Beirut-Interior Minister Nohad al-Mashnouq announced Sunday that he had requested the Cabinet to dissolve the Arab Democratic Party headed by Rifaat Eid, a close ally to the Syrian regime led by Bashar Assad, and the Islamic Unity Movement, a week after a Lebanese court issued an indictment revealing the involvement of the Syrian intelligence in the explosions that targeted two mosques in Tripoli three years ago.
The indictment accused the Syrian intelligence of links to Al-Salam and Al-Taqwa mosque bombings, which killed more than 50 people and wounded 700 others.
Mashnouq strongly criticized supporting a diplomat whose country was accused of committing one of Lebanon’s deadliest attacks in two decades, hinting to the sympathetic visits made by some Lebanese figures to Syria’s Ambassador in Beirut after the indictment was issued.
The Tripoli attacks took place in the summer of 2013, when two car bombs detonated outside the two mosques as worshipers were leaving following Friday prayers.
Mashnouq’s announcement was widely welcomed. Resigned Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi said he might “exceptionally participate in a Cabinet session when the request of dissolving the two parties is placed on the agenda.”
During a ceremony held in his honor in Dhour al-Abadiyeh, Mashnouq described the visits made to the Syrian ambassador as equivalent to a Lebanese party voicing support to Al-Nusra Front following explosions in Beirut’s southern suburbs.
“Tripoli along with Beirut, Sidon, Iqlim and Mount Lebanon, will remain a barricade in the face of any ambition to raise or inherit Syrian custodianship again…and all the howling and screaming and visits that are devoid of any sense of patriotism will not change a single clause in the indictment,” said Machnouq, adding that only a court of law could alter the accusations in the mosque bombings case.
Machnouq described the visit of Hezbollah officials and others to the Syrian ambassador as ironic.
The minister said he has signed a request and presented it to the Cabinet to dissolve the Arab Democratic Party and the Islamic Unity Movement.
He also said Lebanon is at the heart of the Arab battle, adding: “We will not allow for Lebanon’s Arab choices to be exploited by some (sides) to drive the country to places that contradict its history.”