February 2

  • As part of his political endeavor to form a Cabinet, PM-designate Tamam Salam calls General Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri after having met both Minister Gebran Bassil and Hussein Khalil, the political aide of Hezbollah’s Secretary General.
  • Caretaker PM Najib Mikati announces during the International Security Conference in Munich that the Syrian crisis has cost Lebanon USD 7 billion.
  • The acquittal of Rola Yaacoub’s husband who had been accused of beating his wife to death causes a number of protests.

February 3

  • A suicide bomber detonates himself inside a passenger van in Choueifat, killing himself and injuring the van driver and a passer-by. Military experts report that the suicide vest contained 5 kilograms of explosives and the An-Nusra Front claims responsibility for the attack; claiming that the operation occurred in front of one of the Hezbollah checkpoints and killed all the Shia’a passengers in addition to all the members who were at the checkpoint.
  • Truck drivers protest calling for changing the circulation schedule of trucks.
  • Minister of Energy and Water Gebran Bassil announces that the energy project contracts have been awarded and that Lebanon will enjoy a continuous power supply by the end of 2015.
  • PM-designate Tamam Salam receives representatives of the Tashnaq and Phalanges parties to discuss the government situation.
  • The Special Tribunal for Lebanon continues its sessions and hears the testimony of retired Brigadier General Abdul Karim Al-Sousi, who denies having tampered with the crime scene.

February 4

  • Military Investigative Judge Nabil Wehbi interrogates detainee Omar Al-Atrash, and issues an arrest warrant for him.
  • Bahiya Hariri’s supporters take to the streets and block the road near the Awali River in protest at her photo-shopped image aired during “Hayda Haki,” a weekly satirical program on MTV. MP Bahiya Hariri announces her intention to sue the TV channel for the offense.
  • General Michel Aoun slams incomplete parliamentary consultations and bids national partnership farewell following the weekly meeting of the Change and Reform Bloc.
  • President Michel Suleiman says that he has given instructions to write his farewell speech and hand over his post to a newly elected president.
  • The suspicious drone flying over the residence of LF leader, Samir Geagea, in Meerab draws media attention. The Minister of Interior and Municipalities says that it is not a joking matter and MP Antoine Zahra says the Iranian-made drone will be shot down if spotted again near the residence of Geagea.
  • The STL prosecution reveals that no genetic fingerprints of Ahmad Abou Adas were found at the Hariri crime scene which refutes his alleged involvement in the assassination, as evidenced by the testimony of Internal Security Forces Brigadier General Asaad Nohra.

February 5

  • Following their regular monthly meeting, Lebanon’s Maronite Bishops issue a National Charter document stressing that the election of a President of the Republic should be treated as a priority and calling for Lebanon’s neutrality and for reconsidering the Taif Accord.
  • According to accounts by MPs, Speaker Nabih Berri urges PM-designate Tamam Salam not to rush in the formation of the Cabinet.
  • Army Intelligence confiscates a cache of weapons in the town of Aidamoun. The warehouse belongs to a Syrian national who used the warehouse to arm gunmen sneaking into Syria.
  • Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Emma Bonnino arrives in Lebanon on an official visit and reiterates that the downsizing of the Italian Contingent operating within UNIFIL is not at present under consideration.
  • President Michel Suleiman and caretaker PM Najib Mikati offer their condolences to former President Emile Lahoud over the death of the sister of Judge Nassri Lahoud.
  • MP Bahiya Hariri files a lawsuit against MTV for airing a photo-shopped picture of her dancing with MP Mohammad Raad and Adel Karam, host of the MTV weekly satirical program Hayda Haki, apologizes to her sincerely.
  • A secret witness who was a former member at the Internal Security Forces explosives office reveals to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon that the Syrian Intelligence Chief in Beirut, Jameh Jameh, had requested to be informed about the data gathered at the Hariri crime scene.

February 6

  • Efforts to form a Cabinet falter again, negating the positivism that had emerged earlier today and circulating talks point out the possibility of forming the Cabinet early next week following the return of President Michel Suleiman from Tunisia.
  • STL secret witness No. 566 claims that there was a lack of coordination between the Lebanese Army and the Internal Security Forces at the crime scene the day Hariri was assassinated.
  • The Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc reiterates that anything short of an all-embracing Cabinet would be considered a violation of the national pact. The aide to Hezbollah’s Secretary General, Hajj Hussein Khalil, reports to Al-Liwaa that Hezbollah will not abandon its allies, stressing that the rapprochement between the Future Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement serves the country.
  • The recent Bkerki document receives acclaim from several political groups while Hezbollah responds with silence.

February 7

  • President Michel Suleiman returns to Beirut after having participated in Tunisia’s new constitution ceremony and met his French counterpart François Hollande and Ali Larijani, Head of Iran’s Shura Council.
  • Caretaker PM Najib Mikati meets Putin on the sidelines during his visit to Russia to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
  • Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji urges officers to face up to strife.

February 8

  • MTV’s CEO, Michel Gabriel El-Murr, apologizes personally to MP Bahiya Hariri over the recent controversial sketch.
  • Commander of the Lebanese Arab Army during the Civil War, First Lieutenant Ahmad Al-Khatib passes away.
  • Head of the Shura Council, former Judge Saadallah Khoury passes away.

February 9

  • President Michel Suleiman and a number of top officials attend mass at the St. Maroun Church in Gemmayze.
  • Patriarch Al-Rai chairs Bkerke mass in the presence of General Michel Aoun and his bloc members and advocates their rightful demands.

February 10

  • A group of young men stage protests in Al-Qebbeh, Tripoli, in response to the insults directed at Omar Al-Atrash during an earlier protest on Sunday when one sheikh from al-Msheik family shouted: “God damn you, Omar!”
  • A member of the Internal Security Forces testifies before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon that he was ordered to the Hariri crime scene to oversee the removal of cars to the Helou barracks, without having been given the reasons.
  • Following his visit to Tripoli’s Maronite archdiocese to congratulate Bishop George Abou Jaoudeh on St. Maroun Day, former head of the Internal Security Forces, Major General Ashraf Rifi denies reports that he is seeking a ministerial position.
  • French newspaper, Le Figaro, reports that the Marshall Islands has nominated former General Security head Jamil al-Sayyed as their envoy to UNESCO, which gives al-Sayyed immunity from prosecution at the STL, although he has not been accused.
  • Lebanon bids farewell to the renowned Lebanese poet Joseph Harb who wrote the lyrics of many songs for the Lebanese Diva, Fairouz.

February 11

  • Maronite Patriarch Al-Rai heads for Rome and announces at the airport that the dignity of the President of the Republic and of the PM-designate prevents them from forming a Cabinet that would fail to win confidence.
  • The Lebanese Forces leader, Samir Geagea supports the Bkerki document during his press conference and urges all parties to follow in his footsteps, stressing that the document has cancelled the theory of the resistance.
  • The STL decides to put the Merhi case at the trial of the four alleged Hezbollah suspects accused of plotting the assassination of Rafik Hariri. The move is likely to result in the adjournment of the Tribunal’s sessions.
  • Naked pictures of the Lebanese Olympic skier Jackie Chamoun spark conflicting reactions and the Minister of Youth and Sports, Faisal Karami, orders an investigation. Jackie apologizes and explains that the photographs were taken for a calendar 3 years ago and the footage which found its way onto the internet was never supposed to be made public.
  • Caretaker PM Najib Mikati demands an explanation from Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui over the alleged illegal licenses issued to internet companies.
  • Ethiopian domestic worker kills her employer Nawal Halabi in Hlalieh, near Saida.

February 12

  • The Lebanese Army Intelligence arrests terrorist Naim Abbas, a top official in the Al-Qaida-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades, who helps uncover a car loaded with 100 kg of explosives in the Corniche al-Mazraa district of central Beirut and another one with explosives near the town of Arsal. Three women tasked to deliver the second car to suicide bombers were arrested. The army later confiscates dozens of rockets in the towns of Saadeyat and Debiyyeh.
  • Marshall Islands withdraws al-Sayyed’s UNESCO nomination.
  • The STL Trial Chamber suspends its trial sessions following the joinder of the Merhi case to those of the four other convicted fugitives to allow the defense team enough time for preparation.
  • Former head of the Internal Security Forces, Major General Ashraf Rifi accuses generals Jamil al-Sayyed, Ali el-Hajj and Mostafa Hamdan of direct involvement in the Hariri assassination.
  • Lebanon’s Court of Publications orders a two-month jail term for Jean Assi for slandering the President of the Republic.
  • Caretaker PM Najib Mikati requests Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui to retract the illegal licenses granted to internet service provider companies to work and invest in the cellular sector.

February 13

  • President Michel Suleiman chairs a security meeting at the Baabda presidential palace to discuss the security situation in the wake of the latest army achievements.
  • Informed sources reveal that the terrorist Naim Abbas confessed to all the crimes he committed in less than half an hour, which caused surprised reactions.
  • The phobia of car bombings sweeps across Beirut, Saida and Beka’a and the Lebanese Army finds no explosives in the cars reported as suspicious.
  • Public administrations and schools to close on the ninth anniversary of Rafik Hariri’s assassination.

February 14

  • March 14 Forces commemorate the assassination of Rafik Hariri at BIEL and his son, Saad Hariri, delivers a televised speech from Riyadh, reiterating the moderation of the Future Movement and its opposition to both the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and Hezbollah, stressing that the Future Movement refuses a presidential vacuum and all attempts to thrust the Sunni into the conflict between Hezbollah and al-Qaeda. He makes no mention of the government.
  • Residents take to the streets of Tripoli in protest at the competition for labor caused by the influx of Syrian refugees.
  • Saudi Prince receives former PM Saad Hariri.

February 15

  • Lebanon announces the formation of its long-awaited Cabinet under the premiership of Tamam Salam and ministers pose for a group photo, which was later doctored to include Speaker Nabih Berri. PM Tamam Salam dubs it the national unity Cabinet.

February 16

  • The Lebanese Army chases a suspicious Toyota Rav 4 on the outskirts of the town of Ham and manages to capture the vehicle, which was rigged with 240 kilograms of explosives. The driver escapes.
  • Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah underlines in a televised speech aired on al-Manar TV that Hezbollah is warding off the attacks of takfiris in Syria, adding that the presence of influential parties outside the government strips it of its unity. Nasrallah reiterates the need for accord among all parties and urges the confrontation of terrorism. Hezbollah’s supporters greet his speech with celebratory gunfire.
  • Speaker Nabih Berri arrives in Kuwait and meets Kuwaiti Prince, Sheikh Sabah Ahmad al-Sabah.
  • Former President Amine Gemayel states that the People-Army-Resistance equation has fallen apart.
  • General Jamil Al-Sayyed slams Rifi’s appointment to the Ministry of Justice and cuts off his co-ordination with the March 8 Forces.

February 17

  • Outgoing ministers hand over their positions at 5 ministries and PM Tamam Salam meets a number of ambassadors on his first day at the Serail.
  • In his weekly statement to Al-Anbaa, MP Walid Jumblat states that the presidential election ranks highest on the new government’s agenda, adding that the political dispute should be withdrawn from the streets.
  • Celebratory gunshots heard in Beirut following the speech of Speaker Nabih Berri.
  • A conciliatory meeting brokered by Colonel Houssam Tanoukhi and Intelligence Branch Chief Brigadier General Imad Othman brings together General Ashraf Rifi and Hezbollah’s security official Wafeeq Safa in what Rifi described as new chapter aimed at reopening the channels of communication and defusing the sectarian tensions.

February 18

  • The Cabinet holds its first session at the Baabda Palace and forms a committee to formulate the ministerial statement.
  • Lebanese poet and writer Ounsi el-Hajj dies at the age of 77.
  • Informed sources confirm the rumors about an alleged meeting between Aoun and Hariri in France about a month ago.
  • General Michel Aoun celebrates his 79th birthday.

February 19

  • Two suicide bombers blow up their cars near the Iranian Cultural Center early this morning, killing 8 people and injuring 130 others. The Abdullah Azzam Brigades claim responsibility for the attack saying it was in retaliation for Iran and Hezbollah’s involvement in the killing of Syrian children. The Lebanese Army identifies the two suicide bombers as Palestinian nationals Nidal Hisham al-Mughayer and Marwan Hamadeh. The cars were rigged with 165 kilograms of explosives.
  • PM Tamam Salam chairs a meeting for the committee tasked with formulating the ministerial statement at the Baabda Palace.
  • Former PM Saad Hariri arrives in Cairo and meets a number of officials including Defense Minister Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Sisi.
  • PM Tamam Salam tells Future TV that his first official visit will be to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, adding that if 8 ministers tendered their resignations, he would follow suit.
  • Speaker Nabih Berri arrives in Albania on an official visit.
  • Outgoing minister Chakib Qortbawi hands over his position as Minister of Justice to General Ashraf Rifi.

February 20

  • Death toll rises to 10 in the Beer Hassan explosion.
  • PM Saad Hariri continues his Cairo visit and meets acting President Adli Mansour emphasizing that he will not accept a presidential vacuum and that he will meet Patriarch al-Rai in Rome to hear his opinion on the matter.
  • The Arab Democratic Party names the assassins of the party’s official, Abdul Rahman Diab, and issues a 48-hour ultimatum to authorities to arrest them. The assassination inflames tension in Tripoli leaving one person dead and 6 others injured.
  • The Syrian judiciary sentences Mohammad Zouheir As-Seddiq and Mourad Akram to 20 years in prison for false testimony in the Hariri case.
  • PM Tamam Salam holds meetings with a number of Arab diplomats including the Syrian ambassador and the Saudi chargé d’affaires.
  • MP Strida Geagea asserts that the LF leader, Samir Geagea, will one day be President of the Lebanese Republic

February 21

  • Patriarch al-Rai meets former PM Saad Hariri and a number of MPs and advisors in Rome. The discussion covers presidential elections and Hariri says “we want a new President and we will do all in our power to prevent a vacuum.”
  • PM Tamam salam chairs a security meeting in the presence of Tripoli’s ministers to discuss the security situation in the city.
  • Former PM Fouad Seniora checks on infrastructure projects in Saida and urges Hezbollah to retreat from Syria and to drop all the pretexts it is using to justify terrorist acts.
  • Speaker Nabih Berri returns to Beirut after concluding his Albania trip.
  • The Lebanese Army arrests a woman named Em Jamal in Nabi Sheet for trying to recruit females to perform terrorist acts for the An-Nusra Front.
  • MP Suleiman Frangieh urges the election of a strong President on Al-Mayadeen TV, whether from March 8 or March 14 Forces.

February 22

  • A suicide bomber blows himself up in a Grand Cherokee Jeep at a Lebanese Army checkpoint in Hermel. The bombing kills 3 people, including an officer and a soldier and injures 17 others. The An-Nusra Front claims responsibility for the attack and the Lebanese Army estimate that 125 kilograms of explosives were used in the explosion.
  • Refaat Eid reports that the 48-ultimatum to hand over the assassins of the Arab Democratic Party official, Abdul Rahman Diab was announced to calm down the agitated residents of Jabal Mohsen.
  • The Lebanese Army’s crackdowns in Saida result in the death of one of Nidal El-Moughir’s relatives at the Ein El-Helweh Camp.

February 23

  • Former President Saad Hariri tells Future TV “I will be at the heart of the presidential electons.”
  • Maronite Patriarch al-Rai meets Lebanon’s Army Commander Jean Qahwaji in Rome.
  • Residents of Ersal march in support of the Lebanese Army and call for the fighting of terrorism and the maintaining of civil peace.

February 24

  • Three inmates escape from the Roumieh prison and the Lebanese Army manages to re-arrest two of them.
  • Sources report that Israeli airstrikes targeted a Hezbollah stronghold in the border town of Nabi Sheet in Beqa’a.
  • The ministerial statement committee fails to reach agreement over the controversial clauses of the resistance and the Baabda declaration and adjourns its session until tomorrow.
  • American actress and UNHCR Special Envoy, Angelina Jolie, arrives in Lebanon on a humanitarian mission and takes a tour of Syrian refugee camps. Jolie meets the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister.
  • In a statement posted on their Twitter account, the An-Nusra Front urges the rational Lebanese to stay out its battle against Wilayat al-Faqeeh and not to help the persecutor against the oppressed, accusing Hezbollah of putting the Lebanese Army in the front line so that it can devote itself to fighting in Syria.
  • First military investigative Judge Riad Abou Ghaida issues an arrest warrant in absentia for Ali Eid. Refaat Eid reports that they have lost the battle against Ashraf Rifi, not the war.
  • A mild earthquake hits the city of Tyre.

February 25

  • Once again, the ministerial statement committee convenes and fails to reach agreement over the controversial clauses of the resistance and the Baabda declaration.
  • During a luncheon she hosted for the March 14 Forces’ Secretariat at former PM Saad Hariri’s residence in Downtown Beirut, MP Bahiya Haria receives the annual report of the Secretariat for the year 2013 and stresses that the state should punish crime, not seek revenge.
  • Tensions rise in the town of Baisariyeh after the scorching of the car of the father of Marwan Hamadeh, a suspect in the Bir Hassan and Hermel explosions.
  • L’orient le Jour celebrates its 90th anniversary as a francophone magazine.

February 26

  • Hezbollah issues a statement confirming the Israeli raid on its border stronghold and vowing to hit back at the right time and place. President Suleiman urges the Minister of Foreign Affairs to file a complaint to the UN Security Council.
  • Following the weekly meeting chaired by Speaker Nabih Berri on Wednesday, MPs quote Berri as saying “the Baabda Declaration and the army-people-resistance formula should be part of the policy statement or that the settlement should include both” and stressing that four Arab Summits emphasized Lebanon’s right to resistance.
  • By the end of its 6th meeting, the ministerial statement committee reaches a satisfactory formula over the Baabda Declaration and Minister of Public Health, Wael Bou Faour, hopes that Friday’s meeting will be the last.
  • During an interview on the NBN television, MP Michel Aoun says “I advocate Hezbollah’s right to resistance but I am not an adversary of the Future Movement.”
  • “The decision about withdrawal from Syria is not in Hezbollah’s hands”, says Walid Jumblat on the Future TV.
  • Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya awaits the findings of a coroner’s report on the death of Marwan Dimashqiya, a party member best known for his link to a provocative parody song attacking Hezbollah over its ongoing battle in Yabroud.
  • The Special Tribunal for Lebanon announces in writing the joinder of the Merhi case to the trial of the other four suspects.

February 27

  • “Believe me, those who are currently challenging the Baabda Declaration will start calling for its implementation later on,” Suleiman says in an interview with the al-Nashra magazine, published by the Beirut Bar Association. “Speaker Nabih Berri recited the resolutions and the amendments, and despite all this, it is being said that the Declaration was not discussed and that the paper was only distributed to the conferees,” Suleiman complains.
  • Former PM Fouad Seniora meets the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General at his residence and hands him a petition signed by 64 MPs requesting the annexation of all assassination crimes against the Cedar Revolution leaders to the powers of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
  • Israeli border troops maintain high alert following Hezbollah’s retaliation threats.
  • President Michel Suleiman receives the Chairman of the Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran, Alaeddine Boroujerdi.
  • AUB students stage a protest against the raise in tuition fees.

February 28

  • During a speech at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, President Michel Suleiman implicitly urges Hezbollah to cede ground over the divisive tripartite “army, people, resistance” formula, saying all sides needed to avoid clinging to inflexible equations that hinder the birth of the policy statement.
  • The ministerial statement committee adjourns its meeting till Monday after failure to reach consensus over the resistance and the Baabda Declaration clauses.
  • Syrian airstrikes in Ersal leave 2 dead and 7 injured. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claims responsibility for the grad rockets launched against Brital.
  • First Military Investigative Judge Riad Abou Ghaida orders the death penalty for fugitive Sunni cleric Ahmad al-Assir.