President Lahoud’s regime lowered the boom on right wing Christian opposition in Lebanon Tuesday as troops and army intelligence squads staged scores of arrests around the country including senior leaders of Samir Geagea’s Lebanese Forces and General Michel Aoun’s top Lebanon aides.
Aoun’s personal representative, General Nadim Lteif, former general security department chief, was taken into custody from his home along with sixty Aounists. Aoun’s student organisation chief Joseph Samaha was almost simultaneously grabbed by troops along with forty pro-Aoun students, several Beirut TV networks reported Tuesday night.
Geagea’s advisor, Toufic Hindi, who had just issued a statement denouncing the crackdown as a quasi-declaration of martial law, was also arrested at home in the coastal town of Jounieh, along with forty LF activists assembled around his home, the broadcast said.
All TV networks were in accord that this was the harshest crackdown on Christian opposition since President Lahoud took office in 1998. Commentators noted that the anti-opposition move followed last week-end’s historic visit of Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir to the hinterland of the Druze sect, in which Aounists and Geagea’s supporters turned out en masse waving banners and shouting chants calling for Syria’s exit from Lebanon.