Saturday, December 2, 2006
by Michel Chossudovsky
"The Western media, which often downplays the size of public rallies and anti-war demonstrations, confirms that "hundreds of thousands" of people from all sectors of Lebanese society gathered in Beirut in anti-government demonstrations, demanding the resignation of the US-Israeli supported government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.
The Beirut government is taking orders directly from the US embassy. The Siniora government has allowed the deployment of NATO forces on Lebanese territory under the pretext of a UN sponsored peace-keeping operation. NATO warships under German command are stationed off the country's Eastern Mediterranean coastline. NATO has a military cooperation agreement with Israel.
The banners read "Down with Feltman's government," in reference to US ambassador Jeffrey Feltman:
"We want a national unity government,"
"We want a clean government" (quoted in The Hindu, 1 December 2006)
Police source estimated the crowd at 800,000 people, almost half the population of the Beirut metropolitan area. Organizers said it was much larger. (Associated Press).
The significance of the rally has been casually dismissed. According to the BBC, it was organized by Hezbollah and its so-called "pro-Syrian allies".
The rally had little to do with Syria. It demanded the resignation of an illegal government, which supports the interests of US and Israel.
Among the allegedly "pro-Syrian" protagonists of these mass demonstrations was Michel Aoun, a staunch opponent of Damascus who led the insurrection against Syrian military presence in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
All sectors of Lebanese society are demanding the resignation of the government. A majority of the Christian Maronite community is firmly behind the protest movement: "I call on the prime minister and his ministers to resign" said Michel Aoun:
"I wish that the prime minister and his ministers were among us today, not hiding behind barbed wire and army armored carriers. He who has his people behind him does not need barbed wire,"
Emile Lahoud, the country's president, has also confirmed in that the Siniora government has violated the country's constitution: "This government is no longer legal because it is not representative of all the country's religions,'' he said, following the resignation of five cabinet ministers from Hezbollah, Amal as well as one Christian loyal to President Emile Lahoud.
"Hezbollah's deputy general security, Sheik Naim Kassim, made it clear the fight is against 'American tutelage' and said the protest action will continue until the government falls. 'We will not let you sell Lebanon, we will protect the constitution and people of Lebanon,' Kassim said on television Friday, addressing Saniora." (Daily Star, 1 December 2006)
Meanwhile, President George W. Bush warned that "Iran and Syria were trying to destabilize Lebanon". US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton described the anti-government demonstrations as "part of the Iran-Syria inspired coup d'etat."
Christians, Shiites and Sunni have joined hands.
Washington's objective is to transform Lebanon into a US protectorate. The Lebanese people are demanding the resignation of a government which is acting on behalf of the US and the Israeli invaders of their country. They are demanding the formation of a national unity government which will defend the Lebanese homeland against US-Israeli aggression. "