At some lunch next to where I live somewhere in the mountains of Lebanon

I was having lunch with some Lebanese (of christian descent) and they were wondering why the Israelis bombed infrastructure in their hinterland. Given that Christians are more neutral if not tactitly complicit towards Israel, these dudes were asking themselves if the Israelis are not stupid to destroy the only possibility of having a couple of allies? No but seriously I ask myself the question: Are the Israelis stupid?

At the same lunch, someone (an army lieutenant) mentioned that some Hezbollah fighters tried to set pedestals for launching rockets from Ashrafieh (A Christian neighborhood in Beirut, more or less untouched since the start of hostilities). These fighters were quickly rebuffed when accusations from the inhabitants of the neighborhood took it to the state security forces. So hey guys, I just criticized Hezbollah! Hey anyone there? I’m not an ideologue! (sic)

Also at the same lunch, there was some grilled pork served, although I did not eat it any of it as it is against my “religion” (sic again), i was interested to learn that it was shot next to a Lebanese military base in the south of Lebanon. The lieutenant brought it back with him for lunch. I asked him if he was sure it wasn’t some Israeli we were about to eat – yes Arab are cannibals sometimes, beware “western” world, something you should add to the list of points that constitutes the phony concept of “terrorist” – and he answered that the Lebanese army only get wild pigs in this area…

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15 Replies to “At some lunch next to where I live somewhere in the mountains of Lebanon”

  1. >> These fighters were quickly rebuffed when accusations from the inhabitants of the neighborhood took it to the state security forces. So hey guys, I just criticized Hezbollah! Hey anyone there? I’m not an ideologue! (sick)

    Yes, I guess you do criticize them when your life and the life of the people you love are at stakes. It is self-preservation instinct. Well now try to shift this feeling to the South where Hezballah launches rockets from habitations where inhabitants are not allowed to voice their dissent and try to feel not only the physical pain but also the emotional pain inflicted to that community. When they ‘know’ there will be a deadly retaliation against them.
    Mixing combattants to non-combattants is a guerrilla technique. You should read Christopher Coker’s works on asymmetrical warfare to understand the way guerrillas operate.

    The success is also based on rallying the local populations by allowing the enemy to inflict them more pain. See how siding the Hezballah is popular now while it was more mixed before. It is why I strongly resist the call for rallying behind hezballah. I will never abide to the culture of violence as promoted by both hezballah and the Israeli state as well as they lack fo concern for civil populations. Call this idealism or naivete, I call this realism as I don’t see anything positive getting out of this.

  2. Yes, I guess you do criticize them when your life and the life of the people you love are at stakes. It is self-preservation instinct.

    do you happen to know the meaning of the word “sic”?

    let me ask you something, although I think hezbollah tries as much as possible to keep away from civilians (and maybe Israel too, when it does not just kill purposely because angry and losing): What do you expect Hezbollah to do? If you were the SG of Hezbollah what would you have done today? (good luck answering that…)

  3. If I were concerned about civilians’ safety. If I were concerned about my country. If I were the SG of Hezballah I would have give back the two soldiers and then have let the Gvt negotiated as planned its constructive 7 points plan agreed by a large majority of the Lebanese. But pride is above people’s security and face-saving is what matters.

    And no I am not the SG of Hesballah.

  4. When would you given the soldiers back? when Israel had already destroyed key infrastructure in Lebanon (in the first day), taking everyone by surprise?

    sorry to tell you this, but any normal “national” of a country would have never done this.

    also, with regards to the 7 point they are not sufficient to solve the conflict. review them… this is why the government has completely changed its stance.

  5. Well if liberating Sheb3a and liberating the soldiers is not enough…

    The Cabinet incuding Hezb ministers voted for it and the religious council endorsed it.

    But in any case I am too attached to the value of life to really belong to this country I guess.

    You and all the people in the blogs I have met are into bellicose discourses supporting the Hezb and its actions whatever the costs which despair me. To me it is irresponsible especially that up until now NO ONE has used a convincing argument to why and how we are gaining something in this war. That Israel cannot defeat hezballah? We knew that in 2000! Did we need another deadly demonstration of this fact?

    Bloodthirsty people: Lebanon belongs to you…

  6. Good god Bech. Knowing your readership’s lack of understaing of sarcasm, I would say you were playing with fire with that cannibalism comment.
    Look for the headline: Bloodthirsty Arabs Eat Poor, Hapless Israeli Soldiers.

  7. >> Look for the headline: Bloodthirsty Arabs Eat Poor, Hapless Israeli Soldiers.

    Dear Lens, you have not read my previous posts.

    What I am fighting against is the culture of violence promoted by both Hezballah and the Israelis, as the civilians are paying the price for it.

    There was a debate around the fact that people are defending hezballah arguing supporting them is the “best strategic choice” we could do. I was trying to ask Bachir to defend in a more argumentative way his point, as up until now I have seen no argument on what are the things I haave gained politically, economically and socially from hezballah’s strategy. I would argue I have seen more losses in the recent weeks than gain and that I could not see any shadow of victory and satisfaction whith more than 1000 dead and all the infrastructure destroyed.

    I have argued that if Hezballah’s weapons were kept by Hezballah for defensive purposes we have not been defended properly and if the finality was to bring security Hezballah failed.
    If Lebanese people’s security is what matters hezballah can handle the prisonners thus ending the enemy fires. This would leave room for negotiations by the government. This is IF civilians’ lives matter for Hezballah. Then Bachir argued against me saying this was unacceptable arguing that “any normal “national” of a country would have never done this”.

    To me what is at stakes is not worth the deads and the destructions. We have been brought into a cycle of violence by two parties that were prepared to fight.

    If Hezballah was doing a war of anticipation (the objective has shifted from “an exchange of prisoners” to a war of anticipation since anyway Israel was about to attack out of the blue Lebanon one morning in Spetembre or October) it is IMMORAL not to have the civilians prepared for it.
    If the fighters and the leadership lack nothing, nothing was planned for the civilians which are paying the high cost of this war.

    More worryingly is the politicization of help. I went to a school where help was provided by Offre-Joie and the kids were convinced it was Hezballah that was providing food, help and shelter while Hezballah has nothing to do with the organisations providing help. They were repeating what they have been told.

    Reinforcing Hezballah is not reinforcing the central state. We need to support, as any “normal” citizen, the central state first. My strategic choice would go for the Lebanese State and its widely-accepted 7-points.

    And I am still waiting for a strong counter-arguement on how and why supporting Hezballah is a better strategic choice than supporting the Lebanese Central State.

  8. To cute a long stupid debate short, suburbankid with holy names:
    (i like points because no time and trying to keep you focused)

    1- nobody promotes a culture of violence on this blog

    2- nobody thinks that hezbollah should be supported because it is causing violence. I don’t think that Hezbollah’s goal is to cause violence.

    3- nobody think in terms of gains and losses in this conflict. as i told you you cannot use a mercantile reasoning hear to weight advantages and constraints. you should look at it more in terms of what’s the least worse, or what is inevitable (please of this point before answering, because i’m losing patience).

    4- To this effect you need a crash course that looks into human nature and the dynamics of wars from the beginning of history.

    5- nobody thinks that “it’s either the leb state or hezbollah”, nobody thinks that the leb states should be fragmented quite the contrary actually. Everybody is waiting for the next step: how will hezbollah be integrated fully into state structures.

    6- Also, you will need in this case another crash course on what is politically feasible and what is not (in this case, what is needed to disarm hezbollah, when and how).

    hoping that you won’t write long moralizing “the world should be beautiful” types of diatribes. thanks.

  9. Hmm no answer to expect from this side then. Can the second contributor give me an answer as he promised to?

    I have patience so I can answer to your comments although you are going to consider me a black sheep to your cause:

    > I don’t think that Hezbollah’s goal is to cause violence.

    Just tune on El Manar and see the culture of violence promoted by Hezballah. Kids’ games as promoted in El Manar consist in burning Israeli flags among other constructive activities. Talking about flags I hope you have noticed a Kalashnikov in their party flags. I could talk for hours about the relation between hezballah and the culture of violence it is promoting. I’d just say: tune in El manar, then come back and tell me violence is alien to Hezballah.

    It is not because I pity the huge losses that I am mercantilist. I don’t know why you are stuck on this. Probably being alt-mondialist/anti-capitalist/pro-resistance is popular in this site, it bored me but anyway this does not matter. Point is, at the end of the day, when we’ll get out of our holes and we’ll see the damages we’ll wonder: “was this war worth it? What are the things we gained from all this?”. If you don’t want to answer to this question the Hezb will have to.

    < < To this effect you need a crash course that looks into human nature and the dynamics of wars from the beginning of history I did not get this point and I don’t know how it answers to my questions. By the way, I took courses on war and on the strategy of war by one of the best specialist in academia. I can give u some hints about things to read even: Mendlebaum on post-modern wars, the ccpt of Greed VS Grief by Collier or more importantly the link between democratization and war. I’ll actually explain this theory in another post as it brings an interesting perspective on the reasons behind this conflict. Those theories focus on leadership and power. Who is benefiting from war? How to rally the people when the privileges you had in the old regime are about to be retrieved from you? Because war is not always about ideals: it is about keeping power internally and externally, it is about making diversions, it about keeping control on certain traffics or privileges.
    >> nobody thinks that “it’s either the leb state or hezbollah”

    well de facto it is an either/or situation. The State had no power of decision with regard to hezb unilateral decision to abduct two Israeli soldiers behind the Blue Line. The power Hezballah has, is the power the Central State is loosing. It is not directed to the Hezb only of course. Joumblatt is not better than Hezballah in the way he controls the chouf. It is why fighting against Zaims is the next fight our civil society has to lead after the 68 parenthesis that witnessed the state loosing its monopoly on violence is closed.

    If a civil war does not occur in between

    < < hoping that you won't write long moralizing "the world should be beautiful" types of diatribes. thanks. Cute 😉 …

  10. suburban kids playing with names you really don’t get my points. This means that i am very bad at writing, and this makes me think that i should stop writing on this blog. I feel really desperate here..

    ok this is the last time i try:

    1- i don’t have a cause nor do i support hezbollah “ideationally” speaking. this is hard to understand but you may well do it. I ‘understand’ what made hezbollah and i think that it is a phenomenon that should be dealt with efficiently. this does not mean that i support hezbollah.

    2- i abhor violence but i think Hezbollah had no choice in what happened. prisoners are taken every once and a while. first israel reacts this way. because israel does not care about the prisoners and was attacking in any case. so it’s good you have hezbollah to counter. no? simple…

    3- you are right Hezbollah has a “culture” of violence, although i would be careful with this term. I would say Hezbollah “uses” violence as a political strategy. meaning that in different circumstances Hezbollah may end up dropping violence. And this should be studied further. Hezbollah has no built-in component that makes it a blood thirsty entity, that’s what I mean. As for the flag i agree, but you have to bear in mind why and when the group came into place. Many flags around the world have belligerent pasts in their symbols, then it became part of the history of each country.

    4- forget about altermondialist and all this stuff. what i mean is simply that you cannot think of what’s going on as a “strategy” where you “gain”. simply said (and hoping you will understand this for good), What’s going on is not something that Hezbollah can control. the group or for that matter any Lebanese party cannot decide to stop everything and give the prisoners back. There are many issues at stake such as the shebaa farms, the prisoners in israeli jails, the map of mines, constant israeli violation of lebanese air and terrestrial space, palestinina refugees etc.

    5- AS for Hezb/state relation i have to disagree with you completely. In any case it is the future that will tell. As a political militant group Hezb will eventually contribute to state building. This will efficitently happen if the rest of the political players will know how to handle it.

  11. It is “Suburban Kids WITH BIBLICAL NAMES”. Respect.

    Yeah guess we’ll be repeating over and over the same arguments. We simply do not see things from the same angles which is why we disagree. I am dropping this case as to my ears I still haven’t got what I was expecting for and there is nothing you can do about.
    So this debate between us ends here but I appreciate your efforts of clarification.

    ———————————————————————-

    Here is the thing I mentionned before:

    It is of course just an explanation from a specific theoretical angle, but I believe it is appropriate. It is a theory by Mansfield & Snyder who argue that, states that are prone to war are neither democracies, nor dictatorships but rather democratizing states. They do not argue that all wars are located in democratizing states but that wars statistically happen more in states that are in a phase of democratic transition. Why?
    To get to the heart of their argument, it is due to the old elite’s determination to remain in power and/or keep its privileges. This class creates a situation of instability to rally the population around nationalistic themes. Mansfield & Snyder then give an exhaustive list of examples: from Wilhemine Germany, to more recently former Yugoslavia. To take that last case while simplifying the argument to the extreme, they explain how Milosevic shifted from a communist discourse to a nationalist one before rallying Serbs with his bellicose speeches.
    In our case, the pro-Independence political elite succeeded to remain in power through pacific means: by using through means of subtle manipulation the immense emotional outburst created by Hariri’s assassination. It would be incorrect however to say there were no ideals whatsoever but I think it is accurate to argue that the majority surfed on the 14th of February emotional wave to reposition itself in the post-Syrian era.
    Hezballah on the other hand, had a lot to loose after the departure of the Syrians from Lebanon. Their community enjoyed economic privileges which exempted a large part of their population to pay electricity bills or housing taxations (it is of course more complex than that but am simplifying to get to the heart of the argument). The reform proposed by Jihad Azour, Minister of Finance, consisted among other things to impose a fairer taxation on all the Lebanese people. This reform was slowed down by the Minister of Electricity and Hydraulic resources, who is affiliated with Hezballah as it is a very sensitive ministry for the community. More important, was the debate on weapons that was badly initiated. The national debate with the representatives of all the sects that was created to debate on this issue among other things such as the relations to entertain with Syria, Shebaa farms and the issue of the prisoners has failed.
    In other words, the democratic transition in Lebanon has failed in its pacific realization and it is too early to blame one party or the other. Pro-Syrians and Aounist blame the government for being at best inconsistent or worst, to be a government of traitors by following diktats from the West. Those who sided the pro-Independence movement argue Hezballah never had the will of abandoning its privileges and intentionally slowed down reforms and the debate around its arsenal.

    I stay this is an angle among others and that it is open to discussion.

    U all have a safe and good week-end.

    S.K.B.N.

  12. Suburbankidwithrespecfulnames-that-does-not-take-humour-very-well, your last comment is interesting. I don’t disagree with it. you talk some sense here. though you talk about Lebanon as if being an island in the middle of the pacific ocean. But it’s ok most lebanese think that Lebanon’s world stops with Lebanon and his syrian demon, forgeting something called israel adn another called US.
    In any case, what you stated is interesting and does not contradict anything we’ve been discussing. let’s leave it up to there.

    hasta luego
    b-s-d-s

  13. S.B.K.N.,

    I would just like you to note on this theory that the United States, that beacon of democracy, has been involved in foreign hostilities 2 out of every three years of its existence …

  14. Yeah guess I forgot to laugh as usual 😉 Next time I’ll pay attention to the “Applause” signs lol

    >> though you talk about Lebanon as if being an island in the middle of the pacific ocean.

    It is an excellent point you are making here. I intentionally did not get into regional and intl causes as my aim was to isolate certain internal facts.
    We can list all the facts that lead Hezballah to engage in this conflict. Add up some:

    1) Grief causes:
    a- Liberating sheb3a
    b- Liberating the prisonners
    c- Liberating the Occupied territories(“El Qods Lana” refreshing slogan)

    2) ‘Greed’ causes (internal)
    a- Keeping the weapons and therefore an advantage on other political parties
    b- Making a diversion concerning internal reforms putting at stakes old privileges

    3) External causes:
    a- Making a diversion with regard to Iran’s uranium crisis although unlike many people think I think it is the other way round. Instead of Hezballah making a diversion, it is Iran’s relation to them that caused troubles. Their alliance with hezb rendered unacceptable Hezb victory in the eyes of Israel, Sunni Arab States and the USA
    b- A diversion with regard to the Intl Tribunal which is possible but not probable either

    Add up yours.

    S
    U
    B
    U
    R
    B
    A
    N

    K
    I
    D
    S

    W
    I
    T
    H

    B
    I
    B
    L
    I
    C
    A
    L

    N
    A
    M
    E
    S

  15. >>> I would just like you to note on this theory that the United States, that beacon of democracy, has been involved in foreign hostilities 2 out of every three years of its existence

    Absolutely! It is why I wrote this

    < << They do not argue that ALL WARS are located in democratizing states BUT THAT WAR STATISTICALLY happen more in states that are in a phase of democratic transition. Political Science and International Relations are human sciences. Those formulas/theories are never 100% valid. They provide a angle which explains how and why war occur. There was in the early 1990s for instance theories using the Clash of Civilizations premise to explain wars in the post-Cold War era (Huntington or Kaplan among other scholars). As a response to this, many scholars literally revolted and argued it was not ‘grief’ or ‘ideals’ that pushed people to make war but ‘greed’. They wanted to shift from the religious/ideological/general angle to the human/particular/greed angle which I find more practical and accurate, as it removed the notion of irreversibility present in the previous angle. ex: Clinton was very reluctant to intervene in former-Yugoslavia cos he read Kaplan book which mentionned “millenia of hatred” between Serbs, Croats and Bosnians. Basically: if those hatreds are so deeply rooted in the past, it is therefore useless to try and prevent them. The second approach is more interesting as it focuses on the integration of the older elite. How can we integrate them before they provoke a conflict to rally the people around them?
    How can we integrate ‘bad’, selfish, un-modern, leaders and then at a latter stage try them for the crimes they committed in the past?

    It is why Aoun scares me. He can wipe out the old elite but he can create a huge mess by being too brutal. The chilian example is interesting: a golden parachute was offered to Pinochet and his clique and then gradually, the layers of protection faded away and he was finally tried in the late 90s.

    The Zaims managed to integrate themselves in the political game surfing on the 14th of March: I think of Joumblatt, Hariri, geagea etc. They discredited momentarily a class of politicians: karameh, franjieh etc. We have to think on how to offer them a golden parachute and gradually weaken them to bring out peacefully a new class of politicians. Joumblatt and his control over the Druze community is not better than Nasrallah control over the Shi3a community. Both prevent state-building.

    Well I digressed as usual from the original argument. Point was: in social sciences laws are never fixed.

    s k b n

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