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November 23, 2011 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 763

The Miqati Government in Lebanon – Continued Subjugation to the Syrian Patron

November 23, 2011 | By E. B. Picali*
Syria, Lebanon | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 763

Introduction

The popular uprising in Syria, which began in mid-March 2011, has major ramifications for Lebanon. This is due to the countries' geographical proximity and their close and complex ties, and especially due to the fact that Syria sees Lebanon as its protectorate. This document will focus on the position of the Lebanese government, under Prime Minister Najib Al-Miqati, vis-à-vis the popular uprising in Syria, and will also review the stance of the pro-Syrian Lebanese press, and of representatives of the Christian and Druze communities in Lebanon.

Miqati and His Government: Support Disguised as Neutrality

The Political and Diplomatic Arena

Since its formation on June 13, 2011, Najib Miqati's government, which is dominated by the pro-Syrian March 8 Forces, has outwardly adopted a stance of neutrality regarding the events in Syria, and of non-interference in Syria's internal affairs, on the grounds that Syria's security and stability are tied to Lebanon's. One expression of this neutral stance was Lebanon's decision to "disassociate itself" from the August 3, 2011 UN Security Council condemning Syria for human rights violations and for its use of violence against civilians. Explaining this decision, Miqati said that Lebanon did not wish to "interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, especially Arab countries,"[1] and added: "We must... understand the extent of the dangers [to Lebanon's unity], and do everything to extinguish every burning fuse before the fire spreads to [our] domestic arena..."[2]

This decision met with criticism from circles in Lebanon, especially – but not exclusively – from Miqati's opponents. Former Lebanese prime minister and current acting head of the Al-Mustaqbal party in the Lebanese parliament Fouad Al-Siniora said: "We do not want to interfere in the events in Syria... but our human emotions are [provoked] by the images of bloodshed and of the dead."[3] 'Imad Al-Hout, an MP with the Muslim Brotherhood party, Al-Jama'a Al-Islamiyya, called Miqati's stance "immoral,"[4] and 'Ali Hamada, a columnist for the daily Al-Nahar, called the Miqati government "a child-murdering government."[5] Sati' Nour Al-Din, editor of the pro-Syrian daily Al-Safir, wrote: "Lebanon should not be neutral in the face of the massacre in Syria..."[6]

However, Miqati's apparently neutral stance did not manage to hide his government's inclination towards the Syrian regime. In late September Miqati told Arab ambassadors at the UN that "Lebanon refuses to impose any sanctions on Syria."[7] On September 19, the daily Al-Safir reported that Lebanese Foreign Minister 'Adnan Mansour would coordinate positions with his Syrian counterpart prior to the meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo dealing with the Syrian situation.[8] Following the meeting, Mansour expressed reservations about its closing statement, which called for a halt to the violence in Syria.[9] At a press conference, after meeting with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, Mansour said: "The Lebanese government supports Syria, who has met [the people's] demands for reform."[10] On September 28, in a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu, Mansour called "to give the Syrian leadership sufficient time to enact reforms."[11] He told the Kuwaiti paper Al-Anba: "Lebanon supports Syria in the face of any further condemnation resolution... Whatever hurts Syria hurts Lebanon."[12]

Further evidence of the pro-Syrian stance of the Miqati government is found in various media reports: The Al-Akhbar daily reported that Miqati's brother Taha visited Damascus several times and met with associates of Assad to learn about Damascus' position.[13] The Al-Mustaqbal daily reported, citing a diplomatic source, that in early September, Miqati secretly met in Damascus with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Mu'allem and with the former head of Syrian Intelligence, General Rustum Ghazale.[14] (The report was denied by Miqati's office).[15]

An October 8 report in the Al-Akhbar daily indicated the extent of Syria's influence over the Miqati government. The newspaper, which is close to Hizbullah, revealed that Syria had conveyed to Miqati that Lebanon could abstain in the vote on a proposed Security Council resolution condemning Syria, since Russia would veto the resolution.[16] An Al-Mustaqbal editorial responded by saying: "According to news leaked by the resistance paper [Al-Akhbar], Lebanon's neutral stance regarding an anti-Syrian resolution in the Security Council was determined in a telephone conversation with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Once again it has been proven... that the Lebanese government continues to take orders from its masters abroad [in Syria] and at home [i.e. Hizbullah] in equal measure."[17]

It seems that the August 8 calls by Miqati[18] and by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah's deputy Na'im Qassem,[19] as well as the August 26 calls by Nasrallah himself,[20] to end the violence in Syria and commence dialogue were purely tactical responses prompted by the especially high death toll in Syria at the start of Ramadan.

Miqati's attempt to create an impression of a moderate and neutral Lebanese government was presumably motivated by Lebanon's dependence on Western aid, both economic and military, and by the fact that it has since mid-September been serving as the rotating president of the Security Council. This tactic is also employed vis-à-vis other major issues in Lebanese politics, such as the Special Tribunal for Lebanon that is investigating the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Al-Hariri, and its funding.

Later, on November 12, the Lebanese government revealed its true colors when it voted against the Arab League decision to suspend Syria's membership in the organization, impose economic and political sanctions upon it, recall the Arab ambassadors from Syria, and urge the Syrian army to cease its violence against civilians.[21] This Lebanese move surprised even some members of the government, who complained that they had not been consulted and that Miqati and Foreign Minister Mansour had taken the decision on their own.[22]

The Security Arena

Another indication of the Miqati government's real stance on the Syrian events is its treatment of protestors and Lebanese and Syrian activists in Lebanon, and of Syrian refugees there, as well as its response to incursions by the Syrian army into its territory. Outwardly, the government allows demonstrations both for and against the Syrian regime, and allows Syrian refugees to enter its territory. However, many reports indicate that Lebanese security forces are trying to rein in Lebanese and Syrian opponents of the Syrian regime. They refuse to permit protests in front of the Syrian Embassy[23] and set up road blocks to prevent protestors from reaching the spot;[24] in addition, they raid the homes of Lebanese anti-Assad activists;[25] fail to protect supporters of the Syrian uprising from the violence of pro-Assad activists;[26] summon Islamist movement officials to appear before military courts for their involvement in demonstrations supporting the Syrian people;[27] and so on.

On July 25, Sa'd Al-Din Shatila, the head of the Al-Karama human rights organization, was arrested after his organization published a report regarding the mistreatment of Syrian refugees by the Lebanese security apparatuses.[28] On August 25, Al-Mustaqbal reported, citing the AFP, that Lebanese military intelligence had arrested the Syrian oppositionist Zuheir Al-Najjar in Tripoli. According to a September 13 report by Al-Mustaqbal columnist Fadi Al-Shamia, the Syrian ambassador to Lebanon, 'Ali 'Abd Al-Karim 'Ali, heads a security mechanism that monitors and threatens Syrian oppositionists and even abducts them.[29] On October 10, Lebanese internal security chief Ashraf Rifi told the Lebanese parliament's human rights committee that five Syrian oppositionists – four members of the Jassem family and a fifth named Shibli Al-'Ismi – had been abducted by the Lebanese security force that guards the Syrian Embassy in Beirut, and that an embassy vehicle had been used in the operation.[30]

On August 19, following a meeting with a diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanese Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said that the meeting participants had "discussed the fate of some Syrian oppositionists who disappeared in Lebanon," and that Lebanon's security apparatuses were investigating the matter.[31] In contrast, Miqati declared, in a September 6 interview with AFP, that he received no complaints regarding the extradition of Syrian soldiers who had defected or the penalizing of Syrian oppositionists.[32] It seems that Miqati's comments came in response to a statement released two days prior by the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon, according to which "the United States attributes importance to the role of the Lebanese army in protecting Syrian oppositionists in Lebanon, since this is one of Lebanon's international and legal obligations..."[33]

The human rights violations, and the constraints on free speech regarding Syria, are also evident from Lebanese Minister Nicholas Fatoush's call to the government to take harsher measures against Syrian regime opponents, as required by the agreement between the countries.[34] The media did not remain silent in the face of these calls and steps. At a meeting of TV network representatives from across the Lebanese political spectrum, the participants denounced these steps and demanded to preserve freedom of the press in the country.[35]

An especially blatant expression of the Lebanese government's subjugation to Syria was its disregard, and even its understanding, of Syria's repeated violations of its sovereignty.

Since early October, there have been increasing reports of Syrian army incursions into Lebanese territory in pursuit of Syrian oppositionists, and of attacks on them and on Lebanese citizens.[36] In a statement dated October 5, the March 14 Forces condemned these incursions and demanded that the government put an end to them.[37] An October 7 Al-Mustaqbal editorial was dedicated to the Lebanese government's disregard of repeated violations of its sovereignty.[38]

The West also took notice. On October 7, a French Foreign Ministry spokesman expressed his country's concern regarding these incursions and regarding the killing of a Syrian citizen on Lebanese soil, and called to respect Lebanon's independence and sovereignty.[39] A U.S. State Department spokesman likewise condemned the incursions and called on Damascus to honor Lebanon's sovereignty, expressing concern regarding "the reports of arrests of Syrian oppositionists [in Lebanon] and of occasional deaths resulting from military action close to the border."[40] In a press conference, the E.U. ambassador to Lebanon stressed the importance of demarcating the border between Syria and Lebanon, and Lebanon's importance as a safe haven for Syrian refugees.[41]

In response to these criticisms, Lebanese Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi said: "These matters are handled by the security forces... All the rest is political chatter."[42] The Syrian ambassador to Lebanon responded similarly.[43] Lebanese Foreign Minister 'Adnan Mansour told the Kuwaiti daily Al-Anba that Syrian army incursions into Lebanese territory had not been discussed by the Lebanese government because the issue had not been on the agenda of their last meeting, and that, in any case, these were temporary and shallow incursions by a friendly country. He also denied that the Syrian army had harmed Lebanese citizens.[44] Interior Minister Charbel said that the source of the problem was the uncertainty regarding the exact location of the border, and that Syria regarded the area in which its soldiers had operated as Syrian territory.[45]

In addition, on November 5, the Lebanese army confirmed that its trucks occasionally entered Syria to provide logistic equipment and spare parts for Syrian vehicles, in accordance with the cooperation agreement between the countries.[46]

The Economic Arena

Reports on the economic cooperation between Lebanon and the Assad regime are few but revealing. On July 18, the Lebanese website Al-Nour reported, citing Nasri Khouri, secretary-general of the Supreme Syrian-Lebanese Council, that the close cooperation between the central banks of Syria and Lebanon had thwarted an attempt to harm the Syrian lira.[47] On October 4, the Al-Akhbar daily reported that since early 2011, the total amount of deposits in Lebanese banks had increased by $6 billion, and that some believe that the additional sums came from Syria.[48] According to a September 26 report in the Al-Safir daily, the U.S. Treasury Department requested clarifications from Lebanese Finance Minister Muhammad Al-Safadi regarding Syrian deposits in Lebanese banks.[49] A few days later, the newspaper reported that during a meeting in New York, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Miqati against cooperating with Syrian attempts to circumvent the U.S. sanctions on Syria by transferring funds to Lebanese banks.[50] The U.S.'s suspicions refer to Miqati himself. On August 19, the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai reported, citing sources in the U.S. Treasury Department, that the U.S. is close to proving financial ties between the Assad family and Najib Miqati and his brother Taha, and that the U.S. is expected to impose sanctions on them as well.[51]

Criticism of the Lebanese government's financial policy was also voiced inside Lebanon. On September 28, the March 14 Forces called "to prevent Lebanon's monetary and financial [system] from being turned into an economic lung for the Syrian regime."[52] Surprisingly, criticism also appeared in the daily Al-Akhbar, which is close to Hizbullah. Columnist Fida 'Itani wrote: "The Americans... have imposed sanctions on [our] Syrian neighbors, and it is possible that any participation by the Lebanese banking sector in breaking the siege on Syria, now or in the future... will cost [us] dearly in [harm] to the Lebanese currency."[53]

In Contrast to Miqati Government's Unreserved Support, Pro-Syrian Press Levels Harsh Criticism at Syria

The pro-Syrian stance of the Miqati government stands out even more starkly when contrasted with the shift in the position of the pro-Syrian and pro-March 8 Forces newspapers Al-Safir and Al-Akhbar. These two dailies, until recently blatantly supportive of the Syrian regime, sharply changed their positions with the start of the Syrian uprising, and began to level harsh criticism at the regime. From the start of the protests, these dailies understood, in light of the uprisings in other Arab countries and their outcomes, that the Syrian regime must enact true reforms and avoid violence if it wished to survive and to continue acting as an important link in the resistance axis. They covered the events in a free and balanced manner. As the protests and bloodshed in Syria increased, they ratcheted up their criticism of the Syrian regime and its ally Hizbullah, and even initiated ties with the Syrian opposition and reported on its activities. An expression of this was the interview held by Al-Akhbar on October 14 with Syrian liberal oppositionist Haitham Al-Malih.[54]

It should be noted that when the Arab League began to take steps against Syria in early November, the two dailies stopped their criticism of its regime, and the daily Al-Akhbar even resumed expressing a degree of support for Assad. However, the following will chronicle the period in which the dailies were critical of the Assad regime.

On April 4, the owner of Al-Safir, Tallal Salman, criticized a speech by Assad, saying: "This speech does not fit the dangerous situation in Syria and its possible implications considering the popular uprisings throughout the [Arab world]. It prompted the opposite response [from what Assad intended] because it failed to address the basic and immediate reforms that the Syrians desire."[55] On August 1, following the deadly events in Hama, Salman wrote: "[These events] have dashed the hopes pinned on dialogue [between the regime and the protesters]."[56] One week later, he wrote that Syria, "who's face is covered with blood," had lost leadership of the region.[57] On August 9, Al-Safir editor Sati' Nour Al-Din wrote that Assad's rejection of Saudi Arabia's and Turkey's demand to cease violence was "an act of suicide."[58] On August 3, Ibrahim Al-Amin, the head of Al-Akhbar's board of directors, wrote: "The Syrian authorities are crazy if they think that disregarding, ignoring, or maligning [the opposition] will harm its image in the eyes of the public."[59]

Syria responded harshly to the criticism voiced by these formerly sympathetic papers. In early April, Ibrahim Al-Amin reported that Syria had banned the distribution of his paper on the previous day, and had even summoned some of its journalists for investigation.[60] On May 8, a Syrian oppositionist website, citing the Lebanese website Al-Nashra, reported that Al-Safir correspondent Ghadi Francis, who came to cover the events in Syria, and Al-Akhbar correspondent Ghassan Sa'ud, had been arrested by the Syrian authorities.[61] In mid June, Syria again banned the distribution of Al-Akhbar, and one month later, it banned the distribution of Al-Safir as well. In response, Al-Amin called the Syrian regime misguided, saying that events must be reported as they were.[62]

On August 20, Al-Amin described Al-Akhbar's position and its relationship with the Syrian regime since the outbreak of the protests: "When the protests started, Al-Akhbar decided... that Syria needs... [only] comprehensive reforms, because President Assad is [much] honored for his stance on Israel, and this enables him to enact such reforms, and because not all the Syrian people is condemning him. But... the Syrian regime responded harshly [to the protests], without distinguishing between [the protesters] who wanted economic reforms and those who wanted to oust it...

"In light... of the regime's clamp down on the demonstrators, the multitude of killings and arrests, and the deepening schism, and due to the dispute regarding the sincerity of the Syrian authorities' claims that terror groups tied to hostile foreign elements [were behind the events in Syria], we all became... hostages of daily events. Al-Akhbar was accused of joining the media chorus directed and funded by Qatar, which was working to topple the regime in Syria, and Syria decided to ban circulation of some of Al-Akhbar's editions... The regime focused on the daily articles by our colleague Khaled Saghia, who not only covered the events, but employed the tools and followed the strategy outlined by the [paper's] management... regarding the professional coverage of these [events]... [presenting them] as a legitimate popular revolution against a tyrannical regime. Having supported [the revolutions] in the other Arab countries, Al-Akhbar could stop [doing so] at the gates of Damascus... This continued until an even more violent clash occurred, when the regime decided to ban Al-Akhbar from entering Syria [altogether]."[63]

Al-Akhbar also criticized Hizbullah's stance vis-à-vis Syria. For example, columnist Fida 'Itani wrote that "Hizbullah's stance on the revolution in Syria is the opposite of what it should be."[64]

The Maronite Church: The Syrian Regime Is Good for the Christians

Maronite Patriarch Beshara Al-Ra'i, the representative of the Eastern Church in the Vatican since March 2011, hopes for stability in Syria out of concern for the fate of the Christian minority in Lebanon, Syria, and elsewhere in the Middle East. In light of the hardship experienced by Christians in other Arab countries whose regimes were overturned, such as Egypt and Iraq, he believes that preserving Assad's regime, and thus Syria's stability, will guarantee the safety of its Christian minority.

Accordingly, Al-Ra'i has tightened relations with Syria and Hizbullah. At a September 7, 2011 press conference in Paris, after meeting there with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and other French officials, he said: "Before us stands the example of Iraq. Are we headed for civil wars whose price will be paid by the people, and especially by the Christians, as happened in that country? Are we headed toward more extreme regimes that will harm the minorities, and especially the Christians? Are we headed for... the disintegration of the Arab world into small sectarian states?... None of these three options will benefit the peoples, democracy, or the values [which prompt] the West to encourage the uprisings. We, as Christians, will go as sheep to the slaughter..."[65] The following day, Al-Ra'i said: "A regime change in Syria, and the rise of the Sunnis to power, will lead to an alliance with their Sunni brothers in Lebanon, which in turn will lead to a great crisis between [Lebanon's] Shi'ites and Sunnis."[66]

It can be assumed that Al-Ra'i's statements, which were made in France, were meant to dissuade the West and the international community from imposing sanctions on Syria that could destabilize Assad's regime.

Al-Ra'i's statements met with satisfaction on the part of the Syrian regime and Hizbullah, but aroused rage among other circles in Lebanon and outside it. On September 15, French Ambassador to Lebanon Denis Pietton expressed disappointment at Al-Ra'i's remarks.[67] U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly told Al-Ra'i that President Obama would not meet with him during his visit to the U.S. in October.[68]

The responses from Lebanon's Christian leaders were in line with their political affiliations. Michel 'Aoun, head of the March 8 Forces, praised Al-Ra'i's statement, noting that "the alternative to the current regime in Syria is the Muslim Brotherhood, who believes that democracy contravenes the shari'a."[69] The Christian leaders from among the March 14 Forces, on the other hand, denounced the statements. For example, Samir Geagea, head of the Lebanese Forces, who is one of Syria's and Hizbullah's bitterest enemies among Lebanon's Christians, told the weekly Al-Usbu' Al-'Arabi that "tying the fate of the Christians to that of totalitarian regimes is a distortion of our history and identity."[70] Amin Al-Gemayel took up an ambivalent stance. Initially, he claimed that his Al-Kataeb (Phalangist) party identified with every people that struggled for freedom and honor,[71] but later he expressed agreement with Al-Ra'i's statements, explaining that all Christians shared his fears, and added that Al-Ra'i was not the patriarch of the March 8 Forces only, but was working to consolidate the patriarchy.[72]

President Michel Suleiman, also a Christian, likewise expressed sympathy for Al-Ra'i's position. Following a meeting with him on September 15, he said that Al-Ra'i's statements "stemmed from the national and historic role of the Church."[73]

The Al-Mustaqbal faction stated in a September 13 announcement: "The democratic regime that the Arab peoples want to establish is one that respects religious, personal, and political freedoms, and human rights."[74] Fouad Siniora, currently standing in for Al-Hariri as head of the Al-Mustaqbal party, said on September 25: "Certain regimes [i.e. Syria] are trying to cause the people despair and to scare them [by] saying that ousting [the regime] will bring the extreme Islamists to power... We say that... a sweeping majority of Muslims, [including] all sectors of Syrian, Lebanese, or Egyptian society, want to eliminate the oppression that has harmed not only the Muslims in these countries, but also all the Christian [communities]..."[75]

The pan-Islamic Hizb Al-Tahrir movement called on Al-Ra'i to advocate "an Islamist regime, which has never throughout history discriminated among [religious] sects."[76] 'Azzam Al-Ayyoubi, head of the political bureau of the Lebanese Muslim Brotherhood, said that Al-Ra'i's stance was based on "a largely erroneous assessment" and promised to work towards moderating the Islamist discourse "due to our belief in living side by side [with the Christians]."[77]

Notable is the position of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt who, although fearing for the fate of the Druze in Syria and Lebanon, has not held back his harsh criticism of the Syrian regime's violence against the protestors. Unlike Al-Ra'i, Jumblatt has concluded that the Syrian regime, as it is, has no future. In response to Al-Ra'i's statements he wrote in his party's newspaper: "The alarmist talk about the Salafi or fundamentalist streams rising to power is inaccurate and serves to spread fear [among the minorities]. The popular demands... are [for] understandable and fundamental rights to which all peoples are entitled, without discrimination."[78] However, Jumblatt believes that anarchy must be avoided, in order to protect the Druze community in Syria and in Lebanon. To this end, he has attempted, unsuccessfully, to mediate between Syria and Qatar,[79] the U.S.,[80] and Turkey.[81] In addition, he proposed a resolution to the crisis in Syria that included punishing regime officials who were responsible for killing protestors, freeing prisoners, stopping the violence against civilians, condemning incitement to sectarian strife, and encouraging party pluralism and reform.[82]

The Syrian regime, for its part, responded to Jumblatt's statements with rage, which, over time, led to a total disconnect between the two sides.[83]

Upon his return to Lebanon from Paris, Al-Ra'i attempted to make amends. In a visit to the 'Aley region, he said: "...We do not intervene in any sectorial conflict, neither in Lebanon nor outside it. We support peace... Forget what was implicated by some of [my] words... which were completely detached from my basic positions."[84] In a September 23 meeting with Maronite MPs at the seat of the Patriarchy, he said: "Do you think I support Bashar Al-Assad? [Do you think that] I do not I know what he did to the Lebanese, and to us Christians in particular?... What I told President Sarkozy was that we feared an 'Alawi-Sunni conflict in Syria, whose price would be paid by the Christians."[85]

Notwithstanding these statements, on September 28 Al-Ra'i received a Syrian delegation headed by the Mufti of Damascus, who expressed appreciation of Al-Ra'i's statements in Paris.[86] Sheikh Bilal Dakmak, head of the Islamist association Ikra, said in response to this meeting: "How is it that Al-Ra'i fears for the Christians, yet at the same time hosts representatives [of the Syrian regime] that is killing the Syrian people? It would seem that the Muslims need protection [both] from those who kill them and from the plot of the minorities against them."[87]

*E. Picali is a research fellow at MEMRI.


Endnotes:

[1] Al-Safir (Lebanon), August 5, 2011.

[2] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), August 10, 2011.

[3] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), August 7, 2011.

[4] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), August 7, 2011.

[5] Al-Nahar (Lebanon), August 7, 2011.

[6] Al-Safir (Lebanon), August 8, 2011.

[7] Al-Safir (Lebanon), October 1, 2011.

[8] Al-Safir (Lebanon), September 19, 2011.

[9] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), August 30, 2011.

[10] Al-Watan (Syria), August 8, 2011.

[11] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), September 28, 2011.

[12] Al-Anba (Kuwait), October 10, 2011.

[13] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), October 18, 2011.

[14] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), October 4, 2011.

[15] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), October 5, 2011.

[16] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), October 8, 2011.

[17] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), October 9, 2011. It should be mentioned that Miqati was Assad's and Hizbullah's candidate for prime minister, and that he and his family have substantial economic ties in Syria.

[18] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), August 11, 2011.

[19] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon) August 10, 2011.

[20] Al-Safir (Lebanon), August 27, 2011.

[21] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), November 13, 2011.

[22] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), November 15, 2011.

[23] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), August 3, 2011.

[24] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), August 24, 2011.

[25] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), August 27, 2011.

[26] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), August 3, 2011.

[27] Al-Safir (Lebanon), October 3, 2011.

[28] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), July 26, 2011.

[29] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), September 13, 2011.

[30] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), October 12, 2011.

[31] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), August 20, 2011.

[32] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), July 10, 2011.

[33] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), October 5, 2011.

[34] Al-Hayat (London), August 8, 2011. In September 1991, Lebanon and Syria signed an agreement stipulating that each country would avoid any military, security, political, or media activity that might harm the other, refrain from sheltering individuals or organizations acting against the other's security, and extradite such persons to the other country.

[35] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), August 4, 2011.

[36] See, for example: Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), September 30, 2011; Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), October 5, 2011; Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), October 7, 2011.

[37] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), October 6, 2011.

[38] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), October 7, 2011.

[39] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), October 8, 2011.

[40] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), October 26, 2011.

[41] Al-Safir (Lebanon), October 26, 2011.

[42] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), October 7, 2011.

[43] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), October 7, 2011.

[44] Al-Anba (Kuwait), October 10, 2011.

[45] Al-Nahar (Lebanon), October 22, 2011.

[46] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), November 6, 2011.

[47] www.alnour.com.lb, July 18, 2011.

[48] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), October 4, 2011.

[49] Al-Safir (Lebanon), September 26, 2011.

[50] Al-Safir (Lebanon), September 27, 2011.

[51] Al-Rai (Kuwait), August 19, 2011.

[52] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), September 29, 2011.

[53] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), June 1, 2011.

[54] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), October 14, 2011.

[55] Al-Safir (Lebanon), April 4, 2011.

[56] Al-Safir (Lebanon), August 1, 2011.

[57] Al-Safir (Lebanon), August 8, 2011.

[58] Al-Safir (Lebanon), August 9, 2011.

[59] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), August 3, 2011.

[60] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), April 1, 2011.

[61] www.all4syria.info, May 8, 2011.

[62] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), July 18, 2011.

[63] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), August 20, 2011.

[64] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), October 5, 2011.

[65] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), September 8, 2011.

[66] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), September 9, 2011.

[67] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), September 15, 2011.

[68] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), September 27, 2011.

[69] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), September 9, 2011.

[70] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), September 9, 2011.

[71] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), September 13, 2011.

[72] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), October 1, 2011.

[73] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), September 16, 2011.

[74] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), September 14, 2011.

[75] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), September 26, 2011.

[76] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), September 14, 2011.

[77] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), September 24, 2011.

[78] Psp.org.lb, September 13, 2011.

[79] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), July 22, 2011.

[80] Al-Safir (Lebanon), August 6, 2011.

[81] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), August 8, 2011.

[82] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), June 7, 2011.

[83] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), October 22, 2011.

[84] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), September 14, 2011.

[85] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), September 24, 2011.

[86] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), September 29, 2011.

[87] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), September 30, 2011.

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