STL indictment is impacting arms sales in Lebanon


Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Sunday that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon ( STL) indictment is beginning to impact the arms sales in Lebanon and specially such arms as M4, M16 and K47 .

Asharq al-Awsat quoted arms dealers as saying that party members on Friday evening ave hasked for huge quantities of these weapons regardless of the price.

It quoted one dealer as saying that the activity in the arms market picked up last week after a two-year decline with different parties, and even individuals, requesting to buy weapons.

He said prices rose after May 7, 2008, the date on which street clashes broke out in and around Beirut between Hezbollah and March 14 forces with one Kalashnikov selling for $1,500.

“Today, prices are going up where the M4 with a launcher was being sold for $12,000 and M16 $1,500 and the Kalashnikov between $750 and $1,000,” the dealer said.

He said the weapons were being smuggled from Syria or via Israel, particularly M4.

The dealer confirmed reports saying that party members were getting training.

“March 8 forces are being trained in the Bekaa,” he said “while the others are being trained in the Cedars on the use of the Russian BKC and the American MAG and small mortars.”

Prime Minister Saad Hariri has vowed not to be intimidated by threats of fighting on the streets and insists the court will be allowed to issue indictments – many assume against some Hezbollah members – no matter the consequences.

Only Hezbollah is armed

Ali Hussein a local political analyst told Ya Libnan last month : If Hezbollah is truly a resistance movement as it claims then it should move to the occupied Lebanese territories of Shebaa, Kfar Shouba and norther Ghajar because that is where resistance against Israel is needed . He added : Unfortunately Hezbollah has stopped being a resistance ever since Israel pulled out from Lebanon in 2000 and started acting like an armed gang ever since.

Hezbollah arming FPM

“There is information about the arrival of weapons to the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) from Hezbollah,” Phalange party MP Elie Marouni told MTV on Sunday.

Marouni added that he will request a meeting with President Michel Suleiman and Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir to “provide them with the information we have.”

The Phalange Party relies on the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), but if there is “an attempt to enter our homes, we will not stand watching. We are not unable to defend ourselves,” Marouni also said.

Tension escalated in Lebanon after reports said that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) will soon issue its indictment into the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Last July, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that the tribunal is “an Israeli project” that will indict Hezbollah members. Nasrallah accused Israel of being behind Hariri’s assassination but refused to provide the evidence to STL. Some March 8 coalition politicians have been calling for the abolition of the tribunal, while Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun and former head of General Security Jamil as-Sayyed publicly attacked the government.