Monday, August 07, 2006

And thus emerged a leader

It is said that great leaders emerge during the darkest of hours. They will stand up for the rest of us and show their true love of the nation. And during Lebanon's darkest hours, Fouad Siniora has not only shown his great love of Lebanon through extremely emotional speeches, but has also shown how he can lead by bringing the various sects together and by standing fast against the countless nations of the world, including the USA. He continously refuses to bend down to any form of pressure that would send Lebanon to its deathbed. He immediatly refuses UN resolutions that dont guarantee Lebanon's interests. He openly blames Israel of war crimes. He persistently works to find solutions that would in one hand disarm Hizbullah and the other return the Shebaa Farms and the remaining Lebanese prisoners in Israel. He has guaranteed a rapid deployment of the Lebanese army in the South. He has transformed himself from a PM that was placed because of his close ties to the Hariri family into a unique leader of Lebanon that will be remembered for his true nationalism and his ability to lead.
And for this, we thank you deeply Mr. Siniora. We thank you for keeping Lebanon's honor and people together during these dark moments. We shall always be here for our Lebanon.
Lebanon shall stay, Lebanon shall stay, Lebanon shall stay (sa yabka Lubnan!).

“Our choice is clear. We have chosen life... We have overcome wars and destruction over the ages. We shall rise up again."
Prime Minister Fouad Saniora (26/07/2006)

Siniora's Background
Born into a Sunni Muslim family in Sidon in 1943, Siniora was a friend of the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri for more than 45 years. A business graduate of the American University of Beirut, Siniora was Minister of Finance for most of the post-war period in Lebanon. After working for Citibank and teaching at his alma mater in Beirut in the 1970s, Siniora worked for the Central Bank's audit committee before being employed by Hariri in 1982 in his rapidly growing business "empire." He held various positions in Hariri's business enterprises.
Fouad Siniora has strong ties with international finance. Strongly pro-business, he is considered a partisan of free trade. He was a close adviser to late Rafic Hariri and he is very close to his son Saad Hariri. He served as finance minister from 1992 to 1998 and again from 2000 to 2004. Siniora was the main designer of the Paris II conference in November 2002 which allowed Lebanon to get US$2.6 billion. He was accused of corruption and mismanagement after Hariri's ousting in 1998, in what was mainly viewed as a conflict between Hariri and President Emile Lahoud. Siniora was cleared of all charges in 2003 by the parliament. In 2002, he abolished most of Lebanon's duty taxes and introduced a Value Added Tax. It was under his rule that Lebanon's public debt exploded, although his responsibility for that is disputed.
After the victory of the anti-Syrian opposition in parliamentary elections held in May and June 2005, Fouad Siniora was asked by President Lahoud on 30 June to form a government. He resigned from the chairmanship of Group Méditerranée (a banking holding controlled by the Hariri family). After laborious negotiations with the President and the different political forces, Siniora formed a government on July 19, 2005. It is the first government formed after the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon and the first government to include members of Hezbollah. Apart from General Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement, all mainstream political currents are represented.
In April, 2006, Siniora and leading officials paid a high profile visit to Washington, DC, and met with President George W. Bush and a number of cabinet members of the Bush Administration. His public pronouncements have been relatively mute with regard to Syria's alleged involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic al-Hariri in 2005.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shebaa Farms is a real tough issue. It would be a lot easier to give it to Lebanon if Syria would sign something saying that it was now property of Lebanon, but they have thus far resisted doing this. Until they do that, transferring the land to Lebanon will only cause issues later. Spread the blame a bit.

Also, Siniora has done well, but he would be better to stop with the brash tones when talking about Israel. To the world he is beginning to come off as anti-Zionist/Semetic, and that is a very bad thing. He needs to tone it down a bit, and think long and hard about which side he is really on.

4:10 PM  
Anonymous one night in Beirut said...

Well, he is definitely not on Israel's side and none of us is nor could be, in view of this indiscriminate attack on Lebanon

4:28 PM  
Anonymous one night in Beirut said...

but this does not mean we are on Hezbollah's side either

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post. The architects of Paris II were Basel Fulihan and Ghazi Youssef not Fouad Saniora.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous lubnan as one, lubnan wa bass said...

Siniora has become the true leader of lebanon. and his condemnations of israel are absolutely justified seeing the response it has had. war crimes indeed. Israel should have coordinated with the lebanese government first before attacking all of us and killing lebanese and the country's economy. we put our blood into rebuilding this nation.
if israel coordinated first, things would have been much more different. instead, they chose the normal israeli way - violence, violence, violence.
siniroa is doing the best job ever and he is lebanon today. he is our defence, our attack and our PM.
long live lebanon. and we shall reconstruct to show the world that we will never bend down.

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can the first post have the sense to claim that Siniora should "tone down a bit". Maybe someone should bomb Ben Gurion airport, pummel Israeli highways + bridges, displace one million Israelis, and then guage your prime ministers tone.
You are clearly either lacking intelligence or logic - I suspect both. Go learn how to reason you pleb.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many Israelis have been displaced, and many more live in constant fear of the hundreds of rockets landing on their soil daily. Just because a rocket in Israel doesn't kill 10 people doesn't mean it didn't do any damage. Stop being an ignorant fool.

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me flip the coin: Maybe your prime minister should "tone down" his views. He could be seen as anti-Arab; that could be a dangerous policy in a country that's building settlements on Arab land, and has Israeli-Arab representation in Parliament.

Your points prove to me and everyone else two things: 1) your lack of intelligence. 2)That you agree with the bombing of Lebanon till we are all on knees, tone down our language, and accept conditions as you impose them.

Our Prime Minister has the right to stand up to your country and will continue doing so.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. lets hope this crazy war ends and now please!

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Siniora is one initially saying no to a cease-fire that has the prospects of working. Why say no? According to those in the Lebanese government, they believe there should be a prisoner exchange. Wait, what's that? Give in to Hezbollah's initial demands? There is nothing wrong with Siniora calling out Israel, he crosses the line with some of his rhetoric and alienates those who wish to help.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Carmel said...

Ahem... someone already displaced around 1 million Israelis, in case you didn't watch. an eye for an eye and than we'll all be blind, said Gandhi. there's death everywhere because no one can swallow his pride, and you wanna add more wood to this fire?
are there any war acts which are NOT war crimes? that is how wars are and thank God it's IDF and not America who's much less delicate and patient with civilians when it thinks it knows where a terrorist leader hides.

my heart was with siniora today when he cried in front of the Arab leaders and asked for help. i was sorry he thought Israel hurts Lebanon for revenge, armies don't operate from feelings but from strategic thinking.

Sting sang there's no such thing as a winnable war, and that's especially true when the enemy is a guerrilla organization. it's awful that Lebanon is paying the price but i also understand why Israel can't back off and let Hezbollah get back into positions.

if i must blame someone, I blame the UN and NATO who are in no hurry of sending troops to stand between us. are they secretly hoping we finish Hezbollah first, since everyone already hates us anyway?

I'm afraid we're all pawns in a bigger story. However, it's us who will have to live with each other when the world looses interest in this part of the world, so please don't rush into hate. non of us is an innocent lamb and i believe when our countries will be willing to take responsibility for their part in this, there can be peace.

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carmel: finally someone with some intellect. I am a supporter of intelligent debate between our 2 sides which cannot take place if plebs start ineterjecting in these blogs.
You raise good points, which I cannot argue with. The only problem is that Hezbollah are deeply entrenched in South Lebanon, it's almost impossible to "remove them". It's as if you guys are fighting an existential force, an ideology, something that cannot and will not yield to bombs and violence.

I hope Israel sees this, and realises who is really bearing the brunt of their military operations.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think Israeli military leaders do not know who bears the brunt of it? There is a reason behind them putting a huge burden on the entire population. Only when the population has realized what it will face if it does not rid itself of terrorists, will it ditch its apathetic attitude towards it. Look at how the U.S. shut Japan up during WW2. Massive civilian casualties caused a massive realization. Keep poking the giant until the giant decides to come back and obliterate you.

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS - to whoever mentioned that one million Jews have also historically been displaced: you are taking a dangerous argumentative strategy. If we start taking "history" into account, I would also rightfully add that the armed wing of Hezbollah was established in reaction to one simple reason: Israel and her policies.

As long as there is injustice, there will be extremists, however many kilograms of American bombs you drop on Southern Lebanon.

6:05 PM  
Blogger Carmel said...

to the last anonymous: i meant Israelis being displaced from their homes because of Hezbollah rockets, I'm not going to take you down the bible road, don't worry. :-)

and to the other anonymous (why is everyone anonymous??) that said he's all for intelligent debates...I'm not sure what Israel knows or doesn't know or what are the real interests in this story, I'm only sure than both sides civilians suffer and I'm not sure what for. everyone says Hezbollah cannot really be "removed". you know, in our Israeli women blog i wrote a post last night about cancer treatments as a metaphor for this war. what Israel is trying to do is like intense chemotherapy that damages the whole body, because the cancer is spreading in ways no one can isolate lump by lump. that "western" logic we all operate by who treats cancer this way, plays wars this way as well. i feel helpless against those big forces, so I'm starting to think how do we rebuilt trust after the patient is released from the hospital...

6:36 PM  
Blogger JoseyWales said...

Come on,

Siniora has bent for everyone, Hezbollah in particular.

Lebanon is a catastrophe and the government is led by Siniora. All the rest is Lebanese/Arab usual nonsense: Siniora is a leader, Lebanon is winning the war, we have a great future ahead, the brothers are going to help.


6:50 PM  
Anonymous Omar said...

The last anonymous you mentioned and the other one (intelligent debates), happens to be the same person, me.

It's a shame Israel didn't try to combat the root cause of this "cancer", instead of going for chemotherapy that is destroying the whole corpse.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Carmel said...

Hi Omar :-)
well I'm all for alternative medicine, but it takes some time for civilizations to evolve. it happens often when undergoing this great clash of pain and it wakes up people like us to demand something else. I'm looking for the next generation of people to speak to on both sides. just to keep this channel open.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous tool said...

fack! how much they paying you "israelis" to come and post here?

7:40 PM  
Blogger mikealpha said...

I'm with Josey Wales.

Siniora is a weak ineffective leader. He has been intimidated by Hezb'allah and Syria. That's why he is not splattered inside his car.

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Vox said...

Fouad Siniora has strong ties with international finance. Strongly pro-business, he is considered a partisan of free trade. He was a close adviser to late Rafic Hariri and he is very close to his son Saad Hariri. He served as finance minister from 1992 to 1998 and again from 2000 to 2004. Siniora was the main designer of the Paris II conference in November 2002 which allowed Lebanon to get US$2.6 billion. "

Amusing. I wrote this on wikipedia last year...

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Omar and Carmel, Shukran Thanks for showing such brave feelings and conversation in a difficult context, naming this blog and its editors who prefer the hate and anger.

8:19 PM  
Anonymous tool said...

vox as in vox news?

8:47 PM  
Blogger HB said...

I prefer peace Mr. anonymous. And I second your thanks to Omar and Carmel. I encourage you to read more of the blog before you cast judgement. None of us is pursuing hate. If you have that impression please point it out to us. Anger, now that's another question. I'm not sure if you know what it is like to live under siege or have a drone constantly in the air behind you. We are running out of food, electricity and medical supplies, so yes we are a little angry and worried about our future

8:51 PM  
Anonymous tool said...

hb thinks he's being followed by a drone. It's true, he told me himself!


9:17 PM  
Blogger GDAEman said...

Thank you for this informative blog. Watching Israel and the US destroy Lebanon made me want to do something. So, I started documenting the damage being inflicted upon Lebanon. Feel free to critique and suggest additions:

Lebanon Damage Assessment:

Keep your voice loud.


10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about common since?

If the Lebanese people really wanted peace their government would simply say OK, that is it, Hezbollah was wrong in what they did and we will take care of this ourselves. We have a plan in place to stop the violence. First we will call for all Hezbollah cells to stop fighting and return the captured hostages.

Next we will call up our army to arrest the last Hezbollah terrorists that are still killing innocent people including our own. If Hezbollah is really a legitimate government power, then they should be working with the government in Lebanon to stop the violence and work on relations with the rest of the world. Not dragging the rest of their innocent people into a war they did not want and that will only get the Lebanese people killed, seen as terrorists, and their country blown back to the stone ages.

Way to go there!!! For one act of war by a few idiots in the Hezbollah terrorist group, you get your country blown back 100 years, innocent people killed, and the rest of the world looking at all Lebanese as possible terrorists. Get way to get along in the world.

In the USA they have this group of idiots called the KKK (Klu Klux Clan) which is a racist group that hates anyone but white people. It is a left over from their struggle for civil rights. Hezbollah is the same type of group. It hates just to hate, it kills because of the hate, and would love to be a political power.

But here is the big difference. In the US, they allow freedom of speech but that is where it ends. If they were to kidnap someone, kill innocent people, run drugs or arms, the US government would go after them and arrest them or kill them because even though the US respects the fact that they can speech their mind, they would never put up with them acting on their terrorist intentions.

Every time I turn on CNN and I see a rally of Hezbollah terrorist and I see that they cover their faces and put their hands in the air like Adolph Hitler, I think of the KKK. Same type of hate group, but without the counter balance of the government to stop them from actually killing the innocent.

You ever wonder why both terrorists and the KKK cover their faces? Because they are cowards not heroic fighters. Only cowards cover their face so the rest of the world can not see them not proud honest people. And the hands in the air like Hitler goes to their actual religious followings. Hate and Violence.

What a way to hurt the innocent. I am not talking about the Israelis; I am talking about the Lebanon people. In the end, the US will send Israel more money, weapons, and the sympathy of the richest nation on earth. What does the Lebanese people get out of the deal? Bombed back to the stone ages, innocent people killed, the appearance of the Hezbollah terror group being puppets of Iran, at least a decade of economic progress down the tubes, hate and more hate. What does Hezbollah get out of this? Well the answer is simple. Money for their elite! How can this be you say? Well think of it this way: Hezbollah now claims to have the support of 80% of the Lebanese people. Who in their right mind would want to send or invest money in a country that claims to have 80% of its people backing a terrorist group? Not I. So who does that leave? Well that leaves Iran, Syria and other terrorist groups. What would they send money for? To rearm the terrorist group Hezbollah so that in a few years they can call the shots again from Iran from the safety of their palaces, and once again get Lebanon bombed back to the stone ages and their people killed. What a great way to bolster your own power and money by getting your enemy (and yes Iran really is the enemy of Lebanon) to fight your battle on their land having Lebanese people killed and maimed for life and getting their country bombed not Iran.

You hear about all these great things that Hezbollah does for its people. They build this and that. They help people here and they, but for a price. Your blind loyalty paid for by your enemy Iran, and every few years your houses blown up, your hospitals destroyed, your transportation, energy, economic progress send back decades at a shot, and your limbs blown off and your family killed. WOW! What a great trade off! Iran gets off cheap. It costs them a few dollars made from oil profits that are kept high because of the Lebanese deaths, to buy the lives, infrastructure, and limbs of the Lebanese people. And then there is always the bad PR. Iran and others are not seen as the bad guys here. They sit by the sidelines and call for the destruction of Israel and the US, while Hezbollah gets on the air ways and says how the Lebanese people are on their side and that they will not lay down their arms and that the Lebanese people will rise up to fight with them! Since the world knows Hezbollah are terrorists, this then associates ALL Lebanese people with Hezbollah and thus terrorists. What to go Hezbollah! Or should I say puppets and Iran.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Carmel said...

tool - i wish somebody will pay me for this! do you think my government will agree with my opinion? i don't think so... i should be working on my PhD now but instead i blog like crazy, that's my reaction to the situation, i guess. i believe in words since they travel faster than missiles (on the net at least :-)

this is not a war between Israel or Lebanon but a war between extreme ideologies and liberal humanism. don't let them drag us into this. keep talking.

to the last anonymous - why do you assume sense is common? things make sense in different ways from different perspectives. i think that if there was a real common sense it would have been implemented already.

11:50 PM  
Anonymous Omar said...

Carmel, I'm assuming you're referring to the Arabs when you say "extreme ideologies", and the Israelis represent "liberal humanism"?
To generalise like this is dangerous.. and if you are referring to the Arabs as such, then why have they become like this, ask yourself ?

12:42 AM  
Anonymous Frank said...

the last anonymous I'm presuming is an Israeli becos in their long rant they used the word "terrorist" umpteen times. I'm sorry but people like you just don't seem to understand how the rest of the world sees your army and this conflict. No matter how much you use pejorative terms about your enemy ("cowards", "terrrorists") and soft soap about your own military forces ("delicate and patient with civilians", "chemotherapy") from outside we see a hugely disproportionate military response, collective punishment on a massive scale, and a civilian/combatant death ratio of about 8 to 1. I really don't think you have the right to call anyone else "terrorist"; if you freed your minds from these myths and your schizo victim/bully mentality, maybe you could do a deal with your enemies and the fighting and innocents dying on both sides would stop.

1:31 AM  
Blogger Anon said...

Does anyone have a transcript or version of the speech Siniora gave during the emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Beirut? I would like to read it.

It was reported on the news over here, with a few sound bites – but they weren’t translated.

Amidst the preposterous words that the UN scribble, in Lebanon’s Prime Minister Fouad Siniora we trust.


1:57 AM  
Blogger khaled said...

To all those who aer blaming PM Sanyora for not dissarming HA by force.

First, we have been through many civil wars, and force is NOT the only solution. There is a solution called dialouge, which was taking place and HA would have dissarmed peacfully. That was our choice to avoid war; however, Israel actions did not allow this dialouge to continue

Second, assume force was used, do you think that the Lebanese army (with weaponry that is not even fit to fight in WWI) can do what the all mighty fully equipped technological Israeli cant do?

10:08 AM  
Blogger khaled said...

A hero is the one who fights wars and wins them....

The Hero of heros is the one who is storng enough to reach peace, and peaec is only reached via dialouge, dialouge we were engaged in to dissarm HizbAlla

10:09 AM  
Blogger Carmel said...

Omar - no, no, no... i don't think an entire nation can be "extreme" or "liberal", i think there are a lot of extremists on both sides and i think they have a lot in common only a different plot. they wage war on each other and convince us we can't trust each other and there's no one to talk to. for me being liberal means, that even though i believe MY side of the story, i am able to listen to the way you see it and try to see what can be true about it, what i can learn from it.

this is also an answer to frank - in the last couple of days I've been exposed to views about my country I'm not used to seeing. i had no idea IDF was seen as some bully and i thought people understood what and why we're doing things the way it is explained to us. i don't believe in one side of the truth but i wouldn't go as far as saying that a terror organization isn't one. you can't drag me to the complete other side but I'm willing to meet you in that ambiguous middle and explore the possibilities.

in the above post Lilly left a link of a video with a Hezbollah guy Israel captured and he speaks there of how he joined them at the age of 15 and all. he killed and kidnapped our soldiers and i looked at his face and... i couldn't hate him. all i saw was a boy from baalbeck who took the best choice offered in his area and built his identity around it. he was even smart enough not to die for the cause and preferred to be captured and cooperate. being a democracy we can't just kill him for revenge even if some people would want that. besides, it's pointless. he'll get treated well. but can i ever trust Hezbollah to do the same with our soldiers?

both our sides don't trust each other: in their eyes they're doing their best but it's the other side who keeps sabotaging it. i dunno what needs to happen in order for all of us to cooperate. here's a wild idea: a mutual enemy unties you (and you can see this sudden unity in Lebanon...), maybe only a mutual enemy out of this world will unite humans. alien invasion? :-)

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah Carmel, they are united, but in the wrong direction. Before the Israeli invasion, they were also united, but in the right dreciton. They were united towards making a more stable and communitive country. Now wishes for that are ruined. It would have taken a while for the people to persuade Hizbullah to disarm, but it would have happened.
By the way, Israel does not treat its prisoners kindly. It is like any other goverment and no government is perfect. They will do what everyone else does because they are not exempt. They will torture, but they will be smart enough to close the door and muzzle the prisoner while they do so. Hizbollah is not a governamental army, but there have been many prisoners released from their holdings and most say that they were treated pretty well.

9:27 PM  
Anonymous Frank said...

Carmel, you have such a blind spot when it comes to your country. The last time the IDF invaded Lebanon, many of the combatants the IDF captured disappeared, never to be seen again. I suggest you read "Pity the NAtion" by Robert Fisk for a first hand account of what was going on in Lebanon when the IDF were last in Beirut. Why do you think no-one there feels safe with the idea of the IDF being in charge till a UN force takes over? I don't think Hizbollah treat prisoners any better by the way, I'm not an apologist for them.

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sorry, I did not mean that Hizbollah treats them any better. I only meant to show some examples. My apologies.

4:52 AM  
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6:33 AM  
Blogger Carmel said...

frank, i guess you've got a point. i assume many unpleasant strategies here developed under the pretext of long term self defense. but there's also this side i know in my country, that if after weapons are put down people get treated as people. in the last war many Lebanese citizens were treated in the same hospitals as the injured soldiers and by the severity of the injury, not by nationality. they made friends and they realized what i know, that basically Israelis are good people one on one. the problem begins when you group them and tell them someone wants to kill them, i guess...

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Saniora,
We only respect more after all your ultra-human stands and speeches for Lebanon during this crisis. We now that you are doing your duty as the prime minister of Lebanon, but you are so sincere in what you say and do.
God bless you and may our persistence to live in a free prosperous Lebanon be actualized.

7:00 PM  
Blogger AM said...

May God keep him safe ... and strong. It doesn't matter what he means to pro-Israeli bloggers, what matters is what he means to us. We all know his background and his strong Lebanese belonging, have faith in him and support him. We definitely do not need the judgment of others on this one, heh!

11:14 PM  

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