The Dutch authorities have decided to close the Dutch embassy in Beirut, Lebanon on Thursday and Friday.
On Wednesday evening, embassy staff has informed all Dutch citizens in Lebanon about the decision via SMS.
The message reads: "The Dutch embassy will be closed on March 13th and 14th due to safety reasons".
Authorities have not specified these "safety reasons".
There are two possibilities. Either the whole thing has something to do with the upcoming Wilders-movie. Or with the Hariri-tribunal, which will start this year in the Dutch city of The Hague.
Personally I think it has more to do with the Hariri-tribunal than with the movie. I mean, the Wilders-movie is not out yet. And for now, I know, shiite Hezbollah is not planning anything against the Dutch because of the movie. Also, Sunni radicals from Lebanon's north aren't organizing Wilders-related protests yet.
But certain pro-Syrian groups in Lebanon have made it very clear that the tribunal is not being appreciated. Targeting the Dutch would be a clear message to the tribunal.
Also this: 14th of March is the name of the pro-government, anti-Syrian ruling coalition in Lebanon. It was named after a huge demonstration, on March 14th 2005, which lead to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.
The date 14th of March is, since 2005, a - so called - sensitive date here in Lebanon. Man, I just took a spin in my car through Beirut by night and my god, there are soooo many army- and police checkpoints...just not funny any more. It takes ages to get anywhere. The authorities here, it seems, suspect pro-Syrian groups to launch bomb attacks against pro-government targets on or around the 14th of March.
It is all speculation of course (nobody wants to confirm the real reason for the closure of the embassy) but logical thinking tells me its because of the tribunal, not the Wilders-movie.
That said: Next week or so, after the movie is out...expect huge trouble here. With threats against the embassy, possible riots an a possible economic boycott - difficult time in Lebanon for Dutchies and Dutch cheese...
Additional: OK, FOUND OUT THE REAL REASON - A MIXTURE OF LEBANON'S INTERNAL SITUATION AND THE WILDERS MOVIE:
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Holland, the embassy in Beirut will be closed because of "expected demonstrations on Friday in Beirut."
That is an interesting reason, because the demonstrators on Friday will be supporters of the murdered Hariri. These people are pro-Lebanese government, pro-Hariri-tribunal and anti-Syrian. So, at a first glance, the Dutch have nothing to fear from these people.
But, and this is the crucial thing, the demonstrators on Friday will be mainly SUNNI MUSLIMS. When the Danish embassy was burnt down here (around two years ago), it was basically done by Sunni Muslims, not Shiite's.
So the Dutch authorities in Beirut, according to Lebanese sources, are at the moment very wary of large groups of Sunni Muslims. Although the initial demonstration might be pro-Hariri (and in a way pro-Holland, because the protesters want the Hariri-tribunal in The Hague to take place), parts of the demo might suddenly turn anti-Wilders and - possibly - include a storming of the Dutch embassy.