Tension Is Escalating Between Amal And The Free Patriotic Movement

MEO | Gebran Bassil

The Amal Movement political party, headed by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, issued a strongly worded statement against the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), accusing it of colluding with the Lebanese Forces (LF) in the Tayyouneh events on October 14th.

Almost two weeks ago, Amal and Iran-backed Hezbollah led a protest against the lead investigator of the Beirut port explosion Judge Tarek Bitar.

Clashes erupted between them and other gunmen residing in the area, and who are claimed by Hezbollah to be LF partisans. Seven people were killed and dozens were injured.

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In a press release, FPM leader Gebran Bassil, son-in-law of President Michel Aoun, blamed Nabih Berri for overthrowing the legislative authority, as well as his involvement in the Tayyouneh battles.

Responding to Bassil’s accusations, Amal’s statement said that “FPM is no longer ashamed of the disasters and deficiencies it has dragged the country into during its reign, until the country arrived in hell,” referring to Aoun’s famous statement back in September 2020.

“Amid unemployment and political stagnation, the [FPM] party tries to slip away and create failed, fabricated scenarios from his (Bassil’s) mentally-sick mind to conceal its (FPM’s) political and social crimes committed against Lebanese citizens,” the statement added.

Using bitter descriptions against Bassil and his FPM party, Amal explained how the latter wants to break the ‘real alliance’ between Hezbollah and Amal.

The fierce attack also alluded to president Aoun’s indifference to his constitutional duties.

The party’s statement criticized what it claimed to be the politicized judiciary investigations of the Beirut Blast, accusing the presidential advisor and former Minister of Justice, Salim Jreissati, of leading the investigations via “secret chambers.”

Judge Tarek Bitar had previously called Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zeaiter, former ministers affiliated with Amal, for interrogation. The two did not respond to the summon.

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Jreissati replied to what he referred to as “shameful” accusations, saying, “If the Amal movement bases its national and regional stances on these types of false accusations and lame choruses, then I congratulate it and its spokespersons for the impressive, failed stances.”

“Those suspected have almost accused themselves,” said Jreissati, clearly accusing Amal officials’ complicity in the Beirut port explosion.

The escalating war of words has created tension between Amal and FPM partisans, who are shooting tweets against each other.

Amal and FPM have always had a disrupted relationship over the state management, several corruption files, and what Amal refers to as Bassil’s presidential campaigns.

These parties’ accusations against each other open questions about the parliamentary elections’ coalitions next year, or whether they will be held altogether.

Amal asserted that FPM fears the upcoming elections that will confirm its huge loss of popularity.

Between the Berri-Bassil feud now and the Nasrallah-Geagea feud, the fate of 2022’s parliamentary elections remains unknown.

Meanwhile, these escalating political tensions between parties, materializing with protests and counter-rallies in the streets, have redirected the attention from the Beirut Blast and its investigation, and the families of the 234+ victims demanding justice.

It does raise the question of whether that was the initial aim of the Tayyouneh protest, as these political party leaders have been politicizing the investigation with their stances and claims, turning it now into a political-sectarian issue.

Tension Is Escalating Between Amal And The Free Patriotic Movement

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