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  1. #391
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    Re: Lebanon | Israel | Hezbollah | a.k.a. The Cedars

    Related.

    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/bl...p/totten/65851

    Brace for a Hezbollah Victory
    Michael J. Totten - 05.14.2009 - 12:09 PM

    Brace yourself for a possible Hezbollah victory in Lebanon. On June 7, 2009, Lebanese voters will go to the polls, and even some in Beirut’s current “March 14″ government think the Hezbollah-led “March 8″ coalition might squeak out a win.

    Lebanon, though, isn’t Gaza. A “March 8″ upset at the ballot box, if it happens, won’t come about the same way Hamas won the last Palestinian elections. Palestinians had only two viable parties to choose from, Fatah and Hamas. One Palestinian I know said Fatah’s corrupt men were so hated that even then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert might have won if he stood for election against them.

    Politics are much more complicated in Lebanon.
    Spoiler!
    Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

  2. #392
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    Re: Lebanon | Israel | Hezbollah | a.k.a. The Cedars

    http://www.michaeltotten.com/archive...non-before.php

    May 11, 2009
    Lebanon Before the Collapse

    Sometimes I have a bad feeling about the future of Iraq, despite the fact that Iraq is in better shape now than it was. But sometimes I don’t. On even numbered days I can convince myself that Iraq will be sort of okay.

    I have a bad feeling about Lebanon on even and odd numbered days.
    Spoiler!
    Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

  3. #393
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    Re: Lebanon | Israel | Hezbollah | a.k.a. The Cedars

    "Smart power" werkin as well as expected... Good thang our "reputation" in the werld has been restored eh?

    Team Netanyahu Tells Team Bambi to Buzz Off

    "The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us...
    Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers every tax that is assessed against a business."


    -The Gipper


  4. #394
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    Re: Lebanon | Israel | Hezbollah | a.k.a. The Cedars

    The Settlements Myth

    By Charles Krauthammer
    Friday, June 5, 2009

    President Obama repeatedly insists that American foreign policy be conducted with modesty and humility. Above all, there will be no more "dictating" to other countries. We should "forge partnerships as opposed to simply dictating solutions," he told the G-20 summit. In Middle East negotiations, he told al-Arabiya, America will henceforth "start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating."

    An admirable sentiment. It applies to everyone -- Iran, Russia, Cuba, Syria, even Venezuela. Except Israel. Israel is ordered to freeze all settlement activity. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton imperiously explained the diktat: "a stop to settlements -- not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions."

    What's the issue? No "natural growth" means strangling to death the thriving towns close to the 1949 armistice line, many of them suburbs of Jerusalem, that every negotiation over the past decade has envisioned Israel retaining. It means no increase in population. Which means no babies. Or if you have babies, no housing for them -- not even within the existing town boundaries. Which means for every child born, someone has to move out. No community can survive like that. The obvious objective is to undermine and destroy these towns -- even before negotiations.

    To what end? Over the past decade, the U.S. government has understood that any final peace treaty would involve Israel retaining some of the close-in settlements -- and compensating the Palestinians accordingly with land from within Israel itself.

    That was envisioned in the Clinton plan in the Camp David negotiations in 2000, and again at Taba in 2001. After all, why expel people from their homes and turn their towns to rubble when, instead, Arabs and Jews can stay in their homes if the 1949 armistice line is shifted slightly into the Palestinian side to capture the major close-in Jewish settlements, and then shifted into Israeli territory to capture Israeli land to give to the Palestinians?

    This idea is not only logical, not only accepted by both Democratic and Republican administrations for the past decade, but was agreed to in writing in the letters of understanding exchanged between Israel and the United States in 2004 -- and subsequently overwhelmingly endorsed by a concurrent resolution of Congress.

    Yet the Obama State Department has repeatedly refused to endorse these agreements or even say it will honor them. This from a president who piously insists that all parties to the conflict honor previous obligations. And who now expects Israel to accept new American assurances in return for concrete and irreversible Israeli concessions, when he himself has just cynically discarded past American assurances.

    The entire "natural growth" issue is a concoction. Is the peace process moribund because a teacher in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem is making an addition to her house to accommodate new grandchildren? It is perverse to make this the center point of the peace process at a time when Gaza is run by Hamas terrorists dedicated to permanent war with Israel and when Mahmoud Abbas, having turned down every one of Ehud Olmert's peace offers, brazenly declares that he is in a waiting mode -- waiting for Hamas to become moderate and for Israel to cave -- before he'll do anything to advance peace.

    In his much-heralded "Muslim world" address in Cairo yesterday, Obama declared that the Palestinian people's "situation" is "intolerable." Indeed it is, the result of 60 years of Palestinian leadership that gave its people corruption, tyranny, religious intolerance and forced militarization; leadership that for three generations rejected every offer of independence and dignity, choosing destitution and despair rather than accept any settlement not accompanied by the extinction of Israel.

    That's why Haj Amin al-Husseini chose war rather than a two-state solution in 1947. Why Yasser Arafat turned down a Palestinian state in 2000. And why Abbas rejected Olmert's even more generous December 2008 offer.

    In the 16 years since the Oslo accords turned the West Bank and Gaza over to the Palestinians, their leaders built no roads, no courthouses, no hospitals, none of the fundamental state institutions that would relieve their people's suffering. Instead they poured everything into an infrastructure of war and terror, all the while depositing billions (from gullible Western donors) into their Swiss bank accounts.

    Obama says he came to Cairo to tell the truth. But he uttered not a word of that. Instead, among all the bromides and lofty sentiments, he issued but one concrete declaration of new American policy: "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," thus reinforcing the myth that Palestinian misery and statelessness are the fault of Israel and the settlements.

    Blaming Israel and picking a fight over "natural growth" may curry favor with the Muslim "street." But it will only induce the Arab states to do like Abbas: sit and wait for America to deliver Israel on a platter. Which makes the Obama strategy not just dishonorable but self-defeating.
    "The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us...
    Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers every tax that is assessed against a business."


    -The Gipper


  5. #395
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    Re: Lebanon | Israel | Hezbollah | a.k.a. The Cedars

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/...ote/index.html

    Hezbollah choice at center of Lebanon vote

    BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Lebanon goes to the polls on Sunday with the main choices a Hezbollah-backed alliance or the U.S-backed coalition to lead their government.

    U.S. President Barack Obama's speech in Cairo, Egypt, on Wednesday came at a critical time for Lebanon as it sits amid a power struggle between a weakened pro-Western government and a stronger pro-Syrian Hezbollah political bloc that has gained political momentum in recent years.
    Spoiler!
    Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

  6. #396
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    Re: Lebanon | Israel | Hezbollah | a.k.a. The Cedars

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/...ote/index.html

    Pro-West bloc retains control in Lebanon

    BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Lebanon's pro-Western bloc will retain its control of the country's government despite a strong challenge from a Hezbollah-dominated alliance, according to official election results released Monday.

    The "March 14" coalition won 71 seats in Lebanon's parliament, while the Hezbollah-dominated "March 8" alliance won the remaining 57 seats, Lebanese Interior Minister Ziad Baroud announced.
    Spoiler!
    Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

  7. #397
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    Re: Lebanon | Israel | Hezbollah | a.k.a. The Cedars

    ^^^ Good news!
    "The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us...
    Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers every tax that is assessed against a business."


    -The Gipper


  8. #398
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    Re: Lebanon | Israel | Hezbollah | a.k.a. The Cedars

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8117217.stm

    US 'to send ambassador to Syria'

    The United States is to send an ambassador to Damascus, ending a four year diplomatic absence in Syria, unnamed US officials have said.

    The apparent move is being seen as part of President Barack Obama's attempts to increase engagement with the region.

    Officials said Syria's ambassador in Washington was informed of the move.

    The US Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, recently visited Syria and said Damascus had an "integral role" in finding peace in the region.

    A senior State Department official quoted by the New York Times said the move to install a new ambassador was "a reflection of Syria being a pivotal country in terms of achieving a comprehensive peace in the region".

    "There is a lot of work to do in the region for which Syria can play a role. For that, it helps to have a fully staffed embassy," said the official.

    Another senior US official, quoted by the Associated Press news agency, said Mr Obama "believes that diplomatic engagement helps serve our interests, and that the current policy didn't make sense".

    Mr Obama has said he wants to broker a peace deal with Syria and Israel to end decades of regional conflict.

    Earlier this month, Mr Mitchell held talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus and said the country had "an integral role to play in reaching comprehensive peace".

    The last US ambassador in Damascus was withdrawn in 2005, following the assassination of Lebanon's former Prime Minster Rafiq Hariri.

    There is widespread suspicion inside and outside Lebanon that Syria was involved in Mr Hariri's death, but Damascus strongly denies this.
    Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

  9. #399
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    Re: Lebanon | Israel | Hezbollah | a.k.a. The Cedars

    Does no one else follow these events?

    • http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8122385.stm

      Hariri named as Lebanon's new PM



      Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman has named Saad Hariri as the country's new prime minister, following parliamentary election earlier this month.

      Mr Hariri's pro-Western alliance won 71 out of 128 seats in the vote, with the Hezbollah-led bloc taking the rest.

      His choice as leader was confirmed when 86 MPs backed his nomination.

      Mr Hariri, the son of assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, must now form a cabinet from the country's polarised political factions.

      The 39-year-old said he would seek to form a national unity government.

      "In line with our commitment during the election campaign in favour of a national unity government in which the main parliamentary blocs are represented... we will begin consultations with all parliamentary blocs," he said.
      Spoiler!
    • http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8118827.stm

      Lebanese veteran is speaker again



      The veteran speaker of parliament in Lebanon, Nabih Berri, has been re-elected following the 6 June election.

      Mr Berri, a Shia politician, has been speaker since 1992. He is allied with the Hezbollah-led opposition which was beaten by pro-Western parties.

      Lebanon's oldest lawmaker, 79-year-old Abdel Latif Zein, presided over the first parliamentary session.

      Once the MPs had voted for the new speaker the youngest of them, 26-year-old Neila Tweini, announced the winner.

      It is a parliamentary law based on an old tradition that the oldest MP presides over the first session.
      Spoiler!
    Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

  10. #400
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    Re: Lebanon | Israel | Hezbollah | a.k.a. The Cedars

    Looks like Bamma should have checked with the only country he placed demands on for his "peace process" before his speech..

    Israel OKs West Bank Construction

    TEL AVIV -- Israel said Monday it authorized the construction of 50 new residential units in a West Bank settlement, defying rising pressure from the U.S. and the international community for a building freeze in territory claimed by the Palestinians as part of a future state.

    The expansion of Adam, a settlement near Jerusalem surrounded by three Palestinian villages, is part of a defense ministry plan to relocate 300 residents of the unauthorized hilltop outpost of Migron.

    The government is being pressed to evacuate the outpost because of a High Court petition from 2006 by Palestinians and Israeli peace groups arguing Migron is built on private Palestinian property.

    The building approval was made public in a statement to the court on the same day Defense Minister Ehud Barak departed for meetings in Washington aimed at reaching a compromise with the Obama administration over settlement expansion.

    The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have said that settlement expansion is unhelpful to the peace process.

    In a speech earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that while Israel will not establish new settlements, construction in existing settlements should be permitted to allow for demographic expansion.

    The defense ministry said the 50 new homes are part of a larger plan to add 1,450 units to a settlement that had about 2,500 residents in 2005.

    Eitan Broshi, Mr. Barak's special adviser on settlements, told Israel Radio that the new residential units were approved in order avoid to clashes with Migron settlers reminiscent of the 2006 violence when security forces demolished several permanent buildings at the Amona hilltop outpost.

    Michael Sfard, an Israeli human rights lawyer who petitioned the High Court on behalf of Palestinian families in the Migron dispute, said the plan calls for building a new neighborhood about two-thirds of a mile away from the existing homes in the settlement, a violation of informal understandings which Israel has said it reached with the Bush administration on settlement expansion.

    The approved neighborhood "runs against all promises made,'' he said. "It's not in the built-up area of the settlement, the settlement is not west of the security barrier and its not in a settlement bloc.''

    Settlers who live at Migron, one of the biggest hilltop outposts in the West Bank, have rejected the defense ministry's relocation proposal.
    "The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us...
    Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers every tax that is assessed against a business."


    -The Gipper


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