Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hizbollah’s Outlook in the Current Conflict (Part II)

Here is the second part of the fascinating insight of Hizbollah and what their strategy could look like in post-war Lebanon. Enjoy the rare and unique read. You can find both articles on in PDF format or here at Beirut Live.

Part Two: Accommodating Diplomacy and Preparing for the Postwar Context
By Amal Saad-Ghorayeb

The adoption of United Nations Resolution 1701 and a formal cease-fire raise hopes for peace in Lebanon. Yet many questions exist about the viability of the settlement, questions whose answers will depend significantly on Hizbollah’s outlook, both about the diplomacy that has taken place as well as its own position in Lebanon coming out of the current conflict. The issue of Hizbollah’s disarmament remains a powerful potential logjam, one that could result in continued strife, either between Israel and Lebanon, or within Lebanon itself.

Partial Accommodation to the Lebanese Government’s Initial Diplomatic Stance Hizbollah consistently called for an immediate and unconditional cease-fire to the fighting that started after July 12—or as Hizbollah termed it: “an immediate end to Israeli aggression.” The party was opposed to the principle of a conditional cease-fire as part of larger peace package. As explained by Mohammed Fneish, Hizbollah’s Energy Minister, “the discussion of a comprehensive solution is in our opinion a cover for the aggression and allows the United States to appear as though it is making an effort at a time when it was waging war on us.”
Despite these objections, the party leadership assented to the seven-point comprehensive cease-fire plan put forward by the Lebanese Prime Minister, Fuad Siniora, soon after the conflict began. Hizbollah’s two ministers expressed reservations about the various elements of the plan, but the party felt compelled to agree to it for the sake of a common Lebanese front. According to Fneish, who took part in the cabinet deliberations, Hizbollah endorsed Siniora’s proposal “to prevent transforming our battle with Israel into a domestic battle, and to avoid being accused of hindering efforts which could have reduced losses for Lebanon.”

In another sign of accommodation with the Siniora government, Hizbollah ministers approved a Lebanese cabinet decision in the first week of August to mobilize 15,000 Lebanese army troops for deployment to the south in the event of a cease-fire and an Israeli withdrawal. Attempting to justify this move to the party’s rank and file, Hizbollah’s Secretary General, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, commended the cabinet’s decision as an act that would “greatly help Lebanon and its friends to press for amending the draft resolution which is being prepared at the Security Council.”

Skepticism about UN Resolution 1701
Despite Nasrallah’s espousal of a political resolution to the crisis, Hizbollah remains wary of diplomatic initiatives by the international community and harbors a particular mistrust of the UN Security Council. This mistrust is evidenced by Nasrallah’s characterization of Resolution 1701 as “unfair and unjust” for absolving Israel of its “war crimes and massacres” while holding Hizbollah “responsible for starting the aggression.” Throughout the conflict, Hizbollah repeatedly rejected any “humiliating conditions” being imposed upon it or Lebanon, regardless of “how long the confrontation lasts” or “how numerous the sacrifices may be.” In this vein, Nasrallah urged the government on several occasions, including in a speech on August 9, to remain “steadfast” and not acquiesce to American- Israeli demands in the negotiation process.

Despite Hizbollah’s criticisms, Resolution 1701 constitutes at least a partial diplomatic victory for the group insofar as it was an improvement (from Hizbollah’s perspective) on previous drafts that were rejected by both Hizbollah and the Lebanese government. As Nasrallah puts it, the end result was “the least bad” of all the drafts. Hizbollah would therefore “not be an obstacle to any decision taken by the Lebanese government” and would “abide by” any cease-fire agreement worked out by the UN Secretary General “without hesitation.” The resolution was approved by the Lebanese cabinet on August 12 and, by extension, by Hizbollah’s ministers, although they voiced a number of reservations.

Prospects for a Cessation of Hostilities
Resolution 1701 calls for a “full cessation of hostilities based upon, in particular, the immediate cessation by Hizbollah of all attacks and the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations,” after which the Lebanese government and reinforced up United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) forces are to deploy in the South, while Israeli troops withdraw “in parallel.” The implementation of this process is certain to be highly complicated and face a significant risk of failure.
Although both the Lebanese and Israeli governments acceded to Secretary General Kofi Annan’s call for a cessation of hostilities effective August 14, it is very possible that fighting will continue after that date, for two interrelated reasons: first, Israel is refusing to withdraw from Lebanon until international and Lebanese troops deploy; and second, Hizbollah intends to continue fighting as long as Israeli soldiers remain on Lebanese soil, as Nasrallah spelled out explicitly on August 12. This leaves an interim period of an estimated one to two weeks before UNIFIL troops are expected to arrive, during which the fighting is likely to flare up again.

Hizbollah’s First Clash with the Lebanese Government over Disarmament
In line with the Lebanese government’s seven-point plan, Resolution 1701 stipulates that the area between the Blue Line and the Litani River be manned solely by 15,000 troops each from the Lebanese army and UNIFIL. Although the UNIFIL force has not been granted peace-enforcement powers under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, it will have the right to “resist attempts by forceful means to prevent it from discharging its duties.”
As noted above, Hizbollah agreed to this arrangement when it approved the government’s seven-point plan. Hizbollah made this concession relying on the solid relationship it had developed with the approximately 1,000 Lebanese army troops stationed close to the southern border area since the Israeli pullout in 2000, and the similar modus vivendi it achieved with the 2,000 UNIFIL forces stationed there since the early 1980s. Hizbollah also assumed that the Lebanese army’s role would be to secure Lebanon’s border, not Israel’s, as demonstrated both by Nasrallah’s recent assertion that the Lebanese army “are not forces that take orders from enemies” and Fneish’s assessment that “the army’s role would not be to protect Israel and it wouldn’t deploy according to Israel’s security needs.”

Hizbollah did not equate the Lebanese army’s deployment with its own disarmament and hence saw no potential clash between its armed forces and the army. This assumption was reinforced by there being nothing in the cabinet-approved plan explicitly suggesting that Hizbollah would be expected to disarm. Moreover, the fact that Resolution 1701 does not resolve the dispute over Shebaa Farms (the Secretary General is to present a proposal on this issue to the Security Council within 30 days of the date of the resolution) also gave Hizbollah what it viewed as further assurance that the Lebanese government would accede to its maintaining arms. A source with close links to the party suggested in a recent interview that Hizbollah was relatively confident that the government would be bound to its policy statement of July 2005, which clearly legitimized Hizbollah’s “right” to “complete the liberation of Lebanese territories,” meaning Shebaa. Hizbollah clearly envisaged an arms management as opposed to an arms decommissioning scenario whereby its arms would remain hidden, and hence deactivated, save for occasional attacks on the occupied Shebaa Farms area, which could be launched from its bases behind the Litani River.

These assumptions were shaken on August 13, however, in the immediate aftermath of the issuance of Resolution 1701 when cabinet members of the ruling majority called for a special session to deliberate on Hizbollah’s disarmament preceding the deployment of the Lebanese army and UNIFIL. Hizbollah’s ministers refused to discuss the prospect of disarmament at the current time, for various reasons, including that Shebaa’s status would remain unresolved for another month. According to a source close to the Lebanese army command, the army command refuses to dispatch troops to the south if their mandate is rejected by Hizbollah.
Such a decision is not surprising given that an estimated 40 per cent of army conscripts are Shiites, while the army is known to be sympathetic to Hizbollah and enjoys good relations with Hizbollah’s military command. Moreover, it is likely that the army is keen to avoid a split in its ranks as has occurred in the past. Whatever the outcome of this deadlock might be, it is bound to complicate efforts to dispatch international forces to the area, while the political polarization underlying the deadlock may intensify in the near future.

Hizbollah’s Broader Rejection of Disarmament
Resolution 1701 reiterates the need to implement Resolutions 1559 and 1680, which call for the disarmament of Hizbollah (without mentioning Hizbollah by name), as part of a comprehensive and permanent cease-fire plan. In order to better appreciate the difficulties inherent in any effort to disarm Hizbollah in a postwar scenario, an examination of the party’s motives for maintaining its arms and refusing the integration of its military forces into the army is needed.
Most campaigns for Hizbollah’s disarmament are premised on the argument that a sovereign democratic state has to possess a monopoly over the use of force. Although Hizbollah has failed to publicly articulate an intellectually coherent counter-argument to these calls, party officials have attempted through various statements to justify Hizbollah’s armed status, including in interviews conducted by the author in June of this year.

According to Fneish, “the resistance did not emerge when the state was strong and in a position to protect its borders; it did not cause the weakness of the state. The resistance emerged because the state was already weak, it came because the state failed.” He adds that had it not been for the armed resistance, and the liberation of Lebanon from Israeli occupation, there would have been “no return of the state to the south.” In this view, the state lacked sovereignty because of successive Israeli invasions and occupations, not because of Hizbollah’s arms. Had the state assumed its role as a sovereign power and evicted Israel from its territory, there would have been no need for the resistance. Ali Fayyad, Politburo member and director of a think tank closely affiliated with Hizbollah, adopts a similarly utilitarian argument: “Society is more important than the state because the state is meant to serve society … when the state fails in carrying out some of its functions, society must help the state in carrying them out, even if the state doesn’t ask.” Thus, although Hizbollah officials agree “in theory” that a state must have a monopoly on the use of force, in practice they do not. In the words of Fneish, “confronting the danger to the country’s destiny is more important than the theoretical incompatibility of such means with the state’s authority.”

But this incompatibility is more than just theoretical for many critics of Hizbollah who see the organization as constituting a “state within a state.” In light of this, various proposals have been floated, which center on integrating the Hizbollah’s military capacity into the Lebanese army, such as one put forth by Terje Roed-Larsen, special UN Envoy for Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559 on Lebanon. Asked in a June interview what he thought of Roed-Larsen’s proposal, Sheikh Nai’m Qassem, Hizbollah’s Deputy Secretary General, asserted that it “appears to be a solution but in essence, its aim is to eliminate the resistance,” and for that reason, its implementation was “out of the question.”

In May, Nasrallah publicly ruled out such a merger as well, arguing that “it is not a realistic option because this will weaken the Lebanese position in facing the much superior Israeli army.” He contended that even if the army had the needed manpower and budget to bolster its forces, the United States and other Western powers would not agree “to sell us qualitative arms that would guarantee air cover for the army.” Given these obstacles, Hizbollah’s armed forces are the only way of creating a “balance of power” with the Israeli Defense Forces.

Hizbollah asserts other grounds for objecting to the integration of its armed forces into the army. One such argument is that the “margin between the Resistance and army” is of benefit to the state insofar as it does not have to bear direct responsibility for any of the resistance’s activities. As Nasrallah pointed out earlier this year, “when any resistance under the army fires a single bullet, then the ministry of defense … and the entire state would be subject to direct attack.” For these and other reasons, Hizbollah offers few concessions on its arms other than “coordination without integration.” The farthest Hizbollah officials have gone is to suggest that Hizbollah’s armed forces would become a “reserve army,” which would coordinate with the Lebanese army on matters of strategy but not tactics. However, this would amount to little more than “calling resistance by another name,” to use Qassem’s terminology, given that Hizbollah’s military activities would remain under its own command.

It follows from this that Hizbollah is not willing to disarm in the foreseeable future. As Nasrallah has spelled out on several occasions, the party will remain armed for “as long as Israel remains a threat to the country.” In a speech earlier this year, Nasrallah suggested that only a “comprehensive settlement which would bring an end to the war” could neutralize that threat. From Hizbollah’s perspective, the security of Lebanon remains inextricably tied to the Arab-Israeli conflict, regardless of Israel’s fulfillment of specific Lebanese demands. Fneish articulates this view in stating that, “the problem wouldn’t be solved if Israel simply withdraws from Lebanon,” but would continue until a just and comprehensive regional agreement is in the offing. For Qassem, “when Palestinians are being killed on a daily basis on our very doorstep and when 300,000 or 400,000 Palestinians remain in Lebanon and cannot return to their country … this is aggression.” Asked to specify the exact conditions under which Hizbollah would no longer view Israel as a threat and contemplate disarmament, Qassem answers, “let’s not talk about the reaction but the action…. If the Israeli danger disappears one day and I have no idea how it would disappear, then the resistance which was a reaction to the Israeli danger would no longer be present. The struggle is therefore open so long as Israel is aggressive in its presence and existence.”

Hizbollah officials have insinuated on various occasions that the party might hold on to its arms indefinitely due to what it perceives as the perpetual threat posed by Israel. For example, Nasrallah described Israel as a “permanent threat which could turn into aggression at any time,” in the same breath as his utterances on a comprehensive settlement. In perhaps one of the clearest indications of Hizbollah’s view of the nature of the Israeli threat and hence Hizbollah’s determination to retain its arms, Qassem affirmed as recently as two months ago that, “our opinion is that Israel’s existence itself is a danger. Because the origins of Israel lie in the occupation of land and the violation of others’ rights. This is aggression. Every single experience we have had since 1948 until now is an experience of aggression, expansion, wars and displacement, imprisonment and killing. Parts of four countries were occupied under the banner of Israel’s existence.”

Hizbollah’s Postwar Plans
In the view of many observers inside and outside the region, including some in Israel, Hizbollah has effectively emerged as the military victor in this war by having survived and by inflicting losses against Israel throughout the conflict. Some Lebanese politicians representing the “March 14” political camp, as well as many non-Shiite Lebanese, have voiced fears about the political implications of a victorious Hizbollah. In an attempt to allay such concerns last month, Nasrallah responded: “I conclusively answer by saying, first of all, Lebanon and its people had an experience with how this resistance acted after the victory in 2000. Second, I assert from now on that victory will be for all of Lebanon.” The Hizbollah leader was referring to similar fears that were expressed in the aftermath of Hizbollah’s liberation of south Lebanon from Israeli occupation in 2000. As elaborated by Hizbollah Politburo member Ghaleb Abou-Zeynab, “the fear is that Hizbollah would change the entire political equation if it triumphs to eliminate others. There will be political changes but we have no intention of destabilizing the situation.”

These “political changes” that Hizbollah envisions are two-fold. The first relates to Lebanon’s political identity and foreign allegiances. Nasrallah alluded to the desired change when he recently urged the government “not to forget” how the U.S. administration failed it in its time of need, and cautioned those who continue to count on U.S. support. In an expansion of this stance, Abou-Zeynab claimed that those “who had previously relied on the outside for their policies or U.S. support for change, now have to rethink this in light of the new reality.” Hizbollah is making an assertive claim to Lebanon’s political identity, as exemplified by Abou Zeynab’s statement that, “Lebanon will be removed from the U.S.-French orbit.” By the same token, Nasrallah has vowed that “Lebanon will not be one of the locations of the ‘new Middle East.’”

The second change concerns a new hardening on disarmament. Now that Hizbollah has shown that Israel’s powerful, U.S.-backed military was unable to disarm it, it believes that nobody else can, least of all the weakened Lebanese government. Qomati boldly declared that the “resistance is a red line for us, handing [in] our arms is out of the question, even if Shebaa is liberated.” This view is likely shared among the approximately 96 percent (according to a poll carried out in Lebanon last month) of Lebanon’s Shiites who support Hizbollah. The hundreds of thousands of Shiites who have been displaced from predominantly Shiite areas are likely to be more united as a community, as well as angry and radicalized vis-à-vis Israel, and thus even more favorable to Hizbollah maintaining arms than in the past.

In light of these facts, the consequences might be dire if the Lebanese government ardently pursues the disarmament of Hizbollah. In the worst case scenario, civil strife would occur and the state would collapse. In the best case, all Shiite ministers would withdraw from the cabinet, leading to the government’s collapse. Ultimately, the ruling majority is likely to be faced with a troubling dilemma: either a state within a state or a state within a failed state.

Amal Saad-Ghorayeb is an assistant professor at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. She writes regularly on Lebanese politics and is the author of Hizbullah: Politics and Religion


Blogger Anon said...

It all seems very convoluted.

Hezbollah are bound by their “Open Letter” of February 1985 and can never be expected to just dis-arm at the drop of a hat...especially when their opposition are in the midst of bolstering their munitions with bunker buster bombs.

Not only that but the verse inscribed on Hezbollah’s flag (which if any of you know of Eddie Izzard, know to be of paramount importance) reads “prepare for them whatever forces you can muster”.

But the French, who are due to lead the multi-national force, wish for a re-assurance from the Lebanese that dis-arming Hezbollah will be the first item on the agenda...which is unlikely to happen. Surely the first item on the agenda should be to stabilise the cease fire and remove the provocation of a foreign invasion force.

In the West we are brainwashed into thinking Hezbollah are some mindful bunch of antagonistic nutters; when in actual fact they are quite the opposite - having introduced reform, welfare systems and healthcare AND have done, and are doing, incredible amounts to aid the Lebanese affected by this crisis.

To progress, the UN needs to determine a clear mandate for their amelioration force and get them over there in place of Israeli troops “tout de suite”. Oui, monsieur Chirac?.

1:45 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...

So basically, HZ is claiming to know best, surely better than its own government - and what it knows best is that the Israeli state needs to be demolished. Because they know best they don't have to be held accountable to anyone (except Ahmedinejad? Allah?), so they have legitimacy to do as they please. What do they please? to bring about the end of a neighbouring country and get rid of 7 million citizens - because I really don't understand where we're all supposed to go when Israel as a state no longer exists.)

It's a win win situation for Nasrallah isn't it.

So I shouldn't feel threatened then? (the statements by Hizballah leaders appearing in this article,just about prove they ARE antagonistic nutters).

Mortimer, the cease fire will be very difficult to stabilize if HZ are out and about, armed and ready, in civilian garb. Why? because obviously, as you can see from this article, they want the fire, nothing is stopping them from having it. They want fire till they win over Israel and end the state - and that just isn't going to happen. This is getting to be, plain and simple, a discussion over the legitimacy of the existence of Israeli state - and that is a whole other ball game.

Footnote: this is not to say I believe in a military solution to HZ, surely not an Israeli one - but some solution HAS to be found and it can't be a friendly one - not if we ever really want to end the fighting.

2:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lilu, i hardly think their current position or goal is one to get rid of Israel as a state, but rather to get them off their land. That is their primary objective at this point, no matter what their long-term "goals" are. They are in a vulnerable position.

2:21 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...

Oh but it's right there, white on black, and I quote from the article:

Hizbollah officials have insinuated on various occasions that the party might hold on to its arms indefinitely due to what it perceives as the perpetual threat posed by Israel... In perhaps one of the clearest indications of Hizbollah’s view of the nature of the Israeli threat and hence Hizbollah’s determination to retain its arms, Qassem affirmed as recently as two months ago that, “our opinion is that Israel’s existence itself is a danger.

Primary objective is not in contradiction to trying to carry out their long term goals. They co-exist perfectly, they are practically one and the same - get the Israelis out of Lebanon and then get them out of the land they were given in 1948.
And that's just the problem - they are not in a vulnerable position. They are gaining support, mainly because people focus only on their primary objective and not their insane long term goal - this is what they need to eventually achieve that long term goal.

2:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, i understand, but they are smart enough to know that getting rid of Israel will take time. I believe their primary reason to not disarm is their argument of defending their country, lebanon.
For this reason alone, i agree they should not disarm. But if their goal is to get rid of israel, as they so explicity say, then of course they should disarm. But the Israeli govt--in their brilliant war--just recently gave them the incentive to remain in arms and legitimized their current positions as defenders of Lebanon. These two things should be separated out by all parties involved. If the Leb army is capable of defending Lebanon on their own merits, then HZ will be forced to disarm by their own accord.

2:41 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...

primary reason is a front for the long term plan. And yes, it is very unfortunate that the IDF unintentionally provided them with the extra support they needed. The Lebanese army is perfectly capable of defending Lebanon against attacks - certainly from the Israelis, because the Israelis' quarrel isn't with the Lebanese army. Israel hasn't gone attacking Lebanon as a state and a force, it attacked Hizballah within the state of Lebanon. It also wasn't for conquest reasons, to own extra land. As long as everyone keep to their space, Israel has no wish or reason to go near Lebanon. If the Lebanese army was in control of the border and just guarded it, Israel would never attack.
But HZ would never even allow to check that option - because ultimately they are keeping their long term goal in sight and they are not stupid. Who is responsible for deciding the capability of the Lebanese army? HZ certainly shouldn't be the one, but it seems it is - that's not quite fair is it? They know that this way, HZ will always have the privilege of claiming the Lebanese army is inept and keep their legitimicy for arms in its place.

2:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Israel hasn't gone attacking Lebanon as a state and a force, it attacked Hizballah within the state of Lebanon"

I disagree and so does everyone else, lilu. From the very start, the IDF went after infrastructure, everthing but HZ. Israel even overtly blamed the Leb govt. for the HZ "problem" The IDF even bombed the Lebanese army barracks. Whatever excuses are given, remember the people think it was an attack on Leb as a state, and HZ took advantage of that perception. There are hypotheses for and against this but this is the perception. So, the IDF strenghthend HZ big time and gave them an excuse not to disarm.

Do you see what violence does?

3:02 AM  
Blogger Anon said...

Lilu, regardless of what is reported and screamed in rhetoric I doubt there is much credence behind the alleged wish for Hezbollah to obliterate an entire nation. If there is then this is despicable and should be tackled forthwith; but by corrective actions rather than antagonistic militaristic incursions which, as evidence suggests, fuel the fire rather than put it out.

Hezbollah’s founding mission statement (their “Open Letter”) states they have three objectives;

(a) to expel the Americans, the French and their allies definitely from Lebanon, putting an end to any colonialist entity on our land;

(b) to submit the Phalanges to a just power and bring them all to justice for the crimes they have perpetrated against Muslims and Christians;

(c) to permit all the sons of our people to determine their future and to choose in all the liberty the form of government they desire. We call upon all of them to pick the option of Islamic government which, alone, is capable of guaranteeing justice and liberty for all. Only an Islamic regime can stop any further tentative attempts of imperialistic infiltration into our country.

It goes on to state “our opposition to the present system is the function of two factors; (1) the present regime is the product of an arrogance so unjust that no reform or modification can remedy it. It should be changed radically, and (2) World Imperialism which is hostile to Islam.”

I feel that items (a) & (b) are the elements that are perpetually aggravating blinkered radicalism, arguably due to some of the actions of the West.

It seems that Israel’s recent actions were part of a plan a good few years in the making...a plan to eradicate Hezbollah and restore order. The plan obviously didn’t work with Olmert admitting “certain failures”. Yes, Hezbollah attacked which gave Israel an excuse in the eyes of the world; but Israel got it wrong. Rightly or wrongly, Hezbollah now stand far stronger than before. Not only that, but Hezbollah can now be seen as a model of success for Hamas and the Iraqi Mahdi Army. Nobody wanted that.

Yes there is a conflict of interest where innocent people on all sides are gravely affected...but there can be a truce, an agreement of land ownership, a mutual respect of cultures that do not infringe and cause tensions. Can’t there?

3:30 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...

What people think is one thing, reality may be a whole different story. Also, intent is one thing, results is another. I never denied, the IDF probably got alot of its intelligence wrong. But as for truth and reality, it depends what you're basing on. (see Carmel's excellent article Surely you're aware that as civilians, there is alot more going on that we are not aware of and probably never will be aware of? that we never see the whole reality, probably just tiny bits of it?
You know what, you can choose to believe me or not. I am only an Israeli, who has lived here all her life, and has served in the IDF. As such I have a little insight into the Israeli side of things and the Israeli agenda. You know what, I'll humor ya - let's say Israel was really going after Lebanon, for whatever reason (I'd like to know your proposed reason?). Hizballah was just an excuse (please notice, I am differentiating Hizballah from Lebanon - as I was doing before). The war WAS officially launched against Hizballah, not against Lebanon. Israel has no good excuse for attacking Lebanon, just Hizballah. So even if it desperately wanted to, pined after Martyr's Square for itself or whatever, it would never have any legitimate excuse, if Hizballah wasn't there, to starting a war. We all know perfectly well that the world would never permit us to do such a thing, we barely got by with the offensive on HZ. Even Bush couldn't let us get away with that.

I totally agree, again, that the IDF ultimately served HZ's purposes, which is yet another quarry I have with this war and wars in general - the list of complaints to my current government is getting longer everyday, believe me.

3:31 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...

Mortimer, paragraph C of the open letter is the problem. It is widely open to interpretion, too widely - it is pretty evident, again from HZ statements, that they are choosing to extend the interpretation of "to permit all the sons of our people to determine their future and to choose in all the liberty the form of government they desire" to mean that "the Israeli form of government is oppressing the Arab people who live under it" there fore in order to complete that part of the missio statment you must eliminate the Israeli state.

I'm not denying for a second that Olmert and Peretz blew it big time. That this is not the way.
But you gotta start understanding who we, and you, are up against.
Yes, there can be a truce, an agreement of land ownership, a mutual respect of cultures that do not infringe and cause tensions - because the Israeli people want that and the Lebanese people want that. But from all I know of HZ, I doubt very much that they want that too - and they are people who get what they want, and try to prevent anything they don't want.

3:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did not mean to imply that Israel explicitly went to war with Lebanon. But the result was the same--they did take down the civilians, the country's infrastructure (which was totally avoidable, in my opinion) along with trying to take down HZ. I have no idea why and I dont presume to guess. I do think that it was not defensive, but rather an offensive war initiated by the IDF.

Trying to rationalize the IDF's course of action, I can only imagine a civilian's frame of mind.

In short, doesnt matter the intent, but rather the outcome.

3:47 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...

I never said they got it right. They got it wrong, not just against the Lebanese people, against the Israeli people too.

Look, we can talk about who did what why and what happened to whom where till the cows come home. Wont do us any good though. It is wasting our breath on the wrong topic. It's beating around the Bush. The danger is still out there, it has not passed, and as far as handling the situation from now on, and future situations, intent (of HZ) definitely matters - the outcome has not happened yet, we can still affect it. We can still prevent a bad outcome. It depends on what we do about the intent.

4:09 AM  
Blogger HCB said...

May I post my thoughts twice? I just posted this a couple of topics down but I think everyone is moving on. So, please bear with me:

I wish I lived in Lebanon - I really do. Or that I could at least live there for a year or two or three. Or Tel Aviv or Haifa. Right now I'm in Disneyworld - outside Orlando, Florida. It's got places like the "Magic Kingdom" and other pre-planned adventures in EPCOT and MGM and so forth. A wonderful place but I don't have kids with me - and I should have kids with me. Two nine year old twin girls love me and I should have them here so I could really enjoy the place.

But Lebanon - I know it's easy for me to say. It's air conditioned here and it's free of bombs and bombed out buildings and terror and all the horrors of the past month. But it's also - - pale. You are in an exciting time. Things are going to change. Into what is the question but there's no question things are going to change. And YOU are going to change them. Lebanon doesn't have as many people in the whole country as we have in a couple of counties in Florida. So my chance of doing anything to affect anything anything is so remote I don't even count it. But you have the chance.

Don't waste it by talking it to death. Here's an idea - you know who is really a hell of a woman there? Lola. And she has her match in Lilu - on the other side of the fence. The good news is they both like beer. And they both like being women and being intelligent and being informed. They don't talk together much but they both demand and give respect.

That's the key. You don't have to make the big decisions everyone is talking about. You don't have to decide if Hezbollah will or should disarm (it won't) or if it will be in the government (it will). You shouldn't be talking about dividing Shias and Sunnis and Christians and so forth - we did that here and still do. So we have people who refer to themselves as "African Americans" and others who refer to them as "Niggers." Nothing good comes from that. Little kids don't do it until they learn they are supposed to. And then they do it and teach their kids the same hate. Being physically separated - segregated - makes the hate especially effective.

There are bad people here - coke smoking niggers, some say. White trash and yellow skinned gooks. Same as there, I'll bet - you have different names but the same visceral reactions. So, what's common? A lack of respect for each other. And a lack of hope in some, a lack of desire in others. No common beliefs.

That's why it would be good to be in Lebanon - especially Beirut. All those different people and beliefs and histories and backgrounds and upbringings. And all that's needed to bring them together is some respect. A glass of beer on an outside deck on a hot summer night with some music will do it - ain't nobody in the world can resist layin' back and just relaxing on a hot summer night outside.

and then you can talk. But not about Hezbollah and Israel and Shia and 600 year old insults that still have to be avenged. About tonight. And the kids. About how to build the apartments - not about the cruelty that tore them down - about the love that will rebuild them.

Don't get so damned complicated that you lose sight of the bouncing ball. It's respect. Purely and simply. Nasrallah at least seems to respect the people he leads - Asia is exactly right there. He respects the people and the people respect him.

Hope - Israel needs to do one thing to solve the Palestine "problem" - at least somewhat - give some hope. Hope for a decent place to live and for something decent to eat and hope the kids will see their 20th and 30th and 40th birthdays. Hamas and the others need to reciprocate - give hope the madness will stop.

None of that will happen with treaties or resolutions or any of the other things forced on each other by foreigners who mean well but have no real clue about the people they are imposing the good will on. The United States cannot impose democracy - it took a revolutionary war and a civil war here and we still don't have a complete democracy. But some places either don't want it or aren't ready for it. Maybe the US and Israel can help by introducing ideas and technology but maybe they need also to listen to some old people in the hills of south lebanon for ideas on how to live honorably.

It seems so easy to me - sit with a beer and talk. Don't iterrupt so much. Don't yell. Have you read this? Read it and keep it with you:

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.

These are the things I learned:
Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.

Naieve? Sure. But a helluva lot better than an M16 or an Ak-47.

Peace my friends. I wish I could be there. I wish we could sit around a big table and drink beer and tell lies and admire Lilu and Lola. I'd like to dance and sing and make promises we won't kill each other. I'd like to shake hands with you and hug each of you. Just because I like you - nothing hidden and no other reason.

You all are wonderful, sincere, caring people. God, how I wish we could get together for an evening or a year. How I wish I could be there to participate in making such a wonderful place. International force? You're good and damned right - we'd be an international force. With beer from every country in the world. Except I draw the line at beer from Israel. And that sweet stuff from Lebanon. But Germany ... now there's beer. And Spain. And Denmark ......

It would be a lot of fun. Don't waste it on arguing and debating and trying to do such big things first. Just be friends.

4:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey HCB,

You drink too much cheap wine when you were younger? Your definitely living in a fantasy world and should remain in Disneyland if you believe half that crap your putting out. You from San Francisco by any chance? Wouldn't it be nice if we could all live in peace. Wake up and smell the coffee. There's evil in this world and a bunch of ignorant pacifists won't be protecting you butt if these nuts in Iran, Syria, or Lebanon get the right weapons and you or your family would not be spared. Get a grip on reality...these jerks hate you...your a zionist...they hate you and want you dead...get it?

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey HCB,

I thought you would enjoy this.

August 5, 2006

Thank you, Hezbollah, for showing us that we, the Lebanese people, don't need an army or a government or an infrastructure. As long as we have "sacred unity", steadfastness and brotherhood and all the other slogans, we do not need organized society, and History will judge us well on our actions. We don't need incomes, a GDP, a budget or any of those Western economic concepts, since our love for each other under the rubble and the wreckage of our country is sufficient to sustain us. What's the big deal if our Hariri-inflicted $40 billion deficit grows to $50 billion, and if the nascent economy we had is back to ground zero, for it does not weaken our resolve to liberate Palestine for the Palestinians and show the world what clay we are made of. In our megalomaniacal tendencies as the not so humble people that we are, we want to prove to the world that the Islamic faith is a great motivator for high-quality warmongering and that our irresponsibility as a country can lead us to success, all our failures of the past 40 years notwithstanding. With friends like Iran and Syria who provide us, respectively, with hundreds of millions of dollars a year and plenty of rockets and missiles, we don't need the world.

Thank you, Hezbollah, for showing us that of all the Lebanese people, only Lebanese Shiite men are brave, courageous, and capable of defending the country. There is no need now to ask – but it's just a thought for the future wars of liberation we are dreaming of – with the unity demonstrated by the Lebanese against the Israeli aggression, why are there no Sunni, Christian or Druze Lebanese men or women joining their Shiite brethren to fight off that aggression, either through their own militias or under the banner of the near-mythical highly organized, highly-trained Hezbollah? Anyway, thank you for showing us that we don't need a regular army. After all, Lebanon is the Switzerland of the Middle East – though not as clean or organized – and even though the real Switzerland is neutral, it still has a powerful army. But we the Lebanese are so smart. We are not neutral, we have a salon army that we display but never use, and to wage wars on others and ourselves, we hire militias like the PLO, the Lebanese Forces, the Amal militia, the Revolutionary Guards, and now Hezbollah, to fight our wars. We're just so smart, except that we never seem to think thoroughly of the consequences of our actions. Just watch our leaders, Nasrallah, Siniora, Berri, Hoss, Karami, Frangieh, Gemayel, Aoun, Geagea and all the rest. They are so smart that they went about killing their own people for decades, then suddenly, after 40 years of warfare, discovered unity only when they were in excrement up to their eyeballs. Too bad they did not discover that unity 3 months ago, or a year ago, or 5 years ago, or 30 years ago. We would have spared ourselves so much pain and destruction.

Thank you, Hezbollah, for showing us that our elderly men and women, in the final years of their lives, can be stripped of their children, their dignity and their possessions, and after having lost everything, they are made to flee alone, on foot, in front of Israeli tanks, leaving behind them homes and villages they have known all their lives. Thank you for hiding behind our houses to fire at the enemy, and for making our children fodder for war, while all the children of the Arab Umma are quietly enjoying their summer vacations in summer schools or on the beach. Thank you for preparing the country so well for the possible retaliation you knew was coming as a result of your smart and ballsy action.

Thank you for showing us that in Lebanon words mean nothing, that agreements, national dialogues, and memorandums of understanding are not worth the paper they are written on, and that in a headless country like Lebanon, the blind can truly lead the blind to certain death. Thank you for showing us that the Lebanese people, as a people, can be totally abnormal for discovering unity only after destruction, for discovering strength only after defeat, for discovering dialogue only in death. It really is just too much to ask a people to be united, strong and genuinely engaged before death, destruction and defeat, when they are alive, when their country is standing, and when their children and homes are safe.

I am sure there will be new giant posters of mullahs and ayatollas and martyrs on every dirty street corner of Beirut after all this ends one day. There will continue to be a great resolve to avenge the aggression, liberate Palestine, restore the dignity of the Umma, and add yet one more defeat to the long list of "victories in sacred unity". For that is how Arabs measure victory or defeat: Not in terms of territory lost or won, not in terms of military battles lost or won, not in terms of buildings, cities, and villages saved or destroyed, not in terms of the numbers of dead and injured, not in terms of the effort it will take to rebuild, not in terms of how many people left the country to emigrate to more normal places to live. No. None of those things matter in this life for the smart people of Lebanon and their leaders. What matters in the end is how big we think the balls of our leaders are in comparison with the balls of the enemy, how much higher is the level of testosterone in their veins, and how much longer our phallic rockets are compared to theirs. That, my fellow Lebanese, is what we are dying for and why our country is being destroyed, and we should all thank Hezbollah for showing us how big Hassan Nasrallah's balls are. This is a priceless piece of information that is worth the destruction of Lebanon and the death of its children.

The following is the balance sheet to date of the July 2006 war of "liberation" by Hezbollah against Israel. Bigger balls notwithstanding, we still have brains to take stock of the results of the "liberation" enterprise, and it does not take much to see that, no matter how big Nasrallah's balls grow as a result of this conflict, Lebanon will still be the biggest loser.

9:36 AM  
Blogger HCB said...

No - I'm not a zionist and, no, I'm not from San Francisco.

All that's really important about what you said is that it is what you believe. And, so long as you keep it to yourself and don't teach your kids the same "reality" - enjoy. But the trouble is, that's the kind of stuff that's being taught. That's the kind of cynical sarcasm that keeps the fire stoked. And if that's all you can come up with, it's a self fulfilling prophecy.

I knew when I said what I said it's naieve. But I also believe it sincerely. Your belief is the same as George Bush's defeatism - "they are spiders living in caves waiting to come out and kill us all." All our technology, all our education, all our culture - all of that is sacrificed by surrendering to the bigotry that describes "Islamic Fascists" who are simply born evil to do evil things until the good guys kill them.

What a shitty way to live.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We really need some countries to get their shit together because we can't handle everyone in the world coming here's ridiculous that there are so few places to go lead a "normal life" outside the U.S.A.

We have 35 million legal immigrants right now, and 20 million illegal immigrants all flocking here to get away from people like Hezbollah who run around like retards with rocket launchers.

HCB constantly dismisses the U.S. in which he lives as 2.5 million people every year flee here from other countries. 55 million people live here right now NOT born here...what is that? like 20 times the entire population of Lebanon?

What's my point? Maybe I just like to brag about my country, OR maybe I am showing that people get sick and tired of Hezbollah, hamas, and all the other civilians who run around fighting "wars".

I grow tired of hearing Hezbololah make "announcements" and the fact they have say in anything....they are NOT the government army of Lebanon, and you should be glad of this.

They should by all means disarm and let the actual military take over, and nobody seems to have an issue with them being in government because they do seem for the being in government does still give them control of the military to a point.

This site, and people in Lebanon in general cheering on Hezbollah only empowers them and insures more misery in the future. Iran is doing everything but begging for war right now, so I can see how they are related to Hezbollah. Hezbollah as some imaginary story book heros are not spending money to fix things now and help people....IRAN is...

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, we have over 700,000 Iranian born living here now. Thankfully, most of their smart ones because over 50% of Iranian/Americans have college degrees, and over half are management or professional.... they are top notch as far as immigrants go, and the exact type we love to see come our way.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

To anon 3:42 pm....

Ah, another blinded Bush supporter... boy, we can just never have enough of those.

I love this country, but I wouldn't dare "brag" about its accomplishments in foreign affairs. The fact is that we are engaged in empire-building.

And I am not sure how "normal" life is the United States... corporate interests control this country, with the Bush Administration's help... CEOs get golden parachutes for stealing money while people get jerked out of their retirement funds. We spend time debating whether or not the flag should be burned as opposed to fighting poverty. And you can't make a telephone call without the government knowing about about it. Real "normal."

The Bush Administration has carved this nation and other nations into two camps; those that are "with" us and those that are "against" us. But dualistic societies do not last long... they are destined to implode.

Read Orwell's 1984, and tell me there aren't countless parallels to our nation today. Watch "V for Vendetta" and tell me that is not the path we are on.

I'd be hesitant about bragging too much. Maybe we should stop placing ourselves on a pedestal, get our act together and solve some of our problems, stop meddling with others and begin treating other nations as equals.

Wow, what a concept.

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rick, I definately do NOT support Bush, nor do I ignore the immense damage he has done to foreign affairs or domestic.

When I say a "normal life" I mean the fact our biggest worries are trying to meet house payments in bad times, or paying 3 dollars for want to compare that to guys running around with assault rifles??

I actually have a blog that I pretty much tear Bush and republicans upo on daily, and at one point I seriously wondered if he might be the anti-christ.

Should we be on a pedastal?? Do you have any idea how long the waiting list is to get into this country while at the same time you and HCB talk negative about everything? You don't appreciate what you have obviously. Bush, yeah he is really making things head the wrong way, but I will take worrying over the national debt instead of yahhos with machine guns anyday..

Tp put it blunlt...have some fucking pride in your country...we don't live in Bushtown, we live in the U.S. and after 2008 things will hopefully get back on track. I look forward to a president not only with the ability to read, but also one who will inspire us again and remind the world why lady liberty is standing at the harbor welcoming them.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW also....I am blue collar and work in a factory, yet we have a safe place to live, 3 cars including my gas hog trans am, high speed internet as I read how you are embarrassed of your country on my 21 inch flat screen monitor....32 inch televisions in the bedrooms, and a wide screen in the living room...central air, ....what the hell? I am making LESS the the average American pay, and I am living fine...I put in some overtime every week, but to listen to people whine about how we bad have it is unbelievable. Bush will be gone soon enough.

I don't even make the national average for pay, and this is why people dream of living here and live happy with so many opportunities to do better if I wasn't so can feel it obnoxious to see what we have and say it out loud, but it is the truth, deal with it.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Thanks 4:29, and my apology for assuming you worship Bush. I don't that I (I can't speak for hcb, but I don't think he does either) speak out against everything in the US. I love this country, and treasure that this is a country where I can speak out. But our liberties are being trampled on in the name of security, and we are no more secure for it.

I guess my frustration is that our pride in our country blinds too many people here to our problems. "If you don't like it here, get the f**k out" is too often heard here, and is only an excuse for people not to deal with real issues.

Yes, we take in immigrants, but only certain kinds of immigrants. We'll take all that Iran and India can send, and then we crap on Mexicans. Immigration is clearly a problem in the US, Canada, and throughout Europe and no one has it perfect. When I go to Toronto, I see an incredibly tolerant city. I am sure it has its problems like anywhere else, but racism isn't tolerated there. It is rampant here, and not even addressed by our government. If anything, it is encouraged.

I also hope we can get back on track after 2008, but I fear that Bush has done far more damage that we can solve even in the next decade. Our credibility and our military are being wrecked, and Bush seems intent on yet another war. Unbelievable.

I for one would love to see your blog. Feel free to visit mine and send me a link.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

Benjamin Franklin

4:51 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

I love that quote, and I think it is still true.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, sorry to freak out...being called a Bush supporter is worse than being called an asshole or whatnot. Even my typing went erratic. LOL :)

4:54 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

The point is well taken: don't go where you're not wanted. I don't need two beers tossed in my face to understand. And I wouldn't want someone from Lebanon telling me the answer to our riots and arson in the city.

But, my whole point was to simply sit and have a beer and make friends. I think it could be an exciting time. But if it's not possible to simply sit and have a beer and talk, how can there be a lot of hope for worthwhile, formal treaties or resolutions? Or of convincing Hezbollah to disarm voluntarily or for Hezbollah to say they are no longer interested in being in the Parliament or for Hezbollah to say much of anything less than "we won" and dare Israel and the US to try again. It is utter fantasy to imagine Hezbollah disarming - why would they? Especially when they are either loved or hated. They are completely and forever wrong. They should all be taken out and shot. Now what?

I'd think that by now it would be clearly understood by EVERY body that not all of either side can be killed. That means the "other" side will always be around. And if the "other" side is still there, they're going to be angrier and better armed the next time. And the next.

That's the cycle that has to be broken. It won't - it can't - be broken by military attack and counterattack. But that's the only alternative if the Hezbollah is denied political participation. And, consider - If Hezbollah - a relatively tiny and unsophisticated war maker - can cause all the problems it has all by itself with Iran or Syria just helping from the sidelines, what happens when Israel and the US decide to bomb EVERYbody - Iran, Syria, Lebanon? Better get ready to go after Saudi Arabia and Egypt and Jordan too, right?

So - with all respect to the sovereignty of Lebanon and the pains in the neck of which I'm a member - it's going to be a while before these countries "get their shit together" and get out of the area. Like it or not, right or wrong, the US economic interests are involved and that fact is not going to change in the foreseeable future. And whether I like it or not and whether anyone anywhere with any importance would ever listen to me, so long as oil rules, so will Israel and the US. And so long as the ME people keep their own internal disputes going and keep killing each other in their sectarian battles, their is no hope for "peace" and, therefore, no hope either the US or Israel will simply "butt out." What Hezbollah and Hamas and the rest of the "terrorists" recgnize that everyone else simply wants to ignore is that their agendas rely on chaos, misery and confusion. Strong economies and happy people require stability. So - Hamas or Hezbollah poke the tiger and what happens? The tiger charges and creates even more chaos, misery and confusion than was hoped for. And while the tiger paces and stalks hoping for another opportunity to pounce, Hezbollah - whether cynically or not - offers help. And the tiger says, "fuck you."

And those are facts. Purely and simply. You people can't even have a beer together and we people are supposed to understand that. And because we don't, you get more pissed off. Instead of getting together to figure out what to do about the tiger, though - you piss on the guy who poked it.

Which, of course, brings us full circle to getting "some countries to get their shit together."

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To get technical, the U.S. had the advantage of starting from scratch....ok, we killed the natives here, but my point is that the people came here to form their government, whereas we want others to actually overthrow theirs.

Americans could not do it back home, and that is why they left and came here to start can we expect normal people in countries that have oppressive governments to topple them? It is impossible, and their only hope really is for another country to help them..

HCB, you say you fought in Vietnam? Did they appreciate it? Did anyone appreciate the people who fought?

Do you know even though that went like shit, that Vietnam immigrants to the U.S. are in the top ten in numbers still??

I fully realize Bush sucks, but I am torn on whether or not we should stop "meddling" when people all over the globe are oppressed and can do nothing without outside help.

5:14 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Did anyone appreciate me fighting in Vietnam? Yup - me. I was the age of the young warriors running around in Lebanon and Israel and Iraq. It's not for the glory of the country or the flag - it's the little prayer said before a night ambush patrol: "yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil because I am the meanest motherfucker in the valley." when the news would ask me what I thought of this "war" my response would be, "hell - it may not be much of a war but it's the only one we've got."

That's what goes on in the Army. And I think it's only gotten worse now that it's video game based with minimal concerns about getting killed. Except that part has been turned on its head in Iraq so more and more people are saying, "bad idea." Not because it's immoral or what it's doing to the Iraqis - but because of how much it costs and American lives lost.

No - wars are decided to be had by chicken hawks and when the fun's over and the bumper stickers faded, then it's up to the troops to hang on until somebody figures out how to handle it and get them outta there.

And I think the whole damned thing could be solved with a couple kegs of beer. But maybe that only works with barracks brawls.

Bush is beyond, "bush sucks." He's manic depressive. Or maybe Paranoid Schizophrenic. So what? Do I go shoot him? I can't even get lipstick on an airplane - how do I shoot the president? (that's a joke, CIA,NSA, DIA, HSA, TSA and all you other "A" folks opening my email)

Oh yeah - elect a "better" one. When the choice is George Bush or Al Gore? Or Bush and Kerry? Dumb or Dumber?

Beer - it's much more than a breakfast drink.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All you ever hear is "senseless deaths due to war".....400,000 died in WWII....should the world have minded it's own business?

The photo of the lone protester at Tiananmen Square may very well be the most powerful photo ever taken in my mind...democracy and freedom, and the wish for all to have them, are NOT goals Bush created...

My original point talking about immigrants here was about the fact so many in the world want freedom and a right to be themselves and live happy lives....we can NOT take every single one of them in as much as we might like to...we are so full right now with people still pouring in every year legally and illegally....

There is a need for freedoms and liberties we have here to be elsewhere. Lebanon "seemed" to have these things, but Hezbollah was lurking in the midst working for Iran and Shiite agendas....all Lebanon worked for was lost, and if they remain, the same thing will happen again...

To tell you the truth, who even gives a crap if America and Bush DO take over the middle east? People here live with religious freedom, and chances to be anything they want be they male or that what you fear? Are you afraid peace will break out? I am 32 years old and never heard the sound of a bomb.....this what you are afraid we will enforce? Are you afraid to feel safe and go to school if you choose?

5:46 PM  
Blogger lola said...

"People here live with religious freedom"
That is why Bush calls them "Muslim Fascists"? He seems to forget that there are Muslims in America too.
I don't think he even knows he insulted anyone coz he doesn't even know anything about anything.
I hate it when people classify Muslims as "Arab terrorists". As if there haven't been any other terrorists. Something goes wrong anywhere in the world, they start tp point fingers. Sometimes they get it right. Lucky guess. But don't just assume as assuming makes as ASS out of U and ME.

6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush again? Bush isn't shit...he does NOT define America.

The Muslims have a really beautiful gold topped building right by me in the Cleveland area, and they were just in the "events section" of the newspaper a few days ago for having a picnic or yard sale or's the funny part...nobody car bombed them or suicide attacked them. So yeah, they do have freedom of religion, and they do not hide to practice...they were even featured in the paper like any other group would be...maybe where you live is different, but I only know what I see.

Muslems will now get a little profiling by authorities, but you are not going to make that go away right now, so don't bother trying.

6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appologize, it didn't take me long to dig up a few attacks on Muslim mosques in the Akron area...not all that far away from me.

Sad part is that it probably had nothing to do with the people here...they came for a reason, but the extremist in other countries who claim such hate for the U.S. brought it on people here. The stories I read were actually about vandalism...maybe some dumb kids? maybe some dumb adults, but any attack on a Muslim here is an attack on a fellow American, and they should know this....not cool.

I appologize for searching after I posted, but....atleast I did look huh?

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

misconception among Americans:

not all Lebanese are Arabs
not all Muslims are Arabs
not all Lebanese are Muslim
not all Arabs are Muslim.
not all Lebanese are HZ supporters.

so profiling is ridiculous and pointless and baseless.

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Profiling does work or they wouldn't do it, and yes it works the same as stereotypes that people hate so much, but stereotypes wouldn't exist if a pattern wasn't formed.

It doesn't always work, but it does enough to be useful....looking for someone who burned a cross on a black families yard? who do you look at? another black family who lives next door and doesn't get along? or Earl, the redneck down the street, with the confederate flag outside his house?

7:03 PM  
Blogger lola said...

Not all Lebanese are Arabs? What are they then?

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey guys and crazy gals in Lebanon!! Want an Islamic state? nows your chance...keep supporting Hezbollah!!

Nasrallah said ...

""We believe the requirement for an Islamic state is to have an overwhelming popular desire, and we're not talking about fifty percent plus one, but a large majority. And this is not available in Lebanon and probably never will be."

Seems they have gained support, so it was nice talking to you while you still had internet access.

7:53 PM  
Blogger phishster said...

sorry shit face but all Lebanese are Arabs but not all Arabs are Lebanese!!

8:23 PM  
Blogger lola said...

Phishster... who the hell are these anonymous fools? Shall we start with the beatings?

8:28 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Bigotry and racism is the single greatest evil in the United States, and all Bush has done is feed the fire and fan the fear. Muslims here are "technically" free to practice their religion, but get to do so at their own risk.

Using labels like "Muslim Facists," "Arab Terrorists," and "You're for us or against us" are the types of things that drive people apart, not bring them together. Just once I want to see Bush make a similar comment about all those "wife-beating Baptists." I'm sure that would go over real well. We pander to the powerful and disregard the disenfranchised.

8:40 PM  
Blogger phishster said...

I do believe so bothers me how certain people know so much about the developed world however when it comes to underdeveloped countries they know nothing. some people think Arabs ride the way are you an Arab? You seem to be one of my Arab sisters

8:41 PM  
Blogger lola said...

Yes i am Arab, Phishster. I am Lebanese.
Sam tho, thinks we ride camels in Lebanon, yet he would love to visit Egypt. So he told me. What do you think he'll find there?

8:45 PM  
Blogger phishster said...

i dont think sam should visit Egypt, it is extremely polluted and there isnt much to see except three pyramids and no night life...

Lebanon is much more cool!! we have cars, oh my, we have malls, oh my, we have night clubs (best night life), oh my, tall buildings, oh my, hot women, oh my, and the list just keeps getting better and better...oh my oh my

8:50 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Phishster, you keep talking like that and a bunch of us will move there... see what happens then! :-)

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it odd that all the Muslim countries are the "under-developed" countries?

I am sitting in a normal world looking at these asshole and it's hard to believe they live on the same planet I do. They are literally a 1000 years behind the rest of the world. I am suprised they don't right each other notes on cave walls...

You want to talk about "shutting up"? I have listened to these asshole muslims my whole life tell me how evil I am, and how they will gut me like a pig....ok, then all ban together and fucking do it or shut up.....I troll here, they troll the world.

It's complete bullshit that I am supposed to sit here and listen to them wish death upon me....and seriously mean it, yet I should try harder to understand?? Muslims are worthless shit, and if they think they are the only ones waiting for a holy war against the west....they bare mistaken....stupid terrorist attacks iusn't going to get it all need to get together with some force, then come at us....should be funny anyway....fuck muslims that read this...go spread the hate more to your friends so we can get this started already, and get it over with.

8:53 PM  
Anonymous sparkels said...


8:55 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Well anon 8:53, you have once again demonstrated the danger of someone with a single digit IQ having access to the internet.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and think about this while I try my best to piss people off....what I do here you walk away from,.....go ahead and put me in the same class as people who would fly a plane into a building??

My dads brother, my uncle who was a man among men, was killed by these fucking assholes on 9/11.....he taught me to ride a bike, bought me my first beer, etc, and these pieces of shit running around with guns shall never see mercy from me.......I live for the day they are wiped off this fucking earth. The fucking towel heads cheered....they fucking cheered, when the towers went down....danced like little fucking monkeys.....payback is a bitch fuckers, and I want it.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Yes, anon and "they" are all the same, right? You stupid f**k.

It's that kind of idiocy that makes sure that we never get any of this nonsense resolved. If it makes you feel any better, there's someone just like you in the White House.

9:03 PM  
Blogger lola said...

Payback is a bitch, but why are you pouring out your anger here?
Listen, asshole, all of us on this blog are for PEACE. YOU are not, so go find another place to say your shit.
I don't swear on this blog, and those who know me know that quite well. But i will not tollerate bullshit from ignorant kids.
My students are more understanding and they are only 8 year olds.
How sad!

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fuck you.....muslims, I will cheer each death of yours like you cheered my uncles.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous sparkels said...

anon 9:13
i think you need to leave
such a rude, ignorant person

9:16 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Yes anon, every Muslim on the planet stood up and cheered. It's hard even for me to believe that there are people as ignorant as you on the face of this planet.

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 9:13
i think you need to leave
such a rude, ignorant person

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go fuck a tree you even bother to read this site, or do you find some superiority thinking you are here getting along with the whole world like you are special and making a difference?

This site is pro-shiite, pro-hezbollah, and is anti-american, yet assholes from america are here kissing their ass because they think they are somehow making a difference, they probably talk about the "people in lebanon" they talk to and's sad to watch really. Here's a clue, you are NOT making a difference, people in the middle east HATE you and have for decades. Even the Muslims living here ahte us....

9:28 PM  
Anonymous sam said...

My geography skills and society skills are just fine. I know where the camels are but it is a phras that tends to piss some people off.
Eygpt is just one of the places I want to see but most are not reachable or doable right now.

The past is more important than the future it seems.

9:30 PM  
Anonymous sam said...

social skills

9:31 PM  
Blogger lola said...

Believe it Rick, they are out there. That is what's scary. As if no one died in Lebanon during the war, as if no one lost their homes, as if people didn't have to flee out of their country.
Notice, asshole, no one bad mouths no one here. And by no one, i don't mean anonymous idiots, i mean people who come here to speak out. People who have brains. Do you have a brain? No? You can go to your local 7/11. They might not be the best quality, but they have some.

9:32 PM  
Blogger danesie said...

i can't believe the filth that is being typed here
grow up! its so sad that it's come to this.

9:34 PM  
Anonymous sam said...

lola said...
Do you have a brain? No? You can go to your local 7/11. They might not be the best quality, but they have some.

WOW Lola, so people who work at 7/11 are slow witted, lesser than you, second class citizens? How can that comment help or make you feel better. So where you work defines who you are and your standing in the world. interesting insight into your thinking. Not godd ot bad but just interesting.

9:35 PM  
Blogger danesie said...

did you understand what lola wrote?
i think you need to go back and read it over again, then comment.

9:38 PM  
Anonymous sam said...

I did and I think you need to re read it. So is it a shopper or worker, expalin it to me so that I'm not in the dark.

9:40 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

No lola, they can't go to the 7-11. Haven't you heard?

No shirt? No shoes? No service.

9:41 PM  
Blogger danesie said...

a brain

9:42 PM  
Blogger lola said...

No Sam, you are far more interesting than i am. 7/11 shops are open for "emergency cases". Obviously Anon, typing those stupid words, has an emergency and i am trying to help "IT" out, for i don't consider him/her a person.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous sam said...

I got, sorry Lola. My bad.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i dont understand half the shit you guys are saying...are we trying to promote peace or anguish?

please people can you get your facts right and then state a logical opinion. this is getting out of hand...sometimes i wonder if the new generation of Americans experiance what we Arabs have recently experinaced the whole world will never hear the end of are still talkinmg about 9/11 like it happened last night.

We Arabs on this blog have respected all the Christians and Jews, however all we get is constant hostility esp. from Sam.

We are the new generation who is going to becomet the future of the our nations, i think this blog was supposed to represent the begining of the end...however i highly doubt that is going to be bad!

9:58 PM  
Blogger phishster said...

Sam you biatch dont you diss my sista Lola...
she is my sister from another motha...dont u be dissing my lebanese fuck face...stupid piece of shit!! ya little piece of shit, why dont u post a pisture of urself so wee can put a face to ur nasty ass name you wanker!!

10:08 PM  
Anonymous sam said...

Phis, the name is befitting. You seem to be full of piss and vinager. But I thought you got that out of you system yesterday. You can send your hate mail to me directly and not be one of the narrow minded guys too. You and anon are sounding more alike everyday. thats to bad, I'm sure your not as you let on.

No pic needed, in you mind we all look alike.

10:13 PM  
Blogger phishster said...

are u attracted to females with a strong tounge??? arrrrrr

you are a sick fucker, i am sending these posts directly to you, as if no one else exists..and you being an American living in the USA, you can get a hold of me in less than a second so i rather not email anyone like you!!!

in my mind you are thin little internet dork who shocked everyone when he didnt do well on his SATS!! PEOPLE BIG GLASSES DOESNT ALWWAYS MEAN SMART!!!

10:19 PM  
Anonymous sam said...

phishster your post are actually comical. Keep it up, my day is a bit slow anyway.

I can't anyone, I am one person not a country.

10:36 PM  
Blogger phishster said...

I know im comical you dont have to tell me - is that all you could come up with? tell me something i dont know...

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what are you guys talking about?

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is not a chat room. if you have something meaningful to say about the current world situation--what ever the hell that means--then say it..otherwise, go chat and dis on each other somewhere else. please.

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... address the questions above:

No, not all Lebanese are Arabs. I am Lebanese, and I dont consider myself Arab--just because I speak Arabic, doesnt make me Arab.
You can read and find out about it more.

11:56 PM  
Blogger lola said...

Please tell me how Lebanese are not Arabs.

12:00 AM  
Anonymous sam said...

Here is America's attention span. Top stories for Thursday Aug 17th. Any who thinks American's are going to help the change are wrong unless more get active and more to a "sloution mode" not a "critic mode".

• Smoking, have they lied?
• ‘An accident’
JonBenet Ramsey murder suspect confesses in Thailand.

• Warrantless wiretaps nixed
• Red Tape: Exploding gadgets?
• Gibson pleads no contest

12:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Americans and the US media are fickle, and have short attention spans.

12:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:54 AM  
Blogger Shebby said...

anonymous thanx for the great info... I was always thinking that something makes you different than other Arabian countries... Now I have the answer... Thanx again

Shebby from Turkey

2:53 PM  
Blogger Shebby said...

But don't be so rude about Muslims, even when you are right with Iran and Ayatollah and Nasrallah and all this shit. Not all Muslims are the same... The ones who are using the religion as a power factor or trying to make religion to a political system, we have to blame that mentality...

3:26 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Absolutely, shebby. Generalizing about any group is not a wise thing.

1:09 AM  

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