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09 August 2006

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Keith

Wow that is amazing. I wonder how the poll was conducted. Any word on how this poll was conducted... Sample size, margin of error, how they contacted people? I'm not doubting the results, just curious as to how polling is conducted in a country being devastated by war.

searp

As Andy of Mayberry used to say: Surpraahhhze Surpraahhhze.

Hezbollah will end up owning Lebanon. I very much doubt this accords with the Israeli war goals.

W. Patrick Lang

keith

I will ask. pl

Mo

What was it Einstein used to say about people who conducted the same experiment over and over again, expecting different results?

Its not like they haven't done this before. Its not like they haven't had the same response from the Arabs before. Why, in Gods name, do they think Hamas won the elections? Because of a slick advertising campaign?

I think its slowly dawining on the world that Israels actions are as a result either of some kind of twisted victim syndrome, believing that if they are not constantly at war they will become weak or as once said, they truly are a nation built for an army rather than the other way around.

david frost

Of course this was to be expected. It is very difficult to occupy another country and not expect a nationalistic fervor to rise. To their credit, Lebanon has held together a union of 4 disparate groups (Christians, Druze, Shia, Sunni) in a tenuous government, but all consider themselves Lebanese.

Unless a decisive military defeat is inflicted, Hezbollah will gain in political power.

Imagine this scenario: Iran will find itself with another warm port, a country with which to trade and gain resources from, who could in fact do business and obtain materials from other countries that Syria and Iran are blocked from doing business with (at least until the US bullies everyone to embargo them)

Well in fact, that was going to happen anyway, those two parliment seats were just the beginning of their political power, and the expansion of Iranian hegemony in the region now devoid of Sunni checksums thanks to ChickenWarHawks and a president who didnt know the difference between sunni and shiites to rubberstamp their plan to reshape the region with force.

jonst

Searp....

For the record, it was NOT Andy who said that...it was Gomer. An old Marine recalls these kinds of things.

And sure...from the Israeli/BushCo perspective these numbers look bad. But you do have the Druze under 80%. That's a start. Watch for Rove to try and coax Walid down from hills to speak to Congress and reassure us that everyone in his nation loves us and is on our side. And watch the crap heads in Congress eat it up.

Bernie

I suspect that even though the French are front and centre in the negotiations with the US/Israel, the Russians and Chinese are waiting in the wings to assess the acceptability of the Resolution to the Arabs, so that if it is entirely unacceptable, they will not allow it to be passed. Perhaps that is just wishful thinking on my part!
Bernie

Matthew

I also thought it was a nice touch for Israel to bomb a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. Nothing like the IDF to help heal the divide between the PLO, Hez, and the SLA veterans--all with Bush's connivance. He really is a uniter, not a divider.

searp

Jonst: thanks for the correction. I am just plain old, I guess, especially the brain part.

I think the diplomatic minuet is kind of hilarious. Does anyone really think a diplomatic solution that deprives Hezbollah of its prestige, weapons, whatever can really be enforced? Are the French volunteering for their own version of Iraq, scaled appropriately?

Montag

david,
Not necessarily. When Poland was under Communism the Catholic Church was in the forefront of the resistance and gained a lot of political capital because of it. But once Poland was free and independent again the Church tried to use that capital to boss people around by telling them who to vote for. Well, it didn't take long before the Poles decided that they didn't want to just exchange one Master for another one, and the Chruch's political capital rapidly dissipated. It still is respected as a moral voice, but the people prefer to make political decisions based on self-interest.

zanzibar

While the polls show lopsided support for HA, I wonder what happens as the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon escalates?

Its reported that there are around 800,000 displaced mostly poor Shia from the south. Fuel is running low. Bridges and roads have been destroyed so it would seem that food and fuel supplies are not moving around. Power plants have been hit. Medicine and hospital supplies must be running low. This seems like a powderkeg as resentment must be growing and it will likely be taken out locally.

searp

Zanzibar: I think the answer to that question is in. The Lebanese blame Israel. OK, there was some resentment about Hizb's high-handedness, but the Israeli response was enough to drown that out.

Hizb recruiting is probably going very well at this point.

zanzibar

searp

Blaming Israel is one thing but there is also a reality on the ground. When folks don't have enough food and fuel then "survival of fittest" may take hold and the sense of community may break down. When poor Shia from the south start showing up in wealthier and Christian areas in the mountains and Beirut after an initial period of support and help, resentments around sect and class may appear. Kind of reminds me of the Katrina welcome. Some areas across the "bridge" from NO didn't want the "riffraff" in their neighborhood.

So really the question was how long can focus on Israel as the perpetrator last while survival conditions deteriorate? Will the tenuous circumstances surface latent resentments?

searp

Zanzibar: you are undoubtedly correct, but HA mitigates this with its social welfare arm, which would seem to be the most effective indigenous organization for social welfare.

I also think it matters little - HA is the group with weapons and prestige, they will effectively control the country for some period of time. In the longer run, the phenomena you identify will serve to counterbalance, if there remain avenues for these counterweights.

Mo

Zanzibar,

I think the point you make is reasonable except for the difference that the rich and the riffraff are both going to be suffering the consequences.

How the resentment, anger and apportioning of blame goes really is up in the air, and may have a lot to do with how well HA do on the ground.

Gman

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).

zanzibar

Gman

You are on to something. The aftermath will be interesting. After the "blame Israel" period there will be introspection and a look inwards. But HA will also be working with another set of equations. They have just stood down one of the mightiest armies in the world. If the Christians, Druze and Sunnis push them too hard it could backfire. And I doubt those groups will have a unified position with respect to HA. IMO, HA will never really disarm. Their militia is a key strength. And a political position they could take is of a one man-one vote democracy and that the French "inspired" constitution is no longer relevant to the "new" Lebanon.

This could play out in many ways. But folks like you from Lebanon have a better pulse than armchair Americans like me.

Babak Makkinejad

The idea of a confedreation/canton system in Lebeanon is a pipe dream. The Phalang tried to secure it by force of arms and failed. It is hard for me to see how it can be achieved; where are the Sunnis going to go? And the Christians in the South?

Also this: no state in the Middle East will support that; in fact, count on Syria to sabotage it by hook or crook.

Trying for that idea means re-starting the Lebeanese Civil War.

That there will be mutual recrimination and anger both in Israel and in Lebanon I have no doubt. I just don't know how this will all play out; after all Hizbullah did not destroy Lebanon, Israel did.

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