Monday, August 21, 2006

Washington Times reports a somewhat confusing development

The Washington Times is not a source I regularly read to catch up on developments. However, I did bump into an intriguing article today, as I browsed the web.

Joshua Mitnick, a Times reporter, writes from Tel Aviv,
Israel is mulling the reopening of peace negotiations with Syria -- frozen for seven years -- after a monthlong war with Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, according to newspaper reports.

After years of ignoring the possibility of talks with Syria because of the U.S. effort to isolate President Bashar Assad, a growing number of voices is calling on the Israeli government to consider talks with Damascus, which could help sever the central link between Hezbollah and its main weapons sponsor, Iran.
Mitnick quotes Israeli parliament member Avshalom Vilan as saying,
In the short run, the mission has to be the separation of Syria from Hezbollah and Iran
Arab-Israeli wars often have been followed by successful peace talks. The best example is the landmark treaty between Israel and Egypt, which was concluded six years after the countries fought to a draw in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
Mitnick even claims that Peretz is "speaking of investigating the potential for negotiations with Syria." However, he then goes on to say, that Olmert is opposed to the idea because he wouldn't want to "help end the Syrian isolation imposed by the United States."

Personally, I don't know what to make of this story, and the fact that it was written by a Washington Times reporter based in Tel Aviv. It definitely contradicts all apparent developments on the regional and international levels.

What can I say? As goes with all viewers, sitting and watching from the sidelines, we'll have to watch and wait for developments to transpire.


Dimitry said...

No developements, and no news. The Israel left (like Vilan) was always fond of talking to anything that moves, and if doesn't move, they kick it until it moves and then talk to it. And the prospect of getting a signed paper out of that would be downright orgasmic.

The people quoted here were saying those things all the time, before, during, and after the war.

CMAR II said...


Hmm...Well, then I guess it is not "Israel" that is "mulling" opening negociations with Syria. It is just some unnamed persons jaw-boning to a reporter (if that).

BTW...Here's a good Boston Herald column on France's dropping the ball in the international force to Lebanon:

"In recent weeks, France stepped forward to act as a broker of peace in Lebanon. 'Act' is the key verb in that last sentence, as it now would seem that the only other verifiable part of the sentence is 'in recent weeks'.

"To correctly parse that sentence, one must understand that when France suggested it wanted to broker peace in Lebanon, it did not necessarily mean 'broker' or 'peace' or 'Lebanon' in the way we might understand those words. The same is true when France further suggested it wanted to 'lead' 'strong' 'multinational' 'force' there.

"I don’t speak French, so I have no idea what the actual French words are for those concepts or what possible nuances there may be. I’ve been relying on news reports in English, which now inform me that the French do not intend to send any significant number of troops to what is supposed to be a force of 15,000 in Lebanon, like everyone thought they said they would.
Ernest Hemingway, who had a soft spot for them, used to like to say, “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk.” But Hemingway, unlike the French, had a sense of honor."

Lazarus said...

both peretz and livni have suggested that talks with syria might have some merit ...

SH said...

I second Dimitry. Peretz, who considered himself "a man of peace", has lost a large part of his constituency, and is trying - IMHO to no avail - to regain the votes.

Add to this fact, that this kind of talk helps Israel to isolate Iran - and you can solve you confusion.

Almost no one in Israel is thinking seriously about a peace with Syria, certainly when the price is giving away the Golan Hights.

Omer (israeli) said...

The internal securutiy minister, Avi Dichter, talked today about negotiaions with syria

However Olmert doesn't seem to agree:,7340,L-3293981,00.html

Blacksmith Jade said...

Yeah I heard about this too. I don't remember the source but I remember reading that Israel had appointed a lead negotiator to handle the Syrian question.

Basically what I think this boils down to is the shaken confidence the Israelis had in the IDF or at least in its value as a deterrent against its neighbours due to this war.

This might be a play by the Olmert's government to gain something from a failed campaign, something tangible that would lead to prolonged peace in Israel.

In Lebanon we can only hope for peace because (as we've just witness) any unrest in the region ultimately takes its toll on us...whether we like it or not!

This whole question has been frustrating me for a while...Lebanon first? Will our neighbours ever let us be?

Omer (israeli) said...


"Basically what I think this boils down to is the shaken confidence the Israelis had in the IDF or at least in its value as a deterrent against its neighbours due to this war"

As much as I hate to admit it, its probelbly true. Myself i dont care that much. For me the issue isn't war but peace. If peace can result from this war, then why not? I'll be glad to be defeated for peace.

"In Lebanon we can only hope for peace because (as we've just witness) any unrest in the region ultimately takes its toll on us...whether we like it or not!"

Well this is not completly true. The only "sin" of lebanon was being weak. Being weak provided others a good platform to get strong and further their agenda. There is a way to undue this: Make your own goverment strong and truely democratic.

That way your govermenet representing the wishes of the people can decide when and if to provocate Israel again.

Omer (israeli) said...

"This might be a play by the Olmert's government to gain something from a failed campaign, something tangible that would lead to prolonged peace in Israel"

If olmert will actually be able to produce peace, then i'm willing to forgive him. But as it stands, Olmert, has no brains. I didn't like him before all of these even happened. He was always slick like a cars sales person. But now he proved out to be an idiot as well. Achiving peace will be quite a feat in Israel.
Its a long time dream, thats has been stampled time and time again, till most Israeli barely belive its possible.
But if it happens, no one will complain.

Omer (israeli) said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

If Israel surrender to Syrian-Iranian terrorism by opening negotiations with the Alawite regime, it will not survive for long in this region.

Avrum. said...

Israel is still reeling from the second Intifata and what is percieved as infractions of the Oslo agreements by the Palestinians.

Therefore people will be very suspicious of Syrian intentions.

Lirun said...

i dont think peace is only about the golan changing hands..

i think peace with syria can mean many other things..

it is one thing to talk about peace and it is quite another to doom it to failure from the outset and avoid the topic altogether..

israel and its neighbours all need peace.. we all know this.. not sure why we are all shying away from the topic so vehemently..

its retarded.. its time we all grew up and addressed our issues as adults..

there´s a future to be had.. lets enjoy it (for a change)

Random Ranter said...

Here is what you can expect next...

Hizbullah, Iran, and Syria are working feverishly to rearm Hizbullah ahead of the next round. A senior officer of the Revolutionary Guard in Tehran said that huge quantities of weapons – including weapons of various sources – reached Damascus during the last three weeks, and are waiting to be transferred to Lebanon.

According to London based Arabic daily al-Sharq al-Awast, the Revolutionary Guard formed an emergency committee on logistics in Damascus, which will be responsible for supplying Hizbullah’s military needs.

A senior figure in the Iranian foreign ministry also said his country was preparing to provide aid for areas destroyed in Lebanon, despite claims by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah and other sources, according to which Hizbullah is not receiving money from Iran for recovery efforts in Lebanon.

Lirun said...

if you ask me.. israel has had enough war - but is very resilient.. heavily export oriented and supported handsomely by its stakeholders - we are buoyant..

however.. lebanon and the arab world cannot afford this damage to their sensitive tissue of society politics and international clout.. the arab world must stand begind lebanon and defend it from being saturated by iranian and fundamentalist money.. it is so important that HA and the baddies be sidelined..

this is their chance to genuinely and completely denounce any meaningful connection with all the gaping scars that the west has suffered over the past decade or so and send a clear message that the pain mutually inflicted should and can end..

hoping for peace amongst us all

at least WE continue to talk amongst us..

dunes said...

im sorry but we all know that time and time again we trusted the arabs sorrounding us and time and time again the failed us
the ball has alwayes been in the hands of the arabs every since the 67 war and as it stands now the next confrontation is just around the corner.
but the diffrence now is that syria and iran smell blood.
all i can say is this most israelis lost their belives that :
A. we have a good leader
B. we have nighbores we can talk with (syria,iran,lebanon)and trust
C. we have a good goverment
D. that the world will support us even if we are jost

we all know what will happen we just like to believe that peace and quiet is around the corner
and as much as it pains me to say this and this is a sentence i never tought il say
but in the appreantly near election bibi will get my voice.

good night and peace out.

Lirun said...

i wont mention my political preferences because i think that is irrelevant..

but i will say that you should never give up on peace.. it is the only justice and the only appropriate solution to our problems..

we live in a tough area.. a region that bleeds a lot.. where peace and war are not just theories but realities that we test everyday..

it is our duty - to ourselves and our neighbours to always maintain our focus on peace and always aim to achieve and enhance it..

dunes.. you know i generally disagree with many of your views.. we have sparred on many topics before.. but please - if you personally seek peace - dont give up on your own hope.. at least for your own sake..

sleep well..

wishing peace to us all..

we deserve it

Master Blaster said...

Raja, the main report was by Akiva Eldar in Haaretz. First of all, Eldar is completely untrustworthy, and simply makes stuff up. But on this specific report of Livni appointing an envoy for exploring talks with Syria, I can tell you that it is false.

Olmert dispelled any such notions when he said that no talks with Syria are on the table until they cut their ties to terror groups. Given how this has been the demand of the US for years and years and years, don't hold your breath. This is not happening.

Anonymous said...

I agree, this story is dead on arrival. Many more imminent developments lay ahead before talks between Israel and Syria can happen.

Bad Vilbel said...


I agree. Syria ain't gonna happen.
However, I think there is room for a Lebanon-Israel deal in the near future, if positive steps continue to be taken.

I see the current talk of peace initiatives making the rounds already. The prince of Qatar is out and about in the region. There is talk of the 2002 arab peace plan. Both Siniora and Olmert have made interesting mentions of peace between Lebanon and Israel.
I think if the moderate arab states get tired of waiting for Bashar (and signs are increasing that they are), they might move on something like this without Syria.

Chas said...

I may be wrong, but I don't see Syria as having much influence on events. It is politically isolated, valued only by Iran, and only then because of its geographical position, as an irritant to Israel and a conduit for supplies to Hez.
I can't see any probable development of events where this changes. I don't know ... thoughts?



Chas said...

PS . I heard this story from a different source acouple of days ago .. can't remeber where.. didn't take it seriously

Bad Vilbel said...

You're correct Chas. Syria is mostly irrelevant at this stage.
They're only card was the ability to irritate Israel through Hezbollah. The idea, right now, is to remove that card once and for all.
After that, Syria is nothing.

Dimitry said...

Concidering how Israel's long-standing peace *cough* with Egypt didn't supply a single hump in the Palestinian effort to get arms to Gaza via Sinai, I honestly doubt Assasd's signature would stop weapon shipments to HA from Iran.

FreeCyprus said...

Israeli intelligence and political officials keep harking that the Syrian-Lebanese border continues to be violated, and arms keep coming through...peace talks with Syria? The talk now is anything but peaceful....

chuck said...

Israeli prime minister said that peace talks with syria will be possible only after syria stops suplying weapons to terrorist groups, and closes the terrorist organisations offices in damascus.

that won't be happening anytime soon i guess...

Lirun said...

wouldnt be surprised to learn that talks go on all the time anyway.. and its more about when and how and if these talks are disclosed.. i remember in 1993-4 when oslo was signed.. it arrived a bit like a letter that wasnt addressed correctly.. a bit of s "what the?" but a good one.. or so we thought..

wishing peace..

with or without kisses from syria

no noise said...

Well, if Olmert refuses talks with Syria, would that not put the situation into a stalemate again? This is very similar to the Bush policy: Do not talk, maybe ... miraculously... a bird will land on the head of Bahsar/nasrallah/ahmadinajad/hamas... and tell them... again miracleously to stop targeting Israel and announce peace.
I think the bloodshed in Lebanon/Palestine/Israel/Iraq... are enough reason to know this is a stupid (least to say) way of handeling the issue.
There should be talk. and it should happen right away.
The bigger man at this stage is the one who will have the guts to initiate those talks.

Lirun said...

yeah things have become weird..

peace talks have now evolved to be considered a prize.. this is an evolution of our perception that in the past talks and action would contradict eachother.. we put our diplomatic wheels in reverse and the problem is now altering this custom..

seems a bit paradoxical though.. almost like saying "no peace talks if we dont have peace" - well if we had peace why would we need to talk about it..

nevertheless you also need to consider our side.. the fear is risking concessions and changing pubilc mindsets before the political landscape is ripe and weakening the national stamina with regards to the ultimate goal of a fair and balanced peace deal.. whatever that may mean..

wishing peace to us all in any event

we need to break the cycle.. somwhere

Mustapha said...

regardless of whether or not these talks are serious, the noises are everywhere in Israel.
Syria is desperately trying to have peace and some Israelis are responding. If you're interested I wrote about it.

yaser said...

the fact that there are voices in israel speaking of peace with syria is very heartening , for the past months i've never heard except harsh rhetoric against syria, and this should be reciprocated from the syrian side as positively as possible

Help Us Make Your Story said...

Report to IOL on Lebanon

In the current all-out Israeli offensive, Lebanon is being destroyed, its civilians paying the price in blood.
You are invited to report to the impact of the Israeli bombings on Lebanon.
Send us text, photos, video footages, and audio recordings. Submit any material you wish to provide to: or or
All authentic material on Lebanon's casualties and devastation is much needed.
Make sure to provide us with as much information as available on the material you send — including the exact location and time of occurrence of what you are reporting on. If you did not experience the events first-hand, provide the sources from which you got your information.
Our aim is to collect and record as much authentic material as possible to help validate and document the truth of the real situation in Lebanon.

Lirun said...


we have suffered a great deal of loss and damage here as well.. one of my closest friends now has a quadroplegic brother.. as a result of the violence..

and yet we are focussing very heavily on rehabilitation rather than drowning in sorrow and anguish..

"help us report your story" - i hope your efforts are headed in this direction.. because it sounds like you are encouraging chinese whispers rather than documentation..

anyway.. wishing peace a speedy recovery to lebanon and israel - may we soon see more peaceful times..

need to channel our efforts to our common good

Fearless said...

Lebanese Professor: "To Be a Shi'ite Now..."

In an article published on August 7, 2006 in the Lebanese daily Al-Nahar,
Mona Fayyad, a professor at the Lebanese University, attacked the uniform
pro-Hizbullah, pro-Iran thinking expected of and imposed upon Shi'ites in
Lebanon.(1) In the days following its publication, several reactions to
Fayyad's article were published in Al-Nahar and on the Internet.

The following are excerpts from an English translation of Fayyad's article
that was posted on the Internet,(2) and excerpts from the reactions.

"To Be a Shi'ite Means That You Do Not Question the Meaning of Resistance
and Pride"

"We are going through a catastrophic and existential period that will have
long-lasting impacts on our country and region for the next century; and
since we are facing such a dangerous juncture, I saw fit to pose some
questions that one might pose to one's self, or in secret, and wouldn't dare
publicize, in fear of being accused of being a foreign agent or a traitor,
or even a blasphemer. Confronting difficult questions and putting them out
in public could help prevent us from falling to the precipice from which
there is no return, and could help leaders take the appropriate decisions in
order to stop this hellish war, whatever the cost may be.

"What is the meaning of being Shi'ite for the majority of Shi'ites at this
point and at this critical juncture?

"To be a Shi'ite means that you entrust your fate to the wise and infallible
leadership without daring to ask any question, even if just as a point of

"To be a Shi'ite means watching the Al-Manar channel, or New TV or NBN,
exclusively, and that you enjoy their inspirational songs and their
exclusive news, and that you look with enmity on all other channels because
they are either 'American' or 'Zionist,' as long as they refer to Israeli
forces by their name, and do not call them the 'forces of the enemy,' and do
not have enough eulogies and only broadcast information.

"To be a Shi'ite means that you do not question the meaning of victory. Is
it the victory of armies while keeping soldiers - flush with weapons -
alive, while destroying all of what is built, and the killing of the human
beings that worked hard to build it up, and constitute the true protection
for the fighter himself?

"To be a Shi'ite means that you do not question the meaning of resistance
and pride. Is it fleeing from bombing and being heaped together on the tile
floors of schools...?

"To be a Shi'ite is to contribute to the creation of a Lebanese 'Karbala 2,'
as the Iraqi 'Karbala 1' did not perform its role as needed in building up
the Arabs and carrying them on to victory over the enemy."

"Didn't We See... That Syria is the Cornerstone of This Region?"

"To be a Shi'ite is to be a hero that does not feel hurt nor complain, and
does not have psychological crises, and accepts sacrificing himself and his
country and everything that was accomplished so that he can teach Israel a
lesson, and expose its craziness and ensure its defeat, as was indicated to
us by the Syrian Minister on the BBC, that Israel is the loser... You see it
is now hated more than ever before, and it is indicted by most of the
nations of the world... now that they see for sure - and the lesson is still
proceeding - the extent of its savagery and folly.

"When you are Shi'ite, you have to accept this logic, and even praise it,
admiring its eloquence, its wisdom, and its global role in spreading the
legal education and the enactment of international treaties and its role on
a popular level, in resistance and liberation. Didn't we see, through this
war on us, that 'Syria is the cornerstone of this region?' These are the
very words of the [Syrian] minister himself.

"Of course all this destruction was necessary in order to ensure with
concrete evidence the validity of this reasoning; because of the level of
our objective thinking, we only work with evidence and empirical

"To be a Shi'ite is to accept that your country be destroyed before your
very eyes... and that it comes tumbling down on your head, and that your
family be displaced and dispersed and becomes a 'refugee' at the four
corners of the nation and the world, and that you accept standing up to the
enemy with no complaints as long as there is a fighter out there with a
rocket that he can launch at northern Israel - and maybe even at its south -
without asking about the 'why' or about the timing or about the usefulness
of the end result.

"To be a Shi'ite is to accept that you sacrifice all, as long as you have
someone who will compensate you with money, and that someone will look over
you as you rebuild what he destroyed. What is your problem with that?

"You see, we are a people of heroes that knows nothing but sacrifice, and we
can absorb mental shocks and the death of loved ones and the humiliation of
displacement and the destruction of the infrastructure of the state - since
it is a weak, corrupt and follower state. Is it not enough to have on our
side a strong country [i.e. Syria] whose foundations we work to support in
confronting the unjust American might and the Israeli war machine from
hell? - that machine whose weakness we have to prove, as well as its
inability to inflict any harm on the fighters of Hizbullah, or on its
ability to limit their military capabilities, and to prove that at any

"What is the Purpose of Liberating a Country? Is it to Destroy it All Over
Again and to Make it Possible for it to Be Occupied Once More?"

"To be a Shi'ite is to keep silent and not to ask what is the purpose of
liberating a country. Is it to destroy it all over again and to make it
possible for it to be occupied once more? And not to ask about the role of
the leadership: Is it to preserve its military power and keep its men flush
with arms without any care or concern for the normal human being? Being a
Shi'ite means that you can only thank Hizbullah for its heroism and
sacrifice. It is not your role to contribute to 'weakening' it or to
'breaking its word' or to making it know when to back down or compromise to
preserve its victory on the one hand and to preserve the Lebanese nation and
its people, as well as its development, on the other hand!! That means never
to question whether pride takes precedence over the lives of others and
whether stones take precedence over arms."

"To Be a Shi'ite Means to Incapacitate Your Mind and to Leave it to Khamenei
to Guide You... and He Imposes on You a Notion of Victory That is No
Different Than Suicide"

"To be a Shi'ite means to confer on the leader of the resistance his role as
a loyal hero to the cause of the Arab nation in its entirety, not only
whether you like it or not, but whether that nation likes it or not. You
only have to hear the popular praise of the masses, that was preceded by the
praise the masses heaped on their loyal hero 'Abd Al-Nasser, and is still
shedding tears for its other hero, Saddam Hussein. And the masses are still
able to heap praise on any hero that tickles its dreams and its feelings so
that it can sleep tight at night... or to recover its lost dignity under the
boots of rulers like Saddam, as long as we, and only we, pay the price until
your real awakening.

"But the question is, to what degree can we rely on these incapable masses,
who are enslaved by their rulers, to liberate themselves without even
thinking about reconsidering this Jihadist and revolutionary plan!! Are they
empowered? Are they wise enough? Have they prepared the ground for that? Do
they have tools for fighting and remaining steadfast other than the arms of
zeal and emotion and oratory?

"If you are a Shi'ite you are not to ask this leadership how the groundwork
was prepared to absorb this indiscriminate war and its 'potential'
consequences. Where are the hospitals, the ambulances, not to speak of the
shelters? These are the responsibilities of the state - which was never
consulted in declaring war - so that it can be blamed for its weakness and
lack of wit. You see, the state is only needed when it is called upon to
heal wounds, but the wise and existential decisions are not within its

"To be a Shi'ite means to incapacitate your mind and to leave it to [Iranian
Supreme Leader] Khamenei to guide you and to decide for you what he wants
concerning arms for Hizbullah, and he imposes on you a notion of victory
that is no different than suicide."

"Isn't it a Priority to Make Iran a Regional Shi'ite Superpower? What is the
Problem With Sacrificing a Country Called Lebanon?"

"To be a Shi'ite means to defend the meddling of the Iranian [Foreign]
Minister Mottaki in Lebanese state affairs without even trying to care for
appearances. Maybe he came to 'point out' to the ministers of Hizbullah that
they [the Hizbullah ministers] 'did not agree' to the seven-point plan,
especially the point about the multinational force, so that the door of the
resistance would not be shut, and so that we can remain a country exploited
and abused, after it was proven that the Shab'a Farms are Syrian and would
be dealt with in accordance with Resolution 242... And in that he is warning
them about putting their Lebanese identity before their following Iran.

"They have to, against their own will, put the Iranian nuclear program and
the interest of the state of Iran ahead of the interest of their state, and
ahead of the preservation of the lives of the Lebanese or their possessions,
whether these Lebanese are Shi'ite or otherwise, but especially if they are
Shi'ites. Isn't it a priority to make Iran a regional Shi'ite superpower?
What is the problem with sacrificing a country called Lebanon? Or the
Shi'ites of this 'Lebanon'?"

"If You are a Shi'ite and You Dare Write Such Writings and Think Such
Thinking, Then You Must Be a Foreign Agent and a Traitor"

"And in this tense mood, if you are a Shi'ite you have to listen to your
Shi'ite speaker, who is disturbed and angry, and who wants to turn the world
on top of the [Lebanese reform movement] 14th of March, and who wants to
forbid the deployment of multinational forces. And you hear him distribute
labels of foreign servitude, treason, Americanism and Zionism left and
right, without raising your lip. You have to absorb his anger and agree with
all his opinions, of which we have mentioned but a small sample. This is
what takes you as far as possible from thinking: who the heck you are? Are
you a Lebanese citizen? Does your being a Shi'ite mean that you have to give
priority to Iran over Lebanon? Do you have the freedom to have your own
opinions? Freedom of expression? Is it possible to think calmly and to ask
where are we going with this nation, the institutions of this state, with
pluralism, with the coexistence that we have to defend now?

"If you are a Shi'ite and you dare write such writings and think such
thinking, then you must be a foreign agent and a traitor, in favor of
partition and naturalization of Palestinians [in Arab states]. You must be
with the Zionist and Israeli projects, and you defend the state, with its
corruption and favoritism, and you support the biased American policies, and
you accept its short-sightedness, and its support for the terrorism of the
Zionist state, and its failure to give the Palestinians their state like all
other creatures of God, under the pretext of not supporting the terrorism of
Hamas. And that means you support Israel itself and its satanic war machine
and its extreme savagery, and you justify its killing, its occupation, and
its folly, and you are lucky if you are not accused of being the one
destroying houses on people's heads and the dismemberment of children's
corpses and scattering them on the heaps of debris - [all this] by raising
your voice.

"Did I forget any of the symphony? If I did, please excuse me, because I
cannot miss any of the news shows any more. I have to go see who is being
displaced and whose house is being destroyed at the moment - that is, if he
manages to survive."

Reactions to Mona Fayyad's Article

Two articles in the Lebanese daily Al-Nahar - one from August 10, 2006, by
Naif Karim and another from August 12, 2006, by Sanaa Haj - accused Mona
Fayyad of superficiality and of distorting the facts, and mimicked the style
of her article.

Karim wrote: "The hypothetical Shi'ite is supposed to give up his weapons
and sleep in the arms of the wolf, relying on the protection of the
international community and not troubling himself or his country with
[issues of] liberating territories... [or] liberating Lebanese prisoners...
The hypothetical Shi'ite is supposed to accept it as inevitable fate that
there are networks of Israeli agents who plant bombs and kill activists from
Sidon to Ba'albek... A Shi'ite who counts as a pure Lebanese is one who
condemns [Syrian Foreign Minister] Walid Al-Muallem and [Iranian Foreign
Minister] Manuchehr Mottaki for their open interference in Lebanon's
affairs, [but] throws flowers to Condoleezza Rice and approves of the New
Middle East that she is weaving from the blood of our children."(3)

Sanaa Haj, a university lecturer, wrote: "To be a Shi'ite means having to
justify [the activity of] the resistance [i.e. Hizbullah] - to foreign
[parties] and unfortunately also to domestic [ones]... [It means having] to
convince others every day that you are loyal to your country, which you
nourish with your blood and your determined stand, and to constantly prove
that you are an Arab and not an Iranian... to endure the sight of your
family members in South Lebanon being killed and uprooted from their
homes... to keep silent and not dare to express your enthusiasm and your joy
at the victories of the resistance, so as to not offend the sensibilities of
certain people in Lebanon..."(4)

In an August 12, 2006 article in Al-Nahar, Isma'il Sharaf Al-Din responded
to Naif Karim's claims, saying that Karim had not answered the legitimate
questions raised by Mona Fayyad. Sharaf Al-Din, who sees himself as a
displaced Shi'ite, wrote that he agreed with Fayyad's statements and wished
to add one of his own: "As a Shi'ite, you must first of all demand an
accounting from those who started this adventure, which, as an initial
result, caused more than one million Lebanese, most of them Shi'ites, to be
displaced from their homes, with [entire] cities and villages being emptied
of their inhabitants."(5)

Reformist columnist 'Aziz Al-Haj posted a reaction on the reformist website
Elaph, stating that Mona Fayyad "is not the only one who writes with such
candor out of love for Lebanon and its people." He listed many others who
had written in the same vein, in the London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq
Al-Awsat and in the Kuwaiti press, and who had incurred a torrent of curses,
insults, and accusations of being communists.(6)

(1) Al-Nahar (Lebanon), August 7, 2006.
(2) The translation was posted on the website "New England Americans for
Lebanon" and has been lightly edited for style. , August 11,
(3) Al-Nahar (Lebanon), August 10, 2006.
(4) Al-Nahar (Lebanon), August 12, 2006.
(5) Al-Nahar (Lebanon), August 12, 2006.
(6) , August 10,

Fearless said...

Arabs losing the war to Iran

Monday, August 21, 2006
Arab League official: We can't lose war over Lebanon to Iran

Arab League official: We can't lose war over Lebanon to Iran
AP 20 August 2006
Arab League foreign ministers convened for an emergency meeting in Cairo to
discuss a plan to create a fund to rebuild Lebanon. The meeting ended with
no plan, but foreign ministers said a social and economic council would
convene to discuss how to fund the rebuilding.

Diplomats said Arabs want to counter the flood of money that is believed to
be coming from Iran to Hezbollah to finance reconstruction projects. An
estimated 15,000 apartments were destroyed and 140 bridges hit by Israeli
bombardment in Lebanon, along with power and desalination plants and other
key infrastructure.

"This is a war over the hearts and mind of the Lebanese, which Arabs should
not lose to the Iranians this time," said a senior Arab League official,
speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to
the media.

Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah has not said where the money would
come from, but Iran, which helped create Hezbollah and is its strongest
supporter, is widely believed to have opened its treasury for the rebuilding

Iran - which is not an Arab nation and is not part of the league - denied
that on Sunday. "Hezbollah is a legitimate body in Lebanon; they have their
own economic resources and popular support there," said Foreign Ministry
spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi.

Syrian FM boycotts meeting

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem boycotted the Arab League meeting,
Arab media reported.

Some believe that one of the reasons for Moallem's absence is his opposition
to the moderate stance taken by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who, when Syria was
seeking support for Hezbollah, described the group's actions against Israel,
in particular the abduction of the two soldiers, as "adventurism."

Another cause for the inter-Arab tension is a speech last week by Syrian
Bashar Assad, in which he accused the Lebanese government of being
collaborators with Israel.

Lebanese Communications Minister Marwan Hamadeh, a member of Druze leader
Walid Jumblatt's party, said in response that Assad's statements were
testimony that the Syrian president had "returned to his old habits - murder
and threatening murder."

At their last meeting, shortly after the outbreak of war last month, the
Arab foreign ministers traded barbs over whether Hezbollah bore any
responsibility for the escalation in violence that followed its capture of
the two IDF soldiers.

The Saudi foreign minister appeared to be leading a camp of ministers
criticizing the guerrilla group's actions, calling them "unexpected,
inappropriate and irresponsible acts."

"These acts will pull the whole region back to years ago, and we cannot
simply accept them," Saudi al-Faisal told his counterparts.

Supporting his stance were representatives of Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq,
the Palestinian Authority, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, delegates
said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.

Lirun said...

hey fearless

thank you for sharing..

encouraging stuff..

forever hoping for peace


yaser said...

i belive that the prospects of peace between syria and israel are considrable ,i know an orgnization in israel called PEACE NOW they contributed to the peace between Egypt and Israel ,is it possible that peace-oriented individuals in israel(like you)can pressure their government to work towards peace?

Lirun said...

it is possible..

you are right - peace now contributed huge efforts to progress peace with egypt..

i think the difference now is a little like when you build a puzzle - sometimes the last few pieces are the most difficult to place.. because your previous steps dictate your flexibility going forward..

i do however agree with you that we must relentlessly express our desire for peace as did the peace now group..

i think the currently elected government was also chosen on the grounds of its prospects to promote peace.. as a result of the public's voice and pressure..

we can only hope mate

but we do need to voice it

Dimitry said...

Peace Now are great supporters of signed papers, regardless of the likelihood of those papers not being violated the next day. Overall, I'm no fan of Nowism.

Lirun said...

i understand your angle but its not just about the papers.. its also about the message..

there is such a rift in the trust framework that i believe that the message of peace carries a lot of relevance in its own sense..

i think these papers are priceless at a time when everyone talks in riddles..

but more is needed.. i believe our communication here is more than just a signed document

Master Blaster said...

Mustapha, you misread both Israel and Syria. The "noise" in Israel is just the usual type of open deliberation in a democratic society. It's almost folklore. Doesn't mean what you think it means.

As for Syria, Syria is not at all desperate to have peace. First of all, Bashar cannot cut a deal on the Golan unless it's maximalist (not an inch less than what his father wanted), and that's not going to happen. Second, Bashar is really not interested in the fruition of a deal (in fact, it would be detrimental to the security regime). Bashar is interested in the PROCESS. That's all. The process buys him legitimacy, aid, breaks his isolation, and resets his foot in Lebanon, the real prize that he's after. Everything else is fluff.

In other words, you're misreading both actors, and leaving out a tiny little actor called the US.

Omer (israeli) said...


Don't know where you from, but you seem to get it. Very nice.

yaser said...

anton efendi;omer(israeli),
can anyone of you give us an alternative to peace talks? is it war to subdue opponents like in lebanon ,which did not achieved anything but disaster for the region

Master Blaster said...

Yaser, regardless of whether you think this last war in Lebanon spelled regional disaster or not, there are several fundamental flaws in your argument:

1- You seem to think that somehow peace talks preclude terrorism. Not true. In fact, in Syria's case, they were simultaneous at all times all throughout the 90s, during the peak of the peace talks. The current Syrian position is to stay on this same path, as evident from Assad's statement that for him, "peace and resistance (i.e. sponsoring terrorist groups) are inseparable." This is the modus operandi of his father as well. It's called eliminationist peace. You can also call it terrorist blackmail. I "talk" peace to yo while I have my proxies bleed you.

2- You seem to think that "talking" will yield a solution. Nonsense. In fact, in some cases talking can be detrimental to your interests. In this case, talking will signal a green light for Syrian return to Lebanon. It will signal that terrorist blackmail yields results. It will signal -- as was evident in Bashar's speech -- that only when your enemy is hurt that it will come to the negotiating table, further encouraging the policy of bleeding through proxy. It would breka Syrian isolation without giving you a certain end product. In other words, you lose leverage but you get nothing in return. This is not to mention that Syria sabotaged Abdullah's peace plan by lobbying hard to eliminate the term "normalization" from the plan. To paraphrase a recent statement by Henry Kissinger, substituting substance with process is actually very dangerous. Meanwhile, all Assad wants is process (and Lebanon, not the Golan). Furthermore, he wants to impose his own conditions (in fact he needs to, and that is tied to the point about his father that I made earlier). Assad is basing that on his alliance with Iran (another reason why the notion that you can split him from Iran is ludicrous), and on the perception, which he seems to believe, that Israel is now in a weaker position. All this and more means that the proposal is dead on arrival, as Caveman put it.

3- You're assuming that the other side really wants "peace" in the sense that you conceive. The two previous points indicate that that's not the case. You don't stop for one second to think about the internal dynamics of the minority Alawite Assad regime and the edifice on which it's built, and the repercussion of losing the Golan card as a populist whip, and losing the card of the Israeli "enemy" and its repercussions, etc. Assad's legitimacy is based on that belligerence.

4- You leave out the role of Iran, of which Syria is but a mere client now. Where would Iran stand on such a proposal, esp. after having signed a defense pact with Syria? Etc. etc.

I could go on, but in the end, your statement is based on a false choice and a faulty understanding.

yaser said...

anton efendi,
i'm syrian,
while i'm critical of my regime's approach to dealing with israel (in that it is viewed to be supporting terroism)
i disagree that peace negotiation will NECESSARLY signal that terrorist blackmail yields results,

Andrey said...

yaser, it will to terrorists

yaser said...

today turkish foreign minister abdullah gul visited damascus and there was very positive comments about the prospects of a comprehensive peace in the region.
i am optimistic

Omer (israeli) said...

I'm not :(

Master Blaster said...

Optimistic about what exactly?!

Dimitry said...

can anyone of you give us an alternative to peace talks?

My option, and I think Anton's too, is simple - do nothing. Wait. When there would be conditions for talks, talk. Now, as Anton analysed so well, there aren't.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

Successful peace talks and treaties only occur after a clear win by one side.

NO negotiation that takes place at this time will do any good. Blood will trickle until one side goes for the gold. Then the world community will once again interfere and prevent the situation from getting solved, again.

Lirun said...

mr smartypants

how did you decide this strange assertion of facts..

i think successful peace talks occur when people want them to happen.. i am unaware of any specific military objective that needs tobe achieved.. thats so strange.. like saying a healthy diet only occurs after you obliterate your body with fats.. mate.. no offence but its freaky..

there is no alternative to peace talks.. however.. we need to examine what this term means today..

our leaders have proven themselves to be ineffective.. yaser.. you and i are here and now conducting peace talks as far as i am concerned.. these need to multiply.. we need more people engaging in meaningful peaceful discussion..

one of my best buddies is a muslim syrian living in london.. we would always join me to israel chamber of commerce functions when i worked overseas.. his discussions were peace talks..

we dont need to sit on our humous pumped butts and wait for the messiah.. we can individually seek out our goal..

i reject the approach of lets ignore the situation and it will magically heal itself..

wishing peace to us all

more needs to be done.. get off your asses and stop whining

Chas said...

I agree with Anton that talks by anyone with the Asad regime would simply become part of his political agenda and serve no useful purpose.
I do however believe in dialogue. Syria and Israel, Syria and Lebanon, Lebanon and Israel would all benefit from increased dialogue at the level of individuals and NGO's, perhaps at the governmental department level less political areas of common interest.
Such dialogue builds trust and understanding. So when the time comes for genuine inter-governmental a lot of the groundwork has been laid.

As far as talks go, I think there are two types. the "hero" type .. where some high-priced mediator jets between various conflicting or interested parties and levers people into some sort of deal. These tend to fail.
The human type .. where small groups who represent the parties interests but are not high profile quietly get together and work thru the options. This type is more succesful in dealing with the real issues of dispute.
It is important, if you want the talks to calm violence, to provide a forum for grievances to be expressed with some hope of resolution. For this reason concessions on small matters and acknowledgements of the other sides legitimate concerns are important. These sort of talks demand real commitment and sincerity from both sides over a prolonged period, regardless of what happens on the ground.

War on the other hand is dead easy .. just blow something up and there you go again!



Lirun said...


interesting point..

in any effective dispute resolution process - venting the pain - is a vital step.. the mere opportunity to be heard and acknowledged will often be valued above other highly valuable claims.. simply because it is so vital to the healing of a relationship..

i think you are right.. the regional summit spectaculars we see are little more than international relations reality tv.. but there is room for some more creative and grass roots activity that may be able to quake the region into new thought patterns..

let's hope this turns out to be one of them..

less war more peace..

Chas said...

should have read ...ON less political areas....


Chas said...

with you there mate.
I join my hopes to yours.


Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

"i think successful peace talks occur when people want them to happen.. "

what you think, what you hope, they don't matter to anyone but you. Your insistance on it is immature. You even miss the fact that your point can be wrapped up in mine, pease happens when people want it to happen. Well, when one nation whips the other nations ass, and they are tired of it, and when the other nation has it's ass whipped, and want's to at least survive, then you have peace.

Why do you think there was a treaty with jordan and egypt? Because Israel whipped their asses.
Same with WWII. Those treaties worked.

Now look at all the failed treaties and cease fires, Oslo, Camp David, N.Korea, Sudan......

SO learn from history, despite what nice thoughts you have when you smoke dope and contemplate your fear of war.

All that touchy feely crap, you think you can have a "relationship" when one side is trying to kill the other out of sheer racism and religious supremacy?

vadim said...

I was always wondering: "How come that relations between states are so different from relation between individuals?"
While the individuals usually resolve their conflicts using some kind of arbitration or courts of justice, the states are much
more inclined to use force.
Some time ago i've realized that the explanation is really simple: The state relations are managed by special kind of people - members of political elites.
What is so special about these people? Several things:

1. They are seeking (and succeeded in their quest) for power
2. They are ambitious
3. They have very high opinion of themselves (you can't be a leader without it)
4. They are winners in very difficult competition: struggle for power.
As in every competition, one must maximize his own chances to win using all available means and one must prevent others to win.
By the way, it is obvious that dishonest individuals have better chances to win in the struggle for power.
It is also obvious that people who have altruistic inclinations like tendency to sacrifice his own interests for the common good have LESS
chances to win.

So we see that the process of selection of political elites promotes selection of individuals who are more inclined to protect their own interests and not the common good. It is actually stunning: We do exepect our leaders ot take care of our interests but obviously the leadership selection process minimizes the chances of people who are able to think of common good!!!!.

Now look at two leaders trying to solve some conflict. These individuals have basic instinct to defend their own interests and not interests of their respective populations. I think this is the main reason that we have wars, because wars mostly profitable to the winners leadership.... Populations of both sides of armed conflict are always suffering.

The question now: what could be done about it? In ideal system we'll want leaders to sacrifices their own interests for the common good, the problem
is however that in normal situations these people are not seeking power and do not participate in the elite selection process. And the rare altruistic individiuals who do try to become leaders, are usually outflanked by less altruistic and less scrupulous ones.
So it seems that ideal system (one which promotes altruistic individuals to elite) is unattainable. There is however second best possibility: a system where altruistic individuals have the same chance to be selected as the less altrusitic ones. Suppose we simply do a random selection of individuals from the population and appoint them as temporary leaders. The immediate result will be that 'altruism distribution' of the selected elite will be roughly the same as that of whole population, which is much better than the current situation when the altruism level of elites tends toward zero.

Chas said...

What everyone thinks and hopes matters. What Lirun thinks matters to you or else you would not respond to him.
This is the essence of dialogue and dialogue is at the heart of ant peace process.
If you really think it is necessary for one nation to whip the ass of another before there is the possibility of peace then I kinda feel sorry for you.
You are not only denying the humanity of your enemy, but your own as well. You do not seek peace, you seek only victory. I am not sure that a peace declared from the top of a pile of corpses constitutes peace at all.

Wishing real peace


Wael Hassan said...

here is one for the pharaohs and their dogs

Lirun said...

i dont smoke dope.. i also dont live in a country where an election can fail while one brother slides in the votes of another and not even 0.03% get off their seats to demonstrate at the demolition of their democracy yet they have the hide to dictate to the world how democracy should run..

my education is sound mr anonymous.. and so are my thoughts.. greater and more remote things have happened for those who believed in them.. this is not touchy feely.. and i think if you examin your words you may orwell yourself out a bit about who is the supremacit in your equation..

your words do not subsume mine.. the contradict me.. we may well purport to be batting for similar teams.. but our games are totally different.. im facsinated by the liberty you have taken to judge my maturity levels and thr level of solidarity with my thoughts.. i have proof that you are wrong.. so i think in this instance i will refer you to your own words and say that i mirror the sentiment..

in any event.. you clearly are in no mood to listen to anyone or partake in meaningful discussion.. so how about i help you.. i am pleased to inform you that

(a) everything you say has been said before

(b) your words truly will not lead to any change so your comments are a waste of your time and ours

(c) i think you misunderstand yourself.. you wouldnt be engaging in this inane dialog if you werent keen for a change

(d) i believe that you.. as lebnese liona.. and other before you have done.. will ultimately lighten up and understand that the middle east is not some board game to be played over beers with your pals.. and that people's lives are involved here..

in any event.. i always love to hear the bravery of those living abroad at the expense of the people of the region..

take care mr anonymous..

i shall refrain from further banter with you.. but dont kid yourself that you can run circles around everyone else with your razor sharp wit.. just think iraq..

Chas said...

Interesting and thoughtful - thanks


Lirun said...


i think your basic point is excellent..

we do in fact have all the skills necessary to resolve conflict.. we do it on a daily basis.. and yes our leaders avoid dispute resolution perhaps due partly to the very pesonality flaws that necessarily elevate them to elected victories..

it may well be that what we have is a responsibility gap..

you know those situations where the common citizen just blames the government for every shortcoming of their life.. maybe this is yet another area where people have to get up and take more of a role.. rather than waiting for that statistically improbably moment when every piece of the puzzle simply falls into place.. governments - like people - cant do everything..

wishing peace to us all

if we all waited for a lottery instead of earning a living - we'd die..

Chas said...

Lirun and Vadim,
you know there is nothing to stop a group of individuals from each side, representing the spectrum of opinion, within the socities at conflict actually getting together and actually working out the issues. They would all have to have an interest and belief in peace. Some rich sponsor would have to finance the operation so they could take time off work and travel to a neutral location.

Of course they would have no credibility or respect to start with. Nevertheless if they produced meaningful results they could gain both. Not quite your random selection of leaders, but there is no elitism involved .. people would remain more or less anonymous .. and no real power, just the moral authority of those who seek peace.

Know any rich people?

Peace Chas

vadim said...

Lirun, Chas

I'm glad that you've liked the point i've tried to make.
I've just created a blog with the same article:
I believe that Israel is now in some kind of soul-searching mood, so maybe the people will be receptive to such an idea, if you can please spread the word...


Dimitry said...


And then, how do you propose to enforce it on people who wouldn't like it? Say, for example, HA?

Lirun said...

i think the point is to suggest a well thought-out model and to publicise the underlying drive for peace behind it

Dimitry said...


I'm not sure I copmletely agree with your analysis. Large groups of people tend to behave differently than individuals, even when there aren't clear leaders. Take a mob that is doing a lynch in someone - were they alone, they might've chatted amiably with the very same fellow. And no leader is needed for that.

Also, there's a major difference between democracies and dictatorships, here. What you say is natually applied more to dictatorships, and indeed, wars between democracies practically didn't exist thoughout history - and when they did, the cause was usually an un-democratic element in one of the societies (thinking American Civil War, here).

vadim said...


Actually I do agree with you, (on group behviour) and i don't pretend to solve all world problems with my idea. My point is simply that even in democratic countries (and of course in dictatorships) the leadership selection process is flawed with repect to 'altruism' criterion. I do think that by augmenting 'altruism' level of leadership we will have better (meaning taking care of population interests) gouvernement. BTW it'll be much cheaper actually --- no more parties, propaganda, costly elections.... simply a lottery :)


Chas said...

It would be necessary to include as far as possible all views .. including those of Hez.
There are people who support Hez but still want peace. Such people could represent Hez views.
In this process, the leadership views are not important, it is the views of the comman man and woman, as individuals that matter


Chas said...

there is no enforcement .. the idea is to reach a consensus.

Dimitry said...


The first counterarguemtn that comes to mind is the issue of competence. But then I look at the current Israeli government and parliament and - well, I'll come back to you on that one... :p


There are people who, as a matter of principle, are not willing to compromise with the existance of Israel. HA members, and particularly leadership, are mostly in this category. The moment their opinons are represented, there's no chance of compromise. Asking HA supporters who also want peace to come is like asking social-democrats to faithfully represent communism.

Chas said...


Yeah, I know .. it is a problem, that is why I emphasise that it is the rank and file you need to engage .. not the leadership.

Certain social democrats, perhaps those who have been communists but moderated their position could represent the views of communists.

They would not have to hold the views they represent .. just be able to say this or that suggestion might/might not fly.

It is very speculative, Dimitry, suggestions, appropriatly from all sides, are welcome


Dimitry said...


And are you certain the rank and file would not hold to the abovementioned uncopomising opinions? Or rather, that there would be enough that aren't? And even so, are you certain you could wrench them away from their leadership while this leaderships still exists?

Chas said...

I am not, and cannot be certain. But I am sure of one thing. Basic humanity. Israeli zealots and Hezbollah fighters are actually more alike than they are different - simply because they are human beings.
Also .. in this sort of process you are not looking for "conversions" .. just small steps towards reason.

Example. You might get a Hez sympathiser to acknowledge that there are some Jews who are good people. Perhaps a reasoning supporter would regognise that Hezbollah cannot eliminate Israel.

Equeally you might get an Israeli to regognise that Lebanon as a whole deserves a chance to make their system work, without interference.

Small steps. If these don't work, you make them even smaller.

That is the process that can lead from dialogue to peace.


tears for lebanon said...


It was you who asked me on Aug 8 if I had gained the 'perspective from the other side' and I responded with..."I am trying."

I mention this in response to your 'alternative plan to do nothing and talk only when conditions are right'.

Compromise and understanding of the 'other side' can not be achieved without dialog and attempts of dialog...don't give up on is the only way we can learn from each other, the only way we can find a compromise.

As for you inquiry if there are 'enough' people to speak out and speak up....time will tell....bring the forum and send your can't hurt to try.

As always, I looked for your posts and as never disappoint! thanks and good night wherever you are. Salam.

Chas said...

My Email is on my profile if you ever want to correspond )

goodnight all.
Peace, Salam, Shalom


Sherri said...

In all wars, our leaders make us feel its us versus them. We are the good guys. They are the bad guys. And there are no gray lines.

For example, the United States is at war in Iraq. We are told it is a war of civilization against terrorism, good versus evil. You're 100% with us or you are against us. If you criticize the government, you are a traitor and a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer or you are told why don't you go live with them or you have nightmares of being wire-tapped or ending up in Guantanamo Bay, if you look up an Aljazeera article on your computer.

The characterization of a conflict a government gives its citizens in wartime is full of lies and deceptions.

The lies make us fear and hate others. And the fear and hate lead to us committing inhumane acts against each other. We stop seeing the other side as human. They are something else in our eyes. Or we close our eyes to the truths that are revealed everyday before our very eyes.

We forget that, as human beings, we share so much with each other. And what we share far exceeds our differences.

What do we share? We are all human beings, and I believe we were all made by God in God's image. I believe that God loves us all, wherever we are in the world, and whether or not we accept him as God. He want only the best for all of us and he wants us to know him and care about each other.

Don't we all want the same basic things in our lives? To live in peace, feel safe and secure, have family and friends, have a home, and feel our life has meaning and substance.

I do not see my country's war in Iraq the way they (my government) characterizes it to its people (actually the Iraq war has been characterized in many, many ways by my government), as a fight against terrorists or a fight to give Iraqi's freedom or a fight to remove a brutal dictator or a fight to remove a government that threatens the US existence.

I see the Iraq war as an unjust war and an unnecessary war. And every person who suffers and dies there, I feel the US is responsible for. I have read some reports that estimate the casualties, counting civilians and those fighting the US, as over 200,000. My country has caused the deaths of over 200,000 human beings (many of them innocent civilians and children) and I do not know why and I don't feel their deaths accomplished anything good for anyone.

Everyone of those over 200,000 human beings who have died in Iraq since my country invaded Iraq had hopes and dreams and families and friends, just like you or I. But their lives are over because of my government's actions. Their families have experienced death, devastation, and shattered hopes and dreams.

Isn't peace a better alternative to war, as a manner to resolve conflicts?

Maybe sometimes wars are necessary.

But should'nt we demand of our governments that they do everything they possibly can do to resolve conflicts diplomatically before resorting to wars?

Shouldn't we demand that our governments talk to the other side and really try (genuinely desiring peace) to reach peace, before resorting to war?

Is this really too much to ask for?

seeker said...


I liked reading your post,
Well your conclusion is correct assuming that there is an equal number of altruistic/non altruistic people in a certain self governed region.
Which I seriously doubt, life is very selfish, we are all selfish at different degrees, only few among us are really altruistic as you put it.
You also disregarded the common saying that 'power corrupts', you will have to address that in order to have a complete argument.

I seriously would even go for it for all the shortcomings, if not of my fear of the 5% or 1% or lets even say 0.0001% of people thar are nutcases. I do not want them ever to be elected.

I will stick with the current election model for the time being

Lirun said...


i am typing this with great hesitation.. but i think i might actually agree with you this time..

dont push your luck ;)

stranger things have happened..

seeker said...

I agree with you on the big questions.
Isn't peace a better alternative to war, as a manner to resolve conflicts? yes
But should'nt we demand of our governments that they do everything they possibly can do to resolve conflicts diplomatically before resorting to wars? yes
Shouldn't we demand that our governments talk to the other side and really try (genuinely desiring peace) to reach peace, before resorting to war? yes, yes and YES

But your axiom is just faulty,
”Don't we all want the same basic things in our lives? To live in peace, feel safe and secure, have family and friends, have a home, and feel our life has meaning and substance.”
The answer to your rhetorical questions is plain no.

People are just different from one another, and generalizing other people’s needs/aims accoriding to yours is not likely to work (And that is exactly the reason there is tension between people, we are all different).
Well look at the file of Marc Dutroux and tell me that he wants what you claim, Just thinking of the monster makes me feel vile.

So your line of reasoning based on that axiom is not likely to convince much. However, chas was suggesting a way to bridge that difference and I do tend to agree with him.

Dimitry said...


Oh, I'm sure many already would agree there're some decent Jews. And they can go and be decent Jews in Europe, or live like second class decent Jews in Palestine, under the Islamic rule.

People can change their minds by 180 degrees (and this is what is actually required here - turn a clear no to a clear yes), but counting on that? They're equally likely to convert to Christinaity. Do you think you could convert an average Shi'ite fanatic to convrt to Christionaity by debating with him and forcing him to concede small points?


I in fact disagree. Of course, the best understanding of the other side would likely be achieved in a dialogue, but one can gather pretty good idea by researching past and present monologues and actions. And in fact, learning as much as you can about the other side before the dialogue would make dialogue much more constructive.


Isn't peace a better alternative to war, as a manner to resolve conflicts?

Not always, I don't think. But go ahead, educate me: pick a year between 33 and 39, and take control over Britain, France, Us and Czechoslovakia. Tell me how you avoid WWII.

Seeker is right. Assuming that all people in the same culture, or on average different cultures, want exactly the same things, is completely and utterly wrong.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

Sherry, you haver read reports of 200,000 civilian casualties? Maybe Al Queda press releases. If you think life in Iraq is worse than it was before the invasion, you need to wake up. Saddam was a murdering animal.

As far as you guys rosy scenarios of the "humanity" of terrorists, just listen to what they say, read what they write. Their humanity is twisted, they are psychotic, and they WILL NOT NEGOTIATE.

HB will not negotiate, they have nothing to gain by it. You may wish them too, you may have delusions of their humanity, but all you have to do is listen to THEM. Therefore they must have their asses handed to them before there will be peace. This is obvious.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

Peace is not achieved through weakness. Conquest, occupation, subjugation, even Dhimmitude are achieved through weakness.

War is not good, duh. But let's not act like special education students here. War is when you have something worth fighting for. If you have no scenario where you would fight a war, then you are either mentally ill or a coward.

Chris from lebanon said...

Talking about dialogue, here's a thought:

During the 30's, Nazi party had a very strong social services available to all german citizens. Just like Hezb, they offered numerous services and gained tremendous support from the german population.

They went on to gain control of the country and just before WWII, all western leaders (remember Chamberlain) came back from germany convinced that all the Nazi's wanted was a strong but peaceful germany.

We all know the rest of the story.

The other common thing Hezb shares with Nazis is their hate for Jews.

I firmly beleive that history is repeating itself right now, although on a lower scale than that of the 30's.


I don't know. Its realy hard to tell. Don't you think?

Lirun said...

i am not talking about dialog with Hizballa..

for this we have a nation that sees these people as their own.. whether or not they are acting as rogue militants - many lebanese deem them compatriots.. i would like to believe that lebanon is now clear on the idea that israel cannot tolerate a lazy lebanese approach to its rogues' breaching international law..

i have no guarantees for anything..

however.. i am concerned about us entering into a phase whereby the means for peace are quarantined for the peaceful alone..

while it may be viewed as naive given that peace talks and peaceful action have often been quite divorced and while i understand that crediting a seemingly hostile nation as a peace partner can hurt.. i still think we need not to indulge in too much hubris.. if there is an opportunity for discussion - let's not be the ones to waste it..

even nations that have long standing peaceful relations hurt eachother.. the UK killed around 10,000 australians through nuclear tests of the coast of western australia and this did not spark a war.. nor did the french tests at moraroa attol in the pacific..i am not for a minute suggesting that this is acceptable.. but worse things have happened and people still talk..

i dont want to negotiate with the HA.. they are outside of my country's jurisdiction and should be dealt with by another country - but i also dont want to exclude myself from the ways of the world with impulsive combat and excessive recklessness that kills my and other people just to prove that we still have a sizeable defence budget to a bunch of killers..

its not all black and white..

its so easy to launch sweeping statements but its meaningless..
on my way to work i see posters of regev.. the kidnapped soldier every day.. and i think about how the impact of his kidnapping is diminishing by the day.. i think of how much he is suffering if he is still alive and how his family have been sent to hell.. i think of my friends who have lost loved ones and of my good friend's baby brother whose body was crushed in a tank..

i cant accept that the arrogance in the bombastic statements that i hear from people about how human life can be spent indefinitely and how diplomacy has no space.. not when i watch wonderful people pay the price around me everyday..

it does not have to be so shitty

Sherri said...

I was just listening on NPR Radio(which the college library in my town bans internet access to its website) to interviews with individuals about the prospects of a solution now to the Palestinian problem in the Middle East.

One comment I picked up on reagarding the prospects of peace and dialogue with radical or extremist groups (who some call terrorists) was that they are not majorities in any society and the majorities everywhere are the more moderate groups who just want to live their lives in peace. I believe this is true.

We need to stop lumping everyone in a specific country or everyone with the same religion in the same grouping as certain fanatical groups in that country who some choose to label as terrorists.
Islamic extremists control none of the world's 60-odd Muslim-majority nations.

Even the groups some may label as terrorists, such as Hamas or Hezbullah, I really wonder if they would continue to be so radical if the Palestinian issue was resolved and if there was a peace treaty between Lebanon and Israel.

If the Palestinians and Lebanese had no issues left to resolve with Israel, who would there be for Iran or Syria to stir up in the region.

All countries need to be engaged much more actively in dialogue, so that we can avoid seeing what just happened in Lebanon from happening again, in Lebanon or elsewhere in the world.

My fear is that Lebanon is only the beginning, and that the pictures I saw on my TV screen of destruction and death that seemed to so effect the innocent, will be repeated over and over again, in Lebanon and elsewhere in the world.

After the recent British arrests in the alleged airline schemes in the UK, Bush saw in the British plot confirmation of his "war on terror." He linked it to a totalitarian ideology he called Islamo-fascism, which includes Hezbullah in Lebanon, Hamas in Palestine, Sunni insurgents in Iraq, Shiites in Iraq, Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, and followers of Osama bin Laden all over the world. Bush visualizes a worldwide conspiracy dedicated to the destruction of freedom, justice, and civilization.

When the US, the superpower in the world today, sees so many enemies to fight who are seen as threats to civilization, what are the chances of peace in the Middle East or our whole world?

I continue to believe that dialogue with each other and working out differences diplomatically is the only way to true peace.

Endless wars are not the answer.

Lirun said...

ok lets not call them terrorists anymore..

let's call them peace lovers who blow up women and children and kidnap people and declare their desire to destroy states but other than that are just really loving individuals with big fat hearts and huge softies on the inside.. and thoughtful..

Dimitry said...


You know, for someone so fond of dialogue, you don't seem to grasp the concept very well. A key aprt is actually responding to people. Like, when you say something, and then people ask you to clarify or defend your point with specific refutals, you're supposed to answer them not simply repeat over and over what you said before.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

Sherri, you are using an age old tactic. You are bringing the argument into the relm of stupidity and then beating us with experience.

What you "wonder" has no bearing on history and fact.

Put your hopes in the same pipe and smoke it. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and you exemplify wishful, but very stupid thinking. Or is it even thinking when you base your words on the first thing you "feel".

Sherri said...


All do not view Hamas and Hezbullah as "terrorists." And the answer to the question of whether they are terrorists or not I find to really be irrelevant. I find labelling to be detrimental to dialogue and peace. And labelling to generate fear and hate.

I have changed my opinion about this and gone back and forth on what is a terrorist since July 12.

The problem is that the term terrorist really refers to one who commits an act, an act of terror. Amyone can commit an act of terror, a group of individuals who blow up a building (such as Al Queda when they blew up the World Trade Center) or an individual (such as Timothy McVey when he blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City) or a government (such as the US when they dropped a nuclear bomb on a city during World War II,targeting civilians and killing over 100,000 innocent people; Hiroshima, the actual number of people who have now died from the bomb and cancers and other related illnesses is now almost 250,000; every year thousands more die).

The term terrorist refers to one who commits an act of terror. Many persons, groups, and governments have engaged in acts of terror. Labelling them terrorist because of an act or acts serves no purpose and is not helpful.

Your question to me was about World War II and how war could have been avoided. First, I said war was sometimes necessary. I just think peaceful alternatives should be pursued first. Second, I really do not know enogh about World War II to answer your specific question. One thing I do know about World War II, though, is that dropping nuclear bombs on cities, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was inhumane and wrong. And nothing will ever make be believe otherwise.


The Palestinians have desired their own country since 1948. The resistance to this by Israel has resulted in endless violence and bloodshed. The group Hamas was born out of this conflict. War has obviously not been the answer. Try peace. Just see if it might work.

Lirun said...


your sweeping definitions of terrorism are simply wrong..

war is terrifying but it is not necessarily terrorism..

its unfortunate and aweful and the greatest of horrors but it is legal..

your words cloud the issues and are the furthest thing from constructive..

these groups of lovely individuals that you hold in the highest esteem have been asked again and again to alter their manifesto.. and they have refused.. i wonder what purpose that serves..

its so nice of you to request that we alter our mindframes at the expense of our children..

i think your answers lie in your comment to dimitry..

(a) you dont know enough..

(b) your posts focus only on your beliefs.. and i dont think they are so relevant.. just because your husband is a US based middle eastern man does not make you a regional expert.. just like marrying a GP would never make you a neuro surgeon..

genuinely seeking peace but struggling to through wreathes of flowers at those who state that their aim is my death.. call me crazy..

peace yes but madness no..

Sherri said...


I continue to believe that labelling of individuals or groups or countries as terrorists generates fear and hate, is counterproductive to peace, and should be avoided.

I do not hate anyone in this world, as I am able to separate the person from their actions. I can hate a person's actions, but that will not lead me to hate that person. There are times I feel negative feelings towards people, obviously, but when that happens I pray about it.

As to what is a terrorist, whether my definition is correct or not is really unimportant. I find my ideas about this are constantly changing. And part of the problem is the lack of a clear established definition for terrorist.

It is the use of the labels that is wrong. When a person is labelled as a terrorist, it implies they are sub human and should have no rights. That label tends to get extended to their families, their neighbors, their friends, and all who speak or associate with them. The labelling unfarly and unjustly dehumanizes whole populations of human beings.

An example: I read a Human Rights Watch report that identified an incident of what it called targeting of civilians and a war crime under the Geneva Convention. A personal residence of a Hezbullah official was bombed, killing the Hezbullah official, his wife, and 12 or 13 of his children, who ranged from approximately age 1 to 18. Israel labels the Hezbullah official as a terrorist.

Presumably, Israel considers the man's wife and 12 or 13 children terrorists as well, including the 1 year old.

I do not hate those children or view those children as terrorists. I do not think they deserved to die.

You say wars are legal, but war crimes are not legal. Or do you believe Israel is not subject to the Geneva Convention and international law?

I do not believe my words cloud the issues. Exactly the opposite is true. My government lies and deceives its people everyday, labelling group after group as terrorist and trying to instill fear and hate for these groups.

I see the truth and I will speak the truth. The truth is very clear.
Every person in this world is a human being, with hopes and dreams and lives they want to live.
I will not allow my government to make me hate other human beings, because they label them as evil. I will not fear them, either. I will consider those who are labelled as terrorists as human beings, and their families and associates as human beings, as well. I will not allow my government to dehumanize them in my eyes and I will not let others make comments dehumanizing them without defending their rights, when I have an opportunity.

I think all human beings have the right to live their lives in peace.

Concerning your comments that imply I do not have knowledge about what I am talking about, I admitted I did not have sufficient knowledge about World War II to answer a question about whether the war could have been avoided or not. I was not alive during World War II. And I don't remember enough history to address the question.

I never claimed to be a regional expert or claimed my opinions had some special significance.

I am just one human being in this world who is trying to make sense of the world around me and trying to find substance and meaning in my life.

Lirun said...

"I continue to believe that labelling of individuals or groups or countries as terrorists generates fear and hate, is counterproductive to peace, and should be avoided."

no sherri.. calling people names does almost nothing.. blowing up buses and kids in nightclubs and families at their passover dinner and showering rockets on neighbourhoods.. this is what generates hate..

labelling people as terrorists actually allows you to separate them from the vast majority of people who do not condone these actions or support them..

based on your approach these people - T E R R O R I S T S ! ! ! - should be treated as regular civillians who are merely in pain..

to do so would be an insult to all of the suffering people whose lives are a mess - in part as a result of the terrorists' actions - and accuse them of conspiring with those people.. which is blatantly not true..

my palestinian and lebanese friends have nothing to do with terror.. the acts of terror do not represent them and it is not fair for their people to be implicated into the actions of a few psychos..

i believe in dialog but international law does deal with my government's ability to interface and negotiate international issues with a subgroup of another country.. it deals wih intergovernmental obligations and municipal obligations and the matrix of the two..

under international law.. israel has a positive duty to defend its citizens..

under rules of proportionality and the need to eradicate the clear and present danger of missiles being shot at our heads.. our government has a duty to undertake actions of self-help to assure that people are entitled to enjoy their human rights in this country..

yes there are rules of war and they are extensive and complex BUT there are two sides to this equation and your insistence on ignoring the essence of the dilemmas suggest that you are not a positive contributor to the discussion.. because you preach rather than listen.. and in doing so selectively focus on issues as if there is no question about right and wrong.. and as if the two are perfectly dichotmous..

we are well aware of the suffering that the self-help actions cause.. which is why you hear opposing views as to the strategy within our very country from our own combattants.. your comments on this issue are no scoop - nor are they damning or incriminating.. because this is a regular part of israeli democracy.. opposition is heard..

it is equally tragic that the correct answer to our problems can never be verified but only in part justified in retrospect based on outcome..

nevertheless.. it is far from clear cut..

israel did not lose soldiers on the battle field due to an absence of choice.. there were many choices.. including carpet bombing lebanon and the deployment of other more devestating air tactics..

however.. only and only for the minimisation of lebanese civillian casualties did israel hit the ground.. only for this reason are we today burying 100 of our finest and rehabilitating scores of kids as they face the lives of cripples in a society that will seek only to move on from the memory and/or acknowledgment of those kids' worst nightmares..

your demonisation of my society is stupid.. because it doesnt change facts.. whether or not "sherri wife of middle eastern man" approves of our course of action and whether or not we ultimately deem it as appropriate.. we will always engage in internal debate and question and qualify our ways..

if there was a solution it would be in place by now..

i believe in the power of peace.. and i want it more than anyone who dares to theorise from afar without ever having stepped on our soil.. you can switch off when you go to the mall.. i cant.. we live this day in day out..

if you truly wish to forward peace and stop the cycle of blame then do exactly that for a change.. but your comments are generally crafted to exonerate HA - sing their praises and bask in their "purity" while telling the world how israel is the devil and blaming it for all wrongs.. do you not see how hypocritical that is?

enough please

there are good people everywhere - they need to be helped and not shot down..

Dimitry said...


I fully agree with lirun here, and would like to elaborate on a certain point - if you do not judge a person by his actions, intentions, and choices - based on what do you judge then? Or you don't think you should, and indeed would invite to dinner a convicted and known rapist and murderer as soon as you would invite a co-worker? Ah, and would it be wrong to label the former a criminal?

And a previous question that you did not answer - you speculate about what HA and Hammas wants. Are those speculations based on anything but what you think they should want? Why do you oppose allowing people to have their own priorities, their own beliefs, their own way of thinking, their own concepts of good and evil, even if they are exactly opposite to yours?

Sherri said...

dimitry and lirun,

dimitry states a person should be judged and they should be judged by their "actions, intentions, and choices."

First, I do not judge others. That is not my role, and my religion teaches me to not judge.

Second, you state a person should be judged by their "actions, intentions, and choices." I cannot read anyone's mind, so I do not know their intentions. Choices speak to the future. I cannot know what choices anyone can make in the future, but my choices may effect other's choices.

Persons could be judged by their past actions. But past actions may not be a perfect prediction of future actions.

Let us return to the most recent conflict between Israel and Hezbullah/Lebanon. Shiite Muslims represent approximately 40% of the population of Lebanon. Hezbullah is a political group that represents some part of the Shiite population. There is at least one other political Shiite group, Amal. I do not know what percentage of the Shiite population Hezbullah represents. I have read that there are only 3000 0r 4000 actual Hezbullah members.

In the most recent conflict, Israel labels Hezbullah as terrorists and to fight against them Israel destroys entire Shiite villages in the south of Lebanon and entire Shiite neighborhoods in the southern suburbs of Beirut (bombing residences, businesses,and turning these areas into rubble). In addition, Israel bombs ambulances and leads raids aginst hospitals, significantly destroys civilian infrastructure all over Lebanon (airport facilities, roads, bridges, businesses,TV and radio stations, electric power facilities, food factories, etc), bombs United Nations convoys who have received prior permission to travel by Israel, bombs United Nations Posts and kills three United Nations Peacekeeping forces, restricts the movement of everyone all over Lebanon for over one month, forces over 1 million civilians (1/4 of the population) to become displaced), scatters cluster bombs all over and around villages in the south (the use of cluster bombs on civilain populations is considered by many to constitute a war crime), uses white phoshorous in bombings of civilians (a war crime,when used against civilains) and by their actions cause the deaths of over 1100 innocent civilians, 45% of whom are children.

The above actions were taken by Israel in the name of self defense, to protect themselves from the threat to their existence, 3000 or 4000 individuals they label as terrorists, Hezbullah. And you compare Hezbullah to Hitler?

Do you really consider Israel's actions against the country of Lebanon and all of the 4 million people in Lebanon were warranted?

And back to the point I was making at the beginning, it all started with the labelling of 3000 or 4000 individuals as terrorists and a group that you could not have dialogue with.

Actually, nothing required Israel to go talk to Hezbullah.

Why not have dialogue with the Lebanese government before resorting to bombing and destroying the country?

Sherri said...


I want to respond to one other point you made, that all I was interested in doing was demonizing Israel. This is not true. The post that started this whole exchange was all about peace and the future. It was the point I made that I was not going to engage in using the terrorist label that led to the recent posts.

I choose to not demonize any and all groups of people.

I am not saying Hezbullah are innocent or blameless, by refusing to view them or label them as terrorists.

Regardless of their past actions, they continue to be human beings. As we all are.

Lirun said...

sorry sherri..

no more energy to run around in circles with you today.. i typically tend to resist responding.. but some of it was just so off-key that i couldnt hold back..

should have just ignored your post.. my mistake..

you dont have a genuine interest in our region and therefore allow yourself to make empty baseless inflammatory statements.. cant be bothered tickling your grey matter..

seeker said...


Actually I can anszer dimitry's question for you
"Why do you oppose allowing people to have their own priorities"

Did you have heard about the concepts of Trompenaars's UNIVERSALISM and PARTICULARISM you should read about it a bit. You are not so far in your way of acting than George bush in that regard albeit exactly in the opposite direction. Both of you are defining what is good and everything else must be evil.

Well it has some basis in cultural differences that you are so inclined to disregard. the following thrends will show you that the USA citizens are indeed very high on the list (Universalism), so you are not by any means different.

Note: I am trying to be informational, no offense intended, we have all our cultural basis.

Dimitry said...


Look, I'll try to make it as short and to the point as possible, so you don't get lost in it.

Yes, ideally, you don't have to judge anyone. But you see, in the real world, if you don't judge people that declare that they want to kill you, you end up with a bullet in your gut or lungful of Cyclon B.

Self defence is legit, and is you're defending yourself, by definition the one you're defending against is an enemy.
When you want to defend yourself, you must know who threatenes you. That means you look around and evaluate what people do and say, and see if any of those might indicate a threat to you. It might be that the person yesterday striving to kill you would today become a pacifist; it is also concievable that Nassrallah would tommorow convert to Buddhism. None of those are particularly likely, and therefore, taking them into account is unproductive.

And don't for a moment think you're exempt for that. There are other people who do that for you - your government, army, police, justice system. Without them doing exactly what you condemn here, you wouldn't be able to do the condemning.

About your description of the war, it's utterly biased and one sided, and essentialy wrong picture of reality. If you try to make convince someone, try to describe reality.

And yes, you do demonize the Israelis. When you constantly talk about Israel bombing civilians, and reciving more bombs to bomb civilians, and did I mention how the did nothing but BOMB CIVILIANS lately? That's demonization.


I fail to get your point. Allow me to clarify - I believe (well, belief in the sense of I believe I will fall down if I jump from a buildings, not in the sense of I believe in god), that different people can - and indeed have - different moralities. And when you have two people with contradicting moralities, they cannot resolve their differences peacefully, by definitions. If someone believes Israel has no right to exist, should be destroyed, and that's the only moral thing to do about it - I cannot negotiate with him, because that'd require one (or both of us) to agree to something fundamentaly immoral. The only way to conclude such conflicts is by having one (or both) sides to concede.

Now, obviously I concider my morality to be superior to others - otherwise, I'd adopt that better one. However, I'm not under the illusion others would necceserily agree with me.

seeker said...

Sorry, it was not directed to you. It a question that you posed and I just took the opportunity to explain something to Sherri, I like the person she is trying to help, she just doesn't realize she doesn't.

The way I preceive her is as a person that is extremly empathic and suffering of guilt with what the US did to many places in the world (regadless of reason), the way she opposes Israel is just because Israel is backed up by th US and guess what, just because of that reason Israel must be wrong and cruel. coming to the conclusion that everything opposing it is inherently good. Of course I can be way off track but nevertheless...

Anyway, she is questioning the validity of the bush administration methodology of its decision making that is based on Universalism (This is bad, this is good, this is a terrorist etc...) not noticing that she is following EXACTLY the same methodology herself. Which is not really surprising because she does share the same culture as bush (US culture). Now by itself this is not bad or good but it does void her arguments.

Sherri said...


You say judgements have to be made about threats of groups by governments for the sake of self-defense. I guess I agree with that.

But before resorting to war, attempts to resolve issues diplomatically should be made by governments and responses should be proportionate. Following such policies would prevent many unnecessary wars and prevent unneccessary bloodshed.

Neither was done in the most recent Israeli Lebanon conflict. Israel responded to Hezbullah's kidnapping of soldiers by attacking the entire country of Lebanon. No attempts were made for a diplomatic solution and the response was disproportionate.

The disproportionate response of Israel to Hezbullah's kidnapping of soldiers resulted in the deaths of over 1200 Lebanese civilians. Over 1200 civilians, 45% of them children, lost their lives, mostly from the air strikes and missiles. I just heard that there were over 7000 air strikes and over 2000 missiles from war ships that were showered down on Lebanon. These are facts.

If you feel the facts demonize Israel, I do not know what I can say. The truth needs to be told and faced by everyone, not hidden and buried. The way I see the conflict is my reality.

And no matter what kind of spin you try to put on it, you do not change the fact that Israel chose to drop bombs on Lebanon that killed over 1200 innocent civilians, 45% of whom were children.


I briefly looked at the article you cited to me earlier, but I think that is much too simplistic.
I do not think there is a definite right and wrong rule dictating all situations. Every situation a person or government deals with requires considering alternative responses and making choices. But my religious beliefs, being a Christian, definitely effect my views of right and wrong. There are themes that keep coming up that I see affecting my views, directly from my religion--Do not fear and do not hate. Wars thrive on these two emotions.

Concerning your comment that I just want to oppose my government, I do disagree with most of the Bush policies. But that does not really explain my views about the Israeli Lebanon conflict.

Your point about my feeling empathy for the suffering of the people in Lebanon is right on point. That was what drew my attention to this conflict, and it started with my feeling that God wanted me to pray for Lebanon and its people, all of them. I saw the pictures day after day of ordinary people being forced to leave their homes, being bombed, seeing their homes and communities destroyed, seeing their children die before their eyes and helpless to do anything about it. I saw numerous interviews and residents asking why, why do they wnat to kill us? For over 30 days this went on. The world sat back and watched as over 1 million people were forced to flee ther homes, forced to flee or stay and face death from Israeli bombs, and as day by day more and more innocent lives were lost.

The inhumanity of what I saw was shocking, appalling, and completely unacceptable to me. It was beyond anything I had ever experienced or seen. And I felt guilt too, guilt on many levels.

Guilt because human beings (who included myself as a resident of this world) were sitting back and watching as lives of of other human beings, innocent people, were being lost and doing nothing to stop it. I cried to God, please stop the killing, over and over and over again.

I felt guilt because my country (the US) was providing Israel with weapons and bombs that were being used against Lebanon's civilians and the US was holding up the cease fire. I felt it was the same as if the US was killing those civilians. I felt ashamed of my country. The US is a democracy, and its officials are elected. The people have some responsibility for their government's actions.

My views have always been focused on Lebanon and the pain and the suffering of its residents. This is not about my hating or demonizing Israel. It is about feeling empathy for the suffering and pain and death and destruction experienced by my fellow human beings who reside in Lebanon.

I also care deeply about the future and hope and pray for peace for the future and hope and pray that what just happened to the civilians in Lebanon does not happen again.

seeker said...


You can't even understand how much material you gave me in your last comment to refute all your claims, untterly.

But that is not my point and it will take quite some typing. What I am trying to convey to you is that you have a fixed mindset because of your anti american policy agenda, and that you are working withing certain frame and can't look outside of this frame (Your words "God wanted me to pray for Lebanon and its people...").

Your godly addict is a barrier you can not look through,
I found it funny that you were critisizing the Bush administration that follows the same godly addict paradigm. So the article was merely to show you that your pattern of thought is very similar. Whatever you learn from that however is up to you.

Just one more small point.
When Lebanon was silently doing nothing against repeatative attacks against Israel
it amounts to silent collaboration.
When you are describing how inhumane the actions taken against Lebanese neglecting to mention how inhumane the actions taken against Israeli civilians this is demonization, because it somewhat makes the assumption that Israeli civilians worth less or that they even merit this kind of threatment.

However Lebanon does have good arguments, HA was not a very easy a target to disable nor did they have enough time.
But for you Sherri, you have no good argument, just some godly addict.

Dimitry said...


Ah, I see. You said you're answering my question for her, not strenghtening my point, so I assumed it was intended to me.


Part of the judgement that needs to be made is whether or not trying to do things diplomatically will be good or bad. Because yes, diplomatic attempts can be harmful, if only by making the following conflict much worse.
Look at this chain of events: HA kidnaps soliders => Israel negotiates and releases many prisoners in exchange for their bodies => HA kidnaps soldiers again (they have "natural right" to do so, per Nassrallah, you see).
Now, unless Israel wanted more kidnapped soldiers, diplomatic negotiation would have been harmful.

And no, response by all means does not have to be proportionate (and what's that supposed to be? kidnap x people and kill y, and send z small rockets against border villages?). Proportionate would in all likelihood just result in another "proportionate" response from the other side, till the end of days. When you do a military response, it must be disproportionate, powerful, overwhelming, one that would prevent the next attack. Israel failed to achieve that, mainly because of squearmishness of Lebanese civilian casualties, but it had every right - and duty - to attempt it.

Can't you see the difference between "Israel's actions caused the deaths of hundreds of civilians", and "All that Israel did in this war was bomb civilians! Israel recieved more bombs from the US, so they could bomb civilians! 'I like the smell of burning civilians in the morning', Amnesty International quoted an Israeli general!"? Truly? Like, you cannot comperhend the essential difference between a car crush and an intentional murder?

Sherri said...


Your comments are essentially that killing for defense is OK (it is not murder) and the defense is whatever the party deems necessary.

You state "When you do a military response, it must be disproportionate, powerful, overwhelming, one that must prevent the next attack."

I generally disagree with your comments. Such policies only lead to unnecessary death and destruction.

One of the major problems with Israel's actions is that Israel targeted and killed the wrong people. To respond to Hezbullah (a private militia/political group), Israel killed over 1200 innocent civilians within Lebanon and wrecked havoc on the entire country's civilian infrastructure.

It's like if A (Hezbullah) hits B (Israel), B responds by killing C (A's neighbor, who represents civilians in Lebanon) and C's whole family and city. B (Israel) defended herself against A (Hezbullah) much too aggressively and B's (Israel's) actions were against C (civilians in Lebanon), the wrong target.


According to you, my faith and religion blinds me. I believe exactly the opposite is true. My religion and faith show me the truth. You can't understand this, because you do not have my faith. I will pray for you.

Dimitry said...


Israel targeted the right people. It just so happends that thet are very difficult to target overall, and specifically they tend to be covered by layers of civilians. Those human shields cannot be respected, because thatr means abandoning Israeli civilians. As a result of the situation, there were hundreds of civilian deaths in the fighting.

You appear to be thinking that all of Israeli operations were against Lebanese civilians who were sitting and drinking coffee. Newsflash: wrong. There are hundreds of dead Hizballoners. And yes, Israel failed to use the uber-high-tech bombs that can tell, during flight, the difference between Hizballoners and civilians - ah wait, Israel doesn't have them. From reading your comments, I sorta got the impression the werehouses are full of them.

You appear to believe wars can and should be sterile, without any civilian casualties. This is possible, of course - but only if both sides agree and actively strive to achive that end. This wasn't the case here - HA intentionally interwinned itself into Lebanon's civilian population. And infrastructure is fair game at any rate.

Wars are ugly. By definition. So when forced to one - and I'll repeat it over and over again: Israel was dragged into this war kicking and screaming for the last 6 years - you better make sure it's short and to the point. Much more needless death and suffering would come from ongoing conflict with occasional peaks than from a quick, decisive victory.

Lirun said...

i have never understood the concept of praying for someone.. kind of like outsourcing a divine appeal..

the idea that someone can have such a superior view of spirituality (deem themselves so far ahead and the other so far behind) that their spirit requires prompting through prayer to the divine subject of a religion that the other person does not believe in.. boggles my mind..

that is so presumptuous and so condescending..

sherri.. i think i might just go sin a little for you.. ; )

anyway this is interesting.. because as you continue to assert your ethic on us all.. your own government is finally waking up to the fact that they are unable to compel us to follow their "winning model" and that maybe americans do not necessarily know everything and how to run the world..

we.. the residents of the middle east.. those people directly affected by the conflict.. shall ultimately be responsible for judging ourselves..

in any event.. thank you kindly for your suggestions.. i'll be sure to afford them the appropriate respect..

wishing us all peace..


Sherri said...


I do not agree with the US policies under Bush, the policies of labelling all our enemies as terrorists (groups) or rougue nations. Our enemies are groups or countries that do not do what Bush tells them to do. US Foreign policy right now is atrocious. How many tens of thousands have died in the Middle East because of Bush's unnecessary wars? They do not even want to count the dead.

I pray for God to forgive us and turn us from evil and that he starts no more wars. But I fear he will. Just listen to all the talk about the threat of Iran. And ordinary people are essentially powerless to effect their leader's policies.

You are completely misunderstanding the concept of praying for others. It has nothing to do with judging or feeling superior. And it's not really about you or me or any other person. It's about what God directs believers to do. My religion, Christianity, directs me to pray, to pray continuously and about everything, to pray that God's will be done, to pray for God to lead me and guide me daily in my life, and to pray for others. Praying for others is caring for others. The two greatest commandments are: (1) To love God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul (the great command); and (2) To love your neighbor as yourself (neighbor means every other human being in this world). The Ten Commandments are all within these two commands.

Christianity is all about love, loving God and loving one another. For God so loved the world that he gave up his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have ever-lasting life. John 3:16. Christianity is believing that God sent his son, Jesus, to die on the cross to save us from our sins. Accepting Jesus as the son of God, repenting from our sins, and living for God, placing our faith and trust in God, who lives in our hearts and whose word (the Bible) is truth.

Concerning the power of faith and prayer: Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree (Jesus had made it wither), but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Matthew 21-22. This is an inspiration to dream impossible dreams. Believe in miracles. If it is God's will, it will be done.

Maybe this is more than you wanted to hear, but you raised the questions.

I continue to pray for peace. Peace in Lebanon. Peace in Israel. Peace for the Palestinians. Peace for Iraq. Peace for Afghanistan. Peace for Darfur in Sudan. Peace for the Congo. Peace for the world. Peace of mind for all of us seeking answers through this blog.

abubalboola said...

On exactly the same subject - the current timing and an example of one day: