Thursday, May 29, 2008
Israel and Hezbollah are once again close to a deal that would bring two kidnapped Israeli soldiers back home. Details of the agreement, negotiated by a German middleman, indicate that the two might not still be alive.
... This time around, the German intelligence service BND is once again playing a vital role."Germany is trusted by both sides because, over the years, it has demonstrated that it is a disinterested and honest broker," Kamel Wazne says of Germany's special role in secret diplomacy in Beirut. Wazne, who is close to Hezbollah, is a commentator much in demand by Western media when it comes to explaining the it. Wazne said: "Germany always did what it promised it would, which has given the country a lot of credibility with Hezbollah.
"When the transfer will actually happen remains unclear. Mahmud Komati, a member of the Hezbollah political bureau, told SPIEGEL ONLINE that the standard practice is for Hassan Nasrallah to personally decide the timing...
The agreement between the Hizbollah-led opposition and the Lebanese government and
the start of indirect negotiations between Syria and Israel run counter to the policies of
the Bush administration, which has been pushing the Lebanese government not to
compromise with Hizbollah and opposes Syrian–Israeli talks. The agreement in Lebanon
was the direct result of negotiations with an organization considered terrorist by the
United States, and came in the wake of Hizbollah-led violence. Talks with Syria, a rogue
country allied with Iran, also fall in the category of “appeasement” according to the
stance taken by President Bush in his May 15 speech to the Knesset. Yet, both
developments carry the promise of progress, decreasing the chances of further conflict
from which nobody would benefit.
The United States should support the new Lebanese president and the government of
national unity. It should encourage the Syrian–Israeli talks—but it should stay out of the
process, allowing Syria, Israel, and Turkey to get on with efforts that have come a
considerable way so far.
Pdf document... Here
Ibrahime Al-Amine, chairman of the board of directors of Lebanon’s independent pro-opposition newspaper Al-Akhbar, wrote yesterday that the formation of the national unity government will be an imminent test of the Doha agreement.
“The discussions among the majority team showed that the faction that supports assigning the position of prime minister to the current prime minister, Fouad Siniora, is not purely local, as it is dominated by foreign factions, as proven by the latest communications with the United States and Saudi Arabia,” he wrote.
Those two countries believe that if Saad Hariri became prime minister this would expose him to a tough test he might not survive at a time before the coming parliamentary elections.
“As for the Lebanese team that supports Siniora, it looks at this issue from the angle that dismissing Siniora will crown the opposition’s triumph, as he has been the constant target for the opposition and Syria’s ire,” Al-Amine wrote.
If we look at the point at which the latest developments in Lebanon have reached from our country's perspective, we'll see that Turkey's foreign policy, which has historically opted to stay away from developments in the Middle East and only adopt a Western-oriented perspective, now has a place in a great family picture in which the new Lebanese president is posed between Arab League Secretary-General Amr Musa and Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora. Looking at this portrait shows the great transformation undertaken in Turkey's foreign policy and to what extent this transformation has been influential."
And, Shmuel Rosner in Slate, "Will the International community abandon Lebanon?"
...David Welch, felt the need to praise even the most unlikely regimes: "If Syria and Iran have supported that," he said, "then perhaps they will continue to exercise a more constructive role in Lebanon." If he had his fingers crossed behind his back, no one saw. If he winked as he suggested such an improbable outcome, nobody noticed. But Welch knows, as do all the others, that neither Syria nor Iran are suddenly planning to play a "constructive" role in Lebanon. If they support the agreement and the United States also supports it, pretty soon one party is going to look stupid.
...The problem is that the decisions the Lebanese have recently made only increase the likelihood that they will eventually be abandoned by the international community. "There is no contradiction between having a foreign policy that looks at Lebanon as Lebanon and also sees how Lebanon fits into our regional calculations," said Feltman. That is true, unless "Lebanon as Lebanon" makes decisions that render it easier for regional forces to meddle in its affairs. Choosing a pro-Syrian president might be such a decision. Avoiding the question of disarmament might be another such decision...
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
راجعة بإذن الله
إذا ما إجا شي من الله
جربنا نتكل عليكن
عدنا اتكلنا ع الله!..
راجعة بإذن الله
على أنحس بإذن الله
لا تفكرها عم تقدّم...
راجعة بإذن الله...
يا بلدٌ يحسدنا اجانب
عا مناخو و عا هواه
يا شعبٌ منقلبٌ حرٌ
كل واحد عايش عا هواه
سامحهم يا أبتاه... يا أبتاه...
طار الملك وطار الشاه
طاروا بعون من الله
صلوا يا عمي صلوا له
ما كانوا طاروا لولاه...
يا جيلٌ قلبو على بلدو
قاعد يظبط بسماه
بلد ظابط مثلما هوي
هيدا هوي.. هيدا إياه
باسم الآب... وبسم الله
راجعة بإذن الله
ان قلتوا "ايه" وان قلتوا "لا"
ما في رملة بهالصحرا بتُحرُك
إلا بوحي من الله
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Augustus Richard Norton, a professor at Boston University and expert on the Middle East, sends this note about the latest developments from Lebanon:
If the agreement holds, this is a significant reverse for the United States and for Saudi Arabia, which have both urged the pro-U.S. government to hang tough.
The U.S.-supported Internal Security Force–widely seen in Lebanon as Sunni-dominated gendarmerie–disappeared as soon as the Hezbollah-led opposition forces moved into West Beirut on 7 May. Only in recent days did it reappear well after the clashes ended. As for Saad al-Hariri’s private militia, it simply crumbled...