Sunday, November 27, 2005

Fear and Loathing in the Levant

One would think that Bashar Al Assad would have learned from his colossal blunders to date. One would think that Hizbullah would learn that they need to step into the political fray in a truly Lebanese way and stop showing support for a country that nearly destroyed Lebanon. One would think that the Israelis would learn that anything and everything they say regarding Lebanon and Hizbullah would be taken with about a pound of salt and a tonne of loathing. One would think that all this would occur to all of these players in the international scene; but alas dear readers, none of this has occurred.

In the weeks since the Mehlis report (both authorized and , unauthorized) has been released, Syrian Government rhetoric has reached an all time high. President Bashar Al Assad made a speech two weeks ago that he would have been better off not making. With the kind of pressure Syria is facing from both external and internal forces, you would think he would take a more conciliatory tone but no, in yet another blunder, his speech was full of fiery rhetoric about “forces looking to destroy Arab Nationalism”. That line which appears in every single Arab dictatorial speech needs to be gotten rid of. Assad’s speech was long on rhetoric and insults and short on real content. Not only did he not say anything to help Syria dig itself out of the whole it is in, he insulted the Lebanese Government and people by calling Prime Minister Fouad Al Siniora a slave and calling the Lebanese people slaves. Noticeably left out in his slave diatribe was Syrian toady and Lebanese President Emile Lahoud. Assad of course neglected to mention all of the men who were puppets of Syria because apparently to the infinitely politically unintelligent Assad, the only good puppets are Syrian puppets. To add insult to injury, not one but two of Syria’s daily newspapers have been publishing articles that are nothing less than inflammatory. Al Thawra newspaper has printed an article that over 400 Mossad agents are currently operating in Lebanon in conjunction with European and U.S. spy agencies. One should ask how they come by this information. Did they see it in a crystal ball? Did they interview members of the Mossad who they say are stationed there? Or are they just engaging in the spoon fed governmental fear mongering that is a hallmark of Syrian dictatorship. Then there is the other state run newspaper Tishrin who is calling on the Lebanese to come out in protest against the government of Fouad Al Siniora. This is possibly the most laughable and hypocritical statement ever made by a state run newspaper that would never dare to go against the status quo and expose the corruption of it’s own government.

Ahhh, Hizbullah. Where to start? How to start? This is possibly the most delicate part
of our new found independence. As a country, we can never allow ourselves to forget the blood sacrifices that Hizbullah have made on behalf of Lebanon. We should never forget that the 25 mile zone in South Lebanon is now free because of them. As a country, we cannot discount the numerous charities they fund and the poor they help. Hizbullah is a truly important part of our history. It’s where they fit into the future of Lebanon that is causing a spot of trouble. I have written before about the importance of Hizbullah integrating into the politics of Lebanon as a true political party if for no other reason than to keep the rest of the political parties on the straight and narrow (if such a thing is possible in Lebanon).

In order for Hizbullah to stay both relevant and revered they must make themselves over into a political party. No one is telling them to forget how they came about or the sacrifices they have made. What we need them to do is provide a voice for those who have no voices. That has always been their traditional role. When no one dared to enter the 25 mile zone, they did. When no one was feeding the poor in their areas, they did. For a very long time, they provided services that the government wouldn’t or couldn’t provide. They are a vital part of Lebanon but they are not integrated fully into our political system. Flying in the face of anything that makes any sort of public relations sense, the Hizbullah parliamentary bloc walked out on a cabinet session in response to Assad’s speech. When will Hizbullah realize that they are becoming their own worst enemy by continuously supporting a country that almost destroyed us?

In a final bit of political stupidity, Israeli planes dropped leaflets denouncing Hizbullah in Lebanon this week. The drop occurred after skirmished between Hizbullah and Israel. The translated text of the leaflet reads:

"Oh citizens of Lebanon, Who is 'protecting Lebanon'? Who is lying to you? Who sends yours sons into a battle for which they are not prepared? Who wishes for the return of ruin and destruction? Hizbollah brings on the worst kind of damage. Who are the tools in the hands of the Syrians and Iranians? The state of Israel is awake, watching over the protection of its citizens and sovereignty.
The State of Israel"

While it is unclear which bureaucrat had the bright idea to drop these leaflets into Lebanon, it is very clear what the Lebanese reaction was to these leaflets. They were met with derision and loathing. People read them and then threw them away. In other words, they took them with a grain of salt and a tonne of loathing and looked at them as another tool that the Israelis are using to sow strife in a country already teetering on the brink. Why the Israelis would think that anyone with a quarter of a brain cell in Lebanon would take anything they say seriously is beyond me. The days of bringing in Israel to Lebanon in backroom deals is over and any politician in Lebanon who wants to save his/her own skin knows that.

The entire Middle East is a powder keg and the actions of the parties discussed in this article are sure to set off repercussions that could last a very long time. One would hope that fear and loathing being sown in the area will be over soon. With Iraq a mess, Gaza on the brink of being rebuilt and Iran on a nuclear rampage, the last thing the area needs is more instability. The question is will any of the parties discussed above take that to heart and attempt to rectify the messes they are creating with their irresponsible actions?

5 Comments:

Blogger aka.alias said...

Sometimes I feel I don't have the strength to hear even one more such story, as the one about the dropped leaflets. Kind words seem so few and so far between sometimes. That is why I came here to thank you for your comment on my entry about the woman at the hospital. Your comments have become significant to me. I am glad you're a return visitor to my site.

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Good God how I admire your eloquence. I really wish I could comment on the content of your entry but my knowlegde of the situation the Middle East is mediocre at best and I don't feel any addition of mine to what you have described would be of any value. But your posts are as valuable as any I've come across yet and your voice needs to reach beyond the blogosphere if just because you put it all so clearly.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Elaine Supkis said...

Amal,

I published your blog entry on my own with the link back to here, hope many people read you. If you like the picture, please feel free to hike it over here, if you want a tiger portrait, I can change it a bit and make it your picture here, I made Richard's picture for him, of a lion because he is Leo.

Do hope you enjoy it. Amal's blog story here
Elaine

4:50 PM  
Blogger Elaine Supkis said...

The picture turned out just right! I was worried about the size, guessed right.

It is always fun to see my art around the web.

7:12 AM  
Blogger Flanstein said...

"As a country, we can never allow "

Who is this "we" stuff? I thought you were a Canadian? You either are, or you are not. If you are not a Canadian, then stop lecturing those of us whe ARE about voting in the next election and move your jihadi butt back to ass-wipe central.

9:40 AM  

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