Hezbollah, Lebanon

Sleiman meets Obama

President Michel Suleiman met with President Obama yesterday afternoon in the Oval Office. Judging from the two leaders’ remarks at the post-meeting press conference, it seems like it went roughly according to script.

Sleiman: Thank you for receiving us Mr. President.

Obama: Thank you for coming, Mr. President. It’s an honor to have you.

Sleiman: We would like to discuss the issue of US military aid to Lebanon.

Obama: Of course. As you know, we have reservations about US weapons reaching Hezbollah blah blah blah…

Sleiman: I’m glad you brought that up because we want to express our strongest opposition to the Israeli threats that are blah blah blah…

Obama: Well you see, that’s where we disagree blah blah blah…

Sleiman: Well I think you’ll find that blah blah blah…

Obama: Well, I think that we can both agree that blah blah blah…

Sleiman: Well, no, actually blah blah blah…

Obama: Oh my, look at the time! I’m afraid I have to run off and get back to the business of creating several million jobs, turning around the world’s largest economy, and passing a historic health care bill that could be the single greatest legacy of my presidency. But here, don’t forget your White House souvenir pen!

Sleiman: Thank you Mr. President.

**

To the right, you will find President Obama’s schedule for Monday, December 14, 2009. Besides his all-important meeting with the Lebanese president, Obama had a few other minor things on his plate, like the effort to salvage the Senate bill that Joe Lieberman’s defection had threatened to scuttle.

This was followed by a meeting with a bunch of financial titans, and a statement on the economy. Nothing really that important. Just the everyday run-of-the-mill things that a President has to keep an eye on.

This is why I’m sure that the Lebanese delegation’s negotiation strategy for its half hour slot with the most powerful man in the world was pitch-perfect. They went in there, complained about Israel, demanded military aid with no preconditions, and pretended not to know anything about any weapons being smuggled to anyone. Brilliant! And so unexpected!

I’m sure they gave that Obama something to think about while he was snoozing through all of his other (far less important) meetings.
wordpress stats

Discussion

39 thoughts on “Sleiman meets Obama

  1. Haha I was waiting for your version of the dialog! (But here, don’t forget your White House souvenir pen! > hilarious!) But as you said it’s really sad how such an opportunity is, like all others, wasted with “blah blah”…

    Posted by maya zankoul | December 15, 2009, 10:25 am
  2. hahaaaaaa brilliant!! You are competing with The Angry Arab’s sense of humor lol

    So what about those who think Lebanon is the center of the Universe, what’s their take on what went on in this meeting? Any insider info? lol

    Posted by V | December 15, 2009, 12:10 pm
  3. Hahahaha QN! Brilliant as always!

    Posted by Purple Monkey | December 15, 2009, 1:49 pm
  4. And your negotiation strategy would have been?

    Posted by mo | December 15, 2009, 4:54 pm
  5. Mo…Is that what they call a half hour meeting with no trump cards…

    Souvenir pen…At least he got something!!!

    Posted by danny | December 15, 2009, 5:55 pm
  6. Maybe the pen actually hides an unlimited amount of anti-aircraft missiles a la James Bond?

    Or maybe Obama was saying its ok for the resistance to keep its weapons “cuz you aint getting shit from us” which he then corrected to “actually, the shit is all we’ll be sending, good luck with those Israelis!”

    Posted by mo | December 15, 2009, 6:11 pm
  7. Mo,

    My negotiation strategy would have involved making a case that actually made the Americans sit up and listen. Coming into the Oval Office and whining about Israeli overflights is, in my opinion, a waste of everyone’s time. I’m sure you agree with me.

    Instead of trumpeting in the press about how “we reject any conditions that come with American military aid”, why not present a realistic vision for the security of our country and our region that does not just rehearse all of the tired old slogans?

    Has there been any serious discussion about the defense strategy that is not 100% politicized? Has there been any serious discussion about joining the Syrian-Israeli peace negotiations? Has there been any serious discussion about what Lebanon is willing to do in exchange for the occupied territories? No, it’s always the same familiar discourse.

    The Americans are not going to change a long-standing policy unless they have a good reason to do so. And while I’m not privy to what really may have gone on inside the Oval Office yesterday afternoon, I seriously doubt that Obama’s eyebrows jogged up and down even once.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | December 15, 2009, 6:29 pm
  8. QN,
    Do you believe that the meeting was anything more than a message that while all the Lebanese politicians clamber over themselves to get to Damascus, we Lebanese still heart America?

    I think they were both being realistic.

    The Americans are not going to change policy full stop (Short of our President going in and saying we are ready to sign peace and give the Israelis access to all the water they want that is).

    Sleiman was using the opportunity to give himself credibility – He is being clever. Refusing to accept conditions on non-existent or highly useless military aid means he can say he’s no ones lackey without risking much.

    Has there been any discussion on anything in Lebanon that is not 100% politicized? But Obama made it clear that there is nothing to discuss – Israels safety comes first, certainly comes before ours. Therefore any discussion with the US on our defense starts and ends with the arms of the Resistance. Anything else is wishful thinking.

    The peace negotiations? Fortunately, unlike the other heroic nations, we are not under a dictators thumb who can force through a peace that people on the street do not want (or should I say enough people do not want). So Sleiman bringing it up would have been an insult to both their intelligences.

    So Sleiman proved he is no Seniora and Obama got to show AIPAC how much he loves Israel. That was the entire point of the meeting.

    Posted by mo | December 15, 2009, 7:11 pm
  9. mo,
    How can you possibly say with a staright face what the other party is going to do or not do? If people are so sure of their ability to read ahead of time their opponents response then what is the purpose of dialogue?

    Posted by ghassan karam | December 15, 2009, 8:37 pm
  10. ghassan,

    Which part of my predictions do you have an issue with? What the US will do? Seriously, do you think the AIPAC funded Congress is ever going to allow Lebanon to be in a position to stop Israel from doing whatever it wants to do at any given time? Can you say that they may with a straight face?

    Posted by mo | December 15, 2009, 9:05 pm
  11. QN,

    You are developing a true knack for satire.

    That would have take 4000 words and 100 comments to get across in essay form.

    My compliments.

    Posted by netsp | December 15, 2009, 9:46 pm
  12. I do not think Sleiman’s visit was useless for several reason.

    First most important reason is this new satirical post of QN which relieved us readers from having to read the previous useless post Syria (yike).

    Second important reason is that there were actually many points that Sleiman and Obama agreed upon. First point was Obama showing Sleiman the special status Lebanon has right in the middle of the white house. Obama showed his guesta cedar tree transplanted from Lebanon into the White House.

    Secondly, Mr. Obama stressed the most important fact that the Lebanese army must have exclusive control over weapons which means Hezb must disarm in line with the demands of over 70% of the people of Lebanon. For that reason delivery of heavy weapons to the Lebanese must be put on hold.

    Mr. Sleiman concurs by stating that the army of Lebanon must become strong enough to defend Lebanon against all its enemies which could mean besides Israel the Syrian regime and other similarly rogue organization.

    I think Sleiman got enlightened by this visit. It was very worthwhile.

    Posted by mike | December 15, 2009, 11:32 pm
  13. Lebanese fantasies…They still think they matter!!!

    Posted by danny | December 16, 2009, 12:05 am
  14. You better believe it the Lebanese mater…. This small piece of land with a bunch of arrogant self centered people DO mater if not in the eyes of the world in the eyes of the Israeli regime. Lebanon maters for all what it has to offer. Yes, you might say what is that? Than we could ask the question why can’t Israel keep a hand over this small piece of land? Even though it occupied the place for so many times! It is true Lebanon dose not have any resources, besides water which really is not a big deal, Lebanon has the human power that can communicate and negotiate any thing with any one. Remember the salesmanship, a Lebanese could sell any thing to any one, and could be used to discuss terms and agreements for any price. As in this visit to the US the president was not looking for a deal he was simply selling one.
    I only wish these people when they go on meetings like this they take with them pictures and billboards showing the suffering of the individuals… for once do not care about personnel appearance and show the poor American public the true world out there. Allow them to have an idea of the facts because the ignorance of the Americans is dragging them into so much trouble and they in turn are dragging the world down too… when the Americans wake up from their coma and start looking at their issues and problems with out accusing others for it, then only then there is hope for the rest of the world that use to thinks so highly of The United State of America.

    Posted by kt | December 16, 2009, 12:53 am
  15. mo,
    How do I know what I don’t know?:-)

    Posted by ghassan karam | December 16, 2009, 12:55 am
  16. Qifa beik

    When President Nixon visited Syria (1974), a relative of mine was in charge of running the Damascus airport (handling civilian administration). American security agents were all over making sure there were no threats to the President.

    My relative tried to walk into some area close to where the plane was going to park but the Americans stopped him … He told them “this is my airport and I am free to move where ever I want” … They were not impressed … they did not let him move anywhere but back.

    To make a long story short … after a complaint was submitted to the US embassy, a week later my relative got a gift from them… a white house pen and a white house key chain!

    Here is a photo from that time:

    Posted by Alex | December 16, 2009, 3:18 am
  17. mike,
    I’d say you’ve got yourself here a conundrum.

    You say the Hizb must disarm before the U.S. will give Lebanon any heavy weapons. But you also think the Lebanese army must be made stronger to confront the Hizb.

    I think we’re going to need some experts from The Chicken And Egg Institute in Tel Aviv for this one.

    Posted by RedLeb | December 16, 2009, 4:41 am
  18. QN,
    ‘whining about Israeli overflights’? whining? really? I mean if the US president is going to throw a hissy fit about arms smuggling, by all means lets whine about the most dangerous weapons entering Lebanese territory.

    I can’t really imagine Suleiman actually going in with demands and complaints about the Israeli’s. He’s out there begging for arms, man. That’s not a position to be making demands from (unless you’re Israel).

    In meetings such as this, its the superpower that whines about its demands (unless you’re Israel). And Suleiman can deliver on none of those demands, even if he wanted to. I’m glad he ended up broadcasting Lebanon’s national interests instead of papering it over just so he can appear as Obama’s BFF.

    I found the press release worrisome actually because of this quote towards the end: ‘even though there are going to be some strong disagreements with respect to what the terms, for example, of a final peace between Israel and the Palestinians may be’.

    Eh? Why would it matter to the Lebanese president what the final terms of Israeli Palestinian peace would be? And why bring it up then and there?

    I wonder if Obama was pressing Suleiman about the right of return, and pushing him to show ‘flexibility’ on the issue.

    Posted by RedLeb | December 16, 2009, 5:05 am
  19. Looking at this post along with its Obama’s itinerary for the December 14, I cannot but conclude the following:
    1. The American Administration needs a lesson in Hospitality. Scheduling President Suleiman for a meeting directly after lunch with Biden instead having a luch on his guest of honor.
    2. Us Lebanese need to know who are our friends by now.

    Posted by i.e. Lubnan | December 16, 2009, 10:38 am
  20. Alex effendi,

    I like the story, and the photo. More, please!

    RedLeb,

    My point was precisely that both whining AND hissy fits (note the “blah blah blah” in Obama’s comments too) are, in my opinion, unproductive. Lebanon is too important, strategically speaking, for Iran and Syria not to be arming Hezbollah, and for Israel not to be conducting overflights. Both are going to happen, and nobody’s going to stop them.

    In that light, whining and hissy fits achieve nothing; they merely prolong the status quo. And I am not in favor of the status quo. 🙂

    I am in favor of a change in the security arrangement. Because a couple of years from today, an Israeli overflight is going to spot what they think is a large weapons convoy somewhere south of the Blue Line and they’re going to bomb it, killing 35 civilians instead. And Hezbollah is going to retaliate, and we’re going to have ourselves another fine war.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | December 16, 2009, 10:41 am
  21. QN,
    To stop that scenario from happening one of three things will have to happen:

    1. The army will have the kind of weaponry to stop those overflights.

    2. The resistance will have surrendered its arms.

    3. Lebanon will have signed a peace deal with Israel.

    Number 3 will happen over my dead body.

    The US will never allow number 1 even if number 3 were to happen (Could Egypt or Jordan defend themselves from Israel if they needed to today?). The US only wants an LAF strong enough to cause number 2 to happen as if it ever would even if it could.

    Oh hold on, theres a fourth scenario to stop those overflights – We Lebanese stop looking to the US to protect our dignity and start doing it ourselves – But I forget, we don’t need arms or defence or dignity- If we just got rid of every pesky group that refuses to surrender to Israel, then they would never attack us.

    Posted by mo | December 16, 2009, 11:33 am
  22. Mo,

    So you’re telling me that you’re going to wage a personal war against Israel (or Lebanon?) if a peace deal is signed some day? That’s very interesting. You’re the first person I’ve ever heard say that. Most other Hezbollah supporters say that the purpose of the resistance is to regain Lebanese land and to prevent the forcible naturalization of the Palestinians. What you’re saying is that you’re against a peace deal no matter what, is that right?

    “The US will never allow number 1 even if number 3 were to happen (Could Egypt or Jordan defend themselves from Israel if they needed to today?).”

    No. 🙂 So what you’re advocating is that Lebanon develop the capability to defend itself against Israel when Egypt and Jordan (and probably no other country in the entire region) could. That sounds like a great plan to me. But why stop with Israel? Why not develop a plan to defend ourselves from the United States, Russia, all of Europe, and NATO combined?

    There hasn’t been a single shot fired in the Golan for over 36 years. Do you think that’s because the Syrians have some unbelievable deterrent against Israel? Are they surrendering their dignity by pursuing peace talks?

    If the goal of our defense policy is to never sign a peace deal with Israel, then I agree with you: we should maintain the resistance and continue to vow the destruction of the entity to the south, etc. etc. But if the goal of our defense policy is to defend the country, then I really think you’re just playing into the hands of Israel’s right by getting on the not-over-my-dead-body high horse. Who are you kidding anyway?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | December 16, 2009, 11:49 am
  23. No, I am not saying I will wage a personal war. I am saying that that I am against a peace deal no matter what and I wold do what I could to stop any deal being signed.

    Why are you limiting choice to war and peace? I dont need to be in a state of either. I have nothing to gain from either, nor do I believe does Lebanon.

    And you are wrongly conflating my opposition to signing anything with Israel with my support for the Resistance. I did not make any kind of suggestion that the Resistance is there to fight Israel to the end. Furthermore, I did say that if our armed forces ever get as good at defending the country as the Resistance is, I will happily say its time for the Resistance to give up its arms (and so would many of those who would rather not have to face hell fires and apaches armed with an AK).

    Just because no country in the region has developed a defensive capability does not equal an inability to do so. As an academic you know that. 2006 showed that it is very possible to do so in fact. I am a fan of Sun Tzu and as such I am not of the belief that the size of your army is what counts.

    I dont get your Golan question. Its Israel dettering Syria surely not the other way round? Are Syria surrendering their diginity by pursuing talks? If they do so while proclaiming their love of Palestinians and the Arab cause then hell yes.

    The goal of our defense politicy should be military not political. It is to defend the country. Whether a peace treaty is signed or not is irrelevant. Whether it is by maintaining the resistance or building up our armed forces to replace the Resistance is irrelevant to me as well.

    I really couldn’t care less about what I play into the hands of Israel if it is going to be at the expense of my principles. Maybe you could have told black South Africans that never accepting a white dominated South Africa was just playing into the white mans hands? If you think its a high horse thats your choice. And if you believe I am kidding thats your choice also.

    But your sarcasm aside, I will stick to my beleifs. I may not be able to restore the rights of the Palestinians or their lands, but that does not mean I should be shaking hands with the criminals who stole those rights and that land.

    Posted by mo | December 16, 2009, 1:18 pm
  24. Mo said:“No, I am not saying I will wage a personal war. I am saying that that I am against a peace deal no matter what and I wold do what I could to stop any deal being signed.”

    You actually said that over your dead body will Lebanon sign a peace deal. That amounts to saying that you are willing to die to keep Lebanon from signing a peace deal. Being willing to die requires waging war, unless you plan to step into traffic as a way of protesting the deal. True?

    Why are you limiting choice to war and peace? I dont need to be in a state of either. I have nothing to gain from either, nor do I believe does Lebanon.

    What other choices are there? (I’m a victim of Western binary-thinking disease after spending so many years in the Dar al-Harb…) 😉

    “Furthermore, I did say that if our armed forces ever get as good at defending the country as the Resistance is, I will happily say its time for the Resistance to give up its arms…”

    See, this is the source of our disagreement. I don’t consider the Resistance to be very good at defending the country. I don’t consider 1500 dead and billions of dollars in damage to be a very strong “defense”. An effective defense requires assessing the risks before pursuing a course of action, not just rushing in armed only with your “principles”.

    But what does it matter, because it seems that we have completely different aims? Your aim is “to restore the rights of the Palestinians or their lands.” My aim is to see a peace agreement between Lebanon/Syria and Israel, and a two-state solution. To me, that is the best of all available options. Maybe that makes me a puppet or a collaborator or an unprincipled defeatist in your eyes, but there’s nothing I can do about that: the Koolaid wore off a long time ago.

    I would much rather see Lebanon sign a deal, build up the LAF, solve the refugee crisis through a combination of naturalization, return, compensation, and emigration, and get on with the business of solving our domestic problems than to continue living in a state that is “not war and not peace” which somehow still manages to turn into war every few years.

    But I’m sure I’m a minority. 🙂

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | December 16, 2009, 2:02 pm
  25. QN, so when did sarcasm and playing dumb become a part of your debating tool set?

    Being willing to die requires waging war, unless you plan to step into traffic as a way of protesting the deal. True?

    Seriously? Want to tell that to all the policemen, firemen, spies, secret service agents etc. of the world?

    OR

    What other choices are there?

    Ask Cuba and the US, China and Taiwan, North and South Korea and a host of others about the other choices.

    I don’t consider the Resistance to be very good at defending the country.

    Well then you should be happy that we have not set the bar for the LAF very high.

    Yes we have very very different aims; But again, you are attributing words to me that I did not say. You have your right to your beliefs and I have mine.

    Now I presume your little dig in your next post about “wannabe Hezbollah commandos” was aimed at me. If it was I would like to say two things:

    a- If I were to be described as such, I would take that as a compliment.

    b-Assuming I am the only person you consider as that, you can scratch that off the list of readers.

    Posted by mo | December 16, 2009, 5:09 pm
  26. “QN, so when did sarcasm and playing dumb become a part of your debating tool set?”

    Walaw ya Mo? How long have you been reading this blog? You should know by now that were it not for sarcasm and playing dumb, I wouldn’t have any tools at all. 😉

    “Seriously? Want to tell that to all the policemen, firemen, spies, secret service agents etc. of the world?

    I don’t understand this point.

    “Ask Cuba and the US, China and Taiwan, North and South Korea and a host of others about the other choices.”

    How many Cubans do you think would say “Over my dead body” to an end to the state of “war” with the United States? Or, for that matter, Taiwanese or North/South Koreans?

    “Yes we have very very different aims; But again, you are attributing words to me that I did not say. You have your right to your beliefs and I have mine.

    Please correct me if I am wrong! I was merely quoting you about the issue of Palestinian rights, etc.

    And I swear that “wannabe Hezbollah commandos” was not meant as a little dig about you. But it’s good to know that I inadvertently complimented you. 😉

    I really do enjoy these debates with you, but let’s be honest: what’s the point? We have a different final vocabulary when it comes to the most significant issues. If we could agree, for example, on an optimal and realistic final solution for the conflict between Israel and Lebanon, then that would be a start. But we can’t even agree about that. You subscribe to Nasrallah’s maximalist position, which is (briefly): We will never recognize Israel. We will not end our resistance until Israel is defeated. Am I right or wrong? Correct me if I’m wrong.

    If that is your position, then it makes no sense to argue about the logistics of Lebanon’s defense strategy. Of course we’re going to disagree. It’s like two people trying to plan a public school science curriculum when one of them believes in Darwinism and the other in Creationism. That is, in certain ways, the condition that Lebanon finds itself in.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | December 16, 2009, 6:27 pm
  27. One more thing, just because this has got my juices flowing:

    If we were to extend the public science curriculum metaphor a little further, here’s how it would look:

    Option 1: Lebanon should never make peace with Israel because Israel is a mortal threat to Lebanon, in peace or in war. The only sustainable solution to Lebanon’s territorial integrity and sovereignty is to eliminate Israel. The best way to do that is by supporting the Resistance, because nothing else has worked as well in the past. We should do that despite the human and material costs, because these costs are peanuts in comparison to what will happen to Lebanon (and the region as a whole) if we do sign peace.

    Option 2: Lebanon should make peace with Israel so as to achieve security and stability. This will enable us to concentrate on our own domestic problems and development, etc.

    In the contemporary political discourse, Option 1ers say to Option 2ers: Are you guys crazy? Do you think that peace with Israel is going to solve any of our problems? Look at Egypt and Jordan? Do you want to end up like them???

    To which the Option 2ers say: Look at Syria, Iran, Saudi, and all the Gulf states that have not signed a deal with Israel? Do you want to end up like them??? In other words, it’s a trick question. Dictatorships and puppetry are not a necessary outcome of peace. Look, for that matter, at Turkey.

    Etc. etc. etc.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | December 16, 2009, 6:36 pm
  28. Where the heck is everyone else, btw? I know you’re reading. 🙂

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | December 16, 2009, 6:40 pm
  29. QN,
    This state of not war and not peace that Mo alludes to, what does it mean exactly? I have read something similar from several other commenters on this and other forums.

    Is it the current state? Is it the status quo?
    Is it what has been going on since after the 2006 war? Is it like what is happening in the Golan?
    If it means those things, it is great for Israel. Israel gets all the benefits of a quiet border while Lebanon gets nothing from Israel or the West. What more could Israel want?

    Posted by AIG | December 16, 2009, 7:04 pm
  30. AIG

    I don’t know. Mo?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | December 16, 2009, 7:10 pm
  31. QN,
    “I don’t understand this point”

    You said:

    “Being willing to die requires waging war”

    That was a list of occupations of people who are willing to give their lives for a cause without requiring a war. I could have added that every soldier in every voluntary army in the world, and every activitist who has stood up to tyranny.

    I do not call anyone who disagrees me anything like a “puppet or a collaborator or an unprincipled defeatist” just because they disagree with me.

    And to answer your question How many Cubans do you think would say “Over my dead body” to an end to the state of “war” with the United States?

    Well quite a few if it meant the US imposing itself on the island again I would think; And probably the same for Taiwanese relinquishing Taiwan to China or the South Koreans if offered to live under Kim.

    Now to the big issue.

    Perhaps I have not made my position clear in some ways. In a sense, I subscribe to Nasrallahs position but in another not. Yes, I believe that recognising and making peace with Israel is not something I would want to see. And yes I want to be working in whatever way is possible to undermine, weaken and see the back of the Zionist experiment and you can call that Resistance if you wish.

    However, you are wrong if you believe that I think this should be solely Lebanon’s and the Lebanese Resistance’s job. The Resistance is there to defend Lebanon, not destroy Israel, because they cannot.

    Now if I may, let me represent my position in the term you have presented since your option1 does not reflect my thoughts:

    “Lebanon should never make peace with Israel because Israel is a mortal threat to Lebanon, in peace or in war”

    No. First, Lebanon should not make peace with Israel because it is a colonial state founded through ethnic cleansing. Call me an idealist but I find that repulsive. Secondly, give some credit at being slightly more nuanced than this. Israel wont be a threat in peace because any peace treaty will involve Lebanon helping are new found friends with their little water problem. So not only will I be expected to swallow a peace, I will be expected to “sell” my resources to help them grow.

    “The only sustainable solution to Lebanon’s territorial integrity and sovereignty is to eliminate Israel”

    Its not the only way (although it would make life that much sweeter). But simply having a deterrence will do since, as I have already stated, we cannot at this time defeat them.

    “The best way to do that is by supporting the Resistance, because nothing else has worked as well in the past”

    No, I don’t know how many times I have to say this. Its about deterrence not resistance. I, and the villagers of South Lebanon would be far happier if it was the Lebanese Armed Forces that could this.

    “We should do that despite the human and material costs, because these costs are peanuts in comparison to what will happen to Lebanon (and the region as a whole) if we do sign peace”

    Ah the old false comparison. That is disingenuous ya Qifa. If you get your peace then good luck to you. If it doesn’t happen though, you prefer the Resistance give up its arms based on the word of the ever honest Israelis that they would never attack an innocent country? They are after all such lovers of peace.

    And yes, I would be more than happy getting nothing from the West – It would be so different to what we get today, no?

    Posted by mo | December 16, 2009, 8:24 pm
  32. Mo

    “The Resistance is there to defend Lebanon, not destroy Israel, because they cannot.”

    So it is theoretically possible for someone to support the Resistance and support a peace deal as well, according to your interpretation of the goal of the Resistance?

    “Lebanon should not make peace with Israel because it is a colonial state founded through ethnic cleansing. Call me an idealist but I find that repulsive.

    Just to play devil’s advocate, are you against Lebanon having any relations with the United States, another colonial state founded through ethnic cleansing?

    “So not only will I be expected to swallow a peace, I will be expected to “sell” my resources to help them grow.”

    Now we’re dealing with apples and oranges. This is a pragmatic issue, while the previous one was a moral issue. In other words, even if Israel figured out a way to make desalination affordable, you’d still be opposed to peace, so why bother with this more “nuanced” position?

    “Ah the old false comparison. That is disingenuous ya Qifa. If you get your peace then good luck to you. If it doesn’t happen though, you prefer the Resistance give up its arms based on the word of the ever honest Israelis that they would never attack an innocent country? They are after all such lovers of peace.”

    I don’t get your point. What false comparison? And who said that the Resistance should give up its arms before a peace deal? That would be ludicrous. We (i.e. Lebanon and Syria) have no card other than the Resistance, at this point. But my approach is to regard (as the Syrians do) the Resistance as a means to an end, and not an end in and of itself.

    If “it’s about deterrence and not resistance” to you, then why won’t you consider the simple idea that a state of peace is far more likely to protect the villagers of South Lebanon than a state of war? Whatever you think of the intentions of the Israelis (all things being equal) how is peace not better than war, especially if the Army inherits the capacities of the Resistance?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | December 16, 2009, 8:53 pm
  33. QN,

    “So it is theoretically possible for someone to support the Resistance and support a peace deal as well”

    Yes. But if that deal is forced through, then it would stop being possible.

    “are you against Lebanon having any relations with the United States”

    You forgot Australia, New Zealand and all of South America! 😉

    The truth is I abhor what the Europeans did to the people of the Americas and Oceania as much as what was done in Palestine. But I do not have as personal a stake there as I do here – (plus we can only take on one regional superpower at a time :)).

    But we are getting somewhere now and I think it is based on the definition of peace. Of course peace is better than war if the peace is equal but if it is not, well there is the old maxim of choosing dying on your feet or living on your knees.

    But you see I am going further than you.

    I am not only considering peace but the price for peace. I do not think the south would be safer if the peace didn’t come at a price and I do not think we will get peace without that price.

    So I am opposed to peace with Israel on a moral and pragmatic level.

    But if you were to say ok, here is a document that ends hostilities but does not involve diplomatic recognition, does not involve selling resources to them, returns all Lebanese land and keeps the border sealed, I will take that.

    Posted by mo | December 16, 2009, 9:42 pm
  34. I’ll pick this up again tomorrow… been up since too early to keep thinking straight.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | December 16, 2009, 10:10 pm
  35. mo,
    Wouldn’t you agree that most and possibly all states as we know them are the result of colonialism of sorts. The only difference is the length of time that has passed since occupation took place. We are always proud of the Arab empire but we denigrade all other s as exploitationists , colonialists etc… In a sense the Arab empire has been the most successful in history.
    My point , is that , in a world such as ours, a world that is “full” in the words of Herman Daly, a world that is interdependent , globalized and ecologically degraded isn’t it time to stress what is common and downplay what divides us, isn’t time to rediscover ,what I truly believe could move us forward, cosmopolitanism. It is a more nuanced form of globalization that does not preach authenticity but contamination.
    I do not believe that Lebanon, or any country for that matter, should have an army. Why waste the resources on such silly efforts especially when the same energy could be used for something more productive. May I suggest that nationalism and patriotism are the refuge of scoundrale?:-)
    To be continued.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | December 16, 2009, 10:29 pm
  36. QN,

    Allow me to disagree with one thing you said. After 2006, the “resistance”‘s arms are not a card against Israel. They are only a liability for Lebanon. Since Israel has no plans whatsoever to attack Lebanon unless provoked, and Hizballah/Lebanon is deterred by Israel, the weapons have only one use: against fellow Lebanese.

    Another way to reach the same conclusion is the following. Let’s say the Lebanese government signs a document agreeing to disarm Hizballah. Do they have the power to implement it? Of course not. Hizballah will only disarm if it is in its interest to disarm. And for the life of me, I cannot think of one scenario or one thing Israel (or the Lebanese state) can realistically offer Hizballah that will make it disarm. Perhaps you have better imagination. Therefore, peace deal or not, Hizballah will not disarm. In fact, I am for a peace agreement between Lebanon and Israel without the demand for the disarming of Hizballah. Why ask for something that will not happen? And anyway, 1701 is already there, so Lebanon agreeing to disarming again in a peace agreement is redundant.

    So, the “resistance” card is not one that can be used in negotiations since neither Lebanon nor Syria can deliver the disarming of Hizballah and there is nothing Israel can agree to that will convince Hizballah to disarm of their own accord.

    Posted by AIG | December 16, 2009, 10:48 pm
  37. Ghassan,

    Yes I would agree that many are but it is not the passage of time that makes the difference. It is the conclusion of the imperial field trip. In some nations the locals have been either entirely cleansed or subjucated to defeat. In others there has been compromise and merger. The Zionist experiment is not concluded, not by a long shot.

    I would love to live in a world that stresses what is common and downplay what divides us. Unfortunately, injustice is not something I can personally ignore or be pragmatic about. It is ironic that you suggest I make peace and rediscover cosmopolitanism and cultural contamination with a nation that brags about its Jewish exculisivity.

    Would it be that we lived in a world that didn’t need armies but as long as one has them all have them. And I do not see a planet free of war until we are a planet free of those that would exploit and lord it over those that are weak.

    You would be surprised by how much I agree with you in regards to nationalism and patriotism – Well actually, if you have read my previous posts and my pan-Arab beliefs you would not. My positions are not based on either national, cultural or religious identity. I do not oppose Israel because it is made up of people alien to region or anything else. My position is based on justice and rights – As such I beleive that that any Arab Jew who had land taken from him has an equal right to have that land back as I do Palestinian rights.

    Posted by mo | December 17, 2009, 7:44 am
  38. mo,
    Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, we are in total agreement on practically everything:-)

    Posted by ghassan karam | December 17, 2009, 8:20 am
  39. MO why so uptight brother ?!! why not try peace? its good for humanity so much better than the fundamental militant hateful death culture you so admire. killing, death and war war arent you tired already?!! wont you feel sorry for those who have suffered enough? am sure you are comfortable behind that PC of yours…. shave that beard and go get a sun tan man, life is good
    making Peace does not mean losing your dignity.

    Posted by V | December 17, 2009, 1:23 pm

Are you just gonna stand there and not respond?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Browse archives

And the people say…

netsp on On Reza Aslan’s “B…
db on Maronites, Arabs, Phoenicians,…
Akbar Palace on Assad and ISIS
Vulcan on Assad and ISIS
Steve Keville (a.k.a… on Bistraynti `Alaykun

wordpress stats plugin
%d bloggers like this: