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World View: Sunni vs Shia Sectarian Clashes Grow in Northern Lebanon

World View: Sunni vs Shia Sectarian Clashes Grow in Northern Lebanon

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Sunni vs Shia sectarian clashes grow in northern Lebanon
  • Lebanon won’t accept any more Syrian refugees
  • One banker jumps to his death, another hangs himself this week

Sunni vs Shia sectarian clashes grow in northern Lebanon

Lebanon's army tanks arrive in neighborhoods of Tripoli in northern Lebanon (AP)
Lebanon’s army tanks arrive in neighborhoods of Tripoli in northern Lebanon (AP)

Clashes between the largely Shia Lebanon army and Sunni jihadistsin the northern Lebanon city of Tripoli, on the border with Syria, areentering their fourth day. The clashes are a spillover of the war inSyria, and are the worst violence in Lebanon since the war began.

There are two competing Sunni jihadist groups in Tripoli. One is theIslamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS or ISIL), which brokefrom al-Qaeda several months ago when its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared ISIS to be a new worldwide Muslim caliphate. Theother is Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front), which has remained loyal toal-Qaeda.

Over the past several weeks, militants from both al-Nusra and ISIShave launched several attacks on the army in the Tripoli area.Lebanon’s army launched a counteroffensive on Friday, and began goingfrom house to house in Tripoli, searching the houses for “ISISsuspects.” This has caused a worsening humanitarian crisis, and ledto many Tripoli civilians fleeing from their homes.

In a statement Saturday, the Lebanese military vowed that its troopswould “not be pulled back until after the terrorists are eliminated.”Daily Star (Beirut) and Al Jazeera and Washington Post

Lebanon won’t accept any more Syrian refugees

Lebanon’s cabinet passed a resolution closing the borders to any moreSyrian refugees. No Syrian national will receive the “refugee”classification in the future, except in “an exceptional humanitariancase.” Lebanon will also encourage “refugees to return home or to goto any other country by all possible means.” If the resolution isfully implemented, then tens of thousands of Syrians with homes underattack by either the regime of president Bashar al-Assad or theopposition will not be able to flee to Lebanon.

There are over 3 million Syrian refugees from the war, mostly inneighboring countries. Another 6 million have been displaced withinSyria, making it one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.Lebanon has 1.1 million officially registered Syrian refugees,although the number is believed to be far higher. They make up almosta quarter of the country’s population of 5 million.

Lebanon has followed a different policy in handling refugees thanTurkey or Jordan, which built special camps to house the refugees.

Lebanon rejected that idea because of their experiences withPalestinian refugee camps, which were supposed to be temporary buthave continued to exist for decades, and currently housefundamentalist groups and armed militias, as well as Palestiniancivilians.

Also, the Palestinian refugee camps at Sabra and Shatila were the siteof a massacre of Palestinian refugees in camps 1982, an event thatstill weighs heavily on Lebanese psyches.

Instead, Syrian refugees in Lebanon can live in existing communities,rent apartments, and try to find a job. The result is that Lebanon’seconomy is strained to the limit.

The new proposal will require municipalities to comb areas whererefugees are residing, and document their numbers. Daily Star (Beirut) and Al Arabiya/AP

One banker jumps to his death, another hangs himself this week

Thierry Leyne, 48, a top business associate of former InternationalMonetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, committed suicide inTel Aviv on Thursday by jumping to his death from his 23rd floorluxury apartment in central Tel Aviv.

On Monday, the wife of Deutsche Bank banker Calogero Gambino found himhanging by the neck from a stairway banister in their Manhattan home.Gambino was cooperating with US regulators probing Deutsche Bank’sinvolvement in illegal Libor rigging.

In January, former Deutsche Bank Senior Managing Director WilliamBroeksmit was found by his wife hanged in his South Kensington, Londonhome. Later in the year, a Senate hearing on bank fraud linkedBroeksmit’s name to an allegedly illegal $12 billion scheme to allowhedge funds to avoid paying short-term capital gains taxes.

These two are the latest of 20-30 banker suicides in 2014, with JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank strongly represented among the suicidesbankers.

During the 1930s Great Depression, bankers jumping to their deaths wasfrequently a subject of black humor. (“Did you hear about the twobankers who booked a double hotel room so that they could commitsuicide together?”)

Today, it appears that there are just as many banker suicides. Attimes like this, it’s worth reviewing the history of how we gotto this point.

Generation-X grew up in the 1980s often without fathers. 30%of whites and 72% of blacks grew up in homes with no fathers. Some of these kids grew up hatingtheir fathers and their mothers’ boyfriends and the entire Boomergeneration. The wealthier of these, in large part, got master’s degrees in financial engineering in the 1990s and then usedtheir skills to knowingly sell trillions of dollars’ worth offraudulent subprime mortgage backed securities to the hated Boomerinvestors, creating the real estate and credit bubbles that resultedin the financial crisis, which today is far from over. Since theObama administration has refused to punish these Gen-X criminals,they’ve remained in the same jobs, defrauding people in other ways, asI’ve described many times. Many of the bankers who have committedsuicide are guilty of or suspected of being guilty of other kinds offraud. 

So given the recent history of banking, it’s perhaps not toosurprising that many bankers are committing suicide. New York Post and Jerusalem Post and MMNews (Germany) (Trans)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Lebanon, Tripoli, Syria,Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Nusra Front, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi,Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL,Bashar al-Assad, Turkey, Jordan, Sabra, Shatila,Thierry Leyne, International Monetary Fund, IMF,Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Calogero Gambino, Deutsche, JP Morgan,William Broeksmit
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