"The State will Vanish"

Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, a leading member of the governing coalition, urged Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas to act against Fatah al-Islam in the Nahr al-Bared camp.

“Either they root out (the group) in Nahr al-Bared or the state will root out the terrorism,” he said. “The state cannot … accept a compromise. The moment that it accepts a compromise, the state will vanish,” he said.

Oddly enough, Jumblatt is one of those guys I could see myself drinking matteh with, in the same way I can see myself playing golf with Bush, and drinking black label with Saad Hariri (although rumor is he’s a blue label fan). But sometimes he just makes no sense. Instead of using hysterical language, can he – or anyone else for that matter – explain why the current approach taken by the government and the army is the ONLY approach possible? I would actually argue that the longer this continues, the less chance this (non)state will have of surviving. And the more this army overstretches itself, coupled with increasing civilian deaths, the higher the probability that last sentence will come true.

11 Replies to “"The State will Vanish"”

  1. Hi R. Keefak?

    I would suggest the same thing I would suggest to anyone who jumps into an ill-thought of battle without a long-term strategic directive. Just Don’t do it. And if you have done it, there is always time to change tactical directions, because all that has happened is in essence just a sunk cost.

    As to a specific strategy – that is of course up to discussion. But insisting that only one way exists has always been simplistic, and ultimately counterproductive.

    I am of course willing to be proven wrong.

  2. m.,

    you are assuming the current ruling class (opposition included) is more interested in human misery or averting danger than profitting from the crisis du jour. The sad truth is that these “divine” victories can be found at all times and all places and there is little-to-no incentive toward a reasonable solution to the crisis.

    In truth, it makes me calm when Jumblatt is being ridiculously hyperbolic. It is when he seems quiet or depressed that I get more anxious.

  3. True apo, I am assuming that. In fact, today we were having a similar discussion over lunch about such tools used by the US and Iran. I guess I’m venting my frustration …

  4. in other news, i’ve just heard that condi may be making it back to her pre-bush era institution in a couple of years. that should be fun to watch 🙂

  5. Hi m.

    I am pretty good thanks, inta keef :)?

    I did not mean to sound trite, the only problem I have is that while I get that the army’s attack on the terrorists in the camp may not have been the best planned, the alternatives were not better.

    My beef is with people (and I don’t mean you) who play the humanitarian card about the suffering of the refugees, while harboring sectarian misgivings towards them and effectively perpetuating their squalor and victim status.

    That said, I am no military expert so I don’t know what could have been done better, but the “negotiation” option that some people have been promoting is unbearable. At what point do you draw the line and don’t negotiate with militias (and I don’t mean HA at this point) that operate strictly outside the realm of the law and don’t have any regard for the state…

    I don’t know the answer, but at least what the army did/is doing sends a message to anyone willing to listen, that any action against the army will provoke painful retaliation…

  6. For example, I look at the past summer, and I can’t help but wonder how different the outcome would have been if Israel attacked only for a week or so, and then stopped. Now, almost a year later, the Israeli government’s decision makers are being reprimanded, with some publicly regretting their decision of continuing the war. At the end of the day, that war did end with negotiations, as will almost every battle / war, even if the thought of negotiations doesn’t make us comfortable. The use of violence is just one tactic from a larger toolbox which is helpful in implementing a strategy (whatever that may be), but is not a strategy in itself. Likewise with political solutions. A combination is usually more effective.

    There is also the danger of spreading the army too thin, in that their effectiveness in protecting other parts of the country is reduced. There are other militias that are as extremist as Fatah Al-Islam, and if they decide to get involved (not saying they will, but we need to seriously consider this possibility and see how likely it is), how will the army react? Will the army eventually be forced to stop fighting from a position of weakness? How will they deal with other forms of unrest and violence if they arise? All of these may be questions we need to look at.

  7. Definitely m., on the other hand, what kind of negotiation can you conduct with groups like fatah al islam… think about this what if you negotiate with them today and tomorrow the other shitty groups in other refugee camps “decide” to pull the same tricks…. then what ? you negotiate with them ?
    What kind of message does that send ?

  8. in light of Joumblatts comments,The lebanese army seem to be the last line of defence for the government.Now i might agree that it was messy but the Lebanese army as mentioned before are a poor outfit,with little experience in fighting a guerilla style battle with f*&^k nuts,especially when it was a sudden operation.The American SWAT would have cleaned them by now with little collateral damage,but this is not the case for our beleagured army who were mere lamposts under the years of Syrian tutelage.
    There is growing pressure from the homefront including supporters of M14 who accuse the govmnt of not doing enough and being spineless.This was their ultimate test,really,it was control at all costs or the govnmt would lose credibility.Not to mention, a weak response to Fatah L Islam would create a lucrative breeding ground for further incursions especially when lebanon is on the boiling point.
    The kill or be killed attitude that joumblatt has adopted,also reinforces a safety net for the majority of the lebanese who feel choked by violence plauging the country,and that a concrete stance by the army in “rooting out” terorists sends a sigh of a relief through the populace.

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