Opposition Calls to Disarm Beirut - and Hizbullah
A delegation of opposition MPs visited senior officials in Beirut on Monday calling on them to demilitarize Beirut and disarm Hizbullah.
“MPs decided to create delegations to visit the three top officials for continuous work to achieve demilitarization of Beirut,” a statement released after the meeting said.
The MPs, most of them from the March 14 coalition, said mere words of condemnation were insufficient and that a “bold decision by political and security forces” was required.
They demanded that parties remove political immunity enjoyed by "some people" [Hizbullah -Ed.] in possession of illegal arms, urging the parties to facilitate their disarmament and prosecution.
“No sane person would accept this new situation in the capital Beirut amid armed confrontations between gunmen roaming secure areas, intimidating citizens and threatening civil peace,” the statement said.
The March 14 allied Future Movement of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri has repeatedly called for the end of private arsenals in Lebanon - including that of Hizbullah – saying they undermine the will of the Lebanese people and destabilize the nation.
Hariri and his opposition allies say any national dialogue meetings among rival lawmakers must be prefaced with material discussions dealing Hizbullah's arsenal.
Among the leaders of Monday's delegation were MPs Mohammad Qabbani, Tamam Salam, Ammar Houri, Imad Hout and Nadim Gemayel.
Hariri did not attend as he has been outside Lebanon for nearly a year due to reported concerns he might be targeted for assassination by Hizbullah.
Four members of the terror group were indicted for the 2005 assassination of Hariri's father – late Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri – earlier this year by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
Conflicts with Hizbullah over funding for the STL brought down Saad Hariri's government in January 2011, and served as a perennial source of cabinet crisis for his successor Najib Mikati who untimately funded the tribunal through his office's budget.
Lebanese Forces leader Samir GeaGea has accused Hizbullah of using its platform of 'resistance' to unilaterally draw Lebanon into destructive and unnecessary conflicts with Israel not in its interests.
Hizbullah claims its arms are intended to defend the country against what is claims is "repeated Israeli aggression."
The call for Beirut to be disarmed comes after two people were wounded Saturday in the Beirut area of Aisha Bakkar, after civilians exchanged fire over a parking spot.
A unit of the army intervened, settled the dispute, and arrested a number of people involved in the incident.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati is reportedly drawing up plans to disarm the capital.