Political diary

An article on Al-Akhbar on the Lebanese prisoners in Syrian jails puts the polemic back on the table. Syria claims that there are no “political” prisoners in Syrian jails, only people convicted on purely criminal grounds. The article argues that opening this file triggers a whole series of investigations that takes us back in the midst of the civil war where the political and the criminal may not be differentiated as easily. Funnily enough, the article quotes former assassinated PM Rafic Hariri in a moment of exasperation, saying that Lebanon exaggerated when it asked for 200 or more prisoners from Syria. This was following a first release of 54 Lebanese prisoners in 2000 that was quickly followed by calls to release “all the prisoners”.

Al-Akhbar has some historical background on the village of Ghajar that the Israelis are still occupying today. Ghajar has always been between Lebanon and Israel, literally on the border that is.

More on the LBC struggle today, this time Karim Pakradouni is a possible successor.

By the way Al-Akhbar had a series of articles on the Muslim Brotherhood in Lebanon and its potential rapprochement with the 14th or March camp running every day. Interviews but also historical backgrounds assessed the question. The latest is on the first meeting between both parties. The guy who’s been covering this topic is Fida’ Itani. As if Al-Akhbar knew that the meeting was going to take place a week ago and had the time to go through the ABC of the party!

Russia and Syria provided intelligence data to Hezbollah during the latest war in Lebanon according to Ze’ev Schiff who draws his claims from a Jane’s Intelligence Review article. Now all this is nice – although I did not really understand how Russia provided intelligence, the article is really vague about it, jumping unexplainably from the idea of Russian anti-tank missile provided to Hezbollah to intelligence cooperation – but the most interesting information that Schiff thought to state is this:

According to the Jane’s report, in its agreement of intelligence cooperation with Syria, Iran insisted that no Russian intelligence officers should be allowed access to the new listening posts, despite the long standing deal between Damascus and Moscow.

What does the long standing deal between Damascus and Moscow has to do with Iran not wanting Russian officers listening to posts? And what long standing deal is he talking about?

Why is Israel giving Rafah crossing to Fatah? Do they think that Fatah can do the dirty job for them – that is to get rid of Hamas? In any case, the internal war continues unabated with one important Hamas casualty today. Fateh’s brigade (Al Aqsa) threatens to kill Hamas leader Meshaal. Palestinians are following the Lebanese way of “solving” things while being diverted from the real occupation. So you don’t need Israel to kill Meshaal anymore!

In Iraq US is using yet another militia – apart from the already used private mercenaries imported through private military companies – this time fully Iraqi and Sunni in order to tame other Sunnis.

The grouping of the Damascus declaration – headed by… Abd el Halim Khaddam – will join the Kurdish rally on Thursday to protest against the retrieval of Syrian nationality to Kurds done in 1962. I mean these guys want to be part of Syria or want a Kurdish state? They work on both sides and see what happens. Maybe for now the Americans aren’t really helping after all, especially that a Kurdish state is out of the question for now.

There is a blog (Bibliban) people have to check on saving Lebanese libraries destroyed by the war. There was an article on it in Al-Akhbar.

Syrian president Bashar el Assad thinks that peace could be reached in 6 month if negotiations start today. Well that’s great, but is this out of despair or what? Anything to keep the throne.


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