Edward Gibbon (1737-1794); The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:
"In a distant age and climate the tragic scene of the death of [Imam] Hussein will awaken the sympathy of the coldest reader."
Thoughts and linkage from an American graduate student in the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University on the role of the Middle East/North Africa and the Islamicate world in global affairs in modern times, as well as occasional personal musings. Keep track of blog updates and other linkage via my Twitter account. I'm also a contributing blogger at Al-Wasat Blog.
Clashes between student supporters of the National Opposition and the Siniora government erupted on Thursday at the Arab University of Beirut in Lebanon and quickly spread to local neighborhoods. The student factions were quickly joined by supporters from surrounding neighborhoods, primarily Sunnis belonging to Saad al-Hariri's Future Movement and Shi'i supporters of Hizbu'llah and the more secular-leaning AMAL. Snipers belonging to various paramilitary forces were also reportedly lining the rooftops. Lebanese Army troops arrived in force and attempted to restore order to little avail. When the smoke cleared, four people were dead and over 150 were injured. A curfew was imposed from dawn to dusk in Beirut for the first time in over a decade for a day.
In response to calls for a country-wide strike in protest of new economic proposals by the Lebanese government of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, tens of thousands of National Opposition and pro-government supporters flooded the streets of cities and regions across Lebanon. By the afternoon, a thick cloud of black smoke from burning tires hung over Beirut. Although the uniformed members of Hizbu'llah, the powerful Shi'i political and paramilitary movement that is one of the 3 large political organizations that make up the Opposition (along with the Shi'i AMAL movement and the Maronite Christian Free Patriotic Movement of Michel Aoun) were reportedly well disciplined, Opposition and pro-government protestors engaged in clashes both inside and outside of Beirut. When the smoke cleared today, at least 3 people had been killed.
Only weeks after the secretly filmed execution by hanging of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Husayn al-Tikriti, early reports suggest that his half-brother and former Iraqi Ba'thist intelligence chief Barzan Ibrahim Hassan al-Tikriti [RIGHT, with Saddam] and Awad Hamad al-Bandar, once the chief judge on the puppet Revolutionary Court, have also been executed. Both were convicted in the same trial as their former leader after being found to have been intimately complicit in carrying out the mass arrests, torture, and execution/murder of 148 Shi'i Iraqi civilians from the town of Dujayl in 1982. The executions come despite a request by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a major Kurdish political leader, last week to stay their executions for the time being.