BEIRUT: The decision of the municipality of Taraya, Bekaa, to move a memorial for Lebanese Armed Forces personnel from the entrance to the city to the roadside has been criticized.
It has been claimed that the memorial was moved so as not to disturb a photo associated with a political party.
The monument – a military armored vehicle – was given as a token of loyalty to the townspeople who had died defending the country.
The Al-Islah’ Al-Baladi (municipal reform) organization in Taraya said the decision to place the monument on the roadside was inappropriate.
He said opinions were divided at the city council meeting, with some supporting the decision and others rejecting it.
Taraya is 75 km from Beirut and is a stronghold of Hezbollah and its ally the Amal movement, like most villages and towns in the center and north of the Bekaa which are home to a majority of Shiites.
Al-Islah’ Al-Baladi condemned the behavior of the city’s mayor, Rifaat Hamiya, who is a retired brigadier general with more than 25 years of service.
“We hoped that he would use national principles, enforce laws, hold corrupt people accountable, and enforce and commit to national army regulations, instead of committing to party orders and to exploit the city council and its members for personal gain.”
While the organization stressed its support for various political affiliations, it said it opposed decisions by militias and parties that proliferated hostility towards the Lebanese army.
Taraya is currently suffering socially and economically like other towns in the Bekaa while waiting for a development policy to be put in place.
The parties have taken over the municipalities of these cities, in particular Hezbollah, which has infiltrated social life, imposed traditions and even controlled decisions in these places.
Ali Al-Amin, editor-in-chief of Janoubia, told Arab News: “What happened is part of Hezbollah’s well-defined trajectory at the Lebanese level, and its (party’s) focus on the Shiite sect after its relationship was rocked by the forces it has allied itself with since October 17, 2019, when people took to the streets and protested against everyone.
Al-Amin said Hezbollah was trying to take advantage of its authority over the state and society to convey its ideologies. He did not care about the opposition, which reflected the vulnerability of the state.
Al-Amin added: “However, I think Hezbollah is trying to focus on minor issues because it is unable to answer strategic questions.
“He is practicing the same options because he has no answers on what kind of state and economy he wants for Lebanon and how to fight corruption. These are people’s questions, and it (the party) takes advantage of the sectarian structure.
Hezbollah on Friday celebrated the laying of the foundation stone for a tourist monument in Janta, Baalbek governorate, similar to the Mleeta Landmark in the south – the party’s ideological landmark where it tells the story of resistance to the Israeli occupation from the party’s point of view.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech that the outcome of the nuclear talks in Vienna would have no impact on the maritime talks aimed at delineating the border between Lebanon and Israel.
“Whether a nuclear deal with Iran is signed or not, if the US mediator doesn’t give Lebanon what it’s asking for in terms of rights, we’re headed for an escalation – we’re headed for trouble,” he said. said Nasrallah.
He called for keeping an eye on the Karish field, the Lebanese borders and the US mediator, adding that the mediator was currently wasting time and running late.
Hezbollah loyalists in the “civilian campaign to protect maritime wealth” have called for a march on August 28.
The march will depart from all Lebanese ports and head towards the maritime borders at Ras Al-Naqoura.
Campaign coordinator Hani Suleiman said every Lebanese citizen was concerned by this event to verify “our right to our water, like our right to our land”.
Suleiman said the ports of Tripoli, Beirut, Sidon, Tire and Al-Naqoura would be ready this week and final preparations had been made.
The march will start with boats and yachts of different sizes, the number of which is expected to exceed 100.
They will fly the Lebanese flag to send a message to the international community and demonstrate the situation of the people at the heart of the conflict with the Israelis.