FPM, PSP Ministers Argue on Army's Role in Akkar

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A request by Free Patriotic Movement cabinet ministers to task the army with controlling the security in the North and put the Internal Security Forces under its command was rejected by ministers loyal to Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat, media reports said Thursday.

Several Beirut dailies quoted sources as saying that the FPM ministers called during the session held at Baabda palace for the implementation of article four of the defense law similar to the measures taken in the eastern Bekaa valley to strike with an iron fist any attempt to tamper with the security of the northern province of Akkar.

The situation in the North badly deteriorated when on May 12 the General Security Department arrested Islamist Shadi al-Mawlawi in the city of Tripoli on charges of contacting a terrorist organization.

His seizure prompted deadly fighting between the rival neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh, which is majority Sunni, and the Alawite Jabal Mohsen that is pro-Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Al-Mawlawi was released on bail on Tuesday but the Syrian crisis had already spilled over into Lebanon.

The situation became tenser when rival parties also fired rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns in Beirut early Monday, killing at least two people... continue reading

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