today it got ugly.
al Manar, Hizballah's mouthpiece, referred to the mobsters who killed an Amal supporter as members of the Future Movement's "militia." Future Television, the (you guessed it) mouth-piece, spent at least five minutes of its news broadcast today lambasting al Manar for lying, for inflaming sectarian tensions and committing all other sorts of heinous crimes.
so, remind me: what was the title of one of my previous posts? "to hell in an hand-basket"? yeah... i think that was it.
anyways, i have to say that the way the ruling coalition has handled this Hizballah situation is pathetic. Enough with the speeches. Enough with the visiting delegations. Enough with the Egyptian ambassador and Jordanian minister.
If the people in Downtown Beirut want to flex "Shi'a power," then all the power to them. God strengthen the Shi'a all over the world and in particular Lebanon's Shi'a. However, to bring the entire damn country to a stand-still just because several thousand people are protesting peacefully within a secured area that is not even the size of a football field is - to put it mildly - beyond me.
If the Future Movement has any control of its "street," then it should get a hold of its hoodlums and allow the Shi'a convoys to pass Sunni neighborhoods however provocative the chants, slogans or flags displayed by them may be. As for the rest of the country, it should go back to business as usual. If employees insist on protesting, they should be fired and replacements sought - God knows, the country has enough unemployed people sitting around, waiting for something to do. If business-owners choose to shut down in support of the protests, then all the better for their competition.
Of all the initiatives and tactics that the government has used to shore up its legitimacy, the one that has proved most effective was one that (ironically?) the government had no role in planning - the Beirut Marathon. The event went through according to plans, even though it was launched in Downtown Beirut only a few blocks away from the protesters. If Nasrallah wants to prove that he can bring the entire country to a standstill by flexing his well-organized "Shi'a muscle" then the way to thwart him is by showing him that the country is still moving.
The claims that Lebanon is losing $70 million a day, that the down-town businesses are suing Hizballah for lost business revenues, and the shuttle diplomacy of numerous ambassadors "seeking to avert a calamity," all play into Nasrallah's hands. Send the Egyptian ambassador home, shut Jihad Azour up, control your stupid hoodlums (arrest them if you have to), get back to freakin' business, and inform you mouthpieces to focus their attention on other aspects of daily life in Lebanon - like say, the pollution emitted by the Zalqa power plant and reconstruction efforts.
Then, if Nasrallah decides to escalate, he holds full responsibility for the consequences. However, he has said he seeks peaceful protests, so we will take the Sayyed for his word.