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December 30, 2012

The Predicament of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon

June 27, 2012 by

When Lebanese security reportedly killed 18-year-old Ahmad al-Qasim over a documentation dispute in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, the camp’s Palestinian refugee population erupted in anger and dismay. Within a few days of the June 15 incident, the outrage had spread and more refugees were killed. Fouad Muhi’edeen Lubany was killed on June 18, as a crowd of mourning refugees attempted to bury the first victim of Nahr al-Bared, near Tripoli in the north. Another victim of the violence was Khaled al-Youssef, who was shot in Ein al-Hilweh refugee camp, near Saida, about 30 miles south of Beirut. More Palestinians were reportedly injured, along with three Lebanese security officers.

The Revolution on a Laptop: YouTube Journeys through the Arab Spring

April 12, 2012 by

An overcast road on the outskirts of a town somewhere in Syria. Strained, panting breath and blurred views of the crabgrass on the highway divider. To the right, maybe 500 yards away, I hear the guttural whuppwhuppwhuppwhupp of automatic gunfire, punctuated by the occasional snap of a sniper rifle. Over the median, a slick river pools into a ditch, oil maybe, no, blood. I see a boy, maybe 16-years-old, crumpled over the road median, one leg folded calmly over the other. I catch a quick look at his head and wonder if there is life in his half-closed eyes. Then I notice the bullet wound in his neck, jagged pink tissue under his chin. The panting voice begins to chant hurried phrases. The only word that I can understand is “Allah”.

Grasping the Syrian Quagmire

March 7, 2012 by

One of the most significant and enduring consequences of the Arab Spring has been the bloody uprising in Syria. For almost a year cities across the Levant have been defying the iron grip of the Assad regime and challenging the police state of the Ba’ath party. Of all the countries engulfed by the revolutionary fever encompassing the Arab World, Syria, a country of 23 million, epitomizes the toughest case. It comprises many religious sects including Sunni (79%), Alawite (off-shoot of Shiite Islam, 9%), Christians (9%), and Druze (3%). Ethnically, nine percent of its population are Kurds who sympathize with their brethren in Iraq, Iran, and Turkey, and dream of one day establishing a Kurdish state.

Now is not the Time for Intervention in Syria

February 20, 2012 by

As pressure mounts on foreign powers to consider intervening militarily in Syria, analogies are being drawn between what NATO accomplished in Libya and whether something comparable may be possible in Syria. Military intervention would perhaps make the West feel better — knowing that it attempted to do something concrete to end the bloodshed — but it is unlikely to be successful for several reasons. An air and sea campaign against Syria would likely prove more difficult than in Libya. The Syrian military — which numbers more than 500,000 men (including reservists) — is more formidable than Gadhafi’s forces and would prove more challenging to impact by air.

Hezbollah’s Missiles: A Brilliant Madness?

February 5, 2012 by

The Hezbollah movement in Lebanon, whose violent opposition to Israel’s right to exist remains firmly intact, has been stepping up its incessant preparations for war in recent months, clearly unfazed by the intensity of military projection that Israel could unleash on them, and their country, in any future conflict The most recent reports coming from the region suggest that the movement, fearing the eventual demise of its long-time ally, Syria, has been busy helping itself to vast quantities of the most sophisticated military arsenals belonging to the Syrian military.

Samir Geagea: The Last Relic of a Dirty War

August 29, 2011 by

If there’s an oddity about former Lebanese militia leaders turning into suit-and-tie wearing politicians, the former Christian militia leader, Samir Farid Geagea, deserves the richest degree of attention. The 59 year old has spent most of his life in a militia identified with violent sectarianism of a colossal proportion. Today, with his blood soaked hands, implications in notorious civil-war era massacres, years in solitary confinement and now a mouthpiece for belligerent politics- he’s about as old school as they get.

Hariri Indictments: The view from South Beirut

August 18, 2011 by

Finally, the long awaited but highly politicised 47-page indictments were released. The United Nations Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) took two and half years of painstaking investigations, more than 120 million US dollars in budget and United Nations Security Council endorsement for its work to eventually culminate into the findings that it presented. It had issued arrest warrants back in June calling for four Lebanese suspects it says were involved in the assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri in 2005.