Monday, December 04, 2006


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.


Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...
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Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

The problem is not about those 2000 demonstrators. The problem is that Mohammad Raad has already warned that Hezbollah will take 'other actions' if the sit-in is unsuccessful.

I fear that this sit-in is only the first part of a greater plan. Hezbollah's excuse is going to something like : 'we tried to be peaceful but you didn't listen to us'. The good news is that Christian are definitely allergic to Islamism, so Hezbollah won't be able to use Aoun as a G-String.

Doha said...


it's true what you're saying because today case in point, I believe PM Salim Aoun was trying to play the Christian card more prominently and talking about how these protests are to increase the Christian role in the decisionmaking process.


I totally understand you, but I believe that once there are people out on the streets, you are bound to lose some control over them. People managed to stay home for instance in Tripoli the first day, but then after the second and the third, it only became more difficult.

Today's news only showed heightened sectarian tensions in Beirut. Once you let the people stay out on the streets more than a day, you lose the grip and you transfer the power from the "salonet" to the "streets".

Now despite any agreement or settlement that might ensue between the political leaders, the outcome that such confrontation has caused is perhaps deeper this time because of the confrontations.

Why did you fail to mention that some of these buses returning protesters to their homes pass by "secondary" routes, instead of the main roads that they could resort to?

What the ISF and the Army should do is map out a mandatory route for buses to and from downtown Beirut to control security.

But to accuse the Future Movement's "militia" for killing the boy yesterday is a dangerous accusation and I wonder why Nasrallah is allowing his station to broadcast that. This makes me wonder that any talks between Gemayyel and Nasrallah that were held yesterday night failed.

Doha said...

oh great, and now reading today's news, the protests moved to the "tareeq el-matar". why is the airport always a target?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Raja, to a point.
But I have also been warning repeatedly of exactly what Vox Populi caught on. HA has time and again said they would do whatever it takes to bring down "Feltman's goverment". I'm afraid there's more planned, after these "peaceful protests". And it would probably behoove Siniora and company to either strike preemptively (not sure how that could be done) or at the very least, to have a plan for when things go from bad to worse.

For now, ignoring the protests might work. But at some point, Siniora needs to be ready to call in the troops or declare martial law. If these protests stop being "peaceful".

serge said...

I am afraid M Sleiman will call martial law before Siniora venture to do it.
That might be a way out for everybody.
Nobody would feel he had to back down.
Then they all could agree on a package
deal as they call it.

BOB said...


the army commander cannot declare martial law it is the government prerogative.


i agree, but with tensions running that wild it is impossible to control everyone. And it only takes a few to start a scuffle.
But you are right, people should get back to normal. I even went (for the first time in a week) to Gemayzeh to have drink!


Anonymous said...

I think this is going to end with the demonstrators storming the building and "accidentally" killing Siniora in the process. Death of the prime minister automatically triggers a resignation of the cabinet, and opposition gets what it wanted. They can then lament endlessly how they couldn't control the people's feelings anymore and that it was Siniora's own fault for letting things get too far.

Doha said...

wow jay, this is one of the most extreme scenarios ever presented! i hope it doesn't get to that.

lisoosh said...

It is a fair point that when you ignore someone, you remove sme of their power.

Lebanese Pride said...
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