Report details divisions in Lebanon Baath Party, amid storming of HQ in Beirut
Translated today by our Mideastwire.com:
On March 15, the Lebanon Debate website carried the following report: “The piece of news on members of the Arab Socialist Baath Party raiding the party’s headquarters in Ras al-Nabeh just went by unnoticed. More than fifty armed men invaded the headquarters, occupied it and remained there for three days. Still, the security forces did not act or ask any questions on how this large number of armed men, most of which were Syrian nationals, managed to enter an area within the capital, Beirut, as per Baath sources who spoke to Lebanon Debate. The incident was deemed a political matter, one that can be solved through a consensus within the party, which has been suffering from an internal division for months now!
“The division started when the party’s official, Naaman Shalak, objected to the course of action that has been followed recently to unify the party and that led to holding an exceptional regional conference, which resulted in MP Assem Kanso winning the post of Regional Secretary. Shalak rejected that and asked armed men to invade the headquarters and seize them by force. This story represents the version of the sources affiliated to the winning side. It is contested by the version presented by the opposing side, which accuses the earlier side of “disloyalty and monopolizing the party’s decision making process by “deifying” one man alone and no one else!”
“Lebanon Debate’s sources from within the elected regional leadership of the Baath party indicated that Shalak crossed all the taboos. The sources revealed that the man “would not have taken any step had he not obtained a cover from the Syrian Ambassador in Lebanon, Ali Abdulkarim Ali.” The sources further accused the latter of “trying to impose his say on the pro-Syria parties in Lebanon while benefiting from the fact that the Damascus leadership is preoccupied by the ongoing war on its land.”
“The differences escalated when MP Kanso went to Syria and met with the head of the National Security Bureau, Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk, at his office. On that day, a phone call took place between Kanso and President Bashar Al-Assad who asked the man to solve the crisis and divisions within the Baath party’s Lebanon branch. However, Ambassador Ali’s behavior clashes with this course of action. It is as if he is opposing the regional leadership of the Baath party and trying to impose his power in Lebanon.
“The Baath party fears that the problem in Beirut could spiral out of control. The party is thus hoping that the security forces will act and solve the crisis by ending the coup at the elapse of the three days’ term (that ended yesterday) in order to avoid any confrontations or clashes…”