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Parliament is scheduled to convene next Wednesday for a 12th presidential election session. Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri called for the first vote since January after the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), the Lebanese Forces (LF) and opposition MPs this weekend endorsed the candidacy of former Finance Minister and International Monetary Fund senior official Jihad Azour. Zgharta MP Michel Moawad withdrew from the race on Sunday after facing a slew of blank votes cast by the FPM, Hezbollah, Amal and their allies during the first 11 sessions which never progressed past a single voting round due to MPs leaving and causing loss of quorum. The FPM has refused to support Hezbollah and Amal’s preferred candidate, Marada Movement leader Sleiman Frangieh. Hezbollah MP Hassan Fadlallah said Sunday that Azour is a "confrontation and challenge candidate" who "will not make it" to the presidency.
A young bystander was wounded during an army raid in the Bekaa last Friday. He is in critical condition. Karam Bou Chaaya, aged 27, was hospitalized last Friday after suffering a bullet wound to his spinal cord, his friend Rhéa told L’Orient Today. The incident occurred while the army was pursuing the kidnapper of Saudi national Mashari al-Mutairi on May 28. Mutairi was freed on June 30 by the Lebanese army during raids near the Syrian border, which led to dozens of arrests. The army on Friday announced the arrest of two additional suspects, noting that a civilian was wounded.
The son of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Hannibal Gaddafi, started a hunger strike Friday after seven years in Lebanese custody, his lawyer told L’Orient Today. Gaddafi’s lawyer, Paul Romanos, said his client considers himself a “political prisoner” and claims to be innocent of unspecified allegations. In 2015, Gaddafi was in the Internal Security Forces’ custody after having been briefly abducted by an armed group in Lebanon. Gaddafi was accused of hiding information on the 1978 disappearance of Imam Moussa al-Sadr, head of the Shiite Supreme Council in Lebanon, and his two companions, Sheikh Mohammad Yaacoub and journalist Abbas Badr al-Dine, who were last seen in Libya. Sadr, who also founded the Amal Movement, is still regarded as an important political and spiritual leader by the Lebanese Shiite community. His disappearance is commemorated yearly on Aug. 25 by the Amal Movement.
The Internal Security Forces announced the arrest of seven alleged drug traffickers after a raid in Choueifat, south of Beirut, during which another suspect was killed in a shootout with the police. One of the seven suspects was wounded and hospitalized after the Saturday raid by a unit of the Beirut and Mount Lebanon Judicial Police. Police raids on alleged drug traffickers have recently degenerated into deadly shootouts. In January, Lebanese Army Commander Joseph Aoun claimed that drug trafficking is “more dangerous than terrorism” after a raid by the army in the Burj al-Barajneh neighborhood left a number of soldiers injured. In May, caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi said that Lebanese security forces “made 1,041 drug seizures and arrested 1,512 people involved in trafficking …[thus] preventing the export of these products, especially to Arab countries.”
The director of the National Scientific Research Council (CNRS) Tamara al-Zein claimed that a tremor felt on Saturday afternoon in Zahle, attributed to rock blasting at a nearby quarry, is “99 percent a natural earthquake.” Zein added that the CNRS will issue a report after receiving the results from “the army and security forces' investigation into the samples taken [at the quarry].” Tony Nemr, Professor of Geology and Seismology at the American University of Beirut (AUB), said on Sunday it was “probable” that blasting in a quarry had caused the tremor.
In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from yesterday: “Lebanon took everything from them but they can’t seem to let go”
Compiled by Abbas Mahfouz
Want to get the Morning Brief by email? Click here to sign up.Parliament is scheduled to convene next Wednesday for a 12th presidential election session. Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri called for the first vote since January after the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), the Lebanese Forces (LF) and opposition MPs this weekend endorsed the candidacy of former Finance Minister and International...