On Mar. 26, a US F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet deployed in the Gulf region conducted an unusual mission, dropping some 60,000 leaflets over Raqqa region, the ISIS stronghold and de-facto capital in Syria.The leaflet includes a gruesome cartoon drawing, showing 7 men being lined up for a meat grinder (labeled “Daesh”) by a “Daesh Recruiting Office.” Daesh is the Arabic acronym for ISIS that members of the jihadist group find offensive.
The leaflets were released by means of a PDU-5B leaflet canister.
The purpose of the leaflet is to support Psychological Operations or PSYOPS against ISIS in Syria. The message of the leaflet is clear: those recruited by ISIS will find themselves in a figurative meat grinder and could actually turn into the group's next victims. The aim is to both dissuade individuals from joining ISIS while highlighting the group's paranoia and disunity.
BEIRUT: Seven suspects attempting illegal entry into Lebanon led soldiers into a wild pursuit Thursday night, resulting in the death of one and the arrest of two others.
A statement released by the Lebanese Army Friday said soldiers spotted a group of seven men attempting to “infiltrate Lebanese territory” through the Soweiri area near the Masnaa crossing at the Syria-Lebanon border.
It said troops were forced to open fire and chase the suspects after they failed to heed to an order to stop.
Mohammad Khaled Hammoud was wounded and taken to a Bekaa Valley hospital where he soon died, the military said.
BEIRUT: There has been no improvement in the living conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon over the past year, experts from the Palestinian Association for Human Rights said at a news conference Thursday. Palestinians suffer from poor education and health services and battle legally sanctioned discrimination, according to a report released by the association, also known as Witness, in an event at the Press Federation.
Refugees are also subjected to political and economic scrutiny, which affects their daily lives.
“In brief, the humanitarian situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is becoming more fragile,” the report said.
Ross Mountain, the U.N. resident Coordinator in Lebanon, has warned that the needs of the region's states, including Lebanon, are growing as result of the war in Syria, hoping that donor countries would assist the country at the upcoming conference in Kuwait.
He also revealed that the International Support Group for Lebanon could meet in Beirut this year.
In an interview with An Nahar daily published on Friday, Mountain said: “The needs and the demands linked to the Syrian crisis, which also include Lebanon, are growing.”
"I visited several capitals … and I am in contact with the embassies here,” he stated. “My message to the donors was clear that we want to see a vision on how to deal with the funding.”
“The donors could provide finding to the (Lebanese) government, through the U.N. Agencies or the World Bank,” Mountain told An Nahar.
Saudi Arabia began a military operation in Yemen on March 25 to counter Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who have dissolved the Yemeni state and forced president Abd Rabbu Mansur Hadi to flee the country by boat.
The operation is a Saudi attempt to reclaim a strategic frontier from its primary regional adversary, or to at least limit Iran's potentially reach into the Arabian peninsula. But it's also becoming rapidly apparent that the Yemen operation, called Operation Decisive Storm, is driven by something more than just Saudi-Iranian competition.
Every single Arab monarchy (except for Oman) is involved in the effort, including distant Morocco — a sign that governments ruling a combined 90 million people across 8 countries believes that the prestige and core interests of traditional conservative powers are at stake in Yemen.
The cabinet referred on Thursday the crime of Btedei to the judicial council, two weeks after a judge indicted eight members of the Jaafar clan over links to the case.
“The crime has been referred to the judicial council,” Information Minister Ramzi Jreij told reporters after the cabinet session at the Grand Serail.
Earlier this month, eight Jaafar clan members were indicted in the murder of Sobhi and Nadimeh Fakhri in the town of Btedei in the eastern Baalbek district in November last year.
They were referred to the Bekaa Criminal Court for trial.
The couple were killed by fugitives from the Jaafar clan who were fleeing army troops. The gunmen entered the family's house with the intent of taking their vehicle but the tenants showed resistance, which prompted the armed men to shoot the couple and their son, who survived the attack.
BEIRUT: The head of the U.N.'s peacekeeping force in Lebanon met separately with Prime Minister Tammam Salam and Speaker Nabih Berri Thursday, a statement said.
UNIFIL commander Maj. Gen. Luciano Portolano discussed with Salam and Berri U.N. Security Council resolution 1701 and issues "related to the last tripartite meeting" which took place earlier this month between representatives of the Lebanese Army, UNIFIL and the Israeli army, UNIFIL said.
"We had very productive meetings and exchanged views in taking concrete steps on a number of outstanding issues towards the implementation of UNSCR 1701," Portolano said in the statement.
Lebanon on Thursday took an ambiguous stance that is in the vein of its famous “dissociation policy” towards regional conflicts, voicing support for any joint Arab action that “reassures everyone,” after Saudi warplanes bombed Shiite rebels in Yemen and sparked Iranian warnings.
“Any joint Arab action is lauded if it is based on standards that guarantee (the interests of) everyone, reassure everyone and involve everyone,” Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil said, addressing a meeting for Arab FMs in Sharm el-Sheikh.
The meeting aims to prepare for the 26th ordinary Arab Summit and had been scheduled prior to the Saudi-led strike.
Riyadh has said it assembled a coalition of more than 10 Arab and Muslim countries for the operation it dubbed "Firmness Storm."
A spiritual summit will be held on Monday at the seat of the Maronite church in Bkirki to press forward the election of a new head of state, An Nahar newspaper reported.
The daily said on Wednesday that participants will send a letter to the political arch-foes to rectify the adopted policies to serve citizens.
The letter will also underline the importance of resuming dialogues that would lead to easing tension in the country, and highlight the significance of safeguarding the country away from foreign intervention.
However, the newspaper said that any political efforts will be postponed till after the Easter holiday.
RAS BAALBEK/ARSAL, Lebanon: Snow has melted, weather conditions have improved and clear skies announce the advent of spring. In short, terrain conditions are ripe for the anticipated “spring battle” between the Lebanese Army and Islamist militants from ISIS and Nusra Front who are clustered in the rugged mountains along Lebanon’s northeastern border with Syria. While Syria-based terrorist groups have reportedly been gearing up and preparing for the projected battle, which has so far been hampered by bad weather, the Army conducted a pre-emptive operation last month, seizing strategic hills from ISIS militants in the outskirts of the Christian town of Ras Baalbek.
BEIRUT: Two terror suspects detained in northeast Lebanon Tuesday could play a vital role in uncovering terrorist networks operating in Lebanon, according to a report published by As-Safir Wednesday.
An Army statement Tuesday said cousins Omar and Bilal Mikati, both from the northern city of Tripoli, belonged to a terrorist organization and were involved in attacks against the Lebanese Army and other terrorist operations.
The two suspects, whose confessions provided valuable information on terror networks and dormant cells operating in Lebanon, were immediately transferred to the headquarters of military intelligence in Yarze, according to the report.
By Dana Halawi BEIRUT (Thomson Reuters Foundation)
When Lina met her husband she was drawn by his warmth and quiet nature. At 19 she was keen to settle down and start a family, but she never imagined the nightmare ahead. "Marriage turned my life into a real mess," she says after 17 years of misery with a husband who she says repeatedly beat her up, abused her and left her in fear of her life. "
He used to invite his girlfriends over to our place without caring at all about my feelings," she added. "If I complained about his behavior he'd ask me to leave the house or even threaten to kill me." On one occasion she says her husband also beat their 10-year-old son up when he stepped in to protect her. Lina, a 36-year-old mother of three, is one of a handful of women in Lebanon who has dared to speak out about an issue that is strongly taboo throughout the Middle East.
BEIRUT — In a nation living in the shadow of war, Wael Abu Faour has become a celebrity by going after purveyors of rotten fish and crooked nose jobs.
The health minister has led a high-profile campaign in this small Arab country to clean up restaurants and slaughterhouses, lower prescription drug prices and shutter shady plastic surgery clinics.
Seen as sleaze-free in a country steeped in corruption, Abu Faour has become increasingly popular, regularly appearing on television talk shows and the front pages of newspapers. But he also has accumulated enemies who charge that his campaign is political opportunism and deflects attention from more pressing issues, such as the influx of over a million refugees from war-torn Syria.