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On Other Blogs: From Beirut to the Beltway

On Other Blogs: Jeha"s Nail - مسمار جحا

On Other Blogs: Blacksmiths of Lebanon

On Other Blogs:The Beirut Spring

Friday, February 15, 2008

What now ?

M14 showed that it can still draw a crowd, but a crowd does not a strategy make. What now - especially after this ?

Monday, February 04, 2008

On some old posts

The wonderful recent post by Jeha has spurred me to re-examine some of the old posts on this blog and I dug up some of this past analysis that remains dangerously valid to this day. When the posts were written things may have been salvagable... Now, I am not so sure...

From here, posted in April '07:

"The reason behind Hizbulla choosing to fight a losing battle is simple: the stakes are simply too high and eventhough the deck is stacked against them, Hizbulla have no choice (short of changing their very identity, ideology and MO) but to continue in their desperate tactics aimed at preventing the game from changing...
... Hizbulla is putting its willing Shia base in an increasingly precarious situation, as the Sunni leadership in March 14 is becoming more and more comfortable with its Sunni identity, that can be a dangerous game to play...".

and from here, posted in November '06:
"Syria: Another Sunni-Shiite civil war on another of their borders, with them on the Shiite side and 70% of their population being Sunni, is nothing short of signing their own death sentence. Moreover, in my opinion, their eggs are all in one basket. Killing the investigation and/or toppling the government and/or killing the March 14 leadership while trying to avoid a civil war that might be too much to handle and to check. In short desperate obstructionism... However the rationality of their decisions and the extent to which they are cornered might prove decisive in how crazy they might behave. Still history has shown them to be masters of brinkmanship without ever crossing the line. They realize that once the line is crossed, there is no turning back."

As well as (from the same post):
"The only danger in my opinion is in the alliance of Syria, Iran and Hizbullah, not because they want a civil war but more because they might not see an alternative to it. In the case of the Syrian regime, desparation might (in the medium to long-range future) lead them to a point where they might decide to bring Lebanon down with them, or to think that a burning Lebanon might for some reason salvage their anomalous control of Syria. In the case of Hizbulla, the fact that they have been pushed away from the borders with Israel and are separated from their arch-enemies by thousands of international and Lebanese troops might challenge their very "raison d'etre". Moreover, the fact that they are armed to the teeth with nowhere to use these weapons and no enemy to channel them against might lead to them redefining the enemy internally. We are already seeing signs of that"

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Soldiers, Civilians Arrested - Implications

Apparently, 6 civilians and 11 soldiers (including 3 officers) were arrested in the aftermath of the January 27th clashes between the army and protesters who had "spontaneously" rioted against electricity cuts. Investigations were launched after several protesters from Amal and Hizbullah had been killed in unclear circumstances with opposing Lebanese sides hurling accusations at one another and interestingly, at the army.

I for one am completely for the rule law and support the arrest of all individuals - military and civilian - involved in either breaking the law, abusing authority and endangering or taking lives.

What is disconcerting however is that there have been several brazen attacks on army barracks and checkpoints, which according to the army "serves Israel's interest" but somehow not Syria's.

I seriously hope - but clearly do not expect - that all these "incidents" be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice. The loss of life that occurred on that fateful day in January is more than deplorable and the nonchalance with which the Lebanese treat each other's lives and well being is more than despicable. This goes for the leaders whose rhetoric can only fuel violence, hatred and dangerous "spontaneous" riots. It goes for the army and security forces whose attempts to quell the riots are unprofressional and open the door to confrontations that lead to confusion and loss of life. It also goes for the Lebanese people who pimp themselves to the wills of domestic and foreign leaders at the expense of their own safety, prosperity, and well-being.

In any case, I can only wonder at the circumstances surrounding the investigation, from the threats and warnings that the opposition hurled at the army and its commander in chief, regarding his almost botched bid for presidency, to the spew of attacks against army baracks and outposts... It make me wonder about the kind of message being sent when some of the only perpetrators brought to justice in 2 years time are military personnel - while the people who attack the army roam free.

The oppostion, the government and especially both their supporters, not to mention the leadership of the army and security forces, should all pause to think about the consequences of their actions and about the strain they are placing not only on the fabric of Lebanese society but on the fabric of one of the supposedly secular institutions that is supposed to safeguard it - the army.