Beirut- Lebanon's cabinet will not give in to mass demonstrations called for by the pro-Syrian opposition for Friday in support of demands for a national unity government.
"The government will not give in. It rests on a comfortable majority in parliament and among the people and has the support of the Arab world and the international community, apart from Syria," Marwan Hamadeh, Minister of Communications told said Thursday.
"Lebanon faces a choice of system -- democracy or religious autocracy," he said in allusion to Shiite militant group Hezbollah, one of the main opposition factions which is allied with Syria and funded by Iran.
Hamadeh renewed the cabinet's criticism of pro-Damascus President Emile Lahoud, whose term in office was extended illegally until next year through a controversial Syrian-inspired constitutional amendment that was forced on the Lebanese parliament by Syria in 2004.
"Neither the machinations of an illegitimate president kept in office by Syria nor the demonstrations of Hezbollah are going to topple us," Hamadeh said
"Our decision has been taken, we will stick with it."
Siniora will address the Nation today
Prime minister Fouad Siniora will address the Lebanese today in a televised speech that will be carried by most stations in Lebanon. Siniora in his speech will stress the importance of solving Lebanon's problems through dialogue and not on the streets of Beirut.
While Siniora will no doubt encourage freedom of speech, since Lebanon is a democracy, he will stress the fact that in the end the only solution is to sit down and talk. So why demonstrate and disrupt the country.
Joyce Gemayel: Christians that will demonstrate will be digging Lebanon's grave
Joyce Gemayel , Mother of assassinated minister of industry Pierre Gemayel said in an interview today that Christians that will demonstrate along with the pro- Syrian allies will be digging Lebanon's grave. Joyce discouraged the Christians from demonstrating against the government and called for unity amongst the Christians. She added " Lebanon will only be saved if the Christian community is united"
Christian leader general Michel Aoun and former MP Suleiman Franjieh have both called on their constituents to join the demonstration that Hezbollah has called for.
Sfeir prays for Lebanon
Cardinal Sfeir is praying to God to save Lebanon from the current crises. He criticized the oppositions' call for demonstrations in order to topple the government. He said in an interview " we cant solve Lebanon's problems by going to the streets , the right way is to sit down and talk."
Previously Sfeir has also opposed toppling the pro- Syrian president Emile Lahoud through demonstration. He has always called for reason and for solving Lebanon's problems peacefully.
Opposition demands are unreasonable
According to local analysts "the opposition does not really want a unity government...far from it ...what they want is to control the government by having a veto power on all its decision. The analysts go further and say that "the pro-Syrian lobby controls both the presidency and the speaker's position even though they are the minority in the parliament ...where is the logic...The opposition demands are unreasonable " the analysts concluded.
One analyst said "This sounds more like the dictatorship in Syria where the minority allowites have been running the country, which is mostly Sunni for over 35 years. He added " we can understand Hezbollah allegiance to Syria and Iran, but does General Aoun want Lebanon to be another Syria?
Another analyst said " The Cedar Revolution kicked Syria out and General Aoun took the credit for this , but now he and his pro-Syrian allies are trying to bring Syria back to dominate this country again".
Hariri Tribunal is the main problem for Syria
Many analysts believe the main reason for toppling the government is for approving the International tribunal for trying the killers of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Many Syrian officials and close relatives of the Syrian president Bashar Assad have been named as suspects in the UN Mehlis report. Even president Emile Lahoud was interrogated for 7 hours for receiving calls from suspects immediately prior and after the murder of Hariri. The Syrian regime according to reports coming from Damascus is extremely worried about the tribunal.
Syria last week told the UN , it will not be cooperating with the tribunal , since it was not consulted on its details.
But the Lebanese people want to know the truth about the murder of Hariri and all the subsequent assassinations that followed. The government action therefore was welcomed by the majority of the Lebanese people
As Siniora put it " This tribunal is to protect all the Lebanese leaders in the future".
Yesterday a report circulated in Beirut that claims Syria has already sent about 200 terrorists to Lebanon to assassinate 36 Lebanese leaders.
Siniora addressed the nation. Here is an outline of his speech
.Called on the Lebanese people to support the government and to protect their country from outside influence. ( in reference to Iran and Syria )
. Warned that the government will not allow the logic of dividing Lebanon up into mini states nor any disorder that will affect the security of the state.... The Iranian spiritual leader Khamenei is in favor of declaring an Islamic Republic in part of Lebanon according to reports from Teheran.
. Revealed that the last war was forced upon us and caught us unprepared, in reference to the war between Israel and Hezbollah that was sparked by the kidnapping of the 2 Israeli soldiers.... Hezbollah declared a divine victory after the war.
. Assured the Lebanese that the opposition plans and conspiracies do not scare the government and called upon the Lebanese to support their government
. Warned that the only way to force the government to resign is through the democratic process and that is by going to the parliament.
. Warned that what is happening is a conspiracy to transform Lebanon from a an independent and sovereign nation to a stage for regional and international players and this he added will never be allowed... This was in reference to Iran and Syria and Israel. Iran's spiritual leader threatened to defeat Israel and USA in Lebanon using Hezbollah to do the job.
. Finally called on all the Lebanese to raise the Lebanese flag on their balconies in support of their country.
Picture: PM Fouad Siniora during his address to the nation on Nov. 30, 2006
Sources: Ya Libnan, LBC
Feedback? We want to hear your thoughts!