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.”

AFP:

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.

Jumblatt

“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)


Averroes said:

I think the coming days will see the expulsion of the Hariri dynasty from the political scene in Lebanon. I feel empathy for Mr. Saad Hariri as he basically had no choice but to buckle. He is not a man of politics and he is where he is by virtue of Dollars and a family name.

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.

The Sunni-Shiite fitna, which the Israelis are counting on, as their last, desperate weapon, will not happen.

January 13th, 2011, 12:08 am

 

why-discuss said:

How can anyone trust an ‘international tribunal’ where secrecy should be a prerequisite that produced more leaks that any other tribunal and showed no result after eating up millions of dollars and creating anxiety and instability in the region?
Bellemare’s delay ( now to MARCH 2011)) show that he has no conclusive proof. Then he should admit it and resign like all his predecessors.

January 13th, 2011, 5:56 am

 

Honest Patriot said:

Averroes in 1 “…devastating evidence of fraud, manipulation, and corruption on the part of the MArch 14 movement” (sic)

Any hints of what this might be? similar to the “devastating evidence” of Israeli guilt in the Hariri assassination?

Are the Israelis really so powerful and conniving, yet so powerless that “their last, desperate weapon” is a “Sunni-Shiite fitna”?

January 13th, 2011, 7:21 am

 

Ghat Albird said:

Elliot Abrams who authored that a statement to the effect that as a Jew he only “feels” at home when in Israel is evidently promoting a civil war in Lebanon for the convenience of Israel.

Its to their credit that the Jews adhere to the notion, regardless of their political leanings that they first, foremost ad always dedicated to a state of their own no matter in which other nation they might reside.

As a Lebanese member of hariri’s government said…”Hariri has to decide whether he is commimted to Beirut, or Washington/Tel Aviv”.

Its plain for every one to see that the Tel Aviv/Washington Axis is for civil war in Lebanon unless they do what they are told to do.

The nation that boasts of having over two dozen universities for a population of less than 6 million now has a choice of doing whats best for them rather than whats externally dictated by others.

January 13th, 2011, 8:56 am

 

norman said:

Joshua,

Do you think that the instability and stagnation in Lebanon will increase investments in Stable Syria ? and can Syria be the winner ?

January 13th, 2011, 9:27 am

 

Joshua said:

Dear Norman. I do not believe that Syria can benefit from an unstable Lebanon. An economically thriving Lebanon is good for Syria.

Increased insecurity and turmoil in Lebanon will hurt Syria overall. The US and European powers are more likely to punish Syria with sanctions and isolation.

The environment of threats and tensions will frighten off foreign investment at a time that Syria is desperate to attract it and leading an anti-corruption campaign to that end.

An unstable environment will lead to increased tensions between Saudi Arabia and Syria, which is bad for the Syrian economy. Syria needs Saudi investment and positive relations.

Good Saudi-Syrian relations are good for Iraq stability too, which has a positive economic effect as well.

January 13th, 2011, 9:49 am

 

norman said:

Joshua,
Then do you think that the obvious American veto on the S/S deal is the first salvo in the return of the American way to isolate Syria in preparation for the squeeze and possibly the attack on Iran .

January 13th, 2011, 10:03 am

 

Joshua said:

Norman, No I don’t. The US is wedded to the the International Tribunal, which was its idea. It also cannot allow Hizbullah to normalize as an accepted and dominant part of the Lebanese scene. That is my thought.

January 13th, 2011, 11:16 am

 

norman said:

Thank you Joshua .

January 13th, 2011, 11:27 am

 

lally said:

HP.

The “conniving” Israelis have always believed in the *divide and conquer* approach to dealing with their enemies. It’s only one facet of their defense strategy. I would expect that ALL Lebanese would be fully aware of the history of Israeli (and American) efforts in that regard.

January 13th, 2011, 12:04 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Norman,

How do you know there was an “American veto” ? Maybe it was a Saudi veto?

January 13th, 2011, 12:08 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Lally,

What did the “conniving Israelis” do to “force” the HA faction to drop out of the gov’t?

January 13th, 2011, 12:14 pm

 

BigB said:

This is a very interesting move by Hizbollah. Hizbollah would like to humiliate the US, as pointed out in one of the articles above. There seems to be more to this than the simple political explanation. The US now has an ambassador in Damascus. Syria has also signaled it’s interest in moving towards Turkey’s ambitions in the ME, which threaten Iranian hegemonic interests. Could this move to send Lebanon’s government into chaos be a strategic move in order to convince Syria and the Lebanese people that Hizbollah/Iran are needed more than, say, Trukey in Lebanon. Syria seems to be taking a nuanced position on Hizbollah, apart from it’s previous support. This new attitude might be an attempt by the Asad regime to determine what partner, Turkey or Hizbollah, better serves Syrias interests. Hizbollah move to disolve the Lebanese government might have been made in response to a potential withdrawal of support from Syria. If this is the case, then it is certainly in Hizbollah’s interest to consolidate it’s power in Southern Lebanon rather than the Lebanese Parliament.

January 13th, 2011, 12:30 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

Mr. Nethanyahu is still demanding the US follow his plan that was prepared by Richard Perle, Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, the Wurmsers and others back in the mid 1990’s to secure Israel’s dominance. Whats amazing is that there are still individuals believing that Israel is sincerely dedicated to peace.

The continuing attitude of being superior to the goyim cattle is still prevalent. Its either israel’s way or no way.

Netanyahu Demands More US Threats to Attack Iran
Insists Sanctions Don’t Work, Only Threats
by Jason Ditz, January 11, 2011
Antiwar Forum

Addressing foreign journalists today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted the notion of more sanctions against the Iranian government was pointless, and insisted rather that only military threats from the US could stop Iran.

“You have to ratchet up the pressure,” Netanyahu said, adding that they needed “a credible military option that is put before them by the international community led by the United States.”

The comments echo previous ones made by Netanyahu during his November US visit, during which he complained that the US wasn’t threatening to attack Iran nearly often enough. At the time US military leaders insisted that they were threatening Iran exactly the right amount.

Netanyahu’s desire to see more threats against Iran comes as Israeli officials publicly insisted Iran’s nuclear program had been set by at least five years by sabotage. Netanyahu was reportedly outraged by the comments, which go against decades of official Israeli policy insisting that Iran is always on the brink of creating a nuclear weapon through its civilian program.

January 13th, 2011, 1:29 pm

 

norman said:

AP,

I am more connected than you are ,

January 13th, 2011, 1:58 pm

 

Honest Patriot said:

3ammo Norman,

LOL – nice jovial response to AP.

But seriously, why would anyone discount the soul of Hariri Jr. insisting on wanting some light shed on his father’s assassination. I would do the same in his shoes. Clearly, he (Hariri Jr.) does have a good level of trust in the professionalism and non-alignment of the staff and judges of the STL. While their views would inevitably be colored by their upbringing and milieu, I would be extremely surprised if it were at any point proven that they are swayed by other than the objective facts and they would have any other goal but to unveil the truth.

The only “concession” that Saad Hariri appeared to have been willing to provide is to refrain from accusing any of the “systems,” whether they be Syrian or HA, of being behind an orchestrated, policy-driven plan for his father’s assassination, opting instead to accept a “rogue element” explanation.

In the end, of course, all of us are pontificating and conjecturing until such time when the actual data comes out of the STL. I like my own pontification which I preach to be “superior,” (I’m joking of course).

January 13th, 2011, 2:11 pm

 

Shai said:

Honest Patriot,

If you’re willing to pontificate each week on SC, I’m here to listen!… 🙂

I really do feel sorry for the Lebanese people. They have been pulled and torn in every possible way and challenge over many decades, never to reach even a somewhat stable, truly independent national status.

It is sad to think that Syria, Israel, Iran, and KSA, have all shoved their noses deep into Lebanon’s affairs, undoubtedly with their own interests in mind, not Lebanon’s.

January 13th, 2011, 2:50 pm

 

Observer said:

For March 8 to accept the tribunal the latter has to be impartial and objective and exhaustive. The tribunal has credibility issues as it relied on false witnesses and put innocents in jail and would not broaden its scope of possible culprits. It also has lost credibility after insisting on Syrian involvement and back tracking on that route.
For March 14 they have no option but to insist on the tribunal but their problem is that their credibility has been inexorably linked to that of the tribunal.
March 8 is not against A tribunal, it is against THIS tribunal in its current form. March 14 is for this tribunal and no other tribunal and it backed istelf into a corner.
Now Hariri is crying for help from Qatar and France. Qatar will not burn its fingers again and get involved in a cornered situation. France has only talk and no influence. The question is what is the room for maneouvre that the US and Israel have.
Israel will sit and watch but I am not sure that the US has much room to wiggle especially since the major patrons of the Sunnis namely Saudi Arabia is not interested in rescuing them from their stupidity.
Once again, Lebanon is NOT a country it is clans and sects and families in a Mafia like state.
What a shame.

January 13th, 2011, 3:36 pm

 

lally said:

“Clearly, he (Hariri Jr.) does have a good level of trust in the professionalism and non-alignment of the staff and judges of the STL. While their views would inevitably be colored by their upbringing and milieu, I would be extremely surprised if it were at any point proven that they are swayed by other than the objective facts and they would have any other goal but to unveil the truth.”

You are projecting your own fantasies of STL integrity upon Hariri Jr, HP. Ample evidence that this faithbased POV is misplaced makes no dent in your starry-eyed musings.

This American pities the poor freiers who believe that their fervent wishful thinking will somehow obscure the track records of both the US (and Israel) when it comes to manipulations of international institutions and most obviously in America’s case, a long history of direct & deadly interference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations as a matter of course.

But oh no, somehow, when it comes to Lebanon (and only Lebanon), Uncle Scapegoat et al have only the purest of intentions. HP, by now, most Americans know their government lies to them (Iraq) and that our “justice” system, esp at the Federal levels, is politicized.

Get a clue.

January 13th, 2011, 4:16 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

OBSERVER. According to this French author Lebanon is a “SMALL” Mafia state.

Réfléchir et Agir: You have published a fourth book on Judaism, a volume of 400 pages. Why another? Haven’t you said all there is to say?

Hervé Ryssen: I thought so too! But Judaism is a very closed world, very secret, thus after all these years of study, one still learns new things. This time, I explored the criminal world operating within the international Jewish community, and what one discovers there is, strictly speaking, incredible. The fact is that the Jewish Mafia is the main Mafia that exists today on this planet: racketeering, prostitution, drug trafficking, arms trading, contraband diamond smuggling, traffic in works of art, murder for hire, organized swindles, armed robberies, etc. Pornography, casinos, and discotheques are also largely held by Jewish gangsters.

R&A: You claim that international drug trafficking is mainly in the hands of the Jewish Mafia. Are you quite certain you are not overstating your case?

H. R.: I do not claim that the Jewish mafia controls most of the international illegal drug trade, since there are no statistics on the subject, but it does not appear incredible to me, judging by all information I could gather. The fact is that from the Chinese opium traffic of the nineteenth century to the present day, this mafia has been quite active in this field. In the traffic of ecstasy, one can say for certain that the Jewish mafia holds a monopoly. Today, ecstasy is the drug that is most harmful to European young people. A pill of ecstasy gives a feeling of strength and well-being for a few hours, but it is above all a veritable chemical garbage bin. Its long-term effects are alarming because irreversible: memory loss; behavioral, sleep, and concentration problems; brain lesions in the children of druggie mother. The premier producer is Holland, but the big traffickers who were arrested ten years ago in France, Belgium, the United States, or Australia, all have Israeli passports. The business of ecstasy is 100% in the hands of Jewish gangsters, not all of whom come from Russia, since there are Sephardic traffickers as well. If you buy a pill of ecstasy, in every instance, you can be certain you are financing the Jewish mafia. Certain big ecstasy traffickers are also deeply involved in the heroin and cocaine trade.

R&A: Is the Jewish mafia connected with the famous Colombian drug cartels?

H. R.: There is no doubt. Here is just one example: on February 16th, 1993, the Russian police of Viborg, close to the Russo-Finnish border, near Saint Petersburg, seized more than a ton of Colombian cocaine disguised as cans of corned beef. It was an Israeli resident in Bogota, Elias Cohen, married to a Colombian in cahoots with one of the clans related to the Cali cartel, who managed the network along with one Yuval Shemesh. The final destination of the cocaine was a group of Israeli traffickers established in the Netherlands, headed by one Jacob Korakin, a kippa-wearing religious Jew from the diamond district of Antwerp.

R&A: Certain diamond traders of Antwerp, New York, and Tel-Aviv play a large role in the Jewish mafia, particularly in money laundering.

H. R.: Diamond traders are at the heart of money-laundering operations for the Colombian cartels. In Manhattan, 47th Street, which is the heart of their activity, is also the largest drug money laundry. A Rabbi Yosef Crozer was arrested in February 1990 while going to Brooklyn with suitcases and bags stuffed with small-denomination banknotes. He carried $300,000 every day. His co-operation with police made it possible the following month to arrest around 30 people in the Orthodox Jewish community. One of them was Avraham Sharir, another pious Jew who owned a gold shop on 47th Street and who proved to be one of the key characters in drug money laundering in New York. Sharir, an Israeli citizen of 45 years, confessed to laundering $200 million on behalf of the Cali cartel. His employees, who counted banknotes, were regularly obliged to go our for fresh air, because so many of the small bills had been rolled for use in snorting cocaine.

R&A: Certain religious Jews do not seem to have too many scruples, one might say . . .
H. R.: Even Hassidic Jews are deeply implicated in drug trafficking. In 2001, the police broke up a ring directed by Sean Erez, a Hassidic Jew who trafficked in ecstasy. The drug had been smuggled in the hats and prayer scrolls of these pious Jews, whom customs officers were not supposed to suspect.
In July 1998, the small diamond cutting community of Antwerp was strongly shaken by a series of arrests of Lubavitchers. It had been discovered that the diamond business in the Flemish city was a cover for the international heroin traffic. Fifteen kilos had been seized. An Orthodox Jew, Dror Hazenfratz, was the head of the network. Born in Haïfa, Hazenfratz had an Israeli passport as well as a Belgian identity card. Before the court, he appeared in traditional black garb—caftan, cap, and curls—which did not prevent him from being condemned to eleven years in prison. There are many other examples.

R&A: You go back to the “American” gangsters of the Thirties.

H. R.: Yes, I was also interested in these mythical gangsters who had worked with the Sicilian mafia. The Jewish gangsters were particularly involved in “Murder Incorporated,” a kind of mutual insurance company of assassination thanks to which a local leader could profit from the services of killers coming from another locality and thus avoid blame. Murder Incorporated was a gang made up of mainly Jewish gangsters, who took care of the crime syndicate’s dirty work. It is estimated that from 1933 to 1940 the organization was responsible of more than 700 assassinations, but some speak of 2000. Because firearms are too easily traceable, they preferred to kill their victims with drowning, knives, bats, piano wire, and especially ice picks. All this is also part of the history of the Jewish people.

R&A: Why don’t people talk about this?

H. R.: It is always the famous reflex of “projection” about which I spoke in my two preceding books. Jewish intellectuals always project on others that about which they feel guilty. They say they were victims of Communism, for example, when in fact they were the main instigators. In the same way, Freud projected a problem specific to the Jewish people—rampant incest—on a universal level, and everyone fell into the trap.

In the 1990s, the media spoke about the terrible “Russian Mafia.” But truth to tell, all the “Russian” gangsters who were arrested had Israeli passports. The biggest one, Semion Mogilevitch, a major trafficker of weapons who also prostituted hundreds of Russian and Ukrainian girls in Prague and Budapest, was stopped in Moscow in January 2008. In France, the Courrierinternational was the only newspaper that reported it, but obviously his Jewishness was not mentioned: he was “Russian”

Likewise, in Hollywood cinema, the drug traffickers, gangsters, “bad guys,” if they are not Sicilian, are very often Nordic white men: never Jews! The cosmopolitan directors undoubtedly have something to do with this sleight of hand.

Could it be that the whole world is Mafia controlled?

January 13th, 2011, 4:30 pm

 

Yossi said:

Alex, Norman,

You’re going to like this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acSzMSXDmeA

A Copt friend sent it to me. Very sad what’s happening to Christiains in the Mideast.

January 13th, 2011, 5:29 pm

 

Averroes said:

HP,

Five years ago when all hell broke loose and every M14 enthusiast and his dog were coming up with all sorts of analysis as to why it was Syria who killed Hariri, I could say that they had a remote chance of being right. I’m Syrian, and as much as I despised all the ugliness that poured out of M14 officials and media outlets toward not just the Syrian government, but also the Syrian people as a whole, I was prepared to give their main theory a 5%, maybe 10% chance of being right.

That has been totally blown out of the water now, and I think we can agree that Syria is not implicated in Hariri’s murder.

But to try and implicate HA of this crime is so way out there, that it would be laughable if it were not so dangerous.

If you want to live the dream that the US cares about Mr. Hariri, or the security of Lebanon, or the Lebanese people, then you go ahead and live that pipe dream. A whole lot of people in the ME do not believe that not one bit. We also know that behind all this shameless charade of is the single goal of destroying the example of HA, and removing its threat to Israel and to other “moderate” Arab regimes. No matter what the cost, no matter how many innocent people have to be killed, no matter how many fools will be chanting sectarian hatred and gearing up to slaughter their neighbours and co-citizens, if it will get rid of HA and the Resistance movement, they will attempt to do it.

I don’t know if you are Lebanese, but if you are, I think that you will agree that internal fighting is one of the most potent weapons Israel can implement against Lebanon, Syria, or anywhere else. You have a weak knee and you know they will strike you again and again on it until you fall. A huge amount of investment has been poured into inciting sectarian tension and hatred (by moderate Arab media) and that has fooled a lot of people to be sure. It’s there to see if one is prepared to see it and deal with the consequences. Like I said, whatever it takes.

Can you please tell me why it is that after Hariri admitted that there were False Witnesses planted to derail the investigation, that this thread is deliberately muted down? If everyone really cares about “el 7a’ee’a”, why M14 has put all its weight against pursuing investigations that could potentially lead to the truth? After Hariri Jr himself admitted the fact that there has been False Witnesses that have manipulated the investigation and caused the tensions with Syria?

What’s wanted here is not the truth, but HA’s head, and that is very very clear. It’s a new Qamees Uthman all over again.

So, as for what the Resistance will do remains to be seen. But, I am more optimistic now that the M14 popular base will come to realize that they’ve being manipulated for too long by their “leaders”. A major Sunni-Shiite bloodshed (the ultimate goal of all this) will not happen.

January 13th, 2011, 6:16 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Lally and Norman: The Blame Game

I am more connected than you are…

Norman,

If you’re so connected, why can’t you answer my simple question?

This American pities the poor freiers who believe that their fervent wishful thinking will somehow obscure the track records of both the US (and Israel) when it comes to manipulations of international institutions and most obviously in America’s case, a long history of direct & deadly interference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations as a matter of course.

Lally,

Any reason you couldn’t answer my question in Post #12?

Per your comment above, we understand how you like to blame the US and Israel at ever possible opportunity, but do you suppose there are OTHER countries that have a “long history of direct & deadly interference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations”, say, like Iran and Syria?

January 13th, 2011, 6:51 pm

 

Lebanon serves its purpose as a failed state | Antoun Issa said:

[…] Landis at Syria Comment equally resigns Lebanon to eternal stagnation as it returns “to its battleground existence of […]

January 13th, 2011, 8:47 pm

 

Norman said:

HP,
Thank you ,

I do not know if you know the story about an Arab tribe leader who came home to find out that his son was killed by his cousin , there was an outrage and call for blood as the cousin was caught , after thinking for a while , he told his people to let him go , when he was asked about what he did , he said we lost one son , we do not want to lose another son , so that should be the attitude of Hariri if he is a real leader , a real leader looks after his people more than after his parents or his revenge ,

Shai , What about me i am here all the time , what am i , Chopped Liver?,

Averroes .

I agree with you , the goal is Hezbollah’s head , not justice ,

Yossi,

I am very glad that you understand Arabic , Am i right ?

AP,

Watch state of the union , you will see president Obama concentrating on hard line foreign policy as he is preparing to move to the right to satisfy AIPAC as he prepares for the election ,

All of you ,

Lebanon is like a house hold , husbands and wives can fight and disagree but many times they end up making up and getting back together , that usually does not happen when either party start complaining about the other to outsiders as they start interfering in the family affair and contribute their useless advices about who is at fault , all this leads to the demise of that marriage and family ,

That is the story of Lebanon , instead of solving their own problems they let outsider on their disagreements and that will lead to the demise of Lebanon ,

January 13th, 2011, 9:43 pm

 

Norman said:

Syria might be the loser as Hezbollah is showing Syria that she can not control Hezbollah ,

Home Print Edition Business Published 00:46 13.01.11 Latest update 00:46 13.01.11 Hezbollah exit from Lebanon government carefully planned

The sudden move by the Lebanese militant group is meant to signal to Syria that if it wants to show Washington it can preserve stability in Lebanon, Hezbollah and Iran will have the last word.
By Zvi Bar’el
It was no coincidence that the opposition Hezbollah party and its allies resigned from the cabinet yesterday, bringing down the Lebanese government, at the same moment that Prime Minister Saad Hariri met with U.S. President Obama in Washington.

Party leader Hassan Nasrallah stopped performing only for the Lebanon stage a long time ago. Since the country evolved into an inter-Arab and international political theater, there have been several arm-wrestling contests involving Iran and Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt, the United States and Iran – with Nasrallah the fulcrum around which they strain.

In essence, it’s his call whether Lebanon becomes again a theater of violence, or bumbles along with a new prime minister acting in the shadow of Hezbollah.

The immediate excuse for the resignation is Hariri’s refusal to wash his hands of the expected indictment regarding his father’s murder. But the anticipated U.N.-backed indictment has driven Hezbollah to foment some upheavals in the region, the most significant being increased cooperation between Syria and Saudi Arabia as they tried to head off the crisis. This effort hit a dead end and that serves the Shi’ite organization well.

The United States, which was partner to the consultations between Saudi Arabia and Syria, reached an understanding with them that the charges must be published – as this was a UN-backed tribunal that Lebanon had been partner in setting up. Iran disagreed, rejecting the court’s ruling. Syria said it would accept the indictment if it were based on decisive evidence.

Hezbollah’s collective resignation yesterday was intended to show Syria the limitations of its influence on the group and to tell Damascus that if it wanted to show Washington it can preserve stability in Lebanon, Hezbollah and Iran will have the last word.

In itself, the resignation does not insure that the indictment – which likely implicates senior Hezbollah officials – would not be released. But it prevents the Lebanese cabinet from functioning or making any cardinal decisions, as these require a majority of two-thirds of the 30 ministers.

Nasrallah, who is not pleased with the strengthening ties between Syria and Hariri and fears they will gnaw at his power, now wants to reshuffle the cabinet, have a new prime minister appointed and split up the coalition. This will increase Hezbollah’s strength and could thwart Syria’s ability to form a political bloc that would counterbalance the group.

January 13th, 2011, 9:57 pm

 

Gabriel said:

Norm @24

LoL. “A real leader looks…”.

You’re not being serious are you?

Forget “Justice”. And let’s start with the “Truth”. You want Hariri to dust everything under the carpet for the good of the “people”. If HA and Syria don’t care about the people, why on earth should he?

January 13th, 2011, 10:59 pm

 

Gabriel said:

Ibn Rushd:

(1) We are not all agreed that Syria is not implicated in the murder.

(2) One of those “False Witnesses” is living happily in Syria. By all means, why don’t you tell your government to take him in, investigate, and tell us what they find out. So why haven’t the Syrians arrested him yet?

(3) It’s a little presumptious for you to assert that what people are after is HA’s head, and not the truth.

January 13th, 2011, 11:07 pm

 

Averroes said:

Norman,

I take exception at the example you brought up (about the Beduin tribal leader). We are not asking Hariri to put his hands in the hand of his father’s killers. Far from it. What he should do is acknowledge the clearly evident fraud and falsification that has plagued the tribunal from the get go. He has acknowledged that there were people who planted false statements to implicate Syria. How can he stop there? How can he not follow through this extremely important thread?

January 13th, 2011, 11:38 pm

 

Yossi said:

Norman,

Yes I do although I get rusty over time. Masri is the most difficult for me to understand though and I needed my friend’s help with many words. Reading is of course the easiest (like any other foreign language).

January 14th, 2011, 1:36 am

 

Shai said:

Norman,

You are bigger than life!

January 14th, 2011, 3:08 am

 

Shai said:

Ghat,

Re: Your Comment #20.

I believe you’re coming awfully close to deliberate or inadvertent spread of antisemitism with this comment, and with a few others in the past.

How would you like it if a commentator filled these pages with yet-another-article about the “cunning secretive” sides of Islam?!? I couldn’t think of a more Racist antisemitic (anti-Muslim) form of dialogue on this blog.

Please consider the value of these contributions, versus the potential negative effects they may have.

January 14th, 2011, 3:17 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

The State of the Union vs. The State of the ME

Watch state of the union , you will see president Obama concentrating on hard line foreign policy as he is preparing to move to the right to satisfy AIPAC as he prepares for the election

Norman,

Yes, even though Obama is the most liberal/leftist president in history, he still isn’t enough for the rejectionists. Now Obama is a Likudnik with his trademark “hard line foreign policy”™.;)

To date, all US Presidents have favored a negotiated 2-state solution. My guess is, that won’t change.

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

Shai,

Thanks for recognizing post #20. Syria Comment has proved it’s usefulness…

January 14th, 2011, 7:42 am

 

Joshua said:

Dear Shai,

I agree with you about Ghat’s articles. Many are simply mean and meant to provoke rather than promote constructive dialogue. Your patience is appreciated.

Ghat, please, let’s not allow SC to decend into a name calling forum.
Joshua

January 14th, 2011, 8:48 am

 

Joshua said:

Dear Shai,

I agree with you about Ghat\’s articles. Many are simply mean and meant to provoke rather than promote constructive dialogue. Your patience is appreciated.

Ghat, please, let\’s not allow SC to decend into a name calling forum.
Joshua

January 14th, 2011, 8:49 am

 

Ghat Albird said:

DR. LANDIS & SHAI.

QUOTE FROM # 18. (OBSERVER)

Once again, Lebanon is NOT a country it is clans and sects and families in a Mafia like state.

Interesting that I am criticised while its OK for Observer to claim Lebanon is MAFIA state. Is it because OBSERVER does not have an ARABIC sounding name? Or is it because he is factual and I am not?

Does not OBSERVER STATEMENT THAT LEBANON IS A MAFIA STATE NOT “NAME CALLING”?”

As a concluding comment it seems that some individuals are more sacrosant than others. But then is that not the prerogative of a select few only?

Thank you Dr. Landis for allowing me the opportunity to contribute albeit in a critical and challenging pro-arab stance on your forum.

January 14th, 2011, 9:23 am

 

Observer said:

Call a spade a spade. Hariri’s Solidere made billions in reconstruction money while hobbling the country with huge debts. Siniora became a billionaire and Walid Bey had a major stake in the cement business and despite his earlier animosity to Syria was happy to sell them whatever at a profit.
Most of them are crooks.
Now I do not understand what is the logic of Hariri.
If the S-S agreement were to be adopted then everybody would have been the better and it was a win win situation.
March 14 wanted the false witnesses to be out of the discussion and March 8 wanted Lebanon to distance itself from the STL knowing very well that on the UN can limit the tribunal. Yet Hariri is now left high and dry. The fact that France is asking for more international players is a clear indication that they are powerless to influence the internal scene in Lebanon.
Hariri is after Alan Greenspan the greatest moron in this century.

January 14th, 2011, 11:57 am

 

Shai said:

Joshua,

I very much appreciate the way SC is run, allowing almost every possible angle to be voiced, rarely with any intervention or censorship. I don’t want to contribute in any way to changing that.

Although I’m not a religious person, I do enjoy learning about religions, including Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. I don’t mind dialogue about religion, as long as it is constructive.

In context of the Arab-Israeli conflict, I enjoy it even further, when it is used to bridge gaps, rather than widen them. Too many have suffered, and continue to suffer, in the name of religion. We must be more responsible, if we truly want a more peaceful future for our children.

January 14th, 2011, 3:16 pm

 

Alex said:

Thanks Yossi. I am worried about Egypt. So many things can go wrong there.

Ghat,

It is great that through blogs that are not under the influence of Likud’s agents in the US, we can now learn about the extensive dirt from Israel or some Israelis that mainstream American media outlets do not dare to cover.

But the problem is that a portion of what you post goes way too far. Just like it is never an acceptable excuse when the IDF kills and terrorizes mostly civilians as they go (allegedly) after “the real terrorists” in Gaza, it is also wrong when Jews in general are “attacked” while one writes about some Jewish Russian crook.

January 14th, 2011, 4:21 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

Many thanks ALEX for your thoughtfull and considerate critique under #39.

January 14th, 2011, 5:02 pm

 

Averroes said:

Wonderful news from Tunisia!!

January 14th, 2011, 5:30 pm

 

Alex said:

For some reason I just remembered this old favorite

January 14th, 2011, 5:56 pm

 

Jad said:

Dear Alex, What a dorky song 🙂

January 14th, 2011, 6:52 pm

 

Alex said:

Oh come on! … Do you suggest a better way to say goodbye to the lovely President Zain El-Abedine!

January 14th, 2011, 7:10 pm

 

Jad said:

I guess not!
I’m very SORRY for doubting your musical choice.

I agree with OTW, it’s interesting that we all didn’t mention what’s happening in Tunisia at all for three weeks now.

January 14th, 2011, 7:17 pm

 

Alex said:

Jad, OTW

I understand what you are suggesting but can I also propose three other reasons why most here did not discuss Tunisia?

1) Until a few hours ago, success was perceived to be a low probability outcome. Most people were shocked today when they realized Zain El-Abedine actually decided to leave. Now it is a historic event and it is worth following and analyzing.

2) This is a specialized bog … it is not Aljazeerah.net

3) Most people barely get interested in what takes place outside some circle of interest that concerns them. For most of us here, that circle usually encompasses the Levant and Iraq/Iran

January 14th, 2011, 7:37 pm

 

Jad said:

Alex,
I wasn’t asking or suggesting to discuss Tunisia on SC, I was pointing out the fact that many of us didn’t mention anything regarding Tunisia until today, it’s not a criticism it’s an observation 😉
I agree with you on the reasons..you are right, again!

January 14th, 2011, 7:50 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

The “Rules” Syria Comment Enforces

Shai states:

I believe you’re coming awfully close to deliberate or inadvertent spread of antisemitism with this comment, and with a few others in the past.

Professor Josh chimes in with an “academic” POV:

I agree with you about Ghat\’s articles. Many are simply mean and meant to provoke rather than promote constructive dialogue. Your patience is appreciated.

Ghat, please, let\’s not allow SC to decend into a name calling forum.

Lastly, Alex (Syria Comment’s “Second-in-Command”) adds his thoughts:

It is great that through blogs that are not under the influence of Likud’s agents in the US, we can now learn about the extensive dirt from Israel or some Israelis that mainstream American media outlets do not dare to cover.

But the problem is that a portion of what you post goes way too far. Just like it is never an acceptable excuse when the IDF kills and terrorizes mostly civilians as they go (allegedly) after “the real terrorists” in Gaza, it is also wrong when Jews in general are “attacked” while one writes about some Jewish Russian crook.

Shai,

FYI, when a post includes ridiculous anti-semitic defamation such as:

The fact is that the Jewish Mafia is the main Mafia that exists today on this planet: racketeering, prostitution, drug trafficking, arms trading, contraband diamond smuggling, traffic in works of art, murder for hire, organized swindles, armed robberies, etc. Pornography, casinos, and discotheques are also largely held by Jewish gangsters.

In the traffic of ecstasy, one can say for certain that the Jewish mafia holds a monopoly.

Murder Incorporated was a gang made up of mainly Jewish gangsters, who took care of the crime syndicate’s dirty work. It is estimated that from 1933 to 1940 the organization was responsible of more than 700 assassinations, but some speak of 2000. Because firearms are too easily traceable, they preferred to kill their victims with drowning, knives, bats, piano wire, and especially ice picks. All this is also part of the history of the Jewish people.

…it is NOT “awfully close” or “inadvertent spread of antisemitism” , it IS anti-semitism. Another indication of your Leftist/Liberal response to blatant anti-semitism.

Professor Josh,

Instead of asking your Jewish participant for patience, why don’t you follow your own rules? Just a suggestion!

http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?page_id=698

Alex,

I see you and Professor Josh are more tolerant of anti-semites than “Likud’s agents in the US” (aka AIG).

Let me just say this, AIG NEVER defamed, slandered or attacked Islam, Arabdom, or any individual on this forum/website.

Your loss, Qifa Nabki’s gain.

January 14th, 2011, 9:13 pm

 

Alex said:

Jad,

I was defensive, wasn’t I : )

Akbar,

I’ll repeat for the 1000th time

1) AIG was here for over 2000 comments before he was moved to moderation.

2) He did indeed attack and defame individuals here … How many times did he state (directly) or imply (indirectly) that I am a supporter of terror? a Syrian regime mouthpiece … or generally a dishonest person. He had a tactic .. every time he could not win an argument (after wasting my whole day arguing) he would conclude by calling me something not flattering, so that any uninformed reader would assume I am representing the evil side and AIG is the defender of democracy and western values …etc.

He also ridiculed Syrians on many occasions … fighting to prove Syrians are illiterate, that Women are treated almost like their Saudi counterparts …

3) I meant it when I said to Ghat that attacks on Jews or on any religious group are dangerous … they lead to hate and that can lead to violence or to genocide. My family suffered from the 1915 events in Turkey and I don’t need a reminder.

4) Why do we allow more than we like to allow on Syria Comment? … for the same reason Haaretz’ editors allow right wing Israeli lunatics to write in the comments section about how they can and should nuke Damascus.

We will not be more royal than the king. This is where those who are extremely not happy with Israel can express their opinions to American and Western readers … just like your friends the settlers are all over the comments sections in Israel and elsewhere.

This is Joshua’s blog and he decides what he will tolerate or not. I can only hope that he would not hesitate to remove or at least edit posts that offensive and that Ghat or others would edit the offensive parts from anything they plan to post here that seem to include useful information.

January 14th, 2011, 9:38 pm

 

jad said:

“Your loss, Qifa Nabki’s gain.”
Nice joke! I hope Qifa can ‘gain’ you too, he will do all of us a favor.

January 14th, 2011, 10:02 pm

 

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 ,

January 14th, 2011, 10:09 pm

 

Norman said:

hey Jad ,

Where have you been man ,

January 14th, 2011, 10:11 pm

 

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?

January 14th, 2011, 10:44 pm

 

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 🙂

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

January 14th, 2011, 11:09 pm

 

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.

January 14th, 2011, 11:41 pm

 

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 🙂

January 15th, 2011, 12:38 am

 

Majhool said:

Jad,

“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?

January 15th, 2011, 1:18 am

 

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

January 15th, 2011, 3:08 am

 

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.

January 15th, 2011, 6:33 am

 

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 ,

January 15th, 2011, 7:03 am

 
 

Norman said:

Shai,

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

January 15th, 2011, 7:44 am

 
 

Norman said:

Shai,

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 .

January 15th, 2011, 8:50 am

 

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…

January 15th, 2011, 9:05 am

 

Ghat Albird said:

TO: ALEX AND NORMAN.

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

IGNORANCE IS WEAKNESS…….
…..SELF-INFLICTED IGNORANCE IS SUICIDE

January 15th, 2011, 9:16 am

 

Norman said:

Shai,
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 .

Ghat,

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

Seeking war while weak is .

January 15th, 2011, 9:21 am

 

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!

January 15th, 2011, 10:43 am

 

Ghat Albird said:

NORMAN.

Is this like seeking peace?

http://www.countercurrents.org/reash140111.htm

January 15th, 2011, 10:44 am

 

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.

January 15th, 2011, 11:18 am

 

Norman said:

Jad ,

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

January 15th, 2011, 11:23 am

 

Shami said:

Norman be sure ,i’m not Majhool.

January 15th, 2011, 11:26 am

 

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 ,

January 15th, 2011, 11:32 am

 

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.

January 15th, 2011, 11:35 am

 

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 ,

January 15th, 2011, 11:52 am

 

Jad said:

Norman,
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!

January 15th, 2011, 11:54 am

 

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.

LE MONDE
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”.

DES ÉLÉMENTS BÂCLÉS LORS DES PREMIÈRES ANNÉES D’ENQUÊTE

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.

January 15th, 2011, 1:00 pm

 

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.”

January 15th, 2011, 1:58 pm

 
 

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:

http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=8082&cp=all#comment-241356

January 15th, 2011, 3:51 pm

 

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

January 15th, 2011, 4:54 pm

 

Norman said:

Alex,
Here it is in writing , if somebody interested,

http://www.elaph.com/Web/news/2011/1/625242.html

January 15th, 2011, 5:59 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

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

Much appreciated.

January 15th, 2011, 7:05 pm

 

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 ,

January 15th, 2011, 7:29 pm

 

Post a comment