- The announcement of the establishment of a new government
(21 January) headed by Hassan Diab, consisting of 20 ministers;
- 6 women: Minister of Defense / Migrant Affairs / Labor / Youth and Sports / Justice / Communications.
- 2 Hezbollah ministers (in high-budget offices: Ministry of Health and Ministry of Industry).
- Following are a few select statements made by the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Finance immediately after the government’s inauguration:
- Prime Minister Hassan Diab: “This is a technocratic government that is not influenced by political interests …”
- Minister of Defense (Zena Akar, a Christian woman from Michel Aun’s Party): “It is my honor to be the first woman to receive the Ministry of Defense in an Arab state … the state of Lebanon gives honor and pride.”
- New Finance Minister (Ghazi Wazni): Lebanon is in an unprecedented economic crisis, as it has never experienced before. If the crisis will continue, the country will go bankrupt… we need to get outside backing… (There are several options for receiving support from outside sources: Saudi Arabia/ Iran / Russia / U.S / Europe).
- As to the above statement made by the Finance Minister, see our recently published article: “Lebanon – A spotlight on the economic problem“.
- Protests resumed / continued with the declaration of the establishment of government:
- 20 people wounded in clashes between protesters and security forces near the Parliament building (22 January): The protesters narrative opposing Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s statement, the government does not represent the protesters’ demands and is not a government of technocrats as promised.
- The hashtag “our revolution your eyes“- Identify with the wounded demonstrators and protesting against the use of excessive force by the security forces (citizens in selfie photos covering one eye). Over the past two weeks, we have witnessed a great deal of violence from both the protesters and the security forces.
- Lebanese Shiite cleric Muhammad Ali al-Hasini (“Sec.-Gen. of the Arab Islamic Council”) in his capacity as an opposition to Hezbollah, visited the Auschwitz Concentration Camp together with a Saudi delegation of twelve Muslim clerics led by former Saudi Minister of Justice Muhammad Alisa. Al-Hasini’s current visit to the concentration camp does not improve his status in Lebanon, which even before the visit was not that certain. It is highly likely that al-Hasini will not be able to return to Lebanon and if he does return, he faces possible immediate incarceration.
- As part of UNIFIL’s activities to strengthen relations with local authorities in southern Lebanon, the Commander of UNIFIL’s western sector, the Italian General, Diego Filippo, visited the Bint Jbeil Technical Professional School where he met with school principal Danni Salameh and with the executive managers of the local council association of Bint Jbeil.
- 25 January, Hezbollah’s Jihad Construction Fund started a tree planting operation, reaching from Wadi Hajir under the slogan: “The green shall stay in our world”… (Wadi Hajir crosses the Marj ‘Ayoun / Bint Jbeil / Nabatieh – areas in southern Lebanon).
One can assess that the purpose of the trees planted is not only for the benefit of the environment but more likely to make it difficult for IDF surveillance and military activity in the future.
- 25 January, anonymous perpetrators set fire to the revolutionary’s “arm” display in the city of Nabatieh, a city considered a Hezbollah stronghold. We estimate that Hezbollah sent those “anonymous perpetrators” to harm the display.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_gallery interval=”3″ images=”3999,4000″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Syria:
- Continued (almost daily) incidents in Daraa against regime and regime-related targets:
- An abduction in the settlement of Tahla / an assault on an air force security checkpoint.
- An attempted assassination of a regime-related figure on the Namar-Jasim road.
- Two people identified with the Syrian regime kidnapped in Karak.
- An explosive device exploded killed a doctor in the settlement of Busar al-Harir.
- Jasim – the assassination of 2 air-force security personnel.
- Shots fired at regime forces in Abtah.
- Shots fired at the al-Koayiah regime checkpoint.
- An explosive charge exploded near the hospital in Daraa.
Unlike the relatively quiet Quneitra province, the Dara province continues to produce violent incidents almost daily. The incidents mainly aimed against Syrian regime members, the perpetrators being opposition activists and ISIS officials. The Syrian regime has not yet managed to stabilize the province from a security point of view, a goal that seems to be a long way off.
- Renovation of infrastructures in the Quneitra district:
- Inauguration of a new telephone exchange in the town of Beit Jinn in southern Syria, after 7 years that it ceased to operate due to the civil war. Initially, there were 760 telephone numbers activated and 145 Internet ports provided. The switchboard capacity is expected to provide 2,000 phone numbers and 1,000 Internet ports.
- Setting up power lines and transformers: The al-Quneitra Electric Company has completed the construction of 184 electrical transformation centers in towns and villages and in water pumping stations damaged in recent years in the al-Quneitra province. 5 km of electric lines were set up on the way between am-Batna and al-Agaref, as well as a transforming center in the western neighborhood of Kfar am-Batna. These transforming centers will supply about 90% electricity to rural and district towns.
- President Assad signed an order banning the use or trade of foreign currency, followed by a campaign to strengthen the Syrian pound led by Syrian traders titled “Our pound is our strength“. (1200 Syrian pounds are now worth one dollar compared to 40 Syrian pounds that were worth one dollar before the civil war broke out).
- The fighting is concentrated mainly in southeast Idlib and focuses on three areas: the village of Abu Jrib (30 km from Idlib), the village of Abu Dafna (west of the Maarat al-Na’aman) and the Tel Matstif area (Near Abu Jarib).
- The rebels prevented the residents from exiting through the three humanitarian crossings declared by the Syrian regime two weeks ago.
- Despite the strong resistance from the rebels, the regime forces seem to be slowly moving towards Maarat al-Na’aman (which as of now is already almost deserted).
- Over 70,000 civilians had to uproot from the Haleb district during the past week due to the intense air raid attacks (Russian) and the ground assaults (Syrian army).
- Deir al-Azur:
- ISIS continues to operate and mounts daily attacks, mainly in the al-Bukamal and al-Mayadin areas.
- Shiite militias left their headquarters in the heart of the city of al-Mayadin and moved their headquarters to farms around the city. On route, they burned the houses that they used preventing the residents from returning to their homes and property.
- The Iranian involvement:
- 22 January, Syrian Prime Minister Ahmad Khamis and Iranian Minister of Education and Culture Hajji Mirza’i and his entourage discussed ways to promote coordination and cooperation between the two countries on economic, social and educational development.
- Khamis talked, among other things, about the rehabilitation of the schools in the areas liberated from the terrorists and the providing of occupational education (Shiiteization in disguise…).
- Turkanisation continuance:
Turkish forces moved another 1500 rebel mercenary families that operated under their influence on Ain al-Arab, housing them in the original inhabitant’s houses after Turkish proxies attacked the northern periphery al-Hasaka area displacing the original inhabitants.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_gallery interval=”3″ images=”4002,4003″][/vc_column][/vc_row]