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The Killing Will Continue Until ,C*.

The assassination of Brigadier General Wissam Al-Hassan soon after he aborted plans by the Syrian regime to inflame the situation in Lebanon, this by arresting former Minister Michel Samaha, who was close to Bashar Al-Assad, has come to confirm that the policy of dissociation which the Lebanese government claims to follow has failed, due to the insistence of the Syrian regime on preventing Lebanon from "splitting away", in addition to the fact that this policy has been applied in a selective way when influential parties in the government coalition considered that dissociation should only be from supporting the Syrian opposition.

In reality such a slogan represented a bout of fantasy, with the presence of allies of the Damascus regime holding the reins and the essential axes of power, enjoying an organizational-military infrastructure that has moved the state to a different place, and has made use of it to serve the goals of a regional alliance about which the least that can be said is that it does not consider Lebanon's political and security interests to be among its priorities. This is in addition to the fact that these allies have represented, and continue to represent, the striking fist of the regime in Damascus, as investigations into past assassinations have revealed, and as their participation in the fight against the Syrian uprising indicates.

Perhaps what Riad Al-Solh Square in Downtown Beirut witnessed after Al-Hassan's funeral - the emotional attempt to storm the Grand Serail (Government Palace), then the sporadic clashes that followed along newly demarcated Sunni-Shiite green lines - provides the best evidence of the frustration that has been festering in the hearts of opposition supporters at the extent of the oppression they are being subjected to, as well as their weariness at the continuing series of assassinations of their leaders since the year 2005, turning the latter into living targets exposed to constant blackmail, which can reach up to "forced exile", while the only response from the other side would be peaceful protests and political slogans, which are clearly deterring neither the murderers nor those who are helping them to achieve their objectives and providing their deeds with political cover.

And while opposition leaders were quickly able to contain their supporters' emotional outburst, there are fears that similar incidents could get out of hand in the future, with neither truce nor plea bringing them to a stop.

Members of the Syrian opposition went through the same experience, when innocent children in Daraa wrote slogans on a wall and were arrested by security services, with investigators cutting off their fingers and torturing them to death. When this was followed by peaceful demonstrations protesting their killing, the regime confronted demonstrators with bullets, raids and arrests. And with every protest, the repression facing it would be redoubled, until the peaceful protesters had enough and picked up knives and hunting rifles to defend themselves and their families. Thus the situation quickly turned into an all-out military confrontation, after defections of soldiers and officers multiplied, and after members of the opposition began purchasing some weapons, and obtaining others from regular army storage or by smuggling them from neighboring countries.

And although the Lebanese opposition has asserted, as it did after the "invasion" of Beirut by Hezbollah forces in 2008, that it would continue to reject the path of violence and civil infighting, would remain committed, despite the dominance of weapons and Hezbollah not hesitating to use them to impose a certain domestic equation, to peacefully expressing its stances without being lenient in their content, and would cling to its convictions that the state and the law are its only refuge, regardless of how difficult the circumstances become and of whether the killing continues. Yet, as the popular saying goes, "a great deal of knocking will dent even steel", and the day may come when it is no longer able to convince its supporters that "silence is golden", and that the peaceful approach is an eternal choice that cannot be forsaken. Then, neither arsenals nor missiles will be of any use, nor will alliances across borders, nor regrets.

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Publication:Dar Al Hayat, International ed. (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7LEBA
Date:Oct 25, 2012
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