tv Inside Story LINKTV October 18, 2021 5:30am-6:01am PDT
>> this is al jazeera, these are the top stories. an armed group in afghanistan linked to isil says it is linked to an attack on a mosque in kandahar. dozens wounded a couple -- a former taliban commander appearing before u.s. court on terrorism charges. he is facing indictments in relation to an attack in afghanistan in 2008 that led to the deaths of three u.s. soldiers and an interpreter. is also accused of kidnapping and american journalist into
afghan civilians. reddish police say the fatal stabbing of you k politician -- as a terrorist incident. the 69-year-old was visiting members of the public as church in his constituency when he was attacked. at 25 your old has been arrested on suspicion of murder. >> our hearts are full of shock and sadness today to the loss. this mp who was killed in his constituency. in his church, after almost 40 years of continuous service to the people of essex and the united kingdom. the reason people are so shocked and saddened is above all, he was one of the kindest, nicest most gentle people in politics. he also had an outstanding record upon laws to help the most vulnerable. >> funerals held for seven people killed in beirut's worst street violence in more than 10
years. the city was rocked by gunfire for several hours on thursday after gunmen -- they are demanding that the private company which took control of the island electrical grid stands down. there more power cuts in recent months. nearly 2.5 million canyons make month, the country is in the grip of a severe drought. the u.n. says almost 500,000 children under five and tens of thousands of pregnant and breast-feeding women do not have enough to eat. those are the headlines, the news continues on al jazeera.
>> lebanon in morning after its worst street violence in years. seven people killed in just -- gun violence between rival sects in beirut. could this trigger more instability. this is inside story. >> hello, welcome to the program. the streets in lebanon's capital are quiet after a day of violence. someone a could just be the calm before the storm in a country already in the middle of political and economic chaos. the currency has lost more than 90% of its value into years.
people cannot afford food, medicines or fuel. nor can they rely on basic services like electricity, of care or rubbish collection. many lebanese blamed politicians for years of corruption and mismanagement. last year's beirut port last that killed more than 200 people is seen as a symbol of the state's failure. has blah holding rallies, calling for the removal of the judge investigate network last. they accuse him of being politically biased. the army initially said snipers fired at demonstrators, it has since blames the byron's -- violence on a dispute between protesters and another group. >> there's a cautious calm after nearly five hours of deadly clashes along the dividing line that dates back to the days of the civil war the ended in 1990. guns may have fallen silent, but the crisis is far from over. the tensions started because of
the judge. the league judge investigating the beirut port explosion. the shiite political groups, they are demanding that he be removed. they believe he is politicized. while the opposition disagrees, they believe he should be given a chance to complete his investigation before judging him. opposition accuses has belonged staging a coup using their weapons to impose their will. there are conflicting narratives on how the confrontation began. each side blaming the other for starting the confrontation. the army issuing a statement, not playing playing -- not blaming either side. the army is a delicate position, if it is seen taking one side against the other a complot -- split along sectarian lines as during the civil war. what happens next? has blah are not going to back down. they are insisting the judge be
removed. they are also threatening to pull out from the government after 13 months of political paralysis, a government was formed last month. if they walk out, the cabinet cannot govern. difficult days ahead, the crisis is not over. this is an old battle, an old political divide between different groups on how they see lebanon, how they see estate. >> lebanon's prime minister says it is not the job of politicians to intervene in the judiciary. >> removing the probe judge is not up to politicians. he should first preserve the laws and the constitution, many including myself may believe there's a constitutional error, at the judiciary has to decide.
>> the violence has been condemned around the world. qatar urged all parties in lebanon to avoid escalation. they are just national interest to be emphasized. russia said it was concerned and called for restraint imprudence. they can -- iran condemned the killing -- let's bring in our guest. in beirut, the director of the institute for strategic affairs indo hall. also, an activist and independent energy upon -- policy consultant. let's begin with you, on the surface this looks like has blah and a mall bullying the
government and judiciary to making a change they want, is that a fair assessment? >> i think that is a fair assessment. this is a frequent reaction. the action is totally unacceptable. shooting demonstrators is unacceptable. however, it is has blah, the blocking of the judiciary, trying to block justice procedures, which triggered these reaction. we do not know if these clashes were a genuine reaction or is this something staged. we will soon know. if the outcome of this will be the suspension of the judge for the reason that social peace
should be kept, that would mean we have witnessed -- in order to suspend the action of the judge. wearing a mind, they've been trying everything to block the investigation process. they have applied political pressure, intimidation, recently they played on sectarian feeling to drive the country into civil war or something in order to block justice procedure. >> lebanon has the right of free assembly, the right of due protest, there were snipers, they shot into the crowd, we don't know who they are. what is going on there?
is this changed by violence? >> what is going on is something unfortunately that has happened before in lebanon, people take to the streets, unknown gunmen put explosives. the tragedy is that could be any of two or three or four possible groups or people who might want to do this to show -- shoot at the demonstrators. the march was provocative, and the christian majority area. some of the marshy out. there. -- there was some provocation. these things happen,
unfortunately regularly, because the country has never figured out a way to adjudicate disputes -- political disputes in a political way. the election system does not seem to do it. the judicial system does not seem to do it. therefore people take to the streets. now we have a situation where has block is so powerful and strong, militarily and politically that feels it can lay down redlines. this is one of them, attached to that would be the international investigation. this is unfortunately part of modern lebanon's political culture, disjointed and dysfunctional. it is not going to be easily resolved. >> jessica, you are a big part
of the protests over electricity sources and general mismanagement in lebanon itself. now you are seeing these protests, are you worried that protesting is becoming a dangerous affair in lebanon? is this an escalation in your opinion? >> let us not compare the protest yesterday to people protesting basic services. there are no similarities. what we have seen in terms of the lack of basic services is that people are no longer relying -- that portrays how low people are that hoping change can actually happen. what you're witnessing is that the people who want basic
services and better conditions are not hopeful they can have them anymore. >> how much of this is about justice and how much about has blah wanting to get the outcome they want? -- has belonged --hezbollah wanting to get the outcome they want? >> at the end of the day it is not about the judge but the case. we are talking here about this explosion, that is unprecedented. not just in lebanon, but humanity. [indiscernible]
the case by itself is a very big case. it is leaving a lot of wounds in the hearts of the lebanese. on the one side. on the others, -- on the other site, this big event comes to add-on many frustration that the lebanese people are holding grudges against hezbollah. it is about lebanese sovereignty. every day the state is using one additional -- of its sovereignty to the advantage of has blah --hezbollah.
it is the lebanese state within the hezbollah state. they are curbing the judiciary to their needs. to the way they wanted. they're putting the pressure on this judge in order to get the investigation the way they want it. they even said we need to adjust the course of the investigation. what does that mean? it means if justice is not -- i don't want to, i refuse it. we are not talking about justice, we are talking about [indiscernible] >> let me put that very
important point, has blah --hezbollah is a state within a stay and they are now trying to change the course of the judiciary, do you agree or disagree? >> that is pretty accurate. hezbollah has grown strong over the last 40 or so years because the state was weak. the birth started in the south of lebanon after the israelis occupied the south. with the genesis of hezbollah were shiites asked -- activists in the south working for social justice, improving the position of shiites, who were like third class cities -- citizens in the 40's and 50's. as hezbollah grew, because the state was not playing the role it should have, treating all citizens equally and protecting
the country from foreign aggression, it became stronger than the state of authority. it is the only military group that has forced israel twice to a cease-fire at the u.n. security -- quite an astounding situation. its military strength is enormous, but the fact it is linked to iran closely creates big problems. if it was purely a lebanese institution, which it is, but it's link sars strategic league -- strategically he ran -- iran. they have this network of
nonstate actors as well as states like syria, therefore it can project its power or interests around the region. many lebanese are not comfortable with that. it is a delicate position of being very powerful -- [indiscernible] one things -- one of the things it does not two wells political compromise. >> we spoke in october 2019, during this protest, you had strong words to say about the weight lebanese and saudi in politics was set up. you were called for complete radical change of the confessional system, the way of and politics is nationally, constitutionally sectarian. is this why hezbollah is able to maintain such power, such influence? >> they have grown stronger
across all the institutions of the republic. [indiscernible] in previous years, they used to be not in the foreground of government, that also puts them into a different situation with their own constituents as well. at some point they have to provide basic services, being on the forefront of government, that can be held accountable for the shortages and basic services. that is a game changer for them. >> where is the lebanese army on this? they are eight symbol of lebanese national unity, there seems to not beat strong statements coming from them. >> definitely, the army is under
a lot of pressure. however, the army should take its orders from the government. here is the problem, the government is told to be paralyzed in front of hezbollah behavior and aggression. the prime minister, what was his reaction when they were gay dating -- when they were getting into the country -- we are in front of the government that is supposed to be for the lebanese army, in fact they are totally
counterbalanced the strength of has the law --hezbollah. hezbollah power is boring day today. it is more powerful than the state, no government can face up to it. this is why the only way forward is to have an independent government to be added distance from the region of power, a government that can give the right order to the lebanese army in order to stop the slide into the unknown. if these incidents of yesterday show anything, it showed how much fragility is peace in lebanon.
what is at stake? [indiscernible] any blow to the justice today is -- [indiscernible] >> you make a good point. i was going to come to international support. the u.s. has pledged $60 million to the lebanese army in the wake of this crisis. what he is saying is with the government that is so -- it makes the army useless. >> i would not say useless, the
army still plays an important role. over the last 10, 15 years, since syrians were pushed out of lebanon by popular rebellion, they still have influences but do not run the country like they used to, the political system has deteriorated and been run by an oligarchy of leaders. corruption in all the public services. that is why we have this terrible situation, the central bank was in cahoots with this process. since the civil war, it has played a bigger role internally. in recent years they've come out and been deployed whenever there was sectarian fighting. they have been doing this more a more like they did yesterday.
they separated the two fighting groups, it gives the citizens a sense that somebody is going to try to work for the well-being of the country and not allow the country to slip back into sectarian warfare. i think we have to notice the army has done a better job over the years, but has laments about how far it can go. it has a balance of sectarian leaders within it. it was born for the fracture along sectarian lines. that is something people want to avoid it all cost. >> both our guests are talking about something the government needs a shakeup. something you can say since the september 20 19 protest, those protestants change anything. this protest may have an impact on the judicial -- judiciary.
have you got any hope that something might change soon, or are you losing hope? >> i am losing hope. i do have hope now, we are seeing for the first time, the judiciary system stepping up in an attempt to hold someone accountable which did not happen in the last 30 years, since the civil war. i'm hopeful about this. and upcoming elections. hezbollah might lose its christian cover. it is tucson -- too soon to judge. we have not had a change in the political scene since the governance have been unstable. the quality of inaction --
[indiscernible] >> we are running out of time. i do want to put your point to our guests very quickly, is this a moment of the judiciary really standing up for himself? -- for itself? saying -- >> what we are witnessing is a kind of awakening of the judges. is not only about the judge, there was a judge who was forced to resign, because he did not except to abide by the rule of the prevailing -- >> >> i do want to hear from him on this point. running out of time. is this a new moment for the
lebanese judiciary? >> it is a very important moment for this judge, whether he represents a bigger movement of the judiciary or not we will have to wait and see. this is a story for somebody like him to face up to the pressures against him, trying to get him to resign. it is going to be a momentous decision, if it decision is made to have him resign or keep pushing on with his investigation. >> i want to thank all our guests. i want to thank you to for watching. you can see the program a time by visiting our website, al jazeera.com. and on our facebook page. you can join the conversation on twitter. we are @ajinsidestory.