Saturday, August 19, 2006

Where Does Syria Stand in the Post War Middle East?

David Ignatius of the Washington Post moderates an interesting discussion between Michael Young (Lebanese-American) and Saul Singer (Israeli-American) on:

How to End the Mideast War

Michael Young and Saul Singer
Lebanese and Israeli Journalist
Tuesday, August 15, 2006; 12:00 PM

Lebanese journalist Michael Young and Israeli commentator Saul Singer were online Tuesday, August 15, at noon ET to debate how best to deal with Hezbollah and Iran and end the conflict in Lebanon.
This is a fascinating discussion of how Hizbullah must be disarmed. Both journalists seem to believe Iran will and should be attacked within the next two years in order to keep Israel and Lebanon safe from terrorism and destruction. Young is skeptical that Siniora will find the resolve or power to disarm Hizbullah. Singer believes he will if the international community holds his feet to the fire and threatens to cut Lebanon off if he doesn't. Singer believes this will be the defining battle for Israel. If it loses, Israel's existence is in jeopardy.

The Israeli attack on Hizbullah forces near Baalbek seems to indicate that this cease fire will be very messy. The New York Times article by Steven Erlanger, "Israel Carries Out Raid Deep Into Lebanon" is interesting for its long interview with an unnamed Israeli commander, who says:
that the Hezbollah leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, remains a target for Israel as the head of a group that Israel and the United States have labeled terrorist. At one point in the interview, he said simply: "This man must die."

The pro-Syrian president of Lebanon, however, Emile Lahoud, praised Mr. Nasrallah and Hezbollah for what he called their victory over Israel.

In a nationally televised speech, Mr. Lahoud said that Mr. Nasrallah "willed this victory to be a victory for all Lebanese and all the Arab peoples."

Israel and the United States, however, view Hezbollah as a tool of Shia, non-Arab Iran, which created it, and of Syria, which supports and helps to supply it, rather than being loyal to Lebanon and its multi-religious government.

Israel, the officer said, views Hezbollah as "Iran's western front," and regardless of how poorly the new United Nations forces may perform, he argued, Israel will benefit from new international support for the extension of Lebanese sovereignty to the Israeli border, made most visible in the deployment of the Lebanese Army.

"I don't care about the capability of the Lebanese Army," he said. "What is more important, and here I'm not speaking for the Israeli government, is the understanding that the Lebanese government took control of southern Lebanon. Now we can deal with them as a country and a government, and speak and compromise. This is the huge change this operation created."
It is clear that Israel will now hold Siniora's feet to the fire in order to force the weak Lebanese government to act against Hizbullah. The alternative for Siniora is to stand by and watch Israel carry out more and more raids, such as the one near Baalbek. Lebanon will then become another failed state with the full sanction of the United Nations and International Community.

The Washington Post's article on the Israeli raid is interesting because it raises the possibility that Israel was not targeting the resupply of Hizbullah from Syria (which would make the raid sanctioned by the UN resolution, which calls for stopping the supply of weapons to Hizbullah) Rather the Post quotes sources speculating that the Israeli raid was not directed at halting weapons transfers, which would make it a clear violation of the UN cease fire. Edward Cody of the Post writes:
Local officials speculated to journalists that a senior Hezbollah leader, Sheik Mohammed Yazbek, may have been the commandos' target. Other Lebanese suggested that the raid may have been an attempt to recover two Israeli soldiers whose seizure by Hezbollah commandos on July 12 precipitated the war.

The Israeli military, however, specified that preventing the transport of weapons was its objective. "The goals were achieved in full," it added in a statement.
Interestingly, neither the Post nor Times correspondents were able to track down any indication that weapons were being transferred or were intercepted by Israeli troops, suggesting, as PM Siniora stated: "The attack was a "flagrant violation" of the U.N. cease-fire.

By STEVEN ERLANGER
Published: August 19, 2006

A road to peace through Syria?
BY MICHAEL ROTHFELD
Newsday Staff Correspondent
August 18, 2006
JERUSALEM -- On the day after a cease-fire with Hezbollah, Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz turned to Syria, another longtime enemy, and held out the prospect of negotiating for peace.

"Every war creates an opportunity for a new political process, and I am sure that our enemies understand today they cannot defeat us by force," he said Tuesday. "We must hold a dialogue with Lebanon, and we should create the conditions for dialogue also with Syria."

It was a somewhat surprising declaration, given that Israeli and American officials had just spent a month blaming Syria and Iran for supplying sophisticated weaponry to the Lebanese militia. The United States cut off relations with Syria last year.

Immediately, conventional Mideast politics took over. Right-wing Israeli politicians attacked Peretz as soft. Later that day, Syrian President Bashar Assad spoke in Damascus, strongly criticizing Israel and the United States for fomenting unrest.

"We don't like to use the word 'hatred,' but Israel has left no option for itself but to be hated," Assad said. "The Israeli leadership needs to save itself from its own stupidity."

But if Israel and the United States draw lessons from the war against Hezbollah, some experts and analysts believe they most certainly will take a long look at new talks with Syria.
The following quote comes from former Syrian Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam's Free-Syria organization in an article entitled:

لبنان دفع ثمن اختلافات 4 أجندات هل استهدفت حسابات الأسد الخاطئة "14 آذار" أم حزب الله؟قد تكون هناك اسباب عديدة دفعت الاسد الى هذا التصعيد الاستثنائي ضد العرب وضد فريق لبناني اساسي، ابرزها فشل دمشق في فتح نافذة في جدار العزلة حولها خلال ثلاثين يوما من الحرب على لبنان من خلال استدراج عروض حول دور سوري جديد، سواء داخل لبنان او على صعيد المنطقة.. هذا بالاضافة الى هاجس قيام محكمة دولية تستدعي مسؤولين سوريين لمحاكمتهم بجريمة اغتيال الرئيس رفيق الحريري، وهو هاجس يضغط على دمشق باستمرار، وكان هذا الامر حاضرا بوضوح في خطاب الاسد الذي اشتكى من عدم تشكيل محكمة دولية لضحايا قانا متسائلا 'هل لأنهم فقراء لا يستحقون محكمة' وكأنه يوحي بأن قتل الاغنياء ممكن من دون محاكمة!

وقد سارعت بعض الاوساط في بيروت، خصوصا المقربة من حزب الله، الى اعتبار هذه المعركة السياسية محاولة من قوى 14 آذار لتجميع صفوفها واستنفار قواها مجددا بعد الانجازات التي حققها الحزب، ولكن هذه الاوساط تتجاهل ان الذي فتح المعركة هو الاسد. ودمشق لم تتورع طيلة فترة الحرب، وبواسطة حملة سياسية متواصلة، عن اعتبار هدفها الوحيد هو الاطاحة بحكومة السنيورة والترويج لحكومة اتحاد وطني تعيد جماعة سوريا وميشال عون الى الحكومة، مما يؤدي عمليا الى استعادة النفوذ السوري في لبنان.

He argues that Asad instigated the Lebanon war in order to reassert Syrian power in Lebanon and bring down the Hariri led government. He believes Syria has failed and will fail. He sees Asad's speech to Arab journalists as a fit of desperation and anger at this failure and at his having been cut out of all UN negotiations. He writes that Asad saw this war as a window of opportunity to break out of Syria's isolation, but was unsuccessful. Thus, he believes that the Syrian opposition will be strengthened along with the Hariri led opposition to Syria.


Commentary:
Where Does Syria Stand in the Post War Middle East?

My own analysis is that Lebanon will come out the big loser in this war. Not only because it has been badly destroyed, but because it will be unable to put its house back together again. Israel will continue to violate the spirit of the cease fire. Hizbullah will not be disarmed; rather, Syria and Iran will successfully help rebuild its forces. Siniora will try to triangulate but will fail to nail down Hizbullah and satisfy US and Israeli objectives. This will lead to the US and international community abandoning Siniora and his weak government. The boming of Lebanon demonstrated that they already have. Moreover, Lebanon is already in debt up to its eye balls. Who would want to throw good money after bad. Saudi Arabia and Iran will be the primary donors because each has a lot to lose in the struggle for Lebanon's soul.

As for Iran, I don't think that Europe will rally behind America and Israel's drive to sanction it through the UN. Europeans no longer trust the US to handle such dimplomacy responsibly. This will leave the US with the choice of bombing alone. Michael Young argues that because of Israel's unsuccessful bombing campaign in Lebanon, the US will have to use ground forces in Iran for a short period. I guess that this will not come to pass. Although Bush's campaign to pin this war on Iran is working in the US media, my hunch is that the American people will not have the heart for another campaign, especially one as messy as a campaign against Iran is sure to be.

Where does that leave Syria? I think Syria scrapes by. It is saved by its own weakness and by the universal conclusion that chaos would prevail in Syria should the regime be destroyed. Alex, writing in the comment section of the last post, made a number of excellent observations. He argues that Syria is actually in a stronger position than it was in 1982, when the regime had to face the Muslim Brothers alone and was opposed by every one of its neighbors. Today Syria can count on the support of Iran. It can count on Turkey, within limits. It is developing good relations with many Iraqi leaders. It has taken back the Palestine card from Egypt. It has Hizbullah, which promises to remain a vital force in Lebanon. There is a small chance that new elections could be called and anti-Hariri politicians in Lebanon would do better than they did in the last elections. I don't put much store in a pro-Syrian Lebanon emerging from this war. The animosities between the two peoples are great. What is more, I see Lebanon getting mired in its old rivalries and becoming more chaotic with no one the winner. This will actually be OK for Syria in a very cynical way. Today, Lebanon is considered American territory by Syrian politicians. If Syria can deny it to America, it will be a mitigated win for Damascus. Damascus would much prefer for Lebanon to be consolidated within its sphere of influence, but absent that possibility, it will continue to work to make it useless terrain for future assaults on Syria by Washington and Tel Aviv.

What is more, Syria is exploiting new possibilities open to it in the East with China and Russia on the make.

Syrian leaders believe the US has about shot its wad in the Middle East, whether in terms of its ability to project military force or unite the international community behind multilateral action that can impose economic sanctions and real financial pain of the sort Syria could not survive. Syrians know that the US remains dangerous. They will continue to play rope-a-dope and wait for the remaining powers to drain out of the Bush administration. It will provoke, but not overly much. Such a plan is popular with the Syrian public even if it means making little headway on economic reform and full scale forward progress. Most Syrians have come to the conclusion that the US under the present administration has nothing to offer Syria. It will not encourage economic progress in Syria. It will not allow the Golan to be put back on the table. It will not encourage Israel to change its tune. It will not restrain Israel on the Palestinian front. It will not leave Iraq. It will forbid Lebanese politicians from working out an accommodation with Hizbullah and Syria. In short, Syrians are convinced that the US offers only woe and insult. If Bashar continues to insult America in return without drawing Syria into open conflict, they will continue to conclude that he is doing what he can.

This is a bleak prognosis, but I don't see any other that seems probable. After we watched two hours of LBC and al-Jazeera the other night, which were repleat with accusations and insults being hurled between various Lebanese politicians, Syrians and Saudis, Syrians and Israelis and every other possible combination of Middle East faction, subfaction and malefaction, my wife shut off the tube claiming she could no longer watch - "Nothing good will come of our region," she concluded. "It is worse than ever," and went to bed.

22 Comments:

At 8/19/2006 02:53:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

Alex,
I agree with Atassi that the regime only goal is survival, Asad can not do the same as Sadat or Kazafi, syrian people are different from Libian or Egyptian,if he does what Sadat or Kazafi did, syrian will revolt including Baath party members,they will not EVER permit such action.remember HUSNI AL ZAIM.

 
At 8/19/2006 03:41:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Joshua,

I agree with your bleak prognosis.

It could be even worse ... irrational decision making is a real possibility. (see my last comments to Majed)

one example: try to imagine if things continued the way they are now for another year ... the US administration is on its way out and Bashar in some interview says: "We won because we have outlasted this US administration and all of its 8 years of plans against us" ... How well will "the neo-cons" manage to ignore the urge to hit the bad guys?

Other examples could apply equally if they manage to make the media pressure unbearable on the Syrians, after finding a smoking gun in the Hariri investigation for example ... will the Syrians continue to control themselves?

 
At 8/19/2006 04:13:00 PM, Blogger why-discuss said...

The only alternative for Lebanon is to dump Hariri's clique with its failed policy based on US protection and make new elections where Hezbollah and its allies take a stronger stake. Then open up to Russia, who is looking for re entry in the ME, as well as China and indirectly Iran. That will make the US, Israel and its arab allies uncomfortable, but their comfort until now has not benefitted much to Lebanon. The new Lebanese governemnt should be finally bolder: it should develop a strong defensive army with the help of Russia, China and Iran and wait that the Bush's clique is out. But the US will try what they can through Hariri and his clique to keep Lebanon weak and dissaray... Would the lebanese wake up?

 
At 8/19/2006 04:52:00 PM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

WHAT IF the next administration is just has hawkish, what happens then? The neo-cons got a firm grip on the white house and will make sure not to let go which ever party wins the next elections. If a republican wins you can count on the same. And if god forbid, Clinton wins it we will see even more hardship in the middle east. She is in bed with a different breed than the kind her husband courted (no pun intended)

 
At 8/19/2006 05:11:00 PM, Blogger True Facts said...

The plot of the Iranians has become crystal clear to the whole world. The dream of establishing states ruled by regimes based on the concept of Wilayat al-Faqih (i.e. rule of the 'learned scholar' as applied in the sectarian state of Iran) will not materialize. Iranian and Syrian regimes will come out the biggest losers as a result of their stupidity by initiating this conflict!



القوات اللبنانية والدولية ستفتت

ما تبقى من مفاصل "الإقليم الشيعي"

ثلاثة أحزمة محلية ودولية حول لبنان

وإلغاء المعاهدة الدفاعية مع سورية


بروكسل-كتب حميد غريافي:
قال ديبلوماسي بريطاني في الأمانة العامة للاتحاد الأوروبي في العاصمة البلجيكية أمس السبت إن المجتمع الدولي عبر إصدار القرار 1701 قبل أيام عدة, »وضع كل الأراضي اللبنانية بحدودها البرية والبحرية داخل ثلاثة أحزمة أمنية محكمة الضبط والإغلاق لن يكون من السهل اختراقها بعد الآن لا من سورية ولا من إيران ولا من إسرائيل, ولا من المجموعات الإرهابية التي يهدد نظام دمشق بإرسالها إلى لبنان لتحويله إلى عراق آخر«.
وذكر الديبلوماسي, استناداً إلى دراسة وضعتها الأمانة العامة بمشاركة حلف شمال الأطلسي في بروكسل اعتماداً على بنود وفقرات القرار الدولي 1701 »المطلوب تطبيقها بحذافيرها«, أن نشر الجيش اللبناني الذي سيستكمل خلال فترة أسابيع ثلاثة في أبعد تعديل في كل الأراضي اللبنانية وعلى طول وعرض حدوده البرية والساحلية, يشكل في نظر الخبراء الغربيين الحزام الأول المضروب على الخارطة الطبيعية للبنان, »فيما سيكون انتشار 15 ألف جندي دولي, قد تدعو الظروف إلى رفع عددهم إلى 25-30 ألفاً قبل نهاية هذا العام, بمثابة الحزام الأمني الثاني إلى جانب وحول الانتشار العسكري اللبناني, كما أن الإبقاء على الهلال العسكري الإسرائيلي البري-البحري مفروضاً على المناطق الجنوبية اللبنانية البرية من سفوح جبل الشيخ شرقاً حتى حدود الناقورة الغربية الساحلية, ومن ثم على المياه الإقليمية الدولية حتى الحدود البحرية السورية-اللبنانية في شمال البلاد, سيشكل الحزام الأمني الثالث, في أول محاولة من نوعها في تاريخ الأمم المتحدة للحفاظ على أمن دولة ما من دولها بهذا الشكل المحكم الذي لم يسبق له مثيل«.
وقال الديبلوماسي إنه بنزول القوات الدولية التي »ستقوم فعلاً بلعب دور الشرطي لتنفيذ الاتفاق السياسي الذي ينطوي على نزع سلاح (حزب الله) والميليشيات المسلحة الأخرى تطبيقاً للقرار 1559 الذي يتضمنه القرار 1701 وستستخدم (حسب إعلان نائب كوفي عنان مارك مالوك براون أول من أمس في نيويورك) القوة العسكرية لتطبيق هذين القرارين, ولكن بكل حذر واحتراس« -بنزول هذه القوات في لبنان إلى جانب قوات الدولة اللبنانية وانتشارها على الحدودين الإسرائيلية والسورية بصورة فاعلة وضابطة, وبداهة حول »الإقليم الشيعي« الذي كانت إيران أقامته كدويلة مستقلة داخل الدولة اللبنانية من حدود إسرائيل حتى أقصى الحدود مع سورية شرقاً وشمالاً, يكون الخناق ضاق أكثر على (حزب الله) الذي افقدته الحرب الأخيرة معظم مقومات حياة إقليمه هذا, فخسر نقطة ارتكازه الأساسية الجوهرية (جنوب لبنان), وشيئاً فشيئاً مع توسع الانتشار اللبناني-الدولي العسكري نحو العمق اللبناني على طول الحدود مع سورية, يصبح الاختناق أكبر في منطقة البقاع, تمهيداً لتطبيق بند نزع السلاح«.
وأعرب الديبلوماسي البريطاني ل¯»السياسة« في بروكسل عن اعتقاده أن »القوة متعددة الجنسيات التي ستنجز عمليات نزولها في لبنان قبل نهاية سبتمبر المقبل, يجري اختيارها بذكاء وهدوء من دول أوروبية ودول إسلامية لمنحها شرعية كاملة تسحب من الإيرانيين والسوريين حجج الطائفية وذرائع العنصرية, إذ ستفرض ثقتها على كل الأطراف المتنازعة, وهي (حزب الله) والدولتان اللبنانية والإسرائيلية«.
ونقل الديبلوماسي عن الدراسة الأوروبية التي وضعت هذا الأسبوع استناداً إلى نتائج حرب 12 يوليو الماضي, »أمل« واضعيها من المحللين السياسيين - العسكريين الغربيين, في »أن تبدأ نتائج هزيمة إيران وحزب الله وسورية بالظهور شيئاً فشيئاً وإن كان ببطء وحذر, إلا أن مشاعر هذه الهزيمة ستزخم وتتضاعف مع اكتمال أشكال الأحزمة الأمنية الثلاثة حول خارطة لبنان, بحيث يوضع (حزب الله) في القمقم المرسوم له قبل تلك الحرب, ويفصل كلياً عن سورية وإيران اللتين هما الأخريين ستجدان نفسيهما داخل حزامين أمنيين دولي وعربي ابتداء من نهاية هذا الشهر«.
وقالت الدراسة إن انتشار الجيشين اللبناني والدولي ليشمل كل مفاصل »دويلة حزب الله« التي فقدت أكثر من ثلثها بفقدانها جنوب الليطاني, سيؤدي إلى »تفتيت ما تبقى من هذه الدويلة بحيث إذا وقعت مواجهات عسكرية لنزع سلاحها بالقوة, لن تكون حينذاك قادرة على التأثير الفاعل في ردود فعلها العسكرية أو البشرية«.
وكشف الديبلوماسي البريطاني النقاب عن أن »الخطوة التالية والملحة« هي »إقدام مجلس النواب اللبناني على إلغاء المعاهدات الدفاعية مع سورية في وقت قريب جداً, ووقف عمليات تدريب العسكريين اللبنانيين في المعاهد العسكرية السورية وتحويلها إلى مصر والسعودية والأردن والمغرب التي -حسب معلومات لنا من واشنطن- تنتظر من الحكومة اللبنانية طلبات لتوقيع معاهدات دفاعية معها (هذه الدول الأربع), إضافة إلى تكثيف عمليات تدريب القوات المسلحة اللبنانية في الدول الغربية تمهيداً لتحويلها إلى قوة فاعلة ومقاتلة مزودة بأحدث التقنيات والمعدات والأسلحة خلال فترة لا تتعدى الثمانية عشر شهراً«.
وأكد الديبلوماسي أن »هزيمة المخطط الإيراني- السوري في لبنان ستبدأ بالظهور بشكلها الأوضح والدراماتيكي خلال الأسابيع القليلة المقبلة عندما ستواجه إيران الفخ الدولي المنصوب لبرنامجها النووي في مجلس الأمن, وعندما سيسقط النظام السوري في فخ الاتهامات المباشرة له من لجنة التحقيق الدولية في اغتيال رئيس وزراء لبنان الأسبق رفيق الحريري, وهما فخان لن يكون بمقدور زعماء هاتين الدولتين الإفلات منهما كما تأملان وتتوهمان«.

 
At 8/19/2006 05:21:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

1982 was different, Hafez participated in 1973 war,that gave him a lot of credits,and made him patriotic,also he went to Iraq to arrange for union,and he ended the lebanese civil war, at that time Hafez did not steel money yet,and the soviet union was still strong,Bashar did not participate in a war with Isreal,nor he had achievments,and he and his family stole too much money, USA is the only power now,and there is sanction.
it is said that to win you wait till the other side makes mistake,he will destroy himself,killing Hariri was his mistake, syrian are waiting the result of investigations,I am sure they will revolt after that,just be patient.

 
At 8/19/2006 06:42:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Majed, I understand, but I will have to disagree with you regarding the revolt of the syrian people.

And here is the start of the new Syrian-Arab relations: Moualem is not attending the Arab foreign ministers' conference ...

ويعقد وزراء الخارجية العرب اجتماعاً طارئاً اليوم، لمناقشة الوضع في لبنان وآلية المساهمة في إعادة الإعمار، إلى جانب وضع خطة للتحرك لدى مجلس الأمن للدعوة إلى اجتماع وزاري عاجل للبحث في الصراع العربي - الإسرائيلي. لكن مصادر في الجامعة العربية أعربت عن قلقها من احتمال فشل الاجتماع، بسبب «تحولات في مواقف بعض الدول العربية من شأنها إثارة خلافات كثيرة قد تعصف باللقاء»، على خلفية خطاب الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد الذي يغيب وزير خارجيته وليد المعلم عن الاجتماع بسبب «مشاغل مسبقة».

 
At 8/19/2006 06:49:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

Did you notice that the Israeli commando raid is undermining the case for disarmament (if there ever was one)? How should Hizbullah defend itself and the country against such raids without its arms?

"True Facts",

why is this so difficult for you to understand? You post an article and name the source (in this case: Al-Seyassah).
Without the source nobody knows how credible the information is.

 
At 8/20/2006 02:11:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...

Interesting?

FM Livni appoints envoy for possible Syria talks

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni appointed a special "project manager" for possible negotiations with Syria. Yaakov (Yaki) Dayan, who until recently was head of the diplomatic desk in the Foreign Ministry, met last week with Tel Aviv University President Prof. Itamar Rabinovich, who headed the Syrian negotiations team under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in the mid-1990s.

Dayan is scheduled to meet shortly with Uri Sagi, who held the same post under PM Ehud Barak in the late '90s. Dayan has been asked to present Livni and Foreign Ministry officials with a document detailing the chances for resuming the diplomatic dialogue with Syria in the light of Syrian and Israeli positions on substantive issues such as borders, security and normalization.

Ido Aharoni, Livni's media adviser, confirmed Saturday Livni's appointment of Dayan but said there is no reason to infer from his appointment that Livni advocates resuming talks with Syria.

 
At 8/20/2006 08:28:00 AM, Blogger Peter said...

When did the American press turn to Michael Young as the voice of Lebanon? I don't disagree that many Lebanese are furious with Hizbollah, but how many of them are also furious with Bush? How many of them want the United States to invade Iran (which would be an utter disaster, by the way), as Young advocates?

Why does Young keep insisting that Iran and Syira were behind Hizbollah's kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers, a claim that, according to Anthony Cordesmann of CSIS, no Israeli official believes? It never made sense that Iran or Syria would want to provoke an Israeli invasion of Lebanon: why would Iran want it deterrent power eroded against a future US/Israel invasions? And why would Syria want Israel deep in the heart of Lebanon?

How can Young ignore the fact that there are many other prisoners in Israel besides Samir Quntar, and that's he's being held for tactical reasons (i.e. that he's being held as punishment for Lebanon failing to give back Ron Arad) not moral reasons. Or the daily provacative airflights over Lebanon since 2000? Or the hundreds of thousands of mines in South Lebanon that Israel refused to disclose? Or the border crossings into Israel to attack Hizbollah fighters? Why doesn't Young mention Israel's history of brutality against Lebanon, including its prior invasions in 1978 and 1982?

All these issues give context to Operation Just Reward. And they explain why South Lebanon supports Hizbollah and is so relectant to let Hizbollah be disarmed.

 
At 8/20/2006 10:10:00 AM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

Two sites give me the creeps when I visit them. Really. One is Elaph, which is part of the Saudi financed media empire. The other is "anything and everything" posted by Michael Young. And for VERY GOOD REASONS.

The Saudi stuff I can bring myself to accept and respect despite its shortcomings and despite my disagreement with certain known "opportunists" who "strive" to accomodate it and champion its cause despite thier previous "political" affliations. But the fact remains, those "green" newspapers and journalists are representative of a "Financial Power" and a regional player trying to use its influence, make its voice heard, send messages it can not send offically, and promote it's interest.
But Michael Young is a totaly different breed; he is the true representation of all that is anti-progressive, anti-Muslim and anti-Arab nationalistic, that we can find in this world. To me, sometimes, he apperas to represent the anti-Christ. Christ was love, peace, understanding and compassion. Young is the total opposite. Despite the "cause" he "claims" to represent. And he does it all in such a vulgar, pathetic, hatefull and full-of-vengence manner. Which seeks to play on the fears and sensitivities of -and let me be blunt here- a small group of Lebanese Christians, opportunistically joined recently by the Harriri Jr. Camp and the self-delusioned, self-proclaimed and self-contained Arab neo-liberals who have put themselves by choice or misguidance or self-interst in a direct alliance with the the US neo-cones and Israel.

Ironically, Israel, despite being our enemy is getting smarter and more self-consciouse by the way. It is apparent from reading various comments appearing now -after the "deafeat"- in the Israeli newspapers that many Israelies now are seeing that the US is using them to further its own agenda, not vice-versa. Which I believe is the truth, and has been the truth since day one. And they will soon start discusssing how to opt out and how to try to distance themselves from it. Funny, is it not? And all along we were told -or thought- that the the US was the toy in Israel's hand. And "really" beleived that the military-industrial-banking complex in the US is "weak enough" or "stupid enough" or naieve enough to be "misguided" by the Israeli Lobby!!!! Imagine. And we are doing our best trying to "guide" this "dump" complex to nsee the truth and to "realise" that its intersts lay in "supporting" the Arab and not the "Israeli" side. Again; many Israelies are begining to question these truisms and realise that Israel is merely a pawn in the game. And if Israel almighty can be "used", why would not the same happen to Lebanon. Difinitly, not because of the wisdom, courage, moral high ground, or influence of the current "14 March / Feb Majority", or the "search for truth" by the "international community ( i.e., UN SEC Council).
But not Michael Young!!!!!
Mr. Young, full with his blind haterd for all what we mentioned above, continues on his same path unabated.He insists on seeing the "defeated" Hizbullah from his formulated Iranian-Syrian creation and sponsorship position. And he atill thinks that is bound to be defeated and to "disappeare" somehow. Misguiding his audience in a one-way catch twenty-two position that, if one wanted be realistic and follow "his" line of reasoning -God forbid-, then it would eventually seem "inevitable" a lot easier to make the "adressed" 25% "componont" dissapear rather than making the 75% componot, of Lebanon that is, dissapear. And that is one of his aims. Sow fear and promote antipathy as a prelude to reaching certain conclusions serving exterior and isolationist agendas.
So on he goes. It is either Syria, or the Palestinians, or the Itranians, or the "not-good" Arabs, or someone. Whoever it is. Maybe the misguided Lebanese as well who are the cause of all this. Not Israel. Not US policy, not French opportunism, not the decaying feudal past. By No Means. He wants Lebanon out of the Arab-Israeli conflict and fast. As if Lebanon is in Southeast Asis not in the Middle East. And it does not matter what exceuses or examples or "facts" he uses or twists to his small cheering audience. For example, he claims, as some other Lebanese customarily do, that Lebanon has paid more that its share in the conflict and it is time to call it quits. Which is a totaly false claim even if one wants to get down to that level of discussion. He forgets that part of the reasons why Jordan, Syria and Egypt are less developed -financially and technically only- is because "they chose" to confront Israel, while Lebanon's elite, true to its opportunistic nature remained "by choice" outside the Arab-Israeli conflict untill the Palestinian resistance arrived there in the late sixties and helped "acelerate" Lebanon's entry into this conflict. And it did not invade Lebanon. No sir. It found open and welcoming hands of many. As happened to the "occupying" Syrian forces who were welcomed by some Lebanese at that time. They seemed a lot more assuring than Kissinger's ships which were ready to "ship" the Christians out to saftey as the story goes. But then, once that is acomplished, and years later once peace has returned at the expense of Syrian blood, money and security; and once a new "buyer" appears on the horizon, Syria is asked out. Thank you Syria, you did your job, we do not need you anymore. Now its time for Lebanon the Cabaret, the Casino, the Investment Miracle and the Tourists Heaven. Well, Michael, things do not work out that way in real life. You can not have your cake and eat it too. You know that. But you continue fooling your audience.

Another thing. Lebanon has sacrificed. Yes. No argument about that. Thousands of martyres, wounded, destroyed homes times and again, destroyed "40 billion" infrastructure. But. And a BIG but so everyone knows his place and his past. Lebanon was "forced" to first. "Then", it became by the choice of it majority "after" breaking free with its old feudal order. Let us not fool each other.
Lebanon has sacreficed; yes. On behalf of others alone, No!!!. Lebanon did so on behalf of itself and on the behalf of its majority, well-being, strategic national-interst, security and dignity. Lebanon has sacrificed. Yes. And heroically. Yes. But no more than has Egypt, Jordan, Syria or the Palestinans wherever they existed. But those countries took a "national" decision to stand up to Israel and the "hegemony" seeking West and Israel, while the Lebanese "old order" -which now shamelessly under different banners- claims that it had sacrificed, stood there and watched untill "Al Somood and Al Muqawamah were forced on them" by thier own people. So, enough is Enough. The only "bad" thing about Lebanon's sacrifices is that pre-1967 sacrifices were non-exsistant, and following that, post-1969 sacrifices were first forced from the outside upon a willing segment untill 1982, then by choice and by necesssity from then untill now. But Michael Young wants us to belive otherways. He "is so caring" about "his" beloved Lebanon. His Lebanon has had enough. As if "his Lebanon" was occupied in 1948 same like Palestine, as if his armies and cities were destroyed in 1967 same like Damascuse, Cairo and Jerusalem. As if "his" army had really paid in blood, money and prosperity -which seems to be the only thing he and his Lebanese followers value so much- for the occupied lands, the industry and infrastructure which were destroyed by Israel in 1973 among other Arab sacrifices. And let us not take about the hundreds of thousands of Syrian and Egyptian refugees. Let alone the Palestinan "millions" of refugees. Refugees, for more than fifty years, not fifty days or fifty months. Refugees whose worst treatment was at the hands of the new/old Lebanese feudal order. Refugees who were not permitted to step outside thier homes in the refugee camps in pre-resistance Lebanon after 6 pm. For Twenty years. Untill the Palestinian resistance arrived in Lebanon and began challenging this order with its Lebanese allies. Has Mr. Young ever thought why Yasser Arafat notorious "Force17" was called so??? It was in mockrey of the previously notorious Lebanese "Force116" of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces which was in charge -among other things- of "overseeing" the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

So, enough is enough Mr. Young.

Lebanon did not do and will do no more or no less than its part in the Arb-Israei conflict. Same as others in the niehgbourhood. You do not like it. Tough. But "this" is the plain fact. I would not "brage" about the fact that most Lebanese are honouable, defeat-resisting, courages, Arab nationalists. "You" may debate that.So to you what I say is: this is where those famouse 10452 square kilometers happen to be. This is Geography, and this is history. And thanks God, most Lebanese, the Majority of Lebanese are doing it by choice.

And, please again, never mind that stuff about the " Uniuque Lebanese Formula" and "special mission". Half of who used to be the "elite" in Lebanon got thier education in Haifa, or Cairo prior to the fall of Palestine. And the only "unique" thing about the Lebanese formula is that it is unique in its self-assumed importance, demagouegry, and self-serving zeal, not its multi-ethnic cooperative nature nor its dynamic acceptance of religous divesity. Syria, Palestine, Jordan and Egypt, have as varied an ethnic composition as Lebanon does. But no single ethnic or religious group took advantage of the other groups in those countries as has the previously dominant groups in Lebanon did in the past and continue attempting to do untill now. But, no more. The problem is, that this not possible anymore. Which is the thing Young fails to comprehend, refuses to internalise and, continues beating around-the-bush to brain-wash himself and his audience into believing that the past can be recreated acording to his seemingly liberal/democratic/secular views, which once you scratch thier surface, you get overwhelmed by the amount of ugliness, self-serving purposes, and deciete that lies underneath.

Michael Young can believe in whatever he wants and can write whatever he wants, but let him not for even one moment think that his act is fooling many Arabs, Lebanese, or even Chalabi-style US enthusiasts. The Israelies are begining to see this. Starting from Peretz, ending with the "invincible" heros of the Golani Brigade and the IAF. General Aoun, has internalised this. A growing segment of the ruling elite in the US, and even prsident Bush God-rest-his-troubled-sole, are coming to terms with the those facts. The only ones who refuse to acept it is Mr.Young, the 14 March, February, or whatever they want to call themselves. Only "they" still refuse to accept this.

Why?? I believe because all the former "REAL" players, while Michael Young and the later are no more than "Surrogates".

Sorry, but Facts can be painfull sometims. So can the truth. Especially to those determined to cover them and challenge reality.

We have had enough.

 
At 8/20/2006 10:27:00 AM, Blogger Vag Rounded said...

Ausamaa

Like him or not - you really are a deluded creep - and with a name like that?

 
At 8/20/2006 11:14:00 AM, Blogger qunfuz said...

Excellent post, Ausama.
Please please can we see proportional representation in Lebanese elections, and then see if Young still talks about democracy and the 'majority.'
Perfect example of the US free media that Young etc think is such a model: David ignatius chairs a debate between an Israeli and....Young, both of whom hate Syria and think Lebanon's problems will be solved by an attack on Iran.
Was it Majed who said there is only one superpower? Well, it still looks like that, yes, but not for much longer. China and to an extent India are making a new multipolar world. The West is losing its dominance. This is happening very quickly. If the US attacks Iran, it will meet its Suez moment very soon indeed.

 
At 8/20/2006 12:35:00 PM, Blogger True Facts said...

Hey big mouth - you are not going to gain attention just by declaring dislike a well known internationally respected columnist. You have a long way to go before people can hear your voice not to mention heeding your analytical nonsense. You don't even have a real name to be referred to if ever that were to happen! Let’s make things easier for you:
Aw is for the dog
Saw is for the cat
Mah is for the cow
That makes AwSawMah

 
At 8/20/2006 01:07:00 PM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

True Facts, rounded vag

I will be dammmmmmned.

You countered and discredited all what I wrote in two short scentences.

Master strokes....I must admit

Congratulations... Keep it up...but as I said..I know!!!..the Truth can sometimes be painfull...
and please , remember, he who knocks at the door, should expect the answer he deserves.....

 
At 8/20/2006 01:26:00 PM, Blogger True Facts said...

Exactly, you knocked on the door and you got the answer. As you can see, the answer was short and straight to the point.

 
At 8/20/2006 01:51:00 PM, Blogger mikealpha said...

I believe that there are 3 modes of war in the west.
1) Diplomatic war uses force in attempt to convince an existing government to alter it's behavior - the current Lebanese war is an example.
2) Gentle war attempts to replace an existing government without causing undue suffering to the populace or infrastructure.
The recent war in Iraq is an example.
3) Unrestricted war. The second world war is an example.

Since warfare of type 1 has failed in Lebanon the next war will probably be an escaltion of warfare type.
Assuming Hezb'allah does not manage to provoke a war of type 3 (poison gas, nukes etc) a type 2 war might consist of a strike up the lebanese coast turning inland at the Litani then pushing north along the inland boundary of the Bekka. The forces would then all turn and push towards Syria. This would drive the majorty of Hezb'allh supporters into Syria. The ensuing peace would not provide for their return. Lebanon could then have a democratic, peaceful and pro-western government and would flourish. Syria would not be meaningfully harmed since a state at it's nadir doest have anywhere to fall.

 
At 8/20/2006 03:15:00 PM, Blogger True Facts said...

mikealpha,
Let me make things clear to you.
Israel lost in its last campaign because as everyone knows Hizbollah does not need to win in the battle. Hizbollah gambled by assuming the new Israeli PM and cabinet are all novices and lack the experience. Their gamble turned out to be a winning one. Israel lost in achieving any of its objectives because it fought in the wrong place. This is how Israel should have behaved on the eve of the abduction of its soldiers:
Mr. Olmert goes on TV. He makes a very brief statement demanding from Bashar of Syria to spit out the soldiers within 24 hours. Failing that Latakia, Damascus and perhaps few other cities will become targets for obliteration. Very, very very likely, the soldiers will be back in their homes in less than two hours. Flying over palaces without shooting simply emboldens despots.
Of course, now it is too late. The soldiers are still in captivity. And Hezbollah has not been destroyed. Hope, your people will remember this advice when the next round takes place.

 
At 8/20/2006 03:22:00 PM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

mikealpha

For the sake of Hizbullah and Syria and Hamas, I seriously hope that Israel's PM Ehoud Olmert and Dan Halutz, the IDF Chief of Staff are not regular visitors to this site and stumble by accident on your plan. For you seem to have given them the "brilliant" military plan of how to get out of thier troubles and defeat your enem....sorry, thier enemies..

Mind you, did you miss an Option 4 (similar to what happened in Vietnam), or an Option 5 (Somalia and the Bay of Bigs), or an Option 6 ..., mind you we can go on and on listing Options 7,8,9,10...,

But, really, I think they have been through your "insightful" advice while they were in IDF staff college. Even though, that proves your know your stuff, which they have missed.

Anyway, as an Arab who is worried about the security of Hizbullah, Syria, and what or who "was" to follow after they "were" to be defeated during the past fourty days, I beg you not to contact the IDF, the Pentagon, or some elements in Lebanon or elsewhere and explain your master-plan to them. Please. If for nothing but to give the Israeli's Foriegn Minister Livni newly appointed "Syria Pulse-feeler" a chance to begin his work. Never mind what his "real assignment" is; "real work on negotiations" or "attempting to lull" Syria's prepardness and divert its attention with what Israel think is a carrot. Or? Could Israel be really worried about some Syrian-oriented action?....Who the hell knows???

 
At 8/20/2006 04:16:00 PM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

Jesus Christ. When it rains, it pours!!!!

We have hardly finished digesting "mikealpha's plan", only to be presented by a more sophisticated one by "true facts".

Makes you feel sorry for the Israeli "Defence" Forces. For with such FRIENDS providing them with military and operational advice, they do not really need enemies.

It is good you both are on the Israeli side...

 
At 8/20/2006 05:12:00 PM, Blogger True Facts said...

It will continue to rain for that matter!!!
It is also good that you are on Syria's side. This will ensure Bashar will remain on his knees, kissing asses and begging for someone (anyone) to talk to!!!

 
At 8/22/2006 01:47:00 AM, Blogger Light-Sweet-Crude said...

Joshua,
Your wife is right! ("Nothing good will come of our region," she concluded. "It is worse than ever," and went to bed.)

Every NIGHT I go to bed echoing that same refrain.

Problem is, I don't have anyone to tell it to. Oh well, at least THAT part of the equation I have a modicum of control over. But the middle east???? I don't think any one person has control. Unless, Chas V'Shalom, it's Ahmadine-jihad.

 

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