Monday, August 28, 2006

The Heroes

The Lebanese are heroes. The ones who fought Israel in the South and defeated its once mighty army, the ones who rescued the wounded, the ones who took in the refugees and helped them, the ones who never stopped working during the war and the ones who prayed.
The Lebanese are heroes and not cowards killing women and children with "smart" bombs and laser guided missiles from US made jet fighters.
The Lebanese are heroes and not monsters who commit massacres in the name of Zionism.

Whatever Hezbollah did, (Nasrallah admitted yesterday that he would not have kidnapped the soldiers if he knew what Israel intended to do), and whether it did it for Iran or Syria, is irrelevant.

It is Israel that killed my fellow citizens, destroyed our infrastructure and our economy. It is Israel's army that was defeated in the fields of our South. The resistance was heroic, Israel was pathetic in its crimes and the world witnessed in real time how immoral a state and a people it is.

Israel's hate was poured onto Lebanon and part of it was destroyed. But we will rise, like we always do, stronger and more united.

[I went back to Lebanon last week for a few days, thinking that it would be easy to close shop and move to London. I was heartbroken. My country is beautiful, my people are warm and caring , our fruits and our vegetables are the freshest and life there is easy.

"Should I give up on our new life and my great new job in London, take my family back to Beirut and live day to day there?", this is a question I have been asking myself everyday since I came back.

A prominent Lebanese banker I met during my short Beirut stay, answered my question when he said:"Ambitious people go make their money outside and come retire in Lebanon." I wish somebody could have told me this earlier.]

68 Comments:

Blogger Solomon2 said...

It is Israel that killed my fellow citizens, destroyed our infrastructure and our economy.

If a kidnapper ties his victim to the railroad tracks, does that make the engineer whose train runs over the victim into a murderer?

The IDF locomotive sped down the rails on the warpath to bash Hezbollah. If they hadn't done so, the passengers in the cars behind them would have been mowed down by Hezbollah rockets. It isn't Israel's fault that Hezbollah tied innocent Lebanese to the tracks by directing and operating in civilian areas.

28 August, 2006 20:05  
Anonymous Keisam Mahuk said...

Who are the monsters?

28 August, 2006 21:35  
Anonymous outsider said...

Solomon2,

That's the silliest analogy I've heard this week. You could have chosen an agent provocateur as a possible comparison, but tying someone to a train track? Do you really see Israel's role as passive? Sad.

28 August, 2006 22:36  
Blogger Emil , Jerusalem said...

To Outsider and Solomon2

let me bring a reaction from Lebanon blogger forum .I agree with that reaction in full.

http://www.lebanonheartblogs.blogspot.com/
The article :A couple of questions...
-----------------------------------
Hakeem said...
Hezbollah only cares about Lebanese life when it serves its purposes. If Israel hits a Hezbollah military target which is intentionally and strategically hidden in a civilian home, Israel losses both ways. Even if Israel hits the target, it losses in the media war. Hezbollah knows this fact and does a great job of using Lebanese life to further its interest.
Think of it this way, if a kidnapper is holding an innocent person hostage while firing at police and the police fire back in self defense and hit the hostage by mistake, who is to blame? In this case, Israel is the police and while they may pull the trigger, the kidnapper is really to blame. Hezbollah (aka Iran) does not care at all about the loss of Lebanese life.

Sunday, August 27, 2006 9:56:22 PM
----------------------------------
Despite my disagreement with Zadigvoltaire over the last post , happy to hear from him again.


Wishing all the best ,

Emil

28 August, 2006 23:58  
Anonymous Vox said...

Seems like you were victim of Stockholm's syndrom.

29 August, 2006 03:32  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

outsider:

Not passive, but as predictable as a locomotive on railroad tracks. After the conflict started, Hezbollah knew that if they fought from civilian areas, civlians would get hit in response. Nasrallah is confident today theat Israel won't start a big conflict because he knows Israel would only do so as a reaction to some provocation he has no current intention of providing.

29 August, 2006 04:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Russian eyewitness report:



Hizbullahland
By KSENIA SVETLOVA


By 8 a.m. May 26, 2000, the day after the Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon was completed, there were already some spectators at Fatima's Gate, a former checkpoint between Israel and Lebanon, and the new Lebanese frontline with Israel.

Some were armed Hizbullah men with yellow flags, others curious citizens who came to observe the Israeli soldiers patrol the border just a few meters away.

Here you could buy some refreshments with which you could more fully enjoy your time at the border, or perhaps some Hizbullah memorabilia such as yellow T-shirts with the organization's emblem or pins of Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.

Operating with their usual efficiency, Hizbullah activists quickly turned the spot into a theme-park, offering free guided tours of the area and information about the Israeli withdrawal and the historic victory of God's party. Stoning Israeli soldiers who came close to the fence was an added bonus for those who waited long enough.

After the first Lebanon War, one of those who came to stone "the Zionists," proudly posing for the camera, was renowned Palestinian historian Edward Said. Back in 2000, Said remarked: "The liberation [of south Lebanon] is a great achievement, nothing of this magnitude has happened in my lifetime... For the first time, an Arab group liberates land from Israeli forces not in the moral or... symbolic sense, but in the real and practical one. (Lebanese As-Safir newspaper, July 2000. Translation courtesy of MEMRI.)

Obviously, there were those who made sure that Said's words would be carried out - in Lebanon and beyond.

Preparing for the final battle
Hizbullah's presence in southern Lebanon was never a secret; the party's flags and posters of Nasrallah were seen from Israeli territory by the naked eye. Hizbullah men often paraded along the new border holding arms. The party's annual military parade was held in both Nabatiya and Bint Jbeil where some of the toughest battles happened this summer.

During these parades large quantities of arms, among them Katyushas, were displayed for all to see. And as Chekhov's rule states, if you introduce a gun in the first act, it must go off by the last.

Hizbullah activists, dressed in military uniforms and holding their yellow flags, didn't come out of thin air. Many were - and still are - residents of south Lebanese cities and villages, or had relatives there. They were many, they were armed, and they had cash; lots of it.

During the past six years, the South had experienced a remarkable recovery that was sponsored mainly by Hizbullah. The organization's construction company built community centers, hospitals and schools that were needed in the area. Their hospitals were better and cheaper than the government's, their schools offered free education and free meals for kids from needy families. Their construction company also lent materials for those who wanted to build their own houses to replace their old huts.

As it turned out, not only posh villas with red roofs were erected in Bint Jbeil and Ayta ash-Shaab, but also weapons warehouses, bunkers and military bases.

Not only money, but also weapons were pouring into the South, turning it into a Hizbullah bastion. Providing a wide social network for the population and fighting for the rights of local citizens - already sympathetic to the causes of God's party - Hizbullah activists gained overwhelming support and 100 percent freedom of movement and action in the area.

Moreover, in 2001, Hizbullah, whose funding came in part from the large hashish fields in the South, openly confronted the central government that insisted on eradicating these crops in the Beqaa valley. Hizbullah's MPs used the press to attack the government and the decision to eradicate the hashish fields in Beqaa was never fully implemented. This was just one more sign of the organization's rising strength - and the Lebanese government's growing weakness.

DRIVING TO the South from Beirut just a few days prior to the breakout of hostilities in the region, it struck me that I hadn't seen even one Lebanese army post or members of the Lebanese police force since I left the outskirts of Beirut. Not even traffic police appeared. (It turns out that there are moments when you actually do want to see traffic police.)

Since Israel pulled out of the South, neither the Lebanese nor the Syrian army had filled in the gap. Here, and in the southern suburbs of Beirut, there was little sympathy for the central government dominated by Christian Marronites and Sunni Muslims who seemed insensitive to the needs of the population in the South.

Even on the day of murdered prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri's funeral, the only regions that seemed unaffected by grief and sorrow were Harat al-Hreik in the southern suburb of Beirut, and Nabatiya - the capital of the South. In the vacuum created by the IDF's 2000 withdrawal, Nabatiya has also arguably become the capital of Hizbullahland.

Why didn't the Lebanese army deploy in the South right after Israel's withdrawal in 2000? I put the question to a colleague, a Lebanese journalist who covered south Lebanon affairs at the time.

"It was never a real option," he said. "Hizbullah was always a dominating force in this region, and the Lebanese army was indeed too weak to dictate its power. Some people in the government realized what a grave mistake it was making, but were not able to make a move. You also have to remember that at the time, Syria still held Lebanon firmly in its jaws."

Although the Syrian army was never deployed in the South (it had units in Beirut, Metn, Bekaa Valley, Tripoli, Batrum and Kafr Kalous), many arms deliveries that came through the Syrian-Lebanese border were conveyed or brought with the help of the Syrian army, which felt quite at home in Lebanon.

As for public opinion in the South, many Lebanese, not only among the Hizbullah supporters, always felt threatened by Israel and believed that in the case of attack or aggression, they could only seek the protection of "the resistance." Both in Lebanese cities and in Palestinian refugee camps I heard people saying, "They [Israel] will never leave Lebanon alone." Just a few months ago, when things were still quiet at the border with Israel, a man in the Ein-Hilwe Palestinian Refugee Camp, near the Lebanese town of Saida, showed me the machine-gun on the roof of his house and explained that it was meant for the Jews, when "they come."

As for the residents of south Lebanon, who have witnessed many Israeli incursions, they always trusted the armed resistance movements where their own sons had fought. They did not trust the impotent Lebanese army.

The trouble spot
There were some Lebanese who didn't wish to see the South turning into the Hizbullahland that it eventually became. A few courageous politicians and journalists constantly warned about the phenomena that threatened both Lebanese sovereignty and stability.

Among those who incessantly spoke and wrote about this menace was An-Nahar newspaper editor, Jibran Tweini. "We want to know, honestly, who supports the exclusive right of Hizbullah to conduct operations from Lebanese territory, according to its will and the will of its regional partners. We want to hear a clear position and not 'diplomatic' declarations supporting the problem but not clarifying if they actually support the operation, the decision-making [that led to it] and its implementation - unless the ghost of fear - of whom? - has taken control of those responsible and put a dampener on them and their independent decision-making," Tweini wrote in 2003.

Another famous Lebanese journalist, Khairallah Khairallah, warned that if measures weren't taken soon, every Lebanese would pay a high price for the impossible situation in the South.

"What is distressing, in light of all this, is that Hizbullah will not be the only loser in Lebanon if it continues to cling to its current position, [i.e.] refusing to move on to political activity following disarmament. The loser will be Lebanon - the country with no majority, merely groups of minorities that either win together or lose together," Khairallah wrote in the London Arabic paper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat in April 2005.

There were also some ministers and MPs who felt that Lebanon was in fact sitting on a barrel of explosives. But not the pro-Syrian president Emile Lahoud, who often said publicly that the disintegration of the South from the country was a somewhat alarming development and the speaker of the parliament, ex-leader of the Shiite Amal organization, Nabieh Berry. According to them, Hizbullah was not a militia, but a legitimate resistance organization which was fully entitled to exist. "If the resistance had not existed, Lebanon should have created it," said Berry, publicly speaking in May 2005 in Nabatiya (translation courtesy of MEMRI).

And so, despite criticism from certain circles, UN Resolution 1559 and a 17-month-old national dialogue aimed at disarming Hizbullah, the arms race in the South, Beqaa Valley and the southern suburbs of Beirut went on.

Back to the future
As we speak, the Lebanese army units are deploying in south Lebanon for the first time in 40 years. Just like Hizbullah combatants in May 2000, soldiers are being greeted by locals with flowers, rice and sweets, but also with Hizbullah banners on their houses.

The soldiers, many of whom are Shiites, entered the cities only to find themselves warmly embraced by a thick ring of locals, jollied at the view of "al-watan" (or "nationals," the nickname for the Lebanese army soldiers).

Will they and can they fulfill the difficult task of both guarding the area, preventing violations of the cease-fire and, at a later point, disarming Hizbullah and its ally Palestinian organizations in the area? The omens are not good.

It seems that the current Lebanese government is determined to preserve the cease-fire at any cost, publicly threatening anybody who puts it at risk.

At a press conference in Beirut held on July 20, Lebanese defense minister, Elias al-Murr, said that "anyone who will dare fire a rocket from the South will be dealt with as a traitor and subjected to military court."

But it seems as if keeping the cease-fire, at least for the moment, is also in Hizbullah's interests, since the organization needs some time to recuperate, reorganize and deal with the economic hardship of the local population. The burning question today is will and can the Lebanese army, with the help of neo-UNIFIL, stop the flow of weapons to the South, given that the Syrian-Lebanese border still remains the major port for such deliveries from both Syria and Iran.

Further, one of Hizbullah's websites has recently published an internal Lebanese army statement, circulated among forces in the past week, which calls for troops to "stand alongside your resistance and your people who astonished the world with its steadfastness and destroyed the prestige of the so-called invincible army after it was defeated."

The issue has also been discussed widely in the studio of Hizbullah's TV channel, Al-Manar. Its journalists repeatedly say that there is an understanding between the "resistance fighters" and the army over searching houses and fields for arms and confiscating them.

29 August, 2006 16:44  
Anonymous Hamid-Liban said...

Here is a testimony of an objective Russian woman:
Hizbullahland
By KSENIA SVETLOVA


By 8 a.m. May 26, 2000, the day after the Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon was completed, there were already some spectators at Fatima's Gate, a former checkpoint between Israel and Lebanon, and the new Lebanese frontline with Israel.

Some were armed Hizbullah men with yellow flags, others curious citizens who came to observe the Israeli soldiers patrol the border just a few meters away.

Here you could buy some refreshments with which you could more fully enjoy your time at the border, or perhaps some Hizbullah memorabilia such as yellow T-shirts with the organization's emblem or pins of Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.

Operating with their usual efficiency, Hizbullah activists quickly turned the spot into a theme-park, offering free guided tours of the area and information about the Israeli withdrawal and the historic victory of God's party. Stoning Israeli soldiers who came close to the fence was an added bonus for those who waited long enough.

After the first Lebanon War, one of those who came to stone "the Zionists," proudly posing for the camera, was renowned Palestinian historian Edward Said. Back in 2000, Said remarked: "The liberation [of south Lebanon] is a great achievement, nothing of this magnitude has happened in my lifetime... For the first time, an Arab group liberates land from Israeli forces not in the moral or... symbolic sense, but in the real and practical one. (Lebanese As-Safir newspaper, July 2000. Translation courtesy of MEMRI.)

Obviously, there were those who made sure that Said's words would be carried out - in Lebanon and beyond.

Preparing for the final battle
Hizbullah's presence in southern Lebanon was never a secret; the party's flags and posters of Nasrallah were seen from Israeli territory by the naked eye. Hizbullah men often paraded along the new border holding arms. The party's annual military parade was held in both Nabatiya and Bint Jbeil where some of the toughest battles happened this summer.

During these parades large quantities of arms, among them Katyushas, were displayed for all to see. And as Chekhov's rule states, if you introduce a gun in the first act, it must go off by the last.

Hizbullah activists, dressed in military uniforms and holding their yellow flags, didn't come out of thin air. Many were - and still are - residents of south Lebanese cities and villages, or had relatives there. They were many, they were armed, and they had cash; lots of it.

During the past six years, the South had experienced a remarkable recovery that was sponsored mainly by Hizbullah. The organization's construction company built community centers, hospitals and schools that were needed in the area. Their hospitals were better and cheaper than the government's, their schools offered free education and free meals for kids from needy families. Their construction company also lent materials for those who wanted to build their own houses to replace their old huts.

As it turned out, not only posh villas with red roofs were erected in Bint Jbeil and Ayta ash-Shaab, but also weapons warehouses, bunkers and military bases.

Not only money, but also weapons were pouring into the South, turning it into a Hizbullah bastion. Providing a wide social network for the population and fighting for the rights of local citizens - already sympathetic to the causes of God's party - Hizbullah activists gained overwhelming support and 100 percent freedom of movement and action in the area.

Moreover, in 2001, Hizbullah, whose funding came in part from the large hashish fields in the South, openly confronted the central government that insisted on eradicating these crops in the Beqaa valley. Hizbullah's MPs used the press to attack the government and the decision to eradicate the hashish fields in Beqaa was never fully implemented. This was just one more sign of the organization's rising strength - and the Lebanese government's growing weakness.

DRIVING TO the South from Beirut just a few days prior to the breakout of hostilities in the region, it struck me that I hadn't seen even one Lebanese army post or members of the Lebanese police force since I left the outskirts of Beirut. Not even traffic police appeared. (It turns out that there are moments when you actually do want to see traffic police.)

Since Israel pulled out of the South, neither the Lebanese nor the Syrian army had filled in the gap. Here, and in the southern suburbs of Beirut, there was little sympathy for the central government dominated by Christian Marronites and Sunni Muslims who seemed insensitive to the needs of the population in the South.

Even on the day of murdered prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri's funeral, the only regions that seemed unaffected by grief and sorrow were Harat al-Hreik in the southern suburb of Beirut, and Nabatiya - the capital of the South. In the vacuum created by the IDF's 2000 withdrawal, Nabatiya has also arguably become the capital of Hizbullahland.

Why didn't the Lebanese army deploy in the South right after Israel's withdrawal in 2000? I put the question to a colleague, a Lebanese journalist who covered south Lebanon affairs at the time.

"It was never a real option," he said. "Hizbullah was always a dominating force in this region, and the Lebanese army was indeed too weak to dictate its power. Some people in the government realized what a grave mistake it was making, but were not able to make a move. You also have to remember that at the time, Syria still held Lebanon firmly in its jaws."

Although the Syrian army was never deployed in the South (it had units in Beirut, Metn, Bekaa Valley, Tripoli, Batrum and Kafr Kalous), many arms deliveries that came through the Syrian-Lebanese border were conveyed or brought with the help of the Syrian army, which felt quite at home in Lebanon.

As for public opinion in the South, many Lebanese, not only among the Hizbullah supporters, always felt threatened by Israel and believed that in the case of attack or aggression, they could only seek the protection of "the resistance." Both in Lebanese cities and in Palestinian refugee camps I heard people saying, "They [Israel] will never leave Lebanon alone." Just a few months ago, when things were still quiet at the border with Israel, a man in the Ein-Hilwe Palestinian Refugee Camp, near the Lebanese town of Saida, showed me the machine-gun on the roof of his house and explained that it was meant for the Jews, when "they come."

As for the residents of south Lebanon, who have witnessed many Israeli incursions, they always trusted the armed resistance movements where their own sons had fought. They did not trust the impotent Lebanese army.

The trouble spot
There were some Lebanese who didn't wish to see the South turning into the Hizbullahland that it eventually became. A few courageous politicians and journalists constantly warned about the phenomena that threatened both Lebanese sovereignty and stability.

Among those who incessantly spoke and wrote about this menace was An-Nahar newspaper editor, Jibran Tweini. "We want to know, honestly, who supports the exclusive right of Hizbullah to conduct operations from Lebanese territory, according to its will and the will of its regional partners. We want to hear a clear position and not 'diplomatic' declarations supporting the problem but not clarifying if they actually support the operation, the decision-making [that led to it] and its implementation - unless the ghost of fear - of whom? - has taken control of those responsible and put a dampener on them and their independent decision-making," Tweini wrote in 2003.

Another famous Lebanese journalist, Khairallah Khairallah, warned that if measures weren't taken soon, every Lebanese would pay a high price for the impossible situation in the South.

"What is distressing, in light of all this, is that Hizbullah will not be the only loser in Lebanon if it continues to cling to its current position, [i.e.] refusing to move on to political activity following disarmament. The loser will be Lebanon - the country with no majority, merely groups of minorities that either win together or lose together," Khairallah wrote in the London Arabic paper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat in April 2005.

There were also some ministers and MPs who felt that Lebanon was in fact sitting on a barrel of explosives. But not the pro-Syrian president Emile Lahoud, who often said publicly that the disintegration of the South from the country was a somewhat alarming development and the speaker of the parliament, ex-leader of the Shiite Amal organization, Nabieh Berry. According to them, Hizbullah was not a militia, but a legitimate resistance organization which was fully entitled to exist. "If the resistance had not existed, Lebanon should have created it," said Berry, publicly speaking in May 2005 in Nabatiya (translation courtesy of MEMRI).

And so, despite criticism from certain circles, UN Resolution 1559 and a 17-month-old national dialogue aimed at disarming Hizbullah, the arms race in the South, Beqaa Valley and the southern suburbs of Beirut went on.

Back to the future
As we speak, the Lebanese army units are deploying in south Lebanon for the first time in 40 years. Just like Hizbullah combatants in May 2000, soldiers are being greeted by locals with flowers, rice and sweets, but also with Hizbullah banners on their houses.

The soldiers, many of whom are Shiites, entered the cities only to find themselves warmly embraced by a thick ring of locals, jollied at the view of "al-watan" (or "nationals," the nickname for the Lebanese army soldiers).

Will they and can they fulfill the difficult task of both guarding the area, preventing violations of the cease-fire and, at a later point, disarming Hizbullah and its ally Palestinian organizations in the area? The omens are not good.

It seems that the current Lebanese government is determined to preserve the cease-fire at any cost, publicly threatening anybody who puts it at risk.

At a press conference in Beirut held on July 20, Lebanese defense minister, Elias al-Murr, said that "anyone who will dare fire a rocket from the South will be dealt with as a traitor and subjected to military court."

But it seems as if keeping the cease-fire, at least for the moment, is also in Hizbullah's interests, since the organization needs some time to recuperate, reorganize and deal with the economic hardship of the local population. The burning question today is will and can the Lebanese army, with the help of neo-UNIFIL, stop the flow of weapons to the South, given that the Syrian-Lebanese border still remains the major port for such deliveries from both Syria and Iran.

Further, one of Hizbullah's websites has recently published an internal Lebanese army statement, circulated among forces in the past week, which calls for troops to "stand alongside your resistance and your people who astonished the world with its steadfastness and destroyed the prestige of the so-called invincible army after it was defeated."

The issue has also been discussed widely in the studio of Hizbullah's TV channel, Al-Manar. Its journalists repeatedly say that there is an understanding between the "resistance fighters" and the army over searching houses and fields for arms and confiscating them.


***********************************As you all know, Hassan Nasrallah today told Lebanon "ops, I'm sorry folks, if I only knew it would be that harsh I wouldn't have done it." Yea right. Well, too late mister.

I logged on Al Arabiya website to see what people wrote in response to Nasrallah's statement. I was greeted by a very pleasant surprise. Many of the comments were lambasting Nasrallah. I didn't do a count and I don't expect these voices to be the majority on this particular thread. But if they were a minority, they were definitely very significant.

I have wrote before that I believe the eyes of the Lebanese, at least the non-Shiite among them, will turn to Hezbollah once they are lifted away from Israel. It looks like this is actually happening now. I don't have a doubt Nasrallah's confession today emanated from the heat he's feeling coming from a wide array of Lebanese as well as the undeniable fact that Hezbollah's organizational infranstructure and Shiite areas were severly bombed resulting in loss in propety worth billions of dollars (my heart goes out to the Iranian taxpayer who will pay for this!)

I'll translate a number of these comments for you.

"This is a very strange statement from the secretary general of Hezbollah and pushes us to consider him fully responsible for the crisis and ask him to forsake his weapons and allow his ranks to join the national army"

"What is this crap and political ignorance! Were you overtaken by machoism and adventured with the lives of the Lebanese without calculating Israel's reaction."

"Sayed Nasrallah says that if he knew Israel would react that way he wouldn't have kidnapped the 2 soldiers. However, he previously said that his party knew Israel was planning to bomb Lebanon and they were prepared for this?????"

"Hehehehehehe. He started to admit his defeat."

"Hassan Nasrallah admitted that he destroyed Lebanon and pushed the Lebanese into a political maze that they will find it very hard to come out from. The bitter truth is that he admitted defeat."

"So it turned out to be true afterall…an uncalculated adventure" (BP: uncalculated adventure was the term used by Saudi Arabia to describe the Hezbollah operation)

"Mr. hesen if you are aman you must resign .you have distroid labanan. whwat doyou wont from labanan ,because of your folish bhavear you have killed 1000 peopls of labnan" (Note: this person's English is very poor yet I chose to post exactly what he wrote)

There are numerous comments like the ones above. My guess is that they mostly came from Lebanese and a few non-Lebanese Arabs who dared to think.

The frank admission seems designed to quell in advance disquiet at the price Lebanon has had to pay for Hizbollah’s actions. More than 1,300 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the month-long war, a fifth of the population were forced to flee their homes and the country’s infrastructure was devastated. So far the most serious criticism has come from a senior Shia cleric who claimed Hizbollah had acted without the consent of their co-religionists by sparking the war.

The Mufti of Tyre, Sheikh Ali al-Amin, challenged Hizbollah’s current status as heroes, said: “Neither Lebanon nor the Lebanese people have any connection to this war. The war was forced upon the country and the people.”

His remarks have jarred with the prevailing mood of Hizbollah triumphalism.

A party official dismissed the mufti as “a man no one took notice of before he said this. You just have to look at the people to see what they think of us”. To outsiders, Sheikh al-Amin’s views seem sensible enough. They amount to a plea for the establishment of a strong state whose writ runs throughout the country.

“The Lebanese experience has proved the failure of communities and parties defending and protecting themselves alone,” he said. “There is no substitute for one state to which everyone belongs.”

Under the nose of the Lebanese Army and the non existent UNIFIL2

Hizbullah has dismantled 14 posts on the Israel-Lebanon border near the Shaba Farms, Lebanese security sources reported on Monday.

Eyewitnesses said that bulldozers were used to flatten the bases in the Arkov area and block access to tunnels and bunkers.

A French news agency reported that the group evacuated the posts using trucks to carry artillery shells, missiles, other weapons and military equipment northward, while other Hizbullah vehicles laden with generators and furniture made their way out of the region.

According to the Lebanese newspaper A-Sapir, the Lebanese army had deployed troops along the border with Syria and soldiers had blocked routes used by weapons smugglers.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese government demanded from Palestinians in refugee camps in the Litani area to disarm in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1701, senior Fatah operative in Lebanon, Monir Al-Makdah, said on Monday morning.

Reportedly, Lebanese Prime Minister Faud Saniora made the request to Fatah representative in Lebanon Abbas Za’aki.

Al-Makdah rejected the demand in an interview with Jordanian newspaper Al-Dostur, saying that the Security Council resolution was illegal since it did not include the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Nasrallah looks more like Juha than Saladin.

Published in L'Orient Le Jour:

a poll by IPSOS for the French-language daily L’Orient-Le Jour found 51 percent of respondents supported the group’s (Hezbollah) disarmament.

29 August, 2006 17:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

israel defeated?? yeah right....

liberation of what?? resistance to what?? open your eyes: israel would never have been in Lebanon if you guys hadn't allowed the south to become PLO and hizballah homeland... no need for liberation then, eh?!

lebanon gets destroyed and the lebanese killed because of lebanes imbecility and inability to control their land. simple as that.

30 August, 2006 09:07  
Anonymous outsider said...

Solomon, Emil,


Don't get me wrong! To be precise, I think HZ has an awful lot to answer for in Lebanon, Israel and indeed the wider Middle East region.

But Israel - in my eyes - has to answer for the scale of the destruction. It's patently obvious that many of the bombings were far from having a military role (the fuel depots, Corniche, the double whammies where you bomb a building and then return 20 minutes later to bomb the rescuers).

30 August, 2006 13:17  
Anonymous Hamid- Liban said...

The WAll Street Journal article by Amir Taheri


NASRALLAH’S BLUNDER : LEBANESE TURN ON HEZ CHIEF

August 29, 2006 — WELL, what do you know: What was presented as a “Great Strategic Divine Victory” only a week ago is now beginning to look more like a costly blunder. And the man who is making the revisionist move is the same who made the original victory claim: Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, secretary-general of the Lebanese branch of Hezbollah.In a TV interview in Beirut Sunday, Nasrallah admitted second thoughts about the wisdom of capturing the two Israeli soldiers, an incident that triggered the war: “The party leadership never expected a response on such an unprecedented scale and volume [by Israel],” he said. “Had we known that what we did would lead to this, we would certainly not have embarked upon it.”

For a roundabout way of eating humble pie, this was not bad for a man whom Western media have portrayed as the latest Arab folk hero or even (as one U.S. weekly put it) a new Saladin.

Why did Nasrallah decide to change his unqualified claim of victory into an indirect admission of defeat? Two reasons.

The first consists of facts on the ground: Hezbollah lost some 500 of its fighters, almost a quarter of its elite fighting force. Their families are now hounding Nasrallah to provide an explanation for “miscalculations” that led to their death.

Throughout southern Lebanon, once a stronghold of Hezbollah, pictures of the “martyrs” adorn many homes and shops, revealing the fact that many more Hezbollah fighters died than the 110 claimed by Nasrallah. What angers the families of the “martyrs” is that Hezbollah fighters had not been told that the sheik was starting a war to please his masters in Tehran, and that they should prepare for it.

The fighters found out there was a war only after the Israelis started raining fire on southern Lebanon. In fact, no one - apart from the sheik’s Iranian contacts and a handful of Hezbollah security officials linked to Tehran and Damascus - knew that Nasrallah was provoking a war. Even the two Hezbollah ministers in the Lebanese government weren’t consulted, nor the 12 Hezbollah members of the Lebanese National Assembly. The party’s chief policymaking organ, the Shura (consultative assembly), hasn’t held a full session since 2001.

The “new Saladin” has also lost most of his medium-range missiles without inflicting any serious damage on Israel. Almost all of Hezbollah’s missile launching pads (often placed in mosques, schools and residential buildings) south of the Litani River have been dismantled.

Worse still, the Israelis captured an unknown number of Hezbollah fighters and political officers, including several local leaders in the Bekaa Valley, Khyam and Tyre.

The second reason why Nasrallah has had to backtrack on his victory claims is the failure of his propaganda machine to hoodwink the Lebanese. He is coming under growing criticism from every part of the political spectrum, including the Hezbollah itself.

Last week he hurriedly cancelled a series of victory marches planned for Beirut’s Shiite suburbs after leading Shiite figures attacked the move as “unmerited and indecent.” Instead, every village and every town is holding typical Shiite mourning ceremonies, known as tarhym (seeking mercy), for the dead.

Nasrallah has tried to rally his base by distributing vast sums of Iranian money through his network - by the end of last week, an estimated $12 million in crisp U.S. banknotes. But if Nasrallah had hoped to buy silence, if not acquiescence, he is being proved wrong. Some Lebanese Shiites are scandalized that they are treated by Iranian mullahs as mercenaries, and see Nasrallah’s cash handouts as diyah (blood money) for their dead. And a dead man whose family receives a diyah cannot claim the status of “martyr” and enjoy its prerogatives in paradise.

As the scale of the destruction in the Shiite south becomes more clear, the pro-Hezbollah euphoria (much of it created by Western media and beamed back to Lebanon through satellite TV) is evaporating. Reality is beginning to reassert its rights.

And that could be good news for Lebanon as a nation. It is unlikely that Hezbollah will ever regain the position it has lost. The Lebanese from all sides of the political spectrum are united in their determination not to allow any armed group to continue acting as a state within the state.

The decent thing to do for Nasrallah would be to resign and allow his party to pick a new leader, distance itself from Iran and Syria, merge its militia into the Lebanese army and become part of the nation’s political mainstream.

In last year’s elections, Hezbollah ended up with 12 seats in the 128-seat National Assembly, thanks to a series of alliances with other Shiite groups as well as Christian and Druze parties. As the scale of Nasrallah’s blunder becomes clearer, it is unlikely that Hezbollah would be able to forge such alliances in the future.

To be sure, Nasrallah remains a powerful man. He has hundreds of gunmen at his disposal plus a source of endless supplies of money and arms in Iran. He can still have his political opponents murdered inside and outside Lebanon either by his goons or by hit men from Damascus and Tehran. But his chances of seizing power through a coup de force or provoking a civil war are diminishing by the day.

Arab leaders never resign, even when they admit having made tragic mistakes. And Nasrallah is no exception. In reality, however, Lebanon has already moved into the post-Nasrallah era. And that is the only good news to come out of the mini-war he provoked.

Apres l’article qu’il a publie sur le Wall Street Journal la semaine derniere, Amir Tahiri continue a nous montrer que la “victoire” du Hezbollah ressemble de plus en plus a une defaite majeure pour Nasrallah, et commente l’admission du leader de Hezb qu’il aurait mieux fait de s’abstenir de kidnapper les deux soldats israeliens .

30 August, 2006 14:15  
Blogger John Smith said...

A few of my own thoughts:

My personal experience from this war:
I served as a combat soldier in the IDF artillery forces. Although our unit didn’t cross the border into Lebanon in this war, we had our share of fighting. The intense heat, the sun burns, the bad food, the lack of sleep, the physical pain caused by lifting, moving and firing thousands of artillery shells, the constant explosions all day and all night, Katyusha rockets falling 300 feet from us, the fear of death, not seeing the wife and kids for weeks… It was better than what I’ve expected from war (mainly because the guys in my unit are great), but still… war looks much better with a bucket of popcorn in your hands…

Regarding the start of the war:
I guess a large operation against HA was planned a long time ago. The kidnapping was just the excuse needed by the IDF. Israel saw HA getting stronger on the other side of the border without being restrained by the Lebanese government. Over the last 6 years, from time to time, HA shot with small fire arms like AK-47 at border patrols and fired Katyusha rockets at Israeli towns, but it was always ‘small enough’ not to justify a serious military operation. At some point everybody here felt like ‘enough is enough’. You can pinch a giant for some time, but eventually he will step on your head. Sure, crushing your scull seems like a very inappropriate response to the last pinch…

Regarding the goals of the war:
If I remember correctly the first press meeting generated 3 goals set by Israel. Return the kidnapped soldiers home, stop rocket launches at Israeli cities and disarm HA. The first goal, I hope, will be achieved in a few weeks. The second one was of course achieved. The third goal… well… I guess it’s now up to the Lebanese people. The whole idea was that the military operation will leverage the diplomatic effort.

Regarding the Litani river goal:
I think this was just some bullshit goal set for the IDF (and Israeli public) so it would appear like some military goal has been achieved and a ceasefire can be declared. Everyone with a map can see that a Katyusha rocket with a range of 30-40 kilometres and beyond can be launched north of the river and still hit Israeli cities.

Regarding Lebanese civilian casualties:
When you are hitting civilians, all you do is score more negative points in the public eyes. We all saw the pictures. We were all shocked. We all felt sorry. No one in Israel went to the street celebrating like it’s done on Palestinian cities. I have been serving as a combat soldier in the IDF since 1993 and have fought in the current war, Lebanon, the west bank, the Gaza strip, and almost every Palestinian city in Israel. From my personal experience, the IDF never, I repeat, NEVER aims at innocent civilians and does its best to avoid hitting them. I can even say that many times it increases the risk to its own soldiers. Of course there can always be mistakes, but that’s all they are. Mistakes.

Regarding Israeli civilian casualties:
I’m sure that if you saw pictures of Israeli civilians and children hit by Katyusha rockets (or Palestinians suicide bombing) you would be shocked as all of us were from the Qana pictures. Although this could be used as a great propaganda, in Israel (as in other western countries) it is not done. It is called respect for the dead, and it is considered here more important than scoring points in the UN.

Regarding the future:
In the near future Israel will have to solve some issues with the Palestinians, Syria and Iran. Please handle HA. Thanks in advance.

30 August, 2006 17:12  
Anonymous Debbie said...

Seniora tries do curry favour with Syria


Lebanese PM says his government is holding no direct talks with Israel, vows Lebanon would be last country to sign peace deal with Jewish State; Olmert said earlier ceasefire is cornerstone for peace

Associated Press Published: 08.30.06, 14:52

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said Wednesday that he refused to have any direct contact with Israel and Lebanon would be the last Arab country to ever sign a peace deal with the Jewish state.


At conclusion of meeting with PM Olmert, UN secretary-General says bases assumption soldiers are alive on talks with senior Lebanese officials, including Hizbullah ministers. Annan urges Israel to lift Lebanon blockade. Olmert expresses hope for peace with Lebanon


"Let it be clear, we are not seeking any agreement until there is just and comprehensive peace based on the Arab initiative," he said.


He was referring to a plan that came out of a 2002 Arab League summit in Beirut. It calls for Israel to return all territories it conquered in the 1967 Mideast war, the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem - all in exchange for peace and full normalization of Arab relations with Israel.


Israel has long sought a peace deal with Lebanon, but Beirut has hesitated as long as Israel's conflicts with the Palestinians and Syria remained unresolved.


Siniora said Lebanon wants to go back to the 1949 armistice agreement that formally ended the Arab-Israeli war over Israel's creation.


Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said earlier Wednesday that the Israel-Hizbullah ceasefire could be "a cornerstone to build a new reality between Israel and Lebanon."


Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan also said they hoped the ceasefire deal could evolve into a full-fledged peace agreement between Israel and Lebanon.


Implementation of the ceasefire "gives us a foundation to move forward and settle the differences between Israel and Lebanon once and for all, to establish a durable peace," Annan said.


Also Wednesday, Siniora said that his government would pay USD 33,000 per house to compensate residents whose homes were destroyed by Israeli attacks. The government has been criticized for being slow to respond with financial support for people who lost homes in the fighting.


Siniora said 130,000 housing units had been destroyed or damaged in more than a month of Israeli airstrikes and ground fighting with Hizbullah guerrillas, mostly in south Lebanon. He did not give a breakdown of the completely destroyed houses.


Hizbullah launched rebuilding campaigns in its strongholds within days of the Aug. 14 ceasefire, burnishing its support among residents.


Siniora said he would ask delegates to an international donors' conference in Sweden on Thursday to take responsibility for rebuilding specific villages hit by Israeli attacks. Organizers of the conference are aiming to raise USD 500 million in aid for Lebanon, Sweden's aid minister said Tuesday.


The European Commission said Wednesday it will pledge USD 54 million at the conference on top of the USD 64 million that the European Union's head office has already earmarked for emergency relief to Lebanon.

So he does NOT want Peace he will get War.

******************************


Arab papers slam Nasrallah, dub him irresponsible


Arab newspapers openly criticized Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, Israel Radio reported Tuesday.

Several of them specifically targeted his speech on Sunday, during which he said that had he known Israel's response would be so harsh, Hizbullah would not have gone through with July 12 kidnapping .
On the front page of Kuwait's Assi Assa's newspaper, Nasrallah was labeled an "adventurer" who was "unaware of his actions" and "does not understand what he has done to Lebanon".

The newspaper's editor, Ahmad Aljarala, called on Nasrallah to submit to the Lebanese government's authority and to give up all arms in the possession of Hizbullah to the government.

Egyptian newspaper Al Ahbar reported that Nasrallah's words came too late after the loss of thousands of Lebanese civilians.

Saudi Arabia's Al Watan called Hizbullah's kidnapping "irresponsible."

30 August, 2006 17:55  
Blogger Fearless said...

Cheating will not do. Now Seniorita says he does not want peace with Israel!
Here is a report by ferociously pro Arab Robert Fisk in The Independent of London:



http://news.independent.co.uk/world/fisk/article1220077.ece

Robert Fisk: The army is back, but don't expect it to disarm Hizbollah
Published: 18 August 2006
Now you see them, now you don't. Hizbollah weapons? None to be seen. And none to be collected by the Lebanese army. For when this august body of men crossed the Litani river yesterday, their officers made it perfectly clear that it would not be the army's job to disarm the Hizbollah. Nor was anyone in Lebanon surprised. After all, most of the Lebanese troops here are Shias - like the Hizbollah - and in many cases, the soldiers who crossed the Litani are not only from the same southern villages but are related to the guerrillas whom they are supposed to disarm. In other words, a typical Lebanese compromise. So whither UN Security Council Resolution 1701?

True, the French are on their way - or are supposed to be. It is the French - whose own General Alain Pellegrini already commands the small UN force here - who will run the new international army in Lebanon. But are they supposed to disarm Hizbollah? Or fight them? Or just sit in southern Lebanon as a buffer force to protect Israel? The French are still demanding - very wisely - a clear mandate for their role here. But Lebanon does not provide clear mandates for anyone, least of all the French.

The Lebanese gave their soldiers the traditional welcome of rice and rose water when they drove over their newly built military bridges on the Litani. But then, some of the same villagers once gave the same traditional welcome to the Israelis in 1982 - and to Hizbollah after that. But the Lebanese army represented peace in our time - at least for a while - to those who are still digging the corpses of their dead families out of the hill villages of southern Lebanon.

It looked good on television, all those clapped-out Warsaw Pact T-54 tanks and elderly Panhard personnel carriers on flatbed trucks, supposedly returning to the far south for the first time in 30 years. Of course, it wasn't true. Though not deployed on the border, thousands of Lebanese soldiers have been stationed in southern towns since the civil war, dutifully turning a blind eye to Hizbollah's activities, providing none of their fighters were rude enough to drive a truck-load of missiles through their checkpoints.

Among those Lebanese soldiers most familiar with the south were members of the 1,000-strong garrison at the southern Christian town of Marjayoun, who fled after Israel's small ground incursion a week ago. And herein, as they say, lies a tale. For their commander, the Interior Ministry Brigadier General Adnan Daoud, has just been arrested for treason after Israeli television showed him taking tea with an Israeli officer in the Marjayoun barracks. Even worse, Hizbollah's television station Al-Manar - which stayed resolutely on air throughout this latest war despite Israel's best attempts to bomb it out of existence - picked up the Israeli tape and rebroadcast it across Lebanon.

Prior to his arrest, General Daoud was even rash enough to unburden his thoughts to Lauren Frayer, an enterprising reporter for the Associated Press who arrived in Marjayoun in time to record the general's last words before his arrest. The Israelis, he said, "came peacefully up to our gate, asking to speak with me by name". An Israeli officer who introduced himself as Col Ashaya chatted to Daoud about future Israeli-Lebanese military relations.

"For four hours, I took him on a tour of our base." the general said of "Ashaya". "He was probably on an intelligence mission and wanted to see if we had any Hizballah in here." But an hour after the supposedly friendly Israeli left, Israeli tanks blasted their way with shells through the gates of the Lebanese garrison. The Lebanese soldiers did not fire back. Instead, they fled Marjayoun - only to find that their long convoy, which included dozens of civilian cars, was attacked by Israeli pilots who killed seven civilians, including the wife of the mayor, who was decapitated by a missile.

In Beirut, all this was forgotten as the Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora, repeated that there would be no more "states within a state" and that the Hizbollah would leave the area south of the Litani. This statement came under the category of "a likely story". Not only do most of the Hizbollah live in villages south of the Litani but several of their officers made it clear that they had told the Lebanese army not to search for weapons. So much for the disarmament of the Hizbollah south of the Litani river. And so much for President Bush's "war on terror" which the Israelis claim to be fighting on America's behalf.

Now you see them, now you don't. Hizbollah weapons? None to be seen. And none to be collected by the Lebanese army. For when this august body of men crossed the Litani river yesterday, their officers made it perfectly clear that it would not be the army's job to disarm the Hizbollah. Nor was anyone in Lebanon surprised. After all, most of the Lebanese troops here are Shias - like the Hizbollah - and in many cases, the soldiers who crossed the Litani are not only from the same southern villages but are related to the guerrillas whom they are supposed to disarm. In other words, a typical Lebanese compromise. So whither UN Security Council Resolution 1701?

True, the French are on their way - or are supposed to be. It is the French - whose own General Alain Pellegrini already commands the small UN force here - who will run the new international army in Lebanon. But are they supposed to disarm Hizbollah? Or fight them? Or just sit in southern Lebanon as a buffer force to protect Israel? The French are still demanding - very wisely - a clear mandate for their role here. But Lebanon does not provide clear mandates for anyone, least of all the French.

The Lebanese gave their soldiers the traditional welcome of rice and rose water when they drove over their newly built military bridges on the Litani. But then, some of the same villagers once gave the same traditional welcome to the Israelis in 1982 - and to Hizbollah after that. But the Lebanese army represented peace in our time - at least for a while - to those who are still digging the corpses of their dead families out of the hill villages of southern Lebanon.

It looked good on television, all those clapped-out Warsaw Pact T-54 tanks and elderly Panhard personnel carriers on flatbed trucks, supposedly returning to the far south for the first time in 30 years. Of course, it wasn't true. Though not deployed on the border, thousands of Lebanese soldiers have been stationed in southern towns since the civil war, dutifully turning a blind eye to Hizbollah's activities, providing none of their fighters were rude enough to drive a truck-load of missiles through their checkpoints.

Among those Lebanese soldiers most familiar with the south were members of the 1,000-strong garrison at the southern Christian town of Marjayoun, who fled after Israel's small ground incursion a week ago. And herein, as they say, lies a tale. For their commander, the Interior Ministry Brigadier General Adnan Daoud, has just been arrested for treason after Israeli television showed him taking tea with an Israeli officer in the Marjayoun barracks. Even worse, Hizbollah's television station Al-Manar - which stayed resolutely on air throughout this latest war despite Israel's best attempts to bomb it out of existence - picked up the Israeli tape and rebroadcast it across Lebanon.
Prior to his arrest, General Daoud was even rash enough to unburden his thoughts to Lauren Frayer, an enterprising reporter for the Associated Press who arrived in Marjayoun in time to record the general's last words before his arrest. The Israelis, he said, "came peacefully up to our gate, asking to speak with me by name". An Israeli officer who introduced himself as Col Ashaya chatted to Daoud about future Israeli-Lebanese military relations.

"For four hours, I took him on a tour of our base." the general said of "Ashaya". "He was probably on an intelligence mission and wanted to see if we had any Hizballah in here." But an hour after the supposedly friendly Israeli left, Israeli tanks blasted their way with shells through the gates of the Lebanese garrison. The Lebanese soldiers did not fire back. Instead, they fled Marjayoun - only to find that their long convoy, which included dozens of civilian cars, was attacked by Israeli pilots who killed seven civilians, including the wife of the mayor, who was decapitated by a missile.

In Beirut, all this was forgotten as the Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora, repeated that there would be no more "states within a state" and that the Hizbollah would leave the area south of the Litani. This statement came under the category of "a likely story". Not only do most of the Hizbollah live in villages south of the Litani but several of their officers made it clear that they had told the Lebanese army not to search for weapons. So much for the disarmament of the Hizbollah south of the Litani river. And so much for President Bush's "war on terror" which the Israelis claim to be fighting on America's behalf.

30 August, 2006 18:47  
Anonymous Jeanette said...

Le toutou Nasrallah n'a fait qu'agir comme le font toujours les vociférateurs dirigeants arabes et il n'a fait qu'obéir à ses maitres de Téhéran en déclenchant une guerre télécommandée et programmée, histoire de masquer et mettre en sourdine le problème nucléaire iranien, sauf que, les choses ne se sont pas passées comme le prévoyaient leurs plans : Le hezbollah a reçu une bonne raclée, il a perdu beaucoup de ses miliciens et de ses armes, et il est plus affaibli qu'avant cette guerre, qui ne l'a hélas pas anéanti.

Je ne fais tellement pas confiance à ce genre de personnages et je me demande si les jérémiades de Nasrallah ne font pas partie de sa propagande où il cherche à vouloir nous faire croire à son : Si j'avais su, j'aurai pas venu... pour mieux cacher

31 August, 2006 13:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

first you run away crying like a baby making all of us feeling sorry for you
and your family. now like a pathetic looser youu praise the same people who brought the distruction on lebanon

01 September, 2006 00:59  
Anonymous outsider said...

This is a little off-topic, but I have been wondering for some time what became of the Palestinian Cabinet ministers that were kidnapped during the Lebanese war. The answer comes from Daily Star:

"The officials were charged with membership and activity in an outlawed organization, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb

In all, Israel has arrested 30 Hamas lawmakers and five Cabinet ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Shaer. Other captured officials who did not appear in court Thursday were expected to go on trial about the same time as Dweik."

Nice way to build peace, Israel. The Israeli authorities repeatedly say, "All we want is peace, but who can we negotiate with?". Yet when the Palestinians voted against Arafat's party in favour of Hamas, they charge them with belonging to an "outlawed organisation". I know Hamas are not exactly boy scouts, but please explain to me how this will advance peace by one millimetre? What option is Israel leaving the Palestinians other than an armed struggle? And so the cycle continues, and the Israelis will again claim, "But look, all they want is to kill us".

Is it possible to mismanage a situation and more than this?

01 September, 2006 10:18  
Blogger Fabien the Ho said...

Its true to say the Lebanese were fighting because it was their lives, their homes, their family and their land to protect and preserve...

The Isreali soldiers however were merely doing a job they had been briefed to do. Compulsory military service gives you the soldiers who might not believe passionately in any cause, they do their time and do as they are told.

The 2 came with different motivations hence why the Lebanese fought with bravery and the Israeli pushed buttons and pulled triggers.

01 September, 2006 21:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To fabien the ho,

Dude, you got it the other way around… Lebanese people didn’t fire a single shot. It was all HA fighters. The ISRAELIS were fighting because it was their lives, their homes, their family and their land to protect and preserve. HA fighters were merely doing a job they had been brainwashed to do. All HA fighters believe they will reach heaven after they will die. Most Israelis don’t believe in heaven and still risked their lives. So, who did you say was braver?

01 September, 2006 22:54  
Anonymous Hamid said...

Hezbollah's 'Victory'
The Washington Post
By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, September 1, 2006; Page A21

"We did not think, even 1 percent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me, if I had known on July 11 . . . that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not."

-- Hasan Nasrallah,



Hezbollah leader, Aug. 27

So much for the "strategic and historic victory" Nasrallah had claimed less than two weeks earlier. What real victor declares that, had he known, he would not have started the war that ended in triumph?

Nasrallah's admission, vastly underplayed in the West, makes clear what the Lebanese already knew. Hezbollah may have won the propaganda war, but on the ground it lost. Badly.

True, under the inept and indecisive leadership of Ehud Olmert, Israel did miss the opportunity to militarily destroy Hezbollah and make it a non-factor in Israel's security, Lebanon's politics and Iran's foreign policy. Nonetheless, Hezbollah was seriously hurt. It lost hundreds of its best fighters. A deeply entrenched infrastructure on Israel's border is in ruins. The great hero has had to go so deep into hiding that Nasrallah has been called "the underground mullah."

Most important, Hezbollah's political gains within Lebanon during the war have proved illusory. As the dust settles, the Lebanese are furious at Hezbollah for provoking a war that brought them nothing but devastation -- and then crowing about victory amid the ruins.

The Western media were once again taken in by the mystique of the "Arab street." The mob came out to cheer Hezbollah for raining rockets on Israel -- surprise! -- and the Arab governments that had initially criticized Hezbollah went conveniently silent. Now that the mob has gone home, Hezbollah is under renewed attack -- in newspapers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt, as well as by many Lebanese, including influential Shiite academics and clan leaders. The Arabs know where their interests lie. And they do not lie with a Shiite militia that fights for Iran.

Even before the devastation, Hezbollah in the last election garnered only about 20 percent of the vote, hardly a mandate. Hezbollah has guns, however, and that is the source of its power. But now even that is threatened. Hence Nasrallah's admission. He knows that Lebanon, however weak its army, has a deep desire to disarm him and that the arrival of Europeans in force, however weak their mandate, will make impossible the rebuilding of the vast Maginot Line he spent six years constructing.

Which is why the expected Round Two will, in fact, not happen. Hezbollah is in no position, either militarily or politically, for another round. Nasrallah's admission that the war was a mistake is an implicit pledge not to repeat it, lest he be completely finished as a Lebanese political figure.

The Lebanese know that Israel bombed easy-to-repair airport runways when it could have destroyed the new airport terminal and set Lebanon back 10 years. The Lebanese know that Israel attacked the Hezbollah TV towers when it could have pulverized Beirut's power grid, a billion-dollar reconstruction. The Lebanese know that the next time, Israel's leadership will hardly be as hesitant and restrained. Hezbollah dares not risk that next time.

Even more important is the shift once again in the internal Lebanese balance of power. With Nasrallah weakened, the other major factions are closing in around him. Even his major Christian ally, Michel Aoun, has called for Hezbollah's disarmament. The March 14 democratic movement has regained the upper hand and, with outside help, could marginalize Hezbollah.

In a country this weak, outsiders can be decisive. A strong European presence in the south, serious U.S. training and equipment for the Lebanese army, and relentless pressure at the United Nations can tip the balance. We should be especially aggressive at the United Nations in pursuing the investigation of Syria for the murder of Rafiq Hariri and in implementing resolutions mandating the disarmament of Hezbollah.

It was just 18 months ago that the democrats of the March 14 movement expelled Syria from Lebanon and rose to power, marking the apogee of the U.S. democratization project in the region. Nasrallah's temporary rise during the just-finished war marked that project's nadir. Nasrallah's crowing added to the general despair in Washington about a rising "Shiite crescent" stretching from Tehran to Beirut.

In fact, Hezbollah was seriously set back, as was Iran. In the Middle East, however, promising moments pass quickly. This one needs to be seized. We must pretend that Security Council Resolution 1701 was meant to be implemented and exert unrelieved pressure on behalf of those Lebanese -- a large majority -- who want to do the implementing.

02 September, 2006 13:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GREAT comment Hamid!

John Smith

02 September, 2006 14:34  
Anonymous Outsider said...

Please, please, let's hope some good can come of this proposterous war. I wish I could help, but it's largely in Lebanese hands now.

02 September, 2006 20:17  
Blogger FreeCyprus said...

There is so much anti-semitism in the world it's funny.

If the Turks or a Turkish terrorist group invaded Greece, killed 8 Greek soldiers and then kidnapped 2 Greek soldiers the ENTIRE WORLD would stand behind Greece and support any retaliation against the Turks.

I am confident that even most Arab nations would support us.

But because it's Israel...we say "oh, come on, no big deal, take it easy...RESTRAIN YOURSELF."

If it happened to Greece, the Greeks would have gone insane and would have done exactly what Israel did and the world (including the Arabs) would have said, "Greece was right. Turkey was wrong and deserved what they got."

We all know it.

03 September, 2006 08:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with Israeli peace makers is that they have no vision. I say send Bar Refaeli (google her for pics) to Nasrallah and Assad for one night. I can guarantee they’ll be talking differently about Israel the next morning. Let Nasrallah pay for the limo. Let Assad pay for dinner. Let Israeli tax payers pay for Bar’s mental health care in the next 5 years. Every super model and miss universe say their goal is world peace. I say, go girls. You’ll bring the peace, I’ll bring the wine bottle and condoms.

John Smith

03 September, 2006 13:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Freecyprus,

Unfortunately, there is a lot of anti-semitism out there. But you can't blame the current intolerance of Israeli military policy for that. Israel was already engaged in a tit-for-tat war with Hezbollah. So the capture of the Israeli soldiers was hardly coming out of the blue.

I totally disagree that the world would encourage Greece to bomb Turkish airports, fuel depots and factories in the case you mention. The British army never bombed Dublin airport, or the ports through which arms were being smuggled. France never bombed Algiers airport after the metro bombings in the 80s. Why should we stand by and let Israel bomb civilian infrastructure? Are their army above international law? please explain the difference.

03 September, 2006 16:31  
Anonymous Hamid said...

An idiot called Kofi Anan, who believes what Bachar Assad says:
Saturday, September 2, 2006
Text: UN Sec'y Gen. Annan at Damascus Airport declines to criticize Syria

Damascus Airport, Syria, 1 September 2006 - UN Secretary-General Kofi
Annan's press conference prior to departure from Syria (unofficial
transcript)
www.un.org/apps/sg/offthecuff.asp?nid=929
SG: Let me start by saying how very pleased I am to be back here in Syria
and to have the opportunity not only to visit, but to have serious
discussions with the leadership.

Syria is an important regional player. The international community is
looking to Syria to play a constructive role in this crucial period.

As you know, the purpose of my visit to the region is to seek full
implementation of SCR 1701.

That resolution brought about a cessation of hostilities between Hezbollah
and Israel; but it also articulated the need for a forward looking vision
for a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, one which puts all the
outstanding issues on the table.
I had the pleasure of meeting President Bashar Al-Assad this morning. And we
had a long and constructive discussion on SCR 1701 and its implementation.

The President informed me that Syria supports Security Council resolution
1701 and will assist the United Nations in its implementation.

I also discussed with the President the question of Arms-Embargo.

While stating Syria's objection to the presence of foreign troops along the
Syrian-Lebanese borders, the President committed to me that Syria shall take
all necessary measures to implement in full paragraph 15 of resolution 1701.
That is the paragraph that deals with arms embargo and rearmament.

To further assist in the implementation of resolution 1701 and this
particular paragraph on arms embargo, the President informed me that Syria
would undertake as soon as possible the following measures:

-Increasing border guard numbers and capability through the provision of
additional training and the supply of equipment.
-Establishing liaison mechanisms with the Lebanese Armed Forces, Lebanese
border police and international personnel providing technical assistance to
the Lebanese, in order to set up an effective interdiction regime.
-And finally, on this item, establishing, where possible, joint border
patrols and control points with the Lebanese authorities.

On the question of disarmament of all militias in Lebanon, the President
assured me that he accepts and supports the decisions of the Lebanese
National Dialogue related to disarmament of militias.

And we did discuss the establishment of normal diplomatic relations between
Syria and Lebanon, and here the President informed me that Syria is prepared
to establish normal diplomatic relations with Lebanon and that these are
sovereign decisions and details should be worked out between the two
countries.

I then went on to discuss the delineation of borders between Syria and
Lebanon.

And here the President informed me that Syria is prepared to go ahead with
the delineation of its border with Lebanon and has already communicated this
earlier to the Lebanese authorities.

I encouraged a meeting between President Assad and Prime Minister Siniora of
Lebanon to allow them to discuss issues of mutual interest and improve their
relations. The President gave his consent and said that he is ready to meet
Prime Minister Siniora any time and that's a standing invitation.

The President and I also agreed that the time has come to activate and
re-energize peace efforts in the region in order to reach comprehensive
peace agreements in accordance with the United Nations Resolutions.

A word on humanitarian issues: I discussed with the President several issues
on the humanitarian front, and of course he sees the lifting of the
blockade - land, sea and air - as also humanitarian. But the other
humanitarian issues I discussed with the President were the release of the
Israeli abducted soldiers by Hezbollah with the involvement of the ICRC; the
release of the Israeli abducted soldier in Gaza; and the release of the
Lebanese prisoners.

The President supported these calls for their release, but he also raised
the question of the release of Syrian prisoners. He called for their release
and whatever one can do to help. And as I said, on the question of land,
sea, and air blockade, he said it was essential to lift it as soon as
possible as a humanitarian gesture, and to allow reconstruction.

Let me say in conclusion that out of the recent tragedy of war, there is a
window of opportunity for peace and prosperity that we must not miss. I will
do everything I can to help the parties move along that road to peace that
has eluded this region and all of us for so long.

Thank you very much. I will now take your questions.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, the pledges today lie in the realm of the
theoretical. Do you believe that these pledges in particular with respect to
the flow of arms to Hezbollah will actually translate into an end to that
flow?(inaudible). cooperation with the Lebanese army. Obviously, at the
moment, ties are not great between the two countries. Do you expect that the
theoretical will go to real?

SG: We always start with the theoretical agreement and then move on. Let me
say I think it can happen. It may not be 100 percent, but it will make quite
a lot of difference if the Government puts in place the measures that the
Government has discussed with me. And I have no reason to believe that it
will not be done. First of all, you must remember that I have cooperated
with the Syrian authorities in the implementation of resolution 1559. In the
understandings that I had reached with the President, the Syrian soldiers
left Lebanon, the security services have done so. There is a track record
that I hope we can build on and get the Government to perform and implement
the programme they have given me today.

Q: (in Arabic)

SG: The question is about the peace process and how one activates it and the
discussions I have had with the Syrian group on the issue.

I discussed it with the President today, and I have just come from Israel
and Lebanon where this issue has been on everyone's agenda. And, besides,
internationally many leaders have come to the conclusion that the only way
we are going to have a stable peace in the region is to really work
comprehensively and deal with the issue of peace on all tracks -
Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian.

Q: Did you discuss the Shebaa area with the Syrian leadership and what is
the Syrian role in the exchange of (inaudible)?

SG: We did discuss the delineation of the Syrian-Lebanese border which
obviously is an issue that touches also on the Shabaa farm. We discussed
with the President the need to delineate the border and, of course, we will
give any assistance that is required.

On the second question, I have asked Syria to use its influence to help me
obtain the release of the soldiers.

Q: (in Arabic)

SG: I know that there are many UN resolutions which have not been
implemented, but that does not mean that the search for peace should end. As
I have indicated, there is a real will today to search for peace in the
region. These attempts for peace, this search for peace, will be built on
the UN resolutions which are still valid. The 'land for peace' concept which
underlies all UN resolutions is valid. And these resolutions and the ideas
enshrined in them are going to be very important when we come to the table.

Q: (in Arabic)

SG: The question relates to the peace effort and how it affects Syria and
how the Syrian track will be engaged.

I think, in fact today, you had a proposal from the Arab League in a letter
formally submitted to the President of the Security Council that the Council
be seized, formally seized, of the need to reactivate the Middle Eastern
peace process and establish a mechanism for us to proceed on all tracks. In
fact, the suggestion is that the Council should meet next month. I don't
know if it is going to be -- whether the President has agreed or not. But
just to show you the desire and the concrete steps that are being pushed for
us to be able to get the peace process going.

Q: (in Arabic)

SG: And I expect?

Q:

SG: I was going to say whatever mechanism is set up to deal with the
comprehensive peace process will obviously deal with the Syrian track as
well.

Q: (in Arabic)

SG: I think the UN position has been clear - cluster bombs should not be
used in populated areas because it does cause lots of damage and harm to
civilians. I have during my visit to Israel asked the Israeli authorities to
give us maps of the areas where the bombs were dropped so that we can map
them. We've got some of the maps. We can map them to protect the civilian
population and go about systematically de-mining them. And, of course, it
has caused humanitarian tragedies and casualties that we are dealing with.
And the Israelis know our views. We made our views clear to them.

03 September, 2006 21:09  
Blogger Fearless said...

Sunday, September 3, 2006
MEMRI: Fmr. Syrian VP Khaddam: The Syrian Regime "Aims to Drag Lebanon Into Civil War"

Former Syrian VP Khaddam: The Syrian Regime "Aims to Drag Lebanon Into Civil
War"

In an August 28, 2006 interview with the Lebanese TV channel Al-Mustaqbal,
former Syrian Vice President 'Abd Al-Halim Khaddam, who is today an
expatriate leader of the Syrian opposition, ridiculed senior Syrian
officials' excuses for non-intervention in the recent Israel-Hizbullah war.
Khaddam argued that the Syrian regime's refusal to mark the borders with
Lebanon is a pretext aimed at continuing the resistance in southern Lebanon,
since, he said, these borders "can be marked on the map within an hour." He
also revealed information that, following Israel's May 2000 withdrawal from
southern Lebanon, while he was still serving as vice president, Syria issued
instructions to portray the liberation of the Shab'a Farms as one of the
goals of the Lebanese resistance, a goal that had not been named in the
past.

The following is a translation of the main points of the interview:


All Elements in Lebanon Must Accept the Fact That the State is the One That
Makes the Decisions

"The guarantee that there will be no second round [of the war] is the
[establishment] of national Lebanese unity, and [when] all Lebanese elements
will accept the state as the one that makes the decisions and has the
responsibility. But if things remain as they are... then the problem will
move to the intra-Lebanese arena..."


Hafez Al-Assad Gave an Order to Prevent Resistance in the Golan

"In 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon and the war became a direct [war] between
us and Israel on Lebanese soil. We fought in Beirut, in the mountains, [and]
in the Beqaa and we stopped the Israeli advance between 'Ayn Zhalta and
Sultan Ya'aqoub in the western Beqaa region. Then came the decision for a
cease-fire. After that, [then-Syrian president] Hafez Al-Assad decided to
exhaust Israel in Lebanon. [Even before that,] when Hafez Al-Assad decided
that traditional war with Israel had become impossible because of what
became clear during the [1973] October War, he gave strict orders to the
[Syrian] armed forces and security apparatuses to prevent all resistance
activity in the Golan. This was because any response by Israel would have
reached the internal Syrian arena...

"Thus, in 1982, when the decision was made, we began to encourage the
Lebanese parties to carry out resistance activities [in Lebanon]..."


Top Syrian Officials' Explanations for Syria's Non-Intervention in August
2006 War are All Excuses

"[Syrian President] Bashar Al-Assad is fearful and apprehensive about war
developing and reaching Syrian territory... As far as he is concerned, the
war can be conducted in Lebanon without Syria being forced to bear any
military burden. If you ask me about the value of the Syrian-Lebanese
military agreement, which is part of the [military] contract between them,
[I will say] that it has been proven to be [just] a piece of paper.

"[They claim to have] an excuse. Some of the senior officials close to
Bashar Al-Assad have said it: 'What prevents us from intervening [in the
war] is the Separation of Forces Agreement [between Syria and Israel] in the
Golan [Heights]'... [Yet] Israel violated this agreement when it attacked at
'Ayn Al-Saheb. They said, 'If the Israeli forces approach Syria's borders,
we will intervene.' [Yet] Israeli forces are on Syrian lands in the Golan.
Bashar Al-Assad said in his [August 15, 2006] speech that Israel was
defeated in the first days. If indeed it was defeated in the first days, why
was this defeat not exploited in order to intervene in the Golan and to
liberate it?"


There Can Be No Resistance in Syria While the Syrian People Itself is Held
Prisoner

"How can there be resistance in Syria when the Syrian people sees itself as
a prisoner, when a [Syrian] intellectual says three words and is
[immediately] arrested, and when the Syrian people is stripped of its
freedom, oppressed, and plundered by the ruling family?..." (1)


There Must Be Relations of Equals Between Syria and Lebanon; Today There is
No Place for Syrian-Lebanese Unity

"What is the difference between Lebanon and any other Arab state? This is
absolutely not the time to establish unity between Syria and Lebanon. [The
idea of] such unity has never [even] crossed our minds. Syrian-Mauritanian
unity [will come] before [Syrian]-Lebanese unity... In my experience with
the intricacies of the Lebanese situation, I say that there must be
relations of equals between Syria and Lebanon, and this will serve the
interests of both countries. Why shouldn't there be diplomatic relations
between Syria and Lebanon?"


Syrian Objections to Marking the Border at Shab'a Farms is an Excuse in
Order to Continue the Resistance

"Marking the Syria-Lebanon border requires [nothing more than] diplomatic
will... Even the borders between Saudi Arabia and Yemen are marked, despite
the disputes that have continued for over a century. Why shouldn't the
Syria-Lebanon [border] be marked? The occupation has nothing to do with
this... They can be marked on the map within an hour...

"Actually, [Syria's objections] to marking the border is a pretext aimed at
justifying the continuation of the resistance movement in the South.
[Liberating] the Shab'a Farms was not one of the aims of the resistance
[i.e. Hizbullah]. No one spoke of the Shab'a Farms. [They started talking]
about them [only] after the [May 2000] Israeli withdrawal [from Lebanon].
This was an order that came from Syria."


Assad Aims to Drag Lebanon Into Civil War So As to Close the Investigation
of the Al-Hariri Assassination and to Return to Lebanon

"It is clear that the Syrian regime has two aims: The first is to drag
Lebanon into civil war, so as to close the investigation of the
assassination of [former Lebanese] prime minister Rafiq Al-Hariri... The
second aim of the Syrian regime is to bring about a situation in which
matters in Lebanon will blow up, and then [Syria's] allies [i.e. Hizbullah]
will manage to take over Lebanon - which will enable the Syrian regime to
return to Lebanon..."


The Decision to Assassinate Al-Hariri was Made by Bashar Al-Assad

On the assassination of Rafiq Al-Hariri, Khaddam said: "Bashar Al-Assad
knows what he's doing. [He knows] how the decision [to assassinate
Al-Hariri] was made, how the crime was carried out, and who took part in
it... No security operation could be executed in Syria without the decision
of the president. Could Rustum Ghazale have taken a ton of explosives from
the army's warehouse [without Assad's knowledge]? Could Rustum Ghazale have
brought in the group that laid the explosives, tailed [the victim], and
carried out [the assassination] without [Al-Assad's] knowledge? My answer is
that this is a decision that came from the president...

"I reiterate and say to Bashar Al-Assad that I am convinced that the
investigation will reach him, and he knows this... The Syrian regime will
fall... The life expectancy of this regime is short, and Bashar Al-Assad's
last speech [on August 15, 2006] will be his farewell [speech]."(2)


(2) Al-Mustaqbal (Syria), August 28, 2006.

04 September, 2006 13:25  
Anonymous Hamid said...

No victory for Hizbollah, say Lebanese Christians (01/09/2006)
By Patrick Bishop,in Bsharri

"Israel lost but it does not mean Hizbollah won," said Samir Geagea, chief of political movement. Lebanese Christians "don't like this triumphalism", he said. "First of all they don't see that it was a victory. They feel on the contrary that it was a big loss for Lebanon, even though they acknowledge that the guerrillas of Hizbollah have done well on the battleground."



Mr Geagea's words indicate the grim new mood of realism across Lebanon as the euphoria of survival wears off and the cost of the conflict is counted. They also reflect a growing belief that far from strengthening Hizbollah, the war may actually have weakened the Shia radicals.



"On the Arab and Islamic front they gained fame and Sheikh Nasrallah has become a celebrity," he said. "But this is not something you can touch or spend. "Inside Lebanon, the Lebanese who didn't agree with the strategy of Hizbollah have become more open in their position." These include Shia critics of the organisation "who are now much more outspoken then before".



Mr Geagea believes that the conflict has also undermined the relationship between Hizbollah and its chief Christian allies, retired general Michel Aoun and his party. "They have lost some of their rank and file because of the alliance," he said. "I don't believe that Hizbollah have emerged from this with political advantages."



Mr Geagea commands deep loyalty among a section of Lebanon's Christians for his incorruptibility and unwavering opposition to Syrian interference in the country. His party forms part of the coalition that dominates the government. He played a major role in the civil war as head of the Lebanese Forces militia and was implicated in several political assassinations. He is the only leader of the era to have stood trial for war crimes and spent 11 years in solitary confinement in an underground cell. He emerged a year ago and now lives in a modest chalet above his home town of Bsharri, high in the mountains of north Lebanon.



For Lebanon to progress, Mr Geagea says, Hizbollah will have to give up its weapons. The paradox is that having proclaimed victory it has now less justification than ever for maintaining its arms. "Its strategy has been shown to be faulty," he said. "They said they should be allowed to keep their weapons to maintain an 'equilibrium of terror' with Israel. As long as they had them, Israel would not dare to attack. This has been shown to be an illusion. "They justified not handing their arms to the state by saying that if they used them the Israeli response would be localised rather than affecting the whole country. This has also been shown to be wrong. Many things have been broken by this war. Not only the Lebanese infrastructure but many theories and assumptions."



One consequence of the war is that Hizbollah's raison d'etre has been removed, he said. The Lebanese army's move into the south and the eventual deployment of an international peacekeeping force has cut off the militia from the border it is pledged to defend. "Before the war the resistance movement operated on the frontier and had all the margin of manoeuvre they wanted," he said. "Now they are denied this luxury."



Lebanese pride at having stood up to Israel has given way to unease. "People feel insecure," Mr Geagea said. Hizbollah's actions "invite attacks from Israel or sanctions from America. They may lead to further Syrian and Iranian penetration inside Lebanon. "People have got fed up over the years with outside interference and wars. I am sure that 75 per cent of the country want to have a secure country and live in peace irrespective of everything else."



Mr Geagea believes that with Hizbollah now under pressure to become a conventional political party, the war may have created an opportunity for progress. "The road is open for us to have the Lebanon the majority dream of," he said. "We have the potential to be a real democracy in the Middle East — pluralistic, scientific and modern." All that depends on Hizbollah disarming, however. "They are not inclined to do that after all that happened," he said. "But we should keep trying."



patrick.bishop@telegraph.co.uk

04 September, 2006 17:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fatfat the genius: We do not want peace with ISrael, or how we shall NOT implementResolution 1701.

Asharq Al-Awsat Interviews Lebanese Interior Minister Ahmad Fatfat

03/09/2006
By Thair Abbas



Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat- Lebanese Interior Minister Ahmad Fatfat talks exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat about Hezbollah's 'Deterrence Theory,' UN peacekeeping troops and the adoption of the 'Syrian Model' in the Golan"

The following is the text of the interview:

(Asharq Al-Awsat) what direction is the situation in Lebanon going?

(Fatfat) I think we are moving toward the complete implementation of Resolution 1701. I think that all sides are now convinced that this resolution is the best solution. The problem today is that Israel - as usual - looks down on the UN resolutions and tries to encroach upon them. The most prominent of these encroachments are not lifting the siege it imposes by sea and air on Lebanon, not ending the hostilities, and prevaricating about the withdrawal.

However, the more important question is: At the strategic level, in which direction are we moving? There are many differences between the situation before and after 12 July. When Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah says that he did not expect the magnitude of the Israeli reply, this means that the studies on which the principle of deterrence was based ought to be revised, because Lebanon has paid a frightening price for the deterrence theory. At the same time, no one can deny that there is a victory at the military level. Israel considered itself defeated merely because of the fact that it was not able to achieve complete victory. What is new is that the Israeli public opinion now realizes after 50 years of being in an impregnable fortress it cannot stay isolated from the effects of war, and that war can reach it at any time. Israel used to settle all battles quickly without affecting its home front, but now the Israeli public suddenly realizes that the war could reach their homes, and every facility they have.

We in the Arab world celebrate any victory, because since 1948 we have been living in a state of major psychological destruction. These feelings of humiliation and injustice motivate many people to follow extremist directions. Twenty years ago, I was partly thinking like this; I left my home and my school and joined the Palestinian resistance, because we felt oppressed and humiliated. Every generation grows up to be fiercer than the one before it.

(Asharq Al-Awsat) how has the Israeli bombardment effected the domestic situation?

(Fatfat) Israel wagered on creating a rift in Lebanon between the resistance and the people. This has not happened, and will never happen. Even if the Lebanese people were not in agreement with what happened, we would not create a rift that benefits Israel. The Lebanese people's steadfastness and unity, not to mention the government's steadfastness and stances, were part of the victory.

(Asharq Al-Awsat) But there are clear political differences?

(Fatfat) This is another issue. These are the laws of political life. Like in any other country, political differences do occur. However, in pivotal issues, the Lebanese become unity.

(Asharq Al-Awsat) There are many politicians who blamed Hezbollah during and after the war?

(Fatfat) The people did not. Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah said that Hezbollah had miscalculated. Therefore, blame is no longer an accusation. Hezbollah's fighters have performed a marvelous job, and showed important steadfastness, in addition to the people's steadfastness. This subject is no longer a taboo, and it could be discussed through political and democratic procedures. For instance, the questions that ought to be addressed are: In what direction are we moving? Why were not everybody consulted about the decision to go to war?

On the morning of 12 July, Prime Minister Fouad al-Siniora met an official of Hezbollah, and asked him about what was happening; after the latter answered, Al-Siniora said: "Israel is going crazy," but the official answered: Israel will not do anything. I heard the same thing from Deputy Hussein al-Hajj Hasan, who said to me that Israel's reaction would be limited.

Moreover, the part of the weapons used by Hezbollah in the battle was tactical; we can say that Hezbollah on its own could decide the use of such weapons. However, the use of strategic weapons to strike at the depth of another country is tantamount to inviting that other country to strike at the Lebanese depth. This is something that cannot be delegated to a single side within the state; it is the right of the state to decide this.

(Asharq Al-Awsat) What is the alternative to the "deterrent theory," which you said it collapsed?

(Fatfat) There are alternatives in the region. I am not talking about the Egyptian or Jordanian models, i.e. through a peace treaty. We cannot sign a peace treaty for a very simple reason - in addition to the national and emotional reasons - namely that we have 500,000 Palestinians in Lebanon, and we cannot do anything before resolving their situation, because we cannot absorb them. There is the Syrian alternative; the situation in the Golan is very comfortable for the Syrians, and for 32 years not a single bullet has been fired.

(Asharq Al-Awsat) But this option has not restored for the Syrians a single inch of their territories?

(Fatfat) They have regained some destroyed houses, which they have not restored so far, in Al-Qunaytirah. Once there are no occupied Lebanese territories, and the UN forces are at the borders, we will stop the state of war with Israel, there will be a no-war situation, and we will pursue a political solution for the Palestinian issue.

(Asharq Al-Awsat) There are international discussions about linking the Israeli siege to the situation at the Syrian borders in order to stop the supplies of weapons?

(Fatfat) The Lebanese Army has conveyed to the UN secretary general through Army Commander Gen Michel Suleiman that the Syrian borders are literally waterproof, i.e. not even water could pass through these borders without being observed. Israel has the air and space resources to ascertain this. However, this mission could be undertaken by the army now, but not after two months, because you cannot keep the soldiers at a height of 2,000 meters during winter. The army needs logistics and its aircraft need to be equipped with night sights and surveillance equipment to allow a reduction of the number of soldiers at the borders. Otherwise, the borders would be liable to infiltration. We do not need UN soldiers at the borders. We have conveyed this to the UN secretary general, he was satisfied with what we did, and he has been acquainted with the deployment maps.

(Asharq Al-Awsat) What about the situation of the airport and the port?

(Fatfat) For years I have not heard of a security infiltration at Beirut Airport. As far as the passengers are concerned, the airport has been under control from a security viewpoint. We lack the equipment to examine the contents of the containers; however, bear in mind that all the containers that arrive at the Beirut Airport come from European airports, and would have been subject to examination. As for the port, there are measures that ought to be adopted, because the same as in all ports in the world not all containers are subject to examination, and only random checks are carried out. We have asked for scanners for comprehensive checks, and the UN team has been satisfied with the measures we adopted.

(Asharq Al-Awsat) You have established a supreme border-surveillance committee. Is this aimed at curbing the powers of "mistrusted" organizations in Lebanese security?

(Fatfat) This step has been distorted. We are not curbing the powers of anyone. What we are doing is a proper reading of Resolution 1701, which does not ask us to do anything other than to apply the Lebanese laws. The resolution prohibits any weapons entering Lebanon unless they are for the State of Lebanon. The role of these organizations is to implement these rules.

(Asharq Al-Awsat) Then, what is the role of this committee?

(Fatfat) Its role is to coordinate between the organizations. The problem we used to face, and which made it necessary for the International Air Transport Association, IATA, to address a warning to us, was that there were many security organizations at the airport, while in the airports everywhere in the world there is one organization only.

(Asharq Al-Awsat) It is being said that Director of Public Security Maj-Gen Wafiq Juzayni and Airport Security director Wafiq Shuqayr are being marginalized because they are politically supported by Hezbollah?

(Fatfat) This is not true. It was the head of airport security who proposed his assistant as a coordinator of the security organizations operating at the airport. This committee doest not take away any of the powers of the chief of the airport security. As for the issue of the border surveillance committee, it has been established in order to be the contact point with the mission sent by the UN secretary general, and the role of this committee is advisory.

(Asharq Al-Awsat) Will there be an international presence at the airport and the other border crossing points?

(Fatfat) We do not feel that this is necessary. Resolution 1701 is clear in specifying that it is up to the Lebanese security forces to ask for international support in the form of equipment or troops. There is no need for this at the airport or the port. As for the border crossing points, we only need equipment; the army situation there is very bad, and the soldiers sleep either on the ground or in their vehicles.

04 September, 2006 17:18  
Anonymous outsider said...

Stepping aside from the politics for a moment, I see the 7th Beirut Film Festival has decided to go ahead almost as planned.

http://the-script.blogspot.com/2006/09/volver-and-paris-to-feature-in-beirut.html

06 September, 2006 10:55  
Anonymous Robert said...

Hizboullah the servants of Iran:


http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/hezbollah_sinks_australian_warship/P30/

The Site is:

"an Iran-based website run by the Hezbollah terrorist group"

07 September, 2006 14:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hezbollah is fighting a hirabah ( unholy war).Stop the irhabists(terrorists). They are mufsidoon (evil doers)

08 September, 2006 04:54  
Blogger Mohamad said...

Exeunt On-line Journal of Political and Social Commentary
from the Middle East to Launch in FALL 2006


Submission guidelines at http://thethinkingleb.blogspot.com or http://exeuntblog.blogspot.com

We are currently seeking volunteer writers and photographers to help launch our new publication and help build a free and democratic press in the Middle East

Exeunt is a fresh and unique political on-line Journal being launched by Lebanese and Canadians in November 2006. Headquartered in Beirut, Vancouver, London, New York, Italy and anywhere else contributors may lurk, Exeuntis a weekly on-line publication looking to form opinions, influence minds and to examine and debate the most pressing political and social issues from Middle East and throughout the World today. Can we offer something better? Can we approach one another, as people in the midst of it all, in an intelligent way in hopes of avoiding the repetition of a cruel history?Exeunt exclaims that the answer to this question is "yes, we can."

Exeunt's name is Latin for "Exit" ("Makhraj" in Arabic). In Shakespeare's plays the names of characters exiting a scene are always preceded by the word " Exeunt", representing the end of a scene, and the beginning of a new round of dialogue influencing and changing the unfolding of future events. This, in a nutshell captures the spirit of Exeunt. Our mission is to 'EXIT' and stray from the discourse of the status-quo in the Middle East. We want people engaging and informing one with their own unique perspectives and with new solutions in mind. No agendas except one: Just, smart, fair and fresh coverage with aims to objectively examine how foreign policy detracts from or enhances the human experience politically and socially.

Write for us!

In preparation for our launch, we are encouraging writing and photography submissions. You don't have to be an experienced/professional writer or a photographer, all you need are your ideas, unique perspectives and an engaging and intelligent way of presenting them to readers! Exeunt is essentially open to anyone. Also encourage friends, family or colleagues if you think they can make a healthy contribution. This is also a chance to get some exposure if you are an aspiring writer or looking to build your portfolio.

We encourage you, or to inspire people you know, to get involved and help Exeunt become a success and our publication to grow in hopes of continuing to build on an increasingly free and democratic press in the Middle East and abroad.


Thanks for reading,

Mohamad El Masri
Exeunt Editorial Board

10 September, 2006 01:52  
Anonymous Malik said...

That Religion of Peace is at it again .........


This is what vyou get when you take in Moslems as "refugees" that tell you all sorts of crap about being persecuted.
http://www.waronjihad.org/sweden230405.html
Sunday, September 10, 2006 11:37:10 AM


Muslims in Sweden threaten to Kill Swedish preacher for speaking truth about the mass murderer Mohammed

Celebrity Pentecostal preacher Runar Søgaard is under protection by Swedish police after receiving death threats. A high-profile sermon where Søgaard called the prophet Mohammed-ibn-Abdallah “a confused pedophile” has triggered fears of religious war.




Muslim organizations have called Søgaard's sermon, which is on sale on CD at the Stockholm Karisma Center's web site, a hateful attack on Islam and fear the type of violent conflict that scarred the Netherlands after filmmaker Theo van Gogh was killed by an Islamic extremist for a daring film exposing the demented and depraved nature of Islam

“Even if I see Runar Søgaard while he has major police protection I will shoot him to death,” a radical Islamist told Swedish newspaper Expressen. Persons connected to the Kurdish group Ansar al-Islam have received a fatwa, a decree from a Muslim religious leader, to kill Søgaard. Søgaard said he fears for his life and understands that he has angered the wrong people. He received police protection after questioning by Swedish police.


Søgaard, 37, enjoys celebrity status in Sweden after his marriage to recording star and Eurovision song contest winner Carola, even though they are now divorced.

“Even if I see Runar Søgaard while he has major police protection I will shoot him to death,” a radical Islamist told Swedish newspaper Expressen. Persons connected to the Kurdish group Ansar al-Islam have received a fatwa, a decree from a Muslim religious leader, to kill Søgaard.

Muslim organizations have called Søgaard's sermon, which is on sale on CD at the Stockholm Karisma Center's web site, a hateful attack on Islam and fear the type of violent conflict that scarred the Netherlands after filmmaker Theo van Gogh was killed by an Islamic extremist for a daring film exposing the demented and depraved nature of Islam.

Islam expert Jan Hjärpe at the University of Lund told Expressen that such an assassination is a real risk, and he wondered if conflict was the motive for the sermon.

"It was a statement from an odd man in an odd sect but the effect is stronger antagonism between different groups. It becomes a pure religious polemic and is extremely unpleasant," Hjärpe told the newspaper.

Hjärpe saw the incident as a type of beginning of a religious war in Sweden. "It (Sögaard's sermon) has power and influence. It seems to have been Runar's intention to provoke and promote antagonism," Hjärpe said.

Søgaard said he fears for his life and understands that he has angered the wrong people. He received police protection after questioning by Swedish police.

Imam Hassan Moussa, head of Sweden's imam council, demanded that Christian communities repudiate Søgaard's remarks, and promised that Sweden would avoid the ugly scenes experienced in Holland.

Can the Swedish government take all Muslim immigrants into protective custody, as we Americans had done with Japanese Americans during WW2. The language of force backed by the will to put them to death, is the only language the Muslims understand, Israel has learnt this can Sweden also display a similar will against this rogue community?

Story Credits: Jonathan Tisdall at Aftenposten English Web Desk

11 September, 2006 17:53  
Anonymous outsider said...

Malik,

Look at your source, for God's sake.

The language of force backed by the will to put them to death, is the only language the Muslims understand, Israel has learnt this...

I had to laugh at this.

...can Sweden also display a similar will against this rogue community?

It's possible this whole article and the "preacher"'s statements both fall under Europe's increasingly strong anti-racist legislation as an incitement to racist violence.

13 September, 2006 12:19  
Anonymous Delbarre said...

L' Axe Islamiste


Al-Qaida appelle le GSPC algérien à frapper la France
http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3224,36-812772@51-812773,0.html

Le Monde - Il y a 4 heures
Dans son message du 11 septembre dernier, le numéro deux d'Al-Qaida, l'Egyptien Ayman Al-Zawahiri a appelé le GSPC (Groupe salafiste pour la prédication et le combat) algérien à s'en prendre aux "croisés français" . ...

14 September, 2006 14:20  
Blogger Fearless said...

The price for NOT respecting one's commitments:

US freezes Lebanon aid over arms embargo breaches

Published: 09.14.06, 08:39

The US House of Representative froze a USD 10 million aid package for Lebanon, accusing Beirut of breaching an arms embargo imposed by United Nations Resolution 1701.

A senior American official told Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora that the funds will be funneled once international troops are positioned along the Syria-Lebanon border.

14 September, 2006 14:22  
Blogger Fearless said...

L’adjoint de Nasrallah, un certain Naïm Kassem a affirmé dans une interview parue aujourd’hui que le Hezbollah n’avait pas de problème de munition : « Nous avons utilisé 10 % de notre arsenal contre Israël … Nous pouvions encore tenir longtemps … Nous n’avons pas de problème de munitions »

Pourtant dans une étude d’Uzi Rubin pour le Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, ce sont 4 228 missiles qui ont été tirées sur le Nord d’Israël. Les renseignements militaires évaluaient à environ 12 000 le nombre de roquettes de provenance iranienne et syrienne aux mains du groupes terroriste shiite. Si les dire de Kassem sont exactes il faudrait quadrupler ces évaluations.
Il semble plutôt que ces affirmations du numéro 2 du Hezbollah doivent être prises dans le contexte géopolitique tel qu'il se dessine aujourd’hui.
Après des refus nets et clairs, Assad semble accepter la présence d’une force internationale à la frontière syro-libanaise. Il avait proposé d’envoyer quelques bataillions syriens pour empêcher le passage d’armes et de munitions au Hezbollah. Comme si celles-ci passaient en contrebande et alors qu’elles sont envoyées parles ordres d’Assad lui-même. De sa haute intelligence, Kofi Annan lui-même n’est pas tombé dans le piège et s’est mis d’accord pour envoyer quelques troufions désarmés et sans uniformes, histoire de dire que la FINUL n’a rien à faire de ce coté là du Liban !
En fin de semaine Israël a levé l’embargo par air et par mer sur le Liban. Les forces navales italiennes et françaises ont pris la relève des porteurs de missiles israéliens qui patrouillaient et fermaient les accès maritimes au Liban. Non sans clamer haut et fort que le but de la force internationale est d’aidé le Liban et en rien d’arraisonner un navire par la force !
La force militaire allemande qui devait contrôler l’aéroport de Beyrouth s’est faite prier, par les autorités libanaises, de se mettre à l’écart et surtout de ne pas vérifier les soutes des avions à leur atterrissage.
Ainsi la force internationale « augmentée » sous les ordres du général français qui commande aujourd’hui la FINUL et sous la responsabilité directe du Secrétaire Général de l’ONU, qui doit bientôt quitter son poste, le même Kofi Annan responsables des forces d’interventions des casques bleus au Rwanda lors du génocide et ceux d’ex-Yougoslavie lors des massacres, Prix Nobel de la Paix, cette force est tout sauf une force : des missions et des moyens totalement incohérents quant au cessez-le-feu et la décision 1701 de l’ONU.
Nasrallah et le Hezbollah le savent : ils peuvent affirmer aujourd’hui avoir leur arsenal presque intact. Personne n’ira vérifier, personne n’empêchera les armements d’affluer au Sud Liban sous l’œil des soldats français en passant sur des ponts français construits par les forces du génie français !

14 September, 2006 14:26  
Blogger Fearless said...

A BIT OF AN OBJECTIVE VIEW OF THINGS:


Even a cursory perusal of the Arab press, will reveal that Hizbullah's status in Lebanon has changed for the worse, as many Lebanese come to the rather shocking realization that the south of their country, unknown to them, had in fact been transformed into an Iranian and Syrian launching pad against Israel posing an existential threat to their own livelihoods and to their entire country. Hizbullah is now on the defensive, trying to protect its political assets against a more assertive Lebanese domestic majority, that seems more determined than ever to contain Hizbullah's "state within a state," so that they are not drawn again into a destructive war with Israel, without as much as a word of consultation.

Many in Lebanon, especially non-Shi'ites, but also some important Shi'ite spokespersons, are calling for an end to the armed phase of Hizbullah's development and its integration into the Lebanese political system, like all other political parties, lest further provocation of Israel will expose Lebanon to even greater devastation in the future. In other words, they are demanding the disarming of Hizbullah.

Muna Fayyad, a Shi'ite professor at the University of Lebanon, and the Mufti of Tyre, Sayyid Ali al-Amin, for example, both questioned the right of Hizbullah to bring disaster on the Shi'ites of Lebanon, by dragging them into an ill considered adventure they never wanted, in the interests of a foreign power like Iran, about whom they were never consulted.

NASRALLAH NOW has to contend with his newly constructed image as the destroyer of Lebanon rather than its protector, as he himself regularly claimed before the war, as a main justification for the very existence of his militia. His recent interview (explaining that he would not have ordered the abduction of the two Israeli soldiers had he expected such a ferocious Israeli response) is indicative of this new predicament.

Arab commentators are considerably less impressed with Nasrallah's strategic genius than some of their Israeli counterparts seem to be in their moments of self-critical excess. They question the wisdom of his decision-making, as they wryly ridicule his claims of victory. A poll conducted in Lebanon in late August revealed that two thirds of the non-Shi'ite public believed that Hizbullah had actually been defeated in the war.

Hazim Saghiya, writing in Al-Hayat, questioned whether victory could be celebrated on the ruins of Lebanon by a leader who had to remain in hiding. Another commentator in Al-Hayat, Hasan Haydar, compared Nasrallah's interview of apology to Egyptian president Gamal Nasser's admission of defeat in 1967. The Arabs, he noted, were still paying for the defeat in 1967, and he wondered for how long the Lebanese and the Arabs would be paying for Nasrallah's "ill-considered 'victory.'"

Abd al-Mun'im Sa'id, the Director of the Al-Ahram's Center for Political and Strategic Studies, urged the Arabs to follow Israel's example and set up a commission of inquiry to establish how Nasrallah could have dragged Lebanon into war without the country and the home front having being at all prepared. He dismissed Nasrallah's contention that preparation of the home front was the responsibility of the state, arguing that the state could hardly prepare for a war about which it had no advance knowledge. As opposed to Israeli journalists, who tended to glorify Nasrallah's credibility, Abd al-Mun'im questioned why Hizbullah had failed to fire its long-range rockets after Israel had repeatedly bombed Beirut, even though Nasrallah had vowed to do so. And what about the relative ineffectiveness of the short range rockets? The damage they caused was limited, and a significant proportion of the Israeli casualties were actually Arabs.

ALL OF the above have emboldened the Lebanese government to deploy its army in the South, which it had not done for over 30 years, and to accept the stationing of a more robust international force there as well. Neither of these had hitherto been acceptable to Hizbullah. These forces will not disarm Hizbullah, which will no doubt make every effort to rearm and replenish its depleted stocks. All the same, they do serve the purpose of reasserting the sovereignty of the Lebanese state in all of its territory. This in turn adds to all the other factors seeking to reduce Hizbullah's freedom of action to operate militarily against Israel from the South.

None of this would have happened had it not been for the severe damage Israel inflicted upon Hizbullah's civilian, political and military infrastructure. The civilian backbone of Hizbullah, the Shi'ite community of Lebanon, has incurred heavy loss of life and enormous property damage, which will take years to repair. The period of reconstruction might not be free of criticism for the leadership that led the community to this disaster.

And once rehabilitated would the Shi'ites of Beirut and the South be ready to endanger everything and go through their recent ordeal all over again, for what Hizbullah might feel required to do in the service of Iran and Syria? Moreover, a new Shi'ite middle class has emerged during the last generation and they are eager to integrate into the mainstream if Lebanese politics, something they might not be able to achieve as long as Hizbullah is perceived to be serving the interests of foreign powers.

IN DIRECT military terms Hizbullah's losses were heavy and will not be easily replenished either. Key installations and command and control centers were totally destroyed in the Dahiya area of Southern Beirut and in the South of the country. Fortified positions, bunkers and stores in close proximity to the border with Israel have been demolished, and it is highly unlikely that Israel will allow their reconstruction under any circumstances.

The organization lost between a quarter to a third of its fighting men. Bravado aside, in numerous encounters Hizbullah fighters fled the field of battle, leaving their equipment behind, to avoid direct confrontation with Israeli ground forces.

Much of Hizbullah's long and medium range rocketry has been destroyed. They still have large stocks of the short-range rockets, which were the great majority of the over 4,000 rockets fired during the war into Northern Israel. But their effectiveness is limited. It is true that the North of the country was almost brought to a standstill and the trauma of hundreds of thousands of Israelis in shelters or living as internal refuges in other parts of the country will not be forgotten. But in terms of loss of life the thousands of rockets were less effective than a pair of suicide bombers.

The Iranian strategic outpost that had been built up for future use against Israel has been defanged, at least for the meantime. It must have cost hundreds of millions to construct and has been lost prematurely, spent not very effectively and not at a time of Iran's choosing. Moreover if intended to deter Israel from taking action, it achieved quite the opposite result.

Hizbullah, at this stage, is observing the cease-fire. They do not want a second round now. Nasrallah needs a breather, and has no choice but to accept the hitherto unacceptable in the form of the restoration of Lebanese state sovereignty to the South. The euphoria in the Arab media has also subsided. The "rabbits and mice" have left the shelters and it is the Lebanese and Hizbullah who must now survey the damage wrought unto them. Nasrallah's references to Israel as a society as flimsy as "cobwebs" seem somewhat less appropriate from the ruins of South Beirut.

AN EGYPTIAN commentator, Ali al-Ibrahim, noted recently that the Arabs had learned to differentiate between victories on television and real victories in the field. How long will it take the Israelis to do likewise?

Israel's achievements in the war should not be underestimated.
Whether these achievements of the war prove lasting or not is another question.

Can the Lebanese led by Fuad Seniora's government build on the new political realities that the war has created? Will they be able to withstand the pressure that is bound to come from the Iran-Syria-Hizbullah axis that will seek to undo the consequences of the war and reestablish the status quo ante? Only time will tell, but these are questions that would not even have been asked had it not been for the war against Hizbullah.

15 September, 2006 16:14  
Anonymous Hamid said...

'Hezbollah youth scouts' train in terrorism
Thousands of children, teens prepare for apocalyptic battle against 'evil'

News from Mini Iran in South Lebanon: "The Mahdi Scouts"



Hezbollah leads a youth movement that instructs tens of thousands of children and teenagers in military tactics and indoctrinates them with radical Shia Islam beliefs – including the waging of a final, apocalyptic world battle against "evil," according to materials found by Israel during last month's war in Lebanon.

"Hezbollah established its Imam Mahdi Scouts to attract Shiite children and adolescents, to influence their hearts and minds and to prepare new generations of youth indoctrinated with radical Shiite Islam, which propounds the idea of the return of the Mahdi (messiah) as one of Hezbollah's central principles," "Hezbollah wants to create a new generation of operatives for its own ranks who will take part in its violent campaign against Israel," the report states.

The Center for Special Studies, a think tank here specializing in terrorism information, analyzed scores of documents and material captured last month by the Israeli Defense Forces during military confrontation's with Hezbollah. The documents relating to Hezbollah's Mahdi Scouts evidence the recruitment of youth to fight eventually alongside Hezbollah, the center stated.

Hezbollah's Mahdi Scouts was established by the terror group in 1982 and operates under the jurisdiction of the Lebanese Ministry of Education. According to the Center for Special Studies, the Scouts have about 42,000 Lebanese males and females between the ages of 8-16 organized into 499 groups.


Hezbollah's Mahdi Scouts in Beirut parade commemorating "Jerusalem Day" (Center for Special Studies)

The scouts' namesake comes from a decedent of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Shia Muslims believe Muhammad's immediate decedents – a series of 12 imams, or Muslim leaders – are the most trusted carriers of Islamic tradition.

Most Shia Muslims believe the 12th Imam, Mahdi, is still alive but cannot be seen until Allah determines it is time to prepare the faithful for Judgment Day. They believe Mahdi will eventually reveal himself and lead the forces of righteousness against the forces of evil in a final, apocalyptic world battle.

Hezbollah's Mahdi Scouts reportedly undergo military training at summer camps in Shiite communities in Beirut, the Beqaa Valley and south Lebanon.

The Center for Special Studies stated major activities at Mahdi Scouts summer camps, including sports and social programs, aim to inculcate Hezbollah and Islamic revolutionary principles into scout members.


Mahdi Scout with headband reading "Oh Jerusalem , I am coming" (Center for Special Studies)

The center's report said there are camps in which youth learn the basic use of arms along with physical training and march exercises while dressed in scout uniforms or camouflage suits. The center reviewed dozens of captured pictures of Mahdi Scouts in military uniforms holding plastic assault rifles.

An investigative report published in August by the Egyptian daily Ruz al-Yusuf claimed the scout movement trains “armed militias” in south Lebanon made up of children aged 10-15.

Lesson one: Destroy Israel

The first lesson Hezbollah teaches scouts, stated the Egyptian article, is the destruction of Israel.

“(This lesson) is always an important part of the curriculum and is always aimed at children and adolescents who are new to the program. (The objective is to train a) high-caliber Islamic generation of children who would be willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of Allah in the campaign against Israel."

The Center for Special Studies noted evidence of Iranian involvement in the scouting program. The center's report states Iranian Revolutionary Guard units played a central role in establishing the Mahdi Scouts and its regular programs and summer camps

The report says a large volume of materials collected in Lebanon by the IDF "illustrates how members of Hezbollah's youth movement had been indoctrinated with the principles of the Iranian Islamic revolution and the personality cult of (Supreme Iranian leader) Ali Khamenei."

Among the scouting literature discovered were books and magazines glorifying Khamenei as a hero worthy of emulation.

The center also found a Mahdi Scouts calendar in which dates considered important to Hezbollah were highlighted. Dates marked for celebration in September, for example, include Imam Mahdi's birthday and the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States.


The emblem of Mahdi Scouts includes international scout symbol fleur-de-lis (Center for Special Studies)

According to the center report, when male Mahdi scouts turn 17 they make their way into Hezbollah's fighting ranks.

Several previous scouts reportedly died during confrontations with Israel in July and August. Hezbollah member Hassan Qassem Hamid, head of the scout branch in the south Lebanese Hezbollah stronghold of Bint Jbail, was killed after he attempted to attack Israeli troops.

The Mahdi Scouts calendar boasts more than 120 of the movement's members died during Hezbollah actions, including suicide bombings against Israeli targets.

Many Western analysts fear the Shia belief in Mahdi's return is a driving force behind Iran's suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons. Iran is the primary sponsor of Hezbollah.

Some contend Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be pursuing nuclear weapons in part to precipitate the final, Mahdi-led battle.

In a speech in Tehran in November, Ahmadinejad reportedly said his main mission is to "pave the path for the glorious reappearance of Imam Mahdi, may Allah hasten his reappearance."

Ahmadinejad's cabinet reportedly has given $17 million to the Jamkaran mosque, site of a well at which Shia Muslims believe Mahdi disappeared over 1,000 years ago.

15 September, 2006 16:28  
Anonymous George said...

Non mais FRANCHEMENT

NOUVELOBS.COM | 15.09.06 | 09:27
http://permanent.nouvelobs.com/etranger/20060915.OBS1988.html?idfx=RSS_notr

Je demande de mon côté des excuses à l'Islam pour tous leurs actes et propos TOUS !

15 September, 2006 16:43  
Blogger matan said...

you know, I really feal sorry for you. you wrote: "Whatever Hezbollah did... and whether it did it for Iran or Syria, is irrelevant".

Is that so? well maybe in your head the context doesn't matter. In real life you can't just overlook things that don't suit you. unless you're 6 years old, that is.

17 September, 2006 16:01  
Anonymous George said...

To prove that Islam is not a violent religion, moslems start riots, burn churches, murder nuns.

Of course.


Let it be clearly understood. There was nothing in the pope’s speech that was offensive to any honest and reasonable person of any faith or background. The ensuing uproar is an example of competing ideologies using a papal utterance to further ongoing agendas.

Muslim extremists are having their usual fun with ancient hatreds paraded in the streets like a surreal pep rally. Secular antagonists are enjoying chastising and instructing that dumb pope in the ways of modern semantic diplomacy.

18 September, 2006 21:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Munsif anHyderabad based d Siasat Urdu Daily Editors grab Waqf Lands : Akbaruddin Owaisi
MiM Floor leader in assembly Akbaruddin Owaisi with MiM party MLAs
HYDERABAD BASED MUNSIF AND SIASAT URDU DAILY EDITORS GRAB WAQF LANDS
Urdu Media War and the Wakf properties tussle in Hyd ; MiM Leader Akbaruddin Owaisi
(Friday, Dec 09, 2005 - 09:00 pm) TeamMedia war among Urdu dailies was taken to Assembly in Hyderabad, when MIM floor leader Akbaruddin Owaisi accused Siasat and Munsif Urdu daily owners of grabbing Wakf properties and demanded stern action against them.Mr Owaisi armed with statistics and details of all Waqf Lands which are being encroached upon said govt is going soft on these editors as they are trying to threaten the govt through there newspapers .In the same breath, He also alleged that no action was taken against grabbers of Wakf properties in city and outside including Viceroy Hotel, Shaam and Sensation theatres, local reports inform. Turning his ire on owners of rival Urdu dailies, Siasat and Musif, he said, "Mr Zahid Ali Khan has illegally encroached Wakf property. He is a white collar land grabber. Why is the government keeping quite? You should put them behind bars." Shifting his heat on another Urdu daily Munsif owner, he remarked, "Mr Khan Lateef Khan...the double Khan.. too has encroached Wakf properties housing Santosh and Sapna theatres, yet no action has been taken. The government should take stringent action against encroachers of Wakf properties," he alleged. Reacting to Mr Owaisi's demand, minister for minorities welfare Mohd Fareeduddin assured that the government would enquire into the matter and would not "spare anyone however big he might be." Referring to allotment of land to one Tajuddin, he said the land was given on a lease for three years for agricultural purposes and the renewal would depend on the government He also accused them of trying to cover there illegal grabbing of land by bribing some high officals in the govt .

Posted by: khaled ahmed at September 15, 2006 12:29 PM

19 September, 2006 03:24  
Anonymous Hamid said...

In a statement published on the reformist website www.metransparent.com ,
former Syrian MP Riad Seif, who had been arrested during "Damascus Spring"
and today is an activist in the Syrian opposition, revealed that since his
release from prison in January 2006 he has been constantly harassed and
threatened by the Syrian regime's security services.(1) Seif says in his
statement that the Syrian security services ordered him to desist from
political activity and told him not to give interviews to the media, and
threatened that if he did not obey these orders, the Syrian regime would be
forced to arrest or kill him.(2)

The following are excerpts from the statement:(3)


The Regime Warned Seif That If He Continued to Oppose the Regime, "He Would
Live Out the Rest of His Life in Abject Humiliation"

"At the beginning of September 2001, the Syrian regime decided to put an end
to the activities of the 'Damascus Spring' movement and arrested MP Riad
Seif, together with nine of his fellow oppositionists, and sentenced them to
prison. Riad Seif was sentenced to five years' imprisonment on the charge of
having tried to change the constitution through illegitimate means.

"Following Seif's release from prison, on January 18, 2006 he met with
well-wishers, and exchanged ideas with them concerning his political
program, which sees the current regime as being incapable of reform and
considers it necessary to change the regime through a transition to a
democratic regime by means of a peaceful popular struggle.

"On February 14, 2006, the [Syrian] regime launched a concerted campaign
which continues up to this day, and in which more than one branch of the
security services has taken part. Seif was called in by the chief of the
General Directorate of [Syrian] Intelligence, who warned him of the
consequences of criticizing the [Syrian] president. [Another time,] he also
warned him not to meet with a delegation from the U.N. Human Rights
Commission, which was in Damascus at the time.

"The next night Seif was led, handcuffed and blindfolded, to one of the
military security offices, where he was subjected to humiliation and
beatings, in an attempt to wrest from him a pledge to refrain from giving
interviews to the press and from meeting with diplomats and [other] foreign
nationals. When he persisted in his refusal, they presented him with two
options: Either he would desist from all political activity and return to
work in trade and industry, in which case he would receive the full support
of the authorities, or else he would continue in his opposition to the
regime, in which case he would live out the rest of his life in abject
humiliation."


The Regime Threatened to Kill Seif

"On Saturday, February 18 [2006,] Seif was summoned by the head of the
Department of Domestic Security, who informed him that the high authorities
[in Syria] were angry at his having given an interview to the press, which
was published in the supplement of the [Lebanese] Al-Nahar newspaper on
February 5, 2006 and in which Seif, [according to the authorities,]
overstepped the boundaries on 13 points, which was enough to send him back
to prison unless he published a retraction in the same newspaper. After a
three-day dispute with the assistant head of the Department [of Domestic
Security], Seif was forced to publish a new interview in which he tempered
his criticism of the [Syrian] regime.

"The head of the Department [of Domestic Security]'s demands did not end
there. He informed [Seif] that he was to refrain from making any statement
to the press or meeting with them until the publication of the political
parties law in another two months.(4) [He added] that any behavior
contradictory to this [condition] would lead the regime to defend itself
through the implementation of the emergency laws, whether through
imprisonment or putting [Seif] to death, regardless of any international and
global protests that might accompany such measures. Seif had to accede to
this request against his will, so as not to return to prison."


"The Incidents of Harassment Followed One After Another"

"On March 12, [2006,] while participating in a sit-in organized by Kurdish
parties and organizations in Syria in commemoration of the anniversary of
the events of Qamishli in 2004, Seif was forcibly removed from among the
strikers and was imprisoned for the day. The head of Domestic Security
himself told him that, from then on, he had turned from an opponent of the
regime into an enemy of the regime.(5)

"The incidents of harassment followed one after another, and in various
forms, in order to frighten him and to isolate him from society. His office
manager and secretary were interrogated, and security patrols parked outside
his office, his house, and his children's houses. Throughout April, a
security patrol tailed him wherever he went, as though they were his shadow,
24 hours a day. In addition, dozens of his visitors, relations, and friends
were interrogated, and some of them said that a group [of security
personnel] consisting of three people, among them a lawyer and a woman, had
been entrusted with the task of finding someone who would agree to lodge a
complaint against Seif in order to damage his commercial reputation or his
moral reputation.

"Starting from July 13, 2006, the head of Domestic Security ordered Seif to
appear on a daily basis at the [Domestic Security] building, and he is still
required to do so to this day. On July 15, 2006, immediately after he left
the [Domestic Security] office, he was severely beaten by two people of
unknown identity, whom he later recognized in the [Domestic Security]
building when they appeared before him, again and again, in a provocative
manner, during his mandatory daily visit.

"Damascus, September 4, 2006."

Endnotes:
(1) "Damascus Spring" is the name given to the political awakening that
swept Syria with Bashar Al-Assad's assumption of power in June 2000. Over
the course of approximately one year, numerous associations for promoting
democracy and civil society were established throughout Syria, among them
the Jamal Al-Atassi Association, which in January 2001 proclaimed itself a
non-governmental association for democratic dialogue. Already in September
2000, a published statement signed by 99 Syrian intellectuals had called for
an end to Syria's emergency laws, the release of political prisoners, and
the promotion of political and civil reform. In July 2001, the Human Rights
Association in Syria was founded, and attorney Haythem Maleh was elected as
its head. Hopes for reform began to wither when, in August 2001, the Syrian
authorities conducted a wave of arrests of reformists, who were then
sentenced to prison terms of several years.
(2) Riad Seif was a prominent figure in "Damascus Spring". He used to host,
in his home, meetings of the National Dialogue Association, of which he was
head. In 2001, he was arrested together with other "Damascus Spring"
activists. He was accused of trying to change the constitution through
illegitimate means, and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was
released in January 2006, after having served slightly more than four years
in prison.
(3)
http://www.metransparent.com/texts/riad_seif_beaten_by_security_agents.htm ,
September 5, 2006.
(4) Over the course of January and February 2006, numerous reports appeared
in the media concerning various proposed bills leading up to the publication
of Syria's "political parties law." According to the reports, the law was
supposed to be published in April, but to date no such law has been enacted.
(5) In March 2004, severe disturbances broke out between Kurds and the
Syrian security forces in the city of Qamishli in northern Syria, following
arguments and verbal insults between fans of rival soccer teams, one of
which was Kurdish. When the two groups of fans began fighting, security
forces arrived and intervened in an attempt to quell the rioting. In what
followed, dozens of Kurds were killed in firing by the security forces, and
as a result, in the next few days the rioting spread to additional Kurdish
areas of northern Syria, which led to dozens of additional killings.

19 September, 2006 13:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SPITTING IN THE FACE OF THE LEBANESE GOVERNMENT AND UNIFIL II

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah emerged from hiding during Friday's rally to declare a "divine, historic and strategic victory" over Israel. His speech focused on firing up opposition to the government and resisting disarmament.

The irony of it all is the very location Nasrallah selected to host his "victory" rally. In Dahyie, the bombed out suburbs of Beirut that suffered seemingly never-ending air strikes from the ruthless Israeli Defense Force.

To claim "victory" over the graves of those murdered in Dahiye, where Hizbullah was helpless in defending against the daily F-16 bombardments, is an insult to the deceased and an insult to the intelligence of the Lebanese people.

In an attempt to rally support for the controversial attack instigated by Hezbollah, Nasrallah did a disservice to his country and dishonor to the 1,200+ killed in his war by celebrating "victory" on the very land where so many lives were needlessly taken less than 6 weeks ago. Hizbullah are viewed by many to be exploiting the deceased in the bombed out area by turning it into a tour ground.

"National Unity"

The very same man who needed Lebanon's government to negotiate an end to the conflict has come out of hiding to beat his chest and discredit the government. In a speech riddled with contradictions, Nasrallah made every attempt to present Lebanon's Prime Minister and his allies in a weak light.

"The current government cannot protect, unite and reconstruct Lebanon," Nasrallah said, adding "a strong state is built with the formation of a government of national unity."

Ironically, it is the government who should be credited for rallying world support for Lebanon. Siniora gathered $940 million at the donors conference. Siniora offered $40,000 in support to each household impacted by the war. Hizbullah initially vowed to rebuild the destroyed areas, then ran into financial issues and had to call on its big brother Iran for financial support.

Nasrallah even admitted there is a real political crisis in Lebanon and urged all Lebanese not to transform such a problem into a sectarian crisis.

However the Hizbullah chief went on to make a comment that goes against any pretense of "national unity" by posing an open threat: "I will not tolerate any insults to my people."

Nasrallah continued to boast that his group will not give up its arms in a weak Lebanese state incapable of defending itself from the threat of Israel.

Nasrallah claimed, "the resistance is the one that shielded Lebanon from civil war." Ironic as the rally itself largely divides the Lebanese people, and practically calls for the overthrow of the government.

"No army in the world can dismantle Hizbullah"

As his speech unfolded, Nasrallah's "victory" rally became more of a self-gratitude rally, patting himself and his militia on the back for all the positive they have brought upon Lebanon. Nasrallah made his first public appearance since the war started on July 12, despite risks to himself and more importantly the crowd's safety.

Nasrallah said "Hizbullah is now stronger than it was before July 12." He continued to claim that, "[Hizbullah] has more than 20,000 rockets" and that "no army in the world can dismantle Hizbullah and their arsenal."

A more appropriate locale for the "victory" rally would have been Bint Jbeil in Southern Lebanon, where Hizbullah stood it's ground against the Israeli army, where the United Nations security force stand today, along with the Lebanese Army, to protect Lebanon's southern border. That would have also placed Nasrallah and his supporters much closer to the threat of a possible Israeli assassination.

Source: Ya Libnan

22 September, 2006 23:03  
Anonymous Robert said...

All the Moslems can do is threaten those who disagree with their fallacies with death!!!

Syrian Director Defies Death Threats


By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: September 26, 2006
Filed at 12:54 p.m. ET

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- A Syrian director who received death threats after a Ramadan television series on suicide bombers is back for this year's holiday: This time, he condemns terrorism by Islamic extremists as a global threat that hurts Muslims.

Najdat Anzour, Syria's most renowned director, said he also wants the new series to drive home the message that Islam is a religion of tolerance and dialogue -- not of violence.

''We should realize the size of the danger that engulfs the Arab nation,'' he told The Associated Press at his studio in Damascus.

Anzour's series last year, ''Al-Hour Al-Ayn,'' aired throughout the Middle East during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It told the story of five Arab families living in Saudi Arabia and the militants scheming to blow them up so they could collect rewards in heaven.

The series, whose title referred to the 72 virgins that Islamic militants say will greet ''martyrs'' in heaven, attracted tens of millions of viewers when it was aired by Middle East Broadcasting Corp. of Dubai. It was broadcast in prime time -- as Muslim families gathered to break their daily Ramadan fast after sundown.

But Anzour was lambasted on the Internet as an infidel who should be killed for allegedly tarnishing the image of Islam.

Anzour shrugged off the death threats as ''aggressive criticism.'' He said he did this new series because he felt he did not handle terrorism thoroughly enough in the earlier production.

This year's series, ''Al-Mareqoun'' (''The Renegades''), began airing Saturday, the first day of Ramadan, on Lebanese Broadcasting Corp., a leading Arab television station.

It consists of 10 three-part episodes dealing with terrorist attacks in such locations as Syria, Egypt, Morocco, England and Iraq.

The first episode, ''The Flock of Illusions,'' tells the story of a woman whose husband dies carrying out a terrorist attack. A Muslim sheik comes to her door one day, asking the woman to hand over her 5-year-old daughter for another suicide operation.

''This girl will go to paradise, just like your husband,'' the sheik says. The woman slams the door in his face, screaming: ''It's not enough that you took away my husband! You want my daughter too?''

In another episode, ''They Kill Jasmine,'' a Muslim woman urges Muslims to unite against terrorism after her son dies in the July 2005 London subway bombings.

''I wanted to tackle the impact of terrorism on the Arab and world level and deal with it from different points of view to make it complementary to the first serial,'' Anzour said.

He blames the rise in terrorism on the United States, making a criticism common throughout the region that the Americans have fueled extremism by invading Iraq and supporting Israel. ''Terrorism is an American industry, 100 percent,'' he said.

Anzour said he believes the new series, which cost around $1.5 million to make, can draw an even bigger audience than last year's. He also hopes to translate it into other languages, including English, French and Spanish, to reach beyond the Arab world.

''I don't mind giving it for free to foreign and even Asian countries -- to show them how open we are and how we think,'' he said.

He is optimistic the new series won't draw the same hostility from Islamic extremists as the last.

''The series opens discussion over these problems -- and this would be eventually in the interest of our people,'' he said.

------

Associated Press writer Zeina Karam in Beirut, Lebanon, contributed to this report.

27 September, 2006 16:03  
Anonymous Hamid said...

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=a2e1j2ciKfj4&refer=home----#

Hezbollah, With $100 Bills, Struggles to Repair Lebanon Damage

By Kambiz Foroohar

Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- On an August morning, men in T- shirts and baseball caps guard metal barricades that block the street leading to the al-Mehdi al-Shahid high school in southern Beirut, Lebanon, black sports bags hanging menacingly off their shoulders.

Inside, other guards in jeans watch as 500 people wait for aid beneath yellow flags that bear a fist clenching a Kalashnikov assault rifle, the symbol of Hezbollah, the Shiite Muslim group that fought Israel to a draw earlier in the month.

Upstairs, past posters of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, silver-haired Ali Ahmad Sharara tells a Hezbollah worker that he lost his home in Israeli bombings and now lives with his children. ``It's so badly damaged that it will fall down or be pulled down,'' says Sharara, a former shoe factory owner.

Without hesitating, the worker reaches into a black plastic shopping bag and takes out $12,000 in a bundle of new $100 bills. Sharara, 62, pockets more than twice the average annual Lebanese salary. All told, Hezbollah may pay out as much as $180 million in cash for rent and furnishings for people made homeless after the group's July 12 kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers incited 33 days of Israeli bombing, says Riad Salameh, governor of Lebanon's central bank.

For Sharara, the payout comes after he registered with Hezbollah as a war victim just 48 hours earlier.

``If Hezbollah hadn't taken care of those who'd lost their homes, it would lose support,'' Lebanese Finance Minister Jihad Azour says. ``Politically they had to do it.''

Biggest Test

Money paves the way for Hezbollah's influence in Lebanon. Now, in what may be the biggest test of its clout, the group is striving to win the peace, aided by what the U.S. Treasury Department estimates is a $200 million budget from Iran.

Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has promised to rebuild decimated apartment blocks and restore neighborhoods from the hard-hit suburbs south of Beirut to bombed-out villages and towns in the south, all within three years, starting with the $12,000 handouts.

``You won't need to ask a favor of anyone, queue up anywhere,'' Nasrallah, 46, assured the victims, who are largely his own Shiite supporters, in a television address immediately after the Aug. 14 cease-fire.

With Iran's help, Hezbollah, Lebanon's only political party with an armed militia, builds schools, hospitals and orphanages. It has delivered fresh water and provided trash collection to areas that the government has neglected and raised the social standing of Lebanon's 1.2 million Shiite Muslims, the poorest group among the country's approximately 4 million people.

Social Role

Hezbollah's charities support the families of men killed or injured fighting Israel, which is the party's sworn enemy and one it vowed to destroy in its manifesto in 1985.

During the war, Hezbollah fired almost 4,000 rockets into Israel and struck an Israeli ship with a C802 Noor guided missile obtained from Iran. Hezbollah's Zelzal rocket, also from Iran, has a range of 120 miles (193 kilometers), enough to reach Tel Aviv, says Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser, a senior Israeli intelligence officer.

Finance Minister Azour says he, for one, is skeptical that Hezbollah's fistfuls of dollars will be enough to make a dent in Lebanon's devastation.

``Compared to the level of reconstruction, it's peanuts,'' he says of Hezbollah's monetary relief effort.

In Dahiya, a few miles from downtown Beirut and home to Sharara and 300,000 of Hezbollah's staunchest backers, the seven-story, tan brick school that serves as a makeshift administration headquarters is one of the few buildings standing. Nearby streets are impassable.

`Never Would Have Done It'

Across the country, more than 130,000 homes are in ruins. The Israeli bombing knocked out most of Lebanon's bridges, half of its highways, its airport, one power station, 14 power generation units, two hospitals and numerous factories.

Damage to Lebanon's economy, estimated at $3.6 billion to repair the infrastructure alone, may rise to $9 billion-$11 billion once the loss of earnings from tourism, exports and sales are added, says Marwan Barakat, head of research at Beirut's Banque Audi, Lebanon's second-biggest lender.

Nasrallah, who wears flowing robes and a black turban, a sign that he's a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, said he didn't expect Israel's massive retaliation.

``Had I known that capturing the soldiers would lead to this result, I never would have done it,'' he said during a two- hour televised address on Aug. 27.

Iran's Nuclear Plans

As the $12,000 cash bundles change hands and the awareness of the devastation sets in, Lebanese are assessing the cost of the war and Hezbollah's links to Iran, says Boutros Harb, a former minister of education and a Christian member of Parliament.

Harb says the Hezbollah kidnappings may have been timed to divert attention from Iran's nuclear plans as the Group of Eight, the seven largest industrialized nations and Russia, met in Moscow in July.

Iran ignored a United Nations Security Council deadline to stop its uranium enrichment program by the end of August. The U.S., which charges that Iran is hiding secret work to make nuclear arms, is pushing for UN sanctions.

``Nasrallah has been exposed as someone who follows the direction of Iran,'' Harb says. ``The handouts are a bribe to keep people from asking questions.''

In the mainly Christian district of Achrafieh, which escaped the bombings, cafes brim with young Christian and Sunni Lebanese enjoying Beirut's night life. The war and its aftereffects are favorite topics.

Critics Gather

``Hezbollah stood up to the Israelis, but look at the costs,'' says lawyer Nader Husseini, who is a Sunni. ``It will take years for us just get back to where we were.''

Even some Shiites are criticizing Hezbollah. ``The war was forced upon the country and people, who did not want it,'' Ali al-Amin, the mufti, or religious leader, of Tyre, Lebanon's second-biggest city, said in an Aug. 22 interview with Beirut's Al Nahar newspaper. ``The Shiite community in Lebanon authorized no one to declare war in its name.''

In the U.S., the Treasury Department is using the war as a platform to persuade European banks to cut support for what it says are terrorist groups. The U.S. labeled Hezbollah a foreign terrorist organization in 1997, putting it in the same category as al-Qaeda and Peru's Shining Path. The UN and the European Union haven't done so.

During a weeklong tour in September, Stuart Levey, U.S. Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, traveled to London and then on to other European capitals to meet bank officials whom he declined to identify.

Isolating Iran

``It's our assessment that Iran is providing $200 million a year in monetary assistance to Hezbollah,'' Levey says. By comparison, the U.S. gives $3 billion in annual aid to Israel.

The U.S. wants international banks to help isolate financial institutions involved in terror funding, Levey says. ``We are seeing banks and other institutions reassessing their ties to Iran,'' he says.

On Sept. 16, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told the G-7 finance ministers and central bankers, who were meeting in Singapore, that he was surprised to learn the extent to which Iranian front companies had infiltrated the international banking system. Both the Treasury and State departments point to Iran as the backer of Hezbollah's attacks, saying it provides monetary and logistical support.

``Iran has been the country that has been in many ways a kind of central banker for terrorism in important regions like Lebanon through Hezbollah in the Middle East,'' U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in March.

Unregistered Flights

Even before the fighting in Lebanon ended, Iran committed to fund Hezbollah's relief effort, says Nehme Tohme, Lebanon's minister for the displaced. Tohme says Hezbollah officials told him that Iran would provide Hezbollah with an ``unlimited budget'' for reconstruction once the shooting stopped.

In all likelihood, the crisp $100 bills that Sharara and other bombing victims pocketed were flown from Tehran to Damascus, on an unregistered flight, says Magnus Ranstorp, author of ``Hizb'Allah in Lebanon: The Politics of the Western Hostage Crisis'' (Palgrave Macmillan, 275 pages, $39.95).

``From there the money would be put on a number of small trucks and sent across the border,'' says Ranstorp, chief scientist at the Stockholm-based Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College, which trains Sweden's armed forces.

`Classified Budget Item'

Mohsen Sazegara, a founder of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, a military organization created in 1979 to defend Iran's Islamic Revolution, says Hezbollah's funds may originate with a branch of the guards called the Qods Force. The design on Hezbollah's flag of a clenched fist holding a Kalashnikov is almost identical to the symbol of the Revolutionary Guards.

``The budget for the Qods Force is a classified budget item,'' Sazegara says. ``This is not reflected in the Iranian general budget.'' Sazegara, who is now a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a former Iranian deputy prime minister who left the government in 1989 and was jailed for 114 days in 2003 for his dissident views.

The central bank's Salameh says the $100 bills weren't from Lebanon, which faced a shortage of dollar notes during the war.

``The money did not come from Lebanon's banking system,'' he says, as he smokes a Cuban cigar in his office two miles north of the devastated southern suburbs of Beirut.

Signs of Iran's involvement in the rebuilding and in previous aid efforts are everywhere in the southern suburbs. Iran distributed more than 40 power generators to temporarily restore electricity. The $1 million program will supply enough fuel to meet power needs of each southern village for at least three months, according to the Iranian Red Crescent, a humanitarian relief organization.

Nasrallah Posters

Dozens of blue contribution boxes in the shape of cupped hands collect for the Iranian charity locally known as Emdad, or the Imam Khomeini's Relief Committee. It's named for Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of Iran's Islamic Revolution.

Ali Zreik heads Lebanon's branch of Emdad. He's also the mayor of Khiam, a town of 40,000 people a mile from the Israeli border.

Getting to Khiam requires navigating knocked-out bridges and blasted highways. Pictures of Nasrallah, with his bushy beard and square-framed glasses, stare out from posters. Some billboards depict Katyusha rocket launchers with the slogan ``Divine Victory.'' Hanging from lampposts are banners, bleached by the sun, of men killed in the fight against Israel.

On a hilltop north of Khiam across the Litani River, a Hezbollah sign measuring 30 feet (9.1 meters) wide welcomes visitors to ``Liberated Lebanon,'' a reference to the departure of the Israel Defense Forces in 2000.

Israeli Invasion

In 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon to drive out Palestinian guerrillas who were firing rockets and bombarding Israeli towns. After Israel seized Beirut, it evicted the armed Palestinian groups to Tunisia. A multinational peacekeeping force of U.S., French and Italian troops arrived.

The Israeli army continued to occupy southern Lebanon, terming it a security buffer, in spite of Security Council resolutions that called on Israel to leave. Hezbollah countered with a series of attacks, including suicide bombings against Israeli positions. In 2000, after 18 years of occupation, Israel withdrew.

In the recent fighting, more than 80 percent of Khiam has been completely or partially destroyed, Zreik says. ``If the government will not help with reconstruction, Hezbollah will,'' he says.

As Zreik, 54, sits in his office, volunteers and engineers wander in with damage reports. He speaks fluent Farsi that he learned in Iran after the Islamic Revolution.

Volunteering in Iran

Before joining Emdad, Zreik was a volunteer at Bonyad-e Shahid, or the Martyr's Foundation, which funds families of fighters who died battling the Israeli army. He says he talks with the leader of Emdad in Tehran two or three times a week. Emdad's Iranian Web site says the charity's Lebanese branch had a budget of $12.6 million for the year ended in March 2005.

``At Emdad, we provide welfare payments for 5,000 families and 4,200 orphans,'' says Zreik, who says his budget is $7 million. ``We make the money go three times as far; that's what I learned from Iran.''

Mehdi Khalaji, an Iranian visiting scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, says Iranian funds have helped construct more than 90 schools through a charity called Jihad al-Binna, or Reconstruction Crusade, which is also the main force behind Hezbollah's reconstruction efforts.

``Hezbollah is Iran in Lebanon,'' Khalaji says. ``When Iran's leadership looks at Hezbollah, it sees itself.''

`Same Pool of Money'

U.S. Treasury officials say they make no distinction between Hezbollah's militia and its charities.

``The bomb throwers and hospitals get their money from the same pool of money,'' says Daniel Glaser, deputy assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes at the Treasury.

In September, the U.S. cut off one path of what it says is Iran's influence to Hezbollah. The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Iran's state-owned Bank Saderat Iran, which has the largest network of branches in Iran.

Treasury Undersecretary Levey says Bank Saderat has transferred funds from the Iranian government to Hezbollah and to radical Palestinian groups, including Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Since 2001, a Hezbollah-controlled organization, which Levey declined to name, has received $50 million directly from Iran through Saderat via London, he says.

``That path is now closed,'' Levey says.

`Not Much We Can Do'

Saderat arrived in Lebanon in the early 1960s and has offices in Dahiya and in the Bekaa Valley. On its Web site, the bank says it complies with Islamic banking and international regulations and won't be affected by U.S. sanctions. Like all Iranian financial institutions, Saderat is prohibited from having direct access to the U.S. banking system.

In the past, Hezbollah has had no trouble transferring funds directly from Iranian banks such as Bank Melli Iran and Saderat, both of which have branches in Beirut's southern suburbs, Israel's Kuperwasser says.

Israel hasn't been able to penetrate Hezbollah's financial structure the way it has that of Hamas, another Islamic group that has sworn to destroy the Jewish state. Palestinians have had to go through the U.S. and Israeli bank systems to transfer money, Kuperwasser says.

``We've had the opportunity to intervene,'' he says. ``In Lebanon, there's not much we can do.''

Revolutionary Guards

The U.S. has been trying to break Hezbollah and chip away at its Iranian supporters for two decades. In 1982, Iran's then ambassador to Syria, Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour, encouraged radical Shiites to split from Amal, the mainstream Shiite political party. His followers set up camp in Baalbek, Lebanon, near the Syrian border. Iran sent more than 1,000 Revolutionary Guards to train Hezbollah, which at the time was a loosely organized group mainly made up of Shiites who opposed the Israeli invasion.

In 1988, Hezbollah won a bitter war against Amal for control of Beirut's Shiite neighborhoods.

``Syria supported Amal and Iran supported Hezbollah,'' says Ali Fayyad, a member of Hezbollah's politburo, which advises the group's highest decision-making body. ``At the time there wasn't an understanding between Iran and Syria.''

Judith Palmer Harik, a former professor at American University of Beirut, says that Hezbollah started to deliver social services after it took control of Dahiya. First was reliable trash removal, five years before the central government sent any garbage trucks to the area.

Water Tanks

When there was a water shortage, Iran provided giant, 4,000-liter (1,057-gallon) water tanks in each district and filled them five times a day. Some of the water tanks, bearing the Iranian flag, are still around 16 years later.

``Hezbollah's popularity is due to their social programs, which in some areas complement government's efforts,'' Palmer Harik says. ``With Hezbollah, when they promise something, they usually deliver. The money goes where they say it will.''

At the end of the country's 15-year-long civil war in 1990, Lebanon's militias agreed to disarm, with the exception of Hezbollah. The group argued that it needed weapons to push the Israeli army out of the parts of Lebanon occupied since 1982. The Lebanese government recognized Hezbollah as a legitimate national resistance movement.

Two years later, Hezbollah entered Lebanon's political arena, winning 12 of 27 seats allocated to Shiites in the 128- seat parliament. Today, it has 14 members in the parliament, compared with 15 for Amal, and controls two cabinet posts in the coalition government headed by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. In local elections, Hezbollah won control of 21 percent of Lebanon's municipalities.

Terrorism Charges

In 1996, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher highlighted the link between Hezbollah and Iran, saying that Iran was providing $100 million a year to Hezbollah -- about the same as the budget of a small U.S. university.

Daniel Byman, associate professor in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, says Iran's help was about $30 million-$50 million before the July 12 war. ``Iran doesn't have unlimited resources,'' Byman says.

In 2001, the late Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger said the U.S. believed Hezbollah was behind three car bombings in 1983 that killed 350 people at the French and U.S. embassies and the U.S. Marine compound, all in Beirut. U.S. officials say Hezbollah was responsible for kidnapping Westerners as hostages in Lebanon and for the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847 and its 153 passengers and crew, which resulted in the death of a U.S. Navy diver. Hezbollah has denied involvement.

`A-team of Terrorists'

``Hezbollah may be the A-team of terrorists,'' Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said in 2002. ``And maybe al-Qaeda is actually the B-team.''

Sitting in a coffee shop across from the American University in Beirut, Hezbollah's Fayyad, 44, ponders the U.S. accusations. He's one of Nasrallah's political advisers and among Hezbollah's top officials.

``There was too much chaos in the early 1980s and Hezbollah did not have an organization,'' Fayyad says, responding to the charges that Hezbollah had carried out the Beirut bombings. In 1983, a group calling itself Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the three attacks.

``Many groups were fighting Israel and it was not possible to know who was Hezbollah and who wasn't,'' Fayyad says.

Viagra and Cigarettes

In September, U.S. District Judge John Bates in Washington ordered Iran to pay $317 million to victims of the 1983 U.S. Embassy bombing. He determined that the country had provided support to Hezbollah terrorists who had staged the attack. Iranian officials didn't appear in court to defend against the claims.

Fayyad says Hezbollah receives money from a number of sources, such as religious donations. Shiites are expected to donate 20 percent of their incomes to charitable organizations in the form of contributions known as khoms, he says.

Money also has flowed in from illicit activities such as counterfeiting dollar currency, pirating software and selling fake drugs, says the Treasury's Glaser. ``Hezbollah operates like a crime family,'' he says.

In March, the office of the U.S. attorney in Detroit indicted 18 people for dealing in contraband cigarettes to avoid Michigan taxes, selling counterfeit Viagra pills and sending some of the profits to Hezbollah. Two key operatives escaped, and three have pleaded guilty.

Baby's Blanket

A trial is set for early next year, says Kenneth Chadwell, an assistant U.S. attorney in Detroit. He estimates that Michigan may have lost $20 million in unpaid taxes. He declines to make an estimate of how much of that sum ended up with Hezbollah.

``Their primary organizing principle was their loyalty to Hezbollah,'' Chadwell says. ``Our action is against an avowed enemy of the U.S.''

On the streets of Dahiya, Ghaleb Abo Zeinab, another member of Hezbollah's politburo, mingles with volunteers amid the bomb craters. ``The government is not working fast enough so Hezbollah has to move first to help the people,'' Abo Zeinab, 44, says. ``Waiting for bureaucracy can take months.''

Zahra Darwish, wearing a patterned scarf and long mustard- colored raincoat, has just climbed a 30-foot-tall mountain of rubble and emerged with a baby's blue blanket salvaged from what used to be her home.

``Nasrallah said he'll rebuild and he keeps his promises,'' she says.

`Divine Victory'

All around, the work of repairing bridges, roads, buildings and power stations looms. Red banners proclaiming ``Divine Victory'' and ``Made in U.S.A.'' proliferate in the rubble. From the collapsed remains of one building, an Iranian flag hangs defiantly. Giant posters of Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini and Khamenei keep an eye on the proceedings.

``Many think that Hezbollah has become stronger,'' parliament member Harb says. ``I think the reverse is true. They are weaker because they are now vulnerable.''

With stretches of Lebanon that Hezbollah seeded with schools, hospitals and clinics reduced to ruins and its political clout on the line, funding the peace -- even with what may be an open purse from Iran -- may carry a greater cost than fighting the war.

28 September, 2006 21:55  
Anonymous Mrouane said...

The Lebanese Advertising Industry and The War Initiated by Hizbollah

Lebanese Advertising: Manipulating the Post-War Spirit

24/09/2006
By Ali Al Uzayr


Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat- Lebanese advertising industry, both audio and visual, changes depending on the country's mercurial moods and protean political events. Last year, advertisements were primarily focused on notions of independence and freedom, with slogans such as "each to his own words" and "everyone has the right to do what they want". But today, advertisements have sharply shifted their emphasis onto the reconstruction and revival of Lebanon. Almost every political or commercial advertisement in Lebanon nowadays articulates the people's desire to see their country flourish and be prosperous once again, whether expressed on television, radio, or on street billboards. Advertisements assure citizens that their yearning for rapid reconstruction is supported - but they must remember to either pay, or elect [particular representatives] in return for it. A political party rebuilding a plundered bridge adopted the motto: "They destroy, we build. Our hope is eternal". One bank tells the people, "We will build bridges with you," but what is the price for that?

Upon the return of the displaced Lebanese from their forced exile after the recent Israeli war, the first vision to greet them on the plundered roads was that of billboards (mainly belonging to banks) pledging to rebuild what had been destroyed with unanimous determination. A billboard carried the word “dammar” (destruction), where the first letter of the word was dropped and replaced with the Arabic letter 'e' so that the word became “e'mar” (reconstruction). With a simple play on letters, the situation is transformed, changing the negative into positive. Another billboard bore the slogan: "He who has reconstructed once, will reconstruct again", displaying the dates of previous wars that had once devastated the small country. Another billboard had the image of a bridge being rebuilt with the caption, "together, we build the bridges between today and tomorrow," underneath. This intensity in advertising, both in number and spirit reassures Lebanon's citizens, who had returned from their painful journeys frightened, disheartened and mourning the loss of their lifetime achievements that had become nothing but rubble. Such advertisements tell their viewer that there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic, that matters are not as tragic as initially assumed, and that the rebuilding of ravaged houses is a seemingly easy task. Advertising efficacy is empowering to a dispirited pedestrian on a damaged road.

But the advertising industry is not new; it is as old as history itself. Starting out with naive and rudimentary methods, it continued to develop until it reached today's level of effectiveness and presence. Perhaps messengers who were dispatched by kings and rulers in ancient times to inform the masses of imperial decrees were the most primitive form of advertising. The messenger would first beat on his drum to attract the people's attention until they gathered round; he would then recite the decree that he was assigned to deliver. The auctioneer who strives to bring a particular commodity to the people's attention in the marketplace can also be deemed a cunning advertiser whose main goal is to convince customers of the quality of the commodity - without necessarily being honest. The art of advertising in such cases runs parallel to the art of make-up in terms of concealing defects and highlighting advantages - at any price. In this day and age, the principle seems to remain unchanged, despite the number and variety of means used to achieve it.

The television scene that welcomed the Lebanese on their homecoming to the ruins of their nation was equally significant: Bank advertisements dominated the screens and the eyes and minds of the people. Employing what was intended to be a more interesting and compelling approach, one advertisement retained its old image sequence from the pre-war period only changing the words, which were replaced by words that have more relevance to the circumstances. Terms such as 'solidarity', 'sacrifice', 'volunteering', and 'loss' were substituted with words like 'success', 'achievement' and 'excellence', reinforcing the idea that the new era requires the appropriate terminology.

Before the latest war in Lebanon, the country had witnessed several pivotal stages; perhaps the most prominent of which were two events that followed in succession: The first was the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri followed by the evacuation of the Syrian forces from Lebanon. The Lebanese recall a mobile phone operator that took advantage of the political climate and public mood, which veered towards liberation and independence, by launching a distinctive advertisement that said: "each to his own words".

The advertisement was referring to the ingenuity of mobile telecommunications in expressing what it had to offer to its customers in terms of independence and efficacy in communication, all the while running parallel with the dominating political atmosphere that clearly pointed towards a new era in which individuals have freedom of speech after many years of compulsory silence.

Syria's departure from Lebanon also left a marked presence on another televised advertisement that sought to promote national industries. Catchy and clever, it starts with a group of university students discussing what they had sacrificed for their nation, each student voicing his own political vision. One of the students boasts that his people had liberated the land from the Israeli occupation, another speaks of being jailed, alluding to a former era, while a third recounts his forced exile, which had been imposed on the leader of his political party. As they speak, a girl walks past the charged young men, noticing their consumption of foreign goods, and says, "If you love Lebanon, then love its industries."

It seems odd that advertisements would rely on politics to strengthen the advertising of a product to the target audience, which begs the question: is advertising in Lebanon politicised? Or rather, is it the abundance of empty slogans in politics that brings it closer to the advertising game? Without a doubt, the current state of advertising reflects the overwhelming presence of politics in the minds of the citizen 'consumers', which is a fact that could be attributed to the inherited and instinctive Lebanese inclination towards politics. This raises the question: is it a case of inherited genes, or is it more of a need to identify a deficiency in everyday life, which is the other face of the so-called 'politics'?

We will leave this question hanging to continue exploring the brilliant rationale behind the innovative minds in advertising; with their ability to invest in mass tragedies and tremendous historical events in the process of attracting consumers to one product or another. How could the terrifying and deadly war become a contributing factor to promoting one bank over another? The answer may be that the competition between people of the same profession is a war in its own right that derives its means from the traditional tools of war. However, members of this profession see it differently…

Distinguished advertiser Carlos Amsian stated that "advertising is a realistic representation of a given country's state. It reflects the image of the country in its citizens' minds as well as in the minds of others. A country without advertisements is a country in stagnation and isolation." As for the advertisements that have filled the streets of Lebanon, in his opinion, this is an indication of the nation's stoic determination to survive in the face of barbaric aggression. Amsian added that he understood that some people would question how he, or anyone else, could think of money and ways to invest at a time when the nation is caught in the heart of battle. His response was that, "monetary activities are one of the essential means to escape a tragedy, rather than succumb to its consequences. A bank's duty, as the source of money to be utilised to regain the country's bright image, is to support the citizens, at least by re-instilling their confidence and reminding them that what has been demolished can be reconstructed. Our task is to re-establish a sense of hope." He added: "We are not interested in marketing a particular commodity under these circumstances, but we believe that our simple duty is to support our country during such difficult times. For us, advertising is our strong point, and so that becomes our contribution for solidarity."

For her part, Malak Al-Baba, a public relations officer of a Lebanese bank, refutes the idea that the advertisements all over Lebanon’s streets since the war are a means of promoting their activities. She said, "We simply wanted to say that we are part of the community which has undergone the same crisis, and that we are keen on moving the economic wheel forward after the war had stalled its motion. We wanted to say that we are capable of that task and have the means and vision to reconstruct our homeland, despite the enormity of the loss." But doesn't the situation expose the desire to strengthen the presence of a particular bank at the expense of others banks, especially in light of such catastrophic circumstances? Amsian affirms that the issue is far from that. He said, "The current advertising campaign has been launched after an agreement and synchronisation between several existing banks. The reason behind such a campaign stems from an awareness of the importance of advertising and its profound impact on the general public spirit."

Still, the question remains: How do the citizens fit into all this? Has the aforementioned campaign helped to boost morale? One of the citizens liked the idea of advertisers attracting customers to banks so he inquired about the necessary prerequisites to obtain a loan in order to rebuild his demolished house. After a series of exhausting efforts, he managed to get hold of the person in charge of one of the banks. The reply he received was somewhat diplomatic but also carried a blunt suggestion that his house was best left demolished until the message of the advertisement could become a tangible reality.

29 September, 2006 14:21  
Anonymous Hamid-Liban said...

A Syrian Agent Speaks
C'est l'agent vde la Syrie et du Hizbullah qui parle!
http://www.liberation.fr/actualite/monde/207765.FR.php
Monde
Le président Emile Lahoud analyse la situation de son pays et revient sur ses rapports exécrables avec son homologue français:
«Que Chirac ne se mêle pas des affaires internes du Liban»
Par Isabelle DELLERBA
QUOTIDIEN : Samedi 30 septembre 2006 - 06:00
Beyrouth de notre correspondante
avec
Alors que vient de s'achever le Sommet de la francophonie à Bucarest, le président du Liban Emile Lahoud, qui n'y a pas été convié, revient sur l'incident et sur la situation de son pays.

Sur le même sujet
Cacofrancophonies à Bucarest


Le président roumain Traian Basescu a affirmé que sa décision de ne pas vous inviter au Sommet de la francophonie relevait de son «choix personnel» . Pourquoi vous en prendre à Jacques Chirac ?
C'est une histoire ancienne entre Jacques Chirac et moi-même. Il avait des intérêts personnels avec la famille Hariri depuis longtemps. A partir de 1998, après mon élection à la tête du pays, l'état de mes relations avec lui dépendait de celles que j'entretenais avec Rafic Hariri. Depuis son assassinat [en février 2005, ndlr], la situation a empiré. Chirac a dit à de nombreux pays amis de la France de me boycotter. C'est lui qui a fait en sorte que je ne sois pas invité à ce sommet. Il a toujours eu des contacts personnels au téléphone sur le mode : «Faites-moi ça. Donnez-moi ça.» Je le sais parce qu'il a essayé avec moi.
Si de nombreux pays occidentaux vous boycottent, n'est-ce pas plutôt parce qu'une commission d'enquête de l'ONU a pointé du doigt les responsabilités de dirigeants syriens et libanais dans l'assassinat de Rafic Hariri ?
Dans aucun des cinq rapports de l'ONU n'est mentionné le nom du Président. Pourquoi le témoin clé dans l'assassinat de Rafic Hariri, Al Siddiq, qui est en France, n'a-t-il pas été extradé au Liban pour y être confronté aux quatre généraux arrêtés dans le cadre de l'enquête ? La France a d'abord dit que c'était parce que la peine de mort était en vigueur au Liban. Je me suis engagé à ce qu'il ne puisse pas être condamné à mort et, malgré tout, il n'a pas été extradé. Jacques Chirac craint une confrontation qui permettrait d'innocenter les quatre généraux.
Quel serait, en l'espèce, l'intérêt du président français ?
Il cherche à renforcer ses amis personnels au Liban. Pourquoi depuis l'attentat qui a tué Hariri, personne ne s'intéresse aux véritables ennemis du Liban, à Israël, aux fondamentalistes extrémistes comme Al-Qaeda ? Je n'ai rien contre Chirac. Le problème, c'est qu'il prend les choses personnellement. On n'accepte ni mandat arabe, ni mandat français au Liban.
Vous avez pourtant très bien accepté la tutelle syrienne...
Soyez sûrs que non. Qui était toujours en train de faire le beau devant les Syriens ? Messieurs Chirac et Hariri. Ce dernier allait là-bas trois fois par semaine. Chirac a demandé aux Syriens de rester au Liban jusqu'à ce qu'il y ait la paix au Proche-Orient. Je n'ai jamais tenu de tels propos.
Cette approche que vous qualifiez de «personnelle» de Jacques Chirac nuit-elle aux rapports franco-libanais ?
Certainement. Avant, tous les Libanais étaient avec la France. Maintenant, la plupart ne le sont plus. Jacques Chirac n'a pas été juste dans son comportement envers les Libanais. Il a une politique partisane. Qu'il ait des amis, c'est son droit. Mais qu'il ne se mêle pas des affaires internes de notre pays.
Pendant l'été, la France a travaillé d'arrache-pied pour parvenir à un arrêt des hostilités au Liban...
Dans le premier projet de résolution, elle s'est alignée sur la position américaine qui était contre le Liban. Le deuxième n'était pas juste non plus, mais nous l'avons accepté pour obtenir l'arrêt des hostilités.
Vous opposez-vous toujours au désarmement du Hezbollah ?
Tout le monde sait que notre armée est incapable de faire face à l'armée israélienne. La seule façon de combattre et de vaincre Israël, c'est d'avoir une guérilla. Il faudrait être un traître pour vouloir retirer les armements à la résistance. Car le Hezbollah, c'est la résistance nationale.
La Finul doit-elle désarmer le Hezbollah ?
L'armée libanaise prendra leurs armes si elle les voit mais elle n'ira pas les chercher. Les Israéliens vont quitter notre pays. D'abord parce que la résolution 1701 le leur demande, mais aussi parce qu'ils ne pourront pas dormir s'ils restent à l'intérieur du Liban face à la résistance nationale.
Qui pourrait vous succéder à la tête de l'Etat libanais ?
J'espère que ce sera Michel Aoun. Car je suis sûr qu'il ne sera pas soumis à des intérêts personnels. Lui pense à notre pays.

30 September, 2006 18:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Lebanese speaks freely but in the US:

Brigitte Gabriel speach at Heritage Foundation



For the many of you who miss seeing my TV interviews here is an opportunity to see me on your computer. Thanks to YOU TUBE. The attached link is from a question and answer session I did after a presentation at The Heritage Foundation in DC last week: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S55o2hNIXzk

The whole speech is at this link:

http://www.heritage.org/Press/Events/ev092706a.cfm

It is about an hour long.

The interesting thing about this is that CSPAN shot the whole presentation. I am no where to be found on their schedule. I think CSPAN is scared to even show my presentation discussing my book.

Thanks to all of you who already purchased the book and wrote a review. For those of you who have not done so yet I urge you to get the book, read it and put it in someone's hand. Here is the link to Amazon.com Because they Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America




Brigitte Gabriel lost her childhood to militant Islam. In 1975 she was ten years old and living in Lebanon when militant Muslims from throughout the Middle East poured into her country and declared jihad against Lebanese Christians. Lebanon was the only Christian influenced country in the Middle East, and the Lebanese Civil War was the first front in what has become the worldwide jihad of fundamentalist Islam theology against non-Muslim peoples.

Based upon her personal experiences, Garbriel addresses the West’s lack of understanding and ignorance of the ways and thinking of the Middle East. She identifies mistakes the West has made in consistently underestimating the single-mindedness with which fundamentalist Islam has pursued its goals over the past thirty years. Through the telling of her own story, she outlines the history, social movements, and religious divisions that have led to today’s critical conflict.

A compelling and captivating personal story with a powerful lesson about threats to freedom in our time. – R. James Woolsey, Director of Central Intelligence, 1993-95

Brigitte Gabriel is a journalist and news producer who started her career as an anchor for World News, an evening Arabic news broadcast throughout the Middle East. She reported on the Israeli security zone in Lebanon and the Palestinian uprising in the West Bank as they unfolded. As a terrorism expert and the founder of the non-profit organization, American Congress for Truth, she speaks regularly on topics related to the Middle East on television and radio and lectures nationally and internationally.

05 October, 2006 14:07  
Anonymous Outsider said...

I'm sorry to see that you aren't posting any more. We all have lives to live. And it does take time to maintain a blog.

Good luck with the future.

16 October, 2006 14:39  
Anonymous Hamid said...

Berri’s national dialogue was read by many of us as a delay tactic to buy time for the Assad regime. But it received international support and broke many taboos when it, for the first time, put Hizbullah’s weapons on the discussion table. The war did away with the Dialogue, which wasn’t getting anywhere in part of because of Berri himself, who took it upon himself to shamefully represent the Syrian side. But even Berri’s apparent unwavering support for Assad and Hizbullah weapons was punctured during the last war.

He now says that there can’t be resistance without national unity. Read that to mean that Berri, through his support for UNSC 1701 and Siniora’s cabinet, which he describes as “political resistance”, will not sign on to future attacks by Hizbullah.

I helped create UNSC 1701. I don’t claim that all of it serves our interest, but it’s not all against us. In any case, we accepted it. There was a unanimous agreement in the cabinet, including Amal and Hizbullah. We don’t want any flaw in the implementation….

On the issue of resistance, he reiterated that the resistance should stay as long as there’s occupation. But...

Hizbullah is concerned with Lebanon’s unity as I am and more. Can you believe there can be a resistance without national unity?

Nabih Berri's efforts can probably be described as an attempt to resurrect the National Dialogue without Bashar Assad dictating the agenda. Will he succeed? And how much is Berri committed to seeing justice served regardless of the implications for the regime next door?

Perhaps this could be a sign that, his sectarian and feudalistic behavior apart, Berri sees the danger in letting Bashar get away with murder:

The Fitr present is against the security violations in the country now, especially in Beirut, and will be for the benefit of all Lebanese, their national unity and the spring that awaits them…

Nobody knows what Berri will announce at the end of Ramadan. One hopes, however, that the spring he envisions originates in Lebanon, and that the national unity he seeks is invested in a forward-looking manner.

18 October, 2006 20:41  
Anonymous Hamid said...

Nasrallah se planque dans un bunker, et certains osent affirmer qu'il n'a pas peur. C'est a se tordre de rire.

24 October, 2006 16:30  
Anonymous Abi Lama said...

"Hizbullah.


No one will disarm it because
it has no intention of disarming and there is no one to coerce it to do so.
The UN is collaborating with Hizbullah and none of its member nations has any interest in dealing with it.
The Shiite of Hizbullah has taken control of Lebanon with the generous help of Iran and Syria and it will not relinquish it even if this means bringing
about its total destruction. Lebanon will gradually be emptied of its
remaining Christian population and zealous Islam will have achieved an important objective: One of the only two non-Muslim countries in the Middle East will just disappear.
Islam came into being as a fighting religion. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, imposed his authority, first and foremost, by means of his military strength. He understood that even when speaking in the name of Allah, this
must be accompanied by tens of thousands of fighters with drawn swords.
The Muslims consider the State of Israel to be an advance position of the "House of War" ( Dar El HARB), established on Islamic territory conquered from Islam.
Israel, therefore, must first disappear. All paths to that end are legitimate in their eyes. This is the root cause of Nasrallah's recent war. All the rest are subterfuges.

26 October, 2006 13:24  
Blogger shafik said...

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01 November, 2006 16:45  
Anonymous Abi Lama said...

Syria hires UK law firm for Hariri assassination inquiry
11/4/2006 1:00:00 PM GMT
Syria’s role in Lebanese politics has been facing intense scrutiny following Hariri’s death


The Syrian government announced hiring Matrix Chambers, a well-known British law firm with long experience in fighting for human rights, to advise it over the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Al Hariri, The Guardian reported.

Matrix Chambers, whose lawyers include Cherie Booth, wife of the Prime Minister, Philippe Sands and Clare Montgomery, was taken on earlier this year after a UN probe concluded that Syrian intelligence services played a role in the killing of the former Lebanese Prime Minister.

The UN has threatened Syria with sanctions if it does not cooperate with the investigation.

The firm, which has been urging the Syrian government to co-operate more with the UN investigation into February 2005’s killing of Mr Hariri, will be involved primarily with Syria's international obligations rather than the details of who could be involved in the killing.

In an interview with UK’s The Guardian earlier this year, Sami Khiyami, Syrian Ambassador to London praised the UK legal system as "extremely advanced and the closest to international law".

The UK government believes Mr Assad is willing to establish good ties with the west but is caught up in the year long dispute over who's behind the killing of the former Lebanese Premier.

Relations between the west and Syria have been strained for decades but deteriorated sharply over the past year.

Syria’s role in Lebanese politics has been facing intense scrutiny following the Hariri’s assassination, with Lebanese opposition figures claiming that Damascus, which used to have a large troop presence in Lebanon since the end of the country's civil war in 1990, bears responsibility for the former PM’s death, yet not directly accusing Syria or Lebanon's Syrian-backed government of outright involvement in the killing.

Syria, the de facto power broker in Lebanon since the civil war's end in 1990, has come under mounting criticism, mainly from Washington, who alleges it had a role in bombing Hariri's motorcade along Beirut's luxury seafront, last year. But Syria has strongly rejected claims it carried out or plotted the attack, which killed at least 14 other people in the biggest blast in Lebanon since the end of the civil war.

Tensions have been rising between the U.S. and Syria, following Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon, and intensified more following the victory of the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, in its recent war against Israel.

The Bush administration claims that Syria and Iran provide the Lebanese organisation with political and financial support. It also accuses the two countries of giving Hezbollah weapons.

And most recently, Washington accused Syria of plotting to topple the Lebanese government, and add power to its Lebanese ally, the Hezbollah, claims that were strongly rejected by Damascus.

"This pure vilification is meant to raise turmoil in Lebanon and cause fallout with Syria, which paid with blood to maintain Lebanese independence and sovereignty," reports and editorial in Syria's government newspaper Baath.

An editorial in the Syrian newspaper called on the United States "`which claims to know everything' make public any evidence of the alleged Syrian role in efforts to topple the Lebanese government."

05 November, 2006 13:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comment le Hezbollah triche avec la démocratie
Certes, le Hezbollah est très populaire au Liban. Mais, malgré sa réputation bien établie de mouvement terroriste, il compte aussi des opposants déclarés, et ceci même au sein de la population chiite, comme le souligne David Schenker dans un article à paraître dans le prochain Weekly Standard:

[Tous] les Chiites ne soutiennent pas le Hezbollah. Certains d’entre eux ont manifesté leur opposition au programme de «résistance» et, comme il fallait s’y attendre, le Hezbollah tente de faire rentrer ces dissidents dans le rang. L’intimidation n’a pas encore dégénéré en violence, mais, vu le parcours du Hezbollah (cette organisation terroriste est l’un des premiers suspects, avec la Syrie, de plusieurs assassinats politiques perpétrés au Liban depuis 2005), cela ne modifierait certainement rien à ses habitudes.

La quête d’hégémonie du Hezbollah et ses efforts visant à imposer la discipline envers le parti à tous les Chiites du Liban trouvent leurs racines bien avant la guerre de cet été contre Israël. Onze mois plus tôt, en décembre 2005, les ministres du Hezbollah et d’Amal claquèrent la porte du cabinet gouvernemental pour protester contre le projet de confier à un tribunal international le jugement de l’assassinat de l’ex-premier ministre libanais Rafik Hariri. Le Hezbollah, allié très proche de la Syrie, le principal suspect de ce meurtre, s’oppose à l’idée d’un tribunal impartial.

Mais, comme le Hezbollah craignait d’être remplacé au gouvernement par un Chiite non membre, l’un de ses porte-voix religieux émit une fatwa interdisant à tout Chiite non-membre du Hezbollah de briguer un siège au cabinet ministériel. C’en fut trop pour nombre de Libanais qui souhaitent vivre en démocratie. Un avocat chiite, Mohammed Mattar, lança une action en justice contre l’auteur de cette fatwa, Sheikh Nabulsi.

L’action de Mattar, déposée en janvier 2006, a été rejointe par cinq Chiites de premier plan, dont certains possèdent la légitimité conférée par une ascendance directe avec le prophète Mahomet, et par trois Chrétiens. Ensuite, plus de cinquante intellectuels, dont des Sunnites, se sont joints à une procédure consécutive. Pour les plaignants, l’action constitue une affaire de séparation entre l’Église et l’État. Le Hezbollah, par l’intermédiaire de la fatwa menaçante de Sheikh Nabulsi, avait privé les Libanais chiites de leur droit constitutionnel à participer à la vie publique. Mattar et al. ne demandaient pas de dommages et intérêts ou de peines de prison; ils aspiraient à un jugement solidement raisonné et largement promulgué empêchant le Hezbollah de restreindre davantage encore l’expression politique chiite.

Il n’est pas certain qu’on puisse compter sur le juge désigné, un jeune Sunnite provenant de la Bekaa, le bastion du Hezbollah, pour obtenir un jugement impartial. L’affaire, très couverte par les médias, a déclenché de fortes réactions. Le Hezbollah a lancé une contre-offensive juridique. Les weblogs pro-Hezbollah du Liban ont attaqué Mattar très violemment, le décrivant tout à tour comme un agent de la CIA, un homme aux ordres du Mossad et un employé de l’ambassade américaine à Beyrouth.

Plus récemment, poursuit l’auteur, la plus importante refusnik du Hezbollah est Mona Fayyad, une professeur de philosophie de l’université de Beyrouth. Le 8 août, elle publia un article, To Be A Shiite Now, qui a fait le tour du monde entre-temps et dans lequel elle met en cause la politique idéologique et totalitariste du Hezbollah au Liban. Elle y disait notamment:

Être un Chiite, c’est mettre son esprit en veilleuse et se laisser guider par [le guide suprême iranien] Sayyed Khamenei, le laisser décider à sa place des armes à donner au Hezbollah et le laisser vous imposer la signification d’une victoire qui ne présente guère de différence avec un suicide.

Schenker poursuit en expliquant que Mohammed Mattar et Mona Fayyad ne représentent sans doute pas une majorité des Chiites libanais, mais ils semblent parler pour une part croissante de la population chiite qui ne se sent pas l’utilité du Hezbollah, d’Amal ou d’une suzeraineté iranienne ou syrienne sur le Liban. Et ils ne sont pas seuls:

Lokman Slim, un Chiite qui dirige une ONG basée à Beyrouth, financée par des fonds européens et axée sur une diversification de la représentation politique chiite, est un autre critique déclaré du Hezbollah. Slim, qui parle volontiers de «monopole représentatif», affirme que le Hezbollah a «sapé» la base politique parmi les Chiites en empêchant les modérés d’émerger. Slim estime que ces modérés pourraient jouer un rôle dans la politique libanaise s’ils cessaient d’être intimidés.

À signaler aussi que si le Hezbollah a bien été élu démocratiquement, il ne respecte aucun règle démocratique en son sein et fonctionne dans un contexte théocratique et autocratique. Ainsi, Schenker rappelle que son secrétaire général, Hassan Nasrallah, en est à son cinquième mandat de trois ans, alors que ce nombre est censé être limité à deux mandats. Si le leader même du Hezbollah ne respecte pas les règles de son propre mouvement, comment espérer que le parti respecte celles, autrement plus subtiles encore, d’un gouvernement multipartite?

Et, pour revenir en Suisse, ne faut-il pas s’étonner que ce contexte d’opposition intellectuel, juridique et démocratique, mené par des Chiites courageux, qui s’attaquent à des terroristes confirmés ayant pignon sur rue dans leur propre pays, au point d’en constituer la principale force militaire, ait totalement échappé aux journalistes de la TSR?

Le moins que puissent faire les Suissesses et les Suisses qui croient encore un tant soit peu à leur démocratie est bien de signaler leur soutien à ces opposants chiites libanais qui risquent leur vie pour défendre les valeurs qui ont fait notre prospérité:

08 November, 2006 17:37  
Anonymous Abi Lama said...

Hezbollah's offensive in Lebanon has begun


http://worlddefensereview.com/includes/phares111306pr.html


Hezbollah's offensive in Lebanon has begun

According to sources and contacts – as well as statements made in Lebanon over the past few weeks – all analysis indicates that Hezbollah is on the verge of an all out offensive in Lebanon to crumble the "March 14" Seniora Government and to seize strategic control in the country.

Following are few points deserving attention (a more comprehensive analysis will follow later):

1. As predicted since July 12, (and posted on the Counterterrorism Blog), the aim of Hezbollah's summer war with Israel, was to provoke a "strike-back" at the Lebanese Government and reshape the balance of power in Lebanon to the advantage of the Teheran-Damascus axis. Nasrallah and his allies across the sectarian divide aimed at shifting the issue of disarming Hezbollah and militias (according to UNSCR 1559) to crumbling the government, which is supposed to implement this disarming process.

2. By mid-October, Hezbollah and its pro-Syrian allies had begun a political counter offensive aiming at "enlarging" the Seniora cabinet, as a way to paralyzing it further from the inside. The political discussions took longer than anticipated by Hezbollah. Hence, a decision was made in Tehran (and subsequently in Damascus ) to move forward.

3. The perceived results of the midterm elections in the U.S. were read as positive by Tehran and its allies, in the sense that it froze vigorous reactions by the U.S. against any Iranian-Syrian move in Lebanon via Hezbollah. The feelings in Tehran and Damascus, have been that if in the next weeks and months a "thrust" takes place in Lebanon to the advantage of the pro-Syrian camp, Washington will be in no position to react or counter. Ahmedinijad and Assad believe (or have been advised to believe) that "lobbies" are moving in Washington and Brussels to restrain any strong deterrence by the U.S. against the "axis."

The theory is that the Bush Administration is too busy "negotiating" with the new leadership in Congress to "dare" a mass move in the Middle East. The analysis also predicts that strong lobbies within the Democratic Party are now positioned to block any serious response to a change in geopolitics in Lebanon.

It is believed that the window of opportunity won't be too long before the Administration and the upcoming Congress "understands" the Tehran-Damascus maneuver and create a unified response. Thus, the expectation is that Hezbollah and its allies were told to achieve their goals before the end of the year, and before the new Congress begin business on the Hill.

4. Hezbollah has mobilized its forces from all over the country to position them in the capital and eventually use them in moves in Beirut, the central and southern part of Mount Lebanon, where most government institutions are located.

Nasrallah can also bring into "battle" the supporters of General Michel Aoun, the Syrian National-Socialists, the Baathists, and the pro-Syrian Sunni militias, the Islamic Fundamentalists paid by Syria, the Palestinian radicals and the security agencies still under the influence of Syria.

This "huge" army can – technically – defeat the thin internal security forces of the government. The Lebanese Army is an unknown factor, with Hezbollah supporters in control of the military regions in the south, the Bekaa, southern suburbs and other positions. In short, the "axis army" is ready to engage in battle in Lebanon. The issue is when, how, and with what outcome.

5. The projected scenario is as follows: Hezbollah and Amal movement ministers will resign from the Government calling for the resignation of the Government. The next move is to have Hezbollah, Amal, and their allies in the Parliament also resign, thus creating "conditions" for what they will coin as new elections and a collapse of the cabinet.

Most of these moves have already been accomplished or are on the eve of being implemented.

The pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud will declare the Government and the Parliament as "illegitimate," and call for early legislative elections. The latter, if they take place will be under the smashing influence of Hezbollah's weapons (a show of force was performed in the summer) and of the cohorts of militias and security agencies.

Result: a pro-Syrian-Iranian majority in parliament, followed by the formation of an "axis" government in Lebanon. The rest is easy to predict: A terrorism victory.

The question today is, how to stop this from happening? While it is very late in the process, the United States must respond in a strong bipartisan way, the Security Council should move immediately to chapter 7, and the Cedars Revolution to take the streets again. Short of these developments, the worse is to be feared on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean soon.


— Walid Phares holds degrees in law and political science from Saint Joseph University and the Lebanese University in Beirut, a Masters in international law from the Universite de Lyons in France and a Ph.D. in international relations and strategic studies from the University of Miami. He has taught and lectured at numerous universities worldwide, practiced law in Beirut, and served as publisher of Sawt el-Mashreq and Mashrek International. He currently teaches Middle East political issues, ethnic and religious conflict, and comparative politics at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Phares has written seven books on the Middle East and published hundreds of articles in newspapers and scholarly publications such as Global Affairs, Middle East Quarterly, and Journal of South Asian and Middle East Studies. He has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, and BBC as well as on radio broadcasts. Aside from serving on the boards of several national and international think tanks and human rights associations, Dr. Phares has testified before the US Senate Subcommittee on the Middle East and South East Asia and regularly conducts congressional and State Department briefings.

Dr. Phares is a visiting fellow with the European Foundation for Democracy in Brussels and a senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is Future Jihad, and he was the author of the memo that introduced UNSCR 1559 in 2004.

Visit Dr. Phares on the web at walidphares.com and defenddemocracy.org.

15 November, 2006 19:26  
Anonymous Abi Lama said...

FLASH/United States/Islamism: The Syrian Baathist “opposition” and the Moslem Brotherhood will be represented in Washington

Washington has just allowed the Syrian opposition organization "National Salvation Front” (NSF) to open an office in the United States. The NSF was created, a few months ago, by the former Syrian Vice-President Abdel Halim Khaddam, who, because of his high positions he occupied in Damas during decades, was given a share of all the crimes committed by the Assad regime (father and son) when he did not take a predominant part of it .

Since the beginning of this year, Mr. Khaddam whose very recent defection was dictated by purest opportunism, claims to be a staunch opponent of the regime which it however accurately served so long. In spite of his speeches, one can doubt that he really represents a credible alternative. But there is worse: the most active component and most important of the "Front”, which is headed by Abdel Halim Khaddam, is nothing else than the organization of the Moslem Brotherood of Syria. Through the NSF, the Brothers will be very officially represented in Washington. It will be stressed that, last 9 November, the Syrian Brothers had invited the community of the believers to declare war to Israel as a revenge to the bur of Beit Hannoun.

The decision of Washington to begin a dialogue with the Brothers and Mr. Khaddam is undoubtedly and significantly a proof of the distress which reigns today in the American higher circles vis-a-vis the failure in Iraq. But this decision is all the more regrettable since a democratic Syrian organization exists for several years in the United States, in Europe and in the Middle-East. This organization called “Reform Party of Syria” is headed by Farid Ghadry a man who never collaborated with the Baathist regime and managed to gather around him true democratic people and representatives of the minorities.

Would Washington be ready to sacrifice this chance in the name of a smoky realpolitik which would lead to support a mixture of "internal solution" to the baathist movement and pure and hard Islamism?



FLASH/Etats-Unis/Islamisme : « l’opposition » baathiste syrienne et les Frères Musulmans seront représentés à Washington

Les Etats-Unis viennent d’autoriser l’organisation d’opposition syrienne « Front National du Salut» à ouvrir un bureau à Washington.

Le FNS a été créé, il y a quelques mois, par l’ancien vice-président syrien Abdel Halim Khaddam, qui, du fait des hautes fonctions qu’il a occupées à Damas pendant des décennies, a été associé à tous les crimes du régime Assad (père et fils) quand il n’y a pas pris une part prépondérante.

M. Khaddam dont la défection (dictée par le plus pur opportunisme) est très récente se pose depuis le début de l’année comme un farouche opposant au régime qu’il a pourtant fidèlement servi si longtemps. On peut douter, malgré ses discours, qu’il puisse réellement représenter une alternative crédible. Mais il y a pire : la composante la plus active et la plus importante du « Front » dirigé par Abdel Halim Khaddam, n’est autre que l’organisation des Frères Musulmans de Syrie.

Par le biais du FNS, les Frères seront donc désormais très officiellement représentés à Washington. On soulignera que, le 9 novembre dernier, les Frères syriens avaient appelé la communauté des croyants à déclarer la guerre à Israël pour venger la bavure de Beit Hannoun...

La décision de Washington d’ouvrir un dialogue avec les Frères et avec M. Khaddam est, sans doute, significative du désarroi qui règne aujourd’hui dans les hautes sphères américaines face à l’échec rencontré en Irak. Mais cette décision est d’autant plus regrettable qu’existe depuis plusieurs années aux Etats-Unis, en Europe et au Moyen Orient, une organisation syrienne démocratique, le Reform Party of Syria, dirigée par Farid Ghadry un homme qui, lui, n’a jamais collaboré avec le régime Baathiste et est arrivé à regrouper autour de lui de vrais démocrates et des représentants des minorités.

Washington serait-il prêt à sacrifier cette chance au nom d’une fumeuse realpolitik qui l’amènerait à favoriser un mélange de « solution interne » à la mouvance baathiste et d’islamisme pur et dur ?

16 November, 2006 23:22  
Anonymous Roger said...

Look at your silly praise of Hizbullah: "My people are Heroes"

Are they heroes those who support the murderers. Those who started the war ( not the Israelis as you wrongly claim)
Those who want to impose upon you a mini Iran!!!
Those who thrive on endless conflict and want to perpetuate it!

Shia protests rattle nervous Beirut





Tens of thousands of people gathered to protest against Syrian interference in Lebanon


Hundreds of Shia Lebanese have begun demonstrating in Beirut after clerics told their followers that Hasan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, had been "insulted".

Earlier on Thursday, tens of thousands of Lebanese had demonstrated against Syrian interference following the burial of Pierre Gemayel, the assassinated Christian minister of industry.




The Hezbollah supporters chanted: "Nasrallah don't worry, your Shias can drink blood," as they marched to block the road leading to Beirut's airport.

The earlier anti-Syrian protests had infuriated Damascus, a backer of the Shia movement.






Hezbollah urges end to protests

However, the evening's protest did not appear to have been ordered by Hezbollah's leadership.

Speaking to Hezbollah's television station late on Thursday night, Nasrallah appealed to his supporters to immediately end their demonstrations.

"I urge them to leave the streets, more than urge, I beg them to leave the streets," he said. "We don't want anyone on the streets at all."

"I urge them to leave the streets, more than urge, I beg them to leave the streets"

Hasan Nasrallah, Hezbollah director-general

Send us your views

Witnesses said that Hezbollah cars with loudspeakers had urged the protesters to disperse and go home. Hezbollah members were also reported to have blocked off nearby streets to stop the protests from spreading.

Protesters interviewed by Al Jazeera described the demonstrations as a "spontaneous public expression" of anger at "insults" they said had been directed at Nasrallah earlier in the day.

It was unclear precisely what the insults were.

Earlier in the day, Nasrallah did not join leading Sunni, Christian and Druze politicians in calling for an end to foreign - and specifically Syrian - interference in Lebanon.

Some have speculated that he was deliberately excluded from the gathering.

The road to the airport passes close to Beirut's mainly Shia southern suburbs, the stronghold of Hezbollah which is Lebanon's largest Shia political movement.

Hezbollah threatens new protests

Hezbollah, backed by Syria and Iran, had previously threatened to take to the streets to topple the Western-backed government of Fouad Siniora, the prime minister.

Ali al-Moqdad, a Hezbollah MP, told Al Jazeera that Hezbollah's protests might continue as early as Sunday when the official three days of mourning for Gemayal ends.

"After two days, we will go again with our demonstrations," he said on Thursday night.





Source: Al Jazeera

25 November, 2006 10:59  
Anonymous Abi Lama said...

Lebanon - Islamists "Palestinians" massacre of Christians in Damour that brought Christian Arabs killing "Palestinians" in Sabra Shatila

You might have only heared about the massacre at Sabra Shatila through a pro "Palestinian" propagandist that have one, and nothing but one issue, no, nothing that has to with justice whatsoever, but to persecute Israel and denegrate it.

It is only natural that they blame ANYTHING on the Zionists, even though the only connection to the case where Arab christians killed the Arab Palestinians in Sabra Shatila is the "charge" that Sharon did not prevent the Arab Christians from doing that... in other words Sharon did not rush to help the "palestinians"...

Truth is however, that not much is known what proceeded it, the Damour Massacre is almost not talked about, it was one of the major reasons why the Arab Christians in Lebanon decided the had enough with the "Palestinian" continuing crimes in coordination with Syria's occupying forces, in their country.

http://www.truelebanon.bravehost.com/pics/dampics-slideshow.html Damour's Massacre Slideshow

http://www.lfpics.com/other/dammour/ - Damour Massacre (1976)

http://www.free-lebanon.com/LFPNews/hobeika_damour/hobeika_damour.html Hobeika - Damour
_________________

25 November, 2006 17:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://newhk.blogspot.com/



http://newhk.blogspot.com/


http://newhk.blogspot.com/

28 November, 2006 18:46  
Anonymous Roger said...

You are sick my friend - The Djin has taken you over:
Let's assume for a moment that Israel did not exist. Would that have changed the basic story line of the bulk of recent events in the Middle East?

Would Iraq and Iran have chosen not to pursue an eight-year war that cost more than a million fatalities? Would Iraq have decided not to invade Kuwait in 1990? Would it have rethought its use of chemical weapons against both its own Kurdish population and Iran?

Would Syria have refrained from slaughtering over 10,000 of its own citizens in Hama in 1982? Would it have relinquished its hold on Lebanon, as demanded by multiple Security Council resolutions?

Would Saudi Arabia have stopped exporting its Wahhabi model of Islam, with its narrow, doctrinaire view of the world and rejection of non-Muslims as so-called infidels, across the globe? Would al-Qaida not have attacked the US in 2001, when, it should be remembered, the Israeli-Palestinian issue was never even mentioned among Osama bin Laden's main "grievances"?

Would the danger posed by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Jordan magically disappear absent the Israel factor? Would Iran today abandon its hegemonic ambitions in the region? Would the Shi'ite-Sunni split, with its profound political and strategic ramifications, evaporate into thin air? Would the Sudanese government stop its collusion with the Arab Janjaweed militias to end the massive murder and displacement in Darfur?

Would the desperate poverty and widespread illiteracy that dampen hope and create a fertile recruiting ground for radical Islamic movements suddenly be alleviated? Would Saudi women instantaneously have the right to drive, would non-Muslims finally enjoy equal rights in all those Arab countries where Islam is the official religion, and would the Baha'i no longer experience persecution at the hands of the Iranian government?

In reality, the destabilizing factors in the Middle East run far deeper than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Strikingly, while most Western political leaders mince their words, the courageous Arab authors of the annual Arab Human Development Report have not. They have spoken of three overarching explanatory factors for the region's unsatisfactory condition: the knowledge deficit, the gender deficit and the freedom deficit.

Unless these three areas are addressed in a sustained manner, the Middle East, which ought to be one of the world's most dynamic regions, is likely to continue suffering from instability, violence and fundamentalism, irrespective of what happens on the Israeli-Palestinian front.

Consider some of the important findings in the Arab Human Development Report and related studies:

The total number of books translated into Arabic in the last 1,000 years is fewer than those translated in Spain in one year.
Greece, with a population of fewer than 11 million, translates five times as many books from abroad into Greek annually as the 22 Arab countries combined, with a total population of more than 300 million, translate into Arabic.
According to a 2002 Council on Foreign Relations report, "In the 1950s, per-capita income in Egypt was similar to South Korea, whereas Egypt's per-capita income today is less than 20 percent of South Korea's. Saudi Arabia had a higher gross domestic product than Taiwan in the 1950s; today it is about 50 percent of Taiwan's."
As Dr. A.B. Zahlan, a Palestinian physicist has noted, "a regressive political culture is at the root of the Arab world's failure to fund scientific research or to sustain a vibrant, innovative community of scientists." He further asserted that "Egypt, in 1950, had more engineers than all of China." That is hardly the case today.

According to the 2005 UN Human Development Report, only two Egyptians per million people were granted patents (and for Syria the figure was zero), compared to 30 in Greece and 35 in Israel.

In the 2005 UN report the adult literacy rate for women aged 15 and older was 43.6 percent in Egypt and 74 percent in Syria, while for the world's top 20 countries it was nearly 100 percent.

And finally, according to the current Freedom House rankings, the only country in the Middle East that is listed as "free" is Israel. Every Arab country is at best "partly free" or, worse, "not free."

The sad truth is that it is precisely political oppression, intellectual suffocation and gender discrimination that explain, more than other factors, the chronic difficulties of the Middle East. To be sure, there exist no overnight or over-the-counter remedies for these maladies that would allow the region to unleash its vast potential, but they are at the heart of the problem. It would be illusory to think otherwise.

13 January, 2007 12:21  
Anonymous Delbarre said...

The difference between us and you We make fun of everything including ourselves You can’t take yourselves lightly

We respect all people even if they are different from us You want to kill whoever is different from you

We explore things You believe that you already know everything

We always try to know our positives and negatives You think you are full of positives and with no negatives

We are self conscious You are self absorbed

We invent things You use the things we invent

We feel sorry for you You hate us, are jealous of our progress

We forget that you exist until you create problems-again You are obsessed with your theories about us

We value the person, any person You value one person and only that person

We value the person for his or her work You value the person who comply with your values only

We take responsibility for our errors You blame us for your errors

We open our homes for you You think that we are stupid and you take advantage of that

13 January, 2007 12:23  
Blogger Leafless Eve said...

I agree with Delbarre... but most of the points u listed apply to any group that is deeply religious, Muslims just happen to be in the spotlight after 9/11. Organized Religion, mixed with ignorance is the cause of all this. On the other hand, greed is also the cause of the situation we have today, and by greed i mean the greedy superpowers that want to keep the Middleast in the dark, so it can profit. The same superpowers that are profiting from keeping Africa starved and diseased. Superpowers never solve any situation, they just "manage" it, and profit.

24 January, 2007 02:14  
Anonymous The Just Israeli said...

"Lebanese are heros not monsters who massacare in the name of Zionism"? Pretty high words for a morally bankrupt (and thanks to us also fiancially thank god) nation who celebrates a man who crushed the skull of a 4 year old on a rock as a national hero... If I were Lebanese (and thankfully I'm not. I'm on the higher moral ground as an Israeli and today more than ever can say that) I would be ashamed that these are my country's heros. You are right. Lebanese don't bomb women and children... they crush their heads on a rock

16 July, 2008 10:32  
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23 April, 2009 23:21  

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