Saturday, November 3, 2012

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Tripoli Expects The Worst: The Calm Before The Storm

I learned some very worrying news today about the current situation in Tripoli. Violent clashes, between the two regions of Bab-al-Tabani and Jabal Mohsen, have been going on for the past few months, but an eerie calm reigns over this ill-fated city at this time.


Many people, who work in that city, including myself, have been profiting from this piece. The pausing of the fighting has rekindled the busy city-life of Tripoli. However, most of us didn’t know that this was the calm before the storm.

As I’m writing this post, preparations for another “round” of violent attacks are taking place on both fronts. Defence lines are being built out of stacked-up sandbags and used tires; arms and ammunition are being resupplied in large quantities; and in Jabal Mohsen women and children are being evacuated.


How much truth underlines these claims, and how much of it is hearsay, I can’t really say, but I can confirm that the sandbag defence stations are real; I have seen civilians stacking them up, with my own eyes.

You don’t need to be a Michel Hayek to foresee what will ensue next. But you might question how such obvious preparations could happen under the noses of the Lebanese Armed Forces—who are supposed to be maintaining a line of peace by deploying heavily armed troops between the two regions. But the sad truth is that the LAF have simply retreated from the fighting zone under no publicly stated pretence.

The reason for this decision, as the locals have learned, is due to the lack of political cover for this mission. In other words, not a single politician, from our worthless lot, is willing to be associated with any decision taken regarding this situation. Therefore, the only solution was to fully retreat to the nearby city of El-Mina.


Today, the LAF simply lurks in the neighboring region, sending small units in sporadic patrols around the hot-zones.

How long before burning bullets and exploding grenades reignite the skies of Tripoli, no one knows, but we can all be sure that they will sometime soon.

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