An alarming article on Naharnet today: the police have arrested followers of Aoun for receiving arms training. As the article mentions, this is in clear violation of the Taif agreement that prescribed the disarmament of all political parties except Hezbollah.
What’s more, Aoun is not the only side arming up. The army has also shutdown a training camp used by Walid Jumblatt’s party in the Chouf area.
Photo 1: Aoun followers receiving training, from Blacksmiths of Lebanon
Now, these camps might not amount to much. After all, there is no indication of any large scale rearmament. If anything, the picture clearly shows a shortage of guns since only half of the people carry one.
Still, there are signs which are not very positive. Just look at the increase in the production of cannabis. Back during the Civil War, the proceeds were used to finance the purchase of arms. Who is to say history will not repeat itself?
Also, the reaction of Aoun’s MPs to the arrest of a few of their followers for receiving arms training was quite provocative: they called the army a militia and said they would “save no efforts to combat this militia”. Are these MPs really calling to attack the state?
There is an atmosphere in the country that doesn’t bode well. The thing is that every single aspect is something to shrug off. Combined, however, they show a pattern that is dangerous. It feels like events have been set in motion and before you know it, they take a course of their own.
Any analogy is inadequate, but it feels like the buildup towards the second Iraqi war. Everybody was saying all options for peace should be explored, but deep down, people knew a war was coming. God only knows whether this is the case now. This blogger can only hope that all this is just your typical Lebanese showing off that ultimately doesn’t result in much.