March 17, 2005

MENACE TO LAHOUD:

As Syria exits Beirut, can a pro-Syrian president remain?: As more of his backers leave Lebanon, President Emile Lahoud's future looks increasingly shaky. (Nicholas Blanford, 3/18/05, CS Monitor)

The opposition demands that Mr. Lahoud quit his office along with seven top security chiefs whom they blame for last month's murder of Rafik Hariri, a former prime minister.

Those calls are being supported by many independent political figures who say that only the departure of Lahoud and the security chiefs will spare this tiny Mediterranean nation from further political and economic turmoil.

"Whatever happens, the political impasse continues unless Lahoud resigns," says Chibli Mallat, a professor of international law at Beirut's St. Joseph University and a democracy campaigner. "We are working to widen the message that the people gave on Monday. We won the battle of sovereignty now we need to win the battle of democracy."

In an apparent response to the pressure, Brigadier General Jamil Sayyed, the powerful head of the General Security Directorate, and one of the seven security chiefs named by the opposition, announced Thursday that he and his colleagues would make themselves available for a judicial inquiry into Mr. Hariri's murder.

"All chiefs of the security organs are ready to stand trial because we don't have any secrets," General Sayyed told a news conference.


tick...tock...

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 17, 2005 10:20 PM
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