Nothing but the truth. Even if against me.

Nothing but the truth. Even if against me.

STOP DONALD DUMB:

DO NOT BUY AMERICAN

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Islamize your Country - a Manual for Dummies

It's been done over the centuries, ever since the Arab nomads sprung out of Mecca and forcibly imposed Islam on millions of people from the Sea of Japan and the Pacific to the edges of the Atlantic on Africa's and Europe's shores.

With Europe in their sight, the Muslim Arab armies were to attempt two major thrusts to subject and convert the continent.

The first thrust came from the West into Spain, as early as the 8th century, when the Muslims marched along the African Mediterranean coast and deep into Sub-Saharan Africa, converting millions of people on their way and eradicating pre-existing religions and languages. From the nexus of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean in Morocco, they crossed the Straits of Gibraltar (the name itself a distortion of Jabal Tareq, or the Mount of Tareq, after Tareq Bin Ziyad,  the Arab-Moorish conqueror who invaded Spain). After taking over the entire Iberian peninsula, they crossed the Pyrenees (720) and occupied the southwestern third of France until Charles Martel stopped them between Tours and Poitiers in 732, and eventually pushed them back to the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. There, they remained until the Reconquista in 1492 when King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabelle of Castile pushed them back into Northern Africa. This Arab-Berber Muslim invasion in the 8th century was to be eventually trigger a European-Christian reaction to Muslim expansion and colonialism, in the form of the Crusades beginning in the late 11th century.

The second thrust was to come from the East, as the Ottoman Turks plundered their way out of Central Asia and marched into Anatolia, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia in the mid-1300s, until they took Constantinople (1453) (today's Istanbul - the name Istanbul is a distortion of the name of Constantinople) where they erased every Christian sign by converting it into a Muslim one. In the Balkans, they hit the chasm between Western Roman Catholicism and Eastern Byzantine Orthodoxy. Northern Europe hadn't yet turned Protestant, but will soon (1517 – 1648) add another stumbling block in the way of the Islamization of Europe. Their advance was to eventually be stopped in Vienna in 1683 by an alliance of Lithuanians, Poles, Austrians, Hungarians, and others. In the Balkans, the Serbs and the Croats became the Christian outposts on the fault line between Christendom and Islam. Today's Muslim Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo etc. are remnants of the Muslim colonial invasions of Europe from the East.

Evidently, these are the major outlines of a much larger and expansive Arab-Muslim colonial empire-building that really stopped in 1918 with the conclusion of World War I. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of other fault lines that emerged between pre-Islamic civilizations and countries and the new Islamic invaders.

One of these much smaller fault lines exists today in Lebanon. The Arab Muslim armies reached the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine) between 634 and 638, seizing Damascus and Beirut (635), and eventually Jerusalem (637), from the Christian Byzantines.

As Mount Lebanon rises steeply from the Mediterranean to reach nearly 3,000 meters at its highest peaks, the Arab Muslim invaders did what all other conquerors did before them: They marched along the coast, but were unable to venture into the rugged hills and highlands of the Mountain. Thus, the coastal cities of Tyre, Sidon, Beirut, and Tripoli became Muslim, while the mountainous interior remained Christian.

Lebanon today represents another one of those fault lines between the Christian and Muslim worlds. Lebanese politics is largely defined by this chasm. In times of war, Lebanese Christians and Muslims kill one another, and in times of peace they brag about tolerance and coexistence. Just as Orthodox Serbs, Catholic Croats and Muslim Bosnians do. In times of peace, when no outsiders are paying attention, the war goes on. There is an incessant dance of a multitude of back-and-forths, small victories and defeats, constant tensions about language rights,religious rights, political appointments, and the private (i.e. religious) and public spheres, etc.

Ever since the end of World War I, the emancipation from Muslim Ottoman occupation (1516-1918) ushered a sense of genuine auto-determination for the Lebanese Christians, with the assistance of their European protectors. As European colonialism faded away in the course of the 20th century, the Lebanese Christians were left gradually alone to face off with their fellow Muslim Lebanese. Political arrangements, power-sharing, civil wars, Arab and Western centrifugal and centripetal forces at play, etc. have been a constant hallmark of Lebanese political life. And today is no different, even if things seem rosy right now, with circumstances as they are: The ravages of wars and revolutions in the Arab world have diminished Muslim power, and the Christians are seeing a comeback of their political clout. After three decades of defeats and Muslim domination, there is a sense of the equilibrium tilting back to the favor of the Christians.

Finally, below is a picture of Lebanese Maronite Catholic President Michel Aoun who was recently given the additional name of "Mohammad" by the Shiite Muslim Head Clergyman in Lebanon to reward him for his pro-Shiite political stances. This made-up photograph is symptomatic of Lebanese politics, yet goes beyond the permissible. A "hybrid" like Imam Mohammad Michel Aoun in the photograph is taboo. In Lebanon, your only allowable identities are two: either Christian or Muslim. You cannot be anything else, and that is not just in terms of your religious identity. Social, political, economic, identities are all subsumed under the Christian-Muslim duality.  Anyone in Lebanon who challenges the status quo is quickly recuperated by the other side. In other words, you cannot be a genuine progressive (Christian or Muslim) in Lebanon, because the moment you think outside the imposed religious boxes (there are 18 religious boxes in Lebanon, and every baby is quickly dumped into one of the boxes at birth), you are immediately accused by "your people" of abandoning your box, and are of course welcomed by the other side, though neither side really cares for the substance of your ideas.



And that is why real progress for Lebanon into the modern world is virtually impossible so long as there are 18 religious boxes that define personal, political and national identities. As the West has turned secular, the Christians are finding it increasingly hard to oppose Islam with Christianity (even though the religious establishments will try to meet Islamic fundamentalism with a resurrected Christian fundamentalism, such as Trump's evangelicals in the US). In Lebanon, the Christians cannot claim secularism as the answer to political Islam because that would amount to leaving their Christian box. There is no secular box allowed in Lebanon. And so, change is stunted, a regression into fundamentalist Christianity is difficult, and therefore there is only room for the slow, inexorable Islamization of Lebanon. Hajj Mohammad Michel Aoun's photo says it all.



Saturday, December 16, 2017

How can Lebanon Still Accept Aid from the US?


Echoing my previous post.... 

 

كيف يقبل لبنان هِبَات من دولة خسِرت صفة العُظمى!؟

بفارق ساعة واحدة بين اسطنبول وبيروت كان رئيس الجمهورية ينزع «صفة الدولة العظمى» عن الولايات المتحدة التي لا يمكنها أن ترعى عملية السلام في الشرق الأوسط، فيما كان قائدُ المنطقة الوسطى في الجيش الأميركي الجنرال جوزف فوتيل يعلن من السراي الحكومي عن هبة من المروحيّات والأسلحة الذكيّة للجيش. فما سرّ الدعم الأميركي على رغم هذا التناقض؟ وكيف يفسَّر؟


في الوقت الذي كان أحد السياسيين اللبنانيين يعبّر عن خشيته من تحوّل لبنان الى المحور المعادي للأميركيين ودول الخليج العربي نتيجة التناقض في مواقف المسؤولين اللبنانيين الكبار، كان أحد الديبلوماسيين يؤكّد استمرارَ الرعاية الدولية للوضع اللبناني، مخفِّفاً من «تشاؤم» هذا السياسي ومخاوفه على رغم قناعته بأنّ المخاوف والهواجس التي عبّر عنها صحيحة وواقعية وتدعو الى القلق إذا لم نتطلّع الى الأسباب الأخرى التي تستجلب المواقف الدولية الداعمة للبنان.

 

وعند اشتداد الحوار بين المنطقَين تقدّم السياسي بعرض شامل للتطوّرات متحدّثاً عن عدم وجود رؤية واحدة من هذه القضايا، ليس على مستوى اللبنانيين المنقسمين بين الحلف الروسي ـ الإيراني من جهة والحلف الأميركي - السعودي من جهة أخرى، ليتوسّع الإنقسام على مستوى القادة الكبار، وتحديداً ما بين رئيس الجمهورية ورئيس مجلس النواب من جهة، ورئيس الحكومة من جهة أخرى، وكذلك بالنسبة الى مواقف أعضاء الحكومة المنقسمين بين هذين المنطقَين.

 

وتوقف «السياسي المتشائم» أمام المحطات التي انعكست مزيداً من التوتر بين لبنان وأصدقائه وفي مقدمهم المملكة العربية السعودية والولايات المتحدة الأميركية ودول العالم الحرّ التي تصرّ على وضع «حزب الله» بلا تفرقة بين جناحَيه السياسي والعسكري على لائحة المنظمات الإرهابية، وصولاً الى العقوبات المتشدّدة التي فرضتها الإدارة الأميركية على قياداته وحساباته وشركاته وشخصيات اتُّهمت بتمويله. وقال: «لا يمكننا أن ننسى بعض المحطات التي اقتربت فيها العقوبات من أن تشمل القادة اللبنانيين الكبار بتهمة «وقوفهم» الى جانب «حزب الله والسلاح غير الشرعي». وأضاف: «أنّ التناقض في المواقف القيادية كان بارزاً وشهدت له محطات عدة، ولا يمكن إخفاؤه على أحد. فرئيس الجمهورية لم يوفّر منبراً دولياً من دون تأكيد حاجة لبنان الى «سلاح حزب الله» الى جانب الجيش اللبناني في انتظار أن «يقوى عوده».

 

فيما كان رئيس الحكومة سعد الحريري يشكو من هذا السلاح، مؤكّداً «أنّ لبنان ليس بقادر على إنهاء ملف السلاح غير الشرعي في انتظار الحلول الإقليمية التي أعطته الدور الذي تجاوز الحدود اللبنانية في اتّجاه الأزمات والحروب التي اشتعلت في الشرق الأوسط والخليج العربي.

 

وما إن انتهى السياسي اللبناني من مطالعته السلبية حتى سأل الديبلوماسي رأيه في المفارقات الأخيرة التي عاشها اللبنانيون، وآخر فصولها ما شهدته اسطنبول وبيروت بنحوٍ متزامن ظهر الأربعاء الماضي.  وقال: «بفارق ساعة فقط كان رئيس الجمهورية يخطب في القمّة الإسلامية في اسطنبول مهاجماً السياسة الأميركية في المنطقة عقب صدور قرار الرئيس دونالد ترامب بالإعتراف بالقدس عاصمة لإسرائيل، معتبراً أنّ القرار أسقط عن بلاده «صفة الدولة العظمى التي تعمل على إيجاد حلول تحقّق السلامَ العادل في الشرق الأوسط»، ومضيفاً «إن لم تتصدّ الأمم المتحدة لهذا القرار فإنها تتنازل عن دورها كمرجع دولي لحلّ النزاعات الدولية وفقاً لمبادئ العدل والقانون الدولي، كما ينصّ ميثاقُها، فينتفي بذلك سببُ وجودها».


وفي الوقت عينه كانت بيروت تشهد لقاءً في السراي الحكومي بين الحريري وقائد القيادة المركزية الأميركية في الشرق الأوسط الجنرال جوزف فوتيل والسفيرة اليزابيت ريتشارد أعلن خلاله عن مساعدة نوعيّة للجيش اللبناني تربو على 120 مليون دولار، تشمل «ست طائرات هليكوبتر هجومية خفيفة من طراز MD 530G ، وست طائرات بلا طيار جديدة من طراز Scan Eagle ، بالإضافة الى أحدث أجهزة اتصالات والرؤية الليلية»، ومعتبراً أنّ «هذه المعدّات المتقدمة، ستساعد الجيش في بناء قدراته الثابتة والقوية لحماية الحدود ومكافحة الإرهاب والدفاع عن لبنان وشعبه».

 

وردّ الديبلوماسي قائلاً: «إنّ هذه المقارنة لا تجوز، فما يتحدث عنه رئيس الجمهورية يتناول قراراً أميركياً ما زال يتفاعل عالمياً، وإنّ الرفض تجاوز لبنان الى مختلف القارات، ولم نعرف الى الآن مَن هي الدولة التي رحّبت بقرار ترامب عدا إسرائيل. إنّ عليكم أن لا تنسوا أنّ لبنان ضمن الحلف الدولي ضد الإرهاب.  وإنّ التزاماته تجاه السلام في المنطقة لم تتبدّل، والإنتصارات التي حقّقها على الإرهاب والإرهابيين لم يسبقه اليها أحد بعد، ولم تُحقّقها دول كبرى الى الآن».

جورج شاهين - الجمهورية

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Aoun Calls to Punish the US but Welcomes US Military Aid


In his grandiloquent speech today in Istanbul at the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference) meeting, President Aoun of Lebanon demonstrated the same exact perennial fence-sitting that all Arabs have been engaging in for decades: Attack the US as Israel's sponsor AND at the same time sleep with the US because of its money and power, while America's lapdog Israel keeps chewing up Palestine bit by bit.

In his own terms, Aoun said, "... take unified gradual punitive diplomatic and economic measures against any state that contemplates recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital."

Notice that Aoun did not directly name the US as the first country that recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, but only some vague country that might follow in the footsteps of the US.

Notice also that Aoun inserted the qualifier "unified" in his punitive measures, which guarantees the failure of his call since it is literally impossible for all the countries opposing the US move to unite behind any of Aoun's proposed steps to punish the US. Thus, his fig leaf is guaranteed, for now he can call for drastic measures but not put his foot where his mouth is because, he can argue, ALL countries must implement these measures before Lebanon does.

In other words, Aoun, just like all Arab and Islamic leaders have always done, is unloading a bunch of eloquent words that will go nowhere, hiding their impotence behind each other while behind each other's backs they sleep with the US for its money and power.

For if Aoun is serious and consistent with his declarations that his dysfunctional country is an independent self-standing entity, he would immediately kick the US Ambassador out of Lebanon, recall his own ambassador from the US, prohibit all commerce and financial transactions with the US, etc....

But he is not serious, nor has he ever been serious. He's a politician like all others, and he will speak with both sides of his mouth simultaneously. For just as he was launching on his verbose speech, all peppered with historical and literary references to impress upon his listeners that even a stunted military man like him can have wide-ranging literacy and respectability, his own prime minister in Beirut was meeting with US Army General Joseph Votel, commander of United States Central Command in the Middle East. And at the same time that Aoun was calling for punishing the US, General Votel was declaring from the very seat of Aoun's Lebanese government in Beirut, flanked by US Ambassador Elizabeth Richard, that the US is providing Lebanon with military aid, adding "We discussed the challenges facing Lebanon, and we emphasized the importance of the Disassociation Policy. The US is committed to the State of Lebanon and its institutions, including the Lebanese Armed Forces."

And this is only military aid. There are literally hundreds of small American (and European of course) grants funding all kinds of projects that the Lebanese by themselves are incapable of funding, projects for water availability, environmental protection, refugee assistance, etc... Lebanon is on the international dole, it survives merely because of foreign aid. Even at the height of political impasses between Lebanese politicians, these always declare political "ceasefires" to meet and agree on accepting the plethora of foreign aid. "Humiliation" is apparently not a bad word in the Lebanese political dictionary.

This schizophrenia has been in fact the hallmark of Arab dealings with the US. How can anyone have believed for all these decades that the US was a fair arbiter between Israel and Palestine? Wasn't it obvious enough that the US grants Israel $5 billion annually along with hundreds of its most advanced fighter jets that gives Israel air supremacy over the region with, while giving Lebanon a few millions here and there to buy a few misery helicopters and a couple of used but souped up Cessnas? 

I don't know who Aoun was fooling in Istanbul. His own people? The Arab and Islamic governments? Or himself still? " You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time," said Abraham Lincoln. Reckoning time is upon us. 

If Aoun is serious about his love for Jerusalem, he should cut off all ties with the American government... ALL TIES, not just a few, not in words but in deeds. He at least will become finally consistent with his declared love for his ally, the Iranian militia Hezbollah whose raison d'etre is to liberate Jerusalem. Perhaps Aoun could call on his followers of the Free Patriotic Movement to join Hezbollah and learn to man those 100,000 missiles Hezbollah has pointed at Israel from the Lebanese south.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Gebran Bassil's Threats against the United States

There was a lot of cheap sentimental hot air that Gebran Bassil was spewing yesterday at yet another useless Arab League summit in Cairo: Arabism, unity, struggle, and so on and so forth. He seems to have used the Syrian Baathist dictionary of his buddy the butcher Bashar Assad and learned to turn himself into yet another "pulsating heart of Arabism". He who has been supporting Iran and its proxy militia Hezbollah against the Arabs for the past decade, is now embracing Arabism.

But he took a step forward in his Don Quixotic speech by issuing veiled threats against the United States. Here is the second of three points he made in his speech:

[Quote translated from Arabic]:
2- Recovering a unified Arab policy to take measures of deterrence in retaliation for the American decision of transferring its embassy to Jerusalem and any similar decision taken by another country, starting with diplomatic measures, then political measures, and finally taking economic and financial penalties. And if there are some who question the possibility or the utility of such a policy, let us recall together previous dignified stances by the Arabs, as well as the statement signed by Iraq and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1981 calling for a halt to oil transactions with the United States and other measures that forced [the US] to immediately halt the transfer of its embassy to Jerusalem.
[End of translated quote].

This is the Foreign Minister of a country that has been on the international financial life-support system, a country that cannot stand on its own feet, and is the beneficiary of huge economic and military aid from the United State and the European Union. The Foreign Minister of Lebanon, Mr. Gebran Bassil, who regularly attends Support Conferences for Lebanon and is grateful for every dollar or euro that he is given, wants to punish the donor countries if they dare transfer their embassies to Jerusalem.

This is the Lebanese Foreign Minister who, after alienating all Arab countries by aligning himself with Iran and Syria's Assad and Hezbollah against the Arabs, now is calling the Arabs to unity and to fight the United States, just like Iran is doing.

This is the Lebanese Foreign Minister who, only a day before this grandiose speech in Cairo, was surreptitiously deleting passages citing UNSCR 1559 from the Arabic version of the joint statement at the International Support Group for Lebanon meeting in Paris to protect the Syrian dictator and Hezbollah. Since Bassil could not control the English and French versions, and thinking that the Syrians will not read the English and French versions, UNSCR 1559 remained in the English and French versions of the statement. But Bassil's vintage Baathist maneuver of controlling information did not work, and he was caught with his pants down by French President Macron who insisted that UNSCR 1559 be reinserted back into the Arabic version to match the English and French versions.

The question now is will Gebran Bassil prevail and force the Lebanese government to take punitive diplomatic measures first, then economic (hahahaha) and political measures against the US? Could he mean cutting off diplomatic ties between Lebanon and Washington? Or the eviction of US diplomats from Lebanon? Or the closure of the US Embassy in Beirut? What could he have meant by "diplomatic measures"? Anything short of those listed possibilities would be typical Arab and Bassilian hot air.

"When the going gets weird, the weird get professional", said Hunter Thompson. Apt description of Gebran Bassil, the never-elected-to-any-office Foreign Minister of Lebanon.




Wednesday, December 6, 2017

World's Village Idiot Donald Trump Makes Big Decisions...

...because he doesn't think through them.

It's very easy for an idiot, a dumb jackass, an illiterate imbecile, a moron (as his own Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called him) like Donald Dumb to make the decision of moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Why?

Because when you have no depth, no substance, no knowledge or appreciation of the facts of history, when your brain is as shallow as a golf hole cup in which your working brain actually fits, then making big decisions is easy. Not many facts to reconcile with.

Add to that the unethical, business-minded, ruthlessness of just making money as your sole driver in life, then the decision-making is even easier. Not only do you not deal with facts (requiring knowledge and education), you also lack ethics (requiring an appreciation of good and evil).

Donald Trump is today the Global Village Idiot. I cannot think of any other political leader in the world today that can sink as deep as Trump in vulgarity and stupidity. And that is why his core base of radical extremist evangelical Christians of the American South adore him. They are just like him. They preach virtue, but then are caught with their pants down with prostitutes in sleazy motel rooms. They preach modesty but then build themselves money-raking empires by bilking their imbecile faithful crowds of their money.

After the defeat in Tuesday's election (13 December 2017) of the Alabama inbred moron Roy Johnson, who sexually molested several under teenage girls several years ago, another prominent Evangelical clergyman, a "reverend" this one, a man of Christ, a southern inbred Jesus freak by the name of Dan Johnson, a supporter of Trump and advocate of the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, just killed himself [14 December 2017] after it was revealed that he had sexually molested his own daughter's friend in his basement a couple of years ago. These are the American "Christians", the bigots, the hypocrites, the scourge of this earth who have propelled Donald Trump to the presidency and who are dragging the world into religious wars because of their idiotic bible. Every single one of them, it seems, has skeletons in his closet, including Trump himself who is now under investigation by Congress for multiple accusations by several women of sexual assault. Jerusalem as Israel's capital is the doing of bigots, sexual predators, and dirty old white Christian men who are on their way to extinction.

The reason why Evangelical Christians of the US love the decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem is because - in their own Bronze Age ultra-religious primitive mindset - they take the Bible literally. And so by enshrining Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Trump is helping to realize their most favorite biblical prophecy, namely that the re-creation of the Jewish Kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital fulfills one more step towards the return of Christ and Armageddon and the end of times. Evangelical Christians are like any other religious people. They take religious texts literally. Muslims do it. Catholics do it. Jews do it. But that is their business and it is fine as long as they keep this shit to themselves and not use it as a pretext to hate other people, steal other people's lands, persecute other people, impose their will on others, etc... RELIGION IS INDEED THE CURSE OF THE WORLD.

There is only one glimmer of hope in these utterly hopeless Trumpian days, and that is that just as Trump keeps sinking lower and lower in his own cesspool, one finds comfort in the fact that we seem to hit rock bottom with the moron in the White House, and the only way forward can be to better pastures. I trust the American people. Especially the independents who tilt the balance every time. They now know what monster they brought to power, and barring any further and deadlier decisions by the imbecile numskull in the White House today, we should see the end of the tunnel in the not so far future.


Monday, December 4, 2017

Berytus Occisor Avem - The Seagulls of Beirut Airport in the Killing Spree

As I predicted a year ago (See my featured post "A Day in the Environmental Disaster Called Lebanon"), something a junior student in basic biology would have known, the seagulls are back to the Costa Brava waste dump site abutting Beirut Airport. The worry by the Lebanese authorities is NOT about plane and passenger safety (and definitely not about the seagulls themselves), as much as it is a threat to tourism and to the money-greedy Lebanese.

Last year, first came the prayers to Saint Charbel and other heroes in this ultra-religious country where faith always takes precedence over reason, and religious charlatanism over scientific rationality. That did not, of course, work. Saint Charbel did not hear the cries of pain of the greedy money worshipers, nor did he do one of his miracles. He obviously specializes in medical miracles, and then only to cryptic diseases that can never be verified. The suspension of reason that is required in such instances did not lead to a miracle. Then came the ultimate solution: the Lebanese government, in its 7,000-year-old wisdom and scientific approach to problems, hired a hundreds of hunters - idiots with shotguns who otherwise shoot at any bird that flies the skies of this bio-devastated country - paid them $100 each per day with an unlimited supply of cartridges (whose shells they never pick up and that become another source of garbage), and told them to shoot all the seagulls. And, barbarity oblige, they happily complied.

But as anyone with a sense of nature would know, the seagulls were back. They were back barely a month after the slaughter of close to 10,000 seagulls last year, and now their numbers have recovered back to where they were prior to the genocide

So now we have a seagull-hunting Mafia that controls airport safety, just as there are Mafias for everything else in this up-to-the-hilt corrupt country:
- The electric generators Mafia: They undermine every effort to end the rationing and provide normal round-the-clock electric power, so they can charge $100 to the desperate people of this country in addition to the government bill;
- The water Mafia: They undermine every effort to provide running water to the households in this otherwise water-rich country, so they can deliver the same water via their trucks and charge hundreds of dollars, or sell it in plastic bottles and jugs that end up in the rivers, in the forests, by the roadsides and in the ocean. They have even convinced an ignorant population that the water gushing out of the thousands of springs that dot this mountaneous country is polluted, just so they can sell them bottled water that is pumped out of the ground at sea level and is by far more polluted than the spring water up in the highlands.

The seagull Mafia is frothing at the mouth now, for the killing spree is about to start again. When they can't kill each other, the Lebanese kill birds.

I think the City of Beirut's Roman motto should be changed from "Berytus Nutrix Legum" (Beirut the Nourisher of Law) to "Berytus Occisor Avem" (Beirut the Killer of Birds).

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Aoun is Repeating Rafik Hariri's Mistake

Rafik Hariri rose to power as Saudi Arabia's man back in the late 1980s - early 1990s. He made his billions there and became the inevitable Sunni leader after the Taef Agreement. Taef is a Saudi city where Lebanon's corrupt politicians met, pocketed some Saudi Riyals, and signed the agreement that supposedly ended the Lebanese War of 1975-1990.

Saudi Arabia imposed Rafik Hariri as Prime Minister of a destroyed country. Now Mr. Hariri made his billions building palaces and other ostentatious displays of cheap wealth for the Saudi royals. He was no educated intellectual and was essentially a self-made businessman whose approach to Lebanon's post-war reconstruction lacked substance. Many attribute to him some grandiose vision, but the facts in hindsight show a naive, superficial business approach to problems that required an elementary understanding of Lebanon's nature and place in history.

What he did to Beirut - because his "reconstruction" did not extend beyond the boundaries of the city - was to remove the rubble from the disfigured downtown and refurbish some buildings, not for their historical or cultural value, but only to turn them into a gigantic open-air mall for upscale ritzy shops and restaurants that few Lebanese could afford. That was his business take on things. He left many historical structures abandoned and shell hole poked because they had no business appeal. He also built himself a gigantic mosque right next to, and dwarfing, the historic Saint George's Christian church, to reassert the new Muslim domination over Lebanon. The opportunity was there to resurrect the Roman Beirut that lay in a pit 20-30 feet deep right next to the church and the mosque, but Mr. Hariri left Roman Beirut in its pit of ruins where the occasional Arab tourist flings a cigarette butt in testament to the respect owed these ancient ruins. Roman Beirut, where a famed Law School provided the Roman Empire's legal system with many of its experts, was destroyed and covered by silt in a tsunami in 555 AD. Mr. Hariri also cleared the entire ancient downtown souks - markets - instead of rebuilding and modernizing them as Byblos, Batroun, Tripoli and other coastal cities have done.

While no one can deny Mr. Hariri's contributions, they nevertheless did not rise to the level expected for a city and a country that constantly brag about being centers of culture in the Near East. Tribalism, regionalism, religions, sectarianism... all contributed, and still contribute, to snuffing out this opportune moment and turn it into the only thing the Lebanese are really comfortable with: Money.

Be all this as it may, Mr. Rafik Hariri's other and literally more fatal mistake was his belief that business and money could somehow override Lebanon's big elephant in the room at the time: The Syrian occupation and the Hezbollah cancer. He chose to put blinders on, to push forward with clearing rubble and redoing some buildings, thinking that this will attract enough foreign investments and get the economy going. In his early years as Prime Minister, he went as far as defending the Syrian occupation and Hezbollah's armed militia, both beholden to Iran, his Saudi patron's nemesis, even though both were the only provisions of the Taef Agreement that were never implemented: A gradual Syrian withdrawal, and the abolition of all armed militias. He may not have believed in Syrian "brotherhood", or in Hezbollah's "resistance", but he chose to ignore them or praise them in the belief that they will in due time cease to exist.

When, a decade or so later, Mr. Hariri saw that his reconstruction was going nowhere, that Syria's grip was paralyzing the country's economy, that the already corrupt Lebanese had sunken even deeper into corruption thanks to the Syrian occupier's mentoring, that Hezbollah could in a second send the country into a war with Israel without so much as coordinating with Mr. Hariri's governments, he began to itch. All the billions he invested from his own pocket had become a waste, and he realized that one cannot build a country economically with the uncertainties that a foreign military and political occupation inevitably creates. He then embarked on slowly turning his political outlook into one of impatience with, then defiance to the Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah cancer. This turnabout lasted a few years and climaxed in late 2004 when he joined efforts to pass UNSC resolution 1559 calling for an end to the Syrian occupation. As the international heat was building up against Syria in the post-9-11 era, the Assad regime summoned Rafik Hariri to Damascus and ordered him to return to Beirut, amend the constitution and re-elect the Syrian puppet President Emile Lahoud. As a businessman, Rafik Hariri feared more for his life and money than for his principles or his country, and he complied. But his divorce with Syria had been sealed. A few months later, his motorcade was blown up in a gigantic explosion in downtown Beirut that killed him. All investigations and court proceedings at the Hague's "Special Tribunal for Lebanon" point to Hezbollah and Syria as the killers of Mr. Hariri. He learned too late that you cannot have a normal sovereign country and economy with an anomaly like a foreign occupation and a militia beholden to a foreign power.

Today, the current Lebanese President Michel Aoun and his Prince Consort Gebran Bassil are repeating the same mistake that Rafik Hariri made. Somehow they believe or choose to ignore that Lebanon cannot be a normal country with the existence of a paramilitary entity like Hezbollah acting in parallel and independently of the State and its institutions, on behalf of foreign countries like Syria and Iran, dictating under pressure of arms its policies on the government, having an almost exclusive decision-making power in matters of war with Israel and Syria, and conducting its own foreign policy consisting of sending troops to war-torn countries like Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

How can Aoun and Bassil imagine rebuilding a devastated economy, combating corruption, controlling the country's borders, and fixing the zillions of social, political and economic problems that chronically affect Lebanon, with Hezbollah conducting itself like the PLO of Yasser Arafat did back in the 1960s and 1970s , is incomprehensible. Perhaps Aoun and Bassil's wager on using Hezbollah as a platform to reach power has delivered, since Aoun's "understanding" with Hezbollah allowed him to impose himself as President of the country. But this is a Pyrrhic victory at best, for now, as we speak, the illusion of rebuilding the country's economy, repatriating the billions of dollars held by expat Lebanese across the globe, fighting corruption, breathing new life into the country's administrative wasteland, and re-calibrating the sectarian divide back in favor of the Christians (which the latter had lost after the 1975-1990 war), etc...have all suddenly faded with the convulsion caused by the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Rafik Hariri's son, as the Aoun presidency's first "national unity" government. The fundamental problem remains the same: The existence of the anomaly of Hezbollah cannot be ignored, cannot be set aside as unrelated to the country's multitude of ills and problems.

Yet, Aoun and Bassil do not seem to learn from the mistake of their erstwhile enemy Rafik Hariri, for Aoun spent much of his 15 years of exile lambasting Hariri as a puppet of Syria and Hezbollah. And here he is today, himself serving as a puppet president of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. Aoun believes that by ignoring the Hezbollah cancer, it will somehow cure itself by itself, just as Rafik Hariri did in the 1990s. Just like Rafik Hariri did in his early years, Mr. Aoun praises Hezbollah's resistance, argues that the Lebanese Army is incapable of defending the country without Hezbollah's assistance, agrees to a Hezbollah first policy of combating Jihadi terrorism as this past summer's events showed us. The Syrian regime decided this past summer, after it itself created the problem in 2014 of a few Jihadis (ISIS and An-Nusra) on the Syrian-Lebanese border, to end the charade and "liberate" the border highlands from these Jihadis. And so, Michel Aoun, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Lebanese Armed Forces, acquiesced to a Hezbollah-Syrian army coalition initiating this "liberation", and then permitting the Lebanese Army to follow and do a secondary cleanup. This cession of sovereignty by the Lebanese President is tantamount to abandoning your own sovereign prerogatives to foreign entities whose interests are at odds with Lebanese sovereignty.

The whole push by Aoun's Hezbollah-enabled ascendancy to power since a year ago has suddenly crumbled with Saad Hariri's resignation. Will Aoun and Bassil learn? Will they finally understand that their  Hariri or Saudi Arabia problem is merely a symptom of their own blindness or subservience to Iran and Syria and their dictates? That their problem is their own ignorance, or worse their collusion with Hezbollah? Can they finally see that, if their objectives are indeed to fight corruption and rehabilitate the State and its institutions, they must somehow remove the Hezbollah cancer? Or will they, like Rafik Hariri, succumb to the dictates of fear and persist in going along with the anomaly, and pay the ultimate price should they decide to, once again, turn their coats and deviate from the unprincipled path they have chosen for themselves?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Trump to Bin Salman: Surrender Palestine, I'll Beat Iran

As I predicted last June (see my featured post "Qatar, Israel and Al-Jazeera"), the deal between US President Trump and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman has entered a feverish pace of implementation. The deal was struck during Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia last May, in which Trump would take the side of Saudi Arabia against Iran in exchange for Saudis pressuring Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to make peace with Israel (under the latter's terms, of course) and buying half a trillion dollar worth of weapons from the US. Ever since, every action taken by either the Trump administration or Saudi Arabia aims at undermining any of the gains Iran has been scoring in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere.

No sooner had Trump left Saudi Arabia that the roll out began:

1- Refusal by Trump to certify the nuclear deal with Iran

2- Saudi embargo on Qatar (which is seen as a progressive Arab state walking a middle line between Saudi Arabia and Iran)

3- New wave of sanctions against Hezbollah in Lebanon (to weaken Iran's grip on the Lebanese government)

4- Reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas (Egypt forced Hamas to surrender to Fatah in anticipation of one united Palestinian government "negotiating" its terms of surrender to Israel)

5- Forcing the resignation of Saad Hariri, Lebanon's prime minister, by pressuring him with his financial woes linked to the so-called "corrupt Princes", and forcing him to divorce himself from the "unity" government deal he made a year ago with Iran-sponsored Hezbollah and its Lebanese ally Michel Aoun.

6- Blockade by Saudi Arabia of all Yemeni ports of entry (to pressure Iran's allies the Houthi rebels)

7- Summoning Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to Riyadh (at the same time that Saad Hariri was summoned to Riyadh to announce his resignation) and giving him an ultimatum: Make a deal with Israel or else.

8- Persistent rumors of secret and direct Saudi-Israeli talks to coordinate the efforts between the two countries to weaken Iran and force a peace deal with the Palestinians.

9- The US State Department is threatening to shut down the Palestinian/PLO office in Washington DC "unless the Palestinians get serious about peace talks with Israel." While this move is part of the Saudi-US anti-Iranian, pro-Israeli push to deliver Palestine to its enemies, it is also a pretext camouflaging an attempt at undermining the Palestinians' gains in their legal and media war against Israel: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has engaged the International Criminal Court to “open an investigation and prosecute Israeli officials for their involvement in settlement activities and aggressions against our people”.

Based on all the above, it is very likely that Lebanon will - yet again - be the stage for a military confrontation with Iran (via its proxy Hezbollah) to be executed by Israel. Neither the US has forgotten the 243 US servicemen blown up by Hezbollah in October 1983, nor has Israel forgotten its debacle war against Hezbollah in 2006. Credit must go to former US president Obama whose refusal to intervene militarily in the region forced Saudi Arabia to protect itself for the first time in its history, instead of relying on the US for its defense. Saudi Arabia is now openly driving events, and is focused on driving Iran out of the Arab world.

There are also rumors that Israel, now backed by a major Arab country like Saudi Arabia, might wage a war not unlike that of its1982 invasion of Lebanon in which it drove the PLO and Yasser Arafat out of Lebanon, but this time it will aim to drive Hezbollah and its Shiite environment from the Lebanese south abutting the Israeli border. Just as the 1982 invasion was a major factor behind forcing the Palestinians to concede and recognize Israel and enter into the Oslo accords, a full-fledged Israeli invasion of the Lebanese south might this time entail a permanent occupation - and perhaps even an annexation - by Israel of the Lebanese south up to the Litani river. This would deprive Hezbollah of its Shiite rear guard from which it would wage a resistance war against this Israeli occupation, as it successfully did in the 1990s against Israel's occupation of the Lebanese-Israeli border strip and forced the Israeli withdrawal in 2000. Hezbollah's rockets might pose a challenge in the first phase of such an invasion since they could threaten the Israeli interior, but these rockets would ultimately be useless against an occupation, especially if the territory where these rockets are said to be mounted will fall under Israeli control.

While much of these scenarios remain hypothetical, and many statements and opinions lean to the avoidance of a war, the elements of a perfect storm are lined up for such a war scenario, especially with the otherwise incompetent Trump seeking some victory, even if in a reckless drive. As long as the Iranian theocracy stands in Tehran, and as long as the now-uninterrupted geographical Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon lifeline continues to feed Hezbollah, the latter will never surrender its weapons willingly. Only a war could force it to do so.

One final hypothetical scenario would pit the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) against Hezbollah as a means to end Hezbollah's dominant reach in Lebanon. The US had for decades refused to arm the LAF on the grounds that those weapons might fall into Hezbollah's hands. Now that Hezbollah has become better armed and financed than the LAF thanks to Iranian largesse, the US - with its typical short-term myopic tactical strategies - began arming the LAF in recent years, supposedly to fight Sunni Jihad terrorism coming in from the Syrian quagmire. It took only 2 weeks this past summer for Hezbollah and the LAF to remove the few decoy terrorists from the Lebanese-Syrian border, which means that the US is knowingly arming the LAF for another reason. And that reason is that the US is prepping the LAF for a confrontation with Hezbollah, something made obvious by the fact that the weapons granted by the US to the LAF do not pose a threat to Israel, yet they might just be enough to give the LAF an edge over Hezbollah.

In either scenario - Hezbollah vs Israel, or Hezbollah vs LAF - Lebanon will ultimately pay the price.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Mar Charbel for President of Lebanon

He's a Maronite.
He's a saint, so alive somewhere, even if only in spirit.
He does miracles, which Lebanon needs badly.
He now has a statue right on top of the mountain peaks, bigger than Harissa.
He doesn't take a paycheck, so a big savings for the Lebanese Treasury.
It will be like the Polish Catholics who appointed Jesus as King of Poland earlier this year.
And since he is a religious man, he will straighten the imbalance created by the Shiite "Sayyid" Hassan Nasrallah.
No one can challenge his integrity because he has been vetted by the Vatican (Uhm uhm).
He has no sons, no daughters, so no obnoxious son-in-law to pester us day and night.


Monday, November 6, 2017

Message to Lebanese expats and emigrés

Rush to register at your dysfunctional consulates and embassies all over the world.

The country has a self-perpetuating parliament for several years now, renewing its own term every two years because the parliamentarians love to have an easy job and they don't believe in elections. In fact, right now they are working hard to scuttle the new electoral law and prevent the holding of elections next May.

The country had no President for two years because Hezbollah and Michel Aoun boycotted the already dysfunctional parliament and prevented a quorum every time the election of a president was called for.

The "national consensus" government of Saad Hariri was short-lived. It was formed about 10 months ago, and had in the same bed strange bedfellows: representatives of enemies, of killers, of paramilitary organizations operating independently of the State.... It has now collapsed after the sudden resignation of Hariri who claims that the same people who killed his father in 2005, who are now on trial at The Hague, and whose representatives are in his government, wanted to kill him.

Yes, please register and experience the Kafkaesque nightmare of navigating the Lebanese bureaucracy, especially the one in consulates and embassies that are staffed by political - and hence incompetent - appointees who try from overseas to enforce the homegrown Ottoman vintage processing of personal statute matters (births, deaths, marriages, divorces....and now, behold the new dawn rising over the cesspool, registering to vote!)

After you deal with Lebanese consulates and embassies, you will get a flavor of life in your country of origin, which is a Darwinian jungle of corruption and kill-or-get-killed human relations. You will of course miss the smells of Lebanese ministries and administrations (an offensive mix of cigarette smoke, body odor, and fermented piss), and you will also miss the exhilarating experience of maniacal driving, bad non-maintained roads, a complete lack of road signs, sidewalks, etc....

Gebran Bassil is beseeching you, supplicating you, begging you to register to vote. You see, he was never able to get elected by the resident Lebanese, neither to parliament, nor to his own party. The only reason he is the president of the Free Patriotic Movement party is because he is married to Michel Aoun's daughter. Same reason behind his appointment as a Foreign Minister. For some reason, he is disliked by, and turns off, the Lebanese, right and left, even members of his own party... so he has no chance of getting elected, if these elections do take place (which is dubious right now), and that is why he believes he can fool the expatriate Lebanese whose distance in time and space from their country of origin makes them vulnerable to his campaigns of seduction (this is the country of your ancestors, your jeddo and teta, the village, and other supposedly bright things in Lebanon like mountains, pine trees, a few cedar trees, and whatever is left unpolluted uncontaminated...) and ignore the sad reality in which the resident Lebanese have been wallowing for decades.

Bassil is now at best a caretaker Foreign Minister in a caretaker government. All the hype of the past few months has now collapsed to the default state of things in Lebanon: A dysfunctional monstrosity created by the French 95 years ago, which has remained ungovernable for all these years, whose problems today are exactly what they were 100 years ago.

Coexistence? Tolerance? How can these slogans be true in a country that has seen endless civil wars between religious sects? Any semblance of peace is a temporary lull between two massacres, two ethnic cleansings, two eruptions of violence...which are never followed by retrospection or reconciliation to try and learn not to do it again. On the contrary, these eruptions of violence are always followed by a general amnesty in which the criminals, murderers, and assorted brutes are forgiven.... The same violence that makes one stand on a balcony these days on a sunday morning and hear a constant barrage of shotguns from primitive numskulls shooting at any bird in sight. Not that they need the killed birds to eat. No. Killing birds is a hobby. No wonder you'll never hear a bird sing. Even large migratory birds are shot in the thousands as they travel up and down the Lebanese coast in spring and fall.... Violence is in the Lebanese genes. If they can't kill each other, the Lebanese will kill birds. But they must kill.




خلّي الرئيس القوي يفرجينا قوتو وشطارتو...

خرِب العهد والرئيس المسيحي "القوي" صار بدون تياب.ء

تركو شريكو السني "القوي" متلو... وبقي لوحدو مع حسن نصرالله الشيعي الأقوى من الكل .

خلّي الرئيس عون يفرجينا شو معناة "الرئيس القوي" للي طحلنا فيا على مدة عشر سنوات، لأنو الظروف الحرجة للي صار فيا البلد بعد طلاق سعد حطّت تعريف "قوي" على بساط التجربة الحقيقية .

خلّي عون يترجم السلطات للي أعطاه ياها اتفاق الطايف للرئيس المسيحي على أرض الواقع ئ
عون خرَّب البلد وهرب على باريس بالـ 1990 لأنو رفض اتفاق الطايف والاحتلال السوري. وهيدا عون اليوم رئيس الطايف وممثل نظام الأسد وحليفو وحليف عميلو حزب ألله بالمحافل الدولية

ما بقي حداً اليوم إلا ما اقتنع أخيراً أنو عون كان بدو الرئاسة وبس، وكل الحكي عن اصلاح وتغيير وتوحيد البلد كان حكي بلا مضمون تبخّر من دون رجعة.

عون الـ"دون كيشوت" بدو يحارب طواحين أمريكا والخطر السنّي بتحالفو مع الشيعة، وحاول يقنعنا أنو الشيعة "أحسن" من السنيّة، وإنو الثورة الإسلامية المتعصبة بإيران "أفضل" من الوهابية السنّية المتعصبة بالسعودية. وما صدّقو إلا مهابيل الشارع المسيحي المتواضعين عقلياً والمعتّرين اقتصادياً. بمعنى آخر، شعبية عون شعبوية بامتياز، متل شعبية دونالد ترتمب الشعبوية بأمريكا.

الوضوح السياسي للي كنّا منتظرينو من عون هو إنو لا السعودية ولا إيران بريدو مصلحة لبنان، وإنو انحيازو مع الشيعة ضد السنّية هو أكبر غلطة جرّو عليها جبران باسيل. إيام المنفى كان عون يردد لأتباعو مّا يسألو شو برنامجو السياسي بعد خروج السوريين وعودتو للبنان) إنو هو بدّو يبقى فوق التناحرات الصغيرة والاقطاعية والطائفية، وإنو بدو يكون متل مرشد ورجل دولة وما رح يوطّي حالو لمستوى البزار السياسي... وهيدا هو اليوم فتح مزرعتو الطائفية الخاصة، وصار سياسي متلو متل غيرو بالسوق السياسي، وما بقي من إدعاءات العلمانية إلا الطائفية المسيحية لأنو عون والجرو الصغير تبعو بيدّعو الدفاع عن مسيحية بلينان،بس ما لاقو إلا المتطرف والمتعصب الاسلامي حزب الله تيدافع عن مسيحية لبنان .

شو هال البهدلة وملاّ مسخرة.  
.  

 


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Hariri's Decisive Move: Isolate Aoun and Hezbollah

Saudi Arabia and Iran are, in my opinion, on an equal political distance from Lebanon. They both are foreign countries that interfere via their "pet" sectarian groups in the country's affairs. Lebanon's Sunnis are Saudi Arabia's pets, and the Shiites are Iran's pets. In a matter of principle, therefore, I abhor both for their pulling and pushing on the Lebanese scene. But the bigger traitors to their country are the Lebanese politicians themselves who lend themselves to serve as puppets for outsider foreign countries.

Yet, there is a difference in the performance on the ground between the Saudi camp and the Iranian camp. For one, Saudi Arabia does not have, as Iran does, an extant army operating on Lebanese soil independently from the Lebanese government and its national army. There is no Lebanese Sunni militia fighting in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere. For better or for worse, and as far as we can tell, the Sunnis have abandoned their political platforms of annexing Lebanon to Syria (from the 1930s to the 1960s), have ceased utilizing the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as their militia as they did back in the 1970s and 1980s to destabilize the Lebanese government and gain some additional powers. They no longer serve as puppets for Syria and its Assad dictatorship. Lebanon's Sunnis advocate a "Lebanon First" policy that focuses on strengthening the State and its institutions. Finally, Saad Hariri himself has in his recent past, and perhaps in the aftermath of Hezbollah's assassination of his father Rafik in 2005, executed a policy of appeasement and cooperation with, and extending goodwill to, the other side, namely Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah and its Christian Marionette (pun intended) Michel Aoun the current president who came to the highest office thanks to Hezbollah's obstruction and threats.

Whether dictated by an ultimatum from Saudi Arabia to Hariri whose financial wherewithal and power has been eroding of late, or whether he has himself chosen this path, his resignation from the Prime Ministership  is a decisive move that few Lebanese politicians have the courage to make. By resigning, he no longer provides a fig leaf for Hezbollah, as Michel Aoun does. It is a hallmark of Lebanese politics that its leaders rarely take actions with risks and often live with anomalies that tend to further complicate and exacerbate problems. We need men like Hariri to "break the jar" and step down from the fence.

So what now? Lebanon is as of today living under the naked Iranian grip. No Sunni in Lebanon will agree to form a new government, and the entire country is flagrantly an Iranian outpost on the Mediterranean. From the United States, Israel and the West in general, threats against Hezbollah and Iran are mounting, with sanctions enacted recently by the US against Hezbollah financial operations and anyone or any bank that does business with the terror group. The US sees Hezbollah as its prime enemy on an equal footing with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, and does not forget what Hezbollah did in the 1980s (blowing the US embassy twice, killing 243 US Servicemen and Marines in Beirut in 1983, kidnapping dozens of US and Western hostages, etc...). Israel still reels from its inability to defeat Hezbollah in 2006. The Assad regime in Syria, which serves as Hezbollah's lifeline between Tehran and Beirut, is itself now very vulnerable to Western attacks with the elimination of the immediate threat posed by Islamic State.

Lebanon is ripe for war. All the elements are in place. It is an easier arena to break Iran's expansionism  than, say, Iran itself or Yemen or even Syria. Lebanon's chameleonic nature, consisting of a variety of groups with very different political and cultural outlooks, ideologies and religions, is a fertile ground for anyone who wants to intervene. It has always served as this multi-channel for regional and international actors. It may be that the US, Israel and the EU have finally decided to counter the Russian penetration on the side of the Assad regime in Syria by transforming Lebanon into their own conduit into the Near East. It is easy to imagine why Israel may be the arm used by the West to try and defeat Iran by severing its Lebanese arm, Hezbollah. Or why the US might use Lebanon to counter Russian influence in Syria.

We have always wondered why the US used to refuse to arm the Lebanese army (supposedly out of fear that the Lebanese army might turn its weapons against Israel). Now that the US has been providing (for a decade now) the Lebanese army with all kinds of weapons, small attack planes, tanks, mortars, etc... we understand that the goal was not to defeat Islamic State which had a couple of outposts in the highlands separating Syria and Lebanon. The objective of the US in arming the Lebanese army is to prepare it for the ultimate fight, which is with Hezbollah. Notice that the weapons that the US has been delivering to the Lebanese army are not powerful enough to threaten Israel, but powerful enough to give the Lebanese army an edge over a militia like Hezbollah whose missiles in the south would be useless against the Lebanese army. War is coming to Lebanon. The determination of the Trump administration to break Iran's back might start in Lebanon by pitting the Lebanese army against Hezbollah. The success of Hezbollah in buttressing the Assad regime in Syria must be countered by defeating Hezbollah in Lebanon.

From the Israeli perspective, Hezbollah's presence in the Lebanese south is intolerable, especially that it was able to withstand Israel's attacks in 2006. I fear for the Lebanese south. Israel might decide this time, and after decades of invasions, occupations and withdrawals to invade one last time and occupy and annex the Lebanese territories south of the Litani river, thus pushing the Shiite populations that serve as Hezbollah's incubator out of the area, and eliminating the threat it poses to its northern settlements. The US administration would be very favorable to such a scenario.

The Trump policy in the Middle East is to solve the Palestinian problem as follows: Ally itself openly with the Sunni Arabs and declare Shiite Iran as enemy number one. In exchange, the Sunni Arabs would pressure the Palestinians into accepting a peace deal with Israel. After Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia earlier this year, Saudi Arabia has embarked on a series of actions that are consistent with this policy. Yemen, Qatar, and now Lebanon.. All real or perceived Iranian gains must be countered. Of all possible theaters, Lebanon is the easiest in which to prosecute such a policy. Even a symbolic defeat of Hezbollah in Lebanon would be a sufficient blow to Iran.

Hariri's resignation has now isolated Michel Aoun and his poodling to Hezbollah. Time has come to come down from the fence and take a stance. Tactical gamesmanship is over. Arguments that Aoun and his Christians propound no longer hold water: No, the Shiites and Iran and not necessarily better that the Sunnis and Saudi Arabia. No, the Christians are not protected by Hezbollah against Sunni attacks. Cavorting to the Shiites as a tactical maneuver to counter Hariri and the Sunnis works only so far. Yes, they did bring Aoun to power, but was that the objective after close to 20 years of struggle? One would hope that Aoun has other more sublime and haughty objectives than sitting in the presidential chair in Baabda. Now, we will soon find out if he indeed has been fighting for Lebanon's better future, or if he has fought all those years, betraying in his own principles in the process only to become president of an otherwise dysfunctional and tormented country.

Friday, November 3, 2017

كف يا وزير باسيل عن تشجيع المغتربين على التسجيل....


...لأن اللبنانيين القائمين في لبنان يهاجرون بأعداد متزايدة

الحلّ لا يكون بأن يُطرد اللبنانيون من قبل حكومات بلدهم المتتالية بسبب الفساد وإدارات تعمل حسب العفن العثماني والبهدلة والقمامة في الطرقات الغير معبدة وقلة الكهرباء والماء و و و و و ....ثم أن تدعوهم يا وزير غير مُنتخب إلى التسجيل في قنصليات وسفارات بلاد تهجيرهم واغترابهم، حيث تزداد فيها البهدلة وتلاحقهم الإدارات الغير كفوءة والفاسدة

إنك يا حضرة الوزير الذي يفرضه عّمه الرئيس علينا كلنا، تضع العربة قبل الحصان

أصلح يا وزير أصلح الإدارات

عبّد يا وزير عبّد الطرقات

طهّر يا وزير طهّر الإدارات

إحمِ يا وزير إحمِ البيئة

أوقف يا وزير المافيات - مافيات المقالع الوقحة التي تنهش بجبالنا، ومافيات الموتورات الوسخة التي تلوث هواءنا وتسرقنا، ومافيات المياه التي تقطع المياه وتأتي بصهاريجها لتملأ خزانتنا وتسرقنا 

افضح يا وزير من هم الفاسدون - إن كنت لست واحد منهم - واعلن عن أسمائهم جهراً لأنك تنام معهم في الحكومة الواحدة

إبنِ يا وزير محطات كهرباء ودع الماء تصل إلى المنازل

أعطِ يا وزير الصلاحيات لقوى الأمن لتطبيق القانون في كل جوانبه ولا تسمح للمحسوبيات من أن تنال كل مرة من وهبة القانون

أطلب يا وزير من أصدقائك في حزب ألله أن يكفوا عن طعن الدولة وتحقيرها

أوقف يا وزير كل من تطال يداه الوسخة الأملاك البحرية وتمنع عامة الناس (أرفض لقب "الفقراء" للذين يريدون الوصول إلى الشواطئ) من الاستمتاع بشواطئ نظيفة من دون دفع البخشيش ورسوم دخول و"فالي باركينغ" إلى سارقي الأملاك العامة)

إبدأ يا وزير بتقليص أعداد موظفي القطاع العام المتخمين والمنتفخين والمحسوبين على أصدقائك وزملائك والذين يحشدون الإدارات ويقبضون معاشات من دون القيام بأي عمل ويشكلون السبب الأول في عجز الدولة...

عليك أن تناضل من أجل كل ذلك يا وزير قبل دعوة اللبنانيين الذين يهربون من كل ذلك على التسجيل من حيث هربوا...

أعطِ يا وزير احساساً للبنانيين بأن بلدهم يكرّمهم ويحترمهم... المغترب تعوّد على الاحترام، لماذا يتعامل مع بلدٍ لا يحترمه؟؟ وهو البلد الذي هرب منه؟

فبمجرّد أنك تبدأ بمعالجة كل الآفات التي تنهش بحياتنا اليومية، فسوف لن يسجّل المهاجرون والمغتربون فحسب، بل سيعودوا إلى لبنان من دون أن تطلب منهم ذلك.

كفّ يا وزير باسيل عن تحميل اللاجئ السوري، الهارب إلى لبنان بسبب حليفك بشار الأسد، مسؤولية كل مشاكل لبنان. المشاكل التي يشكو منها لبنان موجودة منذ عقود، منذ أزمانٍ تسبق مجيء اللجئين السوريين. استغلالك لوجود اللاجئ السوري هو ذر الرماد في عيون اللبنانيين ... المشكلة هي مشكلة لبنان وليس غير.

أنت ورئيسك الذي يحميك ويعوّمك بالرغم من فشلك بكل الانتخابات (نيابية وحزبية) أصبحتم من الطبقة الحاكمة بعد أن أمضيتم سنين تحاربون الإقطاع السياسي... فها أنتم اليوم وقد أسستم مزرعة جديدة إنضمت إلى المزارع السياسية التي تمعن بهذا البلد.

فكفّ، بربّك، عن دعوة المغتربين إلى التسجيل في سفارات وقنصليات البهدلة، وأصلح البلد أولاً. حينها ترى المغتربين يتفاعلون مع لبنان من منطلق إرادتهم الحرة وبعقلانية وليس بالعواطف المهترئة والوطنية الزائفة المبنية على عقدة النفس ( ولوّ، ما هيدا بلد أجدادكم!). 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Question 2 to Michel Aoun

Dear Mr. Aoun,

If, as you and you protégé Gebran Bassil say, Hezbollah is a legitimate resistance and the Lebanese Army is incapable of defending the country without Hezbollah's help, then why is the "Resistance" an exclusively Shiite movement?

Why, of all the Lebanese who believe the lie that Hezbollah is a "Resistance", aren't the Maronites of Michel Aoun and Gebran Bassil's so-called "Free Patriotic Movement" also members of the armed resistance?

Why is the liberation of Shebaa only the responsibility of Lebanon's Shiites? If Lebanon is indeed the united and integrated country Michel Aoun claims it to be, shouldn't Maronites, Sunnis, Druze and others be fighting, installing rockets aimed at Israel, and actually joining the ranks of Hezbollah itself?

How come only the Lebanese Shiites are dying in Syria, in the Golan, in Lebanon and elsewhere to protect (as Michel Aoun and Gebran Bassil want you to believe) the Christians?

Shouldn't Lebanon's Christians themselves be defending themselves against the Takfiris, Jihadists, Deash etc.? How come the Christians have delegated that job to Hassan Nasrallah's Shiites? Where is the unity you all claim?

If the Shebaa Farms and Ghajar are Lebanese, shouldn't the entire Lebanese population and the Lebanese Army be fighting against Israel?

If you say that Shebaa and the South are "Shiite" territory, and therefore it makes sense that the Shiites be defending "their" land, then you do not believe in a Lebanese national identity. You accept that there is no Lebanese territory worthy to be defended by ALL Lebanese, and that there are only Shiite, Christian, Sunni, and Druze territories within these borders, and that the Christians should be defending their regions, the Sunnis their regions, etc.




http://lebanoniznogood.blogspot.com/2017/10/question-1-to-michel-aoun.html

Monday, October 23, 2017

LIFE AFTER DEATH - 34 years ago today



The piece below was written by Dr. Joseph Hitti back on October 23, 2003 on the 20th anniversary of the truck suicide bombing that killed 243 US servicemen and marines in Beirut. I re-post it only in the hope that the US, France (which lost 58 paratroopers in a simultaneous attack on the French barracks "Le Drakkar") and the Lebanese allies of Syria, Iran and Hezbollah - principally President Michel Aoun and his followers read it. Aoun and his entourage have forsaken their own principles, betrayed their own country, and allied themselves with the Islamic theocracy in Iran to achieve power, which they did, but at what price? Aoun, Bassil and their coteries of arrivistes today live with either the illusion, or the lie, that to counter one threat (Saudi Arabia and the Jihadist movement across the globe), one needs to sleep with another threat (Iran, Syria, Hezbollah et al.). Ultimately, it now has been 34 years since Syria, Iran and Hezbollah pushed the West out of Lebanon in the early 1980s by bombing, killing, kidnapping, hijacking..... Regardless of all the cosmetics that adorn the country of Lebanon today, it still reels under a Syrian-Iranian occupation through their proxy militia of Hezbollah. No one should be proud of where Lebanon stands today. To President Aoun: Half-measures (e.g. today is much better than 20 years ago, or we have been in power only one year, it takes time to "reform") are not achievements. They are justifications made by puppets to lie to their people and satisfy their puppeteers. Today's pronouncements by the pro-Hezbollah camp of Michel Aoun are echoes of what Rafik Hariri used to say in the 1990s to justify his failed attempts at rebuilding the country under Syrian and Hezbollah occupation. President Aoun is repeating the same mistake.  He thinks he can rebuild a country devastated by corruption and a failing economy under the immanent Hezbollah threat. How pathetic.

_________________________________________________________________________________

By Joseph Hitti
23-October-2003

It has been 20 years this October 23d since the suicide truck bombing of the US Marines barracks in Beirut. There is nothing sacred about the number 20 but we humans like round numbers, and so this 20th anniversary of Islamic bombing of the US Marines Barracks in Beirut on a Sunday morning in 1983 is more special than, say, last year's 19th anniversary. Not that the event is less important than the anniversary. I actually remember it every year, because it left a deep scar in me.

But beyond the anniversaries, this year the memory has indeed a very special place because it has mutated from one of complete, hopeless, bottomless sorrow and sadness to one in which the sorrow, for the first time in 20 years, has in the words of Khalil Gibran showed us its other face, its alter ego, hope! As Khalil Gibran said "The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain." And as the West slowly but surely makes a U-turn, comes to terms with its often-stated but rarely practiced convictions, and begins to seriously fight terrorism, Lebanon and the people of Lebanon cannot help but feel gleeful. Yes, we told you so.

For 30 years they were alone, with bombs in their streets and shrapnel in the bodies of their children, with massacres and destruction, shelling, kidnapping, and sniping. They tried to tell the world that theirs was not a civil war, but the war of terror on gentility, the war of backwardness on civility, of anarchy on stability, of totalitarianism on democracy, of darkness on enlightenment. They tried to tell the world that their land and their history were, for better or for worse, the fault line where the seeds of coming wars were being sown that will come knocking at their doors in the not so distant future. But no one listened, even when the US Marines and the French paratroopers were blown to shreds, or when the US ambassador Francis Meloy and the French Ambassador Louis Delamare were gunned down in the streets of Beirut under the watchful eyes of the Syrian "peacekeepers", or when their own journalists, clergymen, teachers, and diplomats were being snatched off the streets of Beirut to be chained for years in dingy basements. The world insisted that this was a "civil war", even as every symbol of global East-meets-West decency that Lebanon harbored for decades was being shredded to pieces through the terror grinder of Syria, Iran, and their many proxies. Even as embassies were being shut down, Western civilians were being evacuated, schools were being closed, and peacekeeping armies were being blown up, it was the fault of the Lebanese people for being so close to Palestine, and for having borders with Israel and Syria. It was the fault of the Lebanese for being the proxy victims, the scapegoat, the accidental actors in a play not of their making. Lebanon was even accused of being an artificial nation, made of so many tribes - since when was diversity a shame, and pluralism a sin? - Because its history and geography did not allow a single group from "ethnically-cleansing" the others, or converting them to one religion. Lebanon was a Bosnia-Herzegovina a couple of decades too early for the sensibilities of the West to wake up from their comfortable slumber.

And so now the hens have come home to roost. Things have changed and the tables have been turned. For the first time in 20 years, the US Administration is calling the Syrians occupiers. For the first time in 20 years, the US is not running away from the suicide bombings and the acts of terror, but is pursuing them in every far corner of the world. For the first time in 20 years, there will be no retreat from Beirut or Baghdad, because the message is no longer "Bomb them and they will retreat". The message today is "No matter the body bags or the bombs, we will hound you till the end." For the first time in 20 years, State Department did not object to an anti-Syrian piece of legislation and the US Congress is voting a law to hold those behind the terrorists accountable for their acts. For the first time in 20 years the West has finally recognized that what happened in Beirut that Sunday morning had nothing to do with the liberation of Palestine or with what Israel was doing to the Palestinian people. Rather, that Sunday morning was a pure act of hatred, seated deep in the civilizational clash that makes certain people afraid of the modern world. That truck bomb was a pure act of terror, distilled of all the excuses and pretexts that are uttered these days to justify and promote another retreat in front of the terrorist threat. That Sunday morning bombing was a direct precursor for that Tuesday Sept 11 bombing.

For we need to remember why the Marines came in the first place to Beirut that year, accompanied by their Allies, the French, the Italians and the British as the Multi-National Force (MNF). We need to remind Jacques Chirac of France that 56 of his own paratroopers were also blown up at exactly the same time as 241 US Marines were being killed in their sleep, about half a mile away. The MNF was not a force of occupation. The MNF was not there looking for weapons of Mass Destruction. The MNF was not fighting any war. In fact, the soldiers of the MNF were forbidden from loading their guns. The MNF was there to supervise the evacuation of Yasser Arafat's PLO from Beirut, after he had declared that the road to Palestine goes - with much looting, raping, pillaging, killing, mass-murdering - through Beirut. And when the time came to face up to reality, no Arab brother was there to help him out, not even the Syrians. Not even the Saudis. And not even the Iranians. And that is why the Americans and the Europeans had come to Beirut. To save the hide of an Arab. To save a city from the Israeli siege that no Arab "brother", especially Syria, dared to oppose.

And so Lebanon is today the winner. Lebanon was right and everyone else was wrong. The Lebanese people now can, but may choose to have the decency not to, engage in academic debates and make moral judgements about the appropriateness of invading Iraq as a component of the war against terrorism. Or the effectiveness of targeted assassinations as a means to fight Yasser Arafat. Or whether a country such as Israel that cannot control its Palestinians is, like Lebanon of the 1970s and 1980s, an artificial or uncivilized country with many tribes that just can't "sit down and agree" on how to deal with a mortal threat in its midst. Or whether the US government's restrictions on the civil liberties of its citizens is the moral equivalent of General Aoun's government trying to enforce the law by shutting down the illegal harbors of the warlords along the Lebanese coast. Or whether Syria's behavior in opening its borders to Jihadists flocking into Iraq to fight the imperialist American crusaders is really exactly the same as Syria's opening its borders in the early 1970s to Al-Saika, the Yarmuk Brigades, or the Palestine Liberation Army to enter into Lebanon and destabilize the isolationist Lebanese government and kill the indigenous crusaders of Lebanon.

It took 30 years and September 11 for the West to comprehend what Lebanon had gone through, place its tragedy in the right context and stop the condescending sermonizing. Baghdad, you owe Beirut a big thank you because the US has learned a lot from its retreat that year. The Lebanese people were alone that year, and so were the Marines when their government withdrew in the face of their killers. Today, they are no longer alone. Their pain is everyone's pain, and the end of the tunnel, even if it remains distant, is now bigger and more crowded. But most of all we owe the Marines who died in their sleep on that Sunday morning in Beirut a huge debt. The debt of having being the accidental victims, and like Lebanon, they were the canaries in the mine. But no one was listening then. Today the whole world is listening.