"And I have found both freedom and safety in my madness, the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us. But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief. "
Khalil Gibran (How I Became a Madman)
Khalil Gibran (How I Became a Madman)
Tuesday, May 08, 2018
Monday, May 07, 2018
The army deployed Monday evening across the capital Beirut, after the Aisha Bakkar area and other neighborhoods witnessed post-elections security incidents.
The National News Agency said “gunmen on motorbikes raised partisan flags on the monument of Martyr Premier Rafik Hariri in the St. Georges area before moving to Aisha Bakkar, where they attacked a number of vehicles and opened fire without causing casualties.”
A video circulated on social media showed a fistfight that involved the use of batons near the Aisha Bakkar Mosque. The clash erupts after dozens of young men arrive in the area on motorbikes, carrying Hizbullah flags. The video shows them clashing with young men carrying al-Mustaqbal Movement flags.
A statement issued by Prime Minister Saad Hariri's office said the premier called Army chief General Joseph Aoun and Internal Security Forces chief Maj. Gen. Imad Othman to ask them to “contain the chaos in Beirut and take the necessary measures as soon as possible before things spiral out of control.”
Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq on Monday announced “final yet incomplete” results of the parliamentary elections that were held on Sunday, noting that the results of the Akkar district are yet to be officially released.
“These results are final but incomplete and unofficial seeing as the Akkar results have not been completed and they do not carry the signature of the relevant authority,” Mashnouq said at a press conference.
Commenting on controversy over the result of the minorities seat in Beirut's first district, Mashnouq confirmed the win of Antoine Bano of the Free Patriotic Movement and the loss of Joumana Haddad of the Koullouna Watani civil society coalition, after her campaign and rival campaigns had announced her victory overnight.
Mashnouq stressed that “no ballot boxes are missing” despite delay in the transfer of some boxes and records.
The minister also announced the win of the candidate Farid al-Bustani of the FPM in the Chouf-Aley district, after media reports had declared Naji al-Bustani of the Reconciliation List as the winner.
Below are the results as announced by Mashnouq:
- Beirut 1 district: Nicolas Sehnaoui, Jean Talouzian, Nadim Gemayel, Imad Wakim, Hagop Terzian, Paulette Yacoubian, Antoine Bano and Alexander Matousian
- Beirut 2 district: Amin Sherri, Saad Hariri, Adnan Traboulsi, Fouad Makhzoumi, Tammam Salam, Mohammed Khawaja, Roula al-Tabsh, Nouhad al-Mashnouq, Nazih Najm, Edgard Traboulsi and Faysal al-Sayegh
Hizbullah was poised to seal a win in Lebanon Monday with results for the decade's first general election expected to confirm the Iran-backed party as the main winner.
The polls were also marked by a low turnout of 49.2 percent and the emergence of a civil society movement challenging Lebanon's oligarchs that could clinch a pair of seats in parliament.
Lebanon's sectarian-based power-sharing politics mean no single alliance in the 128-seat parliament will enjoy a stable majority and analysts expect a fragile status quo to be preserved.
Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq announced the turnout figure at a news conference shortly after midnight and appeared to blame it on the new electoral law agreed last year.
"This is a new law and voters were not familiar with it, nor were the heads of polling stations," he said. "Voting operations were very slow."
As provisional estimates trickled in, some candidates' supporters started celebrating in the streets after a polling operation marred only by a few violations but no major incident.
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Prime Minister Saad Hariri voted Sunday at the Shakib Arslan School in Verdun, Beirut, and reassured that he does not fear a security deterioration after the parliamentary elections.
While waiting for his turn, Hariri said in response to a question: “Order is nice.”
He added that he is committed to the principle of electoral silence.
Hariri however responded to questions from reporters after leaving the polling station.
“I performed my electoral duty and cast my vote like any Lebanese. I think that if we look at what is happening around us and how Lebanon is holding democratic elections, we see that the country is fine,” he said.
President Michel Aoun cast his vote on Sunday in the country’s parliamentary elections and voiced calls on all Lebanese citizens to practice their “national, democratic right out of conviction.”
“Today the Lebanese are practicing one of the important national political operations where they get to choose MPs who will represent them for the next four years. They must not relinquish their duty to hold lawmakers accountable for their performance,” Aoun told reporters after casting his ballot at a polling station in Haret Hreik.
The President encouraged Lebanese to act out of conviction without “outside influences.”
“It is a sacred right of yours that you should not abandon,” he added.
Saturday, May 05, 2018
Law change was meant to make room for political plurality but old traditions of patronage are hard to break down.
Nine years and two collapsed governments since the last election, Lebanon goes to the polls on Sunday with leaders touting a new beginning for a country bedevilled by debt and dysfunction, but voters fearing more of the same.
The long-awaited parliamentary election had been hailed as a potential turning point for a state beset by decades of war, a turbulent domestic scene and a neighbouring crisis that has posed new threats.
As polling day has drawn nearer, however, it has become increasingly likely that the result will reaffirm the status quo of a powerful, elite-run patronage network with entrenched channels of influence.
For opponents of prime minister Saad Hariri’s government, this spells trouble. “The country is going through serious social, economic and political challenges that will translate into disastrous consequences if the same elite runs the country, with the same mindset that it did the last 30 years,” said Gilbert Doumit, a candidate in Beirut for a new list, Kulna Watani.
At 7:00 am Sunday Lebanon will launch its first legislative elections in nine years under “tight security measures,” ensuring a calm electoral process.
1,800 ballot boxes in 7,000 polling stations will open Sunday around various Lebanese districts. Some 21,000 security personnel from the Internal Security Forces, the State Security and General Security will be in charge inside polling stations. Meanwhile, the army will maintain security around the centers and roads leading to it, al-Joumhouria daily said Saturday.
Army units carried out their deployment yesterday in all areas of Lebanon according to a security plan in which additional units were allocated to areas considered “exceptional.” They were marked with "red" to prevent any security repercussions as the result of “atmosphere of electoral tension” in areas of “heated” electoral confrontations at the political and sectarian levels, added the daily.
Previous writings have explored the lives of a number of deceased and living members of the Islamic State affiliate Jaysh Khalid bin al-Waleed that is located in the Yarmouk Basin. So far, those profiles have not documented individuals with origins from the east Deraa countryside (i.e. the area of rebel-held territory in Deraa province east of the strip of government-controlled territory running down the centre of the province). This post looks into two individuals of Jaysh Khalid bin al-Waleed from an east Deraa countryside town called al-Karak al-Sharqi: Abu Hussein al-Karaki and Abu Yahya al-Karaki. As far as is known, they are the only two people from the town who joined the group.
The main families in al-Karak al-Sharqi are:
Of these families, the al-Asafira have affiliations with the al-Nu'aim tribe, while the al-Sakris have affiliations with the al-Rabaya'a tribe.
The main factions in the town are:
- Liwa al-Shaheed Emad Nasrallah, affiliated specifically with Jaysh Ahrar al-Asha'ir, which maintains particularly close relations with Jordan.
- Liwa A'isha Umm al-Mu'mineen, which declared in July 2017 that it joined Jaysh al-Islam's southern sector.
- First Regiment- Artillery, affiliated with the coalition of the Southern Front.
There is also a more minor presence for the faction Jund al-Malahem.
Friday, May 04, 2018
Prime Minister and al-Mustaqbal Movement leader Saad Hariri on Friday visited Dar al-Fatwa, the seat of Lebanon's highest Sunni Muslim religious authority, as he toured several Beirut neighborhoods two days ahead of the May 6 parliamentary elections.
Hariri was received at Dar al-Fatwa by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan, who was meeting with a group of scholars and clerics.
Daryan welcomed Hariri and said: "By coming here today, you reminded me of the great martyr of Lebanon, PM Rafik Hariri, who used to come to Dar al-Fatwa in the essential periods of the history of Lebanon.”
“The good relationship between Dar al-Fatwa and the Premiership must remain strong and solid, because in the end the Mufti of the Republic and the Prime Minister protect the sect and the nation,” the Mufti added.
Taimur Jumblat, the son and heir apparent of Druze leader MP Walid Jumblat, announced Friday that the Chouf-Aley 'Reconciliation List' will work on “building the state of law and institutions.”
“We stand before the teacher Kamal Jumblat who founded our path and we salute all the martyrs who offered their blood to protect this path,” Jumblat said at an electoral rally in Baakline on the eve of the electoral silence period.