Saturday, December 02, 2006

the genius of hizballah

The genius of this political move by Hizballah is emerging to the surface.

Yesterday, I thought to myself: what's all this fuss about? Let Hizballah's supporters go and demonstrate. Let them sit for a year if they want to... as long as they do so peacefully, as Hizballah has promised, I don't see why people are screaming bloody Mary!

The government will continue to function. The businesses located in the areas in which the protesters have settled will relocate, and everyone will live their lives as usual.

Besides, most of these guys still have to rebuild their homes and both them, as well as their temporary hosts (cousins, sisters, brothers, etc...) would appreciate a breath of fresh air along with guaranteed food supplies as well as other necessities.

I know that if I had to live in my cousin's house for three months as my house is being rebuilt, I'd definitely appreciate free alternative lodging with the accompanying belief that I was doing it for a good cause.

However, today, the genius behind these protests is more apparent. Hosni Moubarak, the dictator of Cairo has come out saying that if this lasts any longer, Lebanon will be destroyed. The Saudis are very active - behind the scenes, trying to end this spectacle. It seems the entire officialdom of the Arab world is up in arms!

On a somewhat related note, I remember back during the March 14 protests how queasy the Arab dictatorships were - if you don't believe me, just order some tapes of al Jazeera coverage and notice the tone of both news reporters and anchors. The regimes saw mass protests and freaked out - except: they lived with it because Lebanese were protesting against occupation and the injustices of an occupying force (that the arab regimes themselves, conveniently despised).

Today however, we see the same protests, with the declared intent of bringing down a government. To make matters worse, the protesters happen to be Shi'a, and the government, led by a Sunni prime minister. Now if you were a suni dictator, or king, and you saw such a spectacle, how would you feel? What if you had an oppressed shi'a population watching their tv sets as these protests transpire?

Is this Hizballah's payback? Payback for the statements issued by the Arab states during the first days of the Israeli onslaught that essentially justified the Israeli response? I am afraid it is. Such an extreme measure (in a regional context) is also proof that Hizballah viewed the status-quo ante as untenable. And now, the Arab dictatorships are sceaming! I can't believe Hosni Moubarak came out and threatened the destruction of Lebanon! who the *%^$& does he think he is?

Anyways... I predict the pressure Lebanon will face in these coming days will be massive. Not so much because the protesters will have any domestic impact, but because of satellite television and the insecure Arab dictators and kings who, more than anything, fear their publics.

Hassan Nasrallah will either get what he wants in return for backing down from the streets or some other solution will be cooked up. Either way, this situation will come to an end very soon. Again, not because of Lebanese factors (if it were a purely Lebanese matter, Hizballah would definitely lose - protesters, no matter how enthused will eventually return home), but because of some insecure idiots who feel very threatened by the spectacle of a peaceful demonstration organized with the express intent of bringing down a government (and, a government that does not mow them down with machine-gun fire).


Anonymous said...

good observation, Raja, although weak. For if this movement gets what is wants, whether by pressure from the Arab dictators or not, will tell the Arab people "organize yourself and you can throw the governments out" and since all those governments are just as bad as Saniora's, they will find it easy to relate.

For this current Lebanese government, it is a win-all or lose-face situation. and the public is not on thier side.

Mustapha said...

Nice analysis, but I don't agree.

The Arab dictators are going to push Sanioura NOT TO BACK DOWN, because if he nudges just one bit, it will set a precedent and sends a message to all arabs that being loud and noisy pays off.

Tjex said...

The current Lebanese government is just fine, I see no reason why change is necessary at this time. Elections are around for a reason. Hizb wants things to change, they should wait until the next elections and make their case.

Public not on their side?! where are you getting that info?

Here is a very recent poll that might shed some light:


Blacksmith Jade said...

Thats an interesting perspective Raja. Good comments too.

Blacksmith Jade said...

What happened to the other contributors by the way? Just out of curiosity...

FGA said...

Raja, very nice analysis. However, I do agree with Mustapha. Indeed, Nasrallah is a genius. He understands the vulnerabilities of the Arab leaders remarkably well, and is able to exploit their darkest fears so readily. My only hope at this point is that the situation gets defused before some idiot cusses some other idiot's mom, and instead of a head butt, we end up with a burning capital.

The best possible scenario at this point would be the resignation of the government, followed by a truly massive popular march on Ain el Tinneh, Baabda, and Rabbieh to finally accomplish the unfinished work of March 2005.


Anonymous said...

Interesting take.

I must however, agree with Mustapha. The arab regimes have no vested interest in urging Siniora to back down. That would send the wrong message to their own populations.

On the flipside, if a solution is indeed "cooked up" (as tends to be the Lebanese way), and Siniora gives in to any of Nasrallah's demands, then it will be yet another proof that blackmail and bullying DO work and always trump democracy.

Walid said...

OK, so the guy is a genius at war and a genius in politics, and he wants to particiapte in running the country, and this would be a bad thing why exactly? Do people really think they will force all our women into chadors or that they will march on Jerusalem? Or maybe that we will never have elections again if let someone like that actually represent the huge popular base that he already has? You can probably lear a thing or two about a man from listening to his enemies, but if you stop and listen to the man himself and observe to see i fhis actions over the past, say, dozen years are consistent with his words, you can probably get a better idea.

FGA said...

Walid, no one is doubting Nasrallah's competence as a leader. What we are doubting is his loyalty to Lebanon. Submitting to a leader, whose agenda is more in line with Iran's rather than Lebanon's does not serve us well. After all, he himself declared during the early phase of the disastrous summer war that the battles with Israel will continue, "shi'tom ayoha al lobnanyoon, am abaytom". Does that sound like a leader who respects you and your wishes?


ropsucks said...

The Hezbollah supporters may pack their tents, but the politicians that oppose the Nasrallah (Iranian) agenda will continue to be slaughtered openly. The Muslim fanatics will soon be in charge and those that dream of a free and open society in Lebanon are just that, dreaming. Break out the burqas and turn off the music.

Robert18 said...

What is wrong with you people up North? Are you really so much charmed by that sweaty instigator and certified coward, Nasrallah? Do you really want a “life” as the suppressed citizens of Iran and Syria? Or the mayhem in Iraq? Or the “liberties” of Egypt, Saudi Arabia of Lybia? Do you want to commit political suicide, a voluntary end to what is considered 1 of the 3 only democracies in the Middle East?

The only and perhaps most daring solution may be that Israel, Jordan and Lebanon form a federation, where everybody continues to live where they reside right now, and we all start behaving like human beings that savor life over death.
It will drive the fanatics (whether religious, extreme left or extreme right) insane, but who cares? Don’t we all say those are minorities anyway?

A flat 18% income tax rate, a flat 18% coprorate tax, a flat 18% value added tax across the board, no import duties, one currency (why not the Euro?), freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom where to study, work and travel.
Imagine what we could accomplish together, in hi-tech, medicine, agriculture, aquaculture, horticulture, tourism, archeology, water management, alternative energy, battling desertification,….just to name a few areas where we could excel.

Let’s burry the hatchet, and do something totally different and unexpected. Let’s take the wind out of those fanatics’ sails!!!