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06 August 2006


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W. Patrick Lang


As you know he probably thought of himself as a Muslim rather than a Kurd. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

Yes, he thought of himself as primarily a Muslim.

But, the history of Levant and Egypt indicates that the Sunni Arab dyansties were not successful fighters; those who defeated Mongols were Mamluk Turks (out of Egypt).

Moreover, the Arab people were rules by the Ottoman Turks for centuries and it is not clear to me that the Arab Revolt would have been successful if the Ottoman Empire were not dying at that time.

Jsut as you said: The South has more of a martial tradition than the North; likewise for a variety of people in ME.


I've been thinking about how the current Israeli tactics in Lebanon are similar to the Medieval "chevauchee" or promenade--Wikipedia has a brief entry that describes it. The idea was to invade your enemy's land and ravage it so as to degrade his ability to fight you--and then retreat back to your own land, leaving ruin and destruction behind you. The Crusaders tended to do this as their lands were retreating to the sea for the last time.

But sometimes you got the bear, and sometimes the bear got you. In 1266 a chevauchee towards Tiberias under King Hugh III of Cyprus, bailli of Jerusalem, ended in disaster when its vanguard of Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights was ambushed at Caroublier by the Moslem garrison of Safed. I guess the Israelis know the feeling.


(1)Yes, although "sent" would more likely be "kept"
(2)Yes, the question is how Hizbollah uses this popularity after the fighting recedes and their popularity recedes (theres no body politic as fickle as the Lebanese). The alliances they have been forging esp. with the Christian community does herald hope that the Israeli attack may have closed many rifts in the secterian divide in the country.
(3)Depends who forms the next govt. and I assume there will be fresh elections not long after the hostilities cease. I doubt any govt. would go down a specific versus Israel line because of the simple fact that the Lebanese will not want a return to the days where Lebanon is the battleground for a regional conflict. Im not saying that most of the Lebanese aren't anti-Israeli but I would think it gets wearisome to be the only country actually fighting the Israelis, esp. when you're the smallest country in the region.

Babek said, "There is no deep plan here just lurching from one tactical decision to another."

What does everyone make of this? http://www.news24.com/News24/World/Middle_East/0,,2-10-2075_1980198,00.html>Israel names new commander.

From the link, “The change of command was decided by army chief General Dan Halutz, who assumed his post last year.

I posted this in another thread, and said, “Halutz is the reason Israel is in its current mess”. His reliance on air power and deploying only 10,000 ground forces won’t defeat Hizbullah. Olmert is in way over his head.

The Lounsbury

A bit late, but re this simplistic comment:Often cultural mores have deeper significance.

And often ignorant outsiders overread based on apriori assumptions themselves based on thin stereotypes.

To me the wearing of burqas and/or other prescribed clothing is representative of suppression of women.

Western society prescribes clothing as well. One can not walk around bare breasted in public in most public places.

There is a vast difference between a "burqa" (properly speaking) and merely wearing a hidjab.

How women are treated mirrors equality, freedom of movement, educational opportunities, career choices, participation and women’s legal rights.

And wearing a hidjab has nothing the bloody hell to do with treatment of women etc. etc. etc.

I work with plenty of professional women in the region, in finance. Many wear the hidjab. There aren't any rules to such, indeed in the finance community the social pressure is to ostentatiously show you're liberal (in the European, not North American sense) and the like.

Shallow, stupid and in the end not indicative of real liberal values.

In male dominated societies, typically the woman doesn’t have equivalence.

And typically commentators like you draw conclusions based on the most superficial knowledge and as a general matter, based on personal prejudice and expectation rather on objective standards.

Imposition by law of hidjab is one thing. Women choosing to wear it out of a belief in its religious significance is another. Nor, I will add, have I observed in my decade working in region, a correlation between women's forcefulness in the workplace and wearing, or not, the hidjab.

It's a superficiality that obsesses Westerners, in real ignorance.


Sorry I asked any questions or made any statements. You obviously took offence when none was meant. You could have answered in a more polite manner.


I am a Lebanese christian and I will let you in on a little secret.
True most non-shia Lebanese are not happy with what Israel has done to Lebanon and now feel they must support HA in its demands. But once this crisis is over, most Christians Druze and Sunni will want and most likely demand an accounting from HA for starting this mess and leaving Lebanon in a destroyed state. This will happen (regardless what you hear from popular Christian leaders in Lebanon), there are two possible outcomes from this.
One solution allows HA a gradual save your face solution, a disarming of HA (maybe even having HA elite units join the army) and moving HA to a fully functional political party, This looks like the solution most are leaning towards, to accomplish this, all Lebanese must appear to support HA on their fundamental demands from Israel (leave all Lebanese territory, release so called POW, and resolve the shibaa farms status). The other possible option is the unwanted dreaded divorce, many Christians and Druze now believe that a confederation would be the best solution for Lebanon if they cannot contain HA (mind you I am not with or against this reality). This divorce could be cordial or at an extreme a Civil war (although Christians and Druze will bide their time until they have rearmed since most heavy weapons were removed by Syria during the Syrian control of Lebanon under their the Taif accord).

W. Patrick Lang



I would imagine that your first scenario is more likely than the second.

You realize, I am sure, that this scenario will result in a HA takeover of the Lebanese Army. pl


Gman, do you really believe HA started this? Reports in the US and UK state that this has been planned since 2005. If that is true, this would have happened no matter what.

I agree with the Col. Lang, the second scenario is far too messy and would probably leave Christian and Druze areas with far too little real estate. I dont necesarily agree with the HA takoever of the army. I would more likely envisage a scenario where they become a kind of special forces unit with considerable independence from all but the highest points of the command structure. I dont think they would actually want to control the army to be honest. Its probably too institutionalised for their liking!

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