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Thread: Lebanon (all aspects)

  1. #81
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Lebanon indictments set to raise tensions

    I am sure there have been posts - apart from this thread - although SWC's gaze is often elsewhere.

    Link to an IISS Strategic Comment:http://www.iiss.org/publications/str...aise-tensions/
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  2. #82
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    See below for an outstanding CBC investigative report into the Hariri assassination and the subsequent UN investigation:

    CBC Investigation: Who killed Lebanon's Rafik Hariri?

    Last Updated: Sunday, November 21, 2010 | 10:54 PM ET
    By Neil Macdonald CBC News

    ...

    A months-long CBC investigation, relying on interviews with multiple sources from inside the UN inquiry and some of the commission's own records, found examples of timidity, bureaucratic inertia and incompetence bordering on gross negligence.

    Among other things, CBC News has learned that:

    • Evidence gathered by Lebanese police and, much later, the UN, points overwhelmingly to the fact that the assassins were from Hezbollah, the militant Party of God that is largely sponsored by Syria and Iran. CBC News has obtained cellphone and other telecommunications evidence that is at the core of the case.
    • UN investigators came to believe their inquiry was penetrated early by Hezbollah and that that the commission's lax security likely led to the murder of a young, dedicated Lebanese policeman who had largely cracked the case on his own and was co-operating with the international inquiry.
    • UN commission insiders also suspected Hariri's own chief of protocol at the time, a man who now heads Lebanon's intelligence service, of colluding with Hezbollah. But those suspicions, laid out in an extensive internal memo, were not pursued, basically for diplomatic reasons.


    ...
    Quite apart from the insight it offers into the killing, it is well worth reading for a detailed account of how SIGINT and network analysis were used to link Hizbullah to the killings.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


  3. #83
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    Default meanwhile, in Ain al-Hilweh...

    Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon becoming less of a hotbed for militancy
    Christian Science Monitor
    By Nicholas Blanford, Correspondent / December 31, 2010

    The recent murder of a top Al Qaeda-inspired militant and an exodus of other militants may signal increased stability, due in part to cooperation between Fatah and Islamist factions.

    The murder of a senior Al-Qaeda-inspired jihadi and the exodus of other militants from here in recent months may herald some welcome stability for this impoverished Palestinian refugee camp.

    With some 70,000 Palestinian refugees squashed into little more than a square mile near Sidon, Ain al-Hilweh lies outside the jurisdiction of the Lebanese government and has long been plagued by Islamic radicalism and factional violence.

    But a tacit agreement for calm between a coalition of Islamist factions and the Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has left little space for militants seeking to plot and stage attacks against the Lebanese state or foreign targets in Lebanon.

    ...
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


  4. #84
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    Default Palestinian Camp Wars: Memoirs of a Fatah Military Commander in Lebanon

    Palestinian Camp Wars: Memoirs of a Fatah Military Commander in Lebanon

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  5. #85
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    Default Holding Lebanon Together: The Lebanese Armed Forces

    Holding Lebanon Together: The Lebanese Armed Forces

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  6. #86
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    (Reuters) - Farmers armed with machineguns, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars forced government troops to abandon an operation to destroy their illegal cannabis crop in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley on Monday, a witness said.

    No casualties were reported in the exchange of fire but two security force vehicles were hit by bullets, the witness said.

    During Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war, the fertile Bekaa Valley produced up to 1,000 metric tons (1.1023 * 1000 tons) of cannabis resin annually and 30 to 50 metric tons of opium, used to make heroin.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...86M0DA20120723
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


    http://i.imgur.com/IPT1uLH.jpg

  7. #87
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Bekaa Valley confrontation

    From an observer of the scene:
    The Bekaa confrontation is an annual event. If the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) are not busy, they provide support to the Internal Security Force (ISF) in the crop eradication programme. However, if there are “problems” in Lebanon, the farmers take a punt that the LAF will not be able to support the police and plant more – as has happened this year, where they made the judgement that the LAF would be more concerned with the border with Syria. The ISF do not have the heavy weapons and helicopter support needed to successfully carry out the operation.
    The ISF is a Gendarmerie type organisation and a Beirut paper has a different account:http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Loc...s-farmers.ashx
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  8. #88
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Update on the Bekaa

    Hat tip to an observer of the scene:
    in the coming days farmers will begin harvesting the illegal cannabis that is estimated to be worth $20 million and provides income for more than 3,000 families in Baalbek-Hermel alone.
    Nevertheless:
    6,615 dunums – out of 30,000 dunums in the northern Bekaa – were razed
    A 20% success rate isn't that bad for such programmes.

    Link:http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Loc...#axzz24Ph0ziiy
    davidbfpo

  9. #89
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    Default Why Lebanon Will Not Fall

    Why Lebanon Will Not Fall

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  10. #90
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Default US tips off Hezbollah to AQ attack

    Lebanese officials say CIA warned them of imminent al Qaida attack on Hezbollah, by Mitchell Prothero. McClatchy, 15 July 2013.
    BEIRUT — The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency warned Lebanese officials last week that al Qaida-linked groups are planning a campaign of bombings that will target Beirut’s Hezbollah-dominated southern suburbs as well as other political targets associated with the group or its allies in Syria, Lebanese officials said Monday.

    The unusual warning – U.S. government officials are barred from directly contacting Hezbollah, which the U.S. has designated an international terrorist organization – was passed from the CIA’s Beirut station chief to several Lebanese security and intelligence officials in a meeting late last week with the understanding that it would be passed to Hezbollah, Lebanese officials said.

    Hezbollah officials acknowledged the warning and took steps to tighten security in the southern suburbs that are known locally as Dahiya.
    Strange times we live in.
    “[S]omething in his tone now reminded her of his explanations of asymmetric warfare, a topic in which he had a keen and abiding interest. She remembered him telling her how terrorism was almost exclusively about branding, but only slightly less so about the psychology of lotteries…” - Zero History, William Gibson

  11. #91
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    It makes me wonder what an "al-Qaida linked group" means to the Lebanese officials referenced in the article, and what it means in true terms. Claiming you are down with AQ doesn't mean anything if you don't glean support in the way of materiel, manpower, or intel to drive operations. As Bill Nagle would often say, it's just putting a bumper sticker on it.

    That moniker gets thrown around by the media wayyy to much these days, especially when the desired effect is to scare readers and mask deliberate journalistic integrity laziness. AQ has become the boogeyman catch-all.

    Ambassador Stevens was a story where AQIM was thrown around before anyone even knew the scope of the incident.

  12. #92
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    It makes me wonder what an "al-Qaida linked group" means to the Lebanese officials referenced in the article, and what it means in true terms. Claiming you are down with AQ doesn't mean anything if you don't glean support in the way of materiel, manpower, or intel to drive operations. As Bill Nagle would often say, it's just putting a bumper sticker on it.

    That moniker gets thrown around by the media wayyy to much these days, especially when the desired effect is to scare readers and mask deliberate journalistic integrity laziness. AQ has become the boogeyman catch-all.
    The story references the very specific nature of the intel – intercepts between known AQ in Lebanon and the Gulf – "al-Qaida linked group" is probably what CIA told them. I doubt we are in the practice of passing along vague threats to, or even communicating with, Hezbollah frequently.

    No doubt that AQ has become a catch-all bogeyman (probably always has been), but the US government does not get a pass when it comes to fear-mongering and intellectual laziness with regard to AQ. The media does not get a pass either, but fwiw the author of the article – Mitch Prothero – is imo pretty solid with his coverage of Hezbollah and the Lebanon beat.
    “[S]omething in his tone now reminded her of his explanations of asymmetric warfare, a topic in which he had a keen and abiding interest. She remembered him telling her how terrorism was almost exclusively about branding, but only slightly less so about the psychology of lotteries…” - Zero History, William Gibson

  13. #93
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    Default Why alert Hezbollah?

    the big question is why alert hezbollah intentionally? are they not our enemies?

    To me it shows how powerful hezbollah is. If they we're inconsequential, what would we care if they were harmed? Further, if they were weak we wouldnt care if they viewed us as partially responsible. Maybe we have added their performance in syria to their performance against Israel and have decided that we would rather not kick thats hornets nest at this time and threw them a bone in the form of this intel.

    Are we knowingly siding with sunnis and accepting their AQ links because the geopolitical threat of a shia/persian victory is worse?

    It seems possible to me.

  14. #94
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Wyatt,

    From my viewpoint the decision was sensible. It is in our general interest that the civil war in Syria does not affect Lebanon even more and a bombing campaign could be the "spark" for communal violence. There have been clashes already and Lebanon is a fragile, nay brittle nation. An action that binds Hezbollah closer to maintaining the internal safety and security of the Lebanon is a plus.
    davidbfpo

  15. #95
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default One stop update on Lebanon

    An IISS Strategic Comment 'Syrian war worsens Lebanon’s malaise':http://www.iiss.org/en/publications/...s-malaise-e473
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  16. #96
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Three block war: butchers not corporals

    A fascinating, horrible Vice documentary from Tripoli, Lebanon's second city which illustrates how a city - in places - has become the fiefdom of the new warlords, barons et al:https://news.vice.com/video/the-warlords-of-tripoli

    The Vice summary:
    The war in Syria is dragging neighboring Lebanon to the edge of the abyss, and nowhere is the growing chaos more stark than in the second city of Tripoli. Sunni militants aligned with the Syrian rebels frequently clash with fighters from the city's encircled Alawite minority, who support the Assad regime, in bitter street fighting the country's weak government is powerless to stop. With the rule of law no longer in effect in Tripoli, warlords like Sunni commander Ziad Allouki are now the city's real rulers, so VICE hung out with him and his fighters for a week to discover why they're fighting, and whether the country really is on the brink of civil war.
    I know the politics and human terrain of the Lebanon are complex. In some of the interviews the warlords explain all too well, including the fact the Sunnis fought Syria during its occupation and now support Bashir Assad.

    The clip where the Lebanese Army arrive amidst an exchange of gunfire is horrible. The shooting stops and several trapped civilians then escape into the Sunni area, as the Army drive off a 50cal opens up on the Alawite enclave.

    Shortly afterwards as night draws in the reporter leaves in a car and within minutes, if not three city blocks, is a very different city, brightly lit, people walking about and no gunfire.

    There is an existing thread on the Lebanon (94 posts & 36k views):http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=2967
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-16-2014 at 12:48 PM.
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  17. #97
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    VICE makes for some pretty insightful and powerful reporting. The format definitely shapes the discussion differently than anything else out there I have seen.

    But are those guys warlords in the classic sense? It doesn't look like there is much to be gained in those few square blocks.

  18. #98
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Caught in a vice

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    VICE makes for some pretty insightful and powerful reporting. The format definitely shapes the discussion differently than anything else out there I have seen.
    Yes I would agree. I did find their latest offering on ISIS strained credibility, but when you consider the restrictions placed upon them it is easier to understand.

    This is reflected in the linked critique, which ends with:
    Either way, Vice News has produced the most compelling coverage of this new war so far.
    Link:http://www.spectator.co.uk/arts/tele...ion-insurgent/

    But are those guys warlords in the classic sense? It doesn't look like there is much to be gained in those few square blocks.
    I couldn't think of a suitable adjective, so yes 'warlord' is not the best term. From the film it was clear they had power to defend and rescue; with an element of pay-back in being charitable. The film did not make clear where the money came from for all their activity.

    In extreme civil situations the most unlikely defender can emerge. Often they are people who know violence and recognise an opportunity to become respected. Though the closing segment with a group leader lamenting the situation as his young daughters played with his sidearm indicated self-doubt.
    davidbfpo

  19. #99
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default A brittle nation: even in prison

    With events in Syria SWC may have overlooked the situation in the Lebanon, which although generally peaceful has VBIEDs, border clashes and communal clashes on a regular basis.

    Thanks to the Soufan Group for this, which illustrates how brittle the nation-state is:
    Sectarianism’s most prominent victim has historically been Lebanon, which has not been able to avoid the latest tensions that stress its constitutional framework. Putting aside the massive human tragedy inside Lebanese refugee camps that are changing the demographics of the country, the Syrian civil war has thrust sectarianism into a country desperate to avoid it. Last week’s twin suicide bombings in the northern Alawite town of Jabal Mohsen (near Tripoli) killed nine and might have ignited smoldering sectarian tensions that have never quite been extinguished. It is appropriate that there are competing claims of responsibility since the term means less and less given the amorphous nature of sectarian motivation. The situation in the area is so fraught with sectarian tension and machinations that the government had to raid one of its prisons—Roumieh Prison—which was beyond the writ of control and whose inmates were allegedly responsible for coordinating the Mohsen bombings.
    Link:http://soufangroup.com/tsg-intelbrie...paris-to-baga/
    davidbfpo

  20. #100
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default A brittle nation needs more glue to stay united

    Another short description of the Lebanon by Professor Scott Lucas:http://eaworldview.com/2015/02/syria...king-pressure/

    It ends with:
    Lebanon has managed a complicated local and regional juggling act for years – but all the signs are that, as Syria and Iraq continue their meltdowns, things will only get more difficult to hold together. And the prospect of the collapse of Lebanon for stability in the Middle East as a whole is ominous indeed.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-16-2015 at 08:11 PM.
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