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Lebanese Army Commander: Lebanese Army Saved Tripoli from Self-Destruction

12 December 2012 16:32

Lebanese Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji accentuated his fearlessness of overwhelming fire in the clashes that broke out in Tripoli, strongly refusing to turn Tripoli into a military zone.

In an interview with al-Akhbar Newspaper, Qahwaji stated, “The Army has morals and ethics that would lose its credibility if it deteriorated from them,” underscoring that “we cannot openly declare what we know or do and the Army saved [Tripoli] from self-destruction.”

Qahwaji responded to accusations of the Army’s defense of the Jabal Mohsen area alone, stressing that, “the Army was always accused of delaying settlement; however it was able to settle matters in Tripoli from day one, but the price was hefty.”

“We will resort to clashes if no one resorts to peace and enter Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabaneh by force,” The Commander General reiterated.
According to Qahwaji, the Army deployed various platoons, including the Navy Seals Regiment and Fourth Intervention Regiment, highlighting that, “the Army has encircled the two areas [Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabaneh] in a tight security belt that aims at preventing weapon and ammunition smuggling.”
Moreover, Qahwaji accentuated that the Army “will summon elite reinforcements so the deployed soldiers would not be exhausted.”

The Commander General responded to allegations of Army intervention to protect Jabal Mohsen alone, reiterating that, “All are Tripoli citizens to us and it is our duty to protect them.”
On a similar note, Qahwaji strongly denied accusations of the Army shelling Tripoli, stating that, “we did not use heavy weaponry in responding to fire; we only used RPGs…”

Furthermore, he refused that Tripoli become a military zone, but stated that the Army has the potential to contain matters, on two conditions: the Army must have full political immunity and politicians must withdraw their cover for armed groups.
Qahwaji further reiterated that, “A security plan alone is not enough; a political consensus and development in these areas must be met.”

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