Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun said on Tuesday after the movement’s weekly meeting: “Only those charged with defending Lebanon should be armed and Hezbollah would be the greatest loser if it used its weapons on the internal scene”.
Aoun was talking as if he is not living in Beirut, since his remarks come after a bloody street battle that shook the Borj Abi Haidar neighborhood in the Lebanese capital on August 24, pitting supporters of the Iranian backed Hezbollah against the pro-Syrian Al-Ahbash militants —also known as the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects. 3 people were killed in the clash including a Hezbollah senior official.
According to local reports the c.lash was caused by a fight over a parking space.
Many leaders called for arms free and militia free Beirut and wondered why Hezbollah militants ( the so called Resistance ) are in Beirut fighting over a parking space with their former allies the Al-Ahbash and asked : Is this a resistance or an armed gang?
But Aoun criticized the calls for Beirut to be an arms-free city, asking why shouldn’t the whole of Lebanon be arms-free.
“Why should Beirut’s motto be arms-free? Don’t Tripoli, Mount Lebanon and other regions have the right to be arms-free? ” He said
“Just because we are a sectarian country doesn’t mean that the army cannot perform its duties and if we lose national unity, then the army cannot exercise its responsibilities,” he added.
Regarding the role of the army in maintaining the peace, Aoun said: “There are areas that are more receptive of the idea of official security due to the nature of the people and a number of other reasons. The army cannot be deployed in areas of conflict unless there is a minimum degree of approval on it.” He is referring to the Hezbollah strongholds
Addressing Resolution 1559, (which he helped write in 2004 while in exile) he said : “The resolution has nothing to do with restoring Lebanon’s sovereignty. We were surprised with this plan, but welcomed the withdrawal of the Syrian army.”
In addition to calling for the withdrawal of Syrian troops the 1559 resolution also called for disarming all the militia including Hezbollah and the Palestinian militants. These were national demands that Aoun called for while in exile , but Aoun has changed his mind after allying himself with Hezbollah in 2006.
The resolution has come under attack by Syria and Hezbollah during the past several months.
Aoun condemned media leaks on the investigation of retired Brigadier General Fayez Karam—who is a senior Free Patriotic Movement official—saying that the relevant officials are irresponsibly dealing with the issue of the leaks.
Karam was arrested on August 5 on charges of spying for Israel.