Lebanon. According to Countryaah, Lebanon trembled under the pressure of the war in Syria. Within the government coalition, the political contradictions deepened. Prime Minister Najib Mikati – a Sunni Muslim who stipulates the country’s constitution, and a member of the Syrian-critical March 14 Alliance – resigned March 22 following a schism with the pro-Syrian, essentially Shia Muslim March 8 Alliance. This government-led bankruptcy, which was ruled by the Iran-backed Hizbullah guerrilla, had stopped Mikati’s plans to set up a commission to oversee the next parliamentary elections and to extend his close associate Ashraf Rifi’s appointment as head of the country’s internal security forces (ISF). President Michel Suleiman appointed former Minister of Culture Tamam Salam from the March 14 Alliance as new Prime Minister.
In September, Lebanon was reported to have received 750,000 refugees from Syria. Lebanon had not set up any refugee camps, nor any reception system, so the Syrians lived in their own tents, shelters, or in evacuated houses that they were often forced to rent for expensive money. Around 400,000 school-aged refugee children also found it difficult to get a place in Lebanese schools, and the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF reported that more and more refugee children were doing hard work in Lebanese agriculture.
The border between Lebanon and Syria was increasingly disbanded and armed men and weapons flooded. Hizbullah began to openly fight on the Syrian government side while increasing numbers of Syrian rebels with families sought protection in Lebanon. In the Hizbullah-controlled Beka Valley there were countless clashes between Hizbullah and Syrian-driven rebels with jihadist ties.
Struggles were also reported, among other things. in and around the city of Tripoli in the north where two car bombs on August 23 claimed at least 45 people’s lives and injured over 500. In March, Syrian fighter planes attacked bases in eastern Lebanon suspected of belonging to Syrian rebels. In the port city of Sayda in the south, at least 35 people were killed in fighting June 23-25 when armed Sunni extremists attacked a government post supported by Hizbullah. In the capital Beirut, on August 15, at least 24 people were killed by a car bomb in the Rweiss district, a strong Hizbullah stronghold; On November 19, 23 people were killed in a suicide attack against the Iranian embassy and on December 4, a Hezbollah leader, Hassan al-Lakis, was murdered. Hizbullah accused Israel of being behind the two subsequent assaults, but judges believed the culprits could be Lebanese jihadists.
The contradictions escalated on December 27, when the Sunni Muslim politician and Syrian critic Muhammad Shattah fell victim to a car bomb in Beirut.
Occasional fighting also occurred with Israel at the border in the south.
- According to AbbreviationFinder.org, Beirut is the capital city of Lebanon. See acronyms and abbreviations related to this capital and other major cities within this country.
A complicated hostage frame got its resolution. On October 19, nine Lebanese Shi’a Muslims who had been kidnapped by rebels in Syria in 2012 were released, and in exchange for them, Hizbullah released two Turkish pilots taken hostage in Beirut in August. A few days later, at least 61 women who had been held captive by the Syrian regime were also released.
In October, the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon indicted a fifth suspect for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri in 2005. All five were prosecuted in their absence and the suspect is kept hidden by Hizbullah. The tribunal had issued arrest warrants for them. Lebanon’s economy was severely affected by the conflict. The number of tourists in July was 27% lower than the same month last year, already a low figure.
After essentially participating in the fighting in Syria for over 1 year, Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah declared open war against IS in June 2015. In the following months, Hezbollah and the Syrian army were involved in particularly bloody fighting over the city of al-Zabadani on the Syria-Lebanon border. The city that was the most important junction on the road between Damascus and Beirut had been on the hands of the rebels for one year. In October, the last rebels were driven out of town by buses after the UN had managed to negotiate an agreement between the parties in place.
In June 2015, residents in the area around al-Naameh landfill managed to close it. It was opened in 1998 and should only have been used for 6 years, but the authorities did not find anywhere else. The closure of al-Naameh triggered a serious crisis as Beirut waste could no longer be collected. This in turn triggered increasingly fierce protests against the authorities. In December 2015, the government signed an agreement with Chinook Industrial Mining to purchase 100,000 tonnes of untreated waste. An allegation that the waste was to be landfilled in Sierra Leone turned out to be false in January 2016, and subsequent documents showing it to be shipped to Russia turned out to be false in February. In March, the government withdrew from the deal.
In November 2015, two IS suicide bombers shot themselves in the air in the Bourj el-Barajneh district of southern Beirut. The district was predominantly inhabited by Shia and therefore under Hezbollah’s control. 43 were killed and 240 injured. The attack took place two weeks after IS had launched a Russian passenger plane over Sinai and the day before the Paris attacks.
After 1½ years in captivity, in December al-Nusra released 16 soldiers and officers against 13 al-Nusra partisans in Lebanese prisons.
Saudi Arabia pledged $ 4 billion in February 2016 US $ in financial aid to Lebanon’s military left. The reason was that Lebanon “had not shown the right attitude towards Saudi Arabia” – which had supported the Islamist insurgency in neighboring Syria for five years.
After a 29-month political power vacuum, in October 2016, Parliament finally succeeded in electing the former general and leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, Michel Aoun as president. He was elected in the 4th round with 65.35% of parliamentarians votes. Prior to the vote, he had secured support from Hezbollah, the Christians and the Druze, but had not received support from the Amal movement. After his election, Aoun appointed Saad Hariri as the new prime minister. This one joined in December.