Recently, the international community has been focused on Lebanon’s uprisings and protests. These protests began after the government proposed a tax on WhatsApp calls. After recognizing the backlash, the government scrapped the proposal for the tax. Yet, it did so at a point by which the movement had taken on a cause greater than protesting a tax.
The Lebanese people are fighting for a complete overhaul of federal programs in Lebanon. They feel the government has not done enough to counter the economic crisis the country is currently facing. Additionally, the people believe that the government is ignoring women’s rights on multiple levels.
Though Lebanon is a country where politicians once dominated every single aspect of the media, certain Lebanense channels have recently yielded their programming to the people through an “open mic”. By doing this, they give the Lebanese populus a platform to express their grievances with the government.
However, though certain small changes have been made in an attempt to further the rights of workers, the government has failed to change one of the most oppressive institutions in Lebanon: the Kafala system. The Kafala system makes it extremely difficult for Lebanese workers, especially women, to hold a job and criticizing their employers. According to Al-Jazeera, “under the country's Kafala system, or co-sponsorship system, the legal status of migrant domestic workers is in the hands of their employers. If the employer terminates their contract, the sponsorship gets automatically cancelled, turning these workers into illegal aliens and putting them at risk of arrest and... deportation.”
The impassioned chants of “all of them means all of them” continue to fill the streets, expressing the Lebanese people’s commitment to the rights of the people, especially workers. The Kafala system is standing directly in the way of the rights of the over 250,000 foreign workers living in Lebanon.
In order for the protests to halt, the Lebanese government must abolish the Kafala system that oppresses many at the expense of their livelihood.
Abu Bakar Al-Baghdadi’s name is that, even after his death, continues to strike fear into the hearts of many. Notorious for being referenced in 911 calls from terrorists who claimed to perform certain acts in his name, Al-Baghdadi was not just the leader of ISIS, but was the embodiment of the spirit they claimed to possess.
Though the death of a leader with the same power and significance as Abu Bakar Al-Baghdadi should have a massive impact on ISIS’s drive to attack and their organization as a group, ISIS has actively come out and warned Americans and the rest of the world not to celebrate Al-Baghdadi’s death prematurely, claiming that they plan to come back stronger in the face of this assault. This dichotomy provokes the question: Will Al-Baghdadi’s death topple ISIS, or re-energize their vanishing base?
To answer this, we have to look at both sides of the debate. According to a BBC article on this same subject, “IS is likely to use the death of Baghdadi to rally its supporters in the name of revenge.” The death of a leader with the strength and power that Baghdadi had will anger many within ISIS, but the more difficult question to answer is whether or not that will catalyze further attacks. Other evidence suggests that ISIS is going to come back stronger. Having just appointed new leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurayshi, ISIS is ready to continue fighting. Amidst the chaos in Syria as a result of the American troop withdrawal, it appears as if ISIS will rise from the ashes of Al-Baghdadi’s death and re-emerge under al-Qurayshi.
Chaos and mayhem have always brewed disaster when without a power to keep them in check. History teaches humanity this profound lesson repeatedly. The formation of ISIS resulted almost directly from the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. When American troops withdrew, ISIS was allowed to prosper. In Afghanistan, the United States gave the group that later became Al-Queda weapons to fight the Soviets during the war of 1979-1989, and withdrew. Al-Queda was allowed to form under Osama bin Laden and Abdulah Azzam due to the lack of another significant power to keep them in check.