ISIS and the specter of Zionism

  I’m not saying that Zionism and ISIS are identical or anything as simplistic. But in trying to find generalizing labels for ISIS, such as being a fascist organization, or a totalitarian state and so on, and in the effort to draw parallels between different political experiences one can more subtly propose that ISIS and […]

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Lebanon in Syria

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 […]

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The myths of democracy

Make no mistake, democratic deliberations will always be inversely related to community formation and actual political action. What we see taking place in Syria, Egypt, and in other countries of the Middle East all bear witness to the fact that there is no such thing as democracy if there isn’t prior to that, a non-democratic […]

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Isolationism or Regionalization?

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 […]

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War always

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 […]

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Confusion in the age of democracy

Today in Beirut, people are confusing an assassination that has clear regional causes and implications with very narrowly defined local demands, which may just worsen the current regional situation. The assassination of Wissam al Hassan, head of the Internal Security Forces is clearly the consequence of a long cold war that has began 7 years […]

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Fath al Islam: a quick update

Itani has a little update on the state of affairs regarding the bad guys in the north and their friends in the south, in the Palestinian camp of Ain el Helweh. I just want to point out one or two things that I think we can conclude from everything that happened pre and post the […]

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On our way back from Damascus

Yesterday I was in Syria. And before yesterday too. I liked how at the Syrian customs they have a poster of Imad Mughnieh that’s the size of Bashar Assad’s portrait, with Nasrallah stickers here and there on the windows that separate employees from the travelers. I also noticed that they have sidewalks in Damascus unlike […]

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Front page of Al-Akhbar today

In front of the parliament, a Sukleen worker cleans… Update: Just noticed that l’Orient le Jour had a very similar picture on its front page but with this as a caption: “une place de l’Étoile noyée au cœur de l’interminable sit-in de l’opposition et totalement déserte”…

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When I am killing time in front of a blank page instead of writing for my thesis

I tell an anecdote I was strolling around Bourj Hammoud yesterday with my friend Cara looking for cheap clothes. I was happily surprised to find a bustling street with people walking on sidewalks (for non-Lebanese residents in the world, people actually walking on sidewalks in itself is quite an event in Lebanon, see the previous […]

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The new Frenchman in the East

Well, it turns out that there may well be interesting developments in French politics with the arrival of Nicholas Sarkozy as president. The French envoy Jean-Claude Cousseran who was roaming around the backdoors of Syrian government buidings around the time Mustaqbal deputy Walid Eido was killed, turns out to have a history of confrontation with […]

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Local motives, international triggers

I have this little theory that the latest political assassinations (starting with Rafic Hariri) in Lebanon are carried out by local actors (Lebanese mostly but may include regional players) are triggered by international political shifts and decisions in order to force a status-quo on Lebanese political alignments and decisions. Although I don’t have the time […]

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Annahar and its sources

Today Annahar reported that after interrogating members of Fath al Islam, it seems they were preparing for a ’11th of sept’ style of attack on hotels in Beirut, and that they got arms from Syria. Basically, the perfect ‘terrorist’ group. I wonder is Annahar reporting what it wants to hear (as the ideological construct works […]

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Yawn …

It seems someone woke me up from my nap with news from New York. Why do they do that? Be a dear and close the door on your way out … Thanks … zzzz ….

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Self-Doubt …

Sometimes I wonder if I am completely wrong, but then I come across something like this and I remember that things could be worse. Such work suggests that it is indeed possible to become completely detached from reality (of course, having motivation$ for such is another matter). And so for my threadbare tethers, I am […]

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Enter the Jackals, Stage Right …

“Khaddam hired the good offices of Sandra Charles to lobby for him and obtain access for a high profile visit he’d like to make to Washington.Sandra Charles is on a substantial retainer with the Hariri family (from father to son) Her group has one of the more potent rollodexes in Washington, and she was amongst […]

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Wobble On …

In a special statement of clarification, the bureau stressed that Olmert had told Pelosi that Israel continued to regard Syria as “part of the axis of evil and a party encouraging terrorism in the entire Middle East.” It’s hard to believe how shaky Ehud Olmert’s standing must be that he must declare immediate and total […]

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Alternative Measures …

Well, it seems the Lebanon First crowd is not so hung up on that whole national sovereignty thing. Big surprise, I know. What’s puzzling is that I had thought that many of their leaders were intimately familiar with the pratfalls of relying on American and French support to secure their respective suzerainties. I guess they […]

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