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VICE News on Tripoli


Flags of Al-Qaeda and ISIS line the streets in the Sunni city of Tripoli, Lebanon

Prior to 1975, Lebanon was called the “Switzerland of the Middle East” and was a major tourist destination. Then came civil war between Christians and Muslims. Civil War was followed by three different Israeli invasions. Now the war in Syria has completely destabilized Lebanon again.

Tripoli is the main Sunni city. It has half a million people. It is about 90% Sunni, 5% Alawite, and 5% Christian. The Alawites are a Shiite sect.

This documentary was published in February, 2014. The Sunni militia portrays themselves as “moderates.” They say they just want to make sure all Sunnis are safe.

Yet, the backdrop for this documentary is streets lined with Al-Nusra Front/Al-Qaeda and ISIS flags. The Al-Nusra Front is the official Syrian affiliate of Al-Qaeda. Both ISIS and Al-Nusra are run by former leaders of the defunct Al-Qaeda In Iraq.

Towards the end of the documentary, an Alawite militia leader finally points out that the black flags everywhere are the flag of Al-Qaeda. He also claims that the Free Syrian Army [FSA] and Al-Nusra share the same office in Tripoli. The FSA are the main group of “moderates” that are financed, armed, and trained by the USA, NATO, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

The use of the black Islamic flag as a “flag of Jihad” was popularized by Osama Bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda network. The traditional flags of Sunni Islam are green, like the flag of Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood. The Taliban uses white flags.

Related: Second VICE News documentary on Tripoli. This one just talks about illegal arms sales. Many of the guns are American made M-16s that were either given to “moderates” in Syria or abandoned by Israel soldiers during the last Israel invasion.