Electronic Lebanon

Lebanese army encircling Baddawi refugee camp

The relationship between the Lebanese government and the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon is changing. The process of redefining the old relationship began explosively with the battle and subsequent demolition of the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, near the northern city of Tripoli, in 2007. Now the Lebanese army is erecting a barrier around the nearby Baddawi refugee camp because of “security concerns.” Ahmed Moor and Deen Sharp report for The Electronic Intifada. 

The UK's misguided advice to Lebanon

One would think that the British government — considering its history in the Middle East of colonizing and partitioning the land and overthrowing governments, and its current support of undemocratic and dictatorial regimes while occupying two nations in the greater region — would be wary of sending its representatives to offer advice to Arab nations on how best to achieve their right to self-determination. Matthew Cassel comments. 

The end of sectarianism?

Fifteen years of civil war followed by 20 years of civil strife have cemented the role of Lebanon’s leaders as bulwarks of their communities. If any serious sectarian reform begins to occur, hereditary inheritance and the defense of the tribe will cease to be sufficient reasons for these figures to retain their statuses. That is a prospect Lebanon’s politicians can hardly be expected to accept. Sami Halabi comments for Electronic Lebanon. 

Lebanon tightens control over Palestinian refugee camps

NAHR AL-BARED, Lebanon (IPS) - Recent inter-factional clashes in Lebanon’s Ein al-Hilwe refugee camp once more illustrated the fragile security situation in some of its Palestinian camps. Lebanese plans to take over security within the camps are rejected by the Palestinians. Ein al-Hilwe and other refugee camps are home to various Palestinian nationalist groups, but also host different Islamist forces that the Lebanese government considers a threat to the state’s security and stability. 

Nahr al-Bared's economic recovery hampered by military siege

More than two years after the end of the fighting, the war-torn Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared, located in northern Lebanon, is far from the model the Lebanese government has promised the camp would become. Instead, reconstruction of the camp is delayed, the area is a military zone with restricted access, and the camp’s economy is stalled and residents are largely unemployed. Ray Smith reports for Electronic Lebanon. 

A voice of frustration and hope in Nahr al-Bared

NAHR AL-BARED (North Lebanon) (IPS) - The hip-hop beats ringing through the muddy, unlit streets of this burnt-out Palestinian refugee camp seem incongruous. But the rhymes are camp-grown — and courageous. Farhan Abu Siyam, 21, is Nahr al-Bared’s first and only rapper. Going by the name of MC Tamarrod, he grew up in the Palestinian refugee camps of Nahr al-Bared and Burj al-Barajne. 

US government's hard line on Hizballah clashes with political reality

WASHINGTON (IPS) - Lebanese President Michel Suleiman visited Washington last week, for his first visit with President Barack Obama. The meeting was a quick one, tucked in amongst the myriad of domestic issues that are demanding Obama’s attention. Yet despite its brevity, the meeting touched upon issues that strike at the heart of the US-Lebanon relationship. 

Hizballah's call for legitimacy

Last week Hassan Nasrallah delivered a speech over video link from an unknown location, as he frequently does. The leader of the Lebanese Shia Islamic resistance and political group Hizballah addressed the audience in Beirut to present the group’s new manifesto, their first since 1985 when the group unveiled its initial open letter. Matthew Cassel analyzes. 

Refugees remain skeptical of Nahr al-Bared reconstruction

NAHR AL-BARED, Lebanon (IPS) - More than two years after their refugee camp was destroyed in a war between the Lebanese army and the Islamist militant group Fatah al-Islam, Nahr al-Bared refugees Wednesday witnessed the start of the camp’s reconstruction. Their relief is mixed with skepticism, however. Established in 1949, the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in north Lebanon’s Akkar region has become home to more than 30,000 residents. 

Nahr al-Bared reconstruction delays protested

Since the end of August, construction equipment in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared, near the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, has stood unused after the Lebanese State Council granted a two month moratorium for the reconstruction of the camp. Nahr al-Bared, home to approximately 30,000 refugees, was destroyed during a three-month-long battle between the Lebanese army and the militant group Fatah al-Islam in the summer of 2007. Ray Smith reports for Electronic Lebanon.