Thursday, September 24, 2015

Globe Garbage From Lebanon

Smells like a U.S. destabilization campaign to me:

"Police fire tear gas at Beirut protesters" Associated Press  August 24, 2015

BEIRUT — Lebanese riot police fired tear gas and water cannons for the second consecutive day in downtown Beirut Sunday as they battled protesters with batons and stones, a marked escalation of mass demonstrations against an ongoing trash crisis.

Sporadic gunfire echoed through the capital’s commercial district into the night as police fired in the air to disperse protesters. The violence, which left about 30 people injured, occurred hours after Prime Minister Tammam Salam hinted that he might step down after protests Saturday injured more than 100.

The violence threatens to plunge Lebanon in new instability and political turmoil, adding to the greater Mideast’s upheaval.

Already catching a whiff of the hallmarks.

The protests, the largest in years to shake tiny Lebanon, seek to upend what protesters see as a corrupt and dysfunctional political system that has no functional Cabinet or Parliament, nor has had a president for more than a year.

The protests started over garbage piling up on the streets after the capital’s main landfill was closed a month ago.


"Garbage crisis worsens in Lebanon" Associated Press  August 26, 2015

BEIRUT — Ministers of the Hezbollah group and its allies walked out of a Lebanese Cabinet meeting Tuesday meant to discuss the country’s worsening garbage crisis, reflecting the government’s lingering dysfunction despite mass protests.

I smell a regime change. 

Hezbollah later issued a statement saying it supported peaceful protests against ‘‘endemic corruption,’’ calling it a legitimate right. The statement suggested the powerful group was throwing its weight behind the protest movement now calling on the government to resign.

I could be on the wrong scent.

Prime Minister Tammam Salam had called for the emergency meeting after a weekend of clashes between security forces and demonstrators protesting corruption and poor public services.

After the six ministers met for about four hours, Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil, whose Free Patriotic Movement is aligned with Hezbollah, said he was pulling out because of a ‘‘theater’’ being performed with regards to the trash issue.

The trash crisis has emphasized the long-existing fault lines in Lebanon that in recent years have pitted the Iran-backed Hezbollah group against the country’s Western-backed, pro-Saudi camp.

The Cabinet also unanimously rejected the winning bidders to manage Beirut’s trash announced by the environment minister a day earlier, citing high costs. The Cabinet tasked a ministerial committee with restarting the bidding process, suggesting there was no imminent solution for the crisis that has sparked the protests.


"Lebanese protesters occupy ministry" Associated Press  September 02, 2015

BEIRUT — Lebanese security forces and protesters engaged in a drawn-out standoff outside a ministry that was briefly taken over by activists Tuesday, reflecting both reluctance by authorities to decisively crack down and a lack of focus by protesters — who are determined but lacking a clear path to success. 

It's looking like an Occupy-type movement now, and that's bad!

The unexpected takeover of the ministry by a number of activists demanding the resignation of the environment minister over the country’s trash crisis left some Lebanese bewildered, wondering whether it was the right path to take.

So am I.

Angry protests that suddenly erupted last month over the government’s failure to deal with uncollected garbage have evolved into the most serious antigovernment demonstrations in Lebanon in years.

Their goal is shared by most Lebanese. But differences over the tactics used are already emerging.

“There is no coherent message coming out from the protesters,” said Salwan Issa, a 39-year-old sales manager. “We all want the same things, but nobody wants chaos.”

It's like reading a Globe.

On Tuesday, a group of about 30 protesters from the “You Stink” movement marched into the ministry, pushing through guards at the entrance of the building.

Really? Looks like an in-your-face laugher!

Following an hours-long standoff during which police cut off electricity, air conditioning, and closed bathrooms, riot police dragged most activists out of the building, beating some with batons.


"Lebanese protests resume as leaders debate trash crisis; Politicians feel pressure mount along with refuse" by Zeina Karam and Bassem Mroue Associated Press  September 10, 2015

BEIRUT — Thousands of demonstrators braved a sandstorm and oppressive humidity to rally against government dysfunction Wednesday as Lebanese politicians failed to make progress in the first round of talks aimed at resolving a trash crisis that has engulfed the country’s capital.

Activists near the Parliament building, which was closed off by security forces, shouted ‘‘thieves!’’ and hurled eggs as politicians drove by.

Tensions rose further after a morning gathering of lawmakers and senior officials ended without results, while the Cabinet convened late into the night to discuss the deadlock. Outside the building, protesters chanted: ‘‘Revolution, revolution against the system.’’


‘‘They are feeling the sand shifting under them,’’ Elias Nassour, a 28-year-old protester, said of the politicians. ‘‘Nothing will pass so easily anymore. They can’t belittle us anymore.’’

The trash crisis has ignited the largest Lebanese protests in years and has emerged as a festering symbol of the government’s paralysis and failure to provide basic services. It was sparked by popular anger over the heaps of trash accumulating in Beirut’s streets after authorities closed the capital’s main landfill on July 17 without providing an alternative.

The protests quickly moved beyond just the trash in the streets to target an entire political class that has dominated the country and undermined its growth since the civil war ended in 1990.


Thousands of people have taken part in huge demonstrations over the past two weeks. Among other things, they are demanding new parliament elections, to be followed by presidential elections.

(Blog editor nodding; it's a destabilization and regime change effort, likely tied into weakening Assad).

The country has been without a president for more than a year, and members of Parliament have illegally extended their terms twice amid disputes over an election law.

After meeting for 3½ hours, leaders of Lebanon’s various sectarian blocs issued a brief statement announcing that the talks would resume Sept. 16.

‘‘They did not even bother to meet tomorrow or the day after. They postponed it for a week and came out without any decision,’’ said Assaad Thebian, an organizer with ‘‘You Stink,’’ the main group behind the protests. ‘‘They showed that they are indifferent and should not be in leadership positions,’’ he said.

They couldn't think of a better name?


"Anticorruption protests target Lebanese lawmakers" AP  September 16, 2015

BEIRUT — Dozens of Lebanese activists held a protest Tuesday outside a Finance Ministry building in the country’s capital after failing to storm it, part of a recent series of antigovernment rallies stemming from a trash collection crisis.

The protesters attempted to enter the building earlier in the day as employees were arriving. But security forces quickly prevented them, closing the doors both to protesters and other staffers left outside.

The protesters chanted against corruption in state institutions. They said they are taking their protests to the Finance Ministry, asking that it stop paying salaries for lawmakers who have been unable to convene. The protesters complain that the Parliament, elected in 2009, is illegitimate because members have illegally extended their terms twice and the Legislature remains deadlocked over an election law and choosing a president. Lebanon has been without a president for more than a year.

‘‘There are 128 lawmakers and they have not been doing their job,’’ Neamat Bader al-Deen, an activist with a group called We Want Accountability told local TV channels during the protest.

‘‘Why should people not doing their job get paid, while others are not getting their salaries?’’ she asked.

Teachers and public sector employees have been demanding that Parliament approve a salary scale for more than three years.

What started as protests against trash piling up in the streets because of government dysfunction is turning into Lebanon’s largest protest movement in years, targeting an entire political class.


"Lebanon police clash with protesters again" Associated Press  September 17, 2015

BEIRUT — Lebanese police beat back protesters with clubs and sticks and arrested dozens of people in downtown Beirut on Wednesday as a second session of dialogue among politicians got underway, the latest confrontations this city has seen over the country’s summer trash crisis.

The small group of activists had gathered near the parliament building, where the meeting was taking place. Some of the protesters had brought eggs to pelt politicians’ convoys while others tried to block the street.

Baton-wielding riot police soon clashed with the protesters, at one point dragging two to the ground and violently beating both. Some protesters shouted at the police: ‘‘Shabiha,’’ Arabic for thugs. Ambulances rushed to the scene and took the wounded away, and dozens of protesters were taken into custody.

The uncollected trash has led to more general protests over the government’s failure to provide basic services.


That's when the Globe stopped picking up bags of Lebanese trash.

What missed the truck:

"Lebanese authorities arrested a fugitive hard-line Sunni cleric Saturday who was wanted on suspicion of being involved in deadly clashes with government troops in 2013 that deepened sectarian tensions in the country. Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir was detained at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport as he was trying to flee the country in a disguise and using a forged passport, two senior security officials and the state-run National News Agency said."