But the impact on Hezb's supporters is "different"; With the United Nations’ in charge of our official borders, and the United States (Still) breathing down Syria's neck, both the smuggling of consumer goods, and the proceeds of the customs racket are down.
And all that sweet Iranian cash is far from an inexhaustible supply.
The frenzy of land purchases may only reflect the fact that the banking system is unable to handle so much “illicit” cash. Indeed, US sanctions can indirectly affect Hezb’s operations, by making the banking system harder to reach; as proff, watch Hezb’s construction arm, Jihad al Binaa, as it struggles to operate now that the
Coincidentally, the resigned ministers want to be back to the job now. The main reason may well be economic, not political; patronage may be all that remains for Hezb to maintain his hold on the Shiite community. Indeed, considerable sources of patronage remain under the control of the ministers from Hezb’s and Amal.
Berri has gone overboard, hiring many new recruits in Parliament security, the outfit he controls. But even this is reaching a limit; you can recruit so many teenagers are security guards before going over budget…
Speaking of budget; even if they return, the ministers will feel the impact of the Finance Ministry’s budget restrictions… All that cash from Paris III came with a few strings attached.
Of Good Intentions (Update
It has been hell dealing with the traffic jams brought about by Offre-Joie’s demonstration. A good thing, on balance, but I am not sure the local marionettes who claim to lead realize, or want to realize what is really at stake here.
I fear that we have crossed a “mental line” in the region, with the loss of empathy towards our fellow human beings. As we do not include the “other” in our “mental map” of mankind, I fear we are ready to commit the worse. Hazbani, took issue with my characterisation, and I wholeheartedly agree with him; A "mental" line must not be crossed, and we must never, ever accept that.
But I fear we have to deal with the facts. Someone once observed that the most clever trick the devil played on us was to convince us that he did not exist. Not to drag into the metaphysical, but we have to face the simple fact that our most deadly weaknesses are our all too human Hubris and Arrogance. These may be the main windows for the devil (for the lack of a better concept) to enter human minds.
My main point is this; we need to never shy away from the glare of the mirror, and look our humanity in the face, warts and all. Beyond all the horrors that were visited on humans by humans, we need to keep in mind that all criminals needed a "lever" of willing agents to do their deed. Horrors like the holocaust were unique in the sense that the technology of the industrial age allowed Hitler to be uniquely deadly.
But we need to keep in mind that our human minds are fertile ground, and the "mental line" can be easily crossed, one step at a time; just watch or read some of media offerings from all sides of this new Middle-East. Democracy is no protection against such helpings of crapola, and we need checks and balances to compensate for our Hubris, Arrogance, and our mob-mentality.
And keep in mind that, beyond all the atrocities he visited on the world, the most horrifying of Hitler's legacy may be that he was democratically elected...