Hezbollah, Lebanon, March 14, Syria

Revisiting the Dystopia

beirut-2014Last year around this time, I spent an afternoon imagining what a worst-case scenario would look like for Lebanon in 2014. Here’s an excerpt to jog your memory:

“As the year draws to a close, Lebanon exists in a state of low-intensity civil war. The Army has begun to fracture along sectarian lines. Saudi-bought French weaponry begins to arrive, but the army’s arsenals are raided by militia groups, and sophisticated bomb jamming devices begin appearing on the tops of warlord convoys in the refugee camps. Hizbullah fears it is over-committed in Syria so Iran sends IRGC special-ops groups to man command stations in case of an Israeli attack, which looks increasingly likely as Abdullah Azzam Brigade rocket attacks into northern Israel become a weekly occurrence. The refugee crisis grows worse by the day. The borders are un-policeable. The economy is in free fall. Even Skybar has to initiate an evening happy hour to attract weekend revelers…”

The purpose of the exercise was to ward off the demons by naming them. In that respect, it seems to have worked. So how did Lebanon do in 2014? Pretty well, considering just how terrible a year it could have been. Let’s review.

In 2014, Lebanon’s worst-case scenario begins with a sequence of car bombs targeting various mosques, embassies, and party headquarters in al-Dahiya, Tripoli, Sidon, and downtown Beirut. The tit-for-tat bombings rapidly become more brazen and spectacular, going after busy residential and commercial areas…

We’ve seen a few of these types of attacks, but nothing like the explosions in al-Dahiya on January 2, 2014. The coordination between the Lebanese Army, the Internal Security Forces, the Directorate of General Security, and Hizbullah intelligence has led to a string of much-publicized sting operations and foiled bomb plots. It’s no Beirut Yard, of course, but those were the good old days.

Strained to capacity, the Lebanese Army stands by as Hizbullah re-establishes its security cordon in South Beirut and various Sunni “neighborhood watches” take control of large swaths of Tripoli. Salafist suspects are arrested and a prison riot at Roumieh results in the deaths of a dozen security guards and a near jail break.

Here the picture is cloudier. The Lebanese Army has taken control of Hizbullah’s security cordon in South Beirut, but Tripoli remains a mess. Roumieh Prison is teeming with radical Islamists, and riots are rampant. The ISF put one down just a few days ago.

So far, no prisoners have been released in exchange for the Lebanese Army soldiers kidnapped in the Bekaa, and those negotiations have gone nowhere. Judging by how long it took to get the Turkish pilots released, those soldiers could spend all of 2015 in captivity…

Hizbullah’s mood remains defiant as the party doubles down on its commitment in Syria, cycling hundreds of fighters in and out each month. Nasrallah continue to speak of an existential struggle in Syria, while hinting darkly at the consequences of forming a government without his party’s involvement. Roads to ruin, gates of hell, you get the idea…

I have not seen any solid figures on how many fighters Hizbullah has committed to the Syrian conflict or how many casualties it has taken. Everything one reads in the press is based on innuendo. If someone knows of a solid study, please post it in the comment section.

Yes, Nasrallah continues to speak of an existential struggle in Syria, but there are no more warnings against forming a government, because the Future Movement does not seem to have much interest in pushing that file forward for the time being. (More on that topic later this week…)

Meanwhile, the UN prosecutors for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon begin presenting their case against Hizbullah. Each day, the M14 press reports on a new batch of evidence linking Mr. Ayyash and co. to the Hariri assassination. The M8 media yawns and dismisses the spectacle as an Israeli pantomime for external consumption…

The pro-Hizbullah outlets are not the only ones yawning; in fact, they seem to be the most interested in the trial. Everyone else couldn’t really give a damn. Nothing new has been unveiled; Marwan Hamadeh and Walid Jumblatt gave us the same talking points that Detlev Mehlis quoted ten years ago. Maybe by this time next year we’ll hear about the red network

Tens of thousands of civilians flee across Syria’s borders each week. The refugees in Lebanon now amount to a third of the country’s population. There are more destitute Aleppan Sunnis living in refugee camps than there are Lebanese Druzes, Alawites, Evangelicals, Protestants, and Roman Catholics combined.

Yes. This is true. It is heartbreakingThe only consolation is that the camps have not yet begun to spawn militias, but if the conflict drags on, that will change.

On balance, then, 2014 could have been much, much worse. The Mustaqbal-Hizbullah dialogue, the inter-agency intelligence coordination, and the national support for the Army have conspired to keep a lid on things, despite the havoc wrought by ISIS in other parts of the Levant.

Happy New Year.

Discussion

42 thoughts on “Revisiting the Dystopia

  1. Saudi Islam. Finally the beginning of their end.

    #Poison

    Posted by Ray | January 16, 2015, 2:30 pm
  2. Ray,

    What about Iranian and Hezbollah Islam? What makes their Islam better?

    As long as freedom and democracy is absent, the ME will suffer. Just MHO.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 16, 2015, 2:45 pm
  3. A look at the arab/muslim media in SUPPORT of french jihadist terrorists….

    http://www.memri.org/middle-east-media-research-institute.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 16, 2015, 2:58 pm
  4. Akbar,

    You could get in touch with the Jewish community in Iran and ask their opinion.

    Research it. You might get utterly surprised 🙂

    Posted by Ray | January 16, 2015, 2:59 pm
  5. Ray,

    To my knowledge most Jews have left Iran, just like most other areas of the ME. But instead of getting in touch with the tiny 25,000 strong iranian jewish community (of which I have no relationship), I found someone who did:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/23/opinion/23cohen.html?_r=0

    Not surprisingly, most Iranian jews live in the US and Israel.

    Like jews under communist Russia, jews in Iran will not last very long as they inter-marry and succumb to the freedom-less Islamic republic where they live.

    http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1442787/jewish/The-Jews-of-Iran.htm

    Ray,

    You may be utterly surprised how Israeli arabs “survive” in Israel. Unlike the Iranian jewish community, Israeli arabs, both christian and muslim,are growing.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 16, 2015, 3:21 pm
  6. And We Slice off Foreskin NewZ

    Ray,

    You didn’t answer my question. You claimed “Saudi Islam” was going to end soon. What facts do you have to substantiate that, and what makes Iranian and Hezbollah Islam any better? Please provide your own opinion, since you were the one making this prediction.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2014/11/shia-muslims-mark-holy-day-with-bloody-self-mutilation-nsfl/

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 16, 2015, 3:39 pm
  7. Why is it that this guy is still writing here ?

    Posted by 3issa | January 16, 2015, 5:09 pm
  8. طق حنك اصفر عيهودي
    علاك فاضي
    ماركة مسجلة
    لجنرال البرتقال البائس

    Posted by Mustap | January 16, 2015, 6:30 pm
  9. Let’s see. What kind of criticism would Israel get if there were no freedom of speech in Israel? Maybe Threesa or Mustache know…

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/raif-badawi-saudi-king-refers-case-to-supreme-court-says-bloggers-wife-9983986.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 16, 2015, 10:01 pm
  10. Comment deleted by moderator

    Posted by Mustap | January 16, 2015, 11:49 pm
  11. 3issa,

    I’m very very impressed by the progress the Wise Amir Almouminine, the King of Morocco has brought over since he became the Sovereign, aside from the fact, of course, that he banned trade with Jewish terrorists.

    I liked in particular the solution to bribery which was introduced, recently, at the Tanja port. The solution was very simple and very effective. No port employee may wear clothes that have pockets. I heard, bribery disappeared immediately since there are no pockets to stash it away.

    Hey, this is no different than what some companies do by enforcing some kind of dress code.

    I think that’s the next step on the road to progress after banning trade with terrorists since these terrorist in particular employ bribery as their means of gaining footholds among the people as a means to corrupt them.

    Posted by Mustap | January 17, 2015, 12:13 am
  12. You may insult all deities, but not …

    #JimClancy #JeSuisJim

    Posted by Ray | January 17, 2015, 8:42 am
  13. As muslims world-wide demonstrate in SUPPORT of Islamist murderers, the search for that all elusive, “moderate” muslim(s) continues…

    http://news.yahoo.com/frances-hollande-defends-freedom-speech-anti-hebdo-clashes-122317159.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 17, 2015, 12:01 pm
  14. Mustap

    Ethnic slurs are not tolerated. Clean up your language or you will be suspended.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | January 17, 2015, 12:36 pm
  15. Ray,

    I finally understand your post and found an article. Looks like Jim’s hebrew is improving just like Lilly’s with the use of to the word “hasbara”. Good luck Jim and we wish you well as an “unbiased” news reporter for all Jazeera or Press TV…

    http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2015/01/elder-gets-results-jim-clancy-fired.html?m=1

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 17, 2015, 1:28 pm
  16. AP: “What non-Muslim extremist groups is Dyer referring to?”

    He said in the same previously quoted article that:
    “. . . terrorist attacks [by Jihadists] that lead to the mistreatment of the Muslim minorities in non-Muslim countries . . . They can create a backlash that victimizes the local Muslim minorities, thus generating yet more “proof” that there is a war against Islam.”

    Posted by Badr | January 17, 2015, 2:25 pm
  17. Qifa,

    I will do that when Akbar receives a similar warning for his use of ethnic slurs and abides by it. He also needs to restrain himself on other fronts such as calling names.

    He used the term Muslim terrorism on several occasions. I ignored him hoping he will self refrain. Unfortunately he didn’t, and you overlooked. In this case the use of the term Jewish terrorism becomes fair play.

    You want to suspend under these conditions, go ahead. I don’t care.

    In fact, if Akbar doesn’t receive the warning and if he doesn’t refrain from the use of his slurs, I will eventually suspend myself.

    You don’t need to give me warnings. If you haven’t noticed I leave those who do not offend alone. I’m very well disciplined and unlike many know the limits of my freedoms.

    PERIOD.

    Posted by Mustap | January 17, 2015, 5:28 pm
  18. Badr,

    Thanks for the clarification. I wish Dyer gave some examples of this terrible “backlash”, in “non-Muslim” countries. From what I see here in the US and Europe, very few instances of violence have occurred after muslim jihadist attacks. And I’m still not sure what “non-Muslim extremist groups” he’s referring to.

    Just some clarification, I’m not only whining about Islamist attacks in the west, I’m also whining about their attacks in the ME against both arabs, muslims, and jews.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 17, 2015, 6:07 pm
  19. … know the limits of my freedoms…

    Spoken like a true KSA “hasbarite”.

    Back to the flogging….

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 17, 2015, 6:12 pm
  20. Qifa,

    The offending term which Akbar used repeatedly was actually Islamic terrorism.

    Excuse my oversight, and in case you overlooked to read what’s being posted on your site due of course to other obligations. Hence, the term Jewish terrorism is proper currency until otherwise renditions are made from the offending party.

    Posted by Mustap | January 17, 2015, 6:17 pm
  21. Ground Control to Maj. Tom

    Mustap,

    I don’t know about QN, but you can use the term “jewish terrorism” to your heart’s delight. I can tell you with complete certainty that Europe, the US and the ME are currently inundated by so many jewish terrorists, that people don’t know what to do. Perhaps it’s time to close all the jewish delis around the world where matzo balls are killing so many unsuspecting victims.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 17, 2015, 6:39 pm
  22. We’re talking about this terrorism which is plaguing our world,

    https://mobile.twitter.com/hashtag/js_terror

    Have you missed your offences from the proviois thread? That link was there too.

    And leave QN make his intentions clear. I’m sure he’s quite capable.

    Believe me if you set foot in KSA even with your american passport and commit a punishable offence, you’ll be flogged in public, if it was deemed to be the proper pumishment, and no one in the world can come to your rescue – Not even your terrorist idol Neten-Ya-hoo or your similarly terrorist so-called JDL. Many others with similarly shiny passports tasted the follies of their transgressions and had to pay regardless.

    Law is the law and that’s where the limits of my freedoms are set.

    Posted by Mustap | January 17, 2015, 7:32 pm
  23. Ariel Sharon used the term “Jewish terrorists” in reference to the unwashed rabid WB squatters who had him in their crosshairs. Google “sicarii”. Arik knew from terrorists, didn’t he.
    ……..

    Is Lebanon a crucible or a model? Both?

    I see astonishment in voices of some observers counting down the various circumstances that were/are supposed to destabilize Lebanon actually uniting the citizens,

    The STL is a farce of a “trial”. I am sure Mmme Clooney considers herself blessed that Knight George rescued her from having to serve on that professional credibility destroying abomination.

    The refugees. How is it that 25% of the Lebanese population is now Syrian escapees and the whole damn place doesn’t collapse?

    And, there still isn’t a President. Bummer.

    The Spillover hasn’t yet resulted in the marginalization of Hezbollah, has it? ISIS, JaN and Israel pacing along Lebanon’s borders and domestic terrorists snaking among their fellow Lebanese tend to focus the energies on defense of the homeland. By coincidence, Lebanon just happens to have a most formidable military that is the envy of the Levant and beyond united with the official armed forces tasked with the mission defending the State and it’s citizens.

    The numbers of would-be-foreign-interferers in Lebanon’s business seems at an all time high. Are they canceling each other out? Is any faction gaining traction?

    Are the incidents of the families of the Tripoli suicide bombers refusing to mourn their sons and a father of 7 resident martyring himself to save the lives of his neighbors signifiers of a fundamental shift on the streets of one of Lebanon’s most combustable cities?

    That Roumieh prison serving as terrorist command central sounds to me very much like the legendary Mexican ones still run by the gangster jefes.

    and so on…..

    I have to admit being puzzled that Nasrallah seems to be deliberately raising his profile; to what end?

    Posted by lally | January 17, 2015, 11:34 pm
  24. Lally,

    Ariel Sharon also knew Gaza would be the last peace of land Israel would have to trade for piece. Any silly person asking Israel to leave more land, the joo terrorists would just have to point over the border to missile rich Hamastan.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 18, 2015, 12:01 am
  25. Wrong, A Palace, so wrong. Arik was the only Israeli leader with the cojones to order a purge of the place. Nasrallah called Sharon Israel’s last king.

    But I digress. This thread is about Lebanon, phenomenal Lebanon.

    Posted by lally | January 18, 2015, 12:18 am
  26. Lally,

    Now ur sounding like Mustap. Israel is fine. Good luck with Lebanon if that’s really the focus of your attention.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 18, 2015, 12:36 am
  27. Lally,

    I forgot to ask. Can you provide the full quote you attributed to Ariel Sharon about
    “… ‘Jewish terrorists’ in reference to the unwashed rabid WB squatters”.

    My wife’s cousin lives comfortably in Efrat, any he washes more than the typical arab.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 18, 2015, 10:45 am
  28. Yeah, of course we need to talk about Lebanon. That’s what we’re supposed to do per new post. Such bad rowdy boys we are. Give QN a leash and let him start the flogging.

    Here it comes.
    Lebanon lost its raison d’etre long long ago.
    Anything which loses its raison d’etre will eventually cease to exist.
    Lebanon, therefore, will cease to exist, whichever way you choose to look at it. I mean from regional perspective.
    My opinion since I started commenting here.
    Hasn’t changed since.
    Unlikely to change in the future……………..My most valuable contribution to this blog.

    Posted by Mustap | January 18, 2015, 11:31 am
  29. How long long ago exactly?

    Posted by Ray | January 18, 2015, 12:36 pm
  30. Perhaps before you and I were born or just coming out of the crib.

    Posted by Mustap | January 18, 2015, 12:50 pm
  31. Notwithstanding the momentous outcomes the future may bring to the Lebanon, we cannot help but digress and mention that Muslims are now receiving more apologies than to know what to do with. Well, this could be important for at least the Muslim Lebanese to know. So we may still qualify it as Lebanese concerns and avoid being flogged.

    Could you believe it? Fox news, yes, the same Fox news the Zio-mouthpiece par excellence, apologized not once but four times to Muslims today. May be we should ask them to go down on their knees and say it few more times to make sure they’re sincere. And while at it, may be we should demand on the stringest terms possible that they never ever ever do it again.

    Still all of the above does not help Jim Clancey, the living martyr of free speech, ‘gunned down’ by Zio terrorists.

    Posted by Mustap | January 18, 2015, 1:21 pm
  32. Mustap,

    I’d summarize your postings here as the most non-Lebanese and on behalf of all of them, would like to inform you that your job application to speak on behalf of them is regrettably rejected.

    Posted by Ray | January 18, 2015, 1:48 pm
  33. Am I supposed to cry about your opinion, Orange?

    I could say the same in return. But it would be childishly lemonade. And who the hell cares about a glass of orange juice?

    Posted by Mustap | January 18, 2015, 1:56 pm
  34. Tony Badran @AcrossTheBay · 1h 1 hour ago
    PT. That is, of course, if the news is confirmed. But even without Mughnieh, it’s a fitting bitchslap of a response.
    0 replies 4 retweets 0 favorites
    Reply Retweet4 Favorite
    More
    Tony Badran @AcrossTheBay · 2h 2 hours ago
    After Nasrallah’s macho intvw Thurs, can’t think of a better slapdown than a strike killing a bunch of Hezbos in Golan incl Mughnieh’s son.
    0 replies 18 retweets 15 favorites
    Reply

    Posted by lally | January 18, 2015, 2:40 pm
  35. It looks like I was beaten into bringing ‘strictly Lebanese’ comments that would suit the taste of the orangerie.

    The Orangines of so-called Lebanon would perhaps consider the death of Mughniyeh’s son while doing so-called ‘jihad duty’ in the Syrian Golan heights along with 5 other comrades very Lebanese in nature which would necessitate commenting upon under this thread.

    I do agree about the commenting part of it.

    Please, let us know if the General would like us to observe three days of mournings. Perhaps a moment of silence that may go along with it.

    Posted by Mustap | January 18, 2015, 3:43 pm
  36. A public message from the good people at Qifa Nabki

    Speaking of Lebanon, my suggestion for the Hezbos would be to spend more of their energy improving Lebanon, instead of tearing apart other countries.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 18, 2015, 10:47 pm
  37. Nadim Koteich retweeted
    Arab Secularist @ArabSecularist · 7h 7 hours ago
    Will @DRSAMIRGEAGEA, @NadimKoteich, @HaririSaad and the rest of the M14-ers cheer for Israel? Let’s watch and see!

    Nadim Koteich retweeted
    Abbas Yassine @A_Yass1 · 7h 7 hours ago
    @ArabSecularist @DRSAMIRGEAGEA @NadimKoteich @HaririSaad their supporters are cheering, it’s not a surprise if they do it

    Posted by lally | January 18, 2015, 11:00 pm
  38. “The only consolation is that the camps have not yet begun to spawn militias, but if the conflict drags on, that will change.”

    If the camps or the Syrian refugee community does not spawn militias in the short term, it will certainly happen in the long term. As time passes, the Syrians will organize as it sinks in that their refugee status is not temporary. They will start making demands of the Lebanese state. In about 10 years or so, the Syrian teenagers today will start making these demands with guns. If the refugee problem is not solved very soon (in a year or two), this problem will sink Lebanon as we know it. The current state will not survive.

    Posted by AIG | January 19, 2015, 2:16 am
  39. Lebanon has been surprisingly resilient. This is all the more worth noting because, at one point in decades past, a certain kind of Arab nationalist would habitually decry Lebanon as an “artificial” creation in contrast to the “genuine” states of Syria and Iraq one of which (depending on the speaker’s preference) would surely act as the epicenter of Arab unity. Who would have thought that Lebanon would be the last of the three still standing?

    Posted by Jim Reilly | January 19, 2015, 8:15 am
  40. I don’t believe that these so-called M14 morons should be cheering Israel for what happened in the Golan. In any case, does anyone really take these idiots seriously? Who? Hariri? Koteich? Who the helll are they? And what do they represent?

    But, I can’t help wondering if these 6 men would still be alive if they didn’t go to Syria.

    No one mentioned yet that there were also six more dead Iranians in the same incident.

    So, if the General decides that we should observe days of mourning, should we include those Iranians as well in our thoughts and prayers? And if so, how many days does he think we should allow? Three days? Ten days? I think the Iranians and Nasrallah would prefer ten days for obvious reasons. It keeps the torch lit much longer.

    Please, hurry. We’re all so proudly Lebanese and eager to show our patriotic allegiance to whichever masters we’re serving no matter who they happen to be, something we learnt to do very well over the ages. I mean just look at this wannabe Missus of Universe.

    Posted by Mustap | January 19, 2015, 8:50 am

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