Elections, Hezbollah, Lebanon, My articles

Electing Resistance | Resisting Elections

hizb-fpIn a recent piece in the Jerusalem Post, Gary Gambill addresses the issue of how Hizbullah might be compelled to abandon its resistance, concluding that there is no such thing as a “disarm Hizbullah quick” scheme. None of the standard proposals (coercive pressure, aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces, removing the territorial and security-related pretexts for resistance, and alleviating Shiite political disenfranchisement) Gambill argues, will be successful in bringing about a major transformation in the party’s orientation or capabilities, at least in the short term.

With that said, however, he seems to suggest that taking the long-term view is not unfeasible, given the presence of  a U.N. buffer between Hizbullah and the battlefield, as well as an understanding of the catastrophic costs of another confrontation. For a far more detailed look at what a robust long-term strategy might look like, read Nicholas Noe’s excellent white paper for the Century Foundation.

Finally, I’ve written something for Foreign Policy about the Lebanese elections and what we can expect from an opposition win. You can read it here.
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43 thoughts on “Electing Resistance | Resisting Elections

  1. As always, a pleasure to read your articles.

    Posted by Jester theFool | May 6, 2009, 10:21 am
  2. QN,

    Are you famous now?

    Interesting, but …

    HA’s relative quietude has little to do with concerns about ridicunauts on Capitol Hill. And everything to do with very sectarian calculations — and indeed, Lebanese politics are never quite so ruthlessly sectarian (both inter and intra) as in the run up for an election.

    And I say this as someone who thinks HA is the least sectarian party in Lebanon (of the major players).

    In my opinion, HA has used the threat-that-cannot-be-named (greater Shia representation) to protect its weapons. To maintain this threat requires co-religionist cover (Amal) and sectarian insulation (FPM and some of the other opposition parties).

    This sectarian logic has been playing itself out since 2005 (if you need me to elaborate, I can — maybe in a post).

    I understand serving baby food to the readers of FP, but surely you do not believe that HA’s electoral strategy is NOT to win, or based on its perception of US policy? If that’s the case, then the kleptocrats of M14 are also ‘liberal visionaries.’

    Of course, you don’t bring a basketball to a soccer match, but let’s call HA’s electoral strategy sectarianism with a smile.

    And with that … 🙂

    Posted by dadavidovich | May 6, 2009, 6:02 pm
  3. Sectarianism with a smile, I like that. Elie Marouni, are you listening? I think we’ve got a winner for Lebanon’s Summer 2009 slogan.

    D, I agree with your analysis, but for me the sectarian dimension is a kind of given. What’s interesting to me is the fact that, yes, Hizbullah is actually not willfully ignoring the potential long-term side effects of a (more astutely) hostile US policy.

    I am not trying to suggest that HA doesn’t want to win, but rather that winning is a means to an end, not an end in itself. What is important, as you said, is the preservation of the weapons, and winning is one way to do that (at least in the short term). But there are other ways as well, like securing a veto guarantee from M14 if they lose.

    I think the Hizb is sensitive to the possibility of dulling their own luster by winning in some spectular fashion only to be quietly undermined by Hariri & co. while they are in the spotlight. If there are parties in Lebanon who want to pursue such a strategy, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Israel will help them. This is what I mean by a sensitivity to an outside policy.

    Please do spell out your argument about sectarian logic since 2005.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | May 6, 2009, 8:18 pm
  4. Who wants to read Gambill, a Zionist anti-Arab? Of course, he would prefer the status quo in South Lebanon, and even a HZB controlled Lebanon (unlikely) because it will give the Zionist entity the excuse to wage war on Lebanon at will.

    For all his rational analysis, Noe failed to tackle the most important issue of HZB ideological and organic attachment to the Iranian regime. As long as Hassan Nasrallah proclaims he is a soldier of the wali faqih of Iran, there is no use appeasing him. By making such proclamation he automatically becomes enemy of the State. His weapons are of secondary importance compared to such declaration.

    Posted by mike | May 7, 2009, 1:44 am
  5. hmm, yes your audience is one that is more innocent of Lebanon than us but….

    “Many think that an opposition victory would embolden Hezbollah against attempts to dismantle its military wing”

    If they win who is going to attempt what? And more emboldened? How much more than 2006 can they be?

    “Others argue that political success might serve as a great moderating influence on the party by raising the stakes of a confrontation with Israel”

    You yourself have pointed out that in any future govt. they won’t have any more representation than they did in 06. The only difference is that there won’t be a M14 PM to protect but raise the stakes? Israel went no further than they did in 06 because they knew Hizballah hadn’t used everything in its arsenal and they still know that.

    “and saddling it with the mundane duties of making Lebanon’s trains run on time.”

    Since they have been accused of running a “state within a state” by M14 for 3 years then we can assume they are more than capable. Hell, they may even make the trains run and actually justify the pay that 900 people in Lebanon get for “running the railways”!

    Posted by mo | May 7, 2009, 2:45 am
  6. Mike,

    Gambill, a zionist, anti-arab? That’s the first time I hear that. If you’ve read any of his articles on http://www.mideastmonitor.org, you’d retract your comments. In my opinion, he’s arguably the best political analyst of Near East region.

    Posted by Nidal | May 7, 2009, 3:59 am
  7. Today is May 7 which marks a black day in the history of Lebanon. It is the day when the mask has fallen and the true face of treachery and deception dared to expose its ugliness for all to see. It is the day when a ‘Resistance’ in disguise has shown its true nature of theft, robbery and hatred. It is the day when freedom retreated and despotism gained a foothold in the city of legendary endurance in the face of invaders, and that has always triumphed while they perished. Beirut is waiting for June 7 to scream in their faces that they belong in the dustbin of history.

    Posted by mike | May 7, 2009, 7:25 am
  8. Mo,

    “You yourself have pointed out that in any future govt. they won’t have any more representation than they did in 06. The only difference is that there won’t be a M14 PM to protect but raise the stakes? Israel went no further than they did in 06 because they knew Hizballah hadn’t used everything in its arsenal and they still know that.”

    Don’t really agree with this. They won’t have more representation, but they will be a core member of the ruling party. Any action on the border will give Israel a perfect excuse to say that Hizbullah is synonymous with the Lebanese government, and so the Lebanese government, army, infrastructure must pay… Let’s get serious: as brutal as the July war was, Israel is capable of going much further.

    Since they have been accused of running a “state within a state” by M14 for 3 years then we can assume they are more than capable.

    Great! I can’t wait to see the results (and I’m not being sarcastic). The salient difference is that HA’s state is a black box… there is no real accountability. It might be perfect or it might be flawed. We have no way of knowing what its merits and shortcomings are.

    Plus, running a national ministry is very different than catering directly to your own constituents. It’s a very different kind of relationship. This is what I’m getting at.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | May 7, 2009, 9:42 am
  9. I Agree with Qifa on this. HA does not have experience in national governance. More importantly it’s not interested in gaining that experience because it is certain it would fail at it for various reasons. Throughout the 90’s Syrians gave HA the luxury of not having to get its hands dirty in local politics, this played to its “pure & uncorrupt” image. Now things have changed and it’s being forced to enter a game it doesn’t want to play.

    If M8 wins a majority (I doubt that will happen) HA will need to rely on its partners to run the day-to-day of Lebanon’s internal politics and more crucially its economy. I would even assume that HA would be willing to give up key govt. seats to please a certain member of the opposition (Future Movement). Of course publically that type of move will be in the name of “brotherly reconciliation”, but HA would also gain by getting rid of a huge weight of its shoulders.

    And Mo – Let’s not forget that if M8 lose these elections, or even worse, lose BIG. it will put HA in a very awkward position. Up until now it could blame various assassinations and emotional votes on M14 mass appeal but if M8 lose again it will fuel new calls for HA disarmament.

    Posted by Innocent Criminal | May 7, 2009, 11:52 am
  10. QN,
    The govt., army and infrastructure did pay last time. Im not suggesting that Israel isn’t capable of going further. Im suggesting that they didn’t and won’t because they are aware that Hizballhah was also capable of going further. The fact that Hizballlah will be a core member of the govt but wasn’t in 06 will play, I believe no part whatsoever in changing their decision making along the border. Lets not fall for the old Israeli propaganda that Hizballah was running some sort of constant cross-border operations before 06. In fact UNIFIL recorded just 6 of these before 06 and all were in retaliation for Israeli actions. The 06 operation was one that was going to happen no matter who was in govt.

    Their “state” may be, out of neccesity, a black box but their is accountability is at street level. Their leaders aren’t living in mansions, driving top of the range cars and the spending of their money is not happening in the Casinos of London. It is never going to be perfect but in relative terms, for the country, it almost Utopian.

    Im not sure I agree that running a ministry is different in relation to constituents. Its still a matter of catering to your constituents, its just the constituancy has changed. The bigger difference is that some people in a national ministry may not be interested in either the consituents or for you to succeed.

    But I guess, if the results go as expected (and recent polling seems to suggest that it less close than we thought), this will all be answered in due time. And no I can’t wait either.

    mike, did a copywriter at Saatchi write that? Todays the day when the true face of treachery and deception was handed its ass on a plate.

    Posted by mo | May 7, 2009, 12:28 pm
  11. I don’t understand why Hizbullah partisans are so ashamed of admitting that HA is a party that thinks rationally and takes many things into account in its decisions, including the impact of its military actions on its political position in the country, alliances, etc. During the Gaza war, don’t you think that some kind of cost-benefit analysis informed Hizbullah’s decision not to get involved? Don’t you think that this cost-benefit analysis was at least partially influenced by the impact that a massive Israeli response would have on the opposition’s electoral chances?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | May 7, 2009, 12:42 pm
  12. Their rationality and ability to do cost-benefit is what I am talking about. Of course the decision to not become involved in the Gaza war was weighing up what they could achieve against what it would cost them politically.I think we agree on that. For now it is the Palestinians fight in Palestine and Hizballah’s in Lebanon. They wont take any action against Israel if they cannot justify at a Lebanese level – They can and do help Hamas in other ways as we have recently seen – Where we differ is that I don’t necesssarily believe that politically may include electorally if you see what I mean. If they really put electoral victory over their ideals then May 7 would never have happened as that action probably cost more votes than any cross border actions. My point is that all their actions are taken rationally but if they believe that they’re actions are justified on a Lebanese level, being in or out of government is unlikely to effect this.

    Posted by mo | May 7, 2009, 2:05 pm
  13. The notion that HA does not do or has not done the ‘dirty business of local politics’ is absurd. Equally absurd is the idea of the Syrians just snapping their fingers — it was more like herding cats after one of the felines took milk that ‘belonged’ to another.

    The Syrians did this for ‘security reasons’ and then took some of the milk as a commission for their ‘efforts.’ Now, it came to be that some of those Syrians liked drinking their milky commissions so much, they forgot about or ignored the ‘security’ part that gave the whole transaction some veneer of legitimacy.

    One of the more shocking parts of the 2006 war was for me was listening to Beirut’s congnesceti talk about southern Lebanon or other Hizbullah ‘strongholds’ (a very misleading concept) as if it was some place on Mars where alien physics ruled. This intergalactic ignorance continues, I am afraid.

    It is true that running a ministry involves a different level of politics, but if you have ever seen HA’s political machine in action you would know that they are quite skilled in the block-to-block arts of political horse trade. I mean, come on, whatever else their constituents are, they are frickin’ Lebanese — see above about herding cats …

    The amazing part about HA is that they do this AND are able to maintain some semblance of ideological coherence. Are they Lebanon’s super-men? No, it is just that being in the sights of the IDF has a way of focusing the mind and disciplining the body: institution-building, in which corruption has not been a luxury they could afford.

    And actually, I think this is kind of ‘healthy’ for the Lebanese, because the HA model may well force other Lebanese parties to get their act together internally if they want to compete politically with the likes of HA.

    What cripples other political factions in Lebanon is their utter lack of internal trust (functioning institutions), and thus the constant back-biting between ‘personalities’ over ‘personalty.’

    Posted by dadavidovich | May 7, 2009, 3:43 pm
  14. So if one reads what Mr. Nicholas Noe has written, one may conclude that recipes, even silly ones, do not come out of the oven of cooks but also out of a pen of “analysts.” It is really ridiculous that all those who write about Lebanon and the role of Hizbullah do so only from a Western-Zionist perspective. They want to assure the Zionist terrorists and their funders and backers in the West that it is for them that they devise such rehashed, ignorant and ill-advised recipes. Such writings are recipes and nothing but recipes repeated over and over.

    Posted by Jihad | May 7, 2009, 4:57 pm
  15. QN said, “mike, did a copywriter at Saatchi write that? Todays the day when the true face of treachery and deception was handed its ass on a plate.”

    Does some SANA editor help with your posts? How about getting your Syrian citizenship and moving over over to Damascus? It looks like you haven’t learnt much at H.

    Posted by mike | May 7, 2009, 6:55 pm
  16. dadavidovich,

    I agree with your reasoning but I fear that you are forgetting to factor in the biggest elephant in the Lebanese room…sectarianism. the single biggest defining factor when it comes to political loyalty in Lebanon.

    Which also happens to be a major factor in HA popularity/hatred among its local followers and despisers respectively.

    I also wouldn’t give all the credit to the IDF for honing HA’s skills. Religious beliefs and discipline due to systimatic institutional indoctrination that can almost be compared to brainwashing, is a huge factor as well. Otherwise Fatah should have put HA to shame by now instead of suffering from extreme corruption

    Posted by Innocent Criminal | May 7, 2009, 8:07 pm
  17. Umm, Mike? Whether or not I’ve learnt much at H. is debatable, but one thing I did learn was how to read, and I’m pretty sure that I didn’t write what you’re citing. Mo did.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | May 7, 2009, 8:27 pm
  18. QN, apologies.

    Posted by mike | May 7, 2009, 8:38 pm
  19. To Mike,

    Yes it is May 7 and the masks did finally fall indeed. They kept falling off the faces of the Wahhabi-Zionist clique in Beirut since late 2004.

    Posted by Jihad | May 7, 2009, 8:50 pm
  20. To Jihad,
    You seem to be living on a different planet. May 7, 2008 unmasked Hassan Nasrallah and his gang as irrelevant demagogues who have no respect for human life or freedom and who would do anything to satisfy their masters in Tehran and Damascus. What do true Lebanese want to have to do with such fillers of dustbins? Are you for Lebanon or for Qom?

    Posted by mike | May 7, 2009, 9:30 pm
  21. dadavidovich,

    We have to introduce an historical dimension here. It was not so long ago that the Syrians could indeed snap fingers and things happened. When Hizbullah and Amal were bickering in the late 90’s, Syria summoned Nasrallah to Damascus and forced the Hizb to share lists with Berri. Likewise, when Hafez was getting close to a Golan deal, elections were manipulated in all kinds of ways to ensure a poor result for Hizbullah (so as to demonstrate to the Israelis and the Americans that Syria held the leash).

    Re “strongholds”… what’s so misleading about this concept? It’s not a secret that the Hizb monitors areas in the south and in Dahiyeh very closely, for obvious reasons. It’s not a matter of alien physics, just disputed jurisdiction. Not every criticism on this score amounts to thinly disguised sectarianism, wouldn’t you agree?

    Finally, with regard to political participation, I’m going to stick to my guns. My argument is not that the Hizb is inexperienced and thus incapable of participating in national politics. To the contrary, I agree with you that they are much more likely to raise the bar (which is a net gain for the citizen). What I’m saying is that politics — no matter how good you are at it — is a debasing enterprise, especially in Lebanon. Up until now, Hizbullah has operated in domains that lend themselves well to high contrast, high pathos, moralistic discourses: war and charity. What happens when it has to shoulder more mundane burdens, like traffic and sewage, and on a national level? My guess is that they’ll probably do a better job than most, but not without being somehow sullied in the process.

    (Otherwise, why would they have eschewed politics for so long?)

    Please feel free to convince me otherwise; I’m still feeling muddle headed about all of this.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | May 7, 2009, 11:45 pm
  22. Post Jizzin developments:
    AMAL voters will trash Aoun candidates in favor of independents or M14 candidates. Jbeil, Kisrwan, Baabda and few more districts are big question marks for Aoun now.
    Is Aoun movement (FPM) really secularists? Isn’t Aoun basically saying I AM all the Christians of Lebanon and will not allow anyone to have a say (I AM the STATE)? Interestingly, there is not a single Muslim in all of FPM.
    Kisrwan-Ftouh is the least developed in Lebanon – the district which gave Aoun all its MP’s in 2005. Aoun did not come up with a single development program for the district, unlike HZB, AMAL, Hariri and Jumblat who spent a lot of money on development in their areas. Over 150,000 Christians fled Lebanon since Aoun came back in 2005. According to Aoun whoever leaves Lebanon this time will stay out of Lebanon for good!!!

    Posted by mike | May 8, 2009, 2:49 am
  23. Mike,

    Well, I suppose we now know for whom you will not vote… By the way, in which qada are you registered to vote?

    Posted by Nidal | May 8, 2009, 8:30 am
  24. I tend to agree with you, ya QN, especially when it comes to financial policies. But I imagine certain dossiers will be given to the rest of the coalition.

    What I don’t understand, though, is this remark, which I hear often: Otherwise, why would they have eschewed politics for so long?

    In which political process should they have been involved in before 1992? How much the Syrians had to do with it is debatable, but the fact of the matter is that as soon as there were elections to run in, Hezbollah was running.

    Now, I think the main difference this time around will not be between national and regional or sectarian politics, since all politics here is regional and sectarian. Rather, I think the difference will be between governing and opposition politics, because even if Hezbollah cedes control of messy dossiers that don’t lend themselves to clean hands, as leaders of the coalition, the party will ultimately be held responsible for its coalition partners, at least to a higher extent than they are now.

    Posted by sean | May 8, 2009, 9:38 am
  25. Hi sean

    HA has run since 92 but they’ve consistently avoided participating in the executive branch in any meaningful way, and Nasrallah has signalled that they may do so again in 2009. In fact, he’s gone so far as to say that they are not interested in taking on these kinds of responsibilities, preferring to occupy themselves with the resistance alone. This was the nature of the quid pro quo reached in 2005 at the national dialogue talks… before it fell apart of course.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | May 8, 2009, 10:47 am
  26. I think we completely agree then, it’s just the language of Hezbollah eschewing “politics” that doesn’t sit well, because I think we can agree that executive governance is not the only form of politics.

    So while Hezbollah has stayed out of the former, they’ve been involved in the latter as long as they’ve had an opportunity. Again, I think this can be linked to the difference between opposition politics and governing politics, and I can certainlly understand how an religious/ideological group like Hezbollah would be hesitant about sliding from one to the other.

    P.S. What am I supposed to call you on the blog now?

    Posted by sean | May 8, 2009, 1:27 pm
  27. El Guapo will do nicely.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | May 8, 2009, 2:22 pm
  28. Si Señor!

    Posted by sean | May 8, 2009, 2:23 pm
  29. QN,

    I will reply in a post that addresses your two articles and my points here and your counterpoints. I dont think there is that much daylight between our perceptions, but I will ‘skewer’ you, nonetheless … 🙂

    Posted by dadavidovich | May 8, 2009, 4:12 pm
  30. Looking forward to it.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | May 8, 2009, 5:51 pm
  31. Interesting debate between Sean and QN:
    “What I don’t understand, though, is this remark, which I hear often: Otherwise, why would they have eschewed politics for so long?”

    I believe it is very obvious why HZB eschewed politics for so long and it will continue to do so.

    Do you not know why the wali faqih eschews politics in Iran (at least on the face of it)?

    It is the same reason why HZB eschewed politics (also on the face of it)

    Iran has two parallel governments. As everyone knows the so-called elected government is meant to act on the world stage as quasi-democratic body but in reality must enforce the edicts of the supreme leader. This is exactly what HZB is trying to accomplish in Lebanon and that is why it seeks to keep its weapons outside the control of the elected government.

    HZB will not get involved in government more than it has done already. First it neither have the means nor the expertise to do so. Secondly, its constituency does not give it the legitimacy to seek more representation in the excutive branch without getting into a direct clash with the other communities (and perhaps even civil war). So, the only way for HZB to have a bearing on the excutive branch is through opposition, a veto wielding block, or outright acts of dissension as they did from 2006 to 2008. Their weapons are the means to the exercise of political blackmail and not the ballot box, or in the case of Lebanon the patronage system of the autocrats. This is their ticket to the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Lebanon and it is not the government.

    Posted by mike | May 8, 2009, 6:52 pm
  32. Obama has extended today the sanctions on Syria enacted by Bush citing indirectly as one of the reasons the support of Hizballah. Anyone still doubt that there is a good chance that a Hizballah led government in Lebanon could face sanctions?

    Posted by AIG | May 8, 2009, 11:07 pm
  33. Mike, dakheelak, with your comments on the anniversary of May 7 you could qualify as a speech writer for Bush!

    True nature of theft, robbery and hatred? Sounds like the past 3 years under Jumblat/Geagea/Hariri to me!
    Treachery and deception? Yup, sounds like Jumblat the flip-flopper or Geagea the bigot.

    May 7 is an anniversary to be remembered in shame by ALL Lebanese. We are all to blame. Those who participated and the pundits, analysts and propagandists who fueled the fire. Enough with the worn cliches!

    Finally, I have a suspicion you are really MJT, the freelance ‘journalist’ and foreign affairs ‘analyst’ because just like him, you sound like you have no idea what you’re talking about. But I can’t be sure…

    Posted by amal | May 8, 2009, 11:51 pm
  34. Amal,
    It is very stupid to suspect someone to be somebody else when you have no clue. Who is MJT? You’re absolutely wrong to equate a victim with a treacherous agressor like the invading gangs of Hassan, Berri, SSNP and the thugs of Baath. What do these thugs have to do with attacking and robbing unarmed civilians in Beirut and the mountains? Lebanon has an elected government entrusted by the people of Lebanon to do what is best for Lebanon. Hassan and his gangs have hurt Lebanon on multiple occasions. His ill-fated adventure of 2006 is a classic example. Secondly, he reneged on almost all the promises he made to people and politicians. Thirdly, he associated himself publicly with a foreign government (personality) declaring himself a servant of this personality (a shame on any Lebanese with any sense of National honor in him). Within three weeks of the assassination of PM Hariri he asked his gangs to demonstrate with an ugly message proclaiming to thank a suspect in the crime. Who would do this except an accomplice?

    So what is your point coming up with this horrendous nonsense?

    Of course, May 7 will remain a black day for Lebanon and a permanent sign of shame on the foreheads of Hassan as well as those who follow him. You can remain certain of that today and for days and years to come.

    Posted by mike | May 9, 2009, 2:16 am
  35. Oh geez… God help this blog… it’s starting to become like the old SyriaComment.com with Mike taking the role of AIG… but the Lebanese version, this time… hehehe

    Posted by Nidal | May 9, 2009, 9:36 am
  36. Mike,

    victim? meen victim habibi? Geagea? Jumblat? Gmayel? Your comment hardly deserves a response if you consider these murderers victims! What has this government done for Lebanon? Ma hadan victim gheir inta w ana!

    It’s a shame you don’t know about Totten -you sound like the perfect audience for the garbage he writes.

    Posted by Amal | May 10, 2009, 2:19 am
  37. Amal,
    I thought you have some intelligence. Now I’m sure you don’t. I may say you’re not even worth responding to. No one mentioned Geagea, Jumblatt etc… at least not me.

    However, if you don’t consider murdering civilians in W. Beirut an act of aggression necessitating the use of the term victims for those who were murdered, then you certainly have a serious ethical problem and in this case you’re not even worth talking to. If you don’t consider the thefts and acts of robbery that took place on May 7, 2007 as acts of lawlessness then you certainly have quite a bit to learn. If you don’t consider that you are duty bound to respect decisions of an elected government then you are a demagogue trying to make an implausible argument. As a citizen of one of the most Democratic and Free countries on this planet I can only feel sympathy towards you and similarly sectarian minded so-called citizens of a beautiful country that used to be my home for failing to deserve the title or more accurately the honor of being a citizen, which you would only appreciate once you begin to understand what it means.
    I hope you get the moral of the story and smarten up instead of talking up.

    Posted by mike | May 10, 2009, 3:57 am
  38. Like I said before, God help this blog…

    Posted by Nidal | May 10, 2009, 11:44 am
  39. Guys, Nidal is right. Slinging mud at each other is so boring, and there are so many other places to do that. Let’s try to keep the discussion friendly.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | May 10, 2009, 11:48 am
  40. Dear QN or Dr. Muhanna,
    In your last comment you agreed with Nidal without qualifications. Nidal has described me as another AIG in one of his comments above. I consider that an insult. If your unqualified agreement with Nidal extends to this description of his, please make that clear one way or the other. I’ll be very happy then not to visit your blog and not to bother with Amal, Nidal or their likes.

    Posted by mike | May 10, 2009, 2:14 pm
  41. Mike,

    My point is simply that there’s no need for ad hominem attacks by anyone, and that goes for all the regulars. Please stay and read and comment and debate etc.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | May 10, 2009, 4:54 pm
  42. Y3tik el-3fieh, ya Doctour Guapo!

    Posted by sean | May 10, 2009, 5:58 pm
  43. No mudslinging, khalas. I read this blog because its informative and well-written. I won’t bother with comments like these anymore – it’s too sad.

    Posted by Amal | May 11, 2009, 1:19 am

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