Sunday, February 05, 2006

Okay this has gotten ridiculous!

The Lebanese have now torched the Danish consulate! I am yet to find out who organized this protest. Was it the Lebanese Basij or some al Qaeda-inspired Sunni group, or maybe some sort of warped coalition between the two?

Some report that 20,000 were involved! Moreover, after torching the Danish consulate, they went on satiate their appetite for destruction by torching shops, restaurants and cars in Achrafieh.

What a peace-loving people!

Oh how they respect their neighbors and fellow compatriots!

What a perfect example of "co-existence"

What a wonderful depiction of how backwards our society is!

A Danish artist decides to utilize his modern right of freedom of expression to express what he felt about Muslim terrorism, and Muslims respond like this! The Danes don't need cartoons anymore, all they need to do is to watch their TV sets.

One irony chokes me up more than all the others: The Arab-Muslim world as we know it today is almost completely subsidized by the West.

Arab Muslims are employed by European countries, and then send their remittances home. Arab Muslims also recieve humanitarian and economic aid from Western countries. But most importantly, Arab Muslims (and Persian Muslims) sell oil to the West... oil that is drilled and refined using Western technology and know-how (and, until recently, labor). It is this oil money that then subsidizes the Persian and Arab societies that we live in today.

I don't know if I will ever forgive the West for this addiction of theirs!

Update: The interior minister has submitted his resignation to the cabinet. He claimed that he did what he could to control the protests, but would not order the security services to open fire on Lebanese citizens.

This is good news. Any peaceful resignation of officials that sets an example for the Arab world is a good development. The caveat I have for this particular resignation is that a more competent individual takes his place, and that corresponding political consensus concerning security issues follows.

According to Mr. Saba', there were 1,200 Policemen deployed in Achrafiyeh at the time, and 1,700 army personnel. He also claimed that around a third of those arrested thus far are Lebanese, another third are Syrians and the final third are either Palestinian or claim to belong to Beduin tribes without nationalities.

With regards to the security arrangements taken, I have a couple of words to say: I am no expert on matters of riot control or security affairs, so I may be wrong if I claim that 2,900 security personnel deployed to control a mob of 20,000 seems a bit parsimonious! However, I have seen on TV, and I am sure most of you have too, that the overwhelming majority of those men in uniform are not equiped with riot gear, but rather are thrown in the melee with nothing but M-16 rifles.

Troops carrying rifles sent to riot-control duty are simply useless... unless of course, they are sanctioned to shoot! I've seen this scene over and over again in Lebanon. Security personnel sent to control riots with nothing but their M-16 rifles! Every time I witness those scenes, I get infuriated!

What the hell are these guys gonna do??? Shoot??? If that is what the government wants, then great... put them to use! Don't just send them there to get hurt with rocks and sticks!

So the priority for this next Interior Minister is to get RIOT GEAR... LOTS OF THEM! Forget helicopters, tanks, jets... we need RIOT GEAR! The next time some idiots decide to protest, the POLICE need to be equiped with the right gear to handle the situation... NOT machine-guns!


JoseyWales said...

There is no authority protecting anyone in Lebanon.

According to Naharnet 2000 (two thousand) riot police and army troops were deployed in the area, and could not stop this.

After tear gas, and after firing in the air, the next step is you fire AT people. You do this once or clearly demonstrate your will to do so, and it stops for good.

The government and its security forces are a very sad JOKE.

Weakness gets people hurt and property destroyed, and gets worse everytime. You reap what you sow.

Goodnight Lebanon, hope the nightmare is over before you are over as a country.

AbdulKarim said...

I can't describe my feelings when I read the news this morning. Shock,horror,disgust. I've read on the BBC Arabic website that the demostration turned violent because of some elements who infiltrated the demonstration with the deliberate intention of turning it violent and sectarian. If that is true, then i guess its not hard to think who is behind it.

Charles Malik said...

One has to fight for freedom. Anglo Americans did this in the 18th Century. African Americans did it in the 20th Century. Arabs never did.

The Brits organized Arabs together, but that fell apart.

This region really sucks. It really, really sucks.

I have more hope for Mali than I do for Tripoli. Lebanese built many of the most important things in Mali, but the government and the people in Mali aren't Lebanese (or Arab).

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

The cabinet has to tender its resignation immediately and Fuad Saniura must be indicted for treason.

The Lebanese public has finally seen the true face of Saad Al-Hariri’s commercialist brand of Wahhabism-Lite based on King Fahd’s neo-medieval interpretation of Koranic Law…

Today’s invasion (there’s no other word I’m afraid) of East Beirut’s upscale Achrafiyeh district by hordes of rampaging Saudi-sponsored savages was only the “great rehearsal” of things to come, as Lenin used to say of the revolt of 1905.

At least we won’t have the luxury of claiming we were not warned by the sadist disciples of Saudi “thinkers” Nasiruddin Al-Albani, Abdul-Aziz Ibin Baz and other proponents of the final solution for Christians, Shiites and “secular dogs”…

See wiki entry below for more edifying info on Saudi Arabia’s leading “Grand” Mufti

Anonymous said...

According to Anton, the Wahabbis aren't the only one responsible for this invasion.

There's also Ahbash in this mob who are allied to Syria (of course vic has nothing to say about that).

JoseyWales said...

I don't care who they were, the second they got violent they should have been shot at with real bullets, to kill.

Solomon2 said...

Do you think recolonization is the answer?

Anonymous said...

Why didn't the police shoot these dogs!!

There is evidence that they were not even Lebanese!!

So if foreign elements come and burn our cities, are we not allowed to shoot to kill!!

f*cking dogs

JoseyWales said...

Yes Raja, after 1 and 2 warnings you shoot. And after ONE demonstration it is over for a very long time. If not, ask the French in the burbs.

No expert, but willing to speculate 2900 is plenty enough, if deployed intelligetly to placate 30,OO0 or more. 1 in 10 or 20 is more thna enough I hear.

Remember, in this case they only had to protect one block.

It's good Sabeh is gone. Rizk and others should be next very soon, I hope.

Anonymous said...

what, now they don't have adequate gear to quell demonstrators? forgot what happened over the 15 years before march 14??? august 7 anyone?

Anonymous said...

PS raja the disillusionement you got in beirut has really messed up your judgment, you're sounding more idiotic than the worst C-grade foutsher tv journalists!

Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...
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Anonymous said...

because if the police won't stop them, these guys will try to:
and god save us then!!!!

Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

I agree with JW. These are not peaceful demonstrators, these are hateful rioters. They are violating the law and endangering the lives of peaceful citizens.

I don't advocate the generalization of lethal force, but when it's the only option, the state can use it. Remember: you are killing people who are endangering the lives of other. We're talking about the Jamaa Islamiya and the Ahbash here, not the mahatma Gandhi. The US used this in New Orleans and it worked. People who died have nobody but them to blame. Shooting at violent people is legitimate in some cases.

Raja said...

Josey Wales, Vox, and everyone else implying shooting would have been necessary,

let me say that when I saw those images captured on film and camera, my gut instincts were the same as yours. But, a shootout would have completely turned out into the interests of those disgusting maniacs. Let me actually quote Michel Aoun who said something very interesting on TV today: "I would like to congratulate the residents of Achrafieh for adhereing to our pleas and restraining themselves...."

The Christian community has just gained a whole lot of admiration and political capital because those who lived in Achrafieh did not use the weapons that they could very well have utilized.

As for RIOT GEAR... Yes. RIOT GEAR includes:

1. Armor
2. Shields
3. Batons
4. Water Canons
5. Tear Gas

If the Lebanese Security Forces were equiped with sufficient quantities of these tools, they would easily have dispersed all of the maniacs from Achrafieh. Then, once the armed elements within them stepped up, the Army could have taken over and started doing their jobs.

Let us all not forget the famous WTO riots in Seatle, for example, where, I believe the rioters caused damage in the millions of dollars, and the police were being threatened with law suits for using excessive violence because they used "rubber-coated" bullets to disperse crouds!

JoseyWales said...

All I am saying Raja is that bullets are the last resort.

Obviously all other means should be used first. You know more than I do about sovereignty and the state's monopoly on the use of force, and why these are crucial (wish you would blog on that one day).

Issuing a CREDIBLE threat usually works. This stuff today is the logical conclusion of a state that projects weakness from one confrontation to the next: with Jibreel, Jund el Sam , Marada etc... and backing down EVERYTIME.

Legislating regular amnesties the past few years and depicting these animals as anything but criminals is also very negative.

Katrina hit Alabama and Louisiana in the US. Alabama immediately said looting would be met with DEADLY FORCE. No looting in Bama. You know what happened in New Orleans until ...

Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...
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Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

I perfectly agree with you Raja, shooting should be used in last resort, when civilized behaviour disappear because of a catastrophe(martial law in New Orleans was justified).

But if the Lebanese government don't have enough of these riot gear (and they didn't) they should either have shot at these people or canceled the demonstration. You don't let ten thousand fanatics in a Christian neighbourhood go wild.

There were others way to control the mob. They could have closed the road with concrete blocks, this is what they used to to in the past. Close the roads and stop the flow of demonstrators. This would have made it easier for them to control the street.

And check LP's latest post. He's saying that the army intentionally left its position. Am I supposed to let these people in charge of my security? Who are we kidding here? I have had enough of these lies.

Let's say things frankly here: Hezbollah's and Palestinian weapons are not here against Israel. You think that they could stand more than one second in a real war? These weapons are here against the other sects. I don't want a militia, I want a real army to protect me. And if the current army can't protect me, the hell with it, I ask for a decentralized government with efficient forces under local control. Thank you sheik Nasrallah for protecting me but I am not a dhimmi and don't want Hezbollah to be in charge of my own protection. I just don't trust your militia (yes I said the 'm' word, shoot me!). I want Christian troops under Christian control in Christian areas. Period.

I just watch this CNN video, and I am outraged. I can't tell you how much. I have friends and family living in these buildings. The army just abandonned the city to the rioters. They could have massacred the civilians and nobody could have done anything about it.

These are the people that Hezbollah don't want to see disarmed? Who are they trying to fool?

ghassan said...

Raja, Vox, JW and others,
I have tried all day not to respond to this particular post but I did decide that I must. This matter is too important nt to discuss openly.
No government under any set of circumstances should be allowed to shoot at its citizens. That is wrong , immoral and unethical. This is not to imply that government is not under the obligation to provide a safe environment for all its citizens. But it implies that there are always methods that can be applied to disperse demonstrators, lock them up and prevent them from causing damage to life and property especially when they had an advance warning about an event.The 1900 officers should have been able to protect the embassy and its surroundings against a crowd twice as large as the 20,000 that showed up.
But the basic point is whether government has the right to shoot at rioters? I suggest that the answer is simple and straight forward. If what we want to build is a modern democratic state then it should be based on the idea that government gets its power from the people and will never act in a capacity as to extinguish life. Once government stoops to that level it would have become just another mob, a better equipped mob and one that has the legal right to kill. That is not acceptable in advanced socities and should not be practiced in flegling democracies. Demonstrators in socities that value law and order should never have to fear for their life because if they do then that would be tragic for democracy. If we sanction the death of one then we would have sanctioned the death of many. Remember the Hama rule of Hafez Al Assad or the Saddam rule against the Shia and Kurdish uprising? These were chilling events that occured only because rulers gave themselves the power to act as judge jury and executioners. Human life is sacred and government is expected to protect it and not end it.

Lazarus said...

well said ghassan.

Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

Ghassan, the government could shoot at his citizens under exceptional circumstances - martial law, state of war, mass sedition etc...

These circumstances are quite rare. The government could have controlled the mob today without shooting at them. But they didn't send enough troops and this is a human mistake for which they are responsible.

The government has a duty to provide security, and between the death of a law-abiding citizen and the death of an evil rioter who has nobody but himself to blame, I chose the latter. My point is that once this thing was out of control, it's legitimate to open fire against the mob but that the government should have acted so as to keep things under control. The situation should never deteriorate to this point.

Mike's America said...

The cartoon war throws a challenge to both moderate moslems and westerners in general:

Do you choose to allow a violent, radical minority to dictate how you live your lives?

If the answer is no, then moderate Moslems will have to put aside their fear and come forward to denounce this dangerous tactic.

Otherwise, they will be imprisoned and the world will likely suffer a greater war with millions of unnecessary deaths.

JoseyWales said...

You don't let ten thousand fanatics in a Christian neighbourhood go wild.

Vox, it does not matter what kind of neighborhood.

Ghassan. See my Alabama example or Mayor Daley in 60's Chicago riots. No one got killed BECAUSE "they" knew the authorities were serious.

If a criminal is dangerous and refuses to desist and continues his attacks: you shoot him/her. How else do you protect the law abiding and "order"?

Anonymous said...

this is more disgusting than Dr. De La Vega, I thought he is the leader of disgust but those who rioted today got more extreme than him, I am sorry to all fellow Lebanese as it was an act of disgust against all sects, it was truly bad and horrible. I salute those who live in Achrafieh and were brave enough to stay home and not go out and shoot the dogs outside.
I salute the prime minister who went down to stop anything from getting further, I salute Geagea for being responsible and I salute both, the great leaders who met today, Aoun and Nasrallah for adding fuel to the fire as usual with their anti government stand.

Aoun forgot how they attackd the Patriarch in Bkerki during his days, and nasrallah forgot how his rabbits are anti-anything thats shiite.

Happy days guys, another day for unity and another day to seperate good from evil, I am muslim by birth, but all my religion is not worth a single fight in my beloved coutnry,

frencheagle said...

is the last anonymous also saluting gaga of the mountain when he declared in the morning of the incidents on the LBC to be solidaire with the people that devastated ashrafieh in the name of the 14 march mouvement before retracting himself in the afternoon when he was asking the interior minister to be sacked?

anyway this last anonymous seems that he forgot also to salute le future ally dar al fatwa for their appeal to manifeste, and being therefore the excuse to lead in a such situation
he also need to salute the lebanese autority because of their inaction and also to salute them to blame only syrians when they didnt prevent people armed with sticks, gaz tanks, molotov cocktail to arrive to beirut by crossing all lebanon without being intercepted.

the only point were we could agree is when he salute ashrafieh people that didnt move to add more fuel on the fire but i dont think they ll from now belonging to the 14 march movement anymore

the future allie's, dar al fatwa killed the solidarity of the 14 march mouvement

Doha said...


stick to french; i don't get half of what you're saying.

AbuSuhail said...

I am so sad to see all this back-and-forth about "force in the streets" and "X religion troops guarding X religion neighborhoods." It sounds like the Beirut I left in 1976. Back then, Siniora was my accounting professor at AUB! Of course the Army and only the Army should have the duty to enforce order, and just like in '76, it did not. Only back then it disintegrated into religious factions, for those of you who are too young to remember, and the militias took its place. So perhaps there have been some lessons learned, at stupendous cost, but not the most important ones. Lebanon is still very weak and susceptible to almost every external influence with the ideological or financial power to move the religious extremists, the poor, the very rich, the corruptible on all sides and certainly almost all politicians and parties. This will leave the country in a constant state of unrest, and any peace can only be a passing phase. In the most recent riots some very old and truly Pan-Arab companies' offices were burned down, companies whose influence in training and employing Arab men and women and bringing Western knowledge into the Region was very widely known. The loss of this kind of heritage cannot be measured. Companies of this type are few and far between. But we just speak of Riot Gear and decisions to shoot or not.

OF course, the army SHOULD have had protective riot gear, not just offensive gear. The fact that it did not, in the Lebanon of today, is just another indicator of the abdication of the central government, and Syrian hegemony which has the much simpler Hama rule. COULD they have done better with what they had, in the narrow streets in which they were operating, against such a large crowd, with the potential for enraging a much larger one and causing riots to spread over a greater part of the city and country? Possibly not. That is the problem in these situations - are you looking to stop that one riot or looking to stop it from becoming a whole series of riots? As hard as it may be to admit, it is not an easy choice. Fortunately, the good people of Ashrafiyyeh did not give the rioters any more excuses.

Here in the US, most of the comments I hear are negative against the rioter. People cannot understand the depth of indignation that the cartoon campaign has created. But I feel very badly that the Western press has acted in such a prejudicial and immature manner, and followed the Danish press by re-publishing the images. Comparing this to Free Speech is not the same thing. Here we use a metaphor to describe such behavior - it's like yelling FIRE in a crowded theatre. Yes, you have freedom of speech, but you should use it responsibly. Imagine if Jesus was depicted in offensive ways and these images were published widely, I assure you that there would be riots in many third world countries too. The keys to peace, namely tolerance, respect for diversity, the absence of fanaticism and an open democratic dialogue, are absent in almost every Arab society today. Without these, you can only expect to live from one riot to another, from one autocrat to another, from one demagogue to another.

frencheagle said...

doha, just read my blog for french;) u would understand what i mean there