Posts Tagged ‘ Lebanon ’

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.

Hezbollah: STL covers up real criminal

Tue Jul 5, 2011

Hezbollah has accused a US-backed tribunal probing the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri of refusing to pursue the real criminal.

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Tuesday that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is covering up Israel as the real killer of Rafiq Hariri, a Press TV correspondent reported.

“The greatest injustice against former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri was to say that Israel would never assassinate Hariri,” Nasrallah said.

The Hezbollah leader made the remarks in a speech on the occasion of “The wounded resistance day.”

Nasrallah questioned the credibility of Daniel Bellemare, the prosecutor general of the STL, accusing some investigators, legal experts and key advisers to Bellemare of having connections with the CIA and the Israeli intelligence agency.

He criticized Bellemare for ignoring strong Hezbollah documents proving Israel’s involvement in Hariri’s assassination, saying Bellemare did not consider any of the presented evidence as he was not able to refute any of them.

Nasrallah also accused the Western-backed March 14 coalition of promoting injustice in the country by not considering Israel as a suspect in the Hariri assassination.

Naim Qassem, deputy leader of Hezbollah, said US-Israel joint efforts to weaken the resistance through the tribunal will fail.

“The resistance (Hezbollah), which has left a mark on history and the present, will not be hindered by the Israeli-American project, the so-called tribunal, which is now behind us, and there is no going back,” Qassem said.

The STL last week handed down indictments against four members of Hezbollah, accusing them of playing a role in the 2005 assassination of Rafiq Hariri.

Nasrallah has rejected the allegations, describing them as injustice.

Source: PressTV.

Lebanon Palestinians scrap border march

June 04, 2011
By Mohammed Zaatari

KFAR KILA, Lebanon: Palestinian officials announced Friday the cancellation of a mass march to the Blue Line following a refusal by the Lebanese Army to allow Sunday’s planned demonstration along the southern border.

The authorities’ decision to turn the area next to the Blue Line into a “closed military zone” prompted organizers to postpone Lebanon’s next large-scale pro-Palestinian protest, party officials said.

“There won’t be anything for Sunday. There won’t be a protest march Sunday,” Yasser Azzam, a Hamas official and organizer of the march, told The Daily Star.

Azzam said the decision had been made by the “preparatory committee of the return [to Palestine] march” after it received word that the army wanted to avoid a repeat of the May 15 Nakba march, which saw Israeli forces kill 11 protesters and wound hundreds more at Maroun al-Ras, next to the Blue Line. “We have been informed by official Lebanese sides that the Lebanese Army has a desire to maintain peace in the south and keenness to avoid a repeat of Nakba Day. That is why the Lebanese Army declared the border area a ‘closed military zone,’” Azzam said.

“Palestinian refugees, who insist on the border as a protest site, have refused to select an alternative venue for the event,” he added.

It had been suggested that protesters might instead descend on Khiam, a small southern town which housed a notorious Israeli prison during the occupation of the south, although this now appears unlikely.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, whose mandate includes monitoring the cessation of hostilities along the Blue Line but who were not invited by the Lebanese Army to help prevent violence on May 15, said that it was ready to assist in keeping the peace during any future protest march.

“At this time we have no official confirmation about such a demonstration in our area of operations.

Moreover, any questions on security of public demonstrations should be addressed to [the Lebanese Army] as they have primacy on security and law and order matters,” UNIFIL spokesperson Neeraj Singh told The Daily Star.

“We are in constant contact with [Lebanese Army] on this matter. They keep us informed and we welcome the steps taken by army to ensure peace and security in the area.”

Israel had stepped up its border patrols in anticipation of Sunday’s march and began harsh talk warning protesters against approaching the Blue Line a second time. Lebanon’s Army also beefed up security in the south ahead of the weekend.

“We always urge the parties to be very cautious in any activities along the Blue Line because of its sensitivity and we ask that they exercise utmost restraint in responding to any developments along the Blue Line and that they should use UNIFIL’s good offices to address any potentially escalatory situation,” Singh said.

The peacekeeping force has launched an investigation into last month’s deadly incident, the worst of its kind since the end of fighting in August 2006.

Both Hamas and Fatah representatives in Lebanon have vowed to continue protesting their right for return, including rallies Sunday inside refugee camps.

Abu Ramez Mustapha, PFLP-GC official in Lebanon, claimed that the march had been postponed for just one week and that the step to delay was taken for “merely Lebanese necessities.”

A senior Fatah official, Munir al-Maqdah, called for March 14 to lend its support to future protest marches.

“Let this group help us because we reject settling [Palestinians in Lebanon]. We don’t agree to live in the diaspora; the suffering of 63 years is enough.”

Maqdah added that demonstrators sought no confrontation with the Lebanese Army. – With additional reporting by Patrick Galey

Source: The Daily Star.