Security tightened in Hezbollah stronghold on the eve of the Ashura day

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A Lebanese Shiite smokes a cigarette as he bleeds from his head from self inflicted wounds, during Ashoura in the southern market town of Nabatiyeh, Lebanon, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. Thursday's commemorations marked the climax of Ashoura, the yearly mourning period in which Shiite Muslims remember the seventh century death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Imam Hussein, in a battle in the central city of Karbala. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)
A Lebanese Shiite smokes a cigarette as he bleeds from his head from self inflicted wounds, during Ashoura in the southern market town of Nabatiyeh, Lebanon, Tuesday Nov 4 commemorations marks the climax of Ashoura, the yearly mourning period in which Shiite Muslims remember the seventh century death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam Hussein, in a battle in the central city of Karbala. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

Every evening for more than a week around nightfall, the Shiite Muslim-dominated southern suburbs of Beirut have turned into a fortress.

Hezbollah, Lebanon’s powerful Shiite political and military movement, has taken no chances during this year’s Ashoura, a 10-day-long event commemorating the death of the Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Imam Hussein in a battle 1,300 years ago.

As the sun sets, armed men with bomb-sniffing dogs have fanned out in the streets and set up checkpoints. Get caught in the traffic and it may take you hours to get out.

The caution is understandable: Hezbollah is at war, having sent fighters across the border into Syria to help President Bashar al-Assad against mostly Sunni Muslim rebel opponents in a more than three- year-old conflict. Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon have already been hit by reprisal attacks.

This year may be the most tense the southern suburbs have seen. Syria-linked car bombs, gun battles, rocket attacks and kidnappings are nothing new. But, in a new twist, Sunni militants have waged two major battles against the Lebanese army in recent months.

That has alarmed many Lebanese, who fear that worsening sectarian friction could threaten the peace that has largely held between the country’s Sunnis, Shiites, Christians and other communities since its own 1975-90 Civil War.

“This year you can say things are a bit more dangerous. The security situation isn’t great,” Zahra Fakih, 18, said while standing by a busy road in the southern suburbs.
“I’m hearing a lot of people say they don’t want to go out. People are frightened.”

Sectarian tensions have paralyzed Lebanese politics. The country has been without a president since May, with politicians unable to agree on a new one that would satisfy both sides.

Sunni leaders accuse Hezbollah of dragging the country into Syria’s war and marginalizing Sunnis at home. Their Shiite counterparts accuse them of turning a blind eye to Sunni militants in Lebanon and of stirring up sectarian hatred.

Neither side expects it to get better soon.

‘The party has it under control’

Despite the heightened alert, however, the streets running among the concrete highrises of the southern suburbs – largely rebuilt since Israeli warplanes leveled many during a 2006 war – have remained lively with cars and shoppers the past few days.

The smell of car exhaust, sweet shisha water pipe smoke and grilled meat hangs in the air and the blasts of car horns drown out conversations. Men and women dressed in black crowd restaurants and queue at street kitchens to receive free food.

The streets are full of images of political and religious leaders and pictures of young men killed in conflicts with Israel and in Syria. Black banners read “Labaik ya Hussein,” or, roughly, “We are here for you, Hussein.”

In addition to the nightly checkpoints that choke traffic in the area, Lebanon’s police said on Monday they would close all entrances to the southern suburbs after midnight, ahead of Ashoura’s climax. Entrances to the area have already been nearly impossible to pass through after dark.

Many people in the area welcomed the increased security during a recent visit by Reuters, saying they were confident that Hezbollah, whose name in Arabic means “Party of God,” would not let anything happen.

“We’ve been staying out here until four in the morning, and there’s been nothing that should scare us,” said Nimr Ghanem, 29, gesturing to the busy streets and to a cart where he was selling flags, CDs of religious chanting, banners and temporary tattoos that spelled Hussein’s name in red.

“No one is afraid here. The party has it under control.”

Al Arabiya

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10 responses to “Security tightened in Hezbollah stronghold on the eve of the Ashura day”

  1. 5thDrawer Avatar

    It’s a Bloody Party … but the cigarettes will get him if the blood-loss doesn’t. :-))))

    1. Reasonableman Avatar
      Reasonableman

      The iranians supply them with windscreen wipers to protect their vision from heavy bloodfall.

  2. 5thDrawer Avatar

    The Shiites in London England decided to join forces with the Vegans ….

  3. You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks on you: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:28)

  4. nagy_michael2 Avatar
    nagy_michael2

    And who needs ISIS while The Nassrallah’s are butchering themselves at their own hands. Please remind me now why were they fighting ISIS to save Mehdi and yet they Cut themselves to near death over some incident that happened many centuries? and they regard themselves as civilized? really.. they look like savages.. why don’t go commit suicide against ISIS at least you can kill whole bunch of them.

  5. Maborlz Ez-Hari Avatar
    Maborlz Ez-Hari

    Aree bi hul rorse.

  6. Reasonableman Avatar
    Reasonableman

    I command the sunnis to disarm. God has burdened them for the rest of their life

  7. American theologian Yasir Qadhi delivers a lecture presenting a sunni version of the Karbala events.

    Qadhi makes the following points:

    1. Sunnis love Imam Hussein and the family of the Prophet whom they consider the best of families.

    2. There should be no hatred or violence between sunni and shia, just academic discussion.

    3. Imam Hassan had more claim to the khilafa than Muawiya, although Imam Hassan saved the blood of the Ummah by standing down.

    4. We should not cast aspertions on the character of Muawiya because he was a sahabi and perhaps his political decisions did in fact save Muslim blood.

    5. Sunnis believe Imam Hussein had more right to Islamic leadership than Yazeed.

    6. However, events were not black and white. Perhaps it was not in the best interests of the Ummah to oppose Yazeed’s rule and thus incite a war.

    7. The blood of Hussein is primarily on the hands of the people of Kufa, but also on the hands of the Kufan general Ibn Ziyad and Yazeed himself.

    8. The events of Karbala are an historical matter, not a theological matter.

    9. Most sunnis consider Yazeed a tyrant.

    Most reasonable Muslims agree that self harm and harming other is against the teaching of the quran …

  8. Shia Mahdi – Fact or Fiction?
    Please watch this, it clears the concept of Shia Mahdi, 12th Imam of the Twelvers Shia which they think is in occultation for the past 1000 years or so and will be coming soon to rule the world and convert everyone to Shia Islam!
    If what they believe is true then, why behind the closed doors their respected Ayatullahs say something else like this great honorable Shia Ayatullah Sayyid Kamal al-Hydari claims that they cannot prove the birth of Shia Mahdi or 12th Imam using authentic Shia narrations/Hadiths. Then who is this imposter the regular Shias are waiting for and are made to believe by the honorable Ayatullahs!?
    Can it be the DAJJAL or Anti-Christ or Jewish Messiah that they all are waiting for!?
    Why the honorable Ayatullahs confuse the good naive Shias and rest of the non-shias by their lies and deceptions!?
    Please, I am just a person who has questions and quoting from their own books, sources, and honorable scholars n ayatullahs! So don’t assume it as hate, lies, or negative propaganda! If anyone feels the need to criticize or vent, please do so to your own honorable Ayatullahs! Thanks!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sl0yvSQy_jw

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