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Hizb Allah rally draws thousands in support of Syria
by repost
Tuesday Mar 8th, 2005 6:18 AM
More than 100,000 pro-Syrian demonstrators have gathered in Beirut to denounce what they see as Western interference in Lebanon at a rally highlighting deep divisions in the country over Damascus's role.
The gathering, called by the Shia Muslim group Hizb Allah and its allies, is expected to attract tens of thousands of people to a central Beirut square only 300m from where opposition protesters, largely Christian, have held daily rallies to demand a complete Syrian withdrawal form Lebanon.

Hizb Allah chief Hasan Nasr Allah had said the rally would be held to thank Syria for what he calls its sacrifices in Lebanon and to oppose a UN resolution demanding the disarming of militias. Shia Muslims are Lebanon's largest religious sect.

Hizb Allah, which began as a small guerrilla force devoted to ending Israeli occupation in the south of Lebanon, has developed into a sophisticated group with political, military and welfare bodies. It has several MPs in parliament and runs several charities.

Syrian pullback

Syrian troops in a mountain ridge east of Beirut continued preparations to pullback from their posts, a day after Syria promised to redeploy its troops to eastern Lebanon this month under a two-stage withdrawal.

The United States has dismissed the plan for failing to set a deadline for a full pullout.

Syrian President Bashar al-Asad agreed the withdrawal plan in talks with Lebanese President Emile Lahud in Damascus earlier in the week. Syrian forces intervened in Lebanon's civil war in 1976 and Damascus still has about 14,000 troops in the country.

Buses and cars were ferrying supporters of Hizb Allah and its allies from across Lebanon. At the Riad al-Sulh Square,
Hizb Allah members were setting up loud speakers and putting up Lebanese flags and banners.

Young men in black were looking after security, searching streets and even drainage holes for suspect objects.

"Thank you, Syria's Assad," a large banner said. "No to foreign interference," another said. Nasr Allah had urged demonstrators to carry only Lebanese, not party, flags. Pictures of Assad and Lahud were also hoisted.

Pressure on Damascus

US President George Bush's administration warned Syrian leaders it would "hold their feet to the fire", and Britain, Germany and Lebanon's former colonial power France also put pressure on Damascus.

Hizb Allah (Party of God) warned of mayhem if Syrian troops were to leave Lebanon, where the 1975-90 civil war ended with a fragile balance between the country's diverse main religious groups. Lebanon is due to hold a general election by May.

Set up by Iran's Revolutionary Guard in 1982, Hizb Allah is the only Lebanese faction to keep its guns. It won wide popularity after helping drive Israeli troops from southern Lebanon in 2000.

Syrian forces are credited with helping ending the civil war that tore Lebanon apart. Christian, Muslim and Druze militias fought each other in rounds of sectarian and inter-sectarian fighting. About 150,000 people were believed to have died.

Anti-Syria protests

Syria's role in Lebanon has come under fierce fire since a 14 Febuary bomb killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri. Damascus denied any involvement in the blast.

Opposition demonstrators, mainly Christian and Druze with some Sunnis, have staged several large anti-Syrian protests since al-Hariri's killing. On Monday, tens of thousands of flag-waving opposition demonstrators again took over central Beirut's Martyrs Square to demand a complete Syrian withdrawal.

Syrian soldiers based in the Lebanese mountain towns east of Beirut were dismantling military and communications equipment for a second day on Tuesday.

A Lebanese security source said the troops were sending equipment to other posts closer to the Syrian border to enable them to move out quickly when orders come later this week.

The source said a joint Lebanese-Syrian military committee would meet on Tuesday to fine-tune the pullback plan and give the go-ahead.

New government

Under the agreement by Assad and Lahud, Syrian troops will complete their move to eastern Lebanon by 31 March. The Syrian and Lebanese militaries will then decide how long the troops should stay in the eastern areas before returning home.

Bush and French President Jacques Chirac confirmed in phone talks they were determined to obtain the full application of a UN Security Council resolution calling for all foreign forces to leave Lebanon, French officials said.

Lebanon's Lahud was set to hold consultations on Wednesday with parliament before naming a new prime minister-designate.

Political sources said outgoing Prime Minister Umar Karami appeared favourite to be asked to form a new government.

Karami, a staunch pro-Syrian politician, submitted the resignation of his cabinet on 28 Febuary under pressure from the opposition and street protests.
Reuters

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/4A02EB97-5B87-4F28-8B91-523CCAA3FE92.htm
by more
Tuesday Mar 8th, 2005 6:21 AM
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of pro-Syrian demonstrators have gathered in central Beirut to denounce what
they see as Western interference in Lebanon at a rally highlighting deep divisions in the country over Damascus's role.

In Damascus, a Syrian official source said Syria's promised two-stage troop pullout from Lebanon would include the
powerful intelligence services -- a key international demand.

The source gave no timetable for the total pullout but said: "This doesn't mean it won't be soon."

The gathering, called by the Shi'ite Muslim Hizbollah group and its allies, attracted Shi'ites and others from across
Lebanon to a central Beirut square only 300 metres from where opposition protesters, largely Christian, have held daily
rallies to demand a complete Syrian withdrawal form Lebanon.

Riad al-Solh square itself was flooded by Lebanese flag-waving demonstrators.

Hizbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah had said the rally would be held to thank Syria for what he calls its sacrifices in
Lebanon and to oppose a U.N. resolution demanding the disarming of militias. Shi'ites are Lebanon's largest religious
sect.

Hizbollah, which began as a small guerrilla force devoted to ending Israeli occupation in the south, has developed into
a sophisticated group with political, military and welfare bodies. It has several MPs in parliament and runs several
charities.

The United States considers it a terrorist organisation.

Syrian troops in a mountain ridge east of Beirut continued preparations to pullback from their posts, a day after Syria
promised to redeploy its troops to eastern Lebanon this month under a two-stage withdrawal.

The United States has dismissed the plan for failing to set a deadline for a full pullout.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agreed the withdrawal plan in talks with Lebanese President Emile Lahoud in
Damascus. Syrian forces intervened in Lebanon's civil war in 1976 and Damascus still has some 14,000 troops in the
country.

"LISTEN TO OUR VOICES"

"Israel listen to our voices: We will not compromise and will not sell our honour to the foreigner," loudspeakers blared
across the central Beirut Square. "Our homeland is Arab."

"Bashar, with you we will not be shaken and the resistance will continue... Thanks for the Syrian blood that protected
us from our enemies and the fire of civil war."

Bearded young men in black looked after security, searching streets and even drainage holes for suspect objects.

"Thank you, Syria's Assad," a large banner said. "No to foreign interference," another said. Nasrallah had urged
demonstrators to carry only Lebanese, not party, flags. Pictures of Assad and Lahoud were also hoisted.

Syrian forces are credited with helping ending the civil war that tore Lebanon apart. Christian, Muslim and Druze
militias fought each other in rounds of sectarian and inter-sectarian fighting. About 150,000 people were believed to
have died.

Syria's role in Lebanon has come under fierce fire since a February 14 bomb killed former Lebanese Prime Minister
Rafik al-Hariri. Damascus denied any involvement in the blast.

FEET TO THE FIRE

U.S. President George W. Bush's administration warned Syrian leaders it would "hold their feet to the fire". Britain,
Germany and Lebanon's former colonial power France also put pressure on Damascus.

Hizbollah (Party of God) warned of mayhem if Syrian troops were to leave Lebanon, where the 1975-90 civil war
ended with a fragile balance between the country's diverse main religious groups. Lebanon is due to hold a general
election by May.

Set up by Iran's Revolutionary Guard in 1982, Hizbollah is the only Lebanese faction to keep its guns. It won wide
popularity after helping drive Israeli troops from southern Lebanon in 2000.

Opposition demonstrators, mainly Christian and Druze with some Sunnis, have staged several large anti-Syrian
protests since Hariri's killing. On Monday, tens of thousands again took over central Beirut's Martyrs Square to demand
a complete Syrian withdrawal.

Syrian soldiers based in the Lebanese mountain towns east of Beirut were dismantling military and communications
equipment for a second day on Tuesday.

A Lebanese security source said a joint Lebanese-Syrian military committee would meet on Tuesday to fine-tune the
pullback plan and give the go-ahead.

Under the agreement by Assad and Lahoud, Syrian troops will complete their move to eastern Lebanon by March 31.
The Syrian and Lebanese militaries will then decide how long the troops should stay in the eastern areas before
returning home.

http://www.swissinfo.org/sen/swissinfo.html?siteSect=143&sid=5586536
by CNN
Tuesday Mar 8th, 2005 6:22 AM
BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Tens of thousands of pro-Syrian protesters have flooded into a square in front of the U.N. building in central Beirut in a massive counterpoint to recent anti-Damascus rallies.

CNN's Beirut Bureau Chief Brent Sadler described Tuesday's crowds as "impressive."

He said it was a "very well organized -- and so far very well disciplined -- show of strength" by those with another view to the demonstrators seen in the last three weeks.

Like the anti-Syrian demonstrators, the protesters at the Hezbollah-organized rally carried red, white and green Lebanese flags and posters with pictures of assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

But unlike the anti-Syrian groups -- which have staged protests a few blocks away almost daily since Hariri was killed February 14 -- the pro-Syrian protesters also carried pictures of Syrian President Bashar Assad and posters denouncing U.S. policies in the Middle East.

They particularly slammed U.N. Resolution 1559, which calls for the complete and immediate withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.

The demonstrations came a day after Assad and Lebanese President Emile Lahoud committed to the first stage of a Syrian troop withdrawal from Lebanon and made plans for the second stage -- under which Syria says it will pull all 14,000 of its troops in Lebanon back into Syria.

Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite Muslim militant group which has support in Syria, called for the protests, focusing largely on condemnation of Israel.

Many Arabs see Hezbollah as heroic for helping drive Israeli forces from Lebanon. Jerusalem pulled its troops from southern Lebanon in 2000.

CNN's Sadler said that rather than this being a protest against other Lebanese, the national flag was being displayed as a sign of unity -- this time by those who believed a Syrian withdrawal would lead to instability.

"The numbers here speak for themselves," Sadler said.

Many of the posters displayed Tuesday denounced U.S. policy in the Middle East, particularly over Resolution 1559, which also calls for the disbanding of militia including Hezbollah.

Sadler said the anti-U.S. message was repeatedly made by speakers addressing the very large crowd.

Hezbollah has carried out numerous terrorist attacks against civilians and is listed by the United States and Israel as a terrorist organization. It remains an official party in Lebanon.

U.S. officials have called on both Lebanon and Syria to halt support for Hezbollah.

Syrian officials told CNN they are following Resolution 1559 as well as the Taif Accord, signed in 1989, which legitimized Syria's presence in Lebanon at the end of a bitter civil war there but called for its eventual withdrawal.

After Monday's agreement was announced, Syrian Ambassador to the United States Imad Moustapha said the pullback to the Bekaa Valley will happen "in less than two or three weeks," and "all of our troops" will then be moved "into Syria itself."

Asked whether that will include Syrian intelligence personnel , he nodded his head and said, "Everybody. Everybody."

By late Monday, some troops had already begun to move to the Bekaa Valley, traveling along a highway lined with Lebanese troops.

Tens of thousands of Lebanese have taken to the streets of Beirut, calling for the ouster of Syrian forces, almost daily since Hariri was killed.

Many Lebanese blame Syria for the bombing that killed Hariri and 16 other people.

While the pro-Syrian Lebanese government denied any involvement, it resigned amid the pressure.

Opposition leaders have demanded Syria's full and immediate withdrawal.

And the White House -- which has been leading an international effort to push Syria out of Lebanon -- called Monday's agreement "a half measure that does not go far enough."

CNN Beirut Bureau Chief Brent Sadler contributed to this report

http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/03/08/lebanon.syria/
by Lebanese thousands back Syria
Tuesday Mar 8th, 2005 6:30 AM
James Sturcke and agencies
Tuesday March 8, 2005

Tens of thousands of pro-Syria demonstrators took to the streets of the Lebanese capital Beirut today to protest at foreign meddling in the country's politics and counter weeks of anti-Syrian rallies.

Scores of vehicles converged on the city for the demonstration organised by Hizbullah, the Shia group backed by Iran and Syria. Loudspeakers blared rousing songs of resistance, organisers handed out Lebanese flags and black-clad Hizbullah guards lined the perimeter of the central square and took position on rooftops. Speakers on a platform led chants of "Beirut is free! America get out!"

Large cranes in the centre of the city hoisted two giant white and red flags bearing Lebanon's cedar tree symbol. On one, the words "Thank you Syria" were written in English, on the other "No to foreign interference".

Meanwhile, reports from the mountains overlooking Beirut said most of the 14,000 Syrian troops deployed in Lebanon were still in position, despite an agreement yesterday by the presidents of the two countries to withdraw foreign forces to eastern regions.

The US, which wants Syrian forces out of Lebanon by elections due in May, dismissed yesterday's deal as a half measure. UN security council resolution 1559, approved last year, demands a full and immediate withdrawal of troops. However, Syria argues the pullback to east of the Beka'a valley complies with the 1989 Taif accord that gave the country a stabilising role in Lebanon.

Syria has had troops in Lebanon since 1976, when they were sent as peacekeepers during 1975-90 civil war. When the war ended, the troops remained and Syria has dominated Lebanon's politics since.

Associated Press reporters in the mountains today reported seeing only scattered movement of military trucks heading towards the Beka'a valley.

A truck carrying 11 soldiers and supplies headed east at midmorning but most of the military traffic was moving in the other direction: empty trucks and buses travelling west, apparently to collect soldiers and equipment.

Trained dogs sniffed for bombs and street drainage holes were checked for explosives ahead of the Hizbullah protest.

In the outlying regions of the Beka'a and the south, loudspeakers urged people to travel to Beirut for the gathering. A newspaper reported that convoys of Syrians were being brought across the border in buses to take part but that could not be confirmed.

The rally took place just a few blocks from another downtown square where opposition protesters have been staging protests since the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri on February 14. Many Lebanese accuse the Syrian government and their government of responsibility for Mr Hariri's death, though both deny any involvement.

Yesterday, in the biggest demonstration yet of anti-Syrian furore, more than 70,000 Lebanese shouting "Freedom! Sovereignty! Independence!" thronged central Beirut. The demonstrators waved the Lebanese flag and thundered, "Syria out!"

Hizbullah, founded by Iran and backed in part by Syria, has emerged as a key player during the latest political instability, capable of tilting the balance either in favour of the pro-Syrian government or the anti-Syrian opposition.

Although Hizbullah does not directly oppose a Syrian withdrawal, it is affected by another part of security council resolution 1559 which calls for the disbanding of all militias in Lebanon.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/syria/story/0,13031,1433038,00.html
by gehrig
Tuesday Mar 8th, 2005 9:06 AM
Given that Hezbollah is on the Syrian payroll, is anyone truly surprised that they toe the Assad line?

And is anyone truly surprised that the anti-occupation rallies are so much larger?

And, while were investigating truly non-surprises, is anyone truly surprised that Assad blames his occupation of Lebanon, with his troops and secret police, on Israel, the Arab world's equivalent of "the devil made me do it"?

@%<
by End the occupation
Tuesday Mar 8th, 2005 10:01 AM
Israel out of the Golan!
by aaron
Tuesday Mar 8th, 2005 10:01 AM
<<And is anyone truly surprised that the anti-occupation rallies are so much larger?>>

your question is based on a fallacy: the "anti-occupation" rallies _aren't_ "so much larger."

note what the lead-in to today's NYTimes article says about Tuesday's demo:

"Hundreds of thousands of pro-Syrian protesters poured into a central Beirut square this afternoon in a demonstration called for by the militant group Hezbollah that VASTLY OUTNUMBERED recent rallies demanding that Syrian forces leave Lebanon."

One needn't support the Syrian occupation to see that the picture being painted by the US media of the situation in Lebanon these past few weeks is designed to give the impression that the Bush Doctrine is rolling-up success after success. We are led to believe that the Arab World "having thrown off fear" is now en mass voicing a view of things that's in accord with American imperialism.
by Critical Thinker
Tuesday Mar 8th, 2005 10:36 AM
Today I read that the pro-Syrian demonstrators totaled 500,000. That estimate does register as "so much larger" than the number of protesters at the previously held anti-Syrian demonstrations and assemblies.

by aaron
Tuesday Mar 8th, 2005 10:50 AM
I was responding to Gehrig, who posed the question:

"is anyone truly surprised that the anti-occupation rallies are so much larger?"

the problem, as i pointed out, is that the anti-occupation rallies aren't "much larger."

so, be clear, if you're correcting anyone around here, it's your buddy Gherig, not me.
by gehrig
Tuesday Mar 8th, 2005 1:47 PM
All of these stories say "tens of thousands," and then refer to the 70,000 anti-Syrian demonstrators.

But tell me, aaron -- which side would _you_ march on? Are you glad that Syrian troops and Syrian secret police occupy Lebanon? Are you disappointed that some of them are leaving?

@%<
whether there is such a thing that can be called Lebanon

the Christian minority has relied upon the US, the French, the Israelis and even the Syrians (in 1976) to try to maintain control of the country

the Syrians and the Iranians have worked with the Shia through Hizbollah

then there are the remains of various factions within each group

the French reportedly carved Lebanon out of Syria (much like Kuwait was carved out of Iraq by the British?), and it has never shown much social coherence

it would be nice if the Syrians were gone, and Lebanon could be something akin to the Costa Rica of the Middle East

but, given that Bush and the French seem to be so adamant about pushing the Syrians out, which is geopolitically rather odd, given that Syria has cooperated with Bush's war on terror, it's hard not to expect that the transformation of Lebanon into a frontline struggle between Christians and Muslims

as long as the people of Lebanon call upon others to mediate their disputes, it is hard to see any hope for their future


--Richard

by aaron
Tuesday Mar 8th, 2005 2:30 PM
The point here is that sectarian rivalries are just beneath the surface of the events unfolding in Lebanon. Fat-heads in the US media, though, have been depicting them in terms that neatly accord with the Bush Doctrine wherein the US is *by definition* the friend of freedom, democracy, and justice everywhere--a laughable assertion to people who prefer to keep their head on their shoulders and not in their ass.

I would say to you Gehrig: be careful what you wish for. This shit could spin in a direction not at all favorable to your favorite little settler state.
by Critical Thinker
Tuesday Mar 8th, 2005 2:52 PM
>>>"but, given that Bush and the French seem to be so adamant about pushing the Syrians out, which is geopolitically rather odd, given that Syria has cooperated with Bush's war on terror"<<<

Any cooperation by Assad in the anti-terror war stemmed from cold calculated interests and hasn't been done for the sake of routing terrorism, with one possible exception of Assad having moved against some terrorists that might have endangered his regime in some way, shape or form.
[halfheartedly, at best (and driven by calculated interests)
by Critical Thinker Tuesday, Mar. 08, 2005 at 2:52 PM

>>>"but, given that Bush and the French seem to be so adamant about pushing the Syrians out, which is geopolitically rather odd, given that Syria has cooperated with Bush's war on terror"<<<

Any cooperation by Assad in the anti-terror war stemmed from cold calculated interests and hasn't been done for the sake of routing terrorism, with one possible exception of Assad having moved against some terrorists that might have endangered his regime in some way, shape or form.]

What did they say back in Watergate days? A "non-denial denial"??

That's what we have here.

But, if you are still unconvinced, read the following article by Sy Hersh in the New Yorker, where it appears that the neo-conservatives actively sabotaged a successful intelligence gathering relationship with Syria in 2003:

http://www.newyorker.com/printable/?fact/030728fa_fact

the money quote:

[Tenet’s involvement was significant. American intelligence and State Department officials have told me that by early 2002 Syria had emerged as one of the C.I.A.’s most effective intelligence allies in the fight against Al Qaeda, providing an outpouring of information that came to an end only with the invasion of Iraq. (A number of the details of the raid and the intelligence relationship were reported by U.P.I. on July 16th.) Tenet had become one of Syria’s champions in the interagency debate over how to deal with its government. His antagonists include civilians in the Pentagon who viewed Syria, despite its intelligence help, as part of the problem. “Tenet has prevented all kinds of action against Syria,” one diplomat with knowledge of the interagency discussions told me.

Syria is one of seven nations listed by the State Department as sponsors of terrorism. It has been on the list since 1979, in large part because of its public support for Hezbollah, the radical Islamic party that controls much of southern Lebanon. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for, among other acts, the 1983 bombing of the American Marine barracks in Beirut, which left two hundred and forty-one Americans dead; it was implicated in the 1984 kidnapping of William Buckley, the C.I.A.’s Beirut station chief, who was tortured and murdered; and it has been linked to bombings of Israeli targets in Argentina. Syria has also allowed Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, two groups that have staged numerous suicide bombings inside Israel, to maintain offices in Damascus.

Nevertheless, after September 11th the Syrian leader, Bashar Assad, initiated the delivery of Syrian intelligence to the United States. The Syrians had compiled hundreds of files on Al Qaeda, including dossiers on the men who participated—and others who wanted to participate—in the September 11th attacks. Syria also penetrated Al Qaeda cells throughout the Middle East and in Arab exile communities throughout Europe. That data began flowing to C.I.A. and F.B.I. operatives.

Syria had accumulated much of its information because of Al Qaeda’s ties to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic terrorists who have been at war with the secular Syrian government for more than two decades. Many of the September 11th hijackers had operated out of cells in Aachen and Hamburg, where Al Qaeda was working with the Brotherhood. In the late nineties, Mohammed Atta and other Al Qaeda members, including Mohammed Haydar Zammar, who is believed to have been one of the organization’s top recruiters, worked on occasion at a German firm called Tatex Trading. Tatex was infiltrated by Syrian intelligence in the eighties; one of its shareholders was Mohammed Majed Said, who ran the Syrian intelligence directorate from 1987 to 1994. Zammar is now in Syrian custody.

Within weeks of the September 11th attacks, the F.B.I. and the C.I.A, with Syria’s permission, began intelligence-gathering operations in Aleppo, near the Turkish border. Aleppo was the subject of Mohammed Atta’s dissertation on urban planning, and he travelled there twice in the mid-nineties. “At every stage in Atta’s journey is the Muslim Brotherhood,” a former C.I.A. officer who served undercover in Damascus told me. “He went through Spain in touch with the Brotherhood in Hamburg.”

Syria also provided the United States with intelligence about future Al Qaeda plans. In one instance, the Syrians learned that Al Qaeda had penetrated the security services of Bahrain and had arranged for a glider loaded with explosives to be flown into a building at the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet headquarters there. Flynt Leverett, a former C.I.A. analyst who served until early this year on the National Security Council and is now a fellow at the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution, told me that Syria’s help “let us thwart an operation that, if carried out, would have killed a lot of Americans.” The Syrians also helped the United States avert a suspected plot against an American target in Ottawa.

Syria’s efforts to help seemed to confound the Bush Administration, which was fixated on Iraq. According to many officials I spoke to, the Administration was ill prepared to take advantage of the situation and unwilling to reassess its relationship with Assad’s government. Leverett told me that “the quality and quantity of information from Syria exceeded the Agency’s expectations.” But, he said, “from the Syrians’ perspective they got little in return for it.”]

Strangely, Syria's support for Hizbollah, and the lingering threat it posed to Israel, outweighed the assistance that Syria was providing the United States in regard to al-Qaeda, an organization that had actually attacked the US, and killed nearly 3,000 Americans.

Or, consider that Syria, for all of its faults, participates in the rendition program by which the CIA seizes people and sends them to other countries for torture:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/11/opinion/11herbert.html

--Richard




by Critical Thinker
Tuesday Mar 8th, 2005 3:44 PM
Syria has been hosting and otherwise aiding Palestinian terror organizations, not only assisting Hizballah. Not that Hizballah isn't at least a potential threat to scores of Lebanese opposed to the Syrian occupation.

And some folks here may need a reminder, so let's not forget that Hizballah has a history of anti-US terror actions in which hundreds of Americans were murdered and others kidnapped.
by george antonius Jr
Tuesday Mar 8th, 2005 3:51 PM
All of the economic and political problems of the Arab Middle East are the result of disunity.All of the borders which still do divide the former Ottoman Arab lands into weak, dysfunctional, artificial "nations" are the result of the neo-colonial scheming of Great Britain and France.Lebanon was created to satisfy neo-colonial cultural aspirations of France.US policy has been aimed at perpetuating and exacerbating that pathology, not just under Bush jr, but under all US administrations, especially since the 1973 oil embargo, but even before then, too.

If the neo-colonial arrangement had been dismantled in time, the Palestinians would not have lost their homeland and the land's oil wealth could not be monpolized by Euro-American oil companies and a relative handful of their "pet Arabs".Without this "divide and rule" neo-colonial system, few Arabs would have turned in frustration to the unity promised by political Islam as a substitute for a national unity made unobtainable by European and American meddling.If that system is undone the problems arising from it will be solved.

Syria's is now the only government in the region which has a correct diagnosis of what ails the Arabs, and a prescription that could heal it.

"Democracy" imposed by the US on the Middle East will probably result in the "Lebanonization" of the entire region.Rather than working on their real problems, the people will be divided-up and dominated by narrow sectarian leaders who will expend all their political efforts in squabbles about the role of Islam in law and government, who is qualified to interpret koranic law and carry it out, how to have a government that satisfies the differing interpretations of Sunnite and Shi'ite religious authorities, how to, or whether to, accomodate unorthodox Muslim sects, Druze, Christians, Jews, which rights should women enjoy, and on and on until people get fed-up with it.Unity must come before democracy in order to avoid this trap.

by aaron
Tuesday Mar 8th, 2005 4:01 PM
I smell back-pedaling and evasion from our erstwhile zionist commenteers.

Anyway, I'm curious what you're referring to here, CT:

<<And some folks here may need a reminder, so let's not forget that Hizballah has a history of anti-US terror actions in which hundreds of Americans were murdered and others kidnapped.>>

Are you referring to the attack on the marines in Beirut in '83?
by Critical Thinker
Tuesday Mar 8th, 2005 4:14 PM
What's forthcoming, some attempt to downplay its significance or excuse it away?

(My beef with the Marines contingent regarding this attack is that they hadn't duly prepared themselves for that sort of event. But that's in no way to intimate that they were at fault for meeting such a terrible fate.)
by aaron
Tuesday Mar 8th, 2005 4:38 PM
reagan put them in harm's way. they got hit. then they left lebanon. that's about as emotional as i can get about it.
by ANGEL
Wednesday Mar 9th, 2005 12:55 AM
>>>Syria has been hosting and otherwise aiding Palestinian terror organizations, not only assisting Hizballah. Not that Hizballah isn't at least a potential threat to scores of Lebanese opposed to the Syrian occupation.<<<

None of this would be needed if the Brutal Occupation and Oppression of the Palestinian People in the West Bank and Gaza did not exist........

and of course......
>>>>End the occupation
by End the occupation Tuesday, Mar. 08, 2005 at 10:01 AM

Israel out of the Golan!>>>>

Just because a group wants to protect its people from Israeli aggression and land grab does not make it a terrorist group. The sooner we face this reality the sooner there will be peace in the Middle East…..Why is there not outrage at the fact that Israel is building a wall/fence/barrier inside the West Bank when we all know that we are trying to achieve a Viable Palestinian State called for in the Road Map to Peace.

Achieving this one basic and correct Goal will do more to end the Middle East conflict then any other action we can take.

The best Goal that we can make for the Region is to set the Correct Borders for the 4 Nations, Israel in its pre 1967 (Green line) Border, Palestine in the Whole of the West Bank and Gaza, Lebanon with a secure border to the South free from Israeli Aggression. Then these Borders can be Controlled and Guarded…….Then the reason for the conflict and the hate can end and only then
by Fake peace activists support syria
Wednesday Mar 9th, 2005 6:01 AM
It's not suprrising to see that "aaron aarons" and "richard estes," two idiots that hate israel, are defending syria's "right" to maintain illegal military occupation over Lebanon.

Hey TRUE LEFTISTS out there, since when did true peace activists support fascist islamic occupations of other countires and terrorist organizations?

by ?
Wednesday Mar 9th, 2005 6:50 AM
"TRUE LEFTISTS out there, since when did true peace activists support fascist islamic occupations of other countires and terrorist organizations?"

I doubt the Shia population in Lebanon REALLY supports Syria but they do seem worried about Bush's neocon plans that involve kicking Syria out. The end result of all this self-righteous talk about how Syria has to end its occupation could verry well be a new civil war in Lebanon. For all that people call Hizb Allah a terrorist group that cant be dealt with, it is also the militia that represents the largest ethnic group in the country and was seen as a protecting force for them when they were under attack by Israel and the Christian Phlange. The idea of increased democracy in Lebanon and not negotiating with Hizb Allah becasue they are a terrorist organization are mutually exclusive. One doesnt have to dig to far to see that Bush and Israel's goals in Lebanon have almost everything to do with attacking Hizb Allah (and Palestinian groups in SYria proper) and almost nothing to do with Lebanon itself. Bush's style of Democracy on the March seems to involve more jack booted thugs than it does ballot boxes and it will only end when the corpses once more pile up in the streets of Beirut.
by Shi'ites play hard game of numbers
Wednesday Mar 9th, 2005 6:53 AM
THE days of dreaming and romantic politics are over in Beirut, and the time of hard bargaining for a new national compact has begun.

This was the stark meaning of the extraordinary demonstration staged by the radical Hezbollah movement on Tuesday in the heart of the Lebanese capital, even as the first signs of Syrian military withdrawal from the coastal ranges were reported.

Hezbollah has also pledged to fill the streets of northern Tripoli and southern Sidon in the week ahead, underlining the Shi'ite majority's critical stake in the design of Lebanon's future, and the need for careful manoeuvre by all parties in the divided nation towards a new balance of power.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has now claimed his share of the country's political spectrum, with a broad message that the Shi'ites count in the calculations of the new order.

In the wake of the rally, Lebanon's pro-Syrian President, Emil Lahoud, was meeting parliamentarians and was expected to name as caretaker prime minister Omar Karami, who resigned from the position only a week ago. Reports re-emphasised that Syrian troops would be fully withdrawn in the next two months, and there were signs yesterday of extensive pullback.

Almost as striking as the vast sweep of Hezbollah's mobilisation, which dwarfed the protests of the new-formed opposition, was its pitch: the banner-waving supporters were chanting against "foreign intervention" by Western powers in Lebanese affairs, rather than for Syrian troops to remain.

Almost four weeks have passed since the brutal assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri turned Beirut into a cauldron of grief and hyper-charged nationalist fervour. In that period, the pro-Syrian government has fallen and the regime in Damascus has agreed to a reduction in its overt presence inside Lebanon.

Even as international pressure has been brought to bear on Syria, in the form of a UN resolution sponsored by the US and France, Lebanese politicians have been charting a new course. The democratic opposition, a coalition of convenience marshalled under Hariri's banner by Druze chief Walid Jumblatt, seeks a national rebirth free from Syrian domination.

But Damascus is now employing a subtle range of tactics, including compliance, delay and ambiguity, in a bid to maintain its position inside Lebanon.

The US remains steadfast that all 14,000 Syrian troops must leave the country before parliamentary elections scheduled for May.

Into this drama steps Hezbollah, and the other main Shi'ite formation, the Amal party.

Tuesday's mass mobilisation might be reduced to a single sentence: "Without us, you can do nothing."

In their hearts, the wiser democracy activists and commentators gathered round Beirut's Martyrs Square, singing the songs of the "cedar revolution", have known this all along.

Jumblatt himself has been trying to reach out to Hezbollah, and those with long memories can see how close the opening now lies to a revival of 1980s-style civil conflict.

Here, Hezbollah's role becomes even more critical. As an armed "resistance movement" in charge of the southern borders of the country, it is directly in the sights of the UN resolution calling for foreign troop withdrawal and disarmament.

But Hezbollah has no intention of giving up its weapons or its role in Lebanese life as guarantor of Shi'ite interests.

Vast positional problems face Hezbollah's strategists almost at once, now that they have made their claim to national centrality by taking to the streets of the capital.

How will they hold national allegiance and see Lebanon conform with the UN resolution, while at the same time keeping their military role? Where will their loyalties be seen to lie?

For the democratic opposition, Hezbollah's abrupt entry to the mainstream stage raises a bleak question: are the anti-Syrian activists anything more than the old rump of Maronite Christian and Sunni leaders, eager to regain their traditional control of Lebanese affairs?

Can they craft a multi-confessional civic constituency that genuinely reaches beyond the elite of the Lebanese world?

As the international architects of Middle East transformation look on, the lines of politics and power in Lebanon are blurring, and the results of the present destabilised phase are becoming less certain.

A new era of reduced, more subtle Syrian influence is dawning, and Beirut's shattered heart will be rebuilt.

But the hard negotiations to find a centre of gravity are only just beginning – and in a country where even ordering a cup of coffee is a fraught political act, the looming endgame will be long.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,12494275%255E2703,00.html
[Fake peace activists
by Fake peace activists support syria Wednesday, Mar. 09, 2005 at 6:01 AM

It's not suprrising to see that "aaron aarons" and "richard estes," two idiots that hate israel, are defending syria's "right" to maintain illegal military occupation over Lebanon.
Hey TRUE LEFTISTS out there, since when did true peace activists support fascist islamic occupations of other countires and terrorist organizations?]

I never said this.

But, then, I guess that's the new Zionism. Making up straw men to justify personal attacks upon people in order to avoid addressing what they really said.

Of course, the problem here is that I did say that there's likely to be a civil war in Lebanon if the result of the Syrian withdrawal is an attempt by the US, France and Israel to impose Christian minority control over the Muslim majority.

We all know what happened last time this was attempted.

From this post, one could infer that this is exactly what is happening, hence the need to smear anyone impolite enough to point it out.

Maybe, the Prof can jump into the pool, and spout more vitriolic nonsense.

Assuming you aren't him, of course.


--Richard





by Critical Thinker
Wednesday Mar 9th, 2005 7:18 AM
First off, Id like to remark in response to the question posed to another that a civil war needn't be an inevitable outcome if the US plays its hand carefully.

>>>"For all that people call Hizb Allah a terrorist group that cant be dealt with, it is also the militia that represents the largest ethnic group in the country and was seen as a protecting force for them when they were under attack by Israel and the Christian Phlange."<<<

The Lebanese Shi'ites, much less as a defined sector of the Lebanese populace, were never under attack by Israel.

>>>"One doesnt have to dig to far to see that Bush and Israel's goals in Lebanon have almost everything to do with attacking Hizb Allah and almost nothing to do with Lebanon itself."<<<

Israel presently has no goals in Lebanon. Gone is the era of the ambitious and adventurous Sharon-conceived Israeli designs for Lebanon
by Is the US stupid?
Wednesday Mar 9th, 2005 7:19 AM
The group that won the Iraqi elections has close ties to Hizbullah. If the US really wants to start demonizing Shiites in Lebanon to create a new Druze/Christian/Sunni dominated government what would the motive be? Is the Us alraedy starting to feel like it needs to "contain" Shiite power in the region after giving it such a huge boost in Iraq. The end result of all this could be a new form of militant Shia Islam that links Iraq, Iran and Lebanon together in common hatred of the US.
by ?
Wednesday Mar 9th, 2005 7:31 AM
"the US plays its hand carefully."
As long as the US is seen as having its hand in Lebanon's affairs there is likely to be unrest since the US is hated so much around the world right now.

"The Lebanese Shi'ites, much less as a defined sector of the Lebanese populace, were never under attack by Israel."
They were the population that suffered longest under Israeli rule and Hizb Allah formed partly as a response (it didnt come out of nowhere). The peopel who directly oppressed and terorrised the Shiia were the Maronite militias funded by Israel but Israel took most of the blame with most just seeing the SLA and Phlange as pawns (even though that obviously wasnt completely true)

"Israel presently has no goals in Lebanon."
One obvious goal is to get rid of Hizb Allah or at least to stop them from lobbing rockets across the border? Perhaps the fact that they are seen as getting in the way of Abbas's peace process could be another reason?

"Gone is the era of the ambitious and adventurous Sharon-conceived Israeli designs for Lebanon"
The US is now more directly active in the region so Israel would never feel like it had to invade on its own, but that just begs the question as to why the US seems to be pretending to care so much about Lebanon right now. Is it because of Syrian support for "terrorist groups" in Israel, is it because of American fears of Hizb Allah ties to other islamic "terrorist" groups, or does it have something to do with Iran or Iraq.
by Critical Thinker
Wednesday Mar 9th, 2005 7:32 AM
>>>"...the new Zionism"<<<

I for one hope you won't ever let provocations like the above one get the best of you as to begin firing back with the "ZioNazi" epithet and the like.
by RWF
(restes60 [at] earthlink.net) Wednesday Mar 9th, 2005 8:00 AM
[>>>"...the new Zionism"<<<

I for one hope you won't ever let provocations like the above one get the best of you as to begin firing back with the "ZioNazi" epithet and the like.]

I don't like terms like "Zionazi" and "FemiNazi", they generate more heat than light.

Quite some time ago, I posted my perspective about Nazism, and my belief is that its some of its roots lie in hostility towards modernism, and, while it may be informed by watching too many Fritz Lang films, I stand by it.


--Richard



by Critical Thinker
Wednesday Mar 9th, 2005 8:05 AM
CT: Gone is the era of the ambitious and adventurous Sharon-conceived Israeli designs for Lebanon

>>>"The US is now more directly active in the region so Israel would never feel like it had to invade on its own,"<<<

Israel withdrew from Lebanon completely some four and a half years ago, and prior to the recent US political pressure on Syria to withdraw, it hadn't believed in what some here would consider to be an Israeli imperative of re-invading to eliminate Hizballah presence in southern Lebanon, thus removing Israel from this organization's rockets' range and ridding its military of occasional attacks on its military bases on the border.

CT: The Lebanese Shi'ites, much less as a defined sector of the Lebanese populace, were never under attack by Israel.

>>>"They were the population that suffered longest under Israeli rule and Hizb Allah formed partly as a response (it didnt come out of nowhere). The peopel who directly oppressed and terorrised the Shiia were the Maronite militias funded by Israel but Israel took most of the blame with most just seeing the SLA and Phlange as pawns (even though that obviously wasnt completely true)"<<<

There's a clear difference between the hardships Shi'ities underwent due to Israel's military presence -- some of which was incurred by both Hizballah and Amal (to a lesser degree) as a result of their constant and relentless harassment of the IDF right up to the May '00 withdrawal -- and being under attack. If no one knew better, everyone would have concluded from your version of things that Israel had targetted the Shi'ites for attack.

CT: Israel presently has no goals in Lebanon.

>>>"One obvious goal is to get rid of Hizb Allah or at least to stop them from lobbing rockets across the border? Perhaps the fact that they are seen as getting in the way of Abbas's peace process could be another reason?"<<<

I for one would like to see Israel setting one of the first two goals you spelled out, preferably the first. But in reality these register as official Israeli wishes rather than goals as it stands now.
by aaron
Wednesday Mar 9th, 2005 8:48 AM
....who accused me of being a supporter of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon:

I'm not Aaron Aarons, first of all--that's a different poster. (Think of me as the aaron on this board that JA hates and baselessly calls a zionist!)

If you had read my posts instead of going on automatic pilot with your canned attack you would have seen that in my first post I wrote:

"One needn't support the Syrian occupation to see that the picture being painted by the US media of the situation in Lebanon these past few weeks is designed to give the impression that the Bush Doctrine is rolling-up success after success. We are led to believe that the Arab World "having thrown off fear" is now en mass voicing a view of things that's in accord with American imperialism."

In a later post I wrote:

"The point here is that sectarian rivalries are just beneath the surface of the events unfolding in Lebanon. Fat-heads in the US media, though, have been depicting them in terms that neatly accord with the Bush Doctrine wherein the US is *by definition* the friend of freedom, democracy, and justice everywhere--a laughable assertion to people who prefer to keep their head on their shoulders and not in their ass."

I support an end to *all* of the military occupations in the mid east. Can you say the same?


by george antonius Jr
Wednesday Mar 9th, 2005 9:06 AM
In 1919 democratic elections were conducted throughout "natural", "unified", or "greater" Syria (the 'bilad al-shams), which included not only present day Syria and Lebanon, but what is now Palestine/Israel, Jordan and parts of southern Turkey, including Alexandretta.The Syrian National Assembly constituted by those elections was entirely within the framework of international law as it was defined at that time. The findings of the King-Crane Commission, the only attempt made by the Great Powers at the Paris Peace Conference to determine the will of the indigenous people of "natural Syria", confirmed their support for the programme put forth by the Syrian National Assembly.In fact, it is quite likely that had the British allowed a commission of enquiry to survey Iraqi opinion it would have found support for joining the Syrians' unified Arab kingdom.Despite the fact that the Syrian government was willing to cooperate with Britain, France and the Zionists on minimal separatist/protectorate arrangements in Palestine and Mount Lebanon, The democratic, secular, constitutional monarchy was short-lived, abandoned by Britain and America and toppled by France.Consequently, a popular, violent protest movement swept Syria (incl.Pal&Leb) and Iraq as well.Britain and France proceeded to carve the entire former Ottoman region up according to neo-colonial criteria, and the regionb has been vulnerable to every sort of external and internal strife and exploitation ever since.
by RWF
(restes60 [at] earthlink.net) Wednesday Mar 9th, 2005 11:56 AM
[Syria was the first democracy in the Arab world
by george antonius Jr Wednesday, Mar. 09, 2005 at 9:06 AM

In 1919 democratic elections were conducted throughout "natural", "unified", or "greater" Syria (the 'bilad al-shams), which included not only present day Syria and Lebanon, but what is now Palestine/Israel, Jordan and parts of southern Turkey, including Alexandretta.The Syrian National Assembly constituted by those elections was entirely within the framework of international law as it was defined at that time. The findings of the King-Crane Commission, the only attempt made by the Great Powers at the Paris Peace Conference to determine the will of the indigenous people of "natural Syria", confirmed their support for the programme put forth by the Syrian National Assembly.In fact, it is quite likely that had the British allowed a commission of enquiry to survey Iraqi opinion it would have found support for joining the Syrians' unified Arab kingdom.Despite the fact that the Syrian government was willing to cooperate with Britain, France and the Zionists on minimal separatist/protectorate arrangements in Palestine and Mount Lebanon, The democratic, secular, constitutional monarchy was short-lived, abandoned by Britain and America and toppled by France.Consequently, a popular, violent protest movement swept Syria (incl.Pal&Leb) and Iraq as well.Britain and France proceeded to carve the entire former Ottoman region up according to neo-colonial criteria, and the regionb has been vulnerable to every sort of external and internal strife and exploitation ever since.]

The French killed thousands during air raids on Damascus.

It arguably foreshadowed events like Guernica, Dresden and Tokyo.

--Richard

by ANGEL
Thursday Mar 10th, 2005 6:07 AM
>>>Syria has been hosting and otherwise aiding Palestinian terror organizations, not only assisting Hizballah. Not that Hizballah isn't at least a potential threat to scores of Lebanese opposed to the Syrian occupation.<<<

None of this would be needed if the Brutal Syrian Occupation and Oppression of the Lebanese People in Lebanon did not exist........

and of course not......
>>>>End the occupation
by End the occupation Tuesday, Mar. 08, 2005 at 10:01 AM

Israel out of the Golan!>>>>

Just because a group claims it wants to protect its people from imaginary Israeli aggression and land grab does not mean it is not a terrorist group. The sooner we face this reality the sooner there will be peace in the Middle East…..Why is there not outrage at the fact that Israel needs to be building a wall/fence/barrier at all when we all know that the main Problem is that Palestinian Terror is constantly preventing the attainment of a Viable Palestinian State called for in the Road Map to Peace.

Achieving the one basic and correct Goal of defeating Palestinian Terror will do more to end the Middle East conflict then any other action we can take.

The best Goal that we can make for the Region is to set the Correct Borders for the 4 Nations, Israel somewhat beyond its pre 1967 (Green line) Border, Palestine in Part of the West Bank and Gaza provided most Palestinians are interested in statehood, Lebanon with a secure border to the East free from Syrian Aggression and Occupation. Then these Borders can be Controlled and Guarded…….Then the reason for the conflict and the hate can end and only then can there be a Viable Palestinian State called for in the Road Map.
by RWF
Thursday Mar 10th, 2005 6:15 AM
Hi. I'm Richard. I'm a pro-Islamist idiot who pretends to be a peace activist, yet all I do is defend oppressive Islamic regimes and make excuses for Muslim countries attacking or harrassing Christian or Jewish countries.

- Richard



by george antonius Jr
Thursday Mar 10th, 2005 6:17 AM
Hi, I'm george. I am a fake peace activist. I'm really just yet another leftist defender of oppressive Islamic regimes. I know that Syria has no business occupying and controlling Lebanon, so to change hte subject, I'll point out some irrevelant fact that's from the past and has no connection whatsoever with the actual current issue at hand.

by RWF
(restes60 [at] earthlink.net) Thursday Mar 10th, 2005 5:19 PM
Lebanon, by chance?

[Hello
by RWF Thursday, Mar. 10, 2005 at 6:15 AM

[Hi. I'm Richard. I'm a pro-Islamist idiot who pretends to be a peace activist, yet all I do is defend oppressive Islamic regimes and make excuses for Muslim countries attacking or harrassing Christian or Jewish countries.

- Richard]

Lebanon isn't a "Christian country" anymore than the US is.

And, any attempt to make it one will invariably result in civil war, as efforts to impose Christian dominance on the country did in the past.

--Richard
by well
Thursday Mar 10th, 2005 5:29 PM
" Lebanon isn't a "Christian country" anymore than the US is. "

Culturally the US is a lot more "Christian" than Lebanon. In the US Christians make up well over 80% of the population ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States#Religion ) wheras Lebanon is 60% Muslim ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanon#Demographics )
by Free Lebanon
Thursday Mar 10th, 2005 5:53 PM
Christians have a long history in Lebanon...moslems are newcomers...Invaders, OCCUPIERS and Colonizers.
Lebanon was one nation in the Middle East, where Christians didn't have to accept dhimmi status. That all ended by the combined "invasions" of the PLO and Syria.
by Free the Golan
Thursday Mar 10th, 2005 6:46 PM
Israel get out of Syria.
"Christians have a long history in Lebanon..."

Druze, Shia and Sunni Muslims also a long history in Lebanon. The Maronites were a slight majority of the population when it was created out of a portion of the Ottoman empire in the early 1900s but its hard to see how thatshould give them some special rights over the Muslim majority. They definitely shouldnt be treated as second class citizens but to demand Christian rule in Lebanon becasue Lebanon was majority Christian 100 years ago is sortof like Hussein demanding Iraq be run by Sunnis since just 100 years ago most of Iraq was majority Sunni.
by demographics
Thursday Mar 10th, 2005 7:24 PM
The population of Lebanon comprises different ethnic groups and religions: Christians (mainly West Aramean/Syriac but some Armenian), Muslims (Sunnis and Shiites), Druze, and others. Because the matter of religious balance is such a sensitive political issue, a national census has not been conducted since 1932, before the founding of the modern Lebanese State. Consequently there is an absence of accurate data on the relative percentages of the population of the major religions and groups. Many observers believe that Muslims, at arguably 50-60 percent of the population, make up a slight majority, but Muslims do not represent a homogenous group. Christian denominations constitute the other part of the population. There is as well a small Jewish population, traditionally centered in Beirut. Add to this some negligible numbers of Baha'is, Buddhists, and Hindus. As for the emigrant population, millions of Lebanese are present outside the country.

There are 18 officially recognized religious groups. Their ecclesiastical and demographic patterns are extremely complex. Divisions and rivalries between groups date back as far as 15 centuries, and still are a factor today. The pattern of settlement has changed little since the Seventh century, although there has been a steady numerical decline in the number of Christians compared to Muslims. The main branches of Islam are Shi'a and Sunni. Since the Eleventh century, there has been a sizable Druze presence, concentrated in rural, mountainous areas east and south of Beirut. The smallest Muslim minorities are the Alawites and the Ismaili ("Sevener") Shi’a order. The "Twelver" Shi’a, Sunni, and Druze each have state-appointed clerical bodies to administer family and personal status law through their own religious courts, which are subsidized by the State. The Maronites are the largest of the Christian groups. They have had a long and continuous association with the Roman Catholic Church, but have their own patriarch, liturgy, and customs. The second largest Christian group is the Greek Orthodox Church (composed of ethnic Arabs who maintain a Greek-language liturgy). The remainder of the Christians are divided among Greek Catholics, Armenian Orthodox (Gregorians), Armenian Catholics, Syrian Orthodox (Jacobites), Syrian Catholics, Assyrians (Nestorians), Chaldeans, Copts, evangelicals (including Protestant groups such as the Baptists, Seventh-Day Adventists, and Friends), and Latins (Roman Catholic). [1] (http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2002/14006.htm)

While 360,000 Palestinian refugees have registered in Lebanon with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) since 1948, estimates of those remaining range between 160,000 and 225,000. They are not accorded the legal rights enjoyed by the rest of the population.

With no official figures available, it is estimated that 600,000-900,000 (??) persons fled the country during the initial years of civil war (1975-76). Although some returned, continuing instability until 1992 sparked further waves of emigration, casting even more doubt on population figures.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Lebanon
by Sefarad
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 4:12 AM
"With no official figures available, it is estimated that 600,000-900,000 (??) persons fled the country during the initial years of civil war (1975-76). "

According to what I have read, most of them were Christian.
by Sefarad
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 4:16 AM
Situation in Lebanon

The Christians of Lebanon -- Maronites, Orthodox, and other communities including Protestants -- number about 1.5 million, the remnant of a Christian nation that resisted the Islamic conquorers for 13 centuries. Since Lebanon made an ill-conceived pact with the PLO in 1969, hundreds of thousands were massacred, displaced and exiled. During the Israeli operations in Lebanon in 1978 and in 1982, the Christian Lebanese sided with the Israelis against the Syria-backed Islamic Lebanese. In 1985, the Israelis withdrew except for a security buffer zone exposing the Christians to reprisals. Since 1990, the end of the Lebanese civil war, the Christian areas of Lebanon have been under Syrian occupation.

Christians in the north and central parts have been systematically politically and socially oppressed since the Lebanese civil war ended. Hundreds have been arrested, tortured, and jailed by pro-Syrian forces. In the south of Lebanon, thousands of Christians are bombarded constantly by Hezbollah. Thousands of Lebanese Christians fled when Israel pulled out of the security zone in 2000. There are more than seven million Lebanese Christians outside of Lebanon, including more than 1.5 million Americans of Lebanese descent.


http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_current_christians.php
by Sefarad
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 6:12 AM
Mar. 10, 2005 22:44 | Updated Mar. 11, 2005 12:28
Column One: Don't wobble, Mr. President
By CAROLINE GLICK




Common wisdom has it that until Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah launched Tuesday's pro-Syrian demonstration in Beirut, his terror organization had been more or less on the fence regarding its position on Syria's occupation of Lebanon. This view is belied, however, by a speech Nasrallah broadcast on Hizbullah's Al-Manar television on February 17.

In the speech, which was documented by the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Nasrallah warned against the pro-democracy, anti-Syrian opposition. Nasrallah claimed that the opposition, like UN Security Council Resolution 1559 calling for a withdrawal of foreign forces from Lebanon and the disarming of Hizbullah, had been launched as part of an Israeli-American political war against Hizbullah.

He argued that the political war was "more important and dangerous" than a shooting war, because if it were successful the international community would label Hizbullah as a terrorist organization. If this were to happen, Nasrallah continued, it "would necessarily mean a world war against the resistance [i.e., Hizbullah], which they will call a war against international terrorism. [That will mean] the sources of [our] funding will dry up and the sources of moral, political and material support will be destroyed by exerting pressure on the countries defending the resistance one way or another, and exerting pressure on Lebanon, Iran and Syria, but mainly on Lebanon, to classify it as a country supporting terrorism "

So, far from sitting on the fence, Hizbullah had perceived the danger inherent in the pro-democracy movement in Lebanon, and had broadcast its opposition to it, from the start. Tuesday's rally, where Nasrallah led hundreds of thousands of Lebanese in chanting "Death to Israel" and "Death to America" while applauding Syria for its domination of their country, was the result of this perceived threat.

THE MASS demonstration told us a great deal about Hizbullah, as well as about what must be done if Lebanon is to have a chance of ever being free of foreign domination. Firstly, the demonstration should put to rest the notion that Hizbullah is at heart a local Lebanese political force. If Hizbullah were interested in simply dominating Lebanese politics, then its best bet would have been to hop onto the anti-Syrian bandwagon. Under no danger of being viewed as an American or Israeli stooge, Hizbullah could have easily won the hearts and minds of Lebanese. The fact that Hizbullah is willing to endanger its local popularity in order to protect Lebanon's unpopular overlord in Damascus shows that while it may have local political attributes and aspirations, Hizbullah's position as a key member of the Iran-Syria alliance is central to its identity. At least as presently constituted under Nasrallah's charismatic leadership, Hizbullah has no chance of being transformed into a local movement.

Secondly, the fact that Hizbullah was able to mass so many protesters to rally in support of continuing Syria's tyranny is very much a consequence of the fact that Hizbullah is the only political faction in Lebanon that has its own army and controls its own territory. That Hizbullah has unique means of persuasion which its political opponents lack means that it will be impossible to have free or fair elections in Lebanon for as long as Hizbullah remains armed.

Thirdly, if the calls for jihad in Beirut on Tuesday were jarring to Western ears, they should at least have made clear one thing about Lebanon's current status in the war on terror. Today, under Syrian occupation, with Iranian Revolutionary Guard units operating openly in the Bekaa Valley and along the border with Israel, and with Hizbullah occupying the south, Lebanon is a firmly entrenched member of the terror camp. It will be physically impossible to move Lebanon into the antiterror camp for as long as Hizbullah remains armed and Syrian and Iranian forces retain their presence in the country.


Continued

Complete articlehttp://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull%26cid=1110424787209



by Sefarad
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 6:17 AM
Mar. 10, 2005 22:44 | Updated Mar. 11, 2005 12:28
Column One: Don't wobble, Mr. President
By CAROLINE GLICK





(Continued from page 1 of 3)
Finally, Hizbullah on Tuesday effectively put Bashar Assad into its debt. In holding the rally, particularly given opposition reports that Hizbullah ordered its members to show up with their families and that Syria brought in hundreds of busloads of Syrians to participate in the rally, Nasrallah stuck his neck out for Bashar, and Bashar knows it.

Until now, Syria acted as a brake on Hizbullah, preventing it from attacking northern Israel or launching its arsenal of 14,000 rockets and missiles at Israel. Today, Damascus will no doubt be much less disposed to pushing its weight around with Nasrallah. The fact that young Assad now owes Nasrallah, coupled with the fact that Syria, Iran and Hizbullah are deeply enmeshed both together and separately in fueling the Palestinian terror war against Israel, means that Israel today faces a different situation on its northern border than it faced a month ago.

Sadly, while Hizbullah's true colors were unfurled on Tuesday, the initial reaction of both Lebanon and the international community to this terror rally suggested that it is possible to prosper from such actions. Thursday, Syrian-backed Lebanese President Emil Lahoud reinstated Syrian-supported Prime Minister Omar Karameh to office just a week and a half after the opposition forced him to resign. And UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said Wednesday that the UN should recognize Hizbullah. In his words, "Even Hizbullah [is] talking about non-interference by outsiders... which is not entirely at odds with the Security Council resolution, that there should be withdrawal of Syrian troops."

For its part, after dropping a proposal to have Hizbullah placed on the EU's list of terror organizations, the European Parliament on Thursday slapped the organization with a wet noodle – meekly resolving that "if clear evidence exists of terrorist activities by Hizbullah, the [European] Council should take all necessary steps to curtail them."

Most disturbingly, Thursday's New York Times reported that the Bush administration is about to follow both the UN and France's lead in accepting Hizbullah as a legitimate political force in Lebanon. According to the report, which sources in Washington claim was leaked by the State Department, "the Bush administration is grudgingly going along with efforts by France and the United Nations to steer the party into the Lebanese political mainstream."

IF THIS report is true, it would indicate that the White House is allowing its Lebanon policy to be taken over by the UN, Europe and the State Department in much the same fashion as its policy toward the Palestinians was hijacked two years ago.

In June 2002, US President George W. Bush bucked conventional wisdom and called for the Palestinian Authority to be transformed from a terror-engendering, corrupt tyranny into a terror-combating, economically transparent democracy. He stated that American support for Palestinian statehood was conditioned on the Palestinians first reforming.

Less than six months later, however, Bush enabled his policy to be turned on its head by the EU, the UN, the State Department, Jordan and Egypt (with the full support of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and then-foreign minister Shimon Peres), and mutated into the Quartet's road map. Rather than making statehood contingent on reforms, under the road map Palestinian statehood became the centerpiece of American policy and Palestinian antiterror and democratic reform was held hostage to Israeli concessions.

Continued
« Previous | 1 | 2 | 3 | Next »


by Sefarad
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 6:19 AM
Mar. 10, 2005 22:44 | Updated Mar. 11, 2005 12:28
Column One: Don't wobble, Mr. President
By CAROLINE GLICK


(Continued from page 2 of 3)
And so today, rather than force PA leader Mahmoud Abbas to destroy terror groups, the road map regime legitimizes him as he demands that Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah's Aksa Martyrs Brigades be accepted as political parties and recruits them into his security services.

Rather than forcing the PA to open Palestinian society to market forces that would enable an independent middle class to flourish and grow, the road map regime has showered the PA with hundreds of millions of dollars in international aid and has promised it over a billion more as the corrupt Palestinian leadership is given international legitimacy to retain and expand its control over all aspects of the Palestinian economy.

And rather than force the PA to stop using its militias to terrorize and intimidate all democratic – yet unarmed – forces into silence, the road map regime has ignored such voices in Palestinian society and has said nothing as Mahmoud Abbas has signed the execution orders of dozens of Palestinians accused of working with Israel against terrorists.

As it has joined the accomodationist camp in its treatment of the PA, the Bush administration has ignored the fact that Hizbullah, like Syria and Iran, sees all areas transferred to the PA's security control as bases of operation for the forces of global jihad. Rather than accept that Israel's presence in Judea, Samaria and Gaza – both military and civilian – is the only obstacle preventing these areas from becoming terror bases, the Bush administration, under the influence of the same voices calling for acceptance of Hizbullah in Lebanon, has accepted as truth the red herring that Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria are somehow antithetical to peace and security.

THIS WEEK saw Pakistan admit that the father of its nuclear program, A.Q. Khan, sold nuclear centrifuges to Iran. It saw thousands of Pakistani women demonstrating against tribal rapes. It saw thousands of Kuwaiti women demonstrating for the right to vote. And it saw Bush nominate John Bolton, one of the strongest voices for moral clarity and firm action against terrorists and their state sponsors in the world, as US ambassador to the UN. All of these events are indicators of the power of presidential resolve to change the world for the better while successfully routing terrorists and the regimes that sponsor them.

Yet all of this will mean little if, when tested on the frontlines of the battle between the forces of terror and the forces of democracy in the PA and Lebanon, the Bush administration allows the European obstructionists and their terror allies to take the lead.


by aaron
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 8:47 AM
The bottom line that sefarad wants to evade is that the anti-american demonstration drew more than 10 TIMES AS MANY PEOPLE than the so-called "cedar revolution."

The article below succinctly blows the "arguments" made by the US media out of the water:

"It is not democracy that's on the march in the Middle East"

Managed elections are the latest device to prop up pro-western regimes

Seumas Milne
Thursday March 10, 2005
The Guardian

For weeks a western chorus has been celebrating a new dawn of Middle Eastern freedom, allegedly triggered by the Iraq war. Tony Blair hailed a "ripple of change", encouraged by the US and Britain, that was bringing democracy to benighted Muslim lands.

First the Palestinians, then the Iraqis have finally had a chance to choose their leaders, it is said, courtesy of western intervention, while dictatorships such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia are democratising under American pressure. And then in Lebanon, as if on cue, last month's assassination of the former prime minister triggered a wave of street protests against Syria's military presence that brought down the pro-Damascus government in short order.

At last there was a democratic "cedar revolution" to match the US-backed Ukrainian "orange revolution" and a photogenic display of people power to bolster George Bush's insistence that the region is with him. "Freedom will prevail in Lebanon", Bush declared this week, promising anti-Syrian protesters that the US is "on your side". The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, is expected to join the cheerleaders for Arab democracy in a speech today and warn the left not to defend the status quo because of anti-Americanism.

The first decisive rebuff to this fairy tale of spin was delivered in Beirut on Tuesday, when at least 500,000 - some reports said it was more like a million - demonstrators took to the streets to show solidarity with embattled Syria and reject US and European interference in Lebanon. Mobilised by Hizbullah, the Shia Islamist movement, their numbers dwarfed the nearby anti-Syrian protesters by perhaps 10 to one; and while the well-heeled Beiruti jeunesse dorée have dominated the "people power" jamboree, most of Tuesday's demonstrators came from the Shia slums and the impoverished south. Bush's response was to ignore them completely. Whatever their numbers, they were, it seems, the wrong kind of people.

But the Hizbullah rally did more than demolish the claims of national unity behind the demand for immediate Syrian withdrawal. It also exposed the rottenness at the core of what calls itself a "pro-democracy" movement in Lebanon. The anti-Syrian protests, dominated by the Christian and Druze minorities, are not in fact calling for a genuine democracy at all, but for elections under the long-established corrupt confessional carve-up, which gives the traditionally privileged Christians half the seats in parliament and means no Muslim can ever be president. As if to emphasise the point, one politician championing the anti-Syrian protests, Pierre Gemayel of the rightwing Christian Phalange party (whose militiamen famously massacred 2,000 Palestinian refugees under Israeli floodlights in Sabra and Shatila in 1982), recently complained that voting wasn't just a matter of majorities, but of the "quality" of the voters. If there were a real democratic election, Gemayel and his friends could expect to be swept aside by a Hizbullah-led government.

The neutralisation of Hizbullah, whose success in driving Israel out of Lebanon in 2000 won it enormous prestige in the Arab world, is certainly one aim of the US campaign to push Syria out of Lebanon.The US brands Hizbullah, the largest party in the Lebanese parliament and leading force among the Shia, Lebanon's largest religious group, as a terrorist organisation without serious justification. But the pressure on Syria has plenty of other motivations: its withdrawal stands to weaken one of the last independent Arab regimes, however sclerotic, open the way for a return of western and Israeli influence in Lebanon, and reduce Iran's leverage.
Ironically, Syria's original intervention in Lebanon was encouraged by the US during the civil war in 1976 partly to prevent the democratisation of the country at the expense of the Christian minority's power. Syria's presence and highhandedness has long caused resentment, even if it is not regarded as a foreign occupation by many Lebanese. But withdrawal will create a vacuum with huge potential dangers for the country's fragile peace.

What the US campaign is clearly not about is the promotion of democracy in either Lebanon or Syria, where the most plausible alternative to the Assad regime are radical Islamists. In a pronouncement which defies satire, Bush insisted on Tuesday that Syria must withdraw from Lebanon before elections due in May "for those elections to be free and fair". Why the same point does not apply to elections held in occupied Iraq - where the US has 140,000 troops patrolling the streets, compared with 14,000 Syrian soldiers in the Lebanon mountains - or in occupied Palestine, for that matter, is unexplained. And why a UN resolution calling for Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon has to be complied with immediately, while those demanding an Israeli pullout from Palestinian and Syrian territory can be safely ignored for 38 years, is apparently unworthy of comment.

The claim that democracy is on the march in the Middle East is a fraud. It is not democracy, but the US military, that is on the march. The Palestinian elections in January took place because of the death of Yasser Arafat - they would have taken place earlier if the US and Israel hadn't known that Arafat was certain to win them - and followed a 1996 precedent. The Iraqi elections may have looked good on TV and allowed Kurdish and Shia parties to improve their bargaining power, but millions of Iraqis were unable or unwilling to vote, key political forces were excluded, candidates' names were secret, alleged fraud widespread, the entire system designed to maintain US control and Iraqis unable to vote to end the occupation. They have no more brought democracy to Iraq than US-orchestrated elections did to south Vietnam in the 1960s and 70s. As for the cosmetic adjustments by regimes such as Egypt's and Saudi Arabia's, there is not the slightest sign that they will lead to free elections, which would be expected to bring anti-western governments to power.

What has actually taken place since 9/11 and the Iraq war is a relentless expansion of US control of the Middle East, of which the threats to Syria are a part. The Americans now have a military presence in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar - and in not one of those countries did an elected government invite them in. Of course Arabs want an end to tyrannical regimes, most of which have been supported over the years by the US, Britain and France: that is the source of much anti-western Muslim anger. The dictators remain in place by US licence, which can be revoked at any time - and managed elections are being used as another mechanism for maintaining pro-western regimes rather than spreading democracy.

by Sefarad
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 9:21 AM

According to The Guardian, Muslims are right and Bush and the Lebanese Christians are wrong and that journal is praying for a victory of Islamic extremism.

I know that point of view.
by Sefarad
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 9:25 AM

I don't know if The Guardian's position is owing to their leftism or to their ignorance.

When they "inform" about my country, for instance, any true statement is simply by chance. So, as far as I am concerned, they are not reliable.
by Re:
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 9:37 AM
" When they "inform" about my country, for instance, any true statement is simply by chance."
Dont shoot the messenger. The Gurdian reported Spanish public opinion better than right wing papers that predicted Aznar would win. Your may hate hearing the tuth but most of the people in Spain saw his attempts to blame ETA as self-serving and disrespectful to the dead.
by Sefarad
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 9:41 AM

I know the facts first hand because I am living them and have always lived here. And I know for certain that most of the "information" about my country in that journal is false.
by Re:
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 9:45 AM
There is a diffrerence between reporting that is false and reporting that carrys a political slant you disgaree with. Can you point to a specific example of something they have reported that was false? I'm guessing you cant since the Gurdian employees fact checkers who would catch such things so anything blatantly false would usually be caught; if not they would publish something in a following issue apologizing with a correction.
by Sefarad
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 9:52 AM

As for my coutry, I am talking about facts, not opinions. And there, in the facts, they are wrong most of the time.

As for the article above, they express opinions. And I see that their opinions is that the Islamic extremists are right and everybody else is wrong. And that they are afraid that there could be democracy in the Middle East.

And my opinion is that they are wrong there because I like democracy and think everybody should be free. I don't like ditatorships and tyrannies.

And thinking of it, who I am talking to? Why are you hiding? Are you a criminal on the run or something?
by Sefarad
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 9:56 AM

I have writen to them more than once about mistakes I have observed when it comes to the information of facts? Do you think they have bothered to get informed?

by Sefarad
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 3:12 PM
What major attacks is Hezbollah responsible for?

Hezbollah and its affiliates have planned or been linked to a lengthy series of terrorist attacks against the United States, Israel, and other Western targets. These attacks include:

a series of kidnappings of Westerners in Lebanon, including several Americans, in the 1980s;
the suicide truck bombings that killed more than 200 U.S. Marines at their barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1983;
the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847, which featured the famous footage of the plane’s pilot leaning out of the cockpit with a gun to his head;
and two major 1990s attacks on Jewish targets in Argentina—the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy (killing 29) and the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center (killing 95).
by aaron
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 4:05 PM
Thanks for your non-response, sefarad. I've grown accustomed to them.

The point that you seem unwilling to recognize, let alone address, is that the anti-american demonstrations in Lebanon were vastly larger than the "cedar revolution" demonstrations which most of the western media depicted as "democratic." As the Guardian article makes clear, the "cedar revolution" demonstrations were not only poorly attended (relatively speaking) but they're not even democratic in their goals insofar as their leadership is motivated by a desire to maintain the "long-established corrupt confessional carve-up, which gives the traditionally privileged Christians half the seats in parliament and means no Muslim can ever be president."

The American ruling class isn't interested in democracy in the mideast if by democracy one means authentic popular control of political and economic institutions and real say in policy formulation. As the Guardian article comments, "the Americans now have a military presence in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar - and in not one of those countries did an elected government invite them in." Try to square that fact with your oft-repeated conviction that the US really cares about democracy and all those other swell words.


by Sefarad
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 4:07 PM

Which question?
by Sefarad
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 4:12 PM

I think this has something to do so I linked it above


http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_current_christians.php
by Sefarad
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 4:24 PM

Lebanon was a democracy till it was destroyed by the PLO and Syria, not by the US.
by blame Bush
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 4:47 PM
_40904623_bush_afp220.jpg
"Demonstrators protested against involvement by the US and the UN in Middle East affairs."

If it was only about Syria's military, Syria would have been pushed out by now but Bush and the right-wing had to go and make Lebanon an example of why the neocon ideology is great and now thats become enough of an issue that all those Lebanese who hate the US more than Syria will prevent a full Syrian withdrawl
by Sefarad
Saturday Mar 12th, 2005 4:50 PM

The Syrians didn't seem to be in a hurry to leave Lebanon.
by bruja Piruja
Sunday Mar 13th, 2005 1:00 PM
THE TERROR CONNECTION

Syria sponsors and supports terrorist groups, like Hizbollah, who use Lebanon as a base for their activities aimed against Israel and perpetrated throughout the world.

Syria's sponsorship of terror extends throughout its reign in Lebanon. In 1998, the Syrian Minister of Defence Mustapha Tlass announced publicly that it was he who had ordered Hizbollah in 1983 and other groups to attack the barracks of American and French soldiers in Beirut. Around 270 American soldiers and 85 French soldiers were killed.

On 5 May 2001, Tlass stated on LBC television that "if every Arab killed a Jew, no Jews would remain", and that he wanted "to kill any Jew he faced". Syria has also supported Hizbollah's activities against Israel with growing reports that Damascus has been manufacturing and supplying weapons, including Katyusha rockets, directly to the Shi'ite organisation.

In addition, some analysts point to Syria allowing other terror groups to train and use Lebanon as a base for their activities. Even before September 11, a group linked to Osama Bin-Laden, called Al-Takfeer Wa Al-Hejra, was undergoing training in the northern part of the country, particularly in the Dinniyeh Mountains. Analysts cite just some of the terror cells that have operated in Lebanon:

- Ibrahim Hamid: a suspect in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing.

- Muneer Maqdah: a member of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement. He was convicted in absentia and sentenced to death by Jordan for planning terrorist attacks in the kingdom.

- Abu Muhjen: he was responsible for the assassination of four Lebanese judges in 1997 and for launching a rocket-propelled grenade against the Russian embassy in Beirut.

- Imad Mugniyah: a prominent Hizbollah militant. He was involved in bombings in Argentina, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. He appears on the FBI's list of most wanted international terrorists.

http://www.freemiddleeast.com/arabnationalism/syria.asp#lebanon