Saturday, March 07, 2009

Release the Hounds!

Driving around Lebanon has been an increasingly interesting experience of late. In most coastal areas, traffic was a lot worse. This is not just because of an influx of Gulf tourists, but it appears mostly due to an increase in the number of “strategically placed” public works. With the election nearing, the increase in number of government mandated potholes is supposed too help the rival fortunes of the rival Hariri and Hezb’O camps.

In addition, the number of beggars and street salesman in most areas of the capital has skyrocketed. This can only be a direct indication of an influx of Syrian Mokhabarat who came to “cover” our elections, and whose retinue those poor wretches tend to be part of.

Alas, no Kaak yet…

So it’s a good thing Minister Baroud is enforcing those safety belt laws and the cellphone ban. 

I feel safer already…

... Well, to be fair, the cellphone ban is nice. The seatbelt laws, however, for "personal choice" reasons only a libertarian could feel compelled to justify. But still, I would hope more could be done. But I digress. Still, thanks to LaLebanessa for  taking me to task.


I see those little local developments in the context of the announcement that Britain's Foreign Office announced Thursday that it has contacted Hezbollah's “political wing”(WTF?!)”. At the same time, their American masters are reassuring us that they will still respect us in the morning after that little flirtation while they continue to withhold equipment from our Army. If you can call that “old equipment that the Jordanian kingdom wants to replace” military hardware; I’ve seen newer crap.

Still, we may have a chance if the Golden Horde decides to ride again. Just maybe; they still make ammo for those M24/29, don’t they?

I am not only surprised that there is such a thing as a “political wing” for what is little more than the Lebanese outgrowth of the Pasdaran, I am even more surprised no one yet considered contacting Ben Laden’s political wing? So what if his followers wasted a few limeys; isn’t our rag-head blood just as worthy as theirs? And furthermore, Ossama’s a far more reasonable man than Ahmadinejad and his kin; Khatami’s a mere fig leaf, and rather than an end in itself, America’s favourite troglodyte considers religion as a means to an end…

But I digress. again.

In the context of all those shenanigans, I fear those will be tough days ahead for Lebanon. Regardless of which March you’re on, “only a sword can cut this Gordian knot” of conflicting alliances and rival interests.

In the short term, I fear the hounds have already been released… And the longer term may even be worse.

The Ugly Short Term

On the short term, our election is set to be a very dirty affair. That the polls are all on the same day creates even more opportunities for the better organized party to play “under the table”, and I would not surprised to see those who claim March 8th to win the day.

Indeed, the key players in the camp that claims March 14th, led by amateur-in-chief Saad Hariri, appear set to screw one another. Especially with “leaders” such as Amine Gemayel and Michel Murr, either of whom has yet to fathom a lie they could not utter.

The Uglier Long Term

On the long term, the Americans will re-learn the difference between talk and dialogue, as their little flirtation with Syria fails (again). On the longer term, Hezb’O’s conservative revolution will not prevail.

By then, however, Lebanon may well have collapsed.

Chances are there will be little left of the civil society that motivated the (true) Cedar Revolution. The best and brightest having emigrated away and moved on, Lebanon could well be even more solidly infiltrated by Hezb’O.

Yes, we Lebanese are no saints. But Israelis will hate the alternative… As they complain about their (accidental) terrorists offsprings that will go back to threatening their northern border, there will be little they can do about it, they will be too busy glossing over that dreaded A-word, especially if “Yvette” gets a seat anywhere near the government table.

The Americans will have a harder time as well, and “the One” and his “advisers” will come to regret ignoring the opinion of wiser men;

It is easy to see how Syria gains strategically from a "peace breakthrough" with Israel. It gains in Lebanon; it breaks out of the isolation that the Gulf Arabs (and the United States) had sought to impose on it because of its unholy alliance with Iran. The Israeli strategic analysis is harder to discern. The bottom line is that the Israelis are short-sightedly playing here with American strategic chips, undercutting an American regional strategy toward Iran-which one would have thought they had an interest in.


Lalebanessa said...

"So it’s a good thing Minister Baroud is enforcing those safety belt laws and the cellphone ban.

I feel safer already…"

A truely Lebanese reaction Jeha, we complain when there are no rules and then become critics when they are instituded!

We all know we have alot bigger problems, but any move in the right direction, however small, should be applauded.

Jeha said...

Je rouspete un peu trop, en effet. Thanks for putting me straight, I have updated the post to reflect that.

Especially since we're talking about an atypical politician, in that he is a decent person.

Anonymous said...

What you seem not to understand is that when Hizballah controls Lebanon it will be powerless to attack Israel just as Syria now is afraid to react to any attack from Israel. In fact Hizballah haven't attacked Israel since 2006 because Israel then changed the rules of the game and Hizballah knows that if they attack, it will be very bad for Lebanon.

For Israel a Hizballah controlled Lebanon is just as bad as an Asad controlled Syria. Israel can live with those. As for the Lebanese...

Anonymous said...


We Lebanese have a saying; "if others's power had lasted, you would not be in power today". So be careful what you think you can live with...

Nobody said...

Hey Jeha

What is your take on the approaching elections? Who takes them?

A Purple Monkey said...

I dont think I can still see the difference between an incompetent March 14, and a wrong March 8.