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

Friday, June 22, 2007

Nahr el-Bared: Victory or Confusion?

[Warning to excitable types: Do not construe this post as disparaging to the army and its fallen heroes. I salute the army and those who made the ultimate sacrifice. This post is about our top civilian leadership, and perhaps some top army brass.]

No matter where you stand politically, you have got to admit that our government (and army) are total ZEROES when it comes to communication.

Today, I read all the news I could get my hands on. I still have no idea what is going on in Nahr el-Bared. And our high-ranking officials appear as clueless as I am, if not more.

Defense Minister Elias Murr just said military operations have stopped but the siege continues (??).

Naharnet reports more firing and shelling today, after Defense Minister Murr said operations ended.

Murr also said that there is no proof yet of Syrian ties to Fateh al-Islam. He added more info would come in the next few days (and if you believe that I have a bridge for you…).

Murr’s own PM Saniora/Seniora and others in M14 have said, or at least implied, for weeks now that there was a Syrian connection. Which is it? And if there is no Syrian connection, whence the hell is Fatah el Islam getting reinforced?

As for the army’s communications department, though they have a web site, they still live in the 1950’s. Every time the army fires a bullet, the department issues a three-page communiqué telling us that we are all brothers, with the camps, and the Palestinian cause, and all the other brothers too. You can almost hear (divine) Um Kalthoum in the background.

I don’t want any singsong from your communications department. You are the ARMY, your job in war is to break things and kill people, as they say. Just tell me what you’re objectives are, what your casualties are, and how many SOB enemies you’ve killed today.

While I try to get info on Bared, I go to the army web site and I learn that the army commander just met with an association to commemorate former President Hrawi, headed, by his widow Mona Hrawi. Top of the news on 6/22, not in some "social" section. Is that a morale booster or what?

Of course there are other "news" on the army web site, but besides the obituaries of the fallen, it is fluff and gibberish. When are we going to get rid of the communications idiots who went to the “istaqbala” school? The Lebanese know every boy-scout and girl-scout the President or the army commander meet, but have otherwise no clue what their government is doing.

Back to the government and Murr (from Naharnet).

He [Murr] said a “large number" of Fatah al-Islam commanders had been killed over the past month, while leader Shaker Abssi, deputy leader Abu Hureira and others were on the run, suggesting they were hiding in the camp among several thousand Palestinian civilians still holed up there.
The head of the gang is “on the run” inside a sub-part of the (small) camp? "On the run?" Is he jogging around the camp for exercise? Is he on the run on his treadmill? If he is in the damn area and he's the most wanted man in Lebanon, now what? The story ends here? No sane person can believe or accept that.

Murr said that a total of 76 soldiers had died since the battle broke out on May 20, and that another 150 had been wounded. He also said that there are about 100 Fatah al-Islam militants injured in the gunbattles.
The army took over 200 casualties versus 100 to end in what looks like a stalemate and more of the same garbage we have come to expect in Lebanon, including a bunch of “brotherly” thugs patrolling the streets of Saida-Taamir-Ein el-Helweh as a buffer between the army and other thugs?

Sheik Mohammed Haj of the Palestinian Scholars Association, a mediator who met with the militant group's leaders in recent days, said Fatah al-Islam "has declared a cease-fire and will comply with the Lebanese army's decision to end military operations."
Can someone explain to me what in the name of Hell does that mean? They won’t shoot at the army (for now) if the army stops shooting at them? Gee thanks!

He [Sheik Haj] said the militants would abide by conditions set by the army to end the fighting, but he would not elaborate.
So the army’s conditions DO NOT include the arrest of the thug-in-chief (and ex-Syrian prisoner) Shaker Abssi?

Ms Levantine, in a comment on another blog, suggests that maybe the politicos have stopped the army as they did back in 1973 (versus the PLO). Talk about morons who don’t learn from history.

In that regard: Murr tells the Daily Star that Army Commander Michel Suleiman would make a good president. Of course General Suleiman is NOT eligible to be elected. The Lebanese toilet-paper roll called “constitution” says the Army chief and other high officials are ineligible unless they leave office 2 years before the election (Article 49). But no one cares, its’ only the constitution. Murr and the Star don’t even bother to mention that fact.

Of course, that article was put in the law for a REASON. The reason is to prevent these high officials from making POLITICAL decisions, in the hope of being elected, close to an election. I hope that neither that, nor some political pressure, are at play here.

So why are we suspicious and entertain all sorts of crazy scenarios? Because, among many reasons, we are given ZERO information by our local ZEROES.


  • At 6/23/07, 12:59 AM, Blogger the perpetual refugee said…

    I have to agree with you.

    I'm tired of hearing mushy patriotic bullshit coming from the government. I want to know the facts.

    Anything less than total annhialation of this camp and these thugs would amount to treason. After all, many brave young men, who sacrificed their lives for us (yes, us....Lebanese). That sort of price deserves nothing less than total victory. And nothing less.

  • At 6/23/07, 3:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Perpetual refugee and Josey for what it is worth im in 150% agreement. I mentioned on another blog that I felt something was up when the army did not go in and level the place with extreme prejudice...and here we have it!! Moronic comment from no other person than the minister of Defence. All this EIR has done is leave the door open to this other cunt from the Palestinian "scholars" (whatever that means) who wastes no time in stealing his thunder. The families of the fallen must be touched by the govts ability to play with the lives of their children...why on erth would they spare the lives of the gangsters and show how merciful they are at the expense of LEBANESE. I dont give a shit that the ledership is on the run!! I along with every other lebanese with some loyalty WANT THEM DEAD AS DOORKNOBS. Let them run in hell. We really are worth nothing to these assholes!

    BALLS!?!? What balls? Superman is on vacation so we have to live with the scrotum less in office.
    By the way Josey you ask too much of the press...they havent fully been freed of the mindset that engulfed the country for 3o yrs.

    On a more somber note guess whos been listening and watching for hte last 33 days? I now expect every tom dick and ahmed to start their own little party with the full expectation that the army will merely redesign their camp and then the scholars will come in and teach us how to fight a war.

    Another wasted opportunity to regain our country...1975 has just returned


  • At 6/23/07, 10:44 AM, Blogger Blacksmith Jade said…

    Murr's declaration was full of double speak - on the issue of Army operations as well as links to Syria.

    On military operations, I heard the news and didn't put anything up. It was obvious that whatever the hell he was trying to say, it wasn't "operations over". How could operations be over when none of the top Fatah al Islam leaders have been arrested and when the residents of the camp couldn't start coming back and returning to a normal life. It was a load of bull.

    The other load of bull was that he wasn't sure of the links between Syria and Fatah al Islam. When asked about previous statements by the gov't to the contrary, his reply was ask the minister of interior. Murr is taking some sort of political stand nobody really understands. Speculation has even implied that he is trying to support his father in upcoming metn by-elections...in either case, it makes no sense to me.

    The only thing Murr's statements remind me off are Murr, directly after an assassination attempt almost killed him. For months he released contradictory statements, almost revealing who might've been behind the attack and then pulling back. The closest he ever came was to imply that they came from the Ein el Helweh camp (if I remember correctly), most likely belonging to a pro-Syrian group (ran the speculation)....

    ...oh yeah, he also repeated his father-in-law's, bedside words to him after he got hit: "Even I cannot protect you from them.

    Who were the "them"? The Syrian regime and its goons in Lebanon - said Murr.

    Who was his father-in-law? President of the Republic, and staunch Syrian ally, Emile Lahoud.

  • At 6/25/07, 12:58 PM, Anonymous Bad Vilbel said…

    You already know I agree with you JW. We've been singing the same refrain for a few years now. But your post really brings the frustration a lot of us (me included feel).

    We (Lebanese, Arabs in general) need to stop living in this world of flowery language and poetry that seems to be the norm there. These people need a lesson in how to deal with hard cold facts.

    I'm tired of "brotherly" this and "martyr" that. You'd think, listening to ANY of our leaders talk, that they're all competing in some medieval poetry contest, like that shite we used to have to learn in school (Al-Mutanabi and whatnot).

    It's 2007, people. We have computers, cold hard facts, it's the information age where data rules supreme.

    Why, oh why do the folks in Lebanon still tolerate this shit?


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