Saturday, May 17, 2008

... And the Poker Round Table Returns

After all this shooting, and all this surging hatred; however, this round table is in Doha. It is ironic all of this bloodshed occurred and now a new bad case of amnesia will be imposed on the Lebanese Society and we will see a new re-writing of history, a la 1984 doze, if they pull it through.

Now why Qatar? Qatar, of all the Arab countries has the best interesting ties with all coalitions. For starters, if you focus on the Qatari media, everyday you read the Prince, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, sends to a country a letter congratulating the country for having "unique relationships" with Qatar. Qatar politically has strong ties with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, it has the largest military base for the US army in the Arab World (except for Iraq). They welcomed Israel's Levni and already had an open excellent relationship with Israel for the past decade. They also are on excellent relations equally with Hamas and Fatah. Qatar and the Syrians never had frictions before, and mind you, the Prince's "congratulating relationships with global leaders" has covered Assad. Qatar also has almost 20% of its population composed from Iranian Labor, and not to forget that some powerful business clans with Iranian origins (such as Ali Bin Ali Clan).

In Lebanon, things are different. The Opposition tagged the entire Gulf as 14th of March supporters that of course included Qatar. With Qatar visiting Syria, the Opposition changed drastically their attitude.

Qatar as a whole is almost the size of Lebanon with the largest gas reserve in the world (taking the size – quantity). Its population five years ago was barely 800,000, with expected the local Qataris to be barely 30%. Everyone in Lebanon expects a super deal is coming on its way.

Some people compared the Doha round to the 1969 Cairo round. Well, there might be similarities. However, there are different issues. Despite the fact the PLO had a country within a country in Lebanon, the PLO were par excellence Palestinian. Some would consider Hezbollah Iranian, yet I doubt that it is when you have over a million supporter in Lebanon. The PLO were supported by the Lebanese National movement then, but the Cairo agreement allowed the PLO to take control over the Palestinian Refugee Camps and transform them to military training bases. Hezbollah on the hand already have their arms as legitimate after the Ta'ef Accord, at least had till last week they turned their military to the inside of Lebanon. Hezbollah's legitimacy was renewed in the 2000 victory when they successfully kicked out the Israeli army from the South and considered their victory as "a National Victory for Lebanon". In 1969 also, both camps agreed to have anyone as a Lebanese President just to get rid of the Chehabist regime, let for two presidential periods under Presidents Chehab and Helou. In 2008, both camps agree on Suleiman head of the army as a reconciliation president. The 1969 deal eventually led to a national government whereby Kamal Junblatt was Minister of Interior. Kamal Junblatt's decisive vote allowed the election of Suleiman Frangieh because the Second Bureau and non-alignment policy of the Presidency no longer suited both factions. Ironically, the candidate who was defeated by Suleiman Frangieh Sr. was Elias Sarkis, who will succeed Frangieh in 1976 and become Bashir Gemayel's closest ally. In 1969, the details of the accords were not fully displayed and the Parliament, except for Reymond Edde and his parliamentary coalition, voted for it and later one faction regretted it. The agreement on Michel Suleiman reminds us of Fouad Chehab; however, Michel Suleiman is not part of the Chebist school.

However, I prefer the comparison of Doha Negotiations to the Riyadh Ac of 1976. Again, Fouad Sarkis was elected as President to represent the third line of political force, which was supposed to be the Chehabist rule. The Opposition supported Sarkis in return the Syrians wont impose any political restraints. More to the point, the Lebanese National Movement, prior of the Syrian entrance of Lebanon under the invitation of Frangieh , Pierre Gemayel, and Camille Shamoun, has overwhelmed the Lebanese Army and the Lebanese Front with the help of the PLO. The Syrian intervention was justified in Lebanon as a "deterrent force", but this not focus of similarity.

Kamal Junblatt considered the Syrian offensive (and the justification of the Arab World for it) as a direct attack on Lebanon's democracy and progressive forces, this is something that we have seen ironically with his son Walid Junblatt again accusing the Syrians with their offensive via Hezbollah. The Accords of Riyadh also didn’t tackle in details the PLO weaponry, because the Lebanese Army was not able to disarm them, something similar to the arms of Hezbollah. Now the difference is between now and then, that the Syrians did start disarming the PLO, as el-Khaddam clearly said: "Even taking away the PLO kitchen fork", until Egypt signed the Peace Treaty with Israel. Currently, Syria is negotiating Peace with Israel, while Syria's role is more recognized than ever in Lebanon. The resistance arms of the PLO and Hezbollah were both turned to the inside of Lebanon, while the Christian forces wanted to preserve the status quo of their political gains then and now (hence 14th of March Christians now, and the Lebanese Front then). Yet, unlike 1976 whereby two foreign forces existed n Lebanon: PLO and Syria, Hezbollah single-handedly can face the entire 14th of March militarily, and not to forget its allies: the SSNP and AMAL.

Yet, let us hope the new President wont do what Sarkis did, siding with one side against the other and increase the gap between East and West Beirut. Although the Doha Round, unlike the others, has all the actors and parties in it, hence time will tell what will come out of it.

The actors who went there, (taken from Daily Star) are:

AMAL: Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and MPs Samir Azar and Ali Hassan Khalil and advisers Mahmoud Berri, Ali Hamdan and Ali Hamad.
Future Movement leader Saad Hariri and MPs Bassem Sabaa, Nabil De Freij, Samir Jisr, former MP Ghattas Khoury and political adviser Hani Hammoud.
Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and ministers Tarek Mitri, Khaled Qabbani, Michel Pharaon, Ahmad Fatfat and political advisers Mohammad Chatah, Radwan al-Sayyed, Roula Noureddine, and Aref al-Abed.
Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat and ministers Ghazi al -Aridi, Marwan Hamadeh and MPs Nehme Tohme and Wael Bou Faour.
Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun and MPs Abbass Hashem, Nabil Nkoula, Farid Khazen, FPM political relations official Gibran Bassil and political advisers Mario Aoun and Jean Aziz.
Hizbullah MPs Mohammad Raad and Hussein al-Hajj Hassan and resigned Energy and Water Minister Mohammad Fneish.
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and MPs George Adwan, Antoine Zahra and foreign affairs adviser Joseph Nehme.
Former President and Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel and party members Chaker Aoun, Walid Fares, Elie Dagher, Sassine Sassine and political adviser Joseph Khalil.
Zahle's Popular Bloc head MP Elie Skaff and MP Salim Aoun.
Tripoli Bloc leader and Transport and Public Works Minister Mohammad Safadi.
MPs Michel Murr, Ghassan Tueini, Boutros Harb, Jawad Boulos and Hagop Pakradounian.

On a side note, a demonstration was carried by the Lebanese Physically handicapped Union whose long was: "Don't Come Back if you don’t have a Solution" aiming at all the leaders of both coalitions and representing the demands of the majority of the Lebanese. The demonstration was staged on the Airport Highway.


Darko said...

I can’t believe that this is happening, what the hell is wrong with hezbollah??!!!! I cant believe that after all of the events that took place during the last two weeks and all the people who died or were seriously injured, hezbollah turns back and goes back to negotiations, under what cause did all these people die. We cant even call them martyrs, martyrs of what, the national unity government, did they die so hezbollah can book itself a seat next to a bunch of traitors, i cant believe that just seven days ago, Junblat and Harriri Jr. were surrounded inside their homes and now, here they are on the table making demands.
What the fuck just happened, i actually thought that this was a true revolution that is going to change the country and set it on the right track. Yesterday, they were discussing the election law, and they were dividing the country street by street? WTF.
My friend, you were right all along, sorry for doubting you

Assafir caricature sums it up, i published it on my blog

Renita said...

Well yes!.. when we think that this is all just a competition over power.. it becomes so absurd.. especially that people believe in it as a case.. kill in the name of this case.. and it's all just about power..!!

Lalebanessa said...

Darko you said "i actually thought that this was a true revolution"

Who are the traitors Drako, the people who attack innocent civilians and kill them and call it a revolution, or everbody else? Unfortunately Darko, you guys didn't start a revolution, you started a civil war.

I'm sorry for what happened at Halba, it was a henious crime, and those who comitted should be punished to the full.

However this does not detract from your group's own henious crimes in attacking Beirut and the jabal and lifting their guns and RPGS's against their own brothers, resulting in then killing Lebanese men,women and children.

I noticed you list on your blog the names of those murdered in halba as you should.
However I also noticed that you did not list the names of those murdered in Beirut, because it seems that somehow to you, they didn't matter, maybe because in your brain it's OK to kill a Lebanese civilian in the name of "the revolution".

And that darko,is your worst crime of all.

Don't call the "other side" taitors Darko, because people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

MarxistFromLebanon said...

La Lebanessa

People like Dark0 are the ones who do not take things for granted. He is , like me, has an ideology that he defends. What happened there in Halba, effected our friend, and despite everything, he maintained his keen perspective on the ideology. Darko did the bravest thing and agreed with my perspective. Let us face it La Lebanessa , both sides are equally are riding the people's backs. At different states of chaos, we saw the government supporters using the identity cards questioning as well. Hezbollah's ultimate crime was turning the weaponry to the inside, retaliating on the government's escalations that "yes we have arms too, and be careful". Darko, what scares most about hezbollah if Naim Qassem takes over with 30,000 missiles under his hand. That is why I supported a solution on handling Hezbollah's arms. With Sheikh Fadlallah's influence is declining on them, I am worried that Iran's influence in growing over what Sheikh Moussawi preached. I am more worried about the next few years when the Tribunal results are out... in regards to the political assassinations...

Darko, try to take time off... I told you your path and mine are long, till one day we bring back the ideas of the Lebanese national Movement without the intoxification effects of Yasser Arafat...

No War But Class War...

MarxistFromLebanon said...

I just want to stress that the time for the seculars has to rebuild itself in face of all those parties, starting in the face of Hezbollah and Future Movement

lalebanessa said...


I don't care whether darko thinks Saad Hariri is the new great satan or wether he puts a thousand you-tube videos insulting any politician he wants, as long as he and his compatriots do not lift their guns in our faces.

I went to have a look at his blog, hoping I misjudged him , but what I found that instead of mourning ALL deaths, he only mourns those who were murdered at halba. He makes no lists of the innocents who died in Beirut, points no fingers of accusation at THEIR murderes, and does not ask for justice on their behalf. If you look at the comment he left on your post what he is actually lamenting is the failure of his revolution, not the carnage it caused to countless lives.

It is hypocrisy at its best.

Lalebanessa said...

here is a question for you MFL, can a secular movement actually become a religion in itself?

I once asked an SSNP member (in the good old days when they hadn't tried to get their way by gun) to tell me ONE thing that Antoun Saade got wrong in his political writings. He said Saade never made any mistakes with regards to his political opinions. Isn't that typical of a prophet, not to make mistakes in his prophecies?

So tell me MFL, did Marx make any mistakes in the politicl opinions he put forth, or are you also just following a new form of religion?

Darko said...

The SSNP lost its way a long time ago, and today here we are following a sectarian group and pan-Arab dictatorship not to mention the idolization of Saadeh a fact witch I completed recognize.

Lalebanessa, while I no longer support Hezbollah’s politics, that doesn’t mean that I changed my whole system of believes, and the main reason for that is, that Hezbollah never was part of that system. Stating that most of 14 march leaders are traitors, does not come from any sectarian or personal prejudice, it come from the clear definitions of enemy and treason.

The enemy is Israel and treason includes "pointing the locations of resistance fighters on a map for the whole world to see including the enemy, trying to relief the enemy in the midst of war from all responsibility and threatening those who are resisting the attack of things to come, begging the support from that enemy's biggest ally, not to mention the recurrent attempts to hand over all security matters to international forces.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg, since I’m not going to open the issue of the WTO; witch is a huge treason for all the Lebanese people.

The events that occurred during the last couple of weeks proved to me that the other side (8 march) is not better then its counter-part, and is just as regressive as the others in its approach to internal politics.

And to answer your question, yes, I believe that in time of revolution sacrifices has to be made and casualties will fall. Unfortunately, those who died in this conflict are all innocent people who where stripped away from their loved ones for no reason at all.

If you check my blog, you would notice that I haven’t updated it for a long time, and the article addressing the Halba massacre was the first article I write for over 2 months. I wrote about it, because it occurred with people I know, people who I used to interact with on a daily basis, my friends, and that's why I mention there names, not because I think that they're better then the rest but because they mean more to me.

Lalebanessa, I rely on logic, and I don’t call people traitors if there wasn’t real evidence to prove it. And you can throw all stones that you want.

MFL, I agree with everything that you said. But I’m not taking anytime off, I’m working with some friends on organizing some meetings with other "leftists" in the area to discuss our thoughts and try to come up with a plan to resurrect what had been lost during the last decades, and I’m looking forward to set a meeting with you, once we gain a footstep in this area.

MarxistFromLebanon said...

La Lebanessa, Dark0's answer says it all, and like Dark0 I do believe in resisting Israel, but we disagree on the details.

As for becoming a sect, I doubt you can find any religion that explains to you history, dialects, economics, literature, unions, alienation, and others. Marx himself once said: "I am not a Marxist". That is true, we do not iconize anyone. The non-Stalinists use the term Marxism because we like to distinguish ourselves from the reactionary Lebanese Communist party and the neo-con left: Democratic Leftest Party.

Now, I do not see secularism as a religion, but athiesm can be a form of a belief. Not all Marxists are athiests. I have been a best man in three marriages in Church, and had several comrades getting married in Cyprus (which also includes a Lebanese Jew with a Lebanese Shiite, both comrades).

Now our goal is to unify the workers, not the biblical logic within Christianity "Be Fisher of Men" (and exists in Islam). Hence, we bring people togather to understand what are their rights, how they made there, and EMPOWER them to know what ought to be done. For me, Marx didn't commit any error in his writings, on the contrary, what he wrote then has become more relevant than ever. And not only Marx, but Engels, Clara Zatkin, La Farque, Liebnekhts, Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin, Bukharin, Zinoviev, Trotsky, Earnst Mandell, Duncan Hallas, Wang Xan-fi, and mind you that doesnt exclude the famous artist Charles Chaplin (and rent Danzel Washington's The Great Debators...a clear insight on the Marxists within the 30s)...

I wrote extensively on Marxism with nice interesting links throughout my blog.


PS: Dark0 , one day

Renegade Eye said...

The great Marxists certainly made mistakes. Trotsky underestimated Stalin as a rival. His predictions about what after WWII would be like were incorrect. Marx believed you need an absolute majority, to have a revolution. I can go with this. What Marxism left, what is relevant here:

1) Dialectical method to analyze.
2) In the Communist Manefesto it says, "Communists speak for the whole working class, not just one part." Concretely that means not supporting any one religion or ethnic group, over another.

Lalebanessa said...


You are right ofcourse when you said "The enemy is Israel ", however I think you are being very naive if you think that Israel is the ONLY enemy.
This is the problem with all the Isrealo-centric way of thinking. It's like Isreal already won its war agianst you by making itself your primary preoccupation to the exclusion of all else. Our country is falling apart all around us, and all you can think of is Isreal.

The problem is Darko, alot of people in your country , even though they hate the Zionist entity just as much as you do, decided long time ago that perhaps sacrificing Lebanon for this fight was too high a price to pay. Maybe they are wrong, and maybe you are wrong,but you HAVE to take their opinion into consideration.

Also you have to be honest with yourself, logistically, realistically,financially, and weapons wise, the Lebanese alone are never going to win that fight.
And since the Egyptians, Jordanians (75% palestinian), Qataris, Syrians, and the rest of the Nincompoops who are supposed to be anti-zionist have more or less given up the fight, I don't think, this tiny decrepit poverty stricken nation will be able to get rid of Isreal all on its own, so what are we doing then, fighting just for the sake of fighting?

And as for you statemtent " yes, I believe that in time of revolution sacrifices has to be made and casualties will fall" well as long it is not YOUR 12 year old brother or your 65 year old mother right? Because if they came to you and told you you could have your revolution, but only if you sacrificed those you loved the most, I'm sure you would refuse. Well Darko, those who died were the loved ones of their husbands and mothers and brothers and sisters. You have sewn tragedy yet are unrepenatant. You remind me infact of the Zionists, who decided that for their cause, the tragedy inflicted on a whole nation was acceptable.

So what does that make you?

Lalebanessa said...


I think you got me wrong, I wasn't accusing all communists of being athiests or otherwise.

I personally consider myself a secular muslim, which may sound like an oxymoron, but is the truth. I think religion should be a personal thing between a person and God, and politics should be completely separated from religion.

Having said that, my originial comment was about wether following anyone "blindly and unquestioningly" makes whatever you follow a religion, and whomever you follow its prophet.
Hence your statement "For me, Marx didn't commit any error in his writings" only confims the point I was making.

Alphast said...

Well, I have to come in support of La Lebanessa here. The huge mistake of most Hizbollah and Amal supporters (on top of having violently killed scores of innocent, which is already inexcusable by itself) is to point at one enemy outside of Lebanon: Israel. First, what these people don't see (or purposely ignore) is that Israel simply doesn't care about Lebanon and is not an enemy of Lebanon per se. Israel did invade Lebanon twice and left twice. There were reasons for this. In both cases because Israel had been attacked from Lebanon. What Israel did when it happened was certainly wrong, but it was war. Now Israel is not in Lebanon any more: get on with it.

The true enemy of Lebanese (though some may argue that Syria is a numero uno contender, because it inherently refuses Lebanon's existence) are Lebanese themselves. They are the people who refuse to give the Lebanese Army and the Lebanese government the monopoly of violence (whatever their side). And the excuse of being the "resistance" is pathetic at best. If they are so keen in resisting the imaginary Israeli threat, why are they weakening the country and maintaining its army into a decorum role?

Renegade Eye said...

I was wondering, if there is a demand for a new census to be taken in Lebanon? Hasn't been one since the 1930s.

Darko: I can’t believe that this is happening, what the hell is wrong with hezbollah??!!! You learned a great political lesson. You are lucky to know benefit from MFL's experience.

Anonymous said...

Alphast, you've got to be kidding... Not only did Israel invade more than 2 times, but one was a recent invasion, causing many dead and displaced. Let's not forget the daily violations of Lebanese airspace, the continuing loss of life due to cluster bombs Israel dropped (in the last days of August2006).

I hope there comes a time when I people will stop treating corporations and nation-states as people and start to treat people, which involves their history, as people.

Alphast said...

Ano: what you conveniently forget is that in this second and last occasion, Israel invaded only to get rid of Hizbollah which was shooting rocket on a daily basis against its villages and had abducted Israeli soldiers on patrol. Lebanon does not want to destroy Lebanon, because it is Israel's interest to have a relatively strong and stable neighbour. Particularly one which can control the armed bands using its territory as safe haven.

The true enemy of Lebanon are the ones which are either denying its existence as a nation, externally, and the ones internally who refuse to give its state the monopoly of violence. Hizbollah is thus a true enemy of Lebanon because it does not only refuse to leave the state the monopoly of violence (which is the true definition of treason) but also because it uses armed violence against other Lebanese. Doing this, it defies the second pillar of any civilized society: the idea that political conflict can be resolved by political means (debate, voting laws, etc.).

Israel is only an enemy of opportunity. It has no wish to destroy Lebanon or (what's left of) its political structure. It just wants to not be bombarded by thugs.

MarxistFromLebanon said...

If you read Ben Gurion's journals, letters between Shamir and Ben Gurion, you will know exactly what Israel wanted from Lebanon. Even between Weissman and Ben Gurion had interests in expanding their sphere by allying with "Phoenicians" disregarding the country's history.

According to Philip Habib, Lewis, and Moris Draper (US Diplomats of the early 1980s), it was a known plan that Lebanon will be the second country to sign peace treaty with Israel after any first strong nation to sign the deal. Sharon just did that. Correct me if I am wrong, but didnt the Israelis kill most of the Lebanese across history? Didnt Israel expell a whole race and send them to Lebanon and creating one gigantic instablity? Didnt Sharon try to create an Israeli province for Lebanon, if you read Sharon's imposed deal on Elie Salem and Amin Gemayel? It was so aggrevating that even their strongest allies, the US, opposed it.

Come on, you may hate Hezbollah, but dont re-write history please.

Alphast said...

Come on man, that was more than 25 years ago. They are all dead by now. The present day Israel is interested in stability and leaving at peace with Lebanon. I am not saying that Israel has no responsibility in what happened. They do (just by the fact that they pushed away Palestinians to Lebanon). But they are, objectively, not an enemy of Lebanon.

I don't hate anyone by the way. I just dislike people or organisations who try to impose their will on others by violent means, whichever their side is. Which means I was appalled by Israel over reaction to Hizbollah's aggression during the last war and I am appalled by Hizbollah continuous disregard for basic things such as the rule of law or the non-violent political debate. I am also very unhappy, by the way, about the way Syria's agents have kept assassinating people they don't like (at home or abroad) and I would even go as far as saying that I am very unhappy by the way Sunni and Christian elites treat Shia populations. I think it is despicable. But there is no excuse for violence. There is no excuse for arming and training a militia with heavy weapons. There is no excuse for exercising the right of peace and war in place of the state and there is no excuse for turning these weapons against their fellow citizens.

Hate has nothing to do with it. As my old media teacher was telling: "facts, only facts".

MarxistFromLebanon said...

Dear Alpast

first, I didnt welcome you to my blog.

Second, as an academic, I believe the present is due to the past. You cannot regard Hezobllah's operation as one way aggression since the other was bombing citizens with more accurate precision (and inflicted higher damange, I doubt that can be called self-defense). I cannot regard the Zionist Government but one of several enemies of the proletariat not just in Lebanon, but globally, and mainly on the Jews because they promote the ethnic logic of "If you are a Jew, you are a Zionist"

Third, hezbollah's popularity came for several reasons (and dont think that I am happy about specially the seculars were the popular in the South), which was their welfare network, and the Israeli aggression. When Israel ruled parts of the South and part of the Beqa'a, their SLA pawns were as ruthless to the people as others. Some minor towns didnt suffer most when the SLA dominated 100%, but those who were non-aligned suffered severely. The Problem of the South is accumulated errors from one government to another for not investing in it and even went as far as to disregard its presence.

Fourth, Wherever there are a majority in a certain area, the minority suffers most, one example was the Halba Massacre, but on all sides of parties behave the same way.

Fifth, looking forward for future debates, so keep visiting :)


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