Saturday, September 29, 2007

Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend? Part II

While tackling the issue on certain situations, I would like to apply the concept Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend on the Lebanese level.

Lebanon by now has two dictated lines of “friends.” The first is embodied with 14th of March considering the following scenario: The Trio alliance of Future – Lebanese Forces/Phalange – the Progressive Socialist Party (feudal to my new readers). In any occasion the latter two parties were major antagonistic factors in opposing each other during the war, and spearheaded the Lebanese Front and the Lebanese National Movement during the civil war. Of course the coalition also has several minor actors as well which makes it even stronger. Hence three rivals shook hands together in an attempt to repel the returning ‘Syrian-Iranian’ axis. Afterwards, the PSP shook hands with a new friend, which is the United States, which previously also was an arch-enemy for the PSP during most of the years of the civil war. We should not forget the powerful non-party figures with 14th of March, such as Neyla Mou’awad and Ghassan Tuieni.

Hence the current final equation of the 14th of March would be: their own coalition, in addition Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, other gulf countries, United States, France, and others. This also include on the Palestinian level the support for Fatah, which enjoys currently US support and Israeli sympathy (proved again this week by releasing over 160 Fatah prisoners, and to be released, in an attempt to balance against Hamas).

Now we have the Opposition. The Opposition is composed mainly of 8th of March and the Free Patriotic Movement. The 8th of March is made of Hezbollah, powerful political figures (such as Michel el Murr, Sulieman Frangieh, yes I know he has a party but primarily it is a one man show figure, and Elias Skaiff), the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, AMAL, Tashnag, and others. The addition of the Free Patriotic Movement broke the trademark of 8th of March being tagged “Shiite” by the government, specially at the FPM’s earlier stages it dominated the majority of the Christian Street. The FPM has a lot of figureheads, but sadly everyone simply remains quoting Aoun. Aoun also dubbed Hezbollah as “terrorists” when he was in exile only to find himself in alliance with him for political interests. Hezbollah and AMAL intervened a lot on the SSNP and Lebanese Communist Party only to end up as allies. Several members of the SSNP used to accuse Aoun on public TV as a “traitor”, now they call him “the Perfect Presidential Candidate”.

With the Opposition come their alliances: Iran and Syria. With those alliances of course comes the support for George Galloway and Hugo Chavez, as opponents to US Imperialism. Third, they support Hamas, as a Hezbollah replica for resistance and political survivors. Fourth, support to (and vice versa) from anti-US imperialism. This increased in dimension when the July war broke out and Hezbollah were tagged as “National Liberation Army”, “New Zapatistas” (although that surprises me drastically as they differ in their platforms), “anti-US Imperialism”, and last “Anecdote to Zionist Aggression.” Fifth, they enjoy support (again via Hassan Nasrallah) the support of a lot of masses subject under Arab dictatorships such as Egypt. The Palestinian Jordanians in specific had a controversy among each other after Saddam was “executed”, they wept because Saddam always expressed solidarity to the Palestinians, but Hezbollah were celebrating in Dahhieh when Saddam died. Solidarity to Hezbollah dispersed. In most cases, the driving force is Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement.

So, as we notice, a lot of enemies are friends. Jaajaa and Junblatt shaking hands, SSNP becoming the breaking factor of hording votes to let Aoun’s candidate win against Gemayel, and so on. All of these are considered as short term alliances. They love each other for short run goals. A member of the Democratic Left would tell you: “Do you think I love Jaajaa, but hey I don’t want to be living in an Islamist Princedom.” Or a Aouni fan would say: “What do you think? You think we forgot how AMAL used to deliver us to Syrian Second Bureau? But we are fed up of Harriri stealing our food and money.” A trillion example can be found, but yes, as one fellow Palestinian activist in Lebanon told me: “I personally don’t care if Galloway is screwing up currently Marxism, but we have no choice in the matter, we have to think on how to oppose the United States, then after we win, we face them.” This is the same, another Democratic Leftist told me: “Once we are victorious against the Iranian Hezbollah, then puppet Syrian AMAL, then we will go and question Seniora’s policy, for now he is doing perfectly great.”

In any case, the last two cited quotes are excessively repeated on every situation. A member of the Lebanese Communist Party will find any chance to go and celebrate victory with Hezbollah because their rigid dogma would tell them: “Resistance to Israel comes first and above everything else.” Hence the Lebanese Communist Party argues he is with no one, but rushes down at every chance to support Hezbollah “in the name of resistance.” During the July war, actually I saw it one step further: Hezbollah assisting Helem in the relief work (via Samidoun) with maximum support. For those who do not know what Helem is, it is a movement composed of gay, lesbian, bisexuals, and even straights to defend homosexual rights in Lebanon (personally that movement is on my respect list). May be the July war was a survival critical moment, but that shows how the political arena is a survival moment.

The politicians impose historical amnesia on their supporters. Not one supporter encouraged the writing of a single unified history of Lebanon, because all of them have their hands dirty. And “Enemy of my Enemy is My Friend” is justified for survival moments. We have seen it in the past as well. In the 1950s, the Phalange and the SSNP were comrades in arms to defend the reign of Chamoun in the face of Nasser’s growing influence while the LCP was on the other side. Just a word not related to the entire topic, it never seizes to amaze me how politicians constantly downsize the historical role played by the LCP and the SSNP. Then we saw in 2005 George Hawwi (before getting assassinated) happy to see his step-son Rafi Madayan getting votes from the Phalange and doing vice versa. Actually the only illogical alliance, to top Aoun-Nasrallah lullaby would be Nasrallah ordering his supporters to support the Lebanese Forces in 2005 elections. More than once Nasrallah and Walid Junblatt supported each other as well. The greatest shock would be all key players agreeing on Suleiman Franjieh Sr. as President to get rid of the “Third Force”. This means Kamal Junblatt and Pierre Gemayel agreed with each other briefly. Even more ironic is the present, indirectly Samir Jaajaa and Amin Gemayel currently support via 14th of March their arch-enemies during the Lebanese Civil War, Fatah.

Once you support any of the two lines, you are stuck with the two earlier formulas or equations I said earlier. None of them would really care about real issues. 14th of March would say: “Oppose Syria/Iran”; the Opposition would say “Oppose Israel/United States” (except for the Aouni fans, they get lost sometimes between support for Aoun and that issue). Each neglects his own foreign sponsors and attacks the other’s.

In relation to Marxism and the situation, there can never be a “An Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend”. Marxism knows no such details, nothing at all except the emancipation of the Proletariat. Henceforth, we may support middle run goals which I would define gradual progress (such as better welfare system, civil marriage, transparency) but the bulk would remain: “Revolution of the Proletariat”. Someone told me that because we think that way the Lebanese Communist Party became that rigid, while Order for Communist Action disbanded. I say it is quiet the opposite. What made us go down is the quite the opposite. It is thinking of Short Run goals that got us to the situation. To bandwagon with the right-wing, declining on our goals, worse, drifting gradually away from the essence of our ideas that got us here because we lost the way to mingle with the masses, and lost them to Sectarian parties. While the Communists of the 1920s were doing a great job in building trade unions, now the trade unions became institutions under capitalist dictatorships that oppress their own syndicate members rather protect them from Capitalism. The most famous example in this regard would be the Syndicate of Engineers. No fresh engineer can find work in Lebanon unless he pays heavy material expenses to the Union and acquire membership. The Lebanese Communist Party still lacks the incentive to investigate whether Stalin is a real Marxist or not. It is irrelevant for them after all. It is also irrelevant for them to see the resurrection waves of Islamist and Patriarchal oppression to women. For once I would like to see the LCP proving me wrong about something, and it is easy to do so: let a female comrade for once lead the Lebanese Communist Party!

No War but Class War!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Egyptian workers occupy factory

Taken from the BBC over here

Thousands of workers have taken control of one of Egypt's biggest state-owned textile factories in a continuing protest over pay and work conditions.

The workers also want the head of the company to be sacked, and are demanding the release of five representatives who were detained by police on Monday.

The strike at the Misr Helwan Spinning and Weaving Company's factory in Mahalla al-Kubra began on Sunday.

A strike at the plant last year led to a wave of labour protests across Egypt.

The industrial action in December forced the government to back down and meet the workers' demand for annual bonuses equivalent to 45 days' wages.

But representatives for the workers said the textile company did not fulfil its promise despite posting profits of 217m Egyptian pounds ($39m) for the last financial year, and are now demanding a fair share.

Government fears

The protests by an estimated 27,000 workers brought the textile company to a standstill.

Groups of employees beat drums and chanted slogans demanding the dismissal of the chairman of the board, Mohib Salah al-Din, and criticising the management of the government holding company which owns the factory.

The workers also want the head of the company to be sacked, and are demanding the release of five representatives who were detained by police on Monday.

The strike at the Misr Helwan Spinning and Weaving Company's factory in Mahalla al-Kubra began on Sunday.

A strike at the plant last year led to a wave of labour protests across Egypt.

The industrial action in December forced the government to back down and meet the workers' demand for annual bonuses equivalent to 45 days' wages.

But representatives for the workers said the textile company did not fulfil its promise despite posting profits of 217m Egyptian pounds ($39m) for the last financial year, and are now demanding a fair share.

Government fears

The protests by an estimated 27,000 workers brought the textile company to a standstill.

Groups of employees beat drums and chanted slogans demanding the dismissal of the chairman of the board, Mohib Salah al-Din, and criticising the management of the government holding company which owns the factory.

They also called for the dismissal of the representatives of the government-approved labour union who visited them on Sunday.

The protests intensified on Monday after the public prosecutor ordered the detention of five of the workers' representatives on charges of inciting the strike, unlawful gathering and destruction of public properties.

"They say we are the leaders who have incited 27,000 workers to strike," Wael Habeeb, one of the five men, told the BBC Arabic Service. "How, I do not understand!"

The BBC's Arab affairs analyst, Magdi Abdelhadi, says the Egyptian government, which does not tolerate dissent, is fearful of the workers' growing self-confidence.

There are fears that labour unrest might spread to other low-paid industries as it did last year, our correspondent says.

While it is much easier to crush a handful of political protesters in Cairo, using police force against thousands of striking workers could prove to be a far more difficult task, our correspondent adds.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Enemy of my Enemy is My Friend?

Lately in the left-wing and activist circles, a discussion has been heated up regarding alliances, and its justifications. Mainly the theme rotates around: “My Enemy’s enemy is my friend.” Such concepts appear in terms of 14th of March supporting US involvement in Lebanon (as long as it supports their goals), opposing Iran and Syrian intervention, or witnessing 14th of Marchers supporting Fatah while the opposition supporting Hamas, Chavez, and Galloway. Another logic would be the secular Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) and the Lebanese Communist Party (LCP) supporting Hezbullah and their coalitions in the name of resistance. Same applies when a member of the Democratic Left would tell me “Comrade Seniora” (which is contradictory if you ask me since the latter supports 100% free market as well as burying Lebanon in the WTO.)

Europe of the past would fit our investigation. Probably we witnessed such alliances being forged when one powerful figure became too powerful and forced the others to bandwagon against that ruler. One example would be Napoleon, whereby his blunt theme was “Unified Europe” under his self-proclaimed empire. The 19th Century itself was an era of kingdoms and alliance fluctuations. Different Monarchs/republics fluctuated their alliances according to interest, in order to establish a balance of power. This might fit the Realist School in international affairs, whereby nations switch alliances to maintain a balance of power. No Republic/Monarchy would enter an alliance to make one nation stronger than the others to the extent being unstopped. World War I witnessed the explosion of these alliances whereby few nations (Axis) saw they had the chance to balance against if not completely annihilate their opponents.

The first time we can witness the alliance falsely assumed is the Brest-Litovsk conference, which resulted at first the invasion of the Soviet Union by Monarchy Germany. Indeed, Lenin and Trotsky from the beginning found they had no choice from the beginning but gain time to organize their army. Karl Radeck also found the same logic and tried to spread the ideas of Marx and Engels by distributing Pamphlets of Communism to the German soldiers. At a one point, Monarchy Germany declared they are defending themselves, Western Europe, and the whole world from Bolshevik toxic ideas.

The first time we can regard the concept Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend was witnessed to its full scale was the unholy alliance between Stalinist Moscow and Capitalist Washington DC during World War II. The allies tried to overthrow the Bolsheviks after the October Revolution of 1917, but Trotsky’s defenses were capable to block them and repel outside Soviet borders 11 major invading armies, not to forget the civil war ignited by the West against the Red Army. The first time I say the unholy alliance was formed between tyrant Stalin and greedy Franklin Roosevelt. There was no choice in the mater, lunatic Hitler swept through Europe, and made to the borders of Leningrad and Stalingrad, while the whole West except for Britain (the fact it was an island played a role). Stalin started his unholy alliance with Hitler to seize 50% of Poland, but then his plan backfired on him when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. After a relapse of six months, Stalin recovered and played his plan B card. It wasn’t planned actually, the United States needed Russia to remain standing, Russia (and here I say Russia instead of Soviet Union because Stalin was desperate to survive the offensive and introduced Russian Nationalism with the Logo: ‘Fight For Mother Russia’; not bad for a Georgian fake Communist). Eventually Nikita Khrushchev spilled the bottle in his memoirs (Khrushchev Remembers; interviewed by Roshenko) that 81% of the Soviet heavy equipment were merged between US and Russian technology. Hitler failed to take over Russia and its rich resources, but eventually his army collapsed at two powerful fronts.

I went to the details of World War II because this is par excellence the number 1 unholy alliance to occur in the history of the world (unless we consider the alliance which included Lebanese Forces and Hezbollah voting for each other more awkward. Now, I will move to two unholy alliances that go parallel to each other, and till now they seem to be holding: RESPECT in the UK and Kifaya in Egypt. Both also included two unholy alliances that are really parallel to each other. George Galloway’s coalition includes the Muslim Brotherhood and The Socialist Workers’ Party. The coalition emerged with good performance on the syndicate level. Galloway took the opportunity to bandwagon with the Muslim Brotherhood over there, while the Muslim Brotherhood accepted a coalition made of heresy committers or atheists (in the case of the SWP). The SWP stepped down on its revolutionary goals or shorter run goals, which is opposing US imperialism by all means available, and hence weakening the Marxist movement in England. George Galloway is the spearhead of the RESPECT coalition and the second in command is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. The SWP blindly supports Hezbollah for example because Hezbollah for them defeated Israel. Moreover, the spearhead of the RESPECT coalition, Mr. Galloway disregards who opposes US imperialism and supports blindly anyone who stands up to their faces. Galloway eventually became a hero in the Lebanese arena when he broke the media silence on Lebanon as it was being bombarded by the Israelis with his famous interview with Sky News. Yet, Galloway for me as a revolutionary Marxist, his influences are more negative rather positive. The goal is not parliamentary gains, or political points, rather establishing a workers’ movement that would achieve the Proletariat’s demands. This takes a lot of effort, and hopefully our esteemed comrades of the SWP would realize to use their immense knowledge of Marxism and experience for that goal.

The Kifaya movement in Egypt is a similar scenario. The Comrades never learnt by supporting Jamal Abdul Nasser to become the President of Egypt, they signed their doom with a two-fold seal. The short run for our comrades in Egypt was to get rid of British colonialism, and hence they went blindly after Abdul Nasser, and he repaid them with placing a blind eye on the Muslim Brotherhood as they devoured Marxists from one side, and then he butchered with them (well, not only Egypt, but Syria and Lebanon as well except those blindly following Russia, such as Khaled Bikdash). Later, Nasser foolishly thought he can use the Socialists and the Muslim Brotherhood to balance against each other. Only difference, the Brotherhood in prisons increased in numbers, specially after the humiliating defeat of Nasser in a time-interval less than a week, which was the Six Day war of 1967, where Nasser as an undisputed leader collapsed, and secular Arab Nationalism was replaced with Islam as the only salvation for the Arabs. As economy worsened, the Brotherhood and its look-a-like expanded through its Islamist Social Welfare system while Sadat (as well as Moubarak) abused their position as Presidents to maximize profits and powers while the people were starving.

Kifaya emerged as a reaction to the never ending rule of Moubarak. Kifaya is sort of motivated by the Zapatista logo, Ya Basta!, because Kifaya’s translation to English means Enough! Unlike RESPECT which is forged out of three primary partners, Kifaya embodied anyone who despised Moubarak’s regime. This includes the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies (most powerful driving force), the Communists, the Arab Nationalists, Socialists, intellectual movements, Feminists, Syndicate, lawyers, and of course alter-globalization movements such as AJIJ. Yet, the comrades over there never learnt their lesson, that short run goals (ousting Moubarak out of office) will bring them more trouble if they are not well prepared. If you ask any socialist over there, they will reply “first get rid of Moubarak, then when the time we and the Brotherhood encounter each other comes, we will handle it.” Problem is that Egypt has the Islamist networks and welfare systems have been spreading around to the extent it makes the return of a real organized Marxist movement semi-impossible at this rate. The Marxists should focus on building themselves as a first priority, rather rush blindly after Kifaya. Now, I may sound I am undermining the efforts of our comrades in Egypt, but on the contrary, I salute every single one of them who raises his finger at Moubarak’s regime, which at least he is regarded as a US satellite installed over Cairo and Egypt. Yet, the Marxists’ primary goal is to build themselves from scratch (same as our situation in Lebanon), and I know it is difficult, but I can foresee that a coalition with the strongest party (Brotherhod) if they win, it will be disastrous to the progressive reforms and welfare system of the Marxists. The Islamist networks offered the majority of the Egyptians and non-Muslim foreigners their services equally, but the long-run is still not showing ok. After a religious movement s a right-wing and we shouldn’t commit the same errors of Galloway cheering el-Assad. So, in such cases, is my enemy’s enemy my friend? I think not specially if there is no progressive core essence on their side.

Lenin and Trotsky knew that perfectly well back in 1917. Lenin wouldn’t reconcile his Marxist goals for nothing. He was offered different positions when the February revolution took over. The Right-Wingers offered him and Trotsky several cabinet positions, Trotsky, like Lenin, saw that only a workers’ revolution would bring the salvation to the Proletariat. The Bolsheviks remained low profile and indirectly a small hunted down sect while attempting to preserve their core as revolutionary, progressive, scientific, and Marxist. Sadly, few glitches escaped, and Stalin emerged out of these glitches. The theme is “no enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The only time Lenin and Trotsky agreed that the Bolsheviks to ally with other factions when they split them (Social Revolutionaries, Mensheviks) into a reactionary right-wingers, and the revolutionary left-wings, with them at what Lenin would call years later “Commanding Heights”. The road to victory is always long and harsh, and mind you, there is no such thing as a back-route and easy victory, the only victory is through the emancipation of the society into Marxism and its full mobility into class struggle rather trust blindly a group whose agenda is the gradual annhilation of non-believers.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Clara Zatkin's Only in Conjunction With the Proletarian Woman Will Socialism Be Victorious

MFL notes: Plenty of debates have been going on regarding the emancipation of women into the socialist class struggle cause. As far as I know, some feminist activists have been involved on focusing on one dimension of the problem, which is targeting the women solely. This is illogical according to Marxist standards because the society alone cant evolve with half its population.

I will post a speech written by Clara Zatkin, more than a century ago, regarding Socialism and the issue of women. What I like most about Zatkin's article is how she divided women into the Bourgeoisie and Proletariat, and discusses their differences in details. The irony of the situation is focal core when Clara tackles the issue of female Proletariat within the factories, which are made strictly of women except for their bourgeoisie rulers. These factories are still existent in any country that offers cheap labor and tax havens to Multi-National Corporations (such as those in the Far East). The other side of the story in "liberated" countries, women are oppressed via the tools of the bourgeoisie, such as the religious institutions, and the social norms. Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey are three nice examples of the situation. Women in general live in a sexist world whereby a lot of female activists face rough time from their own fellow progessive activists. I brought this up prior to Clara Zatkin's article because it fits perfectly the comparison between bourgeoisie and proletariat women. To conclude the idea I want to send, women become either discouraged to be active (when the envirenment is really sexist) or twice active, but in an isolationist feminist approach (which in such situation become reactionary to the Sexist approach). The Marxist approach, in its Utopian sense, is to demolish Capitalism and its tool of oppression in order to achieve equality among all oppressed groups within humanity.

PS: Keep in mind the speech was delivered in 1896, I totally agree with Canon when he said that an idea lives forever.

Here where you can find the speech and report of early activism regarding emancipating women into socialism. LINK

The investigations of Bachofen, Morgan and others seem to prove that the social suppression of women coincided with the creation of private property. The contrast within the family between the husband as proprietor and the wife as non-proprietor became the basis for the economic dependence and the social illegality of the female sex. This social illegality represents, according to Engels, one of the first and oldest forms of class rule. He states: “Within the family, the husband constitutes the bourgeoisie and the wife the proletariat.” Nonetheless, a women’s question in the modern sense of the word did not exist. It was only the capitalist mode of production which created the societal transformation that brought forth the modern women’s question by destroying the old family economic system which provided both livelihood and life’s meaning for the great mass of women during the pre-capitalistic period. We must, however, not transfer to the ancient economic activities of women those concepts (the concepts of futility and pettiness), that we connect with the activities of women in our times. As long as the old type of family still existed, a woman found a meaningful life by productive activity. Thus she was not conscious of her social illegality even though the development of her potentials as an individual was strictly limited.

The period of the Renaissance is the storm and stress period of the awakening of modern individuality that was able to develop fully and completely in the most diverse directions. We encounter individuals who are giants in both good and evil, who spurn the commandments of both religion and morals and despise equally both heaven and hell. We discover women at the center of the social, artistic and political life. And yet there is not a trace of a women’s movement. This is all the more characteristic because at that time the old family economic system began to crumble under the impact of the division of labor. Thousands upon thousands of women no longer found their livelihood and their lives’ meaning within the family. But this women’s question, as far as one can designate it as such, was solved at that time by convents, charitable institutions and religious orders.

The machines, the modern mode of production, slowly undermined domestic production and not just for thousands but for millions of women the question arose: Where do we now find our livelihood? Where do we find a meaningful life as well as a, job that gives us mental satisfaction? Millions were now forced to find their livelihood and their meaningful lives outside of their families and within society as a whole. At that moment they became aware of the fact that their social illegality stood in opposition to their most basic interests. It was from this moment on that there existed the modern women’s question. Here are a few statistics to demonstrate how the modern mode of production works to make the women’s question even more acute. During 1882, 5½ million out of 23 million women and girls in Germany were fully employed; i.e., a quarter of the female population could no longer find its livelihood within the family. According to the Census of 1895, the number of employed women in agriculture, in the broadest meaning of this term, has increased since 1882 by more than 8%, in the narrow sense by 6%, while at the same time the number of men employed in agriculture has decreased by 3%, i.e., to 11%. In the area of industry and mining, the number of employed women workers has increased by 35%, that of men by only 28%. In the retail trade, the number of women employed has increased by more than 94%, that of men by only 38%. These dry numbers stress much more the urgency of solving the women’s question than any highfalutin declamations.

The women’s question, however, is only present within those classes of society who are themselves the products of the capitalist mode of production. Thus it is that we find no women’s question in peasant circles that possess a natural (although severely curtailed and punctured) economy. But we certainly find a women’s question within those classes of society who are the very children of the modern mode of production. There is a women’s question for the women of the proletariat, the bourgeoisie, the intelligentsia and the Upper Ten Thousand. It assumes a different form according to the class situation of each one of these strata.

How does the women’s question shape up as far as the Upper Ten Thousand are concerned? The woman of the Upper Ten Thousand, thanks to her property, may freely develop her individuality and live as she pleases. In her role as wife, however, she is still dependent upon her husband. The guardianship of the weaker sex has survived in the family law which still states: And he shall be your master. And how is the family of the Upper Ten Thousand constituted in which the wife is legally subjugated by the husband? At its very founding, such a family lacks the moral prerequisites. Not individuality but money decides the matrimony. Its motto is: What capital joins, sentimental morality must not part. (Bravo!) Thus in this marriage, two prostitutions are taken for one virtue. The eventual family life develops accordingly. Wherever a woman is no longer forced to fulfill her duties, she devolves her duties as spouse, mother and housewife upon paid servants. If the women of these circles have the desire to give their lives a serious purpose, they must, first of all, raise the demand to dispose of their property in an independent and free manner. This demand, therefore, represents the core of the demands raised by the women’s movement of the Upper Ten Thousand. These women, in their fight for the realization of their demand vis-a-vis the masculine world of their class, fight exactly the same battle that the bourgeoisie fought against all of the privileged estates; i.e., a battle to remove all social differences based upon the possession of property. The fact that this demand does not deal with the rights of the individual is proven by Herr von Stumm’s advocacy of it in the Reichstag. Just when would Herr von Stumm ever advocate the rights of a person? This man in Germany signifies more than a personality, he is capital itself turned into flesh and blood (How accurate!) and if this man has put in an appearance in a cheap masquerade for women’s rights, then it only happened because he was forced to dance before capitalism’s Ark of the Covenant. This is the Herr von Stumm who is always ready to put his workers on short rations if they do not dance to his tune and he would certainly welcome it with a satisfied smile if the state as employer would also put those professors end scholars who meddle in social politics on short rations. Herr von Stumm endeavors nothing more than instituting the entail for movable female property in case of female inheritance because there are fathers who have acquired property but were not careful in the choice of their children, leaving only daughters as heirs. Capitalism honors even lowly womanhood and permits it to dispose of its fortunes. That is the final phase of the emancipation of private property.

How does the women’s question appear in the circles of the petit-bourgeoisie, the middle class and the bourgeois intelligentsia? Here it is not property which dissolves the family, but mainly the concomitant symptoms of capitalist production. To the degree this production completes its triumphal march, the middle class and the petit-bourgeoisie are hurtling further and further towards their destruction. Within the bourgeois intelligentsia, another circumstance leads to the worsening of the living conditions: capitalism needs the intelligent and scientifically trained work force. It therefore favored an overproduction of mental-work proletarians and contributed to the phenomenon that the formerly respected and profitable societal positions of members of the professional class are more and more eroding. To the same degree, however, the number of marriages is decreasing; although on the one hand the material basis is worsening, on the other hand the individual’s expectations of life are increasing, so that a man of that background will think twice or even thrice before he enters into a marriage. The age limit for the founding of a family is raised higher and higher and a man is under no pressure to marry since there exist in our time enough societal institutions which offer to an old bachelor a comfortable life without a legitimate wife. The capitalist exploitation of the proletarian work force through its starvation wages, sees to it that there is a large supply of prostitutes which corresponds to the demand by the men. Thus within the bourgeois circles, the number of unmarried women increases all the time. The wives and daughters of these circles are pushed out into society so that they may establish for themselves their own livelihood which is not only supposed to provide them with bread but also with mental satisfaction. In these circles women are not equal to men in the form of possessors of private property as they are in the upper circles. The women of these circles have yet to achieve their economic equality with men and they can only do so by making two demands: The demand for equal professional training and the demand for equal job opportunities for both sexes. In economic terms, this means nothing less than the realization of free access to all jobs and the untrammeled competition between men and women. The realization of this demand unleashes a conflict of interest between the men and women of the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia. The competition of the women in the professional world is the driving force for the resistance of men against the demands of bourgeois women’s rights advocates. It is, pure and simple, the fear of competition. All other reasons which are listed against the mental work of women, such as the smaller brain of women or their allegedly natural avocation to be a mother are only pretexts. This battle of competition pushes the women of these social strata towards demanding their political rights so that they may, by fighting politically, tear down all barriers which have been created against their economic activity.

So far I have addressed myself only to the basic and purely economic substructure. We would, however, perform an injustice to the bourgeois women’s rights movement if we would regard it as solely motivated by economics. No, this movement also contains a more profound spiritual and moral aspect. The bourgeois woman not only demands her own bread but she also requests spiritual nourishment and wants to develop her individuality. It is exactly among these strata that we find these tragic, yet psychologically interesting Nora figures, women who are tired of living like dolls in doll houses and who want to share in the development of modern culture. The economic as well as the intellectual and moral endeavors of bourgeois women’s rights advocates are completely justified.

As far as the proletarian woman is concerned, it is capitalism’s need to exploit and to search incessantly for a cheap labor force that has created the women’s question. It is for this reason, too, that the proletarian woman has become enmeshed in the mechanism of the economic life of our period and has been driven into the workshop and to the machines. She went out into the economic life in order to aid her husband in making a living, but the capitalist mode of production transformed her into on unfair competitor. She wanted to bring prosperity to her family, but instead misery descended upon it. The proletarian woman obtained her own employment because she wanted to create a more sunny and pleasant life for her children, but instead she became almost entirely separated from them. She became an equal of the man as a worker; the machine rendered muscular force superfluous and everywhere women’s work showed the same results in production as men’s work. And since women constitute a cheap labor force and above all a submissive one that only in the rarest of cases dares to kick against the thorns of capitalist exploitation, the capitalists multiply the possibilities of women’s work in industry. As a result of all this, the proletarian woman has achieved her independence. But verily, the price was very high and for the moment they have gained very little. If during the Age of the Family, a man had the right (just think of the law of Electoral Bavaria!) to tame his wife occasionally with a whip, capitalism is now taming her with scorpions. In former times, the rule of a man over his wife was ameliorated by their personal relationship. Between an employer and his worker, however, exists only a cash nexus. The proletarian woman has gained her economic independence, but neither as a human being nor as a woman or wife has she had the possibility to develop her individuality. For her task as a wife and a mother, there remain only the breadcrumbs which the capitalist production drops from the table.

Therefore the liberation struggle of the proletarian woman cannot be similar to the struggle that the bourgeois woman wages against the male of her class. On the contrary, it must be a joint struggle with the male of her class against the entire class of capitalists. She does not need to fight against the men of her class in order to tear down the barriers which have been raised against her participation in the free competition of the market place. Capitalism’s need to exploit and the development of the modern mode of production totally relieves her of having to fight such a struggle. On the contrary, new barriers need to be erected against the exploitation of the proletarian woman. Her rights as wife and mother need to be restored and permanently secured. Her final aim is not the free competition with the man, but the achievement of the political rule of the proletariat. The proletarian woman fights hand in hand with the man of her class against capitalist society. To be sure, she also agrees with the demands of the bourgeois women’s movement, but she regards the fulfillment of these demands simply as a means to enable that movement to enter the battle, equipped with the same weapons, alongside the proletariat.

Bourgeois society is not fundamentally opposed to the bourgeois women’s movement, which is proven by the fact that in various states reforms of private and public laws concerning women have been initiated. There are two reasons why the accomplishment of these reforms seems to take an exceptionally long time in Germany: First of all, men fear the battle of competition in the liberal professions and secondly, one has to take into account the very slow and weak development of bourgeois democracy in Germany which does not live up to its historical task because of its class fear of the proletariat. It fears that the realization of such reforms will only bring advantages to Social-Democracy. The less a bourgeois democracy allows itself to be hypnotized by such a fear, the more it is prepared to undertake reforms. England is a good example. England is the only country that still possesses a truly powerful bourgeoisie, whereas the German bourgeoisie, shaking in fear of the proletariat, shies away from carrying out political and social reforms. As far as Germany is concerned, there is the additional factor of widespread Philistine views. The Philistine braid of prejudice reaches far down the back of the German bourgeoisie. To be sure, this fear of the bourgeois democracy is very shortsighted. The granting of political equality to women does not change the actual balance of power. The proletarian woman ends up in the proletarian, the bourgeois woman in the bourgeois camp. We must not let ourselves be fooled by Socialist trends in the bourgeois women’s movement which last only as long as bourgeois women feel oppressed.

The less bourgeois democracy comprehends its task, the more important it is for Social-Democracy to advocate the political equality of women. We do not want to make us out to be better than we are. We are not making this demand for the sake of a principle, but in the interests of the proletarian class. The more women’s work exercises its detrimental influence upon the standard of living of men, the more urgent becomes the necessity to include them in the economic battle. The more the political struggle affects the existence of each individual, the more urgent becomes the necessity of women’s participation in this political struggle. It was the Anti-Socialist Law which for the first time made clear to women what is meant by the terms class justice, class state and class rule. It was this law which taught women the need to learn about the force which so brutally intervened in their family lives. The Anti-Socialist Law has done successful work which could never have been done by hundreds of women agitators and, indeed, we are deeply grateful to the father of the Anti-Socialist Law as well as to all organs of the state (from the minister to the local cop) who have participated in its enforcement and rendered such marvelous involuntary propaganda services. How then can one accuse us Social-Democrats of ingratitude? (Amusement.)

Yet another event must be taken into consideration. I am referring to the publication of August Bebel’s book Woman and Socialism. This book must not be judged according to its positive aspects or its shortcomings. Rather, it must be judged within the context of the times in which it was written. It was more than a book, it was an event – a great deed. (Very accurate!) The book pointed out for the first time the connection between the women’s question and historical development. For the first time, there sounded from this book the appeal: We will only conquer the future if we persuade the women to become our co-fighters. In recognizing this, I am not speaking as a woman but as a party comrade.

What practical conclusions may we now draw for our propaganda work among women? The task of this Party Congress must not be to issue detailed practical suggestions, but to draw up general directions for the proletarian women’s movement.

Our guiding thought must be: We must not conduct special women’s propaganda, but Socialist agitation among women. The petty, momentary interests of the female world must not be allowed to take up the stage. Our task must be to incorporate the modern proletarian woman in our class battle! (Very true!) We have no special tasks for the agitation among women. Those reforms for women which must be accomplished within the framework of today’s society are already demanded within the minimal program of our party.

Women’s propaganda must touch upon all those questions which are of great importance to the general proletarian movement. The main task is, indeed, to awaken the women’s class consciousness and to incorporate them into the class struggle. The unionization of female workers is made extremely difficult. During the years 1892 until 1895, the number of female laborers organized in central trade unions grew to around 7,000. If we add to this number the female workers organized in local unions and realize that there are at least 700,000 female workers actively involved in large industrial enterprises, then we begin to realize the magnitude of the organizing work that still lies ahead of us. Our work is made more burdensome by the fact that many women are active in the cottage industry and can, therefore, be organized only with great difficulty. Then we also have to deal with the widely held belief among young girls that their industrial labor is only transitory and will be terminated by their marriage. For many women there is the double obligation to be active in both the factory and the home. All the more necessary is it for female workers to obtain a legally fixed workday. Whereas in England everybody agrees that the elimination of the cottage industry, the establishment of a legal workday and the achievement of higher wages are important prerequisites for the unionization of female workers – in Germany, in addition to these obstacles there is also the enforcement of our unionization and assemblage laws. The complete freedom to form coalitions, which has been legally guaranteed to the female workers by the Empire’s legislation, has been rendered illusory by the laws of individual federal states. I do not even want to discuss the manner in which the right to form unions is handled in Saxony (as far as one can even speak of a right there). But in the two largest federal states, in Bavaria and Prussia, the union laws are handled in such a way that women’s participation in trade union organizations is becoming more and more of an impossibility. Most recently in Prussia, the district of the “liberal,” eternal candidate for minister, Herr von Bennigsen has achieved everything humanly possible in the interpretation of the Law of Unionization and Assemblage. In Bavaria all women are excluded from public meetings. In the Chamber there, Herr von Freilitzsch declared very openly that in the handling of the law of unionization not only the text but also the intention of the legislators should be taken into account. Herr von Freilitzsch is in the most fortunate position to know exactly what were the intentions of the legislators, all of whom have since died, before Bavaria became more lucky than anybody could have imagined in their wildest dreams, by appointing Herr von Freilitzsch as her minister of police. That does not surprise me at all, because whoever receives an office from God also receives concomitantly intelligence, and in our Age of Spiritualism, Herr von Freilitzsch has thus obtained his official intelligence and by way of the fourth dimension has discovered the intentions of the long deceased legislators. (Amusement.)

This situation, however, does not make it possible for the proletarian women to organize themselves together with men. Until now they had to wage a fight against police power and juridical stratagems and on the surface they seemed to have been defeated, In reality, however, they emerged as victors because all those measures which were employed to smash the organization of the proletarian woman only served to arouse her class consciousness. If we want to obtain a powerful women’s organization in both the economic and political realms, then we must, first of all, take care of the possibility of women’s freedom of movement by fighting against the cottage industry, for shorter working hours and, above all, against what the ruling classes like to call the right to organize.

We cannot determine at this party congress what form our propaganda among women should take. We must, first of all, learn how we ought to do our work among women. In the resolution which has been submitted to you, it is proposed to elect shop stewards among the women whose task it will be to stimulate the union and economic organization of women and to consolidate it in a uniform and planned manner. This proposal is not new; it was adopted in principle at the Party Congress of Frankfurt, and in a few regions it has been enacted most successfully. Time will tell whether this proposal, when introduced on a larger scale, is suited to draw proletarian women to a greater extent into the proletarian movement.

Our propaganda must not be carried out solely in an oral fashion. A large number of passive people do not even come to our meetings and countless wives and mothers cannot come to our meetings. Indeed, it must certainly not be the task of Socialist propaganda among Socialist women to alienate the proletarian woman from her duties as mother and wife. On the contrary, she must be encouraged to carry out these tasks better than ever in the interests of the liberation of the proletariat. The better the conditions within her family, the better her effectiveness at home, the more she will be capable of fighting. The more she can serve as the educator and molder of her children, the better she will be able to enlighten them so that they may continue to fight on like we did, with the same enthusiasm and willingness to sacrifice for the liberation of the proletariat. When a proletarian then exclaims: “My wife!” he will add mentally, “Comrade of my ideals, companion of my battles, mother of my children for future battles.” Many a mother and many a wife who fills her husband and children with class consciousness accomplishes just as much as the female comrades that we see at our meetings. (Vivid agreement).

Thus if the mountain does not come to Mohammed, Mohammed must go to the mountain: We must take Socialism to the women by a planned written propaganda campaign. For such a campaign, I suggest the distribution of pamphlets and I do not mean the traditional pamphlet on which the entire Socialist program and the entire scientific knowledge of our century are condensed on one quarto page. No, we must use small pamphlets which discuss a single practical question from one angle of vision, especially from the point of view of the class struggle, which is the main task. And we must not assume a nonchalant attitude toward the technical production of pamphlets. We must not use, as is our tradition, the worst paper and the worst type of printing. Such a miserable pamphlet will be crumpled up and thrown away by the proletarian woman who does not have the same respect for the printed word that the male proletarian possesses. We must imitate the American and English teetotallers who put out pretty little booklets of four to six pages. Because even a female proletarian is enough of a woman to say to herself: “This little thing is just charming. I will have to pick it up and keep it!” (Much amusement and many cheers.) The sentences which really count must be printed in great big letters. Then the proletarian woman will not be frightened away from reading and her mental attention will be stimulated.

Because of my personal experiences, I cannot advocate the plan of founding a special newspaper for women. My personal experiences are not based upon my position as the editor of Gleichheit (which is not designed for the mass of women, but rather their progressive avant-guard), but as a distributor of literature among female workers. Stimulated by the actions of Frau Gnauck-Kuhne, I distributed newspapers for weeks at a certain factory. I became convinced that the women there did not acquire from these papers what is enlightening, but solely what is entertaining and amusing. Therefore, the big sacrifices which are necessary in order to publish a cheap newspaper would not be worth it.

But we also have to create a series of brochures which bring Socialism closer to the woman in her capacity as female proletarian, wife and mother. Except for the powerful brochure of Frau Popp, we do not have a single one that comes up to the requirements we need. Our daily press, too, must do more than it has done heretofore. Some daily newspapers have made the attempt to enlighten women by the addition of special supplements for women. The Magdeburger Volksstimme set an example in this endeavor and Comrade Goldstein at Zwickau has skillfully and successfully emulated it. But until now the daily press has regarded the proletarian woman as a subscriber, flattering her ignorance, her bad and unformed taste, rather than trying to enlighten her.

I repeat that I am only throwing out suggestions for your consideration. Propaganda among women is difficult and burdensome and requires great devotion and great sacrifice, but these sacrifices will be rewarded and must be brought forth. The proletariat will be able to attain its liberation only if it fights together without the difference of nationality and profession. In the same way it can attain its liberation only if it stands together without the distinction of sex. The incorporation of the great masses of proletarian women in the liberation struggle of the proletariat is one of the prerequisites for the victory of the Socialist idea and for the construction of a Socialist society.

Only a Socialist society will solve the conflict that is nowadays produced by the professional activity of women. Once the family as an economic unit will vanish and its place will be taken by the family as a moral unit, the woman will become an equally entitled, equally creative, equally goal-oriented, forward-stepping companion of her husband; her individuality will flourish while at the same time, she will fulfill her task as wife and mother to the highest degree possible.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Antoine Ghanem Assassinated

Update: final results are 9 killed, more than 60 wounded...

Someone needs to remind Aoun and his followers the art of politics...

Another political assassination, and again it is a 14th of March figurehead. The MP assassinated is the Phalange’s MP, Antoine Ghanem. He made it to the Parliament in the fierce battle of Baabda-Alley region, with Walid Junblatt and 14th of March coalition.

The assassinated so far are: Attempted Murder of Marwan Hmaidi (MP then), Rafiq el Harriri, Basil Fleihan, Samir Qassir, George Hawwi, Joubran Tueini, attempt on Elias el Murr, attempt on May Shidiac, Pierre Gemayel, Walid Eido, and now Antoine Ghanem.

You will notice that except for May Shidiac, the assassinations have been targeting Ministers or Members of the Parliament. Now, things will escalate again, and I expect trouble between the Free Patriotic Movement and the 14th of March Coalition. Actually, Aoun would probably make a clown out of himself and nominate someone on the spot (like he did when Jubran Tuieni was assassinated) instead of Ghanem since he had a good chance for his coalition to penetrate then.

The assassination is a clear brutal message of assassinating 14th of March figureheads. I doubt the authorities will tag this one on Fatah Islam (although they still can lamely since Shaker el Absi is still alive) like they did with the assassinated young minister Pierre Gemayel. The message would probably be regarding the Presidential Elections which 14th of March would insist to elect part of the coalition and the Opposition. Another message would be, specially for selecting a Christian MP, is to convey a message for 14th of March to withdraw.

Nevertheless, from Joubran Tuieni to Antoine Ghanem, all the killed were MPs/Ministers. Certain faction of the coalition ran against 14th of March when it came to the elections overdue, and I sure hope Aoun wont be a lunatic to do the same now. Ever since the Matn elections, the Christian Camp has been more and more divided. I anticipate that Aoun will lose more of his followers after this event.

Those who are celebrating the death of Antoine Ghanem, they are signing the country’s future to a bloody civil war.

So far six are killed in the explosion, and I wonder how long all the people living in Lebanon can stand the situation.

May the souls of the innocent rest in peace


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

25th Memory of the Sabra - Shatila Massacres/Story (September 1982)


The Sabra and Shatila massacres will always be remembered as the greatest butchery of civilian life in the history of Lebanon, and the second would probably be Tel el Zaatar. Unlike Tel el Zaatar though, Sabra & Shatila camps lacked any militants, and the camps were similar to what the US diplomat Morris Draper compared the entrance of Elie Hobeika’s elite squad (faction of the Lebanese Forces) to the camp as bunch of Ku Klux Klan militants, with most advanced weapons, unleashed on African – Americans surrounded by troops forbidding them to escape the camps. I recommend in order to understand better the overall story to read these two articles (Regarding Bashir Gemayel's Elections - The Other Story, Investigating Bashir Gemayel (Part I): Bashir and the Israelis
The Background:

Ever since Cairo 1969, the Palestinian Refugee Camps were transformed in general as military base-points for the PLO, under the hand of Yasser Arafat. With the war breaking out, Palestinian Camps outside the West Beirut became pocket enclaves for the PLO against their opponents and their allies the Lebanese National Movement.

With the brutal Israeli siege of West Beirut butcherong the Lebanese civilians, Phil. Habib succeeded to broker a deal, against all odds and Sharon’s obstacles, between the United States and the PLO: which was to evacuate them outside Lebanon, and the militants to be distributed in Jordan, Syria, and Tunisia (all three countries accepted with severe hesitance because no country in the right mind would welcome the heavily armed PLO). The only country that fully volunteered to accept the whole PLO faction was Iraq, but the PLO were quick to decline Saddam’s offer because they didn’t want to be in the Iraqi fronts fighting Iran. In return, Bashir Gemayel gave his word of honor that the families of the PLO and the civilians shall not be touched. Sharon also was not supposed to enter West Beirut because it will backfire on the US Foreign Policy and the US administration’s ties with the Arab nations, specially Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan.

The Multi-Nationals who oversaw the evacuation of the PLO militants were supposed to remain for a month after the PLO were evacuated from West Beirut. The purpose of the evacuation was to block the Israelis any alibi to remain in Lebanon, which primarily was the eradication of the PLO through their own forces and the Lebanese Forces. The Multi-Nationals, composed from the US (taking the primary role of the evacuation) Marines, the French (being second politically), and the Italians. Other than the fact several encounters between the US marines and Israeli Defense Forces took place during the evacuation, the PLO were evacuated up to suspected capacity of 95%. Philip Habib returned to his retirement, after Sarkis presented him with the highest medal of honor existent in the Lebanese Government (whatever was functional of it then), and everything went from bad to worse.

Bashir Gemayel was expected to last six years and bring order to Lebanon, according to US calculations; however, what the US didn’t calculate that the “other Lebanon” would do the impossible to assassinate him, since in their eyes he invited the Israelis over for his private usage. When Bashir Gemayel was assassinated, all hell broke loose. The Multi-Nationals already withdrew hastily (first by the decision of the new Secretary of State Schultz, and hence triggered a domino effect with the Italians and French to withdraw hastily). By the end of the month after the massacre, Reagan announced the return of the Multi-National Forces back to Lebanon. Morris Draper became the head of the US Presidential Diplomatic Convoy to Lebanon.

With Bashir Gemayel dead, the Israelis entered West Beirut under the allegation of protecting the Muslims of West Beirut (strangely they fired at the residents of West Beirut Smart Bombs and prohibited weaponry, not to forget the 16 hour marathon of bombing) whereby only Lebanese civilians were slaughtered.

You will notice, my fellow readers, that again I will quote my favorite two books, Boykin’s “Cursed is the Peacemaker”, and Traboulsi’s “A History of Modern Lebanon”, for one reason only, these two bothered heavily to reconstruct history as it happened with references that are rarely mentioned elsewhere.

Draper was informed by Begin that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) will move to checkpoints on West Beirut “with the object of keeping things quiet and insuring that there were no incidents to mar the peace.”

On the US Versus Israeli Level

And I start my quoting:

“Three hours later, Draper arrived in Beirut for Bashir’s funeral and saw that ‘the city was in flames.’ Despite Begin’s assurances that the IDF was taking ‘strictly limited precautionary measures,’ Draper saw the IDF going at it hot and heavy with tank and artillery fire. The funeral could wait. He ordered his car turned around and headed off to the IDF headquarters outside Beirut “where I essentially could get only incomplete information and pap to the effect that ‘everything was fine’. Draper felt he’ been had. “Begin told me as a representative of the United States government that the Isrealis were not going to move into the heart of Beirut..” He told a straight out, 100 percent, baldfaced lie to the United States government, his great friend. I mean, a solemn undertaking by the prime minister of a friendly state? Unheard of!.”

“In a nasty meeting the next day, Thursday, September 16, raper and Sam Lewis confronted Sharon about his violation of the Habib agreement and the damage it had done to Habib’s, America’s, and Israel’s credibility. Sharon’s icey reply: “Circumstances changed, sir.’”

“It was all the PLO’s fault, Sharon argued. They had violated the agreement. They had left behind vast stores of weapons and 2,500 terrorists to use them. Those terrorists, Sharon said, were hiding in the Palestinian refugee camps of West Beirut, including Sabra and Shatila. Sharon now had the camps surrounded.” (Cursed is the Peace Maker, Roy Boykin, Applegate Press – 2002 – P. 267 – 268).

The US diplomats knew that Sharon was exaggerating the numbers left behind.

Hence, “Draper kept asking the Israelis for the source of their belief in thousands of stay-behind terrorists, but he never got a good answer. ‘At most there were a handful of guerrillas; left behind, he says. “There were a few armed men in the camps… BUT THEY WERE ALL MEN OF SIXTY OR SEVENTY YEARS OLD. THEY MAY HAVE HAD OLD SHOTGUNS, BUT THEY WERE OT A THREAT. Essentially, THE CAMPS WERE DISARMED.” (Ibid, P. 269)

With Bashir Gemayel dead, the US diplomats lost a major actor on the Lebanese arena, and there was no one to control that powerful militant party Phalange/Lebanese Forces. The US would say the following: “

The nearest American equivalent to sending the Phalange into the camps would be sending heavily armed Ku Klux Kansmen into an African-American neighborhood with a license to kill. Chosen to lead the operation was the head of Phalange Intelligence, Elie Hobeika. Dillion knew him from his services as Bashir’s personal bodyguard and describes him as a “Pathological killer….”


Begin insisted to the US diplomats that he was entering West Beirut afterwards to protect the Muslims of West Beirut from Phalange aggression, which the US diplomats compared his justification of a coyote entering in to protect the chicken. IDF General Eitan told Morris Draper: “The Phalange… are obsessed with the idea of revenge…. I’m telling you that some of their commanders visited me, and I could see in their eyes that it’s going to be a relentless slaughter.” (Ibid, P.270) That was on September 16, and as Eitan was speaking, the massacres began in Sabra – Shatila. The IDF knew the Phalange will out of revenge for the assassination of their leader Bashir Gemayel will seek revenge blindly, but they had to make sure they are directed towards the Palestinian civilians rather the Muslims.

The Sabra-Shatila massacres lasted days. The Israeli intelligence informed Sharon that there were no terrorists four hours after this massacre of 3000 civilians began.

“But what Sharon apparently did not anticipate was that his intelligence reports were wrong: The Phalangists found rather few people in the camps who fit any but the most all-inclusive definition of terrorist. INDEED, THE IDF INTELLIGENCE OFFICER ON THE SPOT MONITORING EVENTS REPORTED WITHIN HOURS OF THE PHALANGISTS’ ENTRY, “THERE ARE EVIDENTLY NO TERRORISTS IN THE CAMP.” So the Phalangists slaughtered pretty much whoever they did find: defenseless women, children, old men, even cats, dogs, and horses. Whereas actual PLO fighters had fought rabidly earlier in the invasion, the Phalangists encountered hardly any resistance in the camps.

From the Earliest Hours, the IDF ha clear indications that the Phalangists were killing civilians, lots of civilians. To stanch that hemorrhaging, they again approached the Lebanese Army Forces (not to be mistake with Lebanese Forces) go into the camps,” Sharon said to Draper on Friday, apparently neglecting to mention that the Phalange was already in the camps. ‘They can kill the terrorists. But if they don’t, we will.” The LAF again refused, saying they could not cross the IDF ring around the camps to do anything without looking like a tool of the IDF.


From the very words of the US ambassador Dillon: “The Israelis, who had promised to stay out of Beirut, immediately invaded to ‘restore order’. That was just a pretext; there was no disorder.” He adds that restoring order doesn’t mean killing civilians. Morris Draper’s exact words to Sharon on Saturday morning: “You must stop the acts of slaughter. They are horrifying. I have a representative in the camp counting the bodies. You should be ahamed. The situation is absolutely appalling. They’re killing children! You have the field completely under your control and are therefore responsible for that area.” (Ibid, 271)

The Israelis openly sponsored Elie Hobeika’s elite squad. “The IDF quite openly sponsored their business, keeping the camps surrounded and the Palestinians trapped inside, allowing in Phalange reinforcements, hosting Hobeika in their forward command post near the camps while he stayed in radio contact with his men inside, and providing maps and aerial photos of the camps, a bulldozer, and illumination flares through the night.” (Ibid, P.270)

Phases/Summary of the Sabra-Shatila Massacre:

Fawaz Traboulsi, using latest references, divides the massacre into three phases.

“The next morning, Israeli troops entered West Beirut, which had resisted them for over three months, ostensibly ‘in order to prevent a bloodbath’; in fact, they initiated one. On Wednesday the 15th and for a whole of Thursday the 16th and early Friday the 17th, hundreds of special security units of the Lebanese Forces, seconded by regular troops stationed at the airport, were mainly responsible for committing the massacre of more than a thousand Palestinians (and no less than a hundred Lebanese) in the twin camps of Sabra and Shatila, not to speak of hundreds who disappeared. They were let in by the Israeli troops who were encircling the camps and helped by the hundreds of flares launched by these same troops. Ariel Sharon had visited Bikfaya the day beore and informed the mourning Jumayils that Bashir ha been killed by Palestinians. George Schultz , then US Scretary of State, later recalled that on Friday 17 September 1982, Ariel Sharon informed Maurice Draper that he had asked the Lebanese army to enter the camp and ‘clean them out’. He added: ‘They can kill the terrorists. But if they don’t we will.’ The Lebanese army failed to do so. [MFL notes: Phase 1]: On Wednesday 15th, units of the elite Israeli army ‘reconnaissance’ force, the Sayeret Mat’kal, which had already carried out the assassination of the three PLO leaders in Beirut (the one Ehud Barak led in Verdun in the early 1970s), entered the camps with a mission to liquidate a selecte number of Palestinian cadres. [MFL notes: Phase 2 & 3] The next day, two units of killers were introduced into the camps, troops from Sa’d Haddad’s Army of South Lebanon, attached to the Israeli forces in Beirut, and the LF security units of Elie Hobeika known as the Apaches, led by Marun Mash’alani, Michel Zuwayn, and Georges Melko.” [Fawaz Traboulsi, A History of Modern Lebanon, Pluto Press – 2007, P. 218]

He adds: “Ariel Sharon was found ‘indirectly responsible’ for the massacre by the Israeli Kahan commission of inquiry and had to resign his post as minister of defense. The US administration’s responsibility was considerable. The American peace-keeping force that oversaw the evacuation of the PLO was also assigned the task of guaranteeing the safety of ‘law-abiding Palestinian non-combatants in Beirut, including the families of those who have departed’. However, the US administration withdrew the Marines detachment two weeks before the end of its 30 days mandate, forcing the French and the Italian forces to follow suit. George Schultz later confessed to the fact that the Marines of the MNF had been ‘hurriedly withdrawn.

On 20 September, President Reagan recalled the MNF back to Beirut. [Ibid, P.219]

Couple of years ago, Elie Hobeika was assassinated in a bomb explosion, one week before he was traveling to Belgium to testify against Ariel Sharon in the International Court Tribunal. His assassins are unknown,it can be the Israelis, it can be one of his previous allies, Palestinians, or anybody as a matter of fact.

May the innocent killed find peace, and the living find peace with themselves…May the innocent killed find peace, and the living find peace with themselves…

Monday, September 17, 2007

Investigating Bashir Gemayel Part I: Bashir and the Israelis

Read Regarding the Elections of Bashir Gemayel - The Other Story


“A far more serious short-coming of the Israeli alliance with the Lebanese Front was revealed by Bashir Gemayel’s assassination on September 15. No other Maronite leader combined the ability to govern Lebanon in these difficult circumstances with a political orientation acceptable to Israel, let alone pro-Israeli.” (Itimar Rabinovich, The War for Lebanon 1970-1985, Cornell University Press (1985), P. 144)

“لكل خائن حبيب” (Lebanese National Movement/Resistance Front saying on Bashir Gemayel; translation: Every Traitor has a lover, or the original saying: This is a reference to Habib Chartouni from SSNP who killed Bachir. Therefore the translation is not "Every Traitor has a lover" but "Every Traitor will be killed" [taken from the comments section])

“لقد قتلوا حلم لبنان” (Lebanese Front/Lebanese Forces saying; translation: They murdered the dream of Lebanon)

“."اديت مضمونه (القسم) طوال ثماني سنوات المقاومة، و اتلو نصه في بدء ست سنوات الحكم (Bashir Gemayel: Undelivered inauguration speech 1982, Tuesday 15/9/1992. Annahar, P 7; translation: I worked for the essence of the oath through eight years of resistance, and now I will read its script at the beginning of six years of rule”

“Bashir, when he wasn’t murdering people, was a likable man. He had great boyish charm” Robert Dillon, US ambassador to Lebanon in 1982 (John Boykin, Cursed is the Peacemaker, Applegate Press (2002), P. 74)

“With the death of Bashir Gemayel, thousands mourned while thousands others cheered” (al-Jazeera documentary: War for Lebanon)

“كان بشير جميل يجسد كل ما لا نتمناه لهذا البلد، لكن الاغتيال إيذان بأفدح الكوارث.
خاطرة في طريق العودة: اليوم عيد الصليب. لبنان على الصليب مجدداً. و غداً يجب ان تمطر شأنها شأن كل ثاني يوم العيد."
Translation: “Bashir Gemayel represented everything we don’t wish for this nation, but the assassination was alarming for other disasters.

A passing thought on the way home: Today is the holiday Day of the Cross. Lebanon is on the Cross again. Tomorrow it should rain like every second day of the holiday.”

(Fawaz Traboulsi, About Incurable Hope: Journals of the Siege of Beirut 1982, Riad el Rayyes Books (2007), P.74)

“Sharon and Bashir’s understanding was that, once Israeli troops reached Beirut, they would link up with Bashir’s militia to surround it. Bashir’s militia, the halange, would then do the dirty work of going door to door in Muslim West Beirut slaughtering Palestinians until the PLO fled Lebanon like rats from a burning house.” (John Boykin, Cursed is the Peacemaker, Applegate Press (2002), P. 77)

“Be very, very careful. Remember, they are not interested in your welfare. They are only interested in their own welfare. There can’t be a simply Christian Lebanon. That is not realistic.” Philip Habib & Dillion to Bashir Gemayel (John Boykin, Cursed is the Peacemaker, Applegate Press (2002), P. 77)

The Historical Fiasco

In an earlier post, I displayed why Bashir Gemayel will never be a legitimate president of Lebanon, and henceforth the man who was blown to kingdom come was just a political actor. Bashir Gemayel, prior to one month of the Israeli invasion, informed US ambassador Dillon that the Israeli invasion was on its way to Lebanon. The plan of Ariel Sharon to invade Lebanon was two-folded: annihilate the PLO and install a government. According to Philip Habib, Lebanon has always been considered a ‘second’ country to sign a peace treaty with the Israelis after Egypt. In 1981, Sharon displaced to the US diplomat his plan to invade Lebanon and link up with the Lebanese Forces. Actually in January 1982, Sharon secretly met with Bashir Gemayel to finalize his plans and preparations, and hence, the United States diplomats decided to share this information with us:

“Sharon meanwhile pressed ahead with his plans for Lebanon. In January 1982 he flew to Lebanon to scout out the lay of the land that he expected to invade. First stop: Beirut. His host was Bashir Gemayel, the Maronite ally who had sparked the missile crisis in April. This invasion would be a partnership of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Bashir’s Phalange militia. The IDF would do the large-scale heavy lifting; the Phalange would handle up-closefighting that Begin didn’t want Israeli troops exposed to. Bashir took him to Beit Meri, a suburb in the hills surrounding Beirut, to show him the panoramic view of the city. Sharon pointed to the Muslim sid of town, which had become the PLO’s stronghold, and told Bashir, “Israel will not enter West Beirut… Our presence there would cause complex political problems for us. West Beirut is your business…” Though Sharon spoke with Bashir in hypothetical – “If there is a war, take that hill” – there was little ambiguity that they were coordinating plans for an invasion they both knew was just a pretext away.

That evening Bashir brought Sharon to meet his father Pierre (whose attempted assassination had sparked the civil war in 1975), and former president Camille Chamoun, who had invited the Syrians in 1976. The men were all keen to have the Israeli army invade Lebanon to kick out the Syrians and Palestinians for them. Chamoun pressed Sharon, “Whill you really come to Beirut, as you have said? Or all this just a talk

“We’ll get there! Don’t you worry.” (John Boykin, Cursed is the Peacemaker, Applegate Press (2002), P. 53)

Bashir Gemayel promoted himself as the next Lebanese president after Sarkis when Zahli crisis occurred, and he got it from the US, and eventually from the Israelis when Sharon became Minister of Defense. In the US administration, Secretary of State was a lunatic subjective General, called Al Haig, who was in total agreement with Sharon to just go there and “finish the job” as fast as possible. He never understood the situation; however, he provided the cover for Ariel Sharon’s suicidal invasion of Beirut and crippled the ones who opposed him, such as Philip Habib, Morris Draper, Lewis (US Ambassador), Violetes, and Dillon (US ambassador to Lebanon).

Now Bashir got caught up between two entanglements, the first was Bashir’s entrance to West Beirut once the Israelis formulated a siege on it from East Beirut, and he knew that his Lebanese Forces are no match to the PLO as well as their allies, the Lebanese National Movement. Hence, he hesitated a lot about sending his militia men to slaughter inside West Beirut. Even Elie Hobeika in al-Jazeera’s War for Lebanon displayed how much Bashir was pissed off from Israeli pressure to enter West Beirut. Philip Habib (now head of the US Presidential Diplomat Convoy) and Morris Draper were angry from Bashir for subduing blindly to Sharon at first. Actually Sharon was the other angry man from Bashir. “The Begin, after all, did not want to risk his own boys in hand-to-hand combat. The link-up did happen, at Baabda June 12, and Sharon and Bashir did have the PLO and several thousand Syrian troops trapped in West Beirut.” (John Boykin, Cursed is the Peacemaker, Applegate Press (2002), P. 77). Actually Sharon exploded more than once on Bashir Gemayel with words: “Do something!”. Bashir told Phil. Habib about Sharon’s stubbornness: “What Arik wants, Arik gets”.

Now Bashir Gemayel’s plan was simple, get the PLO evacuated out of West Beirut because he won’t be able to face them alone, and then install himself as President of Lebanon through the US administration’s political influences on the regional level, and with the fire power of the Israelis. The Israelis and the US administration didn’t trust each other that much when Ariel Sharon was the Minister of Defense. In any case it worked fine for Bashir Gemayel. For those who argue that Bashir Gemayel is the legitimate President, I ask them: Would Bashir Gemayel had become Lebanese President if he didn’t have the Israeli fire power underneath his hand?

During all the time the Israelis were bombing West Beirut, Bashir Gemayel never regarded them as invaders. The only invaders to Bashir Gemayel were the PLO and the Syrian Army (of whom his father co-requested to enter Beirut and disarm the PLO). The best reference would be Morris Draper, who discloses the whole entrance of the Israelis publicly after 20 years later, when Bashir Gemayel and Walid Jumblatt (head of the Lebanese National Movement genetically from his father, the late Kamal Jumblatt. Phlip Habib worked hard to get the “National Salvation Council” meetings to roll, and that was the easiest in order to get the Lebanese at least to agree with each other, and henceforth limit Sharon’s interventions. After a lot of talks with Bashir Gemayel, Philip Habib was successful in convincing Bashir to call his “thugs” away from Walid Jumlatt.

And here I shall quote:

“This was to be the first meeting of the ‘National Salvation Council.’ Habib had coached Bashir ahead of time – “Look, if we get these people together, I don’t want you to insult them” and Bashir said “oh, yes” – but it quickly dissolved into a shouting match between Bashir and Walid. “Bashir was at his most arrogant,” says Draper (who speaks perfectly well Arabic by the way). He was, after all, the Israelis’ ally who had invited them to invade in the first place and had asked them a few days earlier to stay around Berut until they could get him elected President of Lebanon. So he had no interest in helping get them out. He and Walid just shouted accusations back and forth and argued about changing the constitution and about whether Bashir should be the next president about whatever else came to mind. They nearly went at each other with fists, “It was just murderous,” says Draper. “Had there been any Palestinians in the room, I think Bashir would have cut their throats. It was just aweful.” (John Boykin, Cursed is the Peacemaker, Applegate Press (2002), P. 76)

Fawaz Traboulsi, in his journals writes the following: “

الاجتماع الأول لهيئة الإنقاذ. سركيس يرى أن اللقاء – و خاصة لقاء وليد و بشير – هو اليوم الذي كان ينتظؤه منذ ست سنوات. يعرض الشروط التي نقلها فيليب حبيب عن الاسرائليين. تعليق وليد جنبلاط: اذا، مطلوب رأس المقاومة الفلسطنية.

بشير مستعجل لضرب الحديدة وهي حامية، و تثمير الاحتلال على صعيد التركيبة اللبنانية. يدعو المسلمين الى أن "يلحّقوا حالهم"، والا فلن يبقى سني واحد يشارك في الحكم.

وليد لبشير:" أنت مستفيد من الاحتلال الاسرائيلي"

بشير: "كلنا يمكن أن يكون مستفيداً"...

ويتسائل وليد جنبلاط عن موضوع الانسحاب الاسرائيلي على جدول أعمال الهيئة، فيجيبه الوزان : "هذا تحصيل حاصل"


First Meeting of the National Salvation Council. Sarkis consider the meeting, specially between Walid [Junblatt] and Bashir [Gemayel], as the day he has been waiting for to happen for the past six years. The conditions of the Israelis, which were transmitted through Philip Habib, were discussed. Wqlid Junblatt comments: “So, the head of the Palestinian Resistance is demanded”

Bashir, in a hurry to hit the iron when hot and harvest the [Israeli] invasion on the political scale of the Lebanese combination, requests that the Muslims should “hurry with themselves” or else there won’t be one Sunni to participate in the rule.

Walid to Bashir: “You are benefiting from the Israeli invasion”

Bashir: We all are potentials to benefit from the invasion

Walid afterwards asks on the topic of the Israeli withdrawal on the Committee’s agenda. Al-Wazzan (Prime Minister then): till that comes…

(Fawaz Traboulsi, About Incurable Hope: Journals of the Siege of Beirut 1982, Riad el Rayyes Books (2007), P. 17 – 18)

As far as the Israelis, we know what they had planned for Bashir, and we know from my earlier post that Bashir was supposed to be the US’s candidate for presidency, but as far as we know, we never tackled what were Bashir Gemayel’s plans for the country, had he lived. Actually, Phil Habib calculated that Bashir, without the neighboring Arab nations, won't last a bit. In a secret meeting in Naharriya (Israel) with Sharon and Begin, a huge confrontation errupted. We know for sure that the Israelis wanted to install head of the Southern Lebanese Army as the Lebanese Army Commander or minister of Defence, but Bashir declined. A huge confronation exploded between Begin and Bashir, because Begin needed to face-save himself with the Israeli Parliament, but again Bashir wouldnt accept. Eventually, Bashir agreed to normalize relations. Habib told him that he needed at least a year to establish his hand over Lebanon. Begin the next day of the meeting leaked to the Israeli Press about Bashir's secret visit. More importantly, several sources always refered to Begin talking with Bashir as "Son". The assassination of Bashir Gemayel left Sharon's "Phase II" plan shattered.

As far as we know, Bashir's visit to Saudi Arabia (upon US advice) didnt win him with the whole of Lebanon. He remained viewed by a lot of political actors and masses as an Israeli installed President (till current day the debate rages on). By also visiting Sunni leaders, Bashir also failed to win over the residents of "West Beirut". After all, in less than a month West Beirut was burning to the ground from Israeli cannons installed in East Beirut, with Sharon himself visiting Bashir Gemayel more than once. If someone tells me it is a coincedence that "Operation Peace for Galilee" proceeded and Bashir Gemayel was by chance elected. Nevertheless, this is one story that shall remain most controversial among different never-ending controversies through-out the history of Lebanon. Bashir Gemayel though will remain as the youngest man to be elected as a president through out this complex cyclone like history.

As for his platform, I am dedicating a special section on that matter. Luckily, we have several references on investigating what he had in his mind, and can at least deduct his ideas regarding Lebanon. This will be discussed in Part II. I also would like to stress that only constructive debate to be allowed in this thread.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering Leon Trotsky, The Man who saved Marxism from extinction

As part of remembering the memorial of Leon Trotsky, I felt that I need to add my perspective on the issue. I wanted to write earlier, but sadly, I have been really busy.

Leon Trotsky for me remains the most important figure in the history of Marxism, second to Marx, for different reasons. I will not dwell on his history to the details in defending Trotsky in the face of the Stalinist reactionaries; rather I will tackle the core issues of interest.

Trotsky started his activist youth as a Social Democrat and a man who despised Communism. He used to mock them and called them in his teenager life as the dry materialists. Eventually, when he was asked to do a play, he decided to create a play that rotates on a debate discussion between a Marxist and a Social Democrat. The more he thought in progress and change, the more he found himself as a Marxist rather a Social Democrat. Eventually, he became a Marxist and founded the South Russian Trade Union, and became its spearhead at the age of 18 only, till he was imprisoned.

He was what Lunacharsky and Vera quoted as the dynamic of Iskra, Plekhanov (father of Russian Marxism) himself was extremely jealous from his energy and productivity, and Lunacharsky quoted him expressing his hatred for such a fact. When the bloody Black Friday massacre occurred in 1905, Leon Trotsky, at the age of 26, flew from exile and transformed a simple strike to a workers’ revolution which was probably the second workers’ revolution since the Paris Commune of 1871. The 1905 insurrection proved to the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks alike that there is no need to wait to establish a workers’ government, rather dedication to the workers’ cause is sufficient to establish the first Soviet. By the time Lenin and Martov were lost about the 1905 revolution, Trotsky announced the establishment of Soviet Petrograd, and the former two were wondering what a Soviet is. Trotsky, defying both the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks mentalities, placed the roots to expand of what Marx and Engels began, the theory of Permanent Revolution.

When the February revolution was over in 1917, a certain prince, called Lavrov, was installed as a Prime Minister of Russia. By then, Lenin’s ideas and Trotsky’s shared the same line: a real workers’ revolution needs to be organized. Both came from exile and both, upon their arrival, demanded that a revolution should occur. Lenin and Trotsky, side by side were opposed by the majority of the Bolsheviks, and Trotsky’s Pravda (spearheaded then by Kamenev) declared they had no affiliation to Lenin or Trotsky. Nevertheless, both saw the chance was coming to do a world revolution, and they did. John Reed called those ten days as “the ten days that shook the world”. Trotsky was arrested by the “democratic Dan” and the rest of the new generation of the Mensheviks, and Trotsky’s powerful character got him out of prison and court. Eventually, Trotsky became the head of the Revolutionary Committee, and organized the workers’ defenses from scratch. After the Soviet Union was established, his newly born Red Army repelled 11 foreign invading armies.

The purpose of me highlighting those tiny parts of Trotsky’s remarkable rich life is to give a brief insight on the life of such an incredible man. Trotsky’s movement name was not his real name, it was his jailers (ironically) in order for him to remember constantly the oppressions of the Tsar for the workers and the people of Russia. His real name is Lev Davidovich Bronstein. A person who taught us that Internationalism is before any form of Nationalism. Actually, he even opposed the Bund (Jewish Socialist Party) because for him a Jewish Socialist Party meant a segregationist party which demanded only a segment of the Proletariat’s needs. The choice is definitely by either achieving your goals 100% or forget beginning with one.

So what is the importance of Leon Trotsky? Organization and Economics was Lenin’s domain not Trotsky. Well, for starters, I regard Leon Trotsky as the man who saved the sciences of Marxism from the bloody claws of Stalin. If it weren’t for Trotsky to fight Stalin on the ideological and ground level, we would have thought that Communism is worshiping Moscow. After all there is a saying on the Lebanese Communists back in the late sixties which goes: “If it rained in Moscow, the Lebanese Communists in Beirut opened their umbrellas.” Trotsky made sure that the most important task is to save the Marxist history and ideology from being purged to the ground, just as Stalin annihilated and obliterated the whole Bolsheviks. Trotsky knew he had little time to pour down his experiences and his knowledge on the sciences of Marxism, and he did. He knew that Stalin would fear another revolution replica to the one that began during World War I and had to rush against time before the axe of Stalin would reach his skull in Mexico.

For me, let me be clear, Trotsky was not just fighting Stalin’s method of rewriting the history of not only the Russian Revolution, but the whole world. Rather, he also was fighting the reactionary Kautskian followers who downgraded the meaning of Social Democracy to “reform from above” without any real accomplishments. With the Stalinists from one side, and the new generation of Social Democrats from other (1925-1970) who preached isolationist nationalism in parallel of minor reforms within the heart of capitalism, he had to make sure that there will be a continuity in the believe in the revolution, primarily what Hal Draper would call as “Emancipation From Below” (or the only way!). Social Democrats became too much involved in petty political affairs, whereby they provide welfare to their people without tackling the core issues of Marxism: Rich getting richer, alienation, class struggle, (and the sort). Trotsky hence faced a two way threat that both claimed to be left-wing. A lunatic blood thirsty dictator from one side, and bunch of right-wingers who claimed they are leftists. Both are dangerous and Trotsky had to provide the future generations with the real guide to understand the Revolution of the Proletariat. He had to make sure that Kautsky’s refracted ideas won’t be accepted on the premises of his older ones. Trotsky had to fight till the last breath (in which he said “Long Live the Fourth International”) to guarantee that the reactionaries don’t terminate a century of sacrifices, knowledge, and history. His ideas remain eternal, and for us, the revolutionaries, we shall forever be in debt for a man who saved us from worshiping bunch of social democrats ( like Democratic Left in Lebanon) or Stalinist nationalist reactionaries (Lebanese Communist Party).

In the end, Trotsky’s life story, like that glorious to the great ones of Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, Clara Zatkin, Karl Marx, Eleanor Marx, Fredriche Engels, and the rest, is the historical proof that an idea will forever be present, and his grand achievement in October of 1917 will teach us that it is still possible to achieve a global workers’ revolution to annihilate the claws of Capitalism and its reactionary residues everywhere.

Long live the Sciences of Marxism
Thank you Lev Davidovich Bronstein aka Leon Trotsky


Monday, September 03, 2007

Fatah Islam Leader: Shaker el Absi Dead

(article taken from Daily Star, I hope I will have time to translate the Annahar one)

NAHR AL-BARED, Lebanon, Sept 2, 2007 (AFP) - The head of Fatah al-Islam, Shaker al-Abssi, was killed on Sunday in fighting with the Lebanese army at a refugee camp and his body has been identified, an army officer told AFP.

"The body of Shaker al-Abssi is among the corpses of Islamists taken to the state-run hospital in Tripoli," said the officer, who did not wish to be identified.

Several medical examiners were dispatched to the hospital to view the bodies of Islamists taken there, he added.

Lebanese minister Ahmad Fatfat told Al-Jazeera television, monitored in Dubai, that it appeared that Abssi had been killed in the siege.

"Information that reached me about one and a half hours ago (around 1830 GMT) confirms up to 90 percent that several witnesses identified the body of Mr Shaker al-Abssi at the government hospital in Tripoli," said Fatfat.

"But further confirmations are required, additional witnesses have been called, and DNA tests are being carried out in order to have a definite confirmation before an official statement is issued," he said.

Fatfat is minister for youth and sports and close to Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

Asked how long these procedures would take, he said: "If witnesses are unanimous, I think DNA (tests) would become secondary, especially since Abssi's wife is on hand. But if a DNA test is needed, that takes around two days." -AFP

Abssi: fighter pilot turned Islamist radical

Shaker al-Abssi, the Al-Qaeda-inspired leader whose fate is unknown after a bloody siege in Lebanon, is a Palestinian refugee with a battle-hardened and globetrotting past.

In the 1980s, Abssi served in the secular Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), flew MiG fighter jets for Libya in its war with Chad, and fought Israeli forces which invaded Lebanon to drive out the PLO, his brother Abed said.

But later Abssi turned to radical Islam out of both religious conviction and "frustration" over the failure of the Palestinian cause, Abed told AFP recently in the Jordan capital where he lives and works as an orthopaedic surgeon.

"My brother is one of them (Islamist radicals). They think maybe Islam is the way to liberation. Everything else failed," he said as he worried about his brother.

His fate remained unknown as one Lebanese army office said Abssi, the leader of Fatah al-Islam, appeared to have fled the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon the troops announced they had retaken control on Sunday.

But an army source told AFP later that his body had been identified among the dead Islamists taken to the state-run hospital in Tripoli.

In addition to being sought by Lebanese troops, he is wanted by both Syria and Jordan for radical activities, including a plot that killed a US diplomat in Amman.

Born in the Ain Sultan refugee camp near the West Bank town of Jericho in 1955, Abssi fled with his family to Jordan after Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 war.

Abed described his brother as a "brilliant" student in high school who left for Tunis to study medicine, but his main ambition was to work directly for "the liberation of Palestine." Abssi jointed Fatah, the main PLO faction, which sent him to Libya to become a pilot of Russian-built MiG fighters at the air force academy there, he added.

"He was very successful. He piloted the MiG 23. When Libya went to war with Chad, he defended Libyan territory with his plane," Abed al-Abssi added.

While a medical student in Cuba in 1981, Abed al-Abssi received a visit from Shaker who was en route to Nicaragua "where he was to help train a Sandinista air force. He stayed there four or five months, I believe." Then during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, he fought in the Bekaa Valley as the PLO did not have any planes, before returning to serve in the Libyan air force.

In 2002, the Syrian authorities threw him in prison for belonging to a banned Islamist group and for plotting attacks.

During his three years in jail, a Jordanian court sentenced him to death in his absence for having taken part in organising the 2002 assassination in Amman of US diplomat Laurence Foley.

Released in 2005, he left for Lebanon, where he was an activist leader for the Fatah-Intifada group, which was close to Syria, in the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila in Beirut.

But months later he chose the path of radical Islam and led 100 armed men to set up beside the Nahr al-Bared camp.

There he founded Fatah al-Islam.

In an interview with the New York Times in March, Abssi pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden, the fugitive leader of the Al-Qaeda network, and said that killing American and Israeli civilians is justified.

"We have every legitimate right to do such acts, for isn't it America that comes to our region and kills innocents and children? It is our right to hit them in their homes the same as they hit us in our homes," he told the daily.- AFP

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Fatah Islam: The Last Breath and Al-Absi's Disappearance?


5:50: The Lebanese Army issued a statement urging civilians not to shoot in the open air in celebration plus also urged that the Palestinians shouldnt return to Nahr el Bared till all possible procedures in Nahr el Bared is over...

5:40 - 24 members of Fatah Islam have surrendered to the Army
5:40 - The Lebanese Army arrests a car in Marroshieh town - Zgharta Region after they refused to abide my the orders of the Lebanese Army


ANB Television explained that Fatah Islam attempted to escape three ways, whereby two ways were by-land and Sea, were intercepted by the Lebanese Army, either shot or arrested. The third group succeeded to smuggle a tiny group from the river direction.

5:10 The different Palestinian parties met in Badawi, and declared they will block in coordination with the Lebanese Army the entrance of Fatah Islam.

Shaker Alsi's fate is still unknown. So far, he was not between the corpses of the Fatah Islam militants & among the arrested ones.


The Lebanese Army finally took over Nahr el Bared,according to LBC, the remainder of Fatah Islam remained under the leadership of Abu Saleem Taha, the media spokesman of Fatah Islam, while most of them surrendered. Few are still fighting to the last minute, Shaker Absi's fate is unkown and it is official that the Lebanese Army fully controlled Nahr el Bared and the battle is over. The wounded of Fatah Islam were transported to the hospitals and later to be arrested. The total kills are reported to be from Fatah Islam's casualties are thirty seven and 19 are wounded. This is the biggest casualties. Abu Saleem Taha is rumoured to be with 20 fighters, and the final number to be known will be known at the end of day as the army is still scanning building by building the location. Celebrations are taking place through out the surroundings of Nahr el Bared, while fireworks are flying and rice is being thrown.

The army issued a statement to report any suspicious character in their neighborhood within the parameter of Nahr el Bared to the army or any authority on the spot.

Today at dawn, after massive lengthy clashes between the terrorist organization Fatah Islam and the Army, the Lebanese Army inflicted heaviest casualties on Fatah Islam as they tried to break away from the fortified Nahr el Bared Camp.

The casualties as the army intercepted Fatah Islam were heavy: 28 dead and 18 captured (so far). Few made a break for it (suspected to be four militants), and the army remains at this very moment searching for them. They ambushed a car, killed its owner with an Axe (!) and afterwards broke through the Lebanese Army checkpoint, killing two soldiers.

The search continues for Shaker al-Absi...

However, we hope that Shaker al-Absi would be captured, because if he escaped, we just hope we wont have to see the Nahr-el Bared Camp repeated elsewhere under the leadership of that lunatic. The Palestinian residents suffered a lot ever since they moved to the neighboring al-Baddawi Camp, and suffered heavily, and for a long time, as refugees (for a second time) under bad conditions. The families of the Lebanese Army martyrs also suffered a lot, and wont get the satisfaction till that insane man is captured. I was hoping the capture of Shaker el Absi would decrease the ever rising intensity of racism toward the Palestinians citizens.

Terror is beginning to take over the streets again just for the mere mentioning that Shaker al-Absi fled, although we all hope that the army would capture him, dead or alive! I dont think we can stand another clash with that man in case he rebuilds again (unless we follow the conspiracy theory he is part of something bigger), then it means Autumn will continue to carry with it the heat of the summer. Check-points are everywhere, my family had to pass through 6 checkpoints for the army. If that terrorist is not located, it will increase the division between the government and the opposition as both sides are accusing the other with bringing him to town and supporting him.

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