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May 09, 2008

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Beirut

If you think this is not a sectarian war then you are mistaken. An emotional outburst by a TV anchor from the now forcibly shut Future TV station (owned by Harriri) captures the essence of what is going on in the minds of residents in Beirut.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnwQ_PhDr9c

RB

You might be right, Marc, that the conflict in Lebanon isn't feeding or reflecting a wave of Sunni-Shi'ite regional sectarianism.

However, within Lebanon it is a deeply sectarian conflict, and growing more so over time. Certainly, the tensions between the external patrons of M8 and M14 in Lebanon exacerbate this--but they don't create it.

G Hazeltine

What in the world - Abu Muqawama maybe, for a military intellectual point of view - but the Katulus piece is just garbage.

"Coming in advance of President Bush’s trip to the Middle East next week, the instability in Lebanon is a reminder of the dangers that can emerge from neglect and inattention and an approach to the Middle East too heavily focused on Iraq. Less than a year after the violent takeover of the Gaza Strip by Hamas, another Middle Eastern civil war in bubbling over – this time with a group that some have called the “A team” of global terrorists which has used violence to seize control of the capital city – hardly the result President Bush was hoping for when he prematurely declared that freedom was on the march in Lebanon and elsewhere in 2005. Ironically, the global trends in freedom have stalled and retrenched on President Bush’s watch, according to Freedom House."

"Violent takeover of the Gaza Strip by Hamas"??? "Hezbollah is the "A-Team of Global Terrorists"?? "Freedom was on the march"? "Global trends in freedom"?? Awful!!

Nir Rosen's "The End of the New Middle East" lays it out clearly for those who haven't been following, and aren't vested in COIN.

http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2008/05/the_end_of_the/

And no, the problem in Lebanon is not neglect. Not neglect. As you well know.

What a shameful post.


arabist

I should be one to comment, since I got my pseudonimity backwards, but the Abu Muqawama jibe is funny!

Fahmy Howeidy alleged somewhere that the Hariri-aligned militias got their training in Egypt btw, Dahlan-style. Here in Egypt the Lebanon story has split the pundits down predictable lines, with a few exceptions. The government press is angry at Hizbullah, most others see only US-backed goons trying to put down the resistance, and the most reasonable minded just pity the Lebanese for being hostage to regional machinations. I wonder if it's because the (Lebanese staffed) London Arab press plays a role in leading these debates, but it's certainly interesting to see that Lebanon is an issue everyone feels they have to weigh in.

In the meantime, is it just see or did much initial coverage of this crisis in the Western press focus on Hizbullah's telecom network as a pretext, as if the whole thing was merely an attempt by the government to make sure Hizbullah paid its telephone license fee and contributed to state coffers? Tons of stories had a line about how 38% of state revenue comes from telecoms.

arabist

I should be one to comment, since I got my pseudonimity backwards, but the Abu Muqawama jibe is funny!

Fahmy Howeidy alleged somewhere that the Hariri-aligned militias got their training in Egypt btw, Dahlan-style. Here in Egypt the Lebanon story has split the pundits down predictable lines, with a few exceptions. The government press is angry at Hizbullah, most others see only US-backed goons trying to put down the resistance, and the most reasonable minded just pity the Lebanese for being hostage to regional machinations. I wonder if it's because the (Lebanese staffed) London Arab press plays a role in leading these debates, but it's certainly interesting to see that Lebanon is an issue everyone feels they have to weigh in.

In the meantime, is it just me or did much initial coverage of this crisis in the Western press focus on Hizbullah's telecom network as a pretext, as if the whole thing was merely an attempt by the government to make sure Hizbullah paid its telephone license fee and contributed to state coffers? Tons of stories had a line about how 38% of state revenue comes from telecoms.

LalehK

Please please please, a correction to take to heart.

Fadlallah is NOT, was NOT and has NEVER been the spiritual advisor to Hizbullah. To many (liberal) Lebanese shi'a yes, but not to Hizbullah. This misperception was perpetuated by Martin Kramer who got access to (the very accessible) Fadlallah in the late 1980s/early 1990s and wanted to make it look like he actually had had contact with Hizbullah.

As for Lebanon mattering to everyone, it is not just because of the media effect in London. It is because whatever happens in Lebanon is a bellweather of what will happen in the region (Israel gets bogged down in the 1990s in Lebanon; then in the OT; sectarian rifts in Lebanon, then elsewhere; the failure of the left in Lebanon, then elsewhere). Also Lebanon is a playground of regional politics and much of the regional power struggles are played out in miniature in the country. That's why it matters.

As much as I think the Lebanese journos in London are important, let's not give them THAT much credit (especially as they are read by a miniscule portion of arabic-speakers/readers).

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