Jumblat: Sidon Must be Returned to its People away from ‘al-Asir Phenomenon’


Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat on Sunday called for supporting the army in order to “foil strife,” saying the clashes-hit southern city of Sidon “must be returned to its people away from the ‘Asirist phenomenon’,” in reference to Islamist cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir.

“The army and the state are our only option and I contacted everyone to tell them that Sidon must remain the capital of the resistance and must be spared the Syrian conflict,” Jumblat said in an interview on al-Jadeed television, in the wake of clashes in Sidon’s Abra between the army and Asir’s supporters that left 10 army troops dead, among them two officers.

“Why should we be dragged into the Syrian trap in Sidon and Tripoli? Let us dissociate ourselves in order to foil sedition and we support the army,” he added.

He revealed that MP Bahia Hariri was “complaining of the presence of gunmen near her residence,” adding that he contacted Hizbullah security chief Wafiq Safa and “he promised me to withdraw the Hizbullah gunmen from the area surrounding Abra.”

“Sidon must be returned to its people away from the ‘Asirist phenomenon’ and the other activities,” Jumblat added.

He stressed that “we cannot ask the army to negotiate with those who killed its officers and soldiers.”

“There is a major rift and we must not await for the Syrian crisis to be resolved as they maliciously announced in Doha that the Syrian war will be long,” Jumblat said.

He revealed that he will dispatch caretaker Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour to Saudi Arabia to “consult with” former Prime Minister Saad Hariri on means to “pull the country out of the governmental vacuum.”

“To those who attacked us with eggs and tomatoes I say: we made the right decision,” Jumblat added, referring to protesters who condemned the 128 MPs for the extension of parliament’s term over “security reasons.”



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