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10 September 2011


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Considering the complexity of the subject at hand, it would be intersting to know from what aspect these discussions are being approached.

Arab Spring? Syrias problems? Egypts (or at least Egyptian's) new found animosity to Israel? Saudi Arabia? Current government? Military standing? Social standing? Political standing? The STL? Or all the above or where you thinking along different lines?

Patrick Lang


Arab Spring. pl



Some who hope that Hizb'allah's Nasrallah will fall, are in for a sad awakening. Nasrallah is strong, maybe stronger that he used to be, but all indicates he's treading on solid footing.

While Nasrallah has enjoyed the support of Syria, he and his Hizb'allah are not 'dependent' on Syria. Nasrallah doesn't tend to keep all his eggs in the same basket so-to-speak which has caused angst in Tel Aviv.

Paul Escobar

Michel Aoun: “if the Syrian regime falls the Christians will lose the most.”



It would be nice to get an update on the Christians of Lebanon.

Charles I

Do you ever go to The Institute for War and Peace Reporting? They co-operate with local journalists, have country programes. eg Lebanon


They have an Arab Spring program:


There are pages and pages of articles, easy to scroll through see if anything there catches your eye. These are often informed, in depth local reports by locals, as good any sometimes.
Lots of post indictment reporting for example

Its the same at Inter Press


You can get some very close to the ground reporting, by n0n-occidental minds. Wheat and chaff of course, but its pretty good trolling

Sorry I'm not in more particularized - or attentive - mode. You're the cleverest guy we know, dear teacher Sir. This is where Clifford used to land with a big load of references. . . .


The Arab Spring in so far as it has reached, the effect is negligible.

But the Arab Spring ball is still way up in the air and in flux. And, to the frustration of its own supporters, Hizballah dont really do short-term. Everything they do is studied and contemplated at length for all possible ramifications. And time and time again they have bested political (as well as military) opponents using nothing more than patience. And in this neighborhood patience is a valuable commodity to have.

And patience, for them, is trully the order of the day here. They cannot effect events in these countries and since these are all Sunni dominated nations, the possible formulas are far too complicated to even begin to try to envisage the ramifications.

The downfall fo Mubarak and Gaddafi was of course good for them; Not just because they hindered Palestinian resissitance but because both men harboured paticular animosity either to them or the Shia in general.

But it is impossible to judge the implications further until we know who replaces them and what their policies will be.

The implications of what happens in Syria may be of more importance as it is a direct neighbor.

The relationship here has always been symbiotic but for the first 10 years of HA's existence which was the complete antithesis.

But is the relationship crucial? Its important enough for Nasrallah to have burnt a few bridges in his public support for Assad. But while HA may have used Syria for many things such as a conduit for Iranian aid or as a safe place to store an arsenal, it is important to note that from a tactical or strategic pov Syria's input has not always been apparent (although they are more than likely providing the type of support in areas that HA lack which would not be apparent). The fall of Assads govt. would a major inconvenience I suspect; If what replaces him is far less Arabist or the MB, then they would have to watch their backs a little more carefully. And yet since their first 10 years involved being effectively at war with Syria this may not be too much of a hindrance.

In the longer term, I doubt the reverbarations will be too drastic no matter which way the chips fall. They are insular enough and have been under fire long enough as to insulate them from all but a few consequences. Even if Assad remains (as I think he will) and Egypt gets a govt. that rips up the peace treaty with Israel (which I think it wont), Hizballahs policies and behaviour will remain as they are; The only thing they need and will always need, is the support of the Shia in Lebanon.

One further country of import in all of this is Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have spent the last decade or so "fighting" Hizballah; The Arab Spring has left them running a counter-revolution and as such they seem to have left Lebanon alone, for now (to the extent of advising Saudi nationals not to travel to Lebanon this summer!).

But, to return to their long-term planning here is something to note:
Less than two years ago HA ran a long-term and far reaching simulation whereby it becomes isolated after the govts. of Iran and Syria fall and stop supporting them.


One thing I forgot to add. One thing that really could spark some dramatic unknowns is if there was a major spill over from Syria into Lebanon


I'd rate Hizballah's military arm as top notch in the world, and easily comparable to any "First World" militaries.

Would you agree that Hizballah have managed to synergize Shia fanaticism with Western discipline and turned out a first rate corps of soldiers?


I don't know if this is accurate and I don't vouch for the source but I came across this and found it interesting in light of this post's topic...


I admit to not being well versed in Lebanese political history. But, the country has been battered about by its neighbors for quite some time. So, if correct, do you see this as an aberration or a movement towards "independence" fostered by Nasrallah (along the lines of Mo's comments)?


The report is accurate.It is the third or fourth shipment that has been intercepted going to Syria (previous shipments however have been light weaponry). Don't know who this one was going to but the previous interceptions have been headed to those fighting the Syrian Army and in one case at least, those arrested were released after the involvement of personalities who are political opponents of Hizballah.

Roy G.

Col Lang, post-meeting it would be nice to hear your take of the Hizb response to the Tribunal. Of course they are interested in self-preservation, however, I think their counternarrative is more than plausible, given the Tribunal's heavy reliance on cell phone triangulation as evidence, which was famously compromised at the root network level by Israeli spies. The purported Mossad video of Hariri's motorcade route is an interesting artifact as well. Anything you could speak to about this matter would be highly enlightening.


Roy G

"it would be nice to hear your take of the Hizb response to the Tribunal."

No. That is why I am asked to participate in such things. pl

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