March 2

  • In an interview with the NBN’s political talk show ‘Al-Osbou’ Fi Sa’a’, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Gebran Bassil says that however stiff, the ‘army, people, resistance’ formula has prevailed for six years”, adding “we know that, upon formation of the government, the policy statement is not going to mention this formula nor the Baabda Declaration”.
  • Hussein Amoun, a Lebanese national wanted for rigging Joumana Houmaid’s vehicle with explosives, dies while fighting in Syria.
  • March kicks off with a demonstration in Saida marking the 39th anniversary of the assassination of Maarouf Saad, and former MP Ossama Saad calls for a plan to deter terrorists and to confront seditious attempts.
  • Minister of Labor Sajaan Qazzi reveals to Al-Liwaa newspaper his intention to withdraw from the committee tasked with devising the policy statement if the time wasting continues.
  • MP Walid Jumblat and former Minister Wiam Wahhab attend a reconciliatory meeting in the town of Shouf of Mazra’a and all speeches reiterate forgiveness and the need to expose whoever commits an act that threatens security.

March 3

  • The eighth session devoted to devise the policy statement is adjourned until next week after the failure to reach an agreement over the resistance and the Baabda Declaration items.
  • “The resistance will not be legitimized and let us go back to a caretaker government if need be,” states MP Sami Gemayel after the Phalanges Party’s meeting, condemning the campaign attacking the President of the Republic.
  • Hezbollah buries four of its members in Beqa’a and South Lebanon.
  • Minister of Justice Ashraf Rifi forwards an article slandering the President of the Republic by journalist Ibrahim Al-Amin to the State Prosecution.

March 4

  • President Michel Suleiman arrives in France, chairing Lebanon’s delegation at the Friends of Lebanon Conference. He also meets the Arab League’s Secretary General and the Special Envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi.
  • Minister of Youth and Sports, Brigadier General Abdul Mouttaleb Hennawi announces that by “common values”, the President of the Republic meant “the army, the resistance, coexistence, justice and freedom of expression”, adding that his speech intended to facilitate the birth of the policy statement.
  • Ibrahim Al-Amin, Editor-in-Chief of Al-Akhbar daily, asserts that he will not appear in court unless the President of the Republic and the Minister of Justice are summoned for interrogation over the cases filed against them. Hezbollah voices its support of Al-Amin.
  • “The era of immorality and insulting is long gone and the time has come to build the state and the institutions”, responds Minister of Justice Ashraf Rifi to Al-Amin’s article in a tweet.
  • General Michel Aoun announces following the Change and Reform Bloc meeting that occupation is what gives any resistance its legitimacy, warning from the fall of the government and stressing that he will not object to visiting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia if they send him an invitation.
  • Speaker Nabih Berri adjourns the legislative session scheduled for today to another time due to lack of quorum.

March 5

  • Paris hosts a conference to support Lebanon in addressing the influx of the Syrian refugees and attendees decide to start a fund for this purpose as soon as possible. French President Francois Hollande reiterates the need to abide by the constitutional time frames so that the government can appear before Parliament. President Suleiman holds a number of meetings on the sidelines of the conference including a meeting with the US Secretary of State John Kerry.
  • The monthly statement of the Maronite bishops condemns the derogatory assault on President Michel Suleiman and urges all parties to stop the campaign against his dignity out of respect for the nation and the presidency of the republic. The statement commends the efforts of the security forces in fighting terrorism.
  • Minister of Interior and Municipalities Nouhad Al-Mashnouq meets the Association of Muslim Scholars delegation chaired by Sheikh Adnan Imama and urges moderation in speech.

March 6

  • President Michel Suleiman reports upon his return from France that Hezbollah’s reaction was expected, stressing his support of flexibility in the policy statement as far as the resistance clause is concerned and stating that the Baabda Declaration has become a frame of reference.
  • Minister of Interior and Municipalities Nouhad Al-Mashnouq visits General Michel Aoun and former President Amine Gemayel.
  • The Future Bloc deplores during its meeting the superiority with which Hezbollah is treating the President of the Republic urging the inclusion of the Baabda Declaration in the policy statement.
  • A Middle East Airlines’ passenger plane flying from Lebanon to Iraq turns back after the son of the Iraqi transport minister missed the flight and phoned Baghdad to stop the aircraft from landing.
  • The Higher Islamic Council chaired by the anti-Mufti Qabbani Minister Omar Mesqawi .

March 7

  • Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Gebran Bassil heads for Cairo to attend a summit for the Arab League Ministers of Foreign Affairs and tells reporters that the word “resistance” is too big to be changed by one person or group.
  • The Minister of Youth and Sports Abdul Mouttaleb Hennawi views the relationship between President Suleiman and Hezbollah is strong asserting that the stumbling blocks it has been facing recently are an ephemeral summer cloud.
  • The National Liberal Party suspends its participation in the meetings of the March 14 General Secretariat.
  • The Lebanese Army contains the clashes that erupted at a Hezbollah checkpoint in Al-Labwi, Beqa’a, between members of the party and Army Intelligence agents and Sheikh Hamzah Shukr says that he was detained at that same checkpoint.
  • The Abdullah Azzam Brigades posts a statement on Twitter apologizing for the civilian casualties of the Iranian Embassy bombing.

March 8

  • Young Michel Sakr, son of the pro-Lebanese Forces businessman Ibrahim Sakr, gets released without any ransom being paid. His father expresses gratitude to all who contributed to Michel’s release and accuses Shia’a groups of carrying out the abduction. The incident sparked outrage among Zahleh residents, who blocked all roads leading to the town in protest against the kidnapping.

March 9

  • The group of nuns kidnapped in Syria are freed and transported to the Lebanese town of Ersal and then back into Syria thanks to efforts mediated by Qatar and Major General Abbas Ibrahim.
  • March 8 Forces win the elections of Beirut’s Order of Engineers snatching 9 out of 10 seats in the first and the seventh branches.
  • The centers for filling gas canisters in Ouzai and Beer Hassan reopen after an earlier decision to shut them down due to security reasons.

March 10

  • PM Tamam Salam expects the formulation of the policy statement to end tomorrow.
  • Speaker Nabih Beeri reports that if the government fails to devise its ministerial statement within one month, it will be deemed resigned. He will then meet the President of the Republic to discuss parliamentary consultation to name a PM-designate and form a new government.
  • The assassination of the high-ranking security official from the Fatah faction, Jamil Zeidan, sparks tensions in the Ain El-Helwi camp.
  • Military Investigative Judge Fadi Sawwan issues two arrest warrants against Naim Abbas and Joumana Houmayed.
  • Lebanese citizen Hadi Qassab is found dead inside his dorm at the US University of Massachusetts. Qassab had reportedly been poisoned.

March 11

  • The ministerial committee fails to devise the policy statement and refers the matter to the Cabinet session scheduled for next Thursday.
  • “Officials should apologize to the Lebanese people for not abiding by the dialogue sessions’ resolutions,’ states President Michel Suleiman, adding that the policy statement should be written with the ink of the Baabda Declaration.

March 12

  • President Michel Suleiman and his Finnish counterpart check on Finland’s contingent in UNIFIL in South Lebanon. The former visited earlier UNIFIL’s headquarters in Naqoura and reiterated the ongoing effort to equip the Lebanese Army.

March 13

  • The Cabinet adjourns its open session held for the discussion of the ministerial statement until Friday and PM Tamam Salam announces his intent to resign if the impasse is not surmounted.
  • The killing of a national in Tripoli re-triggers tension in the city and results in the death of a female child and injuring 22 other people.
  • President Michel Suleiman reiterates during the luncheon he held in honor of his Finnish counterpart that Lebanon is no longer a soft target for Israel stressing that the Lebanese Army and the UNIFIL are both tasked
  • An-Nusra Front claims responsibility for the missiles that landed in Nabi Sheet in Beqa’a.
  • The Lebanese Army Command announces that the Army’s most recent security measures have led to a noticeable decrease in car bombings and abductions and tightened the grip around the throats of terrorists.

March 14

  • The Cabinet approves the policy statement after 3 hours of deliberations that focused primarily on the paragraph related to resistance, which read as follows: “The government reaffirms the state’s obligation and endeavor to liberate the Sheba’a farms, the Kfarshouba hills and the Lebanese part of the border town of Al-Ghajar by all legitimate means and emphasizes the right of the Lebanese to resist the Israeli occupation and to recover its occupied territory.” Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi expresses reserve over the resistance-related clause and the three Phalanges ministers keep their decision hanging until Saturday.
  • The March 14 Forces hold a celebration at the BIEL compound in Beirut marked by vivid speeches for former PM Fouad Seniora, LF leader Samir Geagea and MPs Sami Gemayel and Fares Souaid. Seniora calls on Hezbollah to return from Syria and Geagea urges the election of a President of the Republic from the March 14 coalition.
  • The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant tweets responsibility for the attack against the Israeli patrol in the occupied town of Mazraat Al-Basra, south of Lebanon and Israel retaliates by launching missiles against Mazraat Halta and the Kfarshouba hills.
  • The twentieth round of fighting continues in Tripoli raising the death toll to 6 and injuring 50.
  • The Lebanese Army Intelligence releases Jalal Kalash, the director of Sheikh Salem Al-Rifaei, after his arrest by the General Security at Beirut’s airport on allegations of supplying Tripoli’s battle front leaders with weapons.
  • A number of Lebanese politicians including Minister Ali Hassan Khalil and former President of the Republic Emile Lahoud and his son visit Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Walid Al-Mouallem in hospital to check up on his health after undergoing heart surgery at the American University Hospital in Beirut.
  • Iran’s Ambassador to Lebanon Ghadanfar Rokon Abadi protests to President Suleiman and PM Salam about the statement made by Lebanon’s Minister of Interior and Municipalities Nouhad Al-Mashnouq in Morocco and the two assert that Al-Mashnouq’s statement reflects his personal position, not Lebanon’s, reiterating the country’s strong desire to maintain a good relationship with Iran. Al-Mashnouq had accused Iran of attempting to destabilize Lebanon for the past 30 years.

March 15

  • Speaker Nabih Berri schedules the parliamentary sessions to discuss the policy statement and grant the Cabinet confidence on the 19th and 20th of March.
  • The elaborated meeting of the Phalanges politburo concludes by requesting clarification with respect to the paragraphs concerned with the resistance in the policy statement.
  • The rockets launched from the outskirts of Arsal toward the towns of An-Nabi Othman and Al-Labwi kill a resident of the former. Al-Labwi inhabitants protest against the violence by blocking the road leading to Arsal. The inhabitants of Arsal condemn the attack and urge immediate action to reopen the road.
  • The Lebanese Army arrests a car ridden with arms and explosives in the town of Shadra in Chtoura.
  • President Michel Suleiman voices his understanding of the Phalanges’ stance regarding the policy statement, in front of delegation from the Phalanges Youth.

March 16

  • A suicide bomber blows himself up in a car in An-Nabi Othman leaving 4 dead and 11 injured. The An-Nusra Front claims responsibility for the explosion.
  • Hezbollah supporters rally in a number of Lebanese regions in celebration of the triumph in the Syrian town of Yabrud.
  • The ongoing battles in Tripoli’s twentieth round of fighting raise death toll to 12 and those injured to 60.
  • Both gunmen and civilians are reported to have crossed from the Syrian town of Yabroud to Arsal.

March 18

  • President Michel Suleiman calls on convening the national dialogue session on Monday, March 31.
  • Demonstrators block a number of roads in Qasqas, Al-Masnaa and Al-Awali and burn photos of Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah in Tripoli and demand the reopening of the Labwi-Arsal road.
  • Former PM Saad Hariri warns from the provocation campaigns targeting Arsal and Tripoli, reiterating the role of the state in ensuring the safety of citizens.
  • PM Tamam Salam receives his predecessor Najib Mikati and a number of MPs from Tripoli at the Grand Serail to discuss the means of addressing the security situation in the city and to devise an economic and security plan for it.

March 19

  • Parliament begins its discussion on the policy statement and the speeches are marked by calm and non-escalation of words.
  • The Lebanese Army enters Arsal, setting up a number of checkpoints and conducting patrols while the security meeting at the Baabda Palace discusses the measures necessary to help the army stabilizing the town.
  • 5 people injured in the ongoing clashes in Tripoli.
  • “My candidacy for President of the Republic is a high and serious possibility,” says General Michel Aoun to Al-Arabiyah.
  • Syrian forces bomb a number of areas in Wadi Khaled.

March 20

  • The policy statement discussion sessions conclude after the delivery of 35 speeches with the Tamam Salam government winning confidence after 96 ayes, 4 nays (by MP Nicolas Fattoush and the three Lebanese Forces MPs Elie Kairouz, Tony Abou Khater and Chant Janajian) and 1 abstention (Imad Al-Hout). “Our government is not to fill a void but to revive the institutions,” says PM Tamam Salam in his speech.
  • “I do not believe in any compromise over the presidential elections and we will do all that is in our power to bring a March 14 ally to the presidency of the republic,” says the Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea following his meeting with Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi.
  • Renewed clashes in Tripoli kill one person and wound 16 others.

March 21

  • US President Barack Obama passes his good wishes to PM Tamam Salam on the phone, emphasizing the need to respect constitutional deadlines and to hold the presidential elections on time.
  • President Michel Suleiman stresses that he rejects term extension and his priority revolves now around passing down the torch to his successor.
  • Continued battles in Tripoli raise death toll to 25 and those injured to 125.
  • In response to the criticism aimed by former Minister Wiam Wahhab at the Director General of the General Security Abbas Ibrahim over his frequent trips to Syria, the General Security hits back by saying: “Neither Wahhab nor anyone else has the right to evaluate the Directorate General of General Security.”
  • The Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church Ignatius Zakka Iwas, the leader of one of world’s oldest Christian sects, dies in Germany after a battle with illness.
  • Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Masri arrives in Lebanon in an official visit and meets a number of officials.
  • Syrian forces shoot dead a shepherd and his companion in Majda Anjar.

March 22

  • Attempt to abduct Baalbeck’s Maronite bishop Samaan Atallah in the town of Iaat near Baalbeck falters.
  • The Internal Security Forces break into the National Social Security Fund building in Wata el-Msaytbeh to investigate reports of falsified certificates of clearance.
  • US Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale returns from his trip to the US and visits a number of officials stressing that his country does not interfere in the process of presidential elections but instead assists in it.
  • Celebratory gunfire heard in Tripoli following rumors about the death of Ali Eid. Eid appears on TV later to deny the rumors.

March 23

  • Supporters of Shaker El-Berjawi clash with the Future Movement and other Islamic groups in the vicinity of the Cité Sportive leaving one dead and 13 injured. The Lebanese Army intervenes to halt the fighting.
  • MP Walid Jumblat urges Hezbollah to dissolve the resistance brigades in an interview on Al-Jadeed TV.
  • President Suleiman attends the mass commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the death of Saint Rafqa in the town of Jrabta and calls on holding the presidential elections on time and on a defense strategy where the state and the Lebanese army are the reference.
  • Salafist cleric Ahmad El-Assir appears in a video lashing out at Bahiya el-Hariri and the Lebanese Army, which according to him is controlled by Hezbollah. He adds that Minister Marwan Charbel had informed him that the decision to eradicate Hezbollah had been taken but Charbel denies the allegations.
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Gebran Bassil meets his Qatari counterpart during the convention of the Arab League ministers of foreign affairs in Kuwait and requests his assistance in releasing the bishops abducted in Syria.

March 24

  • President Michel Suleiman arrives in Kuwait at the head of Lebanon’s delegation to the Arab League Summit.
  • PM Tama Salam meets President Michel Suleiman and reports that the situation will not improve unless the presidential elections are held.
  • Minister of Interior and Municipalities Nouhad Al-Mashnouq meets a number of heads of municipalities at the residence of former Minister Michel El-Murr in Al-Rabieh and delivers a speech praising El-Murr.
  • Minister of Affairs and Emigrants Gebran Bassil warns during a press conference from allowing formation of Syrian groupings.
  • The Lebanese Army confiscates 400 grams of explosives at the Lebanese University Faculty of Sciences in Tripoli.

March 25

  • In his speech during the Arab League Summit held in Kuwait, President Michel Suleiman urges the Arab states to help Lebanon address the burden of Syrian refugees and Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabbah el-Ahmad extends gratitude to Suleiman.
  • Minister of Finance Ali Hassan Khalil announces that his withdrawal from the Arab League meeting during Syrian National Coalition chief Ahmed Jarba’s speech was in harmony with his own convictions and allegiances.
  • A Lebanese national set himself on fire in the western Bekaa town of Aana, after members of the Internal Security Forces attempted to shut down his gas station.
  • Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea thinks that his candidacy for president is self-evident.
  • Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rai urges Speaker Nabh Berri to call for a session as soon as possible to elect a President of the Republic.
  • A Syrian woman attempts to commit suicide outside a United Nations office by setting herself alight before bystanders rushed to save her. Some speculate that she may have been protesting the lack of support offered to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
  • An Israeli force trespasses the barbed-wire fence in the outskirts of the town of Aitroun.

March 26

  • President Suleiman returns from Kuwait after attending the Arab League Summit.
  • The Higher Defense Council convenes in Baabda to discuss the security situation and takes a number of decisions to stabilize Tripoli and the Beqa’a region.
  • As-Safir newspaper celebrates its 40th anniversary at BIEL.
  • Minister of Public Health Wael Bou Faour orders a decrease in the prices of medicines and the cost of the swelling hospitalization bill.
  • Minister of Telecommunications Boutros Harb holds a press conference to announce discounts on local and international phone calls.

March 27

  • The Cabinet holds its first session at the Baabda Palace and approves the security plan devised for Tripoli and Western Beqa’a. It also agrees to deliver telecoms data in its entirety to the security forces amid the protests and reserve expressed by the Amal Movement, Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement.
  • Sami Al-Atrash, who is accused of killing members of the military and detonating bomb-laden cars, dies during a raid conducted by the Lebanese Army on his cache in the outskirts of Arsal.
  • Continued tensions in Tripoli claim the life of a Lebanese soldier.

March 28

  • Patriarch Al-Rai heads a meeting in Bkerki in the presence of former President Amine Gemayel, General Michel Aoun, MP Suleiman Frangieh and a representative of Geagea who apologized for not attending due to security reasons.
  • Speaker Nabih Berri receives PM Tamam Salam at his residence in Ain el-Tineh where they discussed the general status quo, particularly the presidential elections. Salam addresses a delegation of the Press Syndicate saying that the government is not aspiring to replace the presidential vacuum.
  • Preparations set in motion to execute the security plan in Tripoli.
  • Joint parliamentary committees convene to discuss the pay scales.
  • The committee formed by Speaker Nabih Berri for presidential elections continues its round of meetings with Lebanese officials including LF leader Samir Geagea.
  • ISF member Pierre Bayeh shot dead by gunmen in Tripoli.
  • Lebanese Ministers of Interior and of Public Transport deny the allegations suggesting the presence of torture chambers run by partisan groups at the Beirut airport as reported by As-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

March 29

  • In a televised speech broadcast during the opening of a cultural foundation in Ainata, Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah says “gold will be gold but wood will be used for the coffins of Israeli soldiers.”
  • Suicide explosion targets a Lebanese Army checkpoint in Wadi Ain Aata in the outskirts of Arsal killing 3 soldiers and wounding 4 others. The explosives were estimated at 100 kilograms and the Brigades of the Free Sunni in Baalbeck claims responsibility for the attack.
  • The Union Coordination Committee calls for strike action next Wednesday to accelerate the approval of the pay scales.

March 30

  • President Michel Suleiman attends the Alphabet and Poetry Festival held in Jbeil and expresses his regret that some of the political parties have decided to boycott the dialogue sessions. Suleiman says that the weapons should be in the hands of the Lebanese Army exclusively.
  • MP Walid Jumblat visits Speaker Nabih Berri and voices his intention to attend the dialogue sessions unconditionally.
  • Hezbollah, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Suleiman Frangieh and Talal Erslan announce that that they will boycott the scheduled dialogue sessions.
  • In an interview with the NBN’s political talk show ‘Al-Osbou’ Fi Sa’a’, LF leader Samir Geagea says that he will support Aoun as a candidate for presidency if Hezbollah agrees to hand over its weapons to the Lebanese Army.
  • The Lebanese Army dismantles a bomb set to be detonated in Tripoli.

March 31

  • The dialogue session convenes in the absence of Hezbollah and its allies as well as the Lebanese Forces. President Michel Suleiman opens the session by playing a two-minute audio recording of the June, 2012 Dialogue session in which the rival parties agreed on the Baabda Declaration.
  • Skirmishes over the Grade 1 appointments mark the Cabinet session held at the Baabda Palace and the Cabinet suspends the session until Wednesday after approving the appointments of three BDL vice-governors and renewing the term of the fourth. The Cabinet also approves the Saudi donation to arm the Lebanese Army and the renewal of the contracts with mobile operators.
  • The Lebanese Army dismantles a car bomb including 200 kg of explosives in Wadi Hamid in Arsal.
  • EDL daily-waged workers protest over the draft law proposed regarding full-time employment.
  • Telecoms Minister Boutros Harb reduces the tariff on prepaid telephone calls and international calls.