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20 November 2006

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jallabo

For a war you need like for a tango two parties willing to dance. Given the military superiority of the Hizbollah camp (especially with Syria and Iran backing and supplying them) the Hariri/Siniora coalition would need serious foreign support to even consider a military confrontation. But i suspect neither Israel, the USA, nor France would be too willing to get actively involved in another Lebanese civil war considering their past experience there. I expect them in the end to give in and give Hizbollah more or less what they demand.

Nabil

Bada2a l7arbu fi lubnan, bayna albarghash wad dubban...

Seniora surprised Hizbullah by passing the International Court before they had a chance to review it. He knew that they intended to wrangle him endlessly over the details, delaying the passage for as long as they could, and potentially making it toothless. This way the countdown to the International Court has begun. The Syrians are pissing themselves, and their orders to Hizbullah are...stop that court at all costs.

All the cards are on the table. We shall see.

Will

There will be no civil war in Lebanon because of Gen Michel Aoun. He has bridged the Christian Muslim Divide with the Free Patriotic Movement-Hezbollah National Compact. During the Israel-HA War, Christian families took in Shiite refugees from the South into their homes- an act that will not be forgotten for a generation.

MEMRI of course does not mention that a Christian minister also quit with the Shiites.

for insights other than the MEMRI trash read the Aoun interview at
http://news.monstersandcritics.com/middleeast/article_1224126.php/Aoun_We_have_to_break_the_circle_of_fear
excerpt
"Claude Salhani: Many people in Lebanon find your alliance with Hezbollah a bit strange. Can you clarify your political philosophy?

Aoun: When I returned from France there was a real problem on the Lebanese (political) scene. I supported (U.N. Security Council Resolution) 1559 (calling for Hezbollah to relinquish its weapons). But I was confronted by a political class, which included (Druze leader) Walid Jumblatt, Saad Hariri (son and political heir of slain former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri) who said Hezbollah should hold on to their weapons. I found myself alone, against Hezbollah and everyone else, the Lebanese Forces, the Phalanges, Hariri, Jumblatt, Amal; all were in an electoral political alliance. I was isolated. I found that there was cheating going on. Jumblatt and Hariri were promising the French and Americans that they would disarm Hezbollah while they were promising Hezbollah they would protect them.

Given this ambiguous situation I felt we were heading for a confrontation and not a solution of the problem. Knowing the nature of Hezbollah, knowing the nature of the others and knowing the U.S. and French position on the issue I imagined how to resolve the problem since no one had the necessary force to resolve the problem by force.

We engaged in dialogue with Hezbollah and agreed to a memorandum of understanding. Once the paper was published there erupted a political explosion against Gen. Aoun.

We managed to get Hezbollah to limit their demands to purely Lebanese issues. They stopped talking about Jerusalem, a global Middle East solution ... we got them to focus on purely Lebanese issues, such as the Shebaa Farms, an area I know very well having served there as a young lieutenant. Yes, the Farms belong to Lebanon.

As soon as the (Lebanese) territory (occupied by Israel) is liberated, Hezbollah`s weapons should become defensive weapons and become integrated in a defensive strategy under Lebanese Army command. And from the moment the Shebaa Farms are returned to Lebanese sovereignty, Hezbollah`s weapons would no longer be used against Israel. "

zanzibar

It was to be expected that after the recent conflict with the IDF that HA would use its perceived strength to flex its muscles to gain more political power in Lebanon.

With the stalemate in talks on forming a "unity" government with effective veto for the HA/Aoun/Amal group and the subsequent resignations of HA from the cabinet, it will be interesting to see how events unfold.

Would Israel use this period of internal conflict in Lebanon to settle scores with HA? What will the French and other UN troops do if violence break out? Will they intervene on the side of the Hariri/Siniora group?

W. Patrick Lang

Will
"Trash" is a bit strong. Translations are just translations. They are part of the raw material of analysis. pl

Will

the elements of the HA-FPM National Compact can be found at the WikiP Nasrallah article (my edit)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hassan_Nasrallah#National_Compact_with_Free_Patriotic_Movement_of_Michel_Aoun
"National Compact with Free Patriotic Movement of Michel Aoun

Nasrallah achieved a compact with Free Patriotic Movement of Christian Maronite former premier Michel Aoun. Aoun described the ten point compact in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal published July 31, 2006. The main points: Hezbollah had agreed to disarm upon return of its prisoners and the occupied Shebaa Farms. It also agreed to the pardon and return of fugitive South Lebanon Army (SLA) members now declared traitors. The Free Patriotic Movement in turn agreed to work for reform of the confessional electoral system and move it in the direction of one man one vote. He made the point that the politcal process was in effect disarming Hezbollah without the stupid loss of life of an unnecessary war. History Will Judge Us All On Our Actions "

Lebanon is presently in an unstable situation where the goverment does not fairly represent its population. The FPM-National Compact promises a movement beyond confessional politics toward one person- one vote. For the warlords such as the Gemayels, Gigi, and Jumblatt, that is a frightening nightmare and the beginning of the loss of their privilege.

But Lebanon has no other future if it is to mature as a unitary state. Some compromises being talked about is citizenship for Palestinian refugees to increase the Sunni vote, and overseas diaspora voting to increase the Christian vote.

Nabil

Aoun?

Aoun is part of the reason things are bad in Lebanon right now. When he came back to Lebanon he negotiated with the anti-Syrian majority on power sharing in the government to be. They didn't give him what he was asking for - Specifically, the ministry of justice as one of his allotted cabinet portfolios (because they cannot allow the investigation of the Hariri murder to be under anyone else's control). Because of that, he switched sides completely and joined the pro-Syria camp.

He is the reason the current president of Lebanon - Whose term extension was forced upon the Lebanese by the Syrian mukhabarat, and who is the prime suspect in the Hariri murder - Is still in power.

His alliance with Hizbullah is an unholy alliance. Most of his supporters are Christians who are Westernized, anti-Syrian, and very much a part of Lebanese civil society. They have been leaving Aoun in droves as his positions have drifted from those of his base.

His latest?
-Declaring that his 'Free Patriotic Movement' has no prisoners left in Syrian jails. There is a lot of proof to the contrary.

-Calling the current government illegitimate because six ministers out of 24 resigned and not all sects are represented now. This is the man who led a three-man government during the war and claimed legitimacy.

-Blaming the entire government, not solely Hizbullah, for this summer's war with Israel, even though the decision to go to war was Hizbullah's alone.

arbogast

I would like to know how this fits in:

Israel is continuing to make fake bombing runs on French United Nations peace-keeping positions in South Lebanon. Obviously, this is a serious provocation that one would normally associate with North Korea or some other rogue state.

What's up? How does this fit into the internal political process in Lebanon, if at all.

In the international political arena, Israel is also attacking France, accusing them of throwing flowers to terrorists for backing and voting for a resolution in the UN General Assembly requesting both sides to stop shooting in Gaza.

Is it at all possible that those French troops are in somebody's way?

I doubt very, very much that Israel will enter Lebanon on the ground again any time soon. So, what is irking the Israeli's and perhaps their client, the United States, about those French troops.

Given Chirac's stance on Middle Eastern affairs, it is exceedingly unlikely that the French troops will be withdrawn, unless a great many of them are killed by an Israeli airstrike. And the French seem to be able to resist firing first.

It seems to me that it is impossible to consider the internal politics of Lebanon in isolation. Israel is rattling its saber like crazy. What's up?

Abu Sinan

All of this is ominous, especially considering another Gemayel was shot and killed today. Not that I am big fans of any of that Phalangist family.

The whole system is flawed in Lebanon, where some religious groups are given far more in the way of power than their own actual population would demand.

Time for one person, one vote. Until that happens, things will not be okay. When one group is elevated beyond their electoral numbers and another kept down, there are bound to be issues.

There needs to be a census done in Lebanon, no matter how much people hate the idea. Minority groups, especially in this case the Christians, need to accept they are a minority and that they cannot rule as they once did.

Times are changing. If a truly democratic society is to emerge, the confessional system must be abolished.

Will

I'm trying to think of an Arab goverment except for Iraq where the rulers fairly represent the majority of the governed.

Lebanon presently is not one. And the minority with the grip on power will not easily let go it claws. Of course pure democracy without safeguards and power sharing for the minority is no picnic, hence the mess in Irak.

The Roman Res Publica, once L. Junius Brutus overthrew L. Tarquinius Superbus, started out as a creature of the powrful minority represented by the Senatum but gradually incorporated the Populus- empowered with tribunes. But the aristocrats- they still came first in standards carried by the legions- SPQR. Senatum Populus Quam Romanum. There were the reforms of the Gracchi, Marius and counter-reforms of Sulla.

The social fiber of Irak was ripped and the Sunni Arabs were thrown out in the cold due to Dumbya hence tragedy. Lebanon needs a soft landing from its feudal structure. The cold reality is that the Sunni and Christians are out-numbered and must make accomodations.

Aoun has been pro-active. That is why he is so hated by the Old Guard.

Ironically, Aoun is the future- not the Hariri Future movement. Hariri was so corrupt. Buying off the previous Syrian masters of Lebanon. Millions for Ghazi Kenaan, a Paris mansion for former Syrian vice president Abdul-Khadam (sp?), even huge campaign contributions to Chirac (who came to his funeral). Yet one use soft power where hard power is not available.

As to MEMRI. they don't do straight translations. They often omit essential facts and interpert to POV. It failed to mention that a Christian minister also quit the cabinet. It also failed to mention that according to the constitution the cabinet must be representative of the population.

One thing a person needs to know about MEMRI=Ms. Wurmser, whose husband is as famous a NeoKon as herself and is the No. 1 promoter of War with Iran. MEMRI was founded in 1998 by its president Yigal Carmon, a retired colonel from Israeli military intelligence, and the academic Dr. Meyrav Wurmser

However MEMRI did correctly translate Mahmoud Ahmed Nezad's comments about Israel correctly as "being erased from the pages of history," not the "destruction" hype of the Mainstream Media.

Best Wishes

Rider

"Translations are just translations"

True, but there is also the matter of what they choose to translate (and what they don't).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/elsewhere/journalist/story/0,7792,773258,00.html

Itching Brain

The clumsiness of this assassination, carried out in broad daylight makes me wonder if Mossad might have staged it.

Lebanon locked in another civil war might be exactly what Israel would like.

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