BEIRUT: Tripoli MP Mohammad Kabbara criticized authorities for cutting off funds allocated to the northern city and questioned why the city was being unjustly punished.
“Why did Cabinet cut off $60 million out of $100 million that was allocated to Tripoli long ago, preventing the city from rising out of its social and economic misery?” the lawmaker asked in a statement.
“The city is being punished because it is loyal to its role and history and identity and stances; those who failed at controlling Tripoli through explosions are trying to control it through poverty,” Kabbara said.
Former Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s Cabinet agreed in May 2012 to allocate $100 million in funds for development projects in Tripoli. The funds, however, were not secured.
Kabbara accused authorities of negligence toward the northern city, which is recovering from three years of unrest linked to the Syrian crisis.
He said Tripoli was being deprived of development projects that could secure “the livelihood of the misfortunate people of the city.”
Kabbara questioned whether there was a conspiracy to target Tripoli and continue to distort its real image of openness and coexistence.
“ Tripoli stood steadfast in confrontation to the Assad regime's plots during the rounds of violence that destroyed the city and it was not conquered,” he said. “Is Tripoli being punished in peacetime because it did not yield during war? Is the conspiracy against Tripoli continuous? ...
“Is it being punished because it represents the Sunni steadfastness in Lebanon?”
Tripoli, one of Lebanon’s poorest cities, has suffered from more than 20 rounds of violence since 2008 between supporters and opponents of the Assad regime in the city, claiming the lives of dozens and causing massive damage and resulting in an economic decline.
A security plan enacted by authorities in the city in April ended the violence, and hundreds of arrest warrants were issued against those who took part in the battles.