Army-Gunmen Clash: Deja Vu
FLASH: A Lebanese soldier was injured and another kidnapped during gunbattles between the army and gunmen of the Syrian-backed Fatah al-Intifada in eastern Lebanon near the border with Syria. TV reports said that the army laid a security siege on the area at Yanta and Wadi al-Aswad and asked for reinforcements. (Naharnet May 17, 2006)
Prime Minister Seniora's (or Saniora or Siniora) office immediately issued the following statement:
Our first priority is to have good relations with Syria and our Palestinian brothers. This behavior does not help the Palestinian cause. We are sending reinforcements to the army in the area, but military action is out of the question.The above is what I do NOT want to hear, but I am very afraid will be the official response, if history and habit are any guide (see any of my previous posts on Saniora and military clashes).
Our talking staff and "dialoguers" will be reinforced too. Let me be very clear, they can kill or kidnap everyone in the Lebanese army, we will always respond with words. I hope our brothers understand that, and that this threat will be enough to reach a resolution soon. If not, extending the national dialogue downtown is our fallback position for an even tougher response to this unacceptable behavior.
Finally if all fails, the PM will travel abroad and issue strong communiques from world capitals. Our options are clear.
Hoping to be very wrong.