Lebanon. The excitement surrounding the UN-led investigation into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri in 2005 escalated during the year. The investigation reportedly targeted his suspicions of the Syria-backed Hizbullah movement, which prompted Syria to try to pressure Rafiq al-Hariri’s son, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, to distance himself from the investigation. Syrian President Bashar al-Asad visited Lebanon in July, together with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, for talks with President Michel Suleiman on the investigation. After previously dismissing the investigation as an “Israeli project”, Hizbullah submitted data in August to the investigation which the organization said proved that Israel was involved in the murder. A few months later, Saad al-Hariri unexpectedly said that the allegations that Syria might have been behind the murder of his father were false. But that was not enough to appease Syria, which in October issued arrest warrants for 33 people, many of them allied with Saad al-Hariri, who they said were suspected of misleading UN investigators and bringing them into the Hezbullah track. The play was interpreted as an attempt to persuade al-Hariri to completely break with the investigators. Hizbullah, a member of the Lebanese government coalition, had already stopped the Lebanese financing of the investigation. Government cooperation was also paralyzed.
A number of people, including several former military, several telephone industry executives and former general and Maronite politician Fayez Karam, were arrested during the year on suspicion of espionage on behalf of Israel. The espionage would have been directed at the Hizbullah movement. Since 2009, about 70 people had been arrested, two of whom had been sentenced to death.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Lebanon has a population of 6.849 million (2018). Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Lebanon for the first time on October 13-14 and was received as a hero in the country’s southern region, close to the border with Israel.
President Suleiman visited Moscow on February 25 for talks on military cooperation with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. It was the first time a Lebanese president made a state visit to the Russian Federation.
Two Lebanese soldiers, a Lebanese journalist and an Israeli officer were killed on August 3 in a firefight at the Israeli border. Israeli soldiers had advanced to cut down a tree that, according to the Lebanese, stood on Lebanese soil, but which, according to the UN, stood on the Israeli side of the border. Lebanese military fired the Israelis, who responded to the fire.
All 90 people on board were killed when a Boeing 737 passenger plane from Ethiopian Airlines crashed on January 25 shortly after takeoff from Beirut airport.
Following a US veto against a UN Security Council resolution and several diluted statements, on August 3, the council resumed negotiations on a new resolution calling for a halt to the fighting. The work was hampered by the fact that Israel’s prime minister had already stated before that Israel would not stop fighting until an international force of at least 15,000 men was deployed in southern Lebanon. Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has notoriously refused to follow UN resolutions or decisions in other international bodies.
While Israel claimed Hezbollah was funded by Syria and Iran, its own war was funded by the United States, which supports Israel with $ 3 billion. US $ annually. The weapons also originated from the United States, while weapon parts in the F-16 bombers originated, among other things. Denmark. It was North American “precision weapons” Israel on July 25 used to kill 4 unarmed UN observers in their shelter in southern Lebanon. During the war, North American weapons supplies continued with even stronger and larger weapons. It happened despite world community protests. In London, on 27 July, the British Foreign Minister criticized the United States for using a British airport on July 26 as transit for the transport of more advanced weapons to Israel. Britain sharply criticized the superpower’s supply of one party to the war with even more deadly weapons.
Only when, after 3-4 weeks inward war, the United States reluctantly acknowledged that Israel was unable to crush Hezbollah militarily, did the superpower agree to a UN resolution that could halt the fighting without it and Israel too much face.
Student protests against higher fees
The race of the Lebanese currency leads to higher tuition fees for students at the private universities American University of Beirut (AUB) and Lebanese American University (LAU). This will be the result in practice of setting a new exchange rate to be applied when paying the fees. Students protest and throw water bottles at riot police who have been deployed to disperse the protesters.
Life of the Hariri murder in 2005
Salim Ayyash, who was convicted of the murder of veteran politician and businessman Rafiq al-Hariri in 2005, is sentenced in his absence to five life sentences (see August 18). Three other defendants have been acquitted by the special court in the Netherlands. It is not known where Ayyash is. He is known as a member of the Hezbollah movement, which denies involvement in the assassination.
Ministers of criminal suspects after Beirut disaster
Following the disaster in Beirut on August 4, Prime Minister Hassan Diab and three former ministers are suspected of crimes. The criminal classification is negligence and causing the death of another. The decision has been made by an investigating judge and the ministers will be questioned about information that says that before the explosion they received warnings that ammonium nitrate was stored in the port in risky forms. In addition to Diab, suspicions are being leveled at former Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil and the two former Labor ministers Youssef Fenianos and Ghazi Zeaïter. The government resigned the week after the disaster, but remains as expedition minister.
First indictment with new law against corruption
Eight people with military backgrounds are on trial, accused of using their public duties to enrich themselves with illegal methods. The charges are the first based on a new anti-corruption law adopted in April 2020.
The World Bank gives an understatement
Lebanon’s economy is sinking into a deliberate recession, the World Bank writes in a report that is not gracious about how the country’s politicians have handled the situation. The bank forecasts that the economy will shrink by 19.2 percent in 2020 and that the central government debt will correspond to 194 percent of GDP in 2021.