Justice Minister Charles Rizk says Al Qaeda organised yesterday’s embassy burnings.
He resorted to the tried and tested Lebanese tactic of failing to accept that problems in Lebanon come from the Lebanese.
Meanwhile, Walid Jumblat has blamed ‘Syrian workers’ for the attacks, claiming that the Lebanese would be above that.
Other officials spoke of ‘infiltrators’ even though protestors spoke with Lebanese accents. The Guardian’s Rory McCarthy was in Ashrafiyeh and he says he saw buses bringing rioters from other parts of Lebanon, and the Beirut suburbs.
Not spontaneous, but very much Lebanese.
Before the civil war, Lebanon buried its head in the sand. Through the civil war, with bombs going off, air raids, and foreign invasions, Lebanon continued to keep its head firmly stuck in the sand. And today, Lebanon – once again – did what it does best and buried its head in the sand.
Yesterday’s attacks were carried out by Lebanese. As’ad Abu Khalil reports Christian-Muslim violence, chants for militias to be reformed, and thugs looking inside peoples’ cars for Christian symbols.
It is disturbingly reminscent of 13 April 1975 when Phalange members murdered every Palestinian inside a bus in East Beirut. In retaliation, every Christian car in West Beirut was stopped, and the occupants’ throats’ were slashed.
Yesterday was more significant, more worrying than any of the political murders of the past 12 months. Because yesterday was the first evidence of civil unrest. CIVIL unrest.
Meanwhile, shedding some more light on the resignation of Interior Minister Hassan Sabeh yesterday, Rory McCarthy says that the police were clearly prepared for the attacks – pulling out barracades and riot gear as the demonstrators approached. Yesterday it was claimed that police were overwhelmed, that they were caught unaware, and that the only thing left for them to do would be to shoot – the Interior Minister said there were 1200 officers on the street. So the question has to be asked – was the embassy burning ‘allowed’ by a sympathetic police force?