Stories written by Mona Alami

Food Insecurity a New Threat for Lebanon’s Syrian Refugees

A declining economy and a severe drought have raised concerns in Lebanon over food security as the country faces one of its worst refugee crises, resulting from the nearby Syria war, and it is these refugees and impoverished Lebanese border populations that are most vulnerable to this new threat.

Neighbours Turn Foes in Bekaa

Hezbollah clashes with Syrian rebels on the outskirts of Ersal seem to be widening the divide between residents of the Eastern Bekaa town – increasingly dominated by Syrian rebels, including the radical Nusra Front – and other regions as well as the Lebanese state. 

Conflicts in Syria and Iraq Raising Fears of Contagion in Divided Lebanon

With jihadists leading a Sunni uprising against Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government, the conflicts in Syria and Iraq are beginning to reverberate across the region, raising fears of contagion in divided Lebanon where a suicide bombing took place on Friday after a period of calm.

Syria’s Twin Jihads

The war in Syria has brought back to the forefront the concept of ‘jihad’, with tens of thousands of fighters currently waging what they believe to be a religious war there.

Lebanon Heading for Failed State Status?

Every day Lebanon is being plunged further into a state of general insecurity, as chaos from the war in Syria seeps across the border.

Hezbollah Losing its Grip

Since its inception, Hezbollah’s clout within its community has been solid. However, in recent weeks, the Party of God has been facing increasing difficulties controlling its support base and stymieing discontent. These developments have led analysts to question whether or not Hezbollah is losing its grip on its followers.

Sectarian rifts have seeped into most public schools in Lebanon. Credit: Mona Alami/IPS

Schools Plant Seeds of Sectarianism

Though most Lebanese take great pride in their national education system, deep sectarian rifts in public schools have made it impossible to ignore the political and religious fragmentation of society or its long-term impacts on youth. 

Calls for Jihad Split Salafist Movement

The Arab Spring brought a host of new actors to the political stage. In Jordan, it pushed the Salafists to the fore, where some of the group’s more radical elements are now calling for holy war in neighbouring Syria.

Former Libyan rebel fighter Faraj Fakhri is being treated in Amman’s Chmeisani hospital. Credit: Mona Alami/IPS

Recovering From the Spring, at a Price

The Arab Spring sent scores of sick and injured Libyans, fleeing their war- torn country, straight to Jordan, where the influx of patients is putting a lot of pressure on Jordanian hospitals and disrupting the lives of Libyan and Jordanian patients alike.

A protest in Amman, now a weekly sight.  Credit: Mona Alami/IPS.

Fragmented Protests Rise in Jordan

On a warm Friday afternoon, police cars blocked the roads around the Al Husseini mosque, where hundreds of men were kneeling for the noon prayers. At the end of the service, the crowds rose and marched in a compact protest behind a car bearing a banner for the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Syrian Strife Hits Lebanese Villages

A few kilometres separate the two Lebanese villages of Ersal and Qaa from the Syrian border, both of which have been unwillingly drawn into the violence of the Syrian uprising. Unrest has been brewing in the region for weeks and recently it was on the receiving end of intermittent gunfire from the Syrian army. The situation remains tense despite the fragile new ceasefire.

Could the Druze Minority Tip the Scales of Syria’s Revolution?

The Druze stronghold of Sweida, Syria, witnessed several pro-democracy protests last week. While the movement remains marginal, it is charged with symbolism: the Druze have long been considered the "spiritual cousins" of the Alawites, the religious group to which the Assad family belongs.

Syrian Crisis Spills Over Into Lebanon

Chants erupt from the second floor of a decrepit building in Tripoli in the Sunni stronghold of Bab el-Tebbaneh. Young voices loudly sing "Yalla Erhal Ya Bashar," or "Come on, leave, Bashar," directed at the Syrian president, Bashar al- Assad. It has become the anthem of the Syrian revolution.

LEBANON: Could a New Civil Law Unify a Divided Society?

Odette Klysinska, a Catholic French native, sits in her living room in an affluent neighbourhood in Beirut, clutching her will in one hand, shocked to learn that it is no longer legally valid in the country she now calls home.

Cracks Widen in Syrian Economy

As the Syrian uprising enters its tenth month, the country’s economy is suffering. Since last March, the Syrian government has been cracking down on pro-democracy protests, and the once peaceful uprising has morphed into a full-blown armed rebellion in areas such as Homs, Hama and Jabal al-Zawiya.

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