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Controversial Dam Project Threatens P...
Janna
By Suzanne Baaklini
18 Feb 2015

Nahr Ibrahim, Lebanon

Febraury 9, 2015

The construction of a dam in the area of Janna, Lebanon, is causing wide controversy among local residents, ecologists and even certain politicians. Janna, whose name means ‘paradise’ in Arabic, is a picturesque valley near Ibrahim River in north Lebanon, which hosts a rare ecosystem according to ecologists. Concerned Lebanese fear that this project will ruin the natural site without succeeding in retaining water. Geologist Samir Zaatiti warns that the surface on which the dam is being built covers large pits that absorb water. There are also fears that the project might threaten the water source that feeds the Jeita Grotto, a submerged cave known as a tourist destination. Preparations for the construction have started and many trees in the areas have been cleared. Despite its rich water resources, Lebanon has struggled with a water distribution crisis due to the lack of adequate infrastructure.

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Families of Kidnapped Lebanese Soldie...
Beirut
By wissam fanash
13 Jan 2015

Beirut, Lebanon

January 14, 2015

Dozens of families have set up protest tents in downtown Beirut to pressure the Lebanese into working on liberating their sons who were kidnapped in August 2014 by militants believed to be affiliated with the Nusra Front and ISIS.
Militants who crossed the border from Syria in the summer kidnapped 38 Lebanese soldiers and security officers. The kidnappers have executed several hostages and threatened to kill more of them if the Lebanese government did not release Islamist militants from prison.
Families of the hostages have been criticized by politicians and residents of Beirut for blocking the roads during protests.
Following a deadly suicide bomb attack on January 10 against the Alawite neighbourhood of Jabal Mohsen in Tripoli, which was claimed by the Nusra Front, security forces raided a building in the overcrowded Roumieh prison where jihadist inmates are held. The militants are believed to have led the bombing from inside their prison cells. Families of the hostages fear that these developments will affect negotiations to release them.

Shot List

1- Tilt down/ wide of poster featuring portraits of kidnapped soldiers.
2- Various of protest tents set up by kidnapped soldiers’ families
3- Medium of Hussein Youssef, father of kidnapped soldier Mohamad Youssef talking on the phone
4- Wide of police vehicle parked next to protest tent
5- Wide of poster featuring kidnapped police officer First Sergeant George Khazzaqa
6- Wide of women in front of protest tents
7- Wide of tents
8- Wide of two women in front of protest tents
9- Various of protest tents
10- Wide of poster featuring kidnapped police officer with the writing: “Abbas Msheik, you have been away for too long"
11- Wide of poster with portraits of kidnapped soldiers and headquarters of the cabinet
12- Wide of two men and a woman sitting next to protest tent
13- Medium of people sitting inside protest tents
14- Close up of kettle with poster featuring kidnapped soldiers in background
15- Various of hostages’ female relatives

NAT SOUND: conversation in Arabic: - We heard explosions -The Lebanese Army will strike them… (woman crying) I did not recognize my son! 16- Close up of woman crying
17- Medium/ zoom out of people sitting inside protest tent

Soundbites

Soundbite (Arabic, Man) Hussein Youssef, father of kidnapped soldier Mohamad Youssef
(0:41-1:49) Twenty or 25 days ago, we, as families, decided to distance ourselves from the media, because at some point, media coverage was harming us. Maybe it was unintentional.We promised the prime minister to open the road and not escalate the situation or make any statements. But 25 days later, after we felt that we were not being dealt with seriously, and following the security procedures taken by the interior minister – we appreciate these measures by we think this procedure could have been made before or later. The prisoners of Roumieh have not been there since yesterday, they have been there for a long time, and this process could have taken place at another time. Anyway, the escalation that we are going to carry out will be proportional to the danger that we felt. For 25 days, we have stayed away from media and remained calm because we felt we have been treated positively. Now we have felt something negative so we are forced to escalate.
We hope that the government can take positive actions to stop us from escalating – not to stop us violently, of course, but to give us a reason not to escalate.

(01:54-02:34) SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Hussein Youssef, father of kidnapped soldier Mohamad Youssef
“After what happened in the north in Jabal Mohsen and in Roumieh prison, I feel that we are back to point zero. This is what drove us insane and caused is to threaten to escalate and demand our rights. We hope that the threats against us are not serious and that we do not wish to block the roads and stop people from going to work. We are also human, and we feel people's pain. We do not wish anyone to suffer the way we are suffering."

SOUNDBITE Arabic, woman Unnamed, Mother of kidnapped soldier Hussein Ammar
(04:16-04:45) “I demand all Arab countries, I demand clerics… I saw my son and could not recognize him. I was told ‘Go see your son, Um Hussein.’ I saw my son and did not recognize him. I ask everyone to help us and help free our children, we are suffering, but now I am suffering more." (04:50-05:03) “I ask all the good people, all the people who can help, to rescue our children, those poor children who were left far and our government is not giving them any attention."

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, woman) Unnamed, Mother of kidnapped soldier Khaled Moqbel
(05:07-04:16) “Our government did not do anything for us, it abandoned us, we have been thrown on the side of the road for three and a half months, and our government did not care about us."

(5:24-05:56) SOUNDBITE (Arabic, woman) Unnamed, Mother of kidnapped soldier Khaled Moqbel
I call on Turkey and the Muslim Scholars Assembly, I ask Erdogan… we are Muslims and the kidnappers are Muslims. For the sake of Prophet Mohammad… This is a human cause. Please help us, and release the captives, interfere in our case, please interfere in our case, for the sake of Prophet Mohammad. We have been sitting on the road for the past four months; nobody is looking at us or has mercy on us.

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Inside Hezbollah (Last version)
Nabatieh
By Cherine Yazbeck
30 Nov 2014

Shot list:
00:00 - 00:05
A wide shot shows a large billboard featuring portraits of Hezbollah fighters killed in Syria, with Hezbollah and Amal flags around it. The writing at the bottom of the billboard reads: “The Martyrs of Holy Defense.”
00:06 – 00:10
A medium shot shows details of the billboard.
00:11 – 00:14
A medium shot shows a billboard featuring Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah.
00:15 – 00:47
Interview with Ali Arab, a Hezbollah supporter, man, Arabic/ interview transcript below
A medium shot shows young Hezbollah scouts holding large portraits of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran; Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader; and Sayyid Abbas al-Mussawi, a Hezbollah Secretary-General assassinated by Israel.
00:48 – 01:15
Various shots show a large number of male Hezbollah supporters wearing uniforms inspired by Ashura and beating their chests as a sign of grief for Imam Hussein.
01:16 – 02:48
Interview with Habib Fayyad, a political analyst affiliated with Hezbollah, man, Arabic / interview transcript below
Archive footage of Hezbollah parade in south Beirut; recent footage of children participating in Ashura commemoration in Nabatieh; archive footage of the Lebanese parliament; recent footage of missile launchers and Hezbollah fighters in military fatigues and as part Ashura parade in Nabatieh
02:49 – 03:37
Interview with participant in Ashura commemoration, man, Arabic/ interview transcript below

03:38 – 04:23
Interview with Habib Fayyad, a political analyst affiliated with Hezbollah, man, Arabic / interview transcript below
Archive footage shows Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah and fighters during a parade in south Beirut.

Interviews
00:15 – 00:47
Interview with Ali Arab, a Hezbollah supporter, man, Arabic/ interview transcript below
A medium shot shows young Hezbollah scouts holding large portraits of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran; Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader; and Sayyid Abbas al-Mussawi, a Hezbollah Secretary-General assassinated by Israel.
“It is normal that we are at risk from different parties and we should be aware of what is happening around us. It is true we are ready on all fronts against all of the Tafkiris [religious extremists], and even against Israel. This parade, particularly in Nabatieh, is a challenge to the Israelis, so they know we are not afraid of them. This is a big Jihad for us.” 01:16 – 02:48 Interview with Habib Fayyad, a political analyst affiliated with Hezbollah, man, Arabic “Hezbollah defines itself as a resistance movement against Israeli occupation and against any danger that may affect Lebanon. It is a resistance movement that is also involved in politics. It is also an Islamic movement, but it does not practice Islam in politics. Hezbollah has an Islamic doctrine, but it does not apply it in the political agenda it advocates in the Lebanese political arena. It [Hezbollah] is also is merged with other active political parties and movements in the Lebanese scene. “Hezbollah’s legitimacy is derived, firstly, from its partisans [its popular support base]; and secondly from the Taif Agreement [agreement ending the Lebanese civil war], which states that Lebanon shall resist Israel in all possible ways. Its legitimacy is also derived from the Lebanese parliament, since Hezbollah has members in it; and from the Lebanese government, of which it is a part. All of the pervious and current governments have clearly recognized the legitimacy of Hezbollah as a pillar of resistance against Israel. However, the most important thing is that its [Hezbollah’s] legitimacy is obvious and logical because, whenever there is an occupation, there is the right of the population to resist the occupation.”

02:49 – 03:37
Interview with participant in Ashura commemoration, man, Arabic
“Of course, Hezbollah is legitimate as it has liberated the South along with other allied parties including the Amal Movement, the Syrian Social National Party (SSNP) and the Communist Party. “All parties have fought [against Israel]. “Hezbollah’s weapons are targeted against innocent civilians and are not to be used in [civilian] neighborhoods. “It never fought in the streets. It is not only me; everybody says that its weapon is the most honest. Without [its weapons], Lebanon would not exist and there would be no one ruling the country, not even a president of the republic. “On the contrary, the weapons must remain in the hands of Hezbollah, in the hands of the resistance. “More than that, it [Hezbollah] should be more powerful. “We need ten times more rockets. It shall remain and we will protect it.”

03:28 – 04:23
Interview with Habib Fayyad, a political analyst affiliated with Hezbollah, man, Arabic
“Hezbollah has qualified and capable leaders in various domains: in politics, in military, social welfare, in security, in culture, in education and in economy. Hezbollah does not have to give a list of its leaders for security reasons, since the enemy, Israel, targets it. It only publishes the names of those who appear in the media. Aside from these [people], Hezbollah does not have to publish the names and tasks of its ranks.”

Hezbollah Fighters Defy ISIS and Israel on Ashura

Giant portraits of Hezbollah fighters killed in Syria tower over the main square in the Lebanese southern city of Nabatieh.
The commemoration of Ashura has taken place every year in this square. It is a tribute to Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad and a central figure for Shiite Muslims who was killed more than 1,300 years ago. But Hezbollah’s engagement in defending the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has cast a heavy shadow on this religious occasion.
“We are here today to renew our allegiance to Imam Hussein, who died defending Islam, and also to show a good image of Islam, which other organizations, like ISIS, do not show,” said Ahmad Daifi, a Hezbollah militant in his twenties who was participating in organizing the event. The battle against ISIS and other groups that Hezbollah describes as “takfiri” or extremist has spilled into Lebanon. Explosions as well as attacks across the border, believed to be orchestrated by ISIS and Nusra Front, have shaken the fragile country during the past year. “It is normal that we are at risk from different parties and we should be aware of what is happening around us,” said Ali Arab, a Hezbollah supporter. Hezbollah and Amal, another major Shiite party, took special measures to secure the crowds against suicide bombings in Nabatieh and other predominantly Shiite areas in Lebanon during Ashura. In Beirut’s southern suburbs, Hezbollah special forces, fully clad in black, were seen for the time on the streets. But Hezbollah claims that the fight against militant groups originating in Syria has not distracted it from its war with Israel. In a speech commemorating Ashura, Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah said that his party is winning the fight in Syria and is also ready to retaliate against any Israeli attack. Hezbollah staged a military parade in front of a large crowd in Nabatieh. Dozens of fighters wearing military fatigues marched behind missile launchers mounted on military trucks. Hezbollah considers missiles the backbone of its arsenal in its fight against Israel, despite a Security Council resolution that put an end to a bloody war with Israel in 2006 and banned the party from stockpiling weapons near the border.
Hezbollah’s opponents, however, say that its ongoing military activities are actually a source of instability, not protection. Sunni and Christian major political forces have repeatedly demanded that the militant group hand over its weapons to the government after Israel withdrew most of its forces from south Lebanon in 2000. The party’s critics have also urged Hezbollah to stop fighting in Syria.
Habib Fayyad, an analyst affiliated with Hezbollah, reiterated the party’s official position in defense of its choice to maintain its weapons.
“Hezbollah’s legitimacy is derived, firstly, from [its popular support base], and secondly from the Taif Agreement [agreement ending the Lebanese civil war], which states that Lebanon shall resist Israel in all possible ways,” Fayyad said. “Its legitimacy is also derived from the Lebanese parliament, since Hezbollah has members in it, and from the Lebanese government, of which it is a part. All of the pervious and current governments have clearly recognized the legitimacy of Hezbollah as a pillar of resistance against Israel,” he added. Hezbollah has had members of the parliament since 1992, when the first elections were organized two years after the end of the 15-year-long civil war. In 2005, Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri was assassinated. The Syrian regime was seen as the culprit behind the attack and Syrian forces withdrew under international and popular pressure. Hezbollah has since participated in government coalitions, which is seen as way to protect its military activities. Four members of Hezbollah were later indicted of Hariri’s killing by an international tribunal, but the party refused to hand them over. Despite a claim that it does use weapons inside Lebanon, Hezbollah fought against the Sunni Future Movement in 2007 when the latter demanded that Hezbollah dismantles its secret telecommunication network. This exacerbated sectarian tensions – Hezbollah was accused of militarily occupying Beirut, a predominantly Sunni city. But Fayyad referred to the Israeli occupation of a small area called Shebaa farms in south Lebanon to say that Hezbollah still has to right to maintain its arsenal. “The most important thing is that [Hezbollah’s] legitimacy is obvious and logical because, whenever there is an occupation, there is the right of the population to resist the occupation,” he said.

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US to provide Lebanon with more than ...
Beirut, Lebanon
By Video Cairo Sat
15 May 2013

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman met on Tuesday, May 14, with Philip Gordon, a special assistant to United States President Barack Obama for Middle East issues.

Gordon announced that the US will be providing the Lebanese government with USD 10 million to be added to the USD 36 million offered as part of a financial assistance package to help the Syrian refugees.

Suleiman and Gordon discussed the relationship between Lebanon and the U.S., regional issues, developments in Syria and the increasing number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, according to the statement.

Gordon, a coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf Region, praised Suleiman’s role in preserving stability in Lebanon and stressed the importance of holding parliamentary elections scheduled for June, according to a statement issued by Suleiman’ office.

Gordon also condemned Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria, fighting on behalf of the Assad regime, which risks drawing Lebanon into the conflict and is counter to the Lebanese government’s policies,” the statement said.

According to a U.S. Embassy statement, Gordon expressed his country’s grave concern about the situation in Syria and condemned continued shelling of Lebanese territory from Syria.

He called on all parties in the region to avoid any actions that would exacerbate the crisis in Syria, increase the propensity for spillover violence, and negatively affect civilian populations,” the Embassy statement noted.

Gordon said his country urged all international donors to help Lebanon meet their obligations to the refugees.

The Embassy added that Gordon praised Beirut and the generosity of the Lebanese people for hosting and supporting thousands of refugees in Lebanon.

He reiterated Washington’s support for the so-called “Baabda Declaration” and Lebanon’s disassociation policy.

For his part, President Suleiman thanked the United States for its constant support to Lebanon in all the fields.

Gordon also held separate talks with House Speaker Nabih Berri in the presence of U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly.

Gordon said the U.S. would maintain its support for the Lebanese Army in order to enhance the military’s capabilities along the border and inside Lebanon.

Local News Agency: Middle East Bureau / VCS
Shooting Dateline: May 14, 2013
Shooting Location: Beirut, Lebanon
Publishing Time: May 14, 2013
Length: 00:01:23
Video Size: 42.3 MB
Language: Arabic
Column:
Organized by:
Correspondent:
Camera: VCS

SHOTLIST:

  1. Various shots of the Presidential Palace where the meeting was held
  2. Various shots of meeting of Lebanese President Michel Suleiman with Philip Gordon, a special assistant to United States President Barack Obama for Middle East issues in the presence of US Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly
  3. Various shots of Philip Gordon meeting with House Speaker Nabih Berri
  4. Various shots of people downtown Beirut