Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Palestinian mask of Hizballah and Syria

The news coming out of Lebanon over the past two days reminds me too much of the news coming out of the Palestinian territories. Israelis assassinate a Palestinian they believe is responsible for past attacks and/or for planning future attacks on Israel. Palestinians fire rockets into Israel-proper in response. Israelis retaliate in-force against Palestinian positions.

The one exception today was that Hizballah "retaliated" on behalf of the Palestinians and escalated the already deadly situation. Their motive? I can think of none except the exploitation of this event to improve their domestic political position (and maybe, to provoke the Israelis into more deadly strikes for obvious reasons).

In the sectarian game that is played in Lebanon today, Hizballah and Syria's wild card appears to have become Palestinian fighters. March 14's one accomplishment over the past year has been to relegate Hizballah into nothing more than a Shi'a militia. Whereas, at one point in time, most Lebanese living in Lebanon would mute their criticism of that militia in public forums; today, the situation is obviously different.

Under these conditions, Hizballah no longer has the luxury to launch attacks against the Israelis to the extent that it used to. Relative to the time interval between the Israeli withdrawal and the emergence of March 14, for example, Hizballah can now be said to be militarily paralyzed. For as long as I remember, and with the exception of today, the Southern border has never been quieter.

For this reason, I believe, the Syrians, in concert with Hizballah and Iran, have decided to introduce a Palestinian element into the mix. They figure that if Future can convince the "Sunni street" not to support open confrontation in the South by arguing that Hizballah is a Shi'a militia under the direction of the Shi'a "superpower," Iran, it would be much more difficult to do so if Sunni Palestinians were the ones fighting (or at least instigating the fights).

Today, for example, it was the Palestinians who launched the first attack, and Hizballah “retaliated in their defense.” If you watched Future TV's news coverage of the conflagration, you would have heard them revert to blasting the worn out language of “the Arab cause” with gusto!

The tactical move of introducing armed Palestinian elements outside of the camps definitely succeeded to a certain extent. It has put Future in an uncomfortable position with regards their constituency. It has given Hizballah an opportunity to improve its political position in Lebanon. And it has allowed Syria to spark up the Southern border with more ease. However, it can be countered.

It can be countered if the ruling majority

  1. Continues to foster a sense of Lebanese identity among all of its constituents
  2. Secures the border with Syria and prevents any more shipments of weapons by force if necessary
  3. Communicates a message that the "Palestinian cause" can and will be resolved more effectively through other means
  4. And finally, eliminates the armed Palestinian presense outside of the camps so that they are not able cause trouble on behalf of Hizballah and Syria.
It now seems that they are at least carrying through one of my recommendations (Yesterday, Lebanese Army troops arrested a Syrian soldier for crossing the border into our country). I hope that they go through with the other recommendations as well.

23 comments:

Doha said...

The March 14 group issued a statement condemning the event and saying that those Palestinians sparking violence on the southern border have nothing to do with the Palestinian cause and reiterated their call for the disarmament of Palestinian factions outside of the camps, per the decisions reached in the national dialogue.

Hizbullah is very comfortably reneging on the decisions it has agreed to in the national dialogue.

I don't know what we really could do. The Parliament was seen last week to be "hijacked" by Berri, so no decisions could pass in favor of the majority. And the government is half Hizbullah-Amal-Lahoudists. Go figure!

Anonymous said...

I disagree with you saying that Israel is responsible for the killing of Abou Hamza and his brother. It is much more likely that it is in fact another Palestinian militia that took care of him under orders from our "brothers" to the East. This scenario fits perfectly with your following analysis.

frencheagle said...

there is an interesting news u missed:

today it seems that the salve of rockets that felt on israel werent done by the palestinians nor by the hezbollah contrary to what they stated first.

i m also doubting that the car bombing 3 days ago is due to israel.

but i know is that we have a case of destabilisation or by syria or by al qaida as they already tried in december by shooting rockets on north israel.

also saniora was stupid
instead of accusing israel of the car bombing 2 again and therefor implicitly allowing for retaliations he should have been declaring that this case shows that "the lebanese autority should be complete on all its territory for a security manner and that investigations will be conduct to punish the murderers"
he should have been temporising and he failed to prevent the threat of destabilisation.

there is also a nice article in lorient le jour today about this mechanism of destabilisation i was talking about from yesterday on my blog
http://www.lorientlejour.com/page.aspx?page=article&id=314038

frencheagle said...

"« Le communiqué qui a été diffusé à la presse est un faux même s’il porte le sigle et la signature du Jihad islamique. Nous n’avons pas revendiqué les tirs contre la région de Safed, mais nous réitérons notre engagement à poursuivre la lutte armée », a-t-il dit."
in L Orient's article

frencheagle said...

i m talking about the first rocket salve ;)

Anonymous said...

> The Parliament was seen last week to be "hijacked" by Berri,

hehehehhe yea sure, we want change ... we want new people ... we don't want syria to rule our insitutions so no problem we vote for Berri as head of the parliment, then we complain about him.
Please let us NOT forget who voted for Berri and who voted against him.

All I can say is they deserve what they are getting ... bunch of opportunistic liars.

TAC

Anonymous said...

Raja about your four points.

In point one i think you meant "Start" but said "Continue" ;-) , point two is long overdue, point four should be addresses ASAP.

But I beleive the real problem in Lebanon is the third point. Is communicating a message enough? Wouldn't that be just a lie? Can the palestinian cause be solved by other means? Can it be solved by any mean at all? What are the concessions that we as Lebanese are willing to give in order to resolve the conflict?
I don't have any answers, I am just wondering.

TAC

Raja said...

French Eagle, you mention a good point with regards to Seniora. Also, even if the Palestinians were not the ones who launched the first rocket salvo, it would be enough to make them look like they did it.

TAC,

March 14 has very effectively played the Patriotic card in concert with the sectarian one. Remember the calls to host "only Lebanese flags" in the rallies, Jumblatt's "bil rou7 bil dam, nafdeeka ya Lubnan," etc..., etc.... Of course, I am not saying that these gestures were genuine on their part, but at least the politicians believed that doing so was politically advantagous - so they did it.

With regards to your point concerning "resolving" the Palestinian conflict, I truly believe that it is possible. Furthermore, at this point in history, diplomacy is the only way to go. So I mentioned point 3 with conviction. There is virtually a unanimous global agreement that Palestinians should have a state and that the Israelis should return to the '67 borders.

Call me naive, if you wish. I am sure many of you will think I am. But that is what I believe.

Anonymous said...

Raja, Frenchie,

With all due respect, I believe the PM handled the situation very well. Just like the Hariri bombing had messy (and I mean really messy) Syrian fingerprints smeared all over it, the bombing in the south a few days ago, without any further evidence, has Israeli fingerprints over it. It was important to declare this, so Lahoud and his cronies dont go after teh PM with their "ally to Israel" nonesense.

At this point, the jury is out, so why not outwardly blame it on the Israelis? Little to lose by doing that.

Though I believe disarming Hizbo-lala is of utmost importance to our long term stability, the Palestinian arms pose a greater immediate threat, since Bashar le mini persian meaww, has more influence over palestinan factions than he does over Sayed Hassoun.

Fortunately, it will be much easier to disarm the Palestinans than Hizbollah, so let's get on with it, already..

FGA

Anonymous said...

TAC,

I have the same affection for Nabih Berri as I do for a piece of fruit with green stuff growing in it. Unfortunatelly, you know as well as I do that without a parliament, we would not have had a cabinet, and without berri as head of parliament, the Amal-Hizbolla members would not have endorsed a cabinet. So the real choice was between bad (Nabih) and worse (no cabinet for months).

Until we can win the hearts and minds (geez listen to me adopting the lingo of republicans) of the Shiite people, we will have to suffer at the hands of their so called leaders (Nabih and Sayyed).

Ironically, though much can be said regarding Sayyed's many contributions to the shiite community, what has Nabih done for them lately? But that's the subject of a future discussion.

FGA

Peter said...

Raja,

I was wondering if you had read this article by Reinoud Leenders in MERIP on disarming Hizballah. I'm surprised that it's generated no discussion among Lebanese bloggers, not even to attack it.

frencheagle said...

FGA

i m more and more convinced that today we are having a third player called al qaida that tries to destabilise the situation in lebanon.
their first shot was in december by shooting on north israel, then zarkaoui statement: "i want to enlarge the fight to syria and lebanon" and today the fact we got an assassination and rockets again on north of israel that was denied after a first communiqué by the targeted palestinian organization.
it s the first time in my life i m hearing them stating:
"hey guy this is a fake, we would have been loving to attack but it s not us"

saniora should have been temporising, saying that it s a proove that the lebanese sovereignty and the lebanese justice must prevail everywhere, that the guilties would be punished WHEN discovered and not directly enter in this game of :"hey it s israel mistake"
by doing that he implicitly allowed for retaliation. Moreover he entered in the game of the plot against lebanon
he prooved that he cannot guarranty justice, he cannot guaranty security.
Moreover he took the risk to lead us to an open destabilisation which was the aim of the third player that launched the rockets.

from yesterday i was very sceptical about this first launch of rocket, i m once again convinced that we need to follow a different policy regarding how they are managing the internal issues. The threat we have in lebanon are much more different then those of last year, a new policy taking in consideration theses new threats must replace the one that was taking in consideration the old ones.

TheRaccoon said...

I think that the real question here is, as Baron Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov Lenin out it - "Where is the money"?

So, seriously now... who's gaining from this pointless mess?

It would be logical to assume that Syrians would rather keep Lebanon divided and messed up - but why? What is the reason for Syria's meddling?

I honestly would like to know. I don't have enough information on this issue... and I am having some difficulty finding it. If anyone has an explanation or just a good link, I would be much obliged.

Thank you.

The Discordian Raccoon.

Anonymous said...

Racoon,

Agreed, money is the root of all evil. For decades, the Syrian regime has enormously benefitted by raping our free economy. I am sure you are aware of Al-Medina bank, from which Ghazaleh and company laundered hundreds of millions of dollars used to finance elaborate assissination schemes for objectors as well as modern condos in europe for themselves..

The regime is quite bitter for having lost that sweet deal, and its only hope of a return would be a very unstable lebanon, leading to the collapse of the anti-syrian movement and the victory of Lahoudists, who would certainly not hesitate to invite the Assad regime back in.

Does that make sense?

FGA

frencheagle said...

racoon, "It would be logical to assume that Syrians would rather keep Lebanon divided and messed up -"

well the problem is the following:
we do not have a country but countries. we dont have a patriotism but communautaristic patriotism. We do not have a nation but nations.
lebanon is divided by sects, religion and communities.

the syrians did not divided us, but they profited of our divisions to manipulate us.
and not only syrians but the arab, mainly the egyptians and syrians, through the cairo's deal.

we have to admire assad for one thing, we were the stupid and he was the smart, as he moved us like in a chess game and leaded our politicians toward the acceptation of the occupation.
he was a perfect machiavell, a perfect sun tzu, a perfect bishmark.
we were having weaknesses and he just profited from our internal weaknesses for his own profit.

therefore never underestimate your enemies but always respect him.

we need now to cope with our weakenesses , we need to learn from our weaknesses in order to prevent such situation to happen again.
as long lebanon will be divided, lebanon will be threatened. we need therefore to unite all the componement of lebanon to build a nation.

this is what i hoped last year during the 14 of march and the fact that the occupation's system is still going on this time for the benefices (such as the 2000 electoral law) of some factions is a real disappointment.

talking about us, the population, the young that were manifestating last year, we failed, we should have been taking the power and not let discredited ex warlords, feodal leaders etc... turning the old system to their advantage.

FGA,

u would be asthonished if i m telling that al madina story is not the only, there are some other banks i wont name that are involved in "silent scandals" and some are related to the people currently in power and this is why i m very precocious about what i m hearing from controled factions medias. i m having my own sources working as auditors and i will just say that al madina is like an iceberg, you can see only 10% in the surface, but still if you see the whole iceberg you would be amazed by how everyone was involved into the scandale of the lebanese financial system.
al madina's story started after the retirement of ghazi kenaan so you can date al madina troubles from 2000 - 2001.
before this scandale, hariri left his syrian friends (khaddam and kenaan) having a 4% flat commission on any economic contract.
Moreover, there are some signs today that hariri was killed not for a political cause but because of al madina.
who is involved by al madina?
ghustom ghazalé, maher al assad and koleilat to name the few.
but if we enlarge our vision, we see on one side of the ring the old syrian guard: khaddam, kenaan as hariri's best friends and on the other side maher al assad, ghustom ghazalé , shawkat, and al madina.
if we put for a moment aside the political game, maybe hariri was killed because of a influence fight inside the syrian regime, maybe he was killed as he was about to enlight the people about the implications of a part of the syrian regime into this scandale for the benefice of his syrian friends.
i cannot forget kenaan few hours before he was "suicided" showing the bank check he received from hariri.

today the forbes article along with the fact that brammetz is orienting his quest toward al madina, along with the fact that koleilat is still in brazil, confort me in this thesis of mafia's fights.

we got the chance last year to liberate this country, but still there are works to be done to clean this country from the mess.
we need to clean this country from the corruption, from the debt, from the insecurity etc... we need more then ever to be united, but united toward the same objectives, we dont need more internal fights between lebaneses.

the third player i was talking about is against theses goals, he knows that if we are succeeding, he ll be defeated.

frencheagle said...

to finish some others thoughts.

today the lebanese army doesnt not have the equipment nor the training to deal wit the hezbollah problem.

they have the equipment and means for the palestinians.

we need therefore to treat the palestinian problem first, inside and outside of their camps.

by building a strong state on the long term, offering guarranties, security , social security etc... therefore an alternative to the hezbollah we will decrease its popularity and we will be able for the benefice of everyone to decrease the threat of a milicia without any more blood spelled again.

Vox P said...

HA and the Palestinians are coordinating. The tactic is simple: the Palestinians attack, Israel replies and the HA counter-attack to inflatme the situation.

Vox P. said...

"
today the lebanese army doesnt not have the equipment nor the training to deal wit the hezbollah problem.

they have the equipment and means for the palestinians."

Yeah well what if HA is going to protect the Palestinians against the army?

frencheagle said...

vox
u forgetting few parameters

first of all the hezbollah is not one.
you have factions in the hezbollah that are much different the one compared to the others.

u can have the fadallah wing, the toufaily wing, etc...

if u read between the lines, you would have been noticing lately one sentence in nasrallah speech:
"we will not retaliate in case iran is been attacked"
the remaining of the speech was "normal" but this sentence is meaning a lot.I hope it might mean that the hezbollah is currently lebanising his targets and goals.

the second thing: you are having an antagonism btw the shia and fatahland since the palestinians operations in the 70 and 80's.
this antagonism was calmed down by the syrian control.
however today, the shia has to be worried by the increasing threat of the sunnit fundamentalism in lebanon especially within the palestinian camps.
no wonder why video K7 were circulating inside this camps appealing to kill shia and christians in 2003 as it is happening inside Iraq.
zarkaoui always tried to enlarge his iraqi front toward lebanon as we are in a country very sensible to the religious divisions and very divided among our communities because of our weakeness and lakes to build a real nation that would spare us from theses divisions.

going to this point, i would say you didnt read the latest news

l orient:
« Le communiqué qui a été diffusé à la presse est un faux même s’il porte le sigle et la signature du Jihad islamique. Nous n’avons pas revendiqué les tirs contre la région de Safed, mais nous réitérons notre engagement à poursuivre la lutte armée », a-t-il dit.

nahar:
"The radical Palestinian group Islamic Jihad said in a statement it had fired the rockets to avenge the death of one of its leaders, Mahmoud al-Majzoub, in a car bomb attack in the southern city of Sidon on Friday that it blamed on Israel.
But a Jihad spokesman in Lebanon later said the statement was "false"."

it is the first time indeed i m seeing a palestinian group denying its involvement in an attack against israel, usually you having more then 2 or 3 stating : heyyyy we did it

this time they denied, which leads me to believe there is something fishy here.

the same applies to the car bombing that killed that mahmoud al majzoub.

i m feeling we are having a third player that tried to destabilise lebanon by making an open war btw israel and hezbollah.
should we be entering into that process of violence when other means are possible to get ride of the hezbollah. for those living in paris, it wouldnt be a problem, my concern goes to those living in lebanon. and clearly i m having no.
the lebanese army must not fight a lebanese componement of its population, the palestinians are however not lebanon, hezbollah will obey to the same rule, they wont fight the lebanese army as they are lebanese by themselves otherwise they would loose the credibility they have among their community.

we need to show that our state is strong but not weak.
we have to build a state that offers credible alternative and guarranties for the lebanese to be protected, to be enjoy social services, to become prosperious.
When the lebanese state will offer such guarranties for justice, the hezbollah will no longer have any justification as it has now in the eyes of the shia and will be disbanded by the shia themselves.

the third thing about your reply

i clearly showed that the first salves of rockets were not due to the palestinians, and my believe is that the car bombing was not due by the israelian. We have a third player that tries to put oil on the current fire. we should have been smart enough not to enter in this stupid game as we were the one to loose the most.
by stating that israel was guilty , saniora speech last time showed the following:
hey guys it s israel, we dont have the way to protect you, so you can retaliate by yourself

he tacitly gave a reason for weapons to be held by the hezbollah and the palestinians, he gave the reason to shoot on israel
and he perfectly played what our third player wanted: destabilising lebanon

while if he was saying:
"well it s a proove that the security of our palestinians guests should be taken by the lebanese state, that we need 'as the lebanese governement' to apply our sovereignty and right on all the lebanese territory, that investigations will be conduct in the behalf of theses autorities and the murderers will be punished"
the game would have been different and he commited another mistake.

as says ranccon:
"So, seriously now... who's gaining from this pointless mess?"

whose gaining from this mess?

the syrians first but i m thinking about another player that already shooted on north israel last december and that has basement inside the palestinian camps
al qaida

it is not the first time they act on the lebanese territory, it s not the first time they are trying to make a war to happen btw the hezbollah and israel, and wouldnt be surprised that in the coming weeks, a new cell of this organisation would be arrested.

JoseyWales said...

Freagle et al,

Does not matter who did what to whom anymore.

Big picture is we have an environment where this stuff can happen and no good things can happen. Why?

1) At the level of ideas, it's because we have subordinated everything to a concept: "Palestine", whatever that means.


2) At the level of implementation: no state sovereigty, so no law and no progress because of number 1).



You can argue till you turn blue in the face who fired this and who issued what idiotic communique.

tata

why-discuss said...

The presence of the palestinians with their internal divisions, their weapons and their indifference to the host country is the problem number one of Lebanon. Hezb is a lebanese movement and will not easily turn it weapons against lebanese. Palestinians would, they have nothing to loose.
The syrian presence, without the corruption that has developped in the contact of greedy lebanese whether politicians or not,had the advantage of sheltering Lebanon from the messy internal struggles within the palestinians. It is not the US or the UN that will now control the armed palestinians in lebanon, it is a weak army, a weak and bankrupted governement. Instead of throwing the stones at Syria, this governement should hold hand and harass the Security Council to apply the numerous resolutions asking Israel to withdraw that have been forgotten. It is an illusion to believe that the Lebanese can enjoy a peaceful democracy when Israel prefers to let the palestinian dissapear in lebanon and would do anything it can to divert the public opinion against Syria.
It's time the lebanese govt stops putting pressure on Syria at the delight of Israel and instead put pressure on the UN to condamn Israel about its refusal to apply many Security Resolutions and its constant violation of Lebanon air space.

TheRaccoon said...

Why-discuss - what has Israel got to do with Lebanon? Israel should withdraw from where? I mean... hey, Israel has withdrawn from SL 6 years ago - have you not heard?

A suggestion to the Lebanese - why not accept Palestinians as Lebanese and forge a unified Lebanese identity? Lebanon has a rich history which had a major impact on the Western and Arabic word - why not capitalize on that? Wouldn't people go with this - "Different tribes, different religions - but one country and one history!"

Do excuse me if I am talking out of my ass here, but I believe these divisions can be at least partially overcome by nationality.
One of the few cases in which nationality would actually be a GOOD thing :)

I mean, it's not Somalia - Lebanese had a very successful country before the civil war.

frencheagle said...

josey

you are right about the 2 points
the palestinian presence in lebanon and especially their weapons are a factor of destabilisation and unfortunatly the current political class's answer is not enough:
the 1559 talks about disarming inside and outside the camps.

we are inside a system that is really imperfect so it s time to face it
i m interested to disband the mechanism of destabilisation in order to avoid next time this plot.

moreover, only the understanding of how things are turning would lead us to understand the current system weakeness and to improve it, if not possible to remove it

raccoon,
lebanon is not accepting to give the nationality to its childs that are living abroad, 5 millions of lebaneses in brazil, 3.3 millions of originating lebanese in the USA etc..
how can you naturalise the palestinians in such condition.

moreover, the palestinians that were integratable were integrated in 58 by a presidential decreet at that time (such as the famous economist iskandar i think)
integrating today half a million of palestinians that are mainly sunnits in our confessionalised country would lead to a destabilisation of a complex system that sucks (sorry for the word)
the other communities, the shia, the christians will be feeling threatened by this desequilibrium

lebanon paid already a high price about the palestinian issue
to remind you, arafat was saying that the road for jerusalem was passing by jounieh in the heart of the christian's region.

as i was saying, lebanon is not a country but countries, not a nation but nations

as long this system will prevail, lebanon will never be a country and will be weak