Monday, July 31, 2006


I wonder what Lebanon and the region will look like after this protracted calamity is over. How long will the IDF generals need, and how much destruction will they sow, in order to "save face?" It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who the real winner of this conflict is thus far.

On the ground Hizballah has repelled Israeli incursions. On the airwaves, they're winning the propaganda war - in Lebanon, the Arab world and almost everywhere else on this planet. At this point in time, I truly believe that Israel lies in an intractable bind: whatever it does, Hizballah will win.

If Israel cannot even claim some sort of victory on the ground (however vague such a victory may be), the IDF will suffer utter humiliation, and thus have to deal with the short and long term consequences of such a defeat. If, on the other hand, Israel continues its offensive in search of that elusive victory, Hizballah's stature will only grow in prominence both in Lebanon and the entire region.

The fact the generals simply can't swallow is that it really does not matter how much of Hizballah's military capability they eliminate. As long as Hizballah retains its legitimacy, it will merely regroup and probably grow even stronger with time. And all it takes to reinforce that legitimacy is a massacre such as the one that transpired in Qana yesterday. As I wrote earlier in this entry, the military outcome of this war no longer matters: Hizballah has won - it is not going anywhere, and its losses are merely temporary.

The exit strategy now rests on diplomatic efforts to find some sort of "comprehensive solution" that includes the Shebaa farms, prisoner exchanges, deployment of a joint UN-Lebanese Army force in the South of Lebanon, etc.... Unfortunately, it appears that the Israelis do not want to exit at this point in time. Moreover, who knows if Hizballah will even play along.

Again, I go back to the question I asked at the beginning of this entry: how will Lebanon and its environment look like when all this destruction comes to an end? Will a cease fire be reached in two days, two weeks, two months, or (god forbid) two years? I guess we'll have to ask the Israeli generals since the ball appears to be in their court.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

An Exodus of Dreams

Yet another massacre in Qana. 57 dead among them 27 children...and counting.

And if this is the story in the south, then the rest of Lebanon has many shattered dreams to gather and rebuild.

Many bygone and shattered dreams. This is what war does. Israel's war on Lebanon has impacted all of Lebanon and all of the Lebanese.

As there are fighters facing up to the Israeli war machine, there are also youth issuing their passports to head out, head out to the unknown, to save the day.

I'll recount some stories, close to home:

Ahmad was getting ready to enter college. He just finished high school. He helps in his family's business: a fashion retail store. His parents brought in a large shipment this summer; it was forecasted to be a busy summer indeed and their business was doing great. Until the war started and the country was blockaded by Israeli warships and the country isolated.

Ahmad had to do something, to help his parents pay back for the shipment purchased. He's leaving for the first time to the UAE to work at a restaurant. He needs to send the money back to his parents to save them from dire consequences.

Ahmad is leaving, when his parents never wished him to leave and could die if he does. No college for now, the dreams are postponed, put on hold.

Farah is married to someone who works in the cell phone industry. Since the cell phone transmittors were severely hit by Israeli warplanes last week, her husband is almost out of his job. No substantial income for now. Her husband renewed her passport and issued one for his baby son. She's leaving for a month to be with her family in a neighboring country, to reduce the pressure off of her husband and until he figures out a strategy to come back strong.

Abu Hassan, a grandfather, who is staying back in Lebanon, though all of his children live abroad. He's comforted by being close to where he buried his wife whom he loved and loves dearly. Now his children are calling him everyday so he could leave the country. The blockade will lead to medicine shortages and he needs his medicines on a daily basis. He's resisting, saying that it's all fine and things will get better, but his children do not want to lose yet another parent. And despite him carrying an American passport, he still did not agree to taking the ferry boat to Cyprus. But now his son is organizing his exit. I can understand his reluctance to leave; leaving behind memories and the house he raised his children in.

Abdallah lives abroad, has lived abroad for 30 years. After the Cedar Revolution he had hope for his country, a chance to retire in Lebanon, in a country that after the exit of the Syrian influence had hope of flourishing at last. He stopped reading the newspapers when the national dialogue dragged and completely stopped watching TV after the war on Lebanon.

In 1996 when Lebanon was flourishing and rebuilding itself, he returned with his family for a chance of taking part in his country's renewal. He left after 10 months, after Israel's Grapes of Wrath war on Lebanon and the Qana massacre. All the potential investors he was courting took their money out. He returned to where he came from, shattered dreams and a destiny to be always away. Perhaps this hope has been demolished completely now. He has asked his daughter to speed his immigration papers to the U.S.

These are some stories, not the universe of stories, but they are real stories.

The Lebanese are tired of war. My brother told me today that the Lebanese are not willing anymore to pay LL5,000 per a gallon of gas in the name of resistance. The northeners might not be fighting amongst their southern nationals, but they're housing the displaced and paying the electricity and water bills for the southerners. And this is not just something new.

All of Lebanon pays the price for war. Israel will not achieve much through its agression. Military solutions are old and tired solutions. They take away lives, shatter the dreams and make out of civilized people aggressors.

If PM Seniora does not quickly and swiftly move forward with blanketing the country with state sovereignty, then Lebanon will head to civil war and the exodus of dreams will continue.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Show Of Unity: Be There!

The event has been cancelled. We will let you know when it will be rescheduled.


Humanitarian Appeal for Lebanon

A Gathering For Unity & Support

You are Cordially invited to attend an open house to show unity
and solidarity and to support the humanitarian relief efforts for
Lebanon in this national crisis

on Monday July 31,2006

from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m.

Residence of the Embassy of Lebanon
2841 McGill Terrace N.W.
Washington, DC 20008

This Event is in Coordination with:
(in alphabetical order)

Al Hewar Center
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
American Druze Society / Charitable Affairs
American Foundation for St. George Hospital Inc.
American Task Force for Lebanon (ATFL)
AUB Alumni Association of North America - Greater Washington Chapter
Arab American Institute (AAI)
Council on American-Islamic Relations
International Orthodox Christian Charities
Lebanese Free Patriotic Movement
National US Arab Chamber of Commerce

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

A message to all Lebanese fans of Italian soccer

This e-mail was sent to me by a dear friend who remains in Lebanon. It brought a smile to my face.
Keeping the spirit high -

In 1982, Italy won the world cup and Israel
invaded Lebanon

In 2006, Italy won the world cup and Israel
invaded Lebanon

Message to all Lebanese people:

Next time Italy wins the world cup, we all
go immediately down to the shelters!!

Very telling animation

I got an e-mail yesterday night with the following link. Check it out.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

And before the launch of this war...

All death seekers, war mongers, self-righteous bigots, bringers of distruction and chaos, LEAVE LEBANON ALONE!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The worst case scenario

Lebanon, the sacrificial lamb. I think that should be our national motto. Anyways, Edward N Luttwak, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic International Studies, wrote an Op Ed piece for the Wall Street Journal that called for a return of Syria to Lebanon. After articulating what he saw as unfeasible solutions to the crisis in Lebanon, he presented what he perceives as the most feasible way out of this crisis. "Enjoy":

...there is the horrible-to-contemplate but irresistibly seductive diplomatic option: to invite the Syrians to disarm Hezbollah and persuade it to follow the political path. Hezbollah already has two ministers in the Lebanese cabinet and might claim more.

Naturally that would imply the recognition of Syrian suzerainty over Lebanon, and of course the thoroughly unworthy Bashar Assad would have to be treated as a leader of regional importance. Only that could tempt Mr. Assad to abandon his alliance with Iran -- along with the important rewards that would come his way more or less spontaneously. These rewards would include gifts from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, all three of which now fear Iran as the most dangerous threat they face; they would also include the approval -- or at least the diminished hostility -- of Syria's Sunni majority, which vehemently dislikes the alliance with Shiite Iran, especially now that the Iranians are supporting Iraq's Shiites in their bloody fight with the Sunnis.

For France, the U.S. and the U.K., it would, of course, be tremendously embarrassing to recognize that they made a gigantic error in expelling Syria without having put anything its place, thus leaving a vacuum of power in Lebanon that Hezbollah has exploited. (A new principle of statecraft thus emerges: It is a mistake to follow the French even when they are right.) But unlike the military option, which is simply impossible, the diplomatic option is merely humiliating. Having massacred their own Islamists very efficiently, the Syrians can do the job again, if sufficiently rewarded.

Ahmedenijad chimes in

Ahmedenijad's most recent statement:

"The storm is approaching the Middle East, and whomever plants the wind sows the storm"

So what is this supposed mean? Is Iran starting to feel the heat? Are we really heading towards a regional conflict?

Iran's two most important strategic allies in the Middle East are Syria and Hizballah. Hizballah is under attack from the Israeli military, and Syria is being coopted by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.

As all these developments gradually transpire, Lebanon burns, and Lebanese die. We are the cannon fodder of the big players. We die as they play their chess game.


I got this from a good friend:

Invictus, by William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

Update: To those who claim the current aggression on Lebanon is an Israel-Hezbollah conflict, this may have been true before the first Lebanese civilians of this aggression were killed. The first charred baby was in everyone’s minds long before the first rockets fell inside Israeli territory. I posted this poem in solidarity with the Lebanese people's persistence against the Israeli army's crimes. To use language you understand: Lebanon will prevail.

Monday, July 24, 2006

If anyone can help, please do...

I just got this e-mail. If you know how you may help this person, please do.
I am an American writing from Washington, DC. A friend of my wife's is currently a graduate student at George Washington University. He is Lebanese and his entire family is presently in southern Lebanon. He has not been able to get in contact with them recently and is obviously worried about them, especially as their village was bombed today. Do you have any advice for how he may find out the names of any casualities (either wounded and killed)? Any help you provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,


P.S. Please feel free to forward to anyone who might have some ideas. Thank you.

Rice in Beirut

Condi Rice is in Beirut, and has met with the Lebanese Prime Minister Seniora and is currently meeting with the March 14 leadership (the leadership that pushed for the Cedar Revolution last year).

Her most noted meeting was with the Speaker of Lebanon's Parliament, and head of the Amal Movement, Nabih Berri. Some time over the last week, Berri also declared himself as the intermediary of Hizballah with the International Community. The meeting with Rice lasted for 55 minutes, and according to reports, the two were not able to arrive at an agreement.

  • Rice demanded a cease fire, the withdrawal of Hizballah from land South of the Litani, the deployment of the Lebanese Army along with a beefed up UNIFIL contingent in a new Buffer Zone, and the release of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers.

  • Berri's position was a demand for an immediate cease fire and the launch of negotiations for an exchange of prisoners, as a first step to diffusing the conflict. He then said that disarming Hizballah, and deploying the Lebanese Army to the South would constitute a second, strictly Lebanese phase, that would play out in the National Dialogue Round Table.

Both sides of the conflict appear determined to stick to their positions. Neither really cares about the repercussions of the conflict on Lebanon's territories and its civilian population. Meanwhile the Saudis and Egyptians are supposed to be pressuring Syria to break away from the Iran-Syria-Hizballah-Hamas axis. I wonder whether and how they will succeed. What price will Syrian President Assad ask for abandoning the powers that he pretty much owes his life and regime to?

Some analysts and commentators are starting to claim that this conflict will last for months, as opposed to weeks. What makes it more complicated are the military-political dimensions intertwined in this conflict. Hizballah and Israel are trying to score points on the battlefield to increase their leverage on the negotiating table, while Iran seeks to enter the negotiating table as a "peace" broker, trying to claim a slice of the "war/peace" pie in this Arab Israeli conflict.

Moreover, the complication is further augmented by the demands of some powers to get at a "comprehensive" solution to the problem at hand. Does that mean that Lebanon's problem will be lumped with that of Gaza, or the whole Palestinian question? If that's the case, then the war will continue on for light years!

Rice and Berri at least agree that brokering a solution right now is about Lebanon. And that's a starting point. Let's see how things unfold from here.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Back in the States - leaving behind broken lives

I am finally back in the United States. After spending ten days in Syria, helping my family cope with the loss of their lives in Lebanon, I am back to my own life over here.
Both my brother and sister had to leave loved ones behind, who sought the safety and comfort of their families. My brother is now on his way to London; his long-time girlfriend to Australia. My sister is on her way to Dubai; her long-time boyfriend is staying behind in Lebanon to salvage what remains of his business. Both their sets of friends are dispersing all over the world. The networks of relationships that were such a crucial part of their lives are now broken. They have to start their lives from scratch.
Despite all this, our family ranks among the lucky few. Yet even the "lucky" among us now have to deal with disrupted lives, in all senses of the phrase: broken relationships; shattered livelihoods; failed investments and much, much more. All we have left is hope: hope that we will be able to rebuild what has been destroyed, and hope that the situation will not deteriorate any further.
A couple of days before the doors of hell opened in Lebanon, I visited a pub that a high school friend of mine had just launched in the Jemayze neighborhood of Beirut. He had worked an entire year to line up partners, get the permits, renovate the building, and actually build the pub from the ground up. All his work summed up to naught. For even if the war were to come to a close tomorrow, he would not be able to operate because his clientele no longer exists. They boarded those ships, and paid between five hundred to a thousand dollars for rides to Damascus, where they boarded planes and flew to whatever part of the globe they could get to. I wonder how he is doing.
I want this war to end now. The last thing I want, however, is a return to the status quo ante so that we face another wave of destruction five, ten, or fifteen years down the road. And in all honesty, I simply don’t want to give Israeli generals another reason to flex their destructive muscles at our dire expense.
Lebanon will never recover from this brutal blow unless Lebanese are assured that such a calamity will not befall them again. The worst outcome - the absolute worst outcome - would be if all this destruction and death comes to naught, and a real political change for the better does not materialize in Lebanon and the region.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Iraqizing Lebanon

As more Lebanese leave the country after the Israeli aggression on Lebanon intensified, we're starting to hear more and more stories from the "inside".

One person who is out of the country now told me that following the shelling that northern Lebanon (mainly Akkar and Tripoli) sustained, groups of religious Sunnis got out their guns from their basements and were getting ready to head south to fight the Israeli Army. The Lebanese Army's Intelligence Force stopped these groups at the last minute.

I did warn in one of my previous posts that "Israel has opened a can of worms (when it bombed the north and killed some 9 soldiers); many parts of Akkar are very conservative Sunni. Why is the IDF messing with a sleeping beast????!!!! Why?"

Moreover, a number of trucks filled with ammunition was sent from Syria by Rafaat Assad's son (President Assad's first cousin) to Jabal Mihsin, a dominantly Alawite area in Tripoli. Again, the Military Intelligence managed to intercept the shipment.

Unfortunately, the Lebanese Army is being targeted by the Israeli Forces, further weakening a Lebanese state institution that is tirelessly trying to put a cap on a boiling pot, which is ready to explode at any minute.

Abu Kais from Beirut to the Beltway wrote that an advisor to the Israeli Defense Minister said that the Sunni Muslim world expects the Israeli Army to fight Shiite fundamentalism and "we are going to deliver." Little does he know that the Israeli offensive on Lebanon might just make of Lebanon another Iraq.

Addendum: Read what Chercheuse D'Or has to say to Israel.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Latest Strikes on Media and Telecommunications

Why reinvent the wheel when a fellow blogger from Beirut to the Beltway is reporting on the latest events in Lebanon the same way I would. Read about the latest hits the Lebanese media sustained due to Israeli shelling, as well as severe destruction to cell phone masts. My brother-in-law, whose business is in the cell phone industry in Lebanon, has perhaps lost his main source of living...and I can't reach him.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Friday, July 21, 2006

Searching For Answers

Today as I headed out to work, I picked All Honourable Men, by Michael Johnson from my bookcase to read on the train. Perhaps I was trying to find an answer. Why is Lebanon the way it is....

Something profound caught my attention. In his analysis of the civil war in Lebanon, Johnson wrote that "by the mid 1980s most Lebanese were thoroughly tired of war, and yet a significant minority--10 per cent...--still favoured a total victory for their faction. This economically frustrated, highly militant group has no difficulties in imagining the expulsion of all opponents, and the presence of one or serveral groups with profiles of this nature are a godsend to any political force in or out of the country that has an interest in perpetuating tension."

I believe that in many societies, there is always this 10 per cent lurking somewhere, vying to assume control, betting on the weakness of the other to move ahead.

The 10 per cent is in Lebanon and also in Israel. As rumoured, the Israeli Army is amassing troops on the southern border of Lebanon for an overnight invasion of the South...but also on the other side the 10 per cent is getting ready for confrontation.

The Lebanese people are not defeatist. We're known to survive through invasions and move on with life. We're known to rebuild fast, we're known for loving life and finding ways to enjoy it despite the darkness.

I have nothing political to say; tomorrow morning might just speak for itself. But before I go, read "I Left for a Smile", by a fellow blogger.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Wearing Black And Longing For Blue

My Mediterranean is wearing black. Mourning the lost summer season, mourning the deaths and destruction, mourning its longing for a happy crowd and a tranquil sky, mourning the reflection of the green mountains of Jabal Loubnan.

Experts say that there might be one or the other reason for this: Either it's because of the increased activity of ships coming on the Lebanese coast as of 7 days, or the fuel that might have leaked out when the Israel warship sank last week.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

So Close, Worlds Apart!

Naseer el-As’ad in his Al-Mustaqbal editorial today laid out PM Seniora’s principles towards achieving a sovereign Lebanese state. First, the Lebanese government is the sole upholder of all the sovereign functions of the State and that the government is ready to exercise full sovereignty over the country once the Israeli attacks stop.

Second, PM Seniora is still committed to fulfilling UNSCR 1559, but with Lebanese conditions. The contested territory, the Sheba’a Farms, if delineated as Lebanese territory, the Israeli Army needs to free it. The Lebanese prisoners should be freed. And only then the Lebanese Army would assume its full duties of protecting the southern border (which means that Hizbullah’s military wing would be dismantled.)

El-As’ad of course noted that in order for Seniora to put his principles into action, he needs all the Lebanese, including Hizbullah, to designate the Prime Minister to be the official representative of the Lebanese when negotiating the terms of the ceasefire. Which is true, that is exactly the type of empowerment that the Lebanese government, especially the Prime Minister needs at that critical juncture.

However, today Sayyid Nasrallah, in his interview on Al-Jazeera, almost answered Al-Mustaqbal by already deciding what the role of the Lebanese government should be: namely to receive all the international mediators, to take notes of their ideas and then to relay those ideas to Hizbullah, for Hizbullah to say, "Yes or No!"

I once wrote a post on this blog that said something along the lines of how in such a tiny place like Lebanon, some people can be so close, yet worlds apart!

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Help Needed!

Spread the word:

>>Kaslik: FPM Relief Office (Café Columbia Bldg)
>>Blood (O- units)
>>Food (Milk, bread)
>>Blankets & Mattresses

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Lebanon Sold Out

Today, as I read the Washington Post, I understood something very clearly: that the U.S. Administration and Congress are just making all the wrong moves in the Middle East.

The same Senators who supported the Syria Accountability Act and pushed for the Syrian military and intelligence withdrawal from Lebanon two years ago, the same Senators who applauded the Cedar Revolution last year, are the same ones who have decided yesterday to give unconditional support to Israel's attacks on Lebanon. I understand, politicians are politicians no matter where they are; they're concerned about being re-elected and about representing their constituencies.

But what about the Administration? This is what President Bush had to say yesterday: "In order to be able to deal with this crisis, the world must deal with Hezbollah, with Syria and to continue to work to isolate Iran." Please tell me if you see the word Lebanon anywhere. It's not about Lebanon; it's about Israel, Hezbollah, Iran and Syria. But guess what country is being destroyed and who is being killed (over 300 dead now) and displaced (over half a million)? Lebanon and the Lebanese people.

I realized then that Lebanon has been sold out!

Just a few months ago, Lebanon was a shining example of how democracy should look like in the Middle East. But now the very shining example that used to be showcased as a U.S. foreign policy success is being killed. The most pro-U.S., pro-West government in the Middle East is being weakened.

Nevertheless, this was way better than reading the following excerpt from Charles Krauthammer's opinion piece in the Post:
Just as in Kuwait in 1991, what must follow the air campaign is a land invasion to clear the ground and expel the occupier. Israel must retake south Lebanon and expel Hezbollah. It would then declare the obvious: that it has no claim to Lebanese territories and is prepared to withdraw and hand south Lebanon over to the Lebanese army...
I mean, is this for real? Does Krauthammer truely think that the Israeli army will "hand" south Lebanon to the Lebanese army as a gift? Since when such scenario took place anywhere, that a state which occupied another country for close to 20 years, will return to invade that once-occupied country to fulfill its mission and then hand this country back its territories? Isn't this scenario so out of this world? And if this is the advice the Administration is listening to, then yes I can say: Lebanon has been sold out!

The Lebanese are reaching a point of despair! All the great powers are watching and giving Israel what it wants, time to decimate Hezbollah, while in reality more Lebanese civilians are being killed and the country's infrastructure has deteriorated considerably in just ONE week, then how about a couple of weeks.

Again and again, Lebanon's fate is to be the house of others' conflicts. My father in despair said over the phone: "I've been living outside my country for 30 years; my fate is to continue living away for the rest of my life!" It is almost like waiting for Godot...and Godot never ever comes. I feel with you, Baba, and I wish I can do something.

Now I would like to end this post with Prime Minister Seniora's Address to the Diplomatic Corps:

I have convened the diplomatic corps in Lebanon today to launch an urgent appeal to the international community for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and assistance to my war ravaged country. You are all aware that seven continuous days of an escalating Israeli onslaught on Lebanon have resulted in immeasurable loss: the toll in terms of human life has reached tragic proportions: over 1000 injured and 300 killed so far; over half a million people have been displaced; in some areas, the hospitals have been crippled and are unable to cope with the casualties; there are shortages of food and medical supplies; homes, factories and warehouses have been completely destroyed; UN facilities in Maroun El Ras and Naqoura have just been shelled, so have been army barracks and posts of Joint Security Forces; a civil defense unit has been wiped out and foreigners are being evacuated.. As I speak, the trauma, the desperation, the grief and the daily massacres and destruction go on and on. The country has been torn to shreds.

Is the value of human life in Lebanon less than that of the citizens of other countries?

Can the international community stand by while such callous retribution by the State of Israel is inflicted on us?

Will you allow innocent civilians, churches, mosques, orphanages, medical supplies escorted by the Red Cross, people seeking shelter or fleeing their homes and villages to be the casualties of this ugly war?

Is this what the international community calls self defense? Is this the price we pay for aspiring to build our democratic institutions? Is this the message to send to the country of diversity, freedom and tolerance?

Only last year, the Lebanese filled the streets with hope and with red, green and white banners shouting out: Lebanon deserves life!

What kind of life is being offered to us now?

I will tell you what kind: a life of destruction, despair, displacement, dispossession, and death.

What kind of future can stem from the rubble? A future of fear, frustration, financial ruin, and fanaticism.

Let me assure you that we shall spare no avenue to make Israel compensate the Lebanese people for the barbaric destruction it has inflicted and continues to inflict upon us, knowing full well that human life is irreplaceable.

You want to support the government of Lebanon? Let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen, no government can survive on the ruins of a nation.

On behalf of the people of Lebanon, from Beirut, Baalbeck, and Byblos, to Tyre Sidon and Qana, to each and every one of the 21 villages at the southern border, declared a no-go zone by Israel, to Tripoli and Zahle, I call upon you all to respond immediately without reservation or hesitation to this appeal for an immediate cease-fire and lifting the siege, and provide urgent international humanitarian assistance to our war-stricken country. I would also like to thank the international organizations and the friendly countries that have already extended their valued help and thank as well those who are preparing to do so.

We the Lebanese want life.
We have chosen life.
We refuse to die.
Our choice is clear.
We have survived wars and destruction over the ages.
We shall do so again.
I hope you will not let us down.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Deja Vu All Over Again

This morning on the East Coast, we're greeted with: Open confrontation between the Israeli Army and Hizbullah on the Lebanese southern borders.

Ashrafieh was hit with 4 bombs destroying two trucks. Apparently trucks now are military targets and need to be avoided at all costs. I wonder now how humanitarian aid will get to the battered southern villages.

For all those from the south, my heart goes with you. The death toll and destruction is greater than anyone can fathom. 23 have died and tens wounded by overnight shelling of ten houses in Srifa. And then Salaa was targeted; a two-storey house collapsed on its occupants killing a family of 10 who were buried under the rubble.

These are only few examples.

And by the way, doesn' t it feel like deja vu to many when you read (or hear) that we're getting "aid" from such and such country? Aid in the form of packages that include food items and blankets, etc.? Yalla, ya Libnan, we have truely went back in time some 20 years...

This is the sad reality. Will Lebanon be able to bounce back from all of this? For the past year, Lebanon got for the first time so much "positive" media coverage during and following the Cedar Revolution. The Israeli State however has chosen to destroy that positive image and replace it with the "given" image that has been carved for decades in so many people's heads--namely the image of destruction, terror, and fear.

To the Lebanese: just tell me how many times we had to explain to foreigners who never visited Lebanon that it's a safe place? Let me guess: hundreds of times!

As foreign nationals evacuate the country, what will be left? Will they return soon? Will those foreigners who were starting to consider Lebanon as a destination to beckon with consider it anymore? I believe it will take years for our country to recover its positive image.

I am reminded of my first post on this blog on February 21, 2005, I wrote the following:
I would like to see in the very near future a document drafted by the Opposition that will answer the many lingering questions: How are we going to resolve the question of the Sheba’a Farms? How will Hizbullah be disarmed and who will do so? What about the Palestinian refugee question?....Big, divisive issues indeed to which we must find honest and real answers. I believe the true challenge is not Syria’s withdrawal, but what will ensue after their withdrawal when we have to all sit together on one table to resolve those major, contentious issues on our own.
We were just starting to answer these questions, when all hell broke loose!

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Protests and Traitors

The human psyche never seizes to amaze me. After 6 days of following every update religiously, somehow all the news of shelling and counter-shelling, of the number of dead and wounded becomes a detail, a painful detail, but a detail. We cope with pain by skipping on the details and creating notions larger than the details which drive us towards achieving our goals.

Today I went to the rally in front of the White House to call for an end to war on Lebanon. However, it did not end to be a rally just for Lebanon; a lot of demonstrators were also calling for end of attacks on Gaza in the Palestinian territories.

Despite that the common denominator between Gaza and Lebanon for now is Israeli attacks, I believe that Lebanon is a different situation. Lumping the Lebanese dilemma right now within an Arabist context is not correct. But whom am I to decide what is correct?

A Lebanese woman was holding a banner that read, "Nasrallah shut up and listen to Seniora!" Many people passing by her gave her weird looks, until one person had the audacity to snatch the banner from her and rip it up! It's saddening, but it did happen.

I chatted with Lebanese friends on the side of the protest. We were talking about how many of those who support the disarmament of Hizbullah have been put in a difficult situation. If Hizbullah is criticized, then automatically it's assumed that you're supportive of Israeli aggression, which is not true. The death toll in 7 days has reached close to 250, most of whom are civilians. Who can excuse such a painful reality?

However, there is this question on our minds, the big elephant in the middle of the room: How were the Lebanese amongst themselves going to disarm Hizbullah. If we bring the subject now, we'll definitely appear as "traitors". Even if we endorse the government's position of calling for a ceasefire and for the reassertion of the state's sovereignty by sending the Army to the southern borders, we'll still be branded as weak.

More than anything, I'm just thinking about the next step. When the gunshots die, will the national dialogue table resume? I mean is there trust anymore amongst the political leaders of the country? What will happen?...It's our own (the Lebanese) question to answer.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

TODAY: Peaceful Demos Around The World

Peaceful Demonstrations to Stop the Violence TODAY:

Washington, DC - 5-7pm at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW - in front of the White House.

New York (Manhattan) - 4-6pm at UN headquarters First Ave between 42nd St. and 48th St.

University of Berkeley campus - 12 - 2 PM at Sproul plaza

Dearborn, MI - 5:00pm on Warren and Oakman

Toronto, Canada - July 18, 2006 (7:00PM) at Dundas and Yonge (across from Easton Centre)

Montreal, Canada - 5:00PM at PMDORCHESTER SQUARE, 1155 METCALFE

Stuttgart, Germany - 6 PM at Schlossplatz in Stuttgart (downtown)

Doha, Qatar - 8:30 PM at Lebanese School of Doha

Abu Dhabi, UAE - 7:00PM in front of the Lebanese embassy Abu Dhabi

Grenoble, France - 6 PM at Place Félix Poullat, Grenoble

Athens, Greece - 7 PM In front of EVAGILISMOS Hospital

Torino, Italy - 5:30PM at Piazza Castello

London, UK - 9PM - 10.30PM on Parliament Sq. London

Abu Dahbi, UAE - 6 PM in front of the Lebanese embassy in Abu Dhabi


Boston, MA - 5 pm at Copley Place, in front of Gibran's sculpture.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Monday, July 17, 2006

Nothing But Words...

Today was a difficult day. On the metro heading to work this morning, I fought with myself: to read the Washington Post or not to read it. I did and I got even more depressed. There is nothing more disheartening than a picture of destruction or suffering frozen in history...more striking than on TV.

More disheartening was an 80-year old Beiruti saying to the Post that Lebanon is doomed never to be. If these are the words of wisdom, then what do I have left?

What do I have left? I was born during the civil war, never saw all of Lebanon until I was 13, and when I did, I fell in love with it. I understood why my father always brought us back despite the destruction. I fought my parents to do my undergraduate studies at the American University of Beirut when I was 18. I wanted to be there, to create roots, my own roots in that vibrant place. And I did.

As I watched today morning on TV Lebanese Red Cross medics putting injured civilians on stretchers after the Beirut Port was shelled, I thought to myself, "What are you doing here?" I should be there, where I used to serve as a Lebanese Red Cross first-aider. I knew that those medics at the Port were the ones who manned the Spears Headquarters...that's where I used to be a volunteer. And now I'm here, going to work like so many are, on the metro, then the escalators, then up the elevator, then the cubicle...

I'm here, facing a computer, trying to do what needs to be done, but never enough.

Our generation had so much hope for Lebanon. Last year there was so much hope for Lebanon, so much hope. Hope that we can BE. That Lebanon can BE, once and for all. But the prospects are bleak. What next? After the attacks are over, what's going to happen? The divisions are growing deeper and deeper.

Hizbullah's forces might be decimated, but never underestimate the effects of all the violence on the people. All those "mended" psyches from the civil war have been hurt once more and this time trust is gone and perhaps the damage will be difficult to undo.

I have nothing except words. Nothing but words...

Update: A Lebanese Army barracks in Jumhour was shelled. And today evening a whole family died under the rubble, 13, among them 9 children in Aitroun. What's the fault of these children? They were probably scared and hiding.

Addendum: Check out Lebanese fellow blogger's post on the 8-member Lebanese Canadian family killed yesterday by Israeli fire.

Update 2: Jbeil (Byblos) was targeted at dawn. Two trucks were destroyed. No information on number of casualties.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Work Hiatus

Had to leave the blog for the day due to work. Will return in an hour once I get back home!

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Day 6: More Attacks

Ya Beirut! Ya Beirut, ya sit il dinyeh, ya Beirut!

The couple of hours of "rest" as I thought was just a sign for more brutality to come.

The IDF hit the airport yet again this morning. Hit the Beirut port and killed two civilians. Israeli fire did not spare the UNIFIL; an Indian soldier from UNIFIL stationed in Hawla on the Lebanese-Israeli border was wounded due to a hit from an IDF tank. Of course, more hits on the south, especially the city of Saida.

In return, Hizbullah showered Katyushas on Haifa and Nahariya.

The French Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, is heading to Lebanon in a show of solidarity with the Lebanese people.

British PM has called for a ceasefire. UN Secretary General Annan has called for an immediate ceasefire in order to dispatch an interntional military intervention force.

...and that's not even three hours from my last update!

Update: The Iranian Foreign Minister arrived to Damascus conveying a letter from Iran's President Ahmadinejad to President Assad.

Addendum: Israel is working with the US and EU to evacuate foreign nationals from Lebanon. It makes me think that the hits Lebanon is sustaining is a sign for all those who need to leave Lebanon to leave, before Israel completely isolates Lebanon from the rest of the world.

Update 2: It's confirmed, an IDF plane has fallen in Kfarshima, east of Beirut, and both of its pilots have died. The IDF is denying these reports.

An Israeli military source says that some Israeli troops are entering Lebanon by land.

I'm just hearing on TV the Israeli Army alerts to the civilians in the south. They're asked to evacuate to Beirut, because the southern border is considered now a war zone. The alert went to explain in Arabic that the reason for the shelling of the villages is because Hizballah is launching its attacks from there. It's scary listening to the alerts.

The sad part is that when people try to evacuate, they are hit. Just got news of a car completely buried under the rubble after Israeli warplanes hit a bridge in the south. Three died.

500 Lebanese have gathered in Dubai, UAE to call for the end of attacks.

Update 3: A building in Haifa has collapsed as result of the Katyusha rockets.

President Lahoud has officially claimed that he supports the "Resistance" and will not give up Sayyid Nasrallah.

Update 4: AlJazeera reported that the downed Israeli plane is a pamphlet container not an F-16 jet.

Update 5: The Iranian Foreign Minister called for a ceasefire and exchange of prisoners.

Hizbullah has refused to give in to Israel's conditions.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sleepless Lebanon

Another sleepless night in the South and the Bekaa. More rocket attacks and deaths. Will keep the updates flowing through the evening.

Addendum: Here's a little piece of info shared by a fellow Lebanese in the diaspora:

Apparently "CNN Pipeline" (found on is providing live transmissions from several lebanese channels for a little monthlhy fee ($2.95).
Some outside of Lebanon don't have subscriptions to LBC Sat or any of the other LebaneseTV channels, and this is the only way someone can get video images from Lebanon...I hope this information is helpful.

Update: Air raids on my home city, Tripoli. Baalback was hit 16 times. The village of Ghraifeh in the Chouf mountains has been shelled.

On the other side, Katyusha rockets hit Nasira and other areas around the city.

Update 2: Why are they hitting Tripoli? Talked to my family; Israelis hit a place next to our house. They hit Al-Abdeh area in Akkar, which means that the only way out of Lebanon on the northern front has been hit. And now I found out that what's being hit in the north are Army posts. WHY?????!!!!

Also along the way on the Damascus-Beirut road, shelling is taking place on Bekaai villages. Is the plan to isolate Lebanese completely from the outside world?!!!!

Update 3: Three Lebanese soldiers died in Akkar in the north, as a result of Israeli shelling of a radar installation. I feel sorry for the soldiers; they are doing their job. Who knew the IDF will go as far to the north???!!!

Update 4: Four Lebanese soldiers wounded after their post was hit in Tripoli's port.

Update 5: Only one soldier has died in Akkar, but tens are wounded among them civilians. Now Israel has opened a can of worms; many parts of Akkar are very conservative Sunni. Why is the IDF messing with a sleeping beast????!!!! Why?

Update 6: Worse news - The Lebanese Red Cross reported that 6 Lebanese have died and 10 wounded in the assault over Al-Abdeh, Akkar.

Update 7: Three out of the four soldiers wounded in Tripoli have died.

Update 8: On TV there's live footage of the southern suburbs of Beirut burning. So more pounding of Beirut. Fuel tanks in the airport also have been shelled. Worst of all is news that a five-story building in Tyre has been destroyed. 10 dead already amongst them 4 children.

Update 9: Sources say that a food storage facility was hit in Choueifet. It's actually burning; I can see it on TV.

Update 10: It's 6:30AM Lebanon's time and it seems that for a while the IDF and Hizbullah have taken a break. Will snooze and return in a couple of hours. Salam!

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Peaceful Demonstrations in Canada

TUESDAY, JULY 18 @ 5:00 PM


TUESDAY, JULY 18 @ 5:00 PM

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

UN Delegation Support Lebanese Government

Veejay Nambia, one of the UN delegation representatives, standing alongside UN Middle East mediator, addressed the Lebanese people by saying that the UN calls for three things:
  1. The end to killings of innocent civilians and destruction of infrastructure, on both sides.
  2. The full support of the Lebanese government and the Prime Minister Seniora for his call to an immediate ceasefire.
  3. The return of the captive Israeli soldiers as a solution towards ending this conflict.
Sounds reasonable. Looking forward for these ideas to be translated on the ground.

Update: AlJazeera is claiming that the rockets which hit Haifa today were Syrian-made rockets. Why is Lebanon being punished?

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

G-8 Summit Statement

The G-8 Summit leaders have released a statement requesting a ceasefire on both sides, asking for Hizbullah to return the kidnapped Israeli soldiers, and asking the UN to send troops to the South of Lebanon to help the Lebanese Army deploy on the borders.

Addendum: Since a decision was made to disable comments, I got a lot of emails supporting me and some against it. I have consulted with my fellow blogger Raja and decided to bring back the comment section when cooler heads start prevailing (which is very soon). We both believe in open debate, but also responsible debate, especially that we are going through tough times right now.

Update: A whole neighborhood in Tyre was hit. The death toll has increased to 16 and might be even higher. On another front, 7 have died, 5 of whom hold the Canadian citizenship, in a southern village, Aitroun, by Israeli rockets.

Update 2: 20 dead now in the Tyre massacre. EU envoy Javier Solana will very soon be making a public address. He has met with PM Seniora, Parliament Speaker Berri and MP Walid Jumblatt. Shimon Perez, former Israeli Prime Minister, said that the IDF is only hitting Hizbullah fighters. Is the picture below a depiction of a fighter?:

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

"Banned" Weapons Used Now

Phosphorus incendiary bombs, which are "banned" weapons (some are saying that they're not banned) and are poisonous, have been used by the IDF on some southern villages, al-Habariyye and Qlayle. Hizbullah has also hit the Golan Heights.

Update: Tyre has been hit severely. A 12-story high building for the Lebanese Civil Defense have been shelled. Tens of dead and wounded reported. Also a residential building in Tyre has been destroyed, with reported of about ten dead already.

Addendum: It was a painful decision, but I have decided to block comments for now. Though this blog is a public forum and I believe in freedom of speech, but I don't believe it's the time for sarcasm and caustic comments when on both sides of the border people are dying. Lebanese citizens are being killed by the dozens; it hurts too much to overanalyze such realities. I will continue to update the blog regularly for all the Lebanese (and others) abroad who are concerned about what is going on inside Lebanon.

Update 2: Hizbullah's Secretary General Sayyid Nasrallah has just addressed everyone. His speech I felt was geared towards the Israeli government and to the "Arab/Muslim Street" and less addressed to us, the Lebanese.

Update 3: Read From Beirut to the Beltways Massacre in Tyre.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Updates and Mediations

Hizbullah hit Haifa a couple of hours ago and killed 8 and the number of wounded has gone up to 40. Israel has asked its citizens to be on alert in Tel Aviv. The IDF has been hitting and has increased its shelling of southern villages and of the southern suburbs of Beirut. The death toll in Lebanon has increased tremendously, beyond the 100+ as of yesterday night. Israel has asked its citizens to be on alert in Tel Aviv.

Saudi Arabia has pledged $50 million for aid to Lebanon.

The Lebanese government is stepping up to its duties by being on alert humanitarian wise. The Social Affairs Minister Moawwad is in Beirut working to funnel refugees from the south to Beirut's public schools. She has also called on private schools to open their doors for the refugees.

The Cabinet has also called on all government workers to uphold the role and presence of the Lebanese state.

Two mediation teams are arriving to Beirut today: one headed by Javier Solana of the EU and another from the UN. Lebanon will be a big subject on the G-8 Summit agenda in Russia.

Italy's Prime Minister appears to be playing a mediator role. He was the first European high level official to call directly the Syrian President Assad yesterday. He has called PM Seniora to reiterate Israeli PM Olmert's conditions for cease-fire, namely to return the kidnapped soldiers and to have Hizbullah retreat its forces behind the Litani River. Yesterday, the Israeli Prime Minister has rejected PM Seniora's plea for ceasefire and gave these two conditions.

A lot of information, perhaps I'm sounding less coherent. Check out a new blog by a Swedish friend who's stuck in Beirut (or let's just say, who doesn't want to leave Beirut): Beirut Under Siege.

I will keep you posted of things as they come this Sunday.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Projections And The Wild Card


So far, there has been only one reported airstrike on a Syrian target. Both Israel and Syria were quick to deny this.

What is interesting is that it was the Syrians who insisted very publicly that no such attack took place. The Syrians are clearly trying to avoid a situation in which they are locked into a confrontation with Israel. Israel might well think this is the time to have it out with Syria as well, but Syria is trying very hard not to give Israel casus belli. In addition, Syria is facilitating the movement of Westerners out of Lebanon, allowing them free transit. They are trying to signal that they are being cooperative and nonaggressive.

...While Syria does not want to get hit and will not make overt moves, so long as the Syrians cannot guarantee supplies will not reach Hezbollah or that Hezbollah won't be given sanctuary in Syria, Israel cannot complete its mission of shattering Hezbollah and withdrawing. They could be drawn into an Iraq-like situation that they absolutely don't want. Israel is torn. On the one hand, it wants to crush Hezbollah, and that requires total isolation. On the other hand, it does not want the Syrian regime to fall. What comes after would be much worse from Israel's point of view.

This is the inherent problem built into Israel's strategy, and what gives Hezbollah some hope... No matter how many roads are destroyed, Israel won't be able to prevent major Hezbollah formations moving across the border. If they do attack Syria and crush al Assad's government, Hezbollah could come out of this stronger than ever.

Judging from the airstrikes in the past 24 hours, it would appear Israel is trying to solve the problem tactically, by degrading Lebanese transport facilities. That could increase the effectiveness of the strategy, but in the end cannot be sufficient. We continue to think Israel will choose not to attack Syria directly and therefore, while the invasion will buy time, it will not solve the problem. Hezbollah certainly expects to be badly hurt, but it does not seem to expect to be completely annihilated. We are guessing, but our guess is that they are reading Israel's views on Syria and are betting that, in the long run, they will come out stronger. Of course, Israel knows this and therefore may have a different plan for Syria. At any rate, this is the great unknown in this campaign...

In the meantime, that Israel has not sent major ground units into Lebanon yet (lots of small units are operating there) but is taking rocket attacks and hunkering down indicates it does not plan to act piecemeal. If we were to guess, the main thrust would likely begin late Sunday night or Monday morning. They will be ready by then. Of course we are not privy to Israeli operations, so it could be delayed 24-48 hours to give forces a chance to gear up. But given the Hezbollah bombardment, the Israelis are under pressure to move sooner rather than later.

We are in a relatively "quiet" spell. Both sides have made their strategic decisions. Both know how the war will be fought. Hezbollah thinks it can give as good as it will get for a while, and will ultimately be able to regroup for a guerrilla war against the Israelis. Israel thinks it can immobilize and crush Hezbollah quickly and decisively and will be able to withdraw. Both sides know Syria is the wild card, and neither is quite sure how it will play its hand. One side is wrong in its expectations about the outcome. That's the nature of war.
Addendum: Peaceful Demonstration in Montreal, Canada today, Sunday July 16 at 11:00AM – PEEL AND RENE LEVESQUE

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Raining Rockets

Beirut's southern suburbs sustained shelling all night. It was surprising reading that it actually rained in Beirut. It never rains in July. Never.

Al-Hazmieh bridge which connects Hazmieh with il-Dahyeh was hit. The bridge is under construction and has been hit twice so far.

It's close to 6AM now in Lebanon. Very soon we'll know the number of casualties.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

North Attacked Again This Night

Air attacks on the city of Tripoli, Dinnieh and Akkar in the north. Why?

Update: Israeli fliers thrown down Batroun warning civilians from being close to the Batroun bridge and the tunnel on the highway.

Update 2: It turns out that the flyer news was not correct; just a rumor. Thank God.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."


A very moving speech by Prime Minister Seniora. So moving, so moving.

The last thing he said is: Loubnan sa yabka, Loubnan sa yabka, Loubnan sa yabka! (Lebanon is here to stay!)

Yes, Lebanon is here to stay. No one has the right to destroy it, to undermine it. We have paid so much.

He reiterated that the Lebanese state needs to be strong, and is required to protect its citizens and establishments. Therefore, he declared that all parties need to cease fire, and negotiations need to start in cooperation with the international community. Second, the Lebanese Army needs to head out to the South in close cooperation with the UN. Third, a call to all friends of Lebanon to help Lebanon, a country declared as devestated, in every single way, through diplomacy, aid and so far.

He again said that the government does not endorse what Hizbullah did and was not aware of it. He also condemned strongly Israel's attacks which has led to many deaths of civilians, especially those families who were trying to flee the south. It's so disheartening. Lebanon is now facing a humanitarian crisis and also economic.

PM Seniora is a true statesman, no matter what many might say. Lebanon is here to stay, is here to stay, is here to stay!

He addressed the whole world from the heart of Beirut, not like how our President who headed to Faqra in the mountains.

Update: So an Israeli General said that the IDF did not afterall hit Syrian military posts on the Lebanon-Syrian border. They only hit inside the Lebanese territories, but next to the Syrian posts. He added that in the IDF defense strategy, it's not planned to have Syria hit, just Lebanon.

Thank you so much for letting us know. Of course it seems that Israel is hitting an easy target, Lebanon. No one can fight back, except for Hizbullah. We don't have a strong army. News even is saying that all of the Army radars positioned in Lebanon's ports have been destroyed by the IDF. So...please don't tell me Lebanon is not an easy target. It's not that the Syrian Army is equal in force to the IDF, but perhaps the IDF should hit those behind Hizbullah, not the Lebanese people.

Addendum: Peaceful World Wide Rally to Protest Ongoing attacks on LEBANON

France - le samedi 15 juillet 2006 à 15h00 Lieu La place des droits de l’homme à Trocadéro – Paris Métro Trocadéro.

USA / Los Angeles - infront of the Israeli embassy in LA. Saturday and Sunday, July 15 and 16, from 10am till 6pm.

USA / Washington - July18, 2006 (5-7pm) at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW - in front of the White House.

Bring Your Lebanese Flags!
Visit for more information.

Update 11:26PM (Lebanon's time): Air raids on the city of Tripoli, in the north.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."


The Tripoli Port has been shelled by Israelis!


The Beirut port is also being hit!!!

Update: Al-Manara, next to AUB in Beirut, is being shelled right now!!!!!!!!!!! It's getting worse.


Update 3: Jounieh and Aamchit ports have been hit.

Update 4: A raid targets the army radar base in Wajh al-Hajar in the northern city of Batroun. Casualties reported.

Update 5: One Lebanese soldier died and three wounded. Okay, so now the Lebanese Army is being attacked. And also all the Lebanese ports. In Tripoli's port they hit wheat reserves. I'm sure Hizbullah fighters are not hiding there. What about Jounieh or Aamchit? They are touristic ports.

Update 6: Army establishments in the Beirut port were hit. The Hamat airport in the north was hit also. Amr Mousa the Secretary General of the Arab League is speaking right now.

Update 7: The Arab League has decided to "help" Lebanon. How? The Arab Ministers have came to a conclusion that they have all dropped the Peace Negotiations long time ago. Therefore, they decided to revive the negotiations by taking the issue to the UN Security Council. Go figure!

Update 8: Our President went from Baabda to Faqra (for "rest"). While PM Seniora is making his incessant calls and meetings. Our President is pathetic.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Rumours and Fire

Rumous in Beirut are that a massacre in southern Lebanon is currently under way. Israeli artillery barrages are reportedly pounding certain villages, in which residents were warned to leave with pamphlets, but for some reason could not.

The problem appears to be one of implementation. the Education Minister, Qabbani, issued orders but the schools are not responding. However, later the Minister refuted such claims and asserted that schools have been opened.

All major roads leading anywhere in Lebanon (between cities and towns) have been cut off. The Lebanese isolated; staying in homes and bracing themselves.

Il-Dahyeh and Haret Hreik are under heavy artillery fire. News report that the Hizbullah headquarters have been decimated.

Al-Masna'a area, the last part of the Damascus-Beirut highways that is part of the Lebanese territories, has been hit.

Jabal Turbol next to Tripoli in the north has been raided. The Akkar and Dinnieh, two regions in the north, have been cut off. And an electricity power plant in Minieh in the north has been hit. I'm trying to call my family who are in the north and cannot reach them.

More to come....

Addendum: Just a thought that came to my mind: PM Seniora in his interview with CNN yesterday said that the Lebanese want safety and security for their children and Israeli's children. He said that this won't happen overnight, but Israel must create an atmosphere that is conducive for us to move to that point. Seniora asserted the government's respect for international resolutions and law. This means that PM Seniora openly does not endorse what Hizbullah is doing and if given an opportunity he will move towards their disarmament. PM Seniora will go down in history as a true statesman.

Update: Most European countries and the U.S. are arranging for the evacuation of their nationals. What does that mean? Worst things are to come. Allah yistor!

Update 2: Not rumors anymore - 23 already have died in an attack on the village of Marooheen. Jdaidet Yabous is being hit, an area which is on the Lebanon-Syria border, but on the Syrian side.

Addendum 2: For all commentors: We don't have a strong government. We are just starting to build ourself after the Syrians left last year. The Syrian military-intelligence apparatus controlled every aspect of Lebanese life and government. We are just starting to talk; yes we might have failed because we were not seizing the moment, but we were just starting to talk. Something that we couldn't do when the Syrians were there.

Hizbullah has almost betrayed us. Betrayed the dialogue, everyone. But let's face it: The Israeli attacks have completely paralyzed the political body of the country. So how can something be done?

Yes, sometimes all what we have is rhetoric. But for those who don't know history: PM Seniora, who is a Sunni Muslim, saying that he does not endorse and is not responsible for what Hizbullah did is a breakthrough. His saying that he longs for peace on both sides is a breakthrough. Alluding that Hizbullah should be disarmed is a breakthrough!

So give me a break!

Update 3: Israel says warplanes are bombing roads and bridges near Masnaa border checkpoint to prevent Hizbullah from taking 2 captured soldiers out of Lebanon. Israel Radio says Nasrallah is hiding in a tunnel under Hizbullah's headquarters in Haret Hreik.

Syrian sources deny that Syrian military checkpoints were targeted by Israeli fire.

Update 4: My whole extended family were able to spot Israeli warships from the Tripoli port; they are freaked out and are all heading to the mountains.

Update 5: Il-Dahyeh is being hit further. Ba'albeck is being hit right now.

We are left alone to fend for ourselves. What will the Arab leaders do now? They are meeting in Cairo right now. But if the UN Security Council could not decide on a ceasfire, then the Arabs will? Since when did the Arabs help Lebanon, more than just let Syria get away with everything in the name of al-ourouba.

Hearing on TV that some Lebanese in Majayoun are taking out their guns to fend for themselves. As refugees from the south are heading to the Chouf and Beirut, they are being hit by Israeli raids. Who is there to protect them? Lebanon is on its own!

Update 6: Tabarayya is being hit right now with more Hizbullah rockets; it's the furthest point that the rockets reached the depth of Israel.

Update 7: IDF informing the villages next to the Israeli border, in Bint Jbeil, that any car after 7PM leaving the villages will be hit. That's after one hour from now.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Aoun: The Fall Guy

An email I received from a friend:

I have been thinking. How much of what is currently transpiring in Lebanon is Aoun's fault? I know, the easiest thing to do in a situation like this is to find a fall-guy, but really: how much of this destruction and death lies squarely on Aoun's shoulders?

Let us look at the events over the past year and simplify everything into one linear chain of events. Let us take a look at the fact that the International Community apparently unanimously decided that Hizballah was to be disarmed when resolution 1559 was passed at the UN Security Council. Then, assume that the March 14 forces were given a specific amount of time to implement that resolution, which, again, manifested an almost unanimous international consensus. March 14 failed. Israel is now doing the job.

When you look back at the political developments in Lebanon ever since the late Hariri's assassination, what constituted the major stumbling block to March 14's initiatives? Was it not Aoun and the FPM?

Aoun prevented them from selecting a suitable replacement to Lahoud. Aoun formed an alliance with Hizballah to counter the majority. Aoun essentially took the opposition role to heart, and went with it all the way! He did so under the apparent assumption that Lebanon was out of troubled waters, and consequently, he could go back to business as usual - opposition and sectarian bickering.

I respect Aoun, and the positions he claims regarding the Lebanese state, and its appropriate role. However, couldn't Aoun have seen what now appears so clear in hind sight? Couldn't he and his advisors see that if the Lebanese political elite, in unison, did not pressure Hizballah to disarm peacefully, the Israelis would do so, and destroy everything we built over the past decade and a half in the process?

All I see from this (admitedly narrow) angle of looking at Lebanon, is that Aoun holds a significant responsibility for all the costs in blood and treasure that Lebanon is bearing as I write this e-mail. If Aoun wants to blame Hariri for the $30 billion of debt he accumulated over the past 10 years, then I will blame Aoun for the $10 billion in damages and losses that Lebanon will suffer this year alone, as well as all the loss in lives - which have exceeded 70 thus far.

For the past year I have looked at the General with a kind of hope. Friends tried to tell me he was being manipulated and he was a political nincompoop. But now, I look back, and ask: how could he not have seen this coming? You would think that someone in his shoes would be a little more politically savvy!

A strong counter argument could be that even if Aoun sided with March 14, Hizballah would never have disarmed, and any attempt at doing so, would have led us to a much more destructive civil war. There is a very powerful truth to that statement, however, imagine how different the dynamics of Lebanese politics would have been had we elected a more powerful and legitimate President who tagged the line of March 14 regarding Hizballah. I believe that, at the very least, some positive steps could have been taken - steps that may have prevented what is currently tanspiring in our Lebanon.

It is clear that the majority commited serious mistakes in dealing with Aoun. Were these mistakes worth the destruction and blood that we are experiencing today? Couldn't Aoun have waited until the elite had dealt with Hizballah before he started his "business as usual" opposition? I don't know.

Aoun: fall guy. The picture is probably much more complex, however his behavior over the past year have made labeling him as such so much easier.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Friday, July 14, 2006

Iran-Syria Axis Fully Materializing

I don't know what to say anymore. Sayyid Nasrallah is still alive and declaring an open war. Where is our President? Where are our Ministers? Prime Minister? Members of Parliament?

All these institutions and the guardians of these institutions are obsolete at this point. Nasrallah is leading the show. He's defying everything and everyone. He is assuming the position of the guardian of the Prophet's Family, against all odds. This is not about Lebanon anymore; this is about Nasrallah's pride.

The Iran-Syria Axis has just fully materialized!

An Israeli warship was hit on the coast off of Beirut, the same warship that hit Hizbullah's headquarters which housed Nasrallah.

Lebanon is a hostage and all the Lebanese people are a pawn in the hands of the few.

Update: Rumours in the streets of Saida are that the Israelis have landed a ground force. The rumours are unfounded, but the city is terrified!

Update 2: The story has just been clarified by NTV. It appears that reconnaisance personnel from Hizballah noticed Israeli frogmen (i.e. Naval Commandos) on the shores of Saida. They then reported their suspicions to the Lebanese Army. The Army then responded by sealing the area, and searching it thoroughly. The Army then announced that it was all clear and withdrew. They either did not find the frogmen, or the frogmen never landed in the first place.

Update 3: The latest reports (or maybe rumors flowing around in Lebanon) is that Israel will destroy the last major land route leading outside of Lebanon within the next 24 hours. (i.e. they are going to hit the road to syria that goes through Tripoli).

Update 4: Hizbullah attempted to hit another Israeli warplane, but missed and hit an Egyptian ship instead.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

UN Security Council Meeting

Today I heard one of the most historical addresses by the Israeli UN ambassador on Lebanon.

Just quickly: he quoted Marwan Hamadeh, Elias Atallah and another unnamed Minister saying yesterday that Lebanon has been taken hostage by regional forces (Iran and Syria) and by terror (form Hizbullah).

He looked the Lebanese UN representative in the eye and said: I would like to make an appeal to Lebanon's representative. You know deep down that if you could, you would add your brave voice to the voices of your brave compatriots in Lebanon. You could be sitting next to me now to negotiate a solution. If we succeed, it will be beneficial for all of us. Lebanon has an opportunity to be a free, prosperous democratic Lebanon.

The Lebanese representative claimed what the government statements have been saying: that the government did not know, is not responsible and does not endorse the attacks by Hizbullah on northern Israel. But also said that Israel is brutally attacking civilians and infrastructure in Lebanon and that the attacks do not equate in magnitude to what they claim they want to do, which is target Hizbullah's military base.

By the way, the Israeli ambassador said that Hizbullah is launching its rockets from civilian houses with children and women acting as hosts of such rockets.

This is truely a brutal way of operating by Hizbullah. I hate violence and death. Enough is enough; the Lebanese government needs to take a stand. My country is wounded.

Update: Israeli Army has renewed attacks on the southern suburbs of Hizbullah.

Update 2: The Qatari UN representative had a moving statement, saying that Lebanon will not be left alone and that Lebanon is a great example of democracy in the Arab world and asked for a ceasefire.

Update 3: The Chinese ambassador asked Israel to end its land, sea and air blockade of Lebanon. But also called on Hizbullah to stop infiltrating the blue line to attack the Israeli army and to stop launching rockets on the north of Israel. He supports the decision of Kofi Annan of sending a group of mediators to the Middle East to broker a deal.

Update 4: Haret Hreik in Beirut is being bombarded by Israeli warships. Aita il-Sha3ib, a southern village, has been given by the IDF two hours to evacuate its civilians. Oslo called on its Israeli ambassador to object to what the Israeli government is doing in its attacks on Lebanon.

Update 5: According to the FPM website, CNN reported that the planes which were claimed to have been transported to Jordan, under the watchful eye of the IDF, are not those of MEA, but 4 are owned by Hariri and 1 by Najib Mikati.

Update 6: Hizbullah has launched rockets on IDF barracks in the Golan Heights. It shows that Syria is Hizbullah's patron.

Update 7: Al-Damour bridge was shelled, 17 injured including 7 children. Hizbullah's main headquarters was shelled. Hizbullah claimed that HA's Secretary General Sayyid Nasrallah is still alive.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

WARNING: Country To Burn By 6PM

Another piece of information by fellow blogger Raja:

ALERT: Swiss embassy in Lebanon has given Swiss nationals until 6:00 PM today to leave the country. They base this timing on the fact that the Israelis have given Hizballah until 6:00 PM to return the prisoners after which, they will effectively burn the country down.

This is only one hour to go. It's 5PM in Lebanon.

Update: Hizbullah is showering North Israel with rockets and tens are wounded and dying. Meanwhile, the Lebanese Health Ministry has declared that 65 Lebanese have died and 195 are wounded.

Saudi Arabia's statement yesterday that what Hizbullah is doing is far from resistance might just be a green light to Israel to eliminate the party's military base. That's scary because we are entering the unknown, an unchartered territory.

Update 2 - 5:35PM (Lebanon's time): Watching the UN live webcast of a UN Security Council meeting to discuss the situation in Lebanon. The Lebanese spokesman is speaking right now.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Tyre Calling For Humanitarian Assistance

This piece of news was sent to me by my fellow blogger Raja, who has no access to the blog and has left Beirut for a safer place east.

The coalition of municipalities of the Tyre region has urgently called out for humanitarian assistance. They currently host around 3000 refugees, and they only have enough food for one day.

They have no electricity, so the fridges in which dead bodies are kept until burial are no longer working.

This is merely one region in the south. Maybe if this is posted in the blog with a plea for all Lebanese in the diaspora to try to help through the way they know best, that would help.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Lebanon's Achile's Heel

Just woke up. The airport's terminal has been hit this time around. The latest hits on Dahyeh led many to flee their homes and seek shelter in other parts of Beirut. More intensified hits in south Lebanon.

I am just angry because the airport is being hit beyond just its runways, which will take more than a week to repair. The airport, as noted by Jihad el-Khazen, the editor of al-Hayat daily, is Lebanon's "Achile's heel."

Many Lebanese have so much faith in the international community. My father, whose forever optimistic view of Lebanon is always contagious, keeps on saying that this offensive will not take long and that someone will intervene to stop all this.

But what if, just like 30 years ago, everyone turned their backs on Lebanon? We were left alone to fend for ourselves and ended up killing each other and destroying the innocense and beauty of a land...

Extreme fear mixed with streaks of optimism, but every time I go to sleep thinking that things will calm down, I only wake up to more tragic stories.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Thursday, July 13, 2006

So Surreal!

Latest pictures came out on TV. It's so surreal and extremely emotional. This is Beirut, Beirut wounded and hurt.

An entire portion of the airport highway (taree2 il matar) is destroyed.

There is news of more severe hits on the southern suburbs of Beirut, il-Dahyeh. So far, three have died and more than 20 are wounded. LBC claims that most of the hits in il-Dahyeh targeted Hizbullah's security area. Hizbullah's security apparatus has cordoned off the area, so no video footage there.

Israeli planes hit the Mar Mikhail area, a heavily-populated area of Beirut.

Al-Jiyyeh electricity station was hit. Smoke has filled the air.

Beirut 3am tibkee....maksoor khatirha....

Update: Footage of il-Mdairij bridge on the Damascus-Beirut highway is being shown on LBC. The bridge is hit severely. No cars can pass through. This is close to our summer house.

Update - 7:20AM (Lebanon's time): The wounded toll has risen to 55.

Update - 7:26 (Lebanon's time): Fellow blogger Lazarus has posted the following entries with disheartening pictures of what the Israeli attacks left behind. Click here and here.

Update - 7:29: Israeli warships are hitting the entrance to the city of Saida, stopping many from entering or exiting the city.

Update - 11:00AM (Lebanon's time): After snoozing for only two hours, more has happened. Parts of Beirut our out of electricity. Israeli warships have imposed a sea blockage on the city of Tripoli in the north (where it has always been believed to be the safest place from Israeli incursions). Israeli planes shelled a base of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command, 2 kilometers away from the Syrian border. Israeli Foreign Minister threatened to attack Syria. And an Israeli Minister threatened to eliminate Hizbullah leader Sayyid Nasrallah.

This is what's out there so far. Some news portals are inaccessible due to the amount of people logging on to the site at once. Will update later.

Update - 11:10AM: The International Airport is being hit yet again.

Update - 11:15AM: Got access to the news portal that was inaccessible. Okay, Hammana was raided by Israeli planes during the early morning hours. 10 Israeli warships are heading from Saida to Beirut right now. Cell phone lines have been cut in the Bekaa and the Jabal. Electricity has been cut all over the country. Israeli warships hit the Jiyyeh electricity grid a couple more times. Israeli raids over several towns in the south. PM Seniora has made an urgent phone call to State Secretary Rice.

Update - 11:20AM: il-Dahyeh is being severely hit. Planes have been transferred from Beirut Airport to Amman, Jordan.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."


Guys, wrong info. I was watching a rerun of the news on Future TV and LBC and thought the updates on the bottom of the screen are not part of the rerun. My apologies.


A flurry of rockets hitting Haifa. Lebanon is screwed!

Update: They're Katyusha rockets; a Hizbullah stamp.


Update: I'm wounded to see the insults being hurled at me (by Lebanese) in the comment section of the entry below. i'm doing a service to a lot of poeple, keeping the updates flowing.

No, I'm not cozy in a U.S. college campus and I was already alive and kicking when Israel invaded Beirut in '82.

I do not endorse any of the comments on this blog and take ownership of my own words.

The last thing I need to hear is someone claiming to be more Lebanese than other Lebanese. It's not my fault that I'm stuck back in the beltway; I'd rather be with my family and friends back home.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."