Impressions, views, and steam-blowing by a lonesome cowboy.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Tear Up This Pact, Mr. Assad

An economic weekly is egging on the Syrian government to abrogate all treaties signed between Lebanon and Syria. I say: "Quick, LET'S, before they change their minds". The weekly almost surely has the blessing of Syria's government. And I am pretty sure the Syrian government doesn't want to abrogate anything. But that is how they play the pressure game, against our hapless "leaders".

The writer and owner of Al-Iqtissadiya claims that Syria is happier since it left Lebanon. Lebanon is happier too. Everyone's happy. The writer Abed-Rabbo goes on to tell us that all these treaties and pacts, signed when Syria was negotiating with its own stooges in Lebanon, are more beneficial to Lebanon than to Syria. Now I want to be a very good "brother" and I say: NOT FAIR. Let's abrogate these treaties that are good for the Lebanese and detrimental to Syria. This is what real brotherhood is all about.

I know "we" signed God knows how many of those "brotherly" agreements on defense, economics, education, tourism electricity, you name it. If abrogated, the only one I'll really miss is the Research-Education cooperation treaty. My sources tell me that Syrian researchers are working on a new "Hommos".

Of course I am kidding, and daydreaming, because our spineless politicians and brotherly population won't have any of this abrogation. No matter what is done to them, no matter the hurt, no matter the humiliation they DEMAND: you guessed it, all together now: good-and-brotherly-sisterly-incestuous relations.

ANYWAYS, Speaking of international and bilateral pacts and treaties (mostly worthless IMHO), here is one of my favorite stories from Ronnie-the-Great Reagan (The Economist June 9, 2005):

After the World Court found against the United States in 1986 for mining Nicaragua's harbors, President Ronald Reagan is said to have told his advisers to tear up the relevant treaty giving the court jurisdiction. When informed that this required two years' notice, he reportedly told them to tear up that provision too.

Agree or disagree with the man or the issue, that's what I call backbone, standing up for your side, focusing on the big picture. In one word: LEADERSHIP (and humor).

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Our Opinion Makers: Utter Failures, Still

It's a week after the London attack and a day after the Iraqi atrocity du jour. Terrorism in the guise of suicide bombers. Yeah, yeah everybody in the Middle East condemns, and then goes about their apologetics. In this Daily Star piece, Rami Khouri purports to give advice to Blair, not to follow in Bush's footsteps. As an aside, since every illiterate in the ME knows better than Bush, Mr. Khouri is more than well qualified. Bush apparently did many things wrong. Now wait a minute, Bush haters and supporters alike, hold on and read this gem from Khouri's conclusion, for Bush is not the issue here:

Bold emphasis mine throughout:

Terrorists can only be contained and put out of business when their own society delegitimizes and rejects them, which requires a more balanced combination of police and political actions, and punitive and preventive measures.

Let's say I buy that, whatever that means.

Khouri goes on:
Bush ignored this basic fact after September 11, 2001 and chose the road of a counterproductive military strategy, based on faulty analysis, which was, in turn, built on an complete [sic] diagnosis. Blair now must make a similar decision on how to respond to the London attacks. Let us hope that he acts more intelligently and rationally than Bush did. The Arab-Asian-Islamic world, in particular, is anxious to join a genuine war against terror and the many demeaning forces that make it happen.

So the Arab-Asian-Islamic (AAI for short) world is anxious to do something, BUT is still waiting to see what Blair is going to do (or if Bush is going to "correct" himself)?.

So the AAI world does not condone terrorism, but will not fight it full-force, yet, because it is waiting on Blair? Are not these the people who tell us daily that the AAI world and populations are the prime victims of terrorism ,and that they are against it "period"? If so, why are they waiting for Blair?

These are also the same people who reject or criticize the West, and do not want to be told what to do, and want to be independent, respected, listened to, etc. They are now WAITING, still, after September 11, daily Iraq bombings, Madrid, London. Yes WAITING, because these brilliant, proud and independent intellectuals and decision makers need to know what Blair is going to do before they decide for themselves. One day, perhaps, per chance…if we are all lucky.

Yes. When they see what Blair does, they will (may?) decide what to do about this "horrible thing that they don't want anyway, and that is 'hurting' them more than the Americans and the Brits".

And then these opinion makers and decision-makers are clamoring for respect. I do not know about you, but no respect from me.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Syria Border Shut: Do Something

Naharnet reports that Syria has shut its borders to Lebanese goods. The move is apparently meant to hurt, pressure and take revenge on the "brotherly" Lebanese. The official reason, according o Naharnet is to prevent the smuggling of arms from Lebanon to Iraq where it helps the "insurgents".

Syria has played these games before, long before its 30-year occupation, to pressure Lebanon into all sorts of things. And Lebanon has for the most part, and still, responded in victim fashion by doing nothing and begging for things to return to normal.

I am not sure what the proper steps are, but surely they must be MANY ways to fight back. Here are some suggestions:

Propaganda: Manipulate some non-governmental group to BARK LOUDLY on al-Jazeera and in the press that Syria is "more concerned with helping the 'Zionist-Imperialist Americans' than supporting 'brotherly' Lebanon and its struggling farmers". That is stupid language, but language they relate to.

Economic/farmers associations should put pressure on Lahoud, Berri, HA and all of Syria's allies to intervene solve this or cut their ties to Syria.

Shut the traffic to their trucks or goods, coming from the opposite direction.

Deport Syrian workers, in small numbers first, larger numbers later.

Fiddling with bank account (suggested by Beirut Spring) is delicate and in my opinion too harmful to Lebanon. Do no touch this one.

Start tearing one by one the 634 fraternity/economic/educational/defense/crapola agreements we were forced to sign with Syria over the years (this needs to be done anyway).

THE BIG ONE: Start making noises that if this does not stop NOW, we will start studying options to open that other border: ISRAEL. That would scare the crap out of them. We may or may not like it, but if our economic survival is at stake, all options should be on the table. Granted it's not easy with HA, but many farmers live down south, and want to sell their produce and survive.

I don’t' claim to have thought out all these things; but certainly doing nothing is not, and never has been, a good option. Furthermore retaliation in kind, deportations, and certainly the "Israel" threat, I am sure would get results.

Oh, and one more thing: STOP REPEATING LIKE AN IDIOT: "We want sisterly relations with Siamese twin sisterly Syria" three times a day. Set YOUR own conditions.

PS. As always, "Syria" means the regime.

(July 11, 2005): The Naharnet story cited above story has exaggerated the extent of the shutdown at the Syro-Lebanese border. They made it seem like a total blockade on Lebanese goods, or at least on all agricultural products. I am still not sure of the exact extent. The July 11 Daily Star does not mention the story. L'Orient-LeJour mentions delays at 2 major crossings. The writing and editorials at Naharnet have been bad, but I thought I could rely on the content of their news. I'll be double checking from now on.

As far as the gist of my argument above, it stands. Even if the measures at the borders are more gradual than previously thought, the Lebanese need to act. Lack of action will only embolden the Syrians to pressure Lebanon further, something they have done forever, betting on a lack of response on our part.