Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Brave new world

It's been a while...

...but there had been nothing really, fundamentally new; Lebanon was on its path to a renewed civil war, and the world was just watching. 

Now, Change is Happening... Finally

Lebanon is still on its path to a renewed civil war, but the world is no longer just watching. 

It's Getting Crazier

In the US, an ignorant lunatic has just succeeded an arrogant amateur... At the very least, we can be in no doubt the US legacy of failure in the Middle East is secure; it did not start with Obama, and seems set to continue under Trump

If he makes it that far... The "president-elect" is already embattled; the election is barely over that there is already talk of hacking in some key states while his "base" is starting to revolt against him. In the meantime, the neo-cons are clawing back their position in the administration, and the media's getting ready to pin on him the upcoming Trumpcession and Trumpflation.

Yes, Obama prepared him quite the "shit-sandwich", but he helped it make it so much worse.

But Who Cares? 

We all do; what they do in the US affects the rest of us, in many ways, and there is little we can do.  O, for the emergence of a multi-polar world; we'd have some checks and balances to one country's ignorant arrogance. 

At least, we have a new president in Lebanon. He may be the first "made in Lebanon" president for a long time, but he will be the last Lebanese President, if he fails to deliver. Much depends on how he works (or doesn't) with Hariri and his patrons, but more depends on how or if he can ensure the Lebanese Army is the only army in Lebanon...

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Monday, December 10, 2012

Breaking Tripoli?

Is the Syrian War spilling into Lebanon? No. Will Tripoli burn, as Homs and Hama did? Lilkely.

What kind of Yes/No answer is this? Well, there are, indeed, some very obvious actors and actions... But the marionettes are never the only
consideration here. There are two considerations; one "fundamental", and one "immediate".

First, the Fundamentals:

No, Syria's war is not spilling into Lebanon. Rather, the war in Lebanon has spilled over into Syria.The Syrian regime fell the day it left Lebanon, in 2005. It endured for a while, but the Assad Dynasty's needed the resources of Lebanon to survive as Masters of Syria. In their struggle to regain power, they made things worse for themselves:
The Syrians will miss those supports on the long run, since few Americans can now seriously consider “engagement” as an option. And as they look for alternatives, pity the neighbourhood, and its weakest link; Lebanon
This has always been a regional war among tribes and city-states. The veneer of nation-states that was applied over us was just that; a veneer. Nothing more. And the faulat was not merely in Lebanon. To be sure, Lebanon has many faults. But it was all in the open, "warts and all", contrary to all the hypocrites who surround us. While we struggled in the face of those contradictions, nearby dictatorships and pseudo-theocratic pseudo-democracy had fun with us... But now their chicken are all coming home to roost.  Yet, rather than focusing on their own ills, they did their best to kill of the Canary in the coalmine...
And as they did so, they were putting nails into their own coffins. Ensuring Lebanon's war could spill over at their first sign of weakness.

Second, the Immediate:

We're on our way to a divided Syria. One in which Bashar will be lucky if the Alawites keep him in charge of their little Canton... But for now, the immediate aftershock will likely be felt in Tripoli. 
Why? It all depends on how crassly sectarian this conflict will be... In Syria's current sectarian perspective, much of the Alawite elite needs to secure its coastal enclave around Lattaqieh. This enclave has three vital economic links; Northward, towards Turkey, Eastward, though Homs, and South, towards Lebanon and through Tripoli. So it has three priorities:
1- The North is closed off by the Turks, who do not want to see any linkages with Antioch... They may smarten up as the Kurds reassert themselves, but this will be a while. 
2- The East is closed off by the takeover of the rest of Syria by Salafis and Ikhwans. But the control of Homs would allow them to split the rival cities of Aleppo and Damascus, and act as spoilers in the new "Syria".
3- The South links them to their Shiite Allies is closed off by Tripoli. So, to secure a Alawite stronghold, the Tripoli lock needs to be broken. It must break. It may well break ...
And this brings in an "interesting" sectarian sub-plot; as ever, the Christians are "in the way". ; the Christians are divided between Aoun and Geagea. Having failed to assassinate Geagea, will the Alawite Elite jettison Aoun and reconcile themselves to Geagea?
Some notes / perspective:
This blog is not inactive... But it is not "reactive". Rather, it is just tracking events from a perspective of history, not the news. I am no journalist, no political analyst who follows the "news schedule", nor do I listen to news much. I am just someone who's tired to see "big white chiefs" lecture us on how to live, and I have the arrogance to think I have something more meaningful to contribute to the understanding of the region... I just know enough history to see when it repeats itself, or when it rhymes.

And for now, history rhymes
And, If/when Tripoli falls, we will soon see epic fights among the Walis of Damascus, Aleppo, and Lattaqieh/Antioch... Time will tell how the Mohafaza of Jabal Loubnan will react, and if the Wali of Acca-Jerusalem decides to grow a brain.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stand in our shoes...

Welcome to Lebanon, Holy Father. As you wave to the cheering crowds from your PapaMobile, look closer at the people who are welcoming you, at the land they stand on

This land is sacred to us, not because of religion(s), but because it is all we have to stand on, because of the life our forefathers extracted from the hard terrain through toil and labour, allowing us to flower our modern gardens and live in (relative) plenty and (very relative) harmony among misery and bigotry. 

We are now at war and genocide, in all but name. 

There is no way Iran can come to term with the world's powers. There is no way Israel will grow past its land claims. 

There is no way Lebanese "leaders" will accept to be ever accountable. Would you commit to really help them? To really speak to the World on behalf of the Arab world, and, most importantly, to the Arab world on behalf of the World? 

Would you commit to more than speak, and actually do something about the rising bigotry and hatred that surrounds (what's left of) secular Lebanon? 
At the end of your trip, you will be back safely in Rome. At the end of your trip, the Lebanese will still be emigrating from there. 

You believe you stand in God shoes. We must wear our own. And we can only hope to remain standing up at the end of the day.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Exit the Baath, enter the Wahabis, Islamic “Brotherhood”, Salafis… More Falsifiers. Far from being “conservative” Moslems, those guys are past Tariq Ramadan's sophisms (Sarko happened to be right on this one), and have moved beyond an initial claim to "exclusivism", to evolved and become a different religion altogether.

I am not a scholar of Islam, but those guys do not make sense. The simplest explanation would be that that those guys have hijacked Islam and falsified it, with dangerous implications for the rest of us. They do not emphasize the “salaf” as much as wipe out the predecessors.

Does Big Brother even exist?
- Of course he exists.
No, I mean... does he exist like you or me?
- You do not exist..

To be fair to them, the hijacking did nothappen recently. My point is that this process started a long time ago, even before many of today's "strains". It started soon after the death of the prophet, when all but one version of the Koran were burned... This is not to say that the essence of the message was altered; only that the text is not exactly "as spoken"... Indeed, "most Muslim scholars believe" that this "Uthmanic Koran" is the entire revelation, but consensus is not proof... Remember the consensus on Aristotelian physics? ... So, from then on, what followed was nothing but the result of a long and slow process of destruction, a series of small steps that culminated in the falsified “new normal” that we face today.

In the Beginning ...

This happened in at least three major steps.

First comes Abu Huraira… This guy claims to have known the prophet better than mos, and has 15.56% of the whole traditions in Sahih Bukhari traced to him. He knew the prophet for 2 years, yet managed to narrated 5374 Hadith. Compare this with the 142 Hadith attributed to Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, who knew the Prophet for 23 years.

I am no scholar (but I play one on the blog), but something is really wrong with this picture. Especially since many of Abu Huraira’s narrated Hadith contradict one another, and are contradicted by others, like Aisha, the Prophet’s Wife and “Umm al-Mu'minin”, with only 2210 Hadith attributed to her. Methinks she ought to be given precedence… 

...The dude had a thing against women, tabla .... 

Doublethink: The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

Second comes the decision to equate the Hadith and the Koran. OK, I’m skipping the step where diacritics were added to the Koran; this goes to the root of Arabic’s peculiar form of script. But that’s one polemic too much… For now… So, back to our point; how can a Revelation be placed on equal footing with acknowledge hearsay? Then again, I am no scholar, and many will find that I missing subtleties. But this is beside the point.

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Third comes the “no more ijtihad”. Now that’s a doozy. I am not sure of the deep philosophical reasons for this, but it does not make sense. Chiites generally do not accept this decision; maybe because they were in opposition, while the Sunnis were in power. Would be interesting to see how “Khomeini’s true heirs” view his Legacy, now that Shiites are on the ascendance.

Orthodoxy means not thinking-not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.

...and to what End?

Now comes the Stone Age. Or the “stoning age”, to be precise. We’re at a stage now where a new religion is flourishing:

At this stage, Muhammad Bin Abd El Wahab (or his entourage) could safely state that “this stick in my hand is better than Muhammad because it benefits me by enabling me to walk. But Muhammad is dead and benefits me not at all”. Their Falsafi cousins are not far away.

The objectives of this new religion is not universalist, it is political. After the mid 1960's, It evolved from the early days when they just wanted to control over the Arabian Peninsula. Now, flush with oil wealth, they just want to take over the world. So, beyond the Arab world, they need to take over Islam. They have the muscle; oil wealth... 
The first stage of fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power (Benito Mussolini)

Only one thing stands in their way; history.

Umar had already done half the job for them, by expelling the "non believers" from the Hejaz. To do so, he claimed that the Prophet had stated that "No two religions must remain in the land of the Arabs". It's odd that so so many subsequent (hearsay) Hadith are used to supersede the (revealed) Koran... But it's politically convenient. And, after a first falsification, once you get used to it, why stop there?

So, once they've consolidated their power over the Arabian peninsula and established themselves "mainstream", those pseudo-Sunnis (a charitable description) proceeded by wiping out memories, and thus remove any trace of the early days of Islam. They do so By destroying the house of the prophet and many other sites, they move to consolidate their control over Islam.

“He who Controls the Past, Controls the Future”: All others accepted the lie imposed, all records told the same tale, now the lie passed into history and became truth.

At the present time, there is little left from the early days. Gone are the women who went "Barza" (unveiled). Gone is his coptic wife, Mariam (and wiki's sources are biased on this one)... The remaining challenges come from such remote places as "Piss-Poor-Little-African-Countries" or Uzbekistan, so they can be easily dealt with easily, one at a time, regardless of any "critical" responses... I wouldn't be so sure the Pyramids are safe; even if right-wing blogs are no stranger to hyperbole, Salafis are no stranger to cultural genocide.  

Gone are so many things the Prophet did that contradict those nasty clowns. Little evidence of what was before the vociferous “barbudos” came along. And we find ourselves a “new normal”.

Welcome to the new fascism.

This fascism is still "A system of government that exercises a  dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and [oil] leadership, together with belligerent [religious] nationalism." Adapted from; The American Heritage Dictionary, 1983. 

But it remains on weak theological footing, as long as there are thinking Arabs and Moslems. There are a few of those... 
... for a perspective from a real scholar...

Till we overcome this new fascism

A book, a woman, and a flask of wine:
The three make heaven for me; it may be thine
Is some sour place of singing cold and bare,
But then, I never said thy heaven was mine.
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat - XII, 1120)