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. Again, looking at the regional picture is more meaningful. Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran will match Israel’s extremism with maximal positions of their own:


    “Israel will not bring peace to the region, it will only bring war and destruction and therefore, the slogan of all should be that Israel must be wiped out of existence,” said
    Shallah, who is on a United States wanted list.

    Senior leaders of the ruling Islamist group, Hamas, joined the open-air gathering, the largest for years in honor of Islamic Jihad with up to 100,000 attending according to its organizers.

    Posted by Alex | October 29, 2010, 4:09 pm
  2. The most “interesting” portion of Ms Lina’s piece is the revelation that the inspectors Cluesow were an Aussie and a Frenchman. This is the only source for this information and begs the question about her access to details thus far kept under wraps.

    What are her connections to Lebanon again?

    Posted by lally | October 29, 2010, 4:11 pm
  3. Ya3ni … Nasrallah would be expected to escalate on all fronts.

    Posted by Alex | October 29, 2010, 4:12 pm
  4. Alex,

    If you think that in the next war Syria will remain unscathed, you are sorely mistaken, so be careful what you wish for. The next war will be bad for everybody including Syria.

    Nice try by the way trying to blame Hezbollah reaction to the STL on Israel.

    I am sure your next post will be to recommend a “temporary” take over of Lebanon by Syria in order to guarantee stability. How else will Syria achieve Otari’s growth goals?

    Posted by AIG | October 29, 2010, 4:49 pm
  5. In a previous discussion some body found that talk of soil=earth, rain and oranges, very strange and perhaps wrong, so be it. Just to mention that attachment to the soil “al ard” and woman honor are some how mixed in this geographical area. So from the way things are in Lebanon, Gaza, Jerusalem, Teheran and the USA and also on this blog where tempers are up, agreement is rare, disagreemet is maximal seemingly we drifting toward war. Will history name the comming war “The war of the gynecology clinic” or “The war of the stolen mobile computer” or what?

    Posted by Rani | October 29, 2010, 4:52 pm
  6. QN,

    How can Hezbollah lose in the PR case?

    Even if the STL investigators walk into a bar Nasrallah will say they were trying to undermine the dignity of weak Muslims by exposing them and are therefore not respectful of people’s religious beliefs.

    Posted by AIG | October 29, 2010, 4:56 pm
  7. @Rani,

    I didn’t think your talk of rain was “wrong”.
    I just thought it was randomly odd and out of place in the middle of a discussion about STL and whatnot…


    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 29, 2010, 5:07 pm
  8. God is Greek Orthodox !

    No, sorry, God is Maronite !

    Hold on, God is Jewish !

    Wait a minute, that is hogwash, God is Shi’ite.

    That’s a load of crap … off course God is Sunni.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 29, 2010, 5:12 pm
  9. PiD,

    You are so self centered to think God really cares about Lebanon!!
    God is Armenian Orthodox.
    QN, this article is another effort to support the sensitivity BS. We are all tired of the sensitivity of a terrorist entity that is being investigated. Wallaw?

    Posted by danny | October 29, 2010, 5:17 pm
  10. AIG,

    Next post I will recommend praying to God to help Israel find enough value in peace based on UN resolutions and the internationally recognized general formula of withdrawal to the 67 borders in exchange of normalization and security for Israel.

    Posted by Alex | October 29, 2010, 5:19 pm
  11. No no, the article is aimed at scaring the beejeesus out of ignorant Americans who will believe that HA can somehow perform majik tricks to cram 150 women into a private clinic’s offices.

    Is Ms Lina Sunni or Christian Lebanese?

    Posted by lally | October 29, 2010, 5:28 pm
  12. lally

    who cares?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 29, 2010, 5:52 pm
  13. QN,

    I like how you qualified your statement with the phrase “as legitimate an excuse as the STL may have had to visit the clinic…” And why do you assume that the STL had a “legitimate excuse” to visit the clinic and ask for patient files in breach of doctor-patient confidentiality. Besides, I don’t believe investigations are supposed to be conducted based on “legitimate excuses,” but rather on proper legal bases. Did those investigators have warrants or proper court orders to demand the release of patient files? If not, then their actions were illegal under any medical privacy laws.

    Posted by Nour | October 29, 2010, 5:56 pm
  14. QN.

    When I read distorted coverage of events being presented as analysis, I care about the influences that shape perspectives..

    Valuable lessons learned from the stinking piles of trash “journalism” and “analysis” that informed the American populace about the threats from Saddam.

    Posted by lally | October 29, 2010, 6:12 pm
  15. Nour,

    From the STL communique:
    “As stated in the press release issued on 27 October 2010, the process leading to the visit was handled professionally and in accordance with legal safeguards. The visit had been approved by the Lebanese authorities. The investigators were accompanied by members of the judicial police and the army. The doctor had received approval from the Beirut Order of Physicians to meet with the OTP investigators, and had agreed to the meeting.”

    It’s all legal. It would be pretty stupid to assume that UN investigator operate the way Lebanese idiots do, and just storm into a building and start asking questions.
    Time and again, I keep saying this complete failure on the part of the Lebanese public in understanding how the rest of the world operates, within the law, in a professional way.
    Civilized people DO NOT operate the way people in Lebanon seem to think. Just because we’ve been conditioned to accept the Mukhabart or militias storming into our homes for no reason, taking what they will, and so on, does NOT mean that’s how professional international organizations operate.
    I wish there was some kind of exchange program for the Lebanese public, where everyone would spend a year of their lives living in societies where the rule of law is applied and private and state agencies behave professionally to see how it really works.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 29, 2010, 6:16 pm
  16. Nour, here is what the official STL statement says:
    “Statements in relation to the recent attack against staff of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon alleging that the investigators examined gynecologist’s patient records in breach of ethical, religious and humanitarian norms are false.
    As the medical doctor interviewed by representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor confirmed in her media interviews, the investigators were not seeking any medical information from her. Moreover, she had cancelled all her appointments for that morning, so that no women would be inconvenienced by the investigators’ visit.”

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 29, 2010, 6:17 pm
  17. lally,

    Even if you think the journalism is crap. Just say so. It has absolutely no relevance on the author’s religion. Does it?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 29, 2010, 6:17 pm
  18. Nour I advise you to discover the beauty of “moral clarity”. It renders those legal limitations you mentioned totally unnecessary.

    This is how it works: Any time there is an action against the bad guys (“The terrorists” and countries that “harbor terrorists”) and that action is blessed by the good guys (Israel and the United States), then it is a good thing.


    Posted by Alex | October 29, 2010, 6:18 pm
  19. Way to make a stupid argument, Alex.

    You just lent credence to the notion of anyone being above the law, based on some vague sense of morality.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 29, 2010, 6:25 pm
  20. My own Wikipedia link…Just cause.


    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 29, 2010, 6:26 pm
  21. Bad Vilbel,



    (dinner time for me)

    Posted by Alex | October 29, 2010, 6:39 pm
  22. BV #17, says:
    ” It (quality of journalism)has absolutely no relevance on the author’s religion. Does it? ”

    It is so unfortunate that some people cannot help but see things through the prism of what religious faith was one born into. It does appear that to some what is crucially important is not the content of what is being said but the first name and especially the family name of the speaker/writer. Thank you for pointing this thing out for the umpteenth time.
    I imagine that my first name is an impediment t easy classification but the family name gives me away as being born to a Maronite tradition. I wonder how are atheists classified?:-)

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 29, 2010, 6:51 pm
  23. BV.

    What about “distorted coverage of events” don’t you understand? I admit it’s more nuanced than calling the article a piece of crap but I didn’t think I was THAT subtle.

    Of course Ms Lina’s sectarian background matters. This is Lebanon we’re talkin’ about, after all.

    Posted by lally | October 29, 2010, 7:04 pm
  24. BV,

    The statement by the STL doesn’t in itself make it acceptable. The physician herself stated clearly that she was asked by the investigators to surrender records on some of her patients. This is illegal, regardless of whom they were accompanied by, unless there is a court order. And court orders are usually handed on an individual basis, and not blanket ones that allow investigators to collect whatever records they want from a doctor in breach of the doctor-patient confidentiality.

    If you look back at what took place in Iraq under UNSCOM, there are clear similarities here. UNSCOM inspectors were given blanket authority to go anywhere they pleased at anytime to search anything they wanted. They clearly violated the privacy of many Iraqis as well as the sanctity of their homes. There was no point in searching schools for weapons of mass destruction, but they did. The same is true here.

    Just because something happens to carry the “international” title does not automatically make it legitimate and acceptable. There are no true independent international institutes that can fairly and equally police the world. International institutes are run by nations with interests. The powerful nations are able to use them to serve their interests, while weaker nations have to suffer under the regimes of these “international” institutes.

    Posted by Nour | October 29, 2010, 7:04 pm
  25. Nour,

    Round these parts rule of law only applies when transgressed by M8 parties. If these records had been at a clinic in Verdun catering to the elite…well you get the picture

    And what is written in print is only propaganda when printed by M8 media, otherwise its the God given truth, esp. when written by Naharnet, that bastion of unbiased, well sourced journalism.

    And as yet, no one has come up with a single, believable reason why the investigators were there if they didn’t want patient records, unless of course you accept Mr Karams charge that the clinic also acts as a repository for the telecom companies records.

    Posted by usedtopost | October 29, 2010, 7:22 pm
  26. Nour, are you suggesting the official STL communique on their website is lying when it says as I quoted above in #16 and gave the link:
    “As the medical doctor interviewed by representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor confirmed in her media interviews, the investigators were not seeking any medical information from her.”

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 29, 2010, 7:24 pm
  27. Nour.

    I don’t disagree with you. The real problem is “WE DONT KNOW” for a fact whether there were warrants, etc.
    But I am assuming there were because
    1) The STL is a professional international agency. Not “Abu Ahmed” from the Lebanese street.
    2) The physician herself stated that this visit was pre-arranged, cleared with the authorities and with her attorneys. Meaning, I would imagine the necessary paperwork was in order.

    Have I seen this paperwork in person? Of course not. So I don’t know.
    But I use common sense. 1 and 2 above lead me to assume things were done legally.
    What I do know for a fact is that it is illegal to assault anyone and steal their suitcase. That part, I think you would agree, is beyond doubt illegal.

    So I don’t understand why some people insist on NOT seeing what is clearly illegal (assault and bodily harm), yet insist on portraying the STL folks as some thugs who busted into this physician’s office and demanded her files at the point of a gun.

    Again, I don’t know for a fact what happened. I wasn’t there. But I use common sense. It is fairly likely that the STL DID have the correct paperwork in order, considering they are professionals.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 29, 2010, 7:27 pm
  28. utp:

    “no one has come up with a single, believable reason why the investigators were there if they didn’t want patient records, unless of course you accept Mr Karams charge that the clinic also acts as a repository for the telecom companies records”

    We don’t know what such reasons could be and any conjecture will be a target of attacks as being excuses and pretenses.

    An appropriate question perhaps is how could the STL, manned by independent jurists with no ax to grind but the rule of justice be manipulated by the U.S. and Israel and somehow seek to put down and entrap HA ? why would such jurists want to do that ? THIS is a question that no one has given any plausible answer for.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 29, 2010, 7:30 pm
  29. I’ll add, the STL is nothing like UNSCOM.
    The correct comparison here is the Court for Yugoslavia.

    The STL has gone to some lengths, in recent times, in showing how they operate, and collect their evidence, etc…(See the reports over the past week of the conference held in the Hague, where journalists were invited and explained the process by which the STL operates).

    Again. I don’t know for a fact what happened. But I find it extremely disingenuous that people jump to the conclusion that the STL are thugs, yet I don’t see you condemning ASSAULT and THEFT.

    I’ll repeat one more time. The physician herself has said repeatedly that this visit was cleared with the Lebanese authorities AND her attorneys.

    Again, I don’t know how this crap works in Lebanon, but in the rest of the world, I would imagine the attorney in question looked at the subpoena or warrant, and had ample opportunity to advise his client (the physician) that such a visit was illegal, if it was indeed so, and to refuse it.

    Do you people watch any of a gazillion shows on tv about Criminal Justice? Try it sometime.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 29, 2010, 7:34 pm
  30. HP @26,

    Of course they’re all lying.
    The physician herself is clearly lying, or posing as an Israeli, posing as a Lebanese woman…

    All rational thinking and common sense goes out the window with some people.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 29, 2010, 7:36 pm
  31. utp.

    There were more docs contacted during the course of the STL fishing expeditions:

    “7:40pm Head of Doctors’ Syndicate, Sharaf Abou Sharaf to NBN: International Investigation Commission asked 4 doctors for information about their patients, and doctors have the right to refuse their request.

    [link to web.naharnet.com] ”


    Posted by lally | October 29, 2010, 7:40 pm
  32. So the question is, why did doctor Sharara not refuse the request? Why did she agree to it?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | October 29, 2010, 7:49 pm
  33. BV,

    Are you an Israeli posing as a Lebanese Armenian? You are wasting your time. Time and time again; rational people who are not sectarian turn to their primitive tribal behavior when Lebanon is concerned.
    They mostly use conspiracy theories and use hearsay as facts.

    I can name a few here who accuse the other of hatred and not providing facts while all the time trumpeting their tales.

    I am still waiting for the STATE to take action for the assault and battery against the investigative crew and its security detail.

    Again where is superman Baroud? Writing traffic tickets?

    Posted by danny | October 29, 2010, 7:49 pm
  34. danny,

    “I can name a few here who accuse the other of hatred and not providing facts while all the time trumpeting their tales.”

    Let the naming begin.

    Let’s have some fun. Our tit-for-tat has gotten old.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 29, 2010, 8:02 pm
  35. lally says,
    ” Of course Ms Lina’s sectarian background matters. ”

    No one, and that includes you lally, should have the right to impugn the integrity of a reporter base on her name. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Judge the article anyway that you want based on its contents and not on the gender, faith, sexual orientation or nationality of the author. And to insist that yes, her religious faith is a factor is an abomination.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 29, 2010, 8:04 pm
  36. I think lally was joking ?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 29, 2010, 8:16 pm
  37. I hate to say it but i think ,and Alex and others will disagree with me , that Lebanon and the Mideast need winners and losers , this no winners or losers is creating and a chronic disease that forcing people to migrate for lack of clear future , and keeping the patient sick ,

    Posted by Norman | October 29, 2010, 8:30 pm
  38. 3ammo Norman, I think AIG will agree with you. I might even be persuaded to agree. At some point, a step-function transition is better than a chronic agony. Good thinking out-of-the-box to kick off our weekend. Hope yours is a healthy and joyful one.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 29, 2010, 8:32 pm
  39. Nour

    As has been well established and much discussed, Dr. Sharara herself affirmed from the very beginning of this ordeal that the STL investigators had not asked for medical information. They were inquiring about phone numbers. She did not provide them to the investigators at the time but said that she had to check her files.

    This does not sound, to me, like a heavy-handed imperialistic invasion of patients’ rights. Plus, the investigators were accompanied by members of the army and the police. If they had wanted to intimidate a doctor into giving up patient records illegally, do you really think they would have brought along an entourage to observe them in the act?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 29, 2010, 8:37 pm
  40. A century of dispute peaks in south Beirut
    By Rami G. Khouri
    Commentary by
    Saturday, October 30, 2010

    Who would have thought that a gynecologist’s office in the Hizbullah-dominated southern Beirut suburb of Dahiyeh would be the symbolic place where the colonial and anti-colonial struggles of the past century would reach their confrontational peak and bring to a head this long-simmering war. Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s call Thursday night for all Lebanese to stop cooperating with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which is investigating and will soon indict those it believes killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 22 others five years ago, followed an attempt by STL officers to examine patient files in the doctor’s office in Dahiyeh a few days ago, presumably because the STL has evidence it believes implicates some Hizbullah personnel in the assassinations. Hizbullah supporters, mostly women, beat back the STL party and quickly heightened the political confrontation that has been brewing in the country for months.

    Nasrallah’s open call to boycott and actively oppose the STL marks a historic moment of reckoning that is as dangerous as it was inevitable. This is because Hizbullah and the STL represent perhaps the two most powerful symbols of the two most important forces that have defined the Middle East for the past century or more: On the one hand, Western (including Israeli) interests and interventions that seek to shape this region in a manner that suits Western aims more than it suits indigenous rights, and, on the other hand, native Arab-Islamic-nationalist resistance that seeks to shape our societies according to Arab-Islamic worldviews as defined by a consensus of local actors, identities and forces.

    Stripped to its core, this tension between Hizbullah and the STL is a microcosm of the overarching fact of the modern era in which Western-manufactured Arab statehood has generally failed to gain either real traction or sustained credibility; thus it has fallen on groups like Hizbullah to play a leading role in confronting Israeli and Western power in a manner that most Arab governments have been unable or unwilling to do. Therefore we live through this historic but frightening moment when a century of confrontation reaches a pivotal juncture: the collective will of the Western-dominated world (the Security Council-created STL) confronts the strong rejection and public resistance of the only Arab group (Hizbullah) that has forced an Israeli military withdrawal and confounded the Israeli armed forces, while transcending Arabism and Islamism, religiosity and secularism, Arabs and Iranians, Shiites and Sunnis, and assorted Lebanese Christians and Muslims.

    The confrontation now playing itself out in various public milieus between Hizbullah and the STL is made more complex and difficult to resolve because of deep links with other regional actors, especially Israel, Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. The STL is unlike anything that the Arab world has witnessed or experienced in its entire modern history, because it represents something frightening to many Arabs: the unanimous decision of the Security Council of the UN to probe deep into the inner fibers of Arab societies – mostly Lebanon and Syria, in this case – in order to stop the political assassinations that shocked the world five years ago (but that have also plagued the modern Arab world for the past half a century or more, without anyone caring).

    The majority of Lebanese want to know who killed Rafik Hariri and would like to see such assassinations cease once and for all, but they have proven unable to do this on their own. The Security Council stepped in forcefully in early 2005 to do the job, and it did so partly because some powers who dominate the council saw an opportunity to hit the Syrians and Hizbullah hard. At a moment when the neoconservative-controlled US thought it could frighten any Arab party into compliance with its dictates simply by brandishing the threat of an Iraq-like assault, the move was made to push Syria out of Lebanon and to disarm Hizbullah. The scenes that followed did not conform to the script the Bush-Cheney White House and their pro-Israeli zealot friends had envisaged, because Syria, Hizbullah, Iran and others pushed back and resisted the moves against them. That dynamic has now reached its climax in events centered on Lebanon.

    Two powerful forces confront each other now in public, American-dominated Western colonial intervention in the Arab region, and Islamist-dominated Arab-Islamic resistance from within that same Arab region. Three options present themselves: One of these two forces has to back down, both have to compromise and postpone the day of reckoning in their epic struggle, or they will soon settle this on the battlefields of Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Iran, American-dominated Iran and Afghanistan, and the oil and gas fields of the Gulf Arab states. Armageddon will look like a kindergarten cookie dance if the third option materializes, which is now a bit more likely than it was a week ago – because of the past century, more than the past week.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 29, 2010, 8:39 pm
  41. Norman #37,
    I have been of that opinion since the formula was invented in 1958. Some might argue that the “La Ghaleb wa la Maghloob” was essential in diffusing the 1958 crisis but that formula has created nothing but problems ever since. No clarity and no rewards/punishment for the wrong/right policy. Norman, is this the first time that we agree?:-)

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 29, 2010, 8:58 pm
  42. HP,

    Thank you i will stop by and see what you right , i enjoy it , QN has a lively blog .

    The Germans lost WW2 still are better of now ,

    Posted by Norman | October 29, 2010, 9:06 pm
  43. G K ,

    I do not know but it looks to me like the Mideast is lost in a maze of outside interference,

    Posted by Norman | October 29, 2010, 9:10 pm
  44. Qifa, are you saying that while the visit by STL was legal, the symbolism of it, resounded of colonial times/rule? You said in your post that “Lina is right” but you sounded sarcastic by saying it was “post-colonial studies major’s wet” so I didn’t completely understand.

    Posted by Won | October 29, 2010, 9:19 pm
  45. Ghassam.

    I have no bloody idea what Ms Lina’s NAME implies about her sectarian background which is why I asked. I leave those fine discernments to you Lebanese experts.

    It IS the content of her writings that clearly indicates a politicized sectarian approach.

    If you (or anyone else) tells me that I shouldn’t dare to suggest that her background colors her perspective…..well I suggest that ya’ll can just save your umbrage because this atheist from “the age of reason” on is not impressed with your stentorian bellowing about *abominations*.

    Posted by lally | October 29, 2010, 9:25 pm
  46. BV @ #32

    “So the question is, why did doctor Sharara not refuse the request? Why did she agree to it?”

    That’s one question but mine is:

    “Just what are the blessed STL agents of truth & justice asking of the other 3 MDs?”

    I will say that the good Dr looks awfully pleased with herself. The answer to your question could be….uh….complicated.

    Posted by lally | October 29, 2010, 9:42 pm
  47. lally: “not impressed with your stentorian bellowing about *abominations*”
    I’m going to steal this phrase and put it away for future use. Brilliant phraseology. Have a nice weekend as well!

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 29, 2010, 9:47 pm
  48. lally said:
    “It IS the content of her writings that clearly indicates a politicized sectarian approach.”

    Could point to what was it in her article that raised the suspicions about her sectarian background? But more importantly, even if you believe that the essay was not objective then don’t you think that a Moslen as well as a Christian or a Druze journalist could have arrived at these conclusions?
    BTW, you might be surprised to hear this but I have absolutely no interest in trying to impress you 🙂 Take care.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 29, 2010, 10:01 pm
  49. Rami G Khouri should be on the FP ME roster.

    Ill winds are blowing and my own dear country is doing all it can to ratchet up the mph.

    Posted by lally | October 29, 2010, 10:02 pm
  50. What on earth is an “exemplum”? Some kind of Lebanese nectar?

    Get out of the library, wazir al-widener!!!

    And “Continental philosophy”? Is that what the kids are calling the wacky weed these days?

    I will, however, agree that SHN is living in a panopticon of sorts these days …

    Posted by david | October 29, 2010, 10:03 pm
  51. By the way, what is the deal with FP publishing all the M14 nonsense it can find?

    I suppose Halba was just “popular protest,” non?

    Just weird.

    Posted by david | October 29, 2010, 10:31 pm
  52. Khoury’s article is very strange. Is what is happening in Lebanon a colonial confrontation between the West and Arabs/Islam? Let’s look at other options each one more plausible than Khoury’s:
    1) Sunni-Shia confrontation
    2) Iranian-Arab confrontation
    3) Secular and democracy leaning Arabs vs Islamic Arabs
    3) Confrontation between the Saudi-Egyptian camp and the Syrian camp

    Was murdering Rafic Hariri an act against western influence? No. Hezbollah murdered Hariri at Syria’s behest because they were afraid of a strong and independent Sunni leader and the consequences for that in Lebanon and Syria. In the same way, the STL is not a representative of the West but of the million people who came out on March 14 and wanted a change in the way politics was done in Lebanon.

    If the real conflict is the West against the Arabs, why is Hezbollah afraid of the STL indictments? They are afraid of the Sunni reaction to the indictments. They have said this themselves. If it were really the Arab world against the West, HA would not care what the STL said. But they care because the STL represents the aspirations of many Sunnis and Lebanese for justice and they know what the reaction of the Sunnis in the Arab world would be to a group of Iranian backed Shias murdering a prominent Sunni leader.

    All these things Khoury fails to mention. I don’t even know what his agenda is anymore. Perhaps he is just completely lost in the simplistic “colonial” view.

    Posted by AIG | October 30, 2010, 12:02 am
  53. Hold that narrative, AIG. Come out of the closet, you Lebanese guy posing as “Another Israeli.” One of your better posts if not the best. Well done.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 12:19 am
  54. No wonder the FPM forum unveiled your mask. You just know too much.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 12:20 am
  55. Ghassam.

    I think we have slightly different impressions of the nuances implicit in the use of the word “impress”, que no?

    Do you think that this claim about the body count in situ is accurate?:

    “The investigators, accompanied by a female translator, were subsequently mobbed by 150 women who surrounded them, violently attacked them, and snatched a briefcase that one of them was carrying…”

    …..or did Ms Lina read that estimates of this brigade from the “multitude” ranged from 8 to 150 as did I, and simply pick the number that suited her agenda best? Most Lebanese accounts seem to have settled on 30 as the most probable headcount of those directly involved in the event.

    Sounds reasonable.

    That said, I do appreciate the FP piece for the valuable information re the ethnicity of the STL operatives; they being Aussie and French. I wonder, did they abandon the dragooned interpreter to her fate?

    I’m beginning to discern a pattern……The “multitude” also exhibited resistance to the impromptu upgrade of their Rules of Engagement to “more aggressive” by the French Blue Helmets.
    This Franco American strategerizing isn’t working out too well, is it?

    Posted by lally | October 30, 2010, 12:22 am
  56. HP….you are quite welcome to it.

    Posted by lally | October 30, 2010, 12:26 am
  57. Lally #55, your obsession with ethnicity covers Aussies and French, I wonder if that should reassure anyone. On the other hand, not French nor Aussies are there as such nationalities (your use of the term ethnicity seems abusive, in both Lebanese and Western cases). They were recruited as investigators of an International Tribunal, not as delegates or spies for their governments. I don’t care about how they actually behave since it is something out of my control. But I care about what the Tribunal does with them, as I could, as a citizen, complain about it in the UN tribunal trough my country’s membership in the UN; if they actually act as agents for their governments they CAN and should be sacked.

    David # 51, ALL PROPORTIONS KEPT, I agree with you that Halba is a referent here, the main difference in this case being that the mob organizers are far more powerful, and infinitely more media savvy.

    Posted by mj | October 30, 2010, 3:02 am
  58. mj,

    I am also amused to see the STL outreach officer is a former FutureTV editor; did no one from al-manar apply?

    Now that would be media-savvy … 🙂

    Posted by david | October 30, 2010, 3:25 am
  59. That explains everything!

    Posted by mj | October 30, 2010, 4:05 am
  60. Now more seriously, I agree with the people here thinking that the STL is not doing a good PR job. But it is unfair not to underline that PR is not what they are there for.
    Moreover, the very nature of their mission and the composition of the teams involved certainly make difficult the task of giving a good image of the Tribunal while working in principle in secret and under terrible political pressure from M14 people who love them too much on the one hand, and under physical threat from the other camp that wants them out of there on the other.
    Nevertheless, they have failed so far in reminding the public, here in Lebanon and in the world, that the STL was indeed the result of a unanimous UNSC resolution which implies that Russia and China, unlikely “Western” powers, voted favorably as well. Just as the Rwanda and Yugoslavia Tribunals. The second point they constantly fail to clarify is the nature of the recruitment in UN related institutions; it is always apolitical and a-confessional by principle. If indeed they are NOT appointees by the States, like the political delegates, ambassadors etc, whose work is to advance their governments interests in the UN, the point should be made repeatedly clear, and let anyone who can provide proof of the contrary do it.
    As International Tribunals are still in their beginnings in the UN History, the pedagogy work is essential, and also the most difficult one. Now that we have all noticed that the STL PR team sucks, I think we could all use an enlightened discussion by international law specialists here at QN about the nature and legitimacy of UN tribunals, instead of biting into the demagoguery of applying colonial prisms whenever they are convenient for the sake of your political or sectarian tribe (wasn’t the interpreter a woman? Didn’t she have any “honor”?).

    Posted by mj | October 30, 2010, 4:08 am
  61. 🙂

    Posted by david | October 30, 2010, 4:15 am
  62. That’s a very strange, un-Rami-like piece from Rami Khoury.

    To my mind, the Arab/Muslim v. Colonial dichotomy he’s drawing is sloppy and doesn’t really describe the situation at all.

    Posted by sean | October 30, 2010, 4:26 am
  63. Sean #62, exactly, and there is Mr. Smaha right now on Al Jadeed explaining that the fight against STL has indeed taken the first step towards true Lebanese sovereignty, in a final battle that will finally liberate Lebanon from external manipulation.
    By the way, thanks for replying to me, David, it’s worth the lashing now and then for the lack of professionalism from my part. We are definitely not in the same league – I’m a full time house wife right now-, but this is not a press conference after all. I want to think that every body else is asleep when I’m talking, since even HP ignores me lately after having gentlemanly invited me to lunch once(hungry smiley inserted), and GK completely dropped my contributions to the erection of that tall Tower the other week…ah, menopause does indeed make you transparent!

    Posted by mj | October 30, 2010, 4:39 am
  64. “Menopause does indeed make you transparent.”

    I hear that was, in fact, the “tip” the STL investigators were acting upon … 🙂

    Posted by david | October 30, 2010, 4:52 am
  65. Bad Vilbel 29

    ”I’ll add, the STL is nothing like UNSCOM.
    The correct comparison here is the Court for Yugoslavia.”

    you want suggest that the Yugoslavia court is fair? Where all the UCK Leaders,in Hague or are mighty Politicians?Off course the court hadn’t any proof,in one case,Haradinaj,were all but one witness killed is now mediator for peace talks in Uganda.Looks like a trustworthy court.

    Posted by Phil | October 30, 2010, 5:09 am
  66. MJ: While I can’t speak to how appointments work at UN tribunals, I know that at UNESCO, where I worked for several years, appointments were explicitly political for upper-level (high P and all D) positions. Otherwise, lower-level posts were done on a loose quota system, which meant that it was difficult to get a post if you came from an over-represented country like France, and until the US rejoined UNESCO in 2005(?), impossible to get a post if you were an American. Having Bhutanese citizenship, on the other hand, meant that your chances were much, much higher. (It should be noted that the only UNESCO employee I knew who was from Bhutan was both very professional and a friend of mine.)

    I would be curious to see how tribunal hiring processes compare to those at organizations like UNESCO.

    Posted by sean | October 30, 2010, 5:33 am
  67. Also: upwards of 75% of everyone at UNESCO did not actually have a post, working instead on temporary, supernumerary or fee contracts. I once met a Danish colleague who had been “temporary” for ten years. These working practices, it should be said, were in direct contravention of French labor laws, but since UNESCO headquarters was technically located on international territory within Paris 16th arrodissement, no labor laws actually seemed to apply to us.

    Posted by sean | October 30, 2010, 5:37 am
  68. I’ll allow you that one, but I’d prefer to keep menop jokes directed at myself for the moment, the subject being excessively delicate in the fields of gender as well as regional culture. As for the rest of the people not having the lenses to see us, I’d like to remind them that the human kind having developed that curious biological deviation from the mammal order was the only one to survive as human (other mammal females are reproductive until death). If you believe in Darwin, there must have been and advantage in having not-fertile-anymore women around…on the obvious condition that they remain…invisible.

    Posted by mj | October 30, 2010, 5:39 am
  69. Ya mj, saba7-el-5eyr! it’s early Saturday morning here on the East Coast, and has not been born yet he who dareth ignore you @#63:
    “I want to think that every body else is asleep when I’m talking, since even HP ignores me lately after having gentlemanly invited me to lunch once(hungry smiley inserted)”
    Too early for lunch. How ’bout a soob7yeh with turkish coffee (no sugar and with cardamon [Hal]).
    Have a good weekend.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 5:50 am
  70. Hezbollah is really scary for the Empire precisely because they are NOT terrorist of foam-at-their-mouths crazy religious fanatics like the Wahabis. The Wahabis are WONDERFUL enemies to have: they are nuts, ruthless, ugly, offensive in so many ways that pretty much everybody sane and with an IQ at or above room temperature just has to hate them. And even if al-Qaeda is largely a myth, the Wahabis/Salafis/Deobandi/Takfiri (pick the word) are a very real danger to many countries….
    In contrast, Hezbollah is extremely rational, respectful of norms of civilized behavior and very, very smart. They have a highly educated and disciplined cadre and party membership, their intelligence and counter-intelligence services are probably the best in the Middle-East, if not on the planet, and, “worst” of all – their leaders are impossible to corrupt or scare…. Furthermore, unlike the crackpots of the Wahabi side who plainly do not understand the West at all, Hezbollah understand the USA, Israel and the rest of the so-called “West” perfectly. Lastly, Hezbollah has no interest in any kind of “peace process” or any other kind of bullshit which the Palestinians are constantly being baited by… Their “solution” is simple: they will accept any solution which is acceptable to the Palestinians, but they know that the only real solution is, of course, a One State solution which removes the racist basis of the state of Israel. Its the combination of all that, and a military might which the Empire cannot defeat which makes Hezbollah so hated by the Western corporate media….
    Also – while ALL the politicians in the Middle-East are, to varying degrees, lying and posturing, Hassan Nasrallah has a strict policy of always saying the truth, not matter what it is, simply and plainly. If he says something, you can take it to the bank. Even the Israeli public knows that. A man who says the plain truth in a world filled with lying politicians is also a very scary and most disturbing thing, even more so for a corporate press who makes its living by lying to its audience….
    Hence the Western media is totally gang banging Hezbollah and Nasrallah. If the general public in the West became aware of what kind of movement Hezbollah really is, and what kind of man Nasrallah really is, it would be the end of the Empire because that would entail really understanding what the Empire *itself* really is….
    As for al-Manar, yes, they are pretty good, but I find their website very poorly made and their coverage and analyses still rather basic. This is why I try to read all the speeches by Nasrallah I can get – because they offer an absolutely world-class analysis of whatever he is talking about. Each speech of Nasrallah is really a lecture….

    Posted by Jim | October 30, 2010, 6:06 am
  71. One difference between STL and Rwanda and ICTY is the funding: a) Lebanon pays half; b) international contributions are voluntary (assessed in the case of the other two).

    Two important caveats: 1) the US pays the 22 percent ceiling on assessed funding; 2) a number of UN organizations exist entirely on voluntary contributions (like UNICEF) and some others almost do de facto (emergency requests/supplementals).

    So the US pays close to 25% of costs for Rwanda and ICTY (on an assessed basis) but makes a voluntary contribution to the STL. According to CRS (congressional research service), the US paid about 20 million from 2005-2009, which would only be about 10 percent of total funding. For some reason, I can’t find the congressional appropriation. It is not listed on State’s list of CIOs (perhaps because it is voluntary, or perhaps it is tucked away in some terrorism bill and/or supplemental).

    There are some rather obvious advantages and disadvantages to assessed v. voluntary, (donor control, which often impacts appointments).

    It would be interesting to see a breakdown of the international contributions. I am guessing Saudia and Kuwait do the heavy lifting, with US, France and maybe UK putting in an equal share. Anybody seen a breakdown?

    Posted by david | October 30, 2010, 6:30 am
  72. Cont’d.


    “The Countries that have contributed, in addition to Lebanon, include: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Regional States, Russian Federation, Sweden, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay.”

    — from STL annual report 2009-2010 (includes in-kind).

    My best map does not include a country called “regional states” (Kuwait and Turkey, not so regional — apparently).

    Posted by david | October 30, 2010, 7:02 am
  73. lally 355 says,

    “Do you think that this claim about the body count in situ is accurate?:

    “The investigators, accompanied by a female translator, were subsequently mobbed by 150 women who surrounded them, violently attacked them, and snatched a briefcase that one of them was carrying…””

    I am afraid that I am not in a position to either validate or cast suspicion on the body count. But the description by Ms. Khatib whether accurate or not says nothing about a sectarian background or a sectarian bias. Feel free to critique every word in the short article in FP but the article ,does not in any way , even hint at sectarian influences.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 30, 2010, 7:10 am
  74. mj #63: Your contributions to the erection of the Tower of Babel were dropped inadvertently. The total comments were 514 while the sum of the ranked entries was only 411 which suggests that the missing three must be yours 🙂

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 30, 2010, 7:31 am
  75. Sean #66/67,as David said, UN agencies like UNESCO and FAO act quite independently from the UN Secretariat which tackles General Assembly and Security Council matters.
    As far as I know, employment policies are written ones, and country quotas do count. Take it as a positive discrimination policy towards little states, in the same way that there are gender policies. So yes, you do have more chances if you are a girl from Trinidad.
    As in any big bureaucratic “Chose”, corruption and nepotism occur, and states and cultures have a tendency to impose the manners they learnt back in their countries: the strong ones expect to impose they will, the weak try their best to spoil.
    I remember vaguely UNESCO having suffered from financial problems when, following some colonially tainted quarrel, the USA stopped funding it. I suppose it didn’t help with the employment policies. Nevertheless, as governments worldwide gave in to the pressure of liberal capitalism, those governments kept pressuring for “reform” in the UN, and “reformed” were indeed employment conditions, meaning that the newly recruited people hardly reach the status of permanent workers anymore, in any agency for that matter.
    Political appointments are common once you reach high places of decision. But don’t forget that any country member of the UNSC can veto a name that is not consensual enough.
    As for how the STL has selected its employees, I haven’t run so far into an explanation of the mechanism or the rules applied, which only proves my point that the TSL is not doing its PR homework properly.

    Posted by mj | October 30, 2010, 7:40 am
  76. Ya Ghassan, your zeal is exemplary.
    I’ll settle for three, no way I’m counting all those stairs again! (I was like you once, but I’ve breathed the ME’s sweet and sour air for too long now, I’m afraid. Keep up the high spirits and the good work.

    Posted by mj | October 30, 2010, 7:47 am
  77. mj @74, just to show that your posts are read:
    “positive discrimination policy” well, let’s use the preferred phrase ‘affirmative action’ which uses all positive-connotation words.
    And, just to be nit-picking in a semi-humorous way, as I advised Shai a few posts back, “periods and commas always go inside quotation marks, even inside single quotes.”
    See Rule 1 in http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/quotes.asp

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 8:04 am
  78. Ghassan @73, habibi, you want to check your math up there? – in good humor –

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 8:18 am
  79. Jim @69 “Hassan Nasrallah has a strict policy of always saying the truth”
    Hmm, does that include the part of his speech about the OB-GYN doctor’s office incident where he claimed that the STL investigators started wanting to look at the medical records of 7,000 women and then settled on 17 or 18?

    HA’s agenda? it was spelled out by your idol a very long time ago:

    For the non-arabic speakers, basically,
    HA has no plans now to change the system in Lebanon because the first order of business is the elimination of Israel, which would then make it possible to have Lebanon not as an independent Islamic country but as a part of the larger Islamic country led which is “Wilayat al-Faqih” (i.e., Iran) and which is led by the Imam Khomeini.

    As I said, this video is from a very long time ago. HA is indeed excellent, Jim. They are still following that same strategy with the glorious Nasrallah leader who is now even wiser.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 8:32 am
  80. In that video above, SHN is essentially pledging his loyalty to Iran and considering that Lebanon, sooner or later, should become a part of Iran.

    And lest others say, well, he has revised his position and now believes in a multi-cultural, multi-religion, independent Lebanon, I say your are naive for the man himself, the Sayyed himself, says in there that he will support such independence until he takes care of the elimination of Isarel and then it becomes possible to implement this merger. Demographics, in time, will take care of ensuring the majority needed to assure this result either by force or by democracy.

    I note also that he refers to his religious faith giving no option but to pursue such goal.

    To anyone (UTP? Mo? others?) who claim otherwise and start demonizing the U.S., etc., I say you are either naively mistaken, or you endorse SHN’s plan.

    I’m not saying that all the Shi’a in Lebanon sign up to this. I’m saying that the leadership of HA, with all its competence and remarkable discipline and strength (Jim is ABSOLUTELY right about that part) is committed to this goal and pursues it in a deliberate manner.

    marillionb? changing your mind about expatriation, since I learned about this video from your blog? I know you said you’re not, and you’re there to stay, but what is the solution?

    mj, what say you?

    Jim? Mo? what say you?

    AIG, stay out of this. Just read and learn.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 8:39 am
  81. … and AIG, since you didn’t get the hint last time from my first reply to your “battered person syndrome,” let me tell you that you can take your “battered person syndrome” as well as you “proof by analogy” moronic claim and ease them up your nostrils until they reach your gray matter and get set straight by the intrinsically human logic that must exist in there somewhere.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 8:42 am
  82. Jim, look again at the video of SHN. You say he always tells the truth. So, which is it? Is everything SHN says in that video the truth, or, is HA not really following this kind of Islamic agenda and so SHN was actually lying? Pick your poison.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 8:48 am
  83. David #70/71, the point about “regional states” was funny. Don’t think Israel gave a penny, but KSA?

    Anyway, breakdowns of countries contributing for different things in UNland often seem incongruous because the constant lobbying and pushing and pulling games in international marketplaces like the UN can get, well, incongruous (remember the heavy pressures put on some States in the days before the Iraq war).By incongruous I mean they don’t always follow the usual ideological partition one would expect.

    That said, all the points you make in #70 are relevant and should be explained transparently. I cannot judge if they have been or not, frankly, I didn’t work on the subject in detail. What I do know is that the very loud campaigns of the opposing camp are successful in depicting the body of the STL as an entity that is not only corrupt, evil and politically manipulated, but also boneless.
    Of course the ideal world that UN rules depict doesn’t exist in reality, but I resist believing it is like M8ers are depicting it either. As for the legitimacy and necessity of international bodies where states can interact peacefully, that is another discussion, which precedes the one about the convenience, legitimacy or necessity of any Justice born out of them.

    Posted by mj | October 30, 2010, 8:58 am
  84. HP,

    Old video indeed. You should mention also that HA has not altered or changed their ‘charter”…It stays as was in 1982.

    Posted by danny | October 30, 2010, 9:21 am
  85. HP #79, first you ignore me, now you take me out of the kitchen!
    It is my policy not to comment on HN’s speeches: I don’t really trust translations, and my Arabic is not accurate enough to defend my opinion properly. Even if I did, I would not compare videos that far apart in time. It is a test no successful politician could pass in any world I know of.

    As for Jim’s faith in him, I would need two more lifetimes to answer post #69. I only have one life, and don’t know for how long. So I would tell him just the first thing that came to my mind when I read his post: lying is a very very defining human competence, that few, if any, other living species possess. And I doubt a person that never lies can live a normal life at all.

    About comas and periods and quotation marks, I’m so happy that those are the points of contention that I’m ready to grant you whatever you say that English grammar says.

    Posted by mj | October 30, 2010, 9:25 am
  86. HP,

    You just keep proving that the Battered Person Syndrome is the right analogy. You keep lashing at me as if I am the cause of your problems. I am just here to help you open your eyes. You have embarked on the first step which is confronting your real demons. I have to admit there is some progress. But one of the indications that there is significant progress is when you will be able to be as assertive with those that are trying to help you as with those that are the source of your predicament.

    Posted by AIG | October 30, 2010, 10:11 am
  87. Ya AIG, I now have to question your memory. There’s nothing I said here that I haven’t said before. I think you are selective, very selective, in which statements and positions you chose to enter into your calculations as you define a person’s position and status for them. To some extent, and I know you don’t agree with this and you have arguments about Jewishness being related to a tribe an not religion, etc., so, to some extent I sadly observe that maybe the extreme Zionists and the HA-like movements, including Hamas and Iran, deserve each other. Maybe everyone else should just get out of the way, let them fight an Armageddon and settle this once and for all. This is what I think Norman indicated recently and I’m starting to lean towards that choice as the only one that will remove the constant state of conflict.

    And AIG, I am not lashing at you as if you were the cause of my problems. I have really nothing against you personally and I actually kinda like you and often enjoy reading your posts (and sometimes compliment you on them — but you never acknowlege my compliments). I do insist on pointing out incongruence in some of the logic you like to apply (like proof by analogy, which is a contradiction) and in what I find mildly offensive characterization of “battered person syndrome.” I don’t consider myself battered. Like all of us, I’ve had my share of good and bad, but my faith has always been strong (in God) and I have made lemonade of all the lemons I’ve been dealt and I’m fully at peace with that. Remember that this is, to me, a forum for thought exchanges, no more, no less. My “lashing” about nostrils and gray matter was a perhaps poor attempt at humor and I don’t mean to offend you in doing so. The serious point I was making is about my disagreement with your reasoning and logic on those specific points.

    And, please, let’s not overly dramatize this, the commentators here are neither “the source of [my] predicament” nor who I turn to for help. And I don’t consider myself in a predicament. My dealing with the sorrow of the suffering in this world, at all front, is a matter for my religious activities, completely personal, and having nothing to do with politics or this blog.

    Once again, AIG, Shalom.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 10:27 am
  88. … and please note that when I say “extreme Zionists” I mean a certain fraction of Zionists, not saying that all Zionists are extremists or included in this. I think Shai is a Zionist and I fully approve of him and his thoughts and his plans. I consider Shai a true virtual friend.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 10:29 am
  89. … and I don’t necessarily mean you, either, in “extreme Zionists.” Just pre-empting any misrepresentation of my statement.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 10:30 am
  90. To HP
    No body should ask for Armageddon because the burned flesh may be his. In the last few days, between rain and oranges, I think I am smelling here smoke if not burning sulfur. The reason I am here is mostly to see what can be done about that Armageddon. I could tell an interesting story about a very very early Christian church, in a Jewish village and a Roman legionary camp recently dug in Megido=Armageddon, but seemingly you all are interested in Armageddon. By the way the media in Israel which is very attentive to Lebanon is totally oblivious to the gnycolocial clinic story and I dont know why.
    in Arm

    Posted by Rani | October 30, 2010, 11:14 am
  91. HP,

    Sometimes I do not understand what you are talking about. In the clinic in Dahyeh which party was the extreme Zionists? In the Lebanese civil war, who were the extreme Zionists? Who sits in Asad’s jails, extreme Zionists? Who is blowing up Shia in Iraq and Pakistan, extreme Zionists?

    This is why the Battered Person Syndrome analogy is so apt. “Extreme Zionism” is a bogeyman, an excuse not to deal with the real problems.

    And “MAYBE” you and Norman should get out of the way? You guys are out of the way 30 years! You guys are in the US paying taxes to support Israel. Protected by US democracy, Norman supports a ruthless dictator. You can’t even bring yourself to engage FPMers politically. Are you guys serious? You are only in your own way.

    If you really want to help, start with those close to you. I have been urging you to do that. Only a bottom up approach will work, and it will take a very long time. However, for some reason you throw your hands up in the air without even trying and you rationalize this based on the intransigence of people you have never met. How about trying to convince Norman that maybe the Asad regime is not the best one for Syria?

    Posted by AIG | October 30, 2010, 11:18 am
  92. Our good friends at MEMRI translated some sections of Nasrallah’s press conference which HP posted above. Enjoy.

    HP, you don’t actually believe that he who was a zealous young Nasrallah in the 80’s plans on actively pursuing that very same maximalist objective, which will involve converting the majority of the 1.4 billion Muslims to the doctrine of velayat-e faqih, after having brushed aside the Zionist entity?

    Clearly Nasrallah and his organization are just as prone to adapting to the dynamics of changing circumstances as any other political party. Think back to 2000 when Syria and Israel almost reached a deal – you think HA would have been allowed to continue unfettered? Also, their 2009 manifesto (وثيقة سياسية) suggests they think somewhat differently now – liable to change in the future, sure, but not in a manner theologically determined.

    I see no reason to believe HA is inherently and unendingly ideologically tied to that political institution (despite their leaders’ rhetoric), though I recognise it will most probably be in its long term interests to be so. Imagine the republic is toppled tomorrow, surely HA won’t just disband itself?

    Posted by SK | October 30, 2010, 11:24 am
  93. I love how AIG throws up the Lebanese civil war as an example of purely Arab problems as if Israel wasn’t one of the belligerents in that war.

    Posted by sean | October 30, 2010, 11:30 am
  94. Sean,

    The Lebanese civil war started in 1975. Israel was dragged in by the PLO in 1982.

    Posted by AIG | October 30, 2010, 11:40 am
  95. Sean,

    And anyway, do you really want to blame “extreme Zionists” for the sectarian nature of Lebanese society?

    Posted by AIG | October 30, 2010, 12:00 pm
  96. AIG: I’m sorry to teach you your own history, but Israel drug itself into the war, and its military involvement began in 1976, then again in 1978 and finally culminated with the full-scale ground invasion up to Beirut in 1982. But it was involved from the get-go through its sponsorship of Maronite militias.

    Posted by sean | October 30, 2010, 12:24 pm
  97. Sean,

    Ok, the Lebanese civil war was Israel’s fault as everything else bad in Arab societies.

    Good luck solving any problems with this attitude.

    Posted by AIG | October 30, 2010, 12:29 pm
  98. From personal experience. From 1949 to 1980
    the border between Israel and Lebanon was like the USA Canada border, more or less. There were serious, destructive wars on all other borders. Since then in a slow but very clear process Lebanon was becomming the tip of the sword of the Arab nations against Israel while other nations were getting out of the game. Like all such processes one can graph it on a paper. X axis time, Y axis destruction and deaths. Different color for each nation.
    It is clear that the active factor is some thing in Lebanon. The question is why?

    Posted by Rani | October 30, 2010, 12:44 pm
  99. No one is saying that the civil war was all Israel’s fault, but to pretend that Israel wasn’t intimately involved is either ignorant or disingenuous.

    Posted by sean | October 30, 2010, 12:50 pm
  100. AIG @91 I do not know if I should just ignore it when your writings are tangentially off track or respond. I’ll maybe clarify this one claim you make: ” You can’t even bring yourself to engage FPMers politically.” Not that I didn’t take a look and try to see where can one write something meaningful. I found no place and reported earlier the kind of postings I found there and the completely confusing organization of that forum. This is a far cry from the statement you make, AIG. When I see such statements peppered in your various postings I have to start to wonder what your agenda is, given that you never seem to examine objective statements and respond in a way that shows that you understand them. Let’s move on. It gets tiring after a while.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 1:07 pm
  101. Rani @90, I’m all for peace and harmony and progress in the Middle East. I think you and someone like Shai also are. I was just observing that the extremists on both sides of the Arab-Israeli divide are so entrenched in their fanatical beliefs and so extreme in their activism that I observe a perpetuation of conflict for the foreseeable future, and if that is going to be the case, one can argue that a definitive battle/war that then results in real peace for a very long era might be a better alternative for the survivors of such conflict. I don’t favor it necessarily but it’s pretty disheartening sometimes to see the intransigence of extremists on both sides.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 1:10 pm
  102. SK, remarkable! The MEMRI translation seems to be dated October 13, 2010, so definitely before I posted it here. But it’s an interesting coincidence and the translation is pretty impressive.

    mj, this is an accurate translation. Watch and see what he says.

    SK, actually, I tend to believe that the young SHN’s declaration are still what he believes today, as well as what all the key HA leaders believe. This is because he stated unequivocally that to him, this is a matter of religious faith. So, either the evolution you talk about involve a modulation of his religious faith (could that be possible?) or indeed he is practicing what he preached then, namely, that until the first mission of liberating Palestine from the Zionist occupation is achieved, there is no agenda for Lebanon that is going to be worked on. Then, after the liberation of Palestine, the agenda he describes becomes possible.

    Given the strength of character he always shows and his sincerity, I find it difficult to believe that his religious faith has been transformed. I’m willing to be convinced of the contrary but need evidence of that first. So far, all HA’s actions are consistent with the strategy laid out in this video. That’s how I see it. Help me see it otherwise if you have good arguments and data.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 1:17 pm
  103. HP,
    I have tried not to butt into the “dialogue” that you have been having with AIG but I cannot control myself anylonger 🙂 The conversation cannot be that personal if it is taking place in a public space, right.
    Language , at times , deflects from the major point that a speaker /commentator is attempting to make. An excellent example is the use by AIG of the Battered Person Syndrome in order to describe the seeming inability of the Lebanese people to take action. You appear to have been jolted by the phrase, possibly, by looking at it in a very personal manner. The phrase has been around for a while and it has been used to describe countries , individuals and even the US tax payer. To some extent all of these uses were legitimate because all what the phrase implies is a psychological paralysis whenever decisive decisions are called for.

    Have you ever wondered why is it that no major popular movement materialized in the Arab world during the 400 years of Ottoman rule? And if you do not want to go that far why is it that no popular revolution has taken place in the Arab world despite the fact that we are the most abused people by our leaders and the least democratic? Furthermore why is it that the Lebanese seem to have a strong affinity to the magic formula of “La ghaleb wa la maghloob”. No matter what happens and irrespective of how outrageous are the acts or statements of our politicians we rarely if ever show outrage. Where are the spontaneous demonstrations, the call to action … Sadly all what passes for demonstrations , even when the national interest is at stake, take place only in response to a call from a feudal lord or a religious leader?

    I do not know the explanation for any of the above but I do know that our reaction or rather lack of reaction is due to a reason and I am willing to bet that it is not the water that we drink or the air that we breathe. It is purely psychological.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 30, 2010, 1:32 pm
  104. Many commentators are frustrated and writing off the STL. Obviously, you guys do not know anything about the RCMP, its history and how it works. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has the enviable worldwide reputation of always getting the ‘criminal’ it is pursuing. Bellmar is a hard headed Canuck. So keep that in mind and do not jump to premature conclusions. This is a cat and mouse game he is playing with Hassan Sayyed Nasrallah. The mext thing, lo and behold, you would see poor ‘mice-men’, constantly projecting images of infallibility, falling one by one into the Great Northern trap.

    القرار الظني سريعاً والمتهمون أفراد وليسوا حزبيين أو تابعين لنظام والشهود مفاجأة المحكمة ومعظمهم حول “حزب الله” وسوريا

    Posted by anonymous | October 30, 2010, 1:50 pm
  105. GK, good points you make. However, AIG is referring to me as a person when he uses that Battered Person Thingy. Is he not? I would stand corrected if someone shows me the sentence where this is not referring to me. If he is, then I clearly don’t agree because he has no idea what my experience and attitude is. He only knows the opinions and thoughts I express on a blog. Just because he disagrees with them doesn’t give him an basis for the personal characterization. I understand your point about a people’s reaction, however, and it’s a good one. I haven’t wondered much about why popular revolts haven’t happened on this or that, perhaps because my experience has been with folks who are so burdened by the needs of daily life that they have no time or ability to go organizing for revolts. Having said that, I do believe that the remarkable coming together on March 14, 2005 is a reflection of people in Lebanon taking action spontaneously. It was a true patriotic moment, I think.

    It is also important, I think, to remember to put ourselves in the shoes of the pour souls having the deal with the daily grind of life and all the difficulties of living in Lebanon. The standard image I’ve used earlier of folks, up to their eyeballs in alligators, forgetting that the goal is to drain the swamp applies here as a helpful image. To some extent, it is easy for us, 6000 miles away to be indignant about the lack of reaction or demands by the local populace. He don’t have to share their difficulties when in the comfort of our beloved adoptive country. Yes, what AIG talks about of making change starting with our surrounding, and what you talk about in making change one person at a time, both of these are true and worthy pursuits. But you know as well as I do the relative isolation we live in, in this vast continent, and also the myriad other constraints to useful activism, both material and psychological for some of us. It’s not that easy. And life, as I quoted before “is complicated.”

    I addressed the example of the FPM forum that AIG seems fond of. I really, honestly, genuinely, can’t make “sha3ban from ramadan” in that forum. [translation: it doesn’t make sense to me.] I don’t see what adding terse expressions devoid of logical arguments does to the debate there. And it’s not for lack of trying.

    Anyway, I appreciate your expounding on some of the concepts.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 2:08 pm
  106. To several people.
    OK war is comming.
    1.What we know about the last wars in the ME should prevent us all from asking for a war that will clean all sins and will bring if not etrnal peace than a long term peace. A grave yard and a prking lot are very peaceful places. the present situation is better than any war.

    2. Talking about and discussing all the fanatic persons and groups and ideas in the ME is above my intelectual capacity. I am not cynical at all, some discussions here are above me, sorry. I am not that clever and will never be.

    3. I am interested in Lebanon. Look, in the war between Syria and Israel when Israel got the Golan not one Lebanese soldier died fighting and the destruction to Lebanon was zero or minimal. If next week Syria will try to take by force what was taken from it by force what will happen to Lebanon?
    Alternative A)Is it possible that next monday the President of the Lebanon will declare that if and when that happen Lebanon is out. You can send missiles over our heads, fly planes over us but dont shoot at us and dont get into our country. And he will call for a national referendum about that and also ask the security council to back that nutrality.
    Altrnative B)as is being planned now that war will be conducted on Lebanese soil.

    I realy dont understand why there are not in Lebanon a large number of people who are saying: F…K Israel, F…K Syria fight your wars on your own soil, leave us alone !!! No!! we do not want peace with F..ked Israel ever never, but what is good for Egypt and Jordan is good for us. Why cant’ it be?

    Posted by Rani | October 30, 2010, 3:09 pm
  107. Rani,
    It can be and it must be . You are offering me another opportunity to sgare the last in a large number of my posts on this very topic.


    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 30, 2010, 5:15 pm
  108. Speaking of God and who He belongs to, I have to tell this funny – made – up – tale. No offense is meant to anyone. It’s just a joke.
    Last time the pope visited the white house during the Bush years, He noticed a red phone at the president’s desk. His curiosity got the best of him, and He asked Bush what the red phone was for. Bush, “the greatest believer he was”, answered the pope by saying that “this is the phone God and I use to communicate. The pope, very happy and excited, asked the president If he can make a call to God. Sure, the president said, but it will cost you $100 a minute. No problem, the pope quickly responded, I’ll pay any price to speak to God. He made the call, and talked to God. He was very happy pope.
    On his next visit to Russia, The pope saw the same red phone at the Kremlin. He went through the same Q&A, with the Russian president, and ended up making the call to God, at the rate of $50 per minute. You can bet He spoke much longer than He did when called from the white house.
    When He visited Israel, He saw the same phone at the Netanyahu’s office. Right away, he recognized the unique red phone, and asked Netanyahu if he use the phone to make a call to God. To his surprise, Netanyahu told him that it would cost him $ 5 per minute to use the phone. Shocked at how inexpensive the rate was, he told Netanyahu that he paid $100, and $ 50 per minute at the white house and the Kremlin respectively. Netanyahu, explaining the drastic rate difference, told the pope that from Washington and Moscow calls to God ARE long distance, but here, calls to God ARE local calls.
    In a way, this joke explains the core problem of the Middle East conflict.

    Posted by Prophet | October 30, 2010, 5:55 pm
  109. Ya Prophet, good joke albeit a bit dated given that VOIP really makes it somewhat anachronistic; “this joke explains the core problem of the Middle East conflict,” can you help me understand how?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 6:21 pm
  110. … and sorry for being slow

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 6:22 pm
  111. Honest Patriot
    I know it is an old joke. It came to mind while reading many of the posts, that spoke of God. I told it as I had I heard it. It may very well have been told diffrently.
    Everyone has a monopoly on God in the Middle East. Jews, Muslims, and Christians claim, each, to know, speak for, and own God for themselves. Jews claim that God chose them above others. Muslim, on the other hand, say that Allah didn’t tell them that.
    All three faiths initiated in the same area where religious conflicts have been rising for hundreds of years.
    The Arab-Israeli conflict is becoming more of a Muslim –Jews conflict, if you haven’t noticed. Israel is trying to secure Palestinians’ recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, instead of home to the Jews.
    When a state wants to be recognized officially as a

    Posted by Prophet | October 30, 2010, 6:54 pm
  112. Last sentence should have read as follows:
    When a state wants to be recognized officially as a Jewish state, sooner or later some groups will claim it a Muslim/Palestinian state.

    Posted by Prophet | October 30, 2010, 6:56 pm
  113. Thanks, Prophet. I do agree with you 100%. My own perspective on this topic is that the absolute necessary condition for social order and economic and political stability and longevity is the separation of church/mosque/temple and state. Religion is a purely personal matter which, if it includes social organization, must be decoupled of the political rules and systems of governance. As much as some Israelis, including AIG, try to nuance the Israeli approach by saying that Jewishness is tribe-like and not religion base, it’s really hogwash and my earlier comment that extreme Zionists and Hamas-like and HA-like religiously-based political movements deserve each other and maybe should be left to fight it out to the end.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 8:06 pm
  114. Having introduced to this discussion thread the quite old video of a young HSN and used it to establish a position of mistrust of HA’s aims, let me add a few considerations to that post and to some of the following discussion that ensued.

    I’ll start with a light-hearted comment about a discovery I made in that video. Scandal of scandals, I discovered a grammatical/pronounciation error by His Eloquence SHN. Gotcha! You have to know Arabic and further know Arabic grammar to understand this and it will lose so much in translation that it’s not worth explaining. So, to those who do understand, look at the portion starting in the video I posted in #79 at 2:13 (back up a few seconds to get the whole sentence). Where he says ( عن علاقة حزب الله ) notice that he puts a “waw” as short vowel on Hizb whereas it should be a “kasra.” For me, it’s the first time I’ve noticed such a mistake. So, the proof is in: unlike the Pope, SHN is fallible. – In good humor.

    On a more serious note, I have to revise my earlier comment about SHN declaring that HA has to free Palestine prior to turning to which plan to implement in Lebanon. To be fair, since the video was recorded in the 1980s, a valid interpretation could be that he was referring to the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon. So my claim there that he was implying that HA is the one planning to and responsible for the liberation of Palestine from the Israeli occupation is not a necessarily correct inference based on that video, and I should correct my statement there to simply say we don’t know and if someone claims it was only referring to the liberation of South Lebanon then we cannot refute that claim.

    On the other hand, the implication that a plan would then follow for implementing the rule of the Faqih in Lebanon as a satellite/province of Iran and that there should be no geographic boundaries to where that state spread but should encompass anywhere muslims are, that implication is unambiguously stated and is indeed scary. Equally scary is the explicit declaration that the plan and supporting intentions cannot be articulated in political speech because it would not be accepted, implying that they should work on it but not be vocal about it. It is that section that makes a strong case that we have no reason to believe that any change of heart could occur here, regardless of the political declarations of HA. After all, it is stated clearly that this plan is dictated by religious faith. This means: religious faith implies the plan. The logical equivalent is that if they abandon that plan then they are renouncing or at least modulating their religious faith. Somehow I don’t see this as something the religious faithful would accept.

    End of analysis.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 30, 2010, 8:36 pm
  115. You might like to read this and do you think it applies to Lebanon and would Lebanon surrender any accused ,


    Posted by Norman | October 30, 2010, 9:10 pm
  116. @115

    I didn’t see in the LA Times story any refrences to the question you are asking. On the contrary that story emphasizes very clearly the resilience of similar International Tribunals in conducting their proceedings. The story also implies indictmests are imminent by the fact that media personnel were recently given briefings on procedures. I do not see any alternatives for Lebanon, and even Hezbollah, but to comply. I would also say if Syrians were indicted, the Syrian government has no alternatives but to also comply, and I would advise the junior Assad not to play with his tails and mess around with the Great North.

    Posted by anonymous | October 30, 2010, 9:56 pm
  117. That is exactly the question , will Hezbollah and Lebanon comply and follow Yugoslavia or will Hezbollah move forward and take over Lebanon , and will the present government of Lebanon take that chance , my take is the the Lebanese government will push for the international court but will make sure for that court not to indict any living Hezbollah member ,
    This way will not look as backing down and Hezbollah will be cleared .

    Posted by Norman | October 30, 2010, 10:18 pm
  118. @117,

    That is exactly what I meant by my advice to junior Assad: DO NOT PLAY WITH YOUR TAILS.

    Hezbolah will not take over Lebanon, the Present Government will not back down and Harriri will not give in.

    Whether the indictees are alive or dead, the proceedings will continue and indictments may go all the way up to the top, i.e. to Hassan himself and Bashar and family.

    The only thing Hezbollah can do is withdraw its ministers. They can do that tommorow as far as everybody is concerned and nothing will change.

    Posted by anonymous | October 30, 2010, 10:32 pm
  119. Hariri said that Syria has nothing to do with his father death , Hezbollah will not be Milosevic and will not let the people who wanted to destroy it by force do that by any court especially a court Hezbollah is accusing of being an agent of the US and Israel , If Hariri junior does not have foresight Lebanon will be facing a civil war ,

    Posted by Norman | October 30, 2010, 10:49 pm
  120. So, what is your point?

    Posted by anonymous | October 30, 2010, 10:53 pm
  121. Foucauldian? How about simple medical ethics?
    Unless someone else has linked to this:
    As’ad AbuKhalil

    Talal, a comrade and friend who heads a division at a major medical center at well-known US university, sent me this regarding the “visit” by a Hariri tribunal team to the clinic of a Lebanese physician: “Is it not interesting that the International Tribunal sanctions practices in Lebanon that would be banned in the native countries of its investigators and jurists? For example, they went into a clinic in the Southern district of Beirut asking to check on the names and files of a large number of women who attend the clinic. That would not fly in the USA. One cannot just come in, even with legal sanction, and check wholesale on the FILES (containing sensitive personal information) of ALL those that come through (they claimed to start with 17 names but it was made obvious that it was to be an open ended investigation with a free hand to investigate any file in the clinic). Such a act would constitute a serious violation of Medical Privacy laws, unnecessarily exposing not only their names of a large number of individuals but also the details of their medical conditions as well as other private information. This is ILLEGAL under any of a number of medical privacy laws. One is usually presented with a court order to obtain information on a SPECIFIC person, and no other subjects so as to safe guard people’s privacy. I am amazed the Physician in question even let them in. She should have been the first to kick them out of the clinic, court order notwithstanding. Shame on the Lebanese government and the Lebanese Order of Physicians for providing cover for such a travesty to take place.”

    Posted by Bored and disgusted | October 30, 2010, 11:07 pm
  122. # 121,
    I do not know why you are so surprised , they do not consider us as worthy of their laws and their protection when it is not of their interest ,

    Posted by Norman | October 30, 2010, 11:26 pm
  123. #122,

    So it seems you do not have a point in #119. OK, so #121 conveniently gives you the pretext to change the subject .

    Let’s see. Who are they and are us? Which laws do you have in mind?

    We all know the crime plus many other crimes took place. They are all crimes under ANY law. Anything that brings the criminals to justice should be welcome no matter what law brings them in. Right? Or would that be a surprise to you?

    B&D #121,
    Asa’d’s blog is perhaps the best medicine for boredom and disgust. You were luckily guided into the best clinic for your case.

    Posted by anonymous | October 30, 2010, 11:41 pm
  124. The international court was used to push Syria out of Lebanon , force her into submission and surrender and is being used to destroy Hezbollah , Hezbollah will not let that take place with your help or without it , If the law to be applied then President Bush and his VP should be tried for war crime for being responsible for the death of more than 100000 Iraqis , sorry i forgot they establish courts for others but themselves , they are above the law that you are so fond of,

    Posted by Norman | October 30, 2010, 11:54 pm
  125. # 124,

    OK, so I understand you have grievances against President Bush and his VP. Specifically, you want them to be tried for the death of 100000 Iraqis.

    What does that have to do with trying other crimes? Should every crime that takes place in this world be put on the shelf until President Bush and his VP are put on trial? Is that what you are saying?

    Posted by anonymous | October 31, 2010, 12:13 am
  126. Norman,
    If you are talking about the STL then you are very mistaken. The STL was approved to investigate a crime after Syria had already left. But even if the facts were not wrong are you seriously suggesting; I guess that you are; that you approve of the Syrian occupation and exploitation of Lebanon? Just listen to yourself; you want Israel to give Syria the Golan but you want to occupy Lebanon. I cannot believe that.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 31, 2010, 2:08 am
  127. Going back to our lighter side, since the Falafel topic comes up often on QN:

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 31, 2010, 3:47 am
  128. Norman #119

    “Hariri said that Syria has nothing to do with his father death”…

    He said no such thing. He said his accusations against Syria were of political nature and he should not have done that.
    But, let’s assume hariri said that; so what? There are laws that have to be respected. There were tens of people who died on February 14th explosion and the subsequent ones.
    Norman why are all Syrian regime’s defenders scared of the truth? Why don’t you wait till the indictments come out? The dictators of Syria have already retained top shelf lawyers for their defence.

    Chill and wait for the process. It will transparent and according to Lebanese and International agreed upon laws and procedures.

    The intimidation tactics of your regime and its lackeys will not have their desired effect. Last week journalists were taken to The Hague whereas they were given a tour and seminars on the process of the STL as well as how the Yugoslavian court functioned. The same threats and misinformation were apparently repeated in that case. However; as usual mafiosos always think they are infallible.
    Dude’ no one is! Read your recent history.

    Posted by danny | October 31, 2010, 7:18 am
  129. to 121
    B&D is a Jew not in Lebanon, probably in north America, extreme anti-zionist. Abukhalil is ex. Lebanese ex. PLF some thing or another, with all kind of connections as far as Pakistan, teaching in Cal. That “Talal” is probably ex Lebanese and an MD in the USA. They know absolutly nothing from first, 2nd 3rd source about the hapenings in that clinic in Dahia. All that they write is based on interpretation of interprtations and is rummor mongering. As far as we know from the local STL things were checked locally again and again, with local legal & medical experts, nothing from Lebanon contradict that information. The cynical intervention by such three outsiders on such flimsy base is a typical expression of imperialism and orientalism and total disregard of the locals:”in Lebanon everything is corrupted and these in the west know best”. When it comes from the so called far left such, realy evil, attitude is right and accepted. Hopefully that MD use better information and judgment in his practice.

    Posted by Observer | October 31, 2010, 7:21 am
  130. G K,

    No i do not want Lebanon to be dominated by Syria , Lebanon was a liability to Syria where Syria was expected to control but as we all know was not able to do so , I want Syria and Lebanon to be like New Jersey and Pennsylvania , two state in one nation ,


    Will see about the court , i feel that it will accuse nobody alive , I might be wrong but hope not for the sake of Lebanon ,as i see no compromise in the next Lebanese crises .

    Posted by Norman | October 31, 2010, 7:48 am
  131. I wonder if the visits to the clinic was to look for a contagious sexual disease that was found in the dead suicide bomber that committed the killing to associate a know wife to him , like HPV , so if that was found in the bomber and found in the suspected wife then that might confirm his identity ,

    Posted by Norman | October 31, 2010, 8:36 am
  132. Norman #130
    You do not seem to be able to get out of your way:-) You do not want Lebanon to be dominated by Syria but you want it to be part of Syria. No matter how you spin it you are against a sovereign independent Lebanon. What is it the about an independent Lebanon that you find so distasteful? If you are an advocate of a fertile crescent then why do you accept Jordanand Iraq? If you do not then why don’t you say something about it? What about Saudi Arabia? Is it part of your plan? And Why not Egypt and the Sudan etc… But above all what about personal freedom and liberty? Do they enter into your calculus or is it the same old story of justifying a dictatorship? Nothing , not even the most revered dreams and aspirations can justify a dictatoirship? If the people of two political entities wish to merge then let them do so but do not justify despicable acts of constant interference in the affairs of a neighbour by saying I know better than you what is good for you. That has been tried over and over again but it has always failed.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 31, 2010, 8:45 am
  133. G K ,

    Lebanon was never sovereign , you want freedom and liberty then have one man one vote as real democracy should be do not call your Lebanon a free country and ban people from being everything they can ,then will see how many people and if Lebanon wants to be with Syria or with Israel , You are an economist and should know that if Syria wants to consider Lebanon enemy state as Israel consider Gaza and even with only land blockade Lebanon will go more bankrupt than it is now , in Syria we are happy with Bashar Assad at least most of us We are happy that Christians and Muslim can live together without having segregated neighborhoods which is the ultimate in personal freedom , the freedom to live where we want ,
    You talk about the liberties that you have in Lebanon , what is your chance of becommming a president in Lebanon ,or even prime mister , 0% , there is even more chance for a Syrian born in the US to be president than your chance of getting what you might deserve ,

    and yes Saudi , Egypt , Morocco, Iraq and Sudan are all parts of one , They are part of one nation as the states in the US ,

    Posted by Norman | October 31, 2010, 9:12 am
  134. 3ammo Norman @133 “Lebanon was never sovereign.”
    I would think there is a difference between sovereignty and form of government. From 1943 to 1975 I think most Lebanese and most of the world thought of Lebanon as sovereign. Of course things started to get dicey after the Cairo agreement which allowed Palestinians to mount armed struggle against Israel from Lebanese territory, so maybe 1943 to 1970. After that, foreign intervention from virtually everywhere got in the picture. Sure, the Marines were there in 1958, but only very briefly and more by way of protection of the Christians than intervention.
    No one can argue that Syria was and is sovereign since its independence from France.
    Democracy, form of government, etc., are a whole different subject, and in it, I would guess none of the Arab countries holds a high standard.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 31, 2010, 9:46 am
  135. I am always amazed by individuals who live in the West yet they retain the same backward mentality as if they never left Lebanon or Syria.

    Posted by V | October 31, 2010, 9:52 am
  136. anonymous,

    Please let me know if/when the briefcase, reportedly snatched from an STL investigator at the clinic, has been/is returned.

    Posted by Badr | October 31, 2010, 10:12 am
  137. V,

    I hope you don’t mean anyone who lives in Lebanon/Syria, has a backward mentality! 🙂

    Posted by Badr | October 31, 2010, 10:24 am
  138. HP ,

    I agree , you make sense ,

    Posted by Norman | October 31, 2010, 10:30 am
  139. Now if you ask me whether someone, who has lived in Lebanon/Syria for their whole life, not even leaving for a single day, has a backward mentality, I will say not necessarily.

    Posted by Badr | October 31, 2010, 10:52 am
  140. # 136,
    You should know by now that briefcase will never be returned. It was meant to stay in Dahiyeh and specifically with Hassan Sayyed Nasrallah.

    Bellemar sent a personal message in that briefcase to the Sayyed (sorry I meant to say the infallible image of your wali). Bellemar informed the Sayyed that there are three options for punishing convicted criminals in this court: death by firing squad, death by hanging or death by head severing by a guillotine(the closest we can come to death by the sword for those who prefer this option). The Sayyed was also informed that pleading guilty as charged will automatically commute the sentence to life in prison.

    Posted by anonymous | October 31, 2010, 11:00 am
  141. anonymous,

    It seems that you did not get the gist of my comment to you.

    Posted by Badr | October 31, 2010, 11:15 am
  142. Norman,
    A state is sovereign when the international community recognizes it as an independent state. When I criticize Lebanon , which is almost every waking moment , I do so for its familiar to exercise its sovereignty. And that , as you know, or should know, is a completely different ball of wax.
    I never made any comparisons between Lebanon and Syria, you are the one who did. Again you seem to be extremely misinformed about any and all metrics whether they be social , political or economic. Unfortunately the Syrian dictatorships have transformed the country into a basket case in all fields. You choose the statistic and Syria has unfortunately become the North Korea of the Middle East. And what of a false choice is this: to be with Syria or with Israel?

    Norman, all dictatorships survive by spreading fear and circumscribing freedom. They never succeed and Syria is no exception.
    Actually all Arab regimes are ripe for a revolution that will transform the region. That Annus Mirabilis is coming and when it does I hope that it will not be a bloody one.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 31, 2010, 11:20 am
  143. Norman @133

    You said “…can live together without having segregated neighborhoods which is the ultimate in personal freedom.” That’s a brave conclusion! What about freedom of speech? Can you please let us know how you feel about it “freely”?
    Lebanon is no model for democracy, but I believe it’s one of the few Arab countries with remote possibilities of being there. Lebanese even tolerate the likes of Wahab, Jumblat, Jumael, geagea who are entitled to their opinions “freely”?.

    Posted by IHTDA | October 31, 2010, 11:41 am
  144. As I said often this blog is above me. Now things have evolved from a gnycological clinic in Dahia to the unification or separation of the whole ME into several states or one big state. In the “big” state Syria and Lebanon will be like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I give you Pennsylvania’s state motto: “Virtue, Liberty and Independence” and New Jersey’s state motto “Liberty and Prosperity”. I think that size wise and character wise NJ motto fits Lebanon. However it seems that if Syria is in it at least the motto will have to be different than Penn.

    Posted by Rani | October 31, 2010, 12:08 pm
  145. # 141,

    Badr, sorry I do not read minds, but I can read English.

    Posted by anonymous | October 31, 2010, 12:40 pm
  146. Again, reading this page reminds me why I read Angry Arab Anarchist Aristocrat and The Friday Lush Klub. “G, Z, OR B” (he? she? it?) do a nice mark-up job on this one, and AA(AA) is very good: angryarab.blogspot.com/2010/10/sense-from-lebanon.html

    Love to see a conversation along these line here, but it’s not gonna happen.

    Posted by Bored and Disgusted (B&D) | October 31, 2010, 1:24 pm
  147. Ghassan,
    Idealism is definitely conflicting with realities.
    You always write about the need for every state and especially Lebanon to exercise its Sovereignty. Being a big supporter of the STL, which was established by the UN, don’t you think that the UN Security Council has taken away Lebanon’s Judiciary sovereignty, or what ever sovereignty it had?
    Don’t you think Lebanese government subsidized its responsibilities to the UN( and the STL), without going through parliament, and the head of the state, as Lebanese constitution requires?
    What is your take on the constitutional questions surrounding the agreement signed by the Seniora government and the UN?
    What is your take on the STL investigators requesting personal data of close to a million Lebanese, from Minister Baroud, and other security establishment? We also hear that the STL investigators have requested, and received all personal and phone data from the ministry of communications.
    Don’t you think that constitutional rights are being abused, and personal information is being exposed unnecessarily? I won’t get into the conspiracy theories that this data is being shared with other countries for different reasons, since I have no proof of that( though it could happen).
    Do any of these questions raise an alarm in your judgment? Just don’t shoot me for asking too many question, you know how little faith I have of the UN ,and the international community.

    Posted by Prophet | October 31, 2010, 1:46 pm
  148. # 145,

    May be you should ask yourself this question:

    Did Hassan Sayyed Nasrallah surrender the sovereingty of Lebanon, and not just the Judicial sovereignty you seem to be bemoaning, to Iran long before the STL was established?

    It is bewildering. Are the Hizbi supporters so devoid of logic and reason, or are they just doing it for fun and entertainment?

    Does any one see tears of snakes?

    Posted by anonymous | October 31, 2010, 2:23 pm
  149. To HP @ 102 & 114

    Apologies for a delayed reply.

    Memri’s translators certainly are capable of doing a good job but I’ll defer to others for notes of extreme caution:



    But to your posts:

    To focus too much on religious faith would be to fall into the trap of what Rodinson called theologocentrism. Comments like “this plan is dictated by religious faith” and “religious faith implies the plan” decontextualise the environment in which that faith is conceived, articulated, reproduced and (most importantly for our case) given political expression. I see no need to doubt that Nasrallah’s faith is unflinching, and that perhaps he still deep-down wishes to see his utopian Islamic state materialize – but let us not focus on that maximalist position thereby losing sight of what is actually happening in Lebanon and the region.

    I ask the question, at the time when Khatami was willing to accept a 2-state solution and when Syria was on the verge of reaching a deal with Israel, what would HA have done then? It would have been structurally impossible for it to pursue what it once wished for.

    Similarly, again I ask, if the Islamic Republic were to fall, for whatever reason, would HA simply pack up and leave? Even if it remains intact, what is there to suggest Iran even harbours serious political ambitions to impose velayet-e faqih on the entirety of the Muslim world? If anything, it is in Iran’s interest to underplay such sectarian rhetoric to support its pursuit of influence in the Arab world.

    The rules of the game have changed, HA has realized it and recognizes Lebanon in the following terms (from its manifesto):


    أولاً : الوطــن

    إنّ لبنان هو وطننا ووطن الآباء والأجداد، كما هو وطن الأبناء والأحفاد وكل الأجيال الآتية، وهو الوطن الذي قدّمنا من أجل سيادته وعزته وكرامته وتحرير أرضه أغلى التضحيات وأعزّ الشهداء. هذا الوطن نريده لكل اللبنانيين على حد سواء، يحتضنهم ويتسع لهم ويشمخ بهم وبعطاءاتهم.
    ونريده واحداً موحَّداً، أرضاً وشعباً ودولةً ومؤسسات، ونرفض أي شكل من أشكال التقسيم أو “الفدرلة” الصريحة أو المقنَّعة. ونريده سيداً حراً مستقلاً عزيزاً كريماً منيعاً قوياً قادراً، حاضراً في معادلات المنطقة، ومساهماً أساسياً في صنع الحاضر والمستقبل كما كان حاضراً دائماً في صنع التاريخ.

    You may say but its leaders still wish for what Nasrallah said in the 80s (and must the new generations of cadres necessarily adopt the same positions?), but let us add to that the ideal Lebanons (no less worrying than HA’s) of the Hariri, Gemayel, Al-Saud, Al-Asad, Netanyahu, Cheyney etc. families and we begin to such dreams don’t take centre stage in the world of politics.


    Posted by SK | October 31, 2010, 2:49 pm
  150. Prophet,
    Abuses , by definition, need to be condemned. The originator of the abuse is not material.
    If the STL has overstepped its jurisdiction then yes one has many judicial recourses to check such abuse if it has taken place.
    I must clarify , though, something in your post. The STL was not set up by the UNSC. It was the Lebanese cabinet that requested such assisstance initially in the form of an investigation committee and then , when the cabinet decided that the Lebanese judicial system was not ready to act independently on this issue. Ifyou are asking me whether the cabinet had the right to ask for such assisstance my answer would be in the affirmative unless there are some regulations that I am not aware of that would have rendered such a decision illegal.
    I suspect that there was no illegality involved in this case otherwise the opposition would have raised this issue a long time ago. Anyway, the STL has become , after the request and the blessings of the official Lebanese government, a fait accompli. It is an official international judiciary body that was given the jurisdiction to investigate the assassination of former PM Hariri guided by Lebanese law.
    I have never heard the allegation that they have requested info on 1 million individuals before. That sounds absurd but the sheer number does not make it illegal. If the Lebanese judiciary approves of these moves then I have no choice but to accept them , provided they are the law of the land. As for the constant reminder that allof this information is shared with Israel. , no one has ever given any proof. Why would the STL pass on privileged info to Mosad? Is Bellmare a rabid Zionist and is the same true of all the judges? Who is passing along this info and how do we know that it is passed along? If it is then it is wrong but I cannot help but believe that this is set up as a boogieman since ; according to some;everything that ever happens is a result of an Israeli conspiracy.
    Hezbollah is scared, and is sure acting like it. The recent incident is a good example. The STL and the doctor claim that this was not about medical records but about some other information, I suspect cell numbers. But Hezbollah organized a demonstration that bordered onbeing a mob and claimed that the investigators were looking for the records of 7000 patients. I find that difficult to believe. To start with the STL denied it and then I doubt whether a single doctor has records for 7000 patients.If she sees five new patients a day then she would need up to 7 years to see so many patients. It is an exaggeration pure and simple.
    The STL is an indication that Lebanon has failed to establish itself as a sovereign state ever since independence and no abuses whether they originate dfrom the STL or any other organization should ever be tolerated.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 31, 2010, 3:23 pm
  151. # 148


    I think this is the first time I read of “tears of snakes.” I’m more familiar with the expression “crocodile tears.”
    Were you translating word-for-word from another language, maybe, where the former expression is the one used?
    Linguistically and culturally curious…

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 31, 2010, 3:36 pm
  152. Anon
    Though you attended an argument you were not invited to, I was asking Ghassan some specific questions that you could have answered to justify your comment, instead of asking another question.
    As for Your question of whether HNA surrendered the sovereignty of Lebanon to Iran, You may want to ask him . I do not speak on his behalf. However, I will say this; If HA or any party ( they all do)surrendered Lebanese sovereignty to a foreign country, The government should not .

    Posted by Prophet | October 31, 2010, 3:37 pm
  153. Badr,

    Certainly not all. just those who defend dictators and terrorists.

    Posted by V | October 31, 2010, 4:10 pm
  154. Prophet #151,

    Governments have the right to seek military, judicial as well as other forms of aid from other governments and world bodies when they see it fit for the interests of the country. This is not the first time it happens. Chamoun asked for military help from the US in 1958 and the marines landed on Lebanese coast. Franjieh asked for Syrian help in 1976 and the ill-fated 30 years military occupation followed as a result.

    Lebanon did not have the ability to investigate the horrible crimes post 2005 due to well known powers that hijacked the central authority and the infiltration of the security apparatus by agents of Iran and Syria. The STL became a necessity as a result. A sizeable portion of Lebanese population felt and still feels rightly that justice cannot be meted through present Lebanese judicial system.

    Organizations and individuals who hijack the authority of the government and serve foreign agendas are technically dissenters and in reality are outlaws. When the Lebanese come to unanimity agreement on this issue, then you may be able to realize your dream of a functioning, sovereign and trusted judicial system in Lebanon. Until then, the STL is a blessing for Lebanon.

    I knew someone will make similar comment like yours. You’re right. That was curious as you said.

    Posted by anonymous | October 31, 2010, 4:21 pm
  155. anonymous,

    1. If you seriously believe what you said in your comment no. 140, I have nothing further to discuss with you.
    2. Please don’t make a baseless assumption about my affiliation and support.

    What I meant to convey to you is the following. Assuming members of Hizbullah are going to be indicted, how could you be so confident that they are going to be handed over to face trial, while a snatched briefcase belonging to the STL cannot be recovered.

    Posted by Badr | October 31, 2010, 4:35 pm
  156. Ghassan,149.
    Thank you.
    True that the Lebanese government requested assistance in investigating the murder of Hariri. But it is also true that the Lebanese government didn’t follow constitutional procedures when it signed an agreement wit the UN.
    As you know, all agreements have to be negotiated by the head of the state, and then ratified by the parliament. None of those procedures was followed.
    As questionable as some may have thought, the election of president Lahoud was legal, though the procedure was imposed by Syria (as the case for every president elected in Lebanon), and Lebanese MP did vote him in, just like they approved a second term to president Hurawi.
    The president never approved this agreement, nor did the government bother get his opinion.
    The parliament was not involved, nor did it have a chance to ratify this agreement. One can argue that the head of the parliament had shut down the parliament at the time, but does that mean the government signs agreement regardless?
    My argument here is that the law has to be followed, even if we don’t like them.
    As for the abuse of the STL and the demands they have been requesting, I’ll refer you to the ALAKHABR (though it is an opposition Paper) Article, published Oct 29.
    Until We hear denial from Minster Baroud or Minster Nahass, we’d have to assume the story is valid. (If Baroud’s name was not inserted in this story, I may not have given it much validity)
    If you think this is the law of the land, to allow such demands, then I ‘d imagine that you’d think it was the law of the land that requires the government to ratify an agreement in the parliament ,and have the president of the land negotiate such agreement.
    I made it clear that I was not getting into the conspiracy theory that all information is being shared with Israel , since I had no proof .As for the reference to this, it is the talk of town .
    As for the doctor involved in this incident, I agree she could not have had 7000 patients. But I don’t think that the investigators ,at this stage of their inquiry, still need to go to a clinic to get some cell phone numbers. I suspect that it was a test of HA’s reaction and/or cooperation on the eve of the indictment.
    I will agree with you that “The STL is an indication that Lebanon has failed to establish itself as a sovereign state ever since independence”. But does that mean we’re back to colonial time? Does that mean that Under chapter7 of the UN charter, Every lebanese will surrender his/her rights and privacy? Is this the new law of the land?

    Posted by Prophet | October 31, 2010, 4:52 pm
  157. The mightiest and richest nation on earth has bankrupted itself following 9/11 to what avail again ?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 31, 2010, 5:02 pm
  158. Truth and Justice … right ??

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 31, 2010, 5:07 pm
  159. anonymous,
    My response to Ghassan(#155) pretty much responds to most of your points.
    Though you and I may not agree much on this issue, I respect that anyway.
    I’m just afraid , the ramafications of surrendering our responsibilities and soverignty are much more dangerous than most people suspect.
    At a time we need to strengthen the institutions ,I think we’re heading to a period of instability that might prevent lebanon from ever building a soverign state.

    Posted by Prophet | October 31, 2010, 5:29 pm
  160. Prophet,
    It is clear that we are in agreement regarding the importance of applying the law of the land despite our personal feelings towards such law. I might not like a speed limit but yet I am obliged to follow it.
    Did the Lebanese government submit a legal request to the UNSC or not? I am afraid that I cannot give you a detailed answer since I am not a Lebanese lawyer. I am not evading the question but I simply do not know whther such a request does require the signature of the president or whether it is part of the powers given to the executive. But from the internatonal law point of view I am not so sure that the blemishes on the legality of the Lebanese request, even if they did occur, are sufficient to derail the STL. It has become international law that all countries are obliged to accept. As you have heard me say many times my personal research reveals that the only Chapter 7 that has not ben fulfilled; in the history of the UN; besides the ongoing 1559 is that dealing with Kashmir. I guess that it looks that the proper Lebanese request in this case is nice to have but it is neither sufficient nor necessary. This is a fact that we have to deal with.

    I honestly believe that this much discussion about an already approved investigation would not have arisen in any “mature” society. The judiciary investigate, they issue a ruling, the accused has the right to a vigourou defence since all are assumed innocent until proven guilty. In this case all the talk about making a deal is a reflection of an undemocratic mind set. Judiciary are supposed to be independent, honest and objective. No one can buy a decision or influence it . A decision of a lower court maybe appealed to a higher one. This means that the efforts by saudi Arabia, Syria, Hezbollah and even Sa’ad Hariri are theoretically futile. The train has left the station and indictments in addition to trials will be held. We in Lebanon always have the choice of either enforcing the law or not. Our compliance is a completely different issue and will be a reflection on our respect for the rule of law..

    BTW, I still stand by my position that if the indictments are what they are rumormed to be and if the case is strong( it must be in order to justify the Hezbollah reaction) the Hezbollah will find it difficult not to be damaged by this case. The damage could prove to be fatal especially to the military wing of the organization which will weaken the political influence. If all that is to pass then I hope that Lebanon will take advatage of the window of opportunity to have a velvet revolution of sorts. We need to get rid of all the “rascals” on both sides. Those that have been part of the problem for over sixty years cannot be part of the solution.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 31, 2010, 5:35 pm
  161. PeterinDubaisays

    “The mightiest and richest nation on earth has bankrupted itself following 9/11 to what avail again ?”

    You must have a very novel and unique explanation of the economic meltdown. What does 9/11 have to do with securitization, using homes as ATM machines, high energy prices, the rise of the BRIC countries, the elimination of the glass steagall act , an ownership society and on and on and on…

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 31, 2010, 5:40 pm
  162. anonymous @153, I had suspected the origin but now reading carefully your post I’m pretty sure I know; I have esteemed colleagues from what I guess is your heritage and the placement or lack thereof of articles is a unique signature, along with the order of adjectives, etc. — Приветствия

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 31, 2010, 5:40 pm
  163. G.W. Bush and company have to be brought before justice for invading Iraq and the murder of tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilian. What exactly justified their reasoning for it again ?

    Bashar and Hassan are sorry for having had the wrong intel on Hariri as well. Ooops. You know.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 31, 2010, 5:40 pm
  164. Prophet,
    I have never been a fan of President Lahoud but as you said he was elected legally and so I have no complaints in that regard. I do however, and it seems that I am the only person in the world to care about this; believe that our current President’s election was clearly unconstitutional and thus is illegal and should be considered null and void. i will be willing to bring a case , if the Lebanese law allows it, agisnst Mr. Suleiman had there been such a thing as independent judiciary in Lebanon.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 31, 2010, 5:51 pm
  165. Ghassan,

    What did 9/11 have to do with Iraq again?

    How can an individual with apparent serious health problems requiring modern medical aid, with a $50 million bounty of his head dead or alive, plus well over a billion dollars spent on capturing his ass … nine years on … remain elusive ?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 31, 2010, 5:54 pm
  166. PeterinDubai,
    Your initial post , which I responded to, was making a strong claim that 9/11 led to the bankruptcy of the US. That is hogwash.
    If what you meant to say but somehow did not until later on , that you would like Bush to stand trial then this is a completely different matter that is not related to a non existent bankruptcy. Peter, what is the safe haven currency up until this moment all over the world?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 31, 2010, 6:09 pm
  167. Gold

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 31, 2010, 6:13 pm
  168. And the good human being

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 31, 2010, 6:15 pm
  169. By that I mean a person that seeks truth first and accepts justice.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 31, 2010, 6:21 pm
  170. Sorry pet, gold is not a currency on this planet?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 31, 2010, 6:24 pm
  171. Most certainly not on yours, Gus.

    But it was on my planet before the US decided to de-peg their currency off Gold and on Oil instead.

    But what do I really know ? And what do we really know what matters to the world’s money masters.

    You see, Gus, the more you have of it, the more important it becomes on what you have to do to maintain its value.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 31, 2010, 6:35 pm
  172. PeterinDubai,
    I am not aware of many people who feel sorry about the demise of Bretton Woods.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 31, 2010, 6:46 pm
  173. AA again, on Iran and Arab countries

    I saw an Iranian professor from the University of Tehran speak on RT news. He prefaced his remarks by saying: I am not particularly a fan of Ahmadinajad. I thought to myself: with all the noise that hypocritical Western governments make about the lack of democracy in Iran (and Iran is not a democracy for sure and its regime is repressive indeed): if a professor at any Arab university outside of Lebanon made that remark about the leader of that country, he would lose his job instantly and would be punished for sure. This is what people in the West don’t understand: people in the Middle East don’t measure the Iranian political system by the standards of Swedish democracy but by the standards of governments in the Middle East.

    And the thought that Nasrallah sold out Lebanon to Iran is a joke. More rational to say the weakling Hariri (Nasrallah is not weak) is bowing to the Saudi scum.

    Ghassan Karam “You must have a very novel and unique explanation of the economic meltdown. What does 9/11 have to do with securitization, using homes as ATM machines, high energy prices, the rise of the BRIC countries, the elimination of the glass steagall act , an ownership society and on and on and on…”

    You really have no idea how the US was run under Bush, do you?
    His motto was simple: “Cut Taxes and Spend.” You can figure out the rest yourself.

    Lebanon is dominated by a culture of corrupt moralizing children. I have to say, the people who obsess about who killed Hariri are about as stupid as the the people who killed him. Unless the killers were just trying to blow up the middle east.

    FLC: Feltman to Jumblatt: “We don’t care if chaos leads to Hariri’s fall, nor if the army disintegrates … as long as the ‘tribunal’ survives”

    With friends like this you don’t need Nasrallah.

    And no, Bush is never going to be indicted any more than Clinton or Obama are.

    Posted by Bored and Disgusted (B&D) | October 31, 2010, 6:48 pm
  174. What is a Palestinian pound or a Syrian or Lebanese Lira ?

    What is a Gulf Riyal or Dirham ?

    What differentiates the US Dollar or the Euro to the Yen, the Chinese Yuan or the Australian Dollar?

    Marketing ?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 31, 2010, 6:49 pm
  175. QN must be pulling his hair, whatever he has left of it anyways :-). He posts about “Clinicgate: Foucaldian Logic” and the commentary is about gold. Welcome to the world of parenthood QN. Your daughters are still young but soon enough they will disown you:-) If you are having any second thoughts about QN , the blog, it helps to be reminded of what Gibran had to say about the subject: “Your Children are not your children…..they are with you but they belong not to you”.

    Its fascinating isn’t it? No matter what the thread is, readers follow it for the first 20-20 comments only and then they do whatever the hell they want:-)

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 31, 2010, 6:55 pm
  176. Gus,

    It’s the Shekel that will save humanity.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | October 31, 2010, 7:10 pm
  177. GK @174, it’s inevitable; it’s a law of nature; second law of thermodynamics; entropy always increases 😉
    and for the uninitiated, entropy = degree of disorder (or chaos)

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 31, 2010, 7:14 pm
  178. HP
    My whole environmental vision is anchored on the second law. I must admit though that there is one issue that I am not totally convinced of. Is the planet an open system or is it a closed one and ir it is an open system is there an upper limit on how open it is and thus it can be thought of as a closed system?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 31, 2010, 7:25 pm
  179. GK, if I knew the answer and I could prove it I’d win the next Nobel Prize 😉
    It does seem like a neverending quest for humans to understand the mysteries of the universe. While some hope of good progress does exist from the new LHC accelerator in CERN, it’s likely to be more in the direction of “the more we know, the more we know we don’t know.”

    Posted by Honest Patriot | October 31, 2010, 8:31 pm
  180. Ghassan, #164,160
    I won’t dwell on your 160 post , I think we both know where we stand on this issue,and that we may not be in total agreement on everything. I’m sure we’ll revisit this subject again as it will be a hot topic for a long time.
    I finally agreed with an entire comment (164) of yours.
    When ever I raise the question of the constitutionality of President Sleiman, I run into brick walls with people. lol
    Though I have no opinion of the guy non whatsoever, except that He was brought in to manage a situation. He irritates the hell out of me when He tries to please everyone. But it seems that soon He won’t be able to please them all. Even a whore has her/his limitations, LOL

    Posted by Prophet | October 31, 2010, 9:32 pm
  181. AIG,
    Tayyar.com, Al Manar, a Kuwaiti newspaper in addition to a Palestinian journalist and I am sure many others are carrying a detailed speech allegedly given by Amos Yadlin as he was about to leave his post as chief of Aman. All the reports are practically copies of each other but there is no attribution besides the fact that this was widely circulated among Western diplomats. the speech speakes in details about Mughanieh, the telecommunication network in Lebanon, mentions the STL, Hariri assassination , covert activities in Iran … Do you know anything about this.? I have not been able to find any reference to it. If this is true I am surprised, actually shocked that it is not a huge story. Has the Israeli press reported anything about a detailed farewell speech by Yadlin in which he discusses everything from the Sudan to Iran?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | October 31, 2010, 9:51 pm
  182. GK,

    There are reports about Yadlin farewell speeches but they didn’t seem to include earth shattering info. What new info is in the speech according to the Arab sources?

    Posted by AIG | November 1, 2010, 12:37 am
  183. HP,

    I am Jew and I tell you that the Jews are a nation. Not only that, I explain it to you in great detail, several times. Furthermore there are millions of Jews in Israel who think like me, in fact almost all of the Jews here, and many more millions in the diaspora. Yet, for you this is hogwash. Who is then the extremist? Do you really think you know better than millions of Jews who and what they are, or do you think we are a collective of liars?

    Posted by AIG | November 1, 2010, 12:42 am
  184. HP,

    And just as a matter of clarification. Norman has clearly stated that he supports the Asad regime in Syria. Is he an extremist according to you?

    Posted by AIG | November 1, 2010, 12:59 am
  185. AIG,
    The following are the highlights of what Amos Yardlin allegedly said in his farewell speech at Aman:

    Israel killed Moughaniehin Damascushelped by its networks in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Iran.

    Most of the spying network in Lebanon is back in operation. Israel is in full control of the telecommunication network in Lebanon.

    Israel has resupplied some members of former militias in Lebanon and that these groups , under Israeli control, have conducted assassinations in Lebanon.

    In Iran Israel has conducted successfully assassinations of nuclear scientists as well as government officials and has penetrated the nuclear program to its highest levels.

    Israel has supplied the separtists in Sudan and has also provided training for them.

    The Israeli spy network has been advanced considerably in Libya, Tunis and Morocco.

    Egypt has been infiltrated at all levels and in all areas. Economic, social, politicaland military. Israel has also encouraged sectarian strife.

    Hamas must be finished since it posses danger.

    Israel salutes Mubarak and Abbas every day for their contributions towards the stability of Israel.

    (The above is a quick and rough translation of the highlights in the Arabic language

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 1, 2010, 1:28 am
  186. Upthread @ 150, GK logically observes:

    “I doubt whether a single doctor has records for 7000 patients.”


    Agreed, which is why the report that the number of MDs asked for records was 4, not !, makes more sense if the 7000 figure represents a total patient load being split four ways.

    Phone numbers as the targeted data , particularly if the rumors of a massive sweep are fact-based, is the only plausible scenario. Wouldn’t a cache of that quantity (millions? source?) have to include non-HA telecoms?

    This is data mining.

    HA’s networks have been targeted in the past which suggests their communications security has not been penetrated through electronic or other means. Thus far.

    Operation OB/GYN could have been conceived as a backdoor of sorts.

    My speculation is that HA’s target was indeed, the laptop/briefcase, that they were familiar with the STL modus operandi and planned accordingly.The melee within and without the clinic provided confusion and cover.

    If HA has captured previously collected data, they could be sorely tempted to do a wikileaks show-and-tell document dump.

    Posted by lally | November 1, 2010, 2:08 am
  187. AIG, I fully understand your explanation of Jewishness. If you read carefully my comments above I was referring to the “extreme Zionists” and not to you. By that I mean those who do believe in the religious foundation and intrinsic element of Jewishness, for example some of the settlers. I was comparing them – and the degree to which they influence and color official decisions in Israel – to the HA’s and the Hamas’s of the Arab world. They are all zealots who are driven by religious faith, the kind that in history has led to so many tragic conflicts and war.

    Just like as I do not characterize you in this manner, I do not characterize Norman in this manner. I may have disagreements with both but I do not think that you are driven by faith but by logic and circumstance analysis.

    I do not really have fundamental disagreements with you in terms of the pragmatic solution that can lead to peace in the region, or at least to peace in the Israeli-Arab conflict. Perhaps the greatest difference is in the approach to use and the degree of the necessary conditions to ensure the viability of that peace. Analyzing the past may likely unveil many differences but, as has been my experience in earlier discussions, more points of agreement on facts than disagreement.

    I appreciate your reaction to the statement in which I use the word “hogwash,” in a post that did not elaborate further, perhaps, on which part of hogwash. Maybe this post clarifies it.

    I do find that you adopt sometimes a rather condescending tone in “explaining to me” and then at some point in recognizing that now “I am getting it better and starting to stand up to …” I do not resent those statements of yours partly because, with age, comes wisdom and forgiveness. However, I certainly note that tone and infer what it says about your personality and the inflexibility in thinking that your opinions are the inalienable truth.



    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 1, 2010, 3:00 am
  188. HP#179
    I once heard a professor of Theory of Knowledge explain that human knowledge grew like a wave produced by a stone thrown into the water : the circle of knowledge grows in a circle that “bites” the field of ignorance. As the circumference grows, so does the number of points that contact with the field of ignorance. The more we know, the more we “see” how much we don’t know. Or as you put it, “the more we know, the more we know we don’t know.”

    Posted by mj | November 1, 2010, 3:48 am
  189. I was only gone for 2 days !!! I tried my best to read all from 50 something, but have to admit I skipped a few.
    @HP 80, No I will not leave again and I do not foresee a bright future for both my son and I anytime soon. But I also cannot give up. My major fear is that one day might come will I will see my son with a riffle in his hand.

    @Danny 84 : Hassan did change somewhat the Hizb’s manifesto, if recall properly sometime this year, but the changes are nothing but plastic surgery.

    @G.K 164 : My sentiments too, and when he got elected I was shouting out loud not only the illegal aspect, but the deep doubts I had towards his capabilities to get the country out of the trouble its in.

    Posted by Marillionlb | November 1, 2010, 5:51 am
  190. Hi,

    I’m new around here. I love a good romp through matters STL, so I couldn’t help my self on this thread.

    To return to the original topic of the thread, wouldn’t any critical theorist worth their salt admonish Nasrallah for inscribing the honor, integrity and sovereignty of the community on the bodies of women: “The honor of our women has been violated!” In some responses I came across elsewhere the emotional impact of this claim was evident. So the opposition can mount a postcolonialist argument. But the counter-punch is feminist.

    So then we have Rami al-Khouri’s stand-off: “Human rights violators!” cry the colonialists. “Violators of sovereignty!” cry the colonized. Which to choose: arguments based on sovereignty? Or arguments based on human rights? While both of them are much battered and abused by self-interest, I lean towards the latter.

    Posted by Jonathan | November 1, 2010, 8:00 am
  191. Jonathan, you sure are a “critical theorist.” Can you explain for the poor modest layman what is that you were actually saying in your conclusion, perhaps in more mundane practical terms?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 1, 2010, 8:37 am
  192. HP,

    For a person that has taken for himself the right to give grades and compliments to others posts I find your discussion about condescension, wisdom, forgiveness and aging quite amusing.

    Posted by AIG | November 1, 2010, 9:38 am
  193. You never learn, AIG, but persist in always proving the characterization of an attitude you take by another sarcastic post.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 1, 2010, 9:43 am
  194. HP,

    How can a person that supports a dictatorship not be an extremist??? If someone suggested a dictator for the US, would he be an extremist on your eyes? If yes, why is the case of Syria different?

    Posted by AIG | November 1, 2010, 10:01 am
  195. HP,

    My post was not sarcastic. It was factual. In Hebrew we have a saying that literally translates to “attitude begets attitude”. I suggest you get off your high horse.

    Posted by AIG | November 1, 2010, 10:06 am
  196. AIG, yes, dictatorship is wrong and history has proven that dictatorships, sooner or later, leads to its own downfall.

    Supporters of dictatorship are extremists in some sense, because they espouse/support an unfair and inequitable (to say the least) form of government.
    I do not know Norman well enough to characterize him as an extremist. He and I share some heritage, some fond memories of places past in our respective countries, and frankly I have not studied his writings to a point where I can pass such judgment. He often makes logical points and, to my knowledge, is not a political activist. I cannot, just to please you, characterize him as an extremist. When there are fanatics in HA and Hamas who really cause destruction, how can you imply that someone like Norman is an extremist?

    Similarly, I have not characterized you as an extremist either, in the way many of us, including me, look at a fraction of the settlers who clearly behave in ways that demonstrate their extremism.

    If you go back in memory or in searching the posts here and on SyriaComment, you may remember the thoughts I’ve had about Syria and its government. My main issues were with how Syria has handled its relations with Lebanon.

    As far as the Syrian government dealing with its own country and people, I’m not enough of an expert to argue with others, although I have lamented the techniques used in some situations (like the Hama tragedy/massacre). There are some who argue of the need for a lesser evil in Syria driving their support for the regime. There are those who argue that there is no alternative choice and that the Assads have and continue to do the best they can.

    Then, there are folks like you who have a predilection for allowing the evolution of Syria to be determined by complete freedom which, you anticipate (I think), partly from external support to some factions, to lead to a fundamentalist Islamic Brotherhood control there, which would then lead to a major war with Israel, which would definitively deal a defeat to Syria (and probably a permanent annexation of the Golan and elimination of any Syrian threat to Israel).

    I have no position on any of the above because, as in so many things in the Middle East, even the experts are confounded and I don’t have all the facts. The various scenarios I painted are from the news and the posts/commentaries and so are meant as possible positions by others.

    Finally, I do know well about “attitude begets attitude” which is derived from “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
    I do not subscribe to this principle but I let my belief in God and my principles of social harmony and civility guide my behavior, including on this blog.

    As far as what you call “the right to give grades and compliments to others posts” that you say I have “taken for [myself]” I frankly don’t see how agreeing with a post, or complimenting its author, or firmly objecting to certain rare posts that use profanities has anything to do with “condescension, wisdom, forgiveness and aging.”

    Once again, I find that you pick fights, AIG, in the wrong places. You seem almost obsessed with lecturing me and explaining to me and then, when real extremists post, you simply say “yeah we’ve heard this for 60 years and look where you are,” without further engagement. I don’t know what you think you are gaining in engaging with me the way you do, but hey, maybe there is something. After all, as I said I don’t know everything.

    As always, Peace and Shalom.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 1, 2010, 10:29 am
  197. … and I have not engaged in the equestrian sport so my horse is neither high or low; I have no horse. — (wisdom advises of the benefits of humor)

    Posted by Honest Patriot | November 1, 2010, 10:33 am
  198. GK,

    The Israeli press has not reported what the Arab press has. It looks like pure propaganda to me. For example Yadlin would never say in any forum that Israel has encouraged sectarian strife in Egypt even if it were true which obviously its not. Why would Israel want to hasten Mubarak’s demise?

    So the explanation on why this has not made news elsewhere is because it is fabricated.

    Posted by AIG | November 1, 2010, 10:35 am
  199. HP,

    Ok, let’s put the question another way:
    Are Norman’s views about dictatorship in Syria extreme views?

    If you don’t understand the difference between agreeing and disagreeing with someone and grading someone and giving compliments, then indeed my comment was not informative to you.

    “Attitude begets attitude” does not relate to an “eye for an eye”. By the way, I see that you do not know the rabbinical interpretation of this which is that compensation should be proportionate to the hurt. For example you don’t kill someone because he took out your eye. The rabbis also explained that the compensation is made by money or goods and not by taking out someone’s eye. You have a very fundamentalist view of the Old Testament which is not how Judaism interprets the bible at all. The people that hold your view are called Karaim and have been frowned upon by Jewish society.

    I would like to also bring to your attention that much of European antisemitism had at its base wrongheaded and misguided interpretation of the bible and talmud. I would suggest learning from history. In many areas you feign not knowing enough, yet when it comes to Judaism and Israeli security you are suddenly an expert.

    Posted by AIG | November 1, 2010, 10:50 am

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