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Calm returns to Beirut but Siniora weakened

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Calm returns to Beirut but Siniora weakened


Hizbollah has pulled out of west Beirut and calm has returned to the capital, but at what price for the government? That is the question Lebanese people are asking after it appeared the authority of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora had suffered a bodyblow during the crisis.

The army has moved into west Beirut, saying it will now run Hizbollah’s telecoms network and will allow the pro-Hizbollah director of Beirut airport to keep his job. Siniora wanted the network closed down and the director sacked.

Shi’ite Amal member of parliament and Hizbollah ally Ali Hassan Khalil said: “We will honour our pledge to remove weapons from the streets and hand security to the army, but civil disobedience continues until our political demands are met”.

Tensions are soaring once again within the country. The offices of the pro-Syrian Baath party in the northern city of Tripoli were burned by government supporters on Saturday. Many blame Syria and Iran for backing and arming Hizbollah and encouraging it to challenge the pro-western coalition government in what Siniora has called a coup d’etat.

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