Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Foreign Policy Magazine chimes in on Lebanon-Syria relations

Fellow bloggers and readers, in light of recent developments, such as Mr. Ghazi Kanaan's "suicide," I bring to your attention the following article from the Foreign Policy Magazine. The author's message appears to be that hawks who are salivating at the opportunity to take Bashar down should relax and wait for the hapless president to knock himself down.

With Syria blundering, Washington may be salivating at the prospect of pushing a teetering Assad from his perch. But the Bush administration would do best to let the current situation continue to unfold. For now, at least, Assad is doing enough to undermine himself. And, over the last nine months, the Lebanese have shown the world that, when pushed, they are willing to push back. Once again, the streets of Beirut have been filled with Lebanon’s multiethnic crowds. They are united both by fury and by a vision of an independent, inclusive, and pluralistic Lebanese state. Syria’s arrogance gave them both.

I'm not so sure about his Lebanese part of the analysis. I think Mr. DeVito has too much faith in us. We blunder as much, or even more, than the Syrians do. Anyways the unity of Lebanese is only a minor factor in the future that awaits Syria and Assad's regime. What awaits us is a whole different matter all-together.


Yazan said...

I think Kanaan's "Suicide" is a definite sign of a deal with US, to sacrifice such a key element for the regime stability must have got a LOT in return... so I'm not quite sure Assad's regime is in any direct danger right now, on the contrary, getting rid of a very important "Old Guard" could be used intensly in advocating the so-called reform process... + the US has obviously failed to provide the least decent replacement for this regime... so a regime change isn't really in the near future!!!

As to Lebanon, I don't think Syria has got much of a choice there... I think Lebanon is out on his own from now on... and that's definitley a good thing!

tryingtolearn said...

I am new to the study of the region. I was wondering what your thoughts are about the possible implications of the UN's investigation into the assassination of Rafiq Harari. If the highest levels of the Syrian government are fingered in the investigation what happens in Lebanon? More protests in Beirut, low level violence. Let me know you thoughts

Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

front bumper, you got the wrong picture. Kanaan's had nothing to do with Hariri's murder, it's part of a purge that Bashar is conducting in the regime.

Tryingtolearn, we've been trying to forget this question.

Raja said...

Tryingtolearn, the Syrians might do their best to foment chaos in Lebanon through their networks and the Palestinian camps. So, as Vox said, most of us are trying "to forget this question".

Rincewind said...

On the contrary, it is in case the report does not implicate the syrian regime that will lead to destabilization.
Remember that those fascists running the lebanese government (Hariri, Inc.) have this advance-guilty-verdict as a cornerstone of their legitimacy (what else is there apart failed socio-economic policies and years of quasi-dictatorial rule under his lordships ten-year tenure. It is a not-guilty verdict that will bring a power balance back to Lebanon, which has always been a recipe for conflict.

As for the palestinians, it is this sustained media campaign that makes the dwellers of the camps into 'fomenters of trouble' and 'destabilization factors'; this systematic dehumanization courtesy of LBCI and Future TVs will lead into an unforeseen disaster, and this time no lebanese will stand for the palestinians, save perhaps a few.

It will be amusing, though to see the Lebanese Army (TM) try to take out the PFLP-GC barracks, maybe they'll succeed where the IOF failed in the past, but after all, why should Sanyoura care for thousands of lebanese and palestinian lives?

A note to make: This farce of a media campaign against the palestinians has nothing to do with Lebanon. It is part of the orders given to Sanyoura, reason being to bring the refugees under the wing of the israeli lackeys in the PA, that they may serve as a bargaining chip, and so that Abu Mazen and his corrupt entourage can give up their rights for good. The fact that the refugees are still not completely under the control of the corrupt PA is a constant danger for israel, something the abu mazen and his ilk will not stand for.

Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

Rincewind, PFLP-CG, a puppet party controlled by Bashar, is bringing weapons from Syria and putting them OUTSIDE the camps, and declaring that it has the right to do so and that it will continue to do it, and the only thing that you say is that Seniora wants to kill the Palestinians?

What gives them the right to have these weapons, even inside the camp? But I suppose you and your jihadi friends don't really care about the law.

You're an idiot. It's a description, not an insult, don't take it personally.

BTW the Palestinian authority condemned the PFLP-CG. At least they are elected, not part of the Baathi-fascist chain of command.

RinceVent said...

No offense taken, after all, how can I even begin to respond to that intelligent description? I simply prostrate myself under the feet of the world's greatest living intellectual.

Sanyoura doesn't give a shit. He's getting orders and he's delivering, like an obedient school boy. Will that end up in the death of Lebanese and Palestinians? We'll see.

BTW, the palestinian people are not just the ones in the WB and Gaza, which was exactly my point, the one that your intellectualness somehow managed to miss.

Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

FPLP-CG surely doesn't represent any Palestinian. It's a few hundreds of terrorists paid and armed by Syria in order to destabilize Lebanon, like the Saika.

And even if they did represent any Palestinian, they must abide by the law which means, no weapons on Lebanese soil. The road to Jerusalem doesn't pass through Jounieh, especially when you're in south Beirut. I am willing to buy them a compass if they know how to use it.

The fact that Lebanon is forced to tolerate these weapons inside the camps doesn't mean that they can take these weapons outside like. The next step is predictible : they'll start to block the roads, provoke people and racket the shops. But it's not the 70's anymore and they will be dealt with before they succeed in destabilizng the country.

Let me remind you that the Cairo agreements were abrogated and these weapons are illegal, but I am sure that you don't care. Anyway PFLP-CG will probably vanish with its masters which means soon.

Rincewind said...

No denying the thugness and brutality of the commandement general (they did a lot of the indiscriminate killing along with the PSP), and they were never a popular-base movement, but simply a fighting unit, and a good one at that; they would fight to the bitter end and take hundreds of army officers with them, should the army decide to go into their barracks.

You do not know the palestinian society, or the cracks showing up there. The WB and Gazans look at the refugees as a problem: they consider them a stumbling block in the fight for statehood, the reason why they didn't get it in 2000.

Israel's main concern is demographic: They will never allow the Right of Return to pass (not even to WB and Gaza), and the corrupt PA knows that, and in the psyche of the palestinians in the OT they know it. For that reason, they need to be brought under the control of the PA (who don't and shouldn't represent them) fast, so that those vile people there may give up that right (do they even talk about it? Abu mazen has been testing the 'tawteen' waters for a while now) while they can.

Should the split between the two (make it three, with the palestinians with israeli passports) palestinian groups deepen even more, the refugees will pass from the hands of the PA for good, and will continue to threaten israel's existence until justice is served, and not the lame justice that the PA, or hamas for that matter call for.

Naturally, though, you can not be lebanese and care about the palestinians, unless you are a 'jihadi'. Of course you're allowed to do it, but if you do, it'd better be in the lebanese, condescending manner of "but we surely care about them as human beings, but, they'd better behave as ones".

Raja said...

We as Lebanese have sacrificed our souls for Palestinians and the Palestinian cause. Our country was destroyed for the cause. There is nothing more that we have to offer. Look at how pathetic we are today. Consequently, I am adamantly against allowing a return to the pre-1975 arrangement with radical Palestinian factions replacing the PLO in its role as "liberator of Palestine" based on Lebanese soil. I am also adamantly opposed to Hizballah taking on that role - one that it has flirted with ever since the Israelis withdrew from Southern Lebanon as a result the occupation's cost in lives and treasure.

For so damn long, Lebanon has been used as the most convenient battleground against the Israelis because of its size and the weakness of its central government - which could never accomplish what Hussein of Jordan did in 1970. If the Arabs truly believe that there is a military solution to the Palestinian disaster, then let them open all of their borders to "resistance operations" - Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and even Saudi Arabia. Give us a damn break! We're sick of being cannon fodder for all the Arab (and now, Muslim) peoples who somehow think that if they only express their allegiance to the Palestinians, and send the poor bastards money to kill themselves, all the while, lambasting Lebanese for their "selfishness" and "un-Arabness" they are, by default, doing all they can for the cause.

I think that there is an inverse correlation between the degree to which people support a military solution to the Palestinian cause and their proximity to Israel. Before these people advocate death and violence, they should experience it for themselves first hand, and sacrifice their entire country; their aspirations and their dreams. Once they go through that experience, I'd like to go back and ask them if they still believe that the way to go is the military route.

I fear that by expressing these opinions, I have opened a pandora's box, and have exposed myself to virulent criticism. However, as Vox said, the road to Jerusalem is not through Jonieh, nor is it through Beirut, Saida or Tyre. Enough. When the road to Jerusalem passes through Damascus, Aman, Ryadh and Cairo, then I may change my mind. Until then, I want my Lebanon - secure and safe, so that I may return to it and raise my children there.

Does this make me selfish? Yes. To a certain degree, it does. However, I think that enough Lebanese have died so that we can afford to be a little selfish. Enough animosity exists between Lebanese of different factions so that we can all aford a little peace and quite to heal the wounds of the war. There's enough corruption and incompetence in politics and government to take decades to ameliorate (if that is ever going to happen).

Abu Kais said...

There is nothing wrong with being a little selfish, Raja. :) I think the Lebanese learned that the hard way (though some of them haven't yet-- look at what Qabalan said a few days ago, he wants the Palestinians to keep their weapons to resist Israel)

It goes against human nature to want to keep defending something while ignoring the state of your own existence. If we don't focus on our own survival, we get weeded out. It's evolution. That's how it works. :)

I generally agree with you.

Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

"but we surely care about them as human beings, but, they'd better behave as ones".

I couldn't put it better. Lebanon should give them refugees rights though.