Friday, November 16, 2007

Palestian camp in Beirut on fire?

The latest news on Naharnet is that clashes broke out in Bourj el-Barajneh on Friday between the mainstream Fatah movement and Ahmed Jibril’s radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. Automatic machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades were used in the clashes that broke out around noon. Also, Ain el Helweh is heating up.

Wow, and then to think that only a few weeks ago, my father and I drove through most of the camp! We were looking for the Hezbollah Divine Victory Museum, but we took a few turns too early and there we were: in the smack of Bourj el-Barajneh. It sure made for a shocking visit because of the poverty of the camp. After driving around and getting completely lost in the inner mazes of the camp, we finally found the exit. On to Haret Hreik to visit the Musuem, but that turned out to be closed down already.

Now, only a few weeks later, riots have broken out. Must be a coincidence, right? Well, I'd like to think so, too, but we also went to the south of Lebanon last year, a few weeks before the July War broke out. Must also be a coincidence. Yet, some people think differently and feel I must be a spy:-) Good thing to realize that spies are usually less obvious, let alone would blog about their adventures. Then again, this could be the best cover possible. See Michael Totten's article on being labeled a spy.

The riots in Bourj el-Barajneh were predicted by many people. I don't have the link ready, but L'Orient-Le Jour has written about it a few days ago. It predicted that Ahmed Jibril might ignite the camp in order to remove any anti-Syria people and so open up a direct line between the south and the center of Beirut. This would be in preparation of the upcoming presidential election, scheduled for next week.

Anyway, let's hope things quiet down quickly in the camps. So far, it looks as if it's only an internal Palestinian matter and that the Lebanese army is not involved, so no repetition of Nahr al Bared.