Hezbollah, Lebanon

Clinicgate: The Foucauldian Reading

Lina Khatib has an interesting article over at Foreign Policy about Wednesday’s attack on the U.N. Special Tribunal investigators at a gynecological clinic in Beirut. She comments on Nasrallah’s strategy here:

“He went on to question, “who would accept someone looking at the gynecological files of a mother or a sister or a daughter?” By invoking the issue of women’s honor, Nasrallah is appealing to a traditional set of values that makes the event dogmatically unacceptable. The STL’s investigators provided the perfect pretext for this framework, not only by physically entering a Hezbollah stronghold where they are certainly unwelcome, but also by sending men to a gynecological clinic.”

Lina is right: as legitimate an excuse as the STL may have had to visit the clinic, they seem to have played directly into the hands of Hizbullah, which has slowly but surely developed the most sophisticated messaging strategy this side of Cupertino, CA.

Not that this is so relevant, but can anyone imagine a more succinct exemplum of the lessons of Foucauldian (well, more like Saidian or Massadian) critiques of political, medical, and sexual imperialism? Behold the White Doctor stride self-righteously into the colonial clinic! Watch him violate the honor of the subject race, just as the empire preys on the defenselessness of the colonized’s body politic… Is this not what (a post-colonial studies graduate student’s) dreams are made of?

Makes me wonder whether Walid Bek (known purveyor of Continental philosophy and all things erudite) isn’t moonlighting at the Hizb’s press office these days…
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393 thoughts on “Clinicgate: The Foucauldian Reading

  1. AIG, thank you for the information about the rabbinical interpretation of “an eye for an eye.” I find it informative.

    Now, now. That was a compliment. Am I allowed it or is it being judgmental?

    Also, please note that I did not interpret “an eye for an eye,” but only stated it and stated that I don’t subscribe to it. You cannot make a logical inference, as I think you do, that I subscribe to the Karaim interpretation. It is instructive to learn about this, though, and thank you again.

    It is an interesting point that much of European antisemitism “had at its base wrongheaded and misguided interpretation of the bible and talmud.” I do think there was more to it, though, as I learned from the excellent book by “Why The Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism” by Dennis Prager.
    Besides all the explanations and points he makes in the book, I also think that there was an element of envy and competition (sensing that they were potential competitors in many respects) in the abject philosophy that led the Nazi movement.

    Permit me to pass on the first question because to be fair in answering it I’ll have to go back to Norman’s posts and then maybe engage with him on some Q&A to then be in a position to have a well-based opinion on your question. Then again, as I mentioned before, I’m not too interested in this subject – not because it is not important – but because to me, it is overshadowed by the more important impact of the Syrian-Lebanese relationship (positive or negative) along with the unknown expectation from a regime change in Syria that, among other scenario, could be a change towards religious fundamentalism. I’m not evading the question. I’m just telling you truthfully that I don’t consider myself qualified to voice opinions without being on solid grounds on the facts. Remember that I am using as criterion for extremism, the kind practiced overtly by Hamas and in a more nuanced (and sadly effective) way by HA.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 1, 2010, 11:10 am
  2. HP,

    “I find it informative” is not a compliment. It is a fact about you and not about me. Just as if you would have written “I already knew this information” is not a derision of me. And in any case I wrote it to make a point but I am glad that you have acquired knowledge that you may think it useful, but that was not the aim of my post.

    That you are not interested in Norman’s attitude to democracy is in my opinion the crux of the matter. Because if you don’t care about it, you will do nothing to change it, and there you have the whole Arab problem in a nutshell. Let’s see how many demonstrations there are in the Arab world to protest what has happened in the church in Iraq.

    My bet is zero, but I really hope I am mistaken. What is your bet? (please, no more swamps, alligators, eye balls or snakes. Excuses for inaction there are plenty)
    How about a demonstration by Christian Arabs in the diaspora? Didn’t think so.

    Posted by AIG | November 1, 2010, 11:33 am
  3. Sorry, AIG, I am not a political activist.
    I’ve already been tagged by some with extreme views here as a closet Zionist. Nor am I a defender of Arab causes, or consider myself Arab. I have views quite similar to Marillionlb so you can browse her blog where I agree with almost everything she writes. I have lamented the treatment of Palestinians in 1948 and other misery that has befallen this people. I have no use for those of them who engage in or believe in terrorism and think that much trouble and tragedy could have been avoided by a different approach to the crisis. This is all history now and the only thing I really care about are the friends and distant family that remain in Lebanon and who deserve more than the sorry state the country is in.

    I don’t quite get the implication of the horrible church incident in Iraq? Just like terrorists exploded bombs in Tel-Aviv cafes and on board buses, they managed to cause a bloody incident in the church in Iraq, and the authorities dealt with it in a unfortunate manner that caused the deaths of most of the hostages. One can perhaps fault the Iraqi government for not having been more successful in preserving the life of the hostages, but then, incidents like this have happened in the past. Remember the Israeli athletes in Munich?

    So, I do expect and hope that there condemnation of the terrorists and their actions in Iraq as in any other terrorist incident. I don’t believe at all you’ll see demonstrations in the Arab world. I’m not sure what the implication of that is. Christian Arabs in the diaspora are often afraid and just wanting to assimilate in whichever country they are in. This is true of many if not most Christian Lebanese in the diaspora.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 1, 2010, 12:09 pm
  4. And, um, I find that if someone offers information and I find helpful, and I tell him “thank you, that was informative,” I am, besides thanking him, reflecting the fact that this is a person who provides others with useful information. A person who does that is a helpful person. Being told you are a helpful person, is, in my book, a compliment.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 1, 2010, 12:22 pm
  5. HP,

    Who are the Christian Arabs in the diaspora afraid of? Why are they afraid?

    Posted by AIG | November 1, 2010, 12:40 pm
  6. AIG, I can’t speak for everyone but in some (many?) cases, folks have family back home and in countries where regime intelligence services monitor citizens’ actions closely and “frown” upon dissent there is a fear – perhaps it’s a phobia – of retaliation against loved ones. The fact is that some folks who have been outspoken have received death threats. In other (also many?) cases, people just want a better life for themselves and their children and, once they leave, they don’t want to turn back and want to stay as far from the morass that is the Middle East as possible.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 1, 2010, 1:12 pm
  7. AIG #199
    I happen to think also that the Arabic version is a total fabrication or at the least someone took a few ideas and expanded on them. That explains why there was no source given.
    I have already confronted a Washington based journalist about this and I would also like to ask both Al Manar , Tayyar … for a correction and or retraction but would love to put my hands on a detailed Israeli account of what the speech was about. Can you help?

    Posted by ghassan karam | November 1, 2010, 1:16 pm
  8. … and it need not be regime intelligence services. Activists who believe in terrorism (like the perpetrators of the church tragedy in Iraq) are often more brutal with folks who are Arabs or of Arab origins than with whom their consider their enemies.

    Let me put it in the following way which perhaps will resonate with you. Those folks want to be as far away from that morass as the folks in Israel want to isolate themselves from a growing non-allegiant Arab population that might cause trouble to the Jewish state in the future. Just like Israel isolates and protects itself with the wall, similarly, some folks in the diaspora build their own psychological wall to protect themselves and their families.

    You probably won’t, but if you chose to call this cowardice, be my guest. I won’t comment on such an epithet with which I would obviously disagree.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 1, 2010, 1:16 pm
  9. … and if you haven’t read it, I do strongly recommend the book I mentioned in #201. If nothing else, it will give you more and I think better ideas for some of the arguments you like to make. The book is very informative, and, with my own experience with a large number of Jewish colleagues and friends in the U.S. I find that it accurately echoes the ethics of such communities and families.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 1, 2010, 1:18 pm
  10. What is to be made of this: http://www.naharnet.com/domino/tn/NewsDesk.nsf/getstory?openform&8C80BFE933CB07F1C22577CE002E39B2

    Headline and first paragarph: “Hizbullah Simulation Aims to Hold Grip on Lebanon, Besiege Hariri in Less than 2 Hours.

    Hizbullah has reportedly unleashed a simulation of the zero hour aimed at holding both a security and military grip on Lebanon and corner Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

    A report published Monday by al-Akhbar newspaper said that prior to Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s Oct. 28 speech a “main Opposition group was carrying out an electronic, field simulation for the assumed zero hour.” “

    Posted by dontgetit | November 1, 2010, 1:38 pm
  11. I see I’ve been gone 2 days and things here are as out of control as always 🙂

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 1, 2010, 1:40 pm
  12. HP,

    What I would like to understand is the following. The church incident happens in Iraq, nobody cares. If the same thing were to happen in Israel, i.e. extremists would take over a church with Christian Arabs and the Israeli police would botch their rescue, their would be hundreds of thousands of people in the street in the Arab world and demonstrations by Arabs in the US. What gives?

    Let me make this personal, would you be more emotionally outraged if this happened in Israel? Clearly this is the case for many Arabs or people with Arab ancestry.

    Let me put it bluntly, do you care about human rights, or only about human rights violated by Jews?

    Posted by AIG | November 1, 2010, 1:42 pm
  13. dontgetit,

    What is happening is a high stakes game of poker, only played with human lives. HA are trying to bluff their way out of the indictments. But they are making mistakes. It is clear for everybody that if they try taking over Lebanon, they will be over reaching and will suffer badly. They need the support of the state and the other sects in Lebanon to survive. A Hezbollah controlled Lebanon will be a nightmare for everyone including the Shia. It will be a pariah state, sanctioned by the US, Europe and probably all the Arab states except Syria.

    In short, taking over Lebanon is not an option for Hezbollah and Hariri knows this.

    Posted by AIG | November 1, 2010, 1:50 pm
  14. dontgetit,

    Now Lebanon also answers this question:

    Posted by AIG | November 1, 2010, 1:59 pm
  15. AIG:
    I think you, and the article you just cited, are mistaken, with one caveat. If Hezbollah launches its takeover as described (and I don’t know that they will) it will couple that with an attempt to bring “Israel” into the fray. They will assume, correctly, that hatred of the Zionist Entity is a unifying force and will enable Lebanese to put aside their differences and submit to Hezbollah “leadership” of the resistance. In other words, as long as Hezbollah is able to start a war with “Israel”, it will likely be able to successfully dominate Lebanon. Or at least those Lebanese that the Zionist butchers don’t kill.

    The only caveat is that someone in the Lebanese government and the armed forces (the un-infiltrated part) is actually preparing a contingency plan to react to a Hezbollah takeover. I doubt it, though, even after these newspaper articles appeared.

    Posted by dontgetit | November 1, 2010, 2:15 pm
  16. AIG, I don’t understand where you’re going with this.
    1- I didn’t say “nobody cares”
    2- The scenario you paint:
    If the same thing were to happen in Israel, i.e. extremists would take over a church with Christian Arabs and the Israeli police would botch their rescue, their would be hundreds of thousands of people in the street in the Arab world and demonstrations by Arabs in the US. What gives?
    is rather strange to me. Has something like this happened? And how do you predict the outcome?
    If terrorists infiltrate Israel to create some terrorist havoc, are they going to chose a church and Christians as their target? If they do, why would those victimized be any different than any other Israeli, be it Jewish or muslim or druze? I just don’t see your point.
    3- about being “emotionally outraged,” as you always steer towards your predilection to make things personal, of course I’m emotionally saddened and outraged by any loss of innocent life no matter whose it is and what religion or nation or tribe they belong to. I gave you above the wanton and cowardly assassination of the Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972. I continue to be outraged about this until now. I remember it. I cited it to you. So, AIG, it is I who wants to ask you: What gives?
    3- Of course I care about human rights and human rights violation no matter who perpetrates them, be it the white slave traders in the Arab countries and in southeast Asia, or the subhuman working conditions of some children in China, or the abject poverty leading to starvation of children in Africa, and the list if very very long, and yes, of course it includes any such violation in the Arab world.

    I find your insistence here to engage and your rather tangential introduction of new concepts and questions strange and perhaps indicative of a certain agenda, although I can’t figure out quite what it is. I can tell you that all this seem like a futile exercise to me. If indeed, like some claim, you are fulfilling your “CAMERA” mission of thought battles on behalf of Israel, I really find that engaging with me here is quite ineffective for any such mission. As I told you several times before, I’m the wrong person to pick fights with and/or go on with endless back-and-forth. You’d be much more effective arguing with your real enemies.

    I think I’m going to end my contribution to this thread here. My only disclaimer — if there any readers left of what must be a boring exchange — is not to take my lack of response any subsequent postings in this thread as acquiescence or agreement.

    Have a good rest of the day.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 1, 2010, 2:18 pm
  17. dontgetit,
    Hezbollah is cornered. This does not that they will not act. On the contrary they want to demonstrate their total power and hegemony over the failed Lebanese state. But to no avail. Hezbollah is intoxicated with its own success and is not in a position to make greater advances. Actually ; and I am repeating myself; Hezbollah will only become weaker as a result of the STL and will look for a solution by finally accepting to merge its forces into the Lebanese army. The political wing will survive but will no longer be as effective.

    Posted by ghassan karam | November 1, 2010, 2:21 pm
  18. @HP 203: Allow me to correct one tiny mistake, I am a he and not a she.
    Marillion is a band I got introduced to in the 80’s and brought me some peace during troubled times (including jail time).
    As for my ranting on my page, there are nothing more than therapy to me. No analysis, just a platform to vent my anger towards people on the fast lane towards self destruction. I had the chance to live Lebanon in its hay days and most of the war (up to 84), unfortunately this is my curse.
    I still cannot let go, and just like Galahad and Lancelot my quest for the holy grail is not only eternal but will probably be my demise.
    Wishing all a nice and peaceful week.

    Posted by marillionlb | November 1, 2010, 2:31 pm
  19. HP,

    I meant Jewish terrorists taking over a church in Israel, not terrorists from outside.

    I have no agenda, just a personal interest. I really want to understand why for example you have no problem about discussing possible peace solutions for Israel/Palestine with me and you have a firm opinion about those while you are reluctant to discuss the Syrian regime with Norman or the fact that much of the terrorism in Iraq is aided and supported by Syria according to US sources.

    It is people like you that if they were a little less indifferent could make a difference. But I keep hitting this wall. You prefer changing and discussing Israel instead of changing things close to home.

    You say it is not fear, cowardice or Battered Person Syndrome. Is it just plain indifference then?

    Posted by AIG | November 1, 2010, 2:32 pm
  20. dontgetit,

    I disagree. You may recall that Hezbollah did nothing during the Gaza war. Their base has not yet recovered from the 2006 war and they may even lose its support if they start a war with Israel for no good reason. The other sects will demand super excellent reasons for Hezbollah to go to war, and if war erupts without those, they will hold Hezbollah responsible.

    So we should expect more Hezbollah induced Lebanese army aggression towards Israel and other indirect provocations, but Israel will not escalate this into a war. Hezbollah is playing high stakes poker with an open hand for all to see. Their attempts at bluffing won’t work.

    Posted by AIG | November 1, 2010, 2:39 pm
  21. OK, one last post, with my begging forgiveness for so quickly violating my “I think I’m going to end my contribution to this thread here”

    Marillionb, deep apologies about my gender assumption which, now that I think about it, had absolutely no basis that I can recall.

    – terrorism is terrorism regardless of who perpetrates it. I vaguely remember an incident where Jewish extremists did attack some mosque and cause casualties. I can’t conceive of a reason Jewish terrorists would take over a church but if it were to happen and the Israeli police tried to maneuver its way and ended up causing the death of hostages it would be sad and I’m sure there will be an investigation of why the operation wasn’t more successful but I certainly would not fault the police when the real culprits are the terrorists causing the incidents. I still don’t quite see the difference but you’re probably implying that there will be outrage in the Arab world against the way the police approached this. Maybe but if they do that in this case and the same people don’t do the same in the Iraqi case, then it’s inconsistent and wrong.
    – as far as my engaging with you about the peace process and not engaging with Syrians about reforming the Syrian regime and how to change it, etc., I would have thought that the explanation is obvious, but maybe it isn’t it.

    Permit me to just leave it at that. I am not indifferent, AIG. I just don’t think that in my circumstances I “could make a difference.” You may argue otherwise and I’ll respect that but I will tell you again that you don’t know my circumstances nor the circumstances of “people like [me].”

    I hope I can keep to my new pledge now and stop boring readers with my posts in this particular thread.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 1, 2010, 2:49 pm
  22. HP #192

    Sorry… the last paragraph was a little elliptical to me too when I reread it! What I was attempting to say was that the argument over the STL comes down, in part, to an argument between sovereignty and human rights. In this case of the Dahiyeh clinic, anti-STL people are principally crying foul over sovereignty. Pro-STL people are saying that the right to justice and the rule of law trump claims of sovereignty. Certain members of the Security Council argued as much in the voting session for Security Council Resolution 1757, which formed the STL. Their arguments were that justice trumps sovereignty. By contrast, China, Indonesia, Qatar, Russian Federation, and South Africa all abstained, on the basis that, while they supported the pursuit of justice, they did not support such an infringement of national sovereignty. One side argued justice; the other side argued sovereignty. One side argued for certain universal standards; the other argued for national self-determination.

    This is a long way of saying that maybe Khouri has a point in placing this incident within a larger narrative of colonial intervention and nationalist reaction.

    Posted by Jonathan | November 1, 2010, 3:01 pm
  23. An observation. The church tragedy in Iraq, discussed here is a symptom. The situation of Christians in the whole Levant is bad. It seems that the Christian world is more concerened with Gaza, where christians are realy pesecuted than which the fate of Christians in Iraq, which to me is beyond understanding. In the USA churches are for Israel and against Israel, some are contributing money to Israel other to the Palestinians but practically nobody is interested in the mass exodos of Christians from the Levant. Or to the systematic terrorizing of Christians in Iraq. When I, as an Israeli, tell people that there are practically more Arameic speaking Christians abroad as in Syria and that this occured in the last twenty years people think that as an Israeli I am telling them lies. What is the reason for that? talking to some arabic speaking Christians in Jerusalem I found that the hate to Israel is stronger than any care about local Christians. can any body explain this in some length in addition to HP 208 which I found enlightning.

    Posted by Rani | November 1, 2010, 3:14 pm
  24. sneak in…

    BV, I announced my retirement from this particular thread. I hand the torch over to you.

    Jonathan, thank you, much clearer, and makes sense.

    Rani, thank you for reading my comments and reacting in a friendly way to them.

    sneak out…

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 1, 2010, 3:30 pm
  25. HP,

    “as far as my engaging with you about the peace process and not engaging with Syrians about reforming the Syrian regime and how to change it, etc., I would have thought that the explanation is obvious, but maybe it isn’t it.”

    At least to me this isn’t obvious and your reluctance to spell this out is also unclear to me. What could be better for Lebanon than a truly democratic Syria?

    Look, let me try again. You live in a liberal democracy and believe in this kind of regime. Apparently you have a good rapport with Norman, why can’t you make a difference with him? But yet you do not attempt to do this. Norman is not in a swamp. He is in the US.

    Posted by AIG | November 1, 2010, 3:32 pm
  26. As for war and Hizballa. There is a story of a young devil who was sent to earth for his final exam. He just losened the stick to which a goat was tied. The goat run and ate the bread in the nexst tent, the husband beat his wife and the goat because of the eaten bread; her brother knifed the husband because of the wife,and then the son knifed the brother and then the beaten goat owner set the family tent on fire…and so it goes from tent to family to tribe to nation till we have a world war. And up there in devils haven the great devil ask the young one? what did you do son? and he said “I just losened a stick”. I think most of you know that story. All the very clever talk here about Hizballa this and HA that and why they will do this and not that, as I said very very clever people here, realy not cynically. However, two or three missiles into Naharia, or Kiriat Shmona, perhaps four and all of us in Israel and Lebanon will be living [and dying !! ] in hell. And some body in Syria or Iran will ask: what is it all about?

    Posted by Rani | November 1, 2010, 3:35 pm
  27. AIG, HP,

    Sorry HP. But I am going to have to side with AIG on this one. I understood his comparison to Jewish extremists (think Baruch Goldstein) taking hostages in a Jerusalem church, say, and the fiasco that ensues.
    The Arab street would indeed be up in arms about the evil of Zionism, and calling for the extermination of Israel. You know it as well as I do. Arguing to the contrary is disingenuous.
    I mean, this same “street” rioted about CARTOONS a few years ago.

    The analogy itself, though, is not the point. The point, that I think AIG is alluding to is that we (And by ‘we’, i mean the Arab street in general) seem pretty insensitive to “human rights abuses” (terrorism like the Church, or otherwise) unless it is perpertrated by “the West” or “The Jews”.

    We clearly have a double standard when it comes to “human rights abuses” (and other abuses). When its perpetrated by “others”, it’s call for indignation and calls for violence. When it’s perpetrated by “our own” (be it the Arab regimes, or Islamic Terrorists, or whathaveyou) we find excuses, at best, and at worse, we say nothing.

    I agreed with AIG about the “battered woman syndrome”, and i think this here is a perfect symptom of just that.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 1, 2010, 3:50 pm
  28. AIG:
    I only assumed Hezbollah would attack “Israel” after it first asserted control over Lebanon. It would provoke the zionist entity in order to distract the rest of Lebanon and ensure that Hezbollah’s hegemony was unchallenged. Once the guns go off, I really don’t think Hezbollah needs to worry about being unmasked. People are either with the resistance or against it (and traitors will be shot or, at minimum, have their roofs used for missile launches).

    Posted by dontgetit | November 1, 2010, 4:07 pm
  29. AIG:
    To continue . . . I neglected to say that I do not believe Hizbollah will start another war with “Israel” just to champion the resistance. It would only be to help consolidate their hold on Lebanon.

    Posted by dontgetit | November 1, 2010, 4:14 pm
  30. dontgetit,

    In my opinion that is even more unlikely. Once Hezbollah controls Lebanon, basically everything in Lebanon is a target and by the end of the war they would be in control of nothing. They would have just trashed Lebanon completely to gain what exactly? And, after the war, they could only count on Syria and Iran to rebuild. How could they replace basic infrastructure such as electricity plants, telecommunications etc.? These can only be purchased from the West or include too many Western components to be exported to Lebanon which will surely be under sanctions. They would have a third world country on their hands with no basic services. Even if they get the money to rebuild, they would not be able to buy what they need. It seems it would be really stupid for them to get into a war after they take over Lebanon.

    Posted by AIG | November 1, 2010, 4:21 pm
  31. I hope for the sake of the Lebanese that you are correct, though I fear you are not.

    Posted by dontgetit | November 1, 2010, 4:39 pm
  32. “Hezbollah will only become weaker as a result of the STL and will look for a solution by finally accepting to merge its forces into the Lebanese army. The political wing will survive but will no longer be as effective.”

    That statement is so out of touch with reality and crosses well into the posters well of wishful thinking.

    Keep dreaming, GK, keep dreaming.

    Posted by usedtopost | November 1, 2010, 5:12 pm
  33. UST,
    I know that you might dismiss this as wishful thinking and it might be but my conclusion is not based on ideological biases as much as my vision of reality that is dictated by my understanding of the laws of motion that determine change. I have said this before but a total lasting victory br Hezbollah will contradict my understanding of history.:-) Send me an email in 2015 reminding me of this will you?

    Posted by ghassan karam | November 1, 2010, 5:28 pm
  34. Mo,

    I agree for a change. GK; you can still fantasize especially about HA merging with the LAF.
    If HA is weakened militarily; they will lose all leverage politically! Their whole essence is built on mafioso tactics and bullying. One has to listen to Raad & Nasrallah spew out threats to realize how scared they are.

    Posted by danny | November 1, 2010, 5:28 pm
  35. Scared people with guns and missiles make other people dead.

    Posted by dontgetit | November 1, 2010, 6:06 pm
  36. SHN next step will be interesting.

    Will he go so far as to expose the Rafiq Hariri dossier with enough juice to keep the Christians scratching their heads ?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 1, 2010, 6:30 pm
  37. Gk,

    Ah but the laws of motion are such that the motion will not change its velocity unless an unbalanced force acts upon it; The STL is no more an “unbalanced force” than the lame attempts of m14, the Israeli army and the US arm-twisting. Furthermore, the net force applied to a body produces a proportional acceleration and to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction.

    So change may very well come GK, but much like your beloved Condaleeza’s new Middle East, I do not think it will be the change you want it to be.

    Total lasting victory for HA? In what arena do you mean?

    But hey, if we both are lucky to live to 2015 I will happily compare winners and losers then.

    Which of course brings us to the only law that applies in Lebanon, the Law of Unintended Consequences…:)

    Danny, habibi, you haven’t heard any threats yet. This is them being nice.

    Posted by usedtopost | November 1, 2010, 6:35 pm
  38. On a lighter note….

    Marketing companies all seem to think i’m Israeli;

    They keep sending me mail addressed to “The Occupier”……

    Posted by usedtopost | November 1, 2010, 6:37 pm
  39. SHN seems to have taken over the character of 3antar in the popular Syrian TV series that aired in Lebanon in the mid 70’s.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 1, 2010, 7:14 pm
  40. Sensational reporting by al-Akhbar cannot be taken seriously for obvious reasons. But there is a specific message behind the story for the politicians ahead of the next Government meeting.
    Hezbollah is losing nerves by the hour, especially when leaks are reported about dates of indictments. It (Hezbollah) wants, so impatiently, to enforce its agenda of so-called ‘false witnesses’ on the government next meeting on Wednesday. That is all there is to al-Akhbar story – typical political Lebanese posturing designed to achieve specific objective.
    Will Hezbollah attempt a takeover of Lebanon? No, and it doesn’t not have the capabilities for undertaking such take over. It will take over areas currently under its control, and will prevent the government from exercising authority over those areas, which is more or less the case at the moment. It will not even attempt to challenge the UNIFIL in the South because it will put itself in direct confrontation with the World as well as Israel.
    I pity those who are arguing about Hezbollah perceived invincible prowess and its so-called successes. Hezbollah is a paper tiger. It needs UNIFIl in order to keep its constituents in their villages in the south and to prevent Israeli incursions into those areas again. One must keep in mind that Hizbi constituents would still be living in refugee camps (perhaps 500000 to 800000 souls practically 90% of the Shia community) had it not been for the admission of UNIFIL and the Lebanese army into the South.
    So, Please give me a break Hizbi sympathizers. Wake up and ponder over the foolishness of the plots and actions of your short-sighted ‘idol’.

    Posted by anonymous | November 1, 2010, 10:21 pm
  41. Just an opinion: AIG 230 You are so good at describing Lebanon after a war. It look to me that you know at least as much about Israel as about Lebanon, can you please tell me what will Israel look like? I have written it here already. A sign on a car: “It is cats day today – be nice to cats kick dogs”. Not that I, as an Israeli, can do or want to do something real, physical, about Lebanon except damage and then more and more damage. I will do it, I did it, my old son did it and so the young one. If need be I and they will make it again and again, to the best of our ability, remember the fate of the Jews of Lebanon?. But that does not make me happy, I am like that cat seeing a dog being kicked, it does me no good even if it has to be done.

    Posted by Rani | November 2, 2010, 4:14 am
  42. Its amusing to see all the condemnation of the so called “Clinicgate”; as if, if this didnt happen, the HA’s position or SHN speech would have been any different.
    The only difference is that it had added a new dimension to the criticism which might have some appeal to the masses.
    I really don’t understand SHN strategy. I have always believed that he is well informed and a smart person. But, I can’t really see where all this is leading to. Any idea??

    Posted by IHTDA | November 2, 2010, 5:49 am
  43. Mo,

    They are calling you “occupier..” is because you must have been spotted “camping” in downtown Beirut for a year…and occupied it.

    Posted by danny | November 2, 2010, 7:02 am
  44. Rani,

    I am not sure I understand your question. Can you clarify what you mean?

    Posted by AIG | November 2, 2010, 10:34 am
  45. Mo’s mail calls him an occupier because after it attacked his apartment uninvited, he kept it.

    Posted by dontgetit | November 2, 2010, 10:38 am
  46. Mo’s mail calls him an occupier because after it foolishly invaded his apartment, he kept it.

    Posted by dontgetit | November 2, 2010, 10:39 am
  47. Sorry:

    “Mo”’s mail calls him an occupier because after it invaded his apartment, he kept it.

    Posted by dontgetit | November 2, 2010, 10:40 am
  48. Bad jokes require good editing.

    Posted by dontgetit | November 2, 2010, 10:41 am
  49. GK,

    This is the latest of what Yadlin has to say:

    To me it sounds like the usual “don’t even think about cutting the defense budget” spiel the IDF regularly gives the Knesset.

    Posted by AIG | November 2, 2010, 12:23 pm
  50. To AIG 244
    My Question was: What do you think will Israel look like after a week of war with Lebanon?
    I will explain my question. You told us that in that week Lebanon will be damaged greatly. As far as I know you were correct in your estimation. However it important for me to let the people on this blog know that Israelies are aware what will happen to both sides and that we do not take such war or any war lightly. As far as I am concerened the way that Israel make wars is to minimize such damage to Israel, not to maximize damage to the other side. It can be shown by demonstrating what will be the price of war to Israel and why, as far as I am concerened, Israel will go to great extremes to lower that price once a war was started.

    Posted by Rani | November 2, 2010, 1:31 pm
  51. Rani,

    I think that the Lebanese understand that we have nothing to gain from a war at the end of which we will be exactly where we started only with damage and death on both sides.

    As for how much death and damage in Israel, that will depend on how successful we are in stopping Hezbollah’s larger rockets and that will depend on how good our intelligence is and several other factors.

    Posted by AIG | November 2, 2010, 2:24 pm
  52. The US contribution to the defense of Israel from retaliatory rocket/missiles from Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and/or Iran is of critical importance.


    Juniper Cobra 10


    Juniper Falcon 11

    Posted by lally | November 2, 2010, 3:07 pm
  53. To the funny anonymous who wrote that “The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has the enviable worldwide reputation of always getting the ‘criminal’ it is pursuing.”

    This fancy image comes from two places: the bloody history of the RCMP with Canada’s First Nations and Lucky Luke cartoons.

    For a more realistic view, check:


    Air India case marred by ‘inexcusable’ errors

    Misleading RCMP Data Undermines Counterfeiting Claims

    Mounties, CIA Implicated in Arar Torture Scandal

    Posted by NR | November 2, 2010, 3:32 pm
  54. AIG 251: “…with damage and death on both sides.”

    To be fair, I’d say “with much more damage and death on the Lebanese side.”

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 2, 2010, 4:30 pm
  55. AIG
    Tnx for the Yadlin link.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 2, 2010, 8:05 pm
  56. to AIG 251 lally 252 and others.
    In the last war wth Lebanon damage to Israel was cut down by LOCAL passive defence. Israeli Building code demand shelters in every house and apartment. Protective masks are distributed, Public shelters all over. Expensive Radar and other elecronic early warning systems with an all encompassing sound, radio, and TV announcements. It is a fact that in the last war with Lebanon casualties among the Israeli rural and certain urban Arab populations were disproportionally high. They simply belived that HA want to kill only Jews and took less percussions. in Haifa where the population is mixed it was not like that.
    AIG kind of proved my point. Always some missiles will reach their targets. In the last war casualties in Haifa, for example, were low because of heavy national investment in civil protection. In Naharia people lived for weeks in shelters built and equipped by the public. What is the level of civil protection in Lebanon – the tip of the Iranian and Syrian sword against Israel?
    What lally is saying is a bitter joke. Iran and Syria supply Lebanon with the killing machines while the USA is blamed? for supplying FOR MONEY protection to Israel. While Israel it self is spending millions in protecting the civil population.

    Other than the rockets bases of the HA and shelters for the leaders, how much concrete was put by the HA in shelters for the population of Lebanon?

    Posted by Rani | November 3, 2010, 5:08 am
  57. http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/276/gynecology-honor-and-the-special-tribunal-for-lebanon

    “A few weeks ago, I attended President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech in the Southern Suburbs of Beirut. I waited at the women’s entrance, where the army had provided just one electronic sensor that we were all supposed to file through and prove that we were not carrying anything “dangerous.” The women around me grew frustrated and began shouting at the female soldiers, sarcastically asking them how many sensors the males had been provided with and why the women were being treated differently. Finally, when it became clear that we could miss the beginning of the evening’s festivities, the women pushed, smashed, and finally broke through the search line. Here we were, using our bodies and our voices to move through an ineffectual security apparatus that had been deployed in a discriminatory fashion; one for the women, several for the men. As I write this, it makes me think of the women who attacked the STL investigators at the women’s health clinic. Were their concerns limited to the `Ard of the men in their families? Were they mobilized, robot style (as many March 14 pundits claimed) by men in leadership positions? The night of Ahmadinejad’s speech, I moved with the women past a Lebanese soldier who was smiling and shaking her head, staring at the useless electronic wand in her hand with bemusement. I smiled back at her, and we both shrugged our shoulders. I was, in a strange way, proud to be there. I promise you, there was not a man wearing a chador in sight.”

    Posted by Bored and Disgusted (B&D) | November 3, 2010, 1:24 pm
  58. There are women soldiers in the Lebanese Armed Forces? I was not aware of this…

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 3, 2010, 1:52 pm
  59. cut and paste is great, what does B&D know about Muslim men, ard and ard? By the way last thing about the visit to the clinic we hear that the investigators were there to ask about treated injuries from Hariri murder explosion, any body knows any thing about that?

    Posted by visitor | November 3, 2010, 3:34 pm
  60. visitor,

    The Office of the Prosecutor said in a released statement, the investigators were not seeking any medical information.

    Posted by Badr | November 3, 2010, 5:08 pm
  61. Don’t let official statements get in the way of conspiracy theories, wallaw!

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 3, 2010, 5:44 pm
  62. The Semitic world is in dire need of a John Lennon.

    Anyone know how to translate “Imagine” into Arabic and Hebrew?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 3, 2010, 10:56 pm
  63. PiD, if you meant translate just the word “Imagine,” then Google-Translate to the rescue 😉
    Arabic: تخيل
    Hebrew: לדמות

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 4, 2010, 12:10 am
  64. HP,

    Google translate is wrong on this one.
    To imagine is לדמיין (le’dam’yen)
    לדמות is to to look alike or to image.

    Posted by AIG | November 4, 2010, 12:19 am
  65. No … it’s not the word Imagine that I need translated. It’s the lyrics to the entire song.

    Give it a try … in Arabic and Hebrew.

    Imagine there’s no Heaven
    It’s easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace

    You may say that I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world

    You may say that I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will live as one

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 4, 2010, 12:35 am
  66. BV, Since we turned into a volunteer army there are a few women who have joined. I’ve yet to see a woman at a checkpoint, but I see a woman in uniform on a daily basis… For all I know it may be the same woman I see over and over again.

    On your next trip to Beirut you will also notice that most immigration officers at the airport are women.

    Though still drastically under represented Lebanese women are starting to slowly make some headway.

    Posted by Johnny | November 4, 2010, 2:38 am
  67. Ka-ching!

    And just like that Uncle Sam throws another $10 million into the STL jackpot. (I think the World Series of Poker is a pretty good for Qnion metaphor for this stuff, + you get SHN in a golf shirt and visor, chewing on beer nuts).

    In other news, I cannot wait for the first 2011 HCFA hearing on Lebanon! Ros-Lehtinen with a gavel = pure hilarity. Please someone tell her Che t-shirts are popular in the LB. Please, please, please …

    Posted by david | November 4, 2010, 3:00 am
  68. For what it’s worth, Hebrew Wiki has John Lennon’s “Imagine” lyrics translated:

    Though I am not sure singing it Hebrew/Arabic will do any more good than singing it in English did, which is to say squat.

    Saying is not the same as doing, ya know.

    Posted by G | November 4, 2010, 3:58 am
  69. What to make of this Syrian lackey’s latest threats?


    Wahhab and Qanso, IMO, are the biggest reason why Lebanon should become a dictatorship that bans freedom of speech. Really the only freedom we need is to party. No more elections, no more democracy, no more silliness. Just keep the right to party and no Lebanese would know the difference.

    I am no fan of Geagea, but if he actually did say that confrontation is of no interest to the Hizb, why this response from Qanso?

    Why is the opposition doing everything it can to pick a fight? As sad as it is to say I am getting closer and closer to letting these dimwits know what I think of them and their leadership by packing my bags and leaving this armpit of the world. I am not subjecting my newly born daughter to the savagery of the Middle Eastern peoples.

    Posted by Johnny | November 4, 2010, 5:31 am
  70. … and here’s an Arabic translation from the following website:

    BUT BEWARE, if you go to the site, you’ll have to go through clicking and then closing an ad that tries to sell you a ringtone. This is why I cut-and-pasted it here:

    تخيل عدم وجود السماء ،
    ومن السهل إذا حاولت ،
    لا الجحيم أدناه لنا ،
    فوقنا السماء فقط ،
    تتخيل كل الناس
    تعيش لهذا اليوم…

    تخيل لا يوجد البلدان ،
    ليس من الصعب القيام به ،
    ليس لقتل أو موت ،
    لا دين للغاية ،
    تتخيل كل الناس
    الذين يعيشون الحياة في سلام…

    قد أقول إنني حالم ،
    لكنني لست واحدة فقط ،
    وآمل يوما ما سوف ينضم إلينا ،
    وسوف يعيش العالم باعتبارها واحدة.

    تخيل أي ممتلكات ،
    وأتساءل عما إذا كنت تستطيع ،
    لا داعي للجشع أو الجوع ،
    وجماعة الاخوان المسلمين من رجل ،
    تتخيل كل الناس
    تقاسم كل العالم…

    قد أقول إنني حالم ،
    لكنني لست واحدة فقط ،
    وآمل يوما ما سوف ينضم إلينا ،
    وسوف يعيش العالم باعتبارها واحدة.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 4, 2010, 9:39 am
  71. Well Peter and HP,

    I have taken the first step. I am an atheist. How about you, when are you giving up your religion?

    Posted by AIG | November 4, 2010, 10:29 am
  72. The UN Human Development Rankings for 2010 are out:

    Click to access HDR_2010_EN_Tables.pdf

    To me, they point out that the main problem of the Arab world is its inability to to develop its huge potential human capital.

    Posted by AIG | November 4, 2010, 11:38 am
  73. A brotherhood of man translated to وجماعة الاخوان المسلمين من رجل ،
    I don’t think Lenon had that in mind…

    Posted by IHTDA | November 4, 2010, 1:23 pm
  74. Hilarious, IHTDA, I had not done due diligence on that translation!
    For non-Arabic speakers, it was translated as the “Muslim Brotherhood”
    I can’t tell if it was a tongue-in-cheek or simply incompetence.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 4, 2010, 1:46 pm
  75. Anyway, why translate? Here’s a heart warming rendition by Israeli and Arab children in the presence of former president Clinton.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 4, 2010, 1:52 pm
  76. Well whoever came up with that idea of Imagine in Arabic and Hebrew, good thought; it’s been done!

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 4, 2010, 1:57 pm
  77. HP,

    Why are you posting Zionist propaganda? 🙂

    Posted by AIG | November 4, 2010, 1:59 pm
  78. Rani.

    The “bitter joke” has been on the US taxpayer for decades.

    Posted by lally | November 4, 2010, 2:06 pm
  79. AIG “I have taken the first step. I am an atheist.”
    You’re not an atheist. Like most Israelis you worship graven images of your heroes, and of yourselves.

    As I always say, rationalists rationalize.
    IDF spokeswoman completely denies hinting Israel coordinated Gaza hit with Washington
    IDF confirms assassinating Army of Islam operative Mohammed Nimnim, killed earlier Wednesday when his car exploded in Gaza City.”
    The first terrorists in the ME still in the game.

    The AKP is more modern than the Turkish military for the same reason reformers now in Iran, even those in hijab, are more modern than the Shah, Saddam Husssein, Israel, or mini Harriri’s fanbase, which includes I hear Prince Andrew & his ex. Btw, when is mini-mini getting back “home”?

    Better to defend the lies of modernism than to help foster modernity. That seems to be the logic.

    Much less cut and paste this time, visitor. Just 4 u.

    Posted by Bored and Disgusted (B&D) | November 4, 2010, 2:09 pm
  80. Less cut and paste = More incoherence?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 4, 2010, 2:32 pm
  81. AIG @ 277, now the folks who suspect me of being a closet Zionist are going to turn their suspicion to certainty 😉
    Then again, if you can be accused of being a closet Arab posing as an Israeli, then, you know, “all things are possible.”

    … and here, AIG, I am quoting the Christian Bible (New Testament):
    Mark 9:23 (King James Version)
    Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

    So, sorry about this giving up religion thing here. No dice.
    Actually, I interpret “no religion” as meaning full separation of church/mosque/temple and state.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 4, 2010, 2:54 pm
  82. HP,

    As a staunch empiricist I see Mark 9:23 as a license for wishful thinking. In fact, it is clear that no one can trump Hezbollah members in their ability to believe nonsense. That does not make it possible. What happens by the way if two people believe two opposing things? Isn’t it clear that at least one of those things is impossible?

    Since Lenon is preaching against states also, it does not make sense he is for separation of religion and state. In fact he repudiates the existence of “heaven”, clearly repudiating most religions.

    Posted by AIG | November 4, 2010, 3:22 pm
  83. AIG, I’m impressed with your ability to review, analyze and reach conclusive opinions out of a just published 74 pages report!
    “to me” I think that your conclusion and HNA speech has much in common; clinicgate or not, HNA speech would have been the same. This report or without, your conclusion would be the same.

    I’m not judging your conclusion, I somehow agree with it.

    Posted by IHTDA | November 4, 2010, 3:25 pm
  84. IHTDA,

    I didn’t yet read this year’s report. I just saw that there was no notable change in Arab country rankings. I base my conclusions on previously published reports and the current trends. My opinion is based on years of reading the UN development reports and the specific reports related to human development in Arab countries.

    By the way, you seem to imply that I have reached my conclusion blindly. What agenda of mine could such a conclusion advance?

    Posted by AIG | November 4, 2010, 3:37 pm
  85. lally 278 thank you for responding.
    Yes, Israel is helped and supported by the USA. Small nations must have the protection of big ones. Even the holy of the holiest of all nations saintly Norway is militarily helped, supported and protected by the USA. So are very many other nations.
    Locally Iran is a big nation. Iran is spending large sums of money in supplying weapons and in protecting and defending Lebanon, so they all say. I think it is OK and beside nobody care about my opinion or my thinking. But there is no free meal and I hear that Iran is now talking about Lebanese oil, not long time ago England was talking about Iranian oil, that is life. It seems that soon also Turkey will be back backing & protecting Lebanon.It “protected” Lebanon for more than 400 years, it went away for less than 100 years, it is back. Lebanese school text books seem to tell much about Turkish protection. The number of the quality of protectors is the not the fate of Lebanon it is the doing of its leaders. So both Israel and Lebanon have the protection of others. Now my question was how much are the protectors of Lebanon spending on civil protection, you know: early alarming systems, privet and public bomb shelters, protective masks for the civil population, efficient fire fighting, training of scholl children, fast evacuation of casulties, training para medics etc. Israel with the help of the USA is spending much on these things. Seems that the protectors who decided to turn Leb. into the sword of the Arabs and Islam should do something about the shield. what did they do? Or is it such a big secret.

    Posted by Rani | November 4, 2010, 3:50 pm
  86. AIG #272

    The rankings of the HDI are the most important rankings in the world that attempt to measure in a rather meaningful way the quality of life instead of solely using the GDP per capita metric.
    Unfortunately most of the Arab countries, especially the non oil exporters, do not do good by this metric Syria being one of the worst. The great rejectionist ranks only as 11th in the world. Lebanon who is usually in the 70s ; which is not that good; is not even ranked this year because of the lack of data on its educational attainment.
    Israel, with all its war related expenditures has managed again to belong to the ranks of the most developed in the world at # 15.
    When would the denial end?

    Posted by ghassan karam | November 4, 2010, 3:51 pm
  87. AIG, I didn’t criticize the conclusion as I haven’t read the report. All what I have said, based on you referring to the just published report,, that it have similarities to HNA latest speech with regards to the tribunal.

    Posted by IHTDA | November 4, 2010, 3:52 pm
  88. IHTDA,

    I understand you didn’t criticize my conclusion but the way I reached it. I explained that it is based on reading previous reports. In fact, it is a conclusion I reached a while ago and the fact that the rankings have not changed this year, makes me think the conclusion is valid even though I did not yet read this year’s report.

    I completely reject your notion that my conclusion is based on some agenda that I am trying to push and not on facts. I think this is what you are trying to imply. No?

    Posted by AIG | November 4, 2010, 4:03 pm
  89. On education …

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 4, 2010, 4:14 pm
  90. Ghassan #286:

    Agreed 100%.
    But the Lebanese people and the Arab world in general insist on living in denial.
    I am still amazed that us Lebanese seem to run around acting soooooo superior when we’re in fact, not really a very great country in any kind of measure.

    (Those of you who are Lebanese and who have heard/seen fellow Lebanese criticizing the rest of the world know exactly what I’m talking about).

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 4, 2010, 4:34 pm
  91. AIG,

    Are you also active on an Egyptian or Jordanian blog? If not, why are you more interested in a Lebanese or Syrian one?

    Posted by Badr | November 4, 2010, 4:54 pm
  92. Rani.

    Comparisons between the American $upport given to Israel and effing NATO member Norway are absurd.

    Don’t go there.

    We have no obligation to protect & coddle a militarily aggressive, racist and increasingly fascist-leaning State that endangers American national interests and security.


    As to why Lebanon hasn’t embarked on a nation-wide investment in civil defense, I suggest that it’s because Lebanon doesn’t embark on initiatives the require the protection of civilians from the repercussions of retaliatory strikes from states and/or entities that have been attacked.

    That’s Israel’s historical MO so it makes sense to minimize damages to the civilian population that will be paying the price tag.

    BTW, if I were Israeli, I wouldn’t be as sanguine about the deficient efforts of the Homeland Command as you appear to be. Shall we discuss the actual distribution of gas masks vs the self-deluding hasbara version of the same?

    Confidence devolving into arrogance devolving into hubris is courting disaster; especially if, as promised, the next war(s) will fought on multiple fronts. That should be a dreadful prospect to any Israeli with a lick of common sense.

    IMO, it’s the American *Diaspora* that has become the greatest existential threat to Israel.

    Posted by lally | November 4, 2010, 5:12 pm
  93. Badr,

    Actually I posted a lot on Syria Comment until they banished me. Free speech is something they cannot stand. And since QN posted there and we had several interesting discussions I followed him here. If you are aware of lively Egyptian or Jordanian blogs in English, please let me know.

    Posted by AIG | November 4, 2010, 6:24 pm
  94. PeterinDubai #289,
    I have seen all the other RSAnimate videos and some were really good. Thanks for posting this one since I had missed viewing it before. (I do not agree with many of the points in this presentation but that is a different story :-)) Tnx for posting the link.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 4, 2010, 6:37 pm
  95. You’re welcome Gus.

    I don’t agree with a few things either,

    However, I felt it was appropriate to post the link relative to how linear educational systems contribute to the modern clash of civilizations.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 4, 2010, 7:02 pm
  96. AIG,
    No, im not trying to imply that your “conclusion is based on some agenda that I am trying to push and not on facts.”
    Btw I have no problem with anyone pushing his/her agenda; it’s quite normal and required in any free debate.
    All I was referring to is the similarities between you concluding, based on previous analysis, and linking it to a just published report. And HNA speech where he asked all not to cooperate with the investigators, which I believe he has decided long before, and linking it to the just happened incident.
    No right or wrong here, just observations.

    Posted by IHTDA | November 5, 2010, 10:04 am
  97. to lally 292
    Thank you for your response. Too many “we” in your response stright and implied, you personally? USA ? Lebanon? whole Humanity?. Any how, some of the psychological material you wrote is above me, Sorry.

    Israel, Norway and Pakistan and other nations are getting military aid from the USA. They asked for it and they got it, I understad you objection. If you are a USA citizen please call your representative in the congress or the senate, I can do little about that.

    When your “we” is the people of the USA I could understand what you said about Pakistan, I quote you “We have no obligation to protect & coddle a militarily aggressive, racist and increasingly fascist-leaning State that endangers American national interests and security.” But the USA governmet think differently, again you can write etc.

    As for wars and civilians, if I was a USA citizen I would not be so sanctimonous. Not about Iraq nor about the past. During the cold war neither the USA nor the USSR planned to attack first and attack civilians, yet both planned to protect their citizens including expensive protection against ABC war. I guess you being an expert psychologist you could say some thing about them. For me? better being psychotic and protected than fully sane fully unprotected.

    As a rull any nation talking about “war” “resistance” etc. should take care about protect its citizens. Sanctimonious preaching from the USA will not save life in any place in any war. Few sand bags will. As far as I see from this blog and other places the HA and Lebanon are planning for war. Preparing for protecting the citizens, as nations like: Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Russia and USA is better than preaching and demonizing.

    I also agree very much with what you said about Nazralla and the HA and changing but one word I quote you, your english is so much better than mine: “Confidence devolving into arrogance devolving into hubris is courting disaster; especially if, as promised, the next war(s) will fought on multiple fronts. That should be a dreadful prospect to any Lebanese with a lick of common sense”. Can you find the changed word?
    Thank you for your time.

    Posted by Rani | November 5, 2010, 11:17 am
  98. Rani.

    While I do understand your reluctance to address real concerns of the likely repercussions of regional warfare that include the enabling contributions of my own dear country, I’m not inclined to play your silly games of diversion and deflection.

    I do, however, agree that my English is much better than yours. As is to be expected, que no?

    Posted by lally | November 5, 2010, 11:39 am
  99. I am not shocked by much that is published on nowlebanon.com but am I the only one to notice the racist undertones in this article?


    Posted by tamer k. | November 5, 2010, 2:13 pm
  100. I don’t think it’s anyone’s business who sells their land to whom in what area of Lebanon.

    Having said that, it looked to me like the article was simply pointing out the fact that such a sale is bringing to the fore underlying (and not always so hidden) sectarian tensions, much like everything else in Lebanon.

    Meaning, there’s nothing new here. Lebanese people are sectarian.

    What’s your point Tamer? You’re just looking for something to pick on NOW Lebanon for?

    I could argue that every time Michel Aoun talks about “Tawteen” or “Representing the Christians”, he’s being racist (by your definition). So any news outlet that may report Aoun’s speech would be guilty of inciting racism in your book?
    How about everytime any Lebanese politician or mouthpiece says pretty much ANYTHING? They’re all pretty much racist. We knew that.
    In any other country in the world, where human rights are respected, any party, leader, citizen or otherwise, arguing on the merits of “The Christians”, the “Druze”, the “Shia” or any such distinction is really racist. No?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 5, 2010, 4:51 pm
  101. The Moon is always full.

    Some people just don’t see it.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 5, 2010, 7:17 pm
  102. BV,

    I agree with your points (one does not hear much of the older LF refrain about Hariri Islamicizing Lebanon), but the “funniest” thing about MeowLebanon is their “independent Shiite” schtick, where basically the plan is out-Shiite Hizbullah (good luck that!) — a kind of OrientleJour for Shiites, without any of the relevant history.

    I do not find the website nefarious, so much as comic, and for that they have my gratitude.

    Posted by david | November 5, 2010, 11:26 pm
  103. My point is it is a weak attempt to explain why shias are moving into christian areas. After reading the article one is left thinking that shias are moving into other groups areas in their quest to take over lebanon, if the website really purports to be progressive it’s only fair that the journalist do their due diligence on the issue.

    For example lets say you know a shiite ready to move out of dahiyeh into a new neighborhood. You have the familiar neighborhood of jnah/bir hassan pushing prices of 3000 dollars per square meter while you could move to nearby hadath at prices that are half of that.

    The article manages only to quote christian people who are scared of shias moving into their area, interview people on the other side of this issue. nowLebanon would of raised hell if it was shia policy not to sell land to a certain group of people in a certain area of lebanon, how about an editorial about racist landlord practices in Lebanon.

    The article reads like this to me when you replace a few words.

    Many Black families have moved out of Hezbollah-controlled neighborhoods like Dahiyeh into areas like Hadath, on the outskirts of Beirut, according to the employees of that municipality. They say White landlords made an agreement to no longer sell property to Blacks, but only to rent. “We are trying to preserve our community,” one Hadath municipality worker said. “They are our neighbors, we live in peace, but it’s our way to preserve our identity.”

    Only more reason to move back to America and forget about this country forever.

    Posted by tamer k. | November 6, 2010, 12:17 am
  104. Tamer k,
    I am in total agreement with your observation. We pretend that we are a diverse society but in reality we are not. (Some areas of Ras Beirut are the only areas of the country with some meaningful integration).
    I think that one of the most effective ways to learn to accept each other irrespective of our religious affiliations is through the integration of housing. Lebanon is so badly in need of so many laws in all sorts of fields. One of the most important, besides the political, is the area of protection of human rights. We are a society where discrimination of all sorts and in all areas (rental, real estate purchases, employment, access to private beaches, sexual orientation…) is rampant.
    What is the likelihood of passing and implementing a law that would make it a major infraction not to have open access to all real estate transactions i.e outlaw all redlining efforts.:-) You better not hold your breath.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 6, 2010, 10:20 am
  105. Tamer,

    Just like GK explained, I agree with your observation as well. Such overt discrimination is terrible. It seems to me that things have gotten more sectarian after the civil war era.

    I count my blessings that I lived in Ras Beirut (Hamra) when I grew up. Maybe I’m biased, but I always thought that it was the most integrated and tolerant area in all of Lebanon.

    I wish the whole country follows such an example.

    Posted by Ras Beirut | November 6, 2010, 10:44 am
  106. I may be singing a tired old refrain but my view is unless and until EVERYONE, all parties, all confessions, in Lebanon agree and subscribe to the establishment of a civil society with rules completely separate and independent form any religious affiliation, i.e., until complete and accepted separation of church/mosque/temple and state, I’m afraid it will be “deja vu all over again,” again and again.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 6, 2010, 11:17 am
  107. I will add that there is little hope for such in the near future mainly because the religious leaders are going to fight any diminution of their power and influence. This is regrettable of course because religious leaders should be focused on the private religious life and ethics of their flock.
    Long term, I am not as pessimistic as many here. In many ways I have gone through that phase of utter disgust and wanting nothing to do with the native land. In the end, though, this land is where we were born and we will always have some longing to imagine it in better times. A long time from now maybe, but it’s not impossible.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 6, 2010, 11:34 am
  108. AIG,
    As we had mentioned in an earlier post the HDI for 2010 is out and it is better than ever. More refined methodology, new metrics and an interactive feature. I might do a short piece on the Arab countries later on in the week end.
    Israel has an overall HDI ranking of 15 but when the ranking are based only on NonIncome components Israel becomes the 8th in the world. A great performance. Yet if one is to use the Inequality adjusted HDI Israel drops to 23rd which is still very good but it shows the high inequality of income distribution in the country. Actually Israel has a Gini coefficient that is just behind that of the US in the group of Very High HDI. This raises a couple of questions:
    (1)Are the majority on the upper end of the personal Income distribution home grown wealthy people or is a portion of the wealth “imported” so to speak i.e people who came to Israel with their wealth.
    (2) Is it fair to suggest that most and probably all the 20 % of those at the bottom are the Israelis of an Arab origin in addition to the bedouins and if so is Israel content in using them as a reserve army of unemployed or is there a serious effort to integrate them economically? Any light you can shed on this will be appreciated.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 6, 2010, 1:51 pm
  109. Ghassan;

    Your questions can be answered using the Israeli bureau of statistics(www.cbs.gov.il)

    I looked at some 2008 data, and the results are interesting, I think. Personally I was surprised – thought the differences were smaller.

    When looking an the gross monthly income of a 4 person household, the difference between Jews & Arabs is huge:

    Jews: 19,100NIS
    Jews(Father born in Asia/Africa): 17,600 NIS
    Jews(Father born in Europe/US): 24,200 NIS
    Arab: 9,000 NIS.

    So, difference between ‘rich country’ and ‘poor country’ origin Jews significant but not huge, with enormous difference vs. the Arab population (approximatly double).

    One might conclude this indicates Jewish wealth generated mostly in Israel, while Arabs occupy much of the lower income classes.

    Interestingly, the trend at least is Positive:
    Looking at a 2003 presentation based on 2001 data (http://www.sikkuy.org.il/yeda/hashvaa.html – Hebrew, but you can still see the data):
    It seems that 10 years ago the Jewish income was triple that of the Arab (11,000 NIS vs. 3,100NIS). The same presentation shows the Arab population in Israel is consistently catching up with the Jewish population in terms of high education, which may explain the improvement over the last ten years..

    Hope this answers your question.

    Posted by G | November 6, 2010, 3:51 pm
  110. TO GK in addition to AIG
    1.Most, rich and still active persons are native born. Some of the very rich came from Arab-Islamic countries like Teshva from Libya. Offhand I know only one rich lady who brought her capital, realy her father capital, from abroad. There were one or two people who brought much capital from the USSR- Russia. Too much capital is exported from Israel but that is another story.

    2. There are not ONLY “poor” Arabs in Israel. Many new Jewish immigrants are realy poor. Many Jews from the Arab countries in geographical marginal areas are still poor. Ultra ortodox Jews are often very poor. Basically Israeli Arabs are descriminated against in security associated jobs. However the Durzi find good jobs in that sector. Also in other government jobs you will find relatively few arabs, it is not against Arabs it is patronage as it is in other places in the ME. However the number of Arabs in jobs associated with medicine is rising fast. Also in Banking and such there are more and more Arabs. Some of the rich building contractors are Arabs. Also in some Ag. associated business there are very rich Arabs. Generally Arab farmers are doing fine, the Durzi farmers on the golan, for example, are probably the richest Syrian farmers. One real problem is finding jobs for Arab women and the Israeli economy could use their contribution. All over you can not say that in Israel clearly the arabs as a group are poorer than the Jews as a group, but though it is against the law to descriminate it is at times easier for a Jew to get a given job.

    Posted by Rani | November 6, 2010, 4:08 pm
  111. GK,
    1) The people who came to Israel from Western countries and were wealthy is a very small percentage of the population. Most of the wealthy Israelis became rich in Israel. In my milieu it is from successful high tech startups. Many wealthy Jews from abroad invest in Israel without living here. For example Sheldon Adelson and Larry Ellison (there are many many more).
    2) Most of the 20% on the bottom are Arabs and ultra orthodox Jews (about half and half). We need to do a better job integrating these communities. The Arabs are under represented in the high tech industry mostly because they did not work in the military high tech side from which much of the civilian high tech evolved. Still, many start up teams are forged based on joint experience in the same military units. This leads to a vicious cycle in which Arabs are less inclined to study subjects useful for the high tech industry because their chances of finding jobs there are smaller. Another issue is that Arab women are more likely to be stay at home moms and this reduces the average family income. Also, most Arabs are in the periphery (basically outside the Tel-Aviv area), and both Jews and Arabs in this area tend to earn less.
    Is there a serious effort to integrate the Arabs better? I think we could be doing a better job for sure especially in the area of more equitable budget allocation. There are some issues though that I am not sure we can overcome such as the fact that most Arabs do not serve in the IDF and the distrust between the communities. Unlike in the case of immigrants to the US, you cannot expect the Arabs to assimilate into Jewish society or vice versa.

    Posted by AIG | November 6, 2010, 5:12 pm
  112. GK,

    Sorry for the overlap, Rani and I posted in parallel and I didn’t see his answer.

    Posted by AIG | November 6, 2010, 5:17 pm
  113. This is a good example of: “Lebanese Hypocrisy on steroid”. All parties/sects
    claim to want a strong ,and democratic state, Yet it becomes a national crisis if a citizen who happen to be of a certain faith or sect ,moved( or bought a piece of land ) to another area, which happened to be predominantly of a different sect
    What makes it worse, is that some (if not most) Main stream media fuel these crises, by publishing unbalanced and suspicious Stories, like the one published by nowlebanon. They don’t realize how racist they sound. It shows how irresponsible some media outlets are.
    I just wonder what part of democracy they would have to eliminate out of the “democratic constitution”, to justify such discriminatory practices.
    Are they willing to abolish the existing sectarian system for a more civil, and democratic system?
    To answer my own question, I just have to remind myself of the day when Lebanese religious leaders rejected a bill would have given people the option to marry in a civil court, if they choose to, instead of a religious court.
    As long as the leadership is producing more of itself, and as long as the heads of religious institutions are given a major role in Lebanese political and social affairs, my dreams will become the dreams of my grand children and theirs .

    Posted by Prophet | November 6, 2010, 5:52 pm
  114. AIG/Rani/G,
    Thanks for all the info supplied by your answers. I will visit the Israeli bureau of statistics later on tonight.
    For one reason or another I expected the Israeli society to have a less inequitable distribution of income. A Gini coefficient of almost 40 is quite high which is not much better than the level of inequality of the Arab countries for whom the measure is calculated. (Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE…do not have data). My original question should not have concentrated on wealth since the Gini in question is that of income. I know that wealth and income are often very highly correlated but yet such a high income inequality was surprising. Thanks again.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 6, 2010, 6:17 pm
  115. Prophet,

    “As long as the leadership is producing more of itself, and as long as the heads of religious institutions are given a major role in Lebanese political and social affairs, my dreams will become the dreams of my grand children and theirs.”

    You put your finger on a (key?) factor. It is going to take true religious faith and fundamental soul searching by a number of religious leaders to have them lead the way towards such separation of church/mosque/temple and state. It must come from within for otherwise I’m afraid the religious leaders will continue manipulating their flock to perpetuate the tragedy of confessional cleavages that decimate a civil society and doom any hope of a true democracy.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 6, 2010, 9:10 pm
  116. HP, Prophet,

    Why are human any different from dogs ?

    We breed them for their race, no?


    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 6, 2010, 10:19 pm
  117. There is no denial that the Lebanese people are sectarian and to a great extent hypocritical about it. I agree with all the comments regarding this issue mentioned above by many posters.

    However, I think the article in NowLebanon was highlighting another issue. The Politics and Property. A party with undisclosed funding buying properties for undisclosed purposes. In Lebanon, we need a law that governs the parties especially their funding (applies to HA and all others). Without proper laws, all actions by parties will be open to personal interpretations and conspiracy theorists (All Lebanese) will have a field day anytime a new story comes up.

    Posted by IHTDA | November 7, 2010, 1:49 am
  118. tamer k #303,Prophet #313, everyone’s remarks would be welcome if it weren’t known by all that similar moves are indeed impossible in other areas. “A la guerre comme a la guerre” is the only valid motto today in Lebanon, and hypocrisy is well distributed.

    But don’t you worry, the reformers have it all figured out. Now “The Chi’a Man” and “The Sunni Man” have become categories you can speak about (for and against)publicly in political discourse.


    Unless of course L’O le J is lying in French, which is also very possible.

    Further down that page, luckily for us, some still refuse to go to similar lengths, and keep the wording strictly unconfessional, ouf:

    “L’ancien ministre Wi’am Wahhab a assuré qu’ « il n’y aura pas de guerre civile au Liban ». « Nous avons mis en place dix scénarios. Le dixième comporte un tantinet de force », a-t-il dit.
    « Il y a 40 à 50 personnes qui forment un gang, et nous les traiterons comme elles méritent d’être traitées, ni plus ni moins », a affirmé M. Wahhab dans le cadre d’un entretien accordé à la OTV.”

    40 to 50 is ok. I feel safer now, I’m definitely not in that “gang”.

    Now I just have to beware of lost bullets in my way to the groceries…

    Posted by mj | November 7, 2010, 3:47 am
  119. my dreams will become the dreams of my grand children and theirs

    Probably not, if they are third generation and higher immigrants. 🙂

    Posted by Badr | November 7, 2010, 5:38 am
  120. mj @ 318: very interesting and very confusing. I still can’t figure out if Aoun is actually sincere and a genius, or if he is prompted by ulterior motives.
    One of the problems is that he does adopt a very confessional and sectarian tone which cannot be part of a sound foundation for a stable and fair republic.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 7, 2010, 8:33 am
  121. While the report below is good news of sorts, one hopes it would be followed at some point with similar withdrawals from the Sheba’a farms, removing one more excuse of HA’s armament.

    “Israel to Quit from Part of Ghajar, Discusses Withdrawal Plan with UN”

    An interesting part of the article is this one:
    Hizbullah on Sunday positioned itself to claim victory for any pullout.
    “If the withdrawal happens, it (Israel) won’t be doing it for free but because of fear of the resistance and Lebanon’s strength through the resistance,” Hizbullah NP Nawar Saheli told The Associated Press in Beirut.(AP-Naharnet)

    Interesting indeed. Let’s see, first HA triggers the war of 2006 which leads to the occupation of the northern half of Ghajar (the southern part having been determined by UN surveyors as being in Israel at the 2000 withdrawal), and now that Israel is negotiating with the UN withdrawal from that northern half, HA claims credit?

    Let’s say we grant HA credit for this withdrawal and let’s say Israel withdraws from the Sheba’a farms so there is not a square centimeter of Lebanese territory left in contention with Israel. Will HA then disarm?
    (rhetorical question you say?)

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 7, 2010, 8:51 am
  122. To side with Aoun and share his trust and praise of HA, a necessary condition must be fulfilled: HA must reject definitively the statements it has made of its goals of an (eventual) islamic country in Lebanon, following wilayat-el-Faqih (Iran), proclaim its support for full separation of church/mosque/temple and church as it would be cemented in a constitutional amendment, and announce definitively and publicly (not in a bilateral MOU with Aoun/FPM — which can so easily be reversed) the surrender of all its weapons and soldiers to the control of the Lebanese government as soon as the Sheba’a farms are liberated.

    I have no illusion that this has any chance of happening but it if did then maybe indeed Aoun is a genius.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 7, 2010, 8:56 am
  123. HP,

    I am personally against Israel because moving out of Ghajar because the residents want Israel to stay and it does seem stupid to cut a village in half. Let’s have a referendum there and to which whatever country they want to go, that country should get all the village.

    Also, have we not learned that unilateral moves do not help when it comes to Lebanon? The withdrawal in 2000 achieved the exact opposite effects than were intended regarding the arming of Hezbollah and led to the 2006 war.
    Israel should only move out of Ghajar as part of an agreement with the Lebanese government. In fact YOU should demand that it does so because otherwise it only strengthens Hezbollah at the expense of the central government.

    Posted by AIG | November 7, 2010, 11:38 am
  124. Are you sure AIG?
    Now try and replace the word “Ghajar” by “Jerusalam” 😉

    Posted by IHTDA | November 7, 2010, 11:51 am
  125. AIG,

    I do think that anything that can be done to ensure that such withdrawal is coming about from negotiations and diplomacy and without anything to do with (or actually despite) the belligerence of HA is a good (necessary?) thing. It’s up to Israel, the UN, and the Lebanese government to actually work together towards such unambiguous message.

    I do agree with the idea of having a referendum in the town of Ghajar and let the inhabitants there chose where they want to belong, or at the very least voice their opinion. If indeed an overwhelming majority choses Israel, then so be it. The difficulty will arise if it’s a split vote. The other difficulty is the concern some will have about a precedent being set where border villages will start requesting referendums to determine which of two adjacent countries they belong to.

    I don’t quite know or understand what’s prompting this move now by Israel but if it is part of a strategy to take away all excuses of territorial “liberation” by HA, then there is some merit to it. I have no illusion that HA will all of a sudden say “ok, we’re done, here are our weapons and our warriors to merge with the LAF.” The other claims they will put forth are the return of prisoners and then the defense against future attacks. The question is whether the other forces in Lebanon — including, very importantly, the FPM and General Michel Aoun — will now have no further excuses to side with HA, and, as a result, side in a unified manner with every non-HA citizen and member to demand the disarmament.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 7, 2010, 12:10 pm
  126. IHTDA,

    Quite sure. There are more Jews in Jerusalem than Arabs. 🙂 And I don’t think a majority of the Arabs are too much enthused about being part of a Palestinian state.

    Why are the Israeli Arabs so angry about Lieberman’s idea of making some Arab villages part of the Palestinian state instead of Israel? Not one bit of property would be taken from them, just the border would be moved a few kilometers west, and they would be Palestinians instead of Israelis. What’s not to like? 🙂

    Yet, Lieberman’s ideas are deemed “racist”. Why is what is proposed for Ghajar not “racist” in the same way?

    Posted by AIG | November 7, 2010, 12:16 pm
  127. HP,

    Aoun has already said that he will support HA until there is a credible alternative “defense strategy” in place. So Israeli withdrawals will not help at all in that regard. As for HA, they have already said that there are seven villages in the Galilee that they deem Lebanese and that need to be freed.
    They will always have more excuses and willing believers in their propaganda.

    Posted by AIG | November 7, 2010, 12:22 pm
  128. HP,
    There is a general tone in most of the comments that deal with the thorny HA issue that I find a little bit troubling.I have tried to deal with this issue before but unfortunately (for me :-)) the position never seems to take hold.
    I have never tried to hide the fact that I am opposed very strongly both to the politics and the military wing of HA. I will however support HA’s right to spread and preach its ideology openly and using any and all legal means. My essential and unwavering criticism is that they have no right whatsoever to the militia and that Resistance is a right that belongs to the people and not to a selected group.
    Having said that I do not want to be labelled as a supporter of the status quo. The current cabinet as well as the two preceeding ones under Saniora have been ineffective , incapable of governing and even corrupt. Actually I canno lend my support either to Jumblatt or to Salam, Hariri, Gemayel, Geagea Karami et al. The traditional ruling class must go , each and every single one of them if the country is to have a chance at catching up with the rest of the world and of establishing a free democratic society. I guess that I would like to make it clear than in the Lebanon that I know it is not sufficient to oppose HA’s military wing but it is equally important to oppose all of the established politicians. Our problem is systemic and as such it cannot be saved by more of the same. The traditional feudalistic-religous alliance is the problem and so it cannot be part of the solution. The calls that emminate every once in a while from these leaders for so called reform this and reform that ought to be rejected since these are efforts aimed at solidifying their hold at the system by only offering meaningless palliatives disguised to confuse the electorate and promote the interests of the ruling hierarchy.
    Lebanon has been through a so called reform after 1958, after the lengthy civil war , after the so called Cedar revolutionand after Doha. None of these efforts bore meaningful fruits for the real citizens who are still as voiceless as ever. Actually these continuous efforts at reinventing themselves is a reminder of the popular Karl Marx statement is response to Hegels explanation that history repeats itself. Marx said:”First as tragedy and then as farce” and someone added” the farce is often more deadly than the tragedy”. When will we learn that our “enemies” are the men of the cloth and the political feudal lords.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 7, 2010, 12:55 pm
  129. HP
    Israel can not withdraw from the Sheba’a farms because nobody knows what it is. Unlike Ghajar which was surveyed by the UN to less than cm the area of Sheba`s farms is totally undefined. As for Ghajar, within few days the HA will declare that the UN helped Israel to steal Lebanese land and the story will not end. Me and my stories, have you ever heard about Juha Nail?

    Posted by Rani | November 7, 2010, 1:52 pm
  130. HP and others
    Please google:
    Lebanon Syria Borders
    It is a report by the UN. It is a great reading for any body who ever entered this blog. Also to any body who teach or give talks about modern Lebanon it is a required reading.

    Posted by Rani | November 7, 2010, 2:19 pm
  131. I’ve got some questions for Atheists on this blog.

    What perks do I get working for you ? Do I get two days a week off or one ? Will they fall on a Monday and Wednesday or Thursday?

    What are the total annual vacation days I get ? What are they called ?

    Do you offer a retirement plan ? If so, when, and at what age?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 7, 2010, 6:31 pm
  132. PeterinDubai,
    Since I am not sure that you are serious in your inquiry I will only say that the work place of the future will be very flexible. Employees will choose, within some constraints, when to work. As society becomes more productive we will work less and less. This is not a utopian dream, a few corporations have been experimenting with such a formula for a few years. Results have been very encouraging.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 7, 2010, 6:50 pm
  133. Why should atheists differ in their approach when it comes to standard business practices within their sector?. Just because we’re infidels doesn’t mean we don’t accept the needs of those who aren’t.

    Posted by lally | November 7, 2010, 7:01 pm
  134. lally, you can’t be infidel if you’re atheist, you’re afidel 🙂

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 7, 2010, 7:12 pm
  135. What;s the definition of the Alpha female ?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 7, 2010, 7:52 pm
  136. Where is her word?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 7, 2010, 7:54 pm
  137. AIG,

    I read a bit more about Ghajar and it’s a bit confusing why Netanyahu is making this move now. Do you understand what possible motivations might be? Apparently the villagers don’t want their village divided. Those who don’t want to be affiliated with Israel say they are Syrian and not Lebanese. What gives?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 8, 2010, 9:59 am
  138. The WSJ is reporting that the STL indictments will name the brother in law of Mughanieh and that the indictments are expected before the end of the year.

    If the case is tight and if such high ranking HA personalities are involved then no doubt HA is fighting like a cornered cat. Many of the leaks have proven to be accurate so far and if ( A big if) this latest leak is correct then HA wants look as if it is above the fray and yet a few of its operatives to have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar. If that is the case then HA should have been distancing itself from these “rogue” elements instead of fighting to deny their involvement.

    Posted by ghassan karam | November 8, 2010, 11:49 am
  139. “HA is fighting like a cornered cat”

    By whom? Your wishful thinking goes on and on.

    You really think some European indictment is going to give people who live with the daily threat of assasination sleepless nights?

    You really think they will lose one point of a percentage point by any indictment?

    Maybe many of the posters on here will cheer heartily for such statements but you are doing nothing more than preaching to your choir.

    Listen to yourself, “If that is the case then HA should have been distancing itself from these “rogue” elements”. Have you even been following what they are saying. They are not denying their involvement, they are stating that their involvement is being manufactured.

    It is laughable that you people put such store in these international tribunals. especially when they shift the blame so easily and so publicly as soon as the “accused” starts to play ball. Its about as credible as when Syria was “behind” the Lockerbie bombing until it started supporting the “Coalition” to oust Saddam from Kuwait and then suddenly it wasn’t behind it and Libya was.

    How much do you want to bet that if SHN announced that the Resistance was laying down its arms tomorrow, then it suddenly would be Al-Qaida who did it.

    Posted by usedtopost | November 8, 2010, 12:10 pm
  140. “You really think they will lose one point of a percentage point by any indictment?”

    Should read

    You really think they will lose one point of a percentage point of support by any indictment?

    Posted by usedtopost | November 8, 2010, 12:11 pm
  141. Mo,

    Relax and chill brother. You are almost yelling like SHN.
    I’d rather wait and see what happens after the indictments are issued and how many of the indicted are dead people?

    Posted by danny | November 8, 2010, 12:39 pm
  142. HP # 717, you are absolutely right that it would have to take “true religious faith and fundamental soul searching by a number of religious leaders to have them lead the way towards such separation of church/mosque/temple and state”Unfortunately, I’m not hopeful that any of them is willing to lead the way for such separation. It is not in the human nature to go against his/her own interest. Their interest is maintain the influence and power they already have, if not gaining more
    mj #318,
    I wish I could read french .

    Posted by Prophet | November 8, 2010, 1:26 pm
  143. UTP/mo, #339
    We have established a while back that you and I have a different understanding of events. We have at one time agreed to revisit this issue in 2015, if I am still here:-)
    UTP, what does it mean when you say that the evidence is manufactured? Are you saying that Bellmare and the STL are running an operation whose aim is to manufacture evidence? If that is not what you mean then who is it that you are indicting and on what grounds besides wishful thinking?
    So you really think that the Lebanese are dumb enough to dismiss evidence if it turns out to be credible? Why are you objecting to the description that HA is fighting like a cornered cat? If they did not sense the huge damage that they might suffer from such an indictment then why are they fighting it so hard even before it is issued? Do you think that the evidence, if credible, will just be dismissed by all factions? Be realistic, just like Sheikh Kassem, who does not deny the potential damage that could befall HA.

    Posted by ghassan karam | November 8, 2010, 2:08 pm
  144. UTP,

    Libya paid upwards of $1.5 Billion for their involvement in the Lockerbie bombing.

    And who are you calling “you people” ?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | November 8, 2010, 2:46 pm
  145. Ghassan,

    I gotta say. I am not entirely sure that a good majority of Lebanese aren’t dumb enough to dismiss credible evidence.

    Have you talked to some of these bozos? Lebanese people have, by large, demonstrated time and again a willingness to live in denial of pretty evident truths and hide their heads in the sands in stead. I would not be at all surprised that any credible evidence produced by the STL will be dismissed as fabricated.

    The Lebanese seem to be inclined to dismiss the laws of physics and common sense when it suits them.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 8, 2010, 3:47 pm
  146. HP,

    The people of Ghajar are Alawites. They have prospered under Israeli rule. Naturally, they would say they are Syrians so as not to be seen as wanting to be part of Israel.

    It is not clear to me also what deal Bibi has struck with the UN regarding Israeli withdrawal. The timing does seem strange. We will have to wait and see.

    Posted by AIG | November 8, 2010, 4:09 pm
  147. BV,
    But one must believe in miracles, no:-) BTW, when I posted #328 I thought of you. I stated that very few if any understand the point that I have often tried to make; I oppose HA strongly but I am no fan of either Sa’ad, Saniora, the President, Jumblatt, Geagea … since you are one of the few who appreciate that position. Take care.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 8, 2010, 5:22 pm
  148. Gk,

    “what does it mean when you say that the evidence is manufactured?”

    That the evidence is presented to fit the accused

    “Are you saying that Bellmare and the STL are running an operation whose aim is to manufacture evidence? ”

    I am saying that there is an agenda. Whether it is the investigators themselves or the evidence being supplied to the investigation is moot. But yes, I am saying that the evidence is contrived.

    I say this on the basis that as soon as it was needed Syria was all of a sudden not the obvious and clear criminal it had been. How exactly does an investigation go from publicly accusing on “suspect” to suddenly
    pointing it at others?

    “So you really think that the Lebanese are dumb enough to dismiss evidence if it turns out to be credible?”

    I think the some in Lebanon will take any “Prima facie” and circumstantial evidence and call it credible. Whats your point? Besides, five years and counting, Im not holding out for any “credible” evidence.

    “Why are you objecting to the description that HA is fighting like a cornered cat?”

    Because for a cat to be cornered it has to be feel under a threat from a credible danger and threat. The STL and all its supporters in Lebanon are not that.

    “If they did not sense the huge damage that they might suffer from such an indictment then why are they fighting it so hard even before it is issued?”

    Because of the damage to the country it will cause. You still do not get that the agenda all across the ME is to pit Sunni against Shia? You still believe that the US govt. has no pro-Israeli agenda and is just trying to bring freedom to us? Do you really believe that?

    “Do you think that the evidence, if credible, will just be dismissed by all

    No, but nor would I care were it not for the fact that I believe some wish to use this “credible” evidence to create strife.


    Libya paid the money to drop the sanctions. Even some of the families of the victims don’t believe the Libyans were behind it.

    “you people” is anyone who isn’t what BV regards as a “bozo”. Its the Lebanese on here that seem to have more pent up distaste for people who have sacrificed their lives for Lebanon, because of some imaginary fear of the imminent Caliphate than for the Israeli posters who would happily kill their families in Lebanon the next time they are called up.

    Anyway, that’s it from for now as I shall become a UTP again. I’ll come back again when the Israelis realise that the STL will get them nowhere and attack Lebanon in the Spring.

    Posted by usedtopost | November 8, 2010, 5:39 pm
  149. GK,

    Much appreciated. I indeed am with you 100% on that. I am very much of the opinion that every single one of the current crop of feudal leaders, along with the antiquated sectarian system needs to be thrown away ENTIRELY. Not “reformulated” but completely done away with, before Lebanon can be a true and fair democracy.

    And I am, much like you, entirely opposed to any armed militia (be it under the guise of resistance or otherwise) that operates outside the state. Period.

    As for my comment about Lebanese accepting credible evidence…Well…Exhibit A: UTP’s post #348. I rest my case.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 8, 2010, 6:05 pm
  150. Back from a hellish 3 weeks in Lebanon! I’ve been to Baghdad and Kabul and they are less stressful.

    To those who have children and contemplating leaving this God forsaken place called Lebanon I say go leave already, if you can give your children the chance to grow up in a somewhat normal society outside and you don’t you must be a heartless selfish person.

    I agree with BV the majority of the Lebanese are “enlightened” enough and would believe wild conspiracy theories over any hard evidence.

    Ghajar was not occupied in 2006. Its inhabitants are Syrian Bedouins, the village was occupied in 67 its status is similar to Sheba farms undecided whether it is Syrian or Lebanese territory. I guess we will find out soon when all hell breaks loose who will have final ownership

    Posted by V | November 8, 2010, 6:05 pm
  151. UTP, not so fast.

    The “imaginary fear of the imminent Caliphate” is not imaginary to some of us. It is very real, and were it to be credibly removed we will be the first to rally around Gen. Aoun and his vision and SHN and his (if indeed it’s there) true Lebanese patriotism.

    You surely understand that, in light of the history of all the events that transpired, all the speeches, past and present, all the behavior, some of us are quite justified in having this impression and this fear.

    I may venture to say that the perceived conspiracy to fabricate evidence and/or twist its interpretation to accuse folks who otherwise are innocent, such perception is “imaginary.”

    We differ here. While none of us can convince you at this point that the perception that there is a set-up or a conspiracy involving Israel and the US to frame HA is “imaginary,” but may well be able to do so once the facts and the STL proceedings are underway, you, on the other hand, perhaps has the arguments to convince us that our fear is “imaginary.” But wait, you’ve tried that already and, at least for me, it didn’t work. How about unambiguous declarations to that effect by HA leaders along with a change of the written charter? That might do it, but what are the chances of this happening?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 8, 2010, 6:08 pm
  152. Ghasan#328,
    I usually don’t attend arguments I’m not invited to, in fear of not being welcome, lol
    I understand, and fully respect your right to oppose HA ideology. I for once, don’t support the their ideology at all, though, I believe they have the right to be part of the political system.
    My problem with your comment is your position on resistance. I understand from your position that a state has to have consensus on resistance before it lunches one.
    In an ideal world, a government would organize/support a public resistance to help state army defend against foreign aggression, and/or help liberate occupied territories.
    What can be done when the state abandons its responsibilities toward its people, and its territories? What can be done when the state, for one reason or combination of reasons, ceases to be to in control? What do we do when the whole state is torn apart by civil wars?
    How do you expect consensus when, at one time, Lebanese political party were allied with the Israelis? I don’t want to open wounds here, but your idealistic position does not make much sense to the people who were suffering under Israeli occupation.
    Was the French resistance against the Nazis created thorough consensus?
    When a state ceases to be in control, people have the right to defend their country, and territorial sovereignty.
    How else could have Israeli been forced to withdraw from Beirut, and the majority of the territories it had occupied during the 82 invasion?
    Do you truly believe that Lebanon could ever have consensus on resistance or any other important national issue, when you have a very weak authority?
    were we supposed to let the occupation of Lebanese territories by Israel go unchallenged, until we have a government that could have organize a national resistance through consensus?
    What if some people decided they do not want to resist? Does everyone else have to follow?
    I appreciate your idealism, but it is not realistic in this case. I hope you didn’t let your opposition to HA ideology, influence your definition of resistance.
    Growing up within eye sight of the border myself, I didn’t notice any effort by my state to defend its people or its territories( I won’t get into further discussion on the failure of the state of Lebanon ) .

    Posted by Prophet | November 8, 2010, 6:29 pm
  153. An aside, although one that’s somewhat relevant to the topics at hand: Hazem Saghieyh’s exceptional writeup here:


    Very interesting indeed. I fully agree with his notion of shame vs. guilt.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 8, 2010, 6:30 pm
  154. UTP
    I hope that you are still around for one more post at least. You have been much more “objective” or less partisan in the past.
    I have two issues to raise in connection to your last post. It seems that you are suggesting that investigations never change their directions. But as you well know it is exactly the opposite. A good impartial investigation will let the evidence lead. When the evidence leads to a dead end then you start all over again. To the best of my knowledge there has not been an official accusation of Syria besides the one time remarks by Mehlis who was not a member of the STL. I submit that it is to the credit of the STL that they announced that the information supplied by some of the witnesses did not pan out. We sometimes forget that it was the STL that has turned a deaf ear to the so called “false witnesses”
    The other point is the respopnse that you gave in your attempt to answer the question why are they reacting this way if they have nothing to fear. You said that it is only the motivation for the love of country. Is that why they started the 2006 war? But more importantly is the current threat and reason for the uncertainty and political instability; if HA is not to make trouble then there won’t be any. Is it too much to ask that the political wing of HA waits to find out who is indicted and for what before they start a campaign of threats and disobedience?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 8, 2010, 6:37 pm
  155. “Growing up within eye sight of the border myself, I didn’t notice any effort by my state to defend its people or its territories”
    I also grew up within eye sight of the border however in addition to what you did not notice, I noticed how the people sided with the PLO and allowed the village to be used as a launching pad for all types of stupid attacks on the Israelis that had no military value or achievement. I also witnessed how the people sided with all kinds of leftist militias against the state of Lebanon and its legitimate troops that you expected to provide protection. Back then the Lebanese Army was practically the enemy of the communists and all types of revolutionaries who wanted to liberate Palestine from my house in Khiam.
    When will the Lebanese share the responsibility and blame? Never

    Posted by V | November 8, 2010, 6:57 pm
  156. V,

    Excellent points. People are quick to blame the “absence of a state” in the South, forgetting all the while how hostile they were to that same state.

    Mind you, I’m not saying the state isn’t to blame in many ways for neglecting a portion of its citizen, or being co-opted by sectarian/feudal zaims. Of course it was. But as you said, the Lebanese refuse to share the blame in pretty much anything. It’s ALWAYS someone else’s fault. It’s exactly that mentality that leads me to doubt Ghassan’s wish that “Lebanese wouldn’t be so dumb as to overlook credible evidence.” Of course they would be that dumb. They prove it day in and day out.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 8, 2010, 7:36 pm
  157. Prophet,
    This is a public forum and I do not mean to exclude anyone when I use a name of a commentator.
    I could give you a very detailed response but the fact of the matter is that my position vis a vis resistance is not idealistic at all; it is democratic
    I am glad that we are in total agreement on the rights of HA or any group to promote freely its ideology and beliefs.Diversity of opinion is very healthy. If I want the right to dissent then clearly I should offer it to others. You can rest assured that my ideological disagreement with HA does not colour my position on resistance. It seems that we agree that all peoples have the right to resist occupation , foreign and otherwise. That is precisely why no one can take away from HA the respect and the accomplishments that they earned so well in their fight to liberate Lebanese land.
    The problem is not with the accomplishment but with the efforts to maintain Resistance as a right and possibly obligation of only one specific grioup of people. If resistance is the right of all citizens then any group should be able to organize and join the resistance movement.An open resistance is not the same as a monopoly. HA insist that their members are the only resistance and so they are to be privileged and allowed to operate as a state within a state. If that is the case then Resistance becomes vigilanteism no more and no less.
    HA have the right to disagree with the governing forces and thus to take over government but what they do not have the right to do is to demand a monopoly on patriotism, to insist like any good monopolist that their interpretation of events is the only one that matters since they have the bigger gun.
    What we have here is an idea that belongs to the people, all the people, that was monopolised and thus used the monopoly power to exploit their position of power. Furthermore like any good monopolist they made sure that no competition was to be allowed and thus their exploitation of their unfair advantage proceeded unchecked. What started as a democratic right of all metamorphed into a stifling exploitative monopoly, into a vigilante movement.
    I will be the first to admit that the military wing of HA has the right to disagree /reject officialdom and to rise against it. What they do not have the right to do is to seek a monopoly position that rests on official sanctions and yet to disallow government control. They cannot be and not be simultaneously. They are either a part of the fabric and so they will have to abide by the general rules or they are not and then they have the right to rebel. What they cannot do is be both.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 8, 2010, 7:47 pm
  158. V Says,#355
    You pick and choose what to points to address.
    I can’t disagree much with what you said about some people siding with the leftist parties, or the PLO.
    But you seem to forget that The Israeli aggression against Lebanon had been going on before even the arrival of the PLO.
    As far as southerners supporting leftist parties, that should never be an accusation. It was ,and still is their rights to be what ever they wish. We also had people supporting right wing parties . Are saying that all Lebanese should have supported right wing parties to be saved from Israel ? If that is the case, you insinuating that right wing parties are traitors. Though I have my differences with right wing parties, but I will not accuse them of being traitors , like you did.
    Do I understand from your comment , that being leftist gives Israel an excuse to shell, and occupy Lebanese territories?
    Aside of your opinion of leftist parties, these were Lebanese parties, just like all political parties that dominated the political seen during that period.
    That being said, non of what you said excuses the Lebanese authorities from their responsibilities to defend the country.
    You also seem to think that the idea of liberating Palestine is dirty thing.
    Though I don’t support the idea of Lebanese taking it upon themselves to liberate Palestine on their own, the Palestinian issue is still noble issue. Until the Palestinian problems resolved, you can be assured that stability in the whole region would be challenge to maintain.
    People living in the south, had no option when it came to the PLO’’s presence in Lebanon. It was the irresponsible Lebanese authority who agreed to the Cairo agreement. It was not the southerner who authorised them to operate militarily from the south. PLO was shoved into the throats of Lebanese in general, and the southerners in particular.
    It was the failure of the Lebanese forces to protect Lebanese territories, and Lebanese people that opened the way for resistance.

    Posted by Prophet | November 8, 2010, 7:58 pm
  159. Prophet, “It was the irresponsible Lebanese authority who agreed to the Cairo agreement.”

    You’re absolutely right about this. This was the beginning of the end of true Lebanese sovereignty. For that we have to thank the weak and hollow leaders of the time (weakness and hollowness continuing to be perpetuated, replaced, in some cases by fanatical belligerence), aided by our Arab “brothers” and supported – let’s admit it – by a section of the Lebanese population who blindly wanted to be Arab first, Arab second, and Arab last.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 8, 2010, 8:10 pm
  160. … and now that you got me started, let’s try to explain this Arabism where hundreds of million of Arabs are impotent to claim what they say is their right from a country with 6 Million inhabitants which, even if you include its diaspora, stays at 15 to 16 Million in total. On top of that, the “Arabs” have had the black gold to finance the excesses of some of their ruling class, squandering much of it on behavior that made them the ridicule of the civilized world. My turn to say TFEH.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 8, 2010, 8:14 pm
  161. Prophet,
    I don’t intend to argue but your rant is full of holes and contradictions to which i am tired to respond in great detail.
    I just would like to point out that i did not accuse anyone of being a traitor!. Personally i have no allegiance to your “meskh el watan Lebanon” as Mr. Angry Arab calls it. I consider the presence of the Jews and Israel in the region a blessing and certainly have no animosity towards them. Eventually all this will clear up it may take more wars but at the end peace with our Israeli Zionist Jewish brothers is coming whether your resistance likes it or not.

    Posted by V | November 8, 2010, 8:27 pm
  162. HP,

    My friend, its really simple. You don’t need statements (though they have been made) and there is no written charter to change. If the 2009 manifesto’s declaration of working within the Lebanese system is not unambiguous enough for you, you may need to contact their media office.

    Secondly, historically, the faction of HA most ardently pushing for an Islamic Republic in Lebanon were forcefully expelled in the late 80’s because they would not give up that goal.

    Furthermore, believe it or not it is mostly irrelevant whether or not SHN or HA want an Islamic Republic in Lebanon or not. Without the backing of the Shia community, HA cannot function. And the Shia, contrary to what some may believe, are sophisticated enough to separate the spiritual from the political – And 90% of the Shia would be as aghast at an Islamic Republic in Lebanon as you would. Evidence? The no1 spiritual leader amongst them before his unfortunate death was Fadlallah, and I’m sure you know his thoughts on the Wilayat.

    But I’m not here to change your mind, or even put it at ease. I can tell you that I would oppose any attempt at making Lebanon, of all Arab countries, an Islamic state. And I can tell you that every HA supporter I know would also (esp. since a few of them sort of dont much follow the rules).

    And on a final note, heres a puzzler. You claim HA want to bring an Islamic system to Lebanon. Others, such as V, claim that HA run “their” areas with threats and intimidation. So heres the riddle. If both the above are true, how is it that their so called areas arent run like Islamic islands in Lebanon? Why is it I see women with heads uncovered and in mini-skirts? I mean, if HA wanted this Islamic republic so bad, and its people so enslaved by the Wilayat, shouldn’t the Dahyieh be like little Tehran?

    I am of course being presumptuous in believing that everyone here has been there. Right?

    As for Aoun’s alliance with HA. Let me ask you this simple question. Before the agreement, the next civil war was always going to be about the Shia threat to the Christians. Now its all about the Shia-Sunni confrontations? Is it a coincidence? Is it a coincidence that someone is always trying to portray HA and the Shia as a threat to some other party?

    HP, my unsolicited advice, which I’m sure will be duly filed under the remember to forget category, is that worry less about the perceived threats about the future, because you have more allies than you think, and worry more about what some people have in store for Lebanon today.

    I am not suggesting that investigations never change their directions. What I am saying is when the lead investigator unambiguously points the finger of blame, he will be doing so either because he has solid evidence or because he has an agenda. If there was solid evidence, there would have been an indictment, so there is only one logical conclusion.

    The STL through out evidence that linked Syria to the the plot. Coincidentally, just when Syria and the US were finding common ground.

    What I find remarkable is that you, a well read and intelligent man, refuse to consider that a court, STL or otherwise, cannot be manipulated by the investigators or evidence. How many miscarriages of justice have there been in any country in any give time period due to corrupt investigators, policemen or judges?

    As to your second question, let me clarify as to what they are doing since I did not make it clear (I am going to avoid the barb about the the 2006 war since we have had the whole “who started it” debate ad infinitum on a 1000 blogs)

    What is threat you talk about? As far as I am aware I have heard no threats.

    But if you believe that what HA is doing now is causing uncertainty, I and they believe it is nothing to what was planned when the indictments came out. You ask:

    Is it too much to ask that the political wing of HA waits to find out who is indicted and for what before they start a campaign of threats and disobedience

    Again, I have read or heard of no threats (outside of the rabid imaginings of the editors of Naharant) but yes it is too much to ask since without what they are doing now, I believe the “plan” was to use the indictments to try and cause instability.

    I think what you do not understand is that we believe that all roads lead to Hizballahs weapons and the STL is just another attempt to allow Israel to not have to fight.

    Maybe I will be surprised. Maybe the investigation has CCTV footage of Mughniyeh shaking hands with truck driver just before the explosion. But then again, maybe I won’t.

    Posted by usedtopost | November 8, 2010, 10:10 pm
  163. Moe? fashar Ocean Drive in South Beach when it comes to skimpy attire in Dahyieh. 🙂

    Posted by V | November 8, 2010, 10:35 pm
  164. Ya UTP, we need you to run for elections! If there were more people like you and like QN in positions of authority in Lebanon, it would be a much different, much better country, and the light at the end of the tunnel would quickly grow and fill the nat on.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 8, 2010, 10:44 pm
  165. ~nation

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 8, 2010, 10:45 pm
  166. Like the 18,000 Druze in the Golan Heights, Ghajar residents were Syrians when Israel occupied the region.

    But unlike the Druze, the villagers – who are members of the Alawite Islamic minority – accepted Israeli nationality when the Golan was annexed in 1981.

    Over the years, the village expanded northward. In 2000, when the UN demarcated the border, Ghajar’s northern half came under Lebanese control and the other half remained Israeli territory.

    Israel retook the Lebanese part in its 2006 war against Hezbollah militants, and has since built a security fence to prevent militants from entering the enclave.

    In accordance with UN Resolution 1701, which ended Israel’s 33-day war with Hezbollah militants in Lebanon in 2006, Israel is obliged to withdraw from the northern part of the village.

    Posted by Badr | November 9, 2010, 5:25 am
  167. HP, if QN and I were in politics we would be in opposition to one another and I wouldn’t stand a chance….

    Posted by usedtopost | November 9, 2010, 6:29 am
  168. yea, but you are trustworthy and sincere. I still find the declared faith of SHN in wilayat-al- Faqih to be GENUINE AND HENCE WITH A HIDDEN LONG TERM AGENDA FOR lebanon.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 9, 2010, 7:04 am
  169. capitalization unintended. posting from phone. sorry.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 9, 2010, 7:08 am
  170. HP,
    As a nation we are on an adventure. Lets survive the agenda by crossing the bridges we have in front of us rather than worrying what the bridges to come will look like.

    And more importantly, let us not burn the bridges in front of us just because of our fear of the bridges that need to be crossed in the future.

    In my very humble opinion, there are some that would like us to fail to cross these bridges by causing conflict; By making their enemy seem like your enemy because they know that two people trying to cross a very unsturdy bridge will have a much harder time in doing so if they are squabbling rather than working together.

    Irrespective of whom we lend our support to and whom we believe, if there are hidden agendas, they are as hidden to me as they are to you. What is not hidden is the actions of the here and now.

    We all have our political differences.
    But only in Lebanon, and this seems to extend even to those of us living abroad, do we make every difference an existential one.

    And, in truth, some of them are. But not all of them.

    There was divide and conquer, now I believe we are faced with a strategy of divide so we dont have to conquer.

    There are many disparaging statements on this blog about Lebanon, its system, its people (bozos I think is the current mot de jure) etc.

    But given our size(or lack of), our wealth (or lack of), our inability to be fully sovreign for any length of time, our war footing, I believe we should actually be quite proud of the fact that in so many fields we have achieved what the rest of the Arab world has not; Socially, politically, creatively and yes militarily, we punch well above our weight in this region.

    There is a lot to fix, but it can’t be fixed while we allow ourselves to guided by future fears – You the Iranian agenda, me the US agenda. We can only move forward by beleiving that the other has Lebanons interest at heart and act and speak (and yes berate) based on what is done, not what may be done.

    Unfortunately, none of the above will happen. The spiral will continue, the end, which is already pencilled in, will unfortuantely be chaotic and violent. As a nation we will come through it, but sadly many will not. After that? Well, like I said before, Lebanon is the home of the Law of Unintended Consequences. What is planned and what pans out will most likely be very very different.

    Maybe its at that point QN will jump in as El Presidente (He may have even finished his dissertation by then)

    Posted by usedtopost | November 9, 2010, 7:46 am
  171. UTP you’re a poet and I like you.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 9, 2010, 10:13 am
  172. Mutual respect and a fondness for one another despite political differences?

    A good place to end the conversation and perhaps to start a newer better one.

    Posted by usedtopost | November 9, 2010, 10:21 am
  173. On a lighter note.
    A few months ago there was a thread about Fusha and the Balkanization of the Arabic language. The following is an email that I received an hour ago:

    أتحداك أن
    تعرف معاني الكلمات الآتية

    سوداني يعطي صاحبه رقم جواله

    Posted by ghassan karam | November 9, 2010, 11:03 am
  174. I turn my back for a moment only to find UTP and HP whispering sweet nothings to each other? Is this still the Qifa Nabki blog?

    I apologize for my absence over the past few days… job applications are very time consuming.

    I promise a new blog post later tonight.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 9, 2010, 11:14 am
  175. QN,

    I think we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding….:)

    Posted by usedtopost | November 9, 2010, 12:16 pm
  176. UTP says “when the lead investigator unambiguously points the finger of blame, he will be doing so either because he has solid evidence or because he has an agenda. If there was solid evidence, there would have been an indictment, so there is only one logical conclusion.”

    Quite the contrary, my friend.
    If you have an agenda, and plan on simply “fabricating” evidence, then it doesn’t really take 5 years to do so. The STL would’ve indicted whoever they planned to indict within days or weeks of being set up.
    The fact that it’s taken so long, in my opinion, is indicative that a true investigation IS indeed being pursued. Investigations do not always yield results overnight. On the other hand, fabricated evidence and agendas can be slapped together in days.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 9, 2010, 1:52 pm
  177. Ghassan @357,
    I respect everyone right to believe whatever suits them, as long a s it does not interfere with the rights of others. Yes diversity is healthy. Everyone has the right to dissent. I may disagree with you, but I don’t question your rights to dissent.
    I’m very pleased, that you and I share the belief, that resistance is a right to be exercised when a state, or sovereignty of state is under attack. I personally would go further and say that resistance is a duty, but that is my opinion.
    Although I agree with you that resistance is an idea for all the people, you have to realize that some people decided not want to resist, which was their right. Others, however, decided that there was no enemy to resist at all. Some even thought it was their right not to consider Israel as an enemy. But that is another subject.
    I’m not sure I would describe HA resistance as a monopoly. We all know that from 1982, until the day the Taif agreement was signed, the resistance had included many other parties. The Taif agreement, with “the blessing of the international community and the Arab states”, was negotiated to end the civil war that had torn the country apart. Since many of the parties who were part of the resistance, had been involved in the civil war, the decision was made that all have to disarm. There is no denial of the regional influence in the decision to allow HA to become the only party to resist military.
    HA had not been involved in the civil war (except for their war against Amal/friendly fire, LOL), so yes it remained the spearhead of the resistance, since all militias (to maintain internal peace were not allowed to carry arms). There is no monopoly on patriotism at all; the liberation of most occupied areas took place when all other parties were still part of the resistance, especially when Israeli troops were spread out in a larger area.
    No doubt, the discipline of the resistance was a major factor in its success. This discipline didn’t exist when everyone was part of the military resistance.
    As for the democracy part of your argument, I’m not sure that the resistance issue should be the first to address in order to introduce democracy .
    Our system needs major reform to become democratic. You can’t pick and choose what issues should be addressed first. You have not made the argument that resistance should be the first on the national agenda to secure democracy.
    Vigilantism,as you put it ,is a very harsh description for people who dedicated and lost their lives to liberate their country, at a time where all other Lebanese militias were busy murdering each other,and destroying what remained of the country.
    I’ll conclude by saying this; I look forward to the day all parties, including the resistance disarm. I think having the resistance, is more of an asset than a burden.
    When all Lebanese territories are returned to Lebanon’s sovereignty, and Lebanon is assured that Israel would not take aggressive actions against its territories or people, is the day that last bullet should be handed to the Lebanese army. I would not support a resistance until the liberation of Palestine, as some advocate, even if I believe the Palestinian issue to be the core cause of instability in the region.

    Posted by Prophet | November 9, 2010, 2:25 pm
  178. V@ 361
    I won’t argue with you either. I understand that you and I are on opposite ends of this debate.
    It is obvious that you enjoy being with your Jewish brothers at the country that was not yours, and you are will to do and say anything to maintain that ,and I respect that.
    That being said, You have no right non what so ever to be involved in the debate of the Lebanese e resistance . You can not be objective or impartial in your views when Lebanese debate this issue. Your input might be of use to the Israeli debate on whether your state has the desire to make peace or not. I would be more than happy to debate the question of peace or war with you, but not our right to resist ,nor the method we should use to resist your aggression and occupation.

    What you consider to be a blessing ,has been nothing but a misery to the Palestinian people.
    This may be this is a good topic you’d like to debate .

    Posted by Prophet | November 9, 2010, 3:03 pm
  179. Second sentence should have said:It is obvious that you enjoy being with your Jewish brothers at the country that was not yours, and you are willing to do and say anything to maintain that ,and I respect that.

    Last sentence should have said: This may be a good topic to debate.

    Posted by Prophet | November 9, 2010, 3:18 pm
  180. TO Prophet
    You said:
    What you consider to be a blessing ,has been nothing but a misery to the Palestinian people.

    Any time a Lebanese will play that sanctimonous game I will say that so was Lebanon to 100% of the Lebanese Jews. We have been here before. Two wrongs do not negate each other, but there were two wrongs. Nobody is clean and perfect and in a position to preach.

    When 100% of the people of Ghajar will give away their Israeli citizenship for Lebanese citizenship we will have additional things to talk about.

    Talking about misery, as far as I know Palestinians under Israel with Israeli citizenship or not are in general less miserable than the Palestinians in Lebanon.
    It may not be a fair or honest argument, but they ARE better off. As I am saying all the time, it is all very complicated and not that simple black and white. No body is perfect or near it and all have made mistakes that can only be partially corrected if at all.

    Talking about security and such. If I remember correctly [ and I do ] the last killing on the Israel Lebanon border of both Israelis and Lebanese was when an Israeli officer was shot from Lebanon on Israeli soil. So said the UN several times. It should not happen very often if the good people of Lebanon want to be safe and secure.

    As was said here by others, weapons in the hands of some people, Israeli and Lebanese, make them think that they are demigods. That is bad ! HA has aleady put a claim to villages inside Israel. So as long as HA, realy Iran, is dictating the war/peace ballance in Lebanon there always be resistance and a need for resistance. The fact that some people belonging to the resistance are making good money in the single air port and the numerous passes between Syria and Lebanon does not deminish the need for eternal resistance.

    As for what you said about V. I too enjoy being a Jew in Israel and not being a Jew in Lebanon or in any other place in the world where I will be under HA or the like of it.

    So, if the good people of Lebanon, or others, will try to take that joy away from me there will be hell to pay. Resistance can work both ways or many ways, you know. Presently there are no others to help Lebanon in such a job, though next week such others may or will come. So why would the good people of Lebanon take, by them selves, that job right now, presently ?I do not know. It sound from your words, I hope I am wrong, that some of them are serious about it. Too bad for all of us.

    Posted by Rani | November 9, 2010, 4:49 pm
  181. Prophet,

    I think you are a bit confused and jumping to conclusions.
    I am not Israeli; I am Lebanese or was once if you prefer. Born in Khiam South Lebanon. I still go to Beirut and Khiam and enjoy Frakeh and Tabooleh sometimes but also can go to Jerusalem when I please.
    As for the suffering of the Palestinians I can assure you they suffered so much more at the hands of their Lebanese “Brothers” just look up the massacres at Tal el Zaatar, Karantina, Sabra, Shatila and Nahr el Bared and don’t forget Nabih Berri’s 2 year campaign against the camps ordered by his masters in Damascus.
    You are free to jump to more conclusions and accuse me of being a traitor a spy or a former SLA like Mo used to do, go ahead it’s what you people know how to do best .

    Posted by V | November 9, 2010, 5:31 pm
  182. “As for the suffering of the Palestinians I can assure you they suffered so much more at the hands of their Lebanese “Brothers” just look up the massacres at Tal el Zaatar, Karantina, Sabra, Shatila and Nahr el Bared and don’t forget Nabih Berri’s 2 year campaign against the camps ordered by his masters in Damascus.”

    This. End of story.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | November 9, 2010, 6:55 pm
  183. V, thank for clarifying that. Not accusing you of anything, though you sounded more Israeli than most Israelis .
    You just fall into the category of those who decided that Israel is not their enemy. Whether you were with the SLA or not , I would not know, nor do I really care. Those low life people got what they deserved anyway.
    All I care about is whether you have, in this case, the right to debate our resistance rights or not. Since our enemy isn’t yours, you stay out of the resistance debate all together. There is nothing you can add to this debate, we know where you stand. Ghassan and I are in agreement on the resistance question, but you and I are not.
    I will agree with you though, that Lebanese were as brutal to the Palestinians, living in Lebanon. I admit that, not to make the Israelis feel better about their treatments of Palestinians, but because I have the courage to admit mistakes, while many Israelis do not have the courage.
    That being said, mistreatments of Palestinians by Lebanese, does not in any way give any excuse to Israel to commit crimes against Palestinians. Nor does excuse Israel from respecting all UN resolutions regarding the Israeli Arab conflict.

    Posted by Prophet | November 9, 2010, 7:00 pm
  184. Rani, 380
    If it makes you feel less guilt that Palestinians were mistreated by Lebanese, then be it. That makes no difference to all the Palestinians who were thrown out of their homes and towns 64 years ago. It makes no difference to the people of the west bank whose territories are being confiscated every day.
    It makes no difference to the residence of Ghaza, who have suffered for over 40 years at the brutal hands of Israel. The facts are facts, that Israel is systematically uprooting Palestinians, discriminating against them, and abusing every right they have.
    Your threatening tone won’t make a difference either. If a war is to take place, it will destructive to both sides. But, gone are the days where Israel dictates when and how every war will end. Gone a re the days where Israeli troops can just walk over the border at will. Historically, Israel could do anything it wanted any time it wanted, well, that has changed; everything has a price now.
    I’m glad you mentioned the border incident where three Lebanese soldiers were lost, and Two Israeli soldiers killed. As sad as it was that it cost Lebanon three dear soldiers, it was just a good example of the deterrence that exists at the border.
    As for your mention of resistance, at least you gave yourself the right to resist if “your country is invaded”. Hopefully, V will be inspired by your patriotism, and willingness to defend what you believe is yours.

    Posted by Prophet | November 9, 2010, 7:23 pm
  185. Prophet,

    You have my sincere respect for your courage in acknowledging that we are at fault.
    many and the majority of those who champion the resistance cause whether now or in the past days of leftist revolutionaries refuse to do so and always demonized and depicted the Israelis as being the only source of our problems this is wrong and serves only as a recruiting and brainwashing tool.
    The day we start looking at and admitting our share of faults and responsibility for the ills of our society is the day we start truly solving our problems.
    There are folks in Israel who have the freedom to question demand and hold accountable their governments for anything including the issue of Palestinian treatment and the peace process. Do you have that freedom in your Lebanese or Syrian society? No you don’t.

    It is only logical to start with your own problems and their cause. If you want to resist you have to resist tyranny in your own backyard first.

    Posted by V | November 9, 2010, 7:35 pm
  186. I am not inspired by yours or anyone else’s patriotism.
    I will borrow this from Ghassan Karam and Samuel Johnson “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”
    It is more honorable to feed a child or help a poor person in need than to defend all the borders in the world.

    Posted by V | November 9, 2010, 7:54 pm
  187. That being said, mistreatments of Palestinians by Lebanese, does not in any way give any excuse to Israel to commit crimes against Palestinians.

    “low life people” NewZ


    Speaking of “resistance” and the treatment of Palestinians in Lebanon, how mortars and Katyushas have the Palestinian “resistance movements” fire against Lebanese population centers?

    I’m just trying to figure out why the Palestinians in Lebanon were treated so badly.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 9, 2010, 7:55 pm
  188. V, I’m not sure where you live, but I can assure you that Lebanese suffer from extra freedom of expression. We may not have, the ideal ,and democratic system, but as far as freedom, we have more than can use. Freedom of expression is being g abuse in Lebanon. What Lebanese lack, though, is the courage to examine their history and actions? This has been my problem with Lebanese leaders, and especially warlords, is they are all in denial about their history and crimes.
    I’ve always called on Lebanese leaders, and people to start healing themselves by examining and admitting mistakes they have made, in the hope that they learn from their mistakes. It is not a secret that most Lebanese warship their leaders, and fallow them blindly.
    I can’t speak for the Syrians, but I will presume that they do not enjoy the level of freedom , Lebanese do.
    It is not my job to resist tyranny in other countries. It is my hope that all Arab countries become heaven for freedom. But my responsibility is for Lebanon first and foremost.
    My responsibility, as a Lebanese, is defending my own. It is my responsibility, and my duty to work with my fellow Lebanese to make my country democratic, not Syria. I leave that to the Syrians.
    Once we, Lebanese, have established the democracy we desire, we will have the right to lecture others on democracy. No one is asking you not to criticize the lack of freedom and democracy in Syria or any other country, but I’m asking you to be patriotic in your own country , before you change other countries by resisting their tyranny.

    Posted by Prophet | November 9, 2010, 8:08 pm
  189. AP, “I’m just trying to figure out why the Palestinians in Lebanon were treated so badly.”

    Hmm, good question.

    So, let’s see. Lebanon had Armenian refugees back in the beginning of the 20th century, who came in, worked hard, conformed to rules, assimilated, were productive, peaceful, contributed to the society and its improvement, got assimilated, became part of the political structure, and now are as or more Lebanese than any of the staunch “Phoenician type” Lebanese.

    Palestinians came, huddled in camps, decided to liberate Palestine starting from Lebanon, armed themselves, made a mockery out of the Lebanon’s sovereignty, protected criminals in their camps, preventing the Lebanese lawful security forces for pursuing them in there, sought, through intimidation and Arab solidarity to legitimize their usurpation of Lebanese sovereignty, launched attacks against Israel (with whom Lebanon had no dispute up to that point), in the utterly ridiculous and foolish goal of “liberating” Palestine, caused horrible retaliation by Israel which punished both Palestinians and Lebanese with no distinction, participated in the civil war, and, need I go on?

    Go back to my post above where I wonder why is it that hundreds of millions of Arabs are impotent against a mere 6 million Israelis, which, even if you include the diaspora, amount to no more than 16 million.

    Did some Lebanese commit abject and inhuman crimes in showing their hate of Palestinians. Of course. They should be condemned with the most severe punishment of history, just like the devout and fanatical Jew who massacred muslims in a mosque in the West Bank. Criminals and savages exist everywhere and should be condemned. Just like the criminals who killed the Israeli athletes in Munich, etc.

    But if you filter that criminal element out, and compare how the “people” behaved, how the refugees behaved, comparing the Armenians to the Palestinians, you get your answer AP.

    Do we, Lebanese and those of Lebanese origin, blame also Israel? Of course we do. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are our friends. They both caused destruction in our country. They fought and continue to fight their battle on our soil.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 9, 2010, 8:10 pm
  190. … I know, I have a sneaky feeling that AIG is going to come in and tell me that even without Israel, Lebanon was going to have the problems between Christians and Muslims, between an eventual HA rising, etc.

    To that I say, we simply don’t know that. We know one thing for sure, that because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a huge imbalance and conflict were created in Lebanon. There is no point speculating about what would have happened without that. For all we know, Lebanon could have evolved into a true model of co-existence. See, prosperity across the board yields peace and happiness. But with the conflicts as they happened, there was no hope of prosperity.

    So, without denying the possibility of conflict regardless of the Palestinian problem we cannot assert its inevitability either. And, in any case, it would have been a purely internal Lebanese problem. Many countries have had civil wars and emerged after them to a peaceful and prosperous state of events. Not so in Lebanon. The culprit: foreign intervention, from every side, using Lebanon as a battlefield.

    As always, I reiterate that surely the Lebanese have a lot to improve and we can write pages after pages listing our failures as a people. But none of that justifies the injustice inflicted upon our people from the foreign interventions from whichever side they came.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 9, 2010, 8:24 pm
  191. Akbar palace,
    Not sure what you are getting at here. It is no secret that the presence of 500 thousand Palestinians and the presence of the PLO had created issues for Lebanese factions that ended with a civil war. It is no secret that many Lebanese have a racist attitude toward the average Palestinian refugee living in Lebanon.
    Having the PLO dominates Lebanon, and the wars fought by the PLO were, unfairly, costly to the civilian population living in Lebanon.
    The idea of resistance against Israeli occupation has nothing to do with the mistreatment of Palestinians. Those are two different issues.
    Just because I, and many Lebanese admit that Lebanon mistreated Palestinians, Our right and duty to defend against Israel does not change.
    That does not change the fact that Israel has brutally treated Palestinians, nor does it change the fact that Israel has uprooted them from their land, and still, refuses to make peace based on two state solution, where those who you showed concern for, can go back home.

    Posted by prophet | November 9, 2010, 8:25 pm
  192. HP,
    I disagree with you. it is a known fact that the imbalance was already there, it manifested itself by a group of Lebanese siding with the PLO and the left against their own government and the Lebanese system that they viewed as unjust, inequality and injustice that was rampant in the South was the main cause behind the Southerners taking up arms with the Palestinians, had they been privileged like the Maronites of Keserwan for example i doubt they would have been easily recruited as cannon fodder.

    Posted by V | November 9, 2010, 8:41 pm
  193. Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea responded last Wednesday by saying that all of the alleged false witnesses used are Syrians and most of them belong to the Syrian intelligence agency, according to a statement from his press office. He also pointed out that the four generals who were detained in 2005 for their alleged involvement in Hariri’s murder were released in 2009 because of lack of sufficient evidence and not because they were innocent.

    this is essentially a legal problem. To use witnesses who used to be suspects and were released not because they were found to be innocent, but because of a lack of evidence is in direct contravention with the basic principles of international law and the principles of lebanese domestic law. therefore on these grounds alone, without regard to what has been said by the “witnesses” these are indeed “false” or at least illegitimate witnesses.

    Posted by John Saghir | November 11, 2010, 7:57 am

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