The US and Israel — the two states committing the only military occupations in the region — are having an adverse influence on Lebanese internal affairs. But the people wait, unsure of what the future holds for Lebanon. The question for many is no longer if, but when will the situation quickly deteriorate into an armed internal conflict reminiscent of Lebanon’s recent history. EI editor Matthew Cassel comments. Read more about Lebanon's new proxy force
UNITED NATIONS, 31 January (IPS) - A leading international human rights group is calling into question the findings of an Israeli inquiry into the Jewish state’s war with Lebanon in 2006. The London-based Amnesty International says the Israeli government-appointed Winograd Commission is “deeply flawed” because it fails to address the issue of war crimes against the civilian population in Lebanon. Read more about Winograd report ignores civilian deaths
There will be blood. That was the message this week in the neglected southern suburbs of Beirut. At least eight persons were killed and more than twenty injured when shots were fired at crowds of demonstrators protesting the power outages that have been plaguing their areas.* Details of the incident that took place near the Mar Mikhael square remain clouded in controversy. This much is known: that some of the shots were fired by the Lebanese army who clashed with protesters and that several of the victims, if not most, were unarmed. Read more about Meet the Lebanese Press: The end of the tether?
BEIRUT, 29 January - The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) headquarters in the posh neighborhood of the now closed Summerland Hotel in Beirut is buzzing with activity. A few men in black, Kalashnikovs firmly in their hands, guard the entrance to the elegant building. A handful of women and older men carrying papers scurry past them up the stairs to the PLO offices. In the waiting room, al-Jazeera news channel is showing footage of Palestinians in Gaza storming into Egypt, and carrying back baskets of food and consumer goods. Read more about Palestinians rush for confirmation they exist
BEIRUT, 28 January (IRIN) - Deadly Shia riots in southern Beirut protesting over power and water cuts have occurred because these basic services have become part of the country’s increasingly tense political stand-off, said protesters and analysts. At least eight people were killed and 22 wounded as gunfire and grenades erupted after an official with Shia opposition group Amal was shot dead during a confrontation between angry demonstrators and the army on 27 January. Read more about Politicized power cuts behind deadly riots?
TYRE, Lebanon, 25 January (TerraViva/IPS) - “We know when we start a campaign we work for an achievable goal,” declares Wafa Yassir, the energetic head of Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), which runs programs for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. “And we know the right of return is not an easy goal. It may not happen in our lifetime. But we have to keep this right for the coming generation, and after that. And one day we will get it because it’s our historic right and we won’t give it up.” Read more about Palestinians in Lebanon seek right of return
ZAWTAR WEST, 22 January (IRIN) - Deminers clearing Israeli-dropped cluster bombs in south Lebanon are turning up an average of 10 new sites per month, while Israel continues to ignore requests for data that would assist clearing the estimated one million unexploded bomblets, which continue to kill and maim civilians and decimate rural livelihoods. A single cluster bomb can disperse hundreds of bomblets. Read more about Deminers find new cluster bomb sites without Israeli data
Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa has been spending more time in Lebanon recently than any other Arab country outside his home base of Egypt. But the time he spends seems to be inversely proportional to number of issues he resolves. His latest trip this week was expected to bring the Lebanese factions to implement the latest Arab initiative launched in Cairo. Lip-service endorsements were all he got. Read more about Meet the Lebanese Press: The Arabs to the rescue?
It apparently never occurred to anyone in our leading human rights organizations or the Western media that the same moral and legal standards ought be applied to the behavior of Israel and Hizballah during the war on Lebanon 18 months ago. Belatedly, an important effort has been made to set that right. Jonathan Cook comments on a new report that unearths evidence that Israel committed war crimes not only against Lebanese civilians but also against its own Arab citizens. Read more about Evidence of Israel's "cowardly blending" comes to light
JERUSALEM, 28 December (IRIN) - Israel’s military advocate-general, Brig-Gen Avihai Mendelblit, has said the military’s use of cluster munitions during the conflict in Lebanon in 2006 was in accordance with international humanitarian law. Human rights groups and the UN had previously condemned the use of the bombs. In a statement issued on 24 December, the Israeli military said it used cluster munitions to fight Hizballah, the Lebanese Shia militant group, which had “heavily camouflaged” its launching sites for firing rockets at Israel. Read more about Israeli military clears itself of cluster bomb misuse in Lebanon