The fates of the modern states of Lebanon and Syria are inextricably linked. It is important to read their history not just as was done conventionally that is Syria never fully recognizing Lebanon as an independent state but also the reverse, as Lebanon, or particular segments of the Lebanese political establishment involving and using Syria […]Read More Lebanon in Syria
This is a summary of the latest events between Israel and Hizbullah. It starts when Hizbullah’s SG Hassan Nasrallah engaged in a long description of Hizbullah’s readiness to fight Israel even if involved in the Syrian quagmire, on Mayadeen TV. Obviously, I would be simplifying if I started the story then, as it is involved […]Read More Israel and Hizbullah: A quick round up
The new Christian maronite patriarch Cardinal Bechara Boutros el Rai, has been making some bold moves since the beginning of his mandate. First his visit to Syria in the midst of the conflict degenerating, and now his decision to visit Jerusalem as the Catholic pope has schedule a Middle East tour, all show that Rai […]Read More Raï in Jerusalem
The recent bombings in Beirut elevates Lebanon to the ironic status of a democratic country, in the modern Western sense of the term. Sadly, this is no privilege at all, more of a burden really. As I argued earlier, Terrorism as a particular form of carrying out political action is only possible if certain democratic […]Read More Illusions of Terrorism and Democracy
EU’s decision to label Hizbulah’s military wing a terrorist organization is a silly decision, one that betrays a simplistic understanding of the politics of the Middle East in the last three decades. My intuition is that this decision is the fruit of years of erroneous analyses about the organization that is thought to have “changed”, […]Read More EU blacklisting Hizbullah’s military wing
Recently the Phalangist MP Sami Gemayel has proposed to “amend the preamble of the constitution to stipulate Lebanon’s neutrality towards regional conflicts”. “We request amending the constitution to clearly state that Lebanon must stay neutral towards regional events,” Gemayel said after the weekly meeting of the party’s political bureau. He elaborated: “We are very concerned […]Read More Isolationism or Regionalization?
I came across this paper written for a particular Middle East Policy Council. I have never seen a more awkwardly posed question regarding Hizbullah’s political development: Hezbollah’s evolution speaks to a larger question in the literature on nonstate actors, both in the Middle East and elsewhere: Why do some nonstate military groups survive attempts to […]Read More The framing of a “research question”
I was listening to Hizbullah’s Al Nour radio station two days ago when I heard, in the words of the radio speaker, that the main guy behind the reconstruction of the south, an Iranian engineer, Hassan Shateri, was killed in some kind of an ambush returning from Damascus to Beirut. I was wondering why the […]Read More War always
There are several points to remember from Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s televised interview conducted by Wikileaker Julian Assange two days ago. Though as it was geared to a Western audience, most of what was said was already known by the local population from Nasrallah’s various televised speeches in Beirut, there is, I think, […]Read More Nasrallah with Assange on Russia Today
This magnificently visionary passage of Fanon’s “Les damnés de la terre” nails cleverly what is at stake when the colonized decides to effectively fight the colonizer. What has been the slogan of the Palestinian resistance for decades and is now preserved by the “Islamist” resistance (that is still Palestinian but also Lebanese.. and beyond) grouping […]Read More What is meant by “Israel should cease to exist”
Former US ambassador in Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman responded in the NY Times today to the allegations made in a previous article in the same newspaper on Al Akhbar about waking up every morning and getting upset after reading Al Akhbar. Feltman answered! There is something quite desperate in this act. Check the argument: Actually, Al […]Read More Feltman’s response to Al Akhbar
From beginning to end… MP Nadim Gemayel noted on Friday that Lebanon was not victorious in the July 2006 war, but Hizbullah considered it a victory because it destroyed Lebanon, while its funding and weapons have been restored by Syria and Iran. He told MTV that several Lebanese view the war as a defeat seeing […]Read More Examples of reading politics upside down
While the world analyzes the meanings, validity, and consequences of yesterday’s Secretary General of Hizbullah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s press conference one should, I think, focus on one major important point made by this event as a whole: Regardless of who killed Lebanese former prime minister Rafic Hariri, this press conference showed that just like other […]Read More Nasrallah’s press conference
Back in September 2009, after listening to a speech by Hizbullah’s SG Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, I wrote this post that was left unfinished. I thought of proposing it today. On the 18th of September 2009, Hizbullah celebrated what Khomeini had instituted as “Jerusalem Day” (that takes place every year on the last Friday of the […]Read More Jews, Jews, where art thou?
In Christian festive times, Al Manar TV uses such rituals in order to focus attention on a political cause either pertaining to internal Lebanese issues (Jesus and messages of co-existence), regional (usually related to the Palestinian cause) or even international. On Christmas Eve for example, the seven o’clock news broadcast has most of its content […]Read More A Christmas Lesson
One has to wait a long time in order to read an article in the Lebanese press that actually takes the time to interview people from several corners of the country. I already said elsewhere that Al Akhbar contributes in a novel and ‘fuller’ way (i.e. more in line with European press standards of constructing […]Read More Tayyar views on Hizbullah
An excellent article today in Al Akhbar by a friend of mine deciphering the various media and other type of intellectual production in the “Lebanese” sphere that came to shape how Hizbullah was and is written. In so doing Raed Charaf goes through a very detailed account of the various types of intellectual activity that […]Read More Writing Hizbullah
How did the “Lebanese” discover that they had a Phoenician tradition? Or for that matter how did the Arabs discover that they had some past glorious tradition that was decimated by the Ottomans? Don’t we read Arabic history as one that stops around the Abbasid era, and that then picks up around the end of […]Read More Unearthing civilizations
The day after the quick removal of Mustaqbal’s mercenaries from West Beirut, a Saturday if I am not mistaken, there were no cats on the streets. The roads from Hamra to Gemmayzeh were totally deserted. At the start of the bridge of Beshara el Khoury coming from Burj el Murr, the main road was blocked […]Read More Military codes and what have you
For those not interested in academic empty quarrels you can skip this post. Our colleague, friend and fellow blogger Abu muqawama, has proposed to call the conflict that is happening in this little slice of land that came to be called Lebanon another civil war. And here, he provides more evidence of that. I think […]Read More Was this a (mini) Civil war?
Fida’ Itani is back with this haunting idea that behind every weakening of Mustaqbal, there is a strengthening of Sunni Salafi groups that are more anti-Shi’a than anti-Israeli. I do agree with his analysis, in the fact that there is an increasing anti-Shi’a sentiment in the country. But I do also think that anti-Shi’a feelings […]Read More The Salafi spectre and some other conclusions
It is important to understand that I am not defending Hizbullah’s viewpoint in the previous posts. I am just trying to describe certain social realities I observe. I am not saying that Hizbullah did good or bad. I am not really judging Hizbullah’s actions. But probably I should in a certain way say a line […]Read More A note to the reader
Something that makes me snap out very quickly is the outrage shown by people in Beirut to what “the jihadist” did in ‘west Beirut’, as if it was an isolated event, something popping out of nowhere, and as if this only happened to them. Nobody really understand that these types of armed threats were happening […]Read More The tribulations of West Beirut’s bourgeoisie
If there is one main idea that can capture what happened in the preceding days it would be the resolution of the security struggle that started after the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. As I said in previous posts, Hizbullah found itself in an unforeseen situation after the dismantling of the security system that was in […]Read More What happened? A “Real politik” reading
In a small village of the south of the country called Lebanon, the legend has it that the Secretary General of Hizbullah has a very specific method to move from one place to the other in order not to get spotted by Israelis or other head hunters. A young woman tells what circulates in stories, […]Read More The metamorphosis
We often hear people deplore the state of ‘Shi’a affairs’. According to this line of reasoning, although “the Shi’a” filled the majority ranks of Leftist parties in the 60s and 70s, they were the most ‘secular’ of all ‘confessions’ in the country, but that a guy like Musa Al Sadr had to screw things up […]Read More Are you a leftist or a Shi’a?
Don’t ask me exactly why but I changed my mind. I woke up this morning thinking about the blog. I thought that the beast could probably heal. For those who know me personally, they have seen how lunatic I can be. So I will start with Ms Levantine’s note. I will summarize what I think […]Read More Some thoughts on Hizbullah since Mughnieh’s assassination
This just in: CBNNews.com – JERUSALEM, Israel – Iranian missiles are making their way to Lebanese-based Hezbollah terrorists via Turkey, according to intelligence reports. Ok, let’s try something: XXXNews.com – BEIRUT, Lebanon – USA missiles, cluster bombs, and uranium-rich weapons, are making their way to the Palestine-based Zionist terrorist army, via USA, according to intelligence […]Read More Hegemony: an illustration
Yesterday morning, I turned on the radio tuned of course to Radio al Nour. There was an interview with Lina Abou Habib that campaigns to have women pass on their nationality to their children. The depth and pervasiveness of the patriarchal system in Lebanon is such that it is much worse than the rest of […]Read More Women, Nationality, and "Islamists"