Thursday, July 12, 2007

Israeli blogger Lisa Goldman in Beirut!

The news came as a shock to some audiences: A Zionist agent roaming the streets of Beirut after successfully penetrating airport security! Down with the government!

It is a shame some people cannot make a distinction between politics and everyday life. I could have chosen to write this post on another day, but on the 1st anniversary of the July 2006 war, I – probably naively – prefer to salute a peaceful gesture, denoting normalcy (something that both Lebanese and Israelis crave for) rather than celebrate wars, victories, death or destruction.

It is time that we, in Lebanon, review some of our meaningless legislations, such as the one banning Israelis or people with Israeli stamps on their passport from entering the country. Do they seriously think that this is the best way to prevent Mossad agents from operating in the country? And if this law isn’t that effective in protecting us from the Mossad, what is it protecting us from? Israeli bloggers?

Lisa, just as you mentioned in your blog, "extremists always have the loudest voice". Those of us with a much more modest voice would like to tell you: Ahla w sahla! (As long as you don’t come in your olive-green uniform)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

NBN presenter mocking Walid Eido shortly after he was assassinated!!

An unidentified presenter was overheard on TV congratulating her colleague shortly after the assassination of MP Walid Eido. Annahar newspaper reported this morning that the presenter was fired. The video clearly shows her asking what took the criminals so long to kill Eido and wondering when it will be Ahmad Fatfat’s turn, confirming what has long been suspected: that human stupidity has no limit!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

An amazing killing machine

Few people have had to endure what the Lebanese are going through to gain and strengthen their independence. Unable to topple the government, they chose to assassinate a minister. Unable to overthrow the parliamentary majority, they resort to killing MPs: Gebran Tueni, Pierre Gemayel and now Walid Eido. Only a handful left in order to strip the alliance of 14 March of the absolute majority at the Parliament ahead of the Presidential elections in a few months.

There’s only one way to prevent more bloodshed: the 3 remaining parliamentary blocs – and in particular the Reform & Change bloc – are requested to finally show solidarity with their compatriots and announce that their MPs will assume their responsibilities and take part in the Presidential elections. This is much more than a patriotic duty, it is a moral obligation.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

There it is, Resolution 1757

I thought this day would never come! 27 months and 17 explosions later, the UN Security Council is going to adopt tonight resolution 1757, under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, setting up an international tribunal to try suspects in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

In order to avoid a Russian veto, the French and American ambassadors included a “sunrise clause” in the resolution which delays the entry into force until June 10 to allow one last chance for the Lebanese to adopt the Tribunal through national institutions, under chapter VI. That explains Lahoud’s latest desperate attempt to obstruct the establishment of the Tribunal by suggesting a 6-member national salvation government
“today before tomorrow”.

This is truly a historic day for Lebanon. For the first time in our long history of
political assassinations the criminals are going to face Justice. But the importance of the Tribunal lies elsewhere: Beyond finding the killers of PM Hariri, the Tribunal is hoped to deter political assassinations and to consolidate the country’s fragile independence by keeping the pressure on the neighboring Baathist regime and its allies in Lebanon.
Update: Resolution 1757 was passed with 10 votes in favor (France, USA, UK, Belgium, Peru, Slovakia, Congo, Ghana, Italy & Panama) and 5 abstentions (Russia, China, Qatar, South Africa & Indonesia).

Update 2: According to Naharnet, a sound bomb exploded in front of Mar Mikhael church in Shiyyah. No casualties.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


While our soldiers are facing a fierce battle in the North and defending the very existence of the Republic, some, closer to the Capital, have found nothing better to do in these hard times except trying to score cheap points against the majority and the government. Talk about priorities! Solidarity in times of hardships? What an old fashioned concept!

And so, after planting bombs in its own regions, assassinating its own leaders, financing and arming Sunni extremists, March 14 is now out to get the Army. It seems this whole thing up there in the North is just a conspiracy to get rid of the Army, which stands in the way of implementing the “plan”.

March 14 is not capable to convene the parliament, to pass a law or to hold elections. March 14 is unable to replace a fallen minister, is absolutely helpless when it comes to monitoring the borders, barely has the guts to take decisions in a reduced yet perfectly legal government. But, it seems it has the ability to create, fund and arm extremist Sunni groups, dismantle the army, disarm Hezbollah and defeat Shiite insurgency in the Arab world as a prelude to attacking Iran in an effort to prevent it from acquiring the nuclear jewel. It turned out, this is all a conspiracy against the Resistance!

The whole story started with an
article published in the New Yorker by Seymour Hersh last February and quickly spread through newspapers and TV channels that are close to the opposition. Not only Hersh doesn’t provide any proof to back up his claims, but the whole article is based on “unidentified sources”. We are kindly requested to trust Hersh on this one. No need, at this point, to go over the article and deconstruct his theory and speculations. Others have done a good job. What is surprising, if we are to follow that logic, is the position of the opposition parties regarding the current conflict. Logically, we should see them offering an unconditional support to the army in its mission to eradicate Fatah Al-Islam. However, with the exception of the FPM, they are the ones that are most reluctant to the total destruction of the radical Sunni group and are the most hesitant when it comes to supporting the army. Coherence, it seems, is not a main concern when building conspiracy theories.

The silence of Hezbollah in particular, during the past week has been deafening. On the 1st day of the clashes, not a word was heard from the divine party, until they conveniently released a statement right before the end of the extraordinary Cabinet meeting, urging the Army not to escalate. In other words, they refused to cover the Army in case it decided it was necessary to attack the camp of Nahr el Bared which harbors the terrorists. Knowing perfectly well that invading a Palestinian camp requires unanimity among the main Lebanese factions, Hezbollah has deliberately pulled back the Shiite cover and in doing so, it has put the lives of our soldiers in danger.

If there was any misconception about that, Hezbollah took real good care to dissipate it through a
televised speech by its Secretary General on Friday, once again on the eve of an important operation against the terrorists hiding in the camp. After blaming the government and the army of harming the tourist season by initiating the attacks, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah reiterated his opposition to invading or even attacking the camp. “The camp is a red line”, he said. A terrorist attack against civilians (Ain Alaq), a bank robbery in Amioun and the massacre of tens of helpless soldiers, many of them during their sleep, are apparently not enough to initiate a response from the Army.

The only solution according to Hezbollah’s leader is a political solution through negotiations with the terrorists. Nasrallah has just asked the army to turn the other cheek, with all the danger to the credibility of the State and to the deterrent power of the Army that would arise from such a humiliation.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Set them free!!!

“But they will come back to learn, more than others, that the Arab Spring, when it flourishes in Beirut, it would be announcing the time for roses in Damascus” (Samir Kassir, March 4, 2005)

The Arab spring may not have flourished yet in Beirut, but it sure is knocking on the door. And you, Bashar, you know it more than anybody else. You can keep delaying it, you can interrupt it briefly, you can multiply the obstacles, you can jail, torture or kill… but try as you may, you will not be able to stop the process. You will not prevent change.

As fellow blogger R has mentioned in his latest
post, the Syrian regime has sentenced to jail six opposition leaders for periods ranging from three to twelve years, in one of the worst crackdowns on civil liberties ever since Bashar came to power in June 2000: Michel Kilo, Mahmoud Issa, Sleiman Shummar, Khalil Hussein, Kamal Labwani and Anwar al-Bunni…adding to the tens of thousands of prisoners of conscience that are still held in Syrian prisons in total violation of the most basic human rights standards.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

An Effective Media Strategy…

…Is exactly what we need at the moment and from now until the election of a new President.
The Opposition has so far failed to achieve any of its objectives and is now focusing on the presidential elections, given that the issue of the Tribunal is considered by many now to be a “done deal”. Opposition leaders are deploying all their efforts to prevent the election of a president that does not have their blessing, hiding behind a twisted interpretation of Article 49-2 of the Constitution:

Article 49-2
The President of the Republic shall be elected by secret ballot and by a two thirds majority of the Chamber of Deputies. After a first ballot, an absolute majority shall be sufficient (…)

No where does the article mention a quorum. It only mentions the number of votes a candidate must have to be elected. The issue of the quorum of a parliamentary session is covered by Article 34 of the Constitution:

Article 34 [Quorum]
The Chamber is not validly constituted unless the majority of the total membership is present. Decisions are to be taken by a majority vote. Should the votes be equal, the question under consideration is deemed rejected.

As it is clearly mentioned in the above article, the quorum is constituted of “the majority of the total membership”, meaning half +1 of the MPs. So, unless otherwise noted, this is the legal quorum. It is widely assumed that the Legislator (المشرع) clearly states his intention and demands: When the Constitution requires a quorum of 2/3, it says so clearly, in no ambiguous terms, just like in Article 79-1:

Article 79-1
When a draft law dealing with a constitutional amendment is submitted to the Chamber, it cannot discuss it or vote upon it except when a majority of two thirds of the members lawfully composing the Chamber are present. Voting is by the same majority.

The battle for the Presidency has already started. In some cases, it is not enough to have the law by your side, popular support is the key. As is often the case in Lebanon, it doesn’t matter where the truth lies as long as you shape popular beliefs and opinion to suit your ambitions and make people believe that what you’re saying is true. Masses provide credibility. This is what the opposition is currently doing and this is where March 14 should counter its attacks. Some of the country’s most popular and influential media outlets are either owned by or are close to March 14 and what it represents. It is time they make use of this advantage and go beyond broadcasting emotional and/or sarcastic videos here and there, which does not contribute much at the end of the day. I want to see informative clips, legal experts and politicians educating the public. Let the coming months turn into an intensive course on constitutional law for the Lebanese.