Tripoli, the capital of northern Lebanon, is in the news once again. Over the past few weeks, the city has been the site of protests and clashes amidst the country’s deteriorating economic situation. Discourse on Tripoli is often a dichotomy, portraying the city as a hub of extremists as well as nicknaming it the “Bride of the Revolution” in 2019 after the outbreak of widespread national protests against the country’s corrupt political leadership. Politicians and pundits are warning that the most recent violent protests in Tripoli will spread elsewhere throughout the country.

The Arab Reform Initiative and the Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center are hosting two joint public panel discussions that aim to offer a deeper understanding of the current events in Tripoli. They will examine the city at the intersection of the crisis of the political system and political leadership, the deteriorating socio-economic situation, and potential regional influences.

The panels will take place on Monday, February 22 from 4:00 p.m. Beirut (GMT+2). The discussions will be held on Zoom in Arabic with simultaneous interpretation to English. Viewers may submit their questions for the panelists during the live event. To attend, please click here to register for both panels.

Panel 1 | Is there a Tripoli Exception?  

with Alia Ibrahim, Nawaf Kabbara, Khaled Ziadeh, and Jamil Mouawad.

Panelists will explore the key political and socioeconomic dynamics in Tripoli by linking them to the history of the city and developments in Lebanon. This will include the city’s historic socioeconomic marginalization and its place at one time as a hub for Islamists and leftists and a gateway to Syria, as well as a city over which the Syrian regime maintained tight control starting in the late 1980s until their withdrawal from Lebanon in 2005. The city is also host to the wealthiest politicians in the country. Consequently, speakers will explore the interplay between regional intervention, identity politics, local political competition, and local developments in the panel.    

Panel 2 | The Protest Movement: Can It Break the Siege of Tripoli?

with Mustafa Aweek, Jana Dhaiby, Samer Hajjar, and Darine Helwe.

The speakers will discuss Tripoli’s protest movements and analyze their prospects and political impact on both the local and national levels. This panel will pay particular attention to the initiatives and projects that were planned for Tripoli but never implemented and which need to be undertaken to revive the struggling city. It will examine the protest movement’s ability to change the narrative around Tripoli, as well as the projects that can be adopted given the country’s collapse.