Popular Nasserite Organization chief ex-MP Osama Saad on Sunday said that the meeting held by the March 14 forces in Sidon earlier in the day was aimed at “inciting against the military institution,” saying March 14 had not criticized the practices of Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir in the past, prior to his ouster from the city through a military operation.
Saad described as “beautiful words” the content of the meeting's closing statement regarding “coexistence, civil peace, human dignity, the rejection of extremism and the just state.”
“But if only the March 14 forces would act accordingly and turn words into deeds,” he added.
Earlier, the March 14 alliance called for announcing Sidon an arms-free city, saying the presence of an “illegitimate statelet” was the reason behind the violence in the southern city.
“Unfortunately, the March 14 forces, topped by al-Mustaqbal movement, have only ruined coexistence and civil peace through the rhetoric of sectarian incitement and provocation and through keeping the situations tense for narrow political ends,” Saad added.
These forces “have only sponsored extremist movements, from Sidon to Tripoli and Arsal and other Lebanese regions,” the ex-MP said, reminding that “the deviant phenomenon of al-Asir would not have surfaced and grown without the political and security sponsorship and financial support of the al-Mustaqbal movement.”
“If only the forces that convened today in Majdelyoun had raised the voice, even once, against Asir's practices and strenuous efforts to ignite sectarian strife and against his blocking of roads and attacks on citizens," Saad added.
"These forces only came to Sidon today, after a blow was dealt to Asir's deviant phenomenon and the removal of his security zone, and they came to incite against the military institution which offered martyrs in defense of Sidon and its people and to protect civil peace," he went on to say.
Saad noted that “the Majdelyoun meeting ignored all of Asir's extremist and deviant practices, while exerting utmost effort to put the blame on others with the aim of acquitting him.”
The Sidon leader condemned March 14's statement, which “did not include a call for holding accountable Asir and his followers, backers and financiers.”
The gunbattles, which left 18 soldiers and around 20 gunmen dead, were sparked after al-Asir's followers opened fire on an army checkpoint.