Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The (True) Numbers Game...

The news are full of the numbers of people that Hezb had gathered in Downtown Beirut. The news miss a few important facts.

The key is that the demonstrations that everyone saw are not the ones that matter.

The key is found in crass politics, or crass sectarian politics. We may not like it, but it is still with us

Beirut’s Million-Man March… Minus One

Yes, there may well have been a million persons downtown Beirut this Sunday. And no, it is unlikely the Syrians added much to the ranks this time. It was mostly Hezb, who got by with "a little help from their friends"; Aoun, and to a (far) lesser degree, Sleiman. And much money from Iran. That may not last long, but I digress

But one person was missing; Omar Karameh. Pace Hezb’s mobilization powers, the important demonstrations were taking place in Tripoli and Saida; Messieurs Omar and Bizri were unable to move muchSiniora is not the one in jail.

And since Omar was unable to attend, the Sunni fig leaf was not present. Try as they might, Hezb and his minions could not storm the government Serial; they had no Sunni to replace the Sunni Prime Minister with…

Future’s Hezb?

The main allies in Lebanon’s Yellow-Orange pseudo-revolution, Hezb and Tayyar, have been both complaining about Future Movement’s growing militia. They may well have a point.

In a sense, Hariri’s Future Movement has beaten Hezb at his own game. This week’s council of ministers did not take place in the Prime Minister’s Serail, where the government is said to have “self-jailed” itself.

No, they went across the street in downtown Beirut, in the government’s seat across from the Grand Omeyyad Mosque, and stood their ground (i.e. carried out with their meeting). The council of ministers took place under the watchful eye of a huge mobilization 10,000 freshly recruited contingent of Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces, who crowded downtown... Not all of them may have been there, but there were far more than Berri’s all-Shiite Parliament force, whose members were overcrowded by the new visitors… Few recall such a massive deployment of force.

Those were apparently mostly Sunni from Lebanon’s upcoming demographic reservoir, Dennyeh and Akkar in the North. In Lebanon’s crass sectarian calculation, Shiites “number advantage” is not what it used to be, and Iran's newfound power may not last beyond this current oil bubble.

They have been making babies up north too… And Fatfat had been busy

علّمناهن على الشحادهسبقونا على الأبواب

The Mosque, by the way, was the one long converted from the Crusader’s St. Jean Church. Those same crusaders who carried out the massacre, or “Butchery”, at Beirut’s Baouchrieh entrance, near Nahr el Mot (the “River of Death”). Again, I digress…

But the point remains that ancient history is still current in many respects; when the Sunni Mufti calls Hariri the Hussein of this era, Hezb better stand up and notice. Ashoura notwithstanding, when they back it up with troops, better stand up and notice.

Pace Baker, he may not carry as much weight as many think; his report is not all it’s cracked up to be, and Lebanon may not be sold out this time, regardless of the hopes of many

Militia? Not necessarily; those are legally recruited troops, with US support, as opposed to Hezb’s little (or large) army. And many in the West think they are much needed at this stage

And as opposed to other militias…

Other Militias…

Hezb may have at and more than 20,000 armed men. But other militias may be in the works. Joumblat and Geagea may have given up their heavy weapons, but it does not take much to re-equip a militia. Only money.

And they may still have tons of it; the weapons were sold to Yugoslavia during its murderous war. They may have tipped the scales against the Serbs in the Krajina… Still, much of this cash can be reinvested again.

And the manpower is still there; Joumblat can still count on many of his faithful Ajaweed. And Geagea has been relocating, from the Cedars to Bzimmar and Miirab. Ring a bell?

Can’t We All Get Along?

We Better Start Trying... Yes, Hezb may have at least 30,000 rockets. But that is not really a factor, for those of us who “operated” during Lebanese Civil War; the Syrians did throw up to 4,000 rockets a day on Beirut, with little effect on the population’s resolve. Destroying Lebanon’s economy ahead of such a civil war may not be such a smart strategy; when people have little to loose, they will fight ever more fiercely.

Let us hope they all learn to get along fast. I know we all have, but our leaders still need to learn. Nasrallha has overreached, he needs to forget his “foreign alliances”, their ideologies, and delusions. And he needs to swallow his pride and come back to the table. Pace Hezb’s rethoric, most Shiites do not really want a civil war, and many a mensch is already standing up to him.

No one will win a civil war.

At least no Lebanese will win; it will not work to anyone’s advantage in the end. We Lebanese are missing out in the struggle for civilization, and the 21st Century may soon pass us by as did the centuries

Our Enemies are learning, and waiting


Free Cedar said...

"Can’t We All Get Along?" the million dollar question.
Very good post.

R said...

Good post Jeha. I am really starting to wonder about Lebanon and whether the path to civil war is reversible anymore. We have for so long followed this ridiculous policy of appeasement where nobody is allowed to win and nobody is allowed to lose. All that has gotten us is more wars and more destruction only spread out over elongated periods of time.

I am not advocating a victory in a civil war, but rather a decisive political victory... But that seems unlikely as well... Ok I am rambling and will stop now.

R said...

Oh Jeha, could you explain the sentence about Lebanese weapons and the Serbs in the Krajina? THanks!

Jeha said...

FreeCedar, R,

Thanks... I do some rambling sometimes.

About the Serbs in the Krajina; most of the Lebanese Miltia's heavy weapons ended up in Yougoslavia, purchased by the Croats. They allowed them an edge against the Serbs.

Those weapons were; T54, T64, a few refurbished Shermans (a couple of which were bought back in the US by WWII collectors), ZSU anti-aircraft tanks, and quite a few 155mm Howitzers, 132 Russians Artillery, as well as many heavy mortars.... Those were likely sold for top dollar, since the Croats were is so desperate need for them.

To give you an idea, the going rate for a 155mm artillery shell was between 5,000 and 10,000 USD...

Many rocket launchers and rockets must have been "ceded" to Hezb by Joumblat, and many trucks likely went to the Lebanese Army.

R said...

Wow, I am completely amazed!! Are there any published reports on this or is it from "informed sources"?