Lebanon, Reform

Will Civil Marriage End Confessionalism in Lebanon?

jadaliyyaI’ve written an essay for Jadaliyya that explores the long-term political implications of implementing civil marriage in Lebanon. As it currently stands, the wedding between Nidal Darwish and Khulud Sukkariyyeh has been rejected by the Lebanese government, even though the civil society organization that orchestrated the marriage had allegedly received assurances in the past from both the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Interior (under Ziad Baroud) that the marriage could go forward.

Be sure to also read Abdallah Salam’s open letter to Minister Marwan Charbel in An-Nahar, which has now been published in English in The Daily Star as well.

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Will Civil Marriage End Lebanon’s Confessional System?

In tying the matrimonial knot last week, Kholoud Succariyeh and Nidal Darwish sliced through a cultural, legal, sectarian knot of Gordian proportions. The pair became the first couple in history to be wed in a civil marriage on Lebanese soil. Until last week, Lebanese citizens (or, only those who can afford it) have generally traveled to Cyprus to get hitched. The only way to do the deed inside Lebanon requires a contract issued by religious personal status authorities, with all the legal implications and bureaucratic entanglements that such a requirement presents.

The civil society group that facilitated the union—al-Markaz al-Madani li-al-Mubadara al-Wataniyya (The Civic Center for the National Initiative)—took advantage of a hitherto overlooked law from 1936 known as Decree No. 60, which was passed during the French Mandate. The law recognizes the political and administrative powers of the different confessional representatives, and stipulates that individuals are bound by the personal status laws of their sects.

Attorney Talal al-Husseini–who is the principal architect of the civil society group’s strategy–told me last year that Decree No. 60 also states that if people do not belong to a particular sect, then they are subject to civil law, which—as it currently stands—does not exist for personal status issues in Lebanon. “It does not mention which civil law that they are subject to, but it is clear that the current practice of disallowing civil marriage in Lebanon is a clear contravention of Decree no. 60 and the Lebanese Constitution itself,” al-Husseini said.

(Keep reading at Jadaliyya)

Discussion

69 thoughts on “Will Civil Marriage End Confessionalism in Lebanon?

  1. Will Civil Marriage End Confessionalism in Lebanon?
    No, because then all you have to do is organize free trips for Lebanese couples that want to wed in Cyprus. It should be easy to raise money for a weekly cruise to Cyprus that will be offered free to any couple wishing to marry. So, if you really believe this will help, raise the money and pursue this project. The fact no one has done it so far is a good indication that this is not a solution to the problem since it would be a cheap non-violent way to end confessionalism.

    Posted by AIG | January 27, 2013, 5:53 pm
  2. AIG

    I’m not sure I understand your point.

    The current system of going to Cyprus does not require that people strike off their confessional identity. You can keep your official status as a Sunni, for example, and still go to Cyprus to get a civil marriage. This is, in fact, what happens 99% of the time. So organizing free cruises to Cyprus will not lead to the situation I’m describing.

    What I’m arguing is that the new mechanism threatens to create a scenario whereby people are encouraged to strike off their confessional identity in order to have a civil marriage in Lebanon. The civil marriage part is not what’s threatening to the confessional system; it’s the precursor step of removing your confessional identity.

    In all cases, it was admittedly a provocative title.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | January 27, 2013, 6:24 pm
  3. Elias,

    The problem is that you haven’t presented a full story.

    What laws govern the children? Do they inherit the “Secular” sect of their parents? And if there are no laws that cover personal status, then when and who will draft those laws?

    And so what if there is a formal “crossing out of confessional identity”. Look @ Canada and France and Britain, where they are replete with “Civil Laws” on personal matters, but when it comes to matters of the person, personal confessionalism is still around. [People adopt a partner's religion all the time to make it "easier", even when nothing really compels them to].

    As AIG says… if 45% of Lebanese support and believe in Civil Marriage, let them go en masse to Cyprus and get wed there… if only to make a statement.

    And besides, why should it take “Civil Marriage” to coax people into Striking off their “Confessional” Identity. What exactly does it mean “to strike off one’s confessional identity”?

    Posted by Gabriel | January 27, 2013, 10:11 pm
  4. My question is the following: If one cannot go to Cyprus, can we bring Cyprus to them? I don’t see any reason why the Cypriot consulate does not open a little office and perform civil marriages in Lebanon. Maybe other consulates can do the same and you would have abundance of choice of which laws you prefer. Cypriot, Dutch, French, Canadian, Swedish, Estonia etc… there would be competition between the consulates and you could get special offers which includes packages. Lebanese law recognizes civil weddings from most countries. There is really no issue there.

    Secularism is an ‘isms’ and a very dogmatic one, separation of church and state does not mean hegemony of the state. What you have in Lebanon is a separation of the ‘churches’ from the state.

    Posted by Nadim Shehadi | January 28, 2013, 3:13 am
  5. Gabriel,
    That’s not exactly true. Conversion for marriage in the UK is not about making marriage ‘easier’ in legal terms. Civil law provides fully for the couple and their children. I cannot speak for France or Canada, but when people in Britain convert to marry, it is simply because one or both partners wish to have a religious ceremony of some kind, rather than a civil one.

    Posted by warren | January 28, 2013, 3:18 am
  6. Warren.. you misread me.

    I meant it makes it “easier” in personal- and long term- terms.

    “Marriage” doesn’t stop at “I do”.

    In the West, there are very clear “Civil” laws that deal with all the issues that may arise subsequent to the “marriage”, whether one were to marry in church or in a civil arrangement. For example, in the event that a couple separate, or they have children and they separate, etc. Those laws today are religion neutral, or at least they apply to everyone.

    I don’t know how Lebanon deals with those situations.

    Posted by Gabriel | January 28, 2013, 10:20 am
  7. QN,

    I may be missing something here. You write:
    “What I’m arguing is that the new mechanism threatens to create a scenario whereby people are encouraged to strike off their confessional identity in order to have a civil marriage in Lebanon. ”

    Why would getting married by a civil and not religious authority mean letting go of one’s confessional identity? All my friends who went to Cyprus to get married (we have the same laws in Israel) came back still feeling quite Jewish and identifying as Jews.

    Posted by AIG | January 28, 2013, 10:30 am
  8. Rita and Mo, couple “tres laique” (secular) decide in their eager 20s that Lebanon does not afford them an option to wed. She doesn’t want to say the La Ilah, and Mo doesn’t want to be dunked in baptism waters. Their parents brush this off as the folly of youth. Not entirely happy of course, but they are not the wacko types that are going to off their children for dishonoring them (such details need to be said, this is Lebanon and the Middle East after all, and such things do happen).

    And so, Rita and Mo hop into a ferry, to cross over to Larnaca or Limasol, so that they can exchange their vows. Rita hasn’t disavowed her Christianity, nor has Mo disavowed his Islam. But they are wed nonetheless. In courts in Cyprus. Their marriage, impossible in Lebanon, is nonetheless accepted, legally. So, for example, they can book a hotel room together, and, you know, get cozy and stuff.

    They go back to Lebanon, whereby, they decide that perhaps life together isn’t what they imagined it to be. They got a child.

    What is the legal status of the child? I assume that since Lebanon is patriarchal, the child assumes both the father’s last name and “sect”. Though those details are up in the air. We don’t know what the Cyprus civil marriage affords the couple, or their children as rights.

    So they split.

    What “jurisdiction” do Rita and Mo fall under? Is it the Cypriot one? Where their marriage was conducted? Or the Lebanese one, where they are unwittingly members of a Sect, each with its own set of rules?

    What if the couple were not Rita and Mo, but Amina and Pierre. What then? What happens in that situation.

    The problem with Elias’s proposition is that the absence of Civil marriage is a necessary result of the confessional system, and not the cause of it. Until such time that everyone starts having a serious discussion on these kind of questions, the system will and cannot change.

    Posted by Gabriel | January 28, 2013, 1:36 pm
  9. Fatwa issued against civil marriage by the the grand Mufti…I guess he can hear the shriveling of his income and bribes…

    Posted by danny | January 28, 2013, 6:23 pm
  10. Do you seriously think civil marriage will ever pass anytime soon? let alone it changing the highly infectious disease social political sectarian mierda

    alam tastami3ana ila aba tarbooshin wa lafloofatin yaftiyana …aman amon… ya mon …wa ayna anta min aba tajin mozarkatin sawfa yogharidana

    Posted by Vulcan | January 29, 2013, 7:14 am
  11. Being one of those that “hopped” on a plane and went to Cyprus to get a civil marriage (and by the way got our papers mixed up with another Israeli couple), the laws that govern the marriage are supposed to be the laws of the country where you got married. So the Lebanese government does recognize our marriage and in case of a divorce they have to follow the rules under which we got married.

    As for children, we do live in a patriarchal society, so they would be registered whatever the sect of the father is. That being said, you can remove the sect from the identity card if the couple chooses. I am not sure 100% what happens in the case of divorce and what rules would apply, but since the rules of what you got married under apply to your divorce it should technically also apply to custody….but you are in Lebanon, anything can happen.

    A friend of mine (both she and her husband are Lebanese) who got a civil marriage in the US, currently living in Lebanon and is getting a divorce, her lawyer as well as her ex’s lawyer have had to dig up the laws of the State of Nevada for her divorce and for the kids. But again, I do not know the details of the process.

    This has nothing to do with whether you are less of a Christian or a Muslim or a Jew, when you get back home. This has to do with the choice of not having to convert to another sect, let alone a religion, if two people decide to get married and have children. It is up to the couple to decide how they want to raise their children, and if they are in agreement, the government and religious institutions should stay out.

    A year after I got married I was at a conference and sitting with then the Ambassador to Cyprus, as we were talking he said that the year that I had gotten married in Cyprus more than 100 other couples did as well. It would be interesting to know how many Lebanese have gotten married in Cyprus.

    I do agree with QN, this is a really good start. I remember when I was an undergraduate in the 1990s and part of the campaign “Ana Mesh Kafer, Ana Ma3 Al Jawaz Al Medani” (I am not an Unbeliever, I am with civil marriage). We have come a long way, but there is still a bumpy road ahead.

    Posted by fate | January 29, 2013, 10:44 am
  12. Fate,

    Let me begin by saying thank you for your thoughts on this. Actually, this is exactly the type of discourse that should be happening, and we are all the more enlightened.

    Also, it seems to me that the Cypriot solution at least makes some sort of sense. The Lebanese government has in effect transferred legal jurisdiction to the where the couple got married to avoid answering or dealing with the more difficult matters.

    However, now that the discussion is to bring “Civil Marriage” into Lebanon in a more meaningful way, the fig leaf has in effect been wrestled away.

    Now I do take exception to something you wrote:

    if two people decide to get married and have children. It is up to the couple to decide how they want to raise their children, and if they are in agreement, the government and religious institutions should stay out.

    The Law is there to mediate between people precisely because they are not in agreement. There needs to be a system of recourse in the event that this marriage- held in Lebanese soil- breaks down, and it is painfully clear from Elias’s first point that there really isn’t a body of family law that covers this situation in the books.

    And so, my questions still stand. Mufti Qabbani, (and others like him), may be stupid, but they are not really stupid. They are thinking 2-3-10 steps ahead for their own interests, and role in life. As I wrote previously to Warren, marriage doesn’t stop at the “I do” stage, and any discussion on “legalizing” the act in Lebanon has to be far more far-reaching than simply allowing the marriage to take place. It is not enough for the the flag bearers of the movement to do as you did and say “the government and religious institutions should stay out”. They may not have a role in your situation because you are in a strong committed, adult, relationship with your spouse (and because you can discuss and come to agreements that you are willing to honor)… but it is their legal obligation to be prepared to handle a situation that is not yours.

    These types of questions could have explosive effects in inter-communal issues.

    Posted by Gabriel | January 29, 2013, 12:38 pm
  13. Gabriel,

    I do not disagree with you that the discussions should be happening, and you are right the religious institutions are scared of the outcome of having these discussions and that is why in 1996, the late PM Hariri stood on the side of Mufti and said the same thing; that the whole Sunni community is against it and since we live in a “consensus” governing system then the rest of the communities should respect that.

    However, things are changing. Since then it has become easier for Lebanese to go to Cyprus and get married and it is a booming business. You get picked up at the airport, chauffeured around to the different places, and dropped back at the airport if you want to leave on the same day. They make it so easy that you do not have to deal with anything. This is why I am saying it would be interesting to see how many Lebanese couples have done this because at some point the discussion will have to happen. In 1996 going to Cyprus was not an easy, or acceptable, option. So given more and more Lebanese believe in this, we do have a window of opportunity to begin the discussions. Also, more Lebanese, across the different sects, are accepting this. So religious leaders are going to have a growing problem of pretending that they represent the whole sect on this issue. It would be interesting to have more polls being done on this issue and then having these issues being discussed out in the open.

    So in a nut shell I do agree that we need to have these discussions, but when I hear of the divorce rate in Lebanon and what is happening in the religious courts, irrespective of the religion, and how “religious judges” are being bought to favor one side, I think we have a much bigger problem of institutions than just legal obligations.

    We have been talking about political reform vs administrative reform since the 1990s, and I think that is the constant problem in Lebanon. We do not have strong institutions. But if the facts on the ground keep changing, at some point the reality that an X% of the Lebanese have a civil marriage will force the government, and the country, to face these issues.

    Posted by fate | January 29, 2013, 1:17 pm
  14. but when I hear of the divorce rate in Lebanon and what is happening in the religious courts, irrespective of the religion, and how “religious judges” are being bought to favor one side, I think we have a much bigger problem of institutions than just legal obligations.

    I am not at all surprised by this statement you make. This is why I say this is something that could potentially be explosive.

    Of course in the event of divorce, and when personal interests are at stake, people will go back to the courts, and “religious” judges will opine in one way.

    Expect more of that to happen, if there isn’t a clear body of civil law to cover those cases, and which must take precedence over religious law.

    It is also the reason why the Muftis/Priests will fight the battle very hard.

    (PS. To me this discussion has strong parallels with recent moves to instate “Sharia courts” in Western countries to handle Family matters).

    Posted by Gabriel | January 29, 2013, 3:10 pm
  15. In Lebanon, if civil marriage is passed, the “religious judges” will shave their lice infested beards and become even more corrupt “civil judges”

    Posted by Vulcan | January 29, 2013, 4:27 pm
  16. Vulcan…

    Ever the dreary-eyed pessimist! Is the situation not improveable?!?

    Posted by Gabriel | January 29, 2013, 4:51 pm
  17. Indeed i am the pessimist and under the influence of the daily madness.. i got a new job drivin a Serveece in the city … self inflicted

    On the improveable, what can i say … “Damnit Jim, I’m a Judge, not a doctor!”

    Posted by Vulcan | January 29, 2013, 6:01 pm
  18. You got people in power and in the Grand houses of God all mighteh… They condone polygamy, Mutaa and Maysar marriages but issue condemnations and fatwas against civil marriage and ya tellin me improveable

    Posted by Vulcan | January 29, 2013, 6:23 pm
  19. V, you have people in not so much “power” per se, living in cities like Montreal and Toronto, London and Paris. They still condone “polygamy”, and conduct polygamous weddings (under the nose of the state).

    Somehow, the system chugs along. And for “couples/triples/quadruples/quintuples” happy with that arrangement (notwithstanding any personal arguments about the time sharing arrangement), they seem for the most part to be ok. The “civil” state affords Wives 2->4, where they exist, no “marital” rights. They are formally not wives, nor are they entitled to the various benefits one may be afforded in a marriage (e.g. extension of insurance benefits, tax consolidations, etc).

    It’s a system. It works. Though I suppose those who endorse polygamous unions would perhaps like the “Civil” state to be able to exercise more muscle in enforcing “their” laws.

    Said Mullahs have not rushed to become civil servants (not yet at least). And if they did, and they enforced civil laws, then why not? Corrupt “civil law” enforcers is at least better than corrupt “divine law” enforcers.

    I think the issue is in fact bottoms up, and not top down. People just need to start putting their money where there mouth is. For starters, since it is now evident that scrapping your “religious” identity from all official records is possible…. I’d say all those in favor of abolishing the sectarian system should just shut up already and do just that: remove their sect officially and permanently from the record.

    This act need not be in any shape/form/manner be linked to the question of Civil marriage. It is a far bigger and a farther-reaching act.

    It would be interesting to see how many people would follow through.

    Posted by Gabriel | January 29, 2013, 8:01 pm
  20. looks like a storm is brewing in the howayzon …3al wazeneh

    Posted by Vulcan | January 31, 2013, 4:22 am
  21. and it aint about gettin married… fina go home and lock ma dow

    Posted by Vulcan | January 31, 2013, 4:25 am
  22. Does this mean that the Maronite and the Shia are for civil marriage and to cancel confessionalism, so who is against it?. I guess the Sunni, then?. what is the chance of getting these things done ?.

    Posted by Norman | January 31, 2013, 10:18 pm
  23. To paraphrase a famous U.S. politician from the 1990s, “All we need is a voluntary, free-spirited, open-ended program of procreative sectarian deconstruction. Everybody just gotta keep fuckin’ everybody ’til they’re all the same sect.”

    Posted by Ben | February 1, 2013, 12:54 am
  24. Talal Salman, editor in chief of the Lebanese daily As-Safir has something to say about Lebanon’s “civil society”:

    In Lebanon, on the other hand, the political elite did the opposite – it divided and fragmented. Our society has turned into a collection of societies that are in a state of conflict with one another, as ethnicity prevents the advancement of a unified citizenship.

    Here’s the full article:

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4339848,00.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 1, 2013, 10:59 am
  25. Norman,

    How wrong can you be?
    “Does this mean that the Maronite and the Shia are for civil marriage and to cancel confessionalism, so who is against it?. I guess the Sunni, then?. what is the chance of getting these things done ?.”

    Here’s your answer…Don’t trust bearded people in robes…

    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2013/Feb-01/204557-higher-shiite-council-joins-in-rejecting-civil-mar.ashx#axzz2JSfPoFjx

    Posted by danny | February 1, 2013, 3:17 pm
  26. none of your business, fanatic Zionist (“AP”). sorry, you must be building bridges -_-

    Posted by 3issa | February 1, 2013, 7:15 pm
  27. While the sheeple bleat on about secularism and confessionalism, only the Resistance has the courage to defend Lebanon against Israhell

    http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/70550-hizbullah-buries-member-in-arabsalim-says-died-performing-jihadi-duty

    Posted by dontgetit | February 3, 2013, 1:10 pm
  28. Dontgetit,

    Why is the Resistance aiding the Assad regime? Arabs are dying in much greater number at the hand of other arabs. Why is it when arabs are killed by other arabs, it isn’t important?

    Perhaps the “resistance” should expand their area of responsibility.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 4, 2013, 9:10 am
  29. lol at your Zionazi hasbara. No one cares about your attempts at misdirection. Everyone knows who are the real criminals and perpetrators of inhumane war crimes. History will remember the crimes of Israhell long after Assad is forgotten.

    Posted by dontgetit | February 4, 2013, 11:47 pm
  30. “Perhaps the “resistance” should expand their area of responsibility.”

    They did, they have exported terror to Bulgaria:

    http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/70802-bulgaria-says-hizbullah-behind-bus-attack-u-s-and-israel-urge-europe-to-take-action

    As Hezbollah are part of the Lebanese government, this is a clear casus belli. Hezbollah have not only put Lebanon in danger, they have compromised severely the relations between Lebanon and the EU.

    Posted by AIG | February 5, 2013, 1:41 pm
  31. Reading the Bulgarian media is quite instructive. For some unfathomable reason, Bulgarians tend to be a little skeptical about some stuff such as the relationship between their governing regime and guess who?

    “Borisov and Mossad
    Smiles | October 26, 2010, Tuesday| 1168 views

    (A joke circulated in Bulgarian Internet forums on the meeting of Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov with Mossad Director Dagan in Sofia.)

    The tete-a-tete meeting went between Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov and Mossad Director Dagan went as follows:

    Borisov: “Am I still in power?”

    Dagan: “Yes.”

    Borisov: “Whew!”

    http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=121537

    Posted by lally | February 5, 2013, 6:13 pm
  32. The always useful CIA & the Mossad joined the investigation early on later joined by the FBI who was tasked with fingerprint ID. A bare 4 weeks after the bombing, they appear to be calling the shots:

    “The latest news comes among a number of reports and expert opinions that the Bulgarian investigation is clueless about the identity of the perpetrator, any possible accomplices, the mastermind of the attack, its motives, and has botched the probe, while the US CIA and the Israeli Mossad are keeping Bulgarian colleagues on the sidelines and are feeding them selected pieces of information.”

    http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=142294

    So shocked am I.

    Posted by lally | February 5, 2013, 7:16 pm
  33. Lally, give it a rest, you become extremely odious when you try to spin a deadly attack on simple tourists. In addition, quoting antisemitic jokes is a classy move.

    Posted by AIG | February 6, 2013, 1:14 am
  34. Dontgetit’s difficulty answering questions NewZ

    lol at your Zionazi hasbara

    Dontgetit,

    You need to improve your hebrew skills. Please consult Lally, who is now up to 5 words including a few slang Yiddish phrases.

    “Hasbara” is simply “explanation”. I offered no explanation if anything. I merely asked 2 simple questions:

    Maybe you or Lally can answer them instead of ignoring them:

    Why is the Resistance aiding the Assad regime?

    Why is it when arabs are killed by other arabs, it isn’t important?

    Let’s see if you or Lally can present a cogent answer that will please Elias and the rest of the enlightened participants here…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 6, 2013, 8:04 am
  35. AIG,

    Here’s an article in The Guardian that explains (“hasbara”) the Bulgaria government’s findings on the tourist terror attack:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/05/bulgaria-hezbollah-bus-bomb-attack

    Let’s see how the wet noodle Euros deal with it. As you know, this is how arab terrorism/foreign policy works, you basically scare governments into doing nothing.

    Of course, there were leaders out there like GWB and Maggie Thatcher who never bended in the face of this phenomenon.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 6, 2013, 8:15 am
  36. The Silence is Deafening NewZ

    Dontgetit,

    Cat got your tongue?

    Give us your “hasbara” as to why “The Resistance™” is doing NOTHING to prevent the murder of TENS OF THOUSANDS of arabs by the “friendly” Assad regime.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 6, 2013, 1:26 pm
  37. I really don’t see as to why Hizbollah would risk it’s relations with EU countries by performing an act of terrorism on EU soil. Doesn’t make sense.

    I do think there is a possibility this investigation is a scam to implicate Hizbollah, to get EU to blacklist the organization just like the US has.

    Why risk it for the sake of those Israelis? Anyone significant got killed?

    Posted by Pas Cool | February 6, 2013, 3:20 pm
  38. Doesn’t make sense.

    Pas Cool,

    Since when did anything coming out of the ME “make sense”?

    So from your logic, none of these terror organization would ever commit these acts. Well they have, and they will continue. And the “risk” is zero, when the EU and other countries are afraid to act and subsequently open themselves to more lethal attacks in the future.

    It’s like paying a thug to “watch your car” after you park it by the curb. They may protect it, or they may damage it. The police are no where to be found.

    Now we have Iran and Argentina carrying out agreements after Hezbollah bombed a JCC there. Big “risk”.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 6, 2013, 4:01 pm
  39. No, that’s not my logic and you didn’t answer my question.

    It’s not about being afraid to act. EU countries have plenty of organizations listed as terror organizations.

    Who died in Bulgaria? Some very important person that would warrant Hezbollah to consider risking relations with the EU?

    Posted by Pas Cool | February 6, 2013, 4:22 pm
  40. Pas cool,

    Every time HA/Assads are implicated in a crime we hear the same logic. Yes; they are pure and rational! They did not kill or maim on May 7, 2008…Did they kill Hariri…off course not! Did they kill Samer Hanna and abduct George Saade? They were not caught plotting in Egypt? …or…Azerbaijan?…No tunnis?…No Argentina?… No way! Let’s leave the assumption that HA are smart and intelligent in the past! they are a terrorist organization and not a corporate entity!

    Posted by danny | February 6, 2013, 4:58 pm
  41. Pas Cool,

    Here are my answers:

    Why risk it for the sake of those Israelis?

    Killing a handful of Israeli tourists, a Bulgarian bus driver, or anyone else in between is NO risk.

    Anyone significant got killed?

    Like who, a Chinese, American, Arab or Russian diplomat? Nope. No one significant.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 6, 2013, 5:14 pm
  42. I reserve judgement till I read on Angry Arab or Al-Akhbar that the Israelis did it to frame the restance as confirmed by Google.

    Posted by Nadim Shehadi | February 6, 2013, 7:12 pm
  43. AIG is correct that, according to Israeli policy, proof that Hezbollah is tied to hurting any Israeli anywhere in the world is casus belli for an attack on Lebanon. The “proof” part is the sticky wicket which is why even Robert Baer (ex CIA) cautioned the Bulgarians to do their own investigation independently of the Mossad and CIA. It’s a credibility problem; the “evidence” from the poisonous tree is tainted.

    While the vast majority of the chatter concerns persuading the EU to declare HA a terrist org, that’s just a nicety that would force the EU to do America/Israhell’s bidding. The real business is Israel establishing a rationale giving them a pass to try to resuscitate their flagging manhood/”deterrence” by eradicating Hezbollah and any other Lebanese (the LAF) who dares to defend Lebanon against the sissyboy aggressors. The bombing of the elusive “weapons convoy” is another facet of the campaign to legitimize another of Israel’s preemptive bloodbaths in self defense.

    Hey there AIG. Looking forward to the Obama visit in March? What a logistics nightmare that will be! There’s some serious excited buzzing going around in American circles about Israeli moves suggesting imminent (they hope) action against Lebanon. I would imagine that the WH would prefer to have that messy business over prior to The Visit of the Hated ONE.

    Posted by lally | February 6, 2013, 7:32 pm
  44. Lally,

    I find it amusing you like to use the term “Israhell”, when Israel is the freest, most democratic, and most economically advanced nation for ARABS to live in the ME.

    Sbeaking of “hasbara”, tell us what arab country is a better place for arabs to live than “Israhell”?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 6, 2013, 8:11 pm
  45. Sigh……

    A Palace….I was doing a riff on DON’TGETIT’s parody posts.

    Posted by lally | February 6, 2013, 8:42 pm
  46. Lally,

    I find that you and Nevergetit have similar habits:

    – whining about “Israhell”

    – ignoring the crimes of your “Resistance” heroes

    – not answering simple questions about how much better your 20+ arab countries are than “Israhell”

    Maybe you can enter a dialogue with those you so often accuse rather than run away like a frightened child?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 6, 2013, 9:38 pm
  47. This is why I don’t answer you. It is just a distraction:

    http://electronicintifada.net/content/pointing-syria-divert-attention-israels-crimes/11192

    Posted by dontgetit | February 6, 2013, 11:13 pm
  48. Nevergetit,

    The Golan? We won it in a war. Excellent wine country. You should try a bottle.

    But sadly, you have no argument, only excuses.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 6, 2013, 11:39 pm
  49. Here’s a picture of some of the most backward leaders in the world. I’m sure Lala and Nevergetit are so very proud of them…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 6, 2013, 11:45 pm
  50. Danny, Akbar Palace

    Danny, don’t put me in the corner with those always excusing terrorist crimes, or those seeking to paint a rosy picture of Hizbollah.

    I don’t doubt their guilt in various crimes. I just doubt it in this instance. No one significant got killed, according to Akbar Palace, and I definitely think Hizbollah are rational enough to consider the implications for their relations with the EU for the sake of killing your average Israeli tourist. They value their ties with the EU, you might know. The way I see it, it would’ve needed to be a really high profile target for them to risk getting caught performing a terrorist act on EU soil.

    And yes AP, there is a risk involved, the risk of getting caught.

    Posted by Pas Cool | February 7, 2013, 1:07 am
  51. Triggering a war could be a worthy objective and a game changer for the resistance block who have lost Hamas and stand to loose Assad etc..
    Only Israel can save them, a war with Israel is their claim to legitimacy. Now they are just killing Syrian children.
    They have done it before in 2006, in both Gaza & in Lebanon and it was a success that even led to re-engagement with Assad.

    Posted by Nadim Shehadi | February 7, 2013, 6:06 am
  52. The way I see it, it would’ve needed to be a really high profile target for them to risk getting caught performing a terrorist act on EU soil.

    Pas Cool,

    Thanks for the reply, and your point is taken. However, I see things a bit differently. Hezbollah conducted a handful of attacks against the US government, so I don’t see where they are overly at risk of losing anything. What important relationship does Hezbollah have with the US and Europe. What really do they have to lose whether they hit “high” profile targets or not?

    I just think they act on a whim. Whether one of their resistance leaders gets assassinated by GOI agents or whether they want to start a war. There is no price to pay. They’re free to act however they want., especially in Lebanon, where they are tolerated and even loved.

    http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/hizballah.html

    And yes AP, there is a risk involved, the risk of getting caught.

    OK. So now they’re caught. Let’s see how Hezbollah suffers.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/02/06/eu-hezbollah-bulgaria/1895847/

    Only Israel can save them, a war with Israel is their claim to legitimacy. Now they are just killing Syrian children.

    Nadim Shehadi,

    But if you ask Nevergetit and Lala, they must be killing “terrorist” children, because I never hear one word of criticism against Hezbollah from these two bozos.

    If Israel is “Israhell”, and wonder what that makes Syria? Paradise?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 7, 2013, 7:51 am
  53. AP,

    They stand to lose quite a lot, I would say. They have a good working relationship with various EU countries. It gives them more legitimacy, ways of communicating, not to mention that EU countries have substantial contributions to UNIFIL in southern Lebanon. That mission’s work would probably be seriously hampered if the EU and Hezbollah were to cut ties.

    So I repeat, I don’t think they were behind the Bulgaria incident. Designating them a terrorist organization fits the foreign policy of Israel and the US. It doesn’t fit the foreign policy of the EU and not the policy of Hezbollah either. And for what, killing Israelis in Bulgaria, people of no significant power? Definitely they would be more cunning than that, is my assessment.

    Posted by Pas Cool | February 7, 2013, 9:26 am
  54. They stand to lose quite a lot, I would say.

    Pas Cool,

    We will have to agree to disagree. The Bulgarian government says Hezbollah is responsible. The Bulgarians are pointing to the 800 lb gorilla.

    Now it is now up to the EU to respond. Let’s see if they do, and let’s see how much Hezbollah “loses” assuming the EU now referes to Hezbollah as a terror organization. I don’t think Hezbollah’s relationship with the EU is that strong. Hezbollah relationship with the “august” Arab League and other muslim countries is what they’re all about.

    In the end, little to nothing changes. Nuff said.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hezbollah_foreign_relations

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 7, 2013, 10:16 am
  55. AP,

    Taken.

    But, if you gonna twist some arm to make the EU designate Hizb a terrorist organization, Bulgaria is the place to do so. Most corrupt country in the EU. Actually only 75 out of 176 countries in rank. Judicial sector even worse, 104 out of 142 in rank. And might I remind you of the article in Now Lebanon, of all places, that cast a shadow on the ongoing investigation, that they sermingly were intent to accuse Hizb even though some thought there was no indication to do so. Now Lebanon is not exactly known for defending Hizbollah’s interest.

    Just saying.

    Posted by Pas Cool | February 7, 2013, 10:45 am
  56. Pas Cool,

    What evidence do you have that Israel “twisted the arm” of the GOB? As I recall, the GOB asked the GOI to stay out of their investigation, that they were perfectly equipped to do it themselves.

    You may be right about Bulgaria being the “most corrupt country in the EU”. But that still may be a few steps above that of any arab country, including the Lebanese model. Sounds like a bit like “sour grapes” now that Bulgaria is suffering the MOST risk of anyone: The risk of further terror attacks, now that the GOB has accused the thug of “protecting” her fancy, and damaged car (ref. my analogy from yesterday).

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 7, 2013, 11:00 am
  57. Amazing analogy, breathe taking

    Posted by 3issa | February 7, 2013, 11:51 am
  58. AP

    If evidence is needed neither you nor I will ever be able to prove much.

    And I disagree with the before mentioned comment that Hizbollah behaves irrationally due to it being a terrorist organization. Might have been Danny saying that. For sure they plan their actions, and probably even make something akin to c/b-analyses.

    The risk of further terror attacks is prevalent in all countries.

    And just because a country might be less corrupt than any Arab country doesn’t mean its judiciary is incorruptible.

    Sorry QN for straying from the subject at hand. I’m sure there’s a connection to civil marriage here somewhere. Hezbollah is against civil marriage, right? And Bulgaria for?! Now that’s a casus bellum right there.

    Posted by Pas Cool | February 7, 2013, 12:09 pm
  59. If evidence is needed neither you nor I will ever be able to prove much.

    Pas Cool,

    You asserted there was arm twisting by the GOI. Either that’s your opinion or a fact.

    According to the NYT, “Bulgarian officials have been notably reluctant to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in publicly pinning blame for the attack…”:

    After Bus Bombing, Bulgaria’s Ties With Israel Are at Risk

    Bulgarian officials have been notably reluctant to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in publicly pinning blame for the attack, which killed five Israelis and a Bulgarian bus driver, on Hezbollah and Iran, a view privately shared by American officials. Instead, the government has tried to contain details about the investigation, hoping to avoid mistakes in a situation with global political and security implications, as evidence grows of a shadow war between Israel on one side and Iran and Hezbollah on the other.

    “For small Bulgaria to come out and openly name Hezbollah in such a way is as good as entering a minefield,” said Vladimir Shopov, a political scientist at the New Bulgarian University in Sofia. “There would have to be absolute certainty almost. You’d have to be really, really confident that your convincing evidence could stand up before all the other members of the E.U.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/31/world/europe/after-bombing-bulgarias-ties-with-israel-at-risk.html?_r=0

    And just because a country might be less corrupt…

    Every country is corrupt to some extent. I suppose there are “lists” showing how every country compares.

    But as far as this investigation is concerned, you have no evidence showing it was or was not conducted professionally, good or bad, or in-between.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 7, 2013, 12:39 pm
  60. Golly gee our FBI is busy abroad:

    “Previous theories suggested by authorities alluded to the supposed architect of the attacks being an unsuspecting “drug mule” who was duped into carrying the explosive device by a terrorist organisation in lieu of what he thought ot be a delivery of drugs.

    Terrorist groups, such as al Qaeda, have been known to select unsuspecting perpetrators for their missions, as well as choosing the seriously ill, drug-addicted or indebted in return for financial help for them and their vulnerable families.

    The three suspects did not maintain any known contact with each other, but are all linked to the attack through false identification similar to the false US papers reportedly found on the suspect’s body at the scene by FBI investigating agents.”

    http://www.ejpress.org/article/64324

    When did the FBI get to the scene and get full access to search the suspect’s corpse only to discover what can only be the phony Michigan drivers’ licenses that were alleged to have been badly forged in Lebanon?

    Johnny G-Men on the spot. Guess the lumpen Bulgarian locals can’t even properly search a dead man without our help.

    Fruit of the poisonous tree…

    Posted by lally | February 7, 2013, 12:51 pm
  61. AP

    And you indicate there was no arm twisting. Either that’s your opinion or it’s a fact. In my case it’s an opinion. In your case?

    Sorry for the short reply. Gotta run to an after work event.

    Posted by Pas Cool | February 7, 2013, 1:04 pm
  62. Pas Cool,

    Yes, according to the NYT article, the GOB was “reluctant to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in publicly pinning blame”.

    This doesn’t say anything about your opinion about “arm-twisting” (this was apparently made up in your head), it DOES say, however, that the GOB wanted to make up their own mind.

    Considering the “RISK” they have of angering a thuggish terrorist organization, I’d say their findings were pretty “ballsy”. I’m betting the EU does nothing except utter a few words of “mixed messages”.

    See, it’s not always a Jewish conspiracy, sometimes, it’s a group of pro-Zionist Christians who don’t like their airports attacked. What a weird phenomenon…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 7, 2013, 1:29 pm
  63. Lebanon: The Murder Investigation State

    “We have well-grounded reasons to suggest that the two were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah,” Tsvetanov said after a meeting of Bulgaria’s National Security Council. “We expect the government of Lebanon to assist in the further investigation.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/02/05/bulgaria-israel-attack-canadian-australian.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 7, 2013, 3:11 pm
  64. I’m not basing my opinion on one article. Are you?

    Of course you aren’t, and to insinuate that I am is bad.

    Hezbollah is not necessarily the culprit each time the finger is pointed at them.

    Posted by Pas Cool | February 7, 2013, 3:18 pm
  65. Pas Cool,

    Sorry, my arm was being twisted.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 7, 2013, 3:40 pm
  66. You live in a country experiencing corruption?

    Posted by Pas Cool | February 7, 2013, 4:08 pm
  67. Pas Cool,

    Define “corruption”. This is a relative term. I’m American, so while we have corruption, I don’t know if it’s as bad as “Israhell” or the worst EU state, Bulgaria. Perhaps American corruption is practically nothing like it is in Hezbo-controlled Lebanon or the Islamic Republic of Iran. I have no clue.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 7, 2013, 5:45 pm

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