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

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Obvious, the False, and the Stupid

Is there any hope for a country where the obvious needs to be repeated daily? What does the level of debate and rhetoric say about the capabilities of people and of their leadership?

It’s scary when the wide majority does not grasp the obvious. It’s even scarier when the “elites” uttering the obvious seem to believe that pearls of wisdom are flowing from their lips. And when our "leaders" are not dabbling in the obvious, they are spouting falsehoods or sheer nonsense.

Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani urged all Lebanese, Beirutis in particular, against any drift towards sectarian strife.

"Sectarian strife" is not good. We get it. But why Beirutis in particular O Grand Mufti? Pray tell.

Here’s a genius who would not know the obvious if it bit him in the ass (and I used to be a fan of the guy):
Aoun Says Erecting Blazing Roadblocks is 'Legal'.
Isn't that OBVIOUSLY wrong? I am no lawyer but I’ll trust Carlos Edde on this one. This man, Aoun, used to run the army and the country and has countless supporters who think blocking roads is acceptable/legal democratic expression. How hard can it be to heap ridicule on these people and hurt them in a media war? (Hint, hint, March 14).

When we are this lame, others get into the act too.

The Condi-scending foreigner feels free to tell us:
Rice: Only Lebanese Army Should Carry Weapons.
Condescension is sweet. Even contempt is too good for us and I mean that.

The new head of the worthless UN, heir to Kofi-the-ineffectual:
Ban Urges Lebanon's Feuding Factions to Refrain from Violence.
Tsk, tsk, you Lebanese! Violence is not good. Behave!

Here's another delusional guy:
Lahoud hopes UN will sponsor 'real' Mideast peace

In his letter [to the UN] Lahoud said that no powerful state has the right to impose hegemony on a weak one.
Unless its' Syria screwing Lebanon, of course.

No round up of idiocy would be complete without the old it's-bad-because-it-helps-Israel argument. And so the Tripolidiot Omar Karami chimes in:
"Any Sunni-Shiite strife only serves Israel's interests, as does any Christian-Muslim strife," he added.
Tripolidiot goes on:
"Such actions as those witnessed Thursday serve to destroy the country, after which healing divisions would become very difficult."
Maybe that's why Beirutis need to be particularly careful. They don't have a Tripolidiot to defuse the violence.

And here's a real beauty, President Lahoud again:
"I urge all political leaders to pull their supporters from the streets to allow security forces to do their duty and return security and stability to affected neighborhoods and evacuate those surrounded and isolated in the clashes," Lahoud said.
PLEASE RE-READ the above statement carefully. It's surreal! In other words, he is telling the troublemakers to go home SO THAT THEN the security forces are ALLOWED (allowed?) to do their job.


What do we need security forces for, you triple moron, if the troublemakers go home? You and Milquetoast Seniora and aspiring-puppet Sleimane should ORDER, not urge, these hooligans and thugs to go home. Then, if they don't, send the troops to go after them. You are waiting for the law-breakers to stop breaking the law so that the security forces are ALLOWED to do their job?

Someone! Please, pretty please, someone tell me that I am not alone banging my head against the wall.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Beirut Riots: Anyone Surprised?

Some rioting, roads blocked, and implicit if not explicit threats to people going to work and opposed to the strike.

2 dead, 50 wounded so far, and roads to the airport and other vital centers are blocked with the army looking on, idly.

Meanwhile, trucks flying Hizbullah flags unloaded tons of debris, dirt and stones in at least 12 spots along the highway leading to Rafik Hariri International airport as army troops watched without trying to prevent them.
Is anyone surprised?

I mean besides Milquetoast Seniora and his hapless government, and besides the army and its hapless head aspiring-presidential-puppet General Michel Sleimane. These are the very same people who told us that the roads, specifically the airport’s, would be kept open by the authorities and the army.

Check the army’s web site and the latest 2 headlines are: Army Commander meets US Ambassador Feltman, and Army Commander meets the Skiing Federation.

And please don’t bother asking me “What do you want Seniora or the government to do?” At this point, I don’t want them nor expect them to do anything other than crap in their pants which, by the way, would be an improvement.

What they SHOULD do is another story and that is to take the initiative on so many fronts: political, economic, media, security etc

Very simple example: don’t say we guarantee open roads when you can’t. Say BEFORE the fact and BEFORE the demonstrators are in the street that the army is ALREADY positioned with ORDERS to shoot anyone trying to block the road. Like that, you get your opponents to hesitate and to be saddled with the responsibility should anything bad happen.

But of course when you (Seniora and government) have spent the last 2 years explicitly stating that you would NOT use force, not even against non-Lebanese criminals (Naameh, Taamir, Syrian border etc), why should any law-breaking Lebanese fear the authorities?

In Taamir, near Saida, where fundamentalist criminal thugs are challenging the army AND terrorizing the locals AND are hated by Hezbollah AND action had been cautioned unanimously by the dialogue table participants: we still cannot get the army to secure the area and signal that the sovereignty of the state and its laws are no joke.

If you can’t take on criminal foreign thugs who have zippo constituency in the country, how are you going to take on Hezbollah or anyone really?

Saniora said the general strike called by the opposition has developed into "provocations that went beyond all limits."
If you, the government and legal authorities, don’t set limits, which you have not, people will not stop bullying the country and trampling on its laws. Schoolyard children know that. The opposition has been pushing Seniora and his government from day one of these demonstrations. The sit-in/occupation of downtown is illegal. Everyone knows that and nothing was done.

(To those often misled by my blogger pic, I am not saying everything needs to be answered by force. However force, thuggish behavior, and roadblocks do.)

We also get:

He [Seniora] urged for "quick treatment that would take differences away from the street to be discussed within the framework of legitimate institutions, topped by the parliament."

In the propaganda war, people don’t respond to crap like that “dialogue” and “Paris III”. You have to put concrete proposals on the table to show that the other side is intransigent and to try to squeeze them politically.

You also try to de-legitimize their position and put them on the defensive. Walid Jumblatt/Joumblatt is doing that but it’s not enough. It needs to be hammered by political leaders of all stripes. The gloves are off. Even the Maronite Patriarch, the business community and intellectuals need to understand that it is way, way, beyond late in the game.

The failure of parliament to meet should be used as a propaganda club to beat Nabih Berri on the head day-in-and day out and shame him into retreat (though that may be a lost cause).

Sorry government guys, but when you did not act in Naameh and Taamir and when Mohamed Ismail, the army topographer, was shot dead near the Syrian border, your fecklessness was a clear sign to your enemies to ignore you and disrespect you. And it was a sign to the rest of the country to distrust you.

Same with the judiciary. The fools who could not (or would not) extradite major witness-criminal Rana Koleilat (now jail-free in Brazil) are going to give us justice, on Hariri and all other matters? The same justice-fools who are working still today on the 25-year old Bashir Gemayel assassination? I think not.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Fun with Predictions 2007

Samir Zaayter predicts blood and thunder in Lebanon for 2007 (Naharnet, full story here). Never heard of the guy but since I haven’t written a “fun” piece in a while…
Fortune teller Samir Zaayter has made gloomy predictions for Lebanon, the Middle East and the world in 2007 including a "Zionist conspiracy" to incite sectarian violence between the Sunnis and Shiites.
Come on Samir “gloomy predictions” for Lebanon and the Middle East? Too easy. Child’s play. Now “Zionist conspiracy”, that’s fresh especially when you get specifics. But then again, the Sunni-Shia thing is a bit passe and probably predates the Zionist conspiracy (unless…).

One of the many mysteries related to the above subject: when Saddam is killing Shias by the thousands and earning their everlasting affection, the Arab media and intelligentsia (don’t laugh) call it “fighting the Zionist enemy”. When the fed up Iraqi Shias and Kurds decide they’ve had enough and hang the bastard, with a little help from Bush, it becomes an act of unspeakable evil fomented by the Zionists to screw the Shias (and Sunnis).
Zaayter also predicted that a U.N.-sponsored tribunal will accuse Syria of involvement in the 2005 assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri and President Bashar Assad will be pressured into turning in the suspects.
Come on, again. Even George "Slam-Dunk" Tenet knows/knew of Syria’s involvement, I think. No points here Zaayter. Every falafel fryer in town knew of Syria’s involvement about 15 minutes after Hariri died. I am very impressed however by Zaayter bold prediction that the UN panel will accuse someone in 2007. My bet was on the year 2039.
Zaayter's most significant predictions:
Lebanon and related:
-An expected surprise in the council of ministers that could trigger its downfall.
“Expected surprise” is an oxymoron. Nevertheless, with so-many clowns in the council, surprises will come easily. As to “downfall” the council can’t hurt itself much, falling from its current height.
-The death of a major figure of the Shiite community.
Ever since we lost the tremendous Mohammed Mahdi Chamseddine, I don’t know of any “major” Shiite figure. If you mean we could lose Hassan or Nabih, that’s not “gloomy” in my book.
-A coup inside a political party.
There are over 56 (idiot) parties in Lebanon, 194 if you include treasonous foreign parties. I agree a coup, at least one, will happen.
-Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri will refrain from practicing his authority, but will not resign.
Too late for that, Berri stopped doing his job a long time ago. That would have been a great prediction in 2005 for 2006, though I expect more of the same in 2007.
-The sea of Lebanon will be full of warships.
See comment above.
-An ex-minister will be implicated in the Hariri assassination.
Let’s talk “ex-ministerS” and half the security services.
-A failed attempt on the life of a Sunni religious leader who will deliberately accuse Shiite sources. This will be a Zionist conspiracy to incite intra-Muslim violence.
The Zionist conspiracy will reach new heights of perfidy as Uri Geller will get millions of Arabs to hurt themselves with bent forks on a major feast, in the second half of the year.
-An Arab country will send Israeli Mossad agents to Lebanon through its airports.
All Arab intelligence services, and Iranian services, and the Mossad, and others have agents and thugs in Lebanon. One of them is president, another speaker of the house. So why is this important? BTW “airports’? Do we have secret ones?
-The International tribunal will convene and will accuse Syria of involvement in the Hariri assassination.
Again I had this for 2039 but I want to be wrong.
-A significant event at a foreign embassy in Lebanon – American embassy.
I hope it’s giving a student-visa to Hassan Nasrallah to go study at Yale University, alongside his Taliban buddy (Downside: he may be radicalized there).
-Nasrallah will reveal crucial information for the first time.

I hope it’s: “I applied and got an acceptance letter from Yale University”.
-A solemn funeral procession in the shouf area that will be attended by international figures.
This is the one I SINCERELY hope and pray is very wrong. And believe me, I am no fan of the S.O.B. Jumblatt.
-A major judicial figure will pass away.
No such person in Lebanon or if there is: a very well kept secret.
-Assad will be pressured into turning in Syrian suspects to International courts.
As opposed to what? Turning in subjects of the Duchy of Liechtenstein?
-One of the four officers implicated in the Hariri probe will not reach court.
I wonder, oh I wonder: escape, release, or food poisoning? In the spirit of the New Year I favor the latter.
-A minister from Zghorta will be implicated in a financial scandal in connection with the Hariri investigation.
99% of ministers and ex-ministers are implicated in financial scandals. Hope they are all charged, starting with illiterate ones from Zghorta named “Sleimane”.
-Presidential elections will be held and Lahoud will be the last military figure in the presidency.
You mean there is no chance our idiot culture of no-winner, compromise-to-death, and let's-kick-the-can-up-the-road-once-more will NOT extend again the mandate of the despicable traitor? Thank God for that. Now if only that nagging doubt would go away.
-Lebanese militias will resume governing Lebanon for a short period of time. Some of those militias were dormant and others will be newly-formed.
What do you mean “resume”?
-Saniora will not remain Prime Minister.
-The government will collapse.
Follows from the above.
-There will be a conqueror and a vanquished in Lebanon.
As long as it’s not Syria/Iran = conqueror and Lebanon = vanquished.
-Three parliamentarians will pass away.
-Many figures will break away from the Free Patriotic Movement.
Would provide tangible proof that there are sane people in that movement.
-Millions will participate in demonstrations and many people will be killed.
That's why I don’t go to these things.

Happy New Year All and God Save Lebanon.


PS: You can read Zaayter's Syria, Middle East, and world predictions in the full article linked above. Predictions by better known Michel Hayek are also all over the blogosphere and Naharnet.