Sunday, December 31, 2006

Eve of 2007

Well, this year would be the third year without my father (RIP) who passed away three years. I am currently somewhere in Eastern Europe and about to go get drunk with the comrades... but as always people would think I am crazy because I raise a toast to the sky as a habit and respect to the memory of my father.

May this year be a Red year without any 8th and 14th of March war pigs and business crooks, at least the Democratic Leftist Movement is officially crumbling down as rumours on E. Khoury are becoming more frequent that he left the Right-Wing DLM.

For the Unity of the Proletariat despite Race, Religion, Gender, Tendency, and Color.

No War But Class War,

And one last wish: Hope to see George Bush, Dick Chenney, Rice, Rumsfield, Olmert, Peretz, and Levni put in an international courts for the blood of the innocent they spilled on global scale, and the Neo-Cons for starving the majority of the world!

As Comrade Che Guevara said: Hasta La Victoria Siempre


Saturday, December 30, 2006

The US Drama Closes Down its Saddam Curtain

The Dictator Saddam Hussein got executed.

For the first time, detailed scenes were broadcasted of the execution. The Government spokesman said that Saddam appeared to be scared. Saddam actually appeared heads up and gave himself as a martyr for the future which will not fit in US plans.

The illegitimate government which does not represent the Iraqi people, despite the minor enforced elections on the Iraqi proletariat, finally tried to face save itself by executing Saddam. The timing of Saddam appeared on the Sacrifice Holiday of the Muslims, which is also ironic by US foreign policy.

Bush welcomed the decision and celebrated. To be exact, the US fully control the Iraqi oil, but politically and on the socially they do not control anything. They considered the execution at a goal to face save themselves as at least attaining something from their bloody invasion to Iraq.

Moreover, Howard said that this was a fair trial. This is the first time a person is executed while his trial is not over. The speedening of executing Saddam was illogical, they even encouraged the broadcasting of the execution process in order to give the Iraqi government some legitimacy. Till now, the government is viewed as a US imperialist extension that is collapsing on a tremendous speed whereby the tripartite regions are going to a civil war with the US soldiers are squashed like candy between the three waves.

The first judge on Saddam was rather objective which caused the Americans to throw him out and exchange him with a Kurdish judge to make it more ironic for Saddam. The defence said that the verdict was already prejudged. Prisoners of War protocols were breached by the United States. The majority of the Arabs view the court as illegitimate and they argued that the court should have taken place after all foreign invading forces left Iraq.

The United States Administration did a terrible mistake from a sectarian perspective, they chose the Sacrifice Holiday (Eid al-Adha) to get Saddam executed, which insulted the majority of the Muslims in the Arab world. Even in Iran, the nation that suffered from Saddam's aggression, has people arguing that the trial was unfair since it was forged by imperial forces. In any case, the government is going to expect more hell and more Iraqi proletariat are going to be killed. I hated Saddam Hussein, but the death tolls inflicted due to the US imperial soldiers reflected that this regime is three times bloodier than Saddam. The American people are not aware of that because they are trapped by their own Media.

The Iraqi government argued that they want to be democratic. The Pope of Rome himself that the execution was terrible and the whole court tragic. The Iraqi government argued that they wanted the Baathis to join the power. This an illogical arguement to cover the US blunders. One of the members of Iraqi Parliament argued that this court was unfair and extension to US and Israeli imperialism. Moreover, he asked: "Is the current status better than Saddam's regime? More people are dying." Libya already announced national mourning for the ex-dictator.

The insult has reached the entire supporters of Arab nationalism. The stupid Bush administration simply made their muppet governments in Algeria, Morrocco, Jordan, and others more unstable. This step also furthered the gap between the "West" and the "Arabs". The pace of the court made it look as a fiasco.

Meanwhile the Bush Administration is celebrating they achieved "Democracy" but they brought nothing but Death and destruction to the Iraqi people, Bush should be held in an international court for war crimes.

The court of Saddam "by the Iraqis for the Iraqis" is a lie. Saddam should have had an international court, like Milosevic or the Rwandian war criminals, or the Bosnians ethnic cleansing leaders. To be more exact, the US simply decides according what it suits its interests and the rest of the world would have to accept it.

Till now, the New Middle East roadmap is full of blood, the US imperialists have been losing drastically and more pain is coming towards them due to the unstable area. al-Qazzafi is regarded now a hero for announcing National mourning. Saddam was a dictator, but again it is not the US's puppy court to decide it to do a drama play. The play they want the Baathis to overcome their fear and be part of authority is a lie, how can bunch of dictatorships would shake hands with the US puppies? Saddam was a least barrier, the US are simply looking for a Baathi Puppy to attempt to control the situation.

The Iraqi death toll 2 years ago has beat the record of Saddam in two years, the execution of Saddam would create a new Iraq, but not the one the US are dreaming off.


Friday, December 29, 2006

14th of March Blunders: Monopoly of Victims to Preserve Supporters (Myths From Reality V.2)

The latest blunders by 14th of March are many as well, not that I am defending the 8th of March, but these seriously deserve some comments.

For starters, 14th of March are behaving exactly like the neo-cons. They got this "I love life" banner campaign which is simply racist. When Bush declared that he was waging a war on the enemies of freedom, he divided the world into two: Civilized and Un-civilized. Now, 14th of March, in the footsteps of the right-wing, are doing the same. They self-proclaimed themselves as lovers of Life, well for starters, what is life, simply belonging to a Neo-Con trend that wants to sell-out Lebanon to the World Trade Organization and be puppies of US imperialism?! Or loving life is to continue (exactly what their rivals are doing) be sectarian and bring Sheikhs to the Governmental Palace?! That means the masses bluffed by their leaders to seek a better life are zombies?

Moreover, the hegemony over the politically assassinated continues. To the 14th of March political logos, these assassinated are considered important martyrs because the majority of them are suspected to be assassinated by the Syrians (while the killer is still unknown, it can be Israel, Syria, or even both). Furthermore, 14th of March have officially extended their monopoly of the "Martyrs" to the War era, where all the political war lords should have been dumped in prison along with Jaajaa.

The list of names are plenty, Bashir Gemayel, Pierre Gemayel Jr., Kamal Junblatt, Hassan Khaled, Rene Mou'awad, Samir Qassir, Bassel Fliehan, George Hawwi, Dany Sham'oun, Jubran Tuieni, and Ramzi Irani. Now, on what criteria the 14th of March decided to put these names? I mean I would understand that they would the names as in terms of Rafiq Harriri and the afterwards assassinated ones as part of their Anti-Syrian propaganda, but the whole lot are not lovers of life, except probably for Rene Mou'awad, Samir Qassir).

So let us begin our investigation:

Bashir Gemayel had a federational plan for Lebanon. He was willing to invite the Israelis to install him as a President and never minded to do so. Oh wait a second, he bloody did (after his Dad co-invited the Syrians over). He is responsible for the deaths of Thousands and surely he is not a lover of life.

Dany Sham'oun: A culprit of the Tal Zaatar massacres, and Bashir Gemayel's rival in terms of international ties. The Ahhrar, headed by the feudal family Sham'ouns, had stronger ties with Israel and the United States administration. The party itself is older than the Phalange which the Gemayel's ruled. Camille Sham'oun smuggled his son outside Lebanon when the Safra massacres, commanded by Bashir occured. Dany Sham'oun was on the target list of "lover of life" Bashir Gemayel

Kamal Junblatt, the head of the Progressive Socialist Party and the Lebanese National Movement, also was a partner of war (keep in mind I highly respect the man and his platform); however, his allegiance to the PLO messed up the whole thing. He died when Bashir Gemayel's dad was in alliance with the Syrians (A year later or so, the Syrians would form the Rejectionist Front and joined the LNM and PLO). I have to keep in mind that Bashir Gemayel and Antoine Najm both were heavy opponents to the unholy alliance between the Syrians and President Sarkis.

George Hawwi, co-founder of the Resistance Front For the Liberation of Lebanon and Chairman of the Lebanese Communist Party, loudly announced that the SSNP (if Habib Shartouni's version holds) beat him by one week as he planned to assassinate Bashir Gemayel.

Hassan Khaled, the Grand Mufti and another excuse of Religious intervention in Politics, was known for modernity, but I seriously doubt he would visit the Governmental Palace to do a propaganda prayers over there. The Mufti was known for his modernity.

These are your lovers of Freedom, and ironically the by-standers who died with them didn't get any Christmas tree, nor the victims of the Israeli aggression. If that is the case, then Hezbollah can claim the martyrs of the Resistance (also can be classified as lovers of freedom whose supporters live their lives in the most difficult economic and military situation) and put around 6000 Christmas tree.

One note on Hajj Hassan's remark, Hezbollah did indeed participate in the war, and they entered three clashes with the AMAL movement. So his claim drops.

I am a lover of life, but not in their marketing political sectarian way.


Israeli Statistics: Military Operation on Lebanon during July War

(MFL notes: I didn't do any posting these days because I am touring Europe)

This came from an Israeli report according to Annahar:

Time interval between July 12 - 14 August 2006:

Hezbollah's impact on Israel:

52 Israeli civilians got killed
117 IDF soldiers got killed
3970 Missile dropped on Israel (outdated compared to their US weaponry)
901 of the 3970 dropped on Civilian Locations
Israel overall expenses: 1.4 Billion US dollars
One Million Israeli hid in Bomb Shelters
30,000 Israelis left their homes
6000 Houses were hit (which is illogical compared to the number of Missiles launched)
2773 were treated from Psychological shocks
3570 civilians were wounded

Racist Israeli Forces Operations on Lebanon:

IAF operations: 15,000
- 10,000 war missions
- 1000 combat mission for helicopters
- 1000 search missions
- 1300 surveillance missions

Naval Israeli Forces:

8000 hours spent on the entire Lebanese Shore
2500 missions targeting Hezbollah and the Lebanese Army and Infrastructure (which are the Lebanese people themselves, the real ones hurt...)
70,000 Foreigner evacuated Lebanon

Lebanese Killed 1083 (report fails to mention the age as 1/3 children)
Females Killed 233
Males killed: 602
Foreigners in Lebanon: 56

Wounded: 4359
Males: 2856
Females: 1418
Foreigners: 85

Lebanese Army Casualties:

48 killed
445 Wounded

(Over 1 million were displaced, which also puts the number of Lebanese civilians due to racist Zionist aggression unknown, specially among the children, Report does not mention the 1.2 billion Cluster bombs shot on Lebanon, 90% in the last 3 days of the war + the targeting of the Red Cross vehicles and civilians fleeing and raising the white flag. Report also fails to mention the use of UN banned Weapons such as the Phosphoric Bombs).

In the end, Olmert, Halutz, and Peretz should be placed in an International Court as War Criminals.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Political Economy Perspective on Lebanon V.2: The Shiite and the Sunni Dance

As I said earlier, more writing is required on this topic.

The current situation is that two greedy reactionary camps are standing head to head against each other. I introduced later the topic of Sectarianism and how Economics and Politics influence each other.

The Sunni leadership during the war remained stagnant; especially they never had a strong military militia to represent their interests. The only party that was a Sunni militia was the Morabitoun Party, which was Arab Nasserite in general, and Sunni in specific; however, this party never represented the Sunni interests in general like the Lebanese Forces or Hezbollah. Harriri Sr. started to expand his base by distributing aids during the war, free books, and some necessities during the war. A lot of “East Beirut” remembers him as doing so.

After the Ta’ef accord, Harriri’s empire started expanding drastically on a national level. Despite the fact he is a Sunni leader, he kept depicting himself as a national secular figure. His businesses, inside Lebanon and outside it, spread through out all sects. His grants; however, focused on the Sunni St. for electoral reasons and pushed the well-being in Saida and Beirut to a bit better income. Yet, business wise, he was ruthless. His Down Project, managed by Solidere, was supposed to be an all-Lebanese project, yet he monopolized it for his own empire. Harriri Sr. was supposed to represent the US-Saudi interest. His cabinet is composed of the economists from the world's greatest free market institutions, World Bank, IMF, Merrill-Lynch, … etc. Naturally, those people, such as Salami, Seniora, the late Fleihan, Azur, and others would advocate the entrance of Lebanon to the World Trade Organization., to Harriri Sr. considered this a wonderful idea to integrate Lebanon within the World Trade Organization to break Syrian Hegemony over Lebanese politics but at the price of Privatization, class indifferences, taxations, and the world of 100% free capitalism which will annihilate the Middle Class of Lebanon.

Meanwhile, the Shiites have been establishing organizational centralism via Hezbollah. Where the government has failed, Hezbollah entered the scene and financed their own people with Hospitals, Schools, and as far as security issues (except for Israeli brutality). Despite the fact that the South suffered due to the operations of Hezbollah, the Shiites supported Hezbollah, and more precisely its general secretary Hassan Nasrallah. He symbolized the Shiites' agony, and not once in history there has been a spokesman well heard like Nasrallah. To be exact, even though Nasrallah speaks on several occasions on Lebanese Nationalism, he is perceived as the Shiite spokesman.

As mentioned in the earlier post, each Sect has its sect defender, Nasrallah evolved to become that representation. This issue has different factors:

1- Nasrallah is a clergy man hence he is automatically regarded as a clean man with political concerns by his audience
2- Nasrallah's successful leadership of Hezbollah and his military victories over Israel
3- Nasrallah's social program to fill in the government
4- Mostly, Nasrallah is the balancer of power against any coalition. Such a posture by Nasrallah as a Shiite gave them the strength
5- The Martyrdom of Nasrallah's son reflected his understanding of the Shiites whether from Capitalism, taxation, or Israeli aggression.

The Shiites worry about Syrian return, but they worry more that they would lose their status as balancer of power in Lebanese politics. Social and political marginalization of the Shiites has been occurring more too often. They are the largest sect in Lebanon, and definitely at the rate of birth rate, as it is the case in all rural areas or sub-urban locations, in 20 years their Sect percentage of Lebanon would be much greater than any sect. Problem is, for other Sect leaders, is their availability as labor but the majority of the Shiites are not as educated as other Sects. This is again due to the problem of money, production location, and the fact that the Shiites historically were in the poorest areas. This of course does not mean that other sects do not live in poor areas. The Sunnis of Akkar and the North are in a large number living in poor areas, but the Shiites on a national level been living so. They tend to regard other sects with partial hatred as other sects, specially the educated, regard the Shiites as unequal to their own.

From here, we can shed some light on the situation between the Sunni-Shiite clashes on the political arena. The Shiites are not willing to return as the marginalized non-spoken for Sect. They pour their support to Nasrallah by all costs because they would be marginalized again, just like prior to the emergence of Hezbollah. Even though AMAL are a Shiite movement, but they do not represent the middle class and the poor. What Hezbollah did to the Shiites is exactly what the Phalange did to the Marada: targeting the poor.

With the Assassination of Rafiq el Harriri, the Sunni sect defender who gave a lot of grants and charity to his street felt threatened. On the other hand, their insistence to give his heir Saad Harriri the continuation and moreover the return of the Sunni supporters to hit the streets (something that has not been witnessed since Salam's supporters in 1958 clashes) would provide threats to the newly emergent organized Sect of the Shiites. The Shiites Nasrallah, Nasrallah adopted the Wali el Faqih religious form (Ali Khamenei) henceforth they respect the Iranian Syrian alliance. Syria benefited largely from the Wali el Faqih connection, since they rely on Hezbollah to be the balancer of power.

Moreover, the Sunnis and the Shiites got external affiliations. The Sunnis have the United States and France to depend on since their own leaders Seniora and Harriri rely on them, while Hezbollah depend on Iran-Syria. The Shiites currently are demonstrating in Down Town in order to safe guard their Sect interest. If Hassan Nasrallah gets marginalized, then as a whole they will be marginalized on the social/political level.

Hezbollah got a large advantage as the Army and Security Forces are made of Shiites, hence 1989 army disintegration can repeat itself. Seniora, the employee of the Harriri Machinary, rely on Finances to remain in power.

14th of March reactionary camp do not understand that in order to win the Shiites to their side, they need to prove to them they are willing to invest in the South, so far they didn't care much while more and more Hezbollah social networks keep expanding.

Whatever is happening in Lebanon is political, but it is also par excellence Sectarian as well. Each Sect is worried they would be marginalized if their Sect defender crumbles down.


PS: To be continued.

Seperating the Myth From Realities V.1: Bashir Gemayel's platform: One Lebanon - 5 States

I was watching TV and I heard the clown S. Frangieh Jr. saying that his family was a decent family that never robbed anything. The US administration have been claiming that they were helping the Lebanese to kick out the Syrians for 30 years, but again, is it true?

So I decided to track the myth of every figure and will place the not so popular facts. I will start with Bashir Gemayel Platform (and not the whole story), which was revealed three years later when Annahar published his Presidential Oath Speech which he never lived to see it come through. Afterwards, later publications and diplomatic archives were published as well.

Bashir’s platform did indeed demand a 10452 Lebanon for Muslims and Christians but it is under the most illogical perspectives and not a “Lebanon for all” as the current 14th of March argued.

Bashir, influenced by the Phalangist (and only) ideologue Antoine Najm, he proceeded with this program. It is important to note that Najm resigned the Phalange Party because its leader Pierre Gemayel Sr. refuted to accept his extreme ideas, unlike his son Bashir.

Bashir for starters declared, once approved to be President Sarkis’ successor, that Lebanon is eternal, for Christians and Muslims alike, but without an Arab identity. He gave it an Oriental identity with “Arab connections”. To be exact, Oriental is a historical era that existed prior to the Islamic Conquests to the region that should give you an idea that Lebanon’s identity agreed on by the National Pact of 1943 was demolished. Actually, the National Pact got demolished by the start of the Lebanese Civil war in 1975.

Second, Bashir Gemayel wanted to open a new vacancy on the executive level. The title was Vice-President. A person would suspect that the position is wonderful, but the problem is that the title is not merit oriented, rather it is also Sect oriented, and sadly the only people who qualified to be the Vice-President of the Nation were the Maronites.

Third, Bashir’s unified Lebanon meant only three things in common between the different Sects, Parties, and movements. To Bashir and his crew, Lebanon meant having a common army, Lebanese Lira as a currency, and the borders, nothing more and nothing less.

Fourth, and here is the disastrous part of the platform, Lebanon is to be divided into 5 independent regions living in a federation. This means Lebanon is divided into 5 segments (Seems his mentor Najm did not learn from history whatever happened between 1845-1860). Each segment has its own government but the Phalangists were given a priority of 2 other segments. This is not to forget that the President in the Pre-Ta’ef Agreement meant that the president controlled everything. Each segment has its own autonomy and has its own budget. Actually, each segment can do its own economical alliances and so on, and since the Bashiristan Lebanon is segmented, there is no governmental budget except for the Army, CONTROLLED directly by the President. There is no proper distribution of wealth through out this “unified” Lebanon, rather each area has to depend on its own to last.

Fifth, the richest locations were to be allocated to the Christian segments.

Sixth, this point is a major breach in the government and the constitution. To zero into that point, the President has no check-point on him. The Parliament has no authority to impeach the President, and worse, the Government and the Parliament can be dissolved by the commands of the President, which is ironic, that the elected President is stronger than his voters.

Seventh, he demanded the evacuation of all foreign forces. Yet, later documents were published that exposed Bashir Gemayel demanding the Israelis to kick out all the Syrians and the remaining armed Palestinians from Lebanon. Afterwards, a common defensive treaty is to be done with to face Israel to face the Syrians’ threats. Bashir, smart and determined, already visited Saudi Arabia to establish good will ties with them rather alienate Lebanon from its surroundings. He already got the support of Egypt since Egypt and Syria were in conflict after Egypt signed Camp David agreement with Israel for peace.

Eighth, Bashir stated that the Favoritism would be demolished, but how logical that can be if Bashir’s Lebanon is divided into five nations within a common border while his party has the richest areas in Lebanon (without being responsible on other Areas).

This is not just an attack to insult the parties who support Bashir Gemayel, rather this is setting history straight. Bashir Gemayel did demand a single common border Lebanon, but INSIDE Lebanon things differed.


PS: More would come on those politicians’ backgrounds, and surely this is not the last topic on Bashir Gemayel’s investigation in the series of dividing the Myth from Reality. Point is: History has to be reported as it is by all means possible.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Deborah White: Iraq War Results & Statistics as of December 17, 2006

(MFL notes: If that is a liberation, then I am Alice in Wonderland, no wonder why Chomsky called the United States of America administration as the number one terrorist organization. This is the link to the statistics

2,947 US Soldiers Killed, 22,229 Wounded, 140,000 Remain in Iraq

For your quick reading, I've listed key statistics about the Iraq War, taken primarily from data analyzed by various think tanks, including The Brookings Institution's Iraq Index, and from mainstream media sources. Data is presented as of December 17, 2006, except as indicated.


Spent & Approved War-Spending - $505 billion of US taxpayers' funds, including $70 billion more approved by the Republican-led Congress and signed by the President in Sept 2006 for Iraq & Afghanistan

Lost & Unaccounted for in Iraq - $9 billion of US taxpayers' money and $549.7 milion in spare parts shipped in 2004 to US contractors

Halliburton Overcharges Classified by the Pentagon as Unreasonable and Unsupported - $1.4 billion


Coalition Troops in Iraq (last updated by US as of Oct 2006) - Total 158,000, including 140,000 from the US, 7,200 from the UK, and 10,800 from all other nations (other than Iraq).

Italy pulled out all its tropps by Dec 2, 2006.

US Troop Casualities - 2,947 US troops; 98% male. 90% non-officers; 78% active duty, 14% National Guard; 74% Caucasian, 10% African-American, 11% Latino. 20% killed by non-hostile causes. 53% of US casualties were under 25 years old. 68% were from the US Army

Non-US Troop Casualties - Total 247, with 126 from the UK

US Troops Wounded - 22,229, 20% of which are serious brain or spinal injuries (total excludes psychological injuries)

US Troops with Serious Mental Health Problems 30% of US troops develop serious mental health problems within 3 to 4 months of returning home

US Military Helicopters Downed in Iraq - 54 total, 27 by enemy fire


Private Contractors in Iraq, Working in Support of US Army Troops - 84,105 (NOTE - The US has not updated this count since Oct 2005)

Journalists killed - 77, 41 by murder and 36 by acts of war

Journalists killed by US Forces - 14

Iraqi Military and Police Casualties - 5,871

Iraqi Civilians Killed, Estimated - A UN issued report dated Sept 20, 2006 stating that Iraqi civilian casualities have been significantly under-reported.

Casualties are reported at 50,000 to over 100,000, but may be much higher.

Some informed estimates place Iraqi civilian casualities at over 600,000.

Iraqi Insurgents Killed, Roughly Estimated - 55,000

Non-Iraqi Contractors and Civilian Workers Killed - 449

Non-Iraqi Kidnapped - 298, including 54 killed, 147 released, 4 escaped, 6 rescued and 87 status unknown.

Daily Insurgent Attacks, Feb 2004 - 14

Daily Insurgent Attacks, July 2005 - 70

Daily Insurgent Attacks, Nov 2006 - 180

Daily Insurgent Attacks, Dec 2006 - 185

Estimated Insurgency Strength, Nov 2003 - 15,000

Estimated Insurgency Strength, Sept 2006 - 20,000+


Iraqi Unemployment Rate - 27 to 60%, where curfew not in effect
Consumer Price Inflation in 2005 - 20%
Iraqi Children Suffering from Chronic Malnutrition - 25% in May 2006
Iraqis Displaced by Iraq War, as of Nov 2006 - 650,000
Percent of professionals who have left Iraq since 2003 - 40%
Iraqi Physicians Before 2003 Invasion - 34,000
Iraqi Physicians Who Have Left Iraq Since 2005 Invasion - 12,000
Iraqi Physicians Murdered Since 2003 Invasion - 2,000
Average Daily Hours Iraqi Homes Have Electricity - 10.1
Average Daily Hours Baghdad Homes Have Electricity - 7.3
Number of Iraqi Homes Connected to Sewer Systems - 37%
Percentage of Iraqi Homes with Access to Piped Water - 78%
Water Treatment Plants Rehabilitated - 22%

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

There goes a chunk of my closet

Couple of days ago I wore an orange scarf (had it for 8 years now), suddenly the neighbors start telling me: "Rooh ya rafeeq!" (Way to go comrade) or "Kbeerna, dayman inta btifham bil siyaisi" (You always understood politics among us). I also have blue gloves, my village to be exact are anti-14th of March. They start telling me in worries: "Cousin, why do you support the Harriri?" or "shoo ma3 el mistaqbal ya man?" (Are you with the Future (Harriri)?)

I ended up giving those two to supporters of the two trends, ironically everyone knows I am against both camps, interesting how each camp even established a copyright on the color. I support activism for the envirenment, does that mean AMAL movement dominated that color now?


Fawwaz Traboulsi: We the Arabs, the Holocaust, and Palestine

[MFL notes: Special Thanks to Dr. Traboulsi, he linked me with the translation of his latest article on Znet]

[Translator's note: The following article first appeared in the Beirut daily as-Safir of 14 December 2006. Its author, Fawwaz Traboulsi, is a historian, long-time political commentator, and weekly columnist for as-Safir. In this piece Traboulsi is addressing an Arab audience. The original title in Arabic "We, the Holocaust, and Palestine" was thus rendered into "We the Arabs, the Holocaust, and Palestine." -- Assaf Kfoury]

The two-day Tehran conference on the Holocaust, on December 11 and 12, was attended by an assortment of well-known Holocaust deniers from Europe and Australia, by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, by anti-Zionist orthodox rabbis, and by many others. In a speech to the conference, Iran's president Ahmadinejad predicted that Israel would disappear just as the Soviet Union did. The majority of the participants vied in denying the Holocaust, maintaining it is a myth, or putting in doubt the number of its victims. Nevertheless, the conference concluded with the announcement of the formation of an international committee to investigate the facts about the Holocaust.

The Tehran conference epitomizes a kind of discourse on the Holocaust, Zionism and the state of Israel in general, which is in vogue among certain Arab (and Iranian) elites. At one time, such conferences and this kind of discourse were a specialty of the Libyan regime of Colonel Gaddafi. Today, it is the Islamic Republic of Iran that has taken over the role. The discourse in question is fraught with delusions, a form of hallucination which is at once obsessed with the West and incapable of breaking away from it.

One side of this discourse is the urge to engage the West. More specifically, they want to do this on terms understood by Western democrats opposed to Nazism. They thus make analogies between Zionism and Nazism as a way to explain the hideous crimes perpetrated by Israel's aggressive policies. "Just as you fought Nazism in the past, we too fight Zionism today," declared a Lebanese legislator from Hizbullah to visiting Ségolène Royal, the French Socialist Party's presidential candidate, a few days ago. The comparison triggered a political storm in France, still blowing unabated and fanned by right-wing French politicians trying to score points against Royal.

But there is a second side of the same discourse, contradicting the first. This is the desire of some Arabs (and Iranians) to emulate the Nazis and identify with them. Their unstated premise is: "Too bad he didn't finish them off". The "he" is Hitler and the "them" is of course the Jews. To these Arabs (and Iranians) we can apply the saying "the suspect nearly asked to be indicted" -- in that they can barely veil their genocidal intentions. They wish to be associated with the Nazi crime or to complete a crime left unfinished by the Nazis!

What business do the Arabs have in all of this? The crime occurred in Europe, committed by Europeans against other Europeans. Nevertheless, in internal European debates on the Holocaust, many Arabs find it opportune to intervene and take sides -- on the wrong side! Thus, a number of Arab intellectuals hurried to vent their support for Günter Grass this past August, when his confession, that he had served in the Waffen SS as a 17-year-old at the end of WW2, unleashed a fierce controversy in Germany. This should not diminish in any way our concern for the human tragedy resulting from the Nazi crimes, and its implications for the rest of us, in particular Arabs. Between 1942 and 1945, the Nazi regime organized the genocidal extermination of the Jews and the Gypsies, in a massive campaign that also went after anti-Nazi resisters in occupied territories, after Catholics and after communists, of various nationalities and political orientations. But just to recall: While Nazi theories of the master race ranked the Jews among the lowest racial groups, one group they considered still inferior to the Jews were ... the Arabs!

Although the Zionist movement started several decades earlier, the Holocaust was the main event that contributed to the success of its project for establishing a Jewish state in Palestine. The Holocaust supplied Jewish emigration to Palestine with hundreds of thousands of refugees running away from the Nazi inferno, just as it aroused an enormous sympathy for the victims of Nazism that Zionism succeeded in mobilizing to its advantage in pursuit of its project in Palestine.

Yes, Zionism and Israel have exploited the Holocaust to justify their policies in Palestine. Serious critics of Zionism, such as Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, have shown how the exploitation of the Holocaust was turned into an "industry" after the June 1967 war. Note carefully: The focus on Israel as a refuge for the remnants of the Nazi genocide came after, not before, the Israeli victory in that war! This has become by now a familiar tactic of Zionist propaganda: Claiming the role of the victim while acting as the executioner.

How can we ever hope to make a convincing contribution to the unmasking of the "Holocaust industry" if we deny Nazi crimes against the Jews? How can we ever hope to draw attention to the crimes of the "new Nazis" against the Palestinian people if we decrease the number of victims of the historical Nazis? What is the significance of making comparisons between Nazism and Zionism, in order to denounce the latter, if we also exonerate the Nazis of their greatest historical crime, which is the Holocaust? And is this not the mirror image of what the Zionists have done when they appropriate the role of victims and deny the Palestinians of even claiming they are victims?

Two further remarks must be added.

First, in saying that Israel will disappear just as the Soviet Union disappeared, President Ahmadinejad seemed to draw inspiration from a time-honored practice of the European and American far right, which conflates Judaism with communism and spreads the canard of a "Jewish-communist conspiracy" to control the world. If Iran's president cared for the cause of the Palestinian people, he would know that the "disappearance" of the Soviet Union contributed to the strengthening, not weakening, of the state of Israel in pursuit of its aggressive policies. But closer to home, if President Ahmadinejad had reviewed the reports of the Iranian embassy in Beirut, he would have discovered that, in the most recent international conference in support of the Lebanese resistance and Hizbullah, held in Beirut at the end of November 2006, the majority of the participants belonged to the secular left, including Marxist and communists of different orientations.

Second, would it not be more appropriate for the Islamic Republic of Iran to help instead organize an international commission of inquiry into the crimes committed by the state of Israel against the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples? And into the use of forbidden weapons by the Israeli army in its war on Lebanon in July and August 2006?

This writer is on record for supporting the right of the Islamic Republic of Iran to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, and even to possess a nuclear option until there is an agreement to ban all nuclear arms in the region. But this should not prevent us from criticizing policies pursued by the Iranian regime, both internal and external, and from strongly condemning some of its practices, including its recent campaign against secular activists, among which are now clerics calling for the separation of religion and state. This critique is not just a right, but a duty for all of us.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Finally! Someone with some logic on TV!

Yesterday evening a political debate show welcomed the current Minister of Sports and Youth Ahmad Fatfat, Faris Sa'aid, and Fawwaz Traboulsi. At least Traboulsi expressed my views on the show. I tried to capture what he was saying as much as I could. These points can be summarized as follows:

- Both camps are relying on External Forces/Alliances and escalations.

- Situation is unusual: Prime Minister attributes himself to a camp and member of party (and hails his city whereby he could have proceeded with his speech without that) while the Head of the Parliament belongs to the opposing camp and head of a party.

- The majority of the Lebanese are interested in the topics least tackled by both camps:
. Current Status of the Non-Shooting Treaty (el-Hodna)
. The fate of Syrian relations
. Immigration of the Lebanese youth
. Current problems that Lebanon faces with geography: Lebanon is surrounded by two neighbors: An enemy and a "friend" that is trying to establish hegemony
. Others

- Both Camps are messing up on the expense of the Lebanese

- Seems there are two phase Settlement:
. The International Tribunal
. The Ministry Issue

- Both camps are escalating and what is worse neither camp is taking the consideration of a back door (Khat el Raja'a) to the crisis

- Problem with 14th of March that they want the International Tribunal to be active whereby they expect that its investigations would shoot down the Syrian Regime; henceforth, this causes too much pressure on Lebanon to handle.

- Ta'ef Accord is no longer feasible ever since the Syrians withdrew from Lebanon. The Taef accord focuses on:

.the Parliament
.Institutional Sharing

- As regarding the topic of Hezbollah's arms: There is a big difference between disarming Hezbollah's arms and Hezbollah handing over their arms. Currently, the defence situation of Lebanon relies heavily on the Lebanese Army and Hezbollah. There is no current formula on resisting the Israelis, so again both camps are not tackling that issue,

- Running to regional and international forces means failure to solve the intrnal problems. This is a problem and a sign of weakness since both refute to admit failture and face the problem.

- The problem about Ta'ef and revisiting it is important, because it is no longer a problem of the Parliament and sharing power. This is a structural short-run solution, the core essence soution needs a whole set of discussions.

- As for the current status quo, it can generate a settlement

- Problem with both camps that people are sick of the situation. Both camps are promising a largue explosive situation, but then they tell the people: Thank heavens these are tiny explosions. Even these small explosions are part of the on-going settlement. (Even Faris Sa'aid admits that this dispute is no longer local, rather regional).

- Final comment: When two groups argue that they can't settle the crisis internally, they are preparing Lebanon for a new civil war.

A perspective From Mars on Lebanon

Let us see, I will think from the eyes of one of those Green aliens taking a walk in Lebanon:

The Martian sees "tabbaleen (cheerleaders)" from both sides claiming to be the real Lebanese.

Both reactionary camps claim they want national unity while accusing each accusing the other with treacherous words and allegiance to outside forces.

Then he looks at the "Secular" Christian leaders. Each claims to be Christian because they love the leaders, rather their platform. The Lebanese Forces claiming that there is no way out but Christianity because they "love" Lebanon (in a non-secular form), while the others argue they want a strong "clean" strong Christian. Of course, both camps are secular.

Then he looks at the bigger picture, both argue they are secular but bring priests and clerics to do masses in order to prove they are secular.

Of course, as a Green Alien, he thinks the people in this nation are crazy (Similar to Asterix and Obelix's statement: "Those Romans are Crazy". But again, the term Lebanon is relative per Sect.

We got a Prime Minister who brings the highest Sunni official to the governmental palace while his opponent brings a Sunni figure to do a prayer ceremony for the Shiites.

Each claims to be the majority but refute to do a national referendum.

A member of the Stalinist Lebanese Communist Party was talking on al-Manar about a good Lebanese University program, he got interrupted because he did not fit the cliché of the situation.

Moreover, each politician claims that they are doing secular politics while accusing the other of triggering a Sectarian War.

Eventually those glorious politicians refute to accept that the problem is sectarian in the first place as each politician's strength comes from an isolated Sect and promote oneself as Sect defender (Jaajaa, Nasrallah, and Junblatt).

The Politicians glory continues as they step down from negotiations and bring religious figures to do the negotiations (The Maronite Clergymen Bedrock proposal and Dr. Yakan). This is indeed secular.

Of course, every Friday and Sunday both camps have to do prayers while having the priests/sheikhs hailing the camp.

One more thing, they all claim that they are clean and never spilled out blood (well the Future movement can be clean from that unless we consider the gradual starvation of the Lebanese in the long-run when entering the World Trade Organization).

The little Martian then hears that all Lebanese are equal. Yet, one camp is compared to the Zoo while the other compared to servants.

Actually this tiny country is so bi-polar, each fallen citizen has a copyright tag belonging to one of the two greedy camps.

Moreover, all politicians are expertise in Tennis or Ping-Pong because that what they do all day, fool the masses and yell at each other.

The Prime Minister needs smuggled audience in order to give a speech to a clapping crowd. It is ironical that the Prime Minister in a sectarian polarized nation suddenly welcomes 1000s of people per day.

We got the Chairman of the Parliament sitting for terms and terms to come (as the saying goes: Till death do us apart) who is with one camp but got elected by both.

We got a President who was shoved via election (like the young Bashir Gemayel) whose MPs got threatened to vote in favor of him. This current President though lacks the tactics of the young assassinated President, and seems he is remaining in power till his term ends.

We got Secular parties taking sides with the bi-polar camps.

We got people dancing on parades and clapping for figureheads rather platforms.

We got sectarianism and racism spreading between both camps. The by-standers (and I surely do not mean Mr. Salim el Huss) are tagged by both sides as traitors.

People are dying in neighboring countries but all they can think about is who is more Lebanese while each claims resistance supremacy.

The Martian then looks at the Lebanese flag and notices there are two lines. He things each Red line signifies a camp. He then notices a Cedar, and decides to check it out. The Martian notices that this Cedar is almost extinct in Lebanon because both camps' leaders were so greedy over the ecological disasters of the greedy bourgeoisie. Who cares about the Cedar anyways? It is just a market commodity sold on flags, T-shirts, or small icons to tourists.

Whatever is going on, this nation is crazy to follow the leaders of both camps since both are selling out their own "people" to get a better share of the cake.

Everyone is dancing in the Streets, but everyone is angry from the "other".

This is one crazy country, the Martian realizes that Iraq, Sudan, or Afghanistan's politics are much simpler to understand and starts his tour in Baghdad.


PS: In case you are wondering how the Alien managed to take a walk in Lebanon without noticing. There are two reasons, either there is so much racism between the Lebanese or because he is a Green Alien, he was tagged with the AMAL movement.

Some notes on Baker Commission

It would be good to look at the Baker Commission, this is an interesting article by Patrick Cockburn, called: "Cautious words conceal the true savagery of life in Iraq " He dissects the profile of each member of the Commission. It is also a short article ;)

Meanwhile Dahr Jamail sheds some light on Iraq.


Insight on Israel from a Political Economy Perspective

MFL notes: An interesting perspective analysis on Israel from a political economy perspective.

This is a quote from the article:

As the roaring 1990s came by, Israel fed Wall Street a long stream of technological start-ups built at taxpayers’ expenses. US capital and Israeli capital intermingled, becoming a seamless web of personal and financial connections straddling the globe. Take for example Haim Saban, former Israeli music producer and now West Coast tycoon. He is the owner, among other things, of Israeli telecom, the Japanese Power Rangers trademark, and a German satellite broadcaster. He is also a personal friend of all former Israeli prime ministers and the largest donor to the Democratic Party, as well as the paymaster of former US ambassador to Israel Martyn Indyk’s salary at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy in Washington. Saban epitomizes the new Israeli ruling class. The prostitute who used to live next door to Saban in Tel Aviv (according to his own “rags to riches” account) is equally symbolic—Israel is today the second most economically unequal society in the industrialized world. Less than two-dozen families own more than half of the value of Israel’s stock market.

The article is called Whither Israel? by Gabriel Ash

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Suddenly Kofi Annan decides to Condemn Israel

I am not sure because Mr. Annan is retiring so he decided to spill out what is on his mind, probably to clear his conscience. One thing for sure, he should have said those ages ago… meanwhile the Proletariat in different areas are dying or starving due to US imperialism/structure.

(MFL notes: Best Quote: In the same vein, those who complained that the Security Council was guilty of a “double standard” -- applying sanctions to Arab and Muslim Governments, but not to Israel -- should take care that they themselves did not apply double standards in the other direction, by holding Israel to a standard of behaviour they were unwilling to apply to other States, to Israel’s adversaries, or indeed, to themselves." (Mr. Kofi, you think? Why didn't you mention that earlier? Worried that you would lose your job at the hands of the US imperialists?)

Security Council SC/8896 (statements taken from here)

The Gaza Strip had become a “cauldron of deepening poverty and frustration”, and the overall situation was more complex, more fragile and more dangerous than it had been for a very long time.

"Among the “frank messages” he addressed to both sides, the Secretary-General said that Israel’s democracy could thrive only if the occupation over another people ended. He agreed with Israel that there was a difference between terrorists who deliberately targeted civilians and regular soldiers who killed or wounded civilians unintentionally in the course of military operations. However, the use of military force in densely populated civilian areas was a “blunt instrument”, which only produced more death and destruction, recrimination and revenge. “We should all work with Israel to move beyond the unhappy status quo and teach a negotiated end to the occupation,” he urged

Taken from: Following is the complete text of presidential statement S/PRST/2006/51:

"“The Security Council stresses that there can be no military solution to the problems of the region and that negotiation is the only viable way to bring peace and prosperity to peoples throughout the Middle East."" (MFL: like the Israelis bombed the crap out of Lebanon)

“The Security Council expresses grave concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation and calls for the provision of emergency assistance to the Palestinian people through the Temporary International Mechanism, international organizations and other official channels."(MFL notes: Let the Israelis be rewarded for forming a siege and bombing the heck out Palestine, and in specific Bait Hannon)

“The Security Council reiterates its call for the Palestinian Authority Government to accept the three Quartet principles. (MFL notes: As long the democratic elected Hamas is not in power)

“The Security Council encourages the parties to engage in direct negotiations. (MFL notes: As long Israel does not kidnap 1/3 of the executive and legislative members while recieving a big bravo from the United States)

Taken from Annan's Statement in the meeting:

In the West Bank, too, the situation was dire. Settlement activity and construction of the barrier continued. Israeli obstacles impeded Palestinian movement throughout the area. The Palestinian Authority, paralyzed by a debilitating political and financial crisis, was no longer able to provide security or basic services. (MFL notes: By any chance the daily bombing of bulldozers of the IDF are not helping or the racist wall constructed for "defence" issues?)

He said that casting a glance to other parts of the region, one saw the Syrian Golan Heights still under Israeli control and concerns about Syria’s relations with militant groups beyond its own borders. (MFL notes: He actually mentioned the Golan Heights? And why due to the bi-polarity rivalry in Lebanon? Assad Scored Against USA with this point)

Iran’s nuclear activities and possible ambitions had emerged as a source of deep concern to many in the region, and beyond it as well. (MFL notes: Well India and Pakistans - arch-enemies and still struggling for Khasmir got Nukes... USA doesn't mind that. Israel has Nuke arms and moreover the Secretary General forgot that the invasion of the US & UK on Iraq acted as a catalyst and a fear factor for Iran to build its forces of defence...not that I am a dedicated fan of Iran as well but balance of power on the region can be an optional solution).

The international community must develop a new understanding of the uncertainty engulfing the Middle East, and then shoulder its full responsibility in resolving it and stabilizing the region. (MFL notes: such as holding the US-led coalition in Iraq accountable for all the deaths in Iraq and by-passing the UN as if it is a simple chat forum. Moreover, for once holding Israel accountable for its crimes rather simply using banned phosphoric bombs on Lebanese & Palestinians)

He said it was completely right and understandable that Israel and its supporters should seek to ensure its security by persuading Palestinians, as well as Arabs and Muslims more broadly, to alter their attitude and behaviour towards Israel. But, they were not likely to succeed, unless they themselves clearly grasped and acknowledged the fundamental Palestinian grievance -- namely, that the establishment of the State of Israel had involved the dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian families, and had been followed 19 years later by a military occupation that brought hundreds of thousands more Palestinian Arabs under Israeli rule. (MFL notes: still not held accountable then nor now, but prime time mentioned in this worthless UN institution)

Yet, he continued, hundreds of thousands of Israelis still lived in territories occupied since 1967 -- and more than 1,000 were added monthly. As Palestinians watched that activity, they also saw a barrier being built through their land in contravention of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, as well as more than 500 checkpoints to control their movement and the heavy presence of the Israel Defense Forces. Their despair at the occupation only grew, as did their determination to resist it. As a result, some tended to invest much of their trust in those who pursued the armed struggle rather than a peace process that did not seem to yield the coveted goal of an independent State. (MFL notes: finally admitting that the Palestinians were resisting for their rights, what took him so long to say that?)

But, the larger the number of civilians killed and wounded during those operations, and the more perfunctory the precautions taken to avoid such losses, the more that difference was diminished. (MFL notes: oh come on! You think they want to stop that in Palestine?)

He said it was completely right and understandable to support the Palestinian people, who had suffered so much. (MFL notes: you think?!)

Everyone should be united in their unequivocal rejection of terror as a political instrument. (MFL notes: 1300 Lebanese died and one million dispersed, daily massacres of the Palestinians, over 3000 Iraqis per month... why not start with accountability in order to block that side of terrorism as well)

In the same vein, those who complained that the Security Council was guilty of a “double standard” -- applying sanctions to Arab and Muslim Governments, but not to Israel -- should take care that they themselves did not apply double standards in the other direction, by holding Israel to a standard of behaviour they were unwilling to apply to other States, to Israel’s adversaries, or indeed, to themselves. (MFL notes: If it was applied from the beginning, the Palestinians wouldn't have been kicked out of their homes in 1948)

He noted that some might feel satisfaction at repeatedly passing General Assembly resolutions or holding conferences that condemned Israel’s behaviour. But, one should also ask whether such steps brought any tangible relief or benefit to the Palestinians. There had been decades of resolutions. There had been a proliferation of special committees, sessions and Secretariat divisions and units. Had any of those had an effect on Israel’s policies, other than to strengthen the belief in Israel, and among many of its supporters, that this great Organization was too one-sided to be allowed a significant role in the Middle East peace process? (MFL notes: Good morning, worried about your job Mr. Kofi or trying to clear your name in the face of the victims of the UN blindness)

Those who wanted to be heard on Palestine, therefore, should not deny or minimize that history, or the connection many Jews felt for their historic homeland, he said. Rather, they should acknowledge Israel’s security concerns, and make clear that their criticism was rooted, not in hatred or intolerance, but in a desire for justice, self-determination and peaceful coexistence. (MFL notes: that 2000 years later they decided to kick out the Palestinians out? I agree about the history part, it should be known as it is)

Most Palestinians did not seek the destruction of Israel, only the end of occupation and the establishment of their own State -- perhaps in a slightly larger territory than Israelis would wish to concede, but a limited territory, nevertheless. (MFL notes: you mean the Palestinian bougeoisie? What about the people who are expelled outside, don't they have a say in it? Didn't the lower classed Palestinians' electing Hamas is a way to express their sentiments of the situation?!)

He (Mr. Kofi) believed in the right of the Palestinians to exercise their self-determination. They had been miserably abused and exploited, by Israel, by the Arab world, sometimes by their own leaders and perhaps even, at times, by the international community. They deserved to see fulfilled their simple aspiration to live in freedom and dignity. (MFL notes: ah, but why always resort to the international community, ah yes, because the UN is a simple forum which can be by-passed anytime to invade a country like Iraq)
The situation, the people, the thirst for peace, were all very close to his heart. “I know they are close to yours as well,” he said, adding that, as a matter of urgency, “let us match that concern with concerted action”. (MFL notes: You mean not sending more cluster bombs to Israel?)
Afterwards Shiek Hammad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr al-Thani speaks (who courageously visited Beirut under siege by the Israelis after making sure that the USA would put a leach on the IDF while bombing the hell out of Beirut). It is notable that clusterbombs and lazer guided missiles were passing via Qatar.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Crazy Evangelicalists Considered the July War as God Sent

"When Israel began bombing Lebanon this summer, participants of the Rapture Ready web message forum welcomed the conflagration as a sign of the apocalyptic End Times anticipated by some evangelical and fundamentalist Christians in the United States:

“This is so exciting.”

“I have been having rapture dreams and I can’t believe that this is really it! We are on the edge of eternity!”

“Praise God! We are chosen to be in these times and also watch and spread the word. Something inside me is exploding to get out, and I don’t know what it is. It’s kind of like I want to do cartwheels around the neighborhood.”

“Gosh! Things are happening at break neck speed it seems! Here we are making plans to move to the east coast and we might not even have to move after all. I say, come quickly Lord!”

“Got that dancing feeling on the inside of me” (multiple exclamation points deleted)."

Something is happening to shape the political attitudes of what is an increasingly well-educated, upwardly mobile, suburbanite crowd of people who think President George W. Bush is a godsend…literally.

The last book of the Christian New Testament is “Revelation,” written by John of Patmos. It was originally thought to have been written by the same John who was a disciple of Jesus (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Alas, no, not the same John.
(MFL notes: are these people nuts? The link to the article from Zmag is here. What I loved about the end of the article, that Zmag is written in English while the audience of those "Rapturists" have their readings translated into 12 languages already. Now seriously, answer me, isn't Religion the opium of the masses?)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Have You No "Communism" Left you "Comrades" of the LCP?

By all means that does not mean I am with the more reactionary Democratic Leftist Movement (the only thing leftist about that bunch is the term Leftist in their name).

For starters, the Lebanese Communist Party's name (Lebanese) disagrees with the very logic of Communism since we as Communists opposed all forms of nationalism. When the Boleshevic Party won their revolution, the name what to call the party after winning their workers' revolution in 1917 was a heated debate. One of the names proposed was the Russian Communist Party. Zinoviev discusses, at the Second Congress of the Third International, how Lenin opposed such an idea since the movement is International. He and his comrades agreed that the name should be the Communist Party. Che Guevara didn't mind under what country's flag he died as long as he was fighting the capitalist oppression for the Proletariat. Actually, it was rumored Che Guevara was carrying "Lessons of the Russian Revolution" by Leon Trotsky when he finally was arrested in Bolivia.

My stress on this article would use extensive material from Che Guevara since the Lebanese Communist Party members love raising his flag without knowing his ideas (actually back in the 1990s, some "comrades" thought Che Guevara was Cuban).

We all have seen how the LCP condemned both camps, but ended up signing agreements with all the 8th of March Camp while still hypocritically forgetting that the 8th of March do not care about the Proletariat. This is not surprising as the LCP has been a Stalinist Party, plagued with Russian Nationalism. By a Stalinist party I mean the fact that the Party abandoned its ideology/sciences for piece-meals of capitalist profits.

For example, the LCP agreed with the Free Patriotic Movement and neglected the fact Aoun disagrees with the 14th of March on almost every topic except what the Marxists oppose most in 14th of March: the Economic Plan. Seniora's plan is to bury Lebanon inside the World Trade Organization. I have written extensively on the World Trade Organization's impact on other nations and how the WTO is the ultimate imperial tool of not only the US bourgeoisie, but rather the rest of the world… since the Imperial forces support Puppet governments to safeguard their own (President Moubarak qualifies as a supreme example).

Second, it is always excellent to support against US's proxy Imperialist nation (Israel) in a state of war. That was my decision for example during the July war. Even though I stressed on the point in the end-result, Hezbollah are a reactionary group and do not represent the classes' interests; rather they focus on their own. The Lebanese Communist Party forgot its heritage and adopted fully the slogans of Hezbollah. They forgot how the unity of the Israeli, Palestinian, and Lebanese Proletariat against their bourgeoisie oppressors. After all, we do not believe in nationalities and workers despite their race are being oppressed. After all, Hezbollah is a religious movement, and is behaving like all Sect leaders are… the LCP forgot that "Religion is the opium of the masses".

Third, the LCP is supporting one bourgeoisie layer against the other. The LCP forgot what Che Guevara said: "Cruel leaders are replaced only to have new leaders turn cruel!” No matter how the LCP General Secretary Khaled Hdaidi attempts to prove himself as a third "secular" line, he ends up aligned with one group whose history of corruption (allies of Hezbollah) would only equate those of 8th of March. All of those camps' leaders rely on Sectarianism (along with inheritance of an ideology from Father to Son), the LCP forgot what Guevara said: "In fact, if Christ himself stood in my way, I, like Nietzsche, would not hesitate to squish him like a worm” . The LCP also forgot what Guevara said: “If you tremble indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine.” Are they really comrades?

Fourth, the LCP calls for a "Unity of the Left" but then promote the Stalinist logo "No Party but the Party", interesting, how can the Left unite if the leaders are selling out on the working class? (at least they are selling out on a smoother publicity than the Democratic Leftist Movement). The LCP lost its capacity to emancipate from below because they have no clue what their ideology talks about. To be more exact, they are in a Stalinist Institution, which means the worship of a figure comes prior of thought.

Fifth, they adopt Nationalism for a one more time, unlike the past which was the disastrous Arab Nationalism, they are adopting the Lebanese Nationalism. Che Guevara fought from Congo to Argentina oppression, showed solidarity from Porto Rico to Algeria… preached Communism from one focal point to another. Moreover, Sa'adallah Mazra'ani needs a Che to yell at him and tell him on how he is living in a good life while the people are suffocating from Capitalism and all those different Lebanese nationalisms. Actually, the term itself Lebanese is so relative these days. Didn't the LCP preach internationalism? Or according to the members of the International Socialist Tendency they are claiming Internationalism to get funding to "compete" with Hezbollah?

Sixth, they forgot that Nationalism in Lebanon is Sect based, each Lebanese Sect (except for the Secular) regard Lebanon one way different than the others. By supporting the Sects struggle, they are abandoning the struggle for a real solution for the salvation of the Proletariat from this swamp: Sectarianism. Sectarianism paved way to foreign intervention. Actually, the LCP during the history was a pawn for a Stalinist Soviet Union for decades and decades. They seem to have forgot that point. They seem to have forgotten how Sectarianism paves way for the outside Bourgeoisie to infiltrate and divide the Proletariat. How fast they forgot the platform of the National Movement, when headed by Kamal Junblatt, to demolish Sectarianism, install optional Civil Marriage, demolish the Law of Personal affairs, have a single unit parliamentary elections, and above all a progressive economic system which is free of Sect Affiliates (then it was 6:5 repreated; as said in arabic during Frangieh Sr.'s time: Sitti khamsi Moukarar- Six for Christians & 5 for Muslims in Public Sector employment).

I am sure I can continue with this article for 12 hours… but I prefer to halt here for now, as like always I attack the Democratic Leftists and LCP together.

Down with 14th of March
Down with 8th of March

Yes to Civil Marriage
Yes to Secularism
Yes to the Unity of the Proletariat Against their Oppressors despite Race, Gender, Tendency, Nationality, and Class


Thank You Rampurple

I only chatted with her a week ago, and she designed the whole thing. Thank you Rampurple, you are an angel. You really are a wonderful person, and for a third time thank you, even though you do not know who I am, you did this masterpiece.

Let us not forget the remarkable aggregator she did with over 230 blogs. Her aggregator has become my daily newspaper to read...well done Rampurple, and again thank you for such a wonderful aggregator.

PS: Not sure though for you to be able to read my long posts or not you helped me with the lay-out (joking) , in any case, you are a gem.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Historical Zionist Interest in Lebanon

MFL Notes: Comrade Yossi starts his article, titled "Lebanon – What is behind the conflict? ", by an analysis on Lebanon. I have to admit that comrade Yossi did a good analysis of the situation, but it is reductionist. He didn't tacke the flows of both capitalist camps and their reactionary dimensions. Furthermore, he reduced the ruling government as simply "Imperialistic" while assumed that the clash currently is Christian versus Shiite. He didn't take into consideration several factors, such as Iran, the role of the Gulf nations, the Sunni and Durzi streets (and what are their roles). I can fully understand that his sources over there are not complete, but the second half of the article is amazing. I copy pasted it here to reflect Zionist interest in Lebanon. To say the truth, what interested me most are the letters of Ben-Gurion (co-founder of Israel, and first Prime Minister) and Sharrett (a later Israeli Prime Minister).

Herzl, the father of the Zionist movement, stated in The Jewish State that the Zionists would assist the imperialists if the Great Powers would grant Palestine to his movement and guaranteed its existence. "We would there form a portion of the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism. We should as a neutral State remain in contact with all Europe, which would have to guarantee our existence". (Theodor Herzl, The Jewish State: An Attempt at a Modern Solution to the Jewish Question, p. 30).

The proposed borders of the Zionist State were officially submitted by the Zionist Organization to the Paris Peace Conference in 1922, where the victorious imperialists met to divide the loot. This map included, in addition to the whole of the Mandate of Palestine, southern Lebanon up to the Litani River, the Golan Heights, and an area to the East of the Jordan River which runs from the North to the South parallel to the Hijaz railroad.

Two important sources on the Zionist plans for Lebanon are the diary of Moshe Sharett, who was the Prime Minster of Israel in 1954-1955 and who was considered a "soft Zionist", and Livia Rokach's Israel's Sacred Terrorism: A study based on Moshe Sharett's Personal Diary, and other documents. In the latter we find some very interesting information, and it is worth quoting from Sharett's diary at length:

"Then he [Ben Gurion] passed on to another issue. This is the time, he said, to push Lebanon, that is, the Maronites in that country, to proclaim a Christian State. I said that this was nonsense. The Maronites are divided. The partisans of Christian separatism are weak and will dare do nothing. A Christian Lebanon would mean their giving up Tyre, Tripoli, and the Beka'a. There is no force that could bring Lebanon back to its pre-World War I dimensions, and all the more so because in that case it would lose its economic raison-d'etre. Ben Gurion reacted furiously. He began to enumerate the historical justification for a restricted Christian Lebanon. If such a development were to take place, the Christian Powers would not dare oppose it. I claimed that there was no factor ready to create such a situation, and that if we were to push and encourage it on our own we would get ourselves into an adventure that will place shame on us. Here came a wave of insults regarding my lack of daring and my narrow-mindedness. We ought to send envoys and spend money. I said there was no money. The answer was that there is no such thing. The money must be found, if not in the Treasury then at the Jewish Agency! For such a project it is worthwhile throwing away one hundred thousand, half a million, a million dollars. When this happens a decisive change will take place in the Middle East, a new era will start. I got tired of struggling against a whirlwind. (27 February 1954,)"

The next day David Ben Gurion sent Sharett the following letter:

"To Moshe Sharett the Prime Minister,
Sdeh Boker, February 27, 1954
"Upon my withdrawal from the government I decided in my heart to desist from intervening and expressing my opinion on current political affairs so as not to make things difficult for the government in any way. And if you hadn't called on me, the three of you, yourself, Lavon and Dayan, I would not have, of my own accord, expressed an opinion on what is being done or what ought to be done. But as you called me, I deem it my duty to comply with your wishes, and especially with your own wish as Prime Minister. Therefore, I permit myself to go back to one issue which you did not approve of and discuss it again, and this is the issue of Lebanon.

"It is clear that Lebanon is the weakest link in the Arab League. The other minorities in the Arab States are all Muslim, except for the Copts. But Egypt is the most compact and solid of the Arab States and the majority there consists of one solid block, of one race, religion and language, and the Christian minority does not seriously affect their political and national unity. Not so the Christians in Lebanon. They are a majority in the historical Lebanon and this majority has a tradition and a culture different from those of the other components of the League. Also within the wider borders (this was the worst mistake made by France when it extended the borders of Lebanon), the Muslims are not free to do as they wish, even if they are a majority there (and I don't know if they are, indeed, a majority) for fear of the Christians. The creation of a Christian State is therefore a natural act; it has historical roots and it will find support in wide circles in the Christian world, both Catholic and Protestant... D.B.G. (27 February 1954)"

Sharett responded a few weeks later with the following:

"Mr. David Ben Gurion, March 18, 1954, Sdeh Boker
"As far as I know, in Lebanon today exists no movement aiming at transforming the country into a Christian State governed by the Maronite community...
"This is not surprising. The transformation of Lebanon into a Christian State as a result of an outside initiative is unfeasible today... I don't exclude the possibility of accomplishing this goal in the wake of a wave of shocks that will sweep the Middle East... will destroy the present constellations and will form others. But in the present Lebanon, with its present territorial and demographic dimensions and its international relations, no serious initiative of the kind is imaginable.

"The Christians do not constitute the majority in Lebanon. Nor are they a unified block, politically speaking or community-wise. The Orthodox minority in Lebanon tends to identify with their brethren in Syria. They will not be ready to go to war for a Christian Lebanon, which is for a Lebanon smaller than it is today, and detached from the Arab League. On the contrary, they would probably not be opposed to a Lebanon united to Syria, as this would contribute to strengthening their own community and the Orthodox community throughout the region... In fact, there are more Orthodox Christians in Syria than in Lebanon, and the Orthodox in Syria and Lebanon together are more numerous than the Maronites...

"... There are also decisive economic arguments against it. We are not discussing the issue in 1920/21... but 30 years later. Mount Lebanon has meanwhile integrated into one organic unit with the coastal plane of Tyre and Sidon, the Valley of Baalbeck and the city of Tripoli. They are commercially and economically interdependent and inseparable. Mount Lebanon was not a self-sufficient unit even before World War 1... The annexation of the three regions plus the city of Beirut to the Lebanese State has rendered possible the creation of a balanced economy. A return to the past would not just mean a surgical operation but also a disintegration leading to the end of Lebanon...

"When all this has been said, [I should add that] I would not have objected, and on the contrary I would have certainly been favorable to the idea, of actively aiding any manifestation of agitation in the Maronite community tending to strengthen its isolationist tendencies, even if there were no real chances of achieving the goals; I would have considered positive the very existence of such an agitation and the destabilization it could bring about, the trouble it would have caused the League, the diversion of attention from the Arab-Israeli complications that it would have caused, and the very kindling of a fire made up of impulses toward Christian independence. But what can I do when such an agitation is nonexistent? ... In the present condition, I am afraid that any attempt on our part would be considered as lightheartedness and superficiality or worse-as an adventurous speculation upon the well being and existence of others and a readiness to sacrifice their basic good for the benefit of a temporary tactical advantage for Israel.

"Moreover, if this plan is not kept a secret but becomes known a danger which cannot be underestimated in the Middle Eastern circumstances-the damage which we shall suffer... would not be compensated even by an eventual success of the operation itself...
"M. S. (18 March 1954)"

At that time Ben Gurion did not convince Sharett. The conditions were not ripe for such an attempt. But the idea never went away and remained in the minds of the leading Zionists as an option. The time to put into practice came in 1978 during the civil war when the "Litani Operation" was launched.

Israel was created at a terrible price. The Palestinians were expelled from their homeland, pushed into refugee camps all around the region. Israel thus came into being in an almost permanent state of war against its Arab neighbours. Israel was envisaged as an outpost of western imperialism, a "safe ally" that could police this oil-rich region. For decades it played that role quite successfully. Part of that task involved trying to get at least one "friendly" regime to its north in Lebanon. But this was easier said than done. Because of its delicate ethnic make up, Lebanon dominated by the Christian elite could never be a stable country. Class conflict would emerge and re-emerge in the form of ethnic conflict due to the lack of a clear working class, socialist leadership, that could cut across the ethnic divide.

Today Israel continues to meddle in the internal affairs of Lebanon. This summer's bombing of the country was clearly aimed at provoking a civil war, at re-igniting the ethnic conflict within the country. After the expulsion of Syria from the country - in actual fact a stabilising element - Hezbollah emerged as even more powerful. As it is based on the poorer sections of Lebanese society, the leaders of Hezbollah could only justify their existence by presenting themselves as a constant threat to Israel and by directing their energies against those within Lebanon seen as backing US imperialism and therefore also Israel. This summer Israel attempted to push the Christians into fighting Hezbollah, thus indirectly provoking also class war.

Unfortunately for the Zionist ruling class, Israel has emerged weakened from that war. It can no longer play the role of trustworthy policeman for the imperialists. In fact it is a destabilising element, but one that has less cards to play than in the past. Israel is clearly against involving Iran and Syria in finding a solution to the mess created by US and British imperialism in Iraq. Involving Syria in Iraq would imply strengthening its position also in Lebanon, where it has traditionally had influence over Hezbollah. This would undo the work of the past years, aimed at removing Syrian influence from Lebanon.

Here we see contradictory interests emerging between the needs of the Zionist ruling class in Israel and imperialism in general. This division also exist within the US ruling class itself. The clique around Bush pushed for the Iraqi invasion, but it is becoming more and more obvious as each day passes that this has been an absolute disaster for US imperialism.

Thus, we see how the conflicts internationally have a direct effect on the internal politics of a small country like Lebanon. And so long as capitalism continues to exist there will be powerful economic interests to defend in this region. Ultimately those who pay most severely in all this are the ordinary working people of Lebanon, of all ethnic groups, the Palestinian people who continue to languish in terrible social and economic conditions, and the Arab masses as a whole.

The other side of the coin, of course, is the situation facing ordinary working class people in Israel. They too suffer. While all their rights are gradually being whittled away, they are asked to continue fighting wars that cannot be won, and to live in what is becoming more and more one big prison house surrounded by hostile forces. This is not the safe haven for Jews that many dreamed of.
To all this there is no solution so long as Israel is governed by the reactionary Zionist bourgeoisie and so long as the Arab countries are governed by equally reactionary local elites, whose only interests are to line their own pockets at the expense of their own peoples.

The problems of a small country like Lebanon therefore can only be solved in the long run in the arena of the international class struggle, a struggle that can only end with the overthrow of all these rotten regimes.

A Minor Political Economy Perspective in Lebanon

The most popular domain has been for the past three years been Political Economy. This domain focuses on the sphere where economy and politics meet. This domain explains how economy influences politics and vice versa. This domain takes into consideration not only the politics/economics of the present, but the past in relation to regional and international factors. Henceforth, you can't discuss Lebanon without taking into its consideration the economic recession, or the metamorphosis of the GATT into the WTO ultimate imperial tool by the international bourgeoisie.

The Islamic Brotherhood for example spread in Egypt and Syria during economic recessions. They grew politically due to the welfare system they established.

The current status has been as a result of the past, as well as factors of the present. For starters, the bulk of the Christian community during the Syrian mandate were in support of the Lebanese Forces and Free Patriotic Movement together due to the "exile" of one leader and imprisonment of the other. With the current split between both factions as each camp chose a reactionary camp placed them into heated debates. You would notice from two posts earlier how each Christian Camp is competing to prove to the other who is the "real Christian".

The Shiites from a political – economical perspective have been dedicated (most of them) to Hassan Nasrallah due to the welfare system he provided to the rural areas which are mostly Shiite. Furthermore, he became a powerful voice to represent their demands. Thirdly, the growth of the Shiite community, in comparison to other sects required gave the Shiites incentive to abide with Nasrallah to protect their interests which was forgotten by Lebanese governments from 1943 till 1992. They still are the least to benefit from governmental plans and budgeting.

Now the country's economy, in the post Ta'ef accord, has been shaped by al-Harriri Sr. and his crew. The transformation of Lebanon to a 100% free market oriented status reflects al-Harriri Sr.'s representation of the business elites in Lebanon (and not only the Sunni St.). The late Rafiq al-Harriri's plan is to integrate Lebanon within the World Trade Organization. His three major consultants were Riyad Salami, Fouad Seniora, and Basil Fleihan. In this perspective all policies were aimed to make Lebanon join the World Trade Organization. It is unknown how far the late Prime Minister wanted Lebanon part of the WTO as a mean to ensure Lebanon's independence from Syria, because the WTO means that Lebanon is officially within the iron grip of US imperialism. In any case, the plans took effect, and Lebanon by 1999-2001 was considered a perfect candidate to the World Trade Organization with minor adjustments, mainly related to the TRIPS agreement (which safeguards patents and intellectual copyrights).

Like all free market systems, the elite benefit from free market while the majority can burn in hell (or travel abroad). Of course, when I mean the majority, I am not referring to the definitions of the word "majority" dictated by the reactionary camps of 8th and 14th of March. Under a free market system, specially on the premises of the WTO, we have social inequalities on the increase. Samir Amin, Suzan George, Tereza Brennan, and plenty others reflected (based on UN reports and Balance of Payments reports) reflected how exactly social inequality rise. The process of the late Rafiq Harriri economic plan is to integrate Lebanon in the corporate globalization process whereby wealth would generate from the foreign investments (due to the Tax havens policies). In theory, the wealth should be so massive that the profits would spill from the upper class to the middle class and so forth. Yet, this never happened. The Middle Class which remained protected by social welfare and interventionist regulatory rules got demolished. Whether we are talking about Latin America or any country of the third world (except the Rentier States of the gulf) has witnessed the demolishment of the Middle Class.

This happened in Lebanon. The elites of the society have got richer while the masses got poorer. Whether from the taxation system or market globalization (as well as the regional competition coming from Syria and Israel), the Christian middle class got demolished. Harriri created a buffer system towards his Sunni St. based on grants and welfare processes. He also benefited his allies in the cartel system. Yet, anything economical has a political dimension. Whenever there is a clash, division of elites on ministries and privatizations takes place. The elites of the other classes benefited; however, the masses didn't. Again, these elites never worried about the masses' economical situation and the rise of unemployment because these elites are either Sect leaders or supporters of Sect leaders who benefit their businesses.

When Aoun returned from his "five stars hotel" in Paris to Lebanon, he targeted this frustration within the Christian street, while his historical rival Jaajaa remained in alliance with el-Harriri's cabinet. Aoun spoke the language which targeted the frustrations of the masses. He simply targeted that anger, and sublimated it on the 14th of March (since they refuted to give him the presidency). The elites' interests are now divided 50% - 50% in Lebanon within the government. Hezbollah would attack 14th of March economically to safeguard their weaponry.

Part of the offensive on 14th of March is due to its economic recessions. Ironically, this is a vicious circle, because no government alone can come and fix the economic recession we are living in. Lebanon's resources are too small to do the wealth spill from the elites to the proletariat. Moreover, in case there was any economic stability, domestic regional politics (whether assassinations or demonstrations) or regional instability: regional interventions from the region/international or offensive war/air strikes from Israel. Hence, even if a new government rises: elites will take the bigger share, proletariat would remain divided because of the Sectarianism, and Hezbollah would maintain their strength due to the fact the elites neglected the people of the rural areas to satisfy their never ending greed. Hezbollah didn't join the government to reflect the interests of his sect because they already sustained their welfare system. They entered the government to safe-guard their arms and prevent any political marginalization.

This is only one tiny perspective of overall picture. To be continued from different economies.

PS: take a look at Future TV and NBN TV, you would see two different demonstrations with half the accusations shared by both camps.

No War but class War

Best Day for a whole year was Thursday

Guess Why? For 24 hours I didn't know that day what was going on in Lebanon. I stayed away from Newspapers, Radio, and TV. I just focused a bit on my studies, and guess what I didn't need any Panadol or Aspirin.

Why Hezbollah's Al-Manar Television is broadcasting Sunday Mass? - Sophie McNeill

Ok, sorry that this article I noticed rather a bit late, even though I read Znet extensively. As I was saying, Sect leaders are followed blindly by their followers. Sectarianism plays a massive role in it. This audience had been arch-enemies for decades. Even though I disagree with the author on a lot of points, specially when the unique clown Talal Irslain is mentioned in it; however, Zmag always be objective in their readings and research.

This sheds light on foreign perspective, but if only the reporter Sophie mentioned how Orwell's 1984 lives in Lebanon just as history is re-written and alliances fluctuates. This article in last sunday's mass...

12/05/06 BEIRUT: A truck laden with yellow Hezbollah flags drives past the Christian neighbourhood of Gemayzeh early Sunday morning in downtown Beirut. There's a picture of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on the windscreen, but it's not his name that the young men on board are chanting. "General, General!" yell these young Shiite boys.

Their chant is for the leader of Hezbollah's largest Christian ally, the former General Michel Aoun. And this van captures an important dynamic that many of the international and Lebanese press have omitted from their coverage of the last few days -- that almost a quarter of the crowd at the huge anti-government protests have been Lebanese Christians.

The size and commitment of the Christian participation became clear Sunday, as thousands of Christians from Aoun's 'Free Patriotic Movement' marched in from East Beirut to join their Shia allies in calling for the Prime Minister to resign.

"We are all Christians and we are against the government," 45-year-old Joseph from East Beirut tells me as he walks past with his son, "We want our own Lebanese government with no Syrian influence, no American influence and not any influence from other Arab countries. "

Umm... but haven't we been told that Hezbollah are just Syrian agents?
Why would nationalist anti-Syrian Christians want to be in a coalition with them?

"No! I'm not worried about Hezbollah working for the Syrians," Joseph exclaims. "Maybe Hezbollah likes Syria's words against Israel and in that they supports Syria*but in Lebanon they are Lebanese!"

For Joseph, the fact that his Shia allies have never been involved in his country's many civil wars is proof enough of the party's commitment to Lebanese nationalism. "Hezbollah has never used its weapons inside Lebanon against the Lebanese," he explains, "Not like the other side; they all killed each other and ran militias."

As the marchers walk on, they pass a TV crew they think is from 'Lebanese Forces' Television, a network that belongs to a pro-government Christian party firmly aligned against Hezbollah and Syria.

"The Christian people in Lebanon are different to what you are showing on TV!" yells one young man at the camera crew as others join in with, "Stop your lies!"
"We are yelling at them because they do not tell the truth," explains 30-year-old Mona to me after party officials make the crowd march on.

"They are saying that it is only Muslims who are here protesting. They say all Christians belong to the Lebanese Forces. But look, we are here demonstrating and we are not Shiite!" she says exacerbated.

Twenty-eight-year-old Sharden believes the media have been ignoring them on purpose. "We know all the media in the world, especially the Americans, are trying to make the picture that it is just the Shiites.

They don't want it to look like the Lebanese are united against the government," he tells me.

It's hard to tell exactly how many of Lebanon's Christians belong to parties aligned with either Hezbollah or the government. Both will tell you that their numbers make up 70% of all Christians in Lebanon *and it's a continuously argued figure that no one is this country seems to know the answer too.
"They're not the majority of Christians," scorns 26-year-old Hammad as he watches the crowds march past. "They might have used to be with Aoun, but not now he's with Hezbollah." A pro-government supporter, Hammad describes the coalition between Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement and Hezbollah as just 'a marriage of convenience.'

"Aoun just wants to be the President and Hezbollah has promised him this, so now he will do anything to reach that," he accuses. "He would work with the devil just to be president!" interrupts Hammad's friend Ziad.

To these government supporters, 'the devil' is Syria. And it's a strange twist of Lebanese politics that Michel Aoun spent many of his years in exile in France lobbying against the Syrians and calling for their withdrawal from Lebanon -- to now be in coalition with the Syrian backed Hezbollah; leaving many Lebanese to view this new coalition as disingenuous. "I believe he's turned pro-Syrian," charges Hammad. "I believe he's even working for them now, the Syrians."

Hezbollah's keenness to highlight their Christian allies was obvious at Friday's huge opposition rally, with Aoun given the role of key speaker rather than the crowd favourite Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah; and many pro-government supporters view these kind of tactical moves very cynically. "To make Aoun speak is to try and show people that the opposition is united. Hezbollah doesn't really care about Aoun. They just want him now -- to use him to say 'the Christians are with us'," alleges Hassan.

Whatever is behind this strange coalition between the hardline Shiite group and their Christian allies, it's certainly producing some unique cultural mixes. As the march reaches downtown Beirut's St Georges cathedral, Hezbollah TV vans are out the front transmitting Sunday mass live. "No we don't usually have Sunday mass broadcast on Al-Manar," one of the Fathers tells me inside, "but it's still just normal mass, nothing political is said here."

As I push my way out of the packed church, I pass a funny looking kid on the steps. He has an orange T-shirt and wristband in the colour of Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement, but a yellow Hezbollah cap and a picture of Hassan Nasrallah hanging around his neck.

"Oh yes, I'm a Christian, I went to mass," explains nineteen year old Josef... and um, why do you have a picture of the man the West sees as a terrorist leader hanging off you? "Because I love him," says Josef simply, "He's a good man, and he's not bad like all the others."

Later that afternoon, representatives from all Hezbollah's allies are given the stage, but the crowd is told that the speeches won't start until everyone puts down their party flags. After fifteen minutes of delay, a respectable amount of Lebanese flags dominates and Hezbollah TV is allowed to begin their broadcast.
Once again, the universal demand is for Siniora's immediate resignation, but listening to the speeches from these opposition speakers, there is certainly unifying themes here that bring this seemingly mismatched coalition together.
Hezbollah's Christian and Druz allies stand proudly with the party's Shiite army, and they join in Hezbollah's accusations that the government failed to adequately support them during the July war with Israel.
"During the Israeli invasion, the government stood on the sides if not against the resistance!' cried the Druz opposition party leader Talal Erslan. "Maybe the execution of the resistance to Israel was executed by the Shiites, but I Talal Erslan, I am one of you!"
It had been a long day and it was growing cold, but the crowd responded enthusiastically to his calls. "We are ready to give our blood to this resistance, " he declared to a cheering crowd. " And we're proud not to be called the allies of Israel*this government just follows the American and Zionist rule!"
The speeches end and the crowds slowly disperse, while those who are sleeping here dig in for another night. "Hezbollah are the best thing that happened to Lebanon," 24-year-old Maurice, a Christian, tells me.
"They are real Lebanese. Israel is our enemy too and we are with Hezbollah against Israel."
Sophie McNeill is a reporter with SBS Television Australia, her blog from Lebanon can be found at®ion=6

Article link is over here