Lebanon’s Return to Political Paralysis and Economic Stagnation

Lebanon is once again falling victim to the regional tug of war between the US, Israel and their allies on the one hand, and Syria, Hizbullah and Iran on the other. When President George W Bush decided to wrench Lebanon out of Syria’s security umbrella in 2004, he returned Lebanon to the battle ground it had been during the 15 year civil war that it endured until 1990. The Detante that Bush the Father and President Clinton had cultivated between all sides had allowed Lebanon the political calm it needed to revive economically and culturally from its long and devastating civil struggle.

The US under George W. Bush did not have the leverage it needed to pull Lebanon out of Syria’s and Iran’s orbit, just as it failed to destroy Hizbullah, although it got tantalizingly close following the Syrian military withdrawal of 2005 and the Israeli invasion of Southern Lebanon. The most famous victim of this tug of war was Prime Minister Hariri. He was the one man able to knit together the waring sects of Lebanon. Without him, Lebanon once again collapsed into internecine battles and confessional back-biting. This fragmentation assured that no outside power could win in Lebanon. It meant that Hizbullah could not be dismantled and that Syrian and Iranian security concerns were minimally guaranteed. For the US, the paralysis of Lebanon’s politics, also served a purpose. It meant that Hizbullah could not be normalized and become an accepted and responsible part of Lebanon’s political architecture. The US and Israel cannot allow HIzbullah’s acceptance. The result was that for much of the Bush years, Lebanon had no government. The Lebanese paid a high price for lying along the fault line of regional great power politics.

Lebanon is returning to its battleground existance of division and confessional confusion. The impending indictments of the International Tribunal raised the Hizbullah question anew. The Doha agreement of 2008, swept Hizbullah’s contested status under the political rug and gave Hizbullah a measure of acceptance as part of a national unity government in Lebanon. Hizbullah’s drive to force Hariri to denounce the results of the international tribunal and dissociate Lebanon from its actions threatened the US , Israel, and its March 14th allies in Lebanon. HIzbullah would become a normal part of the local political architecture.

There will not be war., as some fear. Hizbullah has made it clear that it does not want war. Neither will it carry out a “coup,” as some have claimed. But it will bring government to a stand still as it did from 2005 to 2008.

The highest price for this immobilism will be paid by Lebanon’s wealthy communities. They have the most to lose from a slow down in investment, the collapse of the stock market, and decline in economic growth. MassoudDarhally indicates this well in his fine article copied below. He covers the likely economic effects of the stand-off. This is where the real battle will be fought. Will the March 14th movement that supports Hariri cry uncle first because of economic pain? Can Hizbullah avoid being held responsible for economic stagnation?

The US seems to be willing to allow Lebanon to stagnate in order to avoid empowering Hizbullah. It is unclear how the US can win the battle it lost in May 2008, when Hizbullah soundly defeated Hariri’s untrained militia and proved that the Lebanese Army would work with the Shiite militia rather than try to disarm it.

The US has no leverage, except through international agencies and its allies – Saudi Arabia, France, etc. These allies will walk with the US, but their hearts are not in it and they will look for the first chance to bail out of this showdown which brings them pain and no gain. Israel, too, is not eager for another Lebanon war. The last was very costly.

Lebanon will remain divided and paralyzed for some time to come. It is hard to foresee a different outcome. Hizbullah cannot take over the country and Hariri cannot rule without the opposition. The US will not send troops to Lebanon and Hizbullah will not use its militia unless it is directly threatened as it was in May 2008.

Israel remains a wild card, because it could see in the chaos an opportunity to complete the unfinished business of destroying Hizbullah. I don’t think this is likely. Netanyahu has proven not to be a military adventurer. His plans for the West bank are working well as they are. Most importantly, Obama will press for restraint from all sides. He is not President Bush. Syria and Iran could see an advantage in pressing the issue toward the explosion point in the hope that Israel would over-reach and HIzbullah’s new rockets would prove damaging to Israel, thus forcing a shift in threat perceptions leading to the return of the Golan. But Israel has threatened to draw Syria into the next conflict, destroy its economic infrastructure and overturning the Assad regime. Damascus cannot discount this possibility. It is not prepared for war.

And to think that Lebanon was growing at 8% last year. Now we are sure to see more immobility, sectarian strife, and economic stagnation in the Middle East.

Lebanon Government Falls as Hezbollah Quits Over Probe
By Massoud A. Derhally – Jan 12, 2011

Lebanon’s national unity government collapsed as Hezbollah and its allies quit over a United Nations probe into the killing of former premier Rafiq Hariri.

Energy Minister Gebran Bassil announced the move today at a televised news conference in Beirut. The Shiite Muslim group and its partners held 10 of Lebanon’s 30 Cabinet seats. An 11th minister, Adnan Sayyed Hussein, also quit, the official National News Agency reported, enough to topple the coalition led by U.S.-backed Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Hezbollah, whose ally Syria is blamed by many Lebanese for Rafiq Hariri’s killing in 2005, has demanded an end to the inquiry while Saad Hariri backs the effort to identify his father’s killers. Bassil, speaking after the failure of a Saudi- Syrian initiative to break the deadlock, said that Hariri had “succumbed to external pressure, including from the U.S.” Bassil called on President Michel Suleiman to take the necessary steps for the formation of a new government.

“The government is considered to have resigned under the Constitution, so until the next government is formed, it can only perform routine administration,” said Chibli Mallat, a Lebanese lawyer and visiting professor at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Tensions have escalated as the UN tribunal prepares to issue an indictment, on concern it may implicate Hezbollah in the killing of Rafiq Hariri. That would raise the prospect of a return to violence in a country that emerged from a 15-year civil war in 1990 and has seen frequent recurrences of sectarian strife since then.

Hezbollah Leader

Hezbollah and Syria deny responsibility for Hariri’s death. Hezbollah has called for the abolition of the UN tribunal, described as unconstitutional by leader Hassan Nasrallah in a Nov. 11 speech. He said Hezbollah won’t allow its members to be detained and would “cut off the hand” of anyone who attempted to make arrests.

President Barack Obama said the collapse of Lebanon’s unity government today shows Hezbollah’s fear of a united country acting for all Lebanese people.

“The efforts by the Hezbollah-led coalition to collapse the Lebanese government only demonstrate their own fear and determination to block the government’s ability to conduct its business and advance the aspirations of all of the Lebanese people,” Obama said in a statement issued after he held a private meeting today at the White House with Hariri.

Brokering Compromise

The prospect of a government collapse pushed Lebanese stocks to the biggest drop since July. The benchmark BLOM Stock Index tumbled 3.2 percent to 1,488.65.

“The fluctuation of share prices on the Beirut Stock Exchange is driven by political sentiment rather than by the underlying performance of listed companies,” said Nassib Ghobril, head of research at Lebanon’s Byblos Bank SAL.

Hezbollah’s withdrawal from the government may also set back an economy that performed “remarkably well” through the global economic crisis because of the “more stable environment” under Saad Hariri, according to an October report by the International Monetary Fund. The IMF projected growth of 8 percent for 2010 slowing to 5 percent this year.

Political tension has already hurt the economy and Hezbollah’s walkout “will further erode confidence and may heighten the risk of a further slowdown,” Eric Mottu, the IMF representative in Beirut, said by phone today. “For growth, investment, consumption and tourism it could be a risk.”

Additional Risk

An additional risk is how the resignations “translate onto the street,” said Walid Arbid, a law professor at the Lebanese University in Beirut.

Hariri pledged “to keep the doors open for the Lebanese to reach solutions that ensure stability and calm, and preserve national unity,” in a statement late yesterday.

Hezbollah and its allies say the UN investigation is politically motivated and marred by U.S. intervention. They pledged to block Lebanese funding for the probe, a dispute that prevented parliament from passing the state budget last year.

Rafiq Hariri and 22 others were killed by a roadside bomb in Beirut in February 2005, sparking protests by millions of Lebanese that led to the ouster of Syrian troops from the country after 29 years.

Indictment Due

UN prosecutor Daniel Bellemare is expected to file his indictment with the pretrial judge, Daniel Fransen, by the end of March. An initial UN inquiry charged four pro-Syrian officials in Lebanon’s security services. They were held in jail for four years before being released in 2009 by the tribunal due to a lack of evidence, after some witnesses changed or retracted statements. Hezbollah has called for the prosecution of the so- called “false witnesses.”

The last time Hezbollah walked out of a government, quitting the Cabinet of then-Prime Minister Fouad Siniora in 2006, it marked the start of an 18-month paralysis of the government. That culminated in an outbreak of civil strife in May 2008, when at least 80 people were killed after Hezbollah and its allies seized control of west Beirut.

Michael Williams, the UN’s special coordinator for Lebanon, said in an e-mailed statement today that he is “concerned at the possibility of a prolonged political crisis.” To contact the reporter on this story: Massoud A. Derhally in Beirut, Lebanon, at mderhally@bloomberg.net

Officials in Jerusalem estimated that the toppling of Lebanon’s government will not lead to escalation between the two states. … “This is an internal Lebanese affair,” the Foreign Ministry’s Yossi Levy said. “However, we are closely monitoring developments.”

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal

“The resignations will be dangerous as they will cause clashes once again,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal told a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara.

“Thus, we hope these resignations will not take place. They have the potential to cause everything built so far to collapse,” the Saudi minister said, warning of repercussions around the region.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu hoped Hezbollah would rethink the resignations and voiced support for Syrian and Saudi mediation efforts.

Secretary Hilary Clinton: “We view what happened today as a transparent effort by those forces inside Lebanon, as well as interests outside Lebanon, to subvert justice and undermine Lebanon’s stability and progress,” Mrs. Clinton declared at a news conference. “We believe that the work of the special tribunal must go forward so justice can be served and impunity ended.”

Qatar Prime Minister Thani said only, “We have enough problems in the region that this problem we have to take care of it, in a way to solve it, not to complicate it.”


Environment Minister Mohammad Rahhal, who is close to Hariri, told AFP Hezbollah’s decision to quit the government was aimed at paralysing the state and forcing the premier to reject the tribunal.

“They think that by piling the pressure on him, Hariri will bend but they are mistaken,” Rahhal said. The Sunni premier has held talks in recent days in New York with Saudi King Abdullah, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon over the crisis.

Mustapha Alloush, a senior member of Hariri’s Future Movement, said Hezbollah and its allies had timed the announcement of the government collapse to coincide with the premier’s meeting with Obama at 1500 GMT.

“They want Hariri to enter the meeting with the US president as an ex-premier or as head of a caretaker government,” Alloush told AFP. “But the real goal is to deal a moral blow to the United States.”

Syria and Saudi Arabia have for months been attempting to mediate the crisis but their efforts have failed, with rival Lebanese camps accusing each other of blocking attempts at a compromise.


“Saad Hariri was on the brink of making a major concession as concerns the tribunal but occult forces prevented him from doing so,” Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, a former ally of Hariri, told AFP without elaborating. (AFP)

Can Lebanon Escape?
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
by Elliott Abrams on his CFR Blog

But at bottom this is far less a test of the United States than of the Lebanese. No one will resist Hizballah unless they do. The majority of Lebanese who oppose Hizballah, and who are mostly Maronite Catholics, Druze, and Sunni, must demonstrate that they have the will to keep their country from complete domination by the Shia terrorist group. This is asking quite a bit, to be sure, but Lebanese should have learned from the impact of their March 14, 2005 demonstrations that world support can be rallied and their opponents can pushed back.

Comments (84)

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51. Norman said:

AP , Said ,

(( I guess we’ll have to wait for a US president who doesn’t recognize the State of Israel.))

You are mistaken to think that i am waiting for a US president who will not recognise Israel , but you are so indulged in hate that you do not see the best way to save Israel and it’s people , peaceful presence of Israel ,

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January 14th, 2011, 10:09 pm


52. Norman said:

hey Jad ,

Where have you been man ,

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January 14th, 2011, 10:11 pm


53. Majhool said:

Got to say that Tunisia news is far more interesting than the sectarian politics of the Levant.

Looks like SC regulars are now either Israelis or pro police-state Minority-paranoid Syrians. Where are all the liberals?

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January 14th, 2011, 10:44 pm


54. jad said:

Ahleen Dr. Norman,
Thanks for asking, I’ve been around, observing SC in silence 🙂
I also went to Syria, to be honest, there is no place on earth like home, even with all the negative things I saw, Syria is still a great place because of its people, honesty still exist in many many many Syrians and that what count and I’m sure that Syrians will do great if they got the opportunity.
The material world we live in is just part of the story, what matter is the human, and from my experience, Syrians in general are still as good as they always been.
God protect Syria and it’s people.
And that is my take 🙂

Please explain this to me:
“pro police-state Minority-paranoid Syrians”

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January 14th, 2011, 11:09 pm


55. Majhool said:

Here is one liberal!! Hi Jad, Sorry i was not clear.. Police-state is obvious.. Militant, Security based groups & government…

I meant Minority-Centric Syrians .Those with sever freedom-paranoia ( Except when it comes to the Palestinians of course). Yes those with the monitory complex. They are afraid of the general public, and somehow think that they know better that anyone else. They support repression and promote their twisted logic by force. Needless to say they will fail in any election and only have force to resort to. the La tfakker benfaker 3annak crowd.

In the meantime, the world is getting ahead.

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January 14th, 2011, 11:41 pm


56. jad said:

Dear Majhool,
You are smart and you know exactly why I asked the question.
I do agree with you on the first sentence in your comment #53, I’ve never been a fan for sectarianism or for those who represent it and I know very well that you agree with me on that, my problem with your sentence “pro police-state Minority-paranoid Syrians” are couple; the word ‘minority’ for one reason, seeing your people as minorities and majority is a religious/sect/ethnic segregation based idea
the other point is that you generalized all of SC Syrians in your ‘OR’ as if all Syrians on SC are Paranoid-Minority and Police-State supporter, which is unfair from your side to all of your fellow Syrians, we (me, you and almost every Syrian) always ask to be fairly treated, to have the right to say what we want, to take the side we want and to defend what we believe in on one condition, to be heard, to be respected and to be either agreed or disagreed with without the need of any kind of ‘takhween/name calling’, right?
I know who you meant in your comment and I think he/she are free to writes/states what he/she wants, it’s not for me nor for you to judge him/her since we both can be easily judged.
Sorry for the long explanation but for some strange reasons I do care for you Majhool. Have a great day 🙂

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January 15th, 2011, 12:38 am


57. Majhool said:


“Minority-centrics” are those stuck in the minority-majority paradigm . As you know I am not chickened by the notion that if you talk about sectarian politics,which is our sad reality, then you become one. Also i was referring to SC regulars and not all SC commentators. Anyhow, all what i am saying is that I and many many others, reject this notion that we need to boxed-in with no freedoms or rights just because someone or some hypothetical group has some hypothetical concerns, which i assure you is what motivate many here. As you know, I aspire to the day when the people win back their rights, freedom, and chances of a better life. Both Minority-centric politics and fundamentalism work to delay that day. I really want to start caring about inflation, education, health care, city planing, etc..also
Make no mistake, fundamentalism and Minority centric politics are one of the same.

And hey, let them write, I am not against. Did i say that I was?

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January 15th, 2011, 1:18 am


58. Alex said:

لك يا مجهول الرهيب الله يخليلنا ياك فوق راسنا …. نحنا المنوريتي سنترك البدائيين الضالين .. شكراً سمحتلنا نكتب !

يعني عن جد مو معقول حكمتك وشجاعتك وصراحتك شو مثيرين للإعجاب … دائماً نحنا المينورتي بنشعر بالخجل قدام عظمتك وتواضعك

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January 15th, 2011, 3:08 am


59. Shai said:

Akbar said: “Another indication of your Leftist/Liberal response to blatant anti-semitism.”

Thank you Akbar, my little conscience-protector. Tolerance, by the way, includes allowing others to voice their concerns in ways different from ours. As I’m sure non-liberal/leftists such as yourself embrace the concept of “tolerance”, you’d be wise to exercise it also here (not with Ghat’s comment #20, but with my form of response, which initially seemed to impress you, but later suddenly didn’t…)

It may come as shocking to you, but liberal-leftist Israelis and Jews are quite likely just as concerned with antisemitism as you might be. True, they do not whip it out of the pocket at every instance of disagreement or harsh criticism against Israel today, but they are just as worried about antisemitism worldwide as any other Jew might be. Don’t take it away from them. You have no mandate over antisemitism. You really don’t.

Btw, if already on the topic of liberal-leftists, a quick question. Does it not worry you in the least that most of Israel is moving so far to the right, and that most of the Left is either in a serious comatose state, or simply gone? Can you not think of a few instances in modern history, where a nation’s leadership managed to pull its citizens so convincingly away from “liberalism”, straight towards “conservatism”, perhaps even extreme-conservatism, which brought about catastrophic results? Could it not be, that when too many people move too far in one direction or the other, that a few radicals could use this newly achieved power base for very evil purposes?

Nowhere is it written that Israel (or any other nation on earth) cannot become a 2nd-Germany of the 1930’s. And that Germany was also a Democracy. And it used to have its “liberal leftists” too, before they were silenced. Even a few in the Likud’s old guard, such as Ruby Rivlin, Michael Eitan, and Benny Begin, recognize the danger in allowing for this growing anti-liberal/leftist movement (spearheaded by Lieberman’s Israel Beitenu), and are voicing their condemnation of current and up-and-coming witch hunts.

We must exercise greater care with these anti-liberal/leftist knee jerks. For otherwise we may create, with our very own hands, a monster far worse than any liberal or any leftist we happen to dislike.

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January 15th, 2011, 6:33 am


60. Norman said:

Alex ,

That was fun , i for one going to permit you or even demand that you write at least one opinion note every day ,at least you try not to show our division ,

It is interesting what is happening in Tunisia , the question is , will the new Tunisia be in the Moderate camp as was Bin Ali or in the resistance camp , with another loss to the West ,

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January 15th, 2011, 7:03 am


62. Norman said:


Where is the picture , Tunisia or Lebanon , are they carrying the Picture of Assad in Tunisia .

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January 15th, 2011, 7:44 am


64. Norman said:


Then for the return of the Golan Syria can facilitate a deal between Israel and Tunisia , apparently Syria is gaining more leverage ,Don’t you think ? , Harry up .

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January 15th, 2011, 8:50 am


65. Shai said:

Dear Norman,

What I’ve been saying for the past 5 years, since learning of the secret talks Alon Liel had with Syria for 3 years during Sharon’s reign in power, is what others are voicing in Israel now, including Heads of Intelligence (Mossad and Aman), Heads of the Army (Dan Halutz, Gabi Ashkenzai), and others. Namely, that Syria is the key to the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

Of course, Netanyahu and Barak aren’t particularly happy with these experts, especially when voicing in addition their belief that Iran does not pose an existential threat to Israel at this point in time (Dagan recently said only in 2015).

Maybe they too will soon be labeled, in certain circles, liberal-leftists…

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January 15th, 2011, 9:05 am


66. Ghat Albird said:


LES MOTS DU JOUR…….or Words of the Times.


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January 15th, 2011, 9:16 am


67. Norman said:

It is sad that Netanyahu can not learn from others experiences like Golda Mair\’s in 1973 and learn to avoid a crises instead of trying to manage it after the fact and many loss of lives ,

We should ask Netanyahu what will it take to move him to be proactive instead of reactive .


Seeking peace while preparing for war is neither weakness or suicidal ,

Seeking war while weak is .

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January 15th, 2011, 9:21 am


68. Jad said:

Ya Dr. Norman ya المنوريتي,
Shami’s point (Hi Shami, how have you been?) is to show you that the ‘Mouqawama’ people, according to the picture, are bunch of Shawaya, Arbat and Sharashih, they only represent few Syrians not the Educated, Urban and Uptodate ‘Majority’ of Syrians or Arab in general.
It wasn’t about Tunisia, it was about the Vulgar Syrians Inte Akbar Adr!

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January 15th, 2011, 10:43 am


69. Ghat Albird said:


Is this like seeking peace?


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January 15th, 2011, 10:44 am


70. Shami said:

Jad Ahlan ,i’m really pleased that your presence follows me.

Please tell me ,these eternal moqawamists are they Shawaya too ?

Anyway,this process ,call it shawization in our example had been noticed well by the great tunisian thinker Ibn Khaldun when he underlined the process of the civilizational decline.
It’s not an haughty superiority/inferiority claiming ,but in the development of nations we should take into account such obvious signs of social disturbance when we study the social evolution of a population.

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January 15th, 2011, 11:18 am


71. Norman said:

Jad ,

I should check my eyes , I saw Shami as Shai , That is probably Majhool under another name ,

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January 15th, 2011, 11:23 am


72. Shami said:

Norman be sure ,i’m not Majhool.

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January 15th, 2011, 11:26 am


73. Norman said:

Ghat ,

I understand your frustration , but i still think we should seek peace ,but not rule out war if we can get our rights ,

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January 15th, 2011, 11:32 am


74. Jad said:

Dear Shami,
There is a very important point I think that you are missing; by numbers those ‘Shawaya/arbat’ are by far the majority of Syrians, we are not Switzerland, those are the major part of your and my society, we can’t keep looking down at them in this way, it’s unhealthy for the future.
Ibn Khaldoun in his writing wasn’t refering to lower class in the way you are making it sounds, he was refering to the nation getting less money which leads to poorer citizens.
In anyway, I for one believe in evolution, those same guys you are looking down at are your people, maybe their kids if they get a better education, good job and some decent healthcare they will change this image in the future.
Not every person in a suit is a decent human, the inside is what count, I never believed in the cover.

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January 15th, 2011, 11:35 am


75. Norman said:

Shame on you Shami , who do think goes out in the US take a picture of them and you see worse pictures but i do not see anybody making fun of them , I do not know if you even Syrian, but anybody who looks down on others because of their name , Nationality , religious association and hide behind their family name or achievements are not good enough to be Syrians ,

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January 15th, 2011, 11:52 am


76. Jad said:

Shami is not Majhool, they are two different men.
I consider Shami as a decent and good man, ibn 3elet, he has his way of thinking that I respectfully disagree with most of the times, however, I consider him an honest man, an excellent history reader, some-kind of a book worm, that I envy his knowledge and I can learn lots from him.
Shami, regardless of our disagreement I do enjoy reading your outragious comments 🙂 and I do highly respect you as a person. Peace!

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January 15th, 2011, 11:54 am


77. why-discuss said:

The indictment by the TSL will be submitted on Monday 17 January.
Validation by the judge may last from 6 to 10 weeks.
Mention is made of possible Syria’s and Iran’s support to Hezbollah’s malevolent actions.
“Si on estime que c’est le Hezbollah, on peut assumer qu’il n’aurait jamais fait cela sans l’aval de la Syrie, et éventuellement l’aide de l’Iran”, expliquait au Monde un enquêteur en février 2010.

La Haye, Correspondance – Le procureur du Tribunal spécial pour le Liban (TSL) doit déposer ses accusations dans l’affaire Hariri au cours d’une audience à huis clos prévue lundi 17 janvier, ont indiqué au Monde, plusieurs sources au sein du tribunal.

Le procureur canadien, Daniel Bellemare, remettra à un juge les conclusions de son enquête sur l’attentat au cours duquel l’ancien premier ministre du Liban, Rafic Hariri, avait été tué, avec 22 autres personnes, le 14 février 2005, au cœur de Beyrouth. Au cours des semaines suivantes, le juge Daniel Fransen étudiera les preuves remises par le procureur pour étayer ses accusations.

Au terme de cette procédure, qui pourrait durer six semaines à dix semaines, le juge validera, ou non, ces accusations. Si elles sont confirmées, elles seront ensuite transmises aux autorités des Etats où résident les accusés. Selon plusieurs sources au sein du bureau du procureur, les accusations viseraient des membres du Hezbollah.

Au cours des dernières années, de nombreuses révélations et rumeurs ont pointé le parti chiite. Le secrétaire général du Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, qui attribue cet attentat à Israël, a lui-même affirmé, dans de nombreux discours prononcés depuis mars 2010, que le procureur ciblait, à tord, des membres de son parti. En octobre, il affirmait que toute personne qui arrêterait l’un des membres de “la résistance” aurait “la main coupée”.


Si après six années d’enquête, le procureur semble disposer de preuves concernant les exécutants présumés, la question clé de ces accusations est de savoir s’il dispose d’éléments concrets pour confondre les commanditaires ? “Si on estime que c’est le Hezbollah, on peut assumer qu’il n’aurait jamais fait cela sans l’aval de la Syrie, et éventuellement l’aide de l’Iran”, expliquait au Monde un enquêteur en février 2010.

Dans un premier temps, la commission d’enquête, établie par l’ONU, visait clairement Damas. Et “comme des centaines d’autres témoins, le président Bachar Al-Assad a été entendu”, révèle un ancien enquêteur. Mais les premiers pas de l’enquête ont été entachés de manipulations. Au cours des deux dernières années, les enquêteurs du procureur ont dû “reprendre des éléments bâclés lors des premières années”, affirme-t-on au sein du parquet.

L’imminence des mises en accusations par le tribunal spécial est à l’origine de la crise qui secoue le Liban depuis l’été 2010. Les partis d’opposition, dont ceux du Hezbollah, tentent depuis plusieurs mois d’obtenir du premier ministre, Saad Hariri, qu’il prenne ses distances avec le tribunal, établi par les Nations unies au terme d’un accord passé avec le gouvernement en 2007, mais que le parlement avait refusé de ratifier.

Cette crise s’est soldée, le 12 janvier, par la démission de 11 ministres, faisant chuter le gouvernement de coalition conduit par le fils de Rafic Hariri, Saad, après l’échec d’une tentative de médiation syro-saoudienne.

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January 15th, 2011, 1:00 pm


78. Ziad said:

GHAT #69
Those are very expressive photos. Israel never misses an opportunity to create new enemies and foment hatred that will persist and be remembered for 1000 years. AP expects us to like or at least remain indifferent towards the perpetrators of this and many other acts. Israel is pursuing an aggressive elbow politics in Palestine like the one the American did in the west. There are two essential differences:
1 – There was an inexhaustible source of people eager to leave an overpopulated Europe while source of new immigrants to Israel is pretty much exhausted.
2 – The Palestinians are not declining in number as the Native Americans were.
I always used to wonder what would have happened if the French treated the Algerians well during the 130 years of occupation. Probably we would rarely find someone with a name like Mohammad, or Salim. We would have found many mosques converted to catholic churches. In the end effect we have to be thankful to the French for their barbarities and brutalities, because it helped maintain Algeria’s Islamic-Arabic character.
In 1967 when Israel occupied the remainder of Palestine, many Palestinians were ready to accept the occupation, obviously believing that the Israelis were friendly folk, only wanting to live in peace. Many Palestinians went shopping and coiffuring in Tall Abib. But a short time passed, and the Israelis remembered that they are occupiers, so they must behave like ones.
My call to Israel: keep doing it. Time is not on your side. Thomas Friedman said:
“The Palestinians know what they have to do to eliminate Israel as a Jewish state.”

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January 15th, 2011, 1:58 pm


79. Alex said:

Amazing …

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January 15th, 2011, 3:05 pm


80. Alex said:

Just a reminder.

The first comment under this post was by Averroes. Here is what he wrote:

“I think that the opposition will wait until the tribunal spills its guts with what it has, and then it will move to show devastating evidence of fraud, manipulation, and corruption on the part of the MArch 14 movement.”

Then our dear friend Honest Patriot politely portrayed Averroes as a dreamer/conspiracy theorist:


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January 15th, 2011, 3:51 pm


81. Ghat Albird said:

ZIAD #78.

As the old sayong goe……” a picture is worth a thousand words”

You stated some interesting points. Your quoting Thomas Friedman said:
“The Palestinians know what they have to do to eliminate Israel as a Jewish state.” Reminds one of a parallel quote reported in the Jerusalem Post.

“The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they
want more”….

Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel at the time – August 28, 2000.
Reported in the Jerusalem Post August 30, 2000

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January 15th, 2011, 4:54 pm


82. Norman said:

Here it is in writing , if somebody interested,


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January 15th, 2011, 5:59 pm


83. Ghat Albird said:

Thanks Norman. Had hard time following the whole discussion on video.

Much appreciated.

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January 15th, 2011, 7:05 pm


84. Norman said:

How do we know that Hariri, Siddiq and Hassan did not meet before this meeting and fabricated the plan and to show that Hariri did not have anything to do with it when they met with somebody from the investigation ,

How can be possible that Hariri took Siddiq to meet the investigation man without talking to him first ,

He had to have known about what Siddiq was planing to say before the meeting and recorded it for cover at the right time ,

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January 15th, 2011, 7:29 pm


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