Lebanon’s Shiite clans seek end to some…
It started with a small traffic incident and ended in yet another murderous showdown in the age-old vendetta wars between the powerful Shiite Muslim clans who rule Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa Valley.
But unlike past feuds, this time clan elders and the militant group Hezbollah stepped in to defuse tensions, handing over to authorities the suspect accused of murdering a rival clan member and agreeing on a pact to end the revenge killings.
The “gentleman’s agreement”, drawn up earlier this month, marked a first step in clan efforts to do away with their reputation as outlaws who have long ruled supreme in the remote arid plain of the northern Bekaa, a Hezbollah stronghold traditionally ignored by successive Lebanese governments.
“Our customs date to pre-Islamic times and dictate that each family is responsible for the security of its members,” said Moflih Allaw, a member of one of the most powerful clans in Hermel and whose relative was involved in the recent killing.
“If someone from a clan was murdered, a member of the opposing clan had to die and that was part of our tradition,” added Allaw, 67, a local councillor in Hermel who helped formulate the recent pact.