Friday, December 15, 2006

National Union

“Government of National Union” is the fashionable slogan today which the opposition, for the most part Shia followers of the charismatic leader of Hizbullah, Hassan Nasrallah, brandishes at every opportunity to block any effort of the part of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to govern the country or to take measures to alleviate the catastrophic economic situation in which every Lebanese finds himself in today.

National Union is a heady term which means nothing when the objectives and allegiances of the respective political formations are at odds and where every such formation seeks power. The Opposition which includes such pathetic characters as General Aoun, demand one third of the Council of Ministers plus one to be in a position to veto any important decision which requires a two thirds majority, thereby reducing Government to a debating society. No wonder, therefore, that Prime Minister Siniora and his allies have rejected the proposal put forward by Hizbullah, for valid intrinsic reasons, apart from the fact that it has received the open or tacit support of Iran and Syria; Iran to foment opposition to the United States for the purpose of pursuing its atomic programme; Syria to avenge its ignominious withdrawal from Lebanon after thirty years of rule, and in the hope of returning at some future date.

And so the merry go round continues with Amr Moussa, the Secretary General of the Arab League, accompanied by a representative from Sudan (why Sudan, we wonder), engaging in lengthy meetings with all the powers that be in Lebanon, in the hope of finding an acceptable solution to the various problems which bedevil Lebanon. It is sad to note that his efforts have so far not produced any positive and concrete results. He promises to return next Monday to resume his meetings

In the meantime the strikers continue to occupy the centre of Beirut and to paralyse life in general. President Lahoud continues to occupy Baabda and to make asinine statements every now and then. He refuses categorically to step down before the last minute of his term of office. The International Court of Justice remains a subject of contention. The latest is that a Committee of six jurists has been appointed to consider its terms of reference; another method for pushing the subject into limbo.

In other words, we are back to square one, with no possible solution in view.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


We did not need the victory of the Democratic Party in both Houses to establish the fact that George W. Bush is probably the worst President that the United States has been blessed with. His whole tenure of office has been a cynical tissue of lies and a record of failure from Afghanistan to Lebanon, and primarily because his foreign policy for the Middle East has been centred on one issue, the security of Israel. He plunged the United States into a catastrophic war in Iraq on the pretext of weapons of mass destruction, which never existed, and in the knowledge that his Zionist cronies as far back as 1998 had planned that war to eliminate a potential threat to Israel, and hence he should have been elected as President of Israel and not of the United States, which explains his cryptic expression of sorrow over the latest Israeli massacre in Beit Hanoun, north of Gaza, which took the lives of eighteen members of the same family, which included eight babies and five women. From Deir Yassin in Palestine in 1947, to Qana in Lebanon, to Beit Hanoun in Gaza, not to mention a dozen others, Israel came into being on the basis of massacres, aided and abetted by none other than George W, Bush, who spared no effort to ensure victory for Israel in its war on Lebanon. But he failed, and he will fail again because in the last analysis might is not right.
        What is baffling is that the American public has not risen to storm the White House and force Bush out of it. A Congressional victory is not sufficient to chastise a man who should stand trial for crimes against humanity, preferably by an Iraqi Tribunal for the destruction of that country and the loss of thousands upon thousands of Iraqi lives, not to mention Lebanese and Palestinian lives at the hands of his Israeli allies.
        A voice in the wilderness, perhaps, but we cannot accept, let alone condone the so-called new vision of President Bush for the Middle East. A nightmare is a more adequate word. And God only knows what further destruction he will heap upon the world before his tenure of office is over.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pax Americana

The proverb goes, "When you have friends like the United States, who needs enemies?" particularly in so far as Lebanon's Prime  Minister, Fouad Siniora, is concerned. The repeated declarations emanating from the White House and echoed by the American Ambassador Feltman in support of Siniora and his government can only lend credence to the scurrilous accusations levelled at Siniora that he is an agent of the United States and by association Israel. Such in effect was the burden of Nasrallah's televised address the other night. We may be permitted to ask whether those declarations in support are in fact intended to destroy Siniora and his Government. Too much is too much. One quick look across the Middle East from Afghanistan through Iraq to Palestine and Lebanon shows glaringly that where the United States, directly so or through its proxy Israel, has put its finger in the pie, ruin and destruction have followed. In the good old days of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, Iraq was perhaps the most advanced of the Arab States in terms of science, technology and education. Today it is in the midst of deadly civil war that will sever it into three separate mini states, Shiaa Moslem, Sunni Moslem and Kurdish, all because of America's invasion of that country upon the orders of President Bush and his Zionist cronies, as part of the new vision for the Middle East decreed by an idiot named George W. Bush. From America with love  has been the most pernicious of poisons to be injected into the Middle East.
The same holds true of the Jews as a race and of Israel as a nation. The Jews are and have been a blood thirsty race, notwithstanding the holocaust, which continues to be thrust down our throats by the Jewish media. The Torah is gory with blood. Israel's war on Lebanon has been as savage as Hitler's blitzkrieg of London. Israel is doing very much the same thing in the Gaza strip. Practically every hospital, school and electrical installations have been destroyed (Bush calls it self defense). The toll of dead and wounded rises dramatically from day to day. The village of Beir Hanina, for example has virtually ceased to exist. Bush applauds and sends more tons of the latest and most lethal bombs that America produces; the same bombs that Israel used to destroy south Lebanon, including the oil reservoirs and installation. The oil spill has polluted the entire Lebanese coast, such that no marine life can survive. Thousands of unexploded Israeli cluster bombs litter south Lebanon, and for years, they will remain as a permanent danger to the civilian population.
To sum it all up, Is there anything to distinguish Bush and Olmert from Hitler?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mass rallies II

Mass rallies, or demonstrations, if you prefer the term, have become the latest fashion in Lebanon. We had two over the last ten days. We were treated to a third last night convened by General Aoun and his party referred to as the "Courant Aouniste". We are promised a fourth rally next week convened by Hezbollah and its charismatic leader.

The General who returned from France last year where he had exiled himself over the past eleven or twelve years, has been making a great deal of noise of late. According to him, the current Government of Fouad Siniora is ineffective and that a Government of national union is required to save and govern Lebanon. He has presented himself as the future President and saviour of Lebanon, and to this end, he has entered into a pact with Hezbollah, in the hope that the Shia'a Moslems of Lebanon, who represent a third of the total population would propel him to the Presidency. False hopes, we regret to say and just as well. Aoun as President would be more catastrophic that the current incumbent.

And so the merry go round continues, while Lebanon sinks further into poverty and destitution. And against that dark back drop, Prime Minister Siniora hosted yesterday at the Grand Serail (the seat of Government), an Iftar (a Ramadan dinner) which assembled all the have been who were still capable of handling a fork and knife. Even General Aoun, as former Head of State, was there. Siniora, as Prime Minister and host, delivered the speech of the evening in which he repeated the same ringing phrases regarding democratic rule and the legitimacy of Government. Brave words from a brave man, but they still need to be translated into a coherent and continuous plan of positive action.

Elsewhere, Condoleezza Rice will meet with a number of Arab Foreign Ministers in the hope of bringing enough pressure on Hamas, the Palestinian radical party which had emerged with an overwhelming majority in the last Palestinian elections, to enter into negotiations with Israel, Hamas does not recognise Israel and will not enter into negotiations with it, in the knowledge that Israel is not prepared to concede anything worthwhile. Hamas may not be far wrong in reaching that conclusion, judging from the results of past negotiations, including the much touted Wye Plantation agreement, the end result of which was no more than a road map, which has still to see effective application.

But then, despite the logic of the position of Hamas, what other alternative is there for Hamas or the Palestinians in general? War and violence will not lead to a solution. The one and only possible solution which could lead to positive negotiations is that of "civil disobedience". The back lash to the Israeli economy, which relies heavily on Palestinian labour, would be intolerable for Israel. Such a form of civil disobedience, on the Ghandi pattern, would only be possible if the Arab world is prepared to feed the Palestinians, through the creation of a multi billion dollar fund to the purpose. The Arab world is rich enough to assume that burden, instead of wasting billions of dollars on arms that will never be used.

It is the opinion of the Wizard that the Arab world will do nothing, except to wallow in its futile rhetoric.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Mass rallies

Lebanon has been the scene of two gigantic mass rallies, the first on 22nd September 2006, organised by Hezbollah and its charismatic leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, and attended by some half a million people, mostly Shia'a Moslems, and the second, organised by the leader of the "Forces Libanaises", a Christian formation attended by the same number of people, mainly Christians. Sadly, the Sunni Moslems of Lebanon have been marginalised, for lack of dynamic leadership.

The speech of Sheikh Hassan addressed itself to several issues; the first is that Hezbollah is here to stay as a strong political force without which Lebanon cannot be governed; the second is that the weapons arsenal of Hezbollah, which includes, according to Sheikh Hassan. some twenty thousand long range missiles, will not be surrendered and that Hezbollah cannot be disarmed or disbanded by force, and the third that the Lebanese army is not strong enough nor sufficiently well equipped to defend Lebanon; hence Hezbollah.

On the other side, the Christian rally which represented a reply to the Shia'a Moslem challenge, is intended to emphasize that the Christians of Lebanon are the "raison d'être" of that country and that without them, Lebanon would not have existed but would have been absorbed by Syria and that Hezbollah is no more than an instrument of Iranian-cum- Syrian politics in the Middle East.

It would seem quite evident that there is a deep rift in the Lebanese politic body, which sooner or later will turn into confrontation and probably civil war which, should it ever come to pass, will destroy Lebanon as a country within its present frontiers.

The Lebanese Government, on the other hand, finds itself between the devil and the blue sea. The Prime Minister, totally supported by the leader of the Parliamentary majority, Saad Hariri, is doing his best to govern the country and to proceed with the reconstruction of the total havoc created by Israel in South Lebanon and the southern outskirts of Beirut in its savage war on that country with United States encouragement and military assistance.

All this leads the Wizard to conclude that Lebanon, in its present frontiers, is doomed, and that its only hope is to reactivate the plan, presented in 1920 by the first High Commissioner over Lebanon, the General Gouraud, to create Lebanon on the basis of the historic "entente" between Druze and Maronites, namely the area between the Litani river in the south and the Nahr el Bared in the north. The Shia'a Moslems of the south and the Sunni Moslems of the north would return to Syria, with love from Lebanon.

Water under the bridge, you might say, but then all history is so much water under the bridge.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Israel and the Palestinians

Israel removed the Gaza thorn from its side, but the Palestinian problem has not changed in character. The United States refuses to recognise the democratically elected Palestinian Government because Hamas, the dominating factor in this new Government refuses to recognise Israel. We believe that this policy is dictated by the fact that Israel refuses to recognise the Palestinians as a nation. The United States, or rather, President Bush and his sex symbol Condoleezza Rice have never condemned Israel, in word or deed, for its crimes against humanity or for its policy of confiscation and theft of Palestinian territory for the benefit of Polish, Russian or Ethiopian settlers herded as immigrants to Israel, a good many of them, such as the Russians, are not even Jewish. The object of this policy is to pre-empt any improbable future claim by the Palestinians to reclaim their lands and homes. Improbable because neither the Palestinians or for that matter, the Arab world, are likely within the forgeable future to become strong enough to defeat Israel militarily, and even if they were to become strong enough, the United States will rush to the rescue of Israel as it did in 1973, when Sadat's army dislodged the Israeli forces from the Suez Canal area and pushed them back towards Israel. The United States emptied its entire arsenal in Europe of tanks, heavy armour and equipment and air lifted this massive supply of weapons to Israeli forces in Sinai which enable Israel to mount a counter attack and to circumvent the Egyptian forces, ultimately leading to peace between Egypt and Israel.

All this is water under the bridges. In the words of Arthur Koestler to the Wizard over dinner one evening: "let us stop arguing about the rights and wrongs of the case. They are coming and there is nothing you can do to stop them." Koestler was right in his prophetic words.

Right or wrong, the Palestinian problem remains as a festering sore in the body politic of the Near East, and unless a just and equitable solution is found or imposed, the festering sore will continue to poison peace and stability in that part of the world.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Modus Vivendi

A "modus vivendi" appears to have come into being between Lebanon's Hezbollah and the rest of the country, such that the government of Fouad Siniora can devote its full attention to reconstruction, a prodigious feat by any standards.

Elsewhere in Palestine agreement has been reached between Hamas and the PLO for the formation of government of national union, which changes little as far as the rest of the world is concerned for the simple reason that Hamas does not recognise Israel. We may be permitted to ask, why should Hamas recognise a State guilty of crimes against humanity, not to mention the fact that that State has violated every rule of international law and every U.N.Resolution affecting that region of the world, a State which consistently pursues a policy which aims at the annihilation of the Palestinians, both as a people and as a nation.

It is much too late in the day to state that the Palestinians and the Arab world should have recognised Israel as a fact of life as of the date of the U.N Resolution of 1947 to partition Palestine into two states, Jewish and Palestinian, with Jerusalem as an International City. We recall having expressed the view at that time that the United Nations should be transferred from New York to the Holy City. Apart from the moral and religious authority of that City, such a move would have stabilised the whole region and prevented the successive wars hat have taken place. A voice in the wilderness, you might say.

The Arabs, it would seem, never learn. Abdul Nasser in 1967 demanded that the United Nations withdraw its forces stationed in Sinai between Israel and Egypt. No sooner done that the Israeli air force in a preemptive attack, destroyed the entire Egyptian air force on the ground in a matter of four hours. The so called six day war of 1967 should have been labelled that four hours war.

In the same way, Lebanon's national hero Shaeikh Hassan Nasrallah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers, and in so doing exposed Lebanon to the most destructive air attacks in history. That Hezbollah did not, and in fairness could not have anticipated such a response does not change the fact that matters of life and death should be left to the constitutional Government.

The latest in what he described as "the comedy of errors" is the statement emanating from the German government that "the function of its troops" forming part of UNIFIL is to protect the security of Israel and its right to exist, a statement all the more ludicrous, when Israel can take, as it did in the past, all the Arab armies and beat the hell out of them. It could be that that statement was intended to atone for the atrocities of the Hitler Regime, atrocities which contributed significantly to the creation of the State of Israel, if we compare the trickle of Jewish immigrants to Palestine during the twenties with the massive waves of immigrants during the thirties.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Summing up

Now that the Israeli blockade of Lebanon has ended, the country starts to breathe again. Nothing was more eloquent of this new breath than a photograph published in the local press of a fisherman along the tyre Sidon coast with his net full of jumping fish, a rare sight during the war on Lebanon. In addition fifteen thousand elements of the Lebanese Army have completed their deployment of south Lebanon, up to the Israeli frontier in conformity with the terms of U.N.Resolution 1701. Once again we hear the sound of civilian aircraft flying over Beirut to land at the airport; on the face of it, a semblance of normality, we might say.

And yet no. The Lebanese government faces the same issues which led to the war: the Sheba'a farms, the exchange of prisoners and above all Hezbollah. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has made it very clear that Hezbollah has no intention of surrendering their arms, and hence a state within a state. This morning's papers carried a threat by Sheikh Hassan that if pushed further he will reveal scandalous reports regarding the Parliamentary majority led by Saad Hariri, the son of the assassinated former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

The problem lies further in the fact that Iran and Syria, strong supporters of Hezbollah have no intention of abandoning that strong political card in their confrontation against the United Stated. So back to square one.

Last but nor least is the visit expected today of Toni Blair, Britain’s discomfited Prime Minister. As a tourist, he would be welcome, but as Prime Minister, his visit is not welcome, and he should have refrained from adding insult to injury.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bush and Islam

The latest to come out of the demented mind of President Bush is that Sunni as well as Shia'a moslems constitute a grave danger to the of the United States. In the same breath he accuses Iran of being the hot bed of terrorism.

Bush cannot understand, and if he were to understand, he will not admit that his cherished child,Israel, is the source of all the ills that beset the Middle East, and that he, Bush has sponsored, armed, abetted and encouraged the Israeli crimes against humanity in its war on Lebanon, and that Bush, not Al Qaeda, will go down in history as the biggest terrorist of them all. Afghanistan and Iraq, with a million dead, maimed and wounded, are an example of the terrorist policies of President Bush.

What does that ape of a man hope to achieve in his media attacks on Iran and now Islam? What victory is he trying to snatch out of defeat and the bankruptcy of his foreign policy. Israel's Olmert failed to provide him with that victory, and now he calls on Israel to maintain its blockade of Lebanon and at the same time, he blocks a meeting of the Security Council for fear that the Council will condemn the Israeli blockade as an act of war, in violation of U.N.Resolution 1701.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Once again :"What fools these mortals be"

General Aoun and Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, bosom buddies it would seem, have repeatedly demanded a government of national unity, a term which we fail to understand, because as a republic we should be governed by the majority and not by a consortium representing every dick, Tom or Harry. Aoun's demand can be explained by the fact that he cannot bear not to have a finger in the pie, and that his so called "courant" has not turned into a stream. This, however, is not the case with regard to Hassan Nasrallah, whose Hezbollah (Party of God) is represented by three Ministers.

We cannot understand why God should be saddled with the political affairs of Lebanon. Who authorized Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah to designate his party as the party of God, in the same way that the Jews regard themselves as The Chosen People of God ? We doubt that God was ever consulted in the matter. That being the case, is there any good reason why the Wizard of Beirut should not describe himself as the mouthpiece of God, and that his words are inspired from high above?

Amin Gemayel must curse the day when he appointed Genreal Aoun (officier mediocre in the archives of the French Military), as Head of Government three minutes before the end of his Presidential term of office. Amin Gemayel had been hoping till the last minute that Syria would agree to his second term as President. Syria did not, and General Aoun was born. As Head of Government, he found nothing better to do than to alienate Syria and to wage war on the Forces Libanaises, causing more destruction than fifteen years of civil war. We shudder to think what he might do if some day he becomes President, to which he aspires. He might decide to invade Israel.

In the meantime Kofi Annan left Syria, affirming that the Syrian Government would abide by the terms of U.N.Resolution 1701, and in particular paragraph one which stipulates that elements of the multinational military force would be deployed along the Lebanese Syrian frontier, presumably the southern end of it which abuts on Israel. The object of the exercise would be to prevent the flow of arms to Hezbollah, described recently by Sarkozy , a French Presidential candidate, as a terrorist organisation, on the ground that Hezbollah fired missiles on Israel. Sarkozy is either an idiot (so God help France should he ever become President) or an agent of Israel. Sarkozy seems to ignore that Israel spared no one in its air attack on Lebanon, destroying the entire infrastructure of the country, and that a French military contingent is in the process of building temporary bridges to allow the inhabitants to move from one area to the other. To use his own criteria, Israel is nothing but a terrorist state. To quote Shakespeare once again :"What fools these mortals be."

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Rulers and ghosts

Was it Shakespeare who wrote, "The world is but a stage, and we are all actors"? It certainly was not the Wizard who coined this phrase The Wizard is anything but a plagiarist. Having made this pithy remark, let us examine the characters who determine our lives on the stage of the Middle East. Lebanon concerns us most.

We have Emile Lahoud, the President of the Lebanese Republic, as consumate an actor as they come, especially when he starts delivering homilies on nationalism, resistance, solidarity and loyalty. Other than loyalty to Syria which had out hum on the Presidential chair, we doubt whether he understands the true meaning of the terms he uses. Where would he have learnt them; not as Admiral of the one patrol boat which Lebanon owns. To his credit, he seems to have a good tailor.

We have Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, a battling cock and an expert helmsman, judging from the way he has navigated Lebanon through the worst crisis of its existence. One question comes up, again and again : why is it that over the past sixty years of independence, no one has seen fit to train and equip the Lebanese army with modern arms and equipment ?

On the Lebanese stage, we should not forget Nabih Berri, the Speaker of the House, who has been able with machiavilian dexterity, to manouver himsel into a fourth term in office, a remarkable feat in the annals of democratic Government. He is referred to as "al Istaz" with emphasis on the first two letter letters "Is" of his name. This term means lawyer or teacher. One or the other, he has shown himself to be a master of the game. Before we get to the recent leading actor, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, we must stop at Mukhtara, the 19th century residence of Walid Jumblatt. With his beak of a nose, his white dome of a head, framed between two thatches of matty hair, he resembles a species of the avian world. As leader of the esoteric Druze community, he rules over a large area of Mount Lebanon, where his word is law. He has made no secret of his opposition and contempt for the Syrian Regime of Bashar el Assad and his Alawite cronies, all members of a hermitical sect of Islam who seized and have remained in power in Syria for the past thirty years. He has branded the Regime as assassins, and for cause, having assassinated his father Kamal Bey, not to mention other assassinations attributed to their agents.

And last, but not least, we come to Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Shia formation, "Hizbullah" [Hezbollah] (Party of God), a formation with deep roots in south Lebanon. Its military wing, referred to as "Al Muqawama' surprised Israel and the world with its dogged and successful resistance to the Israeli war on Lebanon, such that apart from a few points along the frontier, Israel has made no headway into Lebanon, despite its awesome air power, which destroyed south Lebanon and the southern outskirts of Beirut, reducing both to rubble and perpetrating several massacres of women, babies and children; such that Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah declared that had he suspected Israel's response to the kidnapping of two soldiers, he would not have had them kidnapped; a bit late in the day perhaps to make such a statement. There is little point in crying over spilt milk, in this case, thousands of dead and wounded and the destruction of the entire infrastructure of a whole country. Equally his words prompted Israel' Olmert to claim victory on his recent tour of south Israel.

The Lebanese drama, of which the above mentioned persons have been the principal actors, is unfortunately repetitive, in that is has been played six or seven times over the last fory years. We have grown weary of it the time has come to move to a second stage, Syria, for example.

The principal actor who occupies the center stage is Bashar el Assad, who has mastered his role of vilification and venomous hatred to perfection. He strangely resembles an Okapi, with his tall neck and small head, in every sense of the term. He would get a better hearing if he were to vary his role from time to time, and instead of making war by proxy, if he were to take some measures to liberate his Golan, occupied and colonised by Israel sine 1967, other than fighting till the last Palestinian and the last Lebanese. What is highly entertaining is Bashar's Foreign Minister, Al Muallem (also means teacher), who resembles a midget Oliver Hardy and acts like one. To tell the truth the actors on the Syrian stage are highly boring and a change of cast and scene are in order.

Moving across the Jordanian frontier, we meet the young King Abdallah II, a Hashemite descendent of the Prophet Mohammed, with a touch of English blood in his veins, more than a touch, since his mother was English, which might explain his calm and youthful dignity, two qualities generally lacking in the bombastic Arab world. He seems unpurturbed that his throne sits on he moving sand of a Palestinian majority.

Across the frontier into Israel, we have the Olmerts, the Netanyahus, the Baraks and the Perez, moving on the stage with dazed steps and debating whether to nominate or not to nominate a committee of inquiry to determine what went wrong in the war on Lebanon, and why in Milton's words, "Lucifer fell in all his glory."

A long way from Israel lies Iraq, embroiled in civil war, an example of the Bush American new vision for the Middle East. We pray God hat we are spared the vision of that demented character, George W. Bush.

Egypt, on the other hand is a different kettle of fish. A jovial Husni Mubarak has ruled over a docile population for more time than we can remember and he is currently busy preparing his son to take over when his time has come; a monarchy in different clothes, but more absolute than King Farouk ever was. A pariah in the Arab world, since his assassinated predecessor Sadat paid his famous visit to Israel, Mubarak's Egypt plays a leading role in the politics of the Middle East.

Equally important is of course the royal family of Saudi Arabia. Descendents of zealot warriors who threw the Hashemites out of Mecca and Medina, King Ibn Saud, the founder of the dynasty cemented the country through hundreds of marriages followed by divorces and remarriages for his ex-wives. What a sexual athlete he must have been.

The Sheikhs of the United Arab Emirates, the Emir ot Qatar, and the King of Bahrein have succeeded in transforming their desert realms, thanks to oil and services, into havens of peace and prosperity. Dubai is a prime example of what an enterprising Sheikh Mohammed can achieve to transform the city of Dubai into a world center, with impeccable town planning and architecture

Here we come to the end of our scenario. It is time to draw the curtain.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A journey into history

It is a little known fact that the Jewish community as a whole was pro-German during World War I, in the hope that a German victory would liberate the pale settlements (ghettos) in Poland and Russia. On the battlefields, the Allied forces were faring badly and The United States had not entered the war.

At that crucial moment, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, a noted British scientist who had rendered valuable services to Britain in the chemical field was able to prevail upon Lord Balfour, then Foreign Secretary, that a Declaration promising a Jewish national home in Palestine would serve to sway the sympathies of the Jewish community in the United States in favour of the Allies and hasten the entry of the United States into the war. Lord Balfour accepted the validity of that argument and in November, 1917, he made his famous Declaration, on the basis of which the world Zionist Organisation was able to create the State of Israel. Soon after the Declaration was made, United States troops were fighting on the battlefields of Europe which eventually led to the victory of the Allies over Germany.

Prior to the Declaration which also served to introduce venomous poison into the political body of the Near East, British and French Ambassadors Sykes and Picot, were huddled together at Masabni Hotel at Chtaura in Lebanon's Beka'a valley, negotiating the distribution of the Turkish spoils in the Arab World. Ambassador Picot related the following amusing anecdote, that following heated arguments over the chunks of territory to be taken over by Britain and France, the two ambassadors decided to take a break, which they spent shooting in the Beka'a valley. They returned to their task, mush refreshed, and both agreed that all disputed items would be settled by a toss of the coin, and in that way, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and Transjordan came into being, on a toss of the coin.

The Sykes Picot Agreement of 1916 and the Balfour Declaration of 1917, virtually annulled all the promises of independence which Britain's Representative in Cairo, The Count of Mac-Mahon, had made to Shariff Hussein of Saudi Arabia to revolt against the Turks and to join forces with Britain.

Under the Sykes Picot Agreement, Syria and Lebanon. were to go to France, while Iraq, Palestine and Transjordan were to go to Britain, under Mandates from the League of Nations. Needless to say, the wishes of the local populations were not to be taken into consideration.

The first British High Commissioner over Palestine was Sir Herbert Samuel, a British Zionist Jew whose principal priority was to facilitate Jewish immigration to Palestine. For the record, the total Jewish population in Palestine at that time did not exceed eighty thousand, spread in small communities in Acre, Safad, Tiberius and Jerusalem, and in two British financed settlements. As was to be expected, the Palestinian population rose, again and again, against an immigration and settlement policy which threatened their future, culminating finally in the 1926-1939 revolt, in the course of which ten thousand Palestinians were killed by the British army. As a result of this revolt, Britain convened the Arab countries to a Conference in London, and in due course Britain issued the White Paper of 1939, which put a ceiling on Jewish immigration and prohibited land sales in rural areas.

Britain thus became the enemy, and no sooner had World War II ended that the Jewish terrorist organisations, namely the Stern Gang and the Irgun Zvai Leumi, aided and abetted by the Haganah launched their campaign of terror against the British administration in Palestine, to force Britain to withdraw from that country, in the knowledge that the Palestinians could be dealt with at a later stage. They were successful in their campaign of terror, and in due course Britain, exhausted and penniless following World War II decided to end its Mandate and to refer the whole problem back to the United Nations. Following the Anglo-American commission and the United Nations Special commission on Palestine, the United Nations adopted a Resolution to partition Palestine into a Jewish and a Palestinian State with Jerusalem and environs and a corridor down to Jaffa, as an international zone to be administered by the United Nations.

Following this Resolution, Britain announced that it would abandon Palestine to its destiny on May 15th, 1948. Needless to say, the Palestinians and the so called Arab World, an anachronism still living in the 15th Century, rejected that U.N. Partition Resolution, and prepared to invade Palestine. In the meantime, and by April of 1948, Jewish forces had occupied the whole of Galilee, up to the Syrian frontiers, whose forces had been thrown back to Syria, with hardly any resistance. The so called Army of Liberation, a collection of riffraff and army deserters under the command of a swash buckling adventurer, Fawzi Kauwkji, spent more time pillaging than resisting the enemy. Egypt, against the will of its Prime Minister Nokrashi Pasha, but in deference to the wishes of King Farouk, sent a regiment into Palestine. It followed the coastal road, which was still in Arab hands, and made no attempt to occupy any of the settlements in the Beersheba desert. Those settlements were, at a later stage, to play a crucial role in cutting Egyptian lines and in permitting an Israeli victory which sent the Egyptian army reeling back to Egypt. The Syrian army was back in Syria licking its wounds. Husni Zaim, an army officer, engineered the first of successive coups d'état ending with Hafez el Assad, and the Alawite dictatorial rule of Syria, to this very day. The Syrian Coup d'état set the scene for other changes of Regimes. In Egypt, King Farouk was eased out to be replaced by Jamal Abdul Nasser. The Hashemite monarchy of Iraq was in due course to be overthrown. Abdul Nasser, the hero of the Arab World came from a modest background, and his education must have been minimal. What else can explain the fact that he tried to invade and conquer Yemen when the Ottoman Empire had failed to do so. Abdul Nasser imagined that by invading Yemen, he would control the Sraits of Ormuz, and the flow of oil to the western world. In his ignorance, he imagined that the western world would tolerate to have its essential blood line of oil controlled by Abdul Nasser. Worse still, he allowed himself to be pushed by Syria and other Arab nationalists into the 1967 war with Israel, the end result of which were catastrophic for the Arab world. And this is where we are today.

So what next? U.N. Resolution 1701 has provided breathing space for the belligerents. The problems which gave rise a very destructive and inhumane war have remained. The exchange of prisoners has not taken place. Sheba'a farms is the object of disputes between Israel, Lebanon and Syria, and Hizbullah, following its heroic resistance to the Israeli invasion, has emerged stronger than ever, a state within a state.

The Lebanese army, ill equipped and ill trained as it is, has been deployed in south Lebanon, but has been refused access to the frontier by the Israeli army, until such time as the multinational forces have been deployed along the frontier between Lebanon and Israel. In the meantime Israel continues to violate the terms of U.N. Resolution 1701, by imposing a total air, land and sea blockade of Lebanon, such that it is difficult to conceive of reconstruction, when five ships, for example, loaded with fuel are refused access to the Lebanese coast by Israel. Bush, of course has not uttered a word of condemnation. In the simian eyes of Bush, Israel can do no wrong.

And so, where do we go from here?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Walid Jumblatt and Hassan Nasrallah

In his televised address on Thursday 17th August, Walid Jumblat put his finger on the core of the problem facing Lebanon and its people, namely, that any decision affecting the destiny of the nation, be it war or peace, should be and remain the exclusive prerogative of the State, represented by its democratically elected institutions, i.e. the Council of Ministers and the House of Deputies, and that no such decision should be taken by any one group, specifically Hizbullah. He stressed the fact that Lebanon should not be a pawn in the geopolitical interests of Iran and Syria, in their confrontation with the United States. Both Jumblatt and Saad Hariri, the leader of the Parliamentary majority, also in a televised address, strongly criticised Syia and its President Bashar el Assad, whose speech a few days ago was designed, primarily, to sow the seeds of discord in Lebanon and to foment confessional differences, leading possibly to civil war.

Nothing would please Syria more than to see civil war in Lebanon. The hate and venom that the leader of that heretical sect, the Alawites, bears towards Lebanon and its leaders because Syria was kicked out of Lebanon, is unique in the annals of history.

Be that as it may, the fact remains, as stressed by Walid Jumblatt, that the democratically elected Government of Lebanon and its constitutional institutions should have and exercise exclusive responsibility and authority over the destinies of that battered country.

We may ask ourselves whether Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah and his Party whose victory over Israel have enhanced their prestige, will agree to fuse his Party within the institutions of the State. If so, Lebanon will be rebuilt and prosper. If not, we fear the worst.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

U.N. Resolution 1701 : false hopes

At a press conference on 15th August 2006, President Bush congratulated himself on U.N. Resolution 1701 and proceeded to deliver his usual litany of lies:

1.That Israel's war on Lebanon was part of the global American war on terrorism. To President Bush, pregnant women, babies and children are terrorists.

2. That Israel emerged victorious, notwithstanding the fact that Israel failed to occupy more than a few meters of Lebanon, despite the hundreds of tons of the most lethal bombs of American manufacture which had been dropped, destroying the whole of south Lebanon, the southern outskirts of Beirut and other areas in he Beka'a and north Lebanon. There is no need to labour the repeated massacres of innocent civilians. They have been reported in the press, even though Bush acts as if they never happened. Bush who had urged, abetted and gambled on an Israeli walkover in Lebanon, must feel ridiculous and stupid that his privileged Israeli allies failed to score any significant victory.

It may have escaped the citizens of the United States that their President is ignorant, stupid beyond belief and a liar. He went to Iraq on the pretext of weapons of mass destruction, which never existed. In the meantime, he has succeeded in destroying Iraq as a country. He never told his citizens that his reason for going to Iraq was to pre-empt any possible union between Iraq and Syria which might have posed a threat to the security of Israel, nor did he tell them that his Zionist cronies at the White House, including his Vice President Cheyney had made plans as early as 1998 for the invasion of Iraq.

He never told his citizens that his war on Lebanon was intended to destroy Hezbollah, an ally of Iran, as part of his undeclared war on that country. He has claimed victory when Hezbollah has emerged from the war, stronger than ever, and in no way disposed to lay down its arms. In a televised address on Tuesday 13th August, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah insisted that the Lebanese Government and its army were not, as yet, strong enough to defend Lebanon against its enemies; specifically for the moment Israel, which brings us to U.N. Resolution 1701, which stipulated the cessation of military operations, which as of 8 a.m. on Monday 14th August, has been respected by both sides. The principle positive aspect of that Resolution is that it has enabled one million displaced persons to take the road back to their shattered homes and villages. It has been most extraordinary how quickly the inhabitants of south Lebanon started to return as of 8 a.m. on Monday 14th August, despite the fact that all bridges and main roads have been destroyed, and that temporary bridges had to be improvised to allow the inhabitants to reach their shattered villages. They showed great courage throughout a whole month of the most destructive war that the world has seen since World War II.

While the exchange of bombs and missiles has for the moment stopped, the main issues remain unresolved. These issues include the exchange of prisoners and the problem of the Sheba'a farms. The principal snag is the behaviour of Syria, which has declared verbally that the Sheba'a farms belong to Lebanon, at the same time refusing to sign any document or map to that effect. On the contrary Syria does not miss any opportunity to insult Lebanon and its Government. In a televised speech yesterday, Bashar El Assad, Sryia's President, went beyond the pale in heaping insult upon Lebanon, treating its Government as being subservient to Israel. The audacity of that man is mind boggling. He makes all those declarations, when Syria has not fired a shot to liberate the Golan, which for nearly fourty years has been occupied and colonised by Israel. He never opened his mouth when Israeli phantoms buzzed his residence at Lattakieh. In point of fact, we are entitled to ask ourselves whether he has not been a silent ally of Israel in destroying Lebanon over the heads of its inhabitants, as he had vowed when his army was kicked out a year ago.

A Palestinian commentator, in a televised broadcast on Thursday 13th August stated that the Syrian Regime will fight to the last Palestinian and the last Lebanese to liberate the Golan. What more can we say?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Golf Club of Lebanon

To the foreign members of the Golf Club of Lebanon, who have been evacuated back to their respective countries, the Wizard of Beirut is pleased to report that the golf course at Ouzai, in the southern suburb of Beirut, is in prime condition. It has not been targeted, so far, by the Israeli aviation. The greens and tees are regularly mowed, and the course is watered in sufficient quantities to maintain the green colour of the course. It is a pity that the current American and French Ambassadors do not play golf. We could have arranged an interesting and exciting match between them. In any event, Mustafa the pro and Ali Hammoud the champion, are both there and they would be delighted to introduce both Ambassadors into the intricacies of that obsessive sport.

An amusing anecdote, which bears recounting, took place on 6th June 1982, the date of the previous Israeli invasion of Lebanon. I was playing a round with the newly arrived Italian Ambassador. Arriving on the ninth green, the Ambassador was furthest from the hole and as he was about to putt, a flight of five Israeli phantoms flew overhead, at such a low altitude that we could see the heads of the pilots. The Ambassador turned green and froze over his putt. I told him that under the rules, he was not allowed to leave the green before finishing his putt. For our part we were used to flights of phantoms over the course to bomb the Palestinian refugee camps in the vicinity of the Club. Visibly shaken, but noblesse oblige, the Ambassador returned to his putt, when a second and a third flight of phantoms passed overhead. That was the beginning of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982.

Nothing has changed since then. Flights of phantoms and bombers, by courtesy of the American Government, have been, for the past month, razing south and north Lebanon and the outskirts of Beirut to the ground. So what is new? We know that Bush plays golf, but we do not know whether Blair does. In any event, they are both cordially invited to play a round at the Beirut Golf Club. Bush can ensure that no flights of phantoms will disturb their play. For our part we can promise that Hezbollah combatants will not shoot them down nor take them as distinguished hostages, to be displayed at the Beirut National Museum as examples of homo sapiens of the stone age.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Nothing new ...

The Israeli Cabinet has adopted a decision to expand and intensify its war on Lebanon, if only to score a tangible land victory for the benefit of Israeli public opinion on the one hand and to satisfy President Bush who believes that an Israeli land victory will advance his distorted plan for a new Middle East, of which Iraq is but one example.

We admit that an advance into Lebanon by the Israeli army is not beyond the capacity of the Israeli military establishment. It will undoubtedly be costly for both sides, and particularly for Israel, if yesterday's fierce combats and the losses, in men and armour , that Israel suffered are any indication. On the assumption that Israel does reach the Litani, what then? With Lebanese combatants snapping at their heels, day and night, can Israel sustain a lengthy occupation? Will public opinion in Israel accept the daily blood letting of the army? It would seem doubtful. Unfortunately we have a moronic President in the United States who continues to urge and support Israel's savage and brutal war on Lebanon.

Two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped, a gratuitous act, but nothing unusual within the contest of the daily kidnapping by Israel of Palestinian leaders. Neither Bush nor his lackey Blair ever expressed indignation or any reaction against any such action taken by Israel. Bush and Blair have branded Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist organisations; Blair forgets that Jewish terrorism against Britain created Israel, and sent any army of one hundred thousand men packing out of Palestine. If Bush and Blair were to pay a visit to the Citadel in the city of Acre, they would find that that citadel has been dedicated to "freedom fighters", former terrorists who had committed heinous crimes against humanity such as the massacre of Deir Yassin and other similar massacres intended, according to Begin in his memoirs, to sow panic in the Palestinian hinterland and give rise to the exodus and to he Palestinian refugee problem which continues to bedevil the Middle East.

We must be grateful to Messrs Bush and Blair for their kind thoughts and actions …

Monday, August 07, 2006

Sheba’a farms

The third Caliph after the Prophet Mohammed in the seventh century A.D. was assassinated. His shirt, sodden with blood, became a symbol for martyrism.

Today the Sheba'a farms, a small Lebanese hamlet, still under Israeli occupation has become the Lebanese symbol for martyrism. The hamlet, although Lebanese, had been administered by Syria, and continues to be regarded by the United Nations as part of Syria, and as such it is not covered by United Nations Resolution 425 which called for the total withdrawal of Israel from Lebanon. So far Syria has refused to establish formal documentation with Lebanon to the satisfaction of the United Nations that the hamlet is in fact Lebanese, and as such, that it is covered by the Resolution referred to above; not that Israel has paid much attention to U.N. Resolutions in the past. The American veto was always there to protect it from sanctions.

On an official visit to Lebanon, the first of its kind since the evacuation of the Syrian army, Walid el Muallem, Syria's Foreign Minister, declared officially that the Sheba's farms belonged to Lebanon. Whether his declaration will be formalised in a manner to satisfy the United Nations is one crucial question, and the other, will Israel withdraw from that disputed hamlet is the second question. If not, Hezbollah combatants will continue to have a valid reason to fight Israel, and Israel will continue to have an alibi to destroy what is left of Lebanon, in the knowledge that Lebanon has no defence against Israel's air strikes.

On the ground, however, Israel has made little progress, at best a few meters, here and there, not withstanding yesterday's fierce combats, which resulted in a record of dead and wounded on both sides. And again we were awakened in the early hours of this morning by the Israeli bombing of the southern outskirts of Beirut.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Walid Jumblatt

The Lebanese Druze leader, Walid Jumblatt, in a televised broadcast, accused Iran and Syria to be behind the initiative of Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah in kidnapping the two Israeli soldiers, thereby providing Israel with an alibi to destroy Lebanon, once again, if only to avenge its earlier defeat and evacuation of Lebanon, at the hands of Hezbollah combatants. We know that Walid Jumblatt has no love for the Syrians, who had assassinated his father, Kamal, because of his adamant refusal to submit to a Syrian dictate. As for Iran, the meeting which took place between the French and Iranian Foreign Ministers at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut is but one indication of the complicity of Iran in the war on Lebanon. The objective of Iran is to divert the attention of the world away from its uranium enrichment programme. Syria, on the other hand would like nothing better than to see Lebanon destroyed over the heads of its inhabitants, as the head of the Regime, Bashar el Assad had vowed to do.

Undoubtedly, Walid Jumblatt is courting assassination; and thus all the greater merit for his statements.

Having said all this, we may be permitted to ask, what does Israel hope to achieve in its war on Lebanon, other than to please that asshole in the White House? Does Israel expect to destroy Hezbollah? Or does it expect to occupy with impunity the territory between its frontiers and the Litani river? It tried it before and failed. In military terms it can be able to reach the Litani, and then what? This is the question that every Israeli should ask himself.

What is lamentable is that Syria which has not fired a shot on the territory occupied by Israel in the Golan, aids and abets Hezbollah to fight Syria's war in Lebanon, and of course Lebanon pays the price. Will Syria fight to the last Lebanese and to the last Palestinian to retrieve its Golan?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Qana Massacre

This is the second massacre perpetrated by Israel in Qana village, with sixty villagers, mainly women, babies and children crushed by tons of Israeli bombs. There were few men among the casualties, which fully contradicts Israeli claims that Hezbollah combatants hide behind civilians. The first massacre in 1996 resulted in the death of one hundred innocent civilians, mainly women and children who had taken refuge in a U.N. centre established in that village. The casualties had wrongly imagined that the United Nations flag would protect them from Israeli shelling.

What does Israel hope to achieve in slaughtering babies, other than the repugnance of all civilised human beings?

Equally repugnant are those Arab regimes like Saudi Arabia, who watch with exultant eyes the massacre of Shia Moslems in Lebanon and Iraq, in the hope that this will weaken the resolve of Iran to have a word in the affairs of the region, and further to discourage Shia minorities (one million in Saudi Arabia), Bahrain, Qatar etc. from rising against their Sunni rulers.

Iran, pragmatic as it has shown itself to be, has not shown territorial ambitions, not even in Iraq, where the majority of the population is Shia and not Sunni Moslems. On the other hand we are entitled to ask what are the Americans and their British lackeys doing in Iraq, and why did they invade that country? To dispose of one man, Saddam Hussein, and in so doing to create civil war and anarchy, as part of Bush's distorted vision of a new Middle East?

Syria, one of the so called targets of the American initiative has remained quiescent throughout the destructive wars in Iraq and Lebanon. It has everything to gain and nothing to lose in remaining aside. When the Syrian army was forced to evacuate Lebanon, Bashar El-Assad of Syria vowed to destroy Lebanon over the heads of its inhabitants. Israel is doing it for him, and consequently he and his Ba'ath party cannot feel sorry for what is happening in Lebanon..

We talk of an Arab World, and we have an Arab League. The truth, however, lies in the fact that the majority of that world are illiterate vestiges of the Middle Ages.

Lebanon enjoys the highest rate of literacy in the Arab world, but this has not prevented its politicians from squabbling for petty reasons or from milking the fat cow for their own personal benefit.

Today, the war has united Lebanon as never before, and the whole nation including Hezbollah stands firmly behind Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and the Speaker of the House of Deputies, Nabih Berri.

To allay the fears of a large section of the Lebanese population of the outcome of a Hezbollah victory against the Israeli invasion, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, in a televised broadcast two days ago stated that a Hezbollah victory would represent the victory of the entire Lebanese nation, Christians and Moslems, and that Lebanon has nothing to fear from Hezbollah.

Consequently Prime Minister Siniora, who has shown considerable courage and wisdom in dealing with the situation, stands today stronger than ever with the entire nation behind him.

The United States and Israel have miscalculated badly, in that they wrongly assumed that the destruction of Lebanon would split the nation on a confessional basis. This has not happened.

If the United States, as expressed by Condoleezza Rice, wants a global and permanent solution to the problem between Lebanon, Syria and Israel, then the United States should exert pressure on Israel to enter into meaningful negotiations and not simply to impose impossible conditions.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Crimes against Humanity

The cynical and gratuitous brutality of the American Israel war machine knows no parallel in history. Last night's attack on Qana village in South Lebanon while Condoleezza Rice was drinking Champagne with Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem resulted in the deaths of over 30 babies, children and their mothers. This raid is a case in point. What does the Rice woman have to say and was that air strike a prelude to her proposed visit to Lebanon, a message to say that unless Lebanon submits to the impossible conditions imposed by the United States and Israel, the strike on Qana will be repeated on other villages.

We can assure the Rice woman that her conditions will be rejected and not only rejected but that she herself is not welcome in Lebanon. We have just been advised that her visit in Lebanon has been cancelled and that she herself will not be received by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora nor by Speaker Nabih Berri. And how right they are! Why should they receive that woman when her master has just sent a batch of 500 of the latest in American rockets to Israel?

As of 1967, this is the 7th war that Israel has waged on Lebanon, with no apparent benefit to Israel and no victory. We said it before and we will repeat : Israel cannot win its war on Lebanon unless it throws its whole army into the battle and suffers the casualties that would result. And even if it were to win such a war, can Israel sustain a lengthy occupation of Lebanon?

Having said that, we believe that President Bush should be tried by an International Tribunal for Crimes against Humanity. The trial of Saddam Hussein is a mockery when compared with the butchery which is taking place in Lebanon.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Thirst for Blood

The American dictat over the Rome conference prevailed and the demand for an immediate cease fire was scuttled. In other words Israel was given the American green light to wreak more destruction and death. The Americans’ thirst for Palestinian and Lebanese blood does not seem to have any limit.

The psychiatric vision of President Bush for a new Middle East (on the Iraqi pattern) clearly indicates that Bush is in urgent need of mental treatment. That a simian moron like Bush should reach the pinnacle of power in the United States clearly indicates that there is something wrong with the American political system. That, however, is a problem for the American people to deal with.

For us in Lebanon we see the end result of that American vision; several hundred killed, a bigger number wounded, the destruction of south Lebanon and some eight hundred thousand refugees on the roads in south and north Lebanon seeking food, medical help and shelter, while the battle continues between Hezbollah guerrilla combatants and the Israeli army with its array of tanks and armour and massive air support at Bint Jbeil. Reports from Hezbollah sources indicate that twenty Israeli soldiers were killed and a larger figure wounded. Once again, the vaunted Israeli army is bogged down in the morass of south Lebanon and has not been able so far to move further north into Lebanon, or to score a significant land victory.

We have been advised that Condoleezza Rice is returning to the Middle East. We wonder to what end? If it is to reiterate American Israeli demands, she need not take the trouble to come back. Once again those demands would be rejected. The latest census in Lebanon indicates that 87% of the Lebanese people support Hezbollah.

It occurred to me that a possible solution for the problem would be for Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah to marry Condoleezza Rice, with President Bush as best man.

What a couple they would make.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

From America with Love

Condoleezza Rice came and left with nothing to show for her visit other than to grant Israel further time to complete the total destruction of Lebanon.

In her meetings with Prime Minister Siniora and Speaker Nabih Berri, she simply reiterated Israeli demands which were rejected out of hand. On the other hand Berri indicated that Lebanon was prepared to consider an exchange of prisoners through the agency of a third party.

Without American support and encouragement it is doubtful that Israel would have waged such a vicious war on Lebanon. The object of the exercise, according to Bush and Condoleezza Rice, is to isolate Iran and Syria and to change the status quo in the Middle East. If Afghanistan and Iraq are an example of the new Middle East era, it would seem doubtful that the Arab world welcome the American initiative.

On the ground, Israel claims to have occupied two villages on the Lebanese frontier, Maroun el Ras and Bint Jbeil. If true, this would represent an insignificant land victory, when we consider the nature and volume of the armament which Israel has thrown into the battle, including air strikes on a scale not seen since World War II. It is to be noted that the bombs which are turning south Lebanon and the southern outskirts of Beirut are all marked "From America with love."

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Beirut Diary - July 22nd

I happen to live in a residential quarter in Ras Beirut which has been spared so far Israeli air strikes. My next door neighbour is Nabih Berri, the Shia speaker of the House of Deputies, and a close ally of Hezbollah. There are only three families still living in our building of nine floors. All the others have gone up to the mountains for greater security. I don't propose to follow them.

Yesterday morning I decided to visit he municipal garden of Ras Beirut where a few hundred refugees from the shattered southern outskirts of the city have found refuge. They live in the open air, some with mattresses, but the majority without. Fortunately there is an ample supply of water, but no toilet facilities other than a narrow slit in a corner of the garden. I heard no complaints, other than a few whimpers from babies and young children. They all seemed resigned to their fate, and not an injurious word against Hezbollah whose kidnapping of the two Israeli soldiers had brought them to their miserable fate.

The situation in south Lebanon is much worse. Some four hundred thousand refugees have had to leave their shattered homes to escape air strikes and to seek food and shelter elsewhere.

Let us not kid ourselves. The kidnapping of two soldiers has very little to do with savage war that Israel has waged on Lebanon. It was simply an excuse for the invasion for which Israel has been preparing for sometime. The United States has stood firmly behind Israel in its war against Lebanon in the mistaken hope that victory over Hezbollah would weaken Syria and Iran, and in he words of Condoleeza Rice, could prove to be the birth pangs of a new Middle East. If Iraq is an example of this new Middle East, thank you very much Condoleeza. We would be glad to make you a wedding present of that new Middle East, if we can find the right man for you.

Air strikes will not, we repeat, will not solve the issue. Israel must score victory on the ground which so far it has failed to do. The resistance of Hezbollah combatants has prevented Israeli armour from advancing into Lebanon, despite continuous air strikes.

The problem which Rice and her Simian boss have failed to understand is that Hezbollah is part and parcel of the population of south Lebanon, and cannot, but for a few leaders, be identified as such, and that to dispose of the menace which Hezbollah represents, the entire population of south Lebanon will have to be uprooted and pushed some thirty kilometres north of the frontier. It would seem more logical for Israel, instead of uprooting a whole population, to accept the exchange of prisoners and the restitution of Lebanese territory which is still occupied by Israel. Then and only then would Hezbollah have no further reason to exist, and Hezbollah would have no alternative but to surrender their arms to the Lebanese Government.

The Shit and the Fart

In an idle exchange of conversation through microphones between George W. Bush and Tony Blair in a recent conference, the word "shit" was heard. It could only have emanated from the President of the United States where the word shit is often used. This would indicate that Americans appear to be deeply concerned with their abdominal functions. On the other hand, Tony Blair and his compatriots normally fart, and it was for that reason that jackets with two side vents were invented, it was to allow gentlemen to fart with greater ease against well stoked fire places. A case in point, I had been invited years and years ago to lunch in Jerusalem by Lord Runciman, a well known writer and historian, in an old stone house where he lived. Following an acceptable lunch and some good wine, Lord Runciman stood with his back to a fireplace which happened to be there, and with his hands through the side vents he raised the back of his jacket and produced three huge farts, and with a benign smile he said: I always fart after lunch. And thus, President Bush shits and Prime Minister Blair farts, but where does Condoleezza Rice fit in all this? She must have a tough time shaping the policies of the world between one Shit and one Fart. This could explain the war in Iraq and the messing up of the whole Middle East, including the destruction of Lebanon.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Tony Blair

I listened to Prime Minister Tony Blair addressing his fellow members in Parliament in very vehement tones and gestures, demanding the immediate release of the two kidnapped Israeli soldiers and branding Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation.

Tony Blair seems to have forgotten that but for Jewish terrorism, Israel itself would not have come into being. Has he forgotten that the Stern Gang and Mr. Begin’s Irgun Zvai Leumi blew up the southern wing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem which housed the upper echelons of the British Army and the Palestine administration, killing and wounding over 140 high ranking officials and army officers? Has Tony Blair forgotten the blowing up of the Officers’ Club in Jerusalem during the same year namely 1947, killing over 30 British Army officers? Has Tony Blair forgotten that a British Army patrol came upon two kidnapped British soldiers swinging from the branches of a tree in a small wood, and that when the patrol tried to bring down the bodies they exploded killing the patrol? The bodies of the hung soldiers had been stacked with explosives. Has Tony Blair forgotten that with an army of one hundred thousand men in Palestine, Britain ran away like rats from a sinking vessel and left Palestine to its miserable fate on May 15th, 1948 instead of implementing the UN decision to partition Palestine? Has Tony Blair forgotten that without Britain’s Balfour Declaration and the bayonets of the British Army, there would not have been an Israel? Has Tony Blair forgotten that ten thousand Palestinian combatants were killed during the 1936 - 1939 uprising?

There is little point in going back into history. Britain’s irresponsible policy will continue to poison the Middle East for decades to come.

We do not expect any apologies from Tony Blair for Britain’s crimes against the Palestinians, which are in the process of being systematically destroyed today by Israel. We do expect him however to be less vehement in his condemnations of Hamas and Hezbollah and to show a little more consideration for the thousands of Lebanese and Palestinian dead and wounded, and for the destruction which has been reeked upon Lebanon.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Beirut Diary - July 18th

Not a ray of hope on the horizon that the situation will improve in the near future. Both sides, Israel and Hezbollah, refuse to modify their respective positions, such that Israel continues to bomb various areas in the country and Hezbollah continues to launch rockets across the frontier hitting several cities in north Israel. The Lebanese Government continues to meet in futile session after another. On the ground, all main and some minor bridges have been destroyed, such that motor transport in south Lebanon has virtually stopped. Wave after wave of villagers, whose homes have been destroyed, are on their way, on foot, to the nearest refuge, mainly in the mountains. During seventeen years of civil war, the situation was not as bad as it is today.

On the political front, we have not heard the voice of General Aoun, nor of his famous pact with Hezbollah. The man is undoubtedly a psychiatric case, at best "un officier mediocre" as his official military record shows.

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is hidden somewhere. He appeared on television yesterday, exhorting the Lebanese people to stand firm and asserting that Israel was in for more surprises that it had ever anticipated. His rockets continue to fly across the frontier into Israel.

The U.N. envoys came and have gone to Israel. They had nothing to say except that Hezbollah should release the two kidnapped Israeli soldiers, a request which fell on the deaf ears of Hezbollah.

But what of the future ? More air raids, more casualties, more destruction will not resolve the issue. Only an exchange of prisoners can, and in the long run, a substantial multi national military force on the frontier between Israel and Lebanon.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Beirut Diary - July 17th

It was reasonably quiet in Beirut this morning, until a few minutes ago, when two bombs landed somewhere. The Beirut port was bombed again during the night, and of course the southern outskirts of the city received their daily dose of bombs and missiles. And as yet, no sign that this war will end soon. Israel insists that the two kidnapped soldiers be released unconditionally and that Hezbollah combatants distance themselves a few kilometres away from the frontier. Both conditions have been rejected by Hezbollah.

The attack last night on a military barracks near Tripoli resulted in a toll of nine soldiers killed and many others wounded. This is the first direct attack against the Lebanese army. It is rumoured that this attack was motivated by the belief that Hezbollah had received logistical support from the Lebanese army in targeting and hitting an Israeli warship a few days ago. True or false, the nine soldiers are dead. And so it goes in the merry go round of war, death and destruction.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Beirut Diary - July 16th

Never a dull moment in Beirut these days. Since midnight till the early hours of the morning Israeli planes hovered over Beirut, dropping a bomb here or firing a missile there, mostly on the southern outskirts of the City, the headquarters of Hezbollah. The main offices of Hezbollah, a building of nine floors was laid waste in yesterday's bombing. The charismatic but megalomaniac leader of Hezbollah, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah was heard yesterday over the air exhorting the Lebanese people to stand firm in defence of their country, honour and "dignity". As I write this diary I hear bombs dropping somewhere. Are two Israeli soldiers, one of whom is a Druze worth the honour and dignity of which Hassan Nasrallah speaks?

I escaped one airstrike yesterday when I went for my morning swim at the Bain Militaire, a military club with swimming and other facilities. The club lies on the sea front, almost adjoining the lighthouse which was bombed yesterday afternoon and rendered inoperative. The club suffered minor damage. I am not foolhardy enough to return today. I just heard two very big bangs, and fortunately I am not in the pool of the Bain Militaire, but at home writing those few lines. One more bang...all to no point and to no purpose, other than to oblige the Lebanese Government to take action against Hezbollah. Unfortunately the Lebanese army is not sufficiently well equipped to deal with Hezbollah and the fact that at least half the population is pro-Hezbollah.

More later...

Friday, July 14, 2006

Beirut Diary - July 14th

The situation in Lebanon on Friday 14 July is that all bridges in South Lebanon and on the southern outskirts of Beirut as well as the two main bridges leading to the Bekaa and Damascus have been destroyed. The Beirut airport was bombed again early last night. Several petrol storage tanks were hit and the three runways were on fire throughout the night. The Israeli navy steams up and down the Lebanese coast, and with the two small airports in north Lebanon and the Bekaa destroyed in yesterday's air raids, Lebanon has been sealed off from the rest of the world. Some fifty civilians, including a score of babies and children were killed in yesterday's air raids and a bigger number wounded. The morgues in South Lebanon overflowed with bodies, such that ice delivery trucks had to be used to store the bodies.

The major question is whether Israel will continue today its massive attacks on Lebanon. The two kidnapped Israeli soldiers are reported to be in good health. Hezbollah will not release them except against the release of Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails.

More later…

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Gaza strip

It is sufficient to go through the Old Testament to realize how blood thirsty the Jewish race is. The Israel of today was born in a blood bath, beginning with the massacre of a whole peaceful village called Deir Yassin on the west side of Jerusalem. Begin’s goons, the Stern Gang and the Irgun attacked the village one morning and massacred its inhabitants and threw their bodies into a cistern, from where the Red Cross fished them out. In his memoirs Begin tells us that this had been done to frighten unprotected villages into abandoning their homes and lands to find refuge in neighbouring countries ; hence the Palestinian refugee problem, which has bedevilled the Arab countries in which they had taken refuge, and particularly Lebanon. That was in the years 1947 and 1948, which witnesses the blowing up of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, the Officers Club, also in Jerusalem and later the cold blooded assassination of the U.N. mediator Count Bernadotte and his military aide Colonel Serov.

Nothing has changed since then. The daily toll of dead and wounded in the Gaza Strip defies description. The Israeli Air Force and its armour have destroyed all essential services in the area and the army has imposed a total blockade, such that no food or medical services can reach that beleaguered strip, all under the simian eyes of that moron in the White House, referred to as President Bush. When several children playing on the beach in Gaza were gunned down by an Israeli gun boat, President Bush declared to the whole world that Israel was entitled to defend itself. This statement was made in the knowledge that Israel can take on the entire military forces of the Arab world and beat the hell out of them. The end result is that hunger and disease will finish the job of annihilating the Palestinians in the Gaza strip and in due course the West Bank.

Most ignoble is the Arab world which looks on the genocide of a nation without raising an eyebrow, glad, it would seem, to be rid of the Palestinian problem.

There is little else to say.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Sense of humour

I was having a quiet drink in a corner of a bar in Rue Monot, a cobbled street in Ashrafieh, an exclusively Christian quarter. Rue Monot is very popular with the young generation, because of its bars, its night clubs and restaurants. People of my age do not usually frequent that area. My presence in that bar was to meet a young lady who had sought my assistance for a job.

Our quiet chat was violently shattered by the noise of a riot out in the street. We later learnt that a band of hooligans armed with heavy gourds and clubs, had descended on Rue Monot to chastise young Christians who usually congregate in that area to avenge a TV skit which apparently had dared to mock the leader of Hezbollah, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. The end result of that attack was that several young men were taken to hospital with head or body injuries, not to mention damage to property.

I had stayed in my corner throughout the attack, and only left when the army and security forces intervened.

The moral of that incident is that Moslems, unless deeply impregnated with western culture, have no sense of humour and that cult figures, such as Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, should not be made the object of ridicule.

It would be pointless to point out to Sheikh Hassan that there has not been any western leader who has not been, at one time or another, the object of ridicule on TV or in the papers. The readers or spectators watch or read and have a good laugh. There is little hope for Islam until such time as Moslems start taking themselves less seriously.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Pot Pourri

Syria has withdrawn its troops from Lebanon, but its influence has remained constant. Nothing really important takes place without Syrian approval expressed through its subservient Lebanese allies. That President Lahoud retains his seat as President of Lebanon, despite an overwhelming majority of Lebanese Deputies, politicians and citizens who want nothing more than to get rid of him and of the Syrian presence which he symbolizes, is but an example of Syrian omnipotence.

Lebanon is a unique and strange country, where the President of the Republic, not the Prime Minister, goes to Sharm-El-Sheikh to attend a regional economic conference. The Prime Minister follows two days later to deliver a lecture. Nothing can be more ludicrous. They both return to Lebanon, in different planes.

We have said it before that Lebanon never existed as a nation within its current frontiers. It was concocted in 1920 by General Gouraud, the first French High Commissioner under the League of Nations Mandate. That parts of the province of Syria were added to this new Lebanon, has always rankled and continues to rankle with our Syrian neighbour. By 1943, the French had been pushed out of Lebanon by British forces. The Commanding Officer, General Spears became the virtual ruler of Lebanon. And thus a new country with eighteen different religious minorities came into being, of which the Maronite Christians were the largest of the different minorities. Since then the situation has changed. The Shii Moslems are now the largest single minority, and probably they constitute a majority of the total Lebanese population. The birth rate among Shii Moslems is beyond belief. A family of twelve children is not the exception. The other communities, with a higher standard of living are less prolific. Not to be totally overwhelmed, the Sunni Moslems have allied themselves with the Christians to maintain parity with the Shiis. This delicate balance is very fragile and tends to fracture under pressure. To add to this pot pourri, we have the Palestinian refugees, some four hundred thousand strong. Their camps, fully armed, constitute a state within a state.

Everyone talks of the sacred right of return to their former home. While we fully endorse this sacred right, the question remains, how do we translate this right into a practical and feasible plan of action. In 1948, when the Palestinians were forced out of their country by superior Jewish military forces, the Jews in Palestine numbered some eight hundred thousand. They are now five million, in addition to some one million two hundred thousand Israeli Palestinians. The Gaza strip is probably the most over crowded bit of territory in the world. It can hardly absorb the natural demographic increase of its own population. The rest of Palestine has become Israel with bits and pieces of occupied territory in the West Bank. Consequently the only means for the Palestinian Diaspora to return is by ousting the Jews from Israel. We do not see this happening within the foreseeable future. It might be argued that the Jews waited two thousand years before Balfour's Declaration of 1917 allowed them to return.

The Palestinian refugees in Lebanon will continue to grow in numbers, and will sooner or later destroy the pattern of peaceful co-existence which has so far prevailed. It is imperative for the Lebanese Government to take the necessary measures to allow the Palestinians to lead a dignified way of life, if Lebanese society as a whole is not to disintegrate into so many confessions and communities.

There is no hope that the United States will exert in the near future sufficient pressure on Israel to resume serious negotiations with the Palestinians, be it the PLO or HAMAS. That the American Senate and House of Representatives should give eighteen standing ovations to Israel's Prime Minister Olmert is proof enough that the Palestinians are a negligible quantity and can be obliterated through hunger, as a result of the Blockade which President Bush, one of history’s assassins, has imposed without any qualms.

Bush has the arrogance and effrontery to stand before the world and talk of human rights. His simian looks can only indicate simian origins.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


The current political situation in both Syria and Lebanon reflect a continuing tug of war between both countries and a similar tug of war between pro and anti Syrian currents in Lebanon itself, where national sentiment, within the real sense of the terms is only paper thin, such that it tends to explode whenever subjected to foreign pressure.

The 14th March, 2005 rally, following the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri, gave rise to hope that a Lebanese consciousness, a sense of identity had risen from the ashes. Whether it has in fact been born is a matter for conjecture. Myth or reality, however, is the only possible hope for Lebanon. The alternative is a return to anarchy and foreign domination.

Alas, nothing new has appeared on the horizon. The Dialogue Conference resumed yesterday after a long adjournment. Hands were shaken and kisses were exchanged, but the Presidential issue, one of the main items on the agenda of the Conference remained suspended in mid air without a coherent majority, one way or the other. It now appears that President Lahoud will be allowed to finish his Mandate, which ends in Autumn of 2007.

The next topic on the agenda was the armed wing of Hezbollah (Party of God). The leader of the Party, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah presented a lengthy report over seventy minutes during which he outlined the strategic necessity for Hezbollah to maintain its armed wing, in view of Israeli aggressive territorial ambitions. He stressed the fact that if the Lebanese Army were to be deployed on the Lebanese-Israeli frontier, one sweep of Israel jets would be sufficient to annihilate such deployment, whilst in the case of Hezbollah, its fighters are not recognizable. They melt in the environment as simple peasants and cannot be targeted, in addition to the fact that Hezbollah’s arsenal of long-range missiles was well hidden and cannot be reached by Israel.

The presentation was well and positively received by one and all of the Delegates to the Conference, including Walid Jumblatt, the Druze leader himself who went as far as to congratulate Sheik Hassan on his lucid and cartesian presentation of the issue.

Consequently, Hezbollah will retain its armed wing until such time as peace has been signed with Israel, not a likely event in the foreseeable future. U.N. Resolution 1559, like so many others before it will be consigned to the drawers, already full of resolutions relating to Israel which have never been fulfilled.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Lebanon - Country or Myth

There is not a Lebanese citizen who does not complain regarding the performance, or rather the lack of performance, if not the very existence of the Lebanese Government on every level, social, political or economic. Lebanon is a country riven by confessional consideration, and is largely feudal in character. There is no such thing as national consciousness of loyalty. Stop any person in the street and ask him what he is. His answer, but for rare exceptions will be, I am Druze, or I am a Moslem, or I am Christian, but hardly ever, I am Lebanese. In point of fact, but for a short period under the famous Emir of the Maan dynasty, Fakhreddine II in 1585, Lebanon never existed as a country within the context of its current frontiers. Under Fakhreddin II, Lebanon achieved almost total autonomy from the Ottoman Empire. With the Chehab Emirs who were Moslem by faith and not Druze, some of whom became Christian Maronites at a later stage, Lebanon shrank in dimension. North Lebanon, encompassing the whole of the Tripoli area, and South Lebanon, the stronghold of the Moslem Shiite community, formed part of the province of Syria. This remained as the geo-political situation until 1918, when following the Allied victory in World War I, and in conformity with the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1917 which purported to divide the countries of the Fertile Crescent into British and French zones of influence, Lebanon and Syria wee handed to France under a League of Nations Mandate, while Iraq and Palestine and Transjordan went to Britain.

The first French High Commissioner in Lebanon proposed a small Lebanon, based on the historic collaboration between the Druze and and Maronite communities which had existed since Fakhreddine II, namely the territory extending from the river, Nahr-el-Bared in the North to the Litani river in the South with Mt. Lebanon in the centre and including a small portion of the Bekaa Valley i.e. Zahle and environs. North and South Lebanon were to remain as part of Syria. The plan was met with strong opposition from the Maronite Church, on the ground that the Church possessed large estate in South Lebanon. The plan was altered to include North and South Lebanon in Lebanon of today, thereby sowing the seeds of future dissension.

Lebanon which had flourished under the Maan and Chehab regimes became prey to ethnic and religious dissensions. The majority of the Moslems looked towards Syria and not Lebanon as their natural homeland, which gave rise to serious troubles in 1958 and to civil war as of 1975. Syria, on the other hand, never recognised Lebanon as an independent country within its current frontiers and has since 1920 fomented trouble to recover its lost territory which General Gouraud had generously awarded to Lebanon,

The current political situation in both Syria and Lebanon reflects this continuing tug of war. The end result of this situation is that Lebanese national feeling are paper thin. They tend to explode whenever Lebanon is subjected to foreign pressure.

The 14th March 2005 rally, following the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri, gave rise to hope that Lebanese consciousness had risen from the ashes. We fear not. The same dissentions that were evident before 14th March, have returned to frustrate the birth of a new coherent Lebanon.

There can be no future for Lebanon until such time as the Lebanese become conscious of their identity as Lebanese and not members of a confession.

Friday, May 05, 2006

War but not peace

The United States has become an instrument of war, primarily if not exclusively for the benefit of Israel. In a recent press conference, the President categorically stated that Israel was the United States’ closest ally, and that it was the duty of the United States to defend Israel, hence the war on Iraq, which if allied with Syria would have constituted a potential threat to Israel. It was not the myth of the so-called weapons of mass destruction, which President Bush invoked as a reason of waging war on Iraq. Such weapons never existed and the United States was well aware of it. The war on Iraq was planned by the Zionist lobby in Washington which included such characters as Pearle, Wolfowitz and Dick Cheyney as early as 1998. As a potential threat to Israel, Iraq had to be eliminated. The United States is doing a good job in eliminating Iraq from the face of the earth. One hundred Iraqis were killed on 3rd May to add to the many tens of thousands that have perished. That some 2,500 young Americans have lost their lives for the sake of Israel does not seem to bother President Bush.

The atomic threat which President Bush invokes in the case of Iran is as fictitious as the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It will be many years before Iran can produce an atomic bomb. Even then, it will not have the means to deploy such a weapon against the United States. On the other hand, Iranian missiles can reach Tel Aviv, which explains the campaign which President Bush has orchestrated against Iran and its Syrian ally.

So it all boils down to the Israeli tail wagging the American head, and we in the Middle East are paying the price to a point where the tragic Palestinian problem has been forgotten, or relegated to a non issue.

The irony lies in the fact that having insisted on Palestinian democratic elections, the United States which had monitored the elections, now refuses to recognize the results of those elections because the overwhelming winner, Hamas, does not regard Israel with friendly eyes. The United States has in fact imposed sanctions on a freely elected Government by cutting off essential funding, essential for the very lives of the Palestinian people, but who cares so long as they are not Jewish.

Added on 5th July 2006

Having destroyed by air, land and sea all essential services in the Gaza strip such as electricity, water, roads and bridges, and having imposed a total blockade of the whole area with the object of destroying an entire people through hunger, Israel has mobilized the media of the whole world for the sake of one soldier captured in battle, while hundreds if not thousands of Palestinian prisoners languish or die in Israeli jails.

End of addendum

If only Lord Balfour were to rise from the dead, he would be appalled by the misery which has been inflicted on the Palestinians as a result of his famous 1917 Declaration. Over the centuries, Palestine has been conquered and occupied by more nations that can be counted. In terms of history, Israel will also perish like so many other conquerors.

Friday, April 28, 2006


The political scene in Lebanon defies all analyses in its complexity and utter futility. We have a President of the Republic who sits but does not govern except negatively in frustrating the efforts of the Prime Minister to manage the affairs of the State. We have a Prime Minister who bravely tries to govern but who finds himself blocked at every turn by machinations carried out through a Syrian second column such as Deputy Naser Qandil who had just emerged on the political scene after eclipsing himself for some twelve months for having been suspected in having a hand in the assassination of Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. We have a Speaker of the House of Parliament, serving a fourth term as Speaker, a wheeling dealing Machiavellic figure who has exploited his astute qualities to advance his own career, both financially and politically and who continues to dominate the Parliamentary scene. We have Saad Hariri who wears the political mantle of his assassinated father, with a Parliamentary bloc of some seventy Deputies. The pot pourri of Lebanese politics includes, of course Walid Jumblatt, the acknowledged leader of the Druze community, and on the other side of the fence, we have a General Aoun, an “officier médiocre” according to his official military career who has the temerity to declare himself as the future President of Lebanon. What fools these mortals be. To achieve this objective, he the Maronite par excellence, has allied himself with Hezbollah, described by some as a militia and by others as a resistance movement, which was largely responsible in driving Israel out of Lebanon. On the scene also is Samir Geagea, who following twelve years of imprisonment now speaks as a responsible statesman. There are others whom we may have forgotten.

All the above characters, as of this evening, Friday 28th April, will meet to resume the General Dialogue Conference, adjourned from its last session a month ago, to consider unresolved issues of national importance, such as the Presidency, and how best to get rid of President Lahoud, to our mind a dead issue, for he will remain till the end of his Syrian dictated mandate. A second important issue, if not the most important, relates to Syrian Lebanese relations which are very strained at this very moment, and last but not least, a hitherto forgotten hamlet in South Lebanon under Israeli occupation. The question is whether this hamlet, known as Shibaa Farms is Syrian or Lebanese. As part of Lebanon it provides Hezbollah with an alibi to maintain its military wing, but if Syrian, then Lebanon has nothing to do with it. Syrian has declared verbally that it is Lebanese, but it has refused to sign an official document to that effect.

It is our opinion that the Conference to which we referred earlier on will lead nowhere. It has been and will remain a dialogue between deaf people.

For the rest, God, in His infinite mercy, may decide to save Lebanon from destruction.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


More often than not, terrorism is a by-product of repression and oppression. Such was the case of the Palestinian suicide bomber who blew himself up in the midst of Tel Aviv, killing nine Jews and wounding many others, to escape the indignity of hunger and starvation which threatens the whole of the Gaza district as a result of the Israeli land and sea blockade of the area. That twenty year old Palestinian has been branded as a terrorist. Israel with its wanton destruction, confiscation and mass murder or imprisonment has escaped that condemnation, because in President Bush's twisted mind, Israeli terrorism is justifiable. The same President Bush had made a point of calling for free and democratic Palestinian elections and went as far as to send observers to monitor the elections. Hamas, known enmity to Israel, won with an overwhelming majority, which led the same President Bush to bulldoze economic sanctions to throttle the new Hamas Government. If that is not mass terrorism, how else can we describe it; a blatant attempt to starve a whole nation.

The line between rebellion, revolution and terrorism is very thin. To the oppressed, terrorism can be the only means available to avoid oppression, even though the end result can be counter productive.

The Al Dahab Sinai terrorist attack, or rather holocaust is a heinous terrorist attack, where unlike the Palestinian who blew his life away, the perpetrators have so far escaped justice and retribution. A pin prick against the Egyptian economy in discouraging tourism, cannot by any standard justify the assassination of foreign visitors enjoying a holiday on Egyptian soil.

Let it be said once and for all, terrorism, be it state sponsored or perpetrated by individuals cannot be tolerated nor condoned by any moral standard or ethic, regardless of the objective. It is the gravest of sins, for in the words of God, "though shalt not kill your brother.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The cast

Emile Lahoud

Fouad Siniora

Nabih Berri

Michel Aoun

Walid Jumblatt

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah

Samir Geagea