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Gunshots in the North


Friday 17 May, an armed fight started between Jabal Mohsen and Bab El Tebbaneh, two juxtaposing regions in Tripoli, the capital of north Lebanon.


So close yet so hostile! Photo (c) Ibrahim Chalhoub.
So close yet so hostile! Photo (c) Ibrahim Chalhoub.
Two important events were associated with that day, the preparation for a ceremony in Tripoli by the PM Najib Mikati party and his associates for the formation of a Lebanese government after 6 months of his appointment, and the announcement made by the ex Commissioner of the UN International Independent Investigation Commission into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 22 other persons in Beirut, Ditlev Mehlis that it was Bashar Al Assad, the Syrian president, himself who was the decision maker of that year’s brutal killing.

One night before, a protest in Tripoli assembled more than 200 youngsters from Bab El Tebbaneh against the Syrian regime.
On Friday 17th, after the midday prayers, another protest started in support of the insurrections occurring in the neighboring country, but this time there were direct results.
Fighting between Jabal Mohsen and Bab El Tebbaneh has been occurring on and off for more than a year with minimal casualties mainly limited to injuries. However, this time there has been 6 dead and the hostilities seem more difficult to tame.
In a country where political ideologies and confessionalism are deeply intertwined one would be looking at those differences between the two juxtaposing regions to determine what would lead to such a scenario. Jabal Mohsen (the mount of Mohsen) geographically on top of Bab El Tebbaneh is constituted of pro-Syrian regime Alawites in contrast with the lower region where Sunni pro-Hariri (anti-Syrian regime) make up the whole of the population.
Hopefully, the Lebanese army entered both regions, stopped the fight and started arresting those who were involved in the shooting.

Despite the fact that both sides may have interests in sending direct threatening messages, it is said that the problem of Friday erupted when some unidentified group threw a sound bomb on the peaceful protest of the Bab El Tebbaneh people against the slaughtering of their neighboring Syrian citizens, thus suggesting a third element making use of the previously established narcissism of minor differences between the two adjacent regions of Tripoli.

Investigations lead by the Lebanese armed forces are underway, but will they lead to a final halt of the struggle in that area or will the situation be comparable to that of the still unfound 7 kidnapped Estonians in the same country? A question like this requires deep thinking with the announcement of General Michel Aoun on the same night of the struggle in the north that ex PM Saad Hariri (son of Rafik Hariri) got a one-way ticket to Paris although, and on the same Friday, Lebanese journals indicated that Saad Hariri had to stay in Paris because he was threatened through a discovered plot to assassinate him on the Lebanese Rafik Hariri way from the airport.

podcastgunshotsnorth.mp3 PodcastGunshotsNorth.mp3  (151.85 Ko)



Ibrahim Chalhoub
Correspondant - Photographe En savoir plus sur cet auteur
18/06/2011




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