The army command has just announced it is reinstating Wafiq Shuqair as the head of airport security and will investigate Hizbullah’s communications network ‘without harming the resistance’, asking for the withdrawal of all armed men and the reopening of the streets. So some serious negotiating has been going on behind the scenes today, and it looks like Hizbullah’s two main demands have been met. The militias have aleady left Hamra and presumably more if not all of the Hizbullah-occupied areas. Siniora, in his speech, had announced (like Hariri before him on thursday) that the contagious government decisions would be placed in the hands of the army command. After a bout of macho drivel about how they were not impressed by Hizbullah’s arms and would never give in to their demands, he did just that, proposing a five-point reconciliation plan which called for the immediate election of a consensus president (which would be Suleiman), the formation of a national unity government in which ‘the opposition can not block decisions and the majority can not impose them’ (I’m still trying to work out how exactly that differs from a blocking veto for the opposition), the referral of the above-mentioned decisions to the army command and the immediate withdrawal of all militias from the streets. All this may sound to good to be true, as it resolves a lot of the contentious issues of the last year and a half in one fell swoop. But seeing as the armed men have already been evacuating their positions, we can only assume that the opposition has agreed to the proposals, which pretty much give them everything they want anyway.
Hariri has just announced he is accepting the army command’s decisions, which is pretty duh as he’s not in a position to reject or accept anything anyway, with his militia being completely defeated, his propaganda channels neutralized, and his very palace besieged and shot at.
Junblatt has joined Hariri in accepting.
The opposition announced accepting to withdraw armed men and to hand over security in Beirut to the armed forces. However, ‘civil disobedience will go on until all our demands are met’. This means the airport and airport road will remain blocked and downtown will still be hosting tent city. ‘All our demands’ presumably include an explicit terming of the one-third blocking minority as such rather than couching it in the obscure terminology Siniora used…