Saturday, May 10, 2008

At least 14 people have been killed in the three days of violence.
Photo: Nasser Nasser/Associated Press

The End of the New Middle East by Nir Rosen
... The Americans thought that they could pick a proxy and get him to rule Lebanon. But Lebanon is too complicated for them, and they didn't know that no single group can rule Lebanon. The Americans along with their Saudi allies backed the creation of sectarian Sunni militias in Lebanon, some of whom were even trained in Jordan. Their ideology consisted of anti Shiite sectarianism. But these Sunni militiamen proved a complete failure, and America's proxies in Lebanon barely put up a fight, despite their strident anti Shiite rhetoric. Now it is clear that Beirut is firmly in the hands of Hizballah and nothing the Americans can do will dislodge or weaken this popular movement, just as they cannot weaken the Sadrists in Iraq or Hamas in Gaza...

Is This the Start of the Next Lebanese Civil War? by Andrew Lee Butters
...Just why the government chose this particular moment to move against Hizballah's infrastructure remains unclear. Hizballah, which fought Israel to a stand-still in the summer war of 2006, is much stronger and better organized than government forces, and is certain to win any confrontation. Still, Hizballah would have much to lose in an open civil war. Not only would the chaos distract them from the far more dangerous struggle with Israel, but it could also help radical Al-Qaeda affiliated Sunni jihadi groups infiltrate Lebanon...

Time Machine by Dr Rami Zurayq in Land and People
...There are signs that things might slip: One of the old Future TV's building , the one adjoining the Saudi embassy in Rawcheh, was set on fire today, allegedly by SSNP militants. It may be true that the building served as a barrack for Future Movement thugs. It is also true that over the past 3 years there has been tremendous tensions between the thugs in there and those at the SSNP central office, which is around the corner. But setting a building on fire, and especially a media-related one, was a pointless act of vandalism which reflects very badly on the opposition and its leadership. The same can be said for silencing Future TV by sabotaging its installations. There were also motorcades going around the streets today shooting in the air for no other purpose than showing off and celebrating the take over. This is not what Hizbullah did in the South when it kicked the Israelis out. In Beirut, the stakes are even higher.

Street Notes From the Hamra District by Franklin Lamb
...Jumblatt has not just been humiliated in the mountains but also in his Beirut residence at Clemenceau near AUB. When I drove by en route to Hamra Street I saw about 75 fighters outside his home. I was surprised to learn they were not Jumblatt's protectors but once more Hezbollah/Amal. "Maybe he will invite us to lunch. We have orders not to harm him." I was later to learn that the Army rescued Jumblatt around 11:30 am, and he is said to be rethinking his options. Hassan Nasrallah was tough on Jumblatt at his news conference yesterday and predicted that Jumblatt would switch sides yet again if Hezbollah would pay the price. The young men showed me some of the weapons they collected from what was said to be surrendering or fleeing Hariri mercenaries.

Word on the Street near Saad Hariri's house is that Geagea may attempt a coup and take the leadership of March 14 for a return of the Lebanese Forces and Kateib. This I find difficult to believe but during this period the rumors are flying like 20th floor broadcast confetti on a windy day!

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