Exams have been postponed at LU’s Economics and Business Faculty in Tripoli, Lebanon following demonstrations against the appointment of a Christian director. Around 1,300 students have their classes there. Students have erected protest tents at the entrance to the campus March 23 to keep up pressure for their demand to replace Jamila Yammin with a Sunni director. All branches of Lebanese University will have one month to re-examine the appointments of faculty directors in a manner which respected the National Pact of confessional power-sharing. “Currently, there are 29 Muslims and 20 Christian directors in branches across Lebanon … but we will not dictate a formula,” Students claim a tradition of maintaining an equal number of Sunni and Shiite LU directors, a norm which has prevailed in previous years.
[August 4 2014 The other Tripoli – Lebanon – catches the ISIL bug]
Islamists’ arrival in Lebanon offers the prospect of a mini-civil war around Arsal – and perhaps as far as Tripoli –
For more than a year, the Lebanese army has tried vainly to close the frontier east of Arsal, and a Syrian army victory over rebels in Yabroud on the other side of the border earlier this year suggested that Sunni insurgents might leave Arsal lest they be cut off. But their resurgence shows that the Syrians have nothing like the control they have been claiming in the frontier lands.
[February 13 2012 Syria is quickly approaching an intolerable state]
A senior commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, Gen. Hassan Shateri, was assassinated on February 12, when a rebel group ambushed his vehicle while he was returning to Lebanon from Syria.
On February 14 Iran held a funeral ceremony for Shateri in Tehran that was attended by the foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, and the commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari. Ghasem Suleimani, the man who heads the external arm of the Revolutionary Guards, known as the Quds force, members of which usually shun public ceremonies, also attended the funeral.
In May 2012, a senior Quds force commander conceded for the first time that Iranian forces were operating in Syria in support of the Assad regime. Perhaps IRGC’s Iranian personnel have been directly involved in fighting against Syrian rebels. Tehran denies any involvement. However, there is evidence that some of Shateri’s Lebanese men have died fighting for Assad in Syria. Anti-Assad forces claim that Iran and Hezbollah are both involved
[January 10, 2012]
The situation in Syria is quickly approaching an intolerable state. It could very well be that the Western war dance against Iran is also a warning to the Islamic Republic to stay out of anything involving Syria. The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a close Iranian ally, is teetering on the brink as a civil war in the country escalates. Syrian Defense Minister Dawoud Rajha on January 8 visited Russian aircraft carrier Kuznetsov which docked a day earlier at Russia’s naval supply facility in Syria’s port city of Tartous, Some media reports said the visit of the Russian warships was a signal of Russia’s support for Assad’s regime but the Russian military denied any connections of the visit with the political situation in the country.
“The naval task force has completed its visit to the Syrian port of Tartus with the aim of replenishing [food and water] provisions. The warships left the Syrian territorial waters on Tuesday afternoon and continued on their route in accordance with their schedule,” the statement said.
There is a widespread perception that the crises with both Iran and Syria are nearing a climax. There is a massive Western naval presence off the coasts of both countries, Israel and the United States are preparing to hold their “largest-ever” joint missile defense drill, code-named “Austere Challenge 12”. It should be noted that this exercise comes on the heels of several other large Israeli war games. Thousands of American soldiers and sophisticated anti-missile systems will land in Israel, and according to a few reports, some of the force and equipment will stay there for months.
Their presence will likely have a double effect of helping Israel shoot down the thousands of missiles aimed at it in the event of a regional conflagration and adding pressure on the Jewish state not to embark on any adventure alone.
In general, sources report an increased rate of transfer of military equipment to American bases around the Middle East in the last few weeks and months. These are very clear preparations for war; yet they need not mean that a strike on Iran is imminent. Such an operation is a complicated endeavor, even for the US.
Just as Iran would need a certain period of time (known as breakout time) from the moment it leaves the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to the moment it builds a bomb, so would the United States need a period of time from when it decides to strike to when it does. It could take weeks if not months to transfer the necessary military personnel, airplanes and (especially) supplies to bases in the region. more
Dennis Ross, who served two years on Obama’s National Security Council and a year as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s special adviser on Iran, said in an interview January 9.
“There are consequences if you act militarily, and there’s big consequences if you don’t act,”