Opposition leaders call to fire Lebanese Interior Minister
A violent tremor has shaken Lebanon's ever-turbulent political arena as armed gunmen stopped a motorcade of prominent opposition leaders from reaching the Metn town of Btighrin, the powerbase of President Lahoud's in-laws from the Murr clan. According to Lebanese media reports on Sunday, the incident, which that took place on Saturday, has escalated the so-called "war of the two brothers" to yet a higher peak in the Metn since the June 2, 2002 by-elections collision.
The incident involved Michel Murr, former vice premier and interior minister who has long been a staunch ally of Syria and Gabriel Murr, Michel's younger brother and a bitter political foe, who won last year's by-elections on an opposition platform to President Lahoud's Syrian-backed regime. Victory at the polls was annulled by the nation's Constitutional Council and his MTV network shut down by a chain of court verdicts.
Elias Murr, Michel's son and Gabriel's nephew is the Lebanese Interior Minister.
According to A Nahar daily, Gabriel Murr hosted at his villa at Btighrin a lunch for prominent leaders who call to end Syria's 27-year-old presence in Lebanon.
Among those invited was Metn deputy Nassib Lahoud, the president's first cousin and political rival who has long been tipped as serious aspirant for the nation's top post. Also invited was the other Metn opposition deputy Pierre Gemayel.
When Nassib Lahoud's motorcade driving up from Beirut reached Btigrin's outskirts at Marjaba, it ran into road barricades with some 15 gunmen turning the car convoy back to Beirut in a hail of machine-gun volleys over the head of the presidential aspirant and his wife.
Gabriel Murr blamed the incident on Michel Murr's henchmen, demanding their prompt arrest. One politician, Fares Soaid, demanded the dismissal of Elias Murr as interior minister.
But the young Murr said he had immediately deployed 300 policemen in and around Btighrin who arrested six suspects within a few hours from the incident, including the man who is believed to have shot over the head of Nassib Lahoud and his wife, who is related to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah.
"I shall implement the law whatever the cost is on personal or family levels," Minister Murr was quoted as saying. "The war of the brothers that has ruined Metn will have to brought to an end and I am going to bring it to an end." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)