Elections, Free Patriotic Movement, Lebanon, March 14

Lebanese Cabinet Stalemate: 2011 Edition

Michel and Saad, during their honeymoon phase.

Apologies for the brief posting hiatus. The last time I sat down to write something on this blog, Hosni Mubarak was still president of Egypt. Maybe I should take these breaks more often.

So, what’s happening in Lebanon? It appears that Najib Miqati will not be able to throw together a technocrat cabinet as effortlessly as some had supposed. I don’t imagine that the current stalemate will last as long as the 2009 edition, but at least for the time being, there is no solution in sight. What is interesting to me is that the same politician whose intransigence led to much of the delay the last time around is the one causing problems today: good old General Aoun. (For a brief recap of his role in the 2009 cabinet formation process, see here and [for some comic relief] here).

As much as I’d like to blame the General for the current crisis, however, I believe the real culprit is the Lebanese Constitution. As I’ve tried to argue in the past (here and here):

It should be obvious to all of us that this game they call governance is being played with an unsatisfactory rulebook. In the absence of clear and established procedures, we have to resort to deal-making through public offers and quid pro quos. This is just not sustainable. Nowhere in the Lebanese Constitution does it say anything about cabinet veto powers. Nor, for that matter, does it explain what rules should govern the formation of any cabinet. As far as I can tell, the coalition that wins a majority in parliament could technically put together a cabinet consisting of seven fried won-tons, a shrimp springroll, and nine fortune cookies, without violating the Constitution.

In 2009, Aoun argued that each bloc’s share in the cabinet should be proportionally equivalent to its share in Parliament. Today, he argues that March 14th should not be granted a blocking third in the Miqati cabinet because he does not want the government to be mired in the legislative gridlock that (he helped ensure) plagued Saad Hariri’s cabinet. Hypocritical? Of course. But can you blame him? He’s simply exploiting the ambiguities of the current system to maximize the power of his own bloc.

I argued in 2009 that President Sleiman should have refused to sign any cabinet formation decree without insisting that the principle used to form that cabinet be enshrined in the Constitution (whether it was proportional representation or the unilateralist whims of a majoritarian prime minister). That way, I suggested naively, “we won’t have to watch this movie again four years from now.”

Well, it has barely been a year since Hariri formed his government and we find ourselves in the same position again. This time, we can’t blame the failure-to-launch on the Doha Accord, the Syrian-Saudi reconciliation, or the imperatives of a national unity formula. None of those conditions apply anymore, and the Lebanese politicos still can’t figure out how to divvy up the spoils. Something needs to be done.

So here’s my crowd-sourcing challenge of the day: How is the cabinet formation process managed in other multi-party parliamentary democracies? I presume a constitutionally mandated time limit would go a long way to helping the process along, but there are probably more efficient ways to do this. What are they?

Go forth, find out, report back, and make me smarter.

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Discussion

195 thoughts on “Lebanese Cabinet Stalemate: 2011 Edition

  1. QN
    It looks like they are more worry about the cabinet posts than where Lebanon is going .

    They should do what they do in the US , let the parliament vote on each minster after he is interviewed in the Parliament .after the appropriate committees.

    Posted by Norman | February 19, 2011, 11:55 am
  2. QN,

    To the best of my knowledge Israel is the best example of the one chamber fully proportional parliament which always requires coalitions.

    The reason Israeli governments are formed in a timely manner is because until a new government is formed, the former government in caretaker mode, is still in power. Why would you win elections and drag government creation thus letting your political opponents stay in power? A caretaker government has almost the same powers as a regular government except it is immune to a no confidence vote, so in fact it rules without really caring about the parliament! Obviously, as the winner of the elections, you want to form a government very quickly and kick the other guys out.

    In Lebanon the same applies. Until Miqati forms a government, Hariri is PM and is in power.

    The problem is not the constitution of Lebanon, the problem lies somewhere else. Yes, there are time limits in Israel by law, but all they do is return the decision as to who forms the government to the President. That is not very helpful because usually there is only one realistic head for a government, so letting someone else try is a waste of time. To solve the Lebanese problem, you have to figure out why the motivation of Lebanese politicians is so different than that of Israeli ones in this case.

    Posted by AIG | February 19, 2011, 12:37 pm
  3. who suggested that a technocratic cabinet could be “thrown together” “effortlessly”?

    Posted by mickanthrope | February 19, 2011, 12:39 pm
  4. Does any one read the constitution? No. So it doesn’t matter what the constitution says.

    The real problem is that Miqati is not suitable for the post. He does not have any political power on his own. He is Syria’s man and HA’s stooge. Aoun of course is a foolish demagogue who will get nothing at the end of the day.

    There is only one person who can be PM in Lebanon at the moment. But his dad was killed by Syria and HA as we would soon learn.

    Posted by anonymous | February 19, 2011, 12:56 pm
  5. The Northern Ireland Executive is an interesting example of cabinet formation in a sectarian political system.

    All of the seats are allocated to parties proportionally to their representation in the Northern Ireland Assembly, though parties are able to refuse to share power if they want. Every seat in the cabinet has a ministry and thus ministerial power. How the ministries are allocated between parties I don’t know.

    Swedish municipalities and counties have a slightly different system: they have an executive committee with seats allocated proportionately, but only the representatives of the majority on the council get portfolios (“ministries”); the other members simply get to attend the executive committees meetings and discuss and vote at them.

    Posted by Niklas Smith | February 19, 2011, 1:45 pm
  6. Unfortunately Lebanese don’t have a clearly worded constitution…and they have warlords and militia chiefs who like to interpret it in a way that suits their need of the moment.
    The current stalemate could be for differenr reasons or combination of all.

    A: Aoun is acting as a front for Syria in delaying the formation of the government till the indictments are issued; thus giving Syria more wiggle room to operate in controlling HA.
    B. Aoun is trying to show the Christian population that he is king. He wants more and service ministries to get ready for the 2013 elections (remember that paved roads are somehow a luxury…)
    C. Aoun is insisting on the Interior ministry on behest of HA to control the ISF.
    D. Aoun has the napoleon syndrome and still hallucinates of the moment he’ll be crowned Prez.

    E. Miqati knows full well that he and Safadi will get screwed during next election if it looks like they have acquiesced to HA and gotten nothing in return.

    My two cents worth

    Posted by danny | February 19, 2011, 2:52 pm
  7. Niklas

    Thanks for the insights on Northern Ireland and Sweden.

    Anonymous,

    Your logic is unconvincing to me. Hariri had plenty of political power when he tried to form a govt in 2009 and it took him months. If Miqati succeeds after a single month, will you conclude that he has more power than Hariri?

    Mickanthrope,

    I don’t know. People?

    AIG,

    I don’t believe that caretaker governments in Lebanon have the same level of executive function as Israeli ones. They are lame ducks, as far as I know. But this does not really explain the problem either. My sense is that even if the caretaker govt had full powers, there would still be huge delays in cabinet formation.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 19, 2011, 2:54 pm
  8. Actually, QN, your logic is not convincing at all.

    Miqati is not forming a government. If a government gets formed, then it will be formed for him and not by him.

    Miqati has no political power on his own. Danny’s logic is more convincing and he’s right. Miqati will get screwed in 2013. But I add to what Danny said that will happen with or without a government that may get formed.

    Posted by anonymous | February 19, 2011, 3:09 pm
  9. Anonymous

    I don’t understand your argument. What does it mean to say that someone has “political power on their own”? Where does Saad’s political power come from? He inherited his position as the head of Mustaqbal after his father’s assassination, and he depends on his patrons in Riyadh no less than other dependents among Lebanon’s politicians. Despite all of this, he was unable to form a government in 2009 for several months.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 19, 2011, 3:16 pm
  10. What are you talking about QN? Hariri has the largest political block in parliament which he won in elections. His father was long killed by the time of the 2009 elections Which block Miqati controls? Let’s see: Safadi, Karami and himself. No matter how the government gets formed, he will be under the mercy of those who formed the government for him.

    Hariri made the mistake of failing to form a government based on 65 MPs majority which he easily had. He and his coalition partners also failed by voting Berri as speaker which they could have easily kicked out of that post.

    But we know now what this fake slogan of national unity and partnership mean. Miqati will simply burn himself. Hopefully, they (HA and Syria) would still be able to convince Omar to step in when that happens.

    Posted by anonymous | February 19, 2011, 3:35 pm
  11. The whole idea of a technocrat cabinet in volatile political situation never made any sense. The Hariri government was brought down for political reasons, and by political parties. So the notion that M8 named Mikati in order to from a technocrat or a transitional government was not realistic.
    Mikati can form either, a pure political cabinet close to M8, or a cabinet which is a mix of M8 and some Technocrats, yet still close to M8 views and positions.
    I think the reason Mikati has not been able to from a cabinet is because of the president’s position, and instance of being represented in the cabinet. I don’t see the logic of the president in demanding to name few Ministers who are close to him.
    Those who named Mikati during the consultation, Didn’t name the president, Nor was it the president who name Mikati. It seems that the president insists on taking his share regardless of which side has the majority. In other words, He wants a freebee.
    When Hariri formed what was considered a “ national unity government”, It was understood that the president would be the peace maker ,and was given the decisive votes. We all know how that ended. The whole experience was a failure. This scenario (national cabinet) does not exist anymore. M8 and Mikati should be bale to from what ever government they want, and take responsibility for the failure or success of this government.
    The president should be insisting on constitutional changes to restore some of the power taken away from his office due to the Taief Agreement, instead of taking power from the cabinet which is formed according to parliamentary majority.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 19, 2011, 3:59 pm
  12. Prophet,

    Please see the big picture! If SLYman has no constintuancy and Miqati doesnt either…Don’t you think that puppetmaster Syria is behind all this? Come on now! What are you saying?:
    “The president should be insisting on constitutional changes to restore some of the power taken away from his office due to the Taief Agreement, instead of taking power from the cabinet which is formed according to parliamentary majority
    ….

    You sound so much like a HA apologist! Now after HA “getting” its majority you think that people should suddenly follow some “fictional” constitution?
    ALSO: YOU KEEP CONTRADICTING YOURSELF!
    I

    Posted by danny | February 19, 2011, 4:27 pm
  13. …Sorry for the cut off…
    If the president has no powers… How can he be the person who is “taking power from the cabinet”???
    HuH??? Duh?

    Posted by danny | February 19, 2011, 4:28 pm
  14. Anonymous,

    Everything you are arguing has nothing to do with Miqati’s ability or inability to form a government right now. You initially claimed that he was unsuitable for the post because he had no political power of his own. That, to me, is a very vague and impressionistic argument. Ziad Baroud has no sha3biyyeh, and yet he performed well as Minister of the Interior. Whether you like it or not, Miqati has the support of more MPs than Hariri does, whether or not those MPs are “his”…

    By the way, I recently heard someone argue that in the history of Lebanon, the leader of the largest bloc in Parliament has never been Prime Minister… until 2005. Not sure if this is true; I’ll have to check my trusty little reference text on this issue, but it would be interesting if it were.

    Prophet,

    Your comment is emblematic of the chaos of logics prevailing in the current crisis. (This is not a critique of your comment whatsoever… it is very useful, in fact).

    The Constitution says nothing about the President getting “his own ministers”. The whole idea of neutral ministers loyal to the President emerged from Doha, when there was a move to create some kind of legal stratagem to grant March 8 a blocking third without it looking like a real blocking third. So it’s a holdover from a previous confrontation. Why does President Sleiman think he is entitled to this privilege today?

    This is what I mean by the vacuousness of the Lebanese constitution (as far as these issues are concerned). We cannot simply make up the rules as we go along.

    Ghazi Aridi says it better than me. (See 8:00)

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 19, 2011, 4:32 pm
  15. QN,

    I think you are getting too emotional! Saad hariri is the head of FM! What on earth is Miqati the head of??…except the Syrian serpent’s venom?
    Hariri won the elections whether you accept it or not! Also, contrary to HA apologists belief or wish; the Sunni community will stay by their Zaim (who is Hariri now)and kick out the slimy Safadi and mediocre Miqati in 2013!

    Hopefully we still will be around to discuss it then and hopefully with a completely democratic (sans Assads) Syria.

    Posted by danny | February 19, 2011, 4:34 pm
  16. Danny

    The “Syrian serpent’s venom”? 🙂 And I’m the emotional one?

    So what if Hariri is the head of FM? What does that have to do with the premiership? Does the Constitution say that the head of the largest Sunni bloc is automatically PM? I thought not.

    And while he may have won the elections, his majority has evaporated. Like it or not, Hariri’s bloc is now the minority. So they don’t get to decide who is PM. That’s the way democracy should work, ya habibi.

    Unless you’d prefer to remain in a sectocracy where communities stick with their zaim and eschew democratic practices.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 19, 2011, 4:38 pm
  17. The constitution is NOT the problem in the recent Lebanese stalemates. It is the lack of respect for the constitution that is an issue.

    How can a people claim to be guided by the constitution when it is convenient and to discard the constitution aside when the constitution presents an obstacle?

    Lebanon needs to empower the Constitutional council to act as a final arbiter on what is constitutional and what is not . That requires not only empowering the Constitutional council but allowing any citizen to have unencumbered access to the council and its chamber. Had that been the case then I would have brought a long time ago a case that challenges the constitutionality of the election of the current president as well as the constitutionality of having sectarian affiliation serve as a prerequisite for some governmental elected offices such as Speaker, PM and President.

    Back to the current issue. A constitution is not supposed to spell out the details of the procedures in the daily affairs of a nation. It is a sacred document that is to offer general guidance about the most important principles that a state cherishes; personal freedom, executive powers, legislative power …

    In Lebanon it is clear that the PM designate is to form a cabinet composed from whoever she wants and the president has to sign off on the composition prior to its being sent to the Chamber of Deputies for their final approval. This is very clear and any other additions are simply unnecessary baggage. There is no such think as an allocation to the president or a veto poweror a proportional representation relative to the parliamentary seats. As I have argued before many times, this simple novel interpretation simply kills the function of the Chamber by making the Cabinet the miniChamber with all the p[owers. It will in effect combine the legislative and the executive together when the intent is for a separation.

    No QN, the problem is not in the constitution but in governance. Unfortunately very few, if any, of the political leaders respect the constitution and have the courage to stand up in its defense. Pity a nation whose leaders are unprincipled.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 19, 2011, 4:42 pm
  18. QN,

    Danny said it quite clearly. I hope it would now make sense to you – unless you’re advocating the devil on purpose. It seems you may have some extra free time – long weekend perhaps.

    Also prior to 2005 there were no such political parties as afterwards.

    Danny,

    I would have simply said to the guy ‘7hiki badri’.

    Posted by anonymous | February 19, 2011, 4:43 pm
  19. Danny,
    I don’t see the reason for your hostility and rudeness.
    You sound like a Geagea apologist yourself,and don’t take it as a complement .
    Miqati has his own constituency ,and was named by the majority to form a government.
    Wethere Syria is behind the whole thing or not, I don’t know,and don’t think so either. If it is , deal with it until next election.
    No doubt that Saudi Arabia is and was behind the Seniora ,and the Hariri government. People like you didn’t complain when Hariri was sleeping in a Assad’ comfy guest house little over a year ago .You didn’t complain when HARIRI spent more than half his term over outside of the country,and mostly in Saudi Arabi. Some consistency would help here. why the double standards.
    I didn’t say the president didn’t have any power, I said Some of the power taken away from him due to the Taief agreement.
    The president has no business insisting on taking a share of the cabinet in order to substitute for some of the power he lost.
    Don’t expect a reply from me if you insist on being rude.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 19, 2011, 4:45 pm
  20. Ghassan

    Your points are well taken, and I agree with everything you say, but I maintain that the rules need to be clearer. There are very few principled leaders the world over, so it is futile to moan about governance and unprincipled-ness… An essential precondition to getting people to respect the rule of law is to make that law unambiguous.

    At the very least, a time limit should be imposed.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 19, 2011, 4:46 pm
  21. Weam Wahab is quoted in the press as having declared:
    “ونبه وهاب إلى أن البعض يعمل للعودة الى ما يسمى حكومة جامعة أو حكومة وحدة وطنية، سائلا : ماذا فعلت حكومة الوحدة الوطنية عام 2006 وما فعلته في العام 2007 وما حاولت أن تفعله في عام2010 ؟.

    Wasn’t he one of the most vocal people who insisted that Lebanon must form a “national unity” government and that such a government was the only solution for the Lebanese problem?
    I have two observations in this regard:
    (1) Why is the Lebanese public constantly subjected to the meaningless daily ramblings of a has been?
    (2) Why doesn’t the press confront these politicians who keep taking these contradictory positions. This is unexcusable in the age of epermament records about every word ever uttered by any of these limelight seekers.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 19, 2011, 4:51 pm
  22. QN,

    I read your last comment (16) after I posted my reply to you.

    Reading that commnet of yours, I would say now you’re not just emotional but completely lost the argument.

    When you continue your talk about a constitution that no body seems to respect, you are overlooking the most important stipulation in that constitution. The whole constitution of Lebanon and its so-called democratic governance is based on the cherished principle of ‘co-existence’. We argued this principle endlessly not long ago.

    Of course, as Danny said, the Sunnis who are perhaps the largest component of the population will not feel represented in the post which is allocated o them. So, let’s not talk idealism such as liberal democracy and equal representaion etc.. etc. We are after all still sectarian, and every party is still behaving based on such sectarianism be it HA, Berri, Aoun or whoever else. Even in the ideal situation when Taif eventually gets fully implemented by abolishing confessionalism, we are expecting to get some mechanism that will safeguard the repsected rights of the constituent communities. We will never be true liberal democrats in the full ense of the word. It looks like it is our fate due to multiple resaons. There will always be safeguards for the principle of co-existence.

    Posted by anonymous | February 19, 2011, 4:57 pm
  23. Prophet,

    You seem to equate a HA apologist to being rude! Either debate or take cover. I stand by my rebuttal to your statement.
    I was not hostile or rude. I am here to exchange views and opinions. Now…tell me how have I become a geagea apologist? Also, I would take it as a complement that you think that I think DSG is the best statesman Lebanon has to offer now! Please entertain me with your ideas of your terrorist leaders from Damascus to Dahia saving Lebanon from itself!

    Posted by danny | February 19, 2011, 4:57 pm
  24. Danny,

    I told you so. “7hiki badri” could have done it for you easily and effortlessly.

    Posted by anonymous | February 19, 2011, 5:00 pm
  25. QN,
    “and while he may have won the elections, his majority has evaporated.”
    “That’s the way democracy should work, ya habibi.

    I guess in your book the end justifies the means. A majority that was attained through
    threats and intimidation is democracy?

    You have the Ace of Spades!!! 😀

    Posted by danny | February 19, 2011, 5:02 pm
  26. Gus you should know by now that what Wahab drivels about are on the orders of his masters (based on his saying so) from the slaughterhouse of Bashar…

    Posted by danny | February 19, 2011, 5:06 pm
  27. QN #20
    I understand the attractiveness of clearly stipulated rules but I maintain that a constitution is by design to supposed to address these mundane issues.
    This does not mean that ambiguity is to rule the day. It simply means that the judiciary , the Constitutional Council, can make rulings as issues arise that will spell out what is acceptable and what is not. An effective Constitutional Council is to act as a guardian of the constitution on behalf of all of us and its act s can and do lead to a living constitution. Unfortunately the Constitutional Council was disbanded when the country needed it most and its composition reflects political allegiances more than it reflects judicial merit.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 19, 2011, 5:07 pm
  28. danny,
    You are such a good example of those Lebanese who adore and worship warlords and war criminals.Add to that a traitor.
    I stand by by my statement.And I’m not stupid enough to follow any leader.
    If anyone who has views that are different than your , is labeled HA supporter , then you have some major issues.
    BTW, I’d rather be called a terrorist then a traitor ,or a CRIMINAL who kills babies.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 19, 2011, 5:19 pm
  29. I predicted back when the Hariri govt. fell that we’d be looking at a “power vaccum” situation. Much like we did in 2006-2008.

    It is not in the best interests of M8, HA and Syria to have a govt. in place at the moment. So even though they, in theory, hold the cards when it comes to appointing a government, they are simply choosing not to, under the guise of Aoun’s petty demands, etc.

    This can go on for a LONG time.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 19, 2011, 5:20 pm
  30. BV,

    “It is not in the best interests of M8, HA and Syria to have a govt. in place at the moment. So even though they, in theory, hold the cards when it comes to appointing a government, they are simply choosing not to, under the guise of Aoun’s petty demands, etc.”

    as for baby killers ya “prophet”..Samir Kuntar ring a bell?

    You can spin and lull yourself to sleep if you want…you have not scored any convincing argument but exposing yourself as a sectarian!

    EXACTLY!

    Prophet,

    You cannot hide behind the thin veil. I do not worship anyone but my Father. As for people like you; you hide in your so called demure veil of being democratic and secular all the time defending the mafiosos who ruin Lebanon!

    The biggest traitor is hassan Nassrallah who has pledged his allegiance to the corrupt mullahs of Iran and destroyed my country!

    Posted by danny | February 19, 2011, 5:31 pm
  31. My PC seems to be a bit too ’emotional”…

    The above was supposed to be as…

    BV,

    “It is not in the best interests of M8, HA and Syria to have a govt. in place at the moment. So even though they, in theory, hold the cards when it comes to appointing a government, they are simply choosing not to, under the guise of Aoun’s petty demands, etc.”

    EXACTLY!

    Prophet,

    You cannot hide behind the thin veil. I do not worship anyone but my Father. As for people like you; you hide in your so called demure veil of being democratic and secular all the time defending the mafiosos who ruin Lebanon!

    The biggest traitor is hassan Nassrallah who has pledged his allegiance to the corrupt mullahs of Iran and destroyed my country!

    As for baby killers ya “prophet”..Samir Kuntar ring a bell?

    Posted by danny | February 19, 2011, 5:35 pm
  32. danny,
    I don’t apologize for Quntar; yet the man sent over 30 years in jail for what He was accused of doing.There was no evidence that The man had a fair trial anyway.
    Yet I ‘m not( and no one should be) calling him a great leader , like you are calling your Geagea.
    As for SHN, If it was not for traitors like Geagea, who aided,and supported Israel’s invasion We Would not have had HA OR any need for resistance.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 19, 2011, 5:43 pm
  33. BV,
    I think you might be right that Lebanon won’t have a new cabinet anytime soon.
    I suspected this scenario when the Hariri government was first brought down.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 19, 2011, 6:06 pm
  34. Just to deviate from prophets and Dannys typical lebanese fights,lol,
    without losing the subject of the post, can anyone tell me, why the deconfessionalism implemented in the Taef agreement has not been exercised, who stands to lose the most, why isnt there atleast a half attempt of working towards deconfessionalism? All i can think of is a pandoras box of demographic and sectarian issues but can anyone give a detailed response.
    thanks

    Posted by Maverick | February 19, 2011, 6:33 pm
  35. Maverick,and all,
    It is never my intention to fight or turn any debate into a personal one with any one.
    For the sake and respect of others commentators and the forum;I’ll just walk away ,next time some tries to turn a debate into a personal one.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 19, 2011, 6:45 pm
  36. Every time deconfessionalism or end of sectarism is mentioned by most of the poster here, it is followed by the question who is going to lose the most? to think of them without a secular State with strong civil societies institutions is a waste of time and senseless.
    So at first glance nobody would lose. Religion has to be put where it belongs, a personal issue that should be nobody else`s business.
    But for sure the aouns, hariris, nasralahs, berris, jumblats and others have to go forever.

    Posted by Alberto Zeraik | February 19, 2011, 7:36 pm
  37. Maverick,

    Who had occupied Lebanon till 2005 after Taef? …and why do you think it would have been benevolent to let Lebanese live. Instead it created more hate and encouraged terrorism.

    Prophet. You make it personal. I like it when you disregard that it was the Shias of the south who celebrated and welcomed the IDF when it invaded Lebanon…It seems you have a skewed sense of history! As for a drowning man clutching to a snake; well ask your PLO hero who was declaring that the road to Tel Aviv was through Jounieh.

    I dare you show where I called anyone a great leader. Your sectarian hate is showing in true form.

    Posted by danny | February 19, 2011, 8:09 pm
  38. danny
    As I have said at this forum , more then once, Traitors have no religion. Shiia traitors or Christian traitor are the same. I never accused Christians of being traitors,I Was talking about Geagea and the likes of him, being traitors. Geagea does not represent the Christians of Lebanon, although , He hijacked their voice for a while. He wishes to speak for Christians of Lebanon, But not in his dreams.

    As for calling Gegea a great leader, Forgive me, you called him the best statesman .
    at danny #23.
    “”””I think DSG is the best statesman Lebanon has to offer now! “””
    Again, you think a traitor and a criminal is the best statesman Lebanon has to offer. this is an insult to every Lebanese.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 19, 2011, 8:42 pm
  39. danny,
    Did you see me defending or even mentioning the PLO? Why would you make these assumption? What makes you think that my views of the PLO and its behavior in Lebanon isn’t the same as yours?

    The only difference is that I DON’T have any racist hatred toward Palestinian as a result of the PLO mistakes.
    Why would you think I have a PLO Hero?Again, you make assumptions that you can’t support.
    I wish you would stick to the topic of my original comment. It is obvious that you didn’t have much input to share.
    Please, stick with the topic and with facts and stop making assumptions.

    Posted by The Prophet | February 19, 2011, 8:56 pm
  40. Greetings and salutations. I don’t comment here much anymore, largely because work and the general regional upheaval occupy my attention. I do check out the conversation from time to time, and am struck by the following: why isn’t a forum devoted to Lebanese politics talking about whether a mind-bending general moment affects the beloved kingdom?

    Big chunks of the U.S.-brokered regional security apparatus are collapsing like papier-mache castles; people long dismissed as irrelevant to the fates of their respective polities are forcing the question of their existence; and the idea of an Arab Middle East suddenly matters in a way it hasn’t for decades. And the local conversation basically amounts to who will be the second deputy dogcatcher in the Upper Metn. I get that all politics is local, but Jesus, who cares?

    If people think that Lebanon is so singular that none of what is happening elsewhere matters, then I’d love to have that view explained. And if the general view is that dominant politics can’t be pierced by grand tumult in the neighborhood, then great; let’s hear that explained too. But I look at what conversation takes place here and wonder whether there’s a news blackout that strikes this forum in particular. If nothing else, don’t you want ask why Lebanon can’t/won’t/mustn’t be a candidate for volcanic political change?

    Pardon for the interruption. I too care about the all-important appointment of the next Lebanese minister in charge of administrative reform. Some shit matters, after all.

    Posted by J of Chalcedon | February 19, 2011, 9:05 pm
  41. #38
    We agree to disagree on a lot of matters. the difference is I am true and do not make accusations as it fits my religion.

    Let’s see.
    Nabih Berri
    Walid Jumblat
    Samir geagea
    Hassan Nassrallah
    Michel Aoun
    etc..etc…
    All guilty of atrocities (you can call one a divine warrior and the other a murderer…it doesn’t change the facts trust me.):D
    Who was incarcerated? and who is being defended as the hero of resistance? We can discuss civil war and atrocities if you wish. No problems here. But please spare me your sanctimonious posturing. Hassan Nassrallah ant its illegal terrorist militia are worse than any other danger that Lebanon has ever faced. He is guilty of massive destruction (latest in 2006) and reason for death and maiming of thousands of Lebanese because of his divine wisdom. Now he wants to lead Lebanon into “conquering Galilee”.??
    Softly spoken and acting as misunderstood don’t buy you a bag of beans. At least I don’t hide behind empty rhetoric and words.

    Lakhayem

    Posted by danny | February 19, 2011, 9:22 pm
  42. Alberto,
    I’m with you on that one, in fact I cant think of a better thing for Lebanon than a secular deconfessionalised state, but it aint gonna happen anytime soon, thus my question which wasnt too clear,I should have said instead of who stands to lose the most, who or what is creating the obstacles? There are a few Pols who have floated it through to no avail, and there is a segment of the population all for it,heck ,its even in the Taef sponsored broker. Theres just not enough real drive from any united front.
    Last time it was thumped through was during kamal Joumblatts opposition phase, if im not mistaken.
    I believe everything else is just sugar coating,the Lebanese are wasting their time, and life following daily politics as J of Chalcedon eloquently put it “And the local conversation basically amounts to who will be the second deputy dogcatcher in the Upper Metn” or perhaps Shakespeares Macbeth comes to mind ” It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.”

    And all around Lebanon and the entire region the people are demanding their basic rights, regimes have fallen, history is in the making and the best Lebanon can offer is replacing a neutral technocrat that had a successful run in the interior ministry and is of everyones liking to a traditional zaim from the north thats out of touch to peoples needs….or so i heard anyway.

    So you see why everyone is infatuated with Leb Politics, its an unfolding drama with more twists than a Mexican soap.

    Posted by Maverick | February 19, 2011, 11:07 pm
  43. This relates to previous posts. But I found that the Chinese are light years ahead of the Egyptians in making fun of events and are very smart too hitting several birds with one stone,

    Posted by anonymous | February 19, 2011, 11:24 pm
  44. Danny, Had you been reading my pervious comments posted at this forum, you would have realized that I have been very outspoken against the civil war period ,and all the warlords who championed it.
    Nothing gets angry, as much as, the war criminals, who lead all the civil wars. Yet they are adored by most Lebanese for stupid sectarian reasons.
    I see Berri, Geagea, Bashir and Jumblat with the same eye. Without listing all of them, they are all guilty of war crimes, and anyone who defends them or gives them excuses is as guilty as them. They should all be tried for war crimes, and for crimes against humanity.
    That being said, those who aided Israel against their own people are worse, and deserve double the punishments.
    As for Nasralla, He can be accused of many things, but No one can accuse him of atrocities. His decision to kidnap 2 Israeli soldiers is open for questions and debate, yet He can’t be responsible for the war, which Israel waged .That war had been planned, and the kidnapping incident, was nothing but an excuse. Kidnapping of two soldiers can never be justified to wage the kind of war Israel did. Israeli officials as well as American official admitted openly that Israel had planned the way and it was waiting for an excuse.
    How many times did Israel kidnap Lebanese across the brooder? Following your logic, Lebanese had the right to wage a war because Israel kidnapped a Lebanese from across the border. I grew up watching Israel violate Lebanon’s sovereignty, and killing Lebanese for no reason. All of that took place before HA and Iran’s revolutions were conceived.
    So, stop hiding behind your hatred for the resistance and its supporters, in order to justify Israel’s atrocities.
    I differentiate between HA and the idea of resistance. I supported the resistance before HA was a round, and will continue to support the right to resist and defend your country against an invading enemy. I will support you and Geagea (miracle can happen. lol) if you lead the resistance.
    No one is asking you to like HA or defend them. No one is asking you to defend the south. All I’m asking you to do, is to be honest, and put your prejudice and political views aside, and be objective when caricaturizing historical events, and stop being an Israeli apologist.
    I have often criticized HA , for many decisions they took, and look forward for the day Lebanon won’t need a resistance by HA or any other party .
    You have the right to hate HA and what it stands for, but you are wrong, putting it nicely, to not to see Israel’s responsibility in murdering thousands of your own people.
    It seems that his threat to “conquering Galilee” offended you much more than Barak’s threat to invade Lebanon.
    You seem to forget, or intentionally ignore the fact that He said “if war was forced on Lebanon”.
    As for the illegal weapons; who determines what is legal and what is not? When the south was under Israel’s constant attack for the past 65 years, who volunteered to defend it? You? Was it the Lebanese government, or your warlords? Or was it the so called international community? Or the incompetent modern Arab states who are collapsing one after another?
    As state can’t ignore its people for 60 years and leave them defenseless, yet claim the right to categorize those who defend themselves as illegal.
    A state can’t ignore its responsibilities toward building hospitals, roads, and basic services, yet complain that Iran or Qatar is building infrastructure in the south. It does not have to be this way. We should not need to have Iran or ha or Qatar do the jobs, the state is supposed to do.
    We all watched the shameful performance of Seniora government during the 2006 war and the negligence after ward, with the relief efforts. Nothing, for Lebanese to be proud of. So, “Bala Shatara”, and let’s not try to score meaningless points here. This is not about blindly supporting or blindly opposing. I just don’t do that. I don’t hide behind anything. I’m like an open book. Proud to support when I think it is the right thing to do, and strongly and viciously oppose when it is the right thing to do.
    You can pat yourself on the back all day long and claim to be true.I’m Ok with that if it makes my fellow Lebanese feel better about his bad judgment.

    Posted by The prophet | February 19, 2011, 11:47 pm
  45. Pardon my poor editing,and spelling.I was in a rush.

    Posted by The prophet | February 19, 2011, 11:54 pm
  46. Danny,

    I fully agree with you. Any Lebanese who defends HA, Iran or Syria is a traitor of Lebanon. Actually HNA is worse than any warlord because his allegiance is to Iran and not to Lebanon. The warlords were fighting for what each one believed was good for Lebanon. But their allegiance was not to a foreign power. Besides as you clearly said these same poeple who talk about so-called resistance were the first traitors who received the Israelis with rice and roses and cooperated with them for long time. Right now they are on Iranian payroll. So they have to speak Iranian. When another employer steps in they will change the language. Most of these so-called ‘resistors’ spoke PLO at one time. Hypocrisy has found another delusion to ‘glorify’ itself by calling itself resistance.

    Posted by anonymous | February 20, 2011, 12:23 am
  47. Prophet,

    Let’s let it go as you seem to be mesmerized by HA brainwashing divine thoughts. I will not go into your last comment whereas you make references to “an american official” or whatever without any proof.
    You poke the lion’s den and expect to be made love to or torn apart? Your Nassrallah is the worst nightmare for Lebanon and its existence!

    Barak can say whatever it wants. Who on earth is Nassrallah to be able to decide the fate of Lebanese? ….
    As I mentioned before your sectarian self is quite evident when the veil drops!…Read 44 again and you’ll know!
    Enough of your 60 year of anguish!Saniora saved your Nasrallah’s behind!
    The shameful part is listening to people like you who are so sectarian and brainwashed that they think they can fool people with buzz words! Nassrallah and his terrorist militia are what they are even when you try to sugar coat them million times over.Stop the same refrain about 65 years of whatever! We have heard enough. let’s move on without your illegal weapons!

    Finally I love your statement:
    “As for the illegal weapons; who determines what is legal and what is not?”

    The answer: OFF COURSE THE DIVINE POWERS DO !

    Posted by danny | February 20, 2011, 1:12 am
  48. “The warlords were fighting for what each one believed was good for Lebanon. But their allegiance was not to a foreign power.”

    HAHAHAH this is by far the most hillarious i have read on Lebanese history.

    Posted by V | February 20, 2011, 2:39 am
  49. Maverick
    I will not pretend to be an expertise in Lebanon history or to be close related to the men in power in Lebanon and their minds….
    So what do I see? the same people ( aoun, geagea, nasralah, berri, hariri and so on) dictating lebanese politics for decades and no change. It seems to me that they want no change because they will lose power and control…
    But the good news is that it can be changed in spite of them. with the right people at the right place and civil society pressuring for this.
    Ziad Baroud has the credentials to initiate (continue) this process, and maybe that is why some politicians want to remove him from his job.
    All this change doesn’t have to be done at once, Start with changing the voting system, one person one vote and direct vote for president (even keeping the job for a christian for now) who gets 50% plus 1 vote is the man in charge.
    But again the society has to want it to change and work for it to happen.
    AND THE NEPOTISM HAS TO GO.
    I think Lebanon is in a better position than Egypt or Tunisia. Lebanon have been exercising democracy (something close to it) longer than the rest of the arab world, it is an important asset.

    why not we at this forum who want it to be changed do something about it?

    Posted by Alberto Zeraik | February 20, 2011, 7:33 am
  50. Prophet,
    What happened in 2006 was a big mistake not done by the lebanese government. So Those responsible for it should pay financially and judicially. Thousands died.

    Posted by Alberto Zeraik | February 20, 2011, 7:39 am
  51. Alberto,

    Welcome to this forum. I don’t remember reading comments from you in earlier post but perhaps that’s my inattention; if so, please forgive me.

    You make good points. I think, however, many counterpoints have been made in this forum, not necessarily valid, but certainly important to take into consideration. Take for example the assignment of responsibility of 2006 to HA and SHN. Many have argued, and, interestingly, that same narrative is prevalent in many parts of Lebanon, including among the many followers of GMA, that the plan for a 2006-like operation had been in place for a very long time as part of a determination by Israel to deal a definitive blow to HA and that plan was only awaiting a justifiable excuse; which HA provided (and that, they all admit, was a mistake) by the last cross-border operation that killed and kidnapped Israeli soldiers.

    Nevertheless, the narrative is that it was going to happen sooner or later and that it was intended to remove HA’s military strength, not out of concern for fairness and democracy in Lebanon, but purely for the interest of Israel in that HA had proven itself a formidable resistance that is credited with forcing the voluntary withdrawal of Israeli troops from South Lebanon in 2000.

    Again, along the same narrative, the “Resistance” argues that it is indispensable for Lebanon for otherwise Israel would feel free to return to Lebanon any time it wishes.

    Now, of course, many argue (including me), that such defense can and should be handled by unified Armed forces in the country, and, most importantly, that turning the HA weapons against the Lebanese in internal dispute (which HA proved ready to do in 2008) completely aborts any other claims they have as “Resistance.” There are counterpoints to that as well. Never mind that all these points and counterpoints are but excuses, I think, for positions dictated by other agendas, much like the supremely eloquent speeches by the leaders of the Peloponnesian war as reported Thucydides were but a concoction of arguments put together to justify ulterior motives of conquest and domination. The sad fact is that this “politics” is played out as veneer for fundamentally sectarian reasons and allegiances to principles and religions and countries all outside the scope of what true nationalism and national identity and “Lebanon-first” would be expected to have the guiding principle of any citizen of a true nation.

    More and more, as I think you insinuate, and as GK has so often advocated, the true revolution needed is the one that is going to throw out all these traditional za3eems in Lebanon. How feasible this is and what can take their place as a power structure is unclear. Of course the Lebanese diaspora, some 12 million strong or so, can and should play a role in such revival. Unfortunately, however, unlike the Jewish diaspora, the flame of a true passion for a genuine Lebanese homeland is weak at best and cryogenically cold at worst, an inertia caused by fear, comfort with success, resentment of bad experiences while in Lebanon, etc. (just read what BV, V, and Marillionlb say and I have, sadly, to concur with such sentiment).

    So, what’s the solution? The one hope I see is in the crop of young and highly educated, effective, and courageous politicians (e.g., Uqab Saqr and maybe others from a different political color) eventually taking the upper hand. There are of course other sad scenarios of military conflict leading to the domination of this or the other of the extreme views. This would bring “peace,” but not democracy and true independence. We hope for the best and keep tracking this history as it unfolds.

    Peace

    Posted by Honest Patriot | February 20, 2011, 8:14 am
  52. J of Chalcedon’s comment is too good to ignore, but I’m going to respond to it in the form of a full post dedicated to the subject.

    Carry on…

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 20, 2011, 9:05 am
  53. Well we could start by imposing the age limit on politicians set for government employees.

    I think it’s 65?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 20, 2011, 10:43 am
  54. The way I see it is that the proposal of J. of C. can only be implemented as a revolt against the imposition of illegal weaponry and the so-called fake culture of ‘resistance’. While there could be corruption in Lebanon, but the people in Lebanon are willing to live with it. It is easy for us expatriates to sit down and pontificate about corruption but we do not have medicine for it back home. Also, the issue of traditional zaeems is acceptable for the local population. You cannot mobilize the people against traditional zaeems.

    Lebanon has a long experience in exercising freedom of speech and a modicum of democratic governance regulated by sectarian allegiances. People are turning even more sectarian. Do not expect an overnight transformation into liberal democracy. I still maintain, as I said not long ago, that the entrenchment of sectarianism in Lebanon and the region as a whole is caused and nourished by the mullahs of the Iranian regime. This is the only way for them to survive in power. They need an external foe and they never gave up on their dream of exporting of their ‘revolution’ of shameful backwardness.

    You can only mobilize the Lebanese based on the opposition to illegal arms and the rejection of so-called resistance.

    This is what Uqab Sakr seems to be alluding to in this story,

    http://www.14march.org/news-details.php?nid=Mjc4MTAw

    Posted by anonymous | February 20, 2011, 11:26 am
  55. The deal-making you refer to, QN, is authorized by the constitution in that one of the Prime Minister’s tasks is to engage in “parliamentary consultations” in order to form a cabinet. The same phrase describes the process of deciding on — as opposed to the process of electing (at least in the English version, the word is not used) — a Prime Minister. When it comes to the formation of Cabinet, the preamble offers the famously vague principle that tends to guide these parliamentary consultations: “There is no constitutional legitimacy for any authority which contradicts the ‘pact of communal coexistence’.”

    All of this is designed to guard against any clear majoritarian decision-making, ensuring that sectarian deal-making and ad hoc arrangements rule the day. So I agree with QN that the Constitution is very much at fault. But it’s worth pointing out that the Constitution accurately reflects the political community it “constitutes”. Should it be — indeed can it be — a document that leads the way to a new form of political community? Might such a constitution simply be too out of step with its community? I guess the upshot of this might be that the Lebanese Constitution has to evolve, and possibly quite slowly. Even the US Constitution had to evolve to some extent, in step with its constituency (e.g. black person as 2/3 of a white person), despite the fact that it was far easier to constitute a new political community in the “New World” without age-old traditions, communal affiliations etc.

    Posted by Jonathan | February 20, 2011, 12:07 pm
  56. Alberto, 50
    At the end of the day, those who killed over thousand people should take the ultimate, and most responsibility.
    As I have said before, HA decision to kidnap 2 soldiers may not have been the right thing to do, but that should never give Israel the excuse to wage an all out war against Lebanon.
    Many times Israel has kidnapped Lebanese from across the border, yet No one waged an all lout war.
    There is much evidence out there that the 2006 war had already been planned, and it was waiting for an excuse. This is very academic at this point.
    To put the blame on the 2 soldier incident, remind of a famous statement by Golda Meir, Israel’s late prime minster, when she said: “I WILL NOT FORGIVE PALESTINIANS FOR FORCING US TO KILL THEM”

    Danny, 47

    Same old excuse; accuse those who disagree with you of being sectarian, brainwashed, and so on, in an attempt to run away from facing reality.

    What makes you so sure of my sect anyway? Is it my support for the right to defend and resist? I wonder what sect/sects supports these noble ideas; Maronite, Aurthodox Catholic, Sunni Muslim, Shiia Muslim? Druze? Secular people? Atheists? …ect .You Should be ashamed of yourself to think that only one of these sects/ideologies/school of thought supports them, while the others don’t.

    Although I don’t care about organized religion or religion period, and I have many issues with them; I would not want to insult any of them of being against the idea of self defense, and resistance to aggression, by insinuating(as you do) that only one sect does.
    Unless you mean to say that one sect (whichever it is) is illegal and terroristic minded, then it becomes obvious who the sectarian minded is.

    You can dig your head in the sand, and pretend not to see the truth, but you can’t ask others to pretend that they didn’t face aggression and occupation, and that the threats are still out there. Show the Lebanese people how to defend Lebanon against Israel, and then you can ask them to give up their arms. Make sure you don’t recommend the international community, the UN or the Arab league (they are falling one by one)

    All I know is that ,where I came from( is that you clue to my sect? lol), is an area that suffered so much at the hands of Israelis, and their Lebanese agents ,such as Lebanese forces, Lahad army of traitors, and it was not you , or my government who liberated it. Until you can change these facts, you have no right to tell people how to defend themselves.
    If Lebanese have to listen to people like you, Israel would still have embassy in Junieh.
    Being labeled as terrorist or illegal …. Etc is not a good thing, yet it is much better than dying cowardly.

    Posted by The prophet | February 20, 2011, 12:16 pm
  57. Off topic …

    Where’s the Siddiq tape?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 20, 2011, 12:46 pm
  58. Prophet,

    My countryman(woman)…No need to get defensive. It is obvious we have different approaches to solving issues.
    I’d rather Lebanon sign a peace agreement with Israel with full demarcation of borders and live in peace without your excuses of “resistance”.
    Again if you don’t throw stones into the lion’s den; you won’t be ravaged. Why don’t you see that people want to live? Why is that we have to agree with your aggression against Israel or others for that matter? I do see Israelis as my neighbors who I have to live with.

    …and yes, yes, yes…ma7roumeen. Yes. How many freaking years are you going to use the same refrain? Now Shiites have the upper hand through the mafioso goons of HA.Shiites are most educated and richer citizens of Lebanon. Drive south young man and you will see the wealth. So please stop it and let’s built a nation and a country for all without armed gangs forcing their agenda on the rest. Make a deal man. Stop this nonsense and stop looking back constantly. trust me you will feel better. 😀
    Peace brother.

    Posted by danny | February 20, 2011, 12:52 pm
  59. Here’s a constitutional blueprint for Lebanon

    http://www.servat.unibe.ch/icl/sz00000_.html

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 20, 2011, 12:55 pm
  60. Someone, I think RTOTD, said it best the other day. Egypt had it easy. Only 1 goon to get rid of. We have a dozen or so in Lebanon. I go back to my post from a few months back. Revolution is the only way to go. People must protest in front of every Zaim’s house to either go to exile with their international backer or be hung in a public square in their hometown. No exception to this… every one of these henchmen is a criminal that has robbed, maimed and killed the people.

    My wife says all the time (she is not Lebanese): For a people who claim to be so smart and educated, how do you put up with electricity cuts? Inadequate infrastructure? Lack of decency and rule of law? etc.

    It’s as if the Lebanese do not want to be governed. As a Lebanese myself, I certainly don’t want to be governed by any of the current political parties. I don’t even know what any of them stand for! Anarchy is the way to go for now. Let the private sector and free market run the show. The strong swim and the weak sink.

    This is the way it works now, except you have a wasteful, inefficient government that gets in the way and steals most of what is out there.

    The soap opera must end. Miqati, Hariri, Saqr, Aoun, Nasrallah, Geagea are all the same. Pawns placed in front of the Lebanese to keep them occupied while their riches are plundered for the benefit of a few – mostly the puppets themselves. Classic diversionary tactic. I use it all the time with my 6 month old daughter to get something she should not be carrying out of her hand.

    Yes we smart, educated, multi-lingual bla bla bla idiots fall for it all the time.

    Posted by Johnny | February 20, 2011, 2:33 pm
  61. Prophet,
    This might sound as if I am nitpicking but I am tired of the baseless argument that has been used over and over again.

    “There is much evidence out there that the 2006 war had already been planned, and it was waiting for an excuse.”

    The above is based on the fact that the Israelis had contingency plans, dah. I though that all responsible governments do. The fact of the matter is that Israel attacked in response to the kidnapping of the two soldiers and that most observers had expected such a reaction.
    I would suggest that had the Lebanese army kidnapped these two soldiers that a war would not have erupted because thengovernments would have direct means of communications with each other . But in the case of HA the situation was quite different. We had a rogue group that is not subject to any state authority, a group whose only reason d’etre is to stoke the fires of instability.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 20, 2011, 3:27 pm
  62. And I vote to replace our national anthem with one that does not require the knowledge of Latin to understand it 🙂

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 20, 2011, 3:33 pm
  63. An unnamed Syrian source told OTV on Sunday that Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt visited Syria in the past few days to discuss mutual issues.

    “Damascus will not interfere in the formation of the [Lebanese] cabinet. What matters to Syria is maintaining civil peace and protecting the Resistance,” the source who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

    **Is this who the Siddiq tape was borrowed by prior to airing?**

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 20, 2011, 4:00 pm
  64. This oft-repeated ‘justification’ for the 2006 war that it was pre-planned and waiting for an execuse is the biggest piece of baloney offered by HNA. As expected his followers blindly regurgirate what they have been taught without questioning. The fact that we have a sizeable community with this disposition to believe anything it is told by a bunkered liar spells ominous future for the country as a whole. I call it the succeessful suspension of reasoning by the demagogues. The only parallel to this phenomenon is Nazi Germany of the last century. We all know what the result was of the overthrow of mass-reasoning.

    Any one with sanity and reasoning would have easily questioned HNA’s lies.

    a) If he was aware of this pre-planning why did he go ahead and give the execuse?

    b) If he was not expecting the scale of the response why did he not offer the return of the kidnapped soldiers immediately when it became clear after few days?

    Johnny,

    I am against your plan. Not every Zaim must go. We have to be selective. For the time being only HNA, Aoun and perhaps Jumblatt must go. The others are generally ok particularly hariri because he is not a war criminal and has no militia.

    Posted by anonymous | February 20, 2011, 4:13 pm
  65. It didn’t take long for this blog to deteriorate. Danny with his fine, non-bigoted analysis, Anon showing his totally non-sectarian side, and GK showing his sweeping objectivity. One wonders why we have the country and leaders we do..

    Posted by Saint | February 20, 2011, 4:24 pm
  66. The Federal Republic of Lebanon !

    And preferably, without an overweight army orchestra in undersized costumes blaring out a cringing tune on trumpets, cymbals and a monotone drumbeat.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 20, 2011, 4:33 pm
  67. … and Benny Hill saluting the army parade 🙂

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 20, 2011, 4:36 pm
  68. A majority is not 50% + 1 … a majority is at least 2/3.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 20, 2011, 4:48 pm
  69. Saint,
    I never thought that we will ever have to revisit this issue again. May I humbly suggest that it appears that you have a very misguided interpretation of objectivity. I never intend to revisit this again but since you brought up the subject in a derogatory tone none the less allow me to posit this question:

    A graduate student submits an essay to a panel of professors who are expected to grade it objectively: How often would the panel of say three professors assign the same grade? The answer is rarely if ever. More likely than not the grades will be very far apart.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 20, 2011, 5:32 pm
  70. GK,

    I was alluding this statement of yours at the end of 61, ” …a group whose only reason [sic] d’etre is to stoke the fires of instability.”

    You are unusually more factual and much better than making such sweeping indictments. You can have your own opinion, to be sure, but you also always take the time to ask all of us to state the facts and back up our claims. You don’t care for them I understand, but such a blanket statement is not your common style, especially not after the earlier and much cooler, rational arguments with QN about the Lebanese constitution.

    Posted by Saint | February 20, 2011, 6:00 pm
  71. Some errors in the above post. This is better.

    GK,

    I was alluding to this statement of yours at the end of 61, ” …a group whose only reason [sic] d’etre is to stoke the fires of instability.”

    You are usually more factual and much better than making such sweeping indictments. You can have your own opinion, to be sure, but you also always take the time to ask all of us to state the facts and back up our claims. You don’t care for them I understand, but such a blanket statement is not your common style, especially not after the earlier and much cooler, rational arguments with QN about the Lebanese constitution.

    Posted by Saint | February 20, 2011, 6:02 pm
  72. Saint,

    It seems anyone who rips apart your sectarian Bovine Scatalogy and opposes your divine terrorist militia you jump and accuse them of being bigoted. I am tired of people who make excuses for the terrorist entity called Hizb allah!

    You wonder why Lebanon is going down the sewers? Ask the king nasrallah who dwells in a hole himself while sacrificing all Lebanese to achieve divine victory for his umma!

    Posted by danny | February 20, 2011, 6:56 pm
  73. Why do you guys bother to respond to the few HA operatives who think themselves making real contributions to QN’s site?

    If you read between the lines, you would discover that the comments are not actually directed to you (GK, Danny and I). In fact, they are directed to QN as a threat (typical HA technique that we have all become so familiar with). They are saying they are upset because they consider our criticism of their ‘revered’ demagogue as an ‘insult’. They also consider our criticism of their wretched ‘resistance’ as ‘politically’ incorrect from their perspective, and therefore they would want QN to enforce a rule of no criticism to such symbols which are so dear to them.

    Furthermore, they have the audacity to come back and lecture you (as in GK’s case) on factualism and objectivity.

    As far as I am concerned, I do not see why I should be arguing with an HA robot. Also, if I want to get the latest on HA’s demagoguery I can easily go to al-manar or al-akhbar and get any latest updates. Why should I visit QN to listen to demagogues? I can go directly to the source. So, what will QN lose if the robots all of a sudden switched off their batteries?

    Posted by anonymous | February 20, 2011, 7:16 pm
  74. a majority is 50% plus 1 do the maths

    Posted by Alberto Zeraik | February 20, 2011, 7:18 pm
  75. Alberto Einstein,

    Given a 3% margin of error, a 50% majority plus one hardly constitutes a majority.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 20, 2011, 7:45 pm
  76. HP and Prophet,

    It doesn’t matter whether or not Israel was planning it, at the end HA made the wrong move. Not to mention the illegality of it. Just plain facts.
    I don’t know if Israel wants to invade Lebanon. If I recall it right the only two times Israel did it was when it was invited by PLO in 1982 and by HA in 2006.

    I’m sure there are thousands of lebanese that are feed up with the political situation and the politicians. What prevents them to start changing it?
    What is it that we could do to help Lebanon overcome this vicious cycle?

    What the future holds for Lebanon? Our actions today will answer it. Don’t need to be afraid of the future just make sure you have something to do with it.

    About the Diaspora you have some good points, I know a few lebanese living in Brazil that fight during the civil war that say they don’t want to go back. they learned to live in peace with the difference. But I also know some that want to change it, to take their experience of living in a democratic, free, and coexistence society to Lebanon.

    Paz e prosperidade

    Posted by Alberto Zeraik | February 20, 2011, 7:56 pm
  77. Random

    It is 50% plus 1 of the validated votes. But anyway after you count the votes there is no margin of error….
    Do I need to draw it for you?

    Posted by Alberto Zeraik | February 20, 2011, 8:03 pm
  78. To The prophet #56

    A week prior to the 2006 HA-Israeli war, Hamas kidnapped one Israeli soldier, and guess what, a full blown war was engaged against the Gaza strip. So, kidnapping TWO Israeli soldiers a week later by HA should not lead to any war according to Nasrallah and his blind supporters!

    Even someone with a restarted IQ should have seen that war coming!

    Posted by LebanesePatriot | February 20, 2011, 8:06 pm
  79. QN, I do not think it is a problem with the Lebanese constitution. Although we call Lebanon a democracy, it is still ruled by de-facto religious groups.

    After the 2009 parliamentary elections, M14 won the majority. But even with that, the house speaker’s seat was left to the Shias to decide and they kind of agreed on Berri. The same issue we saw in November 2006, five Shia ministers resigned from the Seniora’s gov’t. No one but the Shias could select who will take their place.

    The problem now is clear, the Sunnis want to select the prime minister themselves.

    To have another sects like the Shia and Orthodox select the Sunni seat is unacceptable.

    Now to contradict myself…Even if Hariri was selected to be the PM, he cannot form a gov’t other than M8 ministers mainly! so he should not be a PM.

    Posted by LebanesePatriot | February 20, 2011, 8:20 pm
  80. Danny 58,
    Yes, Israel is a neighbor which we may have to live with; you want a peace agreement with Israel, which is not willing to do so, unless you agree to all o f its conditions. I also want to live in peace , and without the threat and aggression of that state; I’m happy with a non aggression agreement under international law. You don’t expect me to go from being an enemy to that state to a friend because of a piece of paper called peace agreement.
    Withdrawing from occupied territories is not enough for Lebanon to sign a peace agreement. Sixty year of killing, destruction and occupation need to be paid for by Israel, before you except Lebanese to consider peace agreement with Israel.
    The German have been paying for the atrocities of the Nazis for sixty years, why would not Israel pay for its atrocities?
    The day Israel decides to live like other countries, abiding by international laws, and being accountable under international laws, then Every thing else could be possible.
    Also the Palestinian refugee issue needs to be solved in a way to restore the rights of Palestinians. Give me a good formula for peace, without giving away any Lebanese rights, and I’ll go along with you.
    You go back to “Mahroumeen” so you can avoid explaining the lake of responsibility on part of our governments. Too bad, Lebanon has subsidized most of it responsibilities and duties. A resistance to defend it, Arab countries and Iran to build roads and hospitals, International court to bring in justice, Saudis to finance elections, and so on.lol
    Just because southerners are somewhat prosperous because of the money poring in from Lebanese living aboard, it does not relief our government from its responsibilities to build roads, hospitals, and other basic services.
    Lebanese should not have to rely on HA or Iran or Qatar to build the south, this is a Lebanese responsibility.

    Gassan, 61,
    You and I have killed this topic previously in our debate.
    As I said in a previous comment, it is an academic topic.
    None of the Israel statements, which were openly made by Israeli military and political officials, seems to satisfy you.
    Hopefully, in the future we all get more information.

    The point I was trying to make was that, Even if we agree that HA was wrong in kidnapping 2 soldiers, an all out war was not warranted.
    What ever contingency plan you are talking about, had in mind total destruction and killing of many people, regardless of what the excuse would have been. That plan, by itself, condemns the Israelis for its collective punishments plan, regardless.
    I wonder what reaction would you expect Lebanese to have next time Israel kidnaps a farmer. Does that mean, a war is warranted, and an attack should be taken against Israel next time it violates Lebanese airspace or boarder line?

    Posted by The prophet | February 20, 2011, 8:44 pm
  81. Prophet,

    Although I should let this go for the sake of the thread and the blog…Well I will engage you one more time.

    A. You Said:”you want a peace agreement with Israel, which is not willing to do so, unless you agree to all o f its conditions”

    Kindly enlighten me what are the restrictive “conditions” that Israel is trying ti impose on Lebanon.?

    B.You said: “Sixty year of killing, destruction and occupation need to be paid for by Israel, before you except Lebanese to consider peace agreement with Israel.

    Again kindly elaborate. If Lebanon allowed the PLO thugs as well as HA militia to kidnap and lob katyushas at Israel; did it not have a right to defend itself? How about asking HA to compensate for all Lebanese for 2006 war as well as 2008 May 7th among numerous others? please let us know what is your $$ value?

    C.You said:”Also the Palestinian refugee issue needs to be solved in a way to restore the rights of Palestinians.”

    If you are advocating a non sectarian society; then I presume you will not have an issue with granting all Palestinian refugees (I am going to guesstimate that over 80% were borne in Lebanon)Lebanese citizenship and or the right to emigrate where they wish.

    D.You said:’You go back to “Mahroumeen” so you can avoid explaining the lake of responsibility on part of our governments”

    Dude I am with you in the central governments abdication of its duties. Compared to the current state of affairs in Akkar it seems minuscule.. The past 20-25 years Amal along with HA have had a strong grip on the coffers of the Lebanese government with their cohorts of Assad family (the butchers of Damascus). Now why don’t you hold Berri and Nassrallah accountable?

    D.You said”Too bad, Lebanon has subsidized most of it responsibilities and duties. A resistance to defend it, Arab countries and Iran to build roads and hospitals, International court to bring in justice, Saudis to finance elections, and so on.lol

    No one asked HA and the Iranian Pasdaran to defend us! Have you EVER wondered where HA came up with all the cash US $$$ to “compensate” the dislocated after 2006 war? Did they own a printing shop? Iran is not building hospitals for the sake of “ouyoun el sood” of Lebanese. They have bought out a significant portion of the Lebanese Shias through HA by putting them on payroll.

    Yup only Saudis bankroll elections. No money from Qatar or Iran to coercion at the power of the gun by HA…No way God forbid.

    there is independent jurists in Lebanon because of sectarian system as well as militias like HA who try to intimidate people to get their way. (See the past four years in Lebanon).

    Lastly you said AGAIN:”Lebanese should not have to rely on HA or Iran or Qatar to build the south, this is a Lebanese responsibility.”

    Right on. But read my response above. May be you should ask Berri where on earth have the billions disappeared that had been allocated for the reconstruction of South through the years? Again…take a drive to the rest of Lebanon and let me know if the government really favored the North over the South!

    Sorry to all but this is the final rebuttal in this thread. I appreciate your indulgence.

    Posted by danny | February 20, 2011, 9:23 pm
  82. Unrelated, but I just wanted to say that that posting a few weeks back in which I said that Qaddafi was clearly safe precisely because he was so evil that challenging him was suicide, yeah, that posting was made by my twin brother who used my name and e-mail. I, of course, saw all this coming.

    Seriously though, I’ve got to give the Libyan people a lot of credit for shear bravery. To be sure, protesters have been killed in Tunisia, Egypt, Iran and Bahrain, but I read the articles now and wonder who are these people who participate in funeral marches knowing damn well that they are likely to get shot at. It’s one of the most impressive things I’ve seen from a country, like, ever.

    Posted by Abraham Rotsapsky | February 20, 2011, 9:37 pm
  83. I will try to divert the thread to something more comical than this circular and futile debate with the robots of HA.

    RE: the rule of 50% + 1 and the margin of error.

    Albert Einstein did not meet W. J. Otherwise A.E. would have given the issue a lot more thinking,

    Posted by anonymous | February 20, 2011, 9:47 pm
  84. Two down and seven to go might soon become three down and six to go. Wouldn’t it be grand if the move towards democracy, diversity and freedom is to finally take root in the Arab world?
    Many of us have been calling for an “Arab awakening” a Gdansk moment or an Arab Berlin wall for a while. But if the revolution is to uproot the ruling structures in each of the Arab countries then why do we count only 9 dictators instead of 21? Well , in my case , at least, I think a radical change in the big 9 will force tyhe others in the Gulf including Iraq and Lebanon to change also. The smaller countries are more dependent on their surroundings and none of them ic strong enough to impose its beliefs but each of them will not be able to resist the tide to change and reform once that becomes the dominant form in the region.

    Yet inspite of all of this I have been struggling to explain the difference between what is going in in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and the lack of any change in Lebanon. After a lot of soul searching I believe that to a large extent one can explain the respective differences between any of the majors and Lebanon as follows. In a major country such as Egypt or possibly Libya the power is concentrated in one person at the top of the pyramid. That single person embodies all powers in the country. This concentration of power is akin to that of a pure monopolist who is free to exploit and abuse the consumers/citizens. Lebanon on the other hand is closer to what Galbraith called the “counter vailing power” structure.This would be akin to a pure monopolist in one field but the monopolist is not free to exploit , restrict and abuse since this monopolist faces an equally powerful monopolist on the other side of the enterprise. The interaction between these two monopolists will result in a solution somewhere in between what each of them would have liked to do. Theoretically the solution could be a total negation of the power of each and thus the citizen/consumer will contend with a solution that could be rather beneficial. A good example of this would be say an automotive giant who would have liked to impose its will on tire manufacturers but if the automotive giant faces a rubber giant then none of them would be in a position to exploit the other and the consumer will benefit.
    Michael Young, of the Daily Star, has dealt with the issue of relative personal freedom in the Lebanese public square by attributing that success to the inability of any of the major sects to impose its own will unhindered. That is exactly what a countervailing power does.
    But this above argument , although it does leed to good outcomes, is just as badly in need of reform as any of the other soingle power dictatorships for the simple reason that the solution of the interaction between the oligopolists can never be determined in advance and if it does turn out to be efficient then that would be pureley accidental. The system cannot guarantee efficiency/freedom and so the need to change and the need to adopt a fairer more competitive system is just as acute as in the case of a pure monopolist/dicatorship. Our task is even more difficult than it was for the Tunisians and the Egyptians who had to organize against the person on top of the pyramid in an effort to uproot the regime that he represents. In Lebanon, we do not have that luxury, we have to organize against and get rid of the people at the top of a number of smaller pyramids whose individual constituents regard only the opposing pyramids as corrupt and inefficient. Each constituency appears to be relatively satisfied with its own mini pyramid and concentrates on blaming the opposing power structures. This problem fits very well the line from Luke:
    “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite”

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 20, 2011, 11:44 pm
  85. Anon-

    Your belief that a demand for factuality and objectivity is a threat to QN tells me that you are more of a lunatic than I previously thought. Your other silly and comic claims cannot be dignified with a response. Your condition keeps deteriorating.

    Posted by Saint | February 20, 2011, 11:51 pm
  86. QN,
    I hope you are not loosing patience with me and danny for deviating form the topic of the thread.lol Last response on this topic.lol
    danny 81,
    1-Remember May17 peace treaty and the conditions it was supposed to put Lebanon under?
    2-Remember the early nineties negotiations?
    3-I wonder if any one asked the southerners for their opinion on the Cairo agreement ,which allowed the PLO to operate from Lebanon.
    4-Prior to the arrival(48 TO 67) of the PLO to Lebanon, Lebanon had been the victim of many Israelis massacres and attacks.If you know(and you ignored) that , it is a problem, and if you don’t know that ,it’s a bigger problem.
    5-HA was created after 82 invasion, as you may know.
    6-I have no problem granting any Palestinian ,who does not wish to return, a Lebanese citizen.
    7- just to be fair to the Shiia marjaaieh in Iraq, most of themoney HA used for compensation, came form Najaf(sistani)
    8-what ever reason Iran , Qatar,Saudi Arabia may have, it is still no excuse for the incompetence of our government to rely and allow for that to happen.
    I’ve always said that all Lebanese are like whores, and most of the time ,cheap whores.
    9-Berri? DO YOU WANT ME TO START?LOL
    It is obvious that you have not read all my comments about warlords and their criminalities and corruption.
    My disdain for Lebanese politicians,AND especially warlords is well known,I won’t allow the thought of them to ruin my good mood.
    Again,QN, end of this discussion.lol

    Posted by The prophet | February 20, 2011, 11:53 pm
  87. Guess what demagogues and their robots resort to when they see their ‘divine’ edifice collapsing.

    Posted by anonymous | February 21, 2011, 1:06 am
  88. I read your last comment GK with full attention.

    I concluded from your comment that article j of the preamble to the Lebanese constitution is Lebanon’s best hope. Here it is for your future reference,

    “There is no constitutional legitimacy for any authority which contradicts the ‘pact of communal coexistence’.”

    Posted by anonymous | February 21, 2011, 1:21 am
  89. Prophet # 56

    An armed force crossing a border to kill a handful of soldiers as well as kidnapping two soldiers is an aggression against a sovereign state. What happens after that aggression can vary, depending on the decisions of the politicians, but if the decision is to go to war then one should not come afterwards and say, “sorry, we didn’t intend to step on your sovereignty”. And as you say, this was not the first time. Maybe HA should count themselves lucky for their previous breaches of Lebanese sovereignty not resulting in a war. In any case, saying that previous similar missions did not result in a war does not logically imply that future missions of this sort will not end up in war. HA overplayed their hand. They planned and executed the mission on Israeli territory. It is not unreasonable to conceive that they should be faulted as well.

    With the same logic, Israel could count itself lucky that Syria did not declare war after the bombing of the supposedly nuclear reactor. Israel, apparently, did not overplay its hand. Fingerspitzengefühl…

    Posted by Pas Cool | February 21, 2011, 2:45 am
  90. Of course, it should say Israeli sovereignty. I still have not had the luxury of a cup of coffee this morning.

    Although, breaching “Lebanese” sovereignty is not entirely wrong, of course depending on your political views.

    Posted by Pas Cool | February 21, 2011, 2:47 am
  91. Who won, Prophet or danny?

    Posted by Honest Patrior | February 21, 2011, 5:12 am
  92. One wonders if there is hope for Lebanon…
    With sick racist bigoted Lebanese Patriots like anonymous who can barely hide his or her venomous feelings toward the Shia’a stopping short of calling them all “Koffar” a la Abu Mos3ab al Zarqawi, who thinks “article j of the preamble to the Lebanese constitution is Lebanon’s best hope” but doesn’t tell us how he plans to coexist with the “Shia’a nightmare”. who still bases arguments on statements such as “the Sunnis who are perhaps the largest component of the population” who is immoral and shameless enough to claim there is no corruption in Bahrain and justifies the massacres there by alluding that the demonstrators are Shia thus they are instigated by Iran and serve the Iranians.
    And this sicko lives in Canada or the USA where he should have learned what democracy is all about.
    and this is only a tiny example.. sure there is hope.

    Posted by V | February 21, 2011, 6:50 am
  93. The Lebanese – Israeli history told by Prophet, like most histories, is one sided.

    Now few observations from the other side. It was not a simple story of total Lebanese victimology.

    During 14-15 of May 1948 the Lebanese Army invaded the north of Israel, in a joint invasion with other countries, aiming to destroy Israel. There was a bitter battle on the border which ended in a standstill.

    At about that time the whole border between Israel and Lebanon was breached by the Lebanese and armed people weapons and ammunitions were moving freely from Lebanon to the Galilee. At about 6 June 1948 a “resistence” force, the “salvation forces” based, orgenized and commanded from Lebanon invaded the central Galilee and occupied it, basing its forward headquarter in Nazaret. The main bases were in Lebanon and it was supplied armed and commanded from Lebanon. From that base in the Galilee the Lebanese “resistence” forces conducted several bloody battles with the IDF even sending unites into central Israel. It was the first time ever for a Lebanese military forces to invade and occupy another country. Between 8-15 July the IDF started to push these invaders back. Their base in Nazaret was occupid after some serious fighting. Between october 28-31 the invaders were pushed back completely into Lebanon. After fighting, some Lebanese land was occupied. In 23.03.49 Lebanon and Israel signed a armistice and Israel returned back to the so called, presently, blue linee. Lebanon was invaded only after it atacked and invaded Israel partly using what is now called “resistence forces”.

    Posted by Rani Hazbani | February 21, 2011, 7:21 am
  94. Pas Cool,

    I agree with your #89. Nasrallah already apologized for his actions.

    The question is, what will be his excuse should he repeat his same mistake. Me thinks this Jihadist and “Resistance Peddlar” can’t change his colours.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5291420.stm

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 21, 2011, 8:02 am
  95. Anon #88,
    Yes the various sects must coexist but change in Lebanon is more difficult than in the single power states since the members of each group are hesitant to undertake radical changes within their “religious tribe” fearing that other “religious tribes” will not do so.
    The Lebanese need to become comfortable with the idea of secularism or separation. They have to understand that secularism is not as most think, an anti religious faith concept. On the contrary it guarantees freedom of religion but asks that personal faith or even lack of it should not be a prerequisite for any jobs, appointments, elected offices, public contracts etc… No nation can rise without a feeling of citizenship but this idea of “mouwatineeah” has proven to be an elusive path.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 21, 2011, 9:07 am
  96. Maybe a special tribunal should be set up to see who really instigated the 2006 war. Does it matter now? Both sides have dangerous ideologies, both are intent on wiping the other out,both wage war in the name of defence. Both need each other for existential reasons,try explaining that to the victims.

    Posted by maverick | February 21, 2011, 10:28 am
  97. Ya shabab, Allah ykhallikon rou2o 3a sabri. 🙂

    Translation: Chill out. Be nice to each other. New post coming this afternoon.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 21, 2011, 10:39 am
  98. Sorry for the typo in my moniker in 91 (Patrior!). New cell phone!
    Also, QN, if you got a bunch of reposts of the same thing from me, sorry. If you did I assume (hope) you just deleted them.
    Finally, just to be clear, I have nothing to do with “Lebanese Patriot” as I’m sure is obvious from the style and content of the postings (not that I have any issue with LP whatsover, just making sure we are not confused.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | February 21, 2011, 10:55 am
  99. Jonathon,
    You can’t expect the Lebanese to stand outside their zaims house and demand that he step down.who is going to protect them? Who is going to feed them? Represent them?
    Zaims are by and large a product of the Lebanese system and social fabric. They are necessary evils.
    Instead of echoing the tireless blame game directed at the zaims,I’d rather get to the root of the problem and point the finger at the way Lebanon is governed . Don’t hate the player,hate the game.
    By no means is this rant in defence of the zuama, I dream of the day that zaims are a thing of the past,much like this M8 vs. M14 farce.
    Just reality scares me in believing things will remain the same for a long time to come,only with different labels,…the ugly truth is those who uphold this system is the people themselves. Identity is everything. Sects and confessions hold the highest share when it comes to belonging,a sense of enormous pride…and it is this that keeps Lebanon a lodge lodge of groupings , most having tasted persecution, saw Lebanon as a refuge….they still do….only now these groups have claimed fiefdoms their own,keeping a suspicious eye on the other,and maintaining the culture of fear….and thus the sail is born, revered,idolised….
    The issue with Lebanon is not politics,its anthropology. Politics is the entertainer of the masses, sticking a band aid on the open wound .
    Revolution in Lebanon starts by shattering the barricades of fear from the “other”.

    Posted by maverick | February 21, 2011, 11:13 am
  100. Damn smart phones,that’s hodge podge,not lodge lodge,and zaims not sail…in the last post.

    Posted by maverick | February 21, 2011, 11:18 am
  101. HP,

    I thought that was Hercule Poirot. 😀

    QN,

    Wallaw we are always nice. Politics requires thick skin. 😀

    Prophet…Just because you think the prior “negotiations” didn’t bear fruit; it doesn’t mean a country should be held hostage to a theocratic party that is hell bent in their allegiance to Iran. HA has “forbidden” Lebanon from negotiating a treaty or a peace deal with Israel as they will lose their raison d’aitre if Lebanon is at peace with its neighbors!
    As for where the sacks of US $$$ came from…Well it was Nasrallah who proudly announced that it was from Iran!

    Waiting for the next QN post…

    Posted by danny | February 21, 2011, 11:55 am
  102. Can the Saudis kick out the Saudis ?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 21, 2011, 12:08 pm
  103. How do you topple a 7,000 member family mafia ?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 21, 2011, 12:42 pm
  104. Isn’t it ludicrous when the exploiters abusers and butchers accuse the freedom fighters of being hooligans and go as far as to threaten them with death and destruction?
    Saif Al Islam is acting as if his legal inheritance is being taken away from him. How despicable and shameless can some be?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 21, 2011, 1:02 pm
  105. Let’s hope this Saif of evil and tyranny hangs with his father for their crimes. some news media is saying the clown is on his way to Venezuela! Who else would have him but a similar clown?

    Posted by V | February 21, 2011, 1:13 pm
  106. GK,

    Just look around you.

    JFK was groomed for what? Bush ?

    When it *pays* to be in government … you send your kid to law school.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 21, 2011, 1:19 pm
  107. to Honest Patriot #99

    Thank you for the clarifications. I have been reading this forum for a while. This is the first time I post a comment.

    Posted by LebanesePatriot | February 21, 2011, 1:28 pm
  108. RTOTD #107′
    I enjoy your witty observations just as much or even more than most but sadly I do not think that this is one of them. Nepotism is never to be encouraged but I am sure that you are not suggesting that JFK and Saif Al Islam are on the same level or even in the same planet. At least I hope that you are not.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 21, 2011, 1:38 pm
  109. GK,RTOTD

    Not to stir things up, but isn’t the Kennedy dynasty the closest American analog to Lebanese za’aama?

    Posted by J of Chalcedon | February 21, 2011, 1:57 pm
  110. GK,

    Off course not!

    Saif hasn’t run for office and won yet, has he?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 21, 2011, 2:02 pm
  111. J of C,

    Thank you.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 21, 2011, 2:04 pm
  112. J of C
    I guess that we have crossed into the realm of the absurd. How can you possibly equate anything short of feudal lords with Lebanese Za’amah? Your attempt to find similarities between lightning and a lightning bug are amusing. Why am I even responding to these silly ramblings?:-)

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 21, 2011, 2:12 pm
  113. Cousin Lebanese Patriot, Cheers!

    Honest Patriot 🙂

    Posted by Honest Patriot | February 21, 2011, 2:13 pm
  114. It amusing when some compare US politicians their values, what they uphold and stand for or the legal and constitutional rules they abide by to illiterate Arab thugs, dictators and their regimes or even funnier a comparison to Lebanese Beiks n Sheikhs and warlords. I don’t think Bush, JFK or anyone in the states has the ability to kill and jail opponents or roll the army tanks down Pennsylvania avenue to hold on to power beyond the 8 year limit or to avoid impeachment by congress.
    We wish we had any such American caliber in Lebanon or the Arab world, we wouldn’t be where we are ya msha7ar

    Posted by V | February 21, 2011, 2:19 pm
  115. Ghassan,

    Read your long comment about why Lebanon would or wouldn’t follow suit with the current Arab “awakening”.
    I made the statement a few days ago that Lebanon would be last to follow in that stead. I stand by that. You pretty much hit on the same rationale I have: Lebanon is too fractious for any unity to display itself.
    Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, all display a sense of unity among the people, and a common enemy: the regime. Not so in Lebanon.
    For an “awakening” to happen in Lebanon, you’d need to have the Aounis and LF guys side together to demand Geagea and Aoun leave, for example (imagine that!). And similar for all the other sects, and then for all sects to unite together too and not fear another sect taking all the spoils, and so on. Tall order.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 21, 2011, 2:24 pm
  116. GK,

    Admittedly, it’s a stretch, and the different contexts mean everything.

    But a white “Irish” wage-earner in the Boston extraurbs between 1950-1990 might as well have been in Lebanon. A house with significant influence on the church, and control over the process that you supposedly own, dishes out jobs and controls every administrative dealing that you’re unlucky enough to suffer.

    Sure, you could have gone Republican, but only if you wanted to waste a vote or were playing a very, very long game. I get that the basis of politics is much different, but at times local conditions breed these kinds of similarities.

    Posted by J of Chalcedon | February 21, 2011, 2:25 pm
  117. maverick,

    There are a few actions that could help minor the fear of the end of sectarism.
    Direct vote for president;
    The public jobs should be occupied through public concourse, the best will get the job;
    Forbid nepotism in all levels;
    Some of them a easy to implement and can make a big difference.

    Posted by Alberto Zeraik | February 21, 2011, 2:28 pm
  118. GK,

    *Dynasty* was probably the Zeitgeist TV show of this era 🙂

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 21, 2011, 2:30 pm
  119. … or was it “Dallas”?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 21, 2011, 2:33 pm
  120. So much for Lebanese superiority over the Arabs we’ve proven the most Sheeple so far, i am just so happy we are being exposed.
    Can’t wait for the day Syria is liberated and we’re still worshiping Jumblatt Aoun Berri Nasralla Geagea and Hariri how many jokes would float around about the dumb Lebanese.
    Asaad Abukhalil is so right when he describes Lebanon as “Miskh el watan”

    Posted by V | February 21, 2011, 2:37 pm
  121. RTOTD,

    In Turkey, it’s actually even more nuanced: post-coup media deregulation allowed people to pick between Dallas and Falcon Crest, both weirdly dubbed, with blondes as the ultimate signifier of money/sex. There’s a book to be written about this. Apologies in advance for not reading it.

    Posted by J of Chalcedon | February 21, 2011, 2:39 pm
  122. V,

    Precisely. That was the gist of my argument as well not too long ago.
    We (Lebanese) should be the butt of every Arab joke. Must be nice living in denial and ignorance though.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 21, 2011, 2:41 pm
  123. LOL … Brilliant JC !

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 21, 2011, 2:42 pm
  124. I’ll start with the Lebanese jokes. (Actually it’s not really a joke, it’s just sad):

    Who has the slowest internet speeds in the entire world????

    That’s right. Lebanon does.

    THE ENTIRE WORLD!

    http://nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=242751

    Lebanon ranks 185 out of 185 countries….

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 21, 2011, 2:45 pm
  125. This couldn’t be more sad (and on topic, considering the Sri Lankan bit in there).

    Countries with a faster (and in all probability cheaper) internet capability include Afghanistan, a failed state, at 158; Iraq, a country still finding its feet and plagued by violence, at 178th; and the Palestinian Territories, a divided country with Gaza’s infrastructure regularly blown to smithereens by the Israeli army, at 147th. Sri Lanka, a country that is the butt of Lebanese jokes and one perceived as being populated entirely by domestic staff, is 153rd in the global rankings.

    Enough said.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 21, 2011, 2:47 pm
  126. BV,

    So ?

    At least I haven’t had anyone hijack my “slow” connection.

    Trust me … even Hassan Nassrallah is smarter than doing that 🙂

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 21, 2011, 2:51 pm
  127. Hassan Nassrallah has his own (and probably much faster) connection, on his own private network. He doesn’t need your slow-ass connection 🙂

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 21, 2011, 2:56 pm
  128. BV,

    To do what ? Download porn?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 21, 2011, 2:59 pm
  129. Probably.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 21, 2011, 2:59 pm
  130. BV,

    The slowest internet!!? this must be a conspiracy.

    Aounis will blame the Wahabi Saudis, the Hariris will blame Iran and the Shia, the Berris will blame Lybia the Nasrallahs will blame the Zionists and the USA and the Geageaists will blame Syria!:)

    Posted by V | February 21, 2011, 3:01 pm
  131. LOL

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 21, 2011, 3:01 pm
  132. How can we get Ricky Gervais on this blog?

    The stuff on here is just magic 🙂

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 21, 2011, 3:08 pm
  133. We don’t need Ricky Gervais. We’re Lebanese! We’re funnier than he can ever hope to be.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 21, 2011, 3:23 pm
  134. Life is a tragicomical play after all …

    Who’d have thought, Mr. S ?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 21, 2011, 3:33 pm
  135. May the true force always be with you ….

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 21, 2011, 4:47 pm
  136. The Lybians want to bring the King back.

    There’ll be no democracy. So do not hold your breath.

    But Moammar is using the airforce and the artillary to keep his green revolution.

    Posted by anonymous | February 21, 2011, 5:02 pm
  137. I don’t think anybody said anything about bringing back a king. Too early to tell anyway what would replace Ghaddafi.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 21, 2011, 5:10 pm
  138. Walt Disney?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 21, 2011, 5:18 pm
  139. You’re not following BV. I am telling you they want the king back. It is already in the news and they raised the old flag in place of the green flag. Perhaps they have no other options. There is no army similar to Egypt to play a similar role. Alternative is tribal war or protracted civil war.

    I just saw your stupid comment V. Get lost will you?

    Posted by anonymous | February 21, 2011, 5:35 pm
  140. I know they raised the old flag. But my guess is that it’s more about having a symbol other than the one of the Gammahiriyah, since that personifies Ghaddafi.
    I hardly imagine these 20 year olds are yearning for the days of monarchy (which none of which are familiar with, since it was long before they or their parents were even born).
    That’s just my guess, clearly. But I think you may be jumping the gun by labeling these protesters as “wanting the king back”.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 21, 2011, 5:46 pm
  141. Now THIS is interesting.

    Tunisia on Monday formally asked Saudi Arabia to extradite Leila Trabelsi, the wife of ousted strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, TAP news agency reported, quoting a Tunisia Foreign Ministry official. (Now Lebanon)

    So far, each Arab country has done its own thing, vis a vis these revolts. And no one has had to officially “take sides” in someone else’s revolt.
    Now, the Saudis are going to have to decide whether to give up Ben Ali to a fellow Arab justice system, or whether to continue harboring him and risk starting some kind of “rift” between Arab countries.
    And I foresee more of this stuff coming, as more regimes fall. Will the remaining ones side with the old regimes, or will they attempt to embrace the new ones?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 21, 2011, 5:51 pm
  142. It doesn’t matter BV if they’re 20 something or 50 something. The Sanoussi culture (followin) is very much alive in Libya. Ask any Libyan expatriate if you can get hold of one. My Libyan sources tell me exactly the same.

    And I am making a prediction here. There will be no democracy in Libya.

    Posted by anonymous | February 21, 2011, 5:59 pm
  143. Alright. I know very little about that stuff. So I’ll take your word for it, and we’ll see how your prediction turns out.

    I reiterate, it’s far too early to talk about “democracy” just yet.
    Neither Tunisia or Egypt are “democracies” at this point.
    One has to take the long view and see what kinds of systems emerge from all this in 5-10 years.

    The parallel here is that of Eastern Europe in the mid 90s. Not all of those countries became democracies immediately. Some had violent transitions (Romania), where communists took over in the end, before gradually transitioning to a more open system later on.
    Some had pretty quick turnarounds to democracy.
    etc.

    What happens in a week or two in the Arab world is ultimately not the end all be all.
    It’s what transpires over the next decade that’s going to really matter.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 21, 2011, 6:14 pm
  144. I am not the author of the attached and I have not had a chance to ask the author for permission to reveal his name. Yet I thought that this is very relevant to what is going on in the ME and that many of the readers of this space will find the post interesting since it is an Iranian view of the dare I call it again a “tsunami”.

    BV, I share your skepticism . I don’t think that an army, any army, is a force of change .

    “The Houses of Cards of the tyrants, one after another, are imploding onto their own grotesque weights in quick sands of the Middle East and North Africa, as we speak….

    And as to Iran, well, although we are ex-patriots of the place of our birth and as such may only serve as ex-offcio for the internal developments inside the country, and as ultimately shaped by the native people for the people the diverse nation of Iran; nonetheless, we should continue playing a facilitating role toward their realizing the ultimate goals.

    One may opine that Iranians have not yet coalesced around a central theme to work for thus far, nor do they really have leadership coalitions to whom they all look up to. And yet, ever since the 1906 Constitution ratification era, there are a number of topics consensual by all Iranians yearning to achieve them. The following words and phrases, not all exclusive, immediately come to mind:

    Justice, equity, equality, sovereignty, independence, security, transformations, religious reformations, peace, modernization (and not necessarily westernization), individual rights and democracy, free election, new Constitutions, referendum, Habeas corpus and due process, transparency and accountability, sustainable development and intergenerational equity……….

    Does anyone know if these projects have been worked on, and if so, a group or a center has truly transformed them into working documents and processes to implement them, especially during an inevitable transition?

    For instance,
    1. Is there a provisional transitionery care taker to ensure things do not once again go sour or bitter per se?
    2. Do we know what the process of referendum, and or the actual various drafts of the constitutions might look like?
    3. Has there been a list of the key official of the IRI regime and their complete information and the nature of their crimes, so that in due time, they are tried according to international laws and statutes, they are given due process and objectively tired to face their verdicts?
    4. Is there any mechanism by which to give a degree of amnesty to the basijis and Pasdars and security forces at the medium to lowest levels, in effect to drive a wedge between them and their bosses and lynchpins, so that they keep the possible genocides to a minimum?”

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 21, 2011, 7:38 pm
  145. Ghassan,

    I did not say I was skeptical. I am simply saying that revolutions are messy and do not lead to democracy overnight. Specially when there is no structure and institution in place to take over once a Tyrant and his regime fall.
    Often times, throughout history, what you see is a succession of quick transitional governments, some military, some not, coups, and countercoups, until the situation eventually stablilizes and a nation figures out how to govern itself.

    The end result is, usually, indeed “democracy”, or something along those lines. But there is a period of growing pains first.

    I don’t expect Tunisia or Egypt to be models of what we consider “democracy” right away. This stuff takes time.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 21, 2011, 7:51 pm
  146. Ghassan,

    I believe it will take the Iranians quite sometime before they can succeed in challenging the status quo.

    Even though the Arab regimes were criminal tyrants, no one yet truly understands the real tyranny of the mullah regime. The Iranians are facing a much more sophisticated tyrannical band of thugs than all the Arabs combined.

    On another note, HNA may soon find himself in a difficult situation and that doesn’t have to do only with STL indictments. The Libyan revolutionaries may reveal information on the fate of the late Mr. Musa Sadr which may implicate a certain branch of the Iranian mullahs associated with the hizzies.

    But HNA will of course explain that by simply saying that the Libyan revolution has been politicised and that false witnesses were involved. I bet you all his followers will nod affirmatively.

    Posted by anonymous | February 21, 2011, 7:54 pm
  147. Well, everyone knows the Libyan revolution is a product of the Zionists and CIA. Right?

    (sarcasm alert)

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 21, 2011, 8:02 pm
  148. BV #148,
    You will noit believe this. But I just read on a Lebanese FB a very serious statement in which the poster is questioning why is Israel helping Gaddafi by sending its Air Force to strafe the Libyan protesters. I am not making this up.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 21, 2011, 9:21 pm
  149. What is Lebanese FB Ghassan?

    By the way things are turning very dramatic in Libya. A Fatwa from high up to kill Moammar has been issued. Is this guy trying to find himself a Khomeini-type role? Hope not.

    But the Libyans are very serious on getting rid of Moammar.

    http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/D3696091-53BC-4B97-AC40-DEEFBEC1041B.htm?GoogleStatID=9

    They say Moammar made a speech tonight. Does anyone have a link? As far as I know they say that Moammar and his Sword offered a Jamahiriya phase II or else partition of Libya.

    Did anyone hear Clinton’s pathetic condemnation of the full fledged massacre?

    Posted by anonymous | February 21, 2011, 10:30 pm
  150. anon,
    The Libyan lunatic continues with his antics. The whole speech was a 40 second appearance in a van or SUV . He simply stated that he is still in Libya to fight the dogs.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 21, 2011, 10:51 pm
  151. Qadafi looked like He was on the run. Very short ,and poorly orchestrated appearance.It shows how unsafe He feels ,That He can’t sit still in one place in order to deliver a live speech .
    While on the Libyan topic,CNN’s John Vause talked to “Libya expert” Khalil Matar on the recent uprising in Libya.
    This guy said the most idiotic things .He literary repeated what Qaddafi’s sun said yesterday about Libya turning to an Al-Qadia type country if Qaddafi is ousted.
    CNN needs to do better than bringing in a guy who wrote a book about “Lockerbie and Libya” as a expert on Libya.
    This guy sounded like the biggest idiot I have ever heard.

    Posted by The prophet | February 21, 2011, 11:12 pm
  152. But, what is Lebanese FB Ghassan?

    Posted by anonymous | February 21, 2011, 11:22 pm
  153. anon,
    Its just a Lebanese account on Facebook 🙂

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 21, 2011, 11:26 pm
  154. Thanks GK.

    Posted by anonymous | February 21, 2011, 11:30 pm
  155. Point of clarification about Libya,

    there are autonomous zones of Control in internal politics in Libya, so qaddafi only controls foreign policy and some trade agreements. There are officially enforced salary ceilings and some kind of economic distribution models in place. all this to say that Libya is not Egypt or Tunis… this is an internal struggle since local autonomy merely masqueraded tribal control. Let us not talk about democracy vs. Dictatorship in local Libya politics. the only thing qadafi controlled are foreign policy, major international trade and intelligence and assassination powers. The Libya people are living under a more democratic system than many Arab countries and definitely more egalitarian economic systems. This a tribal awakening…

    Posted by parrhesia | February 22, 2011, 12:17 am
  156. Apologies for the horrid spelling and the interrupted message about Libya. Special interest allied with tribal coalitions are behind what is happening in Libya and not the People. While it would be great to see qaddafi go, I wonder if what is at issue here is insuring a more effective way of opposing and exploiting the general population.

    Posted by parrhesia | February 22, 2011, 12:33 am
  157. Re govt formation, I’m in agreement with BV (comment #29)

    http://www.ph2dot1.com/2011/02/misc-update-vi.html

    Posted by Tosk59 | February 22, 2011, 12:48 am
  158. It looks like you’re under estimating the level of popular portests parhesia. They are more wide spread than you seem to think

    http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/D722BE9C-F5E1-429C-91EE-F351162ACBAC.htm?GoogleStatID=9

    Also see here,

    http://www.arabmonitor.info/news/dettaglio.php?idnews=33019&lang=en

    I would also assume that the Jalloud tribe (the magariha tribe) sides with the revolutionaries. This would be the most powerful tribe in the country. Ghaddafi would be left with his own tribe.

    Speaking of the people of Libya, that is all there is to it. The few tribes that are at the center of it. After all Ghaddafi came to power through the support of the Jalloud tribe. But things went sour after 1990 and also due to Lockerbie.

    So Ghaddafi may be willing to fight to the last man of his tribe, or may be he would like to secure a chunk of the country for himself and his sons.

    But to call his regime egalitarian… please give me a break. Have you met any Libyan exiles?

    Posted by anonymous | February 22, 2011, 1:31 am
  159. I do not disagree, anonymous, about the lack of tribal support for Qaddafi, but we disagree on the economic egalitarianism underlying the current political system. Following the demise of the SANOUSI and ever since Libya has been the prime international example of autonomy politics (local councils governance) and limits were instituted on the earnings of the benghazi merchant class. regular working. people. have benefited in cities and tribal. control soon replaced workers’ control. the emerges represent a small elite. the popular uprising represents tribal attempts at changing government’s economic structures and working people would suffer if neoliberalism and corporatism become the dominant economic paradigm.

    Posted by parrhesia | February 22, 2011, 2:58 am
  160. Damn spell-checkingt! Emigres Not EMERGES are a minority old elite or new political class elites.

    Posted by parrhesia | February 22, 2011, 3:02 am
  161. This talk of “throwing out” the zuama in Lebanon seems strange. They each have constituencies within which they have political legitimacy, and the corollary of that is that any effort to throw them out would be highly sectarian, or at the very least (say in the case of Maronite vs Maronite) highly divisive. Lebanon is quite simply an exception to what is happening in the rest of the Arab world. Though Iraq’s sorry tale suggests that Lebanon may represent how democracy will (not) function immediately in some of the more pluralist Arab countries. Lebanon’s imperfect democracy requires considerable reform, but revolution makes no sense.

    In my view, a significant step would be to set up a two-tier parliamentary system, with an upper house based on fully proportional representation. This would not address the issue of cabinet formation, but it would be a relatively easy way to bring in proportional representation without requiring major concessions from current power-brokers (i.e. without requiring the turkeys to vote for Christmas).

    Posted by Jonathan | February 22, 2011, 4:05 am
  162. Michel Aoun’s press conference tonight and Kadafi’s endless speech (still going)is punishment enough! Two madmen in one night is more than anyone should have to put up with. I fear the next 24 hours will be extremely bloody for the Libyans, I sure hope that I am wrong.

    Posted by marillionlb | February 22, 2011, 1:04 pm
  163. Ghassan,

    Sadly, I am not surprised about your “Israeli jets helping Ghaddafi”.
    The degree of stupidity some people exhibit has no limit. None.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 22, 2011, 1:39 pm
  164. marillionlb

    You are courageous!

    I’d rather listen to screeching chalk than GMA on TV.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 22, 2011, 1:40 pm
  165. It remains to be seen how Israel will deal with the Iranians war ships off the coast of Syria.

    This is not a very good situation, is it?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 22, 2011, 1:53 pm
  166. The claim that Israeli jets were helping Gaddafi came initially from a Libyan anti-government protester Al-Jazeera was interviewing(I was watching it live at that time). He claimed that he could tell the planes were F-16 or F-18 types rather than the Migs Libya has. The Lebanese blogger probably picked it up from there (an absurd statement nevertheless)

    Posted by Saint | February 22, 2011, 1:56 pm
  167. Random,

    Welcome to the New Middle East. Iran is not violating any law here. Maybe pursuing real peace is not a bad idea right now…

    Posted by Saint | February 22, 2011, 2:02 pm
  168. Cuban missile crises moment for the Israeli Govt.?

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 22, 2011, 2:18 pm
  169. RTOTD

    Even after having raised a few elbows with my friend Macallan I am still not capable of digesting the huge amounts of gibberish I listened to tonight.
    Over 6 months ago, it finally struck me that doing business locally (in Lebanon that is) was a gamble I could no longer afford; so I invested in Egypt (Cairo and Sharm El Sheikh) whilst keeping my business here as is, and not expanding. Well needless to say my worries have now doubled. The crossing of the two Iranian warships through the Suez Canal only adds to my frustration with regards to my vested interest in both Lebanon and Egypt. Coupled with Hassouna, our Divine protector’s reference to reclaiming Galilee, I tend to have a very pessimistic view of the near future.
    I guess that as long as Israel and Iran will not engage in a game of “bataille navale”, I will just have ride this wave and wait and see. In the meantime interests on loans will have to be paid.

    Posted by marillionlb | February 22, 2011, 2:18 pm
  170. I’m more worried of a couple of rockets flying into Israel from Lebanon, or some pretense for Israel to stretch its muscles, by slapping “Lebanon” across the face .. while the Iranian fleet is 200 miles away.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 22, 2011, 2:27 pm
  171. @Saint,
    Yes Iran is not violating any laws, but what about the timing?

    Since 1979 they never felt the need to cross the Canal?

    What is the purpose of such an common exercise between Syria and Iran?

    Were the two ships “inspected” before entry into the Canal?

    The purpose behind such “arrogance” is not very “catholic” in my humble opinion.

    Posted by marillionlb | February 22, 2011, 2:27 pm
  172. Good for Israel. Good for Iran. Good for Assad. Good for SHN.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 22, 2011, 2:29 pm
  173. Arab League suspends Libya.
    Well that’s interesting…Mainly because it’s kind of a “new” Arab League?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 22, 2011, 2:41 pm
  174. Random-

    IMO, this is good for all of us.

    Anything that adds to Israel feeling more vulnerable is a good thing. They are in no position to open any fronts right now, and the future looks only bleaker for them. For those who care about the Palestinians and would like to see some resolution for this conflict so that the rest of us can live in peace, any development where we have a more evenhanded balance of power will help convince the Zionist leaders that only a real and equitable peace will preserve it. What has decades of Israeli overwhelming power brought us other than more war, death and destruction? Peace is not achieved stepping on and humiliating other people. Indeed, I am looking for the day when the will of the Arab people, and not the slew of US-backed dictators who conspire against their own nation and pay lip service to the Palestinian cause (while betraying it at every step), will force more of this reality on the entrenched Zionist delusionists to give up their Eretz Israel plan and acknowledge the injustice they perpetrated against the Palestinians. All indications is that history will unfold in that direction. The question is not how will Israel deal with the an unarmed Iranian frigate passing in international waters, but are they smart enough to read the real writing on the wall?

    Posted by Saint | February 22, 2011, 2:50 pm
  175. Marillionlb,

    Is the US “arrogant” for bringing nuclear-armed ships through the straight of Hormouz? Or for docking at Israeli ports? What is Iran doing differently sending a ship to Syria that other allies do not in the ME or the rest of the world? The only “timing” is that Mubarak is now gone. The political/strategic lines have “softened” a bit, so to speak, following the rise of the Arab people.

    Posted by Saint | February 22, 2011, 3:08 pm
  176. Saint,

    This isn’t exactly the freedom flotilla.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 22, 2011, 3:16 pm
  177. Saint says: “Anything that adds to Israel feeling more vulnerable is a good thing.”

    It’s fine and well to make such statements and perhaps even believe them. However, what is the reality?
    Is there anyone with any sense of history and any true understanding of the balance of power, degree of military capability, etc., who has any real illusion that Israel is a country that is going to allow itself in any way to be so much as 0.01% under the possibility of being defeated militarily by any combination of Arab and Iranian forces?
    Let’s put the naiveté aside and go back to the drawing board of a true peace for the Middle East that can — at long last — allow the ordinary people to get on with their life.
    What is this saber rattling? and by who?

    Saint, do you have any concept of the military power of Israel, of their nuclear capability, of the discipline and devotion of their world-wide diaspora and of the respect they command from so many democracies?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | February 22, 2011, 3:17 pm
  178. The other reality is that the more a perception is created that Israel is threatened, the more dynamic their defense industry and the greater the aid they will be receiving from the U.S.
    What does that achieve?
    Hmm, let’s ask Saint and folks who think like him.
    No, never mind, let’s ask his Holiness Khamenei or his Excellency Ahmadinejad. What better intelligence and reason can one tap?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | February 22, 2011, 3:19 pm
  179. Hey guys, do you feel you’re living in the real world of Walt Disney? Or may be in Wonderland?

    Well thank the Arabs for that. They brought these two worlds down to earth for all of us and we now are living it in real time.

    But that is not all. Is anyone of you familiar with the legend of the people of the cave? Not even Walt Disney can bring that legend to life. Well, we may soon be living that legend also in real time and again thanks to the Arabs for that. It looks like Imam Musa Sadr may still be alive, and he may bring that legend to life for all of us to wonder about in shock and awe. Sadly Imam Sadr may decide not stay with us and he may make the same choice as the people of the legend when he sees the world he will be born into after his long-night sleep.

    Hey, QN research the legend. It could be the subject of a post just in time in case the rumours turn out to be correct.

    وفي مقابلة مع “العربية.نت” انتقد رئيس مركز الدراسات العربية الإيرانية علي رضا نوري موقف الحكومة الإيرانية من اختفاء رجل الدين الشيعي البارز موسى الصدر، واتهمها بالصمت المتعمد نتيجة للعلاقات الوطيدة التي تربط طهران وطرابلس.

    ووصف نوري زادة العلاقات بين البلدين بالاستراتيجية. وبخصوص موقف موسى الصدر في حالة ظهوره من جديد تجاه الحكومة الإيرانية قال: لو ظهر، سيكون موقفه كموقف أصحاب الكهف حيث سيفضل الاختفاء مرة أخرى بدلاً من أن يرى صديقه العزيز صادق قطب زادة أول رئيس للإذاعة والتلفزيون الإيراني قد أعدم، والمرجع الشيعي الأعلى آية الله شريعتمداري قد أهين قبل موته، وصديقه الدكتور إبراهيم يزدي يقبع في سجن الجمهورية الإسلامية وهو يعاني مرض السرطان في العقد الثامن من عمره، ورفسنجاني على وشك الحذف من الساحة، وصديقه العزيز ابوالحسن بني صدر أول رئيس للجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية يعيش في المنفى.

    واستطرد نوري زاده قائلاً: “أما لبنانياً فسوف يستغرب من أن يرى تلميذه علي الأمين أقيل بواسطة حزب الله من منصب مفتي صور وجبل عامل، ويرى ما يقوم به كل من حزب الله وأمل في لبنان”، على حد تعبيره.

    وأكد نوري زاده أنه بالرغم من أن موسى الصدر كانت تربطه صلة المصاهرة بأسرة مؤسس الجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية، إلا أنه لم يقبل أفكار آية الله الخميني بخصوص ولاية الفقيه.

    وكان الصدر قد اقترح على الشاه السابق محمد رضا بهلوي تشكيل حكومة وطنية برئاسة المهندس مهدي بازرجان أول رئيس وزراء لإيران بعد الثورة، والذي أزيح من الحكم في ما بعد، وكان هو الآخر على علاقات جيدة به.

    موقف طهران من ليبياوأعرب نوري زاده عن استغرابه تجاه موقف إيران هذه الأيام من النظام الليبي الذي يواجه ثورة جماهيرية عارمة، مضيفاً أن الجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية تتحدث هذه الأيام بخصوص النظام الليبي وكأنها كانت تعاديه منذ الأزل، في حين كانت العلاقات بين البلدين في أفضل حالاتها خلال العقود الثلاثة الماضية.

    وموقف نظام الشاه كان أفضل بكثير من موقف نظام الثورة الإسلامية تجاه اختفاء موسى الصدر، حيث لبّى الشاه طلب كبار رجال الدين لاسيما آية الله شريعتمداري فبعث بهيئة إلى دمشق، وطلب من الرئيس السوري الراحل حافظ الأسد المساعدة لمعرفة مصير الإمام موسى الصدر.

    Posted by anonymous | February 22, 2011, 3:26 pm
  180. Why is it always so easy to tell some people’s leanings based on their propensity for incoherent ramblings? I never thought I’d see a comment containing the names of Walt Disney and Moussa Sadr in the same sentence. But here it is.

    PS: Sorry to disappoint, Anonymous, but Sadr is dead. Confirmed (allegedly) by one of Qaddafi’s comrades in arms, hours ago.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 22, 2011, 3:35 pm
  181. @Saint 175
    Don’t get me wrong I just question why since 1979 the right of passage for military ships was never asked. My fear is not only pointed towards the Iranian regime and how Israel will react, but for what the future holds for Egypt, which according to my own opinion (and I am not a political analyst, far from it) is going to be in limbo for a while; and this is where the danger lies.
    As for the US, I was always critical of their foreign policies and their repeated miscalculations. Seeing Kissinger a few weeks back on TV made me wonder if his long thought out plan was not finally seeing the light.
    And so that you do not take this last statement the wrong way (just in case) I always, partly put the blame of the 15 years of war we suffered upon him.
    As for the rise of the Arab people, I am all for it. I am for democracy, freedom, tolerance…etc and especially the separation of state and religion. I have my doubts with regards to whether those are the same aspirations of all those Arab brothers who are revolting against dictatorial regimes, and if they will not be replaced by more narrow minded and oppressive ones. And granted I fear for the future of the Christian minorities in some of those countries, and not out of fanaticism; but mainly because I am a believer in diversity and individuality.
    Yes the Palestinians have the right to their own land and to live and prosper, but let them first agree amongst themselves. And before I get crucified, I would say the same about the Lebanese and every other single nation known to man.
    Why is it deemed treason when one dares to utter the sentence “peace with Israel” if it is an equitable one. In order to achieve peace (and prosperity might follow) people have to pledge allegiance to a nation, a flag and not “blind” religious belonging.
    It is beyond my logic to even think that religious leaders should dictate the politics of any country in such a diverse world.
    PEACE!

    Posted by marillionlb | February 22, 2011, 3:39 pm
  182. The “Freedom” frigate’s next stops in the Med… Mykonos and St. Tropez

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 22, 2011, 3:41 pm
  183. HP,

    Not get into a long argument: but contrary to you, I believe that the zionists are in the end rationalists. Their own Talmudic teachings also instruct them to take the path least destructive to them. The only reason they left South Lebanon is that they, both politicians and their top rabbis, came to the conclusion that occupation was not sustainable without a great cost they were not willing to bear anymore . The same thing with Gaza. Their ultimate goal is not suicide, but self-preservation. Yes, the more vulnerable they feel, the more they will feel inclined to find more peaceful means of resolving this conflict. I also believe the US, as they see more people rise in the ME who will naturally take a more adverse position towards Israel and the US (notice the chants of the Egyptian people against Israel this last Friday), will come to the conclusion that Israel is a strategic liability and will do what is in its own self-interest in the end.

    Posted by Saint | February 22, 2011, 3:49 pm
  184. “PS: Sorry to disappoint, Anonymous, but Sadr is dead. Confirmed (allegedly) by one of Qaddafi’s comrades in arms, hours ago.”

    BV, I made such a bold statement as the Qaddafi comrade that Sadr is dead in front of a gathering sometime ago. I was hounded by each and every one and forced to retract my statement. The folks will in no way accept the man dead without a body confirmning that. After some thinking and give and take, I found their logic compelling.

    On the other hand Ali Rida Nouri was responding to the latest Iranian government statement in which the government made it cleat that Moammar is responsible for the well being and safety of Imam Sadr. The government made the statement when ‘reliable’ witnesses confirmed the Imam is alive and well in a Tripoli jail.

    I still however cannot fathom what leanings you may have infered from the previous ‘rambling’. You may be way above my head. So please divulge.

    Posted by anonymous | February 22, 2011, 4:02 pm
  185. And the world lived happily ever after … Saint.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 22, 2011, 4:03 pm
  186. Ask not what your country can do for you … but what you can do for your country

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 22, 2011, 4:23 pm
  187. “In a revolution, as in a novel, the most difficult part to invent is the end.”

    Posted by marillionlb | February 22, 2011, 4:25 pm
  188. “Ask not what your country can do for you … but what you can do for your country”

    Mu’amar Ghaddafi

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 22, 2011, 4:31 pm
  189. Random-

    Smart one-liners have never ended occupations. You believe in something and then you sacrifice for it. For those who sit on their hands and do nothing but complain, I suggest you present your workable political vision, your goals, and then show us the way. You cannot do nothing and then complain when others are trying to do something, however much you disagree with it. Talk never liberated South Lebanon. My only intention is to see peace for myself and others, including those Israelis who wich to live between us in peace and respect.

    Posted by Saint | February 22, 2011, 4:32 pm
  190. I wonder what is worst; being occupied by a foreign nation or by your fellow countrymen?

    Posted by marillionlb | February 22, 2011, 4:40 pm
  191. Fair … I’ll present it with permission of QN.

    Posted by RandomThoughtOfTheDay | February 22, 2011, 4:42 pm
  192. Saint @183, your rational arguments ring true and are well articulated. However, I don’t think the muscle flexing by Iran achieves this goal. Unlike in South Lebanon and Gaza, simply having the ships around do not cause pain to Israel. On the contrary, I think they prompt escalation of defenses and a more aggressive stance specifically to avoid any potential pain.
    I still think that, in the end, all these happenings will have a simple consequence: increased US aid to Israel and more entrenched power to the Israeli right. I hope I’m wrong but that’s what I see now.
    Our friendly Israeli commentators may chime in perhaps and educate us on how this could be seen in Israel.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | February 22, 2011, 5:19 pm
  193. HP,
    Regardless of the Iranian ship going through the canal, Israel has already gone down into a new strategic re-thinking in light of what has happened in Egypt (it was in their papers while the protests were taking place in Egypt). The Iranian ship is simply a symptom of this new reality in the region that they have to get used to more and more. I think it is to be expected that they will withdraw into themselves initially and get bogged down further into a defensive mode. But my hope is that they realize that these the environment will only get more hostile towards them, even if all the Arab dictators don’t fall right away. Arab regimes now realize that cozying up to Washington and Israel without some serious effort on their part to be genuine and fair about peace will not fly anymore. I am sure the US and even some Arabs will first try to reverse the tide of popular revolt, or even placate the demonstrators’ demands without making too many sacrifices. But the level of awareness and power articulated by the protestors, especially in Egypt, I saw, seems to indicate that they will not be hoodwinked any longer. This is the new reality that I find promising. Such a reality should lead to peace rather than war. And If the whole region turns democratic, what rational would Israel, the one that claims to be the sole democracy in the ME, have in oppressing the Palestinians anymore? Such a situation would become untenable.

    Posted by Saint | February 22, 2011, 8:00 pm
  194. Marillionlb,

    I don’t think anyone is against a just and equitable peace. But it cannot be the peace of the humiliated. What Egypt showed is that Israel had peace not with the Egyptian people but with a dictator who was oppressing his own people. You can fool some of the people all the time, ……, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

    “Yes the Palestinians have the right to their own land and to live and prosper, but let them first agree amongst themselves.”

    It is a known fact that Hamas owes its creation partially to Israel who helped it along, initially of course, to counter-balance Arafat in the mid 80s. If there were some just and meaningful proposals for a settlement, I believe that we would then see a convergence of Palestinian positions on the issue. But the fact is Israel keeps humiliating Abbas, who is but a stooge, driving a further wedge between him and Hamas creating the perfect excuse not to engage in any serious negotiations.

    As for “blind religious belonging,” one should tell that to the Israelis themselves. Israel’s raison D’être is its Jewishness, to the exclusion of the rights of Palestinian Muslims and Christians. I am sill with you on this. I think even Iran, in due time, is finding out the hard way that mixing religion and the state is not a winning formula. I don’t think many here on this blog would disagree that religion should be a private matter. There were some very encouraging chants from the protesters in Egypt, “Muslims and Copts hand in hand…” and some others even. We should focus on the positive and encourage it rather than make fearful claims.

    Posted by Saint | February 22, 2011, 8:56 pm

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