Lebanon’s Interior Minister Ziad Baroud on Sunday said a demand for a weapons-free Beirut is not a push-button issue, stressing that the Lebanese army is a red line.
“The government must take measures. The citizens want answers and ask ‘where is State authority?’ It cannot stand by and watch what happened,” Baroud said in reference to Tuesday’s bloody street battles in Borj Abi Haidar.
“The government has formed a ministerial committee to deal with the issue of weapons spread among the people,” Baroud told the Voice of Lebanon radio station.
He said, however, that this Committee “cannot do miracles,” stressing at the same time that the government will not tolerate the continued spread of weapons under any pretext “because it threatens stability in Lebanon.”
Baroud emphasized that Resistance arms were not subject to debate “because there is an agreement to deal with these weapons at the dialogue table.”
Nevertheless, he warned that the Lebanese army is a “red line.”
“The army is the major force for mainlining civil peace and has proven ability to handle matters wisely, calmly and decisively,” Baroud stressed.
His comments come after the clash that took place last Tuesday in the Beirut neighborhood of Borj Abi Haidar between supporters of the the pro-Syrian Association of Islamic Charitable Projects—also known as Al-Ahbash—and the Iranian backed Hezbollah militants , leading to the death of three people, including Hezbollah official Mohammad Fawwaz.