May 14, 2009

Brace for a Hezbollah Victory

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

Posted by Michael J. Totten at May 14, 2009 11:24 AM
Comments
Do you speak Arabic, Michael?
Posted by: molly at May 14, 2009 12:39 pm
Do you speak Hebrew, Molly?
Posted by: maryatexitzero at May 14, 2009 1:21 pm
I want to "correct" some of what mentioned in the article.
"The Aounists are just using Hezbollah because they think it
Posted by: GK at May 14, 2009 2:57 pm
GK,
Yes, the Aounists are nuts. Lebanon has a only microscopic number of Wahhabis, if that. But I've heard even Hariri's people described as the vanguard of the Wahhabis, asinine as that is.
Lebanese have a vivid imagination.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 14, 2009 3:09 pm
"Lebanese political coalitions are ever-shifting kaleidoscopes. All internal alliances are unstable." Michael Totten's words.
I love his word "kaleidoscopes"....not singular, but plural.
All we Americans can realistically expect from our new naive idealistic administration is more Obamitudes. We can't be expected to solve this mess.
We'd be wisest now to prepare for planeloads of United Nations humanitarian aid to be sent to Beirut. Let the UN handle all of the expected aftermath this time; let the UN take all the flak which ordinarily would be aimed at America. Let the Moslem/Islamic factions in the UN sort out these kaleidoscopic bits. Why America each time? Others in that area have massive sovereign reserves. This is not our problem to solve any more.
We've tried too often.
Posted by: Morningside at May 14, 2009 6:08 pm
Can't wait for June 7th!
Posted by: GK at May 14, 2009 6:53 pm
Lebanon has a only microscopic number of Wahhabis, if that..
There are a lot of Saudis, and they do wield considerable influence. However most of the Saudis (except for the al Qaeda who were in the Palestinian camps/Tripoli) seem to take a vacation from being Wahhabi while they're in Lebanon.
Since the Saudis are influential, Aoun's alliance with Hezbollah and Syria does make a little bit more sense.
Posted by: maryatexitzero at May 14, 2009 7:17 pm
Since the Saudis are influential, Aoun's alliance with Hezbollah and Syria does make a little bit more sense.
Yes. They're picking their poison. But they're picking the wrong poison. I get where they're coming from on some of this stuff, but geez. Choosing Nasrallah over Hariri? (Eyeroll.)
I had dinner in Hariri's house. He's no different from the Christians personally and culturally. Nasrallah's bunker ought to give a nightclub-hopping Aounist a touch of culture shock at the least.
A lot of this, too, just has to do with General Aoun's megalomania. He wants to be president and thinks Assad and Nasrallah might crown him.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 14, 2009 7:53 pm
In the recent past the notion of a nation was built on common language, thereafter other projections followed: history, army, currency, school system solidifying all that for generations to come. An extra language - through common education. Flawed or not, it was shared by all.
But some nations use a lingua franca and can be viewed as part of a bigger nation: Arab-speakers, German-speakers, French-speakers as long as they fit La France ideology...not so much English-speakers surprizingly. Some nations can be defined through long term non-alignment.
Switzerland comes to mind. The language effect missing.
In Lebanon we see a case where nation building is almost impossible. Defeats and victories - in short "history" - means something else to every group. The hisbollah arranged a real tour de force by becoming part of Iranian and Syrian history. They destroy the Lebanese nation building every day whatever grievances they may produce. They may feel already superior to every Lebanese citizen and an alien element grabbing for power.
On the whole it is amazing how different a language (politically, culturally) one can create within a single language. Just steer those ideological sublanguages in one direction and the problem is solved
Posted by: Czechmade at May 15, 2009 1:46 am
I love the way the questions are phrased:
"Some people say that while Hezbollah has arms Israel is less likely to make war."
"Some people say that while Hezbollah has arms Israel is more likely to make war."
So it's not Hizbullah making war, it's _Israel_. Finally, we are told. Hizbullah's attacks have nothing to do with whether there is war or peace. It's solely due to Israel who are apparently "making war" whenever Hizbullah is either armed or not armed.
It's not surprising that so many Lebanese view Israel as an enemy when even the "peace institute" cannot even ask questions without accusing Israel of "making war" for no good reason.
Posted by: Leauki at May 15, 2009 1:47 am
"The Aounists are just using Hezbollah because they think it
Posted by: leo at May 15, 2009 4:55 pm
molly,
If you need something translated from Arabic I think I can help.
Posted by: leo at May 15, 2009 5:05 pm
Thanks, Leo, no I don't. Besides, my husband studied it. And, no I didn't speak Hebrew. I asked my parents to take Hebrew lessons when I was a kid but they didn't send me.
Posted by: molly at May 16, 2009 6:34 pm
I guess I am now an idiot not to be answered. Hey, did you at least ban Gary?
Posted by: molly at May 16, 2009 6:40 pm
"Hey, did you at least ban Gary?"
"Hey, did you at least ban Gary?"
Not yet (fiendish laugh). But this time instead of insulting you I'll help out with the translation from the Arabic. It goes as follows: "Even though Israel is a tiny sliver of land with no oil we're gonna blame all our problems on da Joooooos!".
I didn't even have to read the Arabic to figure that out! But that's pretty much all that molly needs or cares to know.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at May 17, 2009 12:48 am
I didn't even have to read the Arabic to figure that out! But that's pretty much all [she] needs or cares to know.

It's called willful ignorance.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at May 17, 2009 6:40 am
"Even though Israel is a tiny sliver of land with no oil we are going to blame all our problems on Joooooos!"
Let me try:
رغم أن إسرائيل دولة صغيرة فى القطعة من الارض التي لا نفط نحن بصدد إلقاء اللوم على كل مشاكلنا على Joooooos!
Posted by: leo at May 17, 2009 7:47 am
If it was your home, I don't think you would care if it was "just a tiny sliver of land". South Africa was just a tiny sliver of land, too. What was wrong with those pesky South Africans blaming all their problem on the Afrikaaaaners? Don't I look clever making words look funny?
Posted by: molly at May 17, 2009 10:40 am
If it was your home, I don't think you would care if it was "just a tiny sliver of land".
Molly, please try to stay on topic. This comments section isn't here for you to indulge your obsession regardless of the subject matter of the main post. I wrote about Lebanon, and you're still banging on about 1948.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 17, 2009 11:52 am
Pretty sure she is on topic, from her perspective, MJT. She's on record saying that Hezbollah's criminality including terrorism against the US (her country) is justified by the events of 1948. Personally, I can't even process that kind of thinking let alone come up with a counter-argument. How do you argue with crazy?
Posted by: programmmer_craig at May 17, 2009 2:16 pm
I find that your relatively hardheaded and realistic take here doesn't square easily with a tone you frequently take, best encapsulated by this:
I have a bad feeling about Lebanon on even and odd numbered days. I don
Posted by: glasnost at May 17, 2009 7:07 pm
glasnost',
"the March 8 coalition would end up putting a Shia as Prime Minister for the first time in the history of Lebanon"
I could be mistaking, but I think Lebanon Constitution (its biggest flaw) requires that major positions in government be filled based on certain sectarian rules regardless of how elections went.
For example PM must be Sunny, and so on.
If that is the case and Shia will get overwhelming majority it may lead to anything. Or to nothing.
Posted by: leo at May 17, 2009 7:34 pm
Molly's perspectives on Palestine are widely shared with many Lebanese.
However, do most Lebanese really mean it when they say they support Palestine? Why do Lebanese mistreat Palestinians who live in Lebonan so badly?
If the Lebanese are not really motivated by a desire to help Palestinians; then why do they really dislike Israel? It can't be because of Shi'ba farms. It is an extremely small and financially worthless strip of land. Is the real reason that the Lebanese want to deport their Palestinians to Palestine and are upset that Israel is impeding this? If this isn't the real reason, then what "IS" the real reason?
Posted by: anand at May 17, 2009 8:45 pm
Would Lebanese favor selling Shi'ba Farms for a billion dollars?
Should Israel give the Shi'ba Farms to Lebonan?
Posted by: anand at May 17, 2009 8:47 pm
glasnost: Country X is f*cked, and anti-American force Y is gaining power.
You use obscenities pretty freely in your posts, which is fine. But do us a favor and write them out rather than filling them in with asterisks.
If the words are so offensive to you that you have to censor out letters, why use them in the first place?
Makes no f*cking sense...
---
molly: What was wrong with those pesky South Africans blaming all their problem on the Afrikaaaaners?
It would start to get annoying whenever they did so in the context of a discussion on upcoming elections in Mozambique.
Posted by: Edgar at May 17, 2009 11:29 pm
Michael, Gary brought it up. The Gary you didn't ban after calling me a bitch. And Craig, I never justified terrorism.
Posted by: molly at May 18, 2009 5:43 am
Molly, would you like Michael to ban Gary? Sounds as though you would.
Posted by: Harold at May 18, 2009 6:59 am
It reminds me of how the Germans voted for the Nazis in 1933 because of how active the Nazis were in the streets. For many Germans, voting the Nazis into power meant peace and quiet. And it was the last democratic election Germany experienced for fifteen years. In that time a tenth of the population perished in WWII and Germany large chunks of its territory.
Is Lebanon set to repeat the same process?
Posted by: Solomon2 at May 18, 2009 7:21 am
"They want deterrence, not war, and simply fail to understand that a disarmed Hezbollah is their best bet for peace and quiet. "
I think what you fail to understand is that a shia in Lebanon can look at a palestinian in the west bank and see how being unarmed and having a compliant leader to israel still does not prevent jewish settlers from coming over and making your life miserable.
Posted by: Joe Rushty at May 18, 2009 8:39 am
Joe, I think you fail to understand that an Israeli withdrawal does not prevent the launching of rockets into Israel and making the inhabitants' lives miserable.
Posted by: Harold at May 18, 2009 9:25 am
The Gary you didn't ban after calling me a bitch.
I got called a lot worse than that on your blog, Molly. I seem to recall that you laughed about it. And the perps didn't get banned. I got banned, instead. More hypocrisy from the charming molly.
And Craig, I never justified terrorism.
So sorry, molly, but when you respond to questions about whether or not Hezbollah should be held accountable for crimes committed against innocent Americans with some garbage about holding Israel responsible for blah blah blah, you absolutely ARE justifying terrorism. That's *exactly* how actual terrorists justify what they do.
Posted by: programmmer_craig at May 18, 2009 9:29 am
"does not prevent jewish settlers from coming over and making your life miserable."
Oh, those evil Jews!
If only attacking and murdering them had helped! But it hasn't and now they make lives miserable. They are so evil!
Posted by: Leauki at May 18, 2009 9:31 am
US monetary assistance to Lebanon should be cut regardless. The US is not the world
Posted by: Boojum at May 18, 2009 12:05 pm
Actually, no, I wouldn't like him banned. But he should get a warning that if he curses at people, he will. I mentioned it because I think he's banned people for much less. No, Craig, I think anyone committing terrorism should be held accountable. That includes both Israel and Hezbollah. You not recognizing Israel's continued killing of civilians had noting to do with me.
Posted by: molly at May 18, 2009 5:59 pm
I don't recall any incidents like that on my former blog, Craig. I doubt I laughed.
Posted by: molly at May 18, 2009 6:02 pm
Actually, no, I wouldn't like him banned. But he should get a warning that if he curses at people, he will.
Why would MJT do that, molly? You don't ban people for being offensive and insulting on your blogs, so why should MJT? You ban people for disagreeing with you, and if MJT followed your example there you would be the first t go I bet.
I mentioned it because I think he's banned people for much less.
Do you? What do you base that on?
No, Craig, I think anyone committing terrorism should be held accountable. That includes both Israel and Hezbollah. You not recognizing Israel's continued killing of civilians had noting to do with me.
You are just muddying the waters with that kind of moral equivalency crap, molly. By accusing "everyone else" of being just as bad, you hope to cause so many headaches that the whole issue just goes away. An (unfortunately) effective tactic that people like you have developed over the years. Please don't insult my intelligence any further by pretending to want people held accountable when your actions have the exact opposite effect. You provide cover for terror groups by claiming they are no worse than the US or Israel. And, that is your *intent*.
I don't recall any incidents like that on my former blog, Craig. I doubt I laughed.
That's strange, because it was the very first time I visited your blog and I left several comments addressed to you, questioning your behavior. If you claim not to remember the incident, I will believe you. You are, after all, an HONEST person. Are you not?
Posted by: programmmer_craig at May 18, 2009 8:08 pm
Molly, I was in a similar position to you when I started commenting here. Plenty of folks here don't like you, and they're going to harass you, get used to it. (Personally I'm glad to have you, because you allow me to be a centrist :-D)
I also think GR should get a one-way ticket to Nowheresland... not specifically because of anything to you, but because he hardly ever makes comments other than to start fights with other posters. But it's clearly not happening anytime soon, so move on. I imagine that Mike T, who thinks a lot of what comes out of your mouth is baloney, probably thinks he's paying his obligations to intellectual diversity merely by letting you hang around. I don't think working the refs is going to get you very far, is what I'm saying.
I'd focus on trying to make the case for alternate points of view on the topic at hand, backed by evidence and logical argument. You'll get the chance to push your pet cause, but you need to do a little genuflecting to what's actually being discussed.
BTW,
You never got back to my comment
http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/2009/04/eurasias-shatte.php#comments
May 5, 336 PM.
In general, I'd put your odds of surviving on this blog at 50/50. I think your education on relevant topics has been overly emotional and narrow, but, unlike most of the rest of the blog, I don't actually think you're a bad person (or, any worse than most around here, better than some)
or unfit to be commenting. So, perhaps you'll take some free advice, such as above, and one more piece: don't feed the trolls. Discuss with people who tolerate you, and be selective in your engagement of people who are just talking smack.
Posted by: glasnost at May 19, 2009 6:07 am
IMO it is people like Molly and her comments that make reading and participating in a blogs comment section a waste of time, or worse, lead some people to develop a very misinformed opinion.
Posted by: Ron Snyder at May 19, 2009 8:26 am
Only in your own mind would you ever be considered a centrist, glasnost.
This back and forth opinion slinging is a waste of Michael's space. I await Iraq Pt. 2.
Posted by: Paul S. at May 19, 2009 1:12 pm
glasnost: "I was in a similar position to you when I started commenting here."
I cannot be the judge of that but assuming you are correct, what have changed?
Posted by: leo at May 19, 2009 1:31 pm
A lot of this, too, just has to do with General Aoun's megalomania. He wants to be president and thinks Assad and Nasrallah might crown him
That's probably what motivates Aoun, but why do his followers - follow? If someone wants to gain instant political cred in that part of the world, they'll accuse their opponent of being allied with the Wahhabis and/or the Americans. It doesn't matter if it's true, it will turn people against the opponent. This is a sign of general attitudes towards the Wahhabis.
Posted by: maryatexitzero at May 19, 2009 2:45 pm
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