As the Lebanese proverb says: "Inkasarit al-jarra" - the jar is broken, and the genie is out of the bottle. Sunni-Shiite bloodletting has moved from Baghdad to Beirut, and this Lebanese summer - yet again - is looking hot and messy.
The Lebanese, who did a lot of killing back in the 1970s and 1980s when they were fighting the Palestinians and the Syrians, have had a hiatus since the 1990 forced pacification and the ensuing Syrian occupation. But the pressure and the tensions have been building since, because the Taif Agreement was a monumental failure of a US foreign policy - naive and short-sighted - in cahoots with the Saudis and the Syrians. Until September 2001, that is.
Now that all these very nice people have developed major disagreements amongst each other after decades of smooching to each other over the blood of Lebanon's children, they have begun again puppeteering the Lebanese dummy politicians to vent America's anger at its persistently failing foreign policy, on the streets of Beirut. It's always been like this, outsiders fighting via corrupt criminal Lebanese politicians with the Lebanese people behaving like the moronic sheep that they are: Either blind followers of their criminal leaders, or as passive victims of the violence visited upon them.
Prodded like cattle by the American cowboy, the Hariri-Siniora-Jumblatt-Geagea bulls attacked Hezbollah last week with a kebbi-propelled fart: it smells bad but is otherwise inocuous. They fired some army guy because he is a Shiite who works at the airport - 60% the Lebanese army is made up of Shiite sympathizers of Hezbollah - and they declared Hezbollah's communications network illegal. Wow... the courage of these people in the Siniora government and the March 14 country club. You have to remember that they supported and aided and abetted Hezbollah since 1980, sheltered its "resistance", covered for its smuggling rockets and missiles and weapons by land (across Syrian border), sea (through illegal ports on the Mediterranean), and air (Iran Air deliveries at Beirut Airport), threatened anyone who spoke against Hezbollah to be treated like a Zionist spy (like Etienne Sacre, aka Abu-Arz, the leader of the Guardians of the Cedars, the cleanest and most honorable political parties that Lebanon ever created, and now in forced exile thanks to the Hariri legacy of the 1990s), and basically allowed Hezbollah basically to build this same empire they now find unconstitutional.
A little background: Somehow, circa September 2004, Rafik Hariri, the Lebanese-Saudi hybrid who served the American-Syrian hybrid very well, was treated like the cow that he really was by his Syrian masters. They dragged his sorry ass to Damascus one night where Bashar pulled his ears and sent him with his tail between his legs back to Beirut where he obediently - still - did everything the Syrians told him: Amend the constitution and re-elect the traitor Emile Lahoud to the presidency. Then Hariri, after years of serving the Syrians so well, felt umbrage (finally through his thick bovine skin) at this treatment and started muttering complaints which no one heard but the Syrians. So they bombed him one day in downtown Beirut in February 2005, and everybody got upset. How can the Syrians, to whom we (i.e. the US, the Saudis, etc.) gave everything, how could they do that? Killing ordinary Lebanese was fine, kidnapping and torturing and pilfering...all of that was tolerable, but to kill the fat Hariri with all his money...? That was too much, and the whole world turned upside down: The outrage was not there when Syria killed more than 150,000 Lebanese. It wasn't there when it killed 20,000 Syrians one night in the city of Hama. Now the outrage was everywhere. Killing a friendly billionaire collaborator is a big non-no.
Here we are today, reaping the harvest of all that collaboration and treachery. Those who literally breast-fed Hezbollah for 28 years, have decided to wean it now. But 28 years is a long time: The baby is a monster now, untamable.
Hassan Nasrallah, the gentle giant with perverse habits, is to speak tomorrow Thursday. Right now, he is receiving God's revelations for his speech. Because of a turban he puts on his head, the man thinks he is a prophet, and many Lebanese believe him: The Shiites of course because he feeds them Iranian money, but the FPM Christians of Michel Aoun too because, even though they understand the game, they don't know how to play. The FPM morons make me think of a drug addict who realized long ago that the drug dealer was a very bad man, but instead of kicking the habit when the opportunity came, they picked another drug dealer. They suffer the same psychological ailment as the battered wife: they keep "loving" the batterer even as they die from the beating.
I lived through the Lebanese war from its inception and until the Israeli invasion of 1982. I actually was 100 yards from the first shooting at the church in Ain el-Remmaneh on that Sunday morning, April 13, 1975 playing pinball (we called them "flippers") and drinking beer - Yes, Beirut was very decadent then. That shooting was followed by the bus "bosta" shooting later that afternoon another 200 yards south. I watched from our balcony the first RPGs and mortar shells fly over the buildings, leaving their tracer red streaks behind them. The bosta did not have Palestinian women and children as the story goes: it was full to the rim with armed Palestinian fedayeen who loved to stick it to the Christians whenever they could by parading and pointing their weapons at them. I used to see these busses every day going back and forth between the Sabra-Shatila camps in the south of the city to the Jisr Al-Basha and Tal El-Zaatar camps in the east, and though our streets and neighborhoods. The Palestinian gunmen - like Hezbollah's gunmen today - were suspicious: Everything was an Israeli spy, and so they had to brandish their Kalashnikovs and point them at every one of us as potential Israeli spies.
As Beirut descends once again into the chaos and the violence, and the Lebanese people begin behaving like trapped laboratory rats in a stress experiment, I am reminded of the fact that for many years, back when Lebanon was "stable" under the Syrian boot during the 1990s and early 2000s, it was Israel which was in the meat grinder. Arab Muslim Palestinian suicide bombings every other day, followed by even more bloody and violent retaliations by Jewish Israelis. An insoluble problem that will haunt Israel forever - or for as long as this British artificial creation survives Islamic fanaticism. To be a real democracy, Israel must abandon the religious definition of its identity. But if Israel abandoned the religious foundation of its identity as a nation, it would no longer be Israel because its Jewishness is its identity; a fate which its children do not deserve but whose country was created by their deceitful hypocrite colonialist and racist English masters on the ruins of the Ottoman empire. The Jewish-Muslim divide and hatred did not exist in Palestine before the British colonialists arrived. When they left, they carved the land into two tribes full of hatred and violence that have yet to find a way to live together.
The question that is always on my mind is: Will Lebanon and Israel, the former an ancient land with an uninterrupted millennial history of diverse tribes, clans and religions, and the latter a newly re-created nation on the basis of some promise made by some God to some wandering nomads in Sinai 4,000 years ago, ever be accepted in the Middle East or survive the Islamic onslaught of our time? I definitely would not ask the British - not even Tony Blair - to lend a hand. Look at what they did in India, in Palestine, and in South Africa.