Montréal, Canada - July 31, 2003

July 2003 - Vol. 1

RCPL July 2003 Newsletter includes the following items:

1. Syrian troops redeployed, but forget to disarm violent groups
2. Beirut experience clashes reminiscent of war time era
3. Chatilla camp residents take refuge from violent gun battles
4. Orient Express is launched in Montreal
5. A Canadian citizen arrested at Beirut airport

1. Syrian troops redeployed, but forget to disarm violent groups

The Syrian troops in Lebanon have once again redeployed within Lebanon. While the military occupation ends, the political hegemony remains, with Syria dictating day-to-day government affairs. While any redeployment is a good sign, RCPL feels that the Syrians have not helped their Lebanese counterparts disarm the non-governmental groups, which continuously threaten the stability of the region by creating a powder keg that can explode anytime. Canada should pressure the Lebanese and Syrian authorities to disarm all groups without exceptions.
Source:
The Globe and Mail

2. Beirut experience clashes reminiscent of war time era

On July 23, police were intervening to stop a quarrel by clubs and daggers from spiraling into a shootout between Amal and a fundamentalist Islamic faction. The result was a shootout that wounded four people, and required a call to the army, which immediately closed of the neighborhood. RCPL repeats it call that the authorities must disarm all non-governmental groups without exceptions to prevent such incidence.
Source:
Naharnet

3. Chatilla camp residents take refuge from violent gun battles

The Chatilla refugee camp witnessed gun battles between feuding groups. Residents were shocked by these actions, which demonstrates the need for authorities to establish the rule of law in the camps, especially from a security standpoint. In the past year, Palestinian refugee camps were the scene of numerous battles that lead to the death of several people, and damaged hundreds of home and shops. This is an abnormal situation, even by regional standards. 
Source:
Naharnet

4. Orient Express is launched in Montreal

Launched in July 2003, this new paper aims to analyze Middle Eastern geo-political landscape, and inform the Canadian foreign policy amkes about the region. 
For subscription, contact
Orient.Express@videotron.ca.

5. A Canadian citizen arrested at Beirut airport

Reverend Bruce Balfour, a 52-year-old Calgarian, was arrested upon his arrival to Beirut airport on July 10. His arrest was illegal as he has been held secretly for more than 10 days, without informing the Canadian embassy in Lebanon, with no contact with his family or lawyer, and as he has been detained for 3 weeks without any trial.

The Canadian embassy in Beirut has protested the failure to notify it of Balfour's arrest within the first 48 hours of his detention according to
Vienna Convention (article 36). The notification was made several days later.
On july 30, Lebanese Prosecutor General Adnan Addoum announced that Mr. Balfour was arrested on July 10 at Beirut airport on a military court order issued in absentia, which accused him of the crime of visiting Israel and "collaborating with the enemy." 

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