Monday, August 18, 2008

Moral Equivalence

It looks like Lebanese Prisoners in Syria will be not returned anytime soon; the Syrians are now asking Lebanon for the return of their disappeared citizens.

Fair Enough.

One would expect normal countries would are sincere about reconciliation to address such issues, and settle past injustices.

Except that Syrian troops had been in Lebanon since at least 1976, with checkpoints on almost every street corner, and with their mokhabarat kidnapping and killing with impunity. One would think that, if they really had any citizen disappear in Lebanon, they would have been able to find them.

Oddly Enough…

One would expect normal governments to point out such minor logical flaws.

Except that Lebanese officials have turned their coats so frequently that now they can only lower their pants. When good men make bad choices, it is the innocent who pays.

The True Number of Detainees

We have looked at the data on true number of detainees. The data is patchy, but one thing emerges; of those detainees released so far, less than 20% were actually claimed by their families. We have carried out a cursory “review” of those families who did not claim their own.

We noted two interesting facts;

First, many of those extended families had more family members still detained in Syria. It appears that, after one person is kidnapped, anyone who came up to complain or request their release was kidnapped as well.

Second, many of those families are in regions with extensive Syrian presence. Many are Shiites who are affiliated neither with Hezb, nor with Berri’s Amal party; in Lebanon’s sectarian “cold peace”, they have little avenues to seek redress.

So, you do the math. Knowing take a low number of SOLIDE’s claimed 400 hundred detainees. It is likely that they represent a mere 20% of the actual “population” of detainees. Therefore, there would be about 2,000 Lebanese detainees in Syria who are either still held, or were actually “disappeared” by the Syrian regime.

To those who would like better "data sources" than this biased blog, there are more reliable sources of information. But Fermi's approach is a good enough guide for this situation, and a more detailed analysis will come up with a similar number; it's all about orders of magnitude, after all, and you would expect more than 400, and less than 10,000, the number of people still missing during the Lebanese war.

Plenty of Blame?

And no, I am forgetting that there were other “players” in Lebanon during the civil war. Yes, the actual number of people who were “disappeared” during the war number more than 10,000, not all of them attributable to Syria. But since 1991, Syria, and Hezb to some extent, were the only “players” in Lebanon, and they could have easily found whoever was missing if they really wanted to. Or they could have easily "disappeared" those they did not like...

We Lebanese have our faults, but there can be no moral equivalence between our government’s serial incompetence in this matter and the Syrian regime’s serial killing in our country.

As our government appears set to abdicate any last shreds of authority (not to mention decency), it is no wonder everyone’s hedging, re-hedging, and cross-hedging their bets.

So good luck running free and fair elections in all that...


danny said...

What’s aggravating is seeing the Fat Bastard (aka; Mouallem), brush off the question regarding the missing and jailed Lebanese in Syrian prisons. I agree that there is no moral equivalence. Throughout the civil war barbaric atrocities were committed. However, Syria and its newfound stooge; Mr. Orangebutt keep on confusing the matter by creating a mishmash of a problem. By mixing up those who died fighting in the brutal civil war and those of “serial killings” by the butcher regime of Assads; the Syrians are spitting in the Lebanese peoples faces and the memory of their dead.
It seems that the inevitable war will knock on the door by June 2009…If the HA and its orangies lose they’ll cry foul. If they win; then watch out. My prediction is a total takeover of Lebanon by HA right around the “election” 2009 in a pre emptive strike to minimize the “skirmishes” that will eventually flare up.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with your predictions...there is though another factor:
If Syria and Iran stay friends, HA will definitely swallow Lebanon but then Israel will come and destroy it
If Syria and Iran clash is there any possible scenarion? I am still puzzeled with this possibility.

danny said...


I do not see a clash between Iran and Syria. Because of the Russian Bear's awakening from it's hibernation by the spoiled nitwit Saakashvilli, Syria will lean onto Russia like old times. USA and the EU failed Lebanon and its people miserably. This will embolden the Syrians further to foray into Lebanon without hindrance.

Everything seems to look rosy for the butchers of Damascus at this point in time...

Gus said...

Danny, you can'y be serious by predicting a take over of Lebanon by 2009 :-)
Is there still something that has not been taken over by HA et al? President Suleiman is a mouthpiece, Saniora has always been a closet sympathizer, Beri wouldn't dare question any HA decision, their lackies interpret the laws and constitution...

(Sa'ad and the rest of March 14 are at best the Gang that couldn't shoot straight. They are a bunch of nincompoops.)

Anonymous said...


You are perfectly right Assad's visit to Russia empowered syria like never before...However I think to a certain extent Syria lost a lot of its power in Lebanon...HA represents Iran's interets so basically Syria out Iran in...Ironically, HA is now considered the stumbling block to Syria's return to Lebanon(although no one talks about it) Apart from logistic help, HA does not need syria to be on his back and spying on him...etc...two powers cannot coexist in one place