The political scene in Lebanon, after the bloody events in Tayouneh, has begun to take another form, especially with the quarrels between the Lebanese Forces party and Hezbollah militia. There has been exchange of accusations of being responsible for the events that took place in Beirut on October 14, in which seven people were killed. This has raised the concern that this war of words would ignite new confrontations between the two parties that would bring back the memory of the violence and the atmosphere of the civil war.
These developments come after the Lebanese Army announced yesterday, Monday, that the Intelligence Directorate had completed investigations into the violent incidents that occurred in Beirut. The file of those arrested had been forwarded to the Military Public Prosecution. In addition, the Lebanese Army Intelligence had sent a summons to Samir Geagea, the head of the Lebanese Forces party, for a hearing to listen to his testimony regarding the events of Tayouneh
The Forces and the new stage…
The intelligence memo has confirmed that on Wednesday, October 27, at nine o’clock, Geagea must attend the Investigation Branch of Army Intelligence in the Ministry of Defense in Yarzeh, to hear his testimony on the Tayouneh incidents case.
“The summons comes as a continuation of the preliminary investigations conducted by the army’s intelligence, and it was issued by Judge Fadi Akiki, the government commissioner to the military court, who delegated the intelligence to listen to Geagea,” Judicial sources tells Lebanese media. The sources notes that there are 68 detainees in the file, and their detention period has exceeded the period of provisional arrest, which has necessitated their referral to the investigative judge, while the preliminary investigations will continue in the file and may result in additional allegations.
It is noteworthy that on October 14, Tayouneh area witnessed violence accompanied by the use of bullets and missiles, after a protest carried out by supporters of Amal movement and Hezbollah militias against the performance of Judge Tarek Bitar, the judicial investigator, who is in charge of the investigations into the file of the Beirut Port explosion, which left 7 dead and dozens wounded.
“What we are witnessing in recent times of a malicious attack on the Lebanese Forces party is never a coincidence and is not spur of the moment, but rather a new stage in the attempt to besiege and contain the Lebanese Forces by the enemies of the independent, free homeland project,” Sethrida Geagea, Member of the Lebanese Parliamen, responsds in return to the summons.
“They have tried in various ways to undermine the Lebanese Forces, and they have not hesitated to use any means, from the attempt to besiege the party politically, to the attempt to assassinate Samir Geagea, its president, in 2012, to even trying to demonize it falsely and slanderously through some judicial references nowadays,” The Lebanese MP adds. She stresses that there are those who want to use some judicial references to put pressure, considering that it is illogical to summon the victim, while the aggressor is out of reach even for a hearing.
Samir Geagea, head of the Lebanese Forces Party, has expressed his willingness to make his statements about the Tayouneh events, but only after Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of Hezbollah militia does. “Lebanese Forces Party has not committed any violation since the end of the civil war, and it is a registered party, while Hezbollah is not,” Geagea points out.
A lawsuit against Nasrallah…
At a time when the supportes of Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement circulated a picture of the decision to summon Geagea, with phrases praising the correct behavior, such as “A criminal terrorist, Samir Geagea goes to prison,” “because your men sold you out, they are reliable,” On Monday, Lebanese citizens filed a judicial complaint against Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary-General of Hezbollah, arising out of the bloody Tayouneh events that took place in the capital, Beirut, about two weeks ago.
Local media has quoted Elie Mahfouz, the lawyer who is close to the Lebanese Forces party, as saying that 14 Ain al-Remmaneh residents have submitted a complaint to the Public Prosecution against Hassan Nasrallah in order to interrogate him and detect whether he was a participant, instigator, or actor of the events. The lawyer has pointed out that many residents of the Christian-majority area were affected as they had their property destructed during the events, and there are several pictures of armed people affiliated with Hezbollah who participated in the bloody clashes.
In turn, Saad Hariri, the head of the Lebanese Future Movement, confirmed today, Tuesday, that summoning only Samir Geagea, the leader of the Lebanese Forces party, in the Tayouneh events in Beirut, increases the division in the country. “The absence of the Future Movement from the Tayouneh events and their repercussions was deliberate because we refuse to engage in an absurd conflict, line up waiting for the civil war and its sectarian divisions, and return to the language of security sniping and seizing political opportunities,” Hariri adds.
“The announcement that the head of the Lebanese Forces Party, Samir Geagea, was notified to appear before the Intelligence Directorate of the Lebanese Army, also falls in the category of absurdity and calls the country to further division and employs the state administrations to service revenge policies,” Al-Hariri said on Twitter. He adds that it is required to inform all those involved in the events in Tayouneh orally or by other means, that they must appear before the requirements of the national interest and not neglect the remaining elements of civil peace.
Observers believe that it is out of the question that any accusations against Nasrallah will be brought, as the matter is highly sensitive politically and sectarianly, in addition to the fact that the figures of the political system accused of corruption and based on sectarian quotas seem to be above the law.
It is worthy of mention that the judge Fadi Akiki, the government commissioner at the military court, had decided to indict sixty-eight people for the crimes of murder, attempted murder and inciting sectarian strife in the Tayouneh events in Beirut.
The scenario of summoning Geagea…
A source in the Lebanese Forces has revealed to the Lebanese media that this step comes as an attempt to undermine the forces’ insistence to complete the investigation into the port blasting case, and it is a punishment for standing with the civilians in Ain al-Rummaneh and Forn El Chebbak to defend their homes against the gunmen who tried to storm them. According to the source, there is summer and winter under one roof in the Tayouneh case, and the judiciary is targeting only one party without the others concerned with this incident.
Analysts have pointed out that the news of Geagea’s summons was leaked in a distorted manner, as if the army intelligence was behind his summons, while the truth is that the judge in question decided himself to listen to Geagea and instructed the Intelligence Directorate to summon him last Thursday. As the analysts have explained, the matter is a routine procedure after a double involvement of the army in a bloody incident that could have been avoided.
However, others also indicate that the Army Intelligence summoning Geagea is an inevitable and compelling measure despite the conviction that he bears no responsibility for what happened. They recall the professionalism of General Joseph Aoun, the army commander, and his keenness not to carry out reckoning in favor of one party or another, in addition to the army leadership’s awareness of the clear and decisive meaning of the two most important Christian references, i.e., the Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, and Metropolitan Elias Audi, who is is the current Metropolitan bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church
Although the army’s investigation file does not include any data that would convict or arrest Geagea, the military court, which had requested to hear the head of the Forces before the end of investigation and in a move dominated by political targeting, will not hesitate to go far in any measure in the interest of the ruling coalition (Aoun-Hezbollah), especially since Hassan Nasrallah praised the courage and transparency of the investigation a few days ago.
As for the most likely scenario, it involves Geagea refusing to testify before the intelligence, and then this file will be going in directions governed by politics, will end up either putting the summons paper in the drawer, or turning it into a subpoena.
It is noteworthy that Hassan Nasrallah has attacked Samir Geagea accusing him of setting these events. Nasrallah considers that Geagea’s program and party are the actual civil war aimed at crowding Christians into a certain demographic area, and that the Forces Party does not care about a military clash and civil war because that serves it externally. Nasrallah has also declared that Geagea is the greatest threat to the Christian presence and to Christian social security in Lebanon.
In addition, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, has threatened, addressing Samir Geagea, that he has 100,000 Lebanese fighters ready to move at his signal.