A judge here in Beirut has ordered the arrest of 11 soldiers (including 3 officers) and 6 civilians over the deaths of 9 protesters last Sunday (2 more deaths have been confirmed since my last post). Hezbollah and Amal had been insisting all week on an investigation of the deaths. There has been no more talk about the mysterious snipers on the rooftops – but there has been mention of army snipers being involved. If it was the army who shot the protesters, that poses a serious problem for Suleiman’s candidacy for the presidency. The neutrality of the army under his command during the past year of political tensions was a major element in him being acceptable to all parties. This shooting spree might change that. There may even have been some elements within the army who were setting it up exactly for that purpose. Also, in what may have been a revenge action, on Friday night 2 soldiers were shot at and wounded by gunmen at a checkpoint in Shiyah, the neighbourhood where the riots occurred.
On a more personal note, 2 good friends here, a couple, have narrowly escaped being blown up along with the ISF investigator two weeks ago. They’d forgotten a cell phone when leaving for work and went back up to their flat to get it. When they got back down, the bomb exploded a few hundred yards away, exactly on their route… It rarely gets a lot of attention, but with every politician or official who gets assassinated and their bodyguard(s), up to 20 nameless ordinary people also die, who just happened to be at the wrong place on the wrong time. They are mentioned only as numbers.