Monday, August 28, 2006

Beyond Chutzpah

Having played the "victor", the “benefactor”, Shater Hassan is now playing the “statesman”; apparently, he is sorry about the war. Had he known, he would not have done, but it is Israel’s fault.

It always is.

Except that, well, everybody knew that the reprisals would be terrible, and sensible Israelis long understood the missile threat…

Couldn’t he read?

Shater Hassan’s blunder would enter the annals of history as the greatest crime against Lebanon. From his speech, we can see the makings of yet another blunder.

He assumes that the Israelis are tied up in knots, and thinks that the Lebanese are cowed. He also ignores the economic factor.

1- Israel: Tied up in knots?

Early negotiations may comfort him in this feeling. And he is right in stating that amateur hour is not over, apparently.

We see Israeli tanks blowing up on Israeli mines. When we see the inefficient use of cluster bombs, initially devised for attacks on armoured formations in open areas.

Not on spread out guerrillas hiding in mountain or built-up areas.

As Lebanese Civilians get killed by “left-overs”, he can assume that his popularity will rise even more. It will be Israel’s fault.

Time will tell whether he is right. But he forgets that, contrary to Arabs, Israelis are not so attached to failed leaders. And they learn fast, and Adapt. And they still have an axe to grind...

2- The Lebanese Economy

The estimates of losses are “15 Billion, if not more”. No matter, Shater Hassan will compensate people with… Well, with USD 10,000 for each of about 30,000 families, I can see how USD 300 Million and change can be more than those miserly Billions; compare 300 to 15.

And it is “pure” money, no doubt. Move over, Rafic, here comes Shater Hassan the Builder; “that what had been demolished, friends will build it with untainted pure money”.


And what would those “friends” ask in return? Just that we keep dying for them. Pure money, indeed.

As the world dithers, Lebanon lays ruined, its reconstruction fraught with infighting. The blockade may soon push the country in recession.

Actually, the recession may even be harder than "advertised". Many of our best and brightest left the country. At least more than 250,000; and were it not for travel restrictions, more than would have left.

As long as Shater Hassan stays, they are not coming back. And as long as the other idiots who oppose him do not get their act together, they are staying out. They do not relish living under Iranian occupation...

3- Lebanese “Unity” around the “Resistance”

Don’t bet on it.

Shater Hassan’s speech may be a pre-emptive move, against the noose tightening around his neck. At least, some powerful voices are starting to rise, King Abdallah’s, no less.

Many paid the price of the war, and Hezb’s arrogance is not well received, and the party is unpopular outside the Shiite community. They are viewed as oblivious to the suffering of others, and refuse to recognize any one's contributions but their own.

In this context, Shater Hassan’s speech was perceived as arrogant by many; the websites of Arabic news channel Al-Arabia may be a good place to look; to many, Hezb is no better than Irael. To some; بدأ يعترف بالهزيمة هههههههههه ...

And returning the "captives" may not do much good to Shater Hassan's image. There are still scores of Lebanese prisoners in Syria. No matter what his (current) buddy Aoun says about it, few accept that all those who disappeared during Syria's occupation remained unaccounted for.

Nasrallah's “veto power” over the Lebanese government is now limited; Prime Minister Siniora’s musings about “private reconstruction” should be seen in this light.

The Lebanese may not tolerate a competing government within their midst, especially one carping to a foreigner, a “wali el-faqih” that few recognize as a "marja el taqlid", even in Iran.

For now, we wait...

Shiite “Unity” around the “Resistance”

Bet on it. For now; it depends how long the Shiites will accept Shater Hassan's monopoly over them.

A census by IPSOS-l'Orient-Le Jour has shown that, while 79% of Druze, 77% of Christians and 54 % of Sunnis wanted the militia disarmed, only 19% of the Shiites agreed with them. As a result, the country is split 51%-49% in favour of disarming the "resistance".

Shater Hassan was always good at manoeuvring. In today's context, his little chat on TV reminds me of Nasser’s “resignation” speech after the 1967 defeat. His Chutzpah will galvanize his supporters even more, and increasingly move Lebanon into a tribal setting.

In a “tribal” context, many Shiites remain stuck following Hezb into a dead end. As the community fears for its future, it will “circle the wagons” around the leader, and in even threaten others. The party is already re-arming... Seig!

As the Lemmings follow the leader into his great world quest, expect to see some renewed hostility and unlikely alliances.

Unless more courageous voices come up against the great lemming-leader, we will soon be moving to a confrontation.

Some of Hezb's luminaries already claim that Hezb is even "Greater than Lebanon".

Now that's beyond Chutzpah...


TM said...

I should point out that some of the right wing blogs are claiming the money Hizbullah handed out for reconstruction was counterfeit US currency. I have no way of verifying this claim, but it would be interesting if that were the case...

Anonymous said...


Blam Blom said...

where did you find that picture of Olmert? LOL

ghassan karam said...

The struggle ultimately is about democracy , human rights, liberty and freedom. It is NOT between Farsis and Arabs. The struggle that you are referring to, that between Shi'a and Sunnis is no more than an attempt by two bankrupt regimes who peddle, in the words of Toynbee, a "fossil ideology". It so happens that both of these regimes have more material wealth than they could have ever suspected a few years ago and as a result they behave as if wealth is meaning and material riches is legitimacy. None of these two regimes will be able to make any meaningful advances in the long run because they short sell the desire to be free and the strong pull of of reason and liberty. Theocracies of all sorts have no future and rigid authoritarian ones should prove to be the most endangered. If I were a betting person, and I am. I would place all my bets against the fundamentalist ideas of Wahabism as well as Vilayet el Faquih. If freedom is not to win then this journey is a worthless one.