Posts Tagged ‘ Lebanon ’

Lebanon to file UN complaint against Israel

BEIRUT (BNO NEWS) — Lebanon will file a complaint on Wednesday against Israel at the United Nations after the troops of both countries exchanged fire along their common border earlier this week, Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Lebanon will file a complaint tomorrow [Wednesday] against Israel through the Lebanese commission to the United Nations (UN), at the backdrop of resolution 1701 violation and the infiltration of Israeli soldiers into Lebanese territories in Wazany yesterday,” the statement said as reported by Lebanon’s National News Agency.

The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) opened fire on Monday after a seven-man unit belonging to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) crossed the Blue Line that separates the two countries, near the Wazzani River area in southeastern Lebanon. Israeli troops, however, said the skirmish occurred during a military drill in Israeli territory. No casualties were reported.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) confirmed the exchange of fire and said it had launched an investigation into the incident.

UN envoy to Lebanon Michel Williams on Tuesday warned that incidents such as Monday’s exchange of fire could quickly turn into a war after meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who affirmed Lebanon’s commitment to defend its sovereignty by “all legitimate means”.

“This was a very disturbing incident … you can go from an incident like this to war within a few hours. That is the reality,” UN Special Coordinator Michel Williams told reporters, according to the Daily Star.

“The good thing is that nobody was injured. The bad news is that we cannot afford any incidents like this,” he added.

Monday’s skirmish is the first in the region since 10 demonstrators were killed in Lebanon and another 112 wounded after they attempted to enter Israel in May during a Nakba Day march. Gunfights, however, are rare since the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 ended the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Source: WireUpdate.

Syrian troops open fire on refugees fleeing to Lebanon

BEIRUT (BNO NEWS) — Syrian forces on Saturday opened fire on refugees fleeing into Lebanon, a security source told the Daily Star.

The source said that the gunfire, which lasted about 20 minutes, began after around 30 families entered Lebanon between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. through the unofficial border crossing at Lebanese border town of Kneisseh in the Wadi Khaled area in the north.

Syrians continue to cross into Lebanon despite the tightened security along the borders by Syrian troops. Some have been killed or wounded in the process, according to reports.

Thousands of Syrians have fled to neighboring countries – Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey- since the unrest began in Syria in mid-March. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said last week that there are currently around 2,300 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, compared to 5,000 in May. It is believed, however, that the real numbers are significantly higher.

According to the UNHCR, there are currently 728 refugees living in poor conditions; 530 persons not hosted by the local community and 1,500 at risk of no longer being hosted by the local community in Lebanon.

Human rights groups said that more than 1,400 people have died since the government crackdown on protesters began and tens of thousands have been arrested. Global campaign group Avaaz said this week that almost 3,000 people have been forcibly disappeared.

In mid-March, pro-democracy demonstrations began in Syria and have continued across the country, which has been ruled by the Baath Party since 1963. Protesters are demanding the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, who took over his father in 2000.

Assad previously said that the recent events in the country are a conspiracy against national unity. The Syrian government has repeatedly claimed that the violent acts have been instigated by terrorists who use military uniforms and weaponry to pose as soldiers while attacking citizens.

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

Source: WireUpdate.

Tripoli protesters set Hezbollah flags ablaze

July 30, 2011
By Antoine Amrieh

TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Supporters of Syria’s popular uprising set Hezbollah flags ablaze during a small protest in the northern city of Tripoli Friday, while the imam of one of the city’s mosques lashed out at the party and Syria’s Baath party.

Following Friday prayers at the Hamza Mosque in the Qibbeh neighborhood of Tripoli, dozens of worshipers began to march to the nearby Ibn Sina Square, in what has become a weekly rally. The protesters were joined by others from Al-Wadie Mosque.

The demonstrators, some of whom are Syrian students residing in Tripoli, raised Islamic banners and posters of victims of the Syrian regime’s violent response to the uprising, which is now in its fifth month.

They also chanted slogans in support of Syrian protesters, a sign of solidarity and support for the popular movement.

The protesters burned the flags of Hezbollah, Syria’s ruling Baath Party and Israel, and several speeches were made at the Ibn Sina Square.

The imam of the Qibbeh Mosque, Sheikh Zakaria Masri, who speaks at the square each Friday, called on President Michel Sleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Mikati to make Hezbollah into a political party like any other in Lebanon, as a punishment for its domestic use of arms and attempts to dominate Lebanon.

He also lashed out at Hezbollah’s sit-in, which the party held for around 18 months in a bid to topple the Cabinet of then-Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. The sit-in ended following the Doha accord.

Masri also lambasted the ruling Baath Party in Syria, saying that the Syrian regime “has used its arms against the Syrian people and commits against them all types of persecution, injustice … arrests, killings and torture only because they demand freedom and oppose the Baath party’s monopoly on power.”

Source: The Daily Star.

Hezbollah to defend oil, gas reserves

BEIRUT, Lebanon, July 27 (UPI) — Hezbollah respects Beirut’s authority on border demarcation, though reserves the right to avenge attacks on oil and gas installations, its leader said.

Noble Energy announced a “significant” natural gas discovery last year at the Leviathan field about 80 miles off the coast of Haifa in the deep waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The company estimated there are around 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves there.

Lebanon contends that a portion of Leviathan lies within its maritime borders.

In a speech marking the anniversary of the 2006 war with Israel, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said border demarcation was something for state officials.

“We, in the resistance, don’t interfere in the border demarcation process and we will deal with the situation as approved by the Lebanese state,” he was quoted by Hezbollah’s al-Manar news station as saying.

Hezbollah has told Israel not to touch its resources, however, spurring threats of retaliation from the Israelis.

Nasrallah added that Lebanon would rely on support from the military and the resistance to defend the country’s natural resources.

“I tell the friends and the foes that Lebanon will rely on all the elements of strength in order to regain its natural resources,” he said.

Source: United Press International (UPI).

Assad’s men in Lebanon – Baathist official’s ferocious rampage caught on camera

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Global Arab Network – A CCTV video that recently emerged on the Internet has kicked up a storm in Lebanon. It shows five men enter a pharmacy, insult the employees and ransack several displays. But it is the identity of one of the thugs more than the rampage itself that has caused the biggest stir: he has turned out to be a known representative of the local Baath party – which is widely despised in Lebanon for its close ties to Syria.

The incident took place on July 3 in the coastal town of Saida, south of Beirut. The man in the blue T-shirt is Mostapha Al-Awass, a Baath party candidate in the 2009 elections. Other members of his family have recently made headlines as well: last month his brother verbally lashed out at an imam in a Saida mosque because he had denounced the repression of the Syrian regime against pro-democracy protesters.

The Baath Arab Socialist Party was established in 1956 and is a branch of the Syrian Baath Party in Lebanon. The Syrian army pulled out of Lebanon in 2005 after 30 years of military presence, and tensions between the two countries are still rife.

Lina Bashasha is the pharmacist captured in the footage.

It all started when a young boy came into the pharmacy to buy some medicine. The medicine cost 11,000 Lebanese pounds [5 euros] and he only had 10,000 on him. He left the money he had at the till and went to fetch the rest. Shortly afterwards, I received a call from Mostapha al-Awass who told me that the young boy in question was his nephew. He asked me why I hadn’t handed over the medicine, and complained that the price had gone up. When I tried to explain, he hung up on me.

His nephew came to get the money that he had left behind. Shortly after, Mostapha al-Awass showed up with four armed men. They ordered all the customers to leave and one of them at that time rang the police. Then the men started shouting and hurling abuse and me and my husband, before knocking over several displays. Mostapha cursed and insulted the authorities, including the police. At one point, he screamed: “My name is Mostapha al-Awass and God himself speaks to me with respect!” We were really scared; the Filipina cleaning lady was terrified and fainted after they left.

Mostapha al-Awass was arrested and remains in prison awaiting his court appearance. But it is not the first time that he has used such intimidation tactics – many people in Saida are scared of him. He reportedly forces people to lend him money, then never pays them back.

People told me to be careful because who knows what he is capable of doing when he gets out of prison. But for now, it seems that the judge does not want to release him because other complaints have been filed against him and they are being taken into account. I believe that other people were waiting for something like this to happen.

This time we were lucky: the camera footage evidence was irrefutable. I hope that this will put an end to the impunity that Baath Party members currently enjoy.”

Contributors: Lina Bashasha

Source: Global Arab Network.

Hezbollah warns Israel over gas fields

Mon Jul 18, 2011

Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah has warned Israel against violating Lebanese sovereignty by exploring disputed waters in the Mediterranean Sea for offshore gas fields.

“The Israeli enemy cannot drill a single meter in these waters to search for gas and oil if the zone is disputed,” said Mohammed Raad, head of the Hezbollah parliamentary bloc, AFP reported on Sunday.

Raad added that the Lebanese government, where Hezbollah holds the majority, will restore the sovereignty of their waters in their entirety.

The controversy over the eastern Mediterranean gas deposits has intensified since July 12 when Tel Aviv approved a map of Israel’s proposed maritime borders with Lebanon.

Last week, Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour stated that the maritime frontier as proposed by Israel, which cuts through Lebanon’s economic zone, threatened regional security.

Israel has long been trying to develop several large offshore natural gas fields in the hope that, by exploiting them, it could turn into an energy exporter.

Some of the natural gas fields are shared with Cyprus.

Meanwhile, Gebran Bassil, Lebanon’s minister of energy and water, has also stressed that Beirut will not abandon its maritime rights, voicing serious concerns about Israeli “violations of (Lebanese) waters, territory and airspace, and … oil rights.”

The Israeli military invaded southern Lebanon in July 2006 with the intention of eliminating the resistance movement. The invasion, also known as the 33-Day War, killed about 1,200 Lebanese, most of them civilians.

Hezbollah, however, inflicted heavy losses on the Israeli forces and Tel Aviv was compelled to withdraw without having achieved any of its objectives.

Israel violates Lebanese airspace on an almost daily basis, claiming the flights serve surveillance purposes.

Lebanon’s government, the Hezbollah resistance movement, and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, have repeatedly condemned the overflights, saying they are in clear violation of the country’s sovereignty and the UN Resolution 1701, which calls on Tel Aviv to respect Beirut’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Source: PressTV.

Lebanon govt. wins confidence vote

Thu Jul 7, 2011

Lebanese lawmakers have given their vote of confidence to the newly-appointed government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Thursday — the third and final day of a related parliamentary discussion — saw 68 out of 128 MPs endorsing the policy statement adopted by Mikati’s government.

Mikati’s government, in which the Lebanese resistance movement of Hezbollah and its Muslim and Christian allies have the majority of the seats, was formed in June.

The parliament’s confidence vote enables the government to carry out its mandate.

Ahead of the voting process, the prime minister addressed the lawmakers, vowing to preserve stability and security in Lebanon and asserting that his government is committed to national unity.

A sticking point in the preceding talks was the government’s determined stance on a United States-backed UN court, which recently ruled on the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Premier Rafiq Hariri.

The pro-Western Future Television owned by the Future Movement of the victim’s son Sa’ad Hariri has said the court’s indictment has named four Hezbollah members.

The Hezbollah movement and its allies view the tribunal as a joint US-Israeli plot.

Mikati has also insisted that “indictments, regardless of their source, are not conclusive and that any accusations need solid evidence that cannot be doubted.”

The March 14 parliamentary coalition also led by Hariri has, however, argued that the government’s policy statement lacks a commitment to the court.

The alliance had vowed to vote against the government and walked out of the session en masse just before the start of Thursday’s voting process.

Lebanon’s Maronite Church had urged the parliamentarians to vote for the government.

It had said that the indictment came at a time when the cabinet was working to finalize a draft of its policy statement, and that it sought to sow discord among the Lebanese political ranks.

Source: PressTV.