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Hanin Ghaddar

Rage and arms in Tripoli

The admins and members of the Facebook groups “Tripoli, the Capital of Sunnis” and “The Sunna in Lebanon II” have been very active since Saturday, reporting on the bloody events taking place in Tripoli. Posts and comments on these groups clearly implied that the street is not going to calm down anytime soon; it was speaking its own language, a very dangerous one.

Sunni Muslim Shadi al-Mawlawi’s arrest on Saturday, which triggered the violence, is not convincing. He was detained by officials from the Lebanese General Security, an institution that is controlled by Hezbollah and Amal and that is not usually involved in this kind of arrest. It is as if the stage was being set to ignite rage among Islamists in Tripoli, and that’s exactly what happened.
 
The Facebook groups’ posts called for jihad, lobbying Muslims “to join their brothers in the streets and never go home before all Islamists prisoners are released from Roumieh Prison.” The issue was not about Shadi al-Mawlawi; they wanted to defeat the state and “end the injustice.”

The sectarian rhetoric of the Facebook groups says a lot about the rage and determination of those affiliated with Islamists groups in the North. Feeling abandoned by the state and their so-called Sunni leaders, many have found refuge in the political identity and promise of victory provided by the rising Islamist groups in Tripoli.

Along with the feeling of belonging comes the sectarian anger, seemingly because Sunnis have been feeling threatened by the growing power of the Shia Hezbollah, even within Tripoli itself. The threat was at the door, and they had to do something about it, even if it was symbolic.

“Violent clashes between the dirty Alawite and Shia dogs and the Sunni lions of Tripoli. This is the threat of Hassan Nasrallah to whoever supports the heroes of the Syrian revolution,” posted the admin of the group “The Sunna of Lebanon.” Another commented: “Sunnis of Lebanon, this is your day. Rise united and join your brothers with arms and determination.” Another group, “Stop Intimidating Sunnis and Brothers” posted that they have arrested eight armed members of Hezbollah on their way to Jabal Mohsen, killing one of them. This was not reported elsewhere.

Some of the other groups they “like” are: “A million signature to put Khamenei in a barn” and “Sheikh Adnan al-Arour fans,” and others that link to Islamist communities in both Lebanon and Syria, with many references to religious moments in Islamic history and nostalgic recollections of past victories, interrupted by juvenile anticipation of another soon-to-come victory over the “dirty pigs of Assad and Iran.”

This cannot be taken lightly, as money and arms are abundant in Lebanon, and wars only need a stupid spark like Shadi al-Mawlawi. The problem is that no one seems to be capable of containing this anger. The immediate solution the state came up with was to send troops to the streets, a temporary plan that might or might not confine the clashes. But what about the real reasons behind this violence, such as extreme poverty, ignorance and a total loss of citizenship?

This is not the first time sectarian clashes erupt in Tripoli, although today it is certainly more dangerous considering the Syrian context. Every time, the state send troops, politicians meet and leaders issue statements, and then everyone goes back to their mundane existence, leaving behind the city to accumulate more rage and a collective feeling of abandonment.

The rage in the streets of Tripoli can and will be used to pass political messages, and some say that this latest round of violence was a message from the Syrian regime to PM Najib Mikati, who is from Tripoli himself. That’s why an institution like the General Security was sent to ignite the spark.

It is not a secret that Bashar al-Assad is not completely satisfied with Mikati’s “dissociation” policy vis-à-vis the Syrian revolution, allowing in and protecting many Syrian refugees in North Lebanon. Assad certainly wants Mikati to be more committed to the regime in terms of handing in Syrian activists, giving more support to the demands of FPM leader Michel Aoun, and adopting the proportional representation electoral law, which would guarantee better results for Hezbollah and its Syrian allies in the parliamentary elections in 2013. Mikati has avoided any comment on these issues for months, and Assad is not happy.

At the same time, this weekend’s events could substantiate Assad’s story of al-Qaeda and Islamists’ involvement in the Syrian revolution, including the smuggling of arms and terrorists from Lebanon’s northern borders into Syria.

It doesn’t really matter if this is true or not. The messages have been delivered, and those who started it will stop everything as soon as they see results. Meanwhile, the Lebanese will pay, again, in blood and lives for agreeing to pass on the message. No one is a victim here. We are all responsible, but sanity seems to be less abundant than arms, anger and fear.

Hanin Ghaddar is the managing editor of NOW Lebanon.

  • Abu Umar

    HEP and Majd, why does Hezbollah make takwheen of all of the Syrian opposition when they were totally silent on their allies who rode to power on American tanks in Afghanistan and Iraq?

    May 24, 2012

  • ali

    @majd, true what you said, not only me , none in lebanon deserved to have lahhoud as a president, if you are proud to have him as president, mabrouk 3aleyk..he was disgrace to lebanon.

    May 22, 2012

  • ali daoud

    @ Emile, long time no see friend, don`t assume MF, do you think two million Lebanese are getting paid for their pro assad positions? any way, mabrouk the weapons and the militias and the terrorists who will build your STATE, i truly like it.

    May 21, 2012

  • ali daoud

    @ ali, read yourself then so you don`t puke! layk puky, Rafic Hariri was the major ruler of Lebanon during the syrian presence! and according to our laws, Lahoud was The President, and i am glad you don`t like him because you don`t deserve him in the first place.

    May 21, 2012

  • Hep

    Mike Whitney's definition of STL:---- The UN's Special Tribunal for Lebanon--or the STL, as it is called--is a US/Israeli invention designed to tarnish Hezbollah by leveling trumped up charges against its members. Tel Aviv and Washington want to connect Hezbollah to the murder of Rafik Hariri in order to brand the nationalist militia a "terrorist organization." Once the group is convicted on charges of terrorism, Israel will be able to conduct its cross-border attacks with impunity...... - "The US/Israeli Coup in Beirut"

    May 21, 2012

  • Emile

    @majd. who pays you to spend so much time on blogging.. am sure you are not doing for free... regardless what and who you are defending.. time is precious.. to make it brief.. all what you are saying is crap.. and if you think syrians left lebanon 7 years ago, wrong MF, look at yourself, you are syrian more than syrian

    May 21, 2012

  • ali

    @majd.. i puke when i read your comments, if you consider we had a president or presidents during syrian occupation, you are mistaken.. Hrawi was naive person, and lahhoud is a syrian agent, he was a disgrace to lebanon, him, his son , and his brother nasri, bunch of corrupt AHs

    May 21, 2012

  • ali daoud

    look fellow, we are not abliged to accept a corrupt court that was forced on us against our constitution, go and make songs for the UN and the so called international community, they mean nothing to us, they are the tools of the international criminals who want to dominate our lives in the name of a fake justice all in the aim of replacing our eternal enemy israel by a new enemy Iran and it`s clear they succeeded at least with you. layk habibi, the STL was not voted in our Parliament, and was not signed and negotiated by our President, read our laws ya shater and then come talk to me, in the mean time you may ammuse yourself with the court decisions.

    May 20, 2012

  • Annoniem

    “Violent clashes between the dirty Alawite and Shia ... and the Sunni lions of Tripoli." These people & their sponsors should be nowhere near power in any Arab country. What kind of Muslim speaks such venom against other Muslims ? They are dangerous and they denegrate their own sect. We can only hope that other sects know that they are not representative of most Sunnis, who like everyone else want peace, freedom and the ability to provide for their families.

    May 19, 2012

  • ali daoud

    @ baalbaki, yalla, blame it all on syria even after seven years of syria`s leaving Lebanon, i truly like those Lebanese who do everything in order to ruin their country and when it`s time for blame, they blame others!!!! habibi, Jabal Mohsen is a tiny area surrounded by a sunni sea, are they insane to start a war against the majority that surrounds them? walk in the streets of Tripoli and listen to the talk of those thugs, they can`t wait to wipe out Jabal Mohsen off the map, they believe that Damascus road goes through Jabal Mohsen, they are thirsty for the other blood, they know they can do it once the state and the Lebanese army step away, and they want to freely support their brothers in the syrian terrorist free army something not easily done in the presence of our army whose last achievement is the arrest of the weapons ship, and that`s why Mawlawi`s arrest was the excuse for those thugs to control the streets and undermine the power of the Lebanese Army.

    May 18, 2012

  • I agree with Majd

    No difference in law which is what you've been claiming to uphold. Lebanon as a member of the UN and signer of it's charter is bound to respect it's warrants as if it's own. Further your assumption that at least half the Lebanese population is against the court is false and as are most of your assumptions. Even if you discard everything one think you cannot bypass is the fact that M8 ministers approved two cabinet policy statements (Seniora2, Hariri) implicitly supporting the STL. Hassan Nasrallah can rant about a "corrupt foreign court" till he's blue in the face on tape, he has no official Lebanese status legal or otherwise. He never even got one Lebanese vote ever, he gets his powers from the foreigner who appointed his and the money and arms he sends him. Similar to some NY little Italy Pizza or garbage disposal "legitimate business" owners.

    May 18, 2012

  • Ali Baalbaki

    I don't know who controls those gangs in Tripoli but it seems to be many different groups at least that according to Marwan Charbel. However I can tell you without the shadow of a doubt who controls the snipers who are shooting at both sides and at the army. Their predecessors have effectively used those tactics and abused them previously numerous times, in fact since 1975. They appear then they disappear like ghosts or ashba7, colloquially shabbi7a. Hafez Assad used them very effectively every time he need to gain more leverage or power in an area of Lebanon where he had none or send a message to the world that stability in Lebanon depends on keeping him happy. The son is applying the father's tactics. The weapons of the resistance are being used by Shiites clans to kill each others and innocent bystanders you must be blind not to see this.

    May 17, 2012

  • ali daoud

    to the one who "agrees" with me, a BIG DIFFERENCE exists between an arrest warrant by the foreign STL and an arrest warrant by the Lebanese Judge. 1st, if anybody can find the HA men let him do so, 2nd, at least half the Lebanese don`t recognize the legitimacy of the STL which was not approved according to our constituion, neither the parliament approved it nor the President signed it, so you can`t ask me to abide by a proven corrupt foreign court for the simple reason that some great international powers with their lebanese allies want it to control the country, however, ALL The LEBANESE acknowledge the authority of our Lebanese judicial system which ordered the arrest of Mawlawi, and those who oppose Mawlawi arrest are the ones who truly oppose the order of the law in the country. about the sunni vs shia incitement, well, let`s all notice that both Amal and HA have stopped their participation in political TV talk shows since many years in order to minimize the sunni vs shia incitment

    May 17, 2012

  • I agree with Majd

    HAHA, now you see why I love Majd! I mean listen to him and his child like announcement "anybody who can arrest those HA men is free to do it". He actually wrote this! You gotta love him and his naive assured optimism. Maybe he was absent when Mr Nasrsallah, Mr Qassem, Mr Raad, Mr Qaouk, Mr Moussawi and many of their angry but jovial friends threatened to cut the hands and various other body parts of anyone who dares arrest the four saints. But seriously, Majd was obviously not serous when he put digits to QWERTY and wrote the above sentence. Maybe he'd gotten hold of some of the product MP Moussawi's brother was Manufacturing proudly Made in Lebanon, I think that would explain his ridiculous claim.

    May 17, 2012

  • ali daoud

    @ baalbaki, the weapons in the hands of the gangs in Tripoli is all what is needed for street wars and all what is necessary to control the streets and cut the roads and force the markets closing and stop the economic life in the city, did you expect they should have heavy rockets too? those are the weapons which Sayyed Hassan said long time ago that they exist in the hands of all aprties in Lebanon, and those are the weapons that has no business except to cause chaios and destruction, however, the mission of the Resistance weapons is known even to the blind, and those who aim at equating between both weapons are doomed to be disappointed, stop calling for disarming HA, all parties have the needed weapons to make a civil war in our cities, however, the difference lies in the fact that we all know whom to talk to about HA weapons, however, please tell me who controls those gangs in tripoli?!!!!

    May 16, 2012

  • houda

    @Baalbaki thank you, I'm glad that at last someone had the courage to call Banin Qataya a woman. Since the story broke Lebanese medias have been calling her everything from child to girl but seldom a woman which is what she is. They are worried they will offend the sensibilities of the community the woman belongs to. After all the father might be able to claim "ownership" of girl but not a woman.

    May 16, 2012

  • ali daoud

    @ Mick, it`s obvious you are so moderate in your Lebanese information, all our governments have approved the legality of the Resistance in their Ministrial Decree which was voted on in the Parliament, i am talking about all the governments of Hariri and Siniora and Mikati, so the Resistance is legal like it or not, and i hope you don`t like it. again ya Mick, let your "free" syrian army show us ONLY ONE HIZBULLAH fighting in syria, habibi, the syrians don`t need HA, they are doing their job perfectly, and i advise you to stop discrediting yourself with such naive baseless claims that show us your deep blind hate toward all the enemies of israel.

    May 16, 2012

  • ali daoud

    @ the one who "agrees" with me, you are confused fellow, 1st, anybody who can arrest those HA men is free to do it, 2nd, a BIG DIFFERENCE exists between the orders of the International Tribunal compared to the orders of our Lebanese Judges ya shater, the first is a controversial issue which was not approved according to our legal constitutional procedures and which is opposed by at least half of the Lebanese, while all Lebanese agree about the authority of our Lebanese judicial system, so how are you asking THe Resistance which freed Lebanon to hand its men because an investigator from Australia and Britain and Canada added to a corrupt judge from Germany added to a judge from Canada aided by CIA assistants, how would the Resistance committ itself to the orders of those foreigners, BIG DIFFERENCE ya shater, that STL is garbage and most of those working in it don`t believe in it in the first place.

    May 16, 2012

  • ali daoud

    @ Andreani, well it`s obvious who incites sunni vs shia struggle day and night, whatever happens in Lebanon they go and blame HA the shiite who wants to dominate over the sunna, the security General arrests a suspected terrorist which lead to a rage by numerous political and religious figures who rush to claim that the Sunna are targeted and being humiliated, don`t you follow the news and the talk shows so you can conclude who is inciting sectarianism?!!! have you ever noticed that no political figure from Amal or HA has participated in a talk show since about two years?!!! why? on the other hand, we all witness the sectarian bashing from future movement and all those religious emirs who move from one TV channel to the other, the shia are the ones who are doing their best to minimize the danger of a sectarian struggle. we all followed what happened in Baalbeck two weeks ago, a suspected drug dealer was killed with his family inside his car by the ISF, what was the shia reaction?

    May 16, 2012

  • Ali Baalbaki

    Come on guys this was nothing, the weapons use looked like cap pistols in comparison. Look at the firepower used in the days long regularly scheduled "personal disagreements" firefights by families protected by the hezb, you know them Z3aeiter and the Jaafars etc in Baalbeck, Matn and Dahieh. Innocent People are regularly killed in these mini wars then the hezb intervenes to stop the bloodshed and no one is ever charged or arrested, "it's good to be the king". A woman leaves her abusive home and seeks shelter in the church. Her father looking magnificently official breaded and turbaned orders the kidnapping of a priest then shows up on TV and threatens to create a civil war in Lebanon if his daughter is not returned. The hezb springs into actions release the priest and returns the daughter to her abusive father, again no one charged or arrested not even the guy threatening with a civil war, anything is permissible if one is "on a mission from God".

    May 16, 2012

  • Mick

    If the General Security should arrest anyone it should be Nasrallah and his terrorist supporters. They should be arrested for rebeling against the state. They refuse to disarm and in doing so, threaten everyone else. Why should they be armed and no one else? They have said on many occasions that those weapons are for resistance purposes, really!!! As I mentioned before, it has been awfully quite in the sounthern borders. We want the shabba farms back and we want the "so called"heros of our time, Hezballah to reclaim it for us. Wait a minute, they can't do that at the moment because, Nasrallah's boys are to busy sniping and slaughtering innocent Men, Women and Children in Syria. Nasrallah makes his own decisions presented to him by Iran. He can even push lebanon to war and for what! People should be asking what have we really benefitted out of Nasrallah and his ...? They are arigant people you have hunger for power and nothing more, nothing less.

    May 16, 2012

  • Rula

    So now are are talking about the law of the land and role of the state. Come on guys make up your minds...jeez

    May 16, 2012

  • I agree with Majd

    Hanin and all I agree with Majd again you missed, read our laws, the General Security SHOULD arrest any wanted person at any place in Lebanon following a judge's warrant and these are our laws. even if those persons are saints belonging to a holy organization armed and loyal to a foreign organization. I know of for of them living in complete freedom in Lebanon as Mr Hassan Nasralla said in one of his speeches. They are also giving press interviews bragging and daring the security forces to come and arrest them. Mr Mawaf Moussawi called them saints, if asked he would probably call his own brother a saint. Did I forgot to mention that saintly brother had an arrest warrant for drug manufacturing pending before the MP, sworn to uphold the laws (not of Iran one he swore to follow that one long ago and it still trumps all) of Lebanon, Moussawi arranged for him to go a fun filled vacation away from Lebanon. And Majd why all the hate you alone seem to be looking for a Shiite-Sunni war, shame.

    May 16, 2012

  • Chris Answer

    I am from tripoli and in the name of tripolians I say we will never become the game elements of iranians or israelies.

    May 16, 2012

  • ali daoud

    Hanin Ghaddar, what about the weapons we all saw in tripoli? you didn`t say a word condemning the presence of all those weapons and militiamen! all you cared to highlight is the fact that a "Sunni" man was arrested by a Security body headed by a "Shiite" man who was appointed by Amal and HA allies of Syria! you forgot that the guy was arrested legally following a legal procedure and later questioned and ordered to be arrested by a "Sunni" judge, let alone the fact that the Highest Attorney General Judge Mirza is also a Sunni. any way, the known fact by now that Mawlawi was arrested due to a cooperation between the CIA and the General Security will disappoint you. now,this story: about ten days ago, the whole Lebanon witnessed the killing of a suspected drug dealer with his mother in law and his Ethiopian maid while his wife was rescued after being shot with 3 bullets, more, this incident happened in Baalbeck and the killers are the ISF,how civilized! what reaction did the Shia do?

    May 15, 2012

  • Commissaire Andréani

    Well majd, unlike racist sectarians obsessed with a divinity fetish people's sects don't matter to me. Adnan Addoum is Sunni and it was the bad luck of every independent free thinking Lebanese that he was in charge of justice for as long as he was. Emile Lahoud is a Maronite and it was the bad luck and dishonor of every independent free thinking Lebanese that he agreed to serve as Syrian high commissioner in Lebanon. Sheikh Mohammad Mehdi Shamseddin and Sayyed Hassan Fadlallah were both Shiite clerics and it was the good luck and immense pride of every independent free thinking Lebanese that they behind a treasure trove of ideas.

    May 15, 2012

  • ali daoud

    @ Jojo, no Jojo, you are the brilliant! habibi, again, read our legal arrest procedure, the Security General got an arrest warrant from the attorney General based on solid information, the guy was arrested and questioned before a Judge who ordered his final arrest, is that hard to swallow? or do you think they should have questioned him without arresting him? get real now!

    May 15, 2012

  • ali daoud

    @ Andreani, don`t fool us with the issue that "Mawlawi`s arrest in a Minister office was not appropriate", that is a very minor issue, the man was armed and he had armed body guards waiting for him in his car, the Security General has done its best to arrest him safely, all other details are for you to get amused with. moreover, please review our laws ya Commisaire, the Security General followed our legal procedure, a suspect has to be arrested and later investigated by a Judge who may issue a final arrest order or who may free him, well, to your bad luck the Sunni Judge ordered Mawlawi`s final arrest, and please note that the Security General didn`t arrest him in the first place without an order from the attorney General, add that, did you hear anybody from the government or the opposition who claimed that the arrest was illegal?!!!! nop, they opposed his arrest in a Minister office as inappropriate and unethical, however, our laws allow his arrest inside any office or anywhere.ciao

    May 15, 2012

  • ali daoud

    Hanin Ghaddar, i advise you to call back your article, you rushed to accuse the General security by the context that Abbas Ibrahim is supported by Amal and HA, and you rushed ( as usual) to portray the arrest of Mawlawi as a part of a plot to incite violence due to a syrian plan, well, it turned out Mawlawi was arrested due to information given by the CIA that the man is part of al Qaeda and is active locally and internationally, and that was clearly stated by Abbas Ibrahim and also by Mikati who said the Security General cooperated with a western Intelligence. what now Hanin?

    May 15, 2012

  • fool me once etc.

    So Mawlawi get arrested in a wrong manner according to our justice minister, prompting a sit in of some of his supporters under the watchful eyes of Lebanese army soldiers, magically "unknown" snipers appear shoot at the sit in participants and the Lebanese army soldiers killing three hell breaks lose, does this remind anyone of something maybe similar? Come on, how did the Syrian army wiggle it's way back into Beirut back in the mid eighties? I say as long as we have "Lebanese" parties with strictly Syrian ideologies like the Baath and the SSNP whiling to do the Syrian regime's bidding whenever it needs a distraction Lebanon will never be safe. Doesn't matter how good intentioned the different Lebanese groups are in trying to keep their disagreements political. And it all started when a Jordanian al-Qaeda terrorist released from prison in Syrian, visited Iran, returned to Syrian from there our Islamist Marco Polo was sent into Lebanon, more magic.

    May 15, 2012

  • Commissaire Andréani

    Humm, majd doesn't read much does he, how else could he miss the fact that both Lebanon's top security man the interior minster and Lebanon's top law man the justice minister though the actions of the General Security were wrong. Honestly this is refreshing to see Charbel and Qortbawi showed dignity neither defended Abbas Ibrahim unlawful actions unlike the illegal coverage Adnan Addoum use to give to Jamil Sayyed's managed Syrian controlled police state.

    May 15, 2012

  • jojo

    Did you see this, "Military Investigation Judge Nabil Wehbi on Monday issued an arrest warrant against Lebanese national Shadi al-Mawlawi”.Amazing! The officer who arrested al-Mawlawi is brilliant predicting an arrest warrant two days in advance like that. I'd like to meet this guy and invest in his awesome talents. Maybe set up a psychic netwook telephone line that people can call and get the lowdown on their future for a fee of course we can split it, he'll be the raw talent and I'll be in charge of the buisness side. Nasrallah could maybe call anonymously one day and ask if he'll ever live in that gorgeous sunny penthouse apartment he's been dreaming of away from the damp dark quarters he's been stuck in. I can perhaps book him on LBC to replace Michel Hayek, get him to breath hard and tell us with a grave low voice how the coming year is going to unfold. He could even do his impression of Michel Aoun "not this Tuesday but the next Tuesday" everyone likes impressions don't we.

    May 15, 2012

  • ali daoud

    Hanin, again you missed, read our laws Hanin, the General Security can arrest any wanted person at any place in Lebanon, you always claimed you seek the order of the state in lebanon, did you change your mind? the guy was arrested, investigated before a judge who ordered his arrest with 5 others, what else do you want? 2nd, is his arrest a valid reason for what is happening now in Tripoli? what do they want? do they want to paralyze the Lebanese army and punish it for arresting the weapons smuggling into syria?

    May 14, 2012

  • karameh

    The office of Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said on Monday that Charbel summoned the officer who arrested al-Mawlawi.. Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi said on Monday that the way al-Mawlawi was arrested was wrong. The officer responsible for arresting him this way will be punished" Qortbawi told OTV.. poor simpletons they think they can punish anyone working for Lebanon's supreme leader Hassan. Now it is out in the open as to why Aoun broke another promise. He could not return the traditionally Christian post of head of the Sureté Générale to the Christians, Hassan needed a Abbas in charge who like Jamil Al-Sayyed follows Syrian or his sectarian orders without questioning. Only one from the "bee2at al 7adinat li ashraf al nass" (LOL) would do. BTW why hasn't anyone been arrested for kidnapping Father Gharious, everyone in Baalbek knows who the kidnappers they used their own cars are but they belong to Hassan's untouchables ie his "bee2at al 7adinat li ashraf al nass".

    May 14, 2012

  • Mick

    Couldn't have said it better myself. Al-Qaeda is a fairy tale and does not exist. The U.S. sat down with other governments of the world and created it as an excuse to go after the muslims. Its as simple as that. The true terrorists, are the ones who invented, follow and endorse this notion. The Syrian regime has brutally slaughtered over 14,000 of its own people and what was its justification for such outragous butchery? the words Al-Qaeda, and Terrorist gangs. Using the textbook as it was created by the americans, israelis and the west in general. Even the Russians are applying it to save Assad. The Iranian, Iraqi and other shia leaders are apparently now using this language against the sunnis in the hope of defeating them. They all have described the syrian opposition as terrorist, inspired by Al-Qaeda. Likewise, Al-Maliki in Iraq is busy rounding up and jailing sunni leaders accusing them of Terrorist links. Just a few days ago, in Lebanon, Shadi al-Mawlawi was arrested and is being

    May 14, 2012