Monday, December 10, 2012

Breaking Tripoli?

Is the Syrian War spilling into Lebanon? No. Will Tripoli burn, as Homs and Hama did? Lilkely.

What kind of Yes/No answer is this? Well, there are, indeed, some very obvious actors and actions... But the marionettes are never the only
consideration here. There are two considerations; one "fundamental", and one "immediate".

First, the Fundamentals:

No, Syria's war is not spilling into Lebanon. Rather, the war in Lebanon has spilled over into Syria.The Syrian regime fell the day it left Lebanon, in 2005. It endured for a while, but the Assad Dynasty's needed the resources of Lebanon to survive as Masters of Syria. In their struggle to regain power, they made things worse for themselves:
The Syrians will miss those supports on the long run, since few Americans can now seriously consider “engagement” as an option. And as they look for alternatives, pity the neighbourhood, and its weakest link; Lebanon
This has always been a regional war among tribes and city-states. The veneer of nation-states that was applied over us was just that; a veneer. Nothing more. And the faulat was not merely in Lebanon. To be sure, Lebanon has many faults. But it was all in the open, "warts and all", contrary to all the hypocrites who surround us. While we struggled in the face of those contradictions, nearby dictatorships and pseudo-theocratic pseudo-democracy had fun with us... But now their chicken are all coming home to roost.  Yet, rather than focusing on their own ills, they did their best to kill of the Canary in the coalmine...
And as they did so, they were putting nails into their own coffins. Ensuring Lebanon's war could spill over at their first sign of weakness.

Second, the Immediate:

We're on our way to a divided Syria. One in which Bashar will be lucky if the Alawites keep him in charge of their little Canton... But for now, the immediate aftershock will likely be felt in Tripoli. 
Why? It all depends on how crassly sectarian this conflict will be... In Syria's current sectarian perspective, much of the Alawite elite needs to secure its coastal enclave around Lattaqieh. This enclave has three vital economic links; Northward, towards Turkey, Eastward, though Homs, and South, towards Lebanon and through Tripoli. So it has three priorities:
1- The North is closed off by the Turks, who do not want to see any linkages with Antioch... They may smarten up as the Kurds reassert themselves, but this will be a while. 
2- The East is closed off by the takeover of the rest of Syria by Salafis and Ikhwans. But the control of Homs would allow them to split the rival cities of Aleppo and Damascus, and act as spoilers in the new "Syria".
3- The South links them to their Shiite Allies is closed off by Tripoli. So, to secure a Alawite stronghold, the Tripoli lock needs to be broken. It must break. It may well break ...
And this brings in an "interesting" sectarian sub-plot; as ever, the Christians are "in the way". ; the Christians are divided between Aoun and Geagea. Having failed to assassinate Geagea, will the Alawite Elite jettison Aoun and reconcile themselves to Geagea?
Some notes / perspective:
This blog is not inactive... But it is not "reactive". Rather, it is just tracking events from a perspective of history, not the news. I am no journalist, no political analyst who follows the "news schedule", nor do I listen to news much. I am just someone who's tired to see "big white chiefs" lecture us on how to live, and I have the arrogance to think I have something more meaningful to contribute to the understanding of the region... I just know enough history to see when it repeats itself, or when it rhymes.

And for now, history rhymes
And, If/when Tripoli falls, we will soon see epic fights among the Walis of Damascus, Aleppo, and Lattaqieh/Antioch... Time will tell how the Mohafaza of Jabal Loubnan will react, and if the Wali of Acca-Jerusalem decides to grow a brain.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stand in our shoes...

Welcome to Lebanon, Holy Father. As you wave to the cheering crowds from your PapaMobile, look closer at the people who are welcoming you, at the land they stand on

This land is sacred to us, not because of religion(s), but because it is all we have to stand on, because of the life our forefathers extracted from the hard terrain through toil and labour, allowing us to flower our modern gardens and live in (relative) plenty and (very relative) harmony among misery and bigotry. 

We are now at war and genocide, in all but name. 

There is no way Iran can come to term with the world's powers. There is no way Israel will grow past its land claims. 

There is no way Lebanese "leaders" will accept to be ever accountable. Would you commit to really help them? To really speak to the World on behalf of the Arab world, and, most importantly, to the Arab world on behalf of the World? 

Would you commit to more than speak, and actually do something about the rising bigotry and hatred that surrounds (what's left of) secular Lebanon? 
At the end of your trip, you will be back safely in Rome. At the end of your trip, the Lebanese will still be emigrating from there. 

You believe you stand in God shoes. We must wear our own. And we can only hope to remain standing up at the end of the day.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Exit the Baath, enter the Wahabis, Islamic “Brotherhood”, Salafis… More Falsifiers. Far from being “conservative” Moslems, those guys are past Tariq Ramadan's sophisms (Sarko happened to be right on this one), and have moved beyond an initial claim to "exclusivism", to evolved and become a different religion altogether.

I am not a scholar of Islam, but those guys do not make sense. The simplest explanation would be that that those guys have hijacked Islam and falsified it, with dangerous implications for the rest of us. They do not emphasize the “salaf” as much as wipe out the predecessors.

Does Big Brother even exist?
- Of course he exists.
No, I mean... does he exist like you or me?
- You do not exist..

To be fair to them, the hijacking did nothappen recently. My point is that this process started a long time ago, even before many of today's "strains". It started soon after the death of the prophet, when all but one version of the Koran were burned... This is not to say that the essence of the message was altered; only that the text is not exactly "as spoken"... Indeed, "most Muslim scholars believe" that this "Uthmanic Koran" is the entire revelation, but consensus is not proof... Remember the consensus on Aristotelian physics? ... So, from then on, what followed was nothing but the result of a long and slow process of destruction, a series of small steps that culminated in the falsified “new normal” that we face today.

In the Beginning ...

This happened in at least three major steps.

First comes Abu Huraira… This guy claims to have known the prophet better than mos, and has 15.56% of the whole traditions in Sahih Bukhari traced to him. He knew the prophet for 2 years, yet managed to narrated 5374 Hadith. Compare this with the 142 Hadith attributed to Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, who knew the Prophet for 23 years.

I am no scholar (but I play one on the blog), but something is really wrong with this picture. Especially since many of Abu Huraira’s narrated Hadith contradict one another, and are contradicted by others, like Aisha, the Prophet’s Wife and “Umm al-Mu'minin”, with only 2210 Hadith attributed to her. Methinks she ought to be given precedence… 

...The dude had a thing against women, tabla .... 

Doublethink: The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

Second comes the decision to equate the Hadith and the Koran. OK, I’m skipping the step where diacritics were added to the Koran; this goes to the root of Arabic’s peculiar form of script. But that’s one polemic too much… For now… So, back to our point; how can a Revelation be placed on equal footing with acknowledge hearsay? Then again, I am no scholar, and many will find that I missing subtleties. But this is beside the point.

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Third comes the “no more ijtihad”. Now that’s a doozy. I am not sure of the deep philosophical reasons for this, but it does not make sense. Chiites generally do not accept this decision; maybe because they were in opposition, while the Sunnis were in power. Would be interesting to see how “Khomeini’s true heirs” view his Legacy, now that Shiites are on the ascendance.

Orthodoxy means not thinking-not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.

...and to what End?

Now comes the Stone Age. Or the “stoning age”, to be precise. We’re at a stage now where a new religion is flourishing:

At this stage, Muhammad Bin Abd El Wahab (or his entourage) could safely state that “this stick in my hand is better than Muhammad because it benefits me by enabling me to walk. But Muhammad is dead and benefits me not at all”. Their Falsafi cousins are not far away.

The objectives of this new religion is not universalist, it is political. After the mid 1960's, It evolved from the early days when they just wanted to control over the Arabian Peninsula. Now, flush with oil wealth, they just want to take over the world. So, beyond the Arab world, they need to take over Islam. They have the muscle; oil wealth... 
The first stage of fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power (Benito Mussolini)

Only one thing stands in their way; history.

Umar had already done half the job for them, by expelling the "non believers" from the Hejaz. To do so, he claimed that the Prophet had stated that "No two religions must remain in the land of the Arabs". It's odd that so so many subsequent (hearsay) Hadith are used to supersede the (revealed) Koran... But it's politically convenient. And, after a first falsification, once you get used to it, why stop there?

So, once they've consolidated their power over the Arabian peninsula and established themselves "mainstream", those pseudo-Sunnis (a charitable description) proceeded by wiping out memories, and thus remove any trace of the early days of Islam. They do so By destroying the house of the prophet and many other sites, they move to consolidate their control over Islam.

“He who Controls the Past, Controls the Future”: All others accepted the lie imposed, all records told the same tale, now the lie passed into history and became truth.

At the present time, there is little left from the early days. Gone are the women who went "Barza" (unveiled). Gone is his coptic wife, Mariam (and wiki's sources are biased on this one)... The remaining challenges come from such remote places as "Piss-Poor-Little-African-Countries" or Uzbekistan, so they can be easily dealt with easily, one at a time, regardless of any "critical" responses... I wouldn't be so sure the Pyramids are safe; even if right-wing blogs are no stranger to hyperbole, Salafis are no stranger to cultural genocide.  

Gone are so many things the Prophet did that contradict those nasty clowns. Little evidence of what was before the vociferous “barbudos” came along. And we find ourselves a “new normal”.

Welcome to the new fascism.

This fascism is still "A system of government that exercises a  dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and [oil] leadership, together with belligerent [religious] nationalism." Adapted from; The American Heritage Dictionary, 1983. 

But it remains on weak theological footing, as long as there are thinking Arabs and Moslems. There are a few of those... 
... for a perspective from a real scholar...

Till we overcome this new fascism

A book, a woman, and a flask of wine:
The three make heaven for me; it may be thine
Is some sour place of singing cold and bare,
But then, I never said thy heaven was mine.
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat - XII, 1120)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Arab Spring, Eh?

So now the “Arab Spring” is supposed to be an “Islamic Spring”? Well, not exactly… The whole thing is an over-simplification. And worse; it is a Disinformation with an Agenda… Or many intersecting agendas.

And before you shout “CIA military coup”, accuse me of conspiracy-phobia “a al Nasrallah”… Maybe... But read on.

IMH(BA)O, There are at least aspects to this lie, and each shows a different agenda, or a biased “vision” of the world.

First, there is no Arab Spring. No more than we “knew” ours was supposed to be a “Cedar Revolution”, the rest of the Arab world did not think about its current upheavals as a “spring”. What is happening now is just the end of a normal rotting process. It is simply the natural evolution of regimes that had refused to evolve. Not merely change, but simply evolve.

Rather than evolving, they just grew. Not up. More. The parasite was outgrowing the host. In most cases, the demands of the parasitic dictators got bigger just at the same time as the economies were slowing down. After all, each now had large families (and hungry) families to provide for.

So, when the economic crisis hit, they had been ripe and lost big. Very big. Whether some “outside force” picked them up or whether they just fell down is irrelevant. They were just walking corpses of lies and failed ideas. No amount of police force could compensate for the lack or Panem, and Circemses… One more unintended consequence of the “formula that killed Wall Street”; our crooks fell victims to bigger crooks.

So what if there was a ton of manufactured news in the prelude? There was a market for it since the people had gotten tired of the bullshit…

And it’s just as well. Consider this nastiest of the nasties, Kim Un aka Trois. His regime has evolved. Not in the sense that we’d like. But the North Korean regime has kept up with the latest in technologies, and thus has grown ever more efficient at repressing people. Rather than pursuing an economic progress that would ultimately undermine him, Kim-Un-“Troisième du Nom” has starved his country into submission.

Second, this is not an Islamist Spring. This is not a "War of Worlds". It is not an opposition between a “secular” regime and a “backward” Islamist clique. Egypt has been just as repressive to the Coptic Christians as any Islamist would be. And Syria’s not even misunderstood (with often bad consequences for us). It's not even a regime; it’s a family “Cosa Nostra”…

It so happens that those Fascists have been the only organized force in many of the countries of the region… And that they have many powerful allies; some rich Arab Monarchies, some simplistic American President, and some very devious country whose claim to be the “only democracy in the Middle East” would otherwise ring hollow.

So enough of that. We’ve been there already, even before this lie was ever proagated. This is one is not related to some agenda, just a relic of Western Arrogance, and of  Israeli chutzpah of claiming to be the "only democracy in the Middle East". Right. ...Moi-y-en-a-bon-blanc.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Security Details...

Bashar ilal iyada wa Maher ilal kiyada”

In Syria, they shout: “Bachar to the Asylum and Maher to the Leadership”… Such is the new battle cry in many “pro-Regime” villages… Now that we’re smack into a Syrian civil war, expect more radicalism. You can’t choose your camp; it’s been done for you, at your birth.

Lest we forget, the armed gangs on both sides of this conflict were both happily shooting us down in Lebanon… When they left, they learned all the wrong lessons from us, and left with all our defects, and without our (legendary) sense of humour… This will leave the Syrians with no “exit strategy” from their civil war, unless they get really lucky. At this rate, the new borders will be drawn in blood, with hardly a way back. And if you think you can stay in the middle of this road to hell, remember that;

“In the middle, there’s a Yellow line and a dead Armadillo

As for the other players in this conflict, the fire you’re dousing will burn you. Let me just say this. For Turkey, remember the Kurds? And the Armenians? As for Qatar, you’d like to think otherwise, but size does matter… As for Iran, maybe you guys ought to look closer to home, without resorting to Photoshop; maybe Iran tunest, after all.

As for us in Lebanon, expect more radicalization of the “pro Syrians” as well… And more paranoia. They forget that others have bee there before, with bad consequences. And they will keep digging themselves into that hole. No one told them “you cannot fight geography”, I guess.

Not sure, yet, what the way out is for them. Their current crop of leaders left no obvious alternatives; Hezb and Amal have really cornered the Shiite political “market”, leaving no alternatives… Till Iran’s money runs out. Then, maybe others, like the (few remaining) communists, pose a credible challenge to them.

Till then, we’re condemned to keep on repeating and un-learning Ibn-Khaldun’s lessons.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Son of a Rich!

One gets mixed feelings when one reads words that there is such a thing as “Lebanonization”. As if there was such a thing as a “Syrian Exception”.

It’s as if our civil war was a peculiar disease that was for ever foreign to the Arab body politic. So the Middle East has no religious fanaticism, no oppression of minorities, no mass massacres of innocent civilians, no ethnic cleansing, no disreguard for private property and human rights

...Gimme a freakin’ break

We used to say that we’re the Switzerland of the Middle East. We are.

It is just that the Swiss neighbour the French, the Germans, and the Italians. And then Napoleon came along to put some sense into them

We Lebanese have the misfortune of neighbouring Arrogant Baathists, Self-centered Israelis, and negationists Turks... And our own hubris... And we have Nasrallah and Al-Asir stoking fires that will burn us all… As a small country, we can only “resonate” with all the drumbreats around us…

Yes, I know. The link makes no sense :)

Yet we managed to endure in spite of all this…

Syria would be lucky if it managed half as well/bad as we did. It would be lucky if its civil war slides into Lebanon mode. Yes, lucky. It’s simply because, throughout our own civil war, we Lebanese maintained a form of state. We kept some sort of minimal contacts. We kept some sort of perspective.

How did we do it?

No, we’re no better than any one else. There is no more Lebanon exception as there is Syrian exception.

We’re just better deal makers.

Even when we carp to foreign powers, we’re unreliable; we only follow those who pay last, not necessary those who pay more…

In Syria, they have a long way down this road.

The fact remains that the Baath was the only link between all the parts of country and society, since it controlled most large scale businesses across the country. The other links that remain are religious/ethnic, and often regional.

Now, as the Baath glacis melts away, new divides will appear that Syrian have little experience in bridging. Today, the divide is between rich and poor. Tomorrow, it could be between Damascus and Aleppo, since the regime has all but broken the Homs node…. The day after, who knows?

All the efforts of Bashar’s “allies” will not prevent this slide into hell. And all the efforts of Bashar aim at facilitating this descent… So, the “dialogue” that has began is being conducted with bombs and bullets… And chemical weapons, or is it just gas?

… And this “dialogue” will soon spread South.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Liars Ballet

The thing about lies is that they come back to haunt you... For the Syrian regime, it's endgame; they lied so much, no one would ever believe him, even if they were telling the truth... Which in this case they are not. 

Enter "Houssam Houssam", the so-called star witness in the Hariri Assassination. The "Free" Syrian Army now has him. Skipping the part of how he got there, he claims he has new revelations on his past revelations... Not that's a liar that I would never believe. 

Still, in Lebanon, we're so fed up with the Divine Idiots that he'll find an audience... At least, now the regime's chicken are all "coming home to roost". The only downside is that, when they will be done with this gang of clowns, the new clowns will get not just get rid of the bad, but also of any good that was left there... 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cher Nobyl...

Dear “Daktor” Bashar,

So it’s endgame for you… What do you expect, when no one really believes you anymore, even when (if?) you tell the truth? So, you may last a year, you may last 10. But you’re basically gone. At this stage, forget about all the “praise”; your regime is bankrupt and all but gone. And forget about your Iranian paymasters, they have troubles of their ownAll sorts of troubles. So you should be considering your options.

So, at those last stages, what are your options? Well, you would normally have a few. By now, none will work… Consider this:

Option 1: high tail it outta there. At first, the British may still find you an exit; they do have a soft spot for dictators and their cash. You once had a few useful idiots there, but now you appear to have pissed off even the stupidest and the most “grovelish” of them that they are actively trying to forget they ever knew you. Still, in this case, you’ve stolen enough cash to ensure that your children may survive, though I’m not sure if your son will live out the Legacy of his name; I suggest you petition to change his name back to… Al-Wahsh

Then (where else) you could have considered joining (what’s left) of Ben-Ali in Saudi Arabia or Qatar? You may get past the Salafis, but pity the shopping… And the regime there is not any more stable than you are… Thank providence for high oil prices. So, further away? Maybe China; for all its support, Russia may well be reconsidering some of its options.

Option 2: You could try a “political rally”, in which case he will end “a la Ceaucescu”. Not a good idea; with Assef Shawkat gone, you may want to watch those who “escaped” the blast.

Option 3: You could try to hold on to that “Alawite stronghold” of yours. But I am not sure how well Ghazy Canaan’s “suicide” (and that of his brother) was received over there. At least, stay away from the beach. And again, watch those who “escaped” the blast.

Then again, you’re smart enough to find a way out of this… As long as your arrogance does not get in the way. It’s a pity that you wasted all your intelligence and the “good will” you had early on. You’ve only managed to keep Syria in the dark ages. Or maybe you had no choice; your own grandfather had predicted as much.

Monday, January 02, 2012

фашистской силой

Best Hopes for a Happy New Year 2012.

As I see my fellow Arab emerge from the slumber, I can only hope it’s a real awakening. The picture so far remains a bit blurry, but it is not hopeful. The danger is that Arabs may only awaken from the stupor of secular fascists to fall into the deadly embrace of religious fascists.

Cave Semitii

I am fearful for the Arab people because of our Arab Nature. If we Semites have any redeeming qualities, it is our deep and spirituality and our passionate sense of honour and justice. If we Semites have any damning faults, it is our deep and spirituality and our passionate sense of honour and justice.

So, when our prophets said it was “an eye for an eye”, this was not a licence to exact retribution from those who offended us (and more). Rather, this simple statement was meant to reminds us all of our humbling equality before the Creator. Yet we often forget it.

And the clowns who (mis)ruled us forgot that while they acted as God incarnate. Some, like Gaddafi, may even have believed it. A few guys from Misrata reminded him otherwise. While no one can wish his end on anyone, but he who lived by the sword should expect to die by the sword (in the worse way possible).

So, good riddance to bad rubbish. Or, if you feel hypocritical, may they rest in peace and let’s turn the page.

And that was the easy part.

Trouble is, we may have many more pages to turn before our story even starts. Like so many other people over the course of history, after we get rid of the Czar, we still have to deal with the dung heap on which he stood, lest this dung heap take over. While those nasty clowns repressed liberals, they fostered and empowered even nastier forces in their dark shadows (ok, all shadows are dark, excuse the “balagha”). Those are the Bolsheviks of yore, the Khomeinists yesteryear… and today, we have Islamic Brotherhood, the Salafists, the National Religious....

Those secular fascists were only the first page. We now face those religious fascists. We need to turn many more pages before we get to the end of our story. And as we turn the pages, beware of our Semitic passions. With the easy enemy gone, we have to face the demons within us.

So, best hopes for 2012.

Better be careful what we wished for this year, we're on our way to get it... Unless we wise up.