Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Shootings in Ramel al-Ali

I know Ramel al-Ali reasonably well. It's in Southern Beirut you pass it on your way to to the airport using the old airport road which for a variety of reasons I prefer. It's a pretty poor neighbourhood there's a lot of support both for the Hizb and for Amal there. More importantly there's been a lot of illegal building going on there for years.

I would have to question why it was decided to mount an operation to clamp down on this building now. Who ordered the operation? And on whose behalf? There are conflicting accounts of what happened. What isn't in doubt is that ISF personnel were attacked with sticks and stones. Then they opened fire.

17-year-old Hassan Soueid was shot dead in Ramel al-AliAmongst those hit were 17 year old Hassan Soueid who died of his wounds. 14 year-old Mohammad Hussein Naji, Ali Al-Ouzyer aged 7, and 11 year old Khadar Ammar. According to Ahmad Talal the head of administration at Rasoul al-Azmaa Hospital they are seriously wounded and it isn't clear if they'll survive. The ISF say that the explosive bullets that killed and wounded aren't used by them. It's news to me that the ISF don't use explosive bullets.

As always in Lebanon who was not involved is as important as who was. Everybody - including the ISF themselves, says that who was not involved in the riot were either Hizbullah or Amal. And everybody - including the ISF themselves, says that who did calm the situation down were the local Hizb.From the reports it sound to me like this was a heavy handed operation of the old type and that local youths responded by rioting and that the ISF escalated massively. This isn't how the security forces of a prime minister who says "I am the Prime Minister of all the Lebanese" behave. If he wants to be the "Prime Minister of all the Lebanese" then he needs to tell his Haririte dominated ISF that the old days are over and that nobody wants to reignite the civil war


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