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CrisisWatch Database

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Lebanon

  |  1 Nov 2014

Deteriorated

Continued fighting between Syrian rebels and Hizbollah, Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in north-eastern border areas: Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) attacks on Hizbollah strongholds geographically expanded war of attrition between parties, dozens reported killed 5 Oct in Shiite town of Britel. Clashes between LAF and Sunni militants in Tripoli intensified, including scores reported killed late Oct; fighting expanded to towns in Akkar and Dinniyeh region, LAF carried out raids, arrested tens of alleged “terrorists” in north, Saida and Beirut. Political factions repeatedly declared support for army despite numerous reports of indiscriminate crackdown on Islamist militants and Syrian refugees. Social affairs minister Rashid Derbas 20 Oct warned govt will soon adopt policy halting further refugee inflows from Syria.

Lebanon

  |  1 Oct 2014

Deteriorated

Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIL) militants early month beheaded 2 Lebanese soldiers captured along with 8 others during Aug clashes in eastern border town Arsal; al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) reportedly detained 18 others, 19 Sept executed soldier, demanded release of Sunni Islamist imprisoned in Lebanon and Hizbollah withdrawal from Syria. Executions exacerbated ethnic and communal tensions including sparking attacks on Syrian refugees, tit-for-tat abductions between Sunni and Shiite tribes in Bekaa Valley. Hizbollah sought to use events in Arsal to justify involvement in Syria by playing up jihadi threat, rejected any negotiations with IS, JN. 4 Hizbollah members among several casualties reported after clashes outside border village Ras Baalbek 10 Sept; 3 killed in attack on Hizbollah checkpoint near eastern village Khraibeh 20 Sept. Clashes between army and militants continued: Syrian militant killed 6 Sept in border town Al-Qaa; 2 soldiers killed in roadside bombing in Arsal 19 Sept, military subsequently arrested hundreds in raids. Several reported killed 22 Sept in Syrian regime airstrikes targeting rebels near Arsal. Deadly shootings reported in Tripoli late month including soldier killed by unknown gunmen 23 Sept.

Lebanon

  |  1 Sep 2014

Deteriorated

Month saw heavy clashes between Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and Syrian rebels in border town Arsal, first major Syrian rebel incursion directly challenging LAF: close to 100 soldiers, rebels and civilians reported killed; several soldiers captured by rebels. Fighting sparked by 2 Aug arrest of rebel commander reportedly tied to either al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra or Islamic State (formerly ISIL or ISIS): militants subsequently attacked checkpoints, overran govt and security buildings taking dozens hostage, attempted to take control of parts of Arsal; LAF counteroffensive, aided by Syrian Air Force raids, reclaimed city after 5-day battle. LAF launched series of raids targeting Syrians across country, detained tens of alleged members of extremist groups. Saudi Arabia early month offered $1bn aid to LAF, U.S. later pledged additional arms.

Lebanon

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Army “security plan” continued to hold despite presidential, governmental and parliamentary paralysis: security and intelligence measures intensified including checkpoints, raids of houses, and arrests of dozens of Islamists in Arsal, Tripoli, Saida and other areas. Security officials claimed jihadi networks discovered planning suicide attacks against Lebanese officials and civilians; 28 charged with belonging to jihadi group Islamic State (formerly ISIL, see Iraq) 7 July. Continued clashes between Syrian rebels and pro-Syrian regime fighters in eastern border areas: scores reported killed mid- to late month. Cross-border rocket fire from south into Israel mid-month, Israeli forces retaliated with shelling; no casualties reported.

Lebanon

  |  1 Jul 2014

Unchanged

Successor to former President Michel Sleiman still not elected; ministers unable to agree on mechanism for exercising cabinet’s authorities in power vacuum; March 14 alliance boycotted parliament. Army’s “security plan” continued to hold despite several incidents including: 2 police killed, several injured in 3 suicide bombings in Beirut and Bekaa Valley 20-25 June; 2 Palestinians killed in gunfight near Beirut refugee camp 30 June; unknown gunmen 17 June killed soldier in Tripoli. Expatriate voting in Syria’s presidential elections deepened frictions with segments of Lebanese population; some called for expulsion of Syrians, officials declared “security concerns” cause for revoking refugee status of Syrians travelling back to their country.

Lebanon

  |  1 Jun 2014

Unchanged

President Suleiman’s term ended 25 May following repeated failure of parliamentarians to elect successor; March 14 coalition threatened boycott of parliament in absence of new president, ministers attended cabinet session 30 May seeking agreement on rules governing presidential vacuum. Army’s “security plan” continued to contain rising levels of violence, several militants arrested or surrendered throughout month. Thousands demonstrated against worsening economic outlook 14 May. Several wounded in clashes between rival Palestinian groups 12 May in refugee camp in Sidon.

Lebanon

  |  1 May 2014

Improved

Army 1 April started implementing “security plan” brokered by political factions to counter worsening violence, particularly in Tripoli and on Syrian border: set up checkpoints and patrols in tense areas, raided homes of militiamen, seized weapons, arrested several suspects. Reports indicated plan successful in calming violence despite some attacks including: gunmen 8 April shot dead 2 soldiers east of Tripoli; 1 killed in NE 2 April by rocket fire from Syria, claimed by Sunni militants targeting Hizbollah. Complaints against security plan as political elites allegedly protected favoured militiamen; some Sunnis demonstrated against army deployments claiming Sunni communities disproportionately targeted. Concerns also raised about fragility of political truce underpinning plan, failure to address deeper problems including socio-economic grievances, sectarian divisions, issues of political representation. At least 8 reported killed 7 April in fighting between rival Palestinian factions in refugee camp near Sidon. UN reported number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon passed 1 million.

Lebanon

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Continued spillover from Syrian conflict as Syria’s Assad regime intensified fight with Syrian rebels along Lebanese border. Rebel defeat in Syrian town Yabroud 16 March saw refugees and fighters fleeing to Lebanese city Arsal. Hizbollah and local residents blocked roads around city prompting protests, road blockings and tyre burnings by Sunni militants elsewhere in Lebanon. Arsal and other Bekaa Valley areas targeted by Syrian regime airstrikes throughout month. Dozens killed in Tripoli during fighting starting 13 March between supporters of rival parties to Syrian conflict; fighting later spread to Beirut, 1 killed in clashes 23 March. Sunni jihadis continued rocket attacks, car bombings inside Lebanon in retaliation for Hizbollah’s involvement in Syria: 2 killed in suicide bombing in Bekaa Valley 16 March, claimed by Jabhat al-Nusra. 3 soldiers killed 29 March in suicide bombing at army checkpoint in Arsal; 2 civilians killed hours later by soldiers at another checkpoint. Israel held Hizbollah responsible for 14 March bomb targeting Israeli patrol on border, retaliated against group’s positions (see Israel-Palestine). New govt 20 March won confidence vote in parliament.

Lebanon

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

New govt formed 15 Feb following 10 months of talks; cabinet split equally between Hizbollah-dominated March 8 coalition, rival March 14 coalition, and ministers appointed by President Suleiman. Sunni jihadis continued suicide bombing campaign in retaliation for Hizbollah and Iranian involvement in Syria; Jabhat al-Nusra claimed 1 Feb attack in eastern Hermel which killed 4, and 22 Feb attack in same town killing 3 including 2 soldiers. Abdullah Azzam (AAB) brigades claimed 19 Feb twin attack outside Iranian cultural centre in Beirut killing 8. March 14 coalition head Saad Hariri 15 Feb urged Hizbollah to end involvement in Syria to avoid “sectarian holocaust”. Gunmen 20 Feb killed senior leader of Arab Democratic Party which favours Syria’s President al-Assad in Tripoli. Lebanese army arrested 2 suspected AAB leaders, uncovered booby-trapped cars in Beirut and Arsal near Syrian border. In latest Israeli targeting of Hizbollah weapons shipment, airstrikes 24 Feb hit Hizbollah position near eastern border with Syria, Hizbollah vowed retaliation.

Lebanon

  |  1 Feb 2014

Deteriorated

Month saw escalation in targeting of Shia neighbourhoods with attacks by radical Sunni groups in retaliation for Hizbollah’s military involvement in Syria. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed car-bombing in S Beirut 2 Jan killing 5; Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) claimed 21 Jan bombing in same neighbourhood killing 4, also 16 Jan bombing in eastern Hermel killing 4, 25 Jan rocket attack jointly with fellow al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades (AAB), no casualties. Head of AAB died in military custody 4 Jan reportedly of kidney failure. Further clashes in Tripoli between supporters of rival Syrian groups, 5 killed by sniper fire 21 Jan. Rocket fire on Arsal near Syrian border 17 Jan, 7 killed. Amid continued political deadlock over formation of new cabinet, trial over 2005 killing of former PM Rafik Hariri began in The Hague; Hariri’s son Saad Hariri, currently in The Hague attending trial, vowed to return to Lebanon for Nov elections.

Lebanon

  |  2 Jan 2014

Deteriorated

Car bomb in Beirut 27 Dec killed senior “March 14” figure and former finance minister Mohammad Chatah and 7 others: March 14 alliance accused Syrian regime and Hizbollah, both denied. Assassination derailed cabinet formation process: March 14 alliance 28 Dec rejected unity govt, called for cabinet excluding Hizbollah. 13 killed, dozens wounded in sectarian clashes between Sunni Bab al-Tebbaneh and Alawite Jabal Mohsen neighbourhoods of Tripoli 30 Nov-2 Dec; govt ordered army to preserve security in city. Lebanese troops fired at Syrian military aircraft violating its airspace in Bekaa Valley 30 Dec. Saudi Arabia 29 Dec granted Lebanese army $3bn. President Suleiman 7 Dec again called on Hizbollah to withdraw from Syria, abide by Baabda declaration. Prominent Hizbollah commander Ali Bazzi and 3 militants killed in firefight with Syrian rebels near Nabuk on Syrian Qalamoun front 8 Dec. Gunmen 4 Dec assassinated Hizbollah commander Hassan al-Laqis in Hadath. Armed men and suicide bomber 15 Dec attacked 2 army checkpoints in Sidon, killing 1 soldier; army detained 5 suspects, claimed men part of al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades. Unidentified militants 29 Dec fired 5 rockets from Hasbaya toward Israel, 2 exploded near Kiryat Shmona; Israel blamed Hizbollah, shelled Rachaya border area in retaliation, no injuries reported. Lebanese sniper 16 Dec killed Israeli soldier on border, army said soldier acted alone (see Israel/Palestine). Residents of Qsar Naba village near Syria 2 Dec torched ad hoc Syrian refugee camp, forced hundreds of refugees from campsite. Authorities arrested head of group that claimed Nov Iranian embassy bombing.

Lebanon

  |  1 Dec 2013

Deteriorated

Al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigade claimed 19 Nov suicide bomb outside Iranian embassy in Beirut, aiming to force “Iran’s Hezbollah [to] withdraw from Syria”; 26 killed including Iranian official, 146 injured. Attacks against Alawites continued to multiply in Tripoli, including 2 Nov when Sunni gunmen beat and shot passengers on bus transporting Alawite workers through Sunni Bab al-Tebbaneh neighbourhood, wounding 9. Clashes between security forces and gunmen from Bab al-Tebbaneh and Alawite Jabal Mohsen neighbourhoods 30 Nov left 6 dead, Sectarian tensions inflamed after Internal Security Forces (ISF) 4 Nov issued search warrant for Alawite Arab Democratic Party (ADP) members, including General Secretary Ali Eid, charged with helping suspect in Aug Tripoli bombings escape to Syria. Syrian Army 5 Nov stationed troops near Lebanese border close to Eid’s house, allegedly to deter his arrest; ADP leader Rifaat Eid 4 Nov said arrest could trigger civil war, ISF “legitimate” target. Unidentified gunmen 12 Nov killed pro-Syrian Islamic Labor Front member Saad Ghieh in Tripoli. 12,000 Syrian refugees fled into Beqaa Valley border villages 15-19 Nov to escape new offensive by Syrian govt and Hezbollah along border. Syrian army 14 and 19 Nov fired rockets into Arsal in Beqaa Valley, no injuries reported. Hezbollah involvement in Syrian conflict proving major obstacle in attempts at cabinet formation: Future Bloc (FB) leader MP Fouad Siniora 13 Nov said FB would only accept formation of political cabinet if “Hezbollah returns from Syria” or a technocratic cabinet is formed; Hezbollah chief Nasrallah 14 Nov called withdrawal from Syria “impossible condition”.

Lebanon

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Military court 16 Oct charged 7 members of pro-Syrian President Assad Alawite Arab Democracy Party over 23 Aug bombings of Sunni mosques in Tripoli that killed 47, claimed defendants instructed by Syrian intelligence services. Charges triggered renewed clashes between Tripoli’s Sunni Bab al-Tebbaneh and Alawite Jabal Mohsen neighbourhoods 16 Oct: violence quickly contained, but reignited 23 Oct after televised interview with Assad, leaving 16 dead, 80 wounded; army deployed to restore order 28 Oct, 1 soldier killed. During interview Assad criticised Lebanese govt for allowing “terrorists” to enter Syria; President Suleiman responded saying Lebanon will continue “disassociation policy” with Syrian conflict. Lebanese Sunni militant Omar Atrash, main suspect in 9 July and 15 Aug Dahiya bombings, killed in ambush in Nehmat, Syria 11 Oct. 8 Syrian rockets hit Lebanese city Hermel in Bekaa valley 21 Oct, 5 rockets hit Wadi Rafi area 22 Oct. Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) 14 Oct issued public arrest warrant for Hassan Merhi, alleged Hizbollah “supporter” and 5th suspect in 2005 assassination of PM Rafiq Hariri. Political deadlock between March 14 and Hizbollah-led March 8 alliance over cabinet formation continued as March 14 rejected March 8 cabinet proposal granting 9 seats to each camp and 6 seats to centrists.

Lebanon

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

Army and police deployed in Hizbollah-controlled southern suburb of Beirut 23 Sept to take over security from Hizbollah militants at checkpoints. Clashes in Tripoli mid-month injured 7, killed 1 amid continued tensions between Alawite and Sunni residents. 5 people killed in clash in Hizbollah stronghold Baalbek in East 28 Sept, security forces deployed to restore calm; followed clash 25 Sept in which several wounded. Several rockets from Syria fell in East mid-Sept wounding 2. European Commission 12 Sept pledged further $77mn to Lebanon to help cope with Syrian refugee influx, now reported to number 759,932 in Lebanon alone. Political deadlock still unresolved: caretaker PM Najib Mikati, MPs from Future Movement and its March 14 allies, and Free Patriotic Movement 23 Sept boycotted parliament session for 5th time, prompting Parliament speaker Berri to postpone it once again.

Lebanon

  |  1 Sep 2013

Deteriorated

Sectarian clashes reignited in Tripoli where gunmen 22 Aug killed 3 including Hizbollah supporter; at least 42 people killed, hundreds wounded 23 Aug in 2 explosions in Tripoli; no claim of responsibility; 5 suspects, including 3 members of pro-Syrian regime party, arrested. Explosion in Hizbollah-controlled southern suburb of Beirut 15 Aug killed at least 27, biggest bomb since 2005 killing of PM Hariri; small Syrian rebel group claimed responsibility. March 14 coalition blamed Hizbollah’s intervention in Syria for provoking retaliation; Hizbollah leader Nasrallah promised his organisation would double its fighters in Syria with each such attack. Security agencies reportedly uncovered further bombing cells, while Hizbollah set up checkpoints to protect Shia-majority neighbourhoods under its control. Airstrikes from Syria continued; 9 killed, 9 injured in 3 Aug airstrike on Arsal. 4 Israeli soldiers who had crossed border into Lebanon wounded in 7 Aug attack; Hizbollah claimed responsibility. 4 rockets fired from Lebanon into northern Israel 22 Aug causing damage but no casualties; Israel 23 Aug retaliated bombing “terror site” near Na’ameh (see Israel-Palestine). Political deadlock continued as Future Movement continues to insist on “neutral” cabinet while Hizbollah demands “national unity” govt composed of representatives from all sides.

Lebanon

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

Continued spillover from Syrian conflict with attacks on Hizbollah assets and allies. Dozens injured in car bomb targeting Hizbollah-controlled southern Beirut suburb Beir el-Abed 9 July; Syrian “Special Forces 313 Brigade” rebels claimed responsibility, also claimed 28 June attack on Hizbollah convoy. Roadside bomb 16 July struck Hizbollah convoy in Bekaa valley near Syrian border, killed 1. Gunmen 17 July killed pro-Assad Syrian media commentator Mohammad Darra Jamo in Sarafand; security services issued arrest warrants for Jamo’s family members, claiming no clear political motive behind his killing. Authorities 4 July charged Salafi Sheikh Assir and 36 supporters over June clashes in Abra. EU FMs 22 July agreed to blacklist Hizbollah’s military wing as terrorist organisation. Political deadlock continued as Parliament unable to convene due to boycott by some MPs, interim PM Salam still attempting to form cabinet.

Lebanon

  |  1 Jul 2013

Deteriorated

As country increasingly drawn into Syrian conflict, sectarian clashes increasing. Shelling across border from Syria continued including at least 12 rockets fired on eastern city Baalbek, shelling of Bekaa valley, Hermel and Arsal border towns. Demonstrators protesting shelling blocked roads in Bekaa, Beirut, al-Abboudiyeh, al-Bireh and clashed with army, leaving 1 dead. Clashes between Sheikh Assir supporters and pro-Hizbollah group in Sidon prompted army deployment 18 June, 2 killed. First-ever clash between army and armed Sheikh Assir supporters in Abra near Sidon 23-24 June; dozens killed, over 100 arrested after army 24 June stormed Assir HQ. Violence in Tripoli between Alawite and Sunni residents early month left at least 6 dead. Anti-Hizbollah protest outside Iranian embassy in Beirut 9 June turned violent, 1 killed. March 14 political coalition and foreign countries supporting Syrian opposition condemned Hizbollah’s involvement in Syria conflict during month. EU 19 June failed to reach consensus on blacklisting Hizbollah military wing as terrorist group. President Suleiman lodged official complaints with UN and Arab League condemning Syrian violations of Lebanon’s sovereignty.


Lebanon

  |  1 Jun 2013

Deteriorated

Hizbollah increased support for Syrian troops fighting rebels in Syrian city al-Qusayr near border with Lebanon: Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah 25 May officially committed to fight against Syrian rebellion. At least 79 Hizbollah fighters killed in clashes with Syrian rebels 19-26 May. Germany 24 May backed UK efforts to add Hizbollah’s military wing to EU terrorist list. Syrian rebels mid-May fired more rockets into Hermel region and al-Qaa, no casualties reported. 30 killed and 200 wounded when renewed violence erupted between Sunni and Alawite residents in Tripoli 19 May. PM Tammam Salam continued consultations with political leaders to form cabinet and to agree on electoral law; MPs 31 May extended parliament’s mandate to Nov 2014, delaying parliamentary elections. UNIFIL, Lebanese and Israeli military reps met 8 May to discuss Lebanese complaint regarding Israel’s withdrawal from northern village Ghaggar and allegation of Israeli violations along Blue line, 9 May vowed to maintain calm along border.

Lebanon

  |  1 May 2013

Deteriorated

Lebanon further drawn into Syria conflict as Hizbollah fighters reportedly leading operation against Syrian rebel forces in western city Al-Qusayr near border with Lebanon; Syrian rebels fired rockets into border villages during month, killing 2. March 14 coalition and Progressive Socialist Party Druze leader Walid Jumblatt denounced Hizbollah’s involvement in Syria conflict; Hizbollah denies its members are fighting, claims they are protecting Lebanese against Syrian rebel attacks, 30 April said Syria’s “real friends” in region will not let it fall. Syrian jihadi group Jabhat al-Nusra 24 April threatened to attack Beirut if President Suleiman does not stop Hizbollah involvement. Suleiman condemned Salafist Sheikhs Assir and al-Rafehi’s calls to send jihad fighters to help Syrian opposition; Free Syrian Army also rejected clerics’ call. EU 23 April agreed to provide $38.9m to help almost 450,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Parliament 6 April designated moderate March 14 figure Tammam Salam new PM; Salam holding consultations over distribution of ministerial portfolios. Parliamentary subcommittee discussing new electoral law suspended 24 April amid deadlock.

Lebanon

  |  1 Apr 2013

Deteriorated

Month saw further deterioration, with tensions escalating on several fronts and political uncertainty as govt collapsed 22 March after PM Mikati resigned following standoff with Hizbollah over extending Security Forces chief Ashraf Rifi’s mandate. Mikati’s resignation sparked further clashes between Sunni and Alawite militants in northern town Tripoli, killing 12 people 22-24 March. Ongoing tensions in southern town Saida between Salafist Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir and Shiite Hizbollah supporters. Regular cross-border shelling by Syria continued: Syrian Foreign Ministry mid-month threatened to strike rebels sheltering in Lebanon; several northern Lebanese border villages fired on by Syria 15, 31 March; Syrian regime for first time launched airstrikes 18 March targeting Arsal, eastern Lebanon. U.S. described strikes as “significant escalation in the violations of Lebanese sovereignty” by Damascus. March 14 coalition mid-month called for deployment of army and UN troops along border. UNSC 14 March issued statement of concern over repeated incidents of Lebanese-Syrian cross-border fire, incursions, abductions, arms trafficking. 3 Sunni clerics attacked 17 March in 2 incidents in predominantly Shiite Beirut neighbourhood sparking demonstrations.

Lebanon

  |  1 Mar 2013

Deteriorated

Month saw heightened political tensions as well as increased spillover from Syrian conflict. Joint parliamentary committees 19 Feb endorsed controversial “Orthodox Gathering” electoral law proposal requiring each sect to elect own representatives through proportional representation, following walk-out by opposing parties, however Interior Minister Marwan Charbel same day ruled out holding June parliamentary elections without consensus on new electoral law. Debate continued over other proposals; number of accusations of parties intending to delay elections. Official 17 Feb reported 3 Hizbollah fighters killed in clashes with Syrian rebels in al-Qusayr, Syria, near border; FSA 19 Feb threatened retaliation against Hizbollah. Heavy shelling, gunfire over border from Syria 23-24 Feb killed 4 in north of Lebanon; refugee influx from Syria continued to increase; UN expressed renewed concern that Lebanon could be drawn into Syria’s civil war. 2 soldiers and detained local fugitive killed 1 Feb in Arsal in disputed incident sparking officials’ commendation and number of pro- and anti-army protests; military prosecutor 11 Feb charged 34 locals in connection with incident. 3 soldiers injured 15 Feb in protests against subsequent heightened security measures in Arsal and arrest of 11 local men. Bulgaria 5 Feb implicated Hizbollah in July 2012 bombing of tourist bus in Burgas that killed 5 Israelis, 1 Bulgarian; led to renewed calls for EU to blacklist group.

Lebanon

  |  1 Feb 2013

Unchanged

Parliamentary subcommittee 8 Jan resumed talks over new electoral law for June parliamentary polls; 30 Jan deadline extended 15 days to discuss hybrid proposal combining proportional and majority systems. Rival Christian parties 13 Jan proposed joint “Orthodox Gathering” draft electoral law. Sunni-dominated Future Current leader Saad Hariri 31 Jan proposed “small district” law and creation of a Senate. Armed protestors in Tripoli 18 Jan assaulted March 8 coalition minister Faisal Karami’s convoy, 11 injured. Palestinian refugees displaced from Syria held sit-ins at Beddawi refugee camp protesting shortages in assistance: PM Mikati 26 Jan said situation had “reached dangerous levels”. 1 killed 3 Jan in armed clash in Sidon between Hizbollah-affiliated Resistance Companies and Popular Nasserite Organisation. Car bomb 29 Jan injured 2 in Beirut. Supporters of Salafi Sheik Ahmed Assir 13 Jan protested in Sidon against Hizbollah weapons, alliance with Iran. Lebanon accused Israel of violating its airspace several times during month, including with 12 warplanes 22-23 Jan.

Lebanon

  |  30 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Boycott of govt by March 14 alliance, triggered by Oct assassination of Wissam Hassan, continued; dispute increasingly involving issue of new electoral legislation for 2013 parliamentary polls. March 14 alliance 28 Dec set incorporation of Hizbollah’s arms into state as another pre-condition for attendance at scheduled 6 Jan National Dialogue. Syria 11 Dec issued arrest warrants for former Lebanon PM Saad Hariri and MP Oqab Saqr, accused of arming and funding Syrian opposition fighters; PM Mikati 15 Dec called warrants political and “legally void”. New clashes between supporters of Syrian uprising in Bab al-Tabbaneh and supporters of Syrian president Assad in Jabal Mohsen neighbourhoods of Tripoli early Dec, 17 killed and over 70 injured; army deployed to restore security.

Lebanon

  |  1 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Political crisis sparked by Oct assassination of Wissam Hassan continued: 14 March coalition repeated demands that govt resign, be replaced with “neutral salvation cabinet” as pre-condition for talks; National Dialogue session delayed to 9 Jan. PM Makati 19 Nov rejected feasibility of “neutral” cabinet, said formation of new cabinet could be discussed at National Dialogue session, offered to step down if it would resolve crisis. President Sleiman and Walid Jumblatt, Druze politician and leader of Progressive Socialist Party, attempted to reconcile sides. 3 killed 11 Nov in clashes between supporters of Hezbollah and Salafist Sheikh Ahmad Assir in Sidon; PM Makati called for calm. Army 24 Nov reportedly foiled plot in Nabatieh to attack Shia Ashura commemorations 25 Nov; 5 Syrians arrested. 2 rockets aimed at Israel launched 21 Nov but fell short of border, several other attempts foiled by army. FM Adnan Mansour 20 Nov visited Gaza in first-ever govt visit to OPT. Syrian army 30 Nov killed some 20 Lebanese gunmen from Tripoli fighting alongside rebels in Syria.

Lebanon

  |  1 Nov 2012

Deteriorated

Car bomb in Beirut 19 Oct killed 3, including intelligence chief General Wissam al-Hassan, triggering demonstrations and clashes. Opposition alleged Syrian involvement, called for govt resignation. Dozens clashed with security forces in Beirut 21 Oct following al-Hassan’s funeral. Fighting same day between predominantly pro- and anti-Syrian regime neighbourhoods in Tripoli killed 10, injured at least 50; quelled by army intervention 22 Oct. 1 killed, 6 injured in clashes between gunmen and soldiers 22 Oct in Tariq al-Jadideh, Beirut. PM Makati 16 Oct condemned Hizbollah’s 11 Oct launch of Iran-manufactured reconnaissance drone over Israel and OPT. Continued reported violations of Lebanese airspace in south by Israeli warplanes.

Lebanon

  |  1 Oct 2012

Unchanged

Pope Benedict XVI’s mid-month visit coincided with countrywide protests against controversial anti-Islam film; Hizbollah leader Nasrallah 16 Sept called for demonstrations, denounced film; during protests in Tripoli 14 Sept American fast-food restaurant burnt down, 1 killed in clashes with security forces. Hostages taken by al-Meqdad clan in Aug freed by army mid-Sept; 6 al-Meqdad clan members charged 18 Sept with forming armed group for terrorist purposes, kidnappings. Month saw continued, frequent cross-border incursions, kidnappings, shootings, shelling from Syria; opposition March 14 coalition 4 Sept called for expulsion of Syria’s ambassador.

Lebanon

  |  1 Sep 2012

Deteriorated

Month saw series of sectarian clashes, kidnappings: gunmen from group allegedly linked to Free Syrian Army (FSA) 14 Aug announced abduction in Syria of Hassan Salim al-Meqdad; al-Meqdad clan 16 Aug announced retaliatory abduction of Turkish national, over 20 Syrians in Lebanon with alleged links to FSA; armed Shiite demonstrators same day blocked main road to Beirut airport; al-Meqdad clan 25 Aug said all but 4 hostages soon to be released. At least 18 killed, hundreds injured in late Aug clashes between al-Assad Alawite supporters, Sunni opponents in Tripoli; demonstrators 31 Aug demonstrated against Syrian Assad regime; military prosecutor 31 Aug charged 7 with attempting to kill soldiers in clashes. UNSC 30 Aug extended UNMIL peacekeeping mandate to Aug 2013. Military tribunal 13 Aug charged former Information Minister Michel Samaha, Syrian National Security Bureau head Maj Gen Mamlouk with plotting to assassinate political, religious figures, incite sectarian violence.

Lebanon

  |  1 Aug 2012

Unchanged

Month saw at least 3 killed by shelling from Syria, deployment of army along northern border; Syrian troops 2 July briefly abducted 2 General Security members and customs official at al-Buqaiaa crossing; President Suleiman 29 July accused Syrian forces of violating Lebanese territory. 27-28 July clashes between Alawites, Sunnis in Tripoli wounded 8. Sunni Islamists mid-month protested release of 3 army officers detained over May killing of anti-Syrian regime Sunni cleric; supporters of Michel Aoun-led Christian Free Patriotic Movement 17 July blocked main highway in Beirut in solidarity with military, called for release of remaining officers. Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) judge 19 July set 25 March 2013 as provisional date for trial of suspects in 2005 assassination of former PM Hariri.

Lebanon

  |  1 Jul 2012

Unchanged

At least 15 killed, 20 injured in 2-4 June Tripoli clashes between Alawite supporters, Sunni opponents of Syrian regime; army deployed to restore calm. Shiite gunmen 26 June erected roadblocks in Beirut following detention of Shiite in connection with 25 June attack on offices of New TV seen as critical of Syrian regime. Clashes erupted 15 June in Palestinian Nahr al-Bared refugee camp following arrest of 2 Palestinians by Lebanese army, 1 killed.

Lebanon

  |  1 Jun 2012

Deteriorated Risk Alert

Month saw escalating violence between supporters, opponents of Syrian regime: 12 May detention of Sunni cleric Shadi al-Mawlawi sparked clashes between Alawites, Sunnis in Tripoli, 9 killed. Killing of Sunni cleric Ahmed Abdul Wahid at army checkpoint in N Lebanon triggered 21 May protest in Beirut, 2 killed; 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims kidnapped in Syria 22 May provoked further unrest. String of violent incidents on Syrian border led to several deaths, injuries. Security sources claimed al-Qaeda gunman with links to 2005 Hariri murder arrested, accomplice killed 24 May in Beirut following standoff with soldiers.

Lebanon

  |  1 May 2012

Unchanged

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea 4 April escaped assassination attempt, implicitly blamed Hizbollah. Cameraman killed 9 April on Syrian border, triggering accusations between pro-, anti-Syrian regime camps. Bomb attack on Tyre restaurant 23 April injured 7.

Lebanon

  |  1 Apr 2012

Unchanged

Month saw largely peaceful rallies by supporters/opponents of Syrian regime; occasional shelling, gunfire from Syrian side of border; officials 27 March denied reports of Syrian incursion into Lebanese territory. Military prosecutor 9 March charged 6, including 2 army personnel, with forming armed ring to carry out “terrorist attacks” against army installations.

Lebanon

  |  1 Mar 2012

Unchanged

UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) 1 Feb announced suspects in former PM Rafiq Hariri murder to be tried in absentia. UNSG Ban 22 Feb renewed STL mandate for 3 years. Former PM and Future Movement leader Saad Hariri 14 Feb called on Hizbollah to disarm, support STL, hand over suspects; Hizbollah leader Nasrallah 16 Feb rejected call, reiterated support for Syrian regime. 3 killed, several wounded 10 Feb in clash between supporters and opponents of Syrian regime in Tripoli; FM Mansour 13 Feb reaffirmed “disassociation” policy towards Syria, said Arab League (AL) call for UN-AL peacekeeping force in Syria “dangerous” for Lebanon.

Lebanon

  |  1 Feb 2012

Unchanged

Political quarrel over Syria continued: PM Mikati 28 Jan said his policy is “disassociation” with Syria; March 14 coalition urged support of uprising, endorsed Syrian National Council (SNC) call for “new page” in Lebanon-Syria relations; Defence Minister Ghosn widely criticised for Dec claim al-Qaeda militants infiltrating Lebanon posing as Syrian opposition activists; parliamentary Future bloc and March 14 allies accused Ghosn of serving Syrian regime. Druze leader Jumblatt 17 Jan criticised Assad, expressed concern about possible Syria civil war. Hizbollah rejected UNSG Ban 13 Jan call to disarm.

Lebanon

  |  2 Jan 2012

Unchanged

5 French UN peacekeepers, 1 civilian injured 9 Dec by roadside bomb near southern port city Tyre; Syria and Hizbollah denied French accusations of involvement. Hizbollah 9 Dec publicised names of 10 supposed CIA officers who worked in Lebanon. U.S. prosecutors 15 Dec filed civil suit against Lebanese and U.S. businesses alleged to have laundered money for Hizbollah. 3 people killed 28 Dec by Syrian army near unofficial border crossing at Raydani in north. 1 Lebanese woman wounded 11 Dec by rocket fired at Israel from southern village which fell short of border. 1 killed 18 Dec in clashes between Fatah members and suspected Islamist extremists in Ain el-Hilweh refugee camp in south.

“5 French peacekeepers wounded in Lebanon bombing”, AP, 9 Dec. 2011.

Lebanon

  |  1 Dec 2011

Unchanged

PM Mikati 30 Nov announced payment of Lebanon’s share of funds for UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL); 25 Nov threatened to resign if cabinet refused to pay. Govt voted against Arab League (AL) 12 Nov decision to suspend Syria; “disassociated” itself from 27 Nov AL sanctions. U.S. Treasury official 10 Nov visited Beirut to warn Lebanese banks risk being blacklisted if Syria attempts to use them to avoid sanctions. 2 bombs exploded 17 Nov in Christian community in southern Tyre; no immediate claim of responsibility. Rockets fired 28 Nov from southern Lebanon into Israel; obscure Islamist group Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility.

Lebanon

  |  1 Nov 2011

Unchanged

Pre-trial judge 17 Oct asked UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) to consider trying 4 Hizbollah suspects in absentia. U.S. Ambassador Connelly 24 Oct warned of possible “serious consequences” if govt fails to meet obligations toward STL. UNSG Ban 19 Oct asked Syria to end military incursions into Lebanon which killed 3 Syrian citizens in month; officials estimate over 5,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon (see Syria). Govt 11 Oct raised minimum wage 40% to avoid 12 Oct general strike.

Lebanon

  |  1 Oct 2011

Unchanged

Patriarch Beshara Rai 10 Sept said Syrian President Assad should be given chance to implement reforms; later claimed statements taken out of context. UNDP 17 Sept said Lebanon hosting nearly 4,000 Syrian refugees following govt crackdown on anti-regime protests. Wikileaks cable released 10 Sept quoted President Mikati describing Hizbollah as “tumour” needing removal. UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) 9 Sept named 3 judges for first trial chamber, effective 20 Sept. FM Mansour 5 Sept warned UN Israel’s proposed sea border threatens peace and security in region. Military court 4 Sept sentenced Brig. Gen. Karam to 2 years hard labour for collaborating with Israel.

Lebanon

  |  1 Sep 2011

Unchanged

UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) 17 Aug published full indictment against 4 Hizbollah members suspected of assassinating former PM Rafiq Hariri. STL 19 Aug said it will widen probe by investigating 3 other attacks on politicians linked to Hariri bombing. Lebanese and Israeli soldiers 1 Aug exchanged fire along Blue Line in Wazzani area; each blamed other for exchange, UNIFIL opened investigation. At least 2 killed, 6 injured 6 Aug in clashes between rival Palestinian factions in southern Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp. 2 killed in bomb explosion 11 Aug in north Beirut suburb; no claim of responsibility. Govt 4 Aug disassociated itself from UNSC statement condemning violence in Syria; FM Mansour 7 Aug met President Assad in Damascus, reiterated govt’s rejection of interference in Syrian affairs.



Lebanon

  |  1 Aug 2011

Unchanged

Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah 2 July vowed 4 members of group indicted in June by UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) would never be arrested; dismissed charges as conspiracy to sow sectarian strife. PM Mikati 19 July said govt would support STL, hand over suspects “if they are in Lebanon”; STL 29 July lifted confidentiality on details of the 4 suspects in bid to speed up arrest. Hizbollah-backed Mikati govt 7 July won parliamentary vote of confidence; former PM Hariri’s March 14 coalition walked out before vote.  Israeli Knesset 11 July approved map to be submitted to UN of proposed maritime borders that differ from borders proposed by Beirut; President Suleiman said Lebanon ready to defend borders and resources. 7 Estonians released after 114 days in captivity, kidnapping claimed by Movement for Renewal and Reform. 5 UN peacekeepers injured 26 July by roadside bomb in southern Sidon city; no immediate claim of responsibility.

Lebanon

  |  1 Jun 2011

Unchanged

Tens of thousands of Palestinians 15 May demonstrated in Maroun al-Ras on southern border with Israel to commemorate Nakba; after some demonstrators reportedly moved toward border fence IDF gunfire killed at least 4 protesters, wounded some 100 (See Israel/OPT). Hundreds of Syrians fled into Lebanon after Syrian security forces 15 May raided border town Tall Kalakh; UNHCR 20 May said around 4,000 crossed into Lebanon since Assad regime began crackdown (See Syria). Hizbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah 25 May in first comments on Syrian uprising said overthrowing regime only serves U.S., Israeli interests. 6 UNIFIL peacekeepers injured 27 May by bomb near Sidon; UNSC condemned attack. Special tribunal for Lebanon (STL) prosecutor 6 May filed amended indictment including new evidence.

“Israeli troops fire as marchers breach borders”, New York Times, 15 May 2011.

Lebanon

  |  1 Jun 2011

Unchanged

Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) 30 June delivered indictments, arrest warrants for 4 men, reportedly including members of Hizbollah; former PM Saad Hariri called indictments “historic moment in Lebanese politics, justice and security”. PM Mikati 13 May formed new cabinet, ending 5-month stalemate. Hizbollah and its Christian and Druze allies secured 18 posts in 30-member cabinet, including powerful posts of Defence, Justice, Telecommunications. Former-PM Saad Hariri’s March 14 Movement refused to participate, said new govt represents “coup” against democratic system. Troops dispatched 18 June to sectarian districts in northern Tripoli after residents clashed following rally in support of anti-govt protesters in Syria; at least 4 reported killed, 48 injured.

Lebanon

  |  1 May 2011

Unchanged

Security forces 21 Apr killed 2 people in gunfight with local residents over construction of illegal housing in southern port Tyre. 2 inmates killed 5 Apr after security forces stormed country’s largest prison to end riot over living conditions. National Security Council 21 Apr banned rallies for and against Syria’s regime for failing to meet “legal conditions”. Previously unknown group “The Renaissance and Reform Movement” 6 Apr claimed responsibility for 23 March kidnapping of 7 Estonian tourists; police officer and suspected kidnapper killed 11 Apr in shootout. Acting-PM Hariri 7 Apr accused Iran of interfering in Lebanon’s, other Gulf States’ internal affairs, attempting to create “Iranian protectorate”.

Lebanon

  |  1 Apr 2011

Unchanged

Early month 4 members of caretaker cabinet refused requests by Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) prosecutor general to provide information and documents, breaching cooperation protocol signed with UN. Thousands protested 6 March in Beirut for end to sectarian political system. Tens of thousands of March 14 supporters demonstrated in Beirut 13 March demanding Hizbollah surrender its weapons. Tens of thousands 18 March attended rally organised by caretaker PM Saad Hariri’s Future Current in Tripoli; Hariri warned Hizbollah’s arms would lead to sectarian strife. 7 Estonian tourists kidnapped 23 March by masked gunmen in Bekaa Valley. Lebanon, backed by UK, France, 15 March tabled UNSC resolution to impose no-fly zone over Libya; resolution endorsed 17 March by UNSC (see Libya).

Lebanon

  |  1 Mar 2011

Unchanged

Caretaker PM Saad Hariri 27 Feb announced March 14 coalition will boycott PM-designate Mikati’s govt, accused Hizbollah of staging “coup”. Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) judges 16 Feb ruled court would use Lebanon’s definition of terrorism as act “intended to spread terror” but also apply broader international interpretation of the “means” of attack. Mikati 16 Feb assured EU foreign policy chief Ashton new govt will respect international resolutions including UN Resolution 1701 that ended 2006 war with Israel. Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah 16 Feb warned forces will invade Israel’s northern Galilee region if conflict resumes; day earlier Israeli Defence Minister Barak told soldiers they may have to invade Lebanon again.

Lebanon

  |  1 Feb 2011

Unchanged

Lebanon Unity govt collapsed 12 Jan when 11 opposition ministers allied to Hizbollah resigned in dispute over UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL); resignations came 1 day after failure of Saudi-Syrian mediation talks. U.S. Sec State Clinton condemned Hizbollah’s withdrawal as “transparent effort…to subvert justice”. STL 17 Jan filed first indictment in assassination of former PM Rafiq Hariri; dossier will be with pre-trial judge for 6-10 weeks. Former PM Hariri 24 Jan said he and his Future Current Movement would not take part in govt headed by March 8 candidate. Hizbollah-backed billionaire businessman Najib Mikati 25 Jan won parliamentary majority; President Suleiman appointed him PM-designate, began formation of new govt. Sunni supporters of defeated candidate Saad Hariri 24-25 Jan held protests across country. UNSG Ban 26 Jan said new govt must honour commitments to STL.

Lebanon

  |  3 Jan 2011

Unchanged

Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) registrar Herman von Hebel 9 Dec said prosecutor will issue first indictment very soon, stressed court will indict individuals not organisations. Public figures continue to voice opposition to tribunal. Democratic Party leader Talal Arslan 19 Dec denounced STL as U.S.-Israeli plot; Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei 20 Dec dismissed any verdict as “null and void”. Army 15 Dec said it discovered 2 Israeli surveillance devices in mountains above Beirut, 18 Dec submitted official complaint to UNSC for breaking Resolution 1701. UNIFIL investigated 3 Dec blast reportedly caused by remote detonation of Israeli spy device near border, claimed by Hezbollah as further evidence of Israeli infiltration of Lebanese telecommunication networks. Senior FPM official ex-General Fayez Karam 9 Dec indicted for collaborating with Israel, could face 3-15 years hard labour. Israel 20 Dec voiced concerns over French agreement to send 100 anti-tank missiles to Lebanese army for fear weapons may fall into Hezbollah’s hands. Ghandi Sahmarani, senior figure in Jund al-Sham and one of Lebanon’s most wanted men, found dead 25 Dec in Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp.

Lebanon

  |  1 Dec 2010

Unchanged

Increased tensions surrounding Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) investigation into 2005 murder of former PM Rafiq Hariri. Referring to unconfirmed reports STL would issue indictments against members of Hizbollah before 2011, Hizbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah 11 Nov threatened “hand that attempts to reach [our members] will be cut”. Further attempts to discredit STL; cabinet 10 Nov failed to reach decision on STL witnesses who Hizbollah claims provided false testimonies. Pro-Hizbollah daily Al-Akhbar 1 Nov published story detailing group’s plan to take over “large parts of Lebanon” in case of indictment of its members. Israeli PM Netanyahu 23 Nov expressed concern over possible Hizbollah “takeover”. Turkish PM Erdogan 24 Nov began official visit, called for national unity in Lebanon, warned Israel against involvement and possible new outbreak of war. PM Hariri 17 Nov declared “will not let SLT indictments harm Lebanon”, 27 Nov began 3-day trip to Iran seeking support. Amidst fears over lack of funding for tribunal U.S. 3 Nov pledged $10mn additional support; Congress 12 Nov lifted freeze on $100mn aid to Lebanese army. Clashes between civilians and Common Border Force in Wadi Khalid 5 Nov saw people 4 killed.

Lebanon

  |  1 Nov 2010

Unchanged

Lebanon Continued political tension and pressure on PM Saad Hariri over Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) investigation into 2005 murder of former PM and Saad’s father Rafiq Hariri. Former General Sayyed, jailed after Hariri’s assassination for 4 years and freed 2009, 3 Oct reported Syrian judge issued 33 arrest warrants over false testimony to STL. Lebanon justice minister Ibrahim Najjar 5 Oct said will not act on warrants since not officially informed by Syria; Syrian President Assad 6 Oct said warrants had “no political meaning”. Hizbollah chief Nasrallah 28 Oct called for boycott of STL; speech came day after 2 UN investigators attacked by over 30 women during meeting at clinic in Dahyeh, Beirut. UN special envoy Terje Roed-Larsen 28 Oct warned Lebanon in “hyper-dangerous situation”. Iranian President Ahmadinejad 13-14 Oct made first official visit to Lebanon, including to areas bordering Israel. Visit criticised by U.S, Israel as provocative, also criticised by members of pro-Western March 14 alliance. French newspaper Le Figaro 25 Oct reported Hizbollah has 40,000 missiles.
  • UN tribunal criticises Hezbollah leader’s boycott call”, BBC, 29 Oct. 2010.

Lebanon

  |  1 Oct 2010

Unchanged

Increased political tensions between PM Saad Hariri’s Future Movement and Hizbollah over Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) investigation into 2005 murder of PM Rafiq Hariri. PM Saad Hariri 6 Sept retracted 2005 charge that Syria responsible for father’s assassination, said it was politically motivated. Former General Sayyed, jailed for 4 years following assassination and freed 2009, 12 Sept said people should overthrow govt, accused Hariri, judiciary, security forces of supporting “false witnesses” who misled investigation. General prosecutor Mirza 13 Sept summoned Sayyed for questioning over statements, Sayyed 18 Sept received armed Hizbollah escort on arrival in country, said Mirza’s actions illegal. Hariri 20 Sept reaffirmed commitment to STL, Hizbollah MP Ali Fayyad called for official Lebanese stance accusing Israel of assassination. President Sleiman 21 Sept called for calm, UNSG Ban urged parties to cooperate with STL. Hizbollah 29 Sept announced will try to block Lebanon’s funding for STL, 30 Sept denied STL request to interview Hizbollah members.

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