Two bomb attacks on Iraqi buildings in Beirut within four days have raised fears among diplomats that a new round in the underground war between the Iraqi Government and exiled Iraqi communists may have begun.
Two bomb attacks on Iraqi buildings in Beirut within four days have raised fears among diplomats that a new round in the underground war between the Iraqi Government and exiled Iraqi communists may have begun. The blast at the Iraqi commercial centre on Sunday (5 August) and at the Iraqi airways of ice on Wednesday (8 August) caused considerable damage, but there were no casualties.
SYNOPSIS: Diplomats fear that their may just be the start of a new offensive by exiled Iraqi communists. Last year twenty-one communists were executed in Iraq for allegedly trying to organise opposition within the army. Since then Iraq has closed down the party newspaper, sacked two communist members of the cabinet and arrested scores of party members. Thousands of communists have fled into exile or joined Kurdish rebels fighting the Iraqi Army in Kurdistan. Iraqi agents have been accused of assassinating prominent Iraqi communists in South Yemen and Beirut last year. Now there are fears that the latest purges in Iraq may have provoked a fresh round of revenge.
Lebanese officials are concerned by the latest developments since the Government is already under pressure as a result of Israel's new offensive against Palestinian guerrillas in southern Lebanon. Frequent Israeli raids have wrecked many Lebanese homes and increasing pressure is being put on the Palestinians to move out from the populated areas.
The Lebanese Cabinet formed only three weeks ago (16 July), after two months of political vacuum has already been shaken by the resignation of one of its members Charles Helou. Rifts between Moslem and Christian communities show no signs of healing, and the Lebanese Army has little control, so the addition of antagonism and Iraqis will not help Prime Minister Selim Al-Hoss restore control over his divide country.