Saturday, May 24, 2003

Beirut's Daily Star has failed to post Saturday commentaries on its website, which prompts me to do something I usually avoid: post my weekly contribution to the paper's Lebanon section here. Because text boxes are too small, the article continues into succeeding boxes, ending with the word "stake".

Disarm Ain al-Hilweh
It is intriguing to see that a government willing to dispatch agents to hassle Lebanese Forces sympathizers at a funeral in far off Bsharri cannot care a hoot about a Palestinian state-within-a-state in Ain al-Hilweh.

Interior Minister Elias Murr had this to say on his return from a recent trip: "We are against fighting in the camp and strongly deplore the killing of innocent people. As to the gangs inside the camps, such as Esbat al-Ansar and others, we will not permit them to foment disorder in territory under state control, and these people will face justice one day."

The statement was laudable in its intent and bizarre in its context. It begged the obvious question: Why can't the Lebanese Army simply disarm the camps and arrest those fomenting disorder in territory verifiably not under state control? After all, most of us have spent a decade paying a tithe to ensure the army receives a lion's share of budget spending, and have utter faith that it can prevail. [Continued]

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