Crisis in Lebanon
Posted by Jack Stephens on May 10, 2008
Here are some views from the blogosphere on what is going on in Lebanon:
I just came back from the funeral wake of my neighbor’s son. He was 16 and he and his friend were shot this morning in my street. His family owns a bakery and a cafe in my neighborhood.
And has some links for us on other Lebanese bloggers.
Wassim At on his take of Hizbollah taking control of Western Beirut:
After so much talk, so much posturing and so much thuggery in the end it took only 24 hours for Beirut to be liberated. Let me come out clean from the start, those men who flushed out the Future movement and surrounded Jumblatt are clean men, strong men and, I feel, the most honourable men in the region.
Marxist from Lebanon blogged in the beginning:
Well, after General Secretary of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah spoke, heavy shooting began between AMAL/Hezbollah and Future Movement extensively. Shooting took place everywhere, in my street alone guns were shot. The neighboring street, 4 masked gunners came out and are still there. A lot of my friends reported that snipers stood up on their rooftops. Rockets were reported, and everywhere these parties are presents, a gigantic shoot-out.
Blacksmith Jade on Hizbollah:
Hizballah finds itself in a bind in Beirut – internationally, it is viewed as a non-legitimate force which has aggressed a democratically elected government; within the Arab/Islamic world it is seen as the Shiite aggressor against the Sunni Lebanese; and it is politically/militarily unable to hold large swaths of a hostile Beirut for longer than a few days, at which time it will have to hand control to the Army and its Commander, Michel Suleiman, thereby returning the country to an equilibrium already agreed upon politically the only difference being its having exposed its weapons by using them internally against fellow Lebanese.
Lebanese Socialist blogs at Sursock:
We crossed from east Beirut through to Hamra tonight. Army in control over all major road junctions. We were challenged once, but where left to pass as soon as they heard our Beiruti accents.
There are reports that this phase of crisis could be drawing to a close. The government said that they left to the army the question of whether to close Hizbollah’s communication system and withdraw its security officer from the airport.
The army then announced that they would not move on Hizbollah.
Farfahinne blogs (excuse the bad translation) on Nasrallah’s speech:
1) What is most shocking in his [Nasrallah’s] statements is his call for compromise and dialogue with all of the parties and with Condoleezza Rice. I felt his speech, despite the escalation phenomenon: the “spare hand that extends to the arms of the resistance,” an indirect call to return to the table of dialogue with these parties. This is what we have to take a decisive stand on: no dialogue with a puppet government …yes to the toppling Siniora.
2) In his speech he didn’t even mention the sensitive issue of the difficult economic situation and he also omitted the topic of the raising of the minimum wage, which was called for by the General Labor Union…And, hence, limited the conflict with the question of disarmament and bumped out the economic situation and economic policy of Altaher Sinoiora’s government.
أكثر ما يصدمني في تصريحه هو إتهامه بالعمالة لأطراف الحكومة “موظفي كونداليزا رايس” من جهة ودعوته للمساومة والحوار مع هذه الأطراف من جهة أخرى. فلمست بخطابه، على الرغم من ظاهره التصعيدي : “سنقطع اليد التي تمتد الى سلاح المقاومة”، دعوة غير مباشرة إلى العودة الى طاولة الحوار مع هذه الأطراف. وهذا ما علينا ان نأخذ منه موقفا حاسمًا: لا حوار مع حكومة عميلة…نعم لإسقاط حكومة السنيورة
في كلمته لم يذكر حتى الوضع الإقتصادي الصعب الذي يفتك بالفئات الأكثر حساسية وأغفل أيضا موضوع رفع الحد الأدنى للأجور الذي دعا الإتحاد العمالي العام ودعت “المعارضة” لإضراب من أجله يوم البارحة. وبالتالي فهو حصر الصراع مع السلطة في مسألة السلاح وأخرج الوضع الإقتصادي وسياسة التعهير
الإقتصادية التي تنتهجها حكومة السنيورة من الصراع
And also states:
the Opposition have used the General Labor Confederation’s call for a general strike for it’s own purposes. It instrumentalised the workers’ socio-economic demands to create political pressure on its rivals in the government.The leadership of the union is allowing itself to be coopted by the political designs of the Opposition. Indeed, as soon as they were on the ground, the “protesters”forgot all about demands of the workers.
On the other hand, the government has recklessly implemented plans for its own interest, mostly congruent with the US vision for the “new Middle East”. Its leaders have presided over the collapse of the Lebanese state structure, where its institutions have been virtually paralyzed and its self-serving, sectarian parliamentarians have made the parliament a moribund and irrelevant institution. In the sectarian system that it has reinforced, the government talks about electoral majorities and minorities as if it were a secular system without democratically adhering to the political and demographic realities of Lebanon.
The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب has updates on the conflict as well as Moussa Bashir who blogs at UrShalim and updates GlobalVoices on blogging from the Middle East.