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06 August 2006


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The Lounsbury,

Often cultural mores have deeper significance. To me the wearing of burqas and/or other prescribed clothing is representative of suppression of women. How women are treated mirrors equality, freedom of movement, educational opportunities, career choices, participation and women’s legal rights. In male dominated societies, typically the woman doesn’t have equivalence.

When I was a teen and began working, senior positions in corporations were almost exclusively male. It wouldn’t have mattered how much education or intelligence I had, the door was closed to advancement. Women earned less money for doing the same job. Changes have been made in corporate structures and monetary rewards, but improvement is still needed. Dress codes did exist in the 1950’s—women wore dresses or skirts. University educations for women at that time were regarded as the road to better marriage prospects.

http://www.nclw.org.lb/lebanesemid.cfm#english> The Lebanese Women: Reality and Aspirations (English) From what I’m reading dated 2000, it sounds similar to my experience in the 1950’s. I’m surprised by the few number of women in the teaching profession. Nurturing professions, such as teaching, nursing, and social work had many women but not particularly in senior capacities.

If Hassan Nasrallah becomes more dominate in Lebanon would he further a more egalitarian society or turn the clock back?

Jonathan House MD

Dear Pat Lang,

I send this to the comment section as I don't have your email (is it listed on the site?)

Yesterday Juan Cole posted an analysis (link below) on his blog in which he presented a speculative theory about a rational strategy underlying the Israeli attack on Lebanon. I wonder if you think it worthy of comment on your blog.


Nasrallah said a while back that he intended that Hezbollah obtain the release of the remaining Lebanese prisoners in Israeli hand by capturing some Israeli "bargaining chips" to trade. Hezbollah made a failed attempt to capture some Israeli soldiers for this purpose at the tail end of last year. From the descriptions I have seen of their capture, the operation was launched when the local commander saw an opportunity and took it, so I strongly suspect that even Nasrallah did not know about it until after it happened. So the Lebanese PM would have known of Hezbollah's policy but would probably have not known it was about to happen.

John Howley

IDF reservists report inadequate training and equipment.
"Reserve soldiers are returning from fighting in south Lebanon with harsh criticisms of their operational preparedness and the combat equipment with which they had been supplied."

W. Patrick Lang

Dr. House

There is a button on the site for e-mailing me. I am thinking of taking it off because of some of the more imaginative messages I receive concerning my ancestry, sexual inclinations, etc.

I will not comment on Dr. Cole's remarks, but am sure they are worth reading. pl


I haven't got much to base an answer to your question on, except to say that within the huge HA social services organisation, women are represented at just about every level.

Apologies, my writing style probably led to a misunderstanding. I actually meant that I have suspicions of Seniora having knowledge of the attack on HA. I have nothing to base that on just a gut feeling. But interestingly, in relation to what you say, although much of what I have read in relation to the event mirrors what you say, Nasrallah did hint in his second speech after the war started that the Lebanese govt. knew, but I guess that could mean they knew of the intention


Rami Khouri's article in Saturday's Beirut Daily Star is well worth a read. Khouri is as well-informed about both ME and US policy as any journalist in the region.

One day in the life of Bush-Blair democratization

By Rami G. Khouri
Daily Star staff
Saturday, August 05, 2006

As I listened carefully to US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair during the past week, Israeli bombs were dropping all around us near Beirut and other parts of Lebanon. I was becoming slightly concerned that their enthusiastic plans for my freedom and democracy in the Middle East were becoming incongruously riddled with wars, private militias, terror plagues, and crumbling societies. Then when I learned that the American secretaries of state and defense had agreed to help train Lebanon's army - I really got worried.

Entire piece is linked here:

Rami Khouri Editorial

larry birnbaum

Pat, I'm curious what your take is on the reports today that Israel might be deliberately leaving some rockets in Hezbollah's hands so that there are civilian casualties on their side as well. Thanks.

W. Patrick Lang

Larry B.

I know things like that happen, but am inclined to think that Olmert like GWB is a sincere and bloody minded dweeb who would not play games with Israeli blood. pl


Larry birnbaum refers to a Kurtz interview on CNN with Thomas Ricks of "Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq."

KURTZ: ... Tom Ricks, you've covered a number of military conflicts, including Iraq, as I just mentioned. Is civilian casualties increasingly going to be a major media issue? In conflicts where you don't have two standing armies shooting at each other?

THOMAS RICKS, REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I think it will be. But I think civilian casualties are also part of the battlefield play for both sides here. One of the things that is going on, according to some U.S. military analysts, is that Israel purposely has left pockets of Hezbollah rockets in Lebanon, because as long as they're being rocketed, they can continue to have a sort of moral equivalency in their operations in Lebanon.

KURTZ: Hold on, you're suggesting that Israel has deliberately allowed Hezbollah to retain some of it's fire power, essentially for PR purposes, because having Israeli civilians killed helps them in the public relations war here?

RICKS: Yes, that's what military analysts have told me.

KURTZ: That's an extraordinary testament to the notion that having people on your own side killed actually works to your benefit in that nobody wants to see your own citizens killed but it works to your benefit in terms of the battle of perceptions here.

RICKS: Exactly. It helps you with the moral high ground problem, because you know your operations in Lebanon are going to be killing civilians as well.

Makes sense to me ...

Michael Siger

Dear Pat,
What can Bush, Rice et.al be thinking? These resolutions are a blatant cover for more Israeli attacks. Though I along with many, believed early on, that Israel could not be safe with Hizbullah right over the Blue Line, now it is clear Israel cannot be safe, period. Our bungling resolution and Hizbullah's resistence have become the first things that have awoken some tenuous sense of aggressive untiy among Arab states.Bush is trying to sell the past to Arabs who are grasping for a different future.
The US and Israelis have created their worst nightmare--a shaken IDF-- confident Arab fighters and Arab governments putting their pettiness aside for a moment in unity.
Bush/Rice foreign policy everywhere is now rudderless, reactive and incoherent. Michael Singer


larry birnbaum,
Your comment about it being better to grasp the nettle now than 2-3 years from now is exactly what Israeli PM Olmert said when he learned that a dozen Israeli soldiers had been killed in a lucky shot by a rocket. I must say that Olmert's self-righteous dismissal of the casualties had a distinct whiff of "let them eat cake" about it. I wonder how many Israelis noticed that too.

W. Patrick Lang


Ricks is a great reporter but I don't think an IDF commander would by-pass and leave rockets in enemy hands. pl


I find it eerie to make the comparison to Vietnam. In the Vietnamese the D.C. braniancs were utterly convinced to be actually fighting China -- and in fighting Hezbollah they are absolutely convinced to in fact fight Iran ... don't they ever learn anything?

Sounds plausible, because it has the irresistible appeal of a theory confirming existing convictions.


I see no evidence in Palestine or anywhere else that posession of political power makes one less "extreme. pl

Thanks. It throws my "theory" - hope - out the window.


Michael Siger:
"Bush is trying to sell the past to Arabs who are grasping for a different future."

I gotta say, that is so well put and succint. Honestly, one of the best lines re. Bush's ME policy I have ever read. Hope you dont mind if quote it ad nauseum!

I see no evidence in Palestine or anywhere else that posession of political power makes one less "extreme. pl

I can't say I agree. One of the first things Hamas said on coming to power was lets talk 1967 borders and we can talk a permanent truce. Now if you read between the lines, a permament truce is as close as ur going to get Hamas to recognise the state of Israel without it commiting political suicide. If only Israel and the West had grasped that nettle instead of turning on the Palestinians for excercising their right to democracy.


Will this be the recruiting boost the Lebanese DF needs -- folding Hizbullah into the govt forces -- or maybe vice versa?

"Cabinet will send army to South - if invaders leave

"BEIRUT: Defense Minister Elias Murr said Monday night after a Cabinet session that the government would deploy 15,000 troops along the UN-demarcated Blue Line as soon as Israeli forces withdrew. The Cabinet made the decision in a unanimous vote, Murr told reporters. Information Minister Ghazi Aridi said the government reserved the right to ask UNIFIL for help in deploying army forces in the South.

"Political sources said the government hoped the move, long demanded by the international community, would pave the way for amendments to a draft UN Security Council resolution aimed at ending the 27-day-old Israeli offensive on Lebanon.

"The army also called up reservists on Monday, according to security and political sources, which would likely replace any troops sent to the South."



Initial comments from the usually snarling Israeli govt talking heads seem very positive (a way out???) -- with hardly any mentions of Iran and Syria!

W. Patrick Lang


"In Islamic legal theory, normal relations between the d§r al-Isl§m [q.v.] and the d§r al-Èarb [q.v.] were not peaceful, and there existed a state of latent or open hostilities which jurists nowadays call a state of war. Short intervals of peace were, however, permitted by divine legislation (|ur"§n VIII, 63; IX, 1 and others) and the Muslims could establish peaceful relationships with non-Muslims, individually and collectively, if such a peace was not inconsistent with the interests of the Muslims." Encyclopedia of Islam

Note the short term (renewable) A truce (hudna) cannot be "permanent" between the Muslims and the Kuffar.

As to power and moderation, were Stalin, Hitler, Franco, or Mao, moderates? pl


I admit to limited knowledge of Islamic legal theory, Islamic doctrince and modern day politics but from my study of Islam and the Koran, if the above passage refers to Muslims and the Kuffar then it would, under strict Islamic doctrine not be pertinent here as Jews (as well as Christians) are not according to the Koran kuffars:

"those who have attained to faith [in this divine writ], as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians [49] -all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds-shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve. " Al-Baqara (The Cow)2:62

Although, I do appreciate that there are many, such as Al-Qaida who see even Sunnis that dont practice Wahabism as Kuffars, the vast majority of Muslims do not regard Christians and Jews as Kuffars.

A second point is that a truce or "hudna" is temporary yes. But this is the Middle East we're talking about, and temporary in the ME can be a REAL long time. Imagine if the Hamas offer had been taken, the Palestinians were given a viable and sustainable state, the truce may have just lasted long enough to have allowed the 2 sides to get over their respective grievances. So while the truce may not have been permamnent, the peace may have been.

But saying that, the pre-67 offer was made by all the Arabs in Beirut some years ago and it was rejected out of hand. Therefore the only conclusion is that Israel will never give up all the West Bank and therefore the only peace they will ever have is an imposed peace.

As to power and moderation, true those, like many are no moderates but they are also example of absolute power, not something Hamas has or is likely to get.

Something Ive been advocating for a long time. Wy not make HA the equivalent of the British SAS in the Lebaese Army, which would therefore have a very limited chain of command above it and allow to continue as it is. And then, just for fun, post them to patrol the southern border.
Seriously though, as soon as I heard this, my initial reaction was a deals been struck.


This might pep up the conflict (those SAM-equipped guerrilla armies can be quite annoying):

"Iran answers Hizbullah call for SAM systems

"Iran is to supply the Islamic Resistance - the armed wing of the Lebanese Shi'ite Party of God (Hizbullah) - with a quantity of surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems over the coming months, Western diplomatic sources have confirmed to Jane's.

"According to the sources, Tehran will supply Hizbullah with Russian-produced SAMs, including the Strela-2/2M (SA-7 'Grail'), Strela-3 (SA-14 'Gremlin') and Igla-1E (SA-16 'Gimlet') man-portable SAM systems.

"Iran is also understood to have agreed to deliver its own version of the Chinese QW-1 man-portable low- to very-low-altitude SAM system - the Mithaq-1- developed by the Iranian Defence Ministry's Shahid Kazemi Industrial Complex in Tehran.

"Iran launched a mass production line for an advanced variant, the Mithaq-2 - believed to be a short-range passive infra-red SAM - on 6 February. Both variants, believed to be based on Chinese technology, are understood to have been made available for Hizbullah.

"However, Jane's understands that Hizbullah already has Iranian-supplied Strela 2s in its inventory.

"Israel Air Force sources say that their platforms, most notably helicopters, have encountered Strela-2 fire throughout the current conflict. Senior Israel Defence Force sources told Jane's that they believe that Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps personnel, in support of Hizbullah, were involved in these launches."


Also, I know these stories crop up quite often but does anyone know what this might be? And who makes it?

"Some victims' progressive lesions mystify doctors

"BEIRUT: "Feels like something is eating me alive," says Latifa, as she exposes her punctured thigh, marked with greenish-black spots that in places expose the bone underneath...

"From a distance, the lesions look almost like cigarette burns, but upon closer inspection one can see that the sores penetrate deep into the skin.

"It is an injury by an explosion of what appears to be a non-conventional weapon that aims to make burns on the skin with maximum level of penetration,' says Dr. Raffi Panjarian, an orthopedic surgeon who has been treating Latifa and conducting research into the case.

"Panjarian describes the spots as necrotic lesions spread all over Latifa's body, like 'shrapnel wounds' but with the difference that where 'the substance' hit, the tissue is dying."


W. Patrick Lang


Salah-al Din al-Ayyubi made hudna with his friend Baldwin IV.

You are what people like me look for, a thinking, rational interlocutor. pl


Guerilla is, by definition, people's war.

That is why the 'guerillas' of Da Lai and Bay of Pig successors failed. Because they were not really guerillas. they were not able to 'swim into' the people.

Vo's guerilla tranformation assume an ultimate (constructive) objective of assuming power. This is not neccessarily the aim for all the guerillas in question. some have only destructive objectives.

the transformation of hezbollah (and perhaps hamas as well), is perhaps prompted by its given the opportunity to participate in the respective governments.


A hudna ruined by those looking to profit from the situation. How true is that of so many conflicts in history?

Thinking, rational debate, in my opinion is the only way the common man can defend his thoughts from being infiltrated by those who wish to manipulate his beliefs into theirs. The various comments and commentators on this site are an oasis of free thought which seems very rare on a world wide web populated by those, on both sides, preaching hate without understanding, victory with disregard for human life. I very much thank you for this forum.

Babak Makkinejad

Salah-al Din al-Ayyubi was a Kurd.


(1) Why wouldn't Hezbollah fighters be sheep-dipped and sent south as part of the Lebanese deployment? Seems to me that may be a condition of the deal.
(2) Doesn't Hezbollah own the Lebanese public at this point? OK, they are a sectarian group, but the polling suggests a coherence around resistance to the Israelis, and that can only mean support for Hezbollah
(3) Isn't it quite likely that any Lebanese government would prefer, going forward, to deal with Iran versus Israel and the US? How can a bomb-and-make-supportive-statements
policy possibly be seen as anything other than insane by the Lebanese public?

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