Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times

BEIRUT — A suicide car bomb that may have targeted Lebanon’s internal security chief exploded Friday on the Beirut-Damascus highway, killing at least two people and wounding dozens, according to official and media accounts.

It was the first such attack after several months of relative calm in Lebanon and raised fears that the sectarian-fueled violence that has lately erupted in Iraq could be reverberating in this vulnerable Middle Eastern nation. Lebanon has long experienced episodes of spillover violence from the war in neighboring Syria.

According to various accounts of Friday’s attack, a booby-trapped four-wheel drive vehicle driven by a suicide bomber exploded close to a military checkpoint along the highway east of Beirut, the capital.

Lebanon’s internal security chief, Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, was quoted in local media as saying that the explosion detonated moments after his convoy passed through the checkpoint.

Ibrahim heads Lebanon’s powerful General Security directorate. He has been a key player in an ongoing crackdown against Sunni Muslim extremists blamed for bombings in Lebanon, and has also helped negotiate the release of Shiite and Christian hostages held by Sunni rebels in neighboring Syria.

The two dead in Friday’s bombing included at least one security official, media reports indicated. Most of the victims appeared to be civilians traveling in a passenger vehicle.

The attack occurred after a reported security raid at a Beirut hotel that targeted terrorism suspects.

The Daily Star, an English-language Lebanese newspaper, quoted a security source saying that officials had received word that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria was plotting a suicide attack in Lebanon.

ISIS, an al-Qaida breakaway faction made up of Sunni fighters from various nations, is battling to topple governments in Syria and Iraq. Last week, the group made global headlines when its forces grabbed large swaths of land in northern and central Iraq, threatening the central government in Baghdad.

In recent months, Lebanese security forces have cracked down hard on militant Sunni factions, some linked to al-Qaida, blamed for deadly bombings and other attacks in Lebanon during 2013 and early 2014. Friday’s blast broke a period of several months that featured an absence of car bomb attacks in Lebanon.

Lebanon, like neighboring Syria, is composed of a combustible mix of religious and ethnic groups. Lebanon experienced its own sectarian-fueled, 15-year civil war that ended in 1990. Lebanon’s fragile democracy faces severe threats from extremists inflamed by sectarian and geopolitical currents roiling the Middle East.

Photo via WikiCommons

Interested in world news? Sign up for our daily newsletter!

President Trump boards Air Force One for his return flight home from Florida on July 31, 2020

Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Florida senior residents have been reliable Republican voters for decades, but it looks like their political impact could shift in the upcoming 2020 election.

As Election Day approaches, Florida is becoming a major focal point. President Donald Trump is facing more of an uphill battle with maintaining the support of senior voters due to his handling of critical issues over the last several months. Several seniors, including some who voted for Trump in 2016, have explained why he will not receive their support in the November election.

Keep reading... Show less