Hezbollah, Israel, Lebanon, Syria

Hizbullah and Rational Choice

LEBANON-HEZBOLLAH-PARADE-ASHURA“What matters is not what the Gentiles will say, but what the Jews will do.” — David Ben Gurion

When Hizbullah’s Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah admitted last week that his party was militarily involved in the Syrian conflict, the news seemed to deepen the cognitive dissonance initially caused by Nasrallah’s vocal support for the Syrian regime (in the context of his repudiation of other dictatorial regimes elsewhere in the region). Moral support was one thing; the fact that the party was now sending its Lebanese fighters to die in a guerrilla war against rebel soldiers was something somehow different.

I’ll admit that I too was surprised by the scenes of caskets draped with Hizbullah flags being paraded in the streets of Saida and Bint Jbeil. What is Hizbullah thinking? How can they possibly imagine that this is going to work out to their advantage? Surely the party understands that their military support of Assad means, among other things, that: (1) their cherished status in the Arab world is gone, perhaps forever; (2) even if Assad hangs on for a while, the regime’s days are numbered; (3) most importantly, they are opening the gates to hell in Lebanon, as Nadim Koteich points out here.

In response to my head-scratching, one of the regular readers of this blog offered the following comment:

Homs is the strategically important area, Al Qusayr is important because it is needed to fully control Homs. Al Qusayr is not a ‘distraction’ from the battles for Damascus. The opposition cannot attack Damascus if they lose Al Qusayr.

As for Hezballah, they see this battle as their battle because if the regime falls, they will lose as well. And Al Qusayr is right at the border so they can rely on the network of villagers they have trained over the past year to support them and hold ground. Among Hezballah’s base, involvement in Syria is not seen as terribly as other publics do. In Hermel, I’m sure the residents are pushing for the party to get even more engaged to quell the rocket attacks.

It’s a mis-reading to think Hezballah needs to be ordered by Iran to back the regime. The party will do everything to maintain its own supply lines, and that means making sure the regime survives the war.

Why have I been hesitant to accept the plain idea that Hizbullah “will do everything to maintain its own supply lines”? Since the beginning of this conflict, I’ve assumed that the party’s much heralded sobriety and sensitivity to the dangers of Sunni-Shiite strife would, at the very least, keep it from getting involved so publicly in the Syrian conflict, or at most, lead it to begin preparing quietly for a post-Assad future. It’s clear now that I’ve been mistaken.

If we step back and consider Hizbullah’s military activities over the past eight years, they tell a straightforward story. Whenever the resistance’s strategic position has been threatened, no response has been off the table, no matter the costs in terms of bad PR or sectarian strife. The party made a calculated decision to go forward with the operation that led to the July War in 2006 knowing full well that Israel’s reaction would be severe and would exacerbate the deep political divide in the country. The military takeover of Beirut in May 2008 came when the government threatened to shut down the party’s telecommunications network and to remove a loyal officer in airport security. The assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri and perhaps several others (at least according to the STL narrative) was allegedly carried out by individuals connected with Hizbullah in the wake of international pressure to isolate Syria and disarm the party.

Why should we be surprised when Hizbullah acts like a state? Why is it not obvious that the party would routinely use its military assets to protect its interests? In the deliberation process that precedes military action, public opinion and long-term “soft” consequences (like aggravating sectarian tensions) apparently count for very little.

Hizbullah’s case is not unique in this regard; witness the hand-wringing among American or Israeli liberals when their governments embark on a fresh bout of military adventurism. How many op-eds in The New York Times or Ha’aretz have prevented a drone strike that killed a busload of civilians? How often has the specter of international outrage stayed the hands of military strategists?

What matters is not what the world will say; what matters is what we will do. This formula has worked well for Hizbullah, so why change it now? The trouble is, if the party is thinking and acting like a militarily adventurous state, then it is vulnerable to the same mistakes that militarily adventurous states make. Seventy-five fighters lost in al-Qusayr, with an alleged 3,000-4,000 now operating within Syria? Is Hizbullah now in the nation-building game? Haven’t we seen this movie before?

America only began to rein in and “refocus” its military strategies when the tolls of those strategies in blood and treasure became unavoidable liabilities for its political leadership. I think that threshold is very far off for Hizbullah, which is a sobering thought to reflect upon.  

Discussion

193 thoughts on “Hizbullah and Rational Choice

  1. (1) their cherished status in the Arab world is gone, perhaps forever;
    (2) even if Assad hangs on for a while, the regime’s days are numbered;
    (3) most importantly, they are opening the gates to hell in Lebanon, as Nadim Koteich points out here.

    (1) Hezbollah has never relied on the Arab street and all those who are with are already with and all against already against. Lines were drawn a long time ago.
    (2) They believe it is end game time. It’s not been politics as usual for a long time and the rise of Salafism is not something that started yesterday in Syria.
    (3) Koteich is a contrarian. Opening up the gates as if they were not being pried open since the start. As if Lebanon is an island of tranquility. The rest of the Arab world is in upheaval. Israel to the South. FSA in Palestinian refugee camps (as in Syria) and in the North. War is coming and they want to be in the best possible position for it.

    Posted by Mohammed | May 30, 2013, 12:29 pm
  2. Regarding “network of villagers” that Hezbollah has trained to act on their side in Al-Qusayr: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/05/syria-faultlines-bekaa-valley-lebanon.html?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=7370

    Only important, of course, in that Hezbollah might not be able to hold al-Qusayr if they are alienating people like this. But this may be one of the only places in Lebanon where their soft power is really relevant right now.

    Posted by Annika | May 30, 2013, 12:47 pm
  3. I understand your surprise because somehow I also believed that hizballah was just a reactive group to Israeli unfair pounding and impounding of the south. I didn’t really believe that it considered itself a state within a state but rather defending itself because the legal state was very weak and quite frankly very embarassing. Now I see that Hizballah has bigger and wider interests than just rightfully defending itself from Israeli willi nilli contemptuous aggression of Lebanon. It’s following the same heartless israeli mantra that the “the means justify the ends”. After the 2006 war against Lebanon, Olmert said in a speech, “do not judge us by our methods but judge us by our results”. That to me was despicable, and I guess Hizballah is saying the same thing.

    Posted by rpver | May 30, 2013, 1:03 pm
  4. QN,

    First, thanks for quoting Ben-Gurion. In Israeli minds this quote always goes together with “Um-Shmum” which was also said by Ben-Gurion in the same meeting.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Um-Shmum
    Ben-Gurion’s insights just keep getting reaffirmed.

    Second, Hezbollah will only get secure supply lines long term if the regime stays in power under a negotiated solution. Otherwise, the supply lines will always be contested. It is always a mistake to analyze a conflict only in military terms without considering also the political end game. What Hezbollah and Iran are trying to do is establish through military successes a good negotiating position in order to be able to still decide Syria’s foreign policy under the political agreement that will eventually end the war. They want to make sure that any future Syrian government cannot decide to be in the Western or Gulf camp.

    Third, since Hezbollah is a de facto a “militarily adventurous state”, isn’t it time to accept that it will never be integrated into Lebanon? I will let you figure out the consequences of that.

    Posted by AIG | May 30, 2013, 1:07 pm
  5. Good analysis.

    I disagree that they knew of the Israeli response in July 2006. Having closely followed their behavior and statements in the 72 hours after the war’s start, I am convinced that they were surprised. At least that’s how I saw it.

    Regarding their involvement in Syria, it’s a clear-cut preemptive strike based on the premise that if Assad falls, the Shiites will become second-class citizens. They could be wrong in that assessment but the key thing Nasrallah said in his last speech was: “We will not return to being slaves.” That statement really caught my attention. Maybe I’m wrong but I understood it as sectarian language. Notice the word “return.” He is referring to something in the past and I don’t think he meant the Israeli presence. I don’t remember them using the “slavery” concept when talking about when Israel was in Lebanon. I would like to hear your take on what he meant by that statement.

    Posted by Rani Geha (@RaniGeha) | May 30, 2013, 1:07 pm
  6. RPVER,

    I don’t remember Olmert saying “do not judge us by our methods but judge us by our results”. Do you have a link to this statement of his?

    As for what is despicable, others may say it is the impotent liberal hand-wringing and moralizing while 80,000 people are being killed in Syria, quite a few by Lebanese forces that the Lebanese are nor even attempting to stop from fighting in Syria. Oh yes that is incorrect, the Lebanese president asked them to stop.

    Posted by AIG | May 30, 2013, 1:16 pm
  7. One more propaganda point that the Syria invasion unmasks is Hezbollah’s claim that it is needed as a deterrent against Israel. If you are afraid of an Israeli attack on Lebanon, would you send most of your force to Syria? Hezbollah knows that unless Israel is provoked it will not attack Lebanon. There is no need to deter us.

    Posted by AIG | May 30, 2013, 1:50 pm
  8. How can you integrate into a state when you are sectarian by definition? Or has anyone ever heard of a sunni fighter belonging to Hizbullah?

    But Hezbollah’s shortcomings are but a result of the failed experiment that is Lebanon, and in part also of the general failure in the greater ME to build nation states. Why do arab shiites in the Lebanon have a stronger allegiance to Qom then to Beirut? Same failure can be applied to sunni Arabs to a certain extent.

    I guess it all boils down to history, the identity people have, a muslim identity crisis that took two paths at the death of their prophet. A rupture that has not been healed, rather maintained, since.

    Posted by Pas Cool | May 30, 2013, 3:17 pm
  9. “The story could very well end there. Sabbagh with some 30 other Hizbullah fighters — according to official figures released by militant group — all lost their lives during the battle for Al-Qusair. What makes his story a little different is that Sabbagh was a Sunni fighting under Hizbullah’s banner.

    Another fighter from Al-Jazzar family — a Sunni family also from Saidon — joined Hizbullah ranks during the fighting in Al-Qusair. The two fighters were members of Saraya Al-Muqawma Al-Lubnanyia (the Lebanese Resistance Battalion), a fringe movement trained and armed by Hizbullah. Its membership consists mainly of Lebanese Sunnis and Palestinians.” http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/News/2773/19/It%E2%80%99s-politics,-stupid.aspx

    Posted by Kad | May 30, 2013, 3:46 pm
  10. QN,

    “It’s clear now that I’ve been mistaken.”

    What took you so long? The charisma and eloquence of the Sayyed?
    A few things are clear:
    – Religious fanaticism is a poison with no antidote
    – Until Muslims themselves take the reigns of rejecting any and all terror acts in the name of Islam, the world will always view Islam with skepticism and fear. There have been a few courageous folks who have begun this process after the London murder. Many, many more are needed.
    – Separation of church/mosque/temple and state is the ONLY way to build a true nation. The so-called successful religious nations like Saudi Arabia, (can you call Iran successful?), others?, have a foundation of sand. Sooner or later it’s going to collapse.
    – Until the Lebanese wake up to the necessity of rejecting any influence of religion on politics (there were seeds of that in the anti-confessional movement), Lebanon will never know peace.
    Amen 😉

    Posted by honestpatriot | May 30, 2013, 5:28 pm
  11. It’s the same speech AIS where Olmert said that the war against Lebanon in 2006 was a sucess because now, as a result, “The Lebanese government is asserting its sovereignty over the entire state.” it instead created the complete opposite.

    Posted by rpver | May 30, 2013, 5:57 pm
  12. This is multi faceted gamble.

    HA takes orders from Iran; period. No bovine scatology will convince me or any non affiliated person otherwise.

    Regionally; Iran has decided that the inaction and fumbling of the west meant a go ahead to engage in Syria

    Israel seems to have given its tacit approval for the HA engagement; as it serves its purpose of extending the conflict; and keeping them mired in civil war for years to come.

    HA; feeling safe that it has the Shiites of Lebanon in its grasp by fear mongering and awakening of sectarian fears; has deliberately made a move and assured Iran that it will be safe in Lebanon in the short and long term as Lebanese warlords do not want another civil war.

    Qusair; is just a landscape that is very important to link up the Alawite kingdom to HA.

    Flow of guns is just dreamers technicolour hallucination as HA can and has always used the airport for transport of armaments anytime. Sea routes are also used irrespective of so called UNIFIL blockade…

    Assad falls or not the gambit is a long term one. It could backfire but; Israel will not allow Syria to be one. It wants it fragmented and at perpetual civil war.

    HA; off course thinks it can stop Al Qaeda suicide bombings on its turf. Wrong! It will come to its doorstep sooner then later.

    My few Shekels worth. 😀

    Posted by danny | May 30, 2013, 6:28 pm
  13. RPVER,
    The 2006 war was a great Israeli success because since then, almost 7 years, there was not ONE “resistance” operation. Anybody remembers the Sheba farms?

    Still waiting for the link to Olmert’s speech.

    Danny,

    You over estimate Israeli ability to “want” anything in Syria. We are reacting to the circumstances, not instigating. Let’s say that we do not agree to Hezbollah involvement in Syria. That is not a reason the Israeli public would accept going to war for. There is only consensus to go to war to stop certain weapons reaching certain hands.

    Posted by AIG | May 30, 2013, 7:05 pm
  14. Danny, well done, worth more than a few shekels.

    Posted by rpver | May 30, 2013, 7:05 pm
  15. AIG just FYI, your presentation is a bit aggressive, you make me think of an aunt who used to jump all over us the minute we said anything about her lemonade!

    Posted by rpver | May 30, 2013, 7:10 pm
  16. “We are reacting to the circumstances, not instigating.”

    Tell that to the marines!

    Posted by danny | May 30, 2013, 7:27 pm
  17. haha Danny, you’re gonna make poor AIG blow a gasket!

    Posted by rpver | May 30, 2013, 7:49 pm
  18. Ya Danny (and RPVER), I very much like your comments/opinions/humor. However, (1) I think AIG is right about the Olmert quote. I can’t find it anywhere. Besides it would be pretty stupid of him to say that (even assuming he thinks it). (2) I don’t get the quip about the marines (?)

    Posted by honestpatriot | May 30, 2013, 8:29 pm
  19. Dear Honestpatriot, this is what Olmert said: “Our actions will be measured by results, not intentions” When I first heard it, I didn’t understand what measly results he is talking about compared to the horrendous actions they were taking against a whole nation, I understand it to mean judge our actions by our results and not by how we intend to reach them:

    http://www.jpost.com/Features/Prime-Minister-Ehud-Olmerts-Speech-to-the-GA

    In that speech he also said that the Lebanese government now controls all of Lebanon, I am assuming as a result of Israel’s clever pound them with cluster bombs tactics. He also talked about meeting with his good friend, a true friend of Israel. You can guess who that is, and it’s not Nassrallah.

    This was a speech where he was collecting money for all the damage that Israel sustained during the war IT launched against Lebanon.

    Posted by rpver | May 30, 2013, 8:51 pm
  20. Elias, Nasrallah is much more prudent and wise than most of the politicians in Lebanon. But There is a limit to everything … Newton’s third law …

    Just compare his intervention to that by Emir of Qatar … Erdogan … Saud Al-Faisal …

    Anyway, it is a very complex story and it is much larger than what small people with a revenge or ego agenda can understand.

    There are no good guys in this fight.

    Posted by Camille Alexandre Otrakji | May 30, 2013, 8:59 pm
  21. Listen to the other side’s leader … a week before he started fighting he was threatening to wipe out Hezbollah.

    Posted by Camille Alexandre Otrakji | May 30, 2013, 9:03 pm
  22. RPVER,

    You have a severe reading comprehension problem. This is the relevant part of the speech:
    “America’s leadership in preventing Iran’s nuclearization is indisputable and unequaled. I just met my good friend, a true friend of Israel, President George W. Bush. We discussed this issue at great length. His determination to prevent this most serious of developments is unquestionable. But America must have the support of the international community if we are to successfully defuse this mortal threat. Our actions will be measured by results, not intentions. Our integrity will remain intact only if we prevent Iran’s devious goals, not if we try our best but fail.”

    Olmert is clearly talking about how good intentions are not enough to stop Iran and that the international community will be judged according to results, not its good intentions. Your interpretation that he said that the ends support the means is complete nonsense.

    Posted by AIG | May 30, 2013, 9:22 pm
  23. Alex,

    Why is it that after so many years, you still use the two wrongs make a right argument? Always pointing fingers at others as if it makes a difference. Hezbollah is risking igniting a civil war in Lebanon as things are moving out of the control of the Sunni elites:
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/05/30/hezbollahs_syrian_adventure?page=0,1

    I did not think this would happen but the omens are not good.

    Posted by AIG | May 30, 2013, 9:33 pm
  24. My comprehension is fine AIG, I know that Iran is the big prize for Olmert and his ilk and that Lebanon is just a fly they they swat once in a while.

    Posted by rpver | May 30, 2013, 10:06 pm
  25. AIG,
    Because sometimes in life you need to compare to understand … sometimes you need to remember cause and effect … to remember the existence Newton’s third law … to be reminded of environmental factors …

    I understand you prefer to focus all criticism on Syria and its allies, and to let other blogs criticize every other lunatic in the Middle East, but if we brand all comparisons “two wrongs make a write argument” then we would be taking many thing out of their relevant context.

    Posted by Camille Alexandre Otrakji | May 30, 2013, 11:40 pm
  26. Alex,

    Comparing is fine, but that is not what you are doing. You are making excuses. Who cares how Erdogan is doing when evaluating Hezbollah’s actions? Who cares if Erdogan is a genius or an idiot? Hezbollah’s actions should be judged according to their intentions and the results of their actions and it does not matter one bit how well or how poorly someone else is doing. The actions of states and organizations are not graded on a curve. No one in the US says that 7% unemployment is good because in Spain it is 15% or whatever. If an Israeli murders another Israeli or a Palestinian we do not say that is ok because in Syria there are many more killings. But this is your modus operandi. That is not “context”, it is just childish excuses.

    When you criticize Israel, did you ever see make excuses that others are worse? Each action stands on its own. If we worked with your logic we would never put thieves in prison because murderers are worse than thieves. Instead of comparing to others, try instead to explain why you think Hezbollah had no choice but to fight in Syria. Maybe then you could get somewhere.

    As for Newton’s Third Law, give it a rest. It is a physical law and has nothing to do with human psychology. Nobody is forcing Hezbollah to fight in Syria. They are doing so of their own choice, there is no “force” that is compelling them to react in that way.

    Posted by AIG | May 31, 2013, 12:27 am
  27. Fine … there is no force and no action equal reaction cycles in psychology … especially in the Middle East where everyone is into “turn the other cheek” forever.

    And who cares if Hezbollah killed two Israeli soldiers in July 2006 … Israel’s invasion of Leabanon was a stand-alone act that was not influenced at all by what Hezbollah did.

    Posted by Camille Alexandre Otrakji | May 31, 2013, 1:27 am
  28. HP,

    I did not dispute about quotes…

    Lakhayem

    Posted by danny | May 31, 2013, 7:00 am
  29. (This is QN, logged into my other account…)

    I wasn’t suggesting that Nasrallah is not wise and prudent, just that Hizbullah as an organization regularly resorts to military action to protect its interests. When we look at the past 8 years, we’ve seen Hizbullah use its weapons against Israel only on one occasion, compared with several instances of attacks on fellow Lebanese and Syrians. The official rationale for this is that these Lebanese and Syrians are all friends of Israel (as Bashar al-Assad told Al-Manar yesterday) but few people believe this propaganda.

    Posted by EM | May 31, 2013, 8:45 am
  30. Alex,

    Exactly right there is no action reaction cycles in psychology. We can always make a choice to not react. As for 2006, Israel could have decided not to react or to react at a later time. Olmert never said that Hezbollah forced his hand and that war was inevitable. It was a policy choice and he was judged according to that.

    In the same way, Assad chose not to react in 2007 when Israel bombed his nuclear reactor and again he did not react to the last few bombings. What happened to “Newton’s Third Law”? So give it a rest. The analogy is nonsense and does not fit the facts.

    And it is time you get your facts right about how the 2006 war started:
    “The conflict began when militants from the group Hezbollah fired rockets at Israeli border towns as a diversion for an anti-tank missile attack on two armored Humvees patrolling the Israeli side of the border fence.[46] The ambush left three soldiers dead. Two additional soldiers, believed to have been killed outright or mortally wounded, were taken by Hezbollah to Lebanon.[46][47] ”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Lebanon_War

    The Hezbollah attack killed 5 soldiers. And they also bombed Israeli towns.

    Posted by AIG | May 31, 2013, 9:34 am
  31. AIG before 2006 I was not a fan of hizballah, after 2006 I remain not a fan of hizballah but now I am staunchly not a fan of Israel and no amount of embellished rationalization will ever make me see it as anything less ugly than it really is. Our lives matter too.

    Posted by rpver | May 31, 2013, 10:07 am
  32. RPVER,

    If your life matters to you, stay on your side of the border. It is really that simple. And who cares what you think about Israel? You really missed the whole point of QN’s post.

    Posted by AIG | May 31, 2013, 10:19 am
  33. Great analysis QN. I think that nails it perfectly. I think things are starting to become clearer to many in the camp of “HA is just being reactive to the situation on the ground” or like RVPER (by his/her own admission) who believed that HA was merely defending itself and Lebanon. The greater pattern of HA’s Modus Operandi, and in fact, the rationale for their actions dating all the way back to their origins in the 1980s, is becoming harder and harder to deny by those who, for many years, turned a blind eye or simply insisted on fitting HA within a narrative that made a lot of people feel better about themselves and their country (We have a resistance movement, we’re defending ourselves against countless conspiracies and insiduous “projects”, we are the victims, and HA is our champion where all the other players are corrupt, wealthy, selfish and petty, etc.)

    In other news, yet another nail in the coffin of “democracy”: Parliament extending their own mandate.
    Let me guess, just like the previous extensions, and those of Lahoud and others before them, it’s a “one time only” exception, “due to the situation”.
    What a load of BS. And people wonder why I call Lebanon a failed state.
    When the state institutions allow “the situation”, no matter what it is, to dictate such things, doesn’t that defeat the whole premise of the words such as “law” and “institution”?
    How silly would countries look if they postponed their elections everytime a “situation” arose.
    Hurricane Sandy you say? By all means, let’s postpone the presidential elections!
    Tornados in Oklahoma? By all means, let’s extend the mandate of president Obama for 18 months!
    Civil war in a neighboring country? Drug war in Mexico? Well, by all means, let’s extend the mandate of the US Congress by 2 years!

    This country is a complete failure and honestly needs to be rebooted from a clean slate. No amount of “fixing” will ever sort it out. Not anymore.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | May 31, 2013, 12:23 pm
  34. The official rationale for this is that these Lebanese and Syrians are all friends of Israel (as Bashar al-Assad told Al-Manar yesterday) but few people believe this propaganda.

    If I may suggest some fine tuning to the above statement …

    It is a mix of propaganda and honest conviction. Hezbollah is not only about its survival … it genuinely believes in its cause. Also, MANY believe it, not “a few” … for example, opinion polls tell us that in Lebanon, over 90% of the Shia are committed to their side on the conflict, plus one third of the Christians.

    Another example that comes to mind … In Egypt, my friend Yazan still managed to get 30% of the votes of a very biased audience … that’s not “a few”

    http://www.newarabdebates.com/en/debates/series-2/27-may-2013-cairo/speakers/yazan-abdallah/

    Posted by Camille Alexandre Otrakji | May 31, 2013, 1:17 pm
  35. And you said we will never be accepted in the middle east. Everyone is our friend now.

    When you believe something despite the overwhelming evidence against it, that it not an “honest conviction” that just means you are dumb. Most Assad supporters are not dumb and they know the opposition to Assad is not a friend of Israel. What Assad said is 100% propaganda. It is an attempt to muddy the waters by bringing Israel into the issue.

    Posted by AIG | May 31, 2013, 2:01 pm
  36. AIG,

    It’s Brobaganda.

    ….and it’s 99%… the one percent is really honest conviction….You know the kind of affirmation repeated enough freakin times, you start to believe in it.

    Yes, we’re in Syria to fight the Imperialist project, pre-emptively….lol

    What’s that? fighting in Lebanon, no, no come to Syria , we will fight there.

    What is this Fuck’n paintball competition.

    Posted by Maverick | May 31, 2013, 6:53 pm
  37. When Hezbollah and the Syrian Army defeat the foreign-backed insurgency — which they will do — they will turn to liberating Golan and Galilee. Then everyone will know what this is all about. What will you say when Israel is in act of being destroyed, as it will be.

    With all due respect, your incomprehension of Hezbollah’s strategic and tactical decisions stems from a disassociation with any form of active engagement. You speak from privilege and distance, and have never held responsibility from defending a land, a people, and a liberation cause. You probably wouldn’t have the faintest clue about how to go about doing what Hezbollah does — and has done — to free and defend Lebanon and Palestine on a day to day basis, under constant threat of death. Hence your confusions, doubts, and incomprehension — and your silly resort to liberal American social science to figure out what is happening…

    Posted by liberation | May 31, 2013, 7:27 pm
  38. Hizbullah was already becoming the victim of anti-Shi’a hatred since the inception of the Syrian crisis. So by going into Syria to protect its strategic interest it didn’t risk the support of Sunnis Arabs that it didn’t have in the first place.

    Posted by Ali | May 31, 2013, 8:54 pm
  39. I don’ t think this was a good analysis..it is obvious that you just want to demonize Hezbollah based on your prejudices…now I am not saying they are perfect just as none of you are…or that there is no sectarian appearing thinking or actions Just as I sure most of you are still sectarian to some degrees….First of all to understand Hezbollah decisions you have to take them in context of the so-called War on Terrorism being in reality a war on the legitmate resistance, with Al Qaeda being the excuse and often times working in the interest of the Zionist – imperialist axis… you also have to take it in the context of who in the region is lining up with who…. What was hezbollah’s position on the US military invasion of Iraq and the Nato involvement in Libya? Hezbollah is for change by the people in the region without US, Zionist, Western interference …and as far as it’s alignment with Iran, well that is because Iran has been the sovereign leader of the axis of resistance since all the Arab so-called leadership are non – sovereign spineless puppets…

    Posted by Marion | June 1, 2013, 12:12 am
  40. Marion

    My purpose is not demonization; it is simply reading the facts on the ground. Hezbollah’s interest, first and foremost, is maintaining its strategic posture of resistance. They will use their military assets to protect that posture, even if that means killing Arab civilians, as they have done on several occasions over the past eight years. The whole notion that “our arms are directed toward Israel” has been proven by recent events to be false. Of course, they will justify killing non-Israelis by claiming that they are “foreign-funded” and “Zionist stooges” etc, but these excuses are not credible.

    Hezbollah “is for change by the people in the region without US” interference? I don’t think that is true. I think Hezbollah is for change in the region that suits their interests, much in the same way that any state is. Let’s stop glorifying and romanticizing them.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 1, 2013, 9:55 am
  41. QN,

    What does “maintaining its strategic posture of resistance” mean? I guess the larger question is what are Hezbollah’s interests and goals. They are becoming more murky and perhaps they themselves are not sure.

    Posted by AIG | June 1, 2013, 11:19 am
  42. The problem remains that the interpretation of some critical “facts on the ground” is false.

    In particular, the most damaging accusation of all,

    “The party made a calculated decision to go forward with the operation that led to the July War in 2006 knowing full well that Israel’s reaction would be severe and would exacerbate the deep political divide in the country.”

    Is demonstrably false from the both the perspective of Nasrallah and that of Israel. The latter party in particular has found much frustration with the strategy of containment and low-key reactions to Hezbollah provocations that prevailed from 2000 until Olmert took over from the felled Ariel Sharon.

    The facts on the ground from Nasrallah’s perspective were based on years of Sharon’s policies and Olmert’s promise that he would faithfully continue those policies. Was Nasrallah a fool to believe him? Perhaps that case can be made as whispers about plans for Operation Just Reward started in January ’06 and as Olmert testified to the Winograd Commission, concrete planning began in March. The casus belli was to be the utterly predictable capture of more IDF reservists.

    Why didn’t Nasrallah understand that the game had changed? Perhaps because his information was based on the premise that preparations for an army going to war would be visible on the ground. Instead, the preparations were conceived in the corridors of power by wishful thinking wannabes.

    Who could have predicted that the Israeli “leadership” had ADD to such an extent that the lessons of Lebanon were replaced by the assumptions that IDF reservist police actions in the West Bank and Gaza were adequate preparation for facing the HA fighters in the nature reserves of southern Lebanon?

    I’ve often found irony in the fact that Hezbollah’s domestic enemies willingly hew to truthiness narratives of such obvious *”bovine scatology” that even the dear cousins reject them.

    Do what you have to do.

    * A virtual shower of shekels @ danny for this……;~{)

    Posted by lally | June 1, 2013, 2:10 pm
  43. How many unarmed Arab civilians have they killed? Let’s not confuse issues here….They are in Syria fighting the armed Salafist Takfiris, not Arab civilians….iIf they are about killing Arab civilians as you are claiming, how come they did not do so when they kicked Israel out of Lebanon in 2000 who were traitors at rhe time? They did not even kill SLA fighters who laid down their arms…they turned them over to Lebanese authorities…so what are you talking about? And I am not glorifying or romanticizing…I am talking facts..

    Posted by Marion | June 1, 2013, 2:23 pm
  44. Marion,

    Are you saying that the entire Syrian rebellion consists of Salafist takfiris? Most observers who have been into Syria have put the number of Al-Qaeda types to be around 10% of the armed opposition, maximum. They are a serious problem, but they are not the mainstream.

    I don’t see how Hizbullah is helping the situation by joining the fight in Syria. How are they distinguishing between takfiri and non-takfiri rebels? The answer is that they’re not. Their target is not Salafist takfiris. It’s any kind of armed rebel, no matter what their ideological preferences are. Hizbullah is simply playing the role of Assad’s special forces.

    As we saw yesterday in Baalbek, this involvement is already having an impact on Lebanon.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 1, 2013, 3:06 pm
  45. Here’s the executive summary from the very good ICG report about salafism in Syria. Worth reading the whole thing.

    Prematurely and exaggeratedly highlighted by the regime, belatedly and reluctantly acknowledged by the opposition, the presence of a powerful Salafi strand among Syria’s rebels has become irrefutable. That is worrisome, but forms only part of a complex picture. To begin, not all Salafis are alike; the concept covers a gamut ranging from mainstream to extreme. Secondly, present-day Syria offers Salafis hospitable terrain – violence and sectarianism; disenchantment with the West, secular leaders and pragmatic Islamic figures; as well as access to Gulf Arab funding and jihadi military knowhow – but also adverse conditions, including a moderate Islamic tradition, pluralistic confessional make-up, and widespread fear of the kind of sectarian civil war that engulfed two neighbours. Thirdly, failure of the armed push this past summer caused a backlash against Salafi groups that grabbed headlines during the fighting.

    This is not to dismiss the Salafis’ weight. The opposition has a responsibility: to curb their influence, stem the slide toward ever-more radical and confessional discourse and halt brutal tactics. So too do members of the international community, quick to fault the opposition for fragmentation and radical drift that their own divisions, dysfunctionality and powerlessness have done much to foster. For as long as different countries sponsor distinct armed groups, a bidding war will ensue, and any hope of coordinating the rebels, disciplining them and restraining their most extremist members will be in vain. The issue, in other words, is not so much whether to arm them – and, if so, with what – but rather to rationalise and coordinate the support provided to the opposition in order to make more likely the emergence of a more coherent, structured, representative and thus effective interlocutor in what, sooner or later, must be a negotiated outcome. Even those who side with the regime would stand to benefit from that development, if they wish to see today’s devastating military stalemate evolve toward a political solution.

    From day one, the question of Salafism within opposition ranks has been more of a political football than a subject of serious conversation. Assad backers played it up, convinced they could frighten both the country’s own non-Islamists and minorities as well as the West, still traumatised by its misadventure in Iraq. Regime detractors played it down, intent on preserving the image of a pristine uprising; people sympathetic to their cause, whether in the media or elsewhere, likewise were reluctant to delve too deeply into the issue, anxious about playing into regime hands. The net result has been more fog than light.

    That is unfortunate, and not because Salafism necessarily is a central, dominant or even lasting feature of the Syrian landscape. But because it undoubtedly is present, almost certainly has been growing, clearly is divisive and strongly affects dynamics on the ground: it has an impact on who is willing to fund opposition groups, on popular attitudes, on the narrative the regime is able to expound and on relations among armed factions. This report, based both on field work in Syria and systematic analysis of the armed groups’ own communications, seeks to clarify the origins, growth and impact of the opposition’s fundamentalist threads.

    Far from being rigid or monolithic, Syrian Salafism is eclectic and fluid. While all Salafists in theory apply literalist interpretations of scripture based on the example set by the Prophet and his companions, some have only a superficial understanding, lacking any genuine ideological vision; others seek to replace the secular regime with an Islamist form of governance; while a third tendency embraces the concept of global jihad advocated by al-Qaeda. The degree of intolerance toward members of other faiths likewise varies widely. The Iraqi precedent underscores how much these distinctions matter and how, for example, local objectives of mainstream insurgent groups, including those with Salafi tendencies, can be threatened by global ambitions of Salafi-jihadis.

    Nor is it always straightforward to distinguish Salafis from non-Salafis: in some cases, adoption of Salafi nomenclature, rhetoric and symbols reflects a sincere commitment to religious ideals; in others, it expresses an essentially pragmatic attempt to curry favour with wealthy, conservative Gulf-based donors. Most armed groups have yet to develop a firm ideology or leadership structure; membership fluctuates, with fighters shifting from one faction to another based on availability of funds, access to weapons, personal relationships – in other words, based on factors having little if anything to do with belief.

    Of course, there is no denying the striking inroads made by Salafism – at first, a marginal tendency at best – since the onset of the protest movement. There also is little dispute about reasons behind this growth. Conditions were favourable: the uprising was rooted in a social category readymade for Salafi preachers, the poor rural underclass that, over years, migrated to rough, impersonal urban settings far removed from its traditional support networks. And conditions ripened: as violence escalated, hopes for a quick resolution receded, and alternative tendencies (proponents of dialogue; peaceful demonstrators; the exiled leadership; more moderate Islamists) proved their limitations, many naturally flocked to Salafist alternatives. The West’s initial reluctance to act – and enduring reluctance to act decisively – coupled with early willingness of private, wealthy, and for the most part religiously conservative Gulf Arabs to provide funds, bolstered both the Salafis’ coffers and their narrative, in which Europe and the U.S. figure as passive accomplices in the regime’s crimes.

    More broadly, Salafism offered answers that others could not. These include a straightforward, accessible form of legitimacy and sense of purpose at a time of substantial suffering and confusion; a simple, expedient way to define the enemy as a non-Muslim, apostate regime; as well as access to funding and weapons. Too, Salafists benefited from the experience its militants had accumulated on other battlegrounds; they volunteered to fight, thereby sharing their knowledge with inexperienced domestic armed groups. At a time when such groups struggled to survive against a powerful, ruthless foe and believe themselves both isolated and abandoned, such assets made an immediate, tangible difference. Little wonder that, by January 2012, Salafism slowly was becoming more conspicuous on the opposition scene.

    The regime cannot escape its share of blame. For years, Salafis were among those who claimed that mainstream Sunnis faced a serious threat from Iran and its Shiite allies, a category in which they included Alawites. Through increasing reliance on the most loyal, Alawite-dominated elements of its security forces to suppress a predominantly Sunni uprising, and because it received support mainly from its two Shiite partners (Iran and Hizbollah), the regime ultimately corroborated this sectarian storyline: many opponents equated the struggle against Assad with a jihad against the occupier.

    Yet, it would be wrong to conclude that, for Salafis, the coast is clear. Syria boasts a history of moderate Islamic practice and has long prided itself on peaceful, cross-con­fes­sional coexistence. Its citizens have seen, first-hand, the calamitous repercussions of sectarian strife as civil war destroyed two of its neighbours, first Lebanon, later Iraq. Key figures of the uprising as well as its popular base often espouse antithetical ideology and goals. Large-scale attacks against regime forces in July and August 2012, during which Salafi groups assumed a highly visible role, ended in failure, deflating some of the pre-existing faith. And the opposition is well aware of pitfalls: the rise of Salafism essentially validates the regime’s thesis and thus helps justify its repression; worries actual and potential foreign backers; and, while rallying some Syrians, jihadi volunteers and outside Islamist sponsors to the cause, simultaneously undercuts the opposition’s broader appeal and enhances the regime’s ability to mobilise its own social base and allies.

    All this places Salafis in the uncomfortable position of bolstering, by their behaviour and rhetoric, a central argument of the regime they seek to oust. And it explains why the mainstream opposition has launched several campaigns – unsuccessful to date – to unify rebel ranks, strengthen their overall effectiveness and contain or at least channel more radical outlooks.

    Many myths surround Syria’s Salafis. They are not an expression of society’s authentic, truer identity; they are not merely a by-product of regime machinations; and they are not simply the result of growing Gulf Arab influence. Rather, they should be understood as one of the conflict’s numerous outgrowths and, not least, part of the profound identity crisis it has produced. In many ways, it is the mirror image of the simultaneous cult of violence and ruling-family worship that, to a striking degree, has emerged among Alawites. In both cases, the rise of more extremist, militant, quasi-millenarist worldviews is not deniable, but nor is it necessarily irreversible. Salafism, both cause and symptom of the opposition’s current shortcomings, is – like so much else in Syria – the expression of a bloody political and military stalemate that, for now, appears to have no way back, and no way out.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 1, 2013, 3:10 pm
  46. Lally,

    looool…I hope they don’t devalue the Shekels soon. 😀

    “How many unarmed Arab civilians have they killed? Let’s not confuse issues here….They are in Syria fighting the armed Salafist Takfiris, not Arab civilians”

    I hope you can provide us with the numbers; since you seem connected with the anti takfiri camp. Nassrallah framed that argument for sheeple. I hope you are not one of them (although it looks like it)!

    Posted by danny | June 1, 2013, 4:27 pm
  47. ….and are they fighting the Takfiris in Bulgaria, Nigeria, Azerbaijan…and on and on…

    Posted by danny | June 1, 2013, 4:32 pm
  48. Long time lurker.
    Talking about Ulmert, soon you will be discussing Sharon. Arnt you sick of the “Jews none it” game. No matter what will happen who will be surprise if a car or two or ten will explode next week in south Beiruth? The Jews again. At the best, if and when Assad win Syria is going to be Iraq X 10, The Jews again. Turkey is the only state in the ME to publically have A bombs and plans and pilots (Turkish !) trained to use them. The ownership of the Bommbs is divided and the USA tried to take them back but failed ( Check google)Syria is going. The greatest fear of Turkey ever was Russian -Iran-Iraq-Syria in one block against it. Will Turkey do nothing about it all? Will the Sunna do nothing about it all.. Its going to look very ugly befoe it will look good.

    Posted by Rani Hazbani | June 1, 2013, 4:55 pm
  49. Should be Jews done it game.

    Posted by Rani Hazbani | June 1, 2013, 5:02 pm
  50. Edith Bunker passed away 😦

    Posted by Vulcan | June 1, 2013, 7:18 pm
  51. I’m speechless (but I can still write). AIG, Hezbollah’s goal is to support their Shia masters in Iran in order to keep their weapons and power flowing.

    How could HA be so stupid to create a Sunni-Shia war?

    Unbelievable! All the US has to do is arm the rebels and maintain a no-fly zone.

    Looks like the GOP is split between the neo-and paleo-cons, again.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 2, 2013, 12:07 am
  52. Interesting that you admitted that they are fighting armed rebels and not killing civilians as you had originally claimed, and than downplayed the Salafi/takfiri presence in Syria….which by the way is coming from around the world to fight in Syria…..this article you provided only mentioned the Syrian Salafists, and made no mention whatsoever of all the foreign fighters pouring in from Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey….the foreign fighters that al Qadawri and aymen Al Zawahri called on to go fight in Syria and overthrow Assad…and how about Gulf dictators calling for the overthrow of Assad too? a Michigan woman, as well as a British man, were just recently killed in Syria fighting for the Al Nusra front..

    Posted by Marion | June 2, 2013, 12:18 am
  53. And the US does not want to get involved on the ground in Syria because they know damned well what has happened in Iraq, based on what happened to them…and look how the Takfiris who are calling themselves Al Qaeda are still wreaking havoc there… And you want to play down their presence? Or their funding from the Gulf? Or those nutcase religious leaders encouraging them to go fight against Shias and Alawites…why don’t you talk about them?

    Posted by Marion | June 2, 2013, 12:25 am
  54. How many Saudis alone are fighting in Syria ? By the looks of your and your supporter’s comments here, this is a sectarian oriented, an anti-Hezbollah, anti- Shia , anti – Iran, anti- resistance, pro- Western blog…just an observation….

    Posted by Marion | June 2, 2013, 12:33 am
  55. Marion said

    “Interesting that you admitted that they are fighting armed rebels and not killing civilians as you had originally claimed”

    The Arab civilians I was referring to were mentioned in the original article: the victims on May 2008, the alleged assassination targets, the victims of collateral damage in Qusayr, etc. And how is it acceptable in your eyes for Hizbullah to kill armed rebels in Syria who are defending their towns and neighborhoods from the shabbiha? Interesting that you think this is justifiable, despite all of HIzbullah’s populist rhetoric about defending one’s land.

    “downplayed the Salafi/takfiri presence in Syria….which by the way is coming from around the world to fight in Syria…..this article you provided only mentioned the Syrian Salafists, and made no mention whatsoever of all the foreign fighters pouring in from Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey.”

    Pouring in? Show me some figures please. The article I provided (if you read the whole thing) documents the fact that we’re talking about foreign fighters in the hundreds, not thousands. Foreigners are an even smaller fraction of the opposition than salafists. I know it serves Assadist propaganda to paint this as a foreign conspiracy (never mind the fact that some of these foreigners were cultivated in Iraq and Lebanon by Assad himself) but you are insulting the memory of the ordinary Syrians have been killed defending their cities by parroting this propaganda.

    “Or those nutcase religious leaders encouraging them to go fight against Shias and Alawites…why don’t you talk about them? … By the looks of your and your supporter’s comments here, this is a sectarian oriented, an anti-Hezbollah, anti- Shia , anti – Iran, anti- resistance, pro- Western blog…just an observation….”

    A cheap and easy observation. You’re wrong about the purpose of this blog. And yes, I am against the Qaradawis and Arours and Assirs and other sectarian bigots and clowns. They are making the problem much much worse. Like Hizbullah.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 2, 2013, 6:44 am
  56. Why has al Qadawri been given a platform on Al Jazeera to call people from around the Arab world to go fight in Syria? Why don’t you spend more of your time condemning the hypocritical gulf leaders who are in bed with the US and Israel, arming and financing these poor Syrian and foreign fighters? Do you support the Muslim Brotherhood? From what. I have understood the Qatari, is it Emir, does….who has been openly creating Fitna between the different groups Muslims? What scholars have said no churches belong in this region? As. I said, Hezbollah’s strategy and actions should be taken within the context of all that is taking place in the region…and As far as collateral damage goes, Al Qaeda, the US, and Israel know all about collateral damage…. Have you been condemning the collateral damage they have been commiting on a daily basis in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen,……. or do you hold Hezbollah and Iran responsible for that too?

    Posted by Marion | June 2, 2013, 11:03 am
  57. QF,

    You seem to intimate that the rebels holding out in Qusayr and other places are just “ordinary Syrians killed defending their cities”, or, “defending their land from Shabiha”. This may have been the case in the first months of the uprising and the regime’s brutal crackdown. But to repeat it now seems to me like you are doing a fair bit of parroting yourself. And hyperbolically at that.

    In Aleppo most of the rebels came from the surrounding countryside and looted and pillaged the city senseless. They also quashed the popular uprising, that did have the genuine potential to be a real threat to the political status quo (read about Abu Maryam and other activists). (Or, read Edward Dark’s latest posts on this, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/05/syria-revolution-aleppo-assad.html)

    In Qusayr they ethnically cleansed the Christians and passed down sectarian ultimatums.

    I’m not saying only the Takfiris do this, the FSA is just as culpable. They long ago lost the ethical battle and never were even remotely a popular force that can speak in the Universal, and as such pose a genuine Revolutionary option. They represent the terror of an uprising that has lost all connection to virtue – total and unqualified imposition of a particular ‘truth’. (Historically speaking, this was much more the vengeance of the lumpenproletariat than anything else).

    It is this character that allowed the dynamics to become increasingly geopolitical. So to continue to construe it as a popular defense on one side and the regime on the other makes little sense. Geopolitics and the imperial contradiction have totally subsumed the class/political contradiction. If the Israeli airstrikes didn’t make that clear, then nothing will.

    Posted by Redux | June 2, 2013, 11:30 am
  58. Marion,

    Are you for the Bush doctrine? Do you consider HA a state? …and why are we talking about the other countries? HA is a Lebanese organization that happens to be acting like a militia. Who/what gives them the right to invade Syria?

    Posted by danny | June 2, 2013, 12:10 pm
  59. Gloves are off. It is now wolves fighting wolves . Each one has learnt from his ennemy’s worse behavior. Everyone will try the medecine it has been prescribing to others.
    The arguments and justifications once used by the agressors, bitterly denounced at the moment, are now used without shame to justify the terrible deeds commited now by the former victims. “The complex situation” that explains the urgency of some actions against all the previously declared principles is not a valid argument anymore to clean anybody’s face. The “situation” is “complex” for all.

    Posted by mj | June 2, 2013, 12:11 pm
  60. We are talking about other countries because those other countries have also been involved in Lebanese corrupted politics….Lebanon is not and never has been a sovereign state, if you even want to call it a state, so a state within a state is not even a valid argument to begin with..and what is going on in Syria right now, is not separate from what has been going on in Lebanon…members of March 14th have been involved in the war in Syria since it began…..I am strongly opposed to the Bush neocon doctrine of endless wars, and divide and conquer….yet members of March 14th have been supporting it..in fact they have been working right along with it…you want to talk about Hezollah “invading” Syria now, but not about March 14 th members involvement there from day one? Or maybe even before….what is an invasion according to your definition? Haven’t the foreign fighters, who are openly anti-minorities, anti-Shia, anti- Alawites, who were called on to go fight in Syria and being armed by Gulf leaders, also invaded Syria?

    Posted by Marion | June 2, 2013, 1:15 pm
  61. Marion, putting aside whether you think Hezb’s invasion of Syria is justified, you seem to have acknowledged Qifa’s point. This is about fighting their enemies within Lebanon and Syria, the way that a threatened state would fight. It cannot plausibly be considered “resistance” to Israel.

    Posted by Rotsapsky | June 2, 2013, 1:26 pm
  62. I actually support a finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Syria that a majority of the Syrian people can agree on and that also that respects the rights of the minorities, but ironically those claiming to care the most about the Syrian people fighting are arming them, and as well as arming foreign fighters, and telling them to continue fighting and dying, and for whose benefit? And most of those countries arming fighters in Syria are falling short on their pledges to the Syrian refugees…. So who is going to win in this war? Answer : Not the people of Syria…and not the people of this region either….

    Posted by Marion | June 2, 2013, 1:36 pm
  63. Israel is just as involved in Syria…as Qatar, Saudi, and the US are involved in Syria….the US is supporting the overthrow of Assad because he has been supporting the resistance against Israel …otherwise they could give a shit less about Assad….just as they could give a shit less about how their greatest allies in the region, like Saudi treats it’s people, or how the Israelis treat the Palestinians….

    Posted by Marion | June 2, 2013, 1:42 pm
  64. The ICG policy paper under discussion was published October 12, 2012.

    http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Iraq%20Syria%20Lebanon/Syria/131-tentative-jihad-syrias-fundamentalist-opposition.pdf

    Perhaps that accounts for the untimely-ness of it all. In addition, it’s clearly aimed at supporting the opposition aspirations while strongly advocating for political, not military solutions.

    Posted by lally | June 2, 2013, 2:15 pm
  65. “the US is supporting the overthrow of Assad because he has been supporting the resistance against Israel …”

    That’s so laughable. Is that why they have been in power for forty years? Is that why they supported the Iraqi invasion by papa Bush? is that why the “Asaads” were rewarded with Lebanon with the help of those dirty Takfiri Saudis…

    Is that why Qatar was glorified by HA after the 2006 war…

    Come on Marion; you are going around in circles trying to justify an unjustifiable “resistance”!

    “you want to talk about Hezollah “invading” Syria now, but not about March 14 th members involvement there from day one? ”

    Are you kidding me? Who is March 14th? No one is denying that there are Lebanese individuals who have been fighting in Syria….The same people that Assad used to use to sabotage Iraq! Are you trying to compare an armed invasion of HA militia with a few rag tag civilians. Try to do better!

    Posted by danny | June 2, 2013, 2:37 pm
  66. You mean do better like you Danny! Looool! And what cold hard facts did you use to refute anything I mentioned?

    Posted by Marion | June 2, 2013, 2:47 pm
  67. QN,

    Sectarian tensions count for a great deal for Hezballah. That has been demonstrated in the government’s soft approach towards the disturbances in Tripoli and Arsal, as well as the hands off approach to Assir and his antics. To my mind, it counts for too much, as Hezballah has allowed Lebanon to slide into a dangerous lawlessness over the past two years in a vain attempt to mollify the ‘Sunni street’.

    However, self-preservation trumps the concern of Sunni / Shia strife. When the party is attacked, it will retaliate and defend itself. I don’t understand why this surprises people. Or maybe people don’t take the threats against the party seriously.

    The fight in Syria has ceased to be between the dictator and the people for some time now. It is a civil war between two Syrian camps and their regional backers. And the camp opposed to Bashar does not seem to be more freedom loving than the regime.

    What is relevant for the party’s calculations is that the Syrian opposition is being run by Saudi, Qatar and the West for the express reason of undermining the regional axis of Iran / Syria / Hezballah. The party is explicitly one of the intended targets of this operation. They have seen the post-Assad Syria, and it is hostile to the party. Even before Hezballah’s intervention in Qusayr, the Syrian opposition was issuing disturbing statements against the Shia, and promising Hezballah retaliation for its stances. One does not have to bandy about accusation of ‘Zionism’ or calculate the true ratio of takfiris to secularists in the opposition. The opposition’s political and ideological stance has been publicly anti-Hezballah for some time.

    All this to say that it is not a case of military adventurism, or a widely-interpreted strategic interest. The party perceives an imminent threat to its existence in the Syrian turmoil. With Syrian opposition forces using Lebanon as a launching pad and supply conduit, and launching strikes on the border villages both in Syria and Lebanon, the threat is very real and very immediate.

    Personally I have many reservations about the party’s intervention in Syria. It will intensify the anarchy in Lebanon and the endgame is difficult to see. And having lived through a civil war, I don’t believe any party can participate in a civil war and retain their integrity. But I think its very one sided to watch one side spew venom against the Alawites and the Shia for years, but only see sectarian strife when Nasrallah stands against it.

    Posted by RedLeb | June 2, 2013, 3:15 pm
  68. Marion,

    you have been regurgitating old recycled brobaganda. how can I refute your uneasy way of trying to justify an extremist organization that has just recently being put on a terrorist ;list! HA Shiitel version of Al Qaeda with trimmed beards. I can see through the smoke. You seem high on it!

    Posted by danny | June 2, 2013, 3:31 pm
  69. ” But I think its very one sided to watch one side spew venom against the Alawites and the Shia for years, but only see sectarian strife when Nasrallah stands against it.”

    Can you kindly elaborate?…Also, I seems it is the Shia (HA) and the Alawites(Assads) who have been abusing the Lebanese and Syrian populace the past 30/40 years.

    Posted by danny | June 2, 2013, 3:58 pm
  70. Marion, if the US wanted Assad overthrown badly enough, he’d be overthrown. We’re a pretty powerful country. Instead we’re giving the rebels blankets. Obama/America doesn’t want to be held responsible for whatever happens to Syria over the next five years, and our actions accord with this desire.

    Posted by Rotsapsky | June 2, 2013, 4:06 pm
  71. Interesting comments by all. Will respond later when I have some time.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 2, 2013, 4:33 pm
  72. I feel that there are many unexamined assumptions about sectarianism, takfiris, etc. floating around in this discussion. Many of the Sunnis spewing anti-Shia venom today were singing the praises of Hizbullah in 2006, Qaradawi included. Sectarian rhetoric is a card that is played by every party. Assir has waxed conciliatory at times, hateful at others. Nasrallah is usually in a nationalist or globalist mode, but even he has played the Shiite revanchist tune on occasion. I think we shouldn’t be so inflexible in our reading of political identities and rhetoric.

    RedLeb may be right that Hizbullah perceives an imminent threat in Syria, but I don’t see how the path they’ve chosen can mitigate that threat. That is the point of this post.

    I find it hard to imagine that Hizbullah perceives that its future hinges on the Assad regime’s survival. They have spent years dispelling that notion, after all.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 2, 2013, 5:14 pm
  73. Redux

    I agree with much of what you’re saying but I think we are probably hearing about the worst offenders, not the mainstream. Hard to know, though.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 2, 2013, 5:17 pm
  74. “I find it hard to imagine that Hizbullah perceives that its future hinges on the Assad regime’s survival. They have spent years dispelling that notion, after all.”

    The worst case scenario for Hizbullah, that militant Sunnis take over Syria, invade Lebanon, and smash Hizbullah with their superior numbers, seems rather improbable. But neither does it seem completely crazy to me. Syria has intervened repeatedly in Lebanese internal conflicts. Maybe next time the Syria that does so will be implacably hostile to Hizbullah. Again, it seems an unlikely scenario, but if Hizbullah is destroyed in the next five or ten years, this would be the most probable mechanism.

    People will do a lot to avoid worst-case scenarios. If you were told that there was a 3% chance that doing X would get you killed, you would take that threat very seriously. So I can see why Hizbullah is worried.

    Posted by Rotsapsky | June 2, 2013, 5:52 pm
  75. Oh, and by “doing X”, I mean hypothetical action X, not taking an ecstasy pill.

    Posted by Rotsapsky | June 2, 2013, 7:22 pm
  76. Danny western terrorist lists are irrelevant because they are largely politically oriented…Nelson Mandella was once a terrorist….

    Posted by Marion | June 2, 2013, 10:07 pm
  77. And so was the MEK…..you do know who the MEK is don’t you Danny?

    Posted by Marion | June 2, 2013, 10:09 pm
  78. I understand the threat that Hizballah has been subjected to, but what gets me in a bit of a conundrum is the method the party has used to counter or as QN said “mitigate” the threats. Surely, such a powerful organisation has very acute and detailed planning that goes in before every major decision. They would probably have a whole department on risk analysis and management. Which begs the question, what are they doing in Qusayr and other pockets in Syria knowing full well that;
    a) It can turn into an open ended battle with no end in sight
    b) Their overt participation brings the Sunna-Shiaa faultline to the fore
    c) Their constituency in Lebanon will be subject to both internal/external political and perhaps militarized threat.

    and so on and so on….

    Either they are holding the fire at a simmer for something to follow very soon in the form of greater participation from regional powers, or this is seen as an existentialist struggle for survival. Surely, they wouldn’t have expected a sweeping blitzkrieg victory and back to usual in a matter of days?

    Posted by Maverick | June 3, 2013, 1:39 am
  79. Unlike me I am back soon

    I hear from people back from turkey about people interogated by the police. The interogators (in that case !)were polite, mild, clever almost scandinavian and very knowldgable. They were interested in Russian – Iranian -Syrian hands in that order. Past communist ties were looked after. So was knowledge of lanuages, Chomsky name came up several times. Interesting.

    Posted by Rani Hazbani | June 3, 2013, 5:13 am
  80. It seems the Russian, Iranian, Syrian, Hezbollah axis of evil is the new boogey man in the paranoid fundamentalist Sunni sphere …even rumored to be allegedly teaming up with the US in some paranoid Middle Eastern circles:

    The US, Iran, and Rumors Of Conspiracy

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/05/washington-tehran-conspiracy-common-enemy.html

    And this is while Gulf leaders, Jordan”s King Abdullah, and Turkey’s Erdogan have been openly working with the US against the resistance axis …I am shaking my head in disbelief as to just how easy it is to brainwash obviously extremely paranoid people with conspiracy theories ….

    Does Al Jazeera or Al Arabiya have anything to do with spreading such conspiracy theories?

    Posted by Marion | June 3, 2013, 6:18 am
  81. Marion,

    I guess it is futile to debate the crux of the post with you as you keep on spamming and blurting out brainwashed useless slogans. Yes! It is the civilized secular Iran, and humanitarian of the year Assad and the (“father Theresa”) Nassrallah against the evils of the universe.

    Good luck! Don’t despair from the echo.

    Posted by danny | June 3, 2013, 6:37 am
  82. Hezbollah has always claimed that they are the only military organization capable of confronting the Zionist “boogey man” (using Marion’s term), giving them the excuse to act separately and without orders from the Lebanese government.

    Now we know differently. Hezbollah has been exposed as a direct extension of the Iranian government holding Lebanon hostage.

    Arab Sunnis and Israel are now natural allies, thanks to Hezbollah’s stupidity and greed.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 3, 2013, 6:45 am
  83. Danny and Akbar …I actually first heard this conspiracy theory two years ago from a Syrian woman in Saudi Arabia whose son was my student…She was talking badly about Shia and Alawites and claiming the US likes Shia more than Sunni…along with a number of other paranoid sounding accusations …and she was praising the Saudi regime….The article I posted just clarified that she is not alone in her paranoia….as far as Arab Sunnis and Israel being natural allies Akbar, remember that you said it not me…..and I don’t think Hezbollah has claimed to be the only military organization capable of confronting Israel, even though they are the only entity that has successfully confronted militarily, the Zionist military regime, by forcing them out of South Lebanon…Danny your exaggerations and hyperbole concerning me are not even worth responding to ….

    Posted by Marion | June 3, 2013, 10:49 am
  84. The Shiite Hit the Fan NewZ

    Well Marion,

    Somebody is pissed-off big-time (link below), and it looks like is wasn’t a Jew, Zionist or Crusader who pushed this cleric’s “buttons”.

    Good luck with him and his millions of followers…

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10094590/Muslim-Brotherhood-cleric-calls-for-Sunni-jihad-in-Syria.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 3, 2013, 11:14 am
  85. I started formulating some replies to the various comments in the last day or so, but quickly gave up in light of the degree of self-delusion exhibited in the narrative above. Full of contradictions, conspiracy theories that don’t even make sense besides helping the believer look at him/herself in the mirror every morning with some kind of justification for their twisted beliefs.

    So I just gave up on posting anything, and will return to the sidelines. I am more convinced every day that our neck of the woods will never be made right. Not as long as a substantial percentage of the population (from all sects and sides) insist on living in a world of denial and self-victimization. The stupidity (and yes, I don’t care if this insulting to some of you readers, but STUPID is the only word that correctly describes some of you) is astounding.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 3, 2013, 12:45 pm
  86. I feel sorry for the people who believe and follow this supposed religious man Qadawri who has become the Qatari government’s mouthpiece…yet. I still believe that most Sunnis are wise enough to think for themselves and not buy into this man’s hateful propaganda….Don’t wish me good luck when you really don’t mean it Akbar…

    Posted by Marion | June 3, 2013, 2:47 pm
  87. Marion,

    I really never understood how the ME works. You have self-elected despots, you have religious clerics who proport to lead scores, if not hundreds of individual religious sects and resistance organizations, and near the bottom*, you have democracy and rule-of-law.

    When one of these religious leaders issues a “fatwa” or a relgious edict, I once thought it was just “hot air”. A joke. But events over the past couple of decades show that these edicts are not anything to ignore. All the Sunni jihadis pouring into Syria are doing so with the blessing of some religious cleric(s).

    *electron microscope recommended

    You said:

    It seems the Russian, Iranian, Syrian, Hezbollah axis of evil is the new boogey man in the paranoid fundamentalist Sunni sphere …

    The group you mentioned above are not just “bogeymen”, they represent 3 nations and one allied and militant muslim sect who not only DO NOT believe in individualism, free thought, freedom and democracy, they are responsible for killing tens of thousands of people and destroying cities. Bogeymen do not do such terrible things.

    I’m not saying Sunnis and Jews are going to become “kissing cousins”, I’m just saying that they now have something else in common.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 3, 2013, 4:11 pm
  88. BV,

    You are one of the most clearheaded commentators after the departed iceman 😛

    In all seriousness; kindly reconsider and do not allow spammers on X hijack the post.

    Thank you.

    Posted by danny | June 3, 2013, 6:23 pm
  89. Akhbar, Your claims against Hezbollah are extremely exaggerated which is why I cannot even take you seriously whatsoever….while you play down all the death and destruction all the Takfiris have been committing in Syria and beyond such as Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and the list goes on, but not Israel of course, who al Qadawri is now openly cheering on to go after the only group that has ever defended its country from the Zioists…yes, Israel and the fundamentalist Takfiris do belong together…I agree that much with you….

    Posted by Marion | June 3, 2013, 10:34 pm
  90. You were actually describing the Takfiri ideology when you said who do not believe in individualism, free thought, freedom and democracy, and they are responsible for killing tens of thousands and destroying cities….the ones who The free thinking Al Qadawr is now cheering on …

    Posted by Marion | June 3, 2013, 10:41 pm
  91. Rani:

    ” They were interested in Russian – Iranian -Syrian hands in that order.”

    Erdogan coyly hints that there are foreign hands crafting the Turkish uprisings… Uh Huh. We’ve heard that before someplace of late. But, Chomsky?

    Could the “almost scandinavian” interrogator(s) have been German by any chance?

    Watch them blame it all on Hezbollah.)

    (Your earlier post about the Turk pilots & the “NATO” nukes is a bit discomfiting, There is a great deal of interoperability between Turk pilots and their Israeli counterparts. I’ve seen the concerns related to )

    BV. Why would you call “readers” STUPID? Don’t you mean that some of the commenters are STUPID?

    Posted by lally | June 3, 2013, 11:11 pm
  92. I don’t see that Hezbollah has curbed anyone’s individualism or freedom of expression in Lebanon…people are still living the way they like here and pretty much doing and saying what they want…I don’t see them threatening other believers based on their faiths being different or destroying the churches and mosques of other believers, or even the nightclubs …..now…what have the Takfiris been doing wherever they have gone to around the Arab and Muslim world? I think that most reasonable minded people can clearly see the differences….

    Posted by Marion | June 3, 2013, 11:44 pm
  93. I am actually a free thinking person of Western decent, and I agree with you Akbar, I don’t understand the often paranoid and disunited ME and it’s people….but Never the less, I am still in support of true and legitimate resistance against the Zionist regime and its illegal presence here, which has caused nothing but trouble for the people of this region since it came and continues to steal the land from underneath it’s rightful natives…

    Posted by Marion | June 3, 2013, 11:55 pm
  94. Marion,

    What is a “true and legitimate resistance”? What are its aims and what means should it use to achieve them?

    Posted by AIG | June 4, 2013, 12:20 am
  95. Eureka!!!!!!

    Reading Marions posts I realized why Hizballah is in Qusayr. If all else fails push the ” Imperialist-Zionist-Western” button and turn the events into a binary narrative. This will create a rift across the ME between those who are the honourable defenders of the land and those who are traitors and delusional.

    So simple yet so brilliant….in the words of GWB.. “you are either with us or against us”

    Posted by Maverick | June 4, 2013, 1:46 am
  96. I don’t see that Hezbollah has curbed anyone’s individualism or freedom of expression in Lebanon…

    Of course, as long as Hezbollah is allowed to do what they want. They have fought the Lebanese army and now they are fighting for Iran and Syria. They do what they want and answer to no one except Iran. As a muslim (shia) army, they represent a militant theocracy, which, by definition, is anti-democratic. They play by their own rules and no one elses.

    people are still living the way they like here and pretty much doing and saying what they want…

    Unless they get in Hezbollah’s way…

    I don’t see them threatening other believers based on their faiths being different or destroying the churches and mosques of other believers, or even the nightclubs …..

    This Lebanese leader disagrees with you:

    Lebanese Christian leader says Hezbollah will destroy Lebanon

    http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/05/29/Lebanese-Christian-leader-says-Hezbollah-will-destroy-Lebanon.html

    Like I said, a “bogey man” is an imagined threat. Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and their Russian arms supplier are not imagined. They and their militaries have already thrown the region into peril and killed probably over 100,000 people all because Assad refused to step down and call for free, multiparty elections. Typical thugs. Typical despots. Typical attack on freedom.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 4, 2013, 7:03 am
  97. Gae Gae Akbar?? Could you not come up with someone better to represent Lebanese Christians?

    Posted by Marion | June 4, 2013, 7:42 am
  98. What was Gae Gae’s role in the Lebanese civil war?

    Posted by Marion | June 4, 2013, 7:43 am
  99. What about Michel Aoun? He’s a Hezzi supporter. You’d be suprised what a man will do with gun pointed at his head….

    http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/15446

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 4, 2013, 7:58 am
  100. The state-within-a-state, Hezbollah, is getting bad press lately. No one yet knows why…

    Hezbollah sacrificing Lebanon for Assad: Hariri

    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2013/May-01/215723-hezbollah-wants-to-sacrifice-lebanon-for-assad-hariri.ashx#axzz2VFg1DcGU

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 4, 2013, 8:59 am
  101. Vulcan,

    As I recall, you were looking to build foreign construction projects for the US government. If you want, there’s a top secret Israeli missile site we could bid on.

    Let me know what you think.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/06/03/192895/us-publishes-details-of-missile.html#.Ua0-qUAa6lg

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 4, 2013, 9:57 am
  102. Marion,

    What is a “true and legitimate resistance”? What are its aims and what means should it use to achieve them?

    What do you think a “resistance” movement should do? What should it look like?

    Posted by AIG | June 4, 2013, 10:49 am
  103. I’d appreciate it if folks stopped the personal attacks and insults. The point of view expressed by Marion and Lally is perfectly legitimate and deserves to be heard, even if others don’t agree with it. This place gets boring in a hurry when only one side feels entitled to express its opinion.

    Carry on.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 4, 2013, 11:01 am
  104. PS: Over 100 comments? Feels like the good old days…

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 4, 2013, 11:02 am
  105. Reblogged this on YALLA SOURIYA.

    Posted by #yallasouriya | June 4, 2013, 11:22 am
  106. QN,

    With all due respect, it’s a far cry from “only one side expressing their opinion”. But there are intelligent, factual ways of disagreeing and being on 2 different sides of an issue, and then there is idiotic fantasyland unicorns and rainbows lunacy. While healthy disagreement over real issues engenders smart debate and is a great thing to have on a blog (or in any given setting), I don’t see how pretending to have “healthy debate” about unicorns and faeries lends any kind of credibility to a blog (or any given setting).

    I think there should be limits as to how ridiculous we can get around here before this blog descends into being a complete farce. We’re not there yet, but already I feel like several of the more thoughtful contributors have been absent lately. And of course, it’s not my blog, so my 2 cents are really worthless to anyone but myself.

    But come on. Why don’t you just title your page “An exercise in sillyness” and start posting topics like “Elvis found alive and well, living in the Jeeta caves in Lebanon: Zionist conspiracy or Iranian ploy?” or “Brad and Angelina adopt vampire baby from Jounieh” or somesuch nonesense.
    I mean, there’s a difference between the National Enquirer and the Wall Street Journal, say. Not all forums are “equal” in their ability at expressing interesting and intelligent discussion.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 4, 2013, 12:40 pm
  107. Even if I don’t agree with you Qifa, I appreciate your giving my argument a vote of legitimacy…

    Posted by Marion | June 4, 2013, 1:04 pm
  108. QN,

    No one is “attacking” marion or lally (she showered me with shekels lol..). However; it is somehow irritating listening to the echos of same insane bs. Always changing the narrative to well if you do not agree with their destructive methods then you are a traitor. I think the “other side” should come up with constructive ideas of building a nation and NOT the same harangue about everybody is against us…or the Joos did it. Your blog should have a higher standard then a childish retort to your question on HA’s recent misadventure and de facto announcing of their own State!

    Again; I hope it is worth a few shekels…

    Posted by danny | June 4, 2013, 1:08 pm
  109. As far as I can tell, the point of view that you are describing as “idiotic fantasyland unicorns and rainbows lunacy” is basically a pro-resistance, anti-imperialist stance. I think there are many flaws and inconsistencies with the argumentation presented by this camp, but I also think they raise important points. As the ICG paper states, the Salafist threat has been overemphasized by the regime side and underemphasized by the opposition, just like the foreign fighter issue. Hizbullah’s jihadism in Syria — to my mind — is doing great harm to the region’s prospects of peace and coexistence, just as Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s involvement is destructive. At the same time, I don’t know what the alternative response is to Assad’s brutal tactics. The internationalization of the conflict became inevitable when he sent in the shabbiha and heavy artillery.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 4, 2013, 1:13 pm
  110. I’m still waiting to hear Marion’s answer to AIG’s question, by the way.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 4, 2013, 1:19 pm
  111. AIG, in answer to your questions, true and legitimate resistance depends on if your cause is just, if your intentions are honest and good, and if your actions are justifiable and reasonable..of course you would not use armed resistance if you are not facing a military force, or an armed invader or occupier….and armed resistance is legitimate as long as you are defending your lands or your people, and you don’t become the aggressor….The aim is to protect your people and to get occupiers and invaders out of your country and to keep them out…the means can be militarily or peacefully, or both depending on the situation at hand…and of course legitimate resistance includes more than just military means…you can even use a pen to resist by writing the truth , yet if are purposely writing falsehoods, even if your cause is just, your resistance becomes illegitimate …if you are purposely targeting civilians or not trying to avoid killing civilians your resistance than becomes illegitimate …

    Posted by Marion | June 4, 2013, 1:45 pm
  112. Danny when did I call you a traitor? Why are you putting words into my mouth?

    Posted by Marion | June 4, 2013, 1:48 pm
  113. QN: And that’s an intelligent way to debate that topic. The way you phrase it, internationalizing the conflict. What are the true numbers of “foreign fighters” vs. true Syrian rebels, etc.

    What I have a problem with is the childish (and yes, I stand by my description) mantras about “resistance” and “Zionist plots”. I’d like to think that after all these years, and after all the evidence, even when someone’s on the resistance side of the equation, they’d have the maturity, intellect and common sense to admit to what’s really happening and present their thoughts as to why it’s ok for it to happen, in their opinion.
    What I have a problem with is when people insist on denying and living in a world of self-delusion. It brings absolutely nothing constructive to the discourse.

    Maybe we should stop arguing as to whether HA is truly involved in Syria (remember, a month or two ago, some people insisted on denying that, until the party itself admitted to it). Maybe we should stop denying that foreign fighters are involved in Syria (again, those who insist that all Syrian rebels are innocent civilians looking to topple a dictator and regain their freedom). Such narratives are naive and silly.
    Same goes for these ridiculous blanket accusations of “American projects” and “Zionist conspiracies”.
    Does the US have a stake in the game? Sure. Does Israel? Sure. Does Iran? Sure. Does Saudi Arabia? Sure. They all do. And they all currently have their hand in the pot.
    Can we use those facts to discuss actual possible outcomes? Isn’t that what we do as “political analysts”? Pretty much.
    But let’s move past these silly notions that the Americans and Israelis suddenly created these Salafi groups out of thin air to try and take out the “resistance”. There are so many holes in those arguments that it makes trying to debate them an exercise in silliness and futility.

    Maybe we should examine more general and clear cut themes. Here is a question I would like to ask, for example:

    – Is it ok to intervene militarily in another country in order to protect one’s interests? (Everyone does it, but should it be condemned?)

    Some food for thought: If it’s ok for a Lebanese militia to intervene in Syria to protect and help an allied regime (no matter the reasoning), then shouldn’t it also be ok for the US to send troops to Iraq or Afghanistan? or Libya?.
    Is HA being hypocritical for condemning Israeli actions in the occupied territories and South Lebanon? I mean, if it’s ok for you to go to another country to do what’s best for you, then isn’t it also ok for the other side to do the same? (various Israeli invasions of Lebanon come to mind here).

    I’d like to hear people’s thoughts on that general question. And “This is different!” is not an acceptable answer.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 4, 2013, 1:52 pm
  114. ….and armed resistance is legitimate as long as you are defending your lands or your people, and you don’t become the aggressor….

    Marion,

    And so what lands and what people are the Hezzbis defending by fighting in Syria?

    I’ll engage further tonight on your response, which, as usual, only applies to Zionism and not arabs.

    QN – not to worry, everyone here is writing their POV freely.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 4, 2013, 1:55 pm
  115. Marion,

    What is the cause of Hezbollah? What are their intentions?

    Who determines and how if the the cause of the resistance is just and if the actions are justifiable and reasonable?

    Posted by AIG | June 4, 2013, 1:58 pm
  116. This is the first time I came and responded on this blog, other than one comment a year or so ago…and immediately I am attacked as being of the same old rhetoric… I guess that it just bothers some of you that people who support the resistance axis think a lot alike when it comes to resistance ..I guess that is how we remain so unified …. And actually many of the responses I have been getting here do remind me a lot of Zionists when I have debated with them before… They just attack you…..

    Posted by Marion | June 4, 2013, 1:59 pm
  117. AIG, I don’t claim to speak for Hezbollah, I am not Hezbollah…I just ideologically support resistance and I believe that Hezbollah is one of the best examples of it…I don’t expect them to be perfect, yet I do expect them to recognize and learn from their mistakes when they make them…

    Posted by Marion | June 4, 2013, 2:03 pm
  118. BV and AP,

    Before answering Marion, I would like to understand his position. Why jump to conclusions? Let’s understand what he is saying first.

    Posted by AIG | June 4, 2013, 2:04 pm
  119. Marion,

    We are trying to understand what “resistance” means. Can you elaborate who determines and how if the the cause of the resistance is just and if the actions are justifiable and reasonable? That is the basis of a legitimate resistance as I understood from your answers above.

    Posted by AIG | June 4, 2013, 2:07 pm
  120. this AIG person looks like he is taking notes

    Posted by rpver | June 4, 2013, 2:09 pm
  121. Before answering Marion, I would like to understand his position.

    AIG,

    Yes, I’m looking forward to reading from the ME, “Do as I say, Not as I Do Handbook”.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 4, 2013, 2:20 pm
  122. How do you justify all of the US or Israel’s past military adventures and invasions in the region to HA’s present strategic involvement in Syria, and while so many other countries in and outside the region have been involved there even longer and with the intentions of undermining the resistance axis?

    Posted by Marion | June 4, 2013, 2:24 pm
  123. Marion, no one is attacking you. You’re the one who keeps calling everyone a Zionist.

    Putting that aside. There are some very interesting questions that are being asked here. Questions that arose from something you said. You said actions are justifiable if a cause is just, and so on.

    AIG asked “What is the cause of Hezbollah? What are their intentions? Who determines and how if the the cause of the resistance is just and if the actions are justifiable and reasonable?”

    Akbar asked: “And so what lands and what people are the Hezzbis defending by fighting in Syria?”

    And I asked: “Is it acceptable to militarily intervene in another country to defend one’s interests. And if so, how is it any different than the US invading Iraq or Israel invading Lebanon?”

    Try to give these questions some real thought and answer them without calling us Zionists or using formulaic replies about conspiracies.

    I, for one, am genuinely interested in understanding the line of thinking that states “just cause” and “defending your land” and takes that thinking to explain intervention in another country, or defense of an allied regime. From my perspective, those things do not compute with each other. Maybe I’m stupid. I don’t know. But I don’t get how one can talk about defending one’s land by intervening in another land.
    Or, if that really is the accepted definition of “defending”, and no one told me, then the Israelis had it right all along, when they invaded Lebanon and the occupied territories to “defend their land”.
    I mean. You can’t have it both ways (in my opinion). Either “defend your land” is defined the same way for HA as it is for Israel, the US, France and everyone else, or someone’s being a hypocrite and using 2 different definitions, depending on whether they like the “defender of land” or not.

    So…No insults, no name calling in my comment. Now, let’s see your reply, hopefully also devoid of name calling and insults.

    And notice that this a very specific question. So let’s not wax poetic about conspiracies and plots.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 4, 2013, 2:24 pm
  124. Sorry guys but I am not a man..Lool! So hopefully you are not sexists…and I don’t claim to be the most intelligent person nor do I try to pretend that I am….so if I don’t meet up to your standards of engagement you will just have to get over your egos….

    Posted by Marion | June 4, 2013, 2:30 pm
  125. Marion.

    HAH! You just posted this as I was typing:

    “How do you justify all of the US or Israel’s past military adventures and invasions in the region to HA’s present strategic involvement in Syria, and while so many other countries in and outside the region have been involved there even longer and with the intentions of undermining the resistance axis?”

    It’s like you were reading my mind 🙂

    Ok. So am I understanding you here in saying that it’s ok for HA to be involved in military adventures because others have been doing it for years? So, your answer to my above question is “It’s ok to engage in military adventures, be it by a party, militia or state, because others do it all the time”?
    So then, you should have no beef with Israel’s interventions. After all they’re doing what everyone else does.
    You should have no beef with Syria’s intervention in Lebanon during the 70s and 80s.
    You should have no beef with a militia or group (The Lebanese Christians, for lack of a better term) getting support from a “friendly regime” (Israel) during the 80s. And seeking to partition Lebanon, since, after all, they’re looking for their best interests?
    You should have no beef with the foreign salafis in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere. After all, it’s ok for foreigners to intervene and protect what they consider a just cause (you can’t argue that to a Salafi, establishing an Islamic state is not a just cause. It’s what they believe in, no?)

    Do you at least agree with me that there’s a double standard here?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 4, 2013, 2:31 pm
  126. Oh. I also forgot the mother of all “interventions in the name of a just cause”, the PLO’s presence in Lebanon during the 70s-80s in the name of liberating Palestine, via Jounieh and terrorizing Lebanon and specially the people of South Lebanon.

    (And apologies for the gender mix-up, Marion. I think we all tend to assume that anonymous commenters are guys, for some odd reason).

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 4, 2013, 2:33 pm
  127. I did not call everyone a Zionist…but many of you do remind me of them…in the way that you argue and the things that you say, it is sometimes hard to tell the difference…and Zionists are anti- resistance obviously…and if you don’t like the fact that I don’t support Zionism or imperialism and that I see resistance to such ideologies as being a priority than maybe you should not have an open blog with differing opinions on resistance…if I don’t meet your intelligence standards maybe you should have a blog which only invites those who meet up to your egotistic standards..

    Posted by Marion | June 4, 2013, 2:46 pm
  128. Marion,

    I am a proud Zionist so you can call me a Zionist whenever you want. I am just asking questions, trying to understand. I don’t see how that relates to my ego. I will ask again then: Can you elaborate who determines and how if the the cause of the resistance is just and if the actions are justifiable and reasonable? That is the basis of a legitimate resistance as I understood from your answers above.

    You also touched a bit about resistance being against Zionism and imperialism. Do you think that is the cause of Hezbollah?

    Posted by AIG | June 4, 2013, 3:03 pm
  129. No I don’t agree…but I will have to leave this debate for later as I am a working woman who has been suffering from a headache all day long …and I need to get some sleep for another days work tomorrow…by the way, why would you think I am anonymous when I posted my actual name here? Honestly though, my name is unisex and you are not the first to mistake me for a man…

    Posted by Marion | June 4, 2013, 3:05 pm
  130. Marion,

    The only “Marion” I know used to be the Mayor of Washington, DC…

    Feel better,

    AP

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marion_Barry

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 4, 2013, 3:12 pm
  131. Ehud Barak, the former Israeli prime minister, stated, “When we entered Lebanon… there was no Hezbollah. We were accepted with perfumed rice and flowers by the Shia in the south. It was our presence there that created Hezbollah”.

    Posted by Whatever | June 4, 2013, 3:13 pm
  132. Yes I do believe it is the cause of Hezbollah….and because resistance to such forces, which are for the benefit of a few at the expense of many, is a fundamental right of the people… If you are a Zionist AIG, than why are you questioning me about resistance, when you should questioning yourself about Zionism instead…Zionism is what brought about the resistance, not vice versa….

    Posted by Marion | June 4, 2013, 3:16 pm
  133. Whatever,

    Barak was wrong on this. It is the same logic that compelled him as Prime Minister to leave South Lebanon in the belief that then Hezbollah would become irrelevant. If Israel would have left South Lebanon right away, Hezbollah would still have been founded since it is an extension of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. It is actually Israel leaving South Lebanon that allowed Hezbollah to become a state within a state and cemented Hezbollah power in Lebanon. Of course, after Israel left, Hezbollah expanded its goals to the Sheba Farms and then the Seven Villages. Organizations have a knack to self perpetuate and find new goals when they achieve their old ones. Now that attacking Israel is not an option, the tafkiris may be a good substitute.

    Marion,

    Ok, so we have a couple of options.
    1) “Resistance” is something like pornography, you know it when you see it but it is very difficult to define.
    2) “Resistance” is what those calling themselves the “resistance” say it is.

    In any case, the “resistance” is not accountable to anyone but itself and its goals are fuzzy and evolving. It is more defined by what it is against than what it is for. To paraphrase Amazon: Customers who disliked the US and Israel also liked Hezbollah.

    The above is just descriptive and should not be construed as any judgement. Sometimes it is good to have fuzzy goals for example.

    As for questioning, I understand Zionism very well, I am trying to understand “resistance” better. Maybe when your headache goes away, you can help me a little more. So far, you are very vague.

    Posted by AIG | June 4, 2013, 3:37 pm
  134. So the resistance followers are against the Bush Doctrine and yet they have adopted it hook line & sinker! how hypocritical! Also, I am still waiting to hear from Marion to let us know if she accepts Lebanon as a state…as she already mentioned she does not!

    Posted by danny | June 4, 2013, 4:46 pm
  135. This should be filed under the “Here We Go Again” cabinet.

    Marion, if you are against Imperialism and intolerant oppressors you should also stand firm against Arab Islamic Imperialism, and understand the Zionist Resistance.

    Perhaps because of your western descent, you are yet to fully understand the Arabs. We are not tolerant people, we are still very tribal, dangerously plagued with racism, bigotry, intolerance and inequality on all fronts, Ethnic, Religious and Gender. As you can see, we are now digging up the age old Sunni/Shiaa fight, this schism that existed way before Israeli Zionism and American Imperialism. The causes of our wars, problems and divisions are not the outside conspiracies, it’s mostly self-inflicted.

    Maybe I am oversimplifying or discounting some of the dynamics at play, but no matter how mighty the forces of “sedition”, have we not been so susceptible to division because of our psychology and fear, none of it would have been as dramatic or destructive as we are witnessing. The US withdrew from Iraq, look at what the Iraqis are doing and ask why?

    Since 1948 we refused to accept the right of the Jewish people to self determination in the Middle East. Yes there was injustice to the Arab Palestinians who were driven out of their homes, but what did the refusal of a UN settlement that gave the Jews and Arabs each their own country in Palestine lead to? Wasn’t it more injustice to the Palestinians, Lebanese and many others who died during the past 65 years?
    As an Arab, who lived thru this conflict enough years to understand it (Sometimes) I can almost assure you, had the refugees who flocked to Palestine from Europe been Sunni Muslims, we wouldn’t be discussing this now.

    Resistance, Shmesistance, it’s all a shiny veneer to the bigotry in our society; you just have to scratch the surface to see the ugliness.

    PS: I don’t mind being called a zionist, or a traitor, hell, Lally once openly called for my Lynching on this very fine blog. It would be all so good, especially if you look like Marion Cotillard 🙂

    Posted by Vulcan | June 4, 2013, 4:47 pm
  136. And my questions have not been answered or addressed.

    And just for the record, Marion, I am Lebanese who grew up during the civil war era and suffered through both Israeli invasions and the Syrian “friendly” occupation, whereas AIG and Akbar are Israelis.
    I am 100% for Lebanon being a sovereign and free state. I am not pro-Israeli, nor am I pro-Syrian.
    I am not at all a fan of the March 14 gang, and their antiquated feudal ways. I am not a fan of sectarianism in ANY form. I don’t give a crap about the new “bogeyman” of sectarian politics (namely Christian representation, as played on by Aoun and some M14 sides). If it were up to me, Lebanon would be a secular republic, where the president or prime minister was elected by popular vote and could be from any sect, etc.

    I’m just saying all this because people who read my comments seem to have a tendency to believe that I am pro-M14 (I am not), a Christian (I am not), or that I have some kind of stereotypical bone to pick with HA based on sect or whatever (and I will agree that there are many Sunnis and Christians who think exactly that way).

    I pride myself on being consistent in my opinions. I absolutely abhor double standards and hypocrisy. I cannot abide by groups or sides that claim to value the sovereignty of the state, while breaching the sovereignty of others. I cannot abide by groups or sides who claim to be solely about defending their land, but then proceed with courses of action that are the exact opposite.
    I believe that anyone that operates outside the state, no matter how noble their cause, and no matter how corrupt the state is, simply give license to others to do the same.
    After all, every single person with a “cause” is always 100% convinced that theirs is the right one.
    You give license to HA to keep their arms in the name of resistance, arms that end up being used against other Lebanese (again, no matter if it was right or wrong, we all agree it did happen), and then you’re surprised other sides also want to have weapons? You’re surprised that guys like Al Assir are rising in popularity seemingly out of thin air?
    I promise you Assir’s supporters believe in the righteousness of their cause just as much as HA supporters do in theirs. And it won’t be too long before we see more of those groups.
    The solution has always been in having one legitimate state, one set of rules and institutions. Even if said state is corrupt and unfair. The solution is to reform it peacefully.
    Everything else is just hubris. Everyone keeps justifying everything they do by saying “The others did it too”.

    This is why I believe our country is doomed. Not because of the USA, or Israel or Syria. But because we are like immature children, bickering and fighting with each other in uncivilized manners while each one of us believes that they are justified in using violence because their cause is just (while other people’s causes aren’t). And of course, we blame everyone else but ourselves, time and again. That’s why I am tired of those excuses. Only children use the “But the other guys is doing it too” excuse and faulty logic. Yet I see that repeated here time and again.

    Years ago, it was the Palestinians in Lebanon. And the Christians clamoring about the “sunni power” if you will. So they took up arms, well, because the palestinians were allowed to, and we had a civil war.
    Now it’s the Sunni clamoring about the Shia having weapons, and sure enough we’re headed towards a repeat of “well, he has weapons, he can work outside the law, so I can too”…
    And in the meantime, every other country in the world takes a moment to laugh at our stupidity before simply pumping some money to this group or that in order to further their own agendas (never ours).
    Do you believe for one moment that Iran is any different than Saudi, Qatar, USA or Israel in funding or supporting this or that group?

    Tell me how you figure that will EVER the cycle of violence and stupidity.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 4, 2013, 5:04 pm
  137. Christian or not. BV gets and Amen! for that one.

    Posted by Johnny | June 4, 2013, 5:33 pm
  138. BV,

    Thanks for coming back! still awaiting Marion’s response…

    Posted by danny | June 4, 2013, 5:55 pm
  139. Ok, I’m not posting on this thread anymore. There are enough Zionists here to create a second Jewish State…

    (PS – BV, I’m not Israeli. I’m a Jewish-American who once lived in Israel for a couple of years. fyi)

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 4, 2013, 7:00 pm
  140. I got your points VB….and believe me I know the Arabs problems very well since I have been married to one for almost thirty years, and have been living with and around them for that long…and I agree with you, they should be looking within before they look without, but unfortunately I don’t have the time to respond to each and everyone of your questions, or those of everyone else as I am only one against many Zionists here, Lool! And I do have a life to live…and besides why do I have to answer the questions of those who don’t answer mine? I will have to limit my responses to only one or two of you. And that will be to the ones I feel are being the most honest and respectful…now I have to go to work…

    Posted by Marion | June 5, 2013, 12:05 am
  141. BV.

    “I cannot abide by groups or sides that claim to value the sovereignty of the state, while breaching the sovereignty of others.”

    Niether can I.
    It’s even more grating to have the above outrages serially perpetuated in one’s name.

    Vulcan. I certainly was not advocating that you per se should be lynched, you big ‘ol silly!

    I was attempting to describe a cultural attitude (lynch mob mentality) that’s part and parcel of my heritage of the not so distant past. American nationalism sets a very low bar for seditious behavior that is considered traitorous. But we’re a violent bunch of holy warriors for the Righteousness.

    PS. Is that proposed US Embassy project as ambitious as it looks? Who else but a Halliburton could score a contract of that size and diversity of demands? Is it SOP to limit the participation of locals (Lebanese in this case) to non-leadership participation?

    Danny. Marion told you/us:

    “but I will have to leave this debate for later as I am a working woman who has been suffering from a headache all day long …and I need to get some sleep for another days work tomorrow…”

    Relax.

    Posted by lally | June 5, 2013, 12:36 am
  142. “Maybe I’m stupid. I don’t know. But I don’t get how one can talk about defending one’s land by intervening in another land.”

    Generally, I believe, history can teach us quite alot. The Russians did the above, and took land from not only eastern European countries. The Germans had quite a different rationale, but were imperialistic nonetheless, claiming that it is their right as the German state to defend Germans in neighboring countries. The USA had a similar approach to the above when intervening in Afghanistan. So yes, it has happened a multitude of times in the past century.

    History also teaches us, at least to a large degree, that countries that are not homogenous are often instable. Often they require a strongman just to keep it all together. And if they are homogenous but there are many ‘countrymen’ outside of this nationstate, then there is a large chance that the foreign policy of that nationstate will be dictated by this (Germany pre-WWII the obvious example, but also Russian policy towards Estonia and Latvia, Turkey regarding Turkomen, Syria and the notion of greater Syria…).

    Obviously, a solution to this mess in the Levant/ME about intervening here and there would be moving people around and redrawing borders, but that might not be a tolerable solution. Maybe we need a new concept of statehood. The nation state as we know it is perhaps a relic from yesteryear. In the meantime, people are trying to work around Sykes-Picot, which I personally have a difficult time being optimistic about.

    Posted by Pas Cool | June 5, 2013, 12:36 am
  143. That would make Zionism also a “Resistance” force , so with all these resistors in the area, they should come up with a way to convert it to the circuit grid in Lebanon. 🙂 :):) Sorry:( couldn’t ‘Resist’:):)

    Posted by Maverick | June 5, 2013, 1:15 am
  144. The IDF have become so bored watching the great defenders of the land kill each other to the last man, they’ve come up with alternative methods to keep their recruits awake;

    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/world/2013/06/03/15/49/female-soldiers-disciplined-after-posting-risky-photos

    Hopefully, this might provide the incentive for the bearded ones to re-programme their navigation system towards the south.

    Posted by Maverick | June 5, 2013, 3:28 am
  145. Lilo,

    I’m chilling.

    I’m joining the IDF…

    Posted by danny | June 5, 2013, 6:15 am
  146. Just thought to share with you all, this article I just ran across: Syria and the Sham of “Humanitarian Intervention”
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/06/04

    The Israeli Occupation forces are cowards Maverick, because they are not even willing to die for the cause of Zionism.. Zionism is a failure, as the ground it stands on is built up on lies, deception, racism, and militarism.. it is slowly but surely rotting from within…

    Can’ t wait to hear the reactions now…

    Posted by Marion | June 5, 2013, 6:28 am
  147. Going to be a bit distracted for the next few days, I will try to respond to your posting BV, as I found it to be one of the more honest, but it might not be right away…

    Posted by Marion | June 5, 2013, 6:35 am
  148. True Lies

    Zionism is a failure, as the ground it stands on is built up on lies, deception, racism, and militarism.. it is slowly but surely rotting from within…

    Marion,

    well it looks like your headache cleared up, so that’s good.

    Why do you suppose people like you always claim Zionism is “failing” and “rotting” blah, blah, blah when in reality Israel is doing relatively well while the arab and muslim world is falling apart at the seams?

    And YOU demand “honesty”? Pul-eeeze!

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/is.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_citizens_of_Israel

    http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21578087-can-israeli-arabs-benefit-countrys-start-up-boom-bring-them-together

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 5, 2013, 7:14 am
  149. Just two more articles of interest guys:

    Meet the ‘Friends of Jihad’

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-03-050613.html

    Et tu, Gul? Then fall, Erdogan

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-01-050613.html

    Posted by Marion | June 5, 2013, 7:49 am
  150. Aww poor Akbar….yeah my headache is better thank God….I claim it because it is true Akbar, and time will eventually reveal that people like me are telling the truth….just be patient Akbar….

    Posted by Marion | June 5, 2013, 7:53 am
  151. …just be patient…

    Marion,

    That’s just the cry of a thug who doesn’t get his way.

    And your links to all these obscure websites doesn’t help. 70% of Syrians are pro-Assad?

    Why hasn’t Assad held a real multiparty election if he’s so popular?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 5, 2013, 8:15 am
  152. Obscure websites Akbar? Obscure is in the eye of the beholder I suppose…Do you think I should only post from sources like the “unbiased” New York Times, Haaretz, Washington Post, Jeruselum Post, etc. to be credible? And maybe you can tell me why don’t US allies Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain etc. hold elections too while we are at it? We will wait and see what Assad will do…..patience is a virtue…

    Posted by Marion | June 5, 2013, 1:49 pm
  153. Dear Marion, and with all due respect, there is nothing more zealous and, may I say, a bit obnoxious, than a converted anything. Take you for instance; you have become a convert Arab cause lover through your marriage into one. Or, take an American Jew, the minute he or she discovers Israel, they become more zealous and entrenched into the David .Versus goliath nonsense than Israelis themselves who actually live in Israel! I have not met many Israelis but I guaranteed you they are friendlier and nicer to us in person than any Jewish American who knows nothing about the area and have never set foot there themselves. My advice to you is let people fight their own fights and what your husband feels about Israel should be his fight and not yours. Respectfully submitted, honestly.

    Posted by rpver | June 5, 2013, 2:08 pm
  154. Marion,

    Do you think the Tsarnaev brothers were resistance heroes? Why or why not?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 5, 2013, 2:35 pm
  155. akbar palace w azghar brain leaver her alone man!

    Posted by rpver | June 5, 2013, 2:41 pm
  156. RPVER,

    Marion isn’t shy about her love for Hezbollah, honesty, Assad and her media outlets like Asia Times and Common Dreams.

    And since Asia Times had an article called, “The FBI Boston-Chechnya charade” by a reporter she trusts (Pepe Escobar), I thought it would fair game to ask such a simple question.

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-01-220413.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 5, 2013, 3:06 pm
  157. If they are truly guilty, no I do not Akbar…..you forgot the Al Monitor Akbar….RPVER as if your whining about me being a converted Arab cause lover is not obnoxious? Loool! Don’t worry, I am not trying to be an Arab…..And you don’t know me, so don’t judge me….

    Posted by Marion | June 5, 2013, 3:19 pm
  158. I actually want to apologize to you Akbar Palace, her response in regards to the boston murderers “If they are truly guilty…” shocked me. This Marion is one delusional johnny-come-lately

    Posted by rpver | June 5, 2013, 3:52 pm
  159. This Marion is one delusional johnny-come-lately

    RPVER,

    I don’t know. It depends which country you live in, what people you hang out with and/or what web site you frequent!

    Marion,

    Thanks. I may have a few follow-up questions for you later, if you don’t mind.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 5, 2013, 4:08 pm
  160. Well, she seemed bothered that I thought her husband is Arabic, maybe he is a shia from pakistan.

    Posted by rpver | June 5, 2013, 4:13 pm
  161. The QN IQ Test Starts in 3…2…1…

    Marion,

    Ok, I’m ready to hit you with some challenging questions and, at the same time, keep up the entertainment value of the website. You never know who reads this part of cyberspace…

    1.) Do you think the Tsarnaev brothers placed the bombs that blew up at the Boston Marathon: (yes or no answer only)

    2.) Assuming you have no problem with a “Muslim State” (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc), do you have a problem with a “Jewish State”? Feel free to elaborate.

    3.) Do you think Zionism is “evil”? If yes, please explain why.

    4.) Do you believe 9-11 was “an inside job”, or do you believe in the 9-11 commission report? Feel free to elaborate.

    5.) Do you think “freedom and democracy” is a “basic human right”?

    6.) Do you think Assad handled the “Syrian revolution” appropriately or do you think he could have done something better?

    7.) Do you think Hassan Nasrallah made the right choice to sent his militia to Syria to help Assad (Qusyair, etc)?

    Ok, that’s enough for now. Hope this doesn’t instigate another severe headache. Meanwhile, I think it’ll be interesting to read your responses, especially now that no one has anything to discuss.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 5, 2013, 10:48 pm
  162. Oh that Sinking Feeling

    AIG,

    Did you see this:

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4388848,00.html

    Obama has this person slated to be the US ambassador to the UN, replacing Susan Rice, and the incompetent Susan Rice will now head up the NSA. (OMG)

    Why do I have the feeling Obama will leave office in the middle of a World War?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 5, 2013, 10:57 pm
  163. The Republican Jewish Coalition had this to say this about Samantha Powers:

    More recently, she served as the first director of President Obama’s new Atrocity Prevention Board. In her months in that role, the APB was silent about the thousands of civilians killed by the Syrian government, the attacks by the Sudanese government of the Nuba tribes in South Sudan, and other crises around the world. The APB has no web site or social media presence, and has not responded to letters from human rights activists and genocide scholars regarding ongoing atrocities.

    http://www.rjchq.org/2013/06/rjc-statement-on-the-nomination-of-samantha-power-to-be-u-n-ambassador/

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 5, 2013, 11:27 pm
  164. AP,

    It really does not matter who will take the UN position. With regards to Syria, what is the end game? I just can’t see one. Any Western power that wades into the Syrian mess will have to do “nation building” afterwards and bear responsibility for what happens in Syria. With no oil, deep sectarian hatred and plenty of frightened minorities, I would say that rebuilding Syria is impossible for all practical purposes. Obama is smart enough to understand that and to keep out.

    An Israeli joke from the 50′ was that if things turned really bad in Israel, we would declare war on the US. The US will then occupy us and help us rebuild like Germany and Japan. The punch line was that with our luck, we would win. The best thing the Syrians can hope for is an American occupation. But that is really bad for the US.

    Ask yourself, what happens the day after Assad falls. Who is responsible for making sure no minorities are massacred in Syria? Who will stop revenge killings? Who will rebuild and where will the money come from? Who will take care of the tens of militias, some very much Al-Qaida? Give me a reasonable plan. I can’t think of one and neither can Obama I believe.

    What is the worst case scenario for the US? Assad wins after several years of war? So what? It will be like before the revolution started but Syria will be much weaker and Iran will be saddled with rebuilding it. I think in fact that the US is playing for a stalemate in Syria and will allow the Saudis and Qataris to support the rebels just enough to prolong the war even if that means indirectly supplying odious rebel groups. Eventually, both sides will grow tired and Syria will be de facto partitioned, but whatever happens it will not be US responsibility.

    Posted by AIG | June 6, 2013, 12:50 am
  165. AIG,

    Would the Israeli Government prefer Assad to defeat the opposition and thus return to the quiet borders since 73, or sit back and watch the farce now that HA has committed many men to the cause.

    Posted by Maverick | June 6, 2013, 6:39 am
  166. AIG,

    I agree with you. This is similar to the Iran-Iraq war. US policy: keep it going. Tire them out. Let them burn their resources.

    I just feel bad for the millions of people caught in the middle, who have been taken hostage by these self-proclaimed despots. They’re dying, they have no work, no food, no home – what a shit way to live.

    Let’s see what Marion’s take is on all this. My guess is, like Jesus, the Jews and Israel will get crucified for the sins of the world.

    Maverick,

    I am for freedom and democracy as a rule. The GOI probably prefers Assad, but not by a whole lot.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 6, 2013, 6:58 am
  167. Maverik,

    The Israeli government prefers that not one Israeli soldier be wounded or killed in the Syrian mess. It will do the minimum it has to do to make sure that weapons do not fall into the wrong hands, that is it.

    Posted by AIG | June 6, 2013, 10:31 am
  168. If Israel is trying to stay out of it, why are they helping the rebels? http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/06/06/israeli-medical-center-evacuated-after-syrian-rebel-patient-found-with-grenade/

    Posted by dontgetit | June 6, 2013, 11:12 am
  169. Giving medical aid is not “helping” it is just common decency. Israel also gives medical aid to wounded enemy soldiers and combatants that it captures as do most normal countries.

    Posted by AIG | June 6, 2013, 11:47 am
  170. AIG,

    How would you jibe your assertions that “the US will provide the rebels, directly or indirectly with weapons to even things out, but of course not enough weapons to win. After all, what is wrong with making Iran, Hezbollah, Assad and the Islamists bleed for a decade or so? “ and “the US is playing for a stalemate in Syria”, with Kerry’s saying:

    “We are trying to prevent the sectarian violence from dragging Syria down into a complete and total implosion where it has broken up into enclaves, and the institutions of the state have been destroyed, with God knows how many additional refugees and how many innocent people killed,”

    unless you’re going to accuse him of being disingenuous?

    Posted by Badr | June 6, 2013, 12:36 pm
  171. BADR

    Kerry is the chief at foggy bottom, being disingenuous is a must have job requirement.

    Posted by Vulcan | June 6, 2013, 1:28 pm
  172. Badr,

    Vulcan said it best. Never forget that the US government has many ways of doing things without one part or the other knowing about it. Look up the Iran-Contra affair for example.

    Posted by AIG | June 6, 2013, 1:58 pm
  173. Badr,

    Of course it isn’t just the US State Dept that sbeaks with forked tongue, it could also be Barry “Red Line” Obama. You know, all Obama wants to do is “make sure” (his favorite phrase) there isn’t a “humanitarian crisis”…

    Obama Tells Qaddafi to Quit and Authorizes Refugee Airlifts

    Mr. Obama said the United States and the world were outraged by Colonel Qaddafi’s “appalling violence against the Libyan people.” Speaking after he met with President Felipe Calderón of Mexico at the White House, he declared, “Muammar Qaddafi has lost the legitimacy to lead, and he must leave.”

    “There is a danger of a stalemate that over time could be bloody,” Mr. Obama said. “And that is something that we’re obviously considering. So what I want to make sure of is, is that the United States has full capacity to act — potentially rapidly — if the situation deteriorates in such a way that you had a humanitarian crisis.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/04/world/africa/04president.html?_r=0

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 6, 2013, 2:10 pm
  174. AIG: Is “israel” providing “humanitarian” aid to the Syrian loyalists as well? What about to injured Hizbollah?

    Posted by dontgetit | June 6, 2013, 2:34 pm
  175. Anyone who crosses the border injured is treated, whatever his or her affiliation. But I don’t expect you to get that with your “honor” and “revenge” frame of mind. Just keep fighting the Zionists.

    Posted by AIG | June 6, 2013, 3:16 pm
  176. He is not fighting the zionist, he is yet another hardcore likudnik Jew from NY trying to be cynically-sarcastic. He may hold the israeli passport though(not that he travels with lol)

    and AIG, you know it well, he was your buddy back in the days. Same goes for AP.

    https://qifanabki.com/2010/06/01/five-thoughts-on-turkey-and-the-flotilla-crisis/#comment-9748

    spread the love across the universe.

    Posted by 3issa | June 6, 2013, 4:09 pm
  177. Laly, the project is full steam ahead. There is a requirement to hold a top secret facility clearance, so the eligibility is limited to US companies as prime contractor. But they can hire vetted local companies for the non classified portion of the work. Halliburton won’t bid; they are more into service contracts.

    Posted by Vulcan | June 6, 2013, 4:43 pm
  178. Thanks Vulcan, you are very “forgiving”.) Is the project as large as it looks to this outsider? I wonder about the timing, the optics and the security requirements.

    Posted by lally | June 6, 2013, 5:56 pm
  179. Qifa, please translate this to Laly 🙂

    “ولقد ذكرتك والرماح نواهلٌ مني … وبِيضُ الهِندِ تقطر من دمي..فوددت تقبيل السيوف لأنها…لمعت كبارق ثغرك المتبسم”

    Posted by Vulcan | June 6, 2013, 6:13 pm
  180. Why Vulcan! Don’t be so coy……

    Posted by lally | June 6, 2013, 6:54 pm
  181. Ya 3antara inta

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 6, 2013, 7:07 pm
  182. For the record… is Lally female? I can’t remember if we established that.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 6, 2013, 7:08 pm
  183. Wa hal yakhfa’l Qamaroo !

    Posted by Vulcan | June 6, 2013, 7:16 pm
  184. ;~{)

    Here’s a hint: My nic is short for Lallorona

    Posted by lally | June 6, 2013, 7:42 pm
  185. Hmmm, the plot thickens.

    At some point we’re going to have to organize a proper meet and greet of QN regulars. We’ll discover that AIG is none other than Michael Oren.

    You all know where to find me.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 6, 2013, 8:31 pm
  186. QN,

    I’m quite sure you just insulted Oren. 🙂

    Posted by AIG | June 7, 2013, 12:47 am
  187. The crazy thing is, Syrians are now turning to Israel for refuge and medical help. Israel’s become a peaceful haven in a time of turmoil. I wonder when that’s going to start to circulate through the Internet and people’s consciousness.

    Posted by rami ungar the writer | June 14, 2013, 5:32 pm
  188. You started just now to circulate it through the Internet. Just go to tweet the news. The consciousness of the people is another story.

    Posted by Olga Brajnović | June 14, 2013, 7:54 pm
  189. Interseting quote about the jews at the beginning of your blog post. I will have to research into that.

    Posted by redgoldenchild | June 15, 2013, 5:45 am
  190. Bottom line: Does the United States belong in the Middle East if oil is not needed to fill up our tanks? Will the Arab world unite if it could do away with the State of Israel? What happens when the Western devil and the Jews are removed? Will their be peace? I doubt it.

    Posted by nearlynormalized | June 16, 2013, 2:17 pm
  191. Reblogged this on arifalamsyah81 and commented:
    Hizbullah

    Posted by arifalamsyah81 | June 16, 2013, 5:27 pm
  192. These people are dangerous. The US needs to stay out of this. The regime may be corrupt, but the last thing you want is another Islmo-facist state set up.

    https://sunrie.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/islam-peace-muslims-same-as-christians-and-jews-s/

    Posted by Sunrie | June 17, 2013, 5:20 pm

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