Walid Jumblatt came across as quite erudite and logical in his speech earlier today, two qualities I have been unable to credit him with in the past. He pointed out most of the things that many Lebanese bloggers have been saying for a while, namely that Syria and Iran have been behind all the troubles, waging proxy wars against Israel and the US - Iran for its nuclear ambitions and Syria because Assad wants to deflect attention away from his involvement of the Hariri assassination.
He also called for the integration into the army of Hezbollah fighters and for the respect of the 1949 armistice agreement with Israel. I had to look that one up.
President Emile Lahoud, who has Assad's arm so far up his backside that it's difficult to tell where he begins and Syria ends, stated unequivocally that Hezbollah should not disarm, thereby rendering the highest post in the land about as relevant as lips on a chicken. Way to gauge public opinion, dude.
The army has started its deployment to the south, taking over key positions handed over to the UNIFIL by Israel. The deployment itself is a great move, although the army's mission there is still hazy as they have no clear mandate as of yet. Even the French are getting a little jittery about sending troops in with no clearly defined mission, which, considering their history with Hezbollah, is not surprising.
The government is still messing around with words as Saniora has changed his tack towards Hezbollah's weapons.
In earlier speeches he stated: "There shall be no other weapons in the south of Lebanon except those of the Lebanese Army."
That has now been amended to "no other apparent weapons." Apparently, Hezbollah get to keep theirs albeit under their jackets.
Saad Hariri, for his part, lashed out at Assad saying that Syria is trying to "steal Lebanon's victory." Mr. Hariri, I don't know if you were here for the fireworks but if that is your idea of a victory, then I would suggest that next time you let Syria have it.
MEA, the Lebanese flag carrier, along with Royal Jordanian landed their first commercial flights today at Beirut International Airport since the war began. It was apparently negotiated through Prime Minister Saniora's contacts but for the time being only flights to and from Amman are allowed. No word as to why this is but Jordan, along with Egypt, has a peace treaty with Israel and enjoys full diplomatic relations.
MEA chairman, Mohammad Hout said that any passengers turning up for the flight would travel to Beirut for free as well as not pay for the return leg.
No word on how many people turned up.
So far, so good.