Gone is the secular nationalism of those Arab leaders of yore. More importantly, gone is the greater achievement of
.الله يستر While it has enough to quench the fire, it has more to keep it burning; UNSC Resolution 1701 will fail. It will only serve as an “intermission”, give time to the warring tribes to regroup; this war may only be “a foretaste of larger furies to come”.
Let us review the actors of this bloody farce.
Gone are the Universalistic ideals of early Zionists.
As I watch cute Jewish kids writing cute words on bombs destined to cute Lebanese kids. After this latest bout, Israeli popular has "Ben-Ladinised" Hassan Nasrallah, "Talibanised" Hezbollah, and in the process, lost all empathy.
Still, while they cannot allow Hezb to regroup, by they do not know how to stop this from happening. When the soul searching is over, when the accounting is done, and
Soon after March 14th, the Sunnis (Hariri) made a deal with the Shiites (Hezb/Nasrallah and Amal/Berri) and the Druze (Joumblat, a.k.a Svengali) to circumvent the Christians (no Leader there; if you think Aoun and Geagea, think again). As expected, the Christians split, with most of them supporting Aoun who made a deal with
Alawite: Overlords of
I will not get into debating who the Alawites are, or how many there are. The fact is: they rule Syria. They have ransacked the country’s economy, and profited enormously from the occupation of
Unfortunately for Syrians, “Talis pater, talis filius” does not apply to their myopic leader, Bachar, son of Hafez el Assad. By turning
Don't you love that picture? Bashar is sooo happy. Sieg Heil. But he does not hold as many cards as he thinks. Iran reminded him who's boss, via Hezb MP Hussein Hajj Hassan; in response to his diatribe against the Lebanese government, "the Hezbollah [stated that he] does not agree with Assad's statement on March 14th Movement". Then again, it could all be doulbe talk...
Sunni: Well Financed
Many Lebanese have reached a certain accommodation with
There are, however, strong Sunni Fundamentalist undercurrents, nurtured mostly during
Those fundamentalists are not necessarily aligned with Hezb. Sunni and Shiite interests remain unaligned; during the civil war, when Sunni Mufti Hassan Khalid called for the freedom of Palestinian guerrilla action, he was opposed by Shiite Leaders, grouped behind Imam Musa al-Sadr.
Then Aoun made a deal with Hezb and the Shiites; his presidential candidacy was at stake... All the while, Nasrallah and Hezb were consolidating their power, their Shiite state within the mess. This shortsighted approach, however, may not work on the long run; in the presence of a weak Lebanese government and an ineffective army, all the inhabitants of
The Leaderless Christians and the Druze Svengali.
There is no “Christian Tribe”; this remains true as long as Dinosaurs such as Aoun, Geagea, Gemayel, Murr, and others are still in “power”. To consolidate their “power” within the community, Christian “Leaders” have to find support from outside the community. Some like Geagea and Gemayel compensate for their lack of popularity with money, and align themselves with the Hariri clan in the “March 14th Forces”. Others, like Aoun, compensate for their lack of appeal outside the community by aligning themselves with Hezb.
So what of the “Christian Tribe”? Its leaders are divided. While it remains to be seen whether Aoun’s alignment with Hezb will lose him support, the other leaders are despised by most. Most people are broke, or have emigrated, or both. But in this global atmosphere of “clash of civilizations”, the terrain is now free for a well funded demagogue to take it over. It is a little known fact that most Arab immigrants are Christian Lebanese, a potentially powerful source of funding.
Yet this war brought in a new factor. The fighting has destroyed the Southern part of the country, but it has ruined the rest. Most of the small businesses that lost money in this venture are the Christians and Druze of Mount Lebanon; this will be demonstrated in the rise of non-performing loans. In
Add to this the fact that those businesses were the ones subsidizing other tribes. Shiites, at least those that enjoyed the patronage of Amal and Hezb, rarely paid for public services. This fact is demonstrated by the huge deficit of
Extremism will then be faced with renewed extremism, in the absence of a state, an alliance among Druze, Christians, and Sunni may materialize. This will be especially the case when many businessmen would come to see a war more cost-effective than continuing to placate the Shiite tribe.
I am afraid that such shifty shenanigans would get all the Lebanese in an even bigger mess. I do trust none of the Svengali-in-training who claim to rule Lebanon. Soon after March 14th, when we gave them a mandate to create a "real country, Joumblatt maneuvered with Saad Hariri to block Aoun’s ascent and bring back pro-Syrian Parliament Speaker Berri, and get his help in replacing pro-Syrian President Lahoud with another patsy. Aoun’s success in the election unraveled this little alliance, and got us in the blocked politics that lead to this war.
Shiites: Armed to the Teeth
The Shiites were historically the downtrodden of the
While it is true that
In order to service the debt, the government has put a 10% VAT on consumer goods as well as tax on other services. This tax disproportionately affects the poor, who have to resort to smuggling and other ways to resolve it. Social strife is not far away; on May 28, 2004, as Beirut was gearing up to host the OPEC summit, during a demonstration in protest against soaring gasoline prices, the Lebanese Army opened fire, killed six people, and wounded dozens. The demonstration was organized by Hezb, most of the people involved were poor Shiites, and the Prime Minister at the time was Rafic Hariri, head of a government Nasrallah had blamed for the deaths.
No wonder many follow
Make no mistake; as tribes rise, nations will fall. Thanks to American know-how, it happened to
The rest of the world need not worry, however. Civilization may have begun in the