Another Fine Mess: Lebanon on the Brink

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I found that this piece in the Economist captures well the fragility of Lebanon’s current political order. I recommend reading it.
Here’s a section I found compelling:

Such conundrums point up the peculiar make-up and intractability of the opposing forces. Mr Siniora’s coalition includes Druze and Christian warlords, much of the business elite and the bulk of Sunni Muslims, including extreme fundamentalist groups that see more menace in Shias than in an alliance with America. Hizbullah, aligned with and armed by Syria and Iran, and doctrinally loyal to the latter, has found allies in old-time leftists, Arab nationalists, Syrian-backed feudal lords and the Peronist-style Christian populists of Michel Aoun, a former general who led a bloody and quixotic revolt against Syrian forces during the civil war.
What is missing is a leader who might rise above the mudslinging. Mr Siniora has valiantly tried to stay calm under pressure and has offered compromises just short of his opponents’ maximal demands. But he has failed to project a grand vision that would have to include, for example, fresh elections under a fairer system.
Some weary Lebanese now pin hopes on foreign mediation, with much interest stirred by a flurry of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the region’s main Shia and Sunni powers respectively. But a sense of disillusion is all the more sharply felt because it is less than two years since a massive, peaceful and joyous movement promised a better deal for all, following the exit of Syrian troops from the country.

It’s remarkable that we aren’t talking to the Syrians. We need to.
There is no way that Lebanese stability can be preserved or a viable Palestinian state established without engaging Syria and moving it out of the international dog-house on a Libya-like track.
It’s just nighmarish what a tinder box the Middle East is right now — and the White House and leadership in Tehran seem to be provoking each other into which side will light a match.
For another interesting take on Lebanon and Hezbollah, go back and read my friend and colleague Nir Rosen’s piece from last October, “Hizb Allah, Party of God.”
— Steve Clemons

Comments

29 comments on “Another Fine Mess: Lebanon on the Brink

  1. Winnipeger says:

    note to all:
    i stand by my assertion that i did NOT make any comment on this thread which warranted DV to tell me to:
    “FIRST, GO FUCK YOURSELF WINNIPEGER, YOU RACIST, DISHONEST DOUCHEBAG”
    further, i have not said anything to warrant POA speaking to me in this thread in this way:
    “You are a sniveling whiney hypocritical weasel, Winnipeger”
    “With comments such as we see above, Winnipeger shows himself to be a whiney sniveling hypocrite, who attempts the kind of weaselly and insipid ass kissing that epitomizes the worst connotation of the word “snitch”. What a pathetic little puke.”
    steve will make up his mind, but don’t think i’ve said anything in this thread, or lately, which justifies these type of profane and hateful responses.
    further, i don’t think my musings on this thread have been “hypocritical and sleazy” quite the opposite actually.
    i believe that once again poa is the pot calling the kettle black.
    the bottom line is that poa, den and a few others seem to confuse this forum and the internet with real life. i haven’t met POA and he hasn’t met me. it seems slightly ridiculous, to say the least, that anyone would make such judgemental and hateful characterizations about anyone based on a few anonymous comments made in these threads.
    poa claims to know that i don’t support organizations which i DO (Peace Now), den and poa claim that i’m a racist, WITHOUT A SHRED OF EVIDENCE, when i’ve NEVER expressed ANY racist sentiment. den and poa claim that i’m an israel apologist, WHEN I’VE TAKEN ISRAELI LEADERS AND POLICY TO TASK OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
    let the chips fall where they may. meanwhile, poa, DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS POST OR ANYTHING I WRITE WITH PERSONAL AND PROFANE ATTACKS AGAINST ME!
    it only shows weakness and extreme ignorance on your part.

    Reply

  2. Pissed Off American says:

    I find it interesting that the majority of posters here that seek to directly engage Steve do so by querying him on his stated opinions and postings. But not Winnipeger. Winnipeger likes to whine and snivel to Steve, and fill these threads up with purposelly instigated argument. He completely ignores the fact that the majority of the regular posters here have made their dislike of him perfectly clear, and that his own comments have consistently been despicably insulting to a degree that few of us have exhibited, EXCEPT in response to his own hypocritical and sleazy musings. One need only compare the quality of Den’s commentary and opinions to Winnipeger’s consistent whining to formulate an opinion as to why Winnipeger runs mewling to Steve about banning Den. My bet would be that despite Winnipeger’s irritatingly insulting manner of posting, and his consistent disruption of discourse, no one has sniveled to Steve about “banning” him. With comments such as we see above, Winnipeger shows himself to be a whiney sniveling hypocrite, who attempts the kind of weaselly and insipid ass kissing that epitomizes the worst connotation of the word “snitch”. What a pathetic little puke.

    Reply

  3. Winnipeger says:

    oh, poa. i quite literally have nothing more to say to you… ever. best of luck living with your anger. however well intentioned, i bet it will be ineffectual and detrimental to your health.
    i’m still curious to see what if anything steve does have to say about the verbal assault that continues to take place in these comments. my guess is that he may be upset to see that den prefaced his comment to me by writing:
    “FIRST, GO FUCK YOURSELF WINNIPEGER, YOU RACIST, DISHONEST DOUCHEBAG”
    i mean c’mon. this is completely beyond the pale. doesn’t seem to be in keeping with the guidelines that steve made a point of introducing. he’s repeatedly warned us all. you and den just won’t stop with the cursing and the personal attacks.
    den deserves to be booted, and in my opinion, so do you.

    Reply

  4. Pissed Off American says:

    “i can’t wait to hear what steve has to say about this.”
    “what a damn shame.”
    Posted by Winnipeger
    You are a sniveling whiney hypocritical weasel, Winnipeger. Do you REALLY think Steve is taken in by your horseshit? Do you think he has missed noticing your behaviour here?
    Stop your pathetic whining. Whatever opinion people have of you here was formed by YOUR comments. YOU are responsible for how you are recieved here, and the across the board animous you see directed towards you should be fodder for introspection, not an incentive for you to snivel and whine to Steve.

    Reply

  5. Winnipeger says:

    den wrote:
    “To speak plainly, if he perceives a viewpoint as pro-Israel then he agrees with it, and if he perceives a viewpoint as anti-Israel, then he starts screaming anti-Semite.”
    this is ABSOLUTELY AND DEMONSTRABLY untrue. yet another oversimplification and example of the type of demigoguery that regularly takes place here.
    aside from the fact that “anti” and “pro” are arbitrary terms which communicate nothing, i HAVE been a striong critic of some israeli policy and some israeli policy makers. for God sakes, den, just read my comments on this thread!!!!
    i’ve stated that i believe sharon DID instigate a second intifada when he recklessly decided to march to the Temple Mount with hundreds of police and t.v. cameras hoping to engender a violent reaction from palestinians. i also said that i believe it was a “lust for power” which inspired this successful gambit. needless to say, the entire region and ALL parties suffered as a result of sharon’s successful power play.
    i also said that the continuing seizure of Palestinian lands and expansion of settlements in the occupied territories IS counterproductive.
    there are many other examples that disprove your patently false claim as well.
    and you keep calling me a racist; PLEASE SUBSTANTIATE YOUR CLAIM WITH PROOF, IMMEDIATELY!
    further, den, i’ve NEVER accused you of anti-semitism. i’ve reserved that distiction for the two or three folks who HAVE expressed blanket hatred/distrust for jews or israelis in general.
    lastly:
    maybe you can try to offer a defense for beginning your comment with the following:
    “FIRST, GO FUCK YOURSELF WINNIPEGER, YOU RACIST, DISHONEST DOUCHEBAG”
    i can’t wait to hear what steve has to say about this.
    what a damn shame.

    Reply

  6. Den Valdron says:

    It’s fairly irrelevant as to whether Winnipegger agrees with the balance of comments I make or not.
    Winnipegger’s approach is results and not process oriented. To speak plainly, if he perceives a viewpoint as pro-Israel then he agrees with it, and if he perceives a viewpoint as anti-Israel, then he starts screaming anti-Semite. In either case, his position is determined by his perception of the outcome as pro or anti-Israel, rather than based on the merits of facts or arguments. In point of fact, Winnipegger is uninterested in argument except as a vehicle to arrive at his predetermined outcome. This is, in part, why his arguments are so poor.
    The trouble is that this sort of mindlessly aggressive boosterism undermines the capacity to have any discussion about anything. Kneejerk caterwauling any time he feels that Israel is trod upon is not a foundation for a rational dialogue. Even worse, Winnipegger feels the need to drag Israel and pro-Israel advocacy or paranoia into discussions where it does not belong or has not even come up. The result is that perfectly good discussions are dragged off the rails and reduced to Israel based shouting matches. This is, in my view, a feature of the insensitivity, obsessiveness and childishness of the offender.
    The kindest thing that I can find to say about Winnipegger is that he is not the only offender of this sort, and that there are other offenders on both sides. I grow increasingly tired and intolerant of both. The sort of discussion that they bring forward is simply not fruitful, and this is particularly damaging because *these discussions need to happen.*
    Winnipegger is distinguished by being the most childish and the most personally involved. He is also one of the most inflammatory, frequently posting to start fights, and frequently attacking third parties or persons in his posts. All too often, he succeeds in making the discussion about himself. As I’ve said… tiresome.
    There are a number of things to say about Lebanon, a great many things of worth to say about Lebanon’s destabilization, and ground to cover in terms of approaches to trying to remedy that destabilization.
    I’d much rather, that we be having that discussion.

    Reply

  7. Den Valdron says:

    I’m not inclined to address or cater to your passive-aggressive games. Your dishonesty and racism is a matter of record in your posts. Your penchant for game playing is also a matter of record. That said, the discussion is not about you. It is about the destabilization of lebanon.
    If you had any argument to make with respect to Israel’s role or culpability, you would have made it. You have nothing. And having nothing you choose to play merry games to distract or evade the issue. You are beneath contempt.

    Reply

  8. Winnipeger says:

    well, i couldn’t resist. i read the rest of den’s comment, and guess what? i agree with much of what he says.
    but, he should definately apologize for his vicious and profane outburst and pledge to never speak this way to ANY contributor on this blog ever again.
    if not, he should banned from posting here, plain and simple.

    Reply

  9. Winnipeger says:

    “First, go fuck yourself winnipegger, you racist, dishonest douchebag”
    wow. racist? dishonest? douchebag? fuck myself?
    maybe you can provide some proof of these scurilous accusations? racist?!?!? nothing could be further from the truth, not too mention the fact THAT I HAVE NEVER MADE ANY REFERENCE TO RACE IN ANY OF MY COMMENTS!!!!!
    hey steve, did anything i wrote warrant this type of over-the-top hateful response?
    i won’t even bother reading any further into den’s scree.
    evidently, he’s a hateful, ugly person who is incapable of engaging in a constructive debate with someone who disagrees with him.
    he and a few others demean this blog and steve’s efforts.
    care to comment steve???

    Reply

  10. Den Valdron says:

    First, go fuck yourself winnipegger, you racist, dishonest douchebag.
    Now that we have the pleasantries out of the way…. As to the question of what, if anything, Syria and Assad and his “allawite henchman” (no loaded language there, no sir) have to do with the destabilization of Syria, no there has been no discussion.
    Largely, I think, because Syria didn’t invade Lebanon a few months ago, didn’t kill a thousand civilians, didn’t force 1/3 of the population to evacuate, didn’t target civilian infrastructure and didn’t drop thousands of cluster bombs, and didn’t do a couple of billion dollars worth of damage.
    I think that if Syria did all those things, I would be pointing a pretty harsh finger at Syria.
    The truth is that, like it or not, Syria has been a relatively benign force of stability in Lebanon. Feel free to blow a gasket over this assertin. But its true, Syria intervened to put a stop to the civil war, it managed to do this successfully, and it restrained violence for an extended period of time. During the period of occupation, Lebanon’s constitution and electoral processes were respected, the Lebanese enjoyed greater personal freedom and freedom of the press than the Syrians themselves, and its economy and infrastructure regenerated. Right up until their departure, the Syrians continued to enjoy massive popular support among large segments of the Lebanese community.
    On the downside, yes, the Syrians managed to profit economically from their occupation, and yes, the Syrians during the occupation and to some extent after it, exercised disproportionate influence over Lebanese affairs.
    On the whole, however, the balance sheet is rather more positive for the Syrians in Lebanon, than it is for the Americans in Iraq now, or for that matter, than it was for Israel in its own 18 year occupation of Israeli territories.
    At this point, Syria gains no advantage, and suffers an overall loss from Lebanese destabilization. It loses a trading partner, inherits trouble on its border, loses legitimate influence in a neighbor and is faced with the prospect of hundreds of thousands or millions of refugees… and its also faced with the prospect of going head to head with a United States looking for an excuse for regime change.
    So, on this front, I don’t think that there’s significant rationale and no real evidence thus far for “Assad and his gang of allawite henchmen” to be destabilizing Syria.
    And in fact, Winnipegger, you’ve chosen not to offer up evidence, but merely your standard empty dishonesty and invective.
    As to the Hariri assassination, what the hell does that have to do with the destabilization of Lebanon. I think that there’s a certain self-serving historical illiteracy at work.
    Hariri was an anti-syrian politician killed in a car bomb. The United States has blamed Syria for the assassination. This is not all that credible, given America’s previous track record. Syria has denied responsibility. The record is inconclusive.
    However, there was a great deal of popular sentiment in Lebanon blaming Syria, either directly or indirectly for the assassination. This lead to huge pro and anti-Syrian demonstrations and to the peaceful “Cedar Revolution” in which Syrian forces withdrew.
    To simply cite the Harriri assassination as part of the destabilization of Lebanon is the rankest intellectual dishonesty or sloppiness.
    As to whether or not Syria has engaged in subsequent political assassinations in Lebanon, and whether these assassinations, if any, have contributed to destabilization… that’s entirely unproven and rather hysterical allegations. Simply put, there’s no evidence and no real suggestion outside of lunatic fringe Israeli propagand for this notion.
    I’m not suggesting that Syria is a saintly nation. Only that its a bum rap in this case.
    On the other hand, it is well documented that Israel employs a policy of targeted extra-territorial assassinations, and in fact had been involved in assassinations and covert operations in Lebanon immediately prior to the recent war.
    I have no information as to whether Israel is involved in recent political assassinations in Lebanon, and no information as to whether such assassinations have contributed to destabilization.
    The notion that Hamas has any role in Lebanon’s destabilization is so ridiculous as to be unworthy of further comment. By the same token, the notion that Iran or Iranian mullahs are playing a role is equally bankrupt.
    To simply cite a laundry list of ‘hamas, assad, hezbollah, the Iranian Mullahs and Israel’s other enemies’ as cause for or contributing to Lebanese destabilization is knowingly dishonest.
    Between the time of the Cedar revolution and the time of Israel’s invasion, I think that everyone accepts that Lebanon was peaceful and stable. The various factions and political parties, including Hezbollah, had worked out relatively equitable power sharing arrangements.
    The triggering factor producing destabilization appears to be the Israeli invasion.
    As to Hezbollahs role in the recent war with Israel. I would remind you that there is evidence that the Israeli forces whose killing or kidnapping precipitated this war *had actually crossed over into Lebanon* when they were attacked. If this is correct, this is an extremely awkward fact.
    Setting aside that awkward fact, I would point out to you that it was Israel which then proceeded to initiate full scale hostilities, and which continually scaled up the conflict. There were no Hezbollah troops invading Israel.
    The aftermath of the invasion had profound effects on Lebanes government and society. The most obvious were over a thousand dead, massive infrastructural damage, hundreds of thousands of refugees, hundreds of thousands of unexploded cluster bombs, billions in losses, severe damage to the economy as a result of attacks and blockade and an environmental disaster off the coast.
    Only a moron would claim that this would not be destabilizing or would ignore the effect.
    But there were other political effects. One was the emasculation and impotence of the Lebanese government and military forces by Israel. I can’t think of anything that could discredit Siniora or federalist/centrist politicians than them being forced to stand idly by while a neighboring country spends a month murdering their population with impunity. Only a moron would expect them to come out smelling like roses.
    Another effect, of course, would be to rupture any faith or credibility that the Lebanese had placed or might place in Israel or the United States. Certainly the result would be a loss of credibility for America and Israel, a marked rise in hostility, a loss of influence for America or Israel supporters, and an increased popular support for Islamist or Anti-American and Anti-Israeli.
    The big winner in Lebanese society was Hezbollah, which not only held its own but successfully defended the country. Hezbollah tightened its grip on the Shia, bought extended support in other areas of the nation and became immensely stronger vis a vis the Federal state. The balance of power as between Hezbollah and the Federal state and other political groups strongly shifted to Hezbollah.
    With Hezbollah ascendent and the Federal state discredited, centrifugal forces come into play, with other factions and political groups choosing to control their populations and oppose Hezbollah, while being increasingly less tolerant of being mediated by Federal political processes.
    This is not rocket science. Lebanese politics and society was delicately balanced. The Israeli war destroyed that balance by crippling the Federalists, discrediting certain aspects of the Lebanese polity, strengthening others and encouraging conflict.
    Such things as low level military conflicts between Hezbollah and other groups, increasing political assassinations by Hezbollah and by other groups, and the accumulating irrelevance of a central or unitary government are all part of destabilization and are forces contributing to destabilization.
    But they don’t let Israel off the hook, and they don’t relieve Israel from responsibility as a primary force of destabilization.
    Indeed, Israel is such a primary force, that I simply don’t think its possible to discuss the destabilization of Lebanon without addressing Israel’s central contribution.
    Lebanon is a situation where Israel’s foreign and military policy have wreaked great havoc upon a neighboring nation and have produced a situation of destabilization and crisis.
    Quite often, I’ve had to argue that many middle eastern crisis and problems have nothing to do with Israel, and that Israel is irrelevant. Israel, for instance, was merely a cheerleader in the Iraq fiasco, merely an accessory in the falsification of wmd evidence, and has little or nothing to do with the occupation or Iraq or the mistakes of that occupation. Israel has nothing to do with the corruption of the Saudi Arabian polity, the price or supply of oil, or the politics of Persian Gulf states. Despite bellicosity, Israel is only a cheerleader and not a prime mover of American policy with respect to Iran. If there is a major military action against Iran, that decision will ultimately be made in Washington, not Tel Aviv. For the most part, Israel despite its overwhelming military power and nuclear weapons, is largely irrelevant to the middle east, culturally, politically, socially, economically, etc. The effort to inject Israel into such discussions, or to make it central, has simply not been helpful.
    Where Israel has been relevant in middle eastern issues, has been with respect to Lebanon, the Palestinians and the Occupied territories. In this respect Israel is both relevant and central, and it should be subject to stringent attention and merited criticism.
    My objection to Winnipegger is that he brings nothing to the discussion but his childish prejudice, his racism and his fundamental dishonesty.

    Reply

  11. Winnipeger says:

    den wrote:
    Or, for that matter, why did Sharon provoke the second intifada? Isn’t the continuing seizure of Palestinian lands and expansion of settlements in the occupied territories counterproductive?
    that’s easy:
    1. lust for power
    2. YES

    Reply

  12. Winnipeger says:

    Israel’s latest invasion of Lebanon was clearly an effort to destabilize the country, and we can add to that a variety of targeted assassinations and provocations prior.
    For those inclined to criticize Israel, I can cite no better case than its historical treatment of, designs upon, and outrages towards a small and helpless country whose largest misfortune was to have them as a neighbor.
    Posted by Den Valdron at January 30, 2007 01:14 P
    so, once again a contributor to this blog oversimplifies an inherently complex situation and demigogues israel in the process.
    interesting that den and others don’t write a SINGLE critical word about hezbollah, hamas, assad, the iranian mullahs, or israel’s other antagonists.
    are you saying that assad and his alawite henchmen have no responsibility for the destabilization of lebanon? if so, you’re not being realistic. are you saying that they and/or hezbollah were not responsible for dozens of assasinations in lebanon, including hariri’s?? if so, you’re not being realistic. are you saying that hezbollah bears no responsibility for this summer’s war with israel?? if so, you’re not being realistic.
    really, this type of one-sided critique is boring and does nothing to further anyone’s understanding of the subtle and not-so-subtle complexities of the greater middle east.
    but hey, don’t let me stand in the way of your banal, anti-israel, sock hop.
    just proves the point that most human beings would rather NOT challenge their own pre-conceptions and ideologies, even when faced with the fact that they have zero first hand experience and no expertise (this comment is not necessarily directed at you, den, but at other contributors to this blog who have never even stepped foot in the middle east, yet are ideologues in their views of the region — coincidently, not unlike our dear, dumb leader)

    Reply

  13. Black says:

    Yes…hard to fathom.

    Reply

  14. Den Valdron says:

    Or, for that matter, why did Sharon provoke the second intifada? Isn’t the continuing seizure of Palestinian lands and expansion of settlements in the occupied territories counterproductive? Was using a fighter jet to assassinate an old man in a wheelchair on the steps of a mosque a wise use of resources?
    In hindsight, was ignoring Al Quaeda a blunder? Was refusing to commit troops at Tora Bora a mistake? Was it the wisest thing to divert Afghanistan resources to an invasion of Iraq a misjudgement? Dissolving the Iraqi army… blunder?
    In short, there’s a lot of inexplicable and senseless things that have emerged out of both the United States and Israel. Being vicious, stupid and short sighted is all too often a substitute for a master plan.

    Reply

  15. Den Valdron says:

    That’s a very good question, Black. So why did Israel launch a war against the civilian population of Lebanon which could have no other effect than to destabilize Siniora? Why did America support that war?

    Reply

  16. Black says:

    What’s interesting about the Lebanon mess–though “interesting” is a pretty sad word given all that they’ve suffered–is this:
    The Siniora government was pro-Western (as these things go), so why would the West, or Israel for that matter, have an interest in destabilizing THAT regime?

    Reply

  17. Den Valdron says:

    Did the Syrians off Harriri? Seems that there’s no real evidence, and the accusations are coming from the same sorts of people who were making Iraq’s wmd claims.
    In any event, it seems disingenous to blame the Harriri assassination, and ignore the subsequent Israeli invasion.
    Unless you’re arguing that by forcing the Syrians out, Israel now had a free hand to meddle and bomb the country with impunity.
    As for Dershowitz, he lost his credibility when he started standing tall for torture and arguing that there are different ‘degrees’ of civilian so that that women and children are legitimate targets. The man is a corrupt shill.

    Reply

  18. DonS says:

    I’m not sure Condi could say “managed chaos” with a straight face given the hundreds of thousands of deaths. Oh,yeah, I forgot, they’re looking at an histoical timeline in which they can only be right. Still, it takes an inordinate gall to even suggest, which they do have.

    Reply

  19. Carroll says:

    Dont’ worry about Israel, they are committing suicide, and intervention efforts by saner heads aren’t working.
    Meanwhile zionstas USA are also committing suicide with this stuff:
    Alan Dershowitz Publishes
    ”Ex-President for Sale” Article on Gather.com in Response to Controversial Carter Book
    Harvard Law Professor Joins Increasing Number of Writers and Elected Officials Leveraging the Power of Social Media on Gather.com
    BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Gather.comâ„¢, the leader in social media for adults, announces that Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz has published “Ex-President for Sale,” the first of a six-part series of articles in response to Jimmy Carter’s controversial book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. The article, published today at AlanDershowitz.gather.com, claims that Carter is “peddling a particularly nasty bit of bigotry” during his recent book tour and that the former president has “been bought and paid for by Arab money.”
    “The reason I am focusing on Carter is that his book and subsequent comments will make it far more difficult to achieve peace, because they legitimate the most extremist views and encourage the terrorists to continue to target innocent civilians,” says Dershowitz. “For a Nobel Peace Prize winner to himself become a barrier to peace is a great tragedy.”
    During the course of the article, which is approximately 1,500 words, Dershowitz sites several third party sources who allege that Carter has “been bought and paid for by anti-Israel Arab and Islamic money.” The article closes with a challenge to the media “to probe deeply into his, his family’s, and his Center’s Arab ties so that the public can see precisely the sources and amounts of money he has received.”

    Reply

  20. Charlie says:

    I am no friend of the Israelis, or the PNAC crowd for that matter – but let’s be honest about the fact that the Syrians off’ed Hariri, which is what has set off the most recent round of instability in Lebanon. This isn’t a finding of some secret squirrel Office of the Vice President faux intelligence shop – it was basically the key judgement of both Mehlis and Brammertz. Hezbollah and Aoun have some legitimate grievances as regards the electoral system in Lebanon, but the key sticking point here is the international tribunal, which the Syrians are desperate to avoid at all costs. So I say sure, let’s talk to the Syrians – more fact-finding trips, more engagement – but let’s be honest about the extent to which our interests are compatible with theirs, or Lebanon’s for that matter.

    Reply

  21. sdemetri says:

    Sorry about those numbers…
    2,000,000
    4,000,000

    Reply

  22. sdemetri says:

    Reagan forbid US arms dealers from selling cluster munitions to Israel for 6 years after their indiscriminate use in the ’82 invasion of Lebanon.

    Reply

  23. Den Valdron says:

    I think that at this point, if anyone wants to slag Israel for its contributions to Lebanon’s destabilization, they should go right ahead.
    Israel has for decades reserved the right to meddle in Lebanon’s internal politics, when not actually invading.
    Israel’s affiliations with right wing Christian Phalangists created the massacres at Sabra and Shattilla, did much to help create the conditions for the Lebanese civil war, and the series of war crimes that was the 18 year invasion and occupation.
    Israel’s latest invasion of Lebanon was clearly an effort to destabilize the country, and we can add to that a variety of targeted assassinations and provocations prior.
    For those inclined to criticize Israel, I can cite no better case than its historical treatment of, designs upon, and outrages towards a small and helpless country whose largest misfortune was to have them as a neighbor.

    Reply

  24. sdemetri says:

    managed chaos
    2,000,000,000 cluster munitions dropped in Iraq in two week time in 2003
    4,000,000,000 cluster munitions dropped in so. lebanon in 3 days 2006

    Reply

  25. Carroll says:

    Hello?…peace and stability in the ME is not the actual goal..remember?
    Covert, overt, inside, outside….PNAC and Clean Break march right on.
    “Managed chaos” is the name of the game.

    Reply

  26. profmarcus says:

    as the white house points solemnly to the “threat” they’ve created while they continue to pour more gasoline on an-already tense situation, all that remains is for the spark to be struck – which they’re no doubt working on as i write this…
    of course… it is part and parcel of the bushco strategy for making endless war a reality, perpetuating the presidential commander in chief role, and insuring that the u.s. is always on a wartime footing, thus “necessitating” the draconian measures curtailing fundamental constitutional freedoms so prized by bushco…
    http://takeitpersonally.blogspot.com/

    Reply

  27. vachon says:

    I follow Lebanese politics pretty closely. I can’t believe it’s fighting the same war (almost) all over again. I would have thought that all the animosities, grudges, petty power plays and dick measuring would have lead everyone to see it goes nowhere but to death.
    Then I remembered who our president is and I just got sad and figured “Carry on.”

    Reply

  28. rich says:

    About one week or so ago, there were several references to informal talks between Syria and Israel aimed at settling the war in Lebanon.
    Until Bush’s State Dept got wind of it, and shut them down.
    Interesting that Iran-Saudi talks stepped into that vaccuum to provide means other than war for establishing security.

    Reply

  29. rich says:

    About one week or so ago, there were several references to informal talks between Syria and Israel aimed at settling the war in Lebanon.
    Until Bush’s State Dept got wind of it, and shut them down.
    Interesting that Iran-Saudi talks stepped into that vaccuum to provide means other than war for establishing security.

    Reply

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