Elections, Free Patriotic Movement, Hezbollah, Lebanon, March 14

Who Will Be Lebanon’s Next Prime Minister: Doing the Parliamentary Math

The above graph provides a visual representation of the current balance of power in the Lebanese Parliament. (Click for large PDF version)

Last Saturday, Lebanon’s As-Safir newspaper published an excellent analysis of the different possible scenarios that could lead to the nomination of a new Prime Minister. It sheds important light on the political math behind the question of who will lead Lebanon, now that Saad al-Hariri’s government has fallen. Download the As-Safir report here. (The above graph, produced by a friend of mine, puts the basic balance of power in visual context for all of you non-Arabic speakers.)

According to Article 53.2 of the Lebanese Constitution, the Prime Minister is appointed by the President of the Republic following binding consultations with Parliament. In other words, Parliament basically votes for the new Prime Minister, but does so via the back-room politicking of the “presidential consultations” ritual.

The solid parliamentary majority that March 14th won during the 2009 elections evaporated once Walid Jumblatt decided to forge his own path independent of his former allies. Today, Jumblatt is playing the role of kingmaker, which is one of the principal reasons he dropped out of March 14th in the first place. The question of who will be Lebanon’s next Prime Minister turns on Jumblatt’s decision to stick with Saad al-Hariri, betray him to the opposition, or abstain and let the MPs in his bloc make up their own minds about where to hang their hats.

Which brings us to the numbers game. As-Safir outlines four possible scenarios for how the various parliamentary blocs and independents might vote, once President Sleiman gets around to launching the consultation session:

  1. Status quo: March 14th’s 55 MPs are joined by Jumblatt’s bloc of 11 MPs plus 6 independents (Miqati, Safadi, Fattoush, etc.) leading to a majority of 71 to the opposition’s 57 votes. Result: Saad al-Hariri is re-appointed (71-57)
  2. Stalemate #1: Jumblatt’s bloc is split such that 4 MPs vote with March 14th, and 7 vote with March 8th, while the independents also vote for March 14th. Result: Deadlock in the Parliament (64-64).
  3. Stalemate #2: Two members of Jumblatt’s bloc vote with March 14th but the rest abstain along with all of the independents. Result: No majority for either side (57-57).
  4. March 8th prevails: Most of Jumblatt’s bloc and some of the independents vote with the opposition, while March 14th only attracts six additional votes. Result: March 8th names a new Prime Minister (67-61)

Hizbullah and the Free Patriotic Movement have already declared that Hariri will not be their candidate, while Berri and Jumblatt have been more circumspect, preferring to find a way to re-nominate Hariri as part of a larger deal on Lebanon’s response to the Special Tribunal indictments. When push comes to shove, Berri will line up with his allies in the opposition, but Jumblatt is still wavering. This explains the Druze leader’s recent meetings with Bashar al-Assad as well as U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly’s meetings with MPs like Nicola Fattoush: both sides are trying to pressure the independents to break for their allies.

This may sound over-optimistic, but as bleak as things look these days, the fact that politics in Lebanon still comes down to a matter of counting votes and persuading (read: intimidating?) MPs to vote one way or another strikes me as something to feel good about. Sort of.

UPDATE: 7:45 PM (Beirut time)

Saad al-Hariri just gave a televised address to the nation from his residence in Beirut. Here are the basic points:

  • I will not sacrifice the dignity of my family and my father’s memory just for the sake of politics (read: I’m not going to cut a deal on the STL)
  • I was willing to look for some kind of compromise in order to safeguard Lebanon’s stability, but the various foreign initiatives to reach this compromise were met by the opposition’s refusal to re-nominate me as Prime Minister (read: I’m not going to cut a deal on the STL)
  • We (i.e. March 14th) will go to the parliamentary consultations when President Sleiman launches them, and we will accept their outcome because we support the Constitution and not the politics of the street.

I have to say that I thought this was a surprisingly decent performance by Hariri. He put a positive spin on the possibility that he will not be nominated PM, and he also sent the message to his followers to shy away from any acts of civil disobedience that may result from the transfer of power.

If the opposition does succeed in mustering the votes necessary to bring Omar Karami into office (as is being reported now), then I would hope that Hariri would sit that government out and leave March 8th to face the music. A cult of consensus has poisoned the well of Lebanese governance for far too long, and I’m tired of hearing excuses  from this side or that about why nothing seems to get done.

More later…
wordpress stats


352 thoughts on “Who Will Be Lebanon’s Next Prime Minister: Doing the Parliamentary Math

  1. Prophett 196,

    You could have saved yourself the effort of quoting Kessler. The conditions of her quote simply do not apply.

    Reinforcing one’s argument by qouting an external source in a context that is not applicable serves nothing but empty rhetoric.

    I have noticed that none of your comments deal with issues that are addressed when you attempt to carry out a discussion. Instead, you are imprisoned in the narratives of the organization that you clearly sympathize with if not you fully and blindly support. You never fail to regurgirate such narrative in any comment that you write. It is as if you believe it your duty to follow the line of your ‘master’ orator.

    But believe me oratory skills do not work here, and particularly with me.

    Until you are capable of breaking away from such narrative, you will be incapable of defining or understanding national identities. Your pathetic understanding of such definition is clearly proven when you attempt to describe it in relation to foes and friends.

    The same argument applies to your understanding of terrorism and the question of the civil war.

    Posted by anonymous | January 23, 2011, 6:33 am
  2. The fact that Lebanon’s sectarian, feudal, and utterly corrupt leaders do not know how to play politics without having a foreign sponsor attests to the sad truth that the roots of the country’s lack of sovereignty are mostly internal and are embedded in its anachronistic, confessional political system…fathered by the French decades ago and perpetuated by constant foreign meddling in order to divide and conquer.

    Posted by Jim | January 23, 2011, 7:11 am
  3. The Defense Science Board (DSB), a US government committee produced a report in 2004. Its key findings are very relevant in today’s Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Pakistan. Those who dismiss everything as anti-Americanism should read the full report…. The DSB is a United States Federal Government Advisory Committee established to provide independent advice to the Secretary of Defense. Statements, opinions, conclusions, and recommendations in this report do not necessarily represent the official position of the Department of Defense. In retrospect, the report sometimes reads like an indictment of the utterly criminal US foreign policy. Here is an important quote:

    American direct intervention in the Muslim World has paradoxically elevated the stature of and support for radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single-digits in some Arab societies.

    • Muslims do not “hate our freedom,” but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, SYRIA, Pakistan, and the Gulf states.

    • Thus when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy. Moreover, saying that “freedom is the future of the Middle East” is seen as patronizing, suggesting that Arabs are like the enslaved peoples of the old Communist World — but Muslims do not feel this way: they feel oppressed, but not enslaved.

    • Furthermore, in the eyes of Muslims, American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering. U.S. actions appear in contrast to be motivated by ulterior motives, and deliberately controlled in order to best serve American national interests at the expense of truly Muslim self determination.

    • Therefore, the dramatic narrative since the most Barbaric criminal act, the inside Job of 9/11 which was pulled off by Dick CHENEY’s gang of criminals, has essentially borne out the entire radical Islamist bill of particulars. American actions and the flow of events have elevated the authority of the Jihadi insurgents and tended to ratify their legitimacy among Muslims. Fighting groups portray themselves as the true defenders of an Ummah (the entire Muslim community) invaded and under attack — to broad public support.

    • What was a marginal network is now an Ummah-wide movement of fighting groups. Not only has there been a proliferation of “terrorist” groups: the unifying context of a shared cause creates a sense of affiliation across the many cultural and sectarian boundaries that divide Islam.

    • Finally, Muslims see Americans as strangely narcissistic — namely, that the war is all about us. As the Muslims see it, everything about the war is — for Americans — really no more than an extension of American domestic politics and its great game…

    This perception is of course necessarily heightened by election-year atmospherics, but nonetheless sustains their impression that when Americans talk to Muslims they are really just talking to themselves.

    Thus the critical problem in American public diplomacy directed toward the Muslim World is not one of “dissemination of information,” or even one of crafting and delivering the “right” message. Rather, it is a fundamental problem of credibility. Simply, there is none…

    Posted by Jim | January 23, 2011, 8:14 am
  4. anon #195,
    There is no way that Chamberlain could be excused for his actions. He was purely an appeaser . And yes you are right ( I have used this very example a half dozen times during 2006) Seniora is another Chamberlain he is another appeaser.
    Before someone comes to the fore and says that politics is the art of compromise let me remind readers what is the dictionary definition of appease:

    to yield or concede to the belligerent demands of (a nation, group, person, etc.) in a conciliatory effort, sometimes at the expense of justice or other principles. ”

    I am sure that no one will ever confuse appeasement with compromise which is essentially :”a settlement of differences by mutual concessions”.

    Whether Seniora did what he did on pyurpose or whether he simply was not aware of the repercussions of his act is not important. He was an appeaser and he helped create the current crisis through his lack of courage to take a stand. He was a “jellyfish” 🙂

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | January 23, 2011, 11:56 am
  5. Gabie 198,
    No matter what one thought of R Hariri, He definitely was a Giant man with giant ideas,unlike an political figure Lebanon ever had. Werther you agreed with his economic politics or not, He energized and rebuilt much of what the wars destroyed.One can evaluate his work and blame him or credit him with this or that, But No one should be eliminated from the political seen through assassination or intimidation. None of the political assassinations which took place in Lebanon,accomplished what the killers hoped for. All assassination backfired.
    One other thing I’ll add(pure speculation) is that R hariri’s involvement is Syria’s internal affairs could have tempted some Syrian intelligence establishment to eliminate him. Or It could have given some other foreign country an opening to kill him,and put the blame on Syria.I have no proof on any of this.It’s just a theory.

    Posted by prophett | January 23, 2011, 12:20 pm
  6. Those who dismiss everything as anti-Americanism should read the full report….


    Can you provide a link to “the full report”? I went to their website, and I couldn’t find it.



    Therefore, the dramatic narrative since the most Barbaric criminal act, the inside Job of 9/11 which was pulled off by Dick CHENEY’s gang of criminals, has essentially borne out the entire radical Islamist bill of particulars.

    Also, I sincerely doubt a US government promotes the ridiculous notion that 9-11 was an “inside job”.

    The fact that Lebanon’s sectarian, feudal, and utterly corrupt leaders do not know how to play politics without having a foreign sponsor attests to the sad truth that the roots of the country’s lack of sovereignty are mostly internal and are embedded in its anachronistic, confessional political system…fathered by the French decades ago and perpetuated by constant foreign meddling in order to divide and conquer.


    Hezbollah is a terrorist organization which was implanted in Lebanon from Iran. The target populations centers, hence the label. Hezbollah is used by Syria to apply military pressure on Israel like Hamas.

    Hezbollah (translation: “Party of God”) is a theocratic organization. They do not recognize the State of Israel and they refuse to integrate into the Lebanese army. They also have broken UNSC resolution 1701, causing the IDF to resume overflights. Since their latest instigation in 2006, the Israeli/Lebanese border has been very quiet, as Hezbollah has learned a little bit more about “responsibility”.



    But if you’re so enamoured with Hezbollah and you hate the US so much, when do you plan to join the “freeedom fighters” of Hezbollah?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 23, 2011, 12:50 pm
  7. AP, what the heck? why are you wasting your time with what is clearly a disingenuous contributor? Do you really believe he was an insider?
    When you and or AIG and I agree, or when we disagree (sometimes quite depply), we all know it’s genuine. Let’s not waste time with noisy signals. SNR is high enough that we can afford to chop off the noise.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | January 23, 2011, 1:04 pm
  8. Ghassan 204,

    The question still remains which is why do some politicians use appeasement policies? Is it because it is in their nature or is it because of circumstances which goes back to your duress thesis? Seniora was very confrontational with Syria by the way. Is it because he could afford confrontation in this case and he could not afford it with the hizzies?

    On the other hand Hariri is differnet and it is probably because of his upbringing out of Lebanon. However, He did learn very quickly and also showed adherence to certain principles at the cost of political maneuvering. Forming a unity government was forced upon him by two events. First it was the WJ flip- flop immediately after the elections and secondly Suleiman’s insistance.

    Posted by anonymous | January 23, 2011, 1:06 pm
  9. 3ammo Norman, going back to 139, 142, and 146, many of us happen to believe that were all parties in Lebanon agree to put Lebanon first, pursue a non-aligned policy that makes Lebanon the Switzerland of the Middle East, institute fundamental principles of human rights, liberty, equality for all its citizen, and enshrine those in a constitution that cannot be overturned by the whims of religious extremism or by any party that happens to temporarily gain majority, then economic prosperity, excellent standard of living, peace, and a definitive path towards growth and improvement will reign.
    That’s another way to achieve such success without accepting subjugation from any foreign entity. A precondition is the disarmament of HA, a peace treaty with Israel, guarantees from all Lebanon’s neighbors, the superpowers, the UN security council and maybe the general assembly. Many of these entities can be on board in no time for this. Will HA and Syria?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | January 23, 2011, 1:09 pm
  10. … and yes, the above would include citizenship for the Palestinians now in Lebanon who satisfy certain conditions of continued residence over a number of years.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | January 23, 2011, 1:10 pm

    Evidence is now clear. Wikipedia, the vast online encyclopedia used as a reference source by amateur and professional scholars, journalists and researchers of all kinds is now proven to be subject to a massive assault by the government of Israel…. Hundreds of Wikipedia editors are being recruited and trained each week, tasked by the Israeli government with instilling open “Zionist” bias in even the most innocent areas, not just news, but personal biographies and, especially history…..

    Posted by Jim | January 23, 2011, 1:10 pm
  12. HP,

    Thanks. You’re right. I got succered in…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 23, 2011, 1:11 pm
  13. Hezbollah is a formidable Nationalist Resistance Movement protecting Lebanon from Israeli/American constant aggressions since 1982 and ALL Lebanese know that and are respectful of their achievements and sacrifices. We ALL feel comfortable with Hizbullah protecting Lebanon and nothing thrown at them will ever change that venue.

    Posted by Jim | January 23, 2011, 1:25 pm
  14. Concerning HP 209
    I am lurking here all the time but have nothing usefull to write, just crossing my fingers. As to HP 209, I like it and I will make it easy on you. Probably at the first stage many Israelies will go for truely working the old armistice arrangements. After five GOOD years of that we will see. Seems from what I read here and elsewhere that a sudden peace treaty will be too much for most Lebanese.

    Posted by Rani-Hazbani | January 23, 2011, 1:31 pm
  15. anon 201
    I don’t see anything wrong with reinforcing an argument by referring to a quote. It’s the same as referring to an article or a link.
    I’m not surprised a bit that you didn’t think the quote applied. It’s a normal case of deniability on your part.
    It seems that you are accusing me of many things, amongst them being a good orator. Although you got this one wrong, I still thank you for the complement, even though I was not trying to impress you. lol
    Dictating to others how to express themselves, and setting conditions on when and how a person’s view can be accepted by you, is very reflective of the civil war mentality of many Lebanese .One thing I’m always thankful for, is that I was not part of any of that period, but I can understand those who were not lucky enough to stay away.
    You may have physically left the Lebanon of the civil war, but the civil war and the militia mentality didn’t leave you. Anger can take a long time to fad, and hate can take longer to cease.
    I’m still hopeful that with time, healing can do its magic. I won’t give up on my fellow Lebanese.

    Posted by The prophet | January 23, 2011, 1:59 pm
  16. Prophett 201,

    It seems that you gravely misunderstand what others are telling, at least in my case.

    I was probably too polite and did not clearly state what is meant by your unwarranted quote. Even though I mentioned it was the conditions of that quote that do not apply to the case, yet you continue to argue childishly in defence of your use of the quote. Let me make it clear then. I do understand Hizb very well and I do not have any hatred towards them – charges you’re trying slyly to level on me. This is what was mean by the inapplicable conditions. So behave yourself and avoid such tactics if you want to gain respect and a reputation of possessing intellectual honesty.

    Secondly, my accusing you of imitating ‘your master’ orator is by no means a compliment. This would be readily understood by a ten year old. In order to make things clear, therefore, there was no need for you to offer any thanks in return. But there is a need for you to understand what was said.

    Third, when, why or how I left Lebanon is completely unknown to you. Drawing conclusions, as you seem to do, based on things that are unknown to you are clear signs of incompetence.

    Posted by anonymous | January 23, 2011, 2:22 pm
  17. Comment 215 was actually for Prophett 214.

    Posted by anonymous | January 23, 2011, 2:24 pm
  18. Najib Mikati is offering his candidacy for the premiership as a moderate candidate.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | January 23, 2011, 6:24 pm
  19. On who and what is SHN waging his rhetoric and war on ?

    Israel? With what? 40,000 rockets that once depleted may cause 2,000 casualties at best and cause $200 million in infrastructure damage to the Israeli economy?

    Or maybe he is counting on his devoted 1.5 million Shia and Christian and fans and 112 Druze to resort to machetes to rid Palestine of the Israelis?

    Posted by PeterinDubai | January 23, 2011, 7:05 pm
  20. The Mikati nomination in his own words:

    “كد رئيس الحكومة الاسبق نجيب ميقاتي إن ترشحه لرئاسة الحكومة المقبلة اساسه قناعته بأن صيانة مسيرة السلم الاهلي وتحصين الساحة الداخلية في وجه التحديات المرتقبة تحتاج الى وقفة وطنية جامعة . وأشار الى انه ينطلق من هذا الترشيح ليؤكد أنه يتطلع الى “تعاون جميع القيادات اللبنانية لنشكل معا فريق عمل متضامن يخرج البلاد من الأزمة الحادة التي تتخبط بها
    وردا على سؤال عما إذا كان مرشح المعارضة اشار ميقاتي الى أنه يعتبر نفسه رجلا وسطيا، وفاقيا ومرشح الاعتدال، وتوجه بالشكر الى كل من يمنحه ثقته ليترجم خياراته وقناعاته هذه

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | January 23, 2011, 7:07 pm
  21. The Middle East is a business joke and a haven by the weapons industry.

    The Israelis are an asset to them.

    Give them $3 Billion a year for free to get the rest of the region to spend $300 Billion.

    The Iranian regime brilliantly feeds the cycle.

    Business is good for the defense industry.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | January 23, 2011, 7:34 pm
  22. Ghassan,

    If you heard or read today’s HNA speech you would discover that demagoguery has set a new heights.

    But as to your comment about Mikati, if he gets nominated then HA would have failed to achieve any of its objectives except forcing Hariri out of his post.

    Karami has been used as a media scapegoat, and he is now completely burnt card. Mikati has been Syria’s choice all along.

    Again assuming he gets nominated, March 14 will now insist on full 15 seats out of 30 seat government. Suleiman may get none. The STL cannot be cancelled in this case. And Mikati can fall anytime by the withdrawal of either M14 or M8 ministers.

    I am still convinced that there will be no government any time soon.

    If 2013 elections go through on schedule, most likely Hariri and M14 allies will win by a landslide this time.

    Posted by anonymous | January 23, 2011, 7:44 pm
  23. Thanks for the graphic and details. Nevertheless I think it is too early to speculate about a future government, even if tomorrow Suleiman really announces a new Prime Minister. First, I think this government will not take shape until several months from now. Second, even if Karami reaches the post of Prime Minister it would be a temporary maneuver from 8 March to buy sometime, since 14thn March has make it clear that no one but Hariri will be his leader. And Hizbollah and 8th March do not want a discredited monochrome government. This means that they will push 14th March as much as they can, and then will form a Government with Hariri once the late accepts to delegitimize the STL. Have more to say but do not want to extend more here.http://www.nataliasancha.com/insidemiddleeast/

    Posted by Natalia | January 23, 2011, 7:47 pm
  24. Hp,

    I do not see a reason for HA to keep his arms as a separate force outside the Lebanese armed forces if all Lebanese areas are free and the Shia have the same rights as everybody else without quotas and set a side,
    the question is why HA need the power of the gun to feel secure and why the Christians need the presidency and half the parliament to feel at home

    These question have to be answered if we are going to see Lebanon as united as you want to be,
    about Syria and Lebanon, Syria will probably agrees to whatever the Lebanese want as long as Lebanon is not a source and a venue to infiltrate Syria.

    Posted by Norman | January 23, 2011, 8:24 pm
  25. Ghassan,

    This is a follow up on your comment and is reported as a brief in Addiyar,

    علمت الديار بأن التسوية فشلت بالاتفاق على تسمية الرئيس ميقاتي كمرشح تسوية ومعركة الاستشارات مستمرة غدأ


    Syria must get the hell out of Lebanese affairs altogether and must have no say on who gets what in Lebanon.

    I for one would encourage any group to set up offices in Lebanon to openly overthrow the Assad regime. Do you agree to join such groups?

    Posted by anonymous | January 23, 2011, 8:51 pm
  26. 3ammo Norman, if only the folks back home would listen to you and me 😉

    Posted by Honest Patriot | January 23, 2011, 8:58 pm
  27. anon,
    the end of the Karami candidacy has brought the chances of Omar Karami to the same level as those of Hoss. And that is good. We need some fresh young blood.
    But more importantly the death of the Karami card is a major set back to HA and its alliea who only 3-4 days ago were boasting that their only choice was Karami, evenWahab joined the chorus9 why does anyone give a hoot about what Wahab thinks?)
    If Mikati is to make it it would be as a compromise candidate and I would not be surprised if he would try , again, his old formula; a smaller than usual cabinet composed of non politicians.
    I do not think that Mr. M8ikati can promote his candidacy as a moderate candidate and yet agree to the three HA conditions. Are we witnessing ; earlier than what I had originally thought; the transformation of HA into a more mainstream and less confrontational party? Don’t bother to answer earlier than 2014-15 lol.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | January 23, 2011, 8:59 pm
  28. PeterinDubai,

    I can’t disagree with your last few points. The defense industry is great and providing a lot of jobs for Israelis and Americans.

    BTW, I was able to visit Abu Dhabi twice to help the Emiratis protect themselves…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 23, 2011, 9:08 pm
  29. Ghassan,

    The end of Karami’s candidacy came by request from him personally to HNA to seek another candiate. He (Karami) was also pressured by his son Faysal to reject holding on what Fasal called the ball of fire. Faysal is afraid it will end his own political career before ir even starts. On that, you were right it was a set back to HA.

    M14 is rejecting Mikati as a compromise candidate insisting Hariri is their candidate and also describing him as HA candidate.

    Again Mikati is risking burning himself as he ran on Hariri’s list and it makes no sense to select an MP from the list and bypassing its leader. I doubt he will get nominated and if he does he will not be able to form a government. Also, the main street in Tripoli is very agitated and angry at the turn of events. HNA has indeed succeeded in setting up the stage for impending sectarian conflicts in the name of the fake culture of so-called ‘resistance’. You should listen to his latest speech. The guy is indeed ‘amusing’. But how long will he keep on hypnotizing the gullible among his followers?

    It is also interesting to note the two communiques issued today by the Council of Muftis and the gathering of M14 Christian MP’s. Both contained some very strong languages directed at Suleiman. Poor guy what can he do?

    Posted by anonymous | January 23, 2011, 9:15 pm
  30. Hp,

    I am glad .

    Posted by Norman | January 23, 2011, 10:01 pm
  31. anon,214
    It seems that every time you fail to support an argument, you succeed in turning a political debate into a personal one. It is not suppose to be like this.
    I will say this to you one time only.
    I respect this forum, and everyone who is part of it, even you.
    I’m not running for a popularity contest, nor am I seeking anyone’s approval. My Intellectual honesty is not being questioned, but your anger and hatred are.
    For a person to reject a “thank you”, it must be a serious case.
    If your approval requires me to always agree with your views, I say respectfully; do not hold your breath.
    If you give yourself the right and privileges to judge people based on their argument, you should expect others to judge you based on your comments. You know nothing about me either, for you to accuse me of following “a master”. It’s either ignorance or incompetence.
    For you to tell me to behave myself, for a second, I thought I was sitting in an elementary class, or in one of those militia meetings where you’re talked down to, and threatened.
    I would not mind if I could turn the clock back and become a child again(and get yelled at, lol), but definitely would not want to be in a militia, which murders people based on their religion or any other reason for that matter.
    I won’t be disrespectful to you, and respond in the same manor. I will respect the forum, and walk away from this argument because it is the smart and wise thing to do.
    One thing keep in mind; If you ever wished to comment on any thing I post, just be respectful, and don’t turn it in into personal attacks.
    I do promise myself not to reply to your political comments, which always seem to recycle themselves anyway.
    Good luck.

    Posted by The prophet | January 23, 2011, 10:45 pm
  32. LoL.

    Ya Nabi, you’re due for a title upgrade. You get slapped you give the other cheek.

    I think it’s high time we start calling you the Messiah :D.

    Posted by Gabriel | January 23, 2011, 10:51 pm
  33. For shits and giggles.

    Posted by Gabriel | January 23, 2011, 10:52 pm
  34. QN is right. Where are the M8 advocates?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | January 23, 2011, 11:04 pm
  35. Gabriel,332
    I’m glad you are having fun at my expense. Prophets are full of generosity too. lol
    It’s a losing battle when you debate someone who renounces the use and authority of reason. It is like administrating medicine to the dead.
    It is not about turning the other cheek, and definitely not a sign of weakness. Where I came from, we don’t turn the other cheek, but there are situations where it is wise and smart to walk away from debates when they turn into unpleasant and unnecessary argument. Forums like this are not meant for personal arguments.
    Life is too short, buddy. I might just visit less often.
    Someone, whose name has escaped my memory, said:
    “Arguments are often like melodramas — they have a beginning, middle, and end.”

    Posted by The prophet | January 23, 2011, 11:26 pm
  36. @235:

    At your expense has a negative connotation! Don’t ever think that.

    And turning the other cheek is never a sign of weakness. It’s a great personal strength. So whether or not it’s not typical from where you come, it certainly is a quality you should embrace!

    As for that saying, I’ve never seen a melodramatic person put his act to an end :D. LoL

    Posted by Gabriel | January 23, 2011, 11:42 pm
  37. <i"It seems that every time you fail to support an argument, you succeed in turning a political debate into a personal one. It is not suppose to be like this.
    I will say this to you one time only."

    Prophett 231,

    It seems that you commit your ‘felony’ and accuse others of doing it.

    Please review your comment # 196 and determine for yourself who turned a political issue into a personal one. There was no interaction between you and me before that comment.

    So please do not hide behind empty execuses of being respectful to the forum when you are the first to violate basic ‘rules’.

    Based on that comment where you gave yourself the freedom to accuse others (me) of hatred and lack of knowledge of a group, I felt cmpelled to question your honesty as well as your competence, particularly when you refered to reasons as to why and when I left Lebanon which you have no knowledge of.

    And worse you come back with another comment confirming those baseless accusations:

    “…but your anger and hatred are.”

    Do you expect me to thank you and offer you my respect for such behaviour? Get serious!

    So again, please behave yourself if you want to gain respect and a reputation of being intellectually honest.

    And that is all you need to do.

    Posted by anonymous | January 24, 2011, 12:04 am
  38. Najib Mikati just spoke after leaving consultations with the president, he really stood his ground and he said that he is running a consensus PM choice. Does anyone know why this Sunni billionaire doesn’t have a bigger following? I was impressed by him, but it doesn’t take much to impress me after listening to a few painful Saad Hariri speeches. I think m8 played Omar Karami knowing full well they would settle with Mikati in the end. M14’s number 1 attack dog is escalating the anti democratic rhetoric demanding that Saad be Prime Minister.


    Posted by tamer k. | January 24, 2011, 7:10 am
  39. M8 supporters or sympathizers, come out come out wherever you are!
    Here’s a question for you to react to and comment on:
    See this story: http://www.naharnet.com/domino/tn/NewsDesk.nsf/getstory?openform&51BC02A85F6AFC8AC225782200296B6D
    – Do you condone such actions?
    – Do you categorically reject any such behavior in a Lebanon ruled by a majority from HA?
    – If Israel makes a commitment of non-aggression on Lebanon, guaranteed by all the member countries (individually) of the UN Security Council, would you then advocate HA disarm or merge its forces with the Lebanese Army under the strict and exclusive command of the Army command?
    – If, in addition, Lebanon institutes one-man one-vote, with no confessional quotas but with constitutional, irrevocable, protections of minorities, would you then advocate the disarmament/merger above?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | January 24, 2011, 7:13 am
  40. tamer, if you were impressed by Mikati’s verbal prowess, then surely you are more than impressed by Sakr’s even though you disagree with his politics and call him “attack dog.”

    The only goal of Mikati’s candidacy is to have Lebanon officially denounce the STL, a continued desperate attempt by HA and Syria to abort the impact of the STL in Lebanon’s and the Arab World’s public opinion (no one is fooled on the International stage).

    Truth will come out and this is a battle that HA and Syria will lose. They made a major mistake on Feb. 14, 2005 and there’s no escaping its consequences, sooner or later. When the history of this period is written, students will be completely baffled by how long demagoguery was effective in twisting minds and opinions in the region in the claim of innocence of HA and Syria.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | January 24, 2011, 7:22 am
  41. Ghassan you do know of the personal & business friendship between Bashar’s family and Mikati’s right?

    Posted by danny | January 24, 2011, 7:29 am
  42. HP,
    Its really pointless having the same conversations over and over again.

    Once again, when you or anyone else can show one instance of HA behaving like the Iranians then you can bring a story about Iran into an HA discussion. Your question is as relevant as me posting a link about congress supporting an Israeli attack on Lebanon and asking if M14 supporters condone the resolution.

    And once again, as I have told you time and time again, the only way HA will start losing Shia (and non-Shia) support is the day they look like wanting to impose an Islamic Republic in Lebanon.

    As for if Israel makes a commitment of non-aggression on Lebanon, guaranteed by all the member countries (individually) of the UN Security Council please don’t make me laugh. Israels “commitments” are not worth the paper they are written on and guaranteed how? After everything Israel has done and got away with, where exactly do you see the political will for any security council nation to do anything to them? Lets get real shall we?

    And once again, once the Lebanese Army is “allowed” to have the kind of weaponry that allows it to function as an army and not a glorified police force, then, and only then can we talk of HA giving up its weapons.

    But seriously, you ask the questions as you have not heard me or others explain this a thousand and one times before.

    Posted by usedtopost | January 24, 2011, 7:31 am
  43. On Naharnet, two pieces of news:
    – “Siddiq Says he Owns 7 Tapes that Implicate Top Syrian Officers in Hariri’s Murder”
    – “Moscow: International Tribunal is Best Way to Avoid More Assassinations”

    The noose tightens and Russia will not bail the guilty out.
    Pushed to the wall, what will the guilty do? They have shown willingness to take to the streets before. But will subversion trump justice and the innate desire for freedom? Will March 14, 2005, repeat itself once the masks fall and the overwhelming objective evidence becomes fully exposed?

    Pity the Nation? Again?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | January 24, 2011, 7:31 am
  44. utp/Mo, welcome back!
    Well that was one way to bring you back!
    I am well aware of your opinion and stance which I fully respect and hope beyond hope that it is right and that I am wrong.
    Maybe it’s phobia on my part.
    Don’t you think, however, that there are many confidence-building measures, toning down of rhetoric, carefully controlling the outpouring of support by HA to Iran, etc., that would be an indispensable first step towards having folks like us begin to be convinced by what you advocate is the reasonable interpretation?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | January 24, 2011, 7:36 am
  45. HP,
    Yes from your aspect it would seem it would be.

    But when you are of the belief that you face existential threats from the worlds most powerful govts, the most sophisticated govt. agencies. When you know that there are fellow countrymen who will happily work with those that would destroy you and you operate in a ridiculously small country then from that aspect you may understand why the rhetoric is harsh, and why the support for the only nation that actively supports you (even if it may or may not be lip service) is unquestioning.

    Folks like you can be convinced better by actions rather than words (especially since you seem to take everything they say as a lie anyway) if the opposition gets into power. If an opposition govt does not suddenly impose Sharia Law, starts cracking down on corruption, traces and gets back the missing billions stolen then some may start having faith that what they say is what they mean. But then, folks like you believe that an organisation that canceled assassinations against top SLA officers in the 90’s because their wives and kids were in the car is now suddenly willing to indiscriminately kill 22 Lebanese in order to take out one man, so heaven knows what it would actually take!

    Posted by usedtopost | January 24, 2011, 8:05 am
  46. Yalla, Mo. Time will tell. We all have open minds (and hearts) despite what may come across as obstinate rhetoric in blog comments. For now I’m just glad you’re back.

    QN, make us proud in your thesis defense. But who are we kidding? of course you’ll make us proud. Question is: can we make you proud?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | January 24, 2011, 8:19 am
  47. Grim outlook on ME peace based on 2-state solution by a former CIA officer:

    Posted by Honest Patriot | January 24, 2011, 8:32 am
  48. Grim outlook is also for Lebanon, its people and its expected PM nominee,


    Mikati is in for a rough ride. Who does he really represent?

    Danny, FYI Mikati’s brother is an advisor of Assad.

    People who argue innocence of an organization known for its terrorist behaviour since it came into being must do so in a court of law, namely the STL. Refusal to submit to the authority of the law is a clear indication that this organization has many things to hide.

    Posted by anonymous | January 24, 2011, 10:16 am
  49. anon,

    I know.

    If I were in Hariri’s place I would negotiate the 10+1 formula that the HA so excitedly proclaimed that should be a part of the Cabinet structure and burned half of Beirut to get it.
    Now they have threatened and cajoed to get Mikati. The price for at FM (least 80% of Sunni representation) and M14 Christians (at least 60% of Christian representation) should be that exact formula so that they can torpedo everything like HA.

    …Still waiting for Qabbani’s response!!

    Posted by danny | January 24, 2011, 10:35 am
  50. @242 and 245 is right on target…
    Like so many corrupt leaders in many other countries before him worldwide, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, the strongman who ruled Tunisia for 23 years, underestimated popular outrage. Scores of people have died in the rebellion that ousted him, and the question now is whether a new regime will be less corrupt…

    History shows that one corrupt regime is usually followed by another…. This is so because corrupt countries are often given no chance to build up bureaucracies that can contain corruption. Hence, revolutions tend to be power struggles in which competing elites seek advantage, even though their motives might have been pure at the start.

    A country like Tunisia, USA, Israel, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, EU, GCC, Canada, Australia etc. would greatly benefit if there were an international tool that could fight corruption and savage war crimes from outside a country…. The world needs an international tribunal, like the International Criminal Court, if it were to be used correctly by a true independent body…, and not like a tool of the decadent, falling, crumbling US Empire, that could make significant corruption an international crime, subject to prosecution….

    The track record, history and reputation of STL is abominable. It’s a mere tool of the ugly US Empire of Killers, warmongers and assassins.

    The international court was used by the utterly corrupt and crumbling US Empire of War Criminals to blackmail President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan into submission and division of the country. It would be good if something similar would befall the leaders of corrupt regimes the world over, starting with the UKUSA Alliance if evils….

    Posted by Jim | January 24, 2011, 11:03 am
  51. Danny #249,
    We do not often disagree but in this case we have a slightly different emphasis. I understand the urge to return the favour , so to speak, by asking for a 10 = 1 in order to demonstrate that this kind of a composition does not work.
    I would much rather Maerch 14 insist on a one colour cabinet no matter who heads it. In that case a group will be held responsible for achievements or lack of achievements while the other group will occupy seriously the seats of the opposition. I think that the country needs to move towards a working democracy and stop this silliness of a national unity government built on the equally childish idea that “in Lebanon no one can eliminate the other”. As if in a democracy the rights of the other are not protected. If a student would make such naieve statements in a Freshman class it might not be held strongly against her but at any other higher class it would be held strongly against her:-)

    Posted by anonymous | January 24, 2011, 12:10 pm
  52. Jim

    Spare us the rhetoric about the US crumbling Empire of evil and war criminals.
    You owe this EMPIRE the concept of freedom, the internet you use the food you eat the car you drive the language you type and every other innovation the world enjoys for the past 100 years or so.
    Get lost with this Ahmedinajad nonsense and stupidity.

    Posted by V | January 24, 2011, 12:10 pm
  53. Danny #249,
    We do not often disagree but in this case we have a slightly different emphasis. I understand the urge to return the favour , so to speak, by asking for a 10 = 1 in order to demonstrate that this kind of a composition does not work.
    I would much rather Maerch 14 insist on a one colour cabinet no matter who heads it. In that case a group will be held responsible for achievements or lack of achievements while the other group will occupy seriously the seats of the opposition. I think that the country needs to move towards a working democracy and stop this silliness of a national unity government built on the equally childish idea that “in Lebanon no one can eliminate the other”. As if in a democracy the rights of the other are not protected. If a student would make such naieve statements in a Freshman class it might not be held strongly against her but at any other higher class it would be held strongly against her:-)

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 24, 2011, 12:12 pm
  54. Noone’s weighed in yet on those tapes by Siddiq.

    We’re hearing the Abu-Adas name again.

    Posted by Gabriel | January 24, 2011, 12:55 pm
  55. Who is taking the Sunnis to the streets in Tripoli and Beirut?

    I thought Saad was not going to resort to the street but to the constitution.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | January 24, 2011, 1:27 pm
  56. Hamadeh abandons Jumblatt.

    About time.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | January 24, 2011, 1:54 pm
  57. Looks like M14 is finally trying to play the same game that M8 did all this time. Resort to the sectarian card and the street.

    Part of me hates that it always boils down to sectarianism. But the other part of me thinks that if it was alright for M8 to play the “Shia need to be properly represented” card in 2006-2008, the Lebanese populace needs to see the hypocrisy in that by being subjected to the exact same rationale today. (And this will go for Berri’s speaker seat too next).

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | January 24, 2011, 2:02 pm
  58. V@251
    “Killing One Person Is MURDER — killing 100,000 Is US FOREIGN POLICY….”

    With over 900 U.S. military bases/installations throughout this planet — the amoral symbiotic relationship between corporations and politicians in The USA (including the judiciary and ever-compliant corporate-stream “news” media) reeks with the stench of hypocrisy, injustice, subterfuge, war crimes, utter corruption and death… As the present robotic, black-faced OBUSHMA, corporate/military, nominal head of the U.S. empire shamelessly wages military wars abroad while facilitating repression against political dissenters and against any possibility of having informed, honest, and real dialogue at home; the hypocrisy of ‘America’s’ so called democracy is self evident whether or not people choose to see the obvious….

    Posted by Jim | January 24, 2011, 2:23 pm
  59. Does anyone even bother reading Jim’s comments? I don’t.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | January 24, 2011, 2:30 pm
  60. The HA alliance has learned from the Republicans in the US the power of language. In the same way that the Americans currently speak of a death tax instead of an inheritance tax most of the HA allies have been referring to Mikati as the compromise candidate when he is in effect their candidate. They seem to forget, on purpose, that a compromise is an arrangement between two sides. Repeat the phrase enough times and a significant number of people will be swayed by it.

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 24, 2011, 2:32 pm
  61. Karami contacted Hariri to voice his support for him.

    Posted by PeterinDubai | January 24, 2011, 2:34 pm
  62. Indeed, Ghassan. Indeed.

    Repeat anything enough times and people get swayed. That’s the fundemental concept behind brainwashing.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | January 24, 2011, 2:50 pm
  63. GK:

    It’s good Hariri clarified that point. He’s getting some balls.

    Posted by Gabriel | January 24, 2011, 2:51 pm
  64. The world famous KAL cartoon in the Economist this week is about Lebanon. It is sort of timely


    Posted by ghassan karam | January 24, 2011, 2:53 pm
  65. BV,

    Jim repeats tired rhetoric constantly. After the the first two comments; I think he has become a spec in the background.


    If the situation were to be normal I would agree with you. However in sectarian and boiling point that we live in I would suggest 10+1. That was HA’s game right? So let Hariri play them at their game. HA is in a fight for its life…let’s not make it easy for them to cow everyone like they did to WJ.

    Tomorrow “Yawm el Ghadab”…If I were Mikati; I’d abdicate before being crowned! Just like HA attacked the Sunnis 1006-08; now the shoe is on the other foot.

    Syria and HA have made another mistake. They will NOT get the government to annul anything!

    BTW I liked the way DSG answered to SHN’s crass remarks. He is impressing me more the way he is reacting under extreme pressure!

    Posted by danny | January 24, 2011, 3:15 pm
  66. oops…


    Posted by danny | January 24, 2011, 3:16 pm
  67. Who’s DSG? (Sorry. These acronyms can be confusing to me).

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | January 24, 2011, 3:17 pm
  68. HP says:

    “- If Israel makes a commitment of non-aggression on Lebanon, guaranteed by all the member countries (individually) of the UN Security Council, would you then advocate HA disarm or merge its forces with the Lebanese Army under the strict and exclusive command of the Army command?”

    The above is not a peripheral hypothetical question. It is actually the question that goes to the heart of the matter. It is the most significant issue that is facing us as a state. HA and all its allies , obviously playing to the Iranian and Syrian dictatorships; refuses to answer the question except to say that we cannot trust any of the potential parties that are to guarantee such a treaty. That answer lacks any credibility since it is not an answer to the question raised. One can find somewhere in the world either a credible party or collection of parties that can be trusted even by HA but Syria and Iran have no use for a peaceful Lebanon and so HA willingly obliges by refusing to consider the only meaningful question One cannot blame HA for doing that because if their is no longer a need for its perceived role then it has to dissolve its militis. HA was established to be a state within a state and to fight the Zionist aggression. Offer guarantees against aggression and then you would have taken away the rationale fot is existence. Ihave many times in the past spoken to this issue. the most recent such a post was in Oct 2010:


    Posted by ghassan karam | January 24, 2011, 3:25 pm
  69. DSG= Dr. Samir geagea

    Posted by danny | January 24, 2011, 3:28 pm
  70. “…Repeat the phrase enough times and a significant number of people will be swayed by it.”

    Did you not notice we have quite few of them right here on this blog? It is the same language they all learn from the same master. And guess who else resorted to that same tactic back in the 1930s? As I said people are always prone to making the same mistake.

    I agree with danny’s suggestion about forming the government with a veto for M14. But I doubt it will happen.

    WJ actually dissolved the gathering and he reverted back to the National Struggle Front name back from Kamal’s days. He has seven MP’s left including himself.

    By the way he (WJ) did not turn out to be the king maker otherwise Karami would have remained the first choice. They could only gather 63 MP’s with that option.

    Had the consultations taken place last week, Hariri would have been the PM. So this is a full fledged coup conducted by the use of threats, ultimatums and coercion. You should always remember the black coats parade of last week which is not much different than May 7.

    I wouldn’t say Mikati stole the title of king maker from WJ but he would be in a big hole as time goes by. There is a big difference between the constituencies of the maountain and the north. He will live with the stigma for quite sometime. I second danny. If I were him I would resign immediately.

    Posted by anonymous | January 24, 2011, 3:34 pm
  71. V, as tiresome as you may find Jim, nevertheless the fact is that none–not a single one–of the various constitutional, cultural, and technological achievements of the American people and their Republic are owed in any way to the development of an overseas hegemony.

    Quite the contrary. The lesson of the constitutional history of all the English-speaking countries is that it is necessary to regularly defy superior power, both at home and abroad.

    If the world ever truly learned the lesson of America, they would defy America more often, more openly, and more strenuously!

    Posted by Roland | January 24, 2011, 3:45 pm
  72. “One can find somewhere in the world either a credible party or collection of parties that can be trusted even by HA but Syria and Iran have no use for a peaceful Lebanon and so HA willingly obliges by refusing to consider the only meaningful question One cannot blame HA for doing that because if their is no longer a need for its perceived role then it has to dissolve its militis.”


    BV recently made the accurate observation that Iran IS HA and HA IS Iran. I ask you to ponder over that observation and reconsider your analysis in that comment.

    Posted by anonymous | January 24, 2011, 3:56 pm
  73. Tensions were high in beirut. Nothing visible in the achrafieh area were I was but everyone I was with was tense, we decided to leave the city back home. March 14 is calling for more protests


    It will be interesting to see how the western press describes the pro western protesters in Lebanon burning tires and rising tensions on the street.

    Posted by tamer k. | January 24, 2011, 4:03 pm
  74. Since 1948, Israeli policy has been war, killings, murder, illegal occupation of other people’s lands…like Shebaa, Kafarshouba, Nkheileh and the seven villages of Lebanon, etc. and the promotion of turmoil, tensions and several wars of aggression in our region….Hence, Hizbullah is a normal and inevitable and absolute necessity for Lebanon’s people and sovereignty. Hezbollah is there to stay, rest assured….

    Ike tried at Suez but that was the last real US effort to restrain Israel…. In 1967, Johnson began US “strategic alliance” with Israel…

    Congress is more “pro-Israel” each session it seems…. Thus, no change in US policy to be expected.

    Hence, you’re ALL barking up the wrong tree…

    Oh, by the way, when Israel gives up its Nuclear weapons, then you can demand Iran gives up trying to acquire them…

    Posted by Jim | January 24, 2011, 4:20 pm
  75. From UNSC194 until UNSC1701 and others…., how many UN Resolutions did Israel comply with ?
    Just a thought….

    Posted by Jim | January 24, 2011, 4:25 pm
  76. No GK, that was not the answer, which you are willfully misinterpreting . In fact you seem to purposefully miss out the most important aspect of my point, which was not trust but will and ability. So why don’t you enlighten me?

    Why dont you give me a name or collection of names of nation states that can be trusted to fight on behalf of Lebanon, would be willing to go to war against Israel and have the ability to defeat it.

    And second of all, why the hell should I, as Lebanese, want to or need to rely on some foreign power for my protection when we have proved capable of doing the job?

    Are you so hypocritical that in order to disband a local “militia” that you believe takes it orders from another country you are willing to hand over the defense and protection of the people to another country? Sad.

    Posted by usedtopost | January 24, 2011, 4:42 pm
  77. anon #271
    If you will read my original statement you will find, I hope, that we are both saying the same thing except in my case I was doing three things at the same time and so the structure of the sentence was not as simple as it should have been:-) I am saying that it is not logical to suggest that no one can be trusted except for the fact that HA is doing Iran’s bidding and by implication that of Syria.

    Jim #274,
    You are again misinformed . ( I have resisted the temptation of saying “as usual” :-)) All the resolutions that you mention are chapter 6 resolutions and do not carry only a request for the parties to resolve their differences. Chapter 7 resolutions are a completely different story. I believe that all throughout the history of the UN the only Chapter 7 that has not been implemented thus far is that pertaining to Kashmir ; besides the ones on Lebanon.

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 24, 2011, 4:55 pm
  78. It was called democracy when Hariri and his bunch of scums were in charge but now all of a sudden the rhetoric has rapidly shifted and you choose to call it blackmailing and extortion.

    Democracy as term is not applicable anymore when the majority of MPs choose their candidate and not yours. It is called a coup because some political parties have decided to switch seats. Brilliant.

    To be frank with you boys and girls,M14 can stir up as much activities as they please with burnt tires and garbage blocking the streets. We all know that it is about that level that they can take it to. Childish for a political block that is “so” fond of democracy and the people of Lebanon.

    Posted by Frank Miller | January 24, 2011, 4:55 pm
  79. UtP:

    That’s a pretty colorful reading of reality.

    Even if HA is disbanded as a “militia”, where do you suppose its cadres would go.

    That you seem to believe your position and that of GK are mutually exclusive leaves me scratching my head.

    HA has proven to be a great defensive tool. Great. Would they be any less capable if they were rolled into a national institution rather than a private militia?

    I think what separates the two viewpoints is not, as you would have it, a subcontracting of national defense to other countries…

    Posted by Gabriel | January 24, 2011, 4:59 pm
  80. UTP,
    You and I have been through this before and we do not see eye to eye on it. But in order not to appear as if I am disregarding your points let me say the following:

    If one is faced with a problem that has too possible solutions: (a) A state of uncertainty, war, disruption and the potential undermining of state authority and (b) some form of an international iron clad guarantee that the above aim can be achieved.
    In that case it would be folly to choose the more expensive alternative. Actually it would not be rational to do that which promises a much lower level of welfare in all aspects, individual liberty , social stability, political accountability and economic prosperity.

    If we can agree on this theoretical choice of an option then we can move to the realm of naming states. As you can see I can care less who are the states as long as we can find a credible combination that is agreable to both sides. Let the membership of such a resolution be composed of NATO, Russia, Iran, Arab league UN, China … I do not care who are the countries but to suggest that one can not , at least theoretically, find such a group is disingenuous at best.

    Posted by ghassan karam | January 24, 2011, 5:07 pm
  81. GK #278,

    If the desired outcome is the one you mention, then yes, it makes no sense to choose the more costly option A that you mention.

    However, if that is not the point at all, and HA is simply using this as an excuse, then the rationale goes out the window.

    It’s all well and fine to say “Option A is cheaper and less bloody”, except if your interlocutor is someone who’s interests lie in “more bloody”. Then clearly, option A makes no sense to them (even if it makes perfect sense to the rest of the populace).

    Therein lies the real issue. Your question, while very valid, is not being listened to in good faith by the interlocutor. It is simply dismissed out of hand because it has nothing to do with THEIR priorities (which, believe it or not, is the safety of the Lebanese people).

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | January 24, 2011, 5:29 pm
  82. I’ll add, to be clear, their priorities are #1 the safeguard of the regime in Iran.
    And to preserve that regime, it is important to polarize it’s base with conflict.
    HA should be viewed in that light, first and foremost.
    If there were peace in the middle east, both the Syrian and Iranian regimes wouldn’t last very long in front of their own populations. But as long as they can mobilize at least a part of their population against an outsider enemy (Israel and the USA), they can stay in power. HA is simply the means to that end. No more.

    At least at the macro level. Clearly, when one looks at the micro level, there are local (Lebanese) dynamics to HA (Shia rise after decades of oppression and neglect, etc). But I fear that is really more a means to an Iranian goal than anything else.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | January 24, 2011, 5:32 pm
  83. GK,

    There is an obvious reason for you not caring naming this fictional force that you have so nicely pictured in your mind.

    The reason is that if you would try to name a force that would defend Lebanon mortar by mortar and inch by inch you would find yourself in a mental dead end.

    Would you really think that NATO, the Arab League or UN would defend Lebanon against Israeli aggression? Will press releases and condemnations help us when our cities burn? When children and women gets bombed for the fun of it?

    We all know what NATO and the UN is worth when it comes to the muslim world.

    Posted by Frank Miller | January 24, 2011, 5:39 pm
  84. GK,
    We cant agree on your theoretical choice because we cant agree on the problem. Your problem is Hizballah and mine is Israel. So I cannot give your solution without you giving me mine. I have no desire to see the end of Hizballahs arms until I see a credible alternative. So your guarantee has to be convincing. NATO, fight Israel? Russia? And most weirdly, the Arabs? No GK, whatever the solution is, if you cannot even provide a credible example of a nation or nations that would have both will and ability then the solution is internal not external. And the only solution is for our army, the Lebanese Army, be allowed to have access to the kind of weaponry that would make the Resistance’s existence redundant.

    I don’t see what is difficult to understand about that and why you won’t accept it as the simplest solution?

    I have no idea what political planet you are on these days. HA preserving the Iranian regime? Seriously? Is it really that hard for you to accept that a large proportion of your countrymen have no desire to make peace with Israel or accept its existence? The way you talk, its as if it was Hizballah that was responsible for 32 years of Israeli aggression. Bar the month of 2006 it is Israel that polarizes the base not the Resistance. And my hatred of Israel is not reliant on, persuant of or dependent on the existence of Hizballah, Assad or Ahmadinijad.

    Maybe when you finally accept that it is not Hizballah supporters simply repeating the words of the party but that the party is fulfilling the wishes of its supporters that you will truly understand Hizballah.

    It is in fact in that light you want to be viewing the party, first and foremost.

    Posted by usedtopost | January 24, 2011, 6:15 pm
  85. UTP,
    There are times when it might be best to agree to disagree but before we do that let me respond to your last post:
    I respectfully disagree with the way that you are stating the issue. I am attempting to deal with this in a comletely no ideological manner. The problem is simple; it is the security of a border. That security can be achieved through either a defence pact (with whoever you want) remeber that this is a mind gane at the moment. or to transform the state into a dependence on a militia or a Troy if you wish to build the domestic army.
    My rationality tells me that I should choose option 1 because it is the most beneficial to the citizens of the stae and that is the only thing that matters in the final analysis. And please let us not play the emotional game of arguing that one should not outsource national defence. Why not, if it is less costly and more beneficial? I imagine the next thing that you will tell me is that Japan, Germany, S Korea , Taiwan … are less honorable since they have each decided to depend on a defense pact? Yea you are right, Syria is such a wonderful example of a state that has chosen resistance. You must be kidding.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | January 24, 2011, 6:30 pm
  86. Why is M14 so anti democratic? No one has elected Mikati yet, why the protests by the western educated and civilized Mustaqbal movement. I recall last week a lot of the pro hariri news outlets writing lengthy critical editorials against the silent black shirt wearing Hezbollah supporters that descended on beirut and left quietly before they were even noticed. Wasn’t Mikati elected on an M14 list in 2009, why is he an M8 candidate now?. It’s so sad that all the M14 supporters have fell silent when their supporters caused so much chaos and have upped the ante in Lebanon today. If it had been Hezbollah supporters on the streets tonight I would not have heard the end of it, “Iran Coup his Beirut” in the media and among some others. I hope to wake up and read a critical editorial piece by Hanin Ghaddar of nowlebanon, I tihnk I have a better shot of winning the lottery.

    Posted by tamer k. | January 24, 2011, 6:36 pm
  87. tamer k,

    “Why is M14 so anti democratic?”

    This statement by you shows how brainwashed or clueless you are! Now after your illegal militia along with Syria intimidated several MPs to change their vote…after your black shirts spread all over certain neighborhoods to send the message…after all the threats you think that Mikati’s vote is democratic? REALLY?

    What space continuum or fissure do you get your convoluted logic?

    …and you are upset that at last some people expressed their outrage at the terror that your militia is dispensing?

    Give me a break and think (and that doesn’t mean regurgitating old rhetoric) before writing!!

    Posted by danny | January 24, 2011, 6:45 pm
  88. UTP,

    I was pretty clear that I was looking at the macro level. At the local level, yes, most of HA’s constituency supports HA because of Israeli aggression and because of other sectarian considerations.
    I’m looking at the bigger picture here. If you’re gonna try to sell me on naive notions of patriotism and idealism, then I’m not buying it. NOBODY in politics (specially in the ME) does anything out of the goodness of their hearts.
    If you accept that cynical view of the world, then it stems that HA, who was created by Iran in the 1980s, was created for a particular purpose that serves Iranian interests.
    Granted, that does not mean HA cannot accomplish Lebanese goals, or shia goals too (Resistance, Social services, etc) as long as these do not conflict with the interests of the Iranian regime.
    To think otherwise would be pretty naive.
    Ask yourself: If someday, hypothetically, HA had to choose a course of action that would benefit Lebanon, the Shia and the resistance, but it meant taking up arms against Khamenei & co. Who do you think HA would choose? Would it even have a choice?

    The point of my diatribe here is that at the end of the day, HA (the party, not the supporters), beyond it’s local goals and aims, remains beholden to the Iranian regime. What it does in Lebanon, in fact its very existence, are in direct correlation with the Iranian regime, which (like ANY regime) is focused first and foremost on self-preservation.

    To think that Khamenei & co. would approve of HA actions if said actions did not benefit their regime would be pretty silly.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | January 24, 2011, 6:53 pm
  89. Tamerk,

    Same reason HA and co. touted their various public protests between 2006 and 2008.

    Another fine example of hypocrisy here: “We can demonstrate against Saniora. We can paralyze the government. We can start wars. We can burn tires. But GOD FORBID YOU M14 thugs do the same thing!”

    This is so stupid.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | January 24, 2011, 6:56 pm
  90. Danny,

    Does the dispensing of cash qualify as intimidation (of the soft sophisticated type of course) when the sole purpose is to win votes?

    So when Hariri tips the scales in his favor its democratic and when HA and its allies do so it is intimidation.

    Posted by EHSANI2 | January 24, 2011, 7:01 pm
  91. danny this is the second time you have belittled me

    1) “Either you are totally loony tunes or you live in your own Hizbistan. ”

    2) “This statement by you shows how brainwashed or clueless you are!”

    Let’s make it clear I am not a political guru like others on this board (GK), nor do I have the rhetoric or eloquence like QN, I am just a medical student who posts from time to time. Quit being a bully, if my opinions and arguments are at an elementary level as compared to yours please don’t engage me. This blog is big enough for all of our opinions as elementary as they maybe (me) or among the political zen masters among us. Thanks

    Posted by tamer k. | January 24, 2011, 7:02 pm
  92. I recall last week a lot of the pro hariri news outlets writing lengthy critical editorials against the silent black shirt wearing Hezbollah supporters that descended on beirut

    Excellent recollection. But do you recall yourself complaining that HA took to the streets. I scrolled up thru the commentary here and didn’t notice any comments admonishing HA.

    If you didn’t admonish HA for their behavior, why didn’t you? Is it because you find taking to the streets an acceptable demonstration of democracy?

    It’s so sad that all the M14 supporters have fell silent when their supporters caused so much chaos and have upped the ante in Lebanon today.

    It’s sad or not sad depending on your answer to the above question.

    — Wasn’t Mikati elected on an M14 list in 2009, why is he an M8 candidate now?.

    Mikati is M8’s official choice for PM. M14’s choice is Hariri. It’s not very complicated.

    Posted by Gabriel | January 24, 2011, 7:08 pm
  93. BV,

    I am not criticizing M14 actions, more power to them.

    But my problem is that M14 has always tried to appear civil when compared to M8, the guardians of Lebanon’s democracy from Hezbollah led theocracy.

    Today is proof that M14 supporters are no better than M8, and will turn to the same methods to achieve their goals. Those same methods which the M14 media and politicians criticized so fiercely from 2006 – 2008, have met no criticism from the same leaders who vowed they would never take the same street actions of the militia led M8 movement. The burning tires on the road looked no different then Hezbollah led protests with burning tires in the past

    Posted by tamer k. | January 24, 2011, 7:12 pm
  94. tamer k,

    Medical students don’t get a “bye” for lack of logic.If you post about democratic principles and then you act as the victim and not the aggressor you get rebutted!

    Sorry to have hurt your feelings. Continue in Medical studies and good luck. Try to see things through common sense and logic. NOT through sectarian windows…


    Posted by danny | January 24, 2011, 7:21 pm
  95. tamer,
    dont worry about Danny. He can’t write a post without including derogatory or insulting remarks. Its how he makes up for his lack of any viable evidence to back up his points and the fact that his “enemy” keeps handing to his side on a plate.

    Ok lets leave it, but you still have not given a viable selection for your option 1. How do you out source national security (which is very different to a defense pact”) if there is no one to out source it to?

    Firstly, I believe the hypocrisy tamer was pointing out was the fact that M14 has been so critical of M8’s public protests while it was the “winning” side but will not be critical now that its people are on the street.

    As for HA and Iran.
    Firstly, I’m not selling patriotism or idealism. HA was not created by Iran; Can we please drop these infantile myths. Iran was there from an early stage but it did not create HA.
    Does Iran help HA from an ideological stand point? Of course. But the relationship is much deeper than that as it is with all Shia in the Arab world. But I still do not understand how HA helps the Iranian regime survive? I just don’t get the connection.

    But lets take your hypothetical. Lets say that did happen as you portray it. You know what the end result would be? The end of HA. In reality, without the Shia support they are nothing. So unless your contention is that all the Shia are in on this “beholden” to Iran theme, then it is moot.

    Posted by usedtopost | January 24, 2011, 7:25 pm
  96. Ehsani:

    I think that would be vote-buying, not intimidation. And it wouldn’t be different from the type of vote-buying HA does when it provides social services for its community.


    You wonder why some Lebanese don’t want to accept that a large segment of Lebanese society does not want peace with Israel, nor do they approve of Israel’s existence.

    And you seem not to accept that some segment is not interested in continued War with israel, and are at least agnostic on the question of its existence.

    The Swiss solution appears to be unappealing to you.

    So why not split the country?

    Posted by Gabriel | January 24, 2011, 7:26 pm
  97. Ya Mo,

    You are write! What I wrote about the black shirts and HA goons are not backed up by solid evidence. May 2008 was for our own good. As your militia leader said it was a glorious day! Remember?

    You are right HA is a democratic entity and with totally Lebanese goals.

    You have some strong sense of rebuttal and logic.

    M14 should roll over and die like they did the past few years! Suicide themselves as your cherished party says after they assassinate our leaders and intellectuals.
    Long live the Umma and Khameini.

    Posted by danny | January 24, 2011, 7:30 pm
  98. **You are Right!

    Posted by danny | January 24, 2011, 7:31 pm
  99. Tamerk,

    No argument from on that one. Both sides have displayed plenty of hypocrisy.
    My comment was more directed to the people who touted how entitled they were to a sit-in and to paralyze government. How entitled they were to nominate their own speaker of the house (even though they lost the election) using sectarian logic. Those people who said that without THEIR shia in government, the government would be deemed unconstitutional.
    They are now pretty much contradicting every single one of those items I listed.

    The thing is, I (and others) warned that whether right or wrong, the events of 2006-2008, would set a precedent that the other side would then be able to point at.

    I remember arguing with some (I forget where) that no matter how much they felt the government of Saniora didn’t represent them, bringing it down by coup, sit-in, or armed street presence may be fine in the short term, but that one day, they will be on the opposite side of the same rationale. And they will have ZERO excuse.

    I do not condone street battles and violence. But would anyone from M8 have the right to voice any kind of objection now if M14 decides to make their own May 7th? If M14 decides to arm its militias?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | January 24, 2011, 7:34 pm
  100. UTP,

    I don’t know where you were in 1982 or thereabouts, but it was pretty evident to those of us who were around that HA was indeed “created” by Iran.
    This is not to say that there wasn’t a segment of the population eager to embrace that kind of funding and training and weaponry for their own purposes of resistance against an occupier at the time. The 2 are not mutually exclusive.
    But come on! There is a reason why HA’s main source of funding is Iran. There is a reason why HA officials confer with the Iranian ambassador and plater posters of Khomeini and Khamenei where they can as part of their narrative. The connection between the 2 is very clear.
    There is a reason why HA operatives regularly get training in Iran, and that certain Iranian operatives dealt very closely with the likes of Imad Mughnieh.

    You wanna dance around all that and talk to me about the every day Mustapha from Tebnin, sure. I get that. I already stated that I understand that aspect of it all. But to think that Iran does all this for the beauty of Hassan Nassrallah’s eyes, or for the beauty of the Lebanese coast, is pretty naive. NO ONE (not the USA, not Iran, not Saudi Arabia) invests and supports a side unless it benefits their interests. And Iran’s interests in the region are pretty clear.

    Let me flip the tables around a bit and replace HA and Iran with 2 different words, and let’s see how you react.
    If I were to say the Lebanese Forces / Kataeb of the 70s and 80s were not beholden to Israel and were a purely Lebanese affair, only getting some “moral support” and that really, they did what they did at the time because of their constituency (the Christians) and to “resist” Palestinian and Syrian occupation.
    Would you buy it? Cause that’s essentially the same stuff you’re peddling.

    How about the SLA? Were they also not “created” by Israel? Or were they really locals in the south, hellbent on defending their villages from PLO massacres?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | January 24, 2011, 7:43 pm
  101. UTP/mo,
    It is fine to agree to disagree but we should at least not misrepresent the proposals, The best and most dependable defensive arrangement is a defense pact. As I have always stated the name of the party with whom a defense pact is signed is not significant to me, it is the principle. Once you agree that option 1 is viable and rational then the choice of who to outsource to becomes a non issue if the party willing to be outsourced to can fulfill the expectations.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | January 24, 2011, 7:50 pm
  102. The behavior of M14 supporters is not much different than that Of M8’s. All of those who told us that M14 supporters were more civil than M8 supporters, failed to tell us ,back then,how the same people who just happened to be divided along political lines could have been raised more civil than others.
    The only explanations to this is that winners pretend to be more civil since they have more to loose, while loosing team has nothing else to loose, but something(in their mind) to gain by being loud.
    I’m not questioning the rights of M14 supporters to protest in sit-in or any form of civil action, But no one should advocate any violence, street closing or property damage.

    Posted by The Prophet | January 24, 2011, 7:51 pm
  103. Prophet.

    I don’t think anyone really thought or said that M14 “street” types were much different from M8.
    They are LEBANESE, after all.

    They’re all equally uncivilized (as I have repeated ad nauseam).

    It’s the Lebanese people as a whole that bears responsibility for all that befalls them.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | January 24, 2011, 7:55 pm
  104. Prophet you are right! I condemn all those street violent actions. However, I hope you are not hinting that HA won or M14 lost?when you say:

    “The only explanations to this is that winners pretend to be more civil since they have more to loose, while loosing team has nothing else to loose, but something(in their mind) to gain by being loud.”

    See “winning” by threats of death and intimidation is only considered winning in the Mafioso circles!

    Posted by danny | January 24, 2011, 7:58 pm
  105. It is just day 1 for Mikati and he already had to shut down his page on facebook.

    The site just couldn’t keep up with the protesters expressing their disdain.

    The guy has made a grave mistake. He’ll soon have to join Ibn Ali on a plane.

    Posted by anonymous | January 24, 2011, 7:59 pm
  106. Bad Vilbel, 300,297
    I was not refereeing to your characterization of the street protest.

    Juts some facts about the SLA,
    It was initially created by the Lebanese forces and the Israelis. After the 78 invasion, and the occupation of the border strip, They started recruiting local shiia .
    Having grown up in the area, and witnessed how the SLA developed, I can tell you that the first massacre (16/10/1976) that took place in that area was against a village called Hanin. This village was (after being under siege for two months) totally destroyed; tens of people were murdered in cold blood. All of those who could not escape, mostly elderly and kids, were murdered at the town’s square, and inside the village’s mosque before it was demolished on to of the corps.
    There were no massacres against any southern Lebanon village by the PLO. This is not in defense of any (there were plenty) thing the PLO has done in Lebanon.
    This massacre was done by Lebanese forces, with the presence Elie Hubeika and Abu Arz. All of this took place before any trouble had taken place in the area.
    Of course, none of this could have happened without Israel’s help and approval.

    Posted by The Prophet | January 24, 2011, 8:20 pm
  107. I fail to see your point Prophet.

    I was trying to demonstrate how ridiculous it is to deny that HA was created by Iran by showing how ridiculous it would be to claim that the SLA was not created by Israel.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | January 24, 2011, 8:57 pm
  108. This is an outright and blatant lie by UTP.

    Right after the 79 revolution over thousand Iranian mercenaries were dispatched to Lebanon. They established headquarters in a very historic and well hotel and for the record it is called Hotel Khawwam (Baalbek) where the Ceasar of Prussia once spent sometime in the 1800s during the Ottomans. The site was prescribed to him by his doctors because he was suffering from some respiratory problems. These mercenaries were directly responsible for the creation of Hizbistan in Lebanon. Furthermore, HNA reports to none but to Khamenei himself and the head of HA in Iran. He more than once declared publicly his allegiance to the W of F. The guy should be tried for treason for making such declarations.

    Also for the record this same hotel was bombed by the French in 1983 the same day their paratroopers were massacred in their barracks in Beirut.

    Guys, most of these Hizzie apologists are ‘intellectually dishonest’. They would lie with no qualms whatsoever just like their leaders who keep lying until they themselves believe the lies. Carrying out a discussion with such ‘ideologues’ is a complete waste of time. Take it from someone who knows them first hand and face to face.

    Your proposal to outsource Lebanon’s defence is already implemented By HA. They wouldn’t want to outsource to any other contractor except the Damas/Tehran axis.

    In my opinion the proper solution is convening an international conference which would include the major powers declaring Lebanon a neutral state in the Middle East conflict while maintaining the status quo with the southern neighbor until a solution is found. These powers must also show resolve to act and force HA to give up its weapons. There is no other way HA wilkl surrender its wapons except by force. That should be done as soon as possible otherwise it will have to be done later at a much higher cost to the whole region and perhaps teh wotld.

    Posted by anonymous | January 24, 2011, 9:09 pm
  109. The lie which I referred to in my last comment is this,

    “HA was not created by Iran; Can we please drop these infantile myths. Iran was there from an early stage but it did not create HA.”

    It is from comment 292.

    Posted by anonymous | January 24, 2011, 9:14 pm
  110. anon #305
    One may think of HA as having outsourced the defense indirectly but to be fair that is not what I was talking about.
    I did not want to repeat this but I guess that I have no choice. I was describing an arrangement that will guarantee total border security without the need for paramilitary organizations or the need to make Lebanon into a Troy.
    I nevr claimed that HA will surrender its weapons willingly because to do so it will no longer be HA. My aim is to demonstrate to whoever is willing to be impartial about this issue is that the HA position is not rational since it appears to be using the matter of security only because it serves its purpose of maintaining political hegemony bought by fear, intimidation and subservience to foreign capitals. If HA’s goal was security then that goal could be achieved more effectively and could be more beneficial to the state through other peaceful and less costly means.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | January 24, 2011, 9:24 pm
  111. usedtopost

    I answer to you since you are a Lebanese HA supporter and as you said (#281) “Is it really that hard for you to accept that a large proportion of your countrymen have no desire to make peace with Israel or accept its existence?”

    I was a soldier of IDF (Israel Defense Forces) who served in Lebanon 1991-1993, Kaukabe & Aishiya. (Basiclly I am still a reserve soldier, we do that in Israel till the age of 40!) I wont answer on the who-started-what-and-when because we will not listen to one another anyway.

    I want to say that (as an Israely) I HOPE that March 8 and HA will win and form your new government.

    In our latest war (2006), Israel tried (our very big mistake) to make a difference between the Lebanese government and HA. That why Beirut had electricity and we tried to find the HA men out of “ordinary citizens” causing us around 120 casualties.

    Taking over Gaza (where we did not need to differentiate between “goods” and “bads” – HAMAS was the government) caused us only 17 casualties (most of from our own fire !!)

    Tell me, how hard is it, do you think, given that Israel still has total air supremacy, to:
    1) Shut down electricity in all of Lebanon.
    2) Destroy every government office in Lebanon.
    3) Destroy Beirut’s airport and harbor.
    4) Basically bring Lebanon to the chaotic state of Iraq.

    We will not loose even one soldier on the way…
    If you wish to compete on who has larger bombs….

    I live in Haifa (the same Haifa from Nasrallah reminded speach – Baada Haifa wabaada baada Haifa”). I felt the “might” of HA (annoying, nothing more). I have seen the Dachia in Beirut. Does not look the same.

    I hate wars.
    Every soldier (not a SHAHEED) wants to go home. But I really hope that the next war (I have no illusions) we can do without our hands ties behind our back.

    Enjoy the Iranien/Shieite takeover of Lebanon.

    Posted by Tamir Levy | January 24, 2011, 9:26 pm
  112. Hello to everyone

    Apologies for the brief absence; I’ve been traveling for work, as Lebanon has been exploding. I’ll try to post something tomorrow on the latest events… But here are some quick thoughts:

    a) I’ve already expressed my views on the deeply cynical nature of Hizbullah’s current political strategy — given that they are basically pulling a stunt that they condemned Siniora’s government for (almost) doing back in 2006.

    b) Having said that… I think that M14’s current response is deeply stupid and extremely dangerous. Calling for a day of rage?! This just goes to show how sectarian M14’s political establishment can be when it wants to… They are responding to Hizbullah’s move in the same way that Hizbullah responded in 06: by playing the sectarian card. This is highly problematic, in my opinion, but it’s not clear the extent to which Hariri felt like he needed to pursue this line just to allow the Sunni areas to blow off steam. The problem w/ blowing off steam, of course, is the danger of scalding everyone in the vicinity… a very dangerous situation indeed.

    More tomorrow.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | January 24, 2011, 10:36 pm
  113. Hey guys (those who are blaming people expressing rage),

    First a reminder: few posts back we discussed the issue of making politicians accountable to the people. BV, GK, Danny, HP, myself and others made contributions in that discussion. We ended up blaming the people for being too complacent with the pols. We kind of figured that the pols will end up behaving according to a well defined relation with the electorates’ dispositions: If the people are docile the pols will end up abusing power. If the people speak up the pols will most likely behave themselves.

    Following that discussion, we witnessed the first Arab revolution against a dictator. Every one, here, cheered that revolution.

    Now, Mikati is being held accountable by his own constituents (in Tripoli) for what they believe someone deceived them and used their votes contrary to their wishes. So what’s your problem with that (particularly QN)? Are youy guys saying that politicians should be left unaccuntable just in order not to scald everyone? Well, we are back to square one. Find me a solution to the sectarian problem of Lebanon first. The people must speak up against abuse.

    Posted by anonymous | January 24, 2011, 11:09 pm
  114. My thought exactly QN. It would be the height of hypocrisy for March 14 to give the other side a taste of its own medicine. If an act is wrong then it is wrong no matter who commits it. If occupying Beirut, paralizing the government and burning tires at highways was considered to be uncivilized for one group then it should be considered unacceptable from any group. Furthermore this crisis is a golden opportunity to demonstrate how a democracy is supposed to work. Let the Premiership belong to whoever gets the largest number of votes, without any intimidation and fear mongering and let the other side play its traditional role in the opposition. If this is not the outcome then this will be another proof of the total bankruptcy of our political class. My sincerest wish is for March 14 to prove my pessimism wrong. They owe us that.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | January 24, 2011, 11:12 pm
  115. BV, 308
    My point was that the SLA was not created as response to PLO massacres in south Lebanon, but rather the people who helped create SLA with the help of Israel are the ones who committed massacres.
    In addition to Hanin massacre, Israel and the LF committed another massacre in bint jbeil. On the morning of October 21, 1976, the crowded weekly market of Bint Jbeil was the target of a sudden barrage of bombs, originated from newly established positions of the LB, slaughtering a lot of people. 23 were killed, 30 were wounded.
    Those people were sent by the Lebanese forces to instigate trouble in an area which has never experienced any sectarian problems.
    You were right that Israel helped create the SLA, but you were wrong that the STL was created to defend against PLO massacres.
    Again, don’t misunderstand my comment as a defense of PLO terrible behavior.
    As for HA being created by Iran, I’ll tell you for the sake of historical accuracy only that; there is no denial that Iran sponsored HA, but I think that Initial HA creation was pure Lebanese. It all started by group of ex-PLO (Lebanese) and other Lebanese factions who were didn’t have a place to go to. They established themselves as a pure shiia group under the umbrella of Fadlalla initially, and later sought or were sought by Iran’s revolutionary guard.Falallah, eventually, distanced himself from the whole organization, yet remained a figure of respect by the group.

    Posted by The prophet | January 24, 2011, 11:19 pm
  116. Ghassan 315,

    Your conclusion is correct. But here we have a case of an obvious coup.

    Ther electorate has the full right to speak up. But I do not condone burning tires or similar acts.

    I would rather see peaceful demonstrations expressing the disgust and rejection of the electorate for abusing their votes.

    That would be real democracy and holding politicians accountable by the people.

    Posted by anonymous | January 24, 2011, 11:28 pm
  117. Corrections:
    The following sentences were supposed to read as follow:
    Second sentence, first paragraph:
    “ut rather the people who create SLA with the help of Israel are the ones who committed massacres.”
    Third sentence, last parapgraph:
    “It all started by group of ex-PLO Lebanese supporters, and other Lebanese factions who didn’t have a place to go to after the collapse and exodus of PLO from Lebanon”

    Posted by The prophet | January 24, 2011, 11:50 pm
  118. Sorry BV I couldn’t help it


    Sorry for the CAPS

    As to what’s going on now, I believe it would be so much better for the M14 supporters and leaders to call for mass peaceful rallies similar to those that took place in 2005 and led to the Karomi Gov. demise and Syrian withdrawal. Much better than burning tires or causing hardship or danger to others. this is what we thought was the whole idea and concept of M 14 PEACEFUL acts of defiance.

    Posted by V | January 25, 2011, 12:47 am
  119. Y’all comparing FM supporters’ burning tires, blocking a few roads to the reckless violence of HA/M8 in the last few years? Let me know when they start wielding heavy weapons and try taking over parts of Lebanon. c’mon, apples ,oranges here.
    Now, not to say i support such belligerance, but it reminds me of cranky Aounists when they accuse other leaders of what their leader has done or is doing.

    Posted by Maverick | January 25, 2011, 1:23 am
  120. QN,

    What is going on in Lebanon is a classic game of chicken. Hariri knows Hezbollah cannot afford to run Lebanon alone and Hezbollah knows that Hariri cannot afford not to be in the government. What is the best negotiating method in a game of chicken? Throwing out your wheel through the window first. If you can prove to your opponent that you have no control of your car, your opponent has no choice but to move. Hariri is trying to convince HA that the decision is out of his control and in the hands of the street. Let’s see how convincing he is. I don’t think it will work.

    I think he is also trying to intimidate Mikati and that may work a little better. I really do not understand Mikati by the way. Does he really want to be where he has put himself when strong indictments come out having just stabbed the son of the Martyr in the back to kowtow to his Shia murderers? What exactly is he thinking given that he lives in the middle of Tripoli? I just see zero upside for him in all of this. I think his pride and ambition have gotten the better of him. In any case, he is the weakest link in the Hezbollah maneuver and I wouldn’t be surprised if the US sends him a clear message.

    Posted by AIG | January 25, 2011, 1:35 am
  121. Sometimes, when I visit QN I sort of forget that the posters here are university profs, doctors, doctors to be, anonymous figures, etc.

    One moment everyone’s hailing the Tunisian spring. Maybe y’all didn’t turn the TVs on to see those burning tires. Now everyone’s gone Gandhi.

    BV: Israel created SLA?!? All the Rest: Iran created HA?!? The Lebanese are apparently all Mother Theresas.

    That Lebanese 7ashish is strong shit. Either everyone’s smoking it, or the winds are blowing its pollen far and wide.

    NeverStopsPosting UtP is a little miffed that BV has derived the latest mathematical treasure: HA = Iran = HA. I think BV should have added the qualifier “current leadership” to Iran. But otherwise, the equation looks just about right.

    Should UtP have any doubt, perhaps the following thought experiment would help. Assume tomorrow that the liberal, and pro-Western Iranian opposition overthrows the regime in Tehran, what impact would this have on HA- its financing and its arms.

    But even still, Iran didn’t “create” HA. The Lebanese created HA. Take that same thought experiment, and ask: If tomorrow, Iran’s leadership turned Liberal Pro-Western, will the UtPs of Lebanon become staunch supporters of the “Zionist Entity”.

    The absurdity of the comments cannot be any more pronounced.

    Take ownership of your fates. Wake up and smell the coffee.

    Danny #305:

    I don’t think this is what the Nabi said. He was making a general, and highly accurate statement. Winners in general have nothing to lose and can take the proverbial high road.

    Posted by Gabriel | January 25, 2011, 1:46 am
  122. GK# 315

    This is the time for M14 to step up and take the high road. There is no need for riots or peaceful demonstrations.

    Let the selection of PM be as it goes, and everyone should accept the result and move on.

    Hopefully, the “Opposition” can get their guy. They can distance Lebanon from the STL. THe STL can carry on their work… and then we can see “new” Lebanon’s commitment to finding the truth about the assassinations.

    Posted by Gabriel | January 25, 2011, 1:54 am
  123. Excuse that last comment. I’m a few hours late on my news. Mikati has already been chosen. More power to him.

    Hariri should calm his crowd down and tell them to go back home.

    And he should stay out of the government. Let this new “government” govern and let’s see what they do.

    Posted by Gabriel | January 25, 2011, 2:06 am
  124. What happens if all M 14 reps in the parliament resign?

    Posted by V | January 25, 2011, 2:30 am
  125. #315

    I agree with you that letting the constitution determine a shift in power here, with one side going into opposition and the other side taking the reins, would be healthy.

    However, there is more than just the constitution in Lebanon. Written into the constitution, but also existing informally outside of the constitution, are the notions of sectarian representation and consensus that goes back to the proportional council set up in Mt Lebanon under the Ottomans. Both sides have either appealed to some extra- or quasi-constitutional notion of consensus, or the strict application of the letter of the constitution over the past few years, depending on what suited them. My point is that you can’t suddenly move to a model whereby you simply allow the democratic rules to play out and the numbers to fall where they may. Or you can, but such a move will be highly unstable.

    Posted by Jonathan | January 25, 2011, 5:44 am
  126. Gabriel,
    (whats with the continuestopost moniker? Is that an attempt at belittling?)
    I do accept that a segment of the population wants peace with Israel. My point was in response to BV’s statement not a general point.

    Re. Your thought experiment. I have already stated that neither Irans, nor Syrias nor even HA’s position on Israel in any way effects my position. If Iran has a pro-Western revolution and the support stops it stops. Whats your point? There’s plenty more places to get arms from.

    Either you are missing my point or deliberately avoiding it, so lets try this. OK I accept, lets have a foreign power protect Lebanon’s border. One that is trusted and capable and willing. So shall we select one now that fulfills that criteria?

    82, Talet El Khayat. I think pretty clear in terms of Lebanon can mean a lot of things. People can come on here and and name hotels so that they can sound like they know what they are talking about, but I can tell you for a fact that before 1984, the Resistance was still sourcing much of its equipment from Europe.

    Now, to be clear I am not denying the closeness of HA and Iran. Nor am I denying that Iran gets regional/political benefits from the arrangement.

    Actually, it is interesting that you should bring up the LF/Kataeb – Israeli dynamic because I agree that the dynamic is very similar. But as much as I dislike them, I do think that in general, they did believe what they were doing was right and patriotic and I suspect, especially from what I read, that Bashir Gemayel wasn’t the Israeli lackey many make him out to be.

    It is interesting I think that an Israeli in AIG, has come closest to what I think is going on with the M14 camp today.

    p.s Tamir Levy, I would have guessed you would have realized that that shit doesn’t work anymore. You may have the bigger bombs, but no one is scared of you anymore. We saw what you guys were made of in 2006.

    Posted by usedtopost | January 25, 2011, 6:28 am
  127. How the United States withdraws troops from Iraq will be the determinant of how geopolitical power shifts in the Middle East and Persian Gulf… If the U.S. removes too many forces too quickly, they run the risk of Iraq aligning completely with Iranian power, which would force all surrounding Gulf nations to politically acclimate to the new power balance…. Because of this possibility Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and UAE will continue to apply political pressure to the U.S. to stay in the region, and the U.S. will continue to secretly reach out to Iran in order to secure their interests in the region….The situation in Lebanon should be seen in this light. Saad Hariri and March14th stooges of the Neocons have been dumped and thrown aside because of their utter corruption and subservience to the crumbling Empire of the Killers/Assassins, the USA and Israel who have become utter losers in the eyes of the World….they had to be dumped and they got what they deserve, and those who dumped them first are their “Masters”….it’s obvious.

    Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria, Lebanon and Iran would long since have returned to fruitful pursuits like organic gardening had Israel accepted the ONLY AND PEERLESS PEACE PLAN ON THE PLANET – of THE 2002 ARAB LEAGUE INITIATIVE… Wake up, and smell the roses, peace has been on the table for years, and Israel, only Israel and their US PNAC/NEOCON lackeys, have been the source of wars and turmoil in the Greater Middle East and the Arc Of Crisis…, threatening global security by their inane focus on land theft, wars,”energy security”, choke points…, raw materials, assassinations and aggression as some-senseless-how weighing on the side of “their security”. NUTS, BONKERS, CAVEMEN, OPEN YOUR EYES. NO, OPEN YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS!

    Posted by Jim | January 25, 2011, 6:43 am
  128. I will not be able to read any comments for 24 Hrs as i am having surgery on my eyes in about an hour.
    I do want to say a couple of things. Today is living proof to anybody who sees any Lebanese TV on who are the thugs and who are civilized in this country. Today all the masks fall some will play the democratic game and accept the loss when they loose and some will resort to throwing tantrums and using hoodlums when they do not get their way.
    So called M14 cannot muster enough support to have a big demonstration so they resort to violence and attacking people, businesses , cars and funny enough even the media. They even attacked media that supported them. They could not even close down Tarik el jdideh in Beirut, they had to resort to going door to door and threatening the owners.
    This is real proof why the M14 group lost the popular vote in the last election by almost 10% in spite of spending over 1 billion USD and flying supporters from all over the world in order to vote.
    what we are witnessing is the end of the Hariri dynasty in Lebanon. a few hundred thugs will not put him back in power. If he can let him try and start a sit in for his supporters, let’s see how long they last and how many will show up.
    Good riddance to Lebanon, Mabrouk to all those who kept the faith for all those years.

    Posted by elsheikh | January 25, 2011, 7:28 am
  129. @329
    Please Get Well and come back.
    You’re spot on in your Analysis, most Lebanese and the World knows this very well, that’s why these March14th losers/traitors have been DUMPED in the Dust Bin of History.
    Good Riddance.

    Posted by Jim | January 25, 2011, 7:51 am
  130. “who are the thugs and who are civilized in this country”
    What a joke! HA uses it militia in May 2008 to forcibly get a blocking third after the elections showed them the loser. They use this veto to bring down the government and join with Syria to intimidate a crazy man (Junblatt) and a lunatic (Aoun) to support them and now you blame “M14” ?
    Just remember March 14, 2005. The flame will never die. The Truth will come out. Intimidation will eventually be defeated.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | January 25, 2011, 8:38 am
  131. Remember Jibran Tueini. Remember Wissam Eid. Remember all the victims. Their spirit is watching. Justice, sooner or later, will prevail.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | January 25, 2011, 8:40 am
  132. Hariri should join the government insisting on a blocking third and once the attempt is made to have the Lebanese government denounce the STL (as it surely will since that’s why M8 brought down the government in the first place), then bring down Mikati’s government to prevent this obfuscation of justice.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | January 25, 2011, 8:43 am
  133. “Good riddance to Lebanon, Mabrouk to all those who kept the faith for all those years.”

    Now that’s the mask of the HA falling.


    I mentioned at the beginning of this discussion that M14 should go forward and insist that precedents established by HA in 2008 be respected. The blocking third has to be the main focus. Also, any mention of Resistance has to be excluded from the ministerial statement. If not let them govern as they wish. If they think they can get away with anything HA would be sorely mistaken; because this powder keg is being loaded up for an epic explosion.

    As usual those HA supporters above jumped at the outbursts of yesterday with their hypocritical and inane remarks! We never want violence but how can you keep a nation safe when constantly being forced at the point of gun and assassinations to succumb.

    Hariri has appealed for calm. However, I have been saying for a long time that the more you give the more they will take until the domination is complete and the Islamic Republic of HizbIran has been established.

    One more thought. I would ask all residents outside of the HA control to stop paying the Electricity bills. Let’s see how would they handle that. HA has had a free ride too long…

    Posted by danny | January 25, 2011, 9:02 am
  134. If you think protests are limited to particular groups, you’re mistaken,

    رأى رئيس “حزب الاتحاد السرياني” ابراهيم مراد، في بيان “ان “حزب الله” استطاع أن يفرض مرشحه ولو موقتا، ولكن الاخطر من ذلك عندما يتم تشكيل الحكومة”، مشيرا الى ان “لبنان سيصبح في مواجهة مباشرة مع المجتمع الدولي والعربي وسيعود القمع والاضطهاد عبر النظام الامني القديم الذي دفعنا أغلى الاثمان لازالته”.

    ودعا مراد “قيادات واحزاب “14 آذار” لعقد اجتماع عاجل يتم من خلاله دعوة الشعب الى انتفاضة شبيهة بانتفاضة عام 2005 لنسقط الحكومة قبل ولادتها”.

    I think before not too long we may see demonstration(s) as in 2005.

    Posted by anonymous | January 25, 2011, 9:09 am
  135. The challenge to Hariri is to keep any and all demonstrations peaceful. There will no doubt be attempts at intimidating the demonstrators. Also, doesn’t any new government have to gain a confidence vote in the parliament? How do the votes stack up there?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | January 25, 2011, 9:20 am
  136. The press needs to stop calling Mikati “Harvard Educated.” Attending one of those extremely-high-fees courses which have no admissions requirements does not make one “Harvard Educated.” A successful businessman, clearly. An educated person, of course. This is not personal. This is about hunger for power and “special” relations with the President of Syria that cast serious doubt on Mikati’s principles and intentions.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | January 25, 2011, 9:23 am
  137. Lousy losers, Hooligans, thugs, paid militias and CIA/MOSSAD proxy tools, that’s all there is to these bunch of gullible and manipulated criminals, looting and destroying public/private property….that’s the March14th creeps.
    Long Live the Leadership of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the head of our beloved Lebanese Nationalist Resistance. A wise man, a Nationalist and an honorable man, in any circumstance.

    Posted by Jim | January 25, 2011, 9:30 am
  138. The first gathering will actually start tonight,


    The language of threats and ultimatums is still ongoing, however. This time it came from none other than Berri himself. He made us all feel ‘deeply indebted’ to him and to HNA for deciding not to confront the protests through their own thugs but to allow the LAF to take care.

    Posted by anonymous | January 25, 2011, 9:32 am
  139. Where was the Freaking army when Beirut was burned by HA and its allies in 2008? The red lines were in front of their washrooms??

    Posted by danny | January 25, 2011, 10:03 am
  140. Pour exorciser toutes vos peines, fatigues, frustrations, pour chasser
    toutes vos misères, tous vos doutes, toutes vos peurs.
    En vertu de l’Autorité qui m’a été confiée…

    An old prospector shuffled into town leading an old tired mule. The old man headed straight for the only saloon to clear his parched throat. He walked up and tied his old mule to the hitch rail. As he stood there, brushing some of the dust from his face and clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out of the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other.

    The young gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, saying, “Hey old man, have you ever danced?” The old man looked up at the gunslinger and said, “No, I never did dance… never really wanted to.”

    A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger grinned and said, “Well, you old fool, you’re gonna dance now,” and started shooting at the old man’s feet.

    The old prospector –not wanting to get a toe blown off– started hopping around like a flea on a hot skillet. Everybody was laughing, fit to be tied.

    When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger, still laughing, holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon. The old man turned to his pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled shotgun, and cocked both hammers. The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air. The crowd stopped laughing immediately. The young gunslinger heard the sounds too, and he turned around very slowly. The silence was almost deafening. The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the old-timer and the large gaping holes of those twin barrels.

    The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old man’s hands, as he quietly said, “Son, have you ever kissed a mule’s behind?” The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, “No sir….. but… I’ve

    always wanted to….”

    There are a few lessons for us all here:

    Never be arrogant.

    Don’t waste ammunition….

    Whiskey makes you think you’re smarter than you are.

    Always, always make sure you know who has the power.

    Don’t mess with old men, they didn’t get old by being stupid….

    Posted by Jim | January 25, 2011, 10:11 am
  141. Gee. I make one joke, knock a lad off his chair, y ahora, nada! Nothing! I’m a one-hit-wonder!

    UtP: No, I’m not belittling you. But you have to admit the moniker is funny. You know, when you get the email notification and it says “UsedToPost Says….”. Get it? It’s funny.

    On a more serious note, that’s the point of my “thought experiment”. Re-read it. Your views are not linked to that of the regime in Iran (only its in line with the current one).

    On the flip side, if the regime were to dissolve, that would represent a major financial loss to HA. Yes, I am sure you’re resourceful and will be able to get your weapons from elsewhere. I am sure the diaspora gives the organization lots of mmoney. The point is that would be a big blow to HA.

    Posted by Gabriel | January 25, 2011, 10:12 am
  142. Danny/ HP,
    It appears that you are in agreement that March 14 forces should not resort to violence ( burning tires, blocking highways , smashing cars…) . These were tactics that were condemned when the other side indulged in them and so must be rejected when the shoe is on the other foot.
    I mention this in order to suggest a parallel situation. If you thought in the past that the veto power to the other side was wrong and that a “national unity government is unworkable when each side representa diametrically opposite ideas then to claim the right to what one has opposed is wrong and not acceptable. that is why I would hope that March 14 would stay out of the cabinet and would take the democratic battle to the Chamber where the vote of confidence will be held. Let HA hide one more time behind Mikati and Aoun. I would not be surprised if HA choses not to have any of its members in the cabinet as long as their proxies are doing their bidding.
    One more thought about the latest developments. Besides the enormous pressure applie on Jumblatt the king makers in the final analysis turned out to be the Tripolitan “independents” in addition to Nemeh Atieh. Pressure are an accepted part of the democratic game and so one cannot object to them except that in this case the whole scheme appears to have been cooked and is being implemented to serve foreign masters. Why would an independent countrty need the approval of damascuss for everything that it does. If that is the case then maybe we should consider seriously taking the final step to eliminate the state that is a make belief only.
    Lebanons only salvation is to learn from the crisis and to be able to grow . This can only mean sacking all its political class.(Have you heard me say this before:-))

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | January 25, 2011, 10:39 am
  143. إقتحام أحياء في طريق الجديده من قبل الجيش وإعتقال حسام الطرابلسي المسؤول الأمني لسعد الحريري

    ….الخيانة عاهة إبليسية

    حقوق الطائفة السنية تحفظ بصيانة فقراء
    طرابلس وعكار والبقاع وصيدا وبيروت لا
    بالمتاجرة بهم مرة باسم الحقيقة والعدالة
    ومرة أخرى باسم هذه الحقوق من اجل الحفاظ على
    السلطة التي تخفي الكثير من حقائق وفضائح

    تيار المستقبل “القلعة الساقطة” منذ عام 1993

    Posted by Jim | January 25, 2011, 10:40 am
  144. Jim,
    That is a very well known story that can be found on many blogs and FB pages except that in each of these cases the posters make it clear that someone sent this to them or that they have copied it from this source or that. Why don’t you do the same? Intellectual integrity must be important to you mustn’t it?

    It was very clever of you to point out the funny aspect of the sentence structure in “Used To Post says: ” 🙂

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | January 25, 2011, 10:53 am
  145. I am going to Beirut today I hope the Airport road is ok! anyone heard any problems in that area?

    Posted by V | January 25, 2011, 11:00 am
  146. i’m being dispatched by the CIA … hush hush dont tell Jim! lol

    Posted by V | January 25, 2011, 11:01 am
  147. Whatever meddling, Jeffrey Feltman, “The assassin in Chief”, the USA and Israel have up their sleeves will come to no good end….

    Posted by Jim | January 25, 2011, 11:05 am
  148. Thugs, Salafis, Takfiris, Fateh Al-Islam killers–are key components of the March14th traitors–attacking and lynching crews of Aljazeera, Al-Arabiya and New TV. “Just imagine the response if this was Hezbollah’s people doing it, God Forbid….”

    Posted by Jim | January 25, 2011, 11:37 am
  149. v,319
    BV, 301 made this suggestion.
    It read as fallow:
    “How about the SLA? Were they also not “created” by Israel? Or were they really locals in the south, hellbent on defending their villages from PLO massacres?”

    Posted by The Prophet | January 25, 2011, 12:12 pm
  150. Nabi,

    I don’t know the details like everyone else does (and even if I did I wouldn’t keep it as a chip 30 years after the fact)…

    … but I don’t think that was the spirit of BV’s point.

    The spirit is that for whatever else, I’m sure the SLA formed because some people thought it was what was best, in their view, for the country (the PLO angle may be the fact that the PLO was using their villages to attack Israel from). Not because they woke up one morning and said. “Gee, what a wonderful morning, I feel like being Israel’s lapdog today.”

    Posted by Gabriel | January 25, 2011, 12:36 pm
  151. New post guys…

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | January 25, 2011, 12:41 pm


  1. Pingback: Syria Comment » Archives » Lebanon Remains Hostage to the Arab-Israeli Conflict with US Blessing - January 24, 2011

Are you just gonna stand there and not respond?

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

Browse archives

wordpress stats plugin
%d bloggers like this: