Arab Politics, Syria

What Does the Future Hold For Syria?

My good friend George Saghir, one of the best analysts of Syrian economic affairs, has written a thought-provoking essay for Joshua Landis’s Syria Comment, in which he argues that Syria is staring down the same shotgun barrel as virtually every other Arab nation. Unless it finds a way to radically increase economic activity and curb demographic trends, popular protests like the kind we have witnessed in Egypt and Tunisia are inevitable.

The solution? Syria must emulate Turkey, but this, George argues, will be much easier said than done:

For Syria to achieve Turkey’s per capita growth rate of the past 25 years, it must do two things: 1- It must grow its economy by a real inflation-adjusted 8.5% if population growth continues at 3.26%. 2- It can grow by a real inflation-adjusted 6.5% if it succeeds in slowing its population growth down to Turkey’s current level of 1.25%. Either option presents a formidable challenge and highlights the feat that Turkey has pulled off since 1980. Growing an economy at an inflation-adjusted rate of 8.5% is of course what China has been able to do recently (if you trust the country’s statisticians). Chinese planners have also been able to drop the country’s population growth rate to low of 0.63%.

I recommend you read the entire piece, and perhaps George will agree to write something about Lebanon’s economic/demographic challenges for QN. As far as I know, he’s much more optimistic about Syria’s little cousin.

UPDATE: When it rains it pours… Here’s another very interesting piece about Syria by Gary Gambill, editor of Mideast Monitor and one of the smartest commentators on Levantine politics. I make a point of trying to read and re-read everything Gary writes; even when I disagree with him, I find his commentaries to be extremely sharp.
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434 thoughts on “What Does the Future Hold For Syria?

  1. V@200

    Thanks for your advice.

    I am very aware about the “Happenings” in the good old USA and elsewhere…and I don’t give a damn about those cowardly KILLERS/Assassins…who hide behind balcony walls to press a remote control button to assassinate innocent people/leaders…for cheap political aims…

    I have told all “concerned” mentioned in my posts about the Infamous White House Murder INC, in person and in writing…exactly what I KNOW about them…. I have done that since 2002…and again in 2005 prior to the HIT on Hariri…which I knew exactly that it was coming…give or take 2/3 weeks…and I tried to do something about it…but failed… and I have done that repeatedly…[ Telling them exactly what I know and what I feel about them…] and yes, I do visit those countries frequently….

    Trust me, they are ALL F*/**g COWARDS, The US, The Syrians, The Israelis and the French…and I am listing those countries on purpose…

    Posted by HK | February 12, 2011, 6:44 am
  2. It seems that the most murderous regime after HA, Iran and Syria is none but the Iraqi regime,

    Posted by anonymous | February 12, 2011, 9:28 am
  3. Saint,195
    Listening to Obama’s statement after the collapse of Mubarak regime, I get the impression that He got the message ,as well as the rest of the world ,that the people of Egypt spoke loudly enough to make it clear that they want to control their own lives and political system. They wanted freedom, and democracy. They wanted, rightly so, to be counted.
    It all depends how fast and well Egyptian can establish a political system that would reflect the aspirations of the young generation of Egypt. I wish them success. If they succeed, they would not have to worry about what others (US or other countries) think or want for them.They would decide what is good for themselves.
    The west would have to learn to deal with Egyptian people, and eventually with all Arab people, through their democratic voice instead of the voices of a dictators, who never thought their people‘s voice counted.
    Egypt is the hope and the test.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 12, 2011, 1:59 pm
  4. It is very interesting to see supporters of the despotism of HA and the ‘regurgirators’ of the ‘resistance’ bull… lecturing about democracy.

    What else do the Egyptian people need to learn from such ‘enlightened’ self-styled ‘democrats’?

    Posted by anonymous | February 12, 2011, 2:08 pm
  5. The ideologue of the Mubarak regime is now under house arrest,

    This guy represented the most extreme secular ideologists under Mubarak.

    Posted by anonymous | February 12, 2011, 2:17 pm
  6. Some people need to digest information before they are giving more.You may call it baby steps.
    No confusion is intended here, only success is.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 12, 2011, 2:19 pm
  7. Saint, “who else enjoys the US’s level of influence that you may enlighten us on?”

    The first that comes to my mind is Latin America in the 80s, but this example only strengthens your point. There are other examples from all corners of the globe (from SE Asia to Latin America).

    But as you say, this behavior is not unique to America. It is a symptom of power.

    Posted by Johnny | February 12, 2011, 2:20 pm
  8. The “enlightened” criminal fascists of the US of A. in a few words…

    Remember last year…, a trial in Italy and subsequent conviction in absentia of several people involved in renditions… This included a number of CIA agents… The supreme court judge there in Italy was undeterred by the numerous personal threats prior to the trial… Haven’t heard a word since….

    America’s legacy – and, yes, MUBARAKOBAMA is continuing it without stop… If you can stand it, it is important to watch the videos embedded in this report:

    America’s Legacy of Mutagenic War

    So very sad we all permit this madness…and the Infamous White House Murder INC, And, even support it with our own Dollars and labor!

    Goddamn the ogres who run this US fascist enterprise! May those behind this kind of thing have it returned on their heads – and, their families – ten thousand fold…

    Posted by HK | February 12, 2011, 2:24 pm
  9. Prophet-

    I am afraid I don’t share your enthusiasm for Obama’s rhetoric. He is smart enough to say the right things now because he has no choice, but be sure that even as he spoke his national security advisors and other concerned powerful allies in the region, mainly Israel and SA, are turning the earth upside down to come up with ways to swerve this revolution-in-the-making to a more favorable outcome that would placate some of the domestic demands of the Egyptian people whilst making sure that Egypt stay on course with the current US/Israeli positions on the ME.

    Once free and democratic, Egypt may not care so much about the US, but on their way to this independent course, they would be smart enough to worry about it considering the vulnerability of the next period as they work to ensure that their revolution completes its course.

    Posted by Saint | February 12, 2011, 4:10 pm
  10. Saint,
    I agree that the US,and other countries will try to sway things to protect their own interests.
    Egyptian people, can force everyone to respect their wishes ,and their policies if they are successful at building a respectable and transparent democratic system.
    Just like they forced everyone to respect their inspiring , and peaceful revolution, they can force everyone to respect their policies. I Repeat ,It all depends on their success.
    I don’t count much on the Army. This army is part of that regime anyway. The army had no choice,but to side with the people because they made a wise decision(US warning !!!) that they would not shoot at their people to save Mubarak, yet they were hoping to save the regime minus Mubarak.This army is also well connected to and well dependent on US Assistance.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 12, 2011, 4:29 pm
  11. RTOD,

    Nabih Berri is a well known ‘criminal’ since 1983.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if his son in law is as described by the americans.

    But the US is shortsighted. The network is much bigger than this LCB. It includes a whole class of money exchangers and perhaps other banks. Their job is to help Iran around sanctions. I am afraid sometime Lebanon will be put under sanctions when the world finally discovers it is providing a way for Iran and its Syrian and HA clients to access international markets illegally.

    Posted by anonymous | February 12, 2011, 6:16 pm
  12. they are ALL F*/**g COWARDS, The US, The Syrians, The Israelis and the French…


    You didn’t provide us the list of ME leaders to avoid in our man-hunt for murderers and despots.

    So I’ll withdraw the question and make it easier for you.

    In regards to your comment I quoted above, please tell us who exactly are NOT “ cowards”.


    BTW – With all that is going on in Egypt, can anyone tell me, in simple terms, what is happening in Lebanon? Will there be a full working government?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 12, 2011, 6:23 pm
  13. On the other hand the Iranian regime is afraid it will be next in line to get dumped, knowing full well it suffers from the same defects of election rigging the Egyptians revolted against. At the same time the regime is proving hypocrite in the same manner we see here on this blog from some of their supporters mouthing empty praise of the Egyptian revolt while in fact they are the unabashed supporters of dictatorships such as the W of F. It looks likea typical behaviour,

    إيران خائفة من وصول عدوى سقوط الأنظمة ولن تسمح بالتجمعات “غير القانونية” للمعارضة

    جدد المسؤول في المكتب السياسي لوزارة الداخلية الإيرانية مهدي علي خاني صدر التأكيد أن الوزارة “لن تسمح بتجمعات للمعارضة” الاثنين التي تقدم بطلب الإذن لها قائدا المعارضة الايرانية مير حسين موسوي ومهدي كروبي لدعم الثورة في تونس والانتفاضة الشعبية في مصر.

    ورأى صدر بحسب ما نقلت وكالة “فارس” للانباء أن “هؤلاء العناصر (في المعارضة) يدركون تماما الطبيعة غير القانونية لهذا الطلب، ويعرفون أنهم لن يحصلوا على الإذن لأعمال شغب”.
    المصدر : أ.ف.ب.

    I must also say one word of `respect` of Mubarak. The guy is very stubborn. He is still in Egypt insisting he will die in his homeland as he said in his speech. No one can argue with him on this. The Egyptians may just accept that provided he doesn`t get involved in politics.

    And by the way, Tahrir Square is now called Martyrs Square just in time for February 14.

    Posted by anonymous | February 12, 2011, 6:35 pm
  14. Mubarak has yet to find a country to accept him,except for United Arab Emirate, whose population is as large as his Mubarak’s former army.
    Saudi Arabia is willing to accept him under two conditions;1- not to bring his boys along ,in fear of them stealing from Saudi Arabia.2-To make sure his wife covers up. A condition ,she refuses to accept so far.
    Of course,the Saudi option is made up .lol

    Posted by The Prophet | February 12, 2011, 6:49 pm
  15. I notice some “democracy advocate” are shedding tears at the “respectable Stuborness” of Mubarak.Like it makes a difference where a tyrant is buried.
    If I were an Egyptian, I’d demand trying(fair trial) him for crimes against humanity and theft,and also demand the return of all the money he and his family stole before allowing him to stay in Egypt ,or buried there after his death.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 12, 2011, 8:12 pm
  16. With what happened in Egypt, does anybody think that the recycling of the leaders in Lebanon might change and one man one vote might take place?.

    Posted by Norman | February 12, 2011, 8:16 pm
  17. Long Shot Dream, Nornam,lol

    Posted by The Prophet | February 12, 2011, 8:29 pm
  18. How do they count votes in Syria, Norman?

    May be we can learn from your experience.

    Posted by anonymous | February 12, 2011, 8:38 pm
  19. Here’s wishing the egyptian people the best. They sure deserve it and waited long enough. Mabrouk.

    Posted by Ras Beirut | February 12, 2011, 9:44 pm
  20. The performance of the Egyptian was nothing less than exemplar. This is the speech of the army command upon assuming control,

    The general became an instant star among the people due to the military salute he offered to the martyrs of the revolution. Notice that he praised Mubarak but didn’t offer him a similar salute. My guess is Mubarak will get his wish and die in Egypt. The army will not give him up. That was probably the deal made behind doors.

    Posted by anonymous | February 12, 2011, 10:15 pm
  21. Anan,

    I was hoping that you the Lebanese will teach us the backward Syrians something about Democracy, Would you?.

    Posted by Norman | February 12, 2011, 11:13 pm
  22. OK Norman 222, we will not disappoint you.

    For a beginning you can start by limiting the term of the President to one six-year term only. You can also insist on voting him into office and not confer it upon him as a for-life inheritance.

    That is something you should now learn from the Egyptians who vehemently refused such hereditary presidential institution and got what they wanted.

    Later on you may graduate and should attempt to have free speech, free media, free political parties and all the other luxuries that you may be dreaming of but are still afraid of.

    Posted by anonymous | February 12, 2011, 11:50 pm
  23. Anan,
    Thank you, one 6 year term will not give incentive for the president to do well for his people looking for a second term , probably 2 four year terms is better,
    Surly having Hafiz Assad as president helped Bashar to become president, but that should not deny him the presidency as he is as Syrian as the other person , he became president for being the right man and the one whom everybody agreed on, He is well educated and was known in Syria not to abuse being the son of the president actually it was known that Hafiz Assad was very strict with his children not to abuse their status,
    After all G W Bush is the son of G H W Bush and that is OK in the US so no son should be denied the presidency as long as the people want him ,
    Before reaching for a country wide election for president , Syria should have local election and decentralization so people could rule themselves and test the metal of the local elected officials and see how they use power and what they can do to improve the lives of their towns and counties before that move up to the assembly and the presidency,
    Syria’s constitution should make it clear that all Syrians are equal and can be all they can be .now Christians can be presidents,

    Posted by Norman | February 13, 2011, 12:20 am
  24. Norman,

    Neither Hafiz nor his Bashar were the right men to be presidents of Syria. They are both responsible for the pathetic state Syria is in now.

    Hafiz and his family abused Syria big time. They stole every penny from the people, made the Syrians very poor and they continue to abuse Syria up till now. Everyone knows Hafiz sold the Golan. We all know that he was in power because the Israelis want him to be in power and not the true Syrian people. And the same thing applies to Bashar.

    GWB Junior and Bush senior were both elected. You cannot compare the Bush(‘s) to such mediocres as the Assads. Get serious, please.

    In principle, I have no issue with a Prseidents being of any religion. But is that the only criteria that comes to your mind?

    Even by your 2 two four-term plan for President, Bashar should now be out of office (not to mention that he shouldn’t be in office in the first place). So, what are you guys waiting for?

    Posted by anonymous | February 13, 2011, 12:45 am
  25. Norman, last paragraph in my last comment should read,

    Even by your two four-year terms plan for President, Bashar should now be out of office (not to mention that he shouldn’t be in office in the first place). So, what are you guys waiting for?

    Posted by anonymous | February 13, 2011, 1:00 am
  26. Syria is not a democracy yet and yes the brothers of Hafiz Assad are and their children are thieves but not Hafiz and his children,with improving the economy and creating a middle class in Syria political reform will follow,

    Posted by Norman | February 13, 2011, 1:14 am
  27. Norman 227,

    You must be joking. So Hafiz made billions out of his salary? Or he could have made the Billions by selling the Golan?

    And Bashar made billions in 10 years out of a practice which he never practiced?

    If there people in Syria as in Egypt, they would hang every member of this clan. They are traitors.

    Posted by anonymous | February 13, 2011, 1:25 am
  28. “he became president for being the right man and the one whom everybody agreed on,”

    Lak shoo hal WAQA7A !! like the Syrian soldiers use to tell us on checkpoints in Beirut “Emshi Wla 7aqeer”

    Do you think we are stupid? Man you live in Canada and you still have no courage to admit Bashar AL Assad, his father and brothers are ruthless THUGS and Syria is a F***ed up 3rd world backward banana republic. be honest with yourself at least and say it like it is!!.

    Spare us this stupidity old man and before you lecture us Lebanese about democracy (we have the integrity to admit we don’t have a democracy) and the possibility of change look at your own backyard in Syria and get off our case.

    Posted by V | February 13, 2011, 1:52 am
  29. V@229

    Fully agree with you…

    The great contribution of the last ten years, to the understanding of US evil has been to expose unpalatable truths about the Infamous White House Murder INC, and those criminal lackeys in the EU and the Levant who tag along with its odious machinations since 1996….

    La diplomatie de l’alliance US & Co. fait perdre souvent le sens de vérité aux mots partout dans le monde…, normal pour les diplomates laches de ” l’ouest…” et des “Juifs de cour” englués dans la Galout…

    The contrast between the raw display of people power and the stunningly irrelevant gatherings of so-called “leaders” in an idyllic Swiss alpine resort at the very same time could not have been starker. At the same time that popular uprisings were raging 
furiously, the rich and the famous were feasting on caviar and champagne buffets, outdoing each other with comically clueless pronouncements about political, fiscal and social responsibility, and generally feeling very satisfied about their own sense of importance….

    Only when Ambassadors will be selected based on meaningful qualification criteria and not based on the amounts of money they contributed to a politician or a political party, only then can we expect women and men who practice diplomacy as the art of conducting negotiations and bridging between nations, without supercilious arrogance, criminality, covert-ops., Psy-ops., and patronizing hostility… And only then will we finally be able to bury the old, decrepit habits and shout with joy: Diplomacy is dead… Long live diplomacy! Realpolitik versus rosy election slogans of human rights, freedom and democracy for the world… American diplomats are thinking of how to negotiating the balance between strategic concerns and human rights these days…

    Posted by HK | February 13, 2011, 5:33 am
  30. HK,
    Please don’t agree with me. I find extremely very little agreement between us. I am not a conspiracy theorist and I am a proud citizen of the great US of A and i take issue with those who call my country evil especially when they are Arab or Iranian. I find blaming the USA, Israel and the West in general for all the ills in the Arab world as the greatest act of cowardice and elimination of one’s self ability. Those who blame everything on others are only diminishing who they are. The Arab problems are simply those created by the Arabs themselves full stop. The day you as an Arab become aware of that is the first day in your recovery.

    Posted by V | February 13, 2011, 5:59 am
  31. V@231

    Facts are facts, and most polls show that 80% of Americans do not agree with their Government’s policies about alomost anything…from the Patriot Act, to wars to the economy, only to name a few. American people and pundits say much worse things about the US of A…, and last time I checked and if there is any constitution left standing in America…it is our right to criticize our Government and its criminal policies in any which way we like, anytime and in any format, unless,TSA, FBI, DHS and others have turned into a new
    Gestapo of the 21st Century.

    Posted by HK | February 13, 2011, 6:09 am
  32. V@231

    Last but not least, it’s a very easy scapegoat and a quick fix to lump in any argumentation, ” Conspiracy Theories “, Antisemitism, ( charming hunky-dory USA, Israel, defeatism, self-ability, etc. when you are not in the know about what really goes on in the real world and mostly behind the scenes…

    It is also disingenuous to claim that ALL Arabs’ problems are of their own making at this time of great upheavals, Valiant Resistance, Revolutions and the beginning of a new dawn of People power in our neck of the woods, with the great elimination of Tyrant after Tyrant, Made In USA…

    Posted by HK | February 13, 2011, 6:25 am
  33. HK,

    In that case you have only the EVIL USA to THANK for that guaranteed freedom of expression.
    Many Americans disagree with their governments and thank God we have elections for that. But very few and i stress on very few call the US Evil and blame it for the world’s ills and concoct wild conspiracy theories. Only those who are burned out and probably still live in their parent’s basement do so.
    If you care so much about the Arab world find solutions and stop regurgitating the same old conspiracy theory crap. You are peddling all sorts of theories about assassinations, plots and evil done by US agencies inside and outside America and then you turn around implying that your rights are guaranteed and sarcastically unless the DHS and FBI turned into a Gestapo? Please go see a shrink!.

    Posted by V | February 13, 2011, 6:33 am
  34. V,

    I agreed fully with your position in post 229 and still do, and I have absolutely no intention of turning this into a shouting match. I maintain every word and every utterance about the US of A, which turned into a lousy elephant in a China shop since 1996….Actions of the US government and all its agencies henceforth amount to evil, and no other words can describe it best.

    Good luck to you.

    Posted by HK | February 13, 2011, 6:43 am
  35. The US security paradigm!

    The Bush regime’s “preemptive wars” doctrine has been fully incorporated into the Obama administration’s “homeland security” paradigm….The formidable police state apparatus that accompanies America’s imperial adventures abroad are now deployed at home where they have devastating effects on an already dysfunctional democracy sliding ever-closer towards an authoritarian abyss….

    Posted by HK | February 13, 2011, 8:06 am
  36. V, anan,

    Just remember that what comes out of people mouth or writing says what kind of people they are, you showed you kind .

    Show us reliable documents about the wealth of Bashar and Hafiz Assad.

    Posted by Norman | February 13, 2011, 10:57 am
  37. who is anan?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | February 13, 2011, 11:13 am
  38. HP,

    Posted by Norman | February 13, 2011, 11:38 am
  39. who is anan?”

    HP, you should have execused the guy. He propbably wears glasses prescribed for him by Dr. Bashar.

    Posted by anonymous | February 13, 2011, 12:06 pm
  40. The Iranians now seem to be unhappy with the way things are unfolding in Egypt. Khomaini may have failed to re-incarnate in the Nile valley, and that doesn’t bode well for the ‘revolution’ of the mullahs. Mubarak’s government is to blame, perhaps, because it suspended air tarffic during the revolt preventing the arrival of the ‘incarnate’,

    Posted by anonymous | February 13, 2011, 12:30 pm
  41. Any one of these dictators showing remorse today could have remained in power for all these years without cunning and the unflinching determination to hold on to the throne at all costs… Almost all of them are offering concessions that postpone real change for months or years…

    I am sure each of them – in Syria, Yemen, Jordan, KSA, GCC, Kazakhstan, Algeria, Albania – knows that almost everyone in the world is watching right now. They don’t want to be the subject of the widespread contempt now being larded on Mubarak and Ben Ali… None of them wants to see his own people, feeding on that, demanding that he run for the airport and flee…

    Syria’s Dictator, Bashar Assad, his entourage, cronies and the larger Alawite Mafia in Damascus, horded tens of Billions of USD over years/decades… US sources tell me the amounts are staggering and that nothing gets done in Syria without bribes and corruption since 1973…and that the Syrian Regime is like a hooker who only “dances” with the highest bidder…while over 15 Million Syrians remain in need…

    But these canny leaders know full well that a few months from now, this moment will have passed; the world’s attention will have turned away. They can put in place a few cosmetic changes and go on as before…

    Yemen’s president, for example, says he will stay in office until the next election – in 2013. What’s to prevent him, a year or two from now, from changing his mind, saying the growing terrorist threat demands steady leadership?

    Only the people who are taking to the streets right now can keep the pressure up. Down the road, don’t count on America and other fickle Western states for help. If their dictators falter or backtrack, the people are the ones who have to come back, fists raised high…

    They hold the ultimate power. No one else.

    Posted by HK | February 13, 2011, 12:43 pm
  42. I am not a conspiracy theorist and I am a proud citizen of the great US of A and i take issue with those who call my country evil especially when they are Arab or Iranian.

    Go V Go!

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 13, 2011, 2:29 pm
  43. I love the USA, by the way… I love its people and its amazingly beautiful nature. Its the EMPIRE and the infamous White House Murder INC, which I hate…

    This is what I despise:

    Posted by HK | February 13, 2011, 2:44 pm
  44. The first sane act by the Iranian regime,

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 13, 2011, 2:56 pm
  45. MP Georges Adwan to MTV: We have accumulated mistakes all through the previous period, but from now on, no one will decide for us, not even friendly countries.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 13, 2011, 3:00 pm
  46. The Iranian people quickly discovered the hypocrisy of the handkerchief-covered heads of the regime,

    أصدر المجلس التنسيقي لحركة طريق الأمل الأخضر الذي يتزعمه الإصلاحي المعارض مير حسين موسوي بياناً تحدى فيه السلطات الايرانية ودعا الى المشاركة الواسعة في المظاهرات المقررة غداً الاثنين 14-2-2011 لدعم حركة التغيير في تونس ومصر واستلهام العبر منها.

    وحذرت الحركة الخضراء القوى الأمنية من قمع المظاهرات وحثت المواطنين على النزول الى الشارع، مؤكدة أن السماح للمعارضين بالتظاهر بصورة سلمية وعدم التعرض لهم من شأنه تجنيب البلاد أزمة أمنية ودولية, وإثارة التساؤل والشكوك حول ما تدعيه حكومة طهران في مواقفها الرسمية المؤيدة للشعبين التونسي والمصري.

    ويأتي بيان المعارضة عقب تجديد مسؤول إيراني كبير قوله إن وزارة الداخلية لن تسمح بتجمعات للمعارضة الاثنين دعماً لحركات الانتفاضة في دول عربية لئلا تتحول إلى مظاهرات مناهضة للحكومة، بحسب مؤيدي النظام.

    Posted by anonymous | February 13, 2011, 3:39 pm
  47. anan.

    And yoor prescirption foe “execused” waas writtin bi teh evile Dr Elliot Abrams…

    neener neener

    Posted by lally | February 13, 2011, 3:42 pm
  48. lally,


    When J conjoins Street he/she becomes ridiculous.

    Posted by anonymous | February 13, 2011, 4:46 pm
  49. The day Hassan Nasrallah allows himself to be dissected by Marcel Ghanem for a couple of hours is the day I’ll believe the Sayed has my interests on his mind too.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 13, 2011, 5:33 pm
  50. Does he have an economic plan for Lebanon’s sustainability for us to wage a war against the Zionists and the American plot against Lebanon?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 13, 2011, 5:44 pm
  51. Does any one know the Higher Council of the FPM? Who are they?

    Did anyone read their latest statement regarding Feb. 14?

    RTOD 251,

    Where have you been in the last five years? Haven’t you heard of the ‘divine victory’ in 2006? What else do you have in mind? Are you thinking more on the line of May 2008?

    Posted by anonymous | February 13, 2011, 6:19 pm
  52. And Hey ! … Mr. Nasrallah … what is Lebanon to you, living in bunkers, besides an ideology?

    When was the last time you crossed the street on a rainy day? Allowed the sun and the salty water to caress your body? Or the snow to blister your face … in a country you want us to believe you embody.

    You’ve got major PR problems, dude!

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 13, 2011, 6:26 pm
  53. V,

    You are trying to debate a ‘person” with multiple personality disorders. It comes under different handle: Jim, Jhon, HK, Sam, Mike, Anonymous2 etc..etc…
    Just let him be with his tired old cold war rhetoric! You are right. It is because of the so called evil USA that he enjoys the freedom of expressing his nonsense without the fear of being hung by the bastij or HA thugs!

    Posted by danny | February 13, 2011, 6:37 pm
  54. Read the following and cry. Please note that so many of the countries in the region (Syria, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Yeman, Algeria) are very close to the bottom of the rankings globally and the others are not that far behind. How can a whole region, as diverse geographically as the Arab world be so uniformally an underachiever in practically all measures?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 13, 2011, 7:43 pm
  55. Ghassan,

    Are you sure that the Economist report was not prepared by a zionist?

    Posted by anonymous | February 13, 2011, 7:58 pm
  56. GK ,

    Did you notice that Lebanon and Syria ranked the same in corruption ,127

    Posted by Norman | February 13, 2011, 8:40 pm
  57. Norman,

    Lebanon is controlled by the same thugs that rule Syria.:D

    Posted by danny | February 13, 2011, 10:08 pm
  58. So it turned out that the least corrupt are actually the Gulf States, while Somalia and Iraq are competing for number one in the world.

    I still believe the level of corruption in Syria is much higher than reported. I would say it is closer to Iraq than to Lebanon. The poor Syrians have been ripped off their wealth by the Assad clan over the last 40 years.

    Posted by anonymous | February 13, 2011, 10:51 pm
  59. At least at 86 Lebanon has the best score for democracy in the arab league.

    Posted by Ras Beirut | February 13, 2011, 11:55 pm
  60. Iran has been and will always remain a key strategic partner in the ME, the Persian gulf and Eurasia.

    The relationship with Iran never runs smooth for either Arabs, US or Eurasia… Iran is a complex country of great sophistication in culture, politics and society and is not an easy partner to understand. Nonetheless, it is one of those pivotal countries with which unless you have a meaningful understanding and cooperation, your overall regional policies remain by far sub-optimal or even ineffectual… The United States never quite regained its rhythm in the Middle East after the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979….but, even if the Assad Mafia and cronies are toppled in Syria, Iran will find a way to continue its steadfast support for the Valiant Lebanese Resistance of Hezbollah, since the Syrian people are nationalist supporters of the Resistance of Hizbullah, and Iran will manage to have a good working relationship with any new Democracy in Syria, sure to come soonest…

    I do not admire Hezbollah for being incorruptible, they mostly are… My very first exposure to Hezbollah came from a friend of mine who spent time in South Lebanon and who told me “the only truly honest men in Lebanon are Nasrallah and Hezbollah”. That is what piqued my interest, but after studying them for over a decade (and I think that I know more about them than most people) I came to the conclusion that not only is Shia Islam the branch of Islam I admire the most, but the one represented by Hezbollah, whose spiritual leader is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is the most “advanced” or “refined” school of Islamic thought… Furthermore, I consider Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah as most definitely the most intelligent and wise man in the Middle-East, if not of the world. To really see that, you have to read or listen to many of his speeches, you have to immerse yourself in his thought. He is a complex and subtle individual who can only be understood after a prolonged study…., and that is precisely why the Infamous White house Murder INC, wants him assassinated yesterday, if they can, since the debacle of IDF in 2000 & 2006…. Contrary to what some seem to think, I am not at all an unconditional admirer of Iran or, even less so, Ahmedinejad… But Nasrallah yes, I admire him deeply…

    The Iran nuclear problem always had a larger-than-life significance. The Iran problem is all about the ABC of the international system. The US’ doublespeak is at once apparent: it camouflages geopolitics as its non-proliferation agenda in the Middle East… Everyone knows that Iran situation is a litmus test of the end of the ‘unipolar’ era.

    The US-Iran standoff for what it is essentially, namely a geopolitical shadow play, the fallout could be beneficial for many countries soon….

    The point would be that to employ US “tools” effectively requires a rational world view of what America’s interests really are, and that this is totally absent… We have the tools, but not the wisdom… In Egypt you can see the recent results in US dithering and then decision to back revolution wherever it may occur or lead…

    Posted by HK | February 14, 2011, 3:43 am
  61. Hezbollah has never been and will never be a threat to pluralism and Democracy in Lebanon. Hizbullah is part and parcel of participatory democracy in Lebanon, and has absolutely no intention of changing one iota now or in the future…

    Why does the US-Israeli propaganda machine describe Hezbollah as the “A-Team of terrorism” if Hezbollah only matters in a “little slice of Lebanon” as you all put it? There are several reasons:

    1) Hezbollah has in the past, and will in the future, defeat the Israeli war machine anytime…. Thus, in the mid-long term, Hezbollah will be the main force which will bring down all of the Israeli Apartheid regime…

    2) Hezbollah is a living example, that even a VERY SMALL but truly religious and dedicated group of people can hold their ground against the entire USraelian Empire. The Divine Victory in 2000 and 2006 was not only a defeat for Israel, it was a defeat for the entire worldwide US/Zionist power configuration…just look at Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco…,Yemen, Bahrain, etc.

    3) Very importantly, by NOT, repeat, NOT engaging in terrorism, Hezbollah proves wrong all the Zionist propaganda which says that all Muslims are terrorists or all Resistance to the crumbling Empire is terrorist….

    4) Hezbollah offers the Muslim world a VIABLE alternative to the Wahhabi crazies on one hand, and the corrupt dictators a la Mubarak, Abdallah, Saleh and Assad on the other….

    All these are the reasons that while it is wrong to call Hezbollah the “A-Team of terrorism” it would be fair to call Hezbollah the “A-Team of the Resistance to the Empire”. To tell you the truth, I believe that Hezbollah has more power than even a major country and regional superpower like Iran….,as long as no comprehensive peace is in sight…

    As for Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, I consider him the indisputable leader of the world wide resistance to the utterly corrupt and crumbling evil Empire….

    Hezbollah and Sayyed Nasrallah are no Lilliput. They are *giants* which the Zionists have very good reason to hate and fear….They are a superb, dedicated and very successful Lebanese Nationalist Resistance.

    Could you tell me whom you would single out as the most influential leader and/or movement in the resistance to the Empire?

    Yet again, Sayyed Nasrallah and Hezbollah have played their hand just *beautifully*, I would say in an ‘Aikido-like’ manner: they used every move made by their opponents to turn the situation to their advantage… Even this ill-conceived puppet STL ‘tribunal’ will end up having made Hezbollah only much stronger….despite all the machinations of the US Treasury Dept. and the Corrupt/AIPAC Congress or any “Israel Firsters” in USA…

    This, yet again, only further confirms my belief that Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Hezbollah are by far the smartest political actors on the planet….and they will know how to deal with any “new situation” that might materialize in Syria, or anywhere else…

    Posted by HK | February 14, 2011, 5:03 am
  62. HK
    If Sayed Nasrallah is the “world leader of resistance to the Evil US Empire.” can you tell us why he gets KFC and McDonald delivered to his bunker every night and dosent skip an episode of Meet the Kardashians and Jersey Shore?
    and dont try to dispute that because you are not “in the Know” on this fact, I am.

    Posted by V | February 14, 2011, 7:53 am
  63. On US “Diplomacy”…

    La diplomatie de l’alliance US & Co. fait perdre souvent le sens de vérité aux mots partout dans le monde…, normal pour les diplomates de ” l’ouest…” et des “Juifs de cour” englués dans la Galout…

    The contrast between the raw display of people power and the stunningly irrelevant gatherings of so-called leaders in an idyllic Swiss alpine resort at the very same time could not have been starker. At the same time that popular uprisings were raging 
furiously, the rich and the famous were feasting on caviar and champagne buffets, outdoing each other with comically clueless pronouncements about political, fiscal and social responsibility, and generally feeling very satisfied about their own sense of importance….

    Only when diplomats will be selected based on meaningful qualification criteria and not based on the amounts of money they contributed to a politician or a political party, only then can we expect women and men who practice diplomacy as the art of conducting negotiations and bridging between nations, without supercilious arrogance and patronizing hostility… And only then will we finally be able to bury the old, decrepit habits and shout with joy: Diplomacy is dead… Long live diplomacy!

    The great contribution of the last ten years, to the understanding of US evil has been to expose unpalatable truths about the Infamous White House Murder INC, and those criminal lackeys in the EU and the Levant who tag along with its odious machinations….

    A voice in the Wilderness…, Daniel Levy & Gideon Levy@ Haaretz

    Posted by HK | February 14, 2011, 8:48 am
  64. V,

    SHN likes the Kardashians because he went to an Armenian school when he was a child. As for Jersey shores…The man can dream of the six pack. Can’t he? 😀

    Posted by danny | February 14, 2011, 9:01 am
  65. When with the conspiracies cease NewZ

    anonymous said to GK:

    Are you sure that the Economist report was not prepared by a zionist?


    If the article was fatually correct, why should that matter?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 14, 2011, 9:06 am
  66. We Lebanese and Freedom loving peoples the world over, all Love, respect and admire Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and the Valiant, Nationalist Lebanese Resistance of Hezbollah.

    Swanky verbal sewage coming from the perpetrator of the Black Death ravaging Americans since the Barbaric inside Job of 9/11, the criminal wars which ensued worldwide, and right now…, is no less vile than the putrid, lying, verbal garbage that came from Bush/Cheney and the ZIOCONS….then and now. ALL the above are vile puppets,destroyers in America and abroad, spreading the deadly plague while being immersed in the wealth resulting from it. MubarakObama was surrounded by his criminal courtiers for his latest broadcast teleprompter “performance”, spewing the usual garbage about the crumbling empire of war criminals… Unfortunately, rotten eggs could not be thrown at him to enhance the stench of his lying oratory, nor rotten tomatoes thrown to give disdainful visual effects to the entranced TV viewers, and no damning shouts allowed for radio listeners….

    Good Riddance of the Western Puppets everywhere….

    Posted by HK | February 14, 2011, 9:30 am
  67. @266

    Because right now I’m ‘priviliged’ to get all kinds of ‘inside’ information here at QN. So, I’m ‘better’ equiped to make distinction between fiction and fact. Only fools would believe Arabs would remain forever on the outside fringes of the information revolution.

    Posted by anonymous | February 14, 2011, 9:59 am
  68. Leading the charge with fabrications against Hezbollah in Congress, It is the same Aipac-puppet-hypocrite that said the following:

    House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) called the statement regarding Mr. Gross “yet another wakeup call that the United States cannot negotiate with ruthless dictators…” LOL

    But watch-out for events in Saudi Arabia … It’s been known for years that unless the Saud Dynasty disappears and its symbiotic alliance with the Wahhabi’s/crazies vanishes completely, there is very little hope for Muslims , since Saudis would like for all Muslim Sunnis to remain backwards and obscurantist and remain utterly beholden to US/Riyadh/Pakistan and the Saudi Dynasty for money, for Qurans, for Mosques and for all useless/ill-focused Jihadi activities worldwide….

    Posted by HK | February 14, 2011, 10:39 am
  69. QN and the others, any thoughts about m14 commemoration at Beil. I thought it was a very slick, and professional commemoration, Gegea and Hariri had the best speeches, Hariri especially surprised me he’s a pretty good speaker now, except I don’t like the way he pronounces lubnan (jk). They focused on the shia constituency a lot, former Amal minister was the lowest point of the speeches, he is a horrible public speaker. His example of learning from m. begin and ben gurion in regards to arms outside the jurisdiction of the state is not going to resonate with many in Lebanon especially the shia constituency, no matter how valid his point.

    Posted by tamer k. | February 14, 2011, 1:15 pm
  70. We can no longer pretend that the special tribunal’s existence is an adequate response to the real problem in Lebanon…which is the Infamous White House Murder INC’s machinations since 2002…
    It was always a mistake to confuse the effectiveness of an international criminal court with courts of real constitutional governments, when dealing with consequences of US/Israeli black ops.; using carve-out sub-contractors…, and US/Israeli persistence in thinking that the special tribunal could be blatantly used for utter disinformation and defamation of Hezbollah, a brazen but stale March14th tool for the USraeli criminal Empire, which doesn’t resonate with Lebanese or anyone else for that matter, as the events in Lebanon and beyond make painfully clear…

    Posted by HK | February 14, 2011, 1:44 pm
  71. At this moment, the Basij thugs, the brothers of the HA thugs and the masters of HNA, are using live ammunition and tear gas against Iranian civilians demonstrating in major Iranian cities. At least one demonstrator is dead.

    Posted by anonymous | February 14, 2011, 3:23 pm
  72. Bashar’s “much needed reforms”:


    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 14, 2011, 5:04 pm
  73. tamer,
    would Beidun be giving any example of arms outside the jurisdiction of the state, had he not been kicked outside of Amal?
    Drawing that parallel between HA’S arms,and the arms of Zionist organization does not have much validity.
    Regardless,It all comes down to credibility,and I don’t think Beidoun has much credibility.Every once knows their relationship fell apart when He was discovered to be stealing, and not sharing with his
    All Amal officials/ministers.PM”s are made by Berri Inc,and once they get disposed of, they loose all popularity.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 14, 2011, 7:13 pm
  74. BV,
    That is a kangaroo court at best. Dictators, the world over, feel that they have a special sense of entitlement; they never learn.
    Don’t you just love the transparency of this judicial system?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 14, 2011, 7:23 pm
  75. I think you mean “hypocrisy”. 🙂

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 14, 2011, 7:43 pm
  76. I think that Nathan Witkins presents a new creative potential solution for the Arab/Israeli question on the pages of The Middle East Jornal. His idea is called “The Interspersed Nation State Syatem: Two State/One-land” which I believe is creative and new. I have finished reading this article a few hours ago and I am not sure that I am in position, yet, to discuss it since its contents have not gelled yet. One thing for sure , this idea of having two people administer the ir own affairs over the same territory appears novel and challenging.Mr. Witkin is not describing a federationbut literally speaking two people over one land. Does anyone know anything about this rather unique model and what is more important can anyone shed some meaningful opinions or analysis of what this proposal entails. Please spare us the endless repetitions about Zionist conspiracies, Murder Inc and Covert op 101.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 14, 2011, 7:49 pm
  77. Ghassan,
    Not to be cynical, but Lebanon is a perfect model for Witkin’s idea. We have 17 different sects living on a small piece of land,and each sect is(almost) administrating its own affairs ,lol

    Posted by The Prophet | February 14, 2011, 7:57 pm
  78. Prophet,
    As I said earlier, I really do not feel that I am ready to make any meaningful remarks about that proposal but I do think that you have a point. He is describing a “modern” form of a state that does not depend on territory but on citizens. If we do come close to meeting some of these elements in today’s Lebanon then maybe the idea deserves some serious thinking. I must admit that the idea of an interspersed nation state has a special appeal.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 14, 2011, 8:09 pm
  79. Ghassan
    For some reason, This article didn’t entirely appear when I went to The Middle East Journal.
    If it isn’t too much trouble, I ‘d appreciate it if yo can either post the link , or email it to me.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 14, 2011, 8:21 pm
  80. is down
    Anyone knows for how long it’s been down? I only checked this evening.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | February 14, 2011, 9:24 pm
  81. Here’s a question worthy of debate and/or an analysis article by one of our distinguished humanists:
    In light of the developing events in the Arab world putting in context the various regimes and the utter absence of democracy for decades in that region, does Lebanon, despite all its problems, emerge as the sole country to have, since its independence in 1943 (and in fact since its formation within its current borders in 1920), practiced democracy with all its messiness and issues and the agony of the civil war? Is it becoming clear that the factors that have subverted aspects of democracy in Lebanon have all been from external interference, starting with the overwhelming refugee problem of some 400,000 Palestinians, to the various Israeli incursions, to the mother of all interferences by the dear sister country Syria?
    Of course the recent manifestations of this interference include the even bigger brother of Iran. The analysis should, in my opinion, distinguish the impact of these interferences, pointing out which ones (if any) can be exempt from being demonized because they in fact did NOT subvert democracy but indeed promoted it.
    Yalla, all Humanities experts, make your pen flow.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | February 14, 2011, 9:34 pm
  82. Honest Patrio,

    I’m not your description of Lebanon as democratic is accurate. Elections alone does not make the system democratic.Democracy is more of a behavior, belief,and practice,than just elections based on sectarian system.
    The sectarian system we have in place is anything but democratic. Yes we change presidents and prime minsters,and heads of parliament,but It’s all orchestrated and influenced by foreign forces and Powers.what you consider as democracy is nothing but a tool to change leadership in order to keep peace and stability in the country.
    whether the 400 thousand refugees ,or the wars we experienced made it worse or not,It is very academic,and the answers depend on whether one believes that our system is democratic or not.I don’t think any of these factors made a difference,except giving excuses for not reforming our system.

    Posted by The prophet | February 14, 2011, 10:02 pm
  83. prophet,
    This has become standard operating procedure for most periodicals. They provide only a “teaser” and ask the reader to purchase the article. I think that buying the hard copy is a better deal. Anyway this is a 25-30 page article. Check your email.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 14, 2011, 10:03 pm
  84. First sentence should have started as follow:
    “I’m not sure your description of Lebanon as democratic is accurate ‘

    Posted by The prophet | February 14, 2011, 10:04 pm
  85. Thank you so much Ghassan.

    Posted by The prophet | February 14, 2011, 10:05 pm
  86. Pentagon and CIA drawing line in the sand in protecting Algerian, Yemeni, Bahraini and other regimes….as real panic sets in!

    Posted by HK | February 15, 2011, 5:44 am
  87. Wow !

    An Iraqi Chemical engineer claimed to have worked in Saddam’s biolabs admitted publicly he lied to the German Secret Service about it.

    His testimony was used to build the case for war.

    He did it to be granted asylum in Germany (and not for his people, as he claims, as he’s obviously still living there) … and all the German Govt. did is kick him out of the house they provided him with ?!?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 15, 2011, 12:17 pm
  88. Iraqi defector “Curveball” admits to making up lies about Iraqi WMDs….

    So why aren’t he and his neocon interlocutors not rotting away in prison?

    Posted by HK | February 15, 2011, 1:18 pm
  89. Hillary Clinton names Marc Grossman as Holbrooke’s replacement. Grossman is infamous In Valerie Plame covert identity outing, involvement with Turkey’s Ergenekon deep state network, and as an agent-of-influence for Israel… Grossman was subject of FBI criminal investigation over his involvement with Turkish Ergenekon operatives in Washington. With Clinton’s support for Mubarak and Omar Suleiman, it is obvious that she and her team at State are a major cog in the Israeli machinery in Washington…

    Posted by HK | February 15, 2011, 1:31 pm
  90. it is obvious that everyone is “an agent of influence for Israel”…
    Let’s just all agree that we are all manipulated by Israel, every 6 billion of us humans (minus Nassrallah and a few thousand Hizbollahis, who are somewhat immune to the Zionist spell) and move on.
    I’m tired of reading this crap.


    As soon as I read your comment about the two people / one land business. I thought of Lebanon (just like Prophet did).
    Obviously, I haven’t read the finer points of the article, but at face value, it sounds like what is being described is multiple “sects” administering their own affairs in a shared land.
    Sound familiar?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 15, 2011, 1:59 pm
  91. Obama attends annual National Prayer Breakfast. The breakfast combines Christian and Zionist fascism with the “Christians in Action,” also known as the CIA… The Fellowship Foundation is an intelligence operation using a tax dodge outfit as cover….

    Meanwhile, Dershowitz joining Julian Assange defense team. Assange’s true backers are beginning to become clear….

    Posted by HK | February 15, 2011, 2:33 pm
  92. As I said, all agents of Israel… We got it.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 15, 2011, 2:43 pm
  93. So. Isn’t it time for a new post, QN?
    What’s happening in Lebanon these days?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 15, 2011, 3:15 pm
  94. BV

    You’re right: a new post is long overdue. I apologize for my absence, but I’ve been busy with job interviews for the past several weeks, and it’s all coming to a head right now. Will try to post something tonight.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 15, 2011, 3:36 pm
  95. 33

    اعلن محمد زهير الصديق أنه رفض تسليم التسجيلات للجنة التحقيق بسبب شكوكه بالمترجمين، لافتاً الى انه تعرض لمحاولة رشوى من السلطات السورية من قبل مترجمة.

    وسيكشف الصديق، في حديث الى “صوت لبنان (100.5)”، يوم الخميس المقبل Mr.X

    I have been intrigued for years with the identity of Mr.X.
    If Siddiq is to live up to his promise and present credible evidence about Mr. X in two days that could create a tempest of sorts in Lebanon especially if Mr. X turns out to be Nabih Beri.
    Would anyone care to look into her crystal ball for a prediction. The reward for an accurate guess would be mana from heaven 🙂

    Posted by ghassan karam | February 15, 2011, 4:38 pm
  96. Pretty pathetic that anyone still believes a word from that “planet siddiq” who is a fabrication of Syria/CIA thrown in the laps of Hariri/STL , a dull/naive puppet…
    Any evidence looks very slim to nonexistent….

    The infamous White House Murder INC, has done a pretty good job, keeping things well under wraps…

    Posted by HK | February 15, 2011, 5:14 pm
  97. Gus,

    I vote for the thief of Dearborn; Lebanon. Berri is no Ali Baba though! 😀

    Posted by danny | February 15, 2011, 5:19 pm
  98. The fact that Hassan Nasrallah is speaking tomorrow and the tapes will be revealed after tomorrow is highly conspicuous.

    Why not today or tomorrow ?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 15, 2011, 6:17 pm
  99. Why not yesteryear?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 15, 2011, 6:20 pm
  100. I think Siddiq might have finally received the outrageous sum he asked for the tapes.

    Probably to the tune of +$100 million.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 15, 2011, 6:35 pm
  101. HK,

    You should set yourself on fire to get “the truth” through.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 15, 2011, 7:45 pm
  102. RTOTD,
    I am sure that you will agree that if the allegations are true then the timing is not important.
    I wam willing to come clean in this case and admit that I am not an objective observer in this case. I would love to see Beri framed as Mr. X. I am sure that he has had enough time to present an explanation if it does turn out to be Beri.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 15, 2011, 7:52 pm
  103. The statements issued by the bank of Lebanon and the Lebanese Banking Association in support of The Lebanese Canadian Bank are comical. No one outside of Lebanon would take them seriously.
    The Bank of Lebanon issued almost a simultaneous statement in support of the financial health of the Lebanese Canadian Bank that was accused of money laundering. That is laughable since the activity of money laundering does not imply a financial weakness by the bank. It only means that the bank has resorted to unlawful activities.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 15, 2011, 8:20 pm
  104. Ghassan says, “I am willing to come clean in this case and admit that I am not an objective observer in this case.”

    It may not be obvious to you, but it is very clear to all the nuanced contributors on this blog that you are not an “objective observer” in most cases. And that should be fine. Everyone comes from a particular political bent, and would like to see certain objectives realized. That automatically colors your views and arguments. The tone and the constant focus of your positions establishes where you fall over time no matter your claims or your occasional all-inclusive protestations about the general malaise of the entire political class in Lebanon and elsewhere in the world.

    Posted by Saint | February 15, 2011, 10:33 pm
  105. Hmm, I see Saint is pontificating. Stating the obvious, and not even eloquently. Repeating others’ comments and blandly elaborating.
    GK, please don’t signify this Holier-than-thou chap with an answer. Spare us the boredom.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | February 15, 2011, 10:58 pm
  106. signify / meant dignify
    autocorrected by “smart” phone… NOT
    smart shmart

    Posted by Honest Patriot | February 15, 2011, 11:05 pm
  107. HP, I have not had even one argument with you, so why the hostility?

    I fail to see whose comments I am repeating? If you think I am boring, ineloquent and holier-than-thou, then why oblige me with this creepy sudden attack? Shouldn’t you first address where I must have irked your sensibilities before dismissing me offhand based on a comment addressed to someone else on this blog?

    Posted by Saint | February 15, 2011, 11:14 pm
  108. Saint,
    “Everyone comes from a particular political bent, and would like to see certain objectives realized. That automatically colors your views and arguments.” That does include you too right?
    Those able to transcend their “political bent” don’t care if they “fall over time” they are conscientious enough to criticize all the political class in Lebanon and have more honesty and integrity than the eloquent political whores.
    When was the last time we heard you criticize HA, Syria or Iran?

    Posted by V | February 16, 2011, 12:06 am
  109. Random-I do not claim, and would never pretend objectivity. I have my own political positions which are messy and problematic, as I sense is the lot of everyone else here as well. The complex and confusing political theater that is the ME leaves very few innocents.

    Posted by Saint | February 16, 2011, 12:47 am
  110. ‘Angels’ and ‘saints’ and ‘supremes’ and ‘leaders’ are way above human ‘fall-outs’ who can do nothing of value except criticize and lament their own ‘wretched fallible’ conditions and to no avail.

    Posted by anonymous | February 16, 2011, 12:53 am
  111. Saint,
    Initially I had hoped to let your remark go but then when you kept coming back to the topic. As a result I feel compelled to correct the record.
    The fact that you do not feel that you are capable of being objective does not mean that others are not. My position, in contradistinction to yours,is that I do claim objectivity unless I state otherwise. An argument , an analysis or an evaluation that is biased ( that is the meaning of not being objective) is worthless.
    Had you bothered to read accurately the post that you were refering to I wanted to make sure that the readers of that post were aware that in that particular circumstance I was keeping my fingers crossed that Beri would be Mr. X. That was the extent of the meaning that I wanted to come clean on that specific issue.
    BTW, I have a record of articles, books and lectures that goes back decades and I challenge you to point to biased, inconsistent and nonobjective statements.
    This is a dictionary definition of objectivity:

    “not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased”. Only the facts count.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 16, 2011, 1:19 am
  112. Ghassan,

    Using Jung’s typology I am willing to wager you are a blue on the Insights wheel. 🙂

    Posted by V | February 16, 2011, 2:18 am
  113. Ghassan,

    Do not take the fact that I said I do not claim or feign objectivity to mean that I try not to be objective. I just know that in the tangled and messy realm of politics and war, life and death and the affairs of nations, especially when It is my nation, my people and my family, I am simply honest by saying that objectivity is a difficult thing to achieve, if not impossible. You say, “only the facts count.” Even If we came to agree on what the facts are, which itself takes a certain prejudicial bent, there remains the question of how to interpret these facts; how much credence or value do you give one fact over another in shaping the opinion or position you have; what facts or issues do you focus on and keep highlighting and deem important, to the exclusion of other facts and issues and so on..The fact that many here have disagreed with you on many of your interpretations of some facts and how they weigh in your arguments repeatedly should alert you that they think you are not objective but rather, like them, making a political argument based on evaluation of said facts. You may disagree with them, as you obviously do and may think that they are being biased while you are being objective. I am sure they think the same of you. This is politics, not mathematics or a science lab. Opinions, based on interpretations of “facts” cannot be verified by scientific methods. We would probably even disagree on the methods and methodology, even if that were to happen, and some would probably accuse those of being politicized.

    My comment to you is based on your comments on this blog. I know nothing about you outside of this blog. And just to show you how a little misinterpretation or evaluation of facts can creep in unsuspected: you state in the beginning of your comment,” Initially I had hoped to let your remark go but then when you kept coming back to the topic. As a result I feel compelled to correct the record.” The “fact” is I did not “keep coming to the topic.” This assertion implies a purposeful and repeated action on my part to presumably drive home the point. The “fact” is I only made one comment to you, followed by one brief answer to a direct question to one of the posters. Your decision to see direct and repeated action on my part tells me that you decided to see your own facts and draw your own conclusion of it prompting the compulsion to “correct the record.” Not exactly objective, even at the simplest level. To me it is the height of hubris to claim total objectivity in all cases (unless you tell us so). In that case only God and you would know that. We are left to our own judgment based on our own “objective” analysis, and certainly our known and most likely unknown prejudices.

    Posted by Saint | February 16, 2011, 3:27 am
  114. Saint, I was reacting to 307 and only to 307.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | February 16, 2011, 4:54 am
  115. Unless one is stating proven mathematical, scientific, or historical facts, how can anything else one states be anything but subjective? The singling out of GK in the tone you did in 307, in what appeared to be an attempt at irony, stood out like a sore.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | February 16, 2011, 4:59 am
  116. Really HP? Does a little comment to Ghassan deserve such hostile, personal emotions on your part? You were able to draw all these conclusions about me from one comment? Hard to believe.

    I have seen unspeakable comments pass untouched by your discriminating eloquence. What gives? You know Ghassan is the most capable of commenters on this blog and needs no defense, so exactly what sensitive button did I push to compel your out-of-left-field offensive?

    Posted by Saint | February 16, 2011, 5:18 am
  117. HP-

    I did not see your comment at 318 before posting.

    The only reason I addressed such a comment to Ghassan alone is that, as he came to explain later and confirm in his subsequent comment, he actually “claims objectivity,” and not merely say that he tries to be objective. That is the “Holier-than-thou” position I was addressing in the first comment. No one else holds such a position on the blog, to my knowledge, thus Ghassan is the one who stands himself out. I also told him that he is entitled to his opinion, and the basic assertion I wished to make was that no one has a claim to the whole truth all the time (as you yourself seem to think as well from your comment above).

    Posted by Saint | February 16, 2011, 5:34 am
  118. Yalla, habibi Saint. It was by no means personal nor emotional and I’m not really exhaustively monitoring all posts. I just came across your remark and found it departing from what you seem to otherwise articulate through reasoned arguments vs. individual characterization. Hats off to you for taking this remark seriously. I would still take issue with your claim that GK is the “only one” to do this or that or say this or that. Not because of GK but because this would likely not apply to anyone else either. Sorry for hitting a nerve. Peace.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | February 16, 2011, 5:50 am
  119. The end of “Exceptionalism”

    The actions of the US and the Neocon creeps since 1995 speak louder than words…

    What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowmen. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary….

    Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful….

    Posted by HK | February 16, 2011, 7:20 am
  120. it is obvious that everyone is “an agent of influence for Israel”…
    Let’s just all agree that we are all manipulated by Israel, every 6 billion of us humans (minus Nassrallah and a few thousand Hizbollahis, who are somewhat immune to the Zionist spell) and move on.
    I’m tired of reading this crap.


    YOUR tired? I’m f’ing EXHAUSTED! And you think it’s bad here, just go to SC…

    OK, now for my HK impression:

    Hello, my name is HK, I know everything about the CIA/Mossad Murder Inc. I used to work for them. I used to believe in them, but then I learned about their evil ways. Those Ziocons, CIA (aka “christians in action”) and Mossad agents have the nerve to hit back at freedom lovers like Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, al-Queda, Hamas and Hezbollah (did I miss any?). And the peace-loving Iranians like Ahmadinejad don’t want nuclear bombs. They’re so misunderstood. Iran would love to make peace with Israel if they just let Hamas bomb them without retaliating. Oh, BTW, why is everyone so upset about Elie Hobieka? I haven’t met a “resistance” leader I haven’t fallen in love with.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 16, 2011, 9:09 am
  121. AP, BV, do you realize what you’re doing by paying attention? — You’re smart enough to understand.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | February 16, 2011, 9:18 am
  122. The Empire is crumbling, nothing to see here…just move on and don’t ever read what I write, because it’s simple ZIOCON PsyOps…. all in a day’s work !!!

    Posted by HK | February 16, 2011, 9:22 am
  123. ALL the actions of STL/TSL demonstrate clearly that it is not only hunkering down…but deliberately pursuing the goals of the USRAELI crumbling Empire for the crude destabilization of Lebanon and Iran via fake accusations of Hezbollah…., while Syria is the Primary culprit since January 24th 2002…

    STL is part and parcel of the Infamous White House Murder INC, in the Levant….and it is going about doing what is required of it by the Evil US/Israeli/EU criminal assassins, in cahoots with Asef Shawkat and the Dictator of Damascus….

    Posted by HK | February 16, 2011, 9:40 am
  124. HK

    Can you cool it with the whole crumbling empire White House Murder Inc. shtick? We have all heard you loud and clear, and now it’s just starting to get annoying.

    And enough with the links to that bizarre blog you are obsessed with. You are testing my patience.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 16, 2011, 10:26 am
  125. HP,

    Can you take a few minutes of your time to explain what the situation is in Lebanon.


    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 16, 2011, 10:59 am
  126. Fantastic speech by Sayyed HN today.

    A word of caution to Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah….
    As I have said in my post HK@199…

    SHN mentioned again “Revenge” for the assassination of Imad F. Moughnieh.
    SHN & Hezbollah know exactly who assassinated Imad F. Moughnieh in Damascus, and Hezbollah knows precisely that it is Asef Shawkat and his MI killers who took Moughnieh out, in a trade-off with STL’s real masters…who will afford protection for the Assad Regime from incoming indictments in the Hariri case….

    So, if Hizballah still wants to retaliate for Imad F. Moughnieh’s assassination, the address is Damascus Syria… the Military Intelligence squad of assassins and Asef Shawkat…. who were acting as cut-outs for CIA/MOSSAD/DGSE…

    SHN might have chosen to go after the instigators of the hit on Moughnieh…, but the actual perpetrators are in SYRIA proper.

    Posted by HK | February 16, 2011, 11:46 am
  127. Freedom Fighter NewZ

    “I’m telling the fighters of the Islamic resistance: Be ready for the day, should war be forced upon Lebanon, where the resistance’s leadership will ask you to take over the Galilee.”,7340,L-4029675,00.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 16, 2011, 12:09 pm
  128. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak threatens to re-invade Lebanon. News for you Barak: the wave that’s sweeping the Middle East will one day sweep across your pathetic war-hive, your precious Knesset will be in flames as the world celebrates.

    Posted by HK | February 16, 2011, 12:38 pm
  129. HK,

    Here’s the exact quote:

    “Israel Defense Forces (IDF) may be called into Lebanon in the future,” Ha’aretz newspaper quoted Barak as saying on Tuesday during his first military tour with new IDF Chief Benny Gantz in the Granit brigade situated along the border with Lebanon.

    Which, translated from Zionist hebrew, means:

    “If Hassan fires one missile into Israel or crosses the border into Israel, watch out”.

    the wave that’s sweeping the Middle East will one day sweep across your pathetic war-hive, your precious Knesset will be in flames as the world celebrates


    “the wave that’s sweeping the ME”, seems to be against your favorite Arab despots and “resistance” promoters. And dag-nabbit, why aren’t those oppressed Palestinians complaining leading the effort?

    Meanwhile, here’s a pic of HK, while doing his past dirty work protecting a respected Arab high official. G-d knows why today this respected leader is being bad-mouthed by his own people…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 16, 2011, 1:42 pm
  130. During the height of the vicious infighting between Ehud Barak & the IDF Generals over the successors to Gabi Ashkenazi’s position as Chief of the General Staff, one of the retired veterans complained bitterly over the incessant boasting about the so called post-Operation Just Reward rehabilitation of the IDF.

    His point was that Operation Cast Lead demonstrated that the new training regimens are virtual exercises, leaving Israeli soldiers unprepared for the real thing should the plans for another land invasion of Lebanon go forward.

    The newly anointed CGS, Lt Gen Benny Gantz has a resume heavy with command ground forces experience in Lebanon; including Operation Just Reward.

    Given that Target: Iran appears to be on hiatus for now (due in large part to widespread objections among the former General Staff) the fear-biters are desperate to re-establish the Israeli chimera of “Deterrence”.

    PS. I am just being objective. So there

    Posted by lally | February 16, 2011, 1:42 pm
  131. This Translated from Hezbollah Resistance parlance, means:

    “If Israel’s war criminals and assassins keep intruding on Lebanon’s sovereignty everyday, on Land, sea and Air, with about 6500 intrusions since 2005, fires one missile into Lebanon or crosses the border into Lebanon again, watch out…”.

    Posted by HK | February 16, 2011, 1:55 pm
  132. Lally,
    “PS. I am just being objective. So there”

    Reading your comment, I was beginning to sense the usual diatribe against the “tribe.” I am glad you decided to come out clean on this.

    Posted by Saint | February 16, 2011, 2:06 pm
  133. Reading your comment, I was beginning to sense the usual diatribe against the “tribe.”


    I guess there isn’t much to write about today.;)

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 16, 2011, 2:12 pm
  134. The wave that’s sweeping the Middle East will one day sweep across the Atlantic to your pathetic war-hive on the Potomac, and to your precious Knesset, and they will both be in flames as the world celebrates real Freedom.

    Posted by HK | February 16, 2011, 2:12 pm
  135. HP earlier hinted at my poor performance at irony, and now Akbar Place’s comment in 337 suggests my inadequacy at conveying sarcasm. I’ll leave it there for now…

    Posted by Saint | February 16, 2011, 2:53 pm
  136. In light of what is happening all over the Middle East, the assassination of Rafiq Hariri turned out to be a saviour for the Assads and SHN.

    Imagine it never took place and Lebanon was still living under Syrian tutelage today?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 16, 2011, 3:37 pm
  137. It was a massive strategic error for Israel not to finalize a peace deal with Arafat in 2000 and to pull out of Lebanon before a peace treaty was signed.

    Israel has one man to thank for these blunders.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 16, 2011, 3:51 pm
  138. RTOTD,

    A “strategic error” to walk away from our most holy place?

    Easy for you to say.

    Yes, there’s no end to Israeli blunders. If only the GOI was as clever as the heroes of the “resistance movement”.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 16, 2011, 4:12 pm
  139. AP,

    You “holy” people killed Rabin and voted in Sharon.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 16, 2011, 4:26 pm
  140. May the ghosts of these people work to get their truths out still, until all the world knows about the sociopathic murderers in Washington/Tel Aviv and who they really are under their masks of smiley faces….

    Posted by HK | February 16, 2011, 4:42 pm
  141. HK,

    Please go to Times Square, dowse yourself in kerosene and light a match for the world to understand your plights.

    I promise you I will dedicate a facebook page to you and HK.


    I beg you. Kifaya !

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 16, 2011, 4:51 pm
  142. HK

    Did you not read my comment (#327) about knocking it off with the whole Hobeika propaganda thing?

    Take a break from commenting on this blog for a week. When you come back, please stick to the subject matter or I’ll happily suspend you indefinitely.


    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 16, 2011, 4:57 pm
  143. Saint:

    I don’t think the problem is “objectivity”, but “honesty”.

    Facts are always Facts.

    Posted by Gabriel | February 16, 2011, 5:00 pm
  144. Hassouna wants to free “Galilee”. Well fine by me, he might as well embark on the quest for the Holly Grail as far as I am concerned. Under one condition though,and that he does it outside the 10542km2 I (and many like me) call home. And if ever he succeeds, I bet Sheila will have no problems changing a few words from the enclosed song to suit the occasion.
    I leave it up to all of you to (Fancophone readers) to come up with suggestions.

    N.B: Sorry QN if my comment might seem out of place and not within the standards of other contributors, but such lunacy uttered by the mouth of our “self declared divine” protector (not only to Lebanese, but to all Arabs) deserves such a response.
    Mea Culpa

    Posted by Marillionlb | February 16, 2011, 5:35 pm
  145. AP,

    As you probably know I’ve been in the U.S. for just-shy of 30 years. Reports I read about Lebanon along with a very few direct communications from family and friends convey – in just the last couple of days – a strong sense of righteous path that the remaining faithful from March 14, 2005 have chosen.

    The recent gathering and its speeches have corrected the record about the so-called S-S (Syrian-Saudi) initiative and reaffirmed the principles of justice and democracy that guide many of the purists in that camp. Sure, there are issues of corruption to deal with, issues of a long-road to the creation of a true civic sense in Lebanon, abolition of confessionalism, etc., but for now, the most pressing and fate-determining issue is whether the Syrian-Iranian influence will be allowed to control not only the government of Lebanon but also all its people. It appears that many are seriously willing to give their life to prevent this from happening. They are making the right choice as far as principles are concerned. So far, they have been consistent.

    Regardless of how dismissive March 8 and the Syrians and Iranians are going to be, the STL indictments, when revealed, are expected to definitively paint a clear picture of the truth and unveil the crimes and hypocrisy of whoever conceived and executed the string of assassinations starting with Feb. 14, 2005.

    It was not that long ago that Junblatt was deriding the Syrian leadership as the assassins of his father and as butchers. Now, like a dog with his tail between his legs, he has relented and eaten his words. Madness or cowardice? History will tell. On the other side, Gen. Michel Aoun has displayed the most abject cowardice (when he fled from the Syrian troops after barking about his stand), manipulation, and hypocrisy. It leaves one to wonder who is left?

    I can tell you that there is a growing sentiment, articulated often and for quite some time by GK, but now seeded and growing in Lebanon, that ALL the current leaders need to be replaced. That ALL these leaders, in total, represent a multi-person Hosni Mubarak and need to similarly uprooted.

    The 800-lb gorilla in the room? …

    you guessed it, Hizballah.

    For now, in the short term, the prognosis is that nothing major will happen until the STL indictments. And then? it’s anyone guess, but it could be ugly.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | February 16, 2011, 5:45 pm
  146. When will the Rothschilds hang for their legacy on humanity ?

    The Bankers of war and death.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 16, 2011, 5:54 pm
  147. As usual, I never cease to be amazed by what comes out of Michel Aoun’s mouth on an almost daily basis.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 16, 2011, 5:56 pm
  148. RTOTD, You trying to play HK’s role now?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 16, 2011, 5:57 pm
  149. Nope … just playing the role of the “bankers”.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 16, 2011, 6:01 pm
  150. HP,

    Nice synopsis, and thanks for taking the time to write it. Your english is very good, much better than mine.

    Lebanon seems dangerous. I would have predicted the Lebanese would go along with the HA just to save their asses, and let HA run the country.

    You “holy” people killed Rabin and voted in Sharon.


    1.) I never claimed my “people” were holy.

    2.) I don’t know which city or part of our city Arafat claimed was ours.

    3.) There have been assassinations “galore” in our area of the woods. Yigal Amir was a lone assassin, Sadat’s, for example, was a “larger” group of Egyptians who turned against him.

    You’ll need two hands to count the number of American presidents killed by assassins.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 16, 2011, 6:20 pm
  151. HP.
    The key word which you started with is “the remaining”. And trust me not many “remain”. There is no record to be corrected, the fact is M14’s have fallen short of ALL their promises, and by publicly declared that they are now the new opposition they have recognized and accepted defeat (yet another documented failure on their behalf). Amine Gemayel is still trying (although not 3alanan) to come up with a deal with Mikati that might give him (and not for his worry about the Kataeb) some left over crumbs from the pie. The “silent majority” who took part in the cedar revolution and contributed greatly in the million gathering is sickened by the ENTIRE political class and has no representation. Yes like the entire political class needs to be not only changed, but hanged by the testicles; but the Lebanese people will never take to the streets for such a change to come. Most will only move when the likes of Saad, Samir, Nabih, (especially) Hassan, Slimy,…etc will tell to.
    We still witness slogans as such as:
    Allah, Al Hakim wou bass
    Bill rou7 bil damm nifdik ya…
    Labayka ya Nasroullah
    The Lebanese “sheeple” (copyright BV) are not yet educated enough to take to the streets in unison, and take the reign of what should lead them to true freedom.
    I have spent hours tonight trying to compile a list of all the “Joe Shmoe’s” that died as bystanders since 14th of Feb 2005, in order to write a small text on my blog; with no avail. Ok I am illiterate when it comes to computers and search engines, but I bet that such information is not readily available to savvy users either. The STL is not for Rafik Hariri, it is more for those who were going by their daily business trying to provide for their family; to those who like Charles Chikhani believed that came back “home” in the hope of a brighter future. Those people are only remembered by their loved ones, and their loved ones only. Over 180,000 lost their lives for their vision (right or wrong) of Lebanon, and yet we only commemorate a few.
    We do not deserve to be called a nation, for we are not. We deserve much worst than the Syrian boot and Hassan Nasrallah; for then and maybe then we will rise as one people.
    But such a day is not soon to come.
    I regret coming back home; but now I am stuck !

    Posted by Marillionlb | February 16, 2011, 6:21 pm
  152. Marillionb,

    You are too kind, but I did not invent “Sheeple”. It’s a pretty common term in english.

    Having said that, I’m in agreement with you. This has been my point of contention all along when people argued about Lebanon being “better off” than the rest of the Arab world, more educated, more open, more tolerant, blahblahblah. (I intentionally leave out “more democratic”. hard not to laugh at that one).

    IMO, Lebanon is probably at the BOTTOM of the list of Arab countries alongside a couple of other failed states.

    Not too long ago, most Lebanese, in their typically superior way, would have mocked Tunisians and Egyptians (let alone Yemenis and Bahrainis), while continuing to claim that despite our foibles in Lebanon, “at least we’re better off than those shmucks”.

    Those here familiar with the Lebanese mentality know I am right 🙂

    Truth is, the Tunisian and Egyptian people, even the Yemenis and Bahrainis and Libyans now, are showing us that unlike us moronic Lebanese, they have a sense of patriotism and nationalism.

    My prediction is that if Ghassan Karam’s proverbial “Tsunami” is to sweep the Arab world soon, Lebanon will probably be the LAST country (or very near last) to have its revolution and awakening, if at all.

    And all the while, these ignorant buffoons in Beirut will continue to act as if they are better than the rest of the Arabs, and smarter, and better educated, and so on…

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 16, 2011, 7:15 pm
  153. #356
    “for then and maybe then we will rise as one people.”
    Long shot, looooooong shot.
    Parallels btw Tunisian/Egyptian revolution and the Cedar revolution. NONE.
    Well, maybe just dissatisfaction on the status quo. But the problem with Lebanon is that the demonstrations were not united for one politically driven cause. Who is to argue that the millions that took to the square that glorious day were not followers of a certain clan/fuedal lord/zaim? Not angry mourners of Rafik Harirri.
    What gelled them together was the common belief that Syria as a foreign occupier had to go.But thats where it ended.Only a handful of true seekers of change took this opportunity to demand real change, on every level including the end to zaim rule, only to find much later their cause taken hostage by opportunistic clan leaders desperate for a new image.
    Nevertheless, the seeds have been sown, the so called million man march did ignite a fervor of change and inevitably there will be another revolution much like the Egyptian where a grassroot movement will catch wind spearheaded by secularists,youth,professionals. Hard to see it anytime soon, but it is only inevitable.

    Posted by Maverick | February 16, 2011, 7:17 pm
  154. BV,
    You are absolutely right;that Lebanon would be the last country to have its revolution.
    They need to local revolutions against their own sects and tribes first.
    We claim civility and openness, yet we’re still tribal.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 16, 2011, 7:29 pm
  155. They need to ( have )local…….

    Posted by The Prophet | February 16, 2011, 7:31 pm
  156. Marillionlb,
    I understand your level of frustration with the March 14 very well. As you well know I have often excoriated them. I never believed that Sa’ad Hariri was ready for prime time but neither was Saniora.
    March 14 had a golden opportunity to change politics in Lebanon by forming a truly national diverse political party with a modern structure but they flubbed it.
    I do not intend , at least not today, to elaborate on these details except to say that I disagree with you rather strongly if I understood you correctly by saying that March 14 erred again by becoming the opposition. What would you want them to do? Given the current status quo they have no choice but to become the opposition. Whether you consider the machinations that led to the fall of the cabinet to be a veiled coup or not is immaterial. The cabinet failed when 11 of its 30 members resigned. That is proper and constitutional. Furthermore March 14 must not accept to join a cabinet whose composition makes it unworkable. Under the circumstances the only honourable thing to do is to become the loyal opposition. There is no shame in that.
    The fatal error was to accept the formula for a national unity cabinet in the first place and then to give away the right to veto over and above its inability to govern. March 14 leadership has been a disaster but to accept to join the Mikati cabinet would be simply compounding the error.
    What is needed is a new youing creative leadership that does not belong to any of the feudal lords and established families. Actually it would be fantastic if the new leadership could be a combination of males, females, Christians and moslems who would run on a platform guided by flexible ideas whose only allegiance is the state.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 16, 2011, 10:54 pm
  157. Easy ya jama3a, Marillionlb, GK, BV, Prophet, etc.
    Things are easier said than done.
    And despite all their problems, yes, the Lebanese are indeed more educated and more open than any other Arab country (assuming you want to consider Lebanon as an Arab country).
    In a way, it is easy to adopt a disillusioned (cynical) position and lament everything and give up hope. Besides us gray hairs and gray beards (sorry if you don’t have any, there are two new generations thirsting for freedom, equality, true democracy, separation of church/mosque/temple and state, and abolition of confessionalism. They are the hope of the future for Lebanon, not us, not the current leadership crop. I believe in them and have high hopes that they will rise to the challenge and, when the time comes, amaze all of us with their pristine power retaking the country and leading it to the greatness it can achieve. Not an arrogant greatness based on hollow claims, but a practical greatness based on strategic positioning and maneuvers in the geopolitical climate that provides so many opportunities for Lebanon.
    What? you want me to give you one example, just one? Okay, Qifa Nabki. Need I say more?
    Cheer up, chums! And stop being crabby.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | February 16, 2011, 11:31 pm
  158. At the risk of being repetitive:

    Posted by Honest Patriot | February 17, 2011, 12:02 am
  159. “there are two new generations thirsting for freedom, equality, true democracy, separation of church/mosque/temple and state, and abolition of confessionalism. They are the hope of the future for Lebanon”

    HP, those are 6 guys and girls who fall within what you described above and they are getting smashed in a Hamra bar or somewhere in jemayzeh.

    As for the majority of the young generation, you will be horrified to know to what extent they are Tribal, Sectarian and Sheeplistic (new word for BV).

    They will put the 1975 generation or the Hitler youth to shame!

    Posted by V | February 17, 2011, 1:43 am
  160. @GK 361:
    1) Once M14 declared their opposition this for means they have accepted publicly the Mikati governemnt. This same government which was obtained not like you mention by legitimate means but by the power of threat and fear.
    2) You say “formula of National unity” well this was also obtained by the force of arms and a mini civil war which led to Doha.
    3) Yes don’t join Mikati’s government and let those bastards drown in their own shit, but claim it out loud that this is an illegally (like M8 always did) formed government, hence the refusal. And in every little speech keep reminding the “sheeple” (BV I was refering to the fact that you were the first one to use it on AK’s page) about the illegality of thier government.

    The problem with the Lebanese is that for a long time they thought to be the only educated ones within the region and adopt it this holier than thou attitude.
    Their is no correlation with the people revolution in the Arab world and the Cedar Revolution. The later came as a cry for freedom from an occupier firstly and a collaborating government.

    The two generations you speak of do not live in Lebanon my friend. Those I live amongst in this Biblical land of ours are the very same you see riding mopeds, burning tires, and chanting out loud “bil rouh bil damm nifdik ya (Saad, Iztaz, Geagea…etc).
    Even my son who is 14 is getting impregnated with some of my defeatist ideas.

    Posted by marillionlb | February 17, 2011, 3:35 am
  161. marillionlb;

    Correct on all counts. But…I listened to Saad’s and DSG speeches and they definitely declared that this was a fictional ‘majority” as it was achieved through threats and intimidation!

    I am just hoping that GK’s tsunami has enough legs to blow the stink off the shit wagon of Bashar and his butchers in Syria…as well as the corrupt turbaned mullahs of Iran.

    Posted by danny | February 17, 2011, 10:43 am
  162. QN,

    bring back HK or give us a Qnion piece!

    Posted by V | February 17, 2011, 10:48 am
  163. V #364,
    It is unfortunate but your assessment is right on. A common mistake that is committed is for the speaker to project his/her view based on a small circle of friends and acquaintances to the public at large. This invariably leads to wrong conclusions when the speaker belongs to the privileged upper 10-20% of the economic pyramid.
    The results of our “elections” are a perfect example of this phenomenon. To understand why the same old faces and names are reelected over and over again all what you need do is look at the results of the municipal elections. If we cannot get ourselves to vote for qualified candidates on the most local level then obviously we are not going to support except the traditional tribal candidates for parliament.
    The failure of adequate responsible and affordable journalism is another critical flaw in the Lebanese society. Constituents are NOT well informed on the issues. Very few people bother to read newspapers and those who do cannot find any objective coverage of the issues. Lebanese newspapers cater to the already converted. Each political party and group has its mouth piece that is read by its followers. These are not instruments of information, on the contrary they are tools of indoctrination and divisiveness.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 17, 2011, 11:17 am
  164. Anyone know at what time VDL will air the Siddiq tape ?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 17, 2011, 12:33 pm
  165. HP,362

    There is no doubt that Lebanese are generally well schooled and trained academically.
    They are more open minded than other Arab states because they enjoy much more freedom, and freedom of press, and not as some Lebanese wrongly believe ,that because they are better people. The opportunities to discover the world, and interact with it, have always been better Lebanese than other Arabs.
    Having said that, Lebanese have failed to transform their higher education ,better opportunities, and open mildness into, a more civil and modern society. Being educated does not necessarily mean civil or modern. Most sectarian leaders are highly schooled nowadays, and listening o them speak, makes you wonder how their higher education made them more tribal and sectarian.
    Truly educated people and intellectuals can’t be racist or sectarian.
    I share your believe in the individuality of Lebanese, but not so much in the collective mentality of Lebanese people.
    It all comes down to the political and social system by which they live by. Sectarianism is digging its heels deeper and deeper and most Lebanese are folding on to their sectarianism, and some cases racism.
    Until, and unless the political system, and subsequently the social system are reformed, I can’t imagine the youth of Lebanon standing up like their counter parts in Egypt and finding a common cause to call for a change.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 17, 2011, 1:09 pm
  166. It all comes down to the political and social system by which they live by. Sectarianism is digging its heels deeper and deeper and most Lebanese are HOLDING on to their sectarianism, and some cases racism.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 17, 2011, 1:12 pm
  167. Because many Lebanese like to brag and make bogus claims about themselves, they think they are more successful than other Arabs. Even when they leave their tiny country and see the world, they always fail to grasp what the real world is all about. I live in Canada and for all the bragging Lebanese are famous for, I met more university professors and more successful professionals from different Arab countries than from Lebanon. Even though, we hear that there are thousands of Lebanese in Canada. But I don’t hear other Arabs brag about it. Hell, if a Lebanese woman in Montreal got fat from her ass into her lips, it will be all over and will be hailed as a success story!

    Rest assured if it was not for the tens of thousands of Lebanese who work in the Gulf and the billions that these country pour into Lebanon to buy sectarian loyalties (as the US, Iran, EU and the Zionists state do), Lebanon would have been as many African and Latin American countries which were ravaged by war, but did not get the chance to send thousands of their citizens to work abroad or got bought by money from outside forces. Instead of acknowledging it, Lebanese from all sects continue to pelt rubbish about their so-called openness and steadfastness.

    Posted by NR | February 17, 2011, 1:43 pm
  168. Well, it looks like Sheikh Hamad has made a fatal mistake. After trying to appear somewhat sympathetic to his people’s concerns, 2 days ago, he has now managed to pretty much alienate them completely with this bloody crackdown.
    Unlike Egypt, there are sectarian issues at play in Bahrain, but this one’s not gonna be pretty, one way or the other.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 17, 2011, 1:43 pm
  169. Bv,
    I agree that if ,and most likely will be a sectarian issue, It won’t be pretty at all. This could easily spread to Sandia Arabia and other gulf states.
    I read some news reports(no confirmation yet) indicating that the Saudis are sending enforcements to help Bahrain army quell down the protesters.
    If these reports are true, it would indicate the level of concern on the Saudis side that these could spread. They don’t realize that by doing that, they will inflame the situation even further.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 17, 2011, 1:55 pm
  170. Prophet @370

    To your point, these same educated people donned ski masks, massacred each other, and destroyed their country into oblivion only a couple of decades ago. I don’t think anyone knows the way out, but what is obvious is that the confessional set-up which was originally created to favor one sect over another has created a Frankensteinian entity with a manipulative ruling class and a more divisive and rigid sectarian society. Take a tiny nation of minorities each with its historical fears and complaints, add a volatile, autocratic region and the presence of a sizable refugee population, and voila: a gargantuan tangle of cacophonous misfits. It is going to be solved one knot at a time. The only problem is that even we here on this blog who are aware of the issue disagree which first big knot holds this tangle together. So there.

    Posted by Saint | February 17, 2011, 2:00 pm
  171. Not really. The first and biggest knot to resolve is really very simple: Abolish sectarianism in one fell swoop. Everything else will fall into place over time.
    Really, if sectarianism were abolished COMPLETELY tomorrow in the public sphere, we’d be about halfway there. Form the upcoming government with no regards for sectarian representation.
    Next parliamentary elections in 2013, no sectarian quotas.
    Next presidential elections, anyone can run.
    And so on.
    And then let it play itself out.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 17, 2011, 2:06 pm
  172. Saint,375
    I was trying to be polite, and not bring out that sad part of our history and presence.
    I have written about it many times, and expressed my disgust with the way Lebanese worship their warlord criminals.
    The minute I mention one criminal ,I get attacked,lol
    So I AGREE with you on that.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 17, 2011, 2:09 pm
  173. Ok BV- We don’t agree often on other issues, but I second your suggestion wholeheartedly.

    Posted by Saint | February 17, 2011, 2:12 pm
  174. On the bright side just in from Lebanon reported by Naharnet “A young man tossed a hand grenade at his MOTHER in a family dispute” 🙂

    Posted by V | February 17, 2011, 2:17 pm
  175. GK,

    Apparently Mr. X is Maher Al Assad.

    How that connects Berri is a bit confusing.

    Anyone with any better intel on this ?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 17, 2011, 2:21 pm
  176. ROTOTD,
    I haven’t had the chance to read any of the details but Lebanonfiles is reporting that Mr. X was MP Ali Hassan Al Khalil who spoke to Maher Assad in the presence of an HA representative . Is Ali Hassan Khalil a member of Amal?

    Posted by ghassan karam | February 17, 2011, 2:37 pm
  177. Yes Ghassan,
    He is the ranking Amal PM after Berri.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 17, 2011, 2:43 pm
  178. Unless ROTOTD meant Hassan Al-kahalil,then he is HA PM.
    The Amal PM is Ali Hassan Kkalil.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 17, 2011, 2:53 pm
  179. According to Aljadeed TV, M. Siddiq claims that Mr. X is Hassan Khalil. Its is not clear which one He really meant , because neither one is known as Hassan Khalil.
    وحسن خليل المعروف بمستر ” إكس “

    Posted by The Prophet | February 17, 2011, 3:01 pm
  180. Prophet,
    There is no confusion it is reported that it is MP Ali Hassan Khalil.

    Someone sent me today a March 14 post which is emphasizing that Sa’ad Hariri has vowed to take a completely different stand from know on and to call things as he sees them. They are also referring to March 14 (the date next month) as being a decisive day in which they plan to match the crowds of 2005. It might be too little too late for Sa’ad to find his voice and an ability to govern but time will tell. I think that this might be his last chance to repackage himself. Ultimately words are meaningless if not joined by action. Four weeks is not a long time to wait.

    Posted by ghassan karam | February 17, 2011, 3:21 pm
  181. The reason for the entrenchement of sectarianism in the region is the Iranian mullah regime.

    There is no corruption issues in Bahrain or other Gulf states as we have seen in the Economist report linked by GK. What is happening in Bahrain is outside instigation by the Iranians. The King of Bahrain is in this case completely justified to use whatever necessary to take care of the foreign-instigated unrest. There were less than five thousand who gathered, and the police easily dispersed them. But BV is right. If Iran wants to continue to play the sectarian card it will get ugly. Saudi Arabia can easily deal with any unrest. There are not too many who may have allegiance to Iran. If they decide to raise their heads up and challenge the Sauds,they will only do so at the cost of their own peril.

    The major uprisings taking place now are in Iraq, Lybia and Yemen. Hopefully, the Syrians will soon show some courage and join. Assad must go as well as Nejjad and Khamenei. These are the axis of evil today.

    Posted by anonymous | February 17, 2011, 3:34 pm
  182. Way to muddle up different things, Anonymous.

    1) Sectarian issues have existed in the ME long before the Mullah regime came to being in 1979. The mother of all “sectarian” issues would be Palestine’s division going back to the 1920s. Not to mention Lebanon’s various issues (1860, 1958, 1975, etc.)
    So your putting all that at the foot of the mullahs is nothing but hyperbole and outright false.

    2) Bahrain. While I’m not super familiar with things over there (and someone else might wanna pipe in here). I wouldn’t necessarily be so quick to blame the mullahs of Iran here either. Why is it that when Tunisians or Egyptians find their voices, it’s ok, but when the people of Bahrain (who simply happen to be Shiites in large) find their voice, it’s “outside interference”.

    I don’t like double standards. The above is no different than the constant blaming of everything on Israel when it suits one’s agenda. Is it not conceivable to people that neither the mullahs nor Israel are behind every single act that we don’t like or agree with?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 17, 2011, 3:50 pm
  183. Recent Wikileaks have shown even the US being skeptical of the Al-Khalifa’s claims that Iran has a hand in any of the Bahraini people’s gripes. The basic demand of the demonstrators is a more representative constitutional monarchy, hardly the stuff of conspiracies. The shia of Bahrain are more than 2/3 of the population but only have 18 seats in the 40 seat lower house. The upper house, chosen by the king has negligible shii representation. The king furthermore can veto both houses at will. If anon thinks that the shia have it well maybe he should convert to shiism and go live in Bahrain.

    Most Bahrani shii are Akhabris, and do not follow a marji3, so their relationship with Iran would be respectful but not theologically connected as with other shii minorities in the world. Still, sensitivities abound. Bahrain is home to the US fifth fleet. The Saudis and Kuwaitis are worried about the rights of their own shii constituencies, and about democratizations in general. Anon’s hatred of Iran and shiis in general has robbed him of all his reasoning faculties it seems.

    Posted by Saint | February 17, 2011, 4:08 pm
  184. About Ziad Baroud:

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 17, 2011, 4:24 pm
  185. Exactly what the Mubarak regime were telling us ,that Iran was instigating the protests against the regime… Now Bahrain is blaming Iran Mullas for instigating sectarian trouble in order to justify crushing the protesters.Are Iran’s Mullas instigating the protests in Taran as well?lol
    I wonder if those who are justifying violence against Bahranian protesters would justify violence against Iranian protesters, since the Iranian regime blames “outside interference and instigations”?
    The Egyptian youth who led the revolution against Mubarak regime, didn’t just do that because of the corruption;but rather for freedom and democracy among other reasons.
    So by saying that Bahrain does not have corruption is very silly and naive to put it nicely… You have a king a and few princes who literary own the country.
    What drives all of these people, whether Iranians, Lybians, Yemenees, ECT…, to protest against their regimes is lack democracy, freedom,political rights , social justice,and corruption.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 17, 2011, 4:26 pm
  186. I’m quite aware of the history of sectarianism in the region, BV. I was talking about entrenchment which was and still is fed by the mullahs of Iran since 79.

    When you see few demonstrators led by turbaned mullahs with known connections to Iran calling for the overthrow of the system then there is no need to guess who is instigating.

    Iran has never recognized Bahrain as an independent state. It regards it as an Iranian province.

    Mentioning the Shiite composition of some countries highlights the crux of the entrenchment of sectarianism which has been taking place since 1979. The Shia population of these countries have a choice to make in the presence of a W. of F. regime seeking to gain the POLITICAL allegiance of any Shia any where in the world. Lebanon’s HNA and thugs are a perfect example of such hypocrisy.

    I can assure you that neither Bahrain nor any other Gulf State will tolerate a gathering to hijack downtown Manama or any other city as we have seen HA doing post 2006.

    Again there is no cause for unrest in Bahrain except sectarianism. In this case, the ultimate arbiter is who wins the war and it will be ugly.

    Another word of caution: Many people throw estimates of population composition without any real statistics. Bahrain is more or less evenly divided. I have read (I believe Ghassan) throwing a number claiming the Shia population of Lebanon at 1.5 million, again with no supporting evidence! I went back and checked the latest voting lists of 2009 and found out that the Shia voters actually counted less than 870000 (in fact 20000 less than the Sunnis). I really cannot say where these inflated estimates of population compositions come from. But, my feeling it is a deliberate attempt to inflate numbers in order to present to the public the case of a suffering ‘underdog’. Same scenario was used in Iraq.

    The people behind such misinformation campaigns have questionable agenda. They simply want to define democracy in terms of numbers and only numbers and not as a way of life governing the political, cultural and social arenas. Do you call what happened in Iraq an implementation of a democratic system or entrenchment of sectarianism?

    Posted by anonymous | February 17, 2011, 4:31 pm
  187. Anon,

    Let’s assume the population is divided between between the two Muslim schools, so what is wrong with demonstrating for a more representative government where the people get to choose the welfare of the state?

    Posted by Saint | February 17, 2011, 4:51 pm
  188. Here’s a snap-shot about Bahrain’s population breakdown from the Department of State. Harldy the place to want to exxagerate the Shii population of any ME country considering the present political landscape:

    Nationality: Noun and adjective–Bahraini(s).
    Population (January 2008 est.): 1,046,814, including about 517,368 non-nationals.
    Annual population growth rate (2008 est.): 3.6%.
    Ethnic groups: Bahraini 63%, Asian 19%, other Arab 10%, Iranian 8%.
    Religions: 98% Muslim (approximately Shi’a 70%, Sunni 30%), with small Christian, Jewish, Baha’i, and Hindu communities.

    Here’s the link:

    Posted by Saint | February 17, 2011, 4:56 pm
  189. Saint,

    Tell that to the Syrian people.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 17, 2011, 5:00 pm
  190. Random,

    I say it to all oppressed people all over the world. There will come a time when the Syrian people will also rise and take back their country. These things are a matter of time anyways.

    Posted by Saint | February 17, 2011, 5:06 pm
  191. And that leaves Lebanon where, Saint?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 17, 2011, 5:08 pm
  192. Anon,

    I’m not disagreeing with you that sectarianism is rife in the middle east. Always has been.
    And of course, if it’s not Israel exploiting such divisions, it’s Iran. Each exploits for their own interests. We know that.
    But you’re attempting to paint the picture of protests in Bahrain being solely about sectarianism. I doubt that is the whole truth.
    Very likely, sectarianism plays a role, sure. But I’d be hard pressed to agree with your statement that “Again there is no cause for unrest in Bahrain except sectarianism.”
    How can you even make such a statement after seeing similar protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya. Were those about sectarianism too? Were those orchestrated by the mullahs too?
    What about the protests in Tehran?

    Again, I can’t stand double standards.

    I don’t know FOR SURE what is going in Bahrain, but if one is to go by evidence seen across the region, then it’s a fairly safe assumption that there’s more to it than just sectarianism. Things like freedom, oppression, better representation, less brutality and repression, better pay, etc. Lots of other factors.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 17, 2011, 5:12 pm
  193. Saint:

    I don’t know much about the “political” system in Bahrain. So perhaps it’s best I shut up about the topic.

    But it seems to me that people are always ‘aware’ of the sectarian constituency of the parliament is a “sectarian” problem in itself.

    Posted by Gabriel | February 17, 2011, 5:12 pm
  194. The Lebanon I am part of is the one that was part of drafting the declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

    The *Arabs* decided to draft their own based on Shari’a law in Cairo decades later.

    So … who am I?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 17, 2011, 5:17 pm

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