You think British MPs are unruly? You should come see ours, Lebanese delegation tells Mr. Bercow

Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow may have underestimated the chaos that can consume the Lebanese parliament. (Reuters)
Updated 05 September 2019

You think British MPs are unruly? You should come see ours, Lebanese delegation tells Mr. Bercow

  • John Bercow tells squabbling House of Commons they set a bad example to visiting delegation of Lebanese politicians
  • Lebanese commentators say Lebanon's parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri often uses ceremonial hammer to break up actual fights

BEIRUT: House of Commons Speaker John Bercow provoked widespread mirth in Lebanon on Wednesday when he told unruly British MPs they were setting a bad example to a visiting delegation of Lebanese politicians.

“I’m not sure at the moment how impressed they’ll be,” said Bercow, pointing to the visitors’ gallery as MPs in the Commons chamber argued and shouted at each other in a heated debate over Brexit.

In fact, the visitors probably thought it was a relatively uneventful session, Lebanese commentators said, pointing out that Lebanon's parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri often used his ceremonial hammer to break up actual fights.

“Bercow does not know what happens in the Lebanese Parliament,” writer Hassan Daoud said. “They are not exactly a role model.”

Actor and playwright Zaki Mahfoud said: “No matter how loudly the British MPs argue with each other, none of them will challenge another by saying ‘My father is stronger than your father.’

“They won’t show off about the number of votes they got, or boast that their weapons brought the president to office, as Lebanese MPs do.”

Mona Sukkarayah, a Lebanese journalist, said: “If Bercow had been following what was happening in the Lebanese parliament, he would have heard the screams and insults exchanged by MPs.”

One of the Lebanese MPs visiting Westminster, Yassin Jaber, also appeared to find the Commons uproar unsurprising. The visit took place “at a sensitive political moment in the history of the UK,” he said.


Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

Updated 16 September 2019

Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

  • Joint operations planned to prevent attacks ahead of polls

KABUL: Afghan forces backed by US forces killed two senior Taliban leaders and at least 38 fighters of the hard-line insurgent group in joint airstrikes conducted in northern and western regions of Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday.

The operations, launched on Saturday night, were aimed at foiling attacks planned by the Taliban on Afghan forces, said a senior security official in capital Kabul, adding that clashes have escalated following the collapse of diplomatic talks between the US and the Taliban.

The Defense Ministry in a statement said that the Taliban’s designate governor for northern Samangan province, Mawlavi Nooruddin, was killed along with four fighters in an airstrike in Dara-e-Soof Payeen district.

But the Taliban denied the governor had been killed.

“He (Nooruddin) is alive,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman said in a statement.

HIGHLIGHT

Taliban deny the governor of Samangan province had been killed.

Last week, insurgents killed four Afghan special force members in a car bomb blast.

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day.

In a separate incident, Mullah Sayed Azim, a Taliban designate governor for Anar Dara district in western Farah was killed in a joint Afghan and foreign force raid.

“Sayed Azim was killed along with 34 other insurgents in Anar Dara,” said Mohibullah Mohib, a spokesman for Farah provincial police.

Senior security officials in Kabul said several joint operations will be launched against Taliban and Daesh fighters to prevent attacks on Afghan forces and civilians ahead of the presidential polls on Sept. 28.

Fighting picked up in several parts of Afghanistan last week after US President Donald Trump’s abrupt cancelation of talks with the Taliban aimed at withdrawing US troops and opening the way to end to 18 year-long war in Afghanistan. 

 

Troops for polling day

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day. Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry said on Sunday that 72,000 security personnel will be on duty around the 4,942 polling centers across Afghanistan while nearly 30,000 additional troops will serve as reserve units.

Defense Ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai said security forces have recently taken back eight districts from the Taliban and that operations are underway to secure around 20 others.