafik Hariri, in which Syria is suspected. Veto power in the cabinet would grant them this power.)

They didn’t get the expanded number of seats in the cabinet, as there’s already been an election and there won’t be another one for parliament until 2009, so now they’re taking to the streets to topple the government, which they say is exercising their “democratic rights.”


Siniora’s government would handily survive a no-confidence vote because March 14 won the elections that year. The March 8 group is in the minority and calls itself the opposition.

Hezbollah & Co. are, instead, taking to the streets, warning government workers not to go to work and generally threatening to bring Lebanon’s government and economy to a crashing halt if they don’t get their way.

That’s not democracy. Most people would call that a coup d’état.


When I was down in Ait al-Chaab, on the Israel border shortly after the war, I met a Hezbollah party member who declined to give his name, but he said, “Those who can defend Lebanon deserve to rule it.” It was chilling the way he said it.

(read more) Its long, but well worth the read.

Update: It is currently 2.58 am on Friday in Beirut. So 12 more hours before the festivities begin.


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