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  1. #46
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    Re: The Cedars - A New Thread


  2. #47
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    Re: The Cedars - A New Thread

    Nice Totten piece; I like his style.

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/...gns/index.html

    Israel military chief quits under fire over war performance
    POSTED: 8:49 p.m. EST, January 16, 2007

    Story Highlights
    • NEW: Israel Defense Ministry: IDF chief of staff has resigned
    • NEW: Report: PM Ehud Olmert expresses regret over the resignation
    • Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz appointed June 1, 2005


    Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz had been under pressure to resign since the end of Israel's 34-day war against Hezbollah.

    JERUSALEM (CNN) -- The Israel Defense Forces' chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, has resigned, the Israeli Defense Ministry said early Wednesday.

    Halutz, appointed in June 2005, had been under pressure to resign since the end of Israel's 34-day war against Hezbollah last summer.

    The war failed in two of its stated objectives -- recovering two captured soldiers and crushing Hezbollah.

    "The time has really come," said an unidentified general quoted by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. "Inquiries show only the tip of the iceberg regarding Halutz's functioning during the war."

    Hezbollah, a powerful player in Lebanese politics and linked to Iran, is a militant group that promotes a fundamentalist Muslim state and refuses to recognize Israel.

    Deemed a terrorist organization by the United States, Hezbollah's tactics have ranged from car bombings to rocket attacks.

    Israel launched a full-scale attack on Hezbollah in southern Lebanon in mid-July after Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser, 31, and Eldad Regev, 26.

    The soldiers are both reservists and graduate students in civilian life who were serving stints of only a few weeks in the IDF.

    The conflict was declared over on August 14, 2006, after the United Nations passed a resolution calling for an international force in southern Lebanon.

    Goldwasser and Regev are still missing, and Hezbollah is still active.

    The death toll from the conflict has varied in reports between 1,000 and 1,400, and many of the victims were Lebanese civilians. Tens of thousands of civilians were displaced.

    In August the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said that of the 180,000 Lebanese who had sought shelter in Syria, more than 107,000 had returned to Lebanon.

    Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed regret over Halutz's resignation, Haaretz reported.

    Moshe Kaplinsky, the deputy chief of staff, will be the interim head of the armed forces, the paper said.
    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. #48
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    Re: The Cedars - A New Thread

    ^^Hes good eh Orang? Nice easy going style thats very readable. And that hes really familiar with Lebanon helps alot.

  4. #49
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    Re: The Cedars - A New Thread

    http://time-blog.com/middle_east/200..._politics.html

    Poster Politics
    Posted by Andrew Lee Butters


    I Love Life

    The Lebanese have a seemingly natural talent for marketing, advertising, and sloganeering which gets applied to politics when the situation demands. After the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, stark black billboard posters appeared demanding "The Truth" about who killed him, though Hariri's supporters had already decided that Syria was responsible. The anti-Syrian demonstrations that followed the assassination brought with them posters declaring "Independence '05" and soon after the Syrian army did in fact leave Lebanon.

    Now the country is awash in dueling "I Love Life" campaigns. The slogan was created by pro-government groups supposedly to raise awareness about the risks of sectarianism in Lebanon. But the Hizballah-led opposition interpreted the campaign as blaming them for the destruction caused by the past summer's war with Israel. (The implication being that Hizballah loves death and martyrdom.) So the opposition copied the theme and launched its own version, this time with a rainbow of colors representing the opposition groups, and slogans like "I Love Life Undictated."



    That's a reference to the opposition claims that the Lebanese government takes its marching orders from the United States. Here's a poster with a favorite Hizballah target -- US Secretary of State Condoleeze Rice -- giving lessons to an apt pupil, Lebanon's pro-American Prime Minister Fouad Siniora -- at the School of the New Middle East. Among the special courses are: spreading sectarian chaos, embezzlement, setting up security states, and trampling sovereignty.



    Interestingly, I've never seen a satirical poster in public that links the Hizballah-led opposition with Iran and Syria, even though members of the Siniora government have often claimed that their rivals are the pawns of Teheran and Damascus. This photoshopped picture -- of Iran's President Ahmadinejad and Syria's President Assad as the proud parents of Lebanon's President Emile Lahoud and and Christian leader Michel Aoun (both of whom are part of the opposition to Siniora) -- made rounds on the Internet only.



    Perhaps that's because it's worse to be called an American stooge than a Syrian or Iranian stooge in Lebanon these days? I'm not sure. The country seems pretty evenly split between pro-Western and pro-Eastern camps. Or perhaps the Siniora camp is just too afraid to get personal. Notice that there's no image of Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah in the Proud Parents picture, even though he is far and away the most important opposition leader. Hizballah supporters brook no disrespect for their Sheik, and have rioted at least two times in the past year when they thought Nasrallah was being insulted. Such thin skin takes the fun out of politics.

    So with the the country divided between Tehran and Washington, between loving life, and loving life with colors, I've got an idea for a Third Way: Supermodel Mila Jovovich. She doesn't love life. She doesn't love death. She just loves Mango. I vote for her.

    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.

  5. #50
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    Re: The Cedars - A New Thread

    More from Totten. You know? What a great job for someone good with writing. Get the money you need to report on this stuff.
    [Im also hoping for some great photos from one of our mods thats in Dubai]

    http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/001367.html

  6. #51
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    Re: The Cedars - A New Thread

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/01/22/news/lebanon.php


    Reconstruction slows in war-ravaged southern Lebanon



    By Hassan M. Fattah
    Published: January 22, 2007

    BENT JBAIL, Lebanon: In August, Muhammad al-Seyed watched with some pride as tractors driven by Hezbollah men rolled in to begin scooping away the rubble and debris of a month of war with Israel, while engineers and others set to work.

    This Hezbollah stronghold would soon rise again, the leaders of both the town and the militant group's building arm, Construction Jihad, said defiantly.

    More than five months later, however, with winter here and Lebanon's government enmeshed in political crisis, the tractors are gone, the army of men has disappeared and Bent Jbail's town center still resembles Dresden in Germany after World War II.

    "They told us everything was going to be rebuilt soon," Seyed said Tuesday, speaking of town leaders. "They're not doing anything now. We want to build, but they won't let us. They promise to pay us, but they don't. All we want is our homes back, and they won't even let us have them!"

    There may be as many excuses for the problems rebuilding in the south as there are political factions in this nation. Some people blame the weather; some say residents living abroad are just taking their time; some officials cite disagreements over the amounts paid to those who have lost their homes. In one rare admission, a senior Construction Jihad official said his group was overwhelmed by the destruction.

    "Our goal initially was to work with our own hands, but we soon realized we weren't enough, so we decided to begin reimbursing people," said Abou Ali Bayloun, regional director for Construction Jihad in the southern port city of Tyre.

    "It needs a lot of workers to do this," he said.

    But politics is at the heart of the problem. Hezbollah and its supporters point fingers at the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora; the government reflects the accusation back at Hezbollah.

    Residents now blame both sides.

    Ultimately, some analysts say, neither side wants to take responsibility for the task of reconstruction. The government avoids direct involvement on the ground, trying to avoid blame for inefficiency, while Hezbollah has also reduced its activities and is capitalizing on residents' frustrations for the lack of action.

    "One side doesn't want to be accused of slowing things down," said Habib Debs, professor of urban planning at the American University of Beirut. "The other side wants to blame the government for not doing anything. So nothing is being done and both are happy that neither is doing anything."

    The two sides lack coordination and cooperation. Fear, too, plays a role: residents who could begin building have hesitated, fearing further conflict with Israel or, worse, civil war.

    "People are terrified," said Ali Eid, deputy mayor of the town of Srifa, one of the few southern towns witnessing major construction. "They know that if there's a problem in Beirut, it will spread and spread south. We've started because we had to. But Bent Jbail is closer to any war that may happen."

    The political wrangling unleashed in the war's aftermath, culminating in the walkout by six Hezbollah-aligned ministers in November and six weeks of unbroken demonstrations in Beirut by Hezbollah and its allies has raised sectarian tensions, especially between Sunnis and Shiites.

    Officials of the Siniora government insist that they have done what they could for the Shiite-dominated and

    "Hezbollah has been part of all the committees," said Muhammad Safadi, minister of public works and transportation. "They are part of the decision- making process so they are as much to blame."

    Safadi said up to 40,000 households had received government payments of up to $40,000 each to rebuild their homes and could proceed at will.

    But officials in Bent Jbail and other southern towns accuse the government of adding red tape and withholding aid to punish them. Bent Jbail's leaders say that electricity service worsened after Muhammad Fneish, the minister of electricity and water resources, resigned with the other Shiite-aligned ministers. They say telephone service remains spotty.

    "The whole south is in the same situation as us," said Haitham Bazzi, who heads a committee on reconstruction for the old section of Bent Jbail. "They have forgotten us, despite the war and everything we went through. That's why many people here are fed up and want the government out even before the politicians do."

    The town — which has 6,000 full- time residents and almost 30,000 living abroad, most in the United States — was adopted by the government of Qatar, which promised to finance the reconstruction. But many villagers feared residents would take the money and abandon the village, so Ali Bazzi, the mayor, lobbied to get the Qataris to hire a construction company to rebuild the whole area and preserve its historic nature.

    He outlined big dreams for his town in August. It was to become a model city in the south, with new apartment blocks, wider streets and modern infrastructure. A group of local residents and college professors stepped in with a competing plan, which sought to rebuild the historic homes, preserving the town's character while leaving the high rises at the town's periphery. The debate, residents say, continues.

    The reconstruction plan is now moving in stages, said Hussein Saad, a member of the city council. The first stage, which is complete, entailed reimbursements of up to several thousand dollars for reparable damage to homes. The second will pay up to $40,000 for rebuilding demolished homes. The third and final stage will involve rebuilding homes in the historic older district.

    Nada Bakri contributed reporting from Beirut.
    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. #52
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    Re: The Cedars - A New Thread

    Last edited by jimzinsocal; 01-23-2007 at 08:26 AM.

  8. #53
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    Re: The Cedars - A New Thread

    Three killed, 133 hurt in strike aimed at toppling Lebanon gov't

    Three killed, 133 hurt in strike aimed at toppling Lebanon gov't
    By News Agencies

    Three people were killed and at least 133 more wounded Tuesday in clashes during a Lebanese general strike called by the Hezbollah-led opposition in a bid to topple Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's Western-backed government.

    Lebanon's anti-Syrian majority leaders Tuesday accused the opposition of staging a "coup" against the government by blocking major roads.

    Thousands of protesters blocked main roads in Beirut and around the country with rubble and burning tires as the strike began.

    Advertisement

    "This is a coup d'etat. This is a revolt in all sense of the word," Christian leader Samir Geagea told the Lebanese television station LBCI.

    In a televised speech, Siniora vowed to remain strong and united with the Lebanese people against the violence. "We will stay together against intimidation. We will stand together against strife," he said.

    "Today's general strike turned into actions and harassment that overstepped all limits and rekindled memories of times of strife, war and hegemony," Siniora said.

    He hinted that the government might take stronger measures.

    "The duty of the army and security forces does not allow any flexibility or compromise regarding the public interest, order and civic peace," Siniora declared.

    The street trouble prompted him to delay his departure for an international conference on aid for Lebanon to be held in Paris on Thursday. He did not say if he still planned to go.

    Lebanese troops tried to keep rival groups apart, but police said a member of the Christian, pro-government Lebanese Forces party was shot dead in the town of Batroun, north of Beirut.

    Protests erupt across country
    Two people were shot and killed in the mainly Sunni Muslim northern port of Tripoli. Police said gunfire wounded around 50 people, many of them in the Christian towns.

    Police said 133 people were hurt in a day of skirmishes around the country. Stone-throwing crowds fought in Beirut and Christian areas to the north, even though troops caught in the middle fired in the air to deter them.

    Among the wounded were five government supporters, one of whom sustained serious injuries, in a gunfight with opposition followers in northern Lebanon, security sources said.

    They said members of the pro-government Future movement and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) exchanged fire in the village of Halba.

    In the ancient Christian town of Byblos, three people were wounded when a gunman fired on protesters, security sources said. Soldiers arrested the gunman and seized weapons from his house.

    Two protesters were wounded in a similar shooting in Batroun, and a member of a pro-Syrian opposition group was seriously wounded in an incident near the mountain village of Sofar.

    In other demonstrations across Lebanon, some scuffles broke out between protesters and pro-government loyalists, especially in Christian areas.

    Protesters in Beirut, north, south and east Lebanon took to the streets at around 6 A.M. and began blocking roads. Smoke from burning tires billowed over the capital.

    Hezbollah organizers, their faces covered in black masks, prowled on motorcycles, walkie-talkies clamped to their mouths.

    Most main roads inside Beirut and leading into the city were closed, as were highways linking the capital to north and south Lebanon, as well as to the Syrian capital Damascus.

    Several Arab and international airlines suspended flights into Beirut after the roads to Lebanon's only international airport and to the port in Beirut were blocked.

    The airport remained operational, even though few workers showed up and passengers were unable to get there, sources at the facility said.

    The national flag carrier Middle East Airlines (MEA) made no immediate announcement on whether it would suspend operations or not.

    Many shops, schools and businesses were closed in Beirut but it was hard to tell whether this was in support of the strike or because people could not get to work past blazing barricades.

    Lebanese security forces made sporadic efforts to open roads, but made little headway due to the crowds of protesters. They did not intervene in Hezbollah's south Beirut stronghold.

    "This government only understands force and today is only a small lesson," protester Jamil Wahb told Reuters in the southern mostly Shi'ite suburb. "We will stay here until they give in."

    Opposition sources say protests will last for several days. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah told his supporters on Monday to be ready for more steps to press opposition demands.

    Siniora's government has shrugged off the demands and is instead preparing for an international aid conference in Paris on Thursday that it hopes will yield billions of dollars for Lebanon's debt-laden economy.

    Officials denied earlier reports that Siniora had left Lebanon for Paris a few hours before the strike began. "We are still here [in Beirut]," an aide said.

    "Siniora out, down with the government," Hezbollah followers chanted as they lit tires in downtown Beirut, close to the prime minister's office.

    The opposition's campaign, which started on Dec. 1 with an open-ended protest in central Beirut, has been largely peaceful, though one anti-government protester was shot dead in December.

    Nasrallah said some government politicians wanted violence in Lebanon, which is still recovering from its 1975-1990 civil war. "We will move and if you want to kill us in the street, kill us," he said. "We will not draw our weapons against you."

    The standoff has raised Sunni-Shi'ite tensions among Muslims in Lebanon, which has a delicate sectarian power-sharing system.

    The government is backed by Sunni leader Saad al-Hariri and the opposition includes Shi'ite groups Hezbollah and Amal. Christians are split between the two camps.

    Leaders allied to the government had called on Lebanese to go to work.

    Chirac: Protests will deter international donors
    French President Jacques Chirac said on Tuesday anti-government
    protests in Lebanon could discourage the international community from granting financial aid to Beirut at a donors' conference scheduled for Thursday.

    Chirac said in an interview with France 24 television and Lebanese television that Lebanon's financial situation was "very serious, very grave", adding: "practically, the Lebanese government has no more money."

    "Lebanon has an urgent need to be financially supported and helped," Chirac said.

    "It is clear that the behavior ... of those who are using it to create social difficulties at the same moment when we are gathering for this conference, does not encourage those who want to help to give Lebanon the means to survive," he said

    Donor countries are expected to pledge money, possibly in the billions of dollars, for Lebanon's debt-laden economy at Thursday's conference in Paris.
    "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


  9. #54
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    Re: The Cedars - A New Thread


  10. #55
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    Re: The Cedars - A New Thread

    Totten update

    http://michaeltotten.com/

    Ill come back and add stuff. Im reading about Tripoli right now

    Like here. But Ill look for more meat and potatos

    http://www.examiner.com/a-526391~Tri...?cid=rss-World

  11. #56
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  12. #57
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    Re: The Cedars - A New Thread

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/...eut/index.html

    At least one dead in Lebanon clashes
    POSTED: 10:33 a.m. EST, January 25, 2007



    Story Highlights
    NEW: Opposition TV station reports four dead in Beirut clashes
    • Witnesses say one opposition student killed
    • At least 25 others injured in violence
    • Month-long protests aimed at toppling Lebanon's prime minister




    BEIRUT, Lebanon (Reuters) -- At least one opposition student was shot dead and 35 were injured in street fights between rival groups of students at a Beirut university, witnesses and a security source said.

    An opposition-run television station reported the death toll had risen to four. There was no immediate confirmation.

    NBN said two of the dead were students loyal to the opposition, which includes the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah and Amal groups. (Watch street clashes, car windows smashed Video)

    A security source said 35 people were wounded in the clashes between the opposition supporters and government loyalists from the Mustaqbal movement of Sunni Muslim leader Saad al-Hariri.

    It was not immediately clear who shot the student in the head.

    Al-Manar television, run by the opposition's Hezbollah movement, blamed the shooting on pro-government gunmen loyal to Sunni leader Saad Hariri.

    The clashes included running battles with sticks and stones in the Arab University and nearby streets. Cars and tires were set ablaze in the area.

    Lebanese soldiers fired into the air to try to disperse the crowds, without success.

    Witnesses reported shots fired at the students from rooftops in the mainly Sunni areas and attacks by a Shiite mob on a Sunni-run school in another area of the capital.

    Hezbollah issued a statement urging its supporters to pull out of the streets around the university, while Hariri urged supporters to show self-restraint and calm.

    The opposition launched nationwide protests on Tuesday which shut down much of Lebanon and sparked violence in which three people were killed and 176 wounded.

    The opposition want veto power in government and early parliamentary elections to topple the cabinet of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. Siniora and his main backer, parliamentary majority leader Hariri, have refused to give in to the demands.

    Copyright 2007 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
    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.

  13. #58
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    Re: The Cedars - A New Thread

    So much for loving life..




    Anyone else think Hezzbola overplayed their hand here?


    Ironic Picture of the Day

    Last edited by AMDScooter; 01-25-2007 at 01:34 PM.
    "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


  14. #59
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    Re: The Cedars - A New Thread


  15. #60
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    Re: The Cedars - A New Thread

    Totten. Be sure and read down thru updates

    January 25, 2007



    Tough Times Ahead for Nasrallah


    When Hugh Hewitt interviewed me three weeks ago we discussed the possibility of Hezbollah seizing the road to the airport, a threat that appeared, at the time, to be empty. Here is what he and I said then:
    HH: Okay, put on your seeing, your swami hat, your Kreskin hat, what’s going to happen in Lebanon? MT: Oh, God. Literally, Hugh, anything could happen at this point, although I do think that the threat of civil war is lower than it was a month ago.
    HH: Why?
    MT: Here’s why. Because after two days, when these protests and sit-ins started, if you would have asked me what the odds of a civil war in Lebanon, I would have said probably 60%. And the reason is because Hezbollah tried to take the prime minister’s office.
    HH: Right.
    MT: Tried to physically seize it on the day of their rally. And they backed off, because the prime minister said, and I mentioned this in the article I wrote that you linked to, the prime minister said that if you take my office, I cannot control my street, which means basically that the Sunnis of Lebanon were going to go out in the streets, and forcibly take the prime minister’s office back. And it would be war, and it would be very ugly, because there’s really only so far Hezbollah can take this, because like I explained before, every group in the country is a minority, and no minority group is allowed to rule over the others. And the prime minister’s office is Sunni. And if the Shia tried to physically take it, it’s over. There’s going to be definitely more fighting in Lebanon. And so, Nasrallah backed off, because he knew that that was taking things too far. But then he kept threatening to escalate the situation, and he was saying well, okay, we’re not going to be able to take the prime minister’s office, but we’ll take the airport and shut the whole country down. And for a week, he was threatening to take the airport. And I thought well, God, if he takes the airport again, there’s going to be blood in the streets. And then, somebody who advises Nasrallah, must have taken him aside and talked him out of it, because that would be a bridge too far. And there was no way the rest of the country was going to put up with actually seizing the country like this. And so then Nasrallah, instead of threatening to take the airport, he threatened to escalate, but he was vague about how he was going to escalate.
    HH: Well, you’re describing a tinderbox, though.
    MT: Basically, yeah.
    HH: Any day, something could go wrong, Sarajevo, 1914, sort of thing.
    MT: Yup. And then when Nasrallah finally did escalate, all he did was have another rally, because he knew he’d taken the country to the absolute limit, and that if he went any further, it was going to be war.
    But Hezbollah went further, after all. Blockading the country for one day triggered three days (so far) of violence. Hezbollah can’t keep this up without provoking a serious murderous backlash. But Hassan Nasrallah still says he will escalate even now. If he does, my prediction for another round of war in Lebanon is well above 50 percent. It could be a short one (we're not talking fifteen more years of hell here) but it would be war all the same. These things change, though, like volatile weather. A compromise is still possible. And Nasrallah may yet back down. Hezbollah can likely win a defensive war if Lebanese try to disarm them. But they can’t conquer the country. No one is strong enough to do that. If Nasrallah starts that kind of war he’ll lose everything.
    The Sunni Arab “street” outside Lebanon rallied behind him as a hero in July and August for his “resistance” against the Israelis. If Nasrallah becomes, instead, the butcher of Sunnis, he will become one of the most detested Arab figures alive.
    The Syrian regime wants civil war in Lebanon. Bashar Assad’s late father Hafez helped foment the last one and kept it boiling for fifteen years until Lebanon all but surrendered to Syrian domination. The younger Assad has been trying to re-ignite it ever since March 14 two years ago. He hoped to demonstrate that only Syria can keep order in Lebanon, that Syrian withdrawal means mayhem and blood in the streets.
    But Nasrallah and the Iranians (not to mention most Lebanese) don’t want more civil war. It works to Iran’s advantage if their proxy guerilla is a hero in the Arab world. But if the mullahs are seen as the sponsor of Shia killers of Sunnis in Lebanon they’ll be even more staunchly opposed in the Arab world than they already are.
    Interesting, and difficult, times lie ahead for Hassan Nasrallah.
    UPDATE: Charles Malik at the Lebanese Political Journal notes that Hassan Nasrallah has lost control of his followers. Indeed, he has, which makes things even worse for him and for Lebanon. Hezbollah, and Hezbollah's fans, do not know when to stop. Their delusions of supremacy, strength, and popularity may be their undoing. They made that mistake with the Israelis and learned nothing at all from the experience.
    UPDATE: Two snipers, one Syrian and the other Palestinian, have been arrested by the army. Not only has Nasrallah lost control of his fans, he never had control of his masters who have plans of their own. He is riding three tigers at once.

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