Free Patriotic Movement, Hezbollah, Israel, Lebanon, March 14

Who Needs Hizbullah? (According to Wikileaks, Not Nabih Berri)

Over the past several weeks, as Wikileaks has released its reams of US government cables full of politically damaging statements by the leaders of Lebanon’s March 14th coalition, many have remarked on the fact that Hizbullah and its allies have not exploited the documents as purposefully as they could have.

Sure, there has been the odd snide remark in a press conference, and Hizbullah is now making noises about suing March 14th figures for inviting Israel to invade Lebanon, but one gets the sense that much more could have been made of the scandal. So why the  silence?

The obvious reason is that no one really knows what else Wikileaks has in the way of embarrassing transcripts. By allowing ministers like Elias al-Murr to claim that Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman was putting words in his mouth (when it was revealed by Wikileaks that he was coordinating the Lebanese Army’s response in a future hypothetical encounter with the IDF), Hizbullah was ensuring that its own allies would have the same space to maneuver, in case they were caught saying similarly damaging things.

Which brings us to the latest revelations, made possible by al-Akhbar’s serialized Wikileaks bonanza. There are four new cables available on the newspaper’s website that provide a glimpse into several meetings that Speaker of Parliament (and staunch Hizbullah ally) Nabih Berri held with American officials (including Ambassador Feltman and Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch) during the July 2006 War.

(Update: There’s also a cable about a meeting between Minister of Health Mohammed Jawad Khalifeh and Ambassador Feltman, which I pasted at the bottom of the lot below).

Nothing Berri says is nearly as egregious as what a vodka-swilling Walid Jumblatt was whispering in the Americans’ ears around the same time, but it is telling nonetheless. Most notable is a statement that Berri allegedly made regarding the future of the Lebanese resistance:

If Shebaa Farms are not turned over to Lebanon, Berri said that he personally would oppose disarming Hizballah. But if the Shebaa Farms are “”liberated,”” then “”who needs”” Hizballah?

Now, this obviously doesn’t make Berri look so good, and one can imagine that there will be a letter to the editor from Berri’s office published in al-Akhbar tomorrow decrying the statement attributed to him in the cable. He probably won’t take much of a political hit, and all will be forgiven and forgotten in due course.

However, I think it’s still worth pointing out that a very significant majority of Lebanon’s political leaders (across ideological and confessional lines) were basically in agreement on the need to “deal with” Hizbullah, in some way or another. March 14th’s leaders obviously wanted the party’s military apparatus to be crushed by Israel, while Aoun wanted it to be reined in through the framework of his February 6th agreement with Nasrallah.

Meanwhile, although Berri insisted that the resistance had a legitimate right to exist as long as Israel remained on Lebanese territory, he also made it clear that Hizbullah would have to give up that right if Israel withdrew from Shebaa. Most strikingly, the cables show that even the Americans were beginning to be convinced that this broad consensus among Lebanon’s leaders on Shebaa might actually provide a solution to the Israel-Lebanon conflict.

Of course, we all know what happened. Tzipi Livni rejected the idea that Shebaa be dealt with at all, and the issue was put to bed. On the other hand, who knows how serious Berri and Aoun would have been about advocating Hizbullah’s disarmament when push came to shove? It’s not hard to imagine any of a wide range of potential pretexts to replace Shebaa. The links to the various cables are below; check them out and discuss amongst yourselves…

PS: For those of you waiting for some big pronouncement on my part about the events going on in Syria, I’m waiting for some expert commentary to come through. In the meantime, check out Syria Comment. (For Arabic speakers, there’s also Kafa Samtan, which I haven’t checked out yet, but Mustapha over at Beirut Spring vouches for them.)

**

06BEIRUT2440 (July 22, 2006) | Subject: SPEAKER BERRI SAYS HE IS WAITING FOR ISRAEL’S FINAL OFFER

06BEIRUT2464 (July 25, 2006) | Subject: BERRI SAYS ISRAEL WON’T WIN

“The Ambassador argued that Israel will not accept a return to the status quo ante. At the same time, Lebanon has an opportunity now that the USG is considering ideas that might resolve the Shebaa Farms issue. Berri noted that the Shebaa Farms are crucial. If Shebaa Farms are not turned over to Lebanon, Berri said that he personally would oppose disarming Hizballah. But if the Shebaa Farms are “”liberated,”” then “”who needs”” Hizballah? Berri concluded that he understood that inclusion of the Shebaa Farms issue this was a positive step, and agreed to keep looking for a solution to the current crisis. (Comment: Berri stuck to the same line he had used with the Secretary — cease-fire and prisoner exchanges — which the Ambassador said would lead to a quick dead end. But, today, Berri seemed to offer a hint of support for a different approach, if he was assured that Shebaa Farms would be part of the package. Berri seems to have moved ever so slightly overnight. End comment.)”

*

06BEIRUT2541 (August 6, 2006) | Subject: A/S WELCH MEETS WITH SPEAKER BERRI

“Berri believed that if the Israelis do not withdraw from Shebaa, he cannot pressure Hizballah to relinquish their arms. He told A/S Welch that the resistance will have a right to remain as long as Israel is present in Lebanon.”

“Berri recommended that in the first phase, Israeli soldiers should withdraw and 10,000 soldiers from the Lebanese Army would deploy to the south. In what was an unprecedented statement for a Lebanese Shia leader, Berri vowed that he would lead the army to the south, driving a jeep in front of the tanks.”

“Berri stated that he will rebuild the south again, but could not do so with Israeli forces there. “”What I built in 22 years they have destroyed in 22 days,”” helamented. However, he stated that he is adamant to lead the Shia back to the south when Israeli troops leave, just as he claimed to do after previous times of strife. A/S Welch assured Berri that the U.S. would be a partner in rebuilding Lebanon with emphasis on the south.”

*

06BEIRUT2600 (August 11, 2006) | Subject: LEBANON: FOR BERRI RESOLUTION COMES DOWN TO ONE THING

“Berri admitted that the events of 1983 set a bad example for multinational forces in Lebanon under Chapter 7. Berri told A/S Welch that perhaps he is afraid of Chapter 7, and the U.S. friendship with Israel makes him even more afraid. He recognized that Israel wants the right to protect itself and said that “”this will be included.”” He reminded A/S Welch that Resolution 426 establishes precedent for Chapter 6 with a clause for self-defense.”

“Berri informed A/S Welch that Shebaa Farms will always be the pretext for Hizballah to remain armed. He warned that the language in the current draft of the resolution on Shebaa farms is not sufficient.”

“Berri accused the U.S. of not wanting to engage on the Shebaa Farm issue because it does not want to give Hizballah a victory. A/S Welch agreed. Berri declared that it is his right to state for the record that problems will continue with Israel until Shebaa Farms is resolved.”

Berri reluctantly accepted the reality that if Israeli troops are fired on they have the right to defend themselves on the ground at the point of attack. However he added that defending themselves does not mean air bombings on civilian areas.”

“A/S Welch offered that when the U.S. votes on the resolution, it could say that civilian areas should not be used as launching areas and should not be attacked. Berri cautioned that the wording should be precise and clear. Winking (and implying he was thinking of his “”Hizballah partners””), he fears that the time between the cessation of hostilities and the deployment of an enhanced UNIFIL could be used by people who “”do not want peace”” to ignite the conflict again. Berri stressed the importance of assurances from the U.S. and UN that Hizballah fire on Israeli soldiers inside Lebanon will not start the conflict again because he doesn’t “”trust Hizballah.””


*

06BEIRUT2699 (August 19, 2006) | Subject: SHIA MINISTER CLAIMS BERRI TRICKED HIZBALLAH, NOW AT ODDS WITH NASRALLAHwordpress stats

QN Comment: This cable, which details a meeting between Feltman and the Berri-allied Minister of Health, Mohammed Jawad Khalifeh, is perhaps the most damning and mind-blowing of the lot. I’m not going to excerpt it because I’d just end up quoting the whole thing. Read it all.

Discussion

68 thoughts on “Who Needs Hizbullah? (According to Wikileaks, Not Nabih Berri)

  1. I think one thing to keep crystal clear is that these transcripts do not necessarily represent these leaders’ actual thoughts and feelings. At best they represent what these leaders’ wanted the U.S. to think they thought and felt.

    The truth and what they wanted the U.S. to believe may have been the same thing, the two may have been overlapping but distinct, or they may have been simply lying through their teeth. Just because an American diplomat appears to take Berri or Jumblatt or Hamadeh or Khalifeh at their word doesn’t mean we should. (Though I haven’t heard many using that explanation to fend off critics, so maybe not.)

    Posted by Phillipe Bou Rached | March 23, 2011, 4:51 pm
  2. QN,

    “…Tzipi Livni rejected the idea that Shebaa be dealt with at all, and the issue was put to bed…”

    This is a very sore point for me and all the excuses and justifications given by AIG and others why it made sense to do so from Israel’s perspective just don’t make sense to me unless the goal is to keep trouble in Lebanon. Even that doesn’t make sense except from the point of view of some die-hard Israeli extremists who might think that trouble anywhere in the countries surrounding them is good for them and may open the door for expansion or what have you.

    Of course, it is fair to also recognize that sisterly Syria refused to play in the game of settling the Shebaa farm also for otherwise, if they had agreed, under UN oversight, to define which part is theirs and which is Lebanon’s, then this would have left hardly any valid argument for Israel not to withdraw from the Lebanese portion. Even if they tried to continue to object, then it is possible (likely) that the U.S. would have forced their hand in there, as part of supporting the Cedar Revolution.

    Alas this is all history now and — although I hate it when a convenient excuse claimed for anything wrong is “it’s Israel’s fault” I have to declare forcefully that this was a move that made Israel as guilty as Syria in promoting Hizbollah. Poor decision, in my opinion.

    Now we wait for the brainy analysis of AIG and similar voices.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 23, 2011, 5:41 pm
  3. ** There are horrific videos of what is going on in Syria on a facebook page. **

    http://www.facebook.com/Syrian.Revolution

    Posted by R2D2 | March 23, 2011, 6:05 pm
  4. Post number 1 is right on . Berri is no saint , but it is obvious here that he was playing the devil’s advocate with Feltman . So in fact why wouldn’t the israelis cede the miserable Sheba’a farms and deprive HZB of its last remaining argument ( keeping with the resistance until all of Lebanon is liberated).

    Posted by mirheum | March 23, 2011, 6:05 pm
  5. AIG, you have now 2 and 4 asking the same questions, why oh why?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 23, 2011, 6:09 pm
  6. HP

    “Even if they tried to continue to object, then it is possible (likely) that the U.S. would have forced their hand in there, as part of supporting the Cedar Revolution.”

    you really believe the US would force Israel to do anything? Man can you imagine the uproar today if Israel withdraws from the farms? It would give such a boost to The M13 camp. Just go and check AIG’s response to my post about a lastig peace and you will see they have no intension for peace at this stage.
    What hey want is this low intensity conflict and they are counting on people like you who just want to go with their daily lives to put pressure on HA and their camp. Peace means the end of Israel as a jewish state no matter what the solution is. You need to take a stance here. one side wants to continue with the Status Quo and another is trying to FORCE an end to the conflict

    Posted by elsheikh | March 23, 2011, 6:09 pm
  7. mirheum,

    I’ll spare AIG some repetition of earlier (much earlier) arguments he put forth. Wearing a blue hat to parrot what he might say:
    - Why should Israel withdraw unilaterally? Look what happened when it withdrew from South Lebanon in 2000 and from Gaza when it did. Did the borders become quiet? no. Did things help in improving relationships with the Palestinians of Gaza or with the Lebanese devotees of HA? No.
    - Why should Israel withdraw when the ownership of Shebaa is in dispute between Lebanon and Syria and when the U.N. itself says it is Syrian? If it is Syrian then it is part of what Israel needs to negotiate with Syria, not Lebanon.

    I think this pretty much sums it up. So maybe you can start by tearing down those arguments (to spare me having to repeat my mantra why they are wrong) and then we’ll see when his Logisty (made-up word from “Logic” and “Majesty”) AIG will make an appearance and debate.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 23, 2011, 6:12 pm
  8. elsheikh,

    “you really believe the US would force Israel to do anything?”

    Yes, actually I do. Many have called me idealistic but here’s my argument.

    US support for Israel is admittedly entrenched and very deep but, let’s give credit where credit is due. Israel’s supporters have managed to maneuver the opinions and positions of US politicians by the sheer power of logic, hard work, persuasion, and very effective lobbying.
    Why can’t the supporters of the Palestinian cause do the same?

    Answers to this latter question may differ and may be numerous but, in my humble opinion, the blame lays squarely on the shoulder of those supporters who, in a combination of ineffective rhetoric, insufficient manpower of highly educated and strong advocates that understand American culture and society, and abject failure to immediately and categorically reject acts of terrorisms against civilians (on the contrary, hinting more often than not that they are justified), end up scoring zero in the competition to influence and sway both US public opinion and, more importantly, the opinions and actions of the US Congress.

    In the case of Lebanon, a self-consistent set of arguments can be formulated which convince both the U.S. as well as Israel that an independent, non-aligned, Lebanon which is not aggressed by the current behavior of Israel will be a key to a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian problem. See, if the assimilation of Palestinians in Lebanon (which I strongly advocate) is part of the equation, then the U.S. will be able to extract strong concessions from Israel and, in the case Israel resists, bring to bear the power of those Israeli supporters in the U.S. who see a better picture from afar than possibly shortsighted Israelis might.

    If you look at the totality of what I described and advocated in the previous debate (immediate earlier QN post, towards the end), then you may agree that if all these conditions happened simultaneously, the arguments towards non-aggression by Israel towards Lebanon (including no overflights, dismantling of spy networks, etc.), become compelling.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 23, 2011, 6:38 pm
  9. … and I did read AIG response and I’m very familiar with his reasoning. The low intensity conflict he mentions is a second best solution, the best being true peace which includes guarantees for Israel to maintain its Jewish identity (Jewish in the sense of Jewish nationalism (as a tribe, as AIG likes to put it), not in the sense of Jewish religion).

    If what I advocate happens in Lebanon, I don’t think AIG would have any beef with non-aggression and cessation of all surveillance and overflight activities. That’s a big “IF” of course.

    I happen to think that those who advocate “Resistance” and “thawra thawra 7atta-n-nasr” and full liberation of all of Palestine, etc., are actually acting against the best interests of the Palestinians. After all, what has that achieved so far, over sixty years after the founding of the state of Israel? Care to defend the argument that the Palestinians are in good shape now?
    While a superficial reading would tag me (by those same bumbling incompetents who got us here) as a supporter of Zionism, the reality is that the approach I advocate is the most effective one to allow history to slowly undermine the validity of this doctrine and to effectively shift the balance of power to what would now be a more civilized, educated, successful, and powerful base of countries surrounding Israel. The goals of assimilating all the countries into a peaceful collection of prosperous nations in that part of the world will be gradually achieved and that’s the best antidote to any country that seeks to build its foundation either on religious fanaticism (e.g., Iran) or on tribal belonging (e.g., Israel).

    Refreshing to read innovative thought, isn’t it?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 23, 2011, 6:47 pm
  10. HP

    sorry but you seem to be delusional, US support is not ideological in any way shape or form. The US does not have any foreign policy to speak of its their local internal policy that drives their foreign policy. The Israeli argument is to scream antisemite at every corner .
    Your atitude is not refreshing it’s defeatist and cowardly in my opinion. What you are advocating is total surrender to the Israeli entity and suffer unilaterally until the good graces of god knows whom shifts the balance of power.
    It’s the same doctrine The UK advocated before WW2 let’s agree to keep cool and wait to se what happens, do i need to remind you what happened then?
    During the time it takes for history to slowly undermine the validity of this doctrine how many will die suffer be humiliated. To go back to my analogy of before what would have been the fate of the people in concentration camps if the world had waited for History to slowly undermine the validity of he Nazi doctrine. It shows very clearly you are not the one suffering and you are not the one waiting under the slow burning fire.
    also you seem to be a Lebanese and ou are here making decisions on assimilating the Palestinians into Lebanon, what if they reject it. Again where does it stop? let’s say in 50 years Israel decides that South Lebanon is a nice area they want to keep. They can make the sam religious argument once more. What do you do then you assimilate the People of the south?
    Between 1948 and the 1960′s palestinians tried the so called peaceful approach, they demonstrated and waited for the rule of law (UN resolutions) the armed struggle achieved a lot, today the Middle east conflict is at the forefront of the world stage. It has not been resolved yet but its not by sitting and waiting that it will be.

    Posted by elsheikh | March 23, 2011, 7:11 pm
  11. elsheikh, of course no one will in any way compel the Palestinians in Lebanon to accept its citizenship. It will be entirely their choice.

    Do you want to guess what the majority will chose?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 23, 2011, 7:17 pm
  12. I wonder if SHN will hold a farewell rally to thank the Assad regime for everything they have done for Lebanon … should they fall?

    Posted by R2D2 | March 23, 2011, 7:22 pm
  13. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that you are right about my attitude being defeatist, where is it that you see an anti-Israeli force equivalent to the allied forces of WWII?
    The wise Sadat concluded a long time ago that such confrontation means fighting a war against the U.S. Do you agree? if not, why not?
    If yes, where is that force to fight and win coming from?
    In reality, I am not advocating a defeatist attitude but an effective attitude. Winning is not always done by fighting with weapons.
    The smart adversary fights his opponents with effective means that succeed in reaching an end.
    The smarter adversary understands that winning in war is also losing. A win-win solution is the only winning strategy.
    But I guess that’s too hard to comprehend and accept because it’s much harder to achieve, requiring true struggle vs. the easy rhetoric of “Israel is the devil” and “thawra thawra 7attan-nasr.”
    If ask a Palestinian who was 10 years old when they had to leave their home country in 1948 and is a refugee somewhere in the world now at age 63 if he thinks all the struggle so far has been worth it, and if I make it such that he/she can speak his/her mind freely with no attribution, what do you think he/she will say?

    I don’t want to speak for them but I know what I think and I think that an alternate approach, based on smart struggle, Ghandi-like resistance, unity of purpose, persuasion, and complete and utter rejection of any terrorism would have long ago provided a much better life and solution to many a people.

    Amen

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 23, 2011, 7:24 pm
  14. Imaginary History for Beginners

    Between 1948 and the 1960′s palestinians tried the so called peaceful approach, they demonstrated and waited for the rule of law (UN resolutions) the armed struggle achieved a lot, today

    elsheikh,

    What exactly was the palestinian’s “peaceful approach” “between 1948 and the 1960s”?

    Last I recall, Gaza and the West Bank was “occupied” by Egypt and Jordan at that time, and the Palestinian government (the PLO) didn’t even get started until 1964.

    HP,

    Thanks for taking AIG’s place, I was getting bored.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 23, 2011, 7:29 pm
  15. Correction: a 10 year old Palestinian would be 73 years old now! Same question. Was all the struggle worth it for him/her?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 23, 2011, 7:40 pm
  16. These recent “Palestinian” rocket attacks out of Gaza and the bus bomb in Israel are very oddly out of place in light of what is going on in the region?

    Posted by R2D2 | March 23, 2011, 7:45 pm
  17. HP

    I already stated that the Palestinians tried that road and it did not work, The PLO did not exist before the 1960′s. Before that there was NO armed struggle.
    I can answer you right here and now I am a Lebanese of Palestinian origin and yes i do hold the lebanese passport however that does not in any way undermine my commitment and my resolve in the conflict.
    i have been on the ground and dealt with refugees trying to help as much as i can. I have seen and i still see first hand the results of the occupation and it’s affect on people. Just some numbers for you:
    1452 Children Killed by Israeli since sep 29 2000
    6430 Palestinians killed
    45014 palestinians Injured
    25813 homes demolished

    Do you know how may peaceful demonstrations happen everyday in the occupied territories? do you know how many children die while going to school? how many are beaten ? How would you like to live in a situation where your children need to be accompanied to school and back by foreign citizens because they are threatened by settlers. Go to the website of the international solidarity movement and see some reports and then come and tell me to advocate a wait and see approach.
    Go visit the concentration camps in Lebanon (they call them palestinian camps) and then come and talk to me about civilization and Ghandi like approach.
    FYI and before you jump on the issue of me being of Palestinian origins this has nothing to do with my position. I am against injustice anywhere in the world. I believe it’s the moral duty of every human being to stand up for the oppressed. No matter what race religion or belief they have. No matter what the consequences are on me or my property. I will speak for the Libyan’s the Bahraini’s as well as the Haitian’s or the People of Central Africa
    I am offended as a human being by injustice in any way.

    Posted by elsheikh | March 23, 2011, 7:49 pm
  18. Unless I’m not up to date … my understanding was that Abbas accepted Hamas’s invitation to Gaza following the mass demonstrations by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to reunite Palestinians.

    So who’s throwing rockets and blowing up busses?

    Posted by R2D2 | March 23, 2011, 7:56 pm
  19. Does any one really take these cables seriously?

    OK, I am going to take them seriously for a minute and assume every word is uttered by the culprits as reported.

    Do you guys know who Nabih Berri is?

    I do not blame Berri or Khalifa for these exchanges. Actually, I blame Feltman and Walch for being so naive and actually engaging in such exchanges with individuals who have no capability whatsoever to deliver on their words. HA weapons can only be removed by the W. of F. bar using external military force to defeat the gang. That is the whole story in a nut shell. Neither the return of Shebaa nor that of Ghajjar will advance the cause of disarming HA by one iota. Once, they are returned there will be new demands and Berri can easily dissociate himself from every word he said.

    If the Isrealis did not play the game it is because they understood who calls the shots.

    Nabih Berri was just capitalizing on the crisis hoping to gain some political grounds for himself. It is the same political/militia battles that we saw being fought between HA and Amal during the 80s and early 90s.

    Nothing is more pathetic than seeing American diplomat(s) ‘negotiating’ with a party that has little if any say on the desired outcome.

    Posted by anonymous | March 23, 2011, 8:00 pm
  20. Re: Jerusalem bombings

    It shouldn’t take a genius to know who is behind these acts.

    The orders have been issued from Damascus higher authority to do something (anything) in order to divert attention from the regime’s internal troubles.

    The toll stands at 21 killed so far in Syria’s upheaval. NOW is the time for ‘muqawama’ (against the people of Syria of course).

    Posted by anonymous | March 23, 2011, 8:16 pm
  21. Strange that the only country that bypasses the wikileaks cables in the world is still Israel?

    Posted by R2D2 | March 23, 2011, 8:27 pm
  22. Jerusalem Bombings

    or they could be retaliation to the 4 kids that were killed by the Israeli attack yesterday

    Posted by elsheikh | March 23, 2011, 8:28 pm
  23. elsheikh, the key question is what is a workable solution that triggers the fastest and most complete relief of suffering and puts everyone on a path to a peaceful and prosperous life.

    I doubt too many people will disagree with such a goal. The disagreement is always how to get there.

    I maintain that the approach used so far has failed – miserably.
    I have my opinion of an alternative approach.

    What do you think will work?

    The suffering of the Palestinian people is a big tragedy for humanity and is disheartening most particularly in the lack of acknowledgment it gets worldwide. Isn’t this sad situation in part due to the ineffectiveness of the public relations “war” and its poisoning by acts of terrorism against civilians which then allows “the enemy” to mount a Herculean PR war that those who speak for and in support of the Palestinians persistently fail to counter?

    I suspect we would quite agree on the goals here – at least the goals for the people, independent of insistence on this or the other political ideology or system. We seem to differ quite a bit on the approach. And that’s OK. We can agree to disagree and at least recognize the utility of civilized debate of this topic.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 23, 2011, 8:41 pm
  24. HP

    I am not advocating a continuous war or a win all or loose all approach. I have my problems with HA especially the religious issue. I truly believe that it’s in Israel’s interest to have the struggle assume a religious overtone and not be an issue of political rights and or land.
    I do believe that attacks on civilians are deplorable on both sides. This will not serve any purpose however at the same time i will not advocate disarming HA as an effective deterrent to the Israeli’s.
    Unless somebody can come up with a viable alternative. I said before arm the Lebanese army effectively and i will be the first to ask for the disarmament of the Hizb. It is not Syria or Iran that are putting an embargo on arming the Lebanese army. If Israel had no bad intentions why do they not allow the arming of the LAF?
    In fact i am very impressed with HA and Iran’s approach to the conflict. In spite of the sanctions and embargo on Iran it has developed a very impressive Military industry as well as advancing on a number of scientific and economic issues. Iran was a big importer or Wheat and now they export. They are advancing in the sciences space, medical and numerous other fields. HA used a very effective strategy and a good PR campaign. The TV station they have is a great annoyance to the Israeli’s as you can see from the Wikileaks. It is telling that all satellite channels suddenly went down when Nasrallah had his speech on Sat. Do not discount the fact that Nasrallah still enjoys the highest approval rating of any Arab leader in spite of the sectarian build up by M13 and the collaborator regimes.
    Instead of waiting for things to change at their own pace you actually keep the issue alive and you keep the pressure on daily basis and you build a deterrence not only for Lebanon but for he entire region.
    You present a united front and you do not sell out your country or part of it as M13 clearly did in 2006.

    Posted by elsheikh | March 23, 2011, 9:05 pm
  25. “…

    I doubt too many people will disagree with such a goal. The disagreement is always how to get there.”

    Wrong!!!

    And it is always dangerous to proceed from wrong premises!!!

    The goal is not achieving prosperous lives.

    The goal is the exact opposite. In order to gain recruits for the ’cause’, you need to impoverish the people, and then they go on the ‘muqawama’ payroll and become forever ‘indebted’ to the ‘muqawama’. This is called positive feedback loop in scientific jargons. Your premise in based on the more sound principle of negative feedback loops. Sorry, HP for using scientific jargons but I thought it could help YOUR cause.

    Posted by anonymous | March 23, 2011, 9:10 pm
  26. “The goal is the exact opposite. In order to gain recruits for the ’cause’, you need to impoverish the people, and then they go on the ‘muqawama’ payroll and become forever ‘indebted’ to the ‘muqawama’.”

    so why do the children and family of the leadership of HA go on the front line of any action?

    Some do believe in causes and fight for what they believe in.

    Posted by elsheikh | March 23, 2011, 9:23 pm
  27. One reason Hizballah hasn’t come out strong enough is similar to why Iran did not come out against Saudi Arabia. if they were to come out against their opponent after the mask had been lifted then the only option (and rightfully so) would be to attack and try to eliminate the opponent. Iran was obviously not going to wage war against Saudi Arabia, which would have been the only option if it were to acknowledge the truth of the cables, and hizballah is not going to assassinate, take to court, send to exile, any of the traitors for their support of the Israeli assault. So they have to shut up and act as if it didn’t happen while continuing a sham of diplomacy.

    Posted by S | March 23, 2011, 10:00 pm
  28. elSheikh,

    You seem like a moderate and reasonable person and your ultimate goal is peace in the region (I hope), you base your arguments on logic that doesn’t entail the annihilation of Israel and the extermination of or deportation of the Israelis back to Poland or Russia.
    HOWEVER AND A BIG HOWEVER, the Middle Eastern Arab and now Persian forces have always used the mantra of extermination of the Israeli state from existence and the map of the Middle East. From the beginning of the PLO days to Abdel Nasser to Saddam and every other thug and terrorist, to Ahmadinejad and Nasrallah, this has always been their goal and what they ultimately work for. You and i as Lebanese and especially as a Southerner (speaking for myself) who lived this history know these facts. The Jewish people of Israel also know these facts very well.
    Just like you asked some here not to hide behind their fingers about the hatred for the Shia in Lebanon and across the Arab world don’t hide behind your finger about the hatred for the Jewish people in Lebanon and the Arab world.

    True Peace is achieved by courage, concession and forgiveness, Jesus and Gandhi style not Ahmadinejad and Khamenei style if you want true peace it starts from the heart not as a “tactical” and “strategic” choice and certainly not by more wars and more victims on any side.

    Posted by V | March 24, 2011, 1:37 am
  29. And what’s up with the condescending attitudes when you and others start calling political groups by names you come up with such as M13 or traitors and such.
    Not that i am a M14 supporter for all i care both sides fit the best name of M KHARA.
    But hey, as a common courtesy at least acknowledge who they are and what their name is.

    Posted by V | March 24, 2011, 1:56 am
  30. اقول وقد ناحت بقربي حمامة..
    ايا جارة لو تشعرين بحالي

    معاذ الهوى ما ذقت طارقة النوى..
    ولا خطرت منك الهموم ببالي

    ايا جارة ما انصف الدهر بيننا..
    تعالي اقاسمكي الهموم تعالي

    ايضحك مأسور وتبكي طليقة ..
    ويسكت محسور ويندب سالم

    لقد كنت اولى منك بالدمع مقلة ..
    ولكن دمعي في الهوى جف على الخد عاتب بي

    Posted by V | March 24, 2011, 2:10 am
  31. HP @ comment 8.

    In response to a question on whether the US will force Israel’s hand you state: “Yes, actually I do…”

    I have to call you out on this one. Just last month the US vetoed a resolution condemning the settlements. This was done despite the fact that the resolution mirrored official US policy on the settlements.

    When it comes to Israel, the US is like the Lebanese electorate. Rational thinking and decision making is thrown out the window in favor of pleasing/maintaining the status of the Za’im.

    Posted by Johnny | March 24, 2011, 3:44 am
  32. أولاً: لا يمكن العفو المسبق عن هذه الجرائم بدون تحويلها الى القضاء، لتحديد مدى خطورة الجرم المرتكب، وتحديد المسؤوليات لان ذلك يخرق حق الضحايا في الانصاف، ويشجع ثقافة الافلات من العقاب.
    لطالما ارتكز داعمو المحكمة الدولية الخاصة بلبنان، على فكرة أساسية جوهرها أن انشاء المحكمة يقوض مبدأ الافلات من العقاب الذي كان سائدًا في لبنان، مرجعين ذلك الى تاريخ طويل من الجرائم التي ارتكبت في لبنان والتي بقيت من دون عقاب اما لغياب الإرادة السياسية لمحاكمة مرتكبيها او لغياب النصوص القانونية التي تجرّم هذه الأفعال او لعدم استقلال القضاء الوطني وقدرته على مباشرة إجراءات المحاكمة …
    لكل هذه الاسباب أيضًا، ولمواجهة ثقافة الافلات من العقاب السائدة، يحتاج الشعب اللبناني الى فتح ملف وثائق حرب تموز الويكليكسية أمام القضاء، لتحديد المسؤوليات، ومحاسبة ومساءلة وكشف كل متورط أظهرته الوثائق مقدمًا النصح والارشادات والاقتراحات للعدو الاسرائيلي أو لداعميه الاميركيين.

    ثانيًا: لا يمكن العفو عن هذه الجرائم بدون كشفها أمام الرأي العام من قبل هيئة قضائية مستقلة وموثوقة، فمنذ عام 2005 ولغاية الآن، تطرح على الساحة السياسية اللبنانية عناوين، وتنظم تظاهرات تحت شعارات “الحقيقة” وضرورة معرفتها. وتأييدًا لهذه المطالب والعناوين، الشعب اللبناني يطالب أيضًا بمعرفة الحقيقة، كل الحقيقة، حول من استدعى اسرائيل لاحتلال لبنان، ومن حرّض ومن سهّل وحتى يريد أن يعرف من أعطى الاقتراحات والنصائح لنجاح العدوان. هناك حاجة لبنانية لمعرفة الحقيقة في من تسبب بقتل المواطنين اللبنانيين في عيتا وبنت جبيل ومارون الراس وبيروت والضاحية وسواها، ومن شجع وساهم وحرّض على تدمير البنية التحتية اللبنانية… هي حقائق تهم الشعب اللبناني تمامًا كما أهمية معرفة الحقيقة في من حرّض ونفذ جريمة اغتيال الوزير الراحل شهيدنا البطل الرئيس ايلي حبيقة .

    ثالثًا: لا يمكن العفو مسبقًا عن هؤلاء، لأن ذلك قد يعطي انطباعًا بأن التعامل مع العدو على مستويات عليا مسموح، بينما العمالة “الاصغر” فهي مدانة وتعرّض صاحبها للاشغال الشاقة او الاعدام.
    كما ان العفو المسبق عن الجرائم قبل تقديم مرتكبيها للمحاكمة يمكن أن يقوض أسس الردع من خلال نشر فكرة مفادها أن الجرائم الخطيرة يمكن ارتكابها دون التعرض للعقاب مما يؤدي بالتالي الى تكرارها. ولنا عبرة في ما نشر في الوثائق الصهيوينة منذ فترة عن تعامل بعض اللبنانيين مع الوكالة اليهودية، وقيام بعض سياسيي فترة الاستقلال اللبناني في خمسينيات القرن الماضي، بدعوة اسرائيل الى اجتياح لبنان للانقلاب على بعضهم البعض. فلو تمّ محاكمة هؤلاء وفضحهم أمام الرأي العام اللبناني في تلك الفترة، لما تجرأ سياسيو اليوم على القيام بنفس الفعل بدون خشية من عقوبة أو فضيحة سياسية.

    رابعًا: إذا كان العفو والمسامحة عاملان ضروريان للمصالحة الوطنية في لبنان، ولارساء السلام والاستقرار، لا يجوز الصفح والعفو عن أناس لم يعترفوا بجريمتهم أو يتوبوا عنها ولم يتقدموا من الشعب اللبناني بطلب المغفرة عما سببوه، بل هم يفاخرون كل يوم بما فعلوا، مستعدين لتكرار الفعل. فكيف يمكن العفو عن اشخاص لم يطلبوا العفو اصلاً؟
    لا يمكن بأي حال من الاحوال، العفو عن تلك الجرائم المرتكبة بحق الوطن من أجل مد اليد لمصالحة من لا يريد مصالحة، ولا يجب ان تصبح المصالحة في بعض الأحيان بمثابة كلمة السر التي تعني الإفلات من العقاب. فالسلام والاستقرار لا يمكن أن يبنى على طمس الحقائق ومقولات “عفا الله عما مضى” التي يتقنها اللبنانيون حتى باتت جزءًا أساسيًا من ثقافة الفساد لديهم. كما إن المصالحة في مفهومها الحقيقي لا تعني النسيان والتستر على الافعال الجرمية المرتكبة وطمسها، بل تعني تمحيصًا ناضجًا وواعيًا وعلنيًا للماضي من أجل الاعتراف وإدانة الانتهاكات وتغيير السلوك للحيلولة دون ارتكابات مماثلة في المستقبل.

    Posted by HK | March 24, 2011, 4:56 am
  33. Wikileaks tells us March 14 & March 8 are mirror images of each other, tribal leaders saying whatever they imagine might please powerful world leaders and no conception of a genuine Lebanon in their world-view – just separate sectarian communal interests.

    Michael Young, in Daily Star Thursday, has I think a most important piece of commentary – it examines implications of what has happened in Bahrein (the Saudi, Kuwaiti, Saudi & other Gulf monarchs’ ruthless war on a genuinely authentic grassroots democratic impulse dressed up as defence against a Shiia “foreign plot”) … and what this means for Sunni-Shiia relations, including in Lebanon.

    For the first time in my life I now do not expect Grand Liban of 1920 to survive – my interpretation of what is happening is that Liban will formally dissolve into Marouni, Durzi and eastern/southern Shiia republics -for me, that is one of the unintended implications of the message from the House of Saud.

    With the Syrian tyranny on its way out, and with the U.N.S.C. now obligated to save innocent Syrians with no-fly zone just as the U.N.S.C. set a precedent in protecting Libyans from the al-Assad-lookalike in trablous, it is not difficult to imagine the multi communal pathwork which is Syria adding to the growing, irreconcilable collision between Sunna and Shiia in Liban.

    I never, ever thought I would think what I just wrote. But I now believe, after Bahrein and what is starting in Syria, that the best we can hope for is a rational, careful and planned divorce into 3 states – that would be far superior than the black future that March 8 and March 14 “leaders” are now leading us to.

    Posted by s al-riachy | March 24, 2011, 6:19 am
  34. Nabih BERRI has been a US Intelligence asset for years…..New Leader of Lebanese Militia Forms Alliances with Hezbollah, US Agencies CIA/DIA, and Others….

    Nabih Berri takes over the Amal Militia, a Shi’a Lebanese paramilitary organization, and tries to build it up as a power base for himself. Although not a fundamentalist Muslim, Berri allies himself with the new regime in Iran and Hezbollah, a fundamentalist Lebanese Shi’a party backed by Iran. Berri also manages to convince Syrian authorities that he will represent their interests in Lebanon and comes to a similar arrangement with the Ba’ath party in Iraq. This is a difficult balance for Berri to keep, as journalists Joe and Susan Trento will later point out, “If he displeased the Iranian mullahs who controlled the supply of money to Hezbollah in Lebanon, he would lose his grip on power.” Former intelligence officer Michael Pilgrim will comment, “Berri was targeted for CIA recruitment and so were members of his militia… I think it’s safe to say we financed his early trips to Iran.” He also commences relationships with the Drug Enforcement Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency. Unsurprisingly, some of the consequences of this are bad for the US, and the Trentos will comment: “The relationship would end in a series of deadly disasters for members of our armed services and the CIA. According to US intelligence officials who served in Lebanon at the time, Berri kept the peace with [Iran] and the Shi’a by allowing them to attack Westerners in his Amal-controlled territory. To prove his loyalty to the Shi’a and keep the alliance that was essential to his power base, he failed to pass on intelligence to the United States.” Based on interviews with former intelligence officers and associates of Berri, the Trentos will conclude that he facilitated attacks on the US by Hezbollah by allowing their operatives to pass Amal checkpoints without warning the US, for example before attacks on the US embassy and Marine barracks in 1983 in which hundreds die… (see April 18-October 23, 1983).

    http://iraqwarnews.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=205:the-united-states-and-iran-the-secret-historypart-vi-the-enemy-is-the-enemy-&catid=21&Itemid=200009

    http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=aafter061682wilsonarrestconsequences#aafter061682wilsonarrestconsequences

    Posted by HK | March 24, 2011, 7:38 am
  35. “It is not Syria or Iran that are putting an embargo on arming the Lebanese army.”
    #24
    Seriously ya Sheikh do you really think about these gems before writing it? I mean we all live on the same planet; right? Who controlled Lebanon from 1990-2005? Really it was not Syria & Iran??. They made certain the LAF & ISF were nothing but a marching band! Stop the arcane logic and ridiculous insinuations.

    Posted by danny | March 24, 2011, 7:47 am
  36. Obviously, someone doesn’t like the recent rapprochement between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

    http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/mess-report/hamas-not-likely-behind-jerusalem-bombing-1.351459

    Posted by R2D2 | March 24, 2011, 8:24 am
  37. Johnny @31, yes, you’re right, to an extent.

    The regrettable reality is that hardened positions by Palestinian militants along with actions on the ground give Israel pretexts that they then exploit — and they are masters at such exploitation — to sway the opinion of US lawmakers and the US administration.
    I think the biggest battle/war and one that Israel’s opponents have been utterly miserable at, is that of ideas and persuasion.
    If all the wealth spent on the armed struggle was spent on education and support of public relations activities – in a civilized, highly organized, and effective manner – I see absolutely no reason why the US, lawmakers/administration/people, wouldn’t make the fair and correct choices in dealing with the conflict and in lending or withholding their support.

    At a point when arguments are won, then I do think that the US has the willpower and wherewithal to stand up to any extremism, including one coming from Israel, and force the hand of any such player in the conflict.

    While one of course must never forget history, one also cannot live just looking in the rear view mirror. A key obstacle to a peaceful settlement in the region is that way too many players are trying to re-fight the wars of 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1978 (first incursion into Lebanon), 1982 (invasion of Lebanon), and 2006.
    Time to look forward and hold as key guiding principle the well-being of current and future generations.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 24, 2011, 8:52 am
  38. Now it has become GCC policy to expel all Lebanese with connection to HA from the six Gulf States. The decision may affect all Lebanese such as a Shia with HA affiliations or sympathies, an FPMer ClAounist or a Wahabi/Arslani Druze. I wonder what will the impact be of this development on the Lebanese economy.

    It will be a boon, however, for so-called ‘muqawama’ recruiting. HNA has thus achieved his goal from the speech.

    Posted by anonymous | March 24, 2011, 9:19 am
  39. “True Peace is achieved by courage, concession and forgiveness, Jesus and Gandhi style not Ahmadinejad and Khamenei style if you want true peace it starts from the heart not as a “tactical” and “strategic” choice and certainly not by more wars and more victims on any side.”

    You seem to have missed the beginning of the conversation on the previous thread. I was not the one who rejected peace it was AIG. Israeli’s talk about peace all day long but yet they are not ready for peace. You speak on concessions great the PA has accepted every single condition made by Israel and yet we still do not have peace. Give me a formula of peace that you think Israel will accept?
    We have two options a two state solution or a bi-national state. I am more than willing to accept either one as a solution will the other side accept???? Find me one Israeli who say i accept (without a BUT thrown in there) then come and talk to me about concessions.
    If you have a third solution to end the conflict please enlighten us maybe we can have a breakthrough here.
    In the meantime spare me the nonsense about peace and Ghandi and quiet while Children are being killed and homes are being destroyed.

    Posted by elsheikh | March 24, 2011, 9:29 am
  40. Danny

    Arcane Logic? yup it is arcane logic Syria withdrew from Lebanon in 2005 what has stopped the arming of the LAF? Which country sent weapons and ammunition to the LAF during Naher El Bared? and which countries disarmed the machine guns from the helicopters before sending them?
    Go read today’s version of the wikileaks from Marechal El Murr he is bragging about arming the 15000 soldiers sent to the south by the Kuwaitis, Saudi’s ETC… where are those weapons? Are we still waiting for the Jet’s he got from the Russians? Oh wait I remember now they changed that order to Helicopters. Yup that’s it! how did that work out still waiting????
    However better late than never, I’ll accept Arms from anywhere for the LAF even from Israel them being so intent on Lebanese democracy and peace and prosperity for the region if that happens I’ll go down and picket in downtown Beirut till HA gives up there weapons how about that?

    Posted by elsheikh | March 24, 2011, 9:43 am
  41. elsheikh,

    I think you misunderstand me. I can live with something like the Geneva Accords.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Accord

    Can you live with the fact that the right of return of the refugees will be just to the Palestinian state? If so, we could probably reach an agreement in a few hours. I have found that this is the issue that tends to create the largest problem.

    Posted by AIG | March 24, 2011, 10:00 am
  42. AIG

    I know we both can live with something like the Geneva Accords. The issue of the refugess return is a non issue as you can see from the negotiations papers released from the office of Oreikat the demand is down to a symbolic one. From the Palestinian perspective it is an acknowledged reality that a symbolic number of refugees will be allowed back (as a face saving maneuver) everybody is talking about the issue of compensation. Take away the jewish nature of Israel for a second do you really think you can absorb the refugees?
    Why do you think Lebanon is under 65-70 Billion USD in debt? don’t we all know that the debt will be the price paid for absorbing the Palestinians? Those who wish to stay?
    This has been discussed in details since the early 1990′s. However isn’t the official Israeli position up till today we will not accept a Palestinian state?
    You want the Palestinians to come to the negotiation table having accepted all the conditions and then start negotiating for further concessions. You want them to concede on all issues and start from there.

    In the end if the Geneva accords are accepted by a majority of Israelis why don’t the become your policy? Let’s see if the Palestinians will accept or not.

    Posted by elsheikh | March 24, 2011, 10:36 am
  43. elsheikh,

    The official Israeli policy of the Netanyahu government is that of accepting two states:
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/netanyahu-backs-demilitarized-palestinian-state-1.277915

    I wish the refugee issue were really a non-issue. But poll after poll and interview after interview of people in the Palestinian diaspora show that they demand the right of return.

    Posted by AIG | March 24, 2011, 11:00 am
  44. AIG

    Two states ? not the Geneva accord ? this is different.
    Ok i’ll go with you two states it’s a start however in the same article

    “Netanyahu also declared that he was prepared to see the creation of a Palestinian state, so long as the international community can guarantee that it not have any military capabilities.”
    “During the speech, Netanyahu vowed that Israel would not build any new settlements and would refrain from expanding existing Israeli communities in the West Bank. Still, he said the government must be allowed to accommodate natural growth in these settlements.”

    now do we agree that the two solution means the west bank and Gaza as a Palestinian state? if so did the settlement freeze take effect?
    Let’s say i am renting a section in your house and the lease is up at the end of the month. You advise me that you won’t renew but yet i have a decorator come in to redo a bathroom. does it look strange to you why I would redecorate if i am supposedly leaving?
    A two state solution means just that a two state solution. I want to have my own state independent sovereign with no interference from you. What you are calling a two state solution is you get a state and i get self rule while you retain control of air sea land and borders? Would you accept that if the roles were reversed?
    Give me one opinion pole in Israel that backs a complete withdrawal from the territories and a two state solution as i described and i will give up the right of return

    Posted by elsheikh | March 24, 2011, 11:21 am
  45. All these “Niceties” above between HP, AIG and others are completely moot…because real Israeli policy is NO Peace at all, but more and more Land Grabs…

    When Israel really wanted Peace with Jordan…it was signed, sealed and delivered in 9 Months….OSLO was a Shame and a Charade, a cruel Diversion….

    What seems likely is that the stranglehold which the Israeli lobby has secured on the political process in the United States, together with its alliance with neoconservatives in that country and elsewhere, has blinded Netanyahu – and indeed many other Israeli leaders and supporters – to the suicidal nature of recent Israeli policy, and indeed of the whole attempt to colonize the West Bank. The extent to which Netanyahu simply has not grasped the implications of his actions was made amply evident in the extraordinary phone call he made to the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, to express his disappointment after Germany supported last month’s UN resolution declaring Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories to be illegal and a ‘major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace’. The resolution, which was sponsored by at least 130 countries, this was supported by all members of the Security Council, apart from the United States, which vetoed it. His complaint provoked a furious response from Merkel, according to Haaretz, who complained that Netanyahu had not ‘made a single step to advance peace.’

    Even with Germans, the assumption that one can rely on Gentile guilt over the Holocaust to inhibit criticism of Israel cuts less and less ice. One comes back again to the automatic assumption that opposition to what Israel does reflects hatred of Jews – related to which is the assumption that accusations or imputations of anti-Semitism are both an appropriate and effective means of stifling such opposition. In fact, as the balance of opinion about Israel shifts, such accusations not only progressively lose traction, but become counter-productive. The use of the post-war taboo on anti-Semitism, which arises out of the Holocaust, to stifle criticism of Israeli policy tends to create a particularly toxic form of resentment, which comes when people are prevented from expressing thoughts and feelings they regard as perfectly legitimate – while enabling those creating resentment to blind themselves to the fact they are creating it. It also is visibly tending to weaken the taboo, which is much to be regretted.

    That there are sinister undertones to some of the opposition to Israeli policy – and certainly among some pro-Palestinian activists – is clear. A revival of anti-Semitism, as also the current upsurge in Islamophobia, is something to which men and women of goodwill should be implacably opposed. But anti-Semitism is certainly not the prime driver of the ongoing shift of opinion in Britain, EU or USA as elsewhere against Israel, and until Israelis and their supporters abroad grasp that fact, they will continue to act in ways which are leading inexorably to the end of the Zionist experiment, and indeed may already have put paid to hopes for its survival….

    Posted by HK | March 24, 2011, 11:23 am
  46. elsheikh,

    The only option is to sit down and negotiate without preconditions and see if we can reach an historical compromise. Our discussions are completely theoretical though because currently the Palestinians are not united and Fatah cannot deliver a peace agreement which Hamas would respect.

    Posted by AIG | March 24, 2011, 11:32 am
  47. In 1956 Eisenhower forced Ben-Gurion to retreat from the Sinai. That was viewed then by many Arabs as the end of Israel. After 67 De-Gaulle declared an embargo on Israel. That was also the end of Israel. After 1973 the Arabs used the oil weapon and that was also declared the end of Israel. Now it seems all one needs is a phone call from Merkel to declare the end of Israel. In the near future a tweet from the speaker of the Latvian parliament will spell doom for Israel. I better start following him/her.

    Posted by AIG | March 24, 2011, 11:39 am
  48. I find it laughable when some people assume that the world will actually forgive Lebanon its 60 billion dollar debt in return for accepting the Palestinians.

    That simply ain’t gonna happen. Lebanon will have to accept the refugees and still pay its debt period. There are no more free lunches.

    The Lebanese will simply have to get accustomed to living like Haiti, Peru or any other failed state, especially that now they are being shut out from the Gulf. Do you think the world will rush and go down on its knees and just finance an HA controlled entity?

    Dreamers!!! Go and fight with the stupid ‘muqawama’ if you cannot live with it.

    Posted by anonymous | March 24, 2011, 12:00 pm
  49. AIG, elsheikh, I think if you guys were in charge we would have peace by now. Do you agree?

    It is a fact that there are naysayers on both sides. Israelis who want a pure Biblical Israel and Palestinians who want the annihilation of Israel. I would like to think they are simply noisy minorities but regrettably they cause a lot of damage.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 24, 2011, 12:07 pm
  50. 40.
    elsheikh; why do you guys just rhyme off the old tired line? You were the one who said:”It is not Syria or Iran that are putting an embargo on arming the Lebanese army”…
    ….and you still have not answered my question to you. Why are making a statement that is totally false? It is Syria & Iran who keep on arming the illegal militia. What stopped them from arming the lAF? As for 2005 till now. Again you think by throwing statements out there is sticks? This is not overcooked macaroni man!
    HA & Syria have sabotaged the prior governments that they were party of for your information…Lest you forget. They have sabotaged the parliament; the presidency and the Cabinet.

    No reason to go back and forth about accusation re: Nahr el bared. Give me proof! Not innuendo. We all know where Shaker el Absi came from and whose prison. You can not rewrite history and muddle facts my man. We won’t let you.

    Posted by danny | March 24, 2011, 12:57 pm
  51. HP,

    The Palestinians are non-effective in solving this conflict either way it’s not up to them anymore. This conflict has been hijacked by Iran and the extremists, those naysayers you speak of are not a minority they have become a force to reckon with. The Palestinians like the Lebanese are nothing but a weak pawn in the regional power game.
    elsheikh,
    The PA made no concessions; while they supposedly negotiated peace they continued a parallel campaign of terror that took the lives of innocent people in buses and restaurants. These are no concessions or aspirations for peace.
    If you were so concerned with the lives of children you wouldn’t dismiss the Gandhi peace ideas as “nonsense”. 3 innocent children with their parents were slaughtered by the “Moqawama” while they slept in their home in Itamar, I didn’t not hear you condemn this act. A person who wants peace would certainly have done so.
    To use the word peace in arguments just to score points or dodge the true accusations that the groups you support do not want Peace is the ultimate hypocrisy, in the end you and the beloved Moqawama do not have the moral upper ground, and you are not so different than the extremist settlers in the West Bank.

    Posted by V | March 24, 2011, 1:26 pm
  52. A tweet by the speaker of the Latvian parliament… looooooooooooool

    That was funny. :)

    Now back to work.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | March 24, 2011, 2:04 pm
  53. If we are to believe Buthaina Sha’aban, then Syria has become the Switzerland of the Middle East by a scratch of a pen. But we are told by some media that the toll stands at 36 killed as of this moment.

    Turkey finally decided to join the Libyan operation.

    Posted by anonymous | March 24, 2011, 2:18 pm
  54. LOL :)

    Work?

    Posted by R2D2 | March 24, 2011, 2:18 pm
  55. Beware the fox in sheep clothing just as much as the dictator who suddenly puts on the mantle of reform and democracy.

    Someone should point to Bashar Assad that Mubarak agreed with the demonstrators and offered to meet their demands and so did Saleh of Yemen. One is out and the other is on his way. How can the same regime who was arguing a few days ago that they were immune from demonstrations and instability because they and the people are one suddenly decide that protestors are right and that there is no need for the emergency laws. Doesn’t anyone in the Syrian regime recognize the clear contradictions of pretending to be advocates for change and democracy? What a bunch of imbeciles. There is only one thing that dictators and oppresors can do and that is to admit their mistakes and leave instead of pretending to be part of the solution to a problem that they have created. Change is coming to Syria and the best that Bashar Assad can do is to move out of the way.

    Posted by ghassan karam | March 24, 2011, 6:37 pm
  56. GK, “What a bunch of imbeciles.”
    Don’t insult imbeciles. ;-)

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 24, 2011, 6:52 pm
  57. Quick Fixes for the Budget Conscious

    I finally figured it out.

    There are 2 reasons why there isn’t democracy in the ME:

    1.) There aren’t voting booths.

    2.) The leaders suffer from poor hearing.

    Therefore, political change only comes when the populace demonstrates very loudly in the streets. Otherwise, the leaders feel as though they’re doing a fairly good job.

    However, only the leaders who have good enough hearing can hear to the cries of the people and act on their requests. Unfortunately, the older leaders like Gad-fly and Mubarak obviously lost their hearing, and so they just didn’t know what the people wanted. Fortunately, and thank Hashem, Bashar still has good hearing…

    Dear Hillary Clinton,

    A long term fix to what is going on in the ME can easily be fixed with modern voting booths and a few boxes of hearing aids.

    Total cost: $100 million dollars

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 24, 2011, 7:21 pm
  58. Thank you, Resistance!!!
    Once again, the Zionists were kept out and you protected the sons and daughters of Lebanon, even those who would see you disarmed.

    Posted by dontgetit | March 24, 2011, 8:25 pm
  59. Resistance, Capacitance, and Insulators

    dontgetit,

    It’s very hard keeping the Zionist out, especially when they don’t want to get in.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 24, 2011, 9:31 pm
  60. dontgetit, we know you dontgetit; we getit; but this is getting old.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 24, 2011, 10:22 pm
  61. We are mostly likely approaching the ionization phase,

    https://www.youtube.com/user/SHAMSNN#p/u/15/LXadVF0wDSw

    Posted by anonymous | March 24, 2011, 11:35 pm
  62. ملهمو الثورات العربية يتهمون فجأة نصر الله بتصديرها
    انتفاضة البحرين تكشف ازدواجية خطاب 14 آذار

    http://www.assafir.com/Article.aspx?EditionId=1806&ChannelId=42464&ArticleId=2758&Author=%D8%B9%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%AF%20%D9%85%D8%B1%D9%85%D9%84

    Posted by HK | March 25, 2011, 3:29 am
  63. The Wikileaks materials just highlight the bankruptcy of the leading parties and the framework of the parliamentary voting system which has now passed its use-by date. Lebanese can be proud of being by far the most democratic state between Moroc and Kuwait in the past but now with the developments first in Turkey, then in Tunisia and Egypt very soon in Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria and Morocco etc., the time has come for Lebanon to make some major changes to keep up.

    When the Syrian, Iranian, Yemeni, Bahraini and especially House of Saud, tyrannies are over-thrown over the next few years [just as happened in past 30 years first in Iberia, then south america, then Indonesia & east Asia, then east europe] that will be the time for Lebanon to move.

    I think the small groups – like those marching from Amsheet to Byblos – they are on to it – they are glimpsing into the post-March 14/March 8 future. A great future, and the anti-thesis of the apartheid, aggressive, repulsive ethnic-cleansing machine that continues to erode humanity and hope next door in Palestine.

    Palestine will, unfortunately, be the very last state on earth to join the Democracy Train – I expect it will be after China, N. Korea and Zimbabwe – sometime in the 22nd Century.

    Posted by Anti-sectarian protests in Amsheet | March 25, 2011, 6:39 am
  64. About Chibli Mallat…

    “In his law practice, he is best known for being an accomplice
    to MURDER, by bringing the case of Victims of Sabra and
    Shatila v. Ariel Sharon et al., at the instigation of his BUDDY
    Paul Woolfowitz…. to serve MOSSAD and OSP, under the law
    of universal jurisdiction in Belgium, where he won a judgment
    against the accused before a change in Belgian law removed
    the jurisdiction of the court…after the MURDER of ELIE HOBEIKA
    has been executed, courtesy of DOD, MOSSAD and Asef Shawkat.”
    The Sabra and Shatila case in Belgium in 2001, and ALL its
    various aspects was a “Noisy Operation”, created for the
    sole purpose of consuming the terrible crime against
    Elie Hobeika by Mossad, Assef Shawkat and CIA…
    The whole case and the Belgium law, was very swiftly killed,
    immediately after the terrorist car bomb of January 24th 2002,
    after the Assassination of Mr.Elie Hobeika, Fares Sweidan,
    Dimitri Ajram, and Waleed El-Zein, in Hazmieh… the heart
    of Lebanese Military Intelligence and the “SCS”…

    http://newhk.blogspot.com/2011/01/obama-perpetuates-utter-lies-between.html

    http://newhk.blogspot.com/2011/01/components-of-white-house-murder-incs.html

    Posted by HK | March 25, 2011, 8:34 am
  65. Protests in Syria were wide spread today in almost all major cities,

    http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=253828

    Even, HA issued travel ban to its members against making visits to Damascus for fear of being targeted. We know how much the ‘Persian’ HNA is really popular in Syria where his picture always appears side by side with Bashar’s nd Ahmedi’s.

    Posted by anonymous | March 25, 2011, 8:53 am
  66. @ anon #65

    Indeed!

    The celebrations in Lebanon will be just as big as in Syria if and once the Assad regime succumbs.

    Posted by R2D2 | March 25, 2011, 8:57 am
  67. R2D2 66,

    I have been saying that all the time: No solution for Lebanon before Bashar goes.

    Here’s one line call for Syrians to rise you would enjoy from the people of ‘Hauran.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IM5guROo8ts?rel=0&w=480&h=390%5D

    That is not much differnt than Sultan AlAtrash’s call almost 80 years ago and from the same mountains.

    Posted by anonymous | March 25, 2011, 9:08 am
  68. QN,

    I think the Assad regime is likely to fall sooner than your intended post on Syria :)

    Posted by R2D2 | March 25, 2011, 9:54 am

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