Lebanese official puts forward plan to "salvage" restive Tripoli
Speaker Nabih Berri has proposed a plan to salvage the northern city of Tripoli that has been engulfed in deadly sectarian clashes linked to the war raging in neighboring Syria, al-Joumhouria newspaper reported on Monday.
The daily said that Berri made his proposal to Caretaker Premier Najib Miqati before his latest visit to Tehran.
The major aspects of his initiative lie in deploying the armed forces throughout Tripoli and giving them the needed political cover to reach stability in the city.
Berri's proposal also calls for making a shakeup in some security and military posts and for Miqati to reconcile with Caretaker Minister Mohammed al-Safadi, who both hail from Tripoli, to work along with other officials in the city on bringing calm.
That cooperation calls for the top officials, including Miqati, to reside at their homes in Tripoli for a few weeks during which they would meet with the city's personalities to hear their requests and work on resolving them.
Such meetings limit tension and help restore a positive atmosphere in the city, Berri's proposal says.
Sectarian clashes linked to the war in Syria often flare between the two impoverished rival neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen.
Bab al-Tabbaneh is largely Sunni, as are most of the Syrian rebels fighting against President Bashar Assad's rule. As for the residents of Jabal Mohsen, they are mostly of Assad's Alawite sect.
On Monday, An Nahar daily quoted a Bab al-Tabbaneh chief as saying that the Lebanese authorities hadn't yet contacted him to look into a ceasefire.
An Arab Democratic Party official, Ahmed Fadda, also told the newspaper that “things have gone out of our control after a series of attacks on the residents of Jabal Mohsen.”
The latest round of fighting erupted last week when several of the district's residents were shot in their feet.
Tripoli MP Samir al-Jisr, who is a member of al-Mustaqbal bloc, was more optimistic, however, saying there is a “glimmer of hope” to resolve the situation in the city after Miqati announced over the weekend that security forces would be placed under the command of the army.