Bush Promises Support that Analysts Say He Cannot Give

Bush Will continue to support the Lebanese army, even though the army refuses to fight Hizbullah and prefers to cooperate with it.  March 14 is not convinced.

Christopher Dickey quotes George Shultz in 1984, when Reagan pulled US troops from Lebanon. Shultz said: "This is a kind of warfare, really, that is something different for us … We have to improve our intelligence capability, and we have to think through how, within the concept of the rule of law, which we hold so dear, we can take a more aggressive posture toward what is a worldwide and very undesirable trend."

Paul Salem writes that, "The timing of the government's two decisions, which HA used as an excuse to launch its military operations, left many observers puzzled. The government apparently realized that the decisions were momentous and might cause a strong reaction: the session dragged on for eleven hours of heated discussion."

Some commentators had believed that Jumblatt dragged the Siniora government into its confrontation with Hizbullah. This turns out not to be true. The government knew that it was taking a momentous step in confronting Hizbullah's security apparatus.

Sami Moubayed goes into greater detail about "The Miscalculation"

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
_________________________________________________________

For Immediate Release                        May 12, 2008

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

I strongly condemn Hizballah's recent efforts, and those of their foreign sponsors in Tehran and Damascus, to use violence and intimidation to bend the government and people of Lebanon to their will. The United States will continue to firmly support the Government of Lebanon, led by Prime Minister Siniora, against this effort to undermine the hard-fought gains in sovereignty and independence the Lebanese people have made in recent years. The international community will not allow the Iranian and Syrian regimes, via their proxies, to return Lebanon to foreign domination and control.  To ensure the safety and security of the people of Lebanon, the United States will continue its assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces to ensure they are able to defend the Lebanese Government and safeguard its institutions.

It is critical that the international community come together to assist the Lebanese people in their hour of need. I plan to consult with regional leaders on my upcoming trip to the Middle East to coordinate efforts to support the Lebanese Government and implement U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701, among others, which seek to bolster Lebanon's sovereignty against external efforts at destabilization and interference. The Lebanese people have sacrificed much for the sake of their freedom, and the United State s will continue to stand with them against this latest assault on their independence and security.

AHMADINEJAD: ISRAEL TO BE “SWEPT AWAY SOON''
2008-05-13 08:45 (New York)

Tehran (dpa) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that Israel would “be soon swept away'' from the Palestinian Territories by the Palestinians.

It is the second time within less than three years that the Iranian president predicted the eradication of the Jewish state. The first time was in 2005 when Ahmadinejad hoped that Israel would be eradicated from the Middle East map.

“This terrorist and criminal state is backed by foreign powers, but this regime would soon be swept away by the Palestinians,'' Ahmadinejad said in a press conference in Tehran. Referring to worldwide celebrations for the 60th anniversary of Israel's foundation, he said that “it would be futile to hold a birthday ceremony for something which is already dead.''

“As far as the regional countries are concerned, this regime does not exist,'' Ahmadinejad added. The Iranian president said last week that the anniversary feasts could not save this “rotten and stinking corpse.''

Ahmadinejad caused international outrage in the past by hoping for the eradication of Israel, the relocation of the Jewish state to Europe or Alaska and questioning the historic dimensions of the Holocaust. dpa fm wjh

Ray Close – Former CIA analyst and Lebanon hand

The key question:  Is the Bush administration supporting constructive compromise, or are they pushing the Siniora government to stick relentlessly to a maximalist position that is almost certainly beyond its capability to sustain, and which could quite easily drive Lebanon toward a renewal of civil war.  I have a nagging fear that uppermost in Bush's mind is his determination to find something that he can claim as a clear-cut victory over "terrorism" before he leaves the world's stage.  In that mood, the notion of supporting a compromise solution in Lebanon between a "pro-American" government and a "terrorist" organization (Hizballah), a surrogate of Iran and Syria, is anathema to the Bush-Cheney crowd, and may be tempting them to use American influence in exactly the wrong way in this crisis.  Can any of us really imagine George W. Bush endorsing what Rami Khouri visualizes as "the first American-Iranian joint political governance system in the Arab World?".  Rami Khouri is exactly right when he correctly characterizes that outcome as "a huge defeat for the United States and its failed diplomatic approach that seeks to confront, battle and crush the Islamist-nationalists throughout the region."  However, Rami Khouri is equally correct in declaring that this would be an ideal outcome, in that a solution based on a more equitable balance of power within Lebanon might set a constructive precedent that would by its example contribute to achieving some level of political stability in Iraq and between rival factions in Palestine.  This would be a magnificent result of an otherwise ugly crisis. 

Unfortunately, however, the situation reminds me (with mixed bitterness and guilt) so much of the mistakes we made (under Eisenhower-Dulles orders) in 1957-58, when we attempted by hook or by crook (mostly crook) to push Lebanon off its traditional position of neutrality in inter-Arab affairs and to become an openly committed partner of the United States in opposing post-colonial Arab nationalism — under the contrived justification of resisting "international communism".  That ill-advised effort laid the foundations of the future 1975-90 civil war.

This time, I hope we don't make the same heavy-handed and short-sighted mistakes all over again.  And let's hope that Rami Khouri's vision proves to be realistic and achieveable.  We've had enough bad news!
Ray

Slaughterhouse Beirut
Lebanon's chances for meaningful reconstruction are diminishing by the day. And despite Bush's bravado, it's going to be the same in Iraq.
Christopher Dickey
Newsweek Web Exclusive
May 13, 2008

If you want to know what Iraq will look like 25 years from now, look at Lebanon today. The similarities and differences—but mainly the similarities—raise a lot of painful memories and questions for
Americans.

This fact hit me once again when I was talking to Mike Sheehan, who is one of the more clear-eyed analysts of terrorism and the way we react to it. The subject came up of Beirut as it is now, a bloody mess, and as it was when Mike and I first focused on it a quarter-century ago, when it was even bloodier.

Back then President Ronald Reagan waded into the Levantine quagmire, quickly understood that he had made a big miscalculation, and withdrew. "Some counterterrorism experts argue the Reagan pullout from Lebanon was a mistake and emboldened future terrorists," says Sheehan. "I never bought this analysis, then or now. I think it was one of the smartest things Reagan did during his tenure—to get out of the Lebanese civil war. To stay in any war to 'make a statement' has never made sense to me. You have to have well-defined interests and achievable goals when you put American soldiers in harm's way; both seemed to be missing in Lebanon. Reagan recognized it and withdrew."

Sheehan believes symbolism is a major factor in the fight against terrorists only if it's accompanied by the systematic elimination of the terrorists' operational cells and infrastructure. (Hence the title of his recent book, "Crush the Cell" [Vintage, 2008], which I wrote about last week.) Sheehan is not arguing that a Lebanon-style pullout from Iraq, which is a different war in a different time, would be so sensible now. President George W. Bush will probably make that point many times during his upcoming nonvictory tour of the Middle East.

And yet, whether the United States stays in Iraq or goes, "Lebanonization" is the most likely result: a foundering half-failed state where neighbors fight proxy battles through sectarian militias and through the many factions in a government that is unable to govern at all. There will be times of war when life seems to go on almost as normal, and times of peace when it seems not to. There will be spurts of investment, maybe even tourism. There will be festivals of democratic excitement. And then sudden storms of savage violence will sweep through the streets of the capital, only to subside, then erupt in smaller cities, and subside. And erupt again. And so it goes, to borrow the old refrain from Kurt Vonnegut's novel "Slaughterhouse Five." If the world pays any attention at all, the span will be brief. The fighting and the failures to govern will have gone on so long that nothing seems new in that news.

The chances for meaningful reconstruction diminish by the day in such a place. The brains and talent needed to build the home country will, for the most part, be building other countries, having left over the years as much out of frustration as fear. The best, lacking all conviction that things can improve, will have established their own families in Abu Dhabi or New York—wherever there seems some modicum of sanity and a real commitment to the future, not just an endless settling of past scores. The worst, filled with passionate intensity and armed with rocket-propelled grenades, will rule the streets. As it is in Beirut, so it will be in Baghdad.

Even many of the players in Iraq and Lebanon are similar: Syria, Iran, ferocious fighters in the mountains (the Druze and Christians in Lebanon, the Kurds in Iraq), competing and combative Shiite factions (Amal and Hizbullah in Lebanon; the Dawa, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council and Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army in Iraq).

If we Americans had stayed in Lebanon, could we have made a difference? It would be nice to think so, but we didn't really have the option.

The U.S. Marines went into the country in 1982 to help Israel usher out the Palestine Liberation Organization, then went in again when Israel's Christian militia allies massacred defenseless Palestinian civilians at Beirut's Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. A young political officer from the U.S. embassy, Ryan Crocker, was one of the first outsiders to see the carnage up close. Amid the stench of decaying flesh he counted 106 bodies, 27 of them women and children. But this was "by no means a complete figure," he said in a cable to Washington dictated over his car radio. Washington decided the atrocity demanded some sort of American solution. But what sort? Nobody was sure. But in went the Marines again.

It turned out the Palestinians were far from the only fighters in Lebanon, and Iran nurtured one new group, the Shiite Party of God, or Hizbullah, that proved especially effective. Its recruits were willing to commit suicide to kill their foreign enemies: the Israelis occupying the southern part of Lebanon, the French who had come in as part of the same deployment as the Americans trying to stabilize the situation, and the Americans themselves. The Party of God blew up the U.S. Embassy, it blew up the Marine barracks, it blew up the U.S. Embassy again.

The Reagan administration's exit strategy from Lebanon was to train up units of the Lebanese Army to act as effective keepers of the peace. But the Lebanese Sixth Brigade, responsible for most of the capital, was mostly made up of Shiites. In February 1984 the entire brigade, in effect, joined the ranks of one of the militias. And the Marines at that point had no choice but to get back on their boats.

The critical differences in Iraq are that Americans have stayed much longer already, fought much harder, and died in much greater numbers. Iraq is bigger. It is even more complicated. And it has oil, which means, especially given today's markets, that it is vital to the world's economy. The Bush administration, moreover, has created an Iraqi military that is incapable of defending itself from direct aggression by others in the neighborhood, whether Iran or Israel, Turkey or Saudi Arabia, should any of those countries want to pick a fight or stake out a little territory. So at the same time that Iraq has become America's curse, it has become its dependency.

As the United States had no choice but to leave Lebanon, it has created a situation in which it has no choice but to stay in Iraq.

That's why Crocker, now the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, and Gen. David Petraeus and the other professionals trying to salvage the situation there are always so guarded in their progress reports. The situation can indeed get worse. The patient's on life support, and if Congress pulls the plug it will probably die, but we'll still be stuck in the room with the decaying corpse.

One of the more reasonable prescriptions for Iraq I've heard lately was on a panel with Colin Kahl, a political scientist at Georgetown University. His catch phrase was, as opposed to victory, sustainable stability: contain or crush the remnants of Al Qaeda in Iraq, try to keep the state from collapsing altogether or becoming an Iranian puppet and prevent genocidal violence. And if you can do all those things, whether by negotiation with Iran, twisting the arms of Iraqi politicians, using troops on the ground or threatening to pull them out, then that's about as much as can be expected.

All of which sounds as if we'll be fighting for a long time just to achieve the kind of painful stalemate that emerged in Lebanon when we left after a mere 18 months on the ground. But I'm not so sure I'd give as much credit to Reagan's wisdom as Mike Sheehan does.

On the day the last Marine combat unit pulled out of Lebanon in 1984, a television interviewer asked then-Secretary of State George Shultz if that meant a victory for the bad guys. He could not but equivocate: "This is a kind of warfare, really, that is something different for us … We have to improve our intelligence capability, and we have to think through how, within the concept of the rule of law, which we hold so dear, we can take a more aggressive posture toward what is a worldwide and very undesirable trend." That was 24 years ago, and we're still thinking it through.

In the WaPo, here: March 14 — "U.S. statements on the crisis have been too weak" (Thanks "friday-lunch-club")

"…In an earlier interview with the al-Arabiya television network, Bush said he personally admired Siniora. "We will help him," Bush said. …. One March 14 politician, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, called for "tactical strikes" against Syria to pressure the government to rein in Hezbollah….. members of a coalition known as March 14 — said U.S. statements on the crisis have been too weak and called for more pressure on Hezbollah and its Syrian backers. The politicians said they felt abandoned by the United States…..
.
The Americans are telling March 14 they have to resist," said one Western diplomat in Beirut. "But they're not bringing much operational support."
"We're not asking them to fight our fight for us," said Mouawad, the minister. "But at least don't let us be slaughtered by total indifference."
Andrew Lee Butter, in TIME, here
"…..Jumblatt, a top American ally, is under virtual house arrest. After the lightning speed with which opposition Hizballah fighters defeated government supporters in a six hour battle on Thursday — only to vanish a few hours later……"I am a hostage now in my home in Beirut," he said over the telephone to his rival Nabih Berri, …."Tell [Hizballah leader] Sayeed Hassan Nasrallah I lost the battle and he wins. So let's sit and talk to reach a compromise. All that I ask is your protection."…..
…. Jumblatt is quickly coming to grips with the new political landscape. "The U.S. has failed in Lebanon and they have to admit it,"

Lebanon’s prolonged political crisis erupted in violence last week following the dismissal by the Lebanese government of an official close to Hizbollah and the launch an investigation into the organization’s telecommunications network. Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, outlines the key actors of Lebanon’s worst violence since the end of its civil war in 1990 and their aims.

Key Conclusions:
• Hizbollah’s immediate goals are to force the government to rescind its controversial decisions and establish a unity government with increased authority for Hizbollah. Over the long-term, they could demand on a larger share of power for Lebanon’s Shi’a.
• Hizbollah is not eager to elect a new president immediately. They hope to stall until after new parliamentary elections (which must be held before June 2009) in the hopes of having more say in the choice of candidate.
• The army is under intense criticism for failing to stop the violence but argues it must remain neutral or risk splitting along sectarian lines.
• Contrary to a similar escalation in December 2006, Iran has not interceded to halt the violence. This could be the result of the latest round of Security Council resolutions and increased hostile rhetoric by the United States. It could also reflect Iranian concerns about the possibility of a Syrian–Israeli agreement.

“The situation in Lebanon remains extremely tense. An Arab League ministerial delegation is to arrive to help negotiate an end to the crisis. The next days will indicate whether the opposition will escalate and widen its military assaults, or whether Lebanon is entering a lull in which discussions and political bargaining will come to the fore,” concludes Salem.. [Read the whole report – Hizbollah Attempts a Coup d’État]

Lebanon’s Hariri vows no surrender to Hezbollah
Tue May 13, 2008 12:35pm EDT
By Alistair Lyon, Special Correspondent

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s Sunni Muslim leader Saad al-Hariri pledged on Tuesday there would be no political surrender to what he called a bid by Hezbollah and its Syrian and Iranian backers to impose their will on the nation by force.

The Shi’ite Hezbollah group and its opposition allies have routed supporters of the Sunni-led government in Beirut and hills to the east in fighting that has pushed Lebanon to the brink of a new civil war.

“They simply are demanding that we surrender, they want Beirut to raise white flags… This is impossible,” Hariri told a news conference in his first public appearance since Hezbollah swept through Sunni-dominated areas of the capital last week.

“They will not be able to obtain Saad al-Hariri’s signature … on a deed to surrender to the Iranian and Syrian regimes.”

Lebanon experienced its calmest day since violence broke out on May 7 after U.S.-backed Prime Minister Fouad Siniora outlawed Hezbollah’s communications network and fired Beirut airport’s security chief, who is close to the Shi’ite group.

Comments (293)


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251. Shai said:

The leadership in Israel is starting to prepare public opinion to what’s coming next – an operation into Gaza. Hamas will be given an ultimatum soon – “calm” under Israeli terms (probably including the release to Egypt of Gilad Shalit), or face a massive ground operation. Hamas will, naturally, reject this one-sided offer. And, unlike the last 4-day operation with “only” 120 dead, this time it’s going to look much closer to Lebanon 2006. Sorry to deliver here my “doom and gloom”, but I’m afraid our politicians and generals are once again digging a hole for themselves from which it’ll be impossible to escape. They’ll have to go fight, once again. As I’ve said many times, this pressure-cooker that is the Middle East can only take it so much. Something has to give, and it seems Israeli patience with our impotent leadership is coming to an end. Instead of reaching out to the one party that is desperately calling out for peace (Syria), we’re going to go please Bush and his neocon buddies, by doing our share in GWOT…

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May 15th, 2008, 7:24 pm

 

252. Alex said:

Majed and Ausamaa

Please check today’s post.

http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=715

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May 15th, 2008, 7:36 pm

 

253. ausamaa said:

Shai

“And, unlike the last 4-day operation with “only” 120 dead, this time it’s going to look much closer to Lebanon 2006.”

Do you mean that the IDF will be deated in Gaza as it was defeated at the hands of Hizbullah in Lebanon in 2006?

Or are you actually refering to the scale of destruction and the number of Palestinian Civilian Casualties that would result?

Please take my word, any such operation would be as Painfull to Israel as it would be to the Palestinans. Moreover, it would backfire in many ways beginning with galvanizing the Palestinans in Gaza and the West Bank and in futher erroding the authority of Mohammed Abbas and in a wider world critisem of Israel.

And what would Israel gain?

We have been down this road maby times before and what does Israel expect to show for it?

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May 15th, 2008, 7:37 pm

 

254. Qifa Nabki said:

Ausamaa said:

How about considering the more appropriate notion of changing the name of the Future Movement to the Past Movement?

This from the man who thinks Baathism is cutting edge. What a laugh!

Ausamaa habibi why don’t you stop getting your thrills from Lebanese victories and start focusing on rebranding Baathism, so that when we finally see that Bibo-Bibi peace deal in a few years, you’ll know how to explain it.

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May 15th, 2008, 7:39 pm

 

255. norman said:

Help Lebanon: Talk to Syria and Iran

Thursday, May 15, 2008
President George W. Bush claims that Lebanon’s “Cedar Revolution” in 2005, which ended 30 years of Syrian military occupation, was a triumph of his policy of promoting democracy in the Middle East. Given Lebanon’s history, that was always naïve.

Lebanon is now in deep trouble, and Bush, who will be meeting Prime Minister Fouad Siniora in Egypt on Sunday, has no real plan to help overcome the crisis.

Some calm has returned to Beirut in recent days, but the country remains frighteningly close to another civil war. One hundred thousand Lebanese – out of fewer than 4 million – died in the last civil war.

Responsible Lebanese leaders – Maronite, Sunni, Shiite and Druse – must do everything they can to find a peaceful exit, and the United States must do a lot more to help.

The current crisis began last week when Siniora’s government – which unites large sections of the Sunni, Druse and Maronite communities – tried to shut down a telecommunications and surveillance network run by the militant group Hezbollah. That would have been a welcome reassertion of governmental authority, except that the government does not have the political and military clout to pull it off.

Hezbollah, which enjoys broad backing from the Shiites, Lebanon’s largest and poorest community, as well as Iran and Syria, fought back. With the Lebanese Army standing aside, Hezbollah pushed pro-government militias out of most areas of Muslim West Beirut and other parts of the country.

The government, unfortunately, had little choice but to yield on the telecommunications issue. Flush with its military gains, Hezbollah may demand more than Siniora can grant without forfeiting all legitimacy.

What is needed now is a compromise, which only the Lebanese Army – the one institution that represents all of the factions in the country – seems in a position to broker.

The army has finally said that it will do whatever is necessary to restore and maintain order.

A settlement needs to address a host of divisive issues, including the stalemate over Lebanon’s vacant presidency. It must restore a measure of the government’s lost authority. And to keep Hezbollah in line, the deal should be guaranteed by Iran and Syria.

Bush’s idea for helping Lebanon is to give more aid to the Lebanese Army. The army needs more firepower, but that alone will not make it any more eager to take on Hezbollah.

If Bush really wants to help Siniora he will need to talk with Hezbollah’s masters in Syria and Iran – about the risks they court by promoting instability in Lebanon, and the rewards they might reap in return for a more constructive approach.

Bush’s stubborn refusal to negotiate with either Syria or Iran has weakened American influence throughout the region.

Lebanon’s situation is dire. Bush will need to do a lot more if he wants to help salvage the Cedar Revolution.

——————————————————————————–
Notes:

——————————————————————————–
Copyright © 2008 The International Herald Tribune | http://www.iht.com

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May 15th, 2008, 7:45 pm

 

256. Shai said:

Ausamaa,

Of course Israel will gain nothing by such an operation. But when an impotent leadership feels frustrated, and cannot take its head out of its a** and change strategy, it often searches for ways to let out steam which, in this case, means fighting Hamas. For the past 7 years, Israeli population centers in the South have been shelled on a daily basis. Less Israelis have died in those 2,500 days, than Lebanese in a single day in summer 2006. In a massive ground operation into Gaza, the ratio will still remain about 30-40 to 1, in favor of Israel. It will not be as painful to Israel as it will be for the Palestinians. I don’t think Abu Mazen’s authority needs to be eroded any more – it already lacks majority support.

The point about being “down this road” many times before doesn’t seem to cause anyone here to change their paths, does it? Maybe that’s why, according to the Bible, it took my people coming out of Egypt 40 years to cross a mere 200 kilometers… they kept going down the same road over and over again… 🙁

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May 15th, 2008, 7:49 pm

 

257. Nour said:

AIG,

Again, you know nothing about the SSNP, but proceed to make baseless claims and assertions and deem yourself qualified to do so.

1. The quote you provided is taken from the Principles of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, which were written in 1936, not in the 1920’s. And even if they were written in the 1920’s, during that time Jews were being shipped to Palestine from Europe in order to create a settlement of Jews that would allow for the creation of an exclusively Jewish state there. Remember that the Balfour Declaration was made in 1917. And if you read further, Saadeh said “it is the duty of the Syrian Social Nationalists to repulse the immigration of this people with all their might.” In other words, he was referring to the Jews coming from Europe.

2. The above quote is only one portion of the explanation of the Fourth Principle. In that same principle, Saadeh states:

“This principle would redeem Syria from the blood bigotries which are apt to cause the neglect of national interests. For those Syrians who believe or feel that they are of Aramaic extraction would no longer be actuated to fan Aramaic blood loyalty , so long as the principle of Social Nationalist unity and the equality of civic, political and social rights and duties are guaranteed, and no ethnic or racial discrimination in Syria is made. Similarly, those Syrians who claim to descend from a Phoenician (Canaanite), Arab, or Crusader stock, would no longer have allegiance but to their Syrian community. Thus would genuine national consciousness arise.”

3. You claim that recognizing that the large Jewish settlement in Syria at the time could not be reconciled with the concept of Syrian Nationalism is racist, while finding nothing wrong with declaring that no one other than Jews can be Israeli.

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May 15th, 2008, 7:50 pm

 

258. Naji said:

You know, Haykal was a working journalist during the Nakba…!! Fascinating to watch/listen to a first-hand eyewitness account by a well-educated, well-connected, well-informed, erudite type…!!

QN,
I see that the araq has already been down-graded to a beer…! Better take you up on that real quick, before we start talking about a Pepsi…!!
Damn…, that HA victory is showing its effects real fast…!
One must be careful what one whishes for, I suppose… 😉

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May 15th, 2008, 7:53 pm

 

259. abraham said:

Qifa, I criticize SA on the basis of the radical Islam it exports around the globe, its cozy relationship with the US and the ramifications of that relationship, it’s abhorrent “royalty”, its collusion with America and Israel to foment instability in the ME for its own selfish purposes, etc.

I don’t criticize Iran because I perceive them to be taking actions which are overall beneficial to the ME (opposing US hegemony).

Once Iran starts to take actions that are detrimental to the ME then I will start criticizing them.

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May 15th, 2008, 7:57 pm

 

260. Shai said:

Naji,

I hope for all of us that HA doesn’t get overly confident these next few months and, god-forbid, miscalculate once again vis-a-vis Israel. There are plenty here waiting to settle an old score, you know… Then again, HA’s only legitimacy for continuing to be armed is the resistance. What do you think? If there’s a massive ground operation into Gaza, and many innocent Palestinians die, will HA join in support in some fashion? I know many here dismiss this idea, but I don’t…

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May 15th, 2008, 8:00 pm

 

261. Nour said:

Majhool,

The problem is that you do not know to which group I belong, but have made conclusions about me and proceeded to attack me based on those conclusions. And I’m really happy for you that you found a friend in AIG to attack your fellow Syrian, but this is essentially the problem with most of the overseas so-called Syrian opposition.

As for your accusations about my position regarding the latest events in Lebanon, I never claimed that the Opposition had the right to carry arms to impose its views on the rest of the Lebanese. I maintained that they had a right to take action against aggression by the loyalist militias. It was those militias who were sending their snipers to shoot at opposition demonstrators, which had previously resulted in the death of many opposition members. You have never condemned the loyalists’ use of arms against the opposition, but you happen to find it appalling that the opposition would dare respond. In addition, I have not seen any of you supporters of the “Cedar Revolution” condemn the barbaric, revolting actions of the FM militias in Halba, which disturbs your image of Assad and Nasrallah being all-evil, while the pro-American factions in the Arab World are all-good.

The problem with you is that you do not offer different ideas or counter-arguments. You merely engage in personal attacks and character assassination. As I said, I am more than happy to engage in an intellectual debate, but I will not accept your straw man arguments and your attempts at twisting and distorting my beliefs and ideas.

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May 15th, 2008, 8:00 pm

 

262. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Nour,
Saadeh was a raving antisemite. He meant all Jews not only those coming from Europe. The research is clear on this. At least you are ashamed to be part of a racist party.

As for 2, do you really believe in that? Would you accept a US law that said that as an American you cannot have any allegiance to Syria? You are digging your own hole.

As for 3 are you joking? I have no problems with Arab Israelis or Vietnamese Israelis (Israel took in 200 boat people) or whatever.

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May 15th, 2008, 8:01 pm

 

263. Nour said:

AIG,

I don’t really care what you think about Saadeh, as you are a raving Jewish racist. You pathetic attempts at looking more sympathetic to other peoples is laughable to say the least. You have already stated here that Israel defines its nationality as being JEWISH. In other words only Jews can be Israeli, and you have no problem with that. You are here merely to attack Syria and anyone who dares stand up to Israel, while hiding your rabid hatred of our people behind your alleged promotion of “democracy.”

As for me, I am not at all ashamed to be a Social Nationalist, as I carry Saadeh’s philosophy proudly. I engage in debates and arguments with all sorts of people about my beliefs and have no problem expressing them. If anything, you are the one trying to hide your true intentions behind this ridiculous call for worldwide democracy when we all know this to be a lie. And as I stated earlier, not once did you mention the barbaric acts of the loyalist militias in Lebanon because you don’t want it to disturb the image you are trying to paint of the region, which really goes to show the complete lack of genuineness you have in your alleged promotion of human rights and democratic values. You are merely promoting complete Jewish hegemony over the region while pretending to care in the least bit about our people.

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May 15th, 2008, 8:13 pm

 

264. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Nour,
You cannot wait 5 minutes to play the traitor card on Majhool?
Majhool is a pro-democracy Syrian unlike you that support a dictator. It is natural that on some things he would agree with a pro-democracy Israeli and disagree with you.

And what do you mean “you will not accept his arguments”? Of course you will, because that is the essence of freedom of speech. You don’t have to like his arguments of course. Why don’t you complain to Alex and have Majhool banned? That is the way some dictatorially inclined Syrians like to deal with people that don’t agree with them.

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May 15th, 2008, 8:14 pm

 

265. Nour said:

QN,

To answer your above comment, I don’t criticize Saudi Arabia because I believe they have an agenda for the region; I criticize them because I believe they are puppets of the United States who are actively promoting the US/Israeli agenda. I don’t believe Iran is a US puppet.

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May 15th, 2008, 8:16 pm

 

266. Nour said:

AIG,

I didn’t call Majhool a traitor so don’t put words in my mouth. This is exactly what Alex is talking about when he criticizes your Netanyahu tactics. As for your promotion of democracy, you know what I think about that.

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May 15th, 2008, 8:18 pm

 

267. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Nour,
Yes, I am promoting Jewish hegemony. Are you serious? This just shows your obsession with Jews.

Now read slowly for there will be a test: Israel is the country for the Jewish people like Hungary is the country for the Hungarian people. But that does not mean that a non-Jew cannot be a citizen of Israel just like a non-Hungarian can be a citizen of Hungary.

The SSNP REJECTS Jews, just because they are Jews, as citizens of Syria. If this is not racist, I do not know what is.

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May 15th, 2008, 8:20 pm

 

268. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Nour,
You did not call Majhool a traitor?
You wrote:
“And I’m really happy for you that you found a friend in AIG to attack your fellow Syrian, but this is essentially the problem with most of the overseas so-called Syrian opposition.”

This is exactly what you were implying in the sentence above.

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May 15th, 2008, 8:23 pm

 

269. ausamaa said:

Qifa Nabki,

Hayatee, you know who the Victorious ones are alligned with. That is a double thrill. Wouldnt’t you think so. And dont worry, once the New Middle East Project is really dead and buried, we will see an acceleration of openness, reforme and advancement in Syria. If a just peace for all comes along. The more the merrier.

Ok, and so that we dont add insult to injury, may I suggest to you that we stay away from the Lebanese Feb 14/ Opposition issue for forty days until the Feb 14 and Saudi political mourning period is over??!!

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May 15th, 2008, 8:24 pm

 

270. Nour said:

AIG,

Stop putting words in people’s mouths. This is a typical zionist tactic. I didn’t call Majhool a traitor nor do I think of him as such.

As for your pathetic attempts at justifying your Jewish racism, it’s nonsensical. Under Israeli law one cannot obtain citizenship unless they are JEWISH.

“Israel’s nationality law defines the terms through which one can be granted citizenship of the state of Israel. Israel is, by its own definition, the state of the Jewish nation, and its leadership believes that one of its primary objectives is keeping a Jewish majority in Israel. Thus, Israeli nationality law is created with a bias in favor of those with Jewish heritage. Israeli law also follows jus sanguinis as the primary mechanism through which one may obtain citizenships, rather than jus soli.”

So Israel follows the right of BLOOD as the primary mechanism through which one may obtain citizenship. In other words, to be an Israeli citizen, you have to prove that you are of Jewish blood. Very civilized indeed.

Finally, you are again ignoring that your favorite loyalist militias were committing barbaric acts in Lebanon against the opposition. Why don’t you take a clear stand on this issue, or is it not good propaganda for you?

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May 15th, 2008, 8:30 pm

 

271. Qifa Nabki said:

Ausamaa

I’m happy staying away from it, but since your only mode of discourse is shamateh (whether your “side” wins or loses!) I’m not sure I want to be the one who imposes silence on you for forty days!

يالله مبسط على حسابنا … نحن قادرين على الثقل …

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May 15th, 2008, 8:37 pm

 

272. Shai said:

Nour,

It is indeed a catch-22 situation. Until Israelis live in peace with the Arabs for some time, and lose their innate paranoia and fear of Arabs’ true intentions, they will not be able to consider Israel with a non-Jewish majority. And, until Israel renounces its Jewish-state identity, Arabs will not be able to live in peace with Israel. So what do we do? Neither side seems capable of either changing itself, or its counterpart.

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May 15th, 2008, 8:39 pm

 

273. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Nour,
You are plain lying. You do not need to be a Jew to obtain Israeli citizenship. In general, just marry an Israeli and you can become Israeli. You do not need to be a Jew. True there is a bias towards people who are Jewish just like in Switzerland there is a bias towards those that are Swiss and in Hungary there is a bias towards those that are Hungarian. In other countries it is ok, but you don’t like it in israel.

Let me repeat:
The SSNP REJECTS Jews, just because they are Jews, as citizens of Syria. If this is not racist, I do not know what is.

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May 15th, 2008, 8:42 pm

 

274. Nour said:

AIG,

You are the one that’s lying. I have talked to people who obtained their Israeli citizenship. One of them had a little trouble because her father couldn’t prove he was Jewish. Again, Israel follows the right of BLOOD principle, whereas the SSNP rejects that as a basis of nationality.

And no, Saadeh never stated Jews cannot be Syrian because they are born Jewish. He said the large Jewish settlement in Syria cannot be reconciled with the concept of Syrian nationalism, which is true. Did you come to Syria with any intention of melting into the local population? NO. You came to create an exclusively Jewish state, period. So your nonsensical argument is getting you nowhere.

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May 15th, 2008, 8:52 pm

 

275. Nour said:

Oh, and again, what’s your position on the loyalist militias’ barbaric acts. Is that in the spirit of the democracy you are promoting?

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May 15th, 2008, 8:53 pm

 

276. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Nour,
I condemn any senseless murder, why would you even bother asking me? Anyone that was reponsible there should be brought to justice.

Are you claiming that if a non-Jew marries an Israeli Jew, the non-Jew will not obtain an Israeli citizenship? OF COURSE he or she will. Poof, all your theory shown to be a lie. Non-Jews can become Israeli citizens. As for your friend, try getting a Japanese citizenship without proving that both your parents were Japanese. The Israeli law is much more lenient. You only need one parent. But of course, your racism makes you see only a problem with the Israeli law.

The SSNP had the same position about Jews that lived in Syria for hundreds and thousands of years. Even those communities could not become Syrian citizens. Look, all the racist ideology and is out there for anyone to read. I am glad you are ashamed of it, but the facts are just what they are.

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May 15th, 2008, 9:13 pm

 

277. Alex said:

AnotherIsraeliGuy said: Edit

Nour,
Saadeh was a raving antisemite. He meant all Jews not only those coming from Europe. The research is clear on this. At least you are ashamed to be part of a racist party.

Alright, do me a favor .. go back to your research group at camera.org and find a couple or reputable (not known pro Israel) sources that provide a convincing argument that Saadeh was “a raving antisemite” then come back here and post them for Nour to read and try to counter those arguments

Until then, I think we don’t need to read few more “oh yes Saades was a raving antisemite” assurances from you, unless if you tell us that you wrote three books and published five papers in academic journals on Saadeh’s life and ideology.

I will start deleting.

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May 15th, 2008, 9:34 pm

 

278. abraham said:

Naji, I totally agree the treatment of Palestinians inside Lebanon is atrocious and shameful, and the fact that sectarian issues are the driving force towards prejudice against them is even worse, but it doesn’t come close to how the Israelis treat them.

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May 15th, 2008, 9:37 pm

 

279. abraham said:

AIG, I’m really getting tired of your racist, bigoted, lying, illogical comments. Nour quite plainly dispelled the nonsense you proffer yet you continue to ply your garbage as if you have a monopoly on truth or something. You also, like a typical zionist, don’t know the definition of “race” or “people”. Israel is a zionist state, but zionism is not a race. Israel has Arabs who are Christians and Muslims and Jews, and it has European Jews, and it has Druze, and it has others in the mix as well, so to keep up with this fallacy that it is a “Jewish state” is idiocy. If you are going to insist it is a “Jewish state” then you must also admit the obvious corollary and that is that it’s a racist state as well. Any state that insists on maintaining an ethnic balance is a racist/bigoted state. Everyone knows that you can’t just marry an Israeli to get citizenship. That’s a load of Grade AAA Pure Bullshit and you know it, so shut up about it already. You lost that argument.

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May 15th, 2008, 9:56 pm

 

280. abraham said:

And Nour did not call Majhool a traitor, nor could anyone but the most linguistically retarded consider the sentence of Nour’s you quoted to imply that he was calling him such. This is why no one likes you here. You are a big sack of smelly nonsense.

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May 15th, 2008, 9:59 pm

 

281. abraham said:

AIG avers:

Are you claiming that if a non-Jew marries an Israeli Jew, the non-Jew will not obtain an Israeli citizenship? OF COURSE he or she will. Non-Jews can become Israeli citizens.

Then contradicts himself:

The Israeli law is much more lenient. You only need one parent.

So, do you need to be able to prove you have “Jewish blood” (whatever that is) before you can become an Israeli or not?

Tell me this: if a Muslim Palestinian living in the West Bank marries a Jewish woman living in Tel Aviv, will he become an Israeli? This is the ultimate test of your honesty and your knowledge of your own country, so answer wisely.

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May 15th, 2008, 10:04 pm

 

282. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Abraham,
You only need ONE Israeli parent to become Israeli not like 2 in Japan? Get it? This is different than the marriage case, it is the case of citizenship for children.

As for your stupid question, the answer is yes, he will become an Israeli. Until recently even if he married a non-Jewish one he would become Israeli but since this has been abused the laws changed.

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May 15th, 2008, 10:14 pm

 

283. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

And just to explain why the law changed:
The amendments to the Nationality and Entry into Israel Law evolved from a measure taken by Israel’s Interior Ministry following the March 31, 2002 bombing of a restaurant in Haifa. A Hamas terrorist, Shadi Tubasim, carried out the suicide bombing, which killed fourteen others and wounded more than forty.19 Tubasim had married an Israeli Arab, and, through the family reunification procedure, had become an Israeli citizen.20 He was able to travel freely throughout the country with his Israeli identity card.

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May 15th, 2008, 10:22 pm

 

284. Majhool said:

ABRAHAM,

I disagree with your characterization of AIG, this is not a beauty contest, we can all take sides and through objectivity out of the window, I hope we don’t.

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May 15th, 2008, 10:51 pm

 

285. abraham said:

You only need ONE Israeli parent to become Israeli not like 2 in Japan?

What? You mean Israelis reproduce asexually? That explains a lot.

And don’t you mean Jewish?

As for your stupid question, the answer is yes, he will become an Israeli. Until recently even if he married a non-Jewish one he would become Israeli but since this has been abused the laws changed.

So is it yes or no? First you say yes, then in the following sentence you say no.

The answer is NO. Why do you have to couch your words in linguistic manure?

‘Racist’ marriage law upheld by Israel

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
Monday, 15 May 2006

Israel’s High Court has narrowly upheld a law denying Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza married to Israeli citizens the right to live in the country with their spouses.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/racist-marriage-law-upheld-by-israel-478291.html

As far as your laws, Israel has lots of pretty and flowery laws that are all for naught if you aren’t Jewish, so why even bother quoting them?

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May 15th, 2008, 10:54 pm

 

286. Naji said:

وداعاً أيّها الطائف
خالد صاغيّة
http://www.al-akhbar.com/ar/node/73911
لم يكن اغتيال الرئيس رفيق الحريري وحده ما خلّف فراغاً في البلاد، لم يملأه أحد. شاحنات الجيش السوري التي عبرت طريق المصنع باتّجاه دمشق تركت هي الأخرى فراغاً، لكن من نوع مختلف. وليس المقصود هنا الفراغ الأمني، بل أساساً الفراغ في إدارة خلافات اللبنانيّين وتقسيم العمل بين طوائفهم. فالنظام السوري الذي فرض سيطرته على البلاد طيلة 15 عاماً، أدّى دوراً تحكيميّاً (وإن غير نزيه) بين الطوائف المتنازعة دون جدوى على وراثة الهيمنة المارونيّة التي انتهت مع الحرب الأهليّة. ولم يكن لاتّفاق الطائف، كما نعرفه، أن ينظّم علاقات اللبنانيين من دون الدور السوري.
انتهت الحقبة السوريّة على المشهد الآتي: طائفة سنّية تحاول بعد اغتيال زعيمها أداء الدور الذي أخطأ الحريري الأب حين لم ينتدب نفسه لأدائه، أي حمْل مشروع سياسي بحجم الوطن كلّه (فضّل آنذاك حمْل مشروع اقتصادي لم يسلم الوطن كلّه من آليّات نهبه المنظّم). وقد سُلّم النائب سعد الدين الحريري زعامة الأكثريّة النيابيّة كدلالة رمزية على الدور القياديّ الجديد للطائفة. أمّا الطائفة الشيعيّة، فاتّخذت وضعاً دفاعياً محاولةً الحفاظ على مكتسبات الحقبة الماضية، وهي التي عرفت سابقاً حرماناً مديداً. وقد زاد حصار سائر الطوائف لها من تقوقعها على نفسها، قبل أن تفتح لها وثيقة التفاهم بين حزب الله والتيار الوطني الحر أفقاً ما لبثت أن استخدمته بعد حرب تمّوز للانتقال إلى وضع هجوميّ. في هذه الأثناء، كانت الطائفة المسيحيّة تبحث عن مُلك ضائع بعدما نزع «الطائف» صلاحيات رئاسة الجمهورية، واستكملت القبضة السورية الحرب على زعمائها. لكنّ ما يشكّل حلماً بالنسبة إلى المسيحيّين، كان الكابوس بعينه للزعامة السنّية الناشئة. استمرّ حصار ميشال عون، إلى أن فتح ثغرات ما لبثت أن تحوّلت أبواباً في مار مخايل. أمّا الطائفة الدرزية الصغيرة، فلم تجد إلا في لعب زعيمها على الحبال، طريقةً في حفظ موقع لها وسط هذه الأمواج الهادرة.
حدث ذلك كلّه على رقعة جغرافيّة صغيرة، لكن في منطقة كثُر فيها اشتعال البراكين. الحُكم بالواسطة لم يعد هوايةً مفضّلة لدى الإدارة الأميركيّة التي حرّكت جيشها باتّجاه الشرق الأوسط الذي أرادت أن تصنع منه شرقاً جديداً، بقوّة الحديد والنار. ثمّة من ركب قطار الأمبراطوريّة، وثمّة من ادّعى الركوب، وثمّة من قرّر المواجهة.
من الصعب اختزال الأزمة اللبنانيّة بالانقسام حول المشروع الأميركي وتعقيداته السوريّة والإيرانيّة. ومن الصعب اختزالها بعلاقات الطوائف. غير أنّ المؤكّد هو أنّ الذهاب إلى الحوار في الدوحة لن يعني الكثير، ما لم يكن واضحاً للجميع أنّ المشهد الإقليمي والدولي الراعي لاتفاق الطائف قد تبدّل كليّاً، وأنّ التعقيدات الطائفيّة الداخليّة تبدّلت هي الأخرى عمّا كانت عليه عشيّة انتهاء الحرب الأهليّة.
لذلك، يمكن لمن يريد أن يتلهّى بالثلاث عشرات والرئيس التوافقي أن يفعل ذلك. لكنّ الأجدى العودة من الدوحة باتّفاق طائف جديد.

عدد الجمعة ١٦ أيار ٢٠٠٨

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May 16th, 2008, 5:10 am

 

287. Naji said:

مؤتمر الدوحة: هدنة وفرصة للحلّ
ارتياح شعبي وقلق سياسي وتحفّظ أميركي ودعم سوري وفرنسي وحيرة حول الموقف السعودي

http://www.al-akhbar.com/ar/node/73975

بعيد العاشرة من مساء أمس، خرج رئيس الحكومة القطرية الشيخ حمد بن جاسم برفقة الأمين العام للجامعة العربية عمرو موسى ووزراء خارجية عرب لتناول العشاء في أحد مطاعم بيروت. كانوا ينشدون الراحة ـــــ بحسب موسى ـــــ بعد يومين من التعب المثمر، لكنّهم كانوا يريدون أيضاً إعطاء الانطباع بأنّ بيروت بدأت تستعيد حياتها، بعد إعلان بنود الاتفاق الذي لاقاه الناس بارتياح، ولكن بريبة الخائف من الشيطان الذي يلاحق التفاصيل.
وإذا كان لبنان سيرتاح من زعاماته أياماً قليلة، فإن انشغال الناس بإعادة ترتيب أمورهم اليومية لن يسحب الأنظار عما يفترض تكريسه في مؤتمر الدوحة المرتقب اليوم لناحية المباشرة بخطوات الحل الشامل، وهي النتيجة التي يلتفت الوزراء العرب بعضهم إلى بعض عندما يوجه إليهم السؤال عما إذا كانت مضمونة، وخصوصاً أن الولايات المتحدة عبّرت عن تحفّظها إزاء نجاح الجهود العربية في التوصل الى حل شامل.
وقبل دقائق من بدء المؤتمر الصحافي للمسؤول القطري والأمين العام للجامعة العربية، رنّ هاتف موسى، وكان المتحدّث الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة بان كي مون الذي سأل عمّا يحصل، وأعرب عن دهشته لإنجاز وفد الجامعة الاتفاق. وأبلغه موسى أن رسالة سوف تصله خلال ساعات عن الاتفاق، وهو ما حصل في وقت متأخّر من ليل امس، فيما كان موسى يتحدّث لاحقاً الى وزيري الخارجية السعودي الأمير سعود الفيصل والسوري وليد المعلم ويتبلّغ منهما دعماً قال إنه شعر بجديته للحوار الذي سيبدأ في قطر اليوم، دون أن يخفي موسى قلقه من تعثّر ما. وقال: نحن الآن في مرحلة ثانية من رحلة حلّ أزمة لبنان، وإذا ما توصلنا الى نتائج مقبولة، فإن لبنان سوف ينعم بهدوء طويل.
وبحسب الترتيبات المقررة، فإن 13 زعيماً لبنانياً سوف يسافرون اليوم على متن الطائرة الخاصة لرئيس الوزراء القطري، يرافقهم وزراء خارجية الدول العربية المشاركة في اللجنة، على أن تلحق بهم طائرة أخرى تجمع المرافقين والإعلاميين الذين يستعدّون لقضاء بضعة أيام في العاصمة القطرية في سياق مباحثات تستهدف التوصل الى تفاهم على شكل الحكومة الجديدة وقانون الانتخابات المقبلة، ما يتيح انتخاب العماد ميشال سليمان قريباً جداً، ليتولى هو إدارة الجزء الآخر من الحوار الذي سوف ينحصر عملياً في آلية تحسين وتطوير نظام المشاركة في الحكم والبحث في مستقبل علاقة الدولة مع المقاومة.
وكان حمد بن جاسم وموسى قد أنجزا قرابة الرابعة من فجر أمس مسوّدة اتفاق ينص على التزام جميع الاطراف بعودة البلاد الى ما كانت عليه قبل الخامس من أيار، وإزالة آثار المواجهات التي حصلت، بما في ذلك تراجع الحكومة عن قراريها، والشروع فوراً في حوار مكثّف حول بنود المبادرة العربية. وكان الوفد العربي قد حصل على موافقة قوى المعارضة على هذه الورقة، وعلى موافقة بعض أقطاب فريق 14 آذار، ولا سيما النائب وليد جنبلاط، فيما كان النائب سعد الحريري ومسيحيّو 14 آذار يصرون على إدخال بند آخر يخص السلاح، تراوح بين القول بحاجتهم الى ضمانات بعدم تكرار ما حصل، وبجعل ملف سلاح حزب الله بنداً على طاولة الحوار.
«لكن موازين القوى ونتائج ما حصل» فرضت صياغة البنود بطريقة مختلفة، على ما قال مرجع في الوفد العربي، وأضاف: «ان فريق 14 آذار بدا في وضع صعب للغاية. لا توحده رؤية ولا توجه واحد، وفيما كان جنبلاط مستعداً لإنجاز الاتفاق على الحكومة وقانون الانتخابات في لحظة واحدة، كان الحريري يناقش في إمكان تحسين الموقع التفاوضي، فيما يتصرف مسيحيو 14 آذار بذعر الخائف من خسارة كل شيء». لكن هذا المرجع لفت الى «مفاجأة» ناجمة عن موقف العماد ميشال عون الذي بدا متحفظاً على صياغة الاتفاق، لأنه رفض اعتبار ترشيح العماد ميشال سليمان أمراً محسوماً، كما رفض الإقرار بأن الحكومة المقبلة سوف تكون حكومة مفتوحة المهام. حتى إن المداولات التي أخرت المؤتمر الصحافي لحمد بن جاسم وموسى ركزت على الآتي:
أولاً: تحفظ الرئيس نبيه بري على جعل الحوار قائماً بمشاركة الجامعة العربية، والإصرار على اقتصار حضور الجامعة في الجولة الاولى، ثم يترك الامر للبنانيين فقط.
ثانياً: رفض «القوات اللبنانية» كل المشروع، ثم الموافقة عليه على أساس أنه لن يكون هناك اتفاق من تحت الطاولة.
ثالثاً: تحفظ العماد عون على حسم انتخاب سليمان واقتراحه مناقشة اعتبار الحكومة المقبلة انتقالية تنحصر مهمتها في إجراء انتخابات نيابية.
رابعاً: سعي النائب الحريري الى تقديم بند الحوار حول «علاقة الدولة بالتنظيمات» الى البداية.
وبحسب المداولات، فإن حمد بن جاسم ومعه موسى بذلا أنواعاً مختلفة من الوساطات وقدما الكثير من الضمانات التي أتاحت التوصل الى الاتفاق الذي أعلن. وعندما انتقل الجميع الى قاعة المؤتمر الصحافي، كان الكل في أجواء أن الجولة الاولى في الدوحة قد لا تستمر أكثر من 3 الى 4 أيام، على أن ينتقل بعدها المتحاورون الى بيروت لاستكمال البحث، علماً بأن مسؤولاً بارزاً في اللجنة العربية لم يستبعد أن يظل المتحاورون لوقت مفتوح في الدوحة حتى يتم إنجاز الاتفاق الذي أذاع حمد بن جاسم بنوده كلها (نص الاتفاق ص 7).
وليلاً، عكف المدعوّون الى مؤتمر الحوار على إعداد ملفاتهم وحقائبهم استعداداً للسفر الى الدوحة اليوم، وتردّد أن بعضهم توجه إليها تحت جنح الظلام. وصدرت عن بعضهم مواقف حذرة إزاء إمكان نجاح الحوار، ومن هؤلاء الرئيس أمين الجميّل الذي رأى «أن المدخل إلى أي حل هو التفاهم على معنى كلمة سيادة، وضمان عدم توجيه حزب الله سلاحه إلى الداخل»، مجدِّداً مطالبته بـ«تطمينات بنيوية لا طوباوية». وقال «إن لم يجر البحث في موضوع السلاح وعلاقة حزب الله مع الدولة وسيادتها وسلطتها على كامل الأراضي اللبنانية، نكن قد راوحنا مكاننا ولم نتوصل إلى أي شيء».
بدوره، رأى وزير الاتصالات مروان حمادة أن ما استطاعت اللجنة العربية تحقيقه هو «هدنة بالحد الأدنى ومخرج بالحد الأقصى»، مشيراً إلى أن الهدنة أفضل من ترك الأمور تتطور نحو معارك كاملة في بيروت والجبل. وإذ أكد أن الأفرقاء ليسوا ذاهبين إلى الدوحة لتغيير اتفاق الطائف، شدّد على وجوب عدم الخروج عن هذا الاتفاق.

■ تحفُّظ أميركي

وأعلنت الولايات المتحدة الاميركية بلسان المتحدث باسم خارجيتها شون ماكورماك، تحفظها عن الاتفاق الذي رعته اللجنة الوزارية العربية للخروج من الازمة السياسية في لبنان. ورأى ماكورماك أن الاتفاق «لن يعالج الصعوبات التي لا تحصى لنظام لبنان السياسي خلال فترة أسبوع وفي مجموعة واحدة من المناقشات». وأشار الى استمرار «حزب الله» في طرح «تحدٍّ للشعب اللبناني في المستقبل من ناحية تحقيق ديموقراطية واسعة النطاق وعميقة يستفيد منها كل اللبنانيين».
واتهم ماكروماك حزب الله بأنه «مستعد لقتل اللبنانيين في سبيل جدول أعماله السياسي»، معتبراً أن هذا الحزب «ليس لديه أي أساس غير محاولة توسيع قوته السياسية والعمل خارج النظام السياسي في لبنان»، وأكد أن الحزب «سيبقى تحدياً مستمراً لمن في المجتمع الدولي لديه مصلحة في لبنان أكثر سلاماً ورفاهية وديموقراطية». وقال إن «حزب الله» يمثّل «مشكلة طويلة الامد وانه يتأثر بشكل كبير بقوى خارجية هي ايران وسوريا».
ورحّب وزير الخارجية الفرنسي برنار كوشنير بالاتفاق مكرّراً تأكيد «دعم فرنسا للمؤسسات في لبنان، وخصوصاً الحكومة والجيش اللبناني» الذي كان تحركه «حاسماً لإيجاد الظروف الملائمة لتجاوز الازمة». وأضاف ان «فرنسا تدعو كل الاطراف، داخل لبنان وخارجه، الى بذل كل الجهود الضرورية لتفضي المشاورات الى انتخابات رئاسية وتأليف حكومة وحدة وطنية ووضع قانون جديد للانتخاب بسرعة». ومن جهته قال وزير الخارجية الالماني فرانك فالتر شتاينماير: «أنا مرتاح جداً الى تهدئة الوضع التي ترتسم في لبنان. والاتفاق الذي تم التوصل إليه هو خطوة أولى ليتمكن الجيش وقوى الأمن الداخلي من ضمان الأمن مجدداً في البلاد».
ورحب وزير الخارجية المصري أحمد أبو الغيط بالاتفاق، وقال إنه «أمر جيد وإيجابي أن يتفق السياسيون اللبنانيون على إعادة الأمور إلى ما كانت عليه قبل يوم 5 أيار الجاري وإنهاء المظاهر المسلحة بكل صورها». ونوّه بمضمون هذا الاتفاق، وأكد أن نص الاتفاق «يعكس توازناً يوفر لكل طائفة وفريق سياسي في لبنان الدور الذي يتوقعه بما يحافظ على اتفاق الطائف والدستور اللبناني باعتبارهما ركيزتين أساسيتين للتركيبة الفريدة لهذا البلد العربي الشقيق».
وأكد السفير السعودي في لبنان عبد العزيز خوجة أن السفارة مستمرة بالعمل قدر المستطاع آملاً أن يعود السعوديون إلى لبنان خلال فصل الصيف. وقال إن بلاده تبارك الاتفاق الذي رعته الجامعة العربية آملاً أن يعود لبنان إلى ازدهاره ومجده مؤكداً الجهوزية للمساعدة مشدداً على أن المهم هو الوصول إلى نتائج.

عدد الجمعة ١٦ أيار ٢٠٠٨

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May 16th, 2008, 5:15 am

 

288. Zenobia said:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/16/opinion/16brooks.html?hp

This is David Brooks’ latest column scrutinizing candidate Obama regarding his view of Hezbollah and how to deal with them.

Here is my letter to David Brooks.

Dear Mr. Brooks,

How can you in good conscience write such a reductionist little piece (Obama admires Bush) talking about Hezbollah without once in the entire article mentioning Israel.
The entire birth of Hezbollah was a function of Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon. To speak about their longstanding raison d’etre without mentioning this is totally irresponsible and the usual reduction of the facts to pull Israel out of the history.
Hezbollah was/is a resistance movement albeit guerilla terroristic in its methods. They do not have world wide aspirations and have continuously maintained that their objectives regard only Lebanon.
You know that I am certain, but you chose to put some gloss that makes them sound like AlQaeda, which they are not.

I hate to break the news to you, but Hezbollah actually is a legitimate political entity in Lebanon. Any Lebanese can tell you that. They didn’t start out that way, but it is now a reality that is here to stay. Obama is correct and you are wrong to dismiss the notion of ‘consensus’. They are representing forty percent of the Lebanese populous (for the most part)- and these people are demanding a more equitable share of the political power in the ruling cabinet. You may call the current make up of the government legitimate democratically elected, but you are dramatically simplifying the story and leaving out a very large aspect of the fight.
Maybe you do this because it is complex and you think your readers simply can’t digest such a discussion, but then you should really not be talking about it in a misleading and black and white way. The shia of Lebanon and Hezbollah have been using leverage to attempt to change the system. So far there is only stalemate. One may argue that influence and patronage from external sources is unfair, but then you would be a hypocrite to argue that it is only ok when such backing and military support comes from the US.
The distorted descriptions of this situation written about in the American press are infuriating and irresponsible.

Poor Obama is forced to walk some tightrope in order not to sound like he is going to give any legitimacy to the bad terrorists. He has been forced to relinquish Robert Malley who is an absolute expert on the region all because this researcher has had to actually talk to the people he researches!
Why don’t you write about this absurdity!
Nobody seems to want to mention as well – how utterly absurd the idea of just throwing more funds and weaponry at the Lebanese Army is. They don’t want to tell everybody in the West that actually the army is in large part comprised of Shia who are not ever going to fight Hezbollah no matter how many weapons they have. Would you recommend building a sectarian army? .. Because that is what you had during the civil war, and we saw the results.

My point is that Hezbollah may not be to our liking given its history of kicking the USA and Israel out of Lebanon in a violent way. But it has legitimacy all over the middle east. I mean in every country. And the Lebanese themselves know that this party is not going anywhere. This is about power and resources as usual. Not foremost ideology – as you want to paint it. Amazingly, it is Hezbollah that is demanding a more democratic system! As Obama has correctly implied, there are dramatic inequities with so called democratic government. It is completely outdated and non-representative.

I recommend that you stick to topics that you don’t feel the need to be so biased to the point of misinforming people through all the facts that you leave out.

sincerely,
Zenobia

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May 16th, 2008, 6:37 am

 

289. Naji said:

Zeno,
I read David Brooks’ op-ed piece this morning, and I am glad you responded to it as forcefuly as you did. David Brooks often makes sense in his writings, but I just don’t know what happens to everybody when they get near ME issues…!!

Bravo… we should all not be lazy and should point out the inaccuracies in mainstream media pieces whenever we find them. My personal recommendation, though, would be to make your response a little shorter, to make sure it gets read; and to make your point a little more concise, to make sure it gets accross effectively…!

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May 16th, 2008, 11:03 am

 

290. abraham said:

David Brooks is a zionist and Bush administration apologist. He only now criticizes the Bush regime after parroting the official line and cheerleading them into war with Iraq in 2003 until everything went south.

Quite frankly, Brooks only has credibility with idiot liberals that listen to him because he’s a “nice conservative”. Brooks is a neoconservative, not a conservative.

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May 16th, 2008, 5:53 pm

 

291. kingcrane jr said:

QN,

I agree with AAK / Angry Arab, but the truth is:

1-There are many ex-communists who have become opportunists. One example is Ahmad Fatfat. I cannot trust a party that forbids the freedom to believe in God and that mandates proletarian dictatorship. To be true, all communist powers were very flawed.

2-Some ex-communists have changed their views so many times that I am dizzy just thinking of it. Georges Hawi’s death was attributed to the Syrian Mukhabarat but, in their inner circle (and beyond, apparently), his friends are claiming that the assassins are probably agents of the Mossad.

3-Party apparatchiks are just… party apparatchiks after all. Political parties are not to be trusted. When Raymond Eddeh asked me why I was not a member of the Bloc National, I told him that, despite my very deep esteem for him, I could not become a member of a movement that may one day make blunders. I feel vindicated today.

4-My position vis-a-vis Amal is that they have dilapidated the good will that we had toward them when the charismatic anti-poverty obsessed Musa Sadr was liquidated and opportunists took over the movement. Some of them are proven thugs.

5-My position vis-a-vis the Hezbollah is that I support their Resistance against an artificial entity to the South of our borders, but I am NOT interested in their religious views; neither am I interested in the religious views of the PNL, the Phalangists, the PSP, etc… Note that I accept religious leadership: as a teenager, I worked for Mgr. Gregoire Haddad, the most ardent and respected artisan of a civil society in Lebanon.

6-There is a fact now: “Political Shi’ism” is a-la-mode. Anti-Zionist Christians love Hassan Nasrallah. But I have many Sunni leaders on my beloved-leaders’ list: Quwwatli, Nazem Qudsi, Hanano and others in Syria, and Selim Hoss and others in Lebanon.

My most difficult struggle is to conciliate my support of the Resistance with my ultra-secular views, but it is easy: the priority at this time in the Levant is to fight the Zionist entity as it denies the essence of consocionalism. Ideally, we could have as many consocional entities as possible in the area: Lebanon can be if the KSA and others leave it alone, Syria could become one, and even Iraq. And, why not, our Southern neighbours; after all, if a two-state solution is out of the question, let them give equal-citizen status to all Palestinians and built a secular nation. I am sure the 3 kings of the KSA, the HKJ and the pseudo-republic of Egypt will be elated.

PS: the SSNP, though officially secular, has one hurdle to overcome: their attitude towards Jews, including Arab Jews (I may be part of the last generation that really interacted with Arab Jews in Lebanon, as my father was part of the last generation that really interacted with Syrian Jews) is NOT acceptable. Have you noted how many anti-Zionist Jews there are in Morocco? I appaud the Moroccans for making it possible to their Jewish community to stay and thrive in that country.

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May 16th, 2008, 10:16 pm

 

292. Qifa Nabki said:

KingCrane,

Thanks, this is great, as usual.

I will mull it over and respond. Thanks for replying to my question.

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May 16th, 2008, 10:24 pm

 

293. zenobia said:

yes, King Crane Jr ‘s reply is extra interesting.

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May 19th, 2008, 9:54 pm

 

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