Saturday, 10 May 2008

Beirut—Saturday 10 May


Red dots show the clashes across Lebanon 7-10 May 2008. Click for details. (note: the map colour codes areas where one sect is the majority).

Updated 00:09 Sunday 11 May

We crossed from east Beirut through to Hamra tonight. Army in control over all major road junctions. We were challenged once, but where left to pass as soon as they heard our Beiruti accents.

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There are reports that this phase of crisis could be drawing to a close. The government said that they left to the army the question of whether to close Hizbollah's communication system and withdraw its security officer from the airport.

The army then announced that they would not move on Hizbollah.

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The SSNP are reported to be firing rockets or mortars into Future Current areas in Tripoli.

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Large crowds (the biggest so far) of Future Current supporters have gutted and set fire to the offices of the SSNP in Tripoli.

Jumblat' supporters have kidnapped 3 members of Hizbollah. Two were murdered, their bodies dumped in front of a hospital in Aley. The survivor is being held hostage.

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Reports are coming in that the army is sweeping up pro-government supporters in west Beirut. They are also rounding up Al-Qaeda sympathisers. There have been confrontations with Future Current supporters in Akkar in the north, Aley in the mountains, and in the south.

There are strong indications that the army has been coordinating with the opposition during the fighting.

It now seems clear that Hariri's Future Current in west Beirut has collapsed like a house of cards.

TV is showing angry funerals in Sunni areas of Beirut. Amal gunmen fired on the procession killing two.

***

Some more on the opposition take-over of west Beirut on Thursday.

Hizbollah elite forces hit Saad Hairiri's private security companies shortly after the speech by Hassan Nasrallah. The security guards surrendered and where handed over to the army. Hizbollah then withdrew while fighters loyal to opposition parties (the pan Syrian SNNP, Communist Party, Nasserites and Amal) took control.

A witness who lives in Hamra said he recognised most of them as local boys.

The operation took less than 4 hours. All opposition fighters have now withdrawn from the area, the army controls the streets. The opposition did not enter Druze or Sunni neighbourhoods.

The pattern that is emerging is of mixed areas falling to the opposition. These are local fighters so it’s a question of appearing on the street, then withdrawing home.

One side effect of this crisis is that there are few cars on the road, so pollution levels in Beirut are very low. There are flocks of birds in the sky and a pleasant sea breeze.

3 comments:

Didi said...

Hey there-can I ask you where you are getting your maps from? I'd like to stick some on my blog...Thanks, keep up the good work!

Lebanese Socialist said...

Hey Didi,

The maps were produced by the Sursock team.

The colour areas are based on a detailed recent studies of areas defined by religion—but we have simplied them down.

The mixed areas are of the major urban centres.

We will be posting a higher res version soon for general use.

regards
Sursock

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