Tuesday, May 20, 2008

...bite rather than bark

Syria Comment » Archives » Observations of a German journalist in Beirut
...Bazaar – the decision was taken without any real intention to see it through, but rather, to score a political point and create a political asset, first by seeing Hezbollah obstruct it – voila, here you have the state within the state –, and then to trade it against concessions in the ongoing haggling about the formation of the new government, electoral law, etc. etc.

Posturing - a move to please their Western benefactors, and deliver a
show of strength and determination to boost morale among the follower
base, after a grinding 18 months of political stalemate. To be sure, a
purely rhetorical show of strength – since no army or police
commander in his right mind would have exposed his troops to such an

Hubris & Underestimating the adversary – after three years of
receiving military, financial and moral support and restructuring the
Internal Security Forces to become government loyalists (nowhere to be
seen during the event), the government may have felt strong enough to
risk a confrontation. Former flare-ups, both politically and in the
streets, may have helped create the impression that once seriously
squeezed, Hezbollah would always back down, fearing the stigma of
illegitimacy and the potential for uncontrollable sectarian
(Sunni-Shiite) strife (which both Hariri and the religious head of the
Lebanese Sunnis evoked heavily on the eve of the fighting).

Conspiracy – all of this was a bait and a trap to draw Hezbollah
out into the open, discredit their nationalist credentials and expose
them as sectarian warmongers staging a coup, thus preparing for some
sort of international intervention to take them out. A variety of
scenarios circulate that center on the highly publicized
Turkish-mediated initiative for a peace deal between Israel and Syria,
starring a variety of actors (determined by the position of he who
presents the scenario) who may want to use the Lebanese crisis to shoot
such a deal down (American neo-cons, Israeli and Syrian hawks, Iran).
And even the long standing argument about Iran being ready to fight the
Americans until the last Lebanese and Arab, and being ready to sell its
allies out once the US are offering the right terms, is being rehashed
by pundits of the Egyptian and other regimes, who are known for their
own close ties with the Americans, and despised by their people for

...Maybe Saad Hariri has re-inflated himself enough through his televised
post-defeat rants (in a puzzling twist of logic almost to inane to
repeat, he claimed that Hezbollah operated under the cover and with the
implicit support of Israel – after all, the Israelis did NOT bomb
the Hezbollah fighters when they approached Beirut, and they could have
done that, so NOT BOMBING is indirect assistance…) to sit down
and make the necessary compromises.

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