Skidding into 2007

So, after a series of planes, pre-dawn trains & stolen laptops peppered with pneumonia & other chest complaints, the Remarkz team looks to be re-emerging.

And to what?

The last digit’s now 7, Michel Hayek has another shot at emulating Nostradamus (he too was a charlatan speaking in tongues), Saddam’s dead, and insane business as usual prevails in the Middle East. Sticking with Saddam, I read somewhere (sorry, can’t find the link) that Al Jazeera conducted a poll asking how Saddam’s lynching impacted on readers/viewers. The overwhelming majority saw it as a humiliation over the other options of justice for his victims or proper legal process (cue laugh). Did the decision-makers anticipate this? When I say decision-makers, I am referring to the occupation force, not the ignoble puppets they’re riding. Only the Empire can make a death’s door hero of the man. The Angry Arab reliably captures the significance.

Just as an aside, if the ever-googling-yourself Michael Totten comes across this, look up the word irony and then apply it to As’ad’s use of his blogger name. Oh, & I hear the stars (& stripes) say 2007 sees you and your “pro-democracy” brethren in Lebanon come into some serious cash.

On to another battle of civilisations. So, we have a resurrection of the word Savafids as a pejorative stamp on Shiias, specifically aimed at de-Arabising Arab Shiias. Would this make the modern champions of this word, namely Al Qaeda (who first brought it back into vogue), miscellaneous extremists whose dystopian vision of a Middle East is being fleshed out everyday (or de-fleshed), and Walid Jumblatt, good Ottomans? And how does Safavid Arabism fare as compared with, say, Ottoman Arabism? If I did not have the reputations of my esteemed co-bloggers at heart, I’d say it’s all the usual divisive horseshit from the usual suspects. More on the Iraqi sectarian divide here.

On bringing history into the present day, there’s one unfairly disadvantaged period in Lebanese history, and that is the civil war. Bech recently posted about the sale of the Ein el Roumaneh bus, and Bashir advised that the motivation of the seller was a need for money. Understandable. But the non-Lebanese mind must boggle at how key symbols of a key period in Lebanese history have no national currency. Of course, the fact that this period of brutality is not taught in schools gives some indication. What does a bus mean in a 15 year blackout? No easily accessible light switch for Lebanon, no unified history, no truth, no reconciliation, just the same sadly not-tired-enough war criminals obstructing any real effort for progress. A formidable foundation for a shining future.

Bring on 2007.

Bad news

As if American diplomacy did not already have enough problems on its back (or rather putting problems on other people’s backs), Ms Rice has a new number 2. It’s not John Bolton but maybe worse: John Negroponte. If you don’t have enough background information on this high time chief manipulator, there is enough out there on the web to keep you busy for a while. One place to recommend is this website that has in depth cover of both the Honduras and Iran-Contra scandals and affairs.

We can’t get enough

No one will help us if we do not help ourselves

says the prime minister a few weeks before going to Paris-3 to seek help from his beloved international community.

Now the international community is ready to help us. It’s an opportunity that may not come again

says the exact same guy in the exact same Afp interview.
Fortunately he learned about Lebanon’s problems: “The problems we need to resolve — privatization, debt and the cost of electricity are known”, (is that really all???) as well as the cost of the “July War”: “we can’t take on the burden of reconstruction alone”.
After attempting to blame Israel for the 40 billion dept on august 7 during the Arab foreign ministers meeting, he is now already blaming Hezbollah for the eventual failure of reforms that have not happened yet:

The (proposed) reforms, which do not date from yesterday, are open to discussion


After the so-called Paris-3 conference, we are going to come home and tell the Lebanese ‘this is what we got.’ If the opposition does not want it, so be it. If the opposition wants to scuttle (the reforms), they will bear the responsibility

So we have a very narrow and almost non-existant “opening” for discussion and a much sharper “this is what we got”. Some people might argue that for Lebanon we need a man of multiple contradictions, still, maybe we also need them to be a little more subtle.
There is a tough blame game in Lebanon as we all know, Mufti Mohammed Ali al-Jouzou adds a new chapter to it by accusing Hezbollah clerics of waving sectarianism. Hard to believe when we see the peaceful and multi-confessional rally currently taking place, as well as the dozen accusations that fall on the Shi’as on a daily basis from Saniora to Joumblatt to the whole international community. Joumblatt alone sets a new milestone by shifting his usual anti-Syrian antagonism to a new anti-Hezbollah and anti-Iranian one.
The most amazing point in Jouzou’s call is his reference to the UN’s chapter 7, in which he is basically warning the Shi’a clerics: the whole world will come down on you!

In the light of such adversity “Hezbollah & its allies” as they are often called, are already doing a great job at restraint and coherence in their actions, whether we agree with their demands or not.