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Lebanon

Lebanese oil a deterrent for Israeli hostility

in DEFENCE/MIDLE EAST by

The chances of an Israeli aggression against Lebanon have become minimal due to internal political confusion in Israel, but also because of its willingness to protect the oil-digging platforms adjacent to Lebanon from any possible attack. One of the Western ambassadors said that the possibilities of Israeli military aggression are very weak, so Lebanon should not be afraid. Since Israel began excavating oil from fields adjacent to Lebanon, the oil weapon that has become a deterrent. In fact, a $ 10,000 Katyusha rocket, possibly owned by Hezbollah, could destroy $ 200 million worth of oil rigs.

Saudi Arabia and UK agree to support Lebanese government and counter Hezbollah

in EUROPE/MIDLE EAST/POLITICS by

Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom agreed in a joint declaration to work together to support the Lebanese government and to work together to counter the role of Hezbollah in the region. The statement was issued during the visit of the Saudi hereditary prince Mohammed bin Salman to the United Kingdom at the invitation of the government of Queen Elizabeth II. The statement stressed that to reach any political agreement, it is crucial to end security threats in Saudi Arabia and other regional states, as well as see the end of Iranian support for militias and the withdrawal of Yemen’s Iranian elements and Hezbollah. The partnership between the two countries will be long-term and will touch various sectors, going to support the Saudi Vision 2030.

Lebanese officials and IDF discuss the construction of the border wall

in BUILDINGS/MIDLE EAST/POLITICS by

Lebanese military officials told their Israeli counterparts during a regular tripartite meeting chaired by UN peacekeepers at their UN positions in Ras al-Naqoura, which the wall that the IDF is building along the border between the two countries violate the sovereign territory of Lebanon. There are increasing tensions between the two countries concerning border works, rights challenged to the exploration of natural gas and Israeli warnings that Iran – through its delegate in Lebanon, Hezbollah – is transforming the country into an advanced base for manufacturing missiles and attacking the Jewish state. The construction of the wall has strained tensions, with Hezbollah, which threatens to open fire on Israeli soldiers who build the barrier. The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which hosted the meeting, said in a statement that the talks have attracted attention “due to engineering work south of the Blue Line previously announced by the Israeli side”, referring to the line that marked the Israeli withdrawal recognized by the UN from Lebanon in 2000. Neither side wants to return to a period of growing tensions and a violation of the cessation of hostilities; however, both seem intent on maintaining the line taken.

Fresh sanctions on Hezbollah

in MIDLE EAST/POLITICS by

The Trump administration announced today that a new session on Hizbullah will be held in Africa and the Middle East; in particular, the Treasury Department has announced that it has seen a network of companies and individuals in Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Liberia and other countries connected to the Hezbollah financier, Adham Tabaja. Difficulties block US activities and prevent Americans from doing business with one of the people and seven companies. According to one of the officials, with this move Trump aims not only to limit the operations of the terrorist group, but also a pressure on Iran by hindering the increase in its influence in the region.

El-Sisi will travel to Oman on Sunday

in AFRICA/POLITICS by

For the first time the Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi will visit Oman on Sunday, in order to meet the Sultan Qaboos Bin Said. According to the official statement of the presidency spokesman Bassam Rady the two leaders will discuss about bilateral and regional issues. The meeting’s general aim is to consolidate the cooperation between the two countries in several fields, especially after the recent political development in Lebanon. El-Sisi will meet also a number of top Omani officials in order to boost historical and brotherly relations between Omani and Egyptian people.

ISF arrests suspected terrorist

in DEFENCE/MIDLE EAST by

The leadership of the internal security forces has captured a suspicion of links to the terrorist group of the Islamic state in the eastern city of Bekaa, Majdal Anjar. This is a Lebanese citizen identified by his initials as R.A, said the statement of the ISF. The suspect is wanted for several arrest warrants: terrorism, fraud, arms trade and the transfer of foreigners, in particular from Syria to Lebanon. During the interrogation, the defendant admitted having witnessed the infiltration of a terrorist from the Syria to Lebanon, to carry out bombing operations in Lebanon and smuggling 100 wireless devices for fighters in Syria.

Analysis of Lebanon’s recently discovered state-sponsored hacking

in MIDLE EAST/TECHNOLOGY by

If Edward Snowden has taught anything to the world, governments now can pry into their personal and political affairs with relative ease, and Lebanon is no exception. The report, compiled by the cyber security company Lookout Inc. and the digital rights NGO of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, suggests that the Lebanese government is, at least, complicit in a flagrant cyber espionage campaign, undertaken by a group of operators under the banner of Dark Caracal, whose operators were stationed inside the building of the General Directorate of General Security (GDGS) owned by the government. The GDGS building is home to one of the country’s intelligence agencies and according to researchers the first attacks took place in January 2012, when Dark Caracal launched a first mobile surveillance campaign. According to the report by Lookout Inc. and EFF, Dark Caracal was able to create its own network acquiring a deep knowledge of each of the victims, including members of the army, government officials, doctors, academics, civilians belonging to financial institutions, manufacturing companies and defense contractors. It is always difficult to give the government the benefit of the doubt about home surveillance, but skepticism increases further if you look at the Lebanon law on interception, data collection and the illegal obtaining of sensitive information. This indiscriminate spying on the communications of citizens, without any conviction or cause, on behalf of the GDGS is in violation of the Lebanese law, and in particular the fundamental protections guaranteed by the law n.140 of 1999. Article 1 of the law, in fact, prohibits clearly gathering information or monitoring communications of any kind, except in specific cases.

EU counter terrorism coordinator visits Lebanon

in DEFENCE/MIDLE EAST by

The EU counter-terrorism coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove, is visiting Lebanon to take stock of the counter-terrorism dialogue between the European Union and Lebanon. Following the terrorist attacks perpetrated worldwide, the EU has adopted a counter-terrorist approach in the Middle East and North Africa that goes beyond rigorous military and security assistance. In 2016, a roadmap was agreed in which the EU expressed its commitment to support Lebanon in the areas of justice, border management, etc. and combating phenomena such as violent extremism and the financing of terrorism. The EU is also engaged in a dialogue with the Lebanese authorities on the development of a national counter-terrorism strategy and welcomes the recent launch of the national strategy to prevent violent extremism. Alongside the definition of violent extremism, nine objectives are proposed to be achieved in order to prevent and combat it.

Lebanon: Berri urges ‘boycott’ of Trump administration

in MIDLE EAST/POLITICS by

Nabih Berri, during the Conference of Islamic Parliaments in support of Jerusalem in Iran, renewed his appeal for the transfer of the Islamic embassies from Washington and for the boycott to the administration of President Donald Trump until the latter cancels the controversial recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He also called for the closure of all Israeli embassies in Arab and Islamic capitals and the annulment of the Oslo peace accords, which form the basis of relations between Palestinians and Israel Negotiations for a peace process in the words of Berri they should remain firm until there is a clear announcement that blocks the settlement process.

Lebanon: most Syrian refugees in Lebanon want to go back when the security there improves: Red Cross

in MIDLE EAST/POLITICS by

The Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Lebanon, Christophe Martin said Monday that 80 percent of Syrian refugees in Lebanon would like to return home once the security situation has improved, emphasizing that support for refugees in their any return to Syria will be discussed with senior Lebanese officials and with relevant international bodies and nations. In fact, in a positive way, he stated that the return of refugees to Syria would benefit the pacification and resolution of the Syrian crisis. The United Nations Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) published last month that the number of Syrian refugees registered in Lebanon fell below one million for the first time since 2014, reaching 997.905, but according to Lebanese officials the number of refugees not registered in Lebanon is more than one million, which makes the actual number of refugees in Lebanon about 2 million.

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