April 28, 2006

“Everything Could Explode at Any Moment”

NORTHERN ISRAEL - Last year I drove down from Beirut into Hezbollah-occupied Lebanon along the border with Israel. Aside from Hezbollah’s other miniature state-within-a-state in the suburbs south of Beirut, the border region is the craziest place in the country.

The Lebanese government doesn’t control it and cannot police it. The army is not allowed to go down there. Soldiers I’ve talked to refer to the southern-most checkpoint before the Hezbollah-occupied zone as “the border." Psychotic road-side propaganda shows severed heads, explosions from suicide-bombs, and murderous tyrants from Iran and Syria.

Border Poster.jpg
Photo copyright Michael J. Totten

Severed Head.jpg
Photo copyright Michael J. Totten

Lisa Goldman and I decided to drive up there and take a look from the Israeli side.

“I should warn you,” I said in the car. “Something is wrong on the border. Something bad is going to happen.”

“Why do you say that?” she said.

I told her what I knew, what had recently happened when I tried to visit the border again from the Lebanese side just two weeks before.

*

My British friend Andrew flew out to Beirut from Washington. He wanted to visit the border. I wanted to go back to the border. So we rented a car and drove down to Saida where foreigners are required to get permission from the Lebanese army before being allowed beyond the last official checkpoint.

We found our way to the office of the ranking military intelligence officer.

“What is your nationality?” he said.

“He’s British,” I said, referring to Andrew. “And I’m American.”

The officer clasped his hands loudly together. “You are not going down there today,” he said.

“Why not?” I said.

He made an I-don’t-know face that was terrifically, intentionally, and even comically insincere.

“Is it for security reasons?” I said.

“Of course,” he said. “You can go,” he said to Andrew. “But you,” he said, meaning me, “can’t go anywhere near the border right now.”

“Why not?” I said. “What’s going on?”

He laughed.

“Oh, come on,” I said. “You can tell me. Who am I going to tell?” (Har har.)

He shook his head. “No,” he said. He was deadly serious about keeping me away from that border.

“Are you worried I will do something?” I said. “Or are you worried something will happen to me?”

“Something might happen to you,” he said.

“Is it Hezbollah? The Israelis? What?”

He made his goofy what-do-I-know face once again. “I am sorry,” he said. “It’s too dangerous. You aren’t going.”

*

That was all I could get out of the Lebanese army. The Israeli army was a little more willing to talk.

Lisa and I met Israeli Defense Forces Spokesman Zvika Golan at a base in the north near the border. He told us to follow him in his jeep as he drove to a lookout point next to an IDF watch tower that opened up over Lebanon.

Israeli Border Post.jpg
Photo copyright Michael J. Totten

Lebanon from Israel.jpg
Photo copyright Michael J. Totten

“You aren’t safe here right now,” he said.

“I know,” I said. “The Lebanese army wouldn’t let me anywhere near the border two weeks ago. What’s going on?”

“Hezbollah is planning an operation,” he said.

“How do you know?” I said.

“We know,” he said and nodded.

I knew he was right. The Lebanese intelligence officer more or less told me the same thing. He didn’t say the threat was from Hezbollah, but he didn’t have to.

“What do you think about all this?” I said.

“We really want the Lebanese army on this border,” he said.

Lebanon and Israel technically have been at war for many decades. But Israel and Lebanon have never actually fought any battles. Israel has been involved in plenty of fighting in Lebanon, but none of it ever involved the Lebanese army or government. Neither side has ever actually fired on the other. Neither side wants to. All Israel’s Lebanon battles were waged against the PLO and Hezbollah.

“Are you in contact with the Lebanese government?” I said.

“We pass messages to the Lebanese army through the UN,” he said.

“How well are they received?” I said.

“Oh, they’re received very well,” he said. “The only problem is the Lebanese army can’t act against Hezbollah.”

He introduced me to a young bearded lieutenant in the IDF (left, below) on border patrol duty.

IDF Lieutenant and Spokesman.jpg
Photo copyright Lisa Goldman

“I have worked on the Jordanian and Egyptian borders,” he said. “This is the worst. The strangest feeling here is that the other side is a no-man’s land. There is no authority that you’re working against. It is extremely out of the ordinary to see any Lebanese police or army. Only Hezbollah is armed.”

“What do you see when you look at Lebanon?” I asked the lieutenant.

“I see poverty and difficult circumstances,” he said. “I see poor farmers who work hard. After so many years of war, the last thing they probably want is more war.”

“Do you know what you’re looking at when you look into the towns?” I said.

“We track movement on the other side,” he said. “I can tell you exactly what each of those buildings are for.”

Lebanese Village from Israel.jpg
Photo copyright Michael J. Totten

“What about people?” I said. “Can you tell who belongs to Hezbollah and who just happens to live there?”

“99 percent of the time I know who I’m looking at by their face,” he said. Hezbollah will love learning that if they’re still reading my blog.

The lieutenant was easily ten years younger than me. But he was so ground down from world-weariness he sounded like a man 30 years older who hadn't slept for three days.

“Any minute now something huge could break out," he said. "I am afraid to go home and leave my soldiers. When Hezbollah decides to do something, they do it. And they’re pretty good at it.”

"What do you think they'll do next?" I said.

“I have no idea," he said. "They could do anything. Kidnapping. Sniper.”

"How do you feel about that?" I said.

“Well,” he said. “You get pretty cynical about it after a while.”

“Do you think they’re watching us?” Lisa said.

“They are watching you right at this second,” the lieutenant said. “You are definitely being photographed. It’s possible you’re being watched through a sniper rifle.”

To say I felt naked and exposed at that moment would be a real understatement. I felt like my skin was invisible, that psychopaths were boring holes with their eyes straight to the core of my being. At the same time, I knew they did not see me as a person. They saw me as a potential massacre target.

I know Hezbollah wouldn’t hurt me in Lebanon, even though they did call me on my cell phone and threaten me with physical violence. All bets are off while standing next to IDF soldiers in Israel, though. Whoever was watching me surely dehumanized me as a Jew (even though I'm a non-religious "Christian") who belonged to the little Satanic fit-for-destruction Zionist Entity.

I wouldn’t say I felt scared. But I certainly didn’t feel comfortable. The earth seemed slightly tilted. Lebanon feels unhinged and psychotic from the Israeli side of the line. At least it did on that day. I kept having to remind myself that the country I love and lived in is not at all represented by the nutcases with guns in the hills who like to pick off Jews on the border.

Lebanon at a Tilt.jpg
Photo copyright Michael J. Totten

“How dangerous is it here, really?” I asked the lieutenant.

“I say this to my guys every morning: Everything could explode at any moment. Just after I said it this morning a bus load of pensioners showed up on a field trip. An old woman brought us some food. It’s crazy. They shouldn’t be here. You shouldn’t be here.”

“What’s happening here is very unusual," Zvika, the Israeli Defense Forces Spokesman, said. But he wouldn't tell me what, exactly, was so unusual. Shortly after I left the country, a story broke in the Daily Telegraph that explained it.

Iran has moved into South Lebanon. Intelligence agents are helping Hezbollah construct watch towers fitted with one-way bullet-proof windows right next to Israeli army positions.

Here's what one officer said:
This is now Iran's front line with Israel. The Iranians are using Hizbollah to spy on us so that they can collect information for future attacks. And there is very little we can do about it.

More powerful weapons, including missiles with a range of 30 miles, are also being brought in.

I asked Zvika about the last time Hezbollah and Israel got into a hot war.

“It was last November,” he said. “Hezbollah invaded the village of Ghajar in white jeeps that looked like they belonged to the UN. We bombed their positions with air strikes. After a while, the Lebanese army asked us to stop. So we stopped right away.”

"Why did you stop?" I said. "You stopped just because the Lebanese army asked you to stop?"

He looked surprised by my question.

“Of course we stopped because they asked," he said. "We have very good relations with them. We're working with them and trying to help make them relevant.”

Lebanon never admits anything like this in public.

The rhetoric that comes out of Beirut in Arabic rarely has anything to do with reality. The Lebanese government regularly affirms its "brotherhood" with Syria, its former murderous master that still knocks off elected officials and journalists. Undying loyalty to the Palestinian cause is constantly trumpeted, even while Lebanon treats its hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees worse than neglected zoo animals. Arab Nationalism is another regular theme, even though Arab Nationalism is more dead in Lebanon than in any other country around.

"The UN says Hezbollah started the last fight," I said to the lieutenant. "Do you ever start any fights?"

“They always initiate," he said. "We never do. I want to go home. I want to read the newspaper and get more than three hours of sleep every night. We have no business here.”

"Are you scared?" I said.

“I am scared," he said. "As an officer I want my men to be scared.”

"Are they?" I said.

“Not enough," he said. "Not enough.”

Read Part Two

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Posted by Michael J. Totten at April 28, 2006 03:01 AM
Comments

Great post. Keep up the good work.

Like I said before, you're the only one telling the story the way a normal person would see it.

I just don't understand what's with all those other journalists.

Posted by: David Boxenhorn at April 28, 2006 05:13 AM

Excellent and fascinating report, MJT.

It's nice to have a voice providing some balance to the Hezbollah groupies/"peace" activists like Helena Cobban.

I know that's not what you're setting out to do - but just by being on the ground and reporting the facts, instead of fantasy/desire/propaganda, it's what you're doing by default.

Thank you.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at April 28, 2006 05:39 AM

Because the media tries to cover news on the cheap, with not enough reporters.

Course in Israel there are plenty of reporters, but maybe they dont leave the hotel bar long enough?

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/columns/shoptalk_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002385792

Posted by: sean at April 28, 2006 05:52 AM

You know, I know some journalists personally. Here's what it seems to me:

1. They're ignorant.
2. They're too busy covering the "news" to notice where they are.

Posted by: David Boxenhorn at April 28, 2006 06:12 AM

Michael,
I have to say I was not skeptical but curious how these posts on Israel/Palestine would be but -- especially the last post -- well, they're great. I'd like to echo what someone said, the posts are good because you write from the perspective of a normal guy. Actually, an above average individual as most "normal" people don't care what happens anywhere else but where they live it seems. Anyhow, the point is you bring good perspective. I'd love to see you report from Yemen and the Horn of Africa. In Robert D. Kaplan's last book those were some of my favorite chapters. Although I love the way he interweaves history into his writing, I think it would be great to contrast the two perspectives.
Just an idea. Thanks again for the great post.

Posted by: Rommel at April 28, 2006 02:07 PM

Good stuuf. And of course as we move closer to "something" happening with Iran this will be one of the hottest front lines in the world.

Posted by: Todd Grimson at April 28, 2006 03:34 PM

"Iran has moved into South Lebanon."

Michael:

How? via Syria?

Posted by: diana at April 28, 2006 04:46 PM

Diana: How? via Syria?

Presumably, yes. But I don't know that for sure.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 28, 2006 07:00 PM

Thank you for magnificent reporting. This is the truth on the ground, that so often gets covered up.

Thank you, you are performing a public service beyond comprehension.

Posted by: Racquel at April 28, 2006 07:09 PM

Wow, Michael, I have to confess that I wasn't all that wild about reading stuff from Israel. Over the years, I got so sick of reading the daily goings on about Arafat and Israel, and all the news always sounded the same. I can't believe how one dementional the MSM has become. I really enjoyed your two latest articles here. Keep 'em coming!!

Posted by: Renée C. at April 28, 2006 07:50 PM

Great reportimg Michael.

Whats with all the MSM journos is they went to school for "journalism". Pathetic.

Posted by: Rosemary at April 28, 2006 09:24 PM

Stellar work! I read as much as I can in an attempt to understand the goings on within the Arab/Israeli conflict. That said.. I've learned more from these past two posts than I've been able to learn from any MSM reporting on the matter over the past few years.

Thanks!
Mike

Posted by: Mike at April 28, 2006 09:43 PM

You know my first reaction to this article?

Rage at Newsweek, Time, the NYTimes etc. for not doing their jobs.

Why the fuck am I reading the first clear overview of the situation at the Lebanon border for the first time in my life after 40 years of reading and watching the so called media?

Those incompetent, corrupt, lazy fucks!

Posted by: Josh Scholar at April 28, 2006 10:27 PM

Michael,

I am so glad to see this sort of story being told. I would love to be able to do this sort of thing however as a Lebanese citizen, I can't. It is so important for the world to know that South Lebanon remains occupied but this time by Hizbullah.

I was also not aware that the IDF and Lebanese army cooperate on issues. I hope their cooperation continues to strengthen.

A message to the Israelis though. If you want to improve your Public Relations, stop breaking the sound barrier over Beirut. If a message is to be sent to Hizbullah, help us behind the scenes (as you seem to be doing) to weaken these leeches.

You have scared me though. The whole 'taking photos of you right now' thing is worrying. I've traveled to Israel on business (obviously on a foreign passport). The fact that they could have spies 'photographing' people gives me the creeps. I've never been to the north and definately don't plan on it.
Don't forget (and you would know) that to get out of Rafik Hariri International Airport you must drive through their territory. Never thought much of it before (other than how I would love to remove all those bloody posters of Khomeini and other idiots) but now....Yikes.

Posted by: Unfortunately Anonymous at April 29, 2006 03:15 AM

Wonderful article.

And the photographs!
Spectacular!
Why?
They are trying to convey actual information. Even though it is partly a mood.
Contrast this with the tight focus shots of MSM personalities on location. I have often said, swing the camera, give a wide view, in essence, give context.
Michael you do that.

I read a while ago that Iran brags of sending 10,000 rockets to Hezbola for use targeting Israel when the time comes. The threats out of Tehran have one of their focuses right along that border. These rockets are not very accurate, but with 10,000 of them, quite dangerous.

Hezbola and Iran maintain their control over their own people, with hate and violence. Even though it is nominaly directed at Israel. Terrorism is a tool of control. It works through fear. Michael conveys atmosphere of fear very well.

Posted by: Rob at April 29, 2006 05:28 AM

"Presumably, yes. But I don't know that for sure."

It would be an interesting thing to research.

Cool reporting.

Posted by: diana at April 29, 2006 08:01 AM

Fascinating post. I loved it. It's not something that you read in the MSM. It felt as if I was there talking with the IDF officer.

Posted by: enzo at April 29, 2006 08:49 AM

I could not but admire your "professionalism" Michael, especially the extremely "polite" terms you used when addressing Hussein.

Being Lebanese I can tell you some things for sure. All the "ordinary" Lebanese back and support Hezbollah; what I mean by the non-ordinary Lebanese are those who are scared to death when they hear some threats by the Israelis and the Americans, these people want Lebanon to be weak, unarmed, to make it easier for any Israeli politician facing any internal political difficulties to come and stage three or four raids on Lebanese territories killing some civilians and he'll have his situation in polls much better (for the readers who don't believe this I tell them to monitor the Israeli public opinion's reaction when their leaders kill more Palestinians). Otherwise, how can anyone explain why things are very calm in South Lebanon why the Lebanese there feel so safe (please go back to the history of Israeli aggressions against Lebanon between 1948 and 2000). However, it seems this situation does not appeal to our "daring" reporter who likes to claim that he is standing in the face of the "demon" Hezbollah whose only crime is that it has forced an occupation force, through resistance, to leave occupied South Lebanon, and currently it is defending this area in the face of a state that was established on massacres and the expulsion of a whole people, the Palestinians, who are now scattered as refugees throughout the world, while "immigrant" occupiers come from different parts of the world to take their homes and land (I wish someone does this to you, Michael, and the people like you, I would like to see what your reaction would be).
I wish I had the time, I could go on for hours.
Anyhow, finally, what made me really smile are the people who commended your "professionalism".

Posted by: Folan at April 29, 2006 09:41 AM

I am smiling as well Folan, and not just at your hilarious lies and distortions about Israeli "occupation".

You seem to believe that the Israelis did anything but let themselves be pushed out of south Lebanon. This in spite of the fact that they could pick up a phone or push a button and have the entire area vaporized by either conventional or non-conventional means. Keep laughing and trying to convice yourself and anyone naive enough to believe you that it isn't so. You're doing the Israelis a huge favor.
You can bet that if anything does happen in that area as big as Mr. Totten is saying, than Iran's Hizbellah flunkies can bend over and kiss their posteriors goodbye, if they live long enough to do so.

Posted by: Jon at April 29, 2006 10:34 AM

Nice conspiracy theory you got there, Folan. Especially that part about America wanting Lebanon to be weak. Turn off Al-Manar and tune in to something real for a change.

All the "ordinary" Lebanese back and support Hezbollah

Lots of out-of-the-ordinary people who got in that country of yours -- including your own army.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 29, 2006 10:43 AM

Saying that sooner or later there will be a blow up in the Middle East involving Israel doesn't really take much thinking or specialized knowledge, it's pretty much common sense.
And the Lebanese border is not that much different from the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip, or Judea and Samaria for that matter. Not even in terms of weaponry.
The real trick in the Middle East is predicting exactly when the next blow up will occur and how coordinated it will be.
The way things are now moving, the next military crisis involving Hizbullah and Israel will be linked to developments in the Iranian nuclear venture. If the West, as seems likely and quite soon, led by the Americans, launches a military attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, then the long awaited massive Hisbullah attack on Israel will certainly take place. And as a direct consequence of this there will almost certainly be massive terror attacks on Israeli targets by the numerous Palestinian terrorist organizations and the newly elected Palestinian Hamas government's military and police forces.
All of this is inevitable, the only two questions that remain are what will set this Islamic bloodbath off and when.

Posted by: Kenneth S. Besig at April 29, 2006 11:14 AM

I think the real blood bath comes, not from attacking Israel, but when Iran finally makes good on it's promises to destroy the economy of the West and starts planting nukes in the US and the rest of Europe.

I think the fact that Israel has never made a ultimatum to end the war on her has given the Islamists the mistaken impression that the rest of the world is weak. It worries me that we're headed for a situation where we may end up nuking Iran off the map just to regain the credibility of our threat.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at April 29, 2006 11:37 AM

Michael,

Some day, I will go back to Israel. When I do, I will go back armed with much more knowledge thanks to you. I hope that you keep this wonderful experiment in journalism up and alive. Fantastic work!

Posted by: Sean Neves at April 29, 2006 11:43 AM

You are a very brave young man. Keep up the good work. The world needs the TRUTH, not the MSM lies and distortions. Let the IDF know that some of us here in the USA are proud of them and wish them well. Tell them to keep their heads down, but don't back down.

ZG

Posted by: Ziggy'sGrammy at April 29, 2006 12:07 PM

The Boarder is always tense. I am very skeptical that any big attacks on Israel are imminant. They probably have stepped up planning to retaliate for any strikes on Iran's nuke faciliites. The US or Israel are not hitting Iran anytime soon. Bush will wait until after November. I'm not as cynical of Bush as I am the the US media and American will to wage a preemtive war.

Posted by: roger at April 29, 2006 12:07 PM

Michael,

I started reading your blog shortly after 9/11, when, like so many people I was looking for sane voices to help me understand what had happened that day, and what it meant for the US and the rest of the world. Nearly 5 years later, it's gratifying that you've chosen to help us understand the political, religious and cultural dynamics in the region at the heart of those attacks and our current global war, and that you do so without resorting to the tired bromides and well-worn formulations that we have too long accepted in the place of genuine reporting.

Too often in the Arab-Israeli conflict, it has become easy to simply repeat what the officials state for public consumption. Or to fall back on the "cycle of violence" meme or milk the latest suicide bombing or Israeli reprisal for its requisite pathos. But you continue to show us that what we think we know about this region is dangerously inaccurate. Little things like the "know hope" graffiti and the Egyptian Bedouins hosting Israeli visitors never make the morning paper nor evening news (nor for that matter, even the blogosphere).

May your readership grow ever larger, and give you the deserved support for your efforts to "extend the area of sanity" as Orwell once put it.

Posted by: PurpleStater at April 29, 2006 12:46 PM

Jon,

It is an "occupation." I don't know why you put that word in quotations. Were you being sarcastic?

Posted by: Chris at April 29, 2006 12:47 PM

I second Roger's scepticism regarding imminent action on the border. More likely, Hezbolla is posturing and keeping itself on a war footing, as groups like that need to do to maintain their enthusiasm. There have been 8000 or so Iranian fajr-5 rockets on that border for years... never fired.

Posted by: Chris at April 29, 2006 12:53 PM

Wow. You have an amazing amount of courage. Just reading your story will probably give me nightmares.

Thanks so much for taking up the abominable slack left by the lousy, agenda-minded MSM. You are a gem among even the best people.

Posted by: James Juno at April 29, 2006 01:54 PM

Just to add to the comments, well done, Michael. Nobody's covering these issues like you. More's the pity. Keep up the good work.

But, regarding the skepticism about whether there's anything going to happen, I would suggest that the establishment of 'matching observation posts' is entirely consistent with hardening a border against an invasion or incursion. If the rhetoric from Iran continues to intensify, it makes perfect sense to put pressure on the iDF in all ways posible - including the threat of action from anywhere along Israel's borders. Are these posts a fake-out? Is the rumor of Hezbolah 'action' substantive? It almost doesn't matter.

The objective is clearly to ensure the IDF is spread as thinly as possible, and under psychological pressure. Naturally, in the event of hostilities, snipers will cause confusion and casualties until the Lebanese fire points are taken out, but again, that furthers the tactical objective of pressuring the IDF on all fronts.

Posted by: Mark at April 29, 2006 02:01 PM

Michael,

This is the first time I've been to your blog (that I recall anyway). I got to you through LGF.

I'm an American who has lived in Israel for fifteen years and I just started doing a blog on the situation in Israel a few months ago (although for several years I did email updates to a rather large list).

This post was amazingly informative. But what most amazed me about it was that the Israeli mainstream media isn't reporting anything like it. Sure, we hear that there are 12,000 katyushas in Southern Lebanon and the name "Iran" comes up once in a while. But on the whole we're more like the group of pensioners you describe that gave you food - totally unaware that something is going on there. In fact, one of the ways the Gaza surrender was sold here last summer was "Look at Southern Lebanon - there hasn't been an Israeli soldier killed in action there since we withdrew." We're being lulled to sleep here. And if we withdraw from Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") it's only going to make things worse. Much worse.

Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Carl in Jerusalem at April 29, 2006 02:02 PM

Commenter `diana' at 4:46PM 4/28, ask you "How? via Syria?" You responded in the very next post that you are not sure how -- but that is an intriguing question. How do Muzlim terrorists & murderers & be-headers & other such rats move around over there? How does Hezbollah re-enforce & equip from Iran in Lebanon? Do they travel by ship from the PersianGulf down around Arabia, up thru the RedSea & thru the international waterway of the SuezCanel into the Mediterranean, where they can safely put into the port at Tyre(which they probably control), or, do the Turks allow them to pass by truck or train to Syria? Especially, their munitions? I mean, it stands to reason doesn't it, that Iranians are not transiting via Iraq these days. Could you investigate or probe-around abit for this answer?

Posted by: ernie oertle at April 29, 2006 03:38 PM

Ernie,

No way is Iran going through Turkey. The Turks and Israelis are staunch military allies.

There is also no way Iran is going through Tyre. The Lebanese government controls Tyre, and Lebanon is only rhetorically at war with Israel. The truth is Lebanon and Israel cooperate a great deal behind the scenes where their mutual enemies can't see.

The Middle East is full of smoke and mirrors. Egypt's "peace" with Israel is a sham. Lebanon's "war" with Israel likewise is a sham.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 29, 2006 04:10 PM

Well done

Posted by: jill at April 29, 2006 04:39 PM

Hi Michael,

I stumbled upon your column from an LGF link and was very impressed with your observations and the courage you had to travel to such a no man's land as is the Southern Lebanese border. I'm a Lebanese American and I can tell you that I have never set foot in that area because of its volatility and instability. After reading a post by another fellow Lebanese (obviously a pro-Hizbollah person), I decided to write a few lines to tell you that many Lebanese, even from Shiite Muslim families, like myself, consider Hizbollah to be the worst threat to Lebanon's peace and stability. These guys are completely nuts and are incapable of listening to reason. Upon my last visit to Lebanon, I was told that all the latests assassinations that took place in the past 2 years, including the disastrous loss of a great and noble man, Rafic Harriri, were perpetrated by the CIA and the Mossad and not by Syria as we all know. My husband is American and I never allow him to visit Lebanon with me because I fear for his life. All it takes is for us to run into the wrong person and he could be kidnapped or worse. While many Lebanese gave Hizbollah undue credit for the withdrawal of the Israeli forces from Southern Lebanon, the majority of Lebanese now feel quite angry at Hizbollah for its blind support of Syria and its rejection of the opposition movement in Lebanon. The US has allowed Iran to get away with murder for far too long. Every administration is guilty of that, from Carter to Bush, from the bombing of the marine barracks in Beirut, torture and murder of CIA Beirut chief, to the kidnappings, hijacking and countless terrorist attacks of the 80s and 90s. I have a feeling that Hizbollah and Iran's days are numbered. They are pushing the world towards an explosive situation that will ultimately lead to their own destruction Incha'Allah.
Keep up the good work Michael. I'm going to be one of your regular readers.

Posted by: Mishka at April 29, 2006 05:23 PM

Everything anyone is telling you in that border region is a lie. The narrative they follow is calculated to reinforce their self-esteem, their religious morality or their notoriety. These are people without honor, without conscience, without reason. They are the stimulus for the invention of nuclear weapons, and their very existence is the justification for their use. Not one word, one blink of an eye, one half-smile can be trusted. To give them any credibility or importance is a mortal sin and a grievous error in rational calculation.

Posted by: Robert Speirs at April 29, 2006 07:09 PM

Thank you Michael for the post at 29.april. 4.10 pm
sometimes it's difficult to tell which sham is true, and which truth is sham... like "true lies, true sham"

I applaud your efforts in this growing front of truth..

Posted by: marc in calgary at April 29, 2006 08:12 PM

Thanks for your insightful testimonial. The sad part is that Lebanon is going to be drawn into a war again because of foreign powers. As you mentioned, Iran is dramatically increasing Hezbollah's military power and upgrading its observation capabilities. It's a shame that both the West and Lebanon have decided not to do anything against Hezbollah's ticking bomb. At some point, the Israelis will have to act and, this time, things may get very ugly on both sides of the border.

Posted by: Filou at April 29, 2006 09:21 PM

Yes, The word "occupation" as it refers to Israel is indeed false.The only occupation going on over there is the Arab occupation of Jewish land going back 4000 years unbroken. (Also Kurdish and Assyrian land).

All that land including Jordan and Iraq as well as Lebanon and Syria was under Turkish rule prior to the 1st world war. All those states were created after that war. Anytime you see a border up there running in a straight line - that is 20th century outside political interference.

So, why should the Jews NOT have their land back? Why should the Jews concede a millimeter to 6th century primitive savages who by definition come from Arabia? The Jews, the Assyrians and the Kurds certainly have right and title to the land - but NOT the Arabs. Are there any Arabs mentioned in that great history book the bible - either old or new testaments? I think not. Everyone else is there but no A-rabs!!!

Posted by: Rajiv Singh at April 29, 2006 09:56 PM

Rajiv: Are there any Arabs mentioned in that great history book the bible - either old or new testaments? I think not. Everyone else is there but no A-rabs!!!

Jesus, man, did you really have to put the hyphen in A-rab?

I live in a country that was settled by outsiders long after Arabs moved into the Levant. So perhaps you'll understand why I can't subscribe to your point of view without being a hopelessly hypocritical bastard.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 29, 2006 10:08 PM

This is a random guess, Singh are you still pissed about the bloodiest story ever told? Islam into India?

Posted by: Mike at April 29, 2006 11:04 PM

I am a Christian living in Lebanon. Let me post an opinion of a big group of people. Most Lebanese I know are thankful for Hizbullah for their achievment in liberating the South from Israel. But they find them a threat to our security and ecnonomy. The border is volatile. The leader of Hizbullah is a very smart man and at the same time he is also being controled by Syria and Iran. These are the major terrorists. they are the ones who kidnapped Americans, bombed them in Beirut and also kill lots of our politicians and journalists. That's why Israel repects the Lebanese Army and government.

On the other hand, when a palestinian throws a stone at an Israeli soldier it hits the 1st page on New York Times but then Israel wipes out a whole palestinian neighborhood using US made weapons, nobody talks about it on the news. Is there one better than the other?

Do you know that there are far more Americans dying in Iraq than the media is ready to talk about? Why do these innocent soldiers have to die just to make a few politicians rich? People wake up! Are they really fighting for democracy or they have other intentions? Then why aren't they taking care of Syria knowing its extra curricular activities.

Who controls the religious leaders in all the middle east? These are the many facets of the devil himself. Their job is to brainwash all the kids and let them fight an illusionary war so they get the key to heaven and get lots of virgins there while the leaders and their kids live a luxurious lives and swim in all their money.

I don't have anything against other religions. But fundamentalists and brainwashers should be limited because they will change our world to the worse with their backward thinking.

Posted by: CheGuevara at April 30, 2006 02:25 AM

Michael if you haven't already, why not come down to Gaza?

-Laila (www.a-mother-from-gaza.blogspot.com)

Posted by: Laila at April 30, 2006 02:44 AM

Michael if you haven't already, why not come down to Gaza?

-Laila (www.a-mother-from-gaza.blogspot.com)

Posted by: Laila at April 30, 2006 02:45 AM

I urge everyone, especially Michael to sign
the Euston Manifesto.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at April 30, 2006 03:03 AM

I really had to write a clarification based on some of these comments.

Yes, a majority (and I do mean a big majority) of Lebanese do not support Hezbullah. This includes significant groups of Shiites (but I would be hesitant to say a majority of Shiites). Hizbullah if anything has hijacked the Shiite cause within Lebanon, constantly reinventing itself to remain relevant. Let's not forget that they were created with the goal of turning Lebanon into a religious Shia state. They are now a 'Lebanese Resistance'. They have taken up the Palestinian cause, as sooner or later the resistance bit of their positioning will no longer be valid.

If you want to make these people (and I do speak of Hizbullah leadership and not the Shiites in general) irrelevant, the Lebanese state & government must be strengthened while the Syrian and Iranian regimes must be (and I do not say this lightly) replaced. And as I mentioned earlier, the Israelis in the meantime must stop breaking the bloody sound barrier over our land and should respect our territorial integrity when they are not provoked. If Hizbullah keeps provoking them into a response, let me tell you that Lebanese public opinion hardens against the group. Our current state of war is with Syria, not Israel.

As for Americans visiting Lebanon, I do not subscribe to the previous note that Americans in particular are in any danger. I've brought in plenty on business and they actually loved the place. Many have returned on vacation.

Posted by: Unfortunately Anonymous at April 30, 2006 03:24 AM

Thanks for the front-row seat view of the current situation between Israel and Hezbollah controled Lebanon. Do take care of yourself though - we want to hear the stories and we want your safety as well.

Posted by: RPaine at April 30, 2006 03:41 AM

Folan,

You're destroying Lebanon with your truculent declarations.

So, me, my family, my friends, and most people I associate with are not ordinary Lebanese? So, to you we're some sort of foreigners occupying "your" land (which the Maronite Church just so happens to own).

Yeah, I have lots of friends who support Hezbollah, but they aren't "ordinary." Ordinary Lebanese want jobs, a strong central government that isn't corrupt and sectarian, and they want the best for their sect.

Posted by: lebanon.profile at April 30, 2006 04:39 AM

Rajiv Singh,

Buddy, stick to your strengths. You know nothing about Middle Eastern history, buddy.

As Michael noted, your counterargument is immediately the Native Americans.

I could come up with an insane ideology that predates Judaism and claim almost the entire Mediterranean as my own claiming that Phoenicians should have the right of return.

I could make a claim that counters many Jewish claims for land noting that they speak Arabic, and yet there are still people in Lebanon who speak Syriac. These people didn't need the subtitles when watching "The Passion of the Christ." Oh, and BTW, Lebanon is mentioned on multiple occassions in the Bible in the Old and New Testaments.

I could claim the entire Middle East in the name of Byzantium or the Ottomans. I could claim all of Asia in the name of Mongolia.

All of these claims are ridiculous.

Posted by: lebanon.profile at April 30, 2006 04:53 AM

Be careful, Michael. All hell is getting ready to break over there. I appreciate your reporting so very much, as other than you and a few others, we have no real reporting coming from that region (or any other region for that matter).

Posted by: Cowgirl at April 30, 2006 05:02 AM

Hi Michael-
You wrote that the peace with Egypt is a sham.
Please elaborate on this.

Thanks & keep up the good work.

Jonathan
Tel Aviv

Posted by: Jonathan_TelAviv at April 30, 2006 07:40 AM
Mishka
I'm a Lebanese American and I can tell you that I have never set foot in that area because of its volatility and instability.... I have a feeling that Hizbollah and Iran's days are numbered. They are pushing the world towards an explosive situation that will ultimately lead to their own destruction Incha'Allah.

3 Problems -

1) Among Hezballah's biggest supporters are the far left in Europe and a large part of the mainstream left. Galloway, Fisk, Finkelstein, Chomky etc.... they meet the requirements for support. Poor, anti western, anti Israeli.

2) Iran and Hezballah's days are unfortunately not numbered. The Iranians are A LOT smarter than Ssddam and the idea that the Democracy Movement is going to overthrow them is a lonnnnnnnnng way off. No Lech Walessa there. And once they get a Nuke they sure as hell are not going anywhere - just like the Concentration Camps in North Korea aren't going anywhere.

3) Europeans, Solana etc.., even if they are against Hezballah (relish their anti Israeliness) would never support any attacks against them especially by Israel. You think the Jenin reporting was bad, wait if Israel was drawn into a minor or major conflict with Hezballah.... and that's only European press, Al Jazeera and company would have a field day propogandizing that.

So even if the Lebanese mostly can't stand or support Hezballah, which I'm not so sure about... you've got a whole section of the West that would either support Hezballah REFLEXIVELY or tag along..... Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Rashid Khalidi, Juan Cole............ you get the idea?

Mike

Posted by: Mike Nargizian at April 30, 2006 09:44 AM

Iran has been using Syria for resupply of forces in Lebanon since the 1980s' Iran-Iraq War. At that time, Turkey could be used to some extent, but flights from Iran to Damascus (or Latakia) were often used to bring in equipment and personnel. (Also at that time, the former USSR, with their own regular flights into Syria, were sometimes used.)

Syria, perpetually strapped for hard currency and oil, could very well cut another deal with Iran to provide trans-shpment.

Don't forget direct flights between Iran and Lebanon, either, particularly those with large (and un-inspectable) diplomatic cargo.

Seaborne supply is more problematic, particularly through the Red Sea, as that implies either getting stuff through Jordan and then Syria, or through the Suez Canal. Both the US and Israel have done a pretty good job of interdicting that route.

That leaves shipments coming in through the Mediterranean and originating who-knows-where. Those are harder to catch because items can switch carriers in any number of ports around the world.

The Persian Gulf isn't necessarily a route from Iran, though. Chabahar is on the Indian Ocean and Bandar Abbas is right at the neck of the Straits of Hormuz.

Posted by: John Burgess at April 30, 2006 10:05 AM
CheGuevara
I am a Christian living in Lebanon. Let me post an opinion of a big group of people. Most Lebanese I know are thankful for Hizbullah for their achievment in liberating the South from Israel. But they find them a threat to our security and ecnonomy. The border is volatile. The leader of Hizbullah is a very smart man and at the same time he is also being controled by Syria and Iran. These are the major terrorists. they are the ones who kidnapped Americans, bombed them in Beirut and also kill lots of our politicians and journalists. That's why Israel repects the Lebanese Army and government.

Let me get this straight.
Syria and Iran are the “major” terrorists but not Hezbollah.

Hezbollah, an Iranian and Syria agent, is not even complicit in the murdering of Lebanese politicians or journalists, the bombing of the Marines in the 80’s, the kidnapping and merciless torturing the American Embassador…. I’M GETTING THAT CORRECT NOW?

We know for a fact that Hezbollah kidnapped and mercilessly tortured our American Ambassador with the help of the PLO.

CHE Continues -
One the other hand, when a palestinian throws a stone at an Israeli soldier it hits the 1st page on New York Times but then Israel wipes out a whole palestinian neighborhood using US made weapons, nobody talks about it on the news. Is there one better than the other?

Yeah, the NY Times is “pro Israeli” and shills for Israel.
Israelis are “wiping out” whole neighborhoods, ie… umm like Jenin? And the Palestinians “only throw stones”……… Now we get the reason for Hezbollah sympathy, his 1rst choice of “news” is Al Manar…. But the NY Times is the shill NOT Hezbollah (an agent for a foreign “terrorist” – his word power)

Do you know that there are far more Americans dying in Iraq than the media is ready to talk about? Why do these innocent soldiers have to die just to make a few politicians rich?

No we get almost exact figures actually.

People wake up! Are they really fighting for democracy or they have other intentions? Then why aren't they taking care of Syria knowing its extra curricular activities.

So Iraqis who are freer from the stick of Oppression from a Mass Murderer should get used to living under it again.

HOWEVER - a “good place” for the US to go is Syria, because THAT WOULD BENEFIT YOU and your freedom…. So are you going to go out and fight with American GI’s in Syria and go after the ‘resistance’ there afterwards? LOL!@

Who controls the religious leaders in all the middle east? These are the many facets of the devil himself. Their job is to brainwash all the kids and let them fight an illusionary war so they get the key to heaven and get lots of virgins there while the leaders and their kids live a luxurious lives and swim in all their money.

Saudi Arabia and Iran?

And are you referring to Hezbollah as well? You mean like Islamic Jihad, Fatah and Hamas? A Hamas leader recently had $450,000 stolen from his hotel room in Kuwait…. Quite a lot of cash for a “cash strapped” Palestinian government official to be carrying, eh?

Mike Nargizian

Posted by: Mike Nargizian at April 30, 2006 10:42 AM

RE: HOW IS THE EGYPT ISRAEL 'PEACE' A SHAM?
How is Egypt at War with Israel?

MENTAL STATE OF WAR
Plenty of links in there for you to chew on.

Mike Nargizian

Posted by: Mike Nargizian at April 30, 2006 10:48 AM
Michael Totten
The Turks and Israelis are staunch military allies…. There is also no way Iran is going through Tyre. The Lebanese government controls Tyre, and Lebanon is only rhetorically at war with Israel. The truth is Lebanon and Israel cooperate a great deal behind the scenes where their mutual enemies can't see. The Middle East is full of smoke and mirrors. Egypt's "peace" with Israel is a sham. Lebanon's "war" with Israel likewise is a sham.
Michael the Islamists elected in Turkey are changing things there. The US is hated by the general population and anti-semitic propaganda and notorious anti-semite Neo Nazis are regularly hosted there now. Things are changing in Turkey and the Army, ironically more moderate than the gov’t, is losing its influence. And this move is backed by the EU. Turkey may well be heading in the direction of Egypt. The Kurds as you know are comparably far more pro American and moderate. Posted by: Mike Nargizian at April 30, 2006 10:50 AM

Michael

Excellent report. I'm wondering about the second picture you have on this post, the one that seems to have a severed head and the remains of a suicide bomber. There is hebrew writing there and I can see, in Hebrew, the words "to Lebanon", above the Arabic writing. Was this sign on the Lebanese side or the Israel side?

It's been many years since I was in that part of Lebanon (20 years exactly, in fact) but the pictures look pretty much the same today as it did then.

Posted by: zhid at April 30, 2006 11:37 AM

nargizian, your font selection distracts people from your point(s). crazy.

Posted by: mike at April 30, 2006 09:22 PM

As a Jewish American woman who has traveled several times to Turkey, I disagree with Nargizian's assessment of it. I've had no problems at all in Turkey with any anti-Semitism, as my hosts and other Turks I interacted with were gracious and welcoming. Besides, in how many other Muslim nations do half the women go to the beach topless like they do in Turkey? ;)

It's true that the current AKP government is more conservative religiously, which concerns many of the Turks I discussed it with. However, AKP remains popular as they're far more capable than most other political parties in the nation. Turkey was on a path to nowhere for most of the 90s, with an economy in dire sraits, inflation sky high, and EU talks stuck in a rut. AKP managed to get the economy humming, started new construction and road projects, and passed the necessary reform bills to begin EU accession talks.

So while many Turks are rightly concerned about AKP's religious motives (and they've made quite a few missteps lately), many are hopeful that continuing EU talks will help Turkey remain moderate and Westernized.

Posted by: M.P. at May 1, 2006 12:14 AM

MP -
There were recent surveys done conerning the postiive views of the US there and it was below 20%. Further, it is true that the Islamists (Islamists lite?) are marginalizing the power of the Armey where most of the pro Israeli and West sentiment predominates.

Scond, it is definitely true that they have hosted several virulent anti Israeli speakers including a Neo Nazi who got first class treatment by the government.

So I am hoping that you are right and that it stays that way. However, the above sure ah hell is disconerting and of concern.

Mike

Posted by: Mike Nargizian at May 1, 2006 12:45 AM

The negative view of the U.S. government is due to what has happened with the Iraq war. Many Turks were concerned from the beginning about civil war in Iraq breaking out and enveloping the Kurdish areas of Turkey and leading to increased PKK terrorism.

Given what's been going on lately, I can understand why they were worried. But I have hope that as Iraq stabilizes and stays united as one democratic country, their fears will be lessened.

The military's power has been decreased due to EU demands, not the AKP. I can understand the EU's reasoning here; hopefully it won't have any negative consequences.

AKP said their hosting of elected Hamas leaders was to convince them to accept Israel and to moderate their views -- but it was still a very stupid move and the secular Turkish media was furious at them for it. The military's ties with Israel also remain strong.

While there's good reason to remain suspicious of AKP as far as Islam, many Turks still believe in Ataturk's style of a secular, democratic government, and won't tolerate any strong lurches toward Islamism.

Posted by: M.P at May 1, 2006 02:00 AM

Mark Nargizian,

once Iran and Syria are weakened, Hezbullah will cease to exist. Don't you think so?

What about the Armenian Genocide? Old Turk leaders are also murderous barbarians. The whole region is a mess. What about Hitler? Doesn't the UN know about all these? What does it do? Does it care for human lives or raped land? Neither UN nor the great leaders care for anything except their own benefit. Does President Bush care for Armenians? Did he keep his promises before he came into power? I don't think so. Why? he needs the oil from the Caspian Sea and Azerbeijan.

Michael Totten,

Congratulations on the info and site.

Posted by: CheGuevara at May 1, 2006 02:18 AM

As I said before, I don't have the time; therefore, this is the last time I'll check on you but you can keep on responding to my reply, I'm sure many others will read your replies and find them, as I did, amusing and sort of funny;

I hardly could check one or two lines of each response; couldn't but admire the "Lebanese" (I say "Lebanese" because I doubt that a real Lebanese would prefer the safety and reassuredness of the Israelis, which can be attained when Hezbollah is disarmed, to that of his or her own countrymen, and rather prefer that his or her fellow Lebanese return to the previous state when Israel used to lauch aggressions whenever it wanted; if you doubt this, go back to the archives and check the Israeli aggressions on Lebanon between 1948 and 2000) who adopt the Israeli propaganda about Hezbollah; I would like to ask them "Who and what liberated South Lebanon, and why didn't the "benevolent" US, that is now trying to give one injection after the other to the politicians who represent the US and Israeli demands in Lebanon (but it all seems in vain, in my opinion), intervene throughout 22 years to end the Israeli occupation that took the lives, since the beginning of the invasion in 1982, of tens of thousands of people (culminating in the Israeli and collaborators masterpiece, the Sabra and Shatila massacre)?

AS for those claiming that Hezbollah and Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah are agents to Iran and Syria, I can't but be surprised at the extent of Sayyed Nasrallah's loyalty to them as he had offered his son as martyr in confrontations with the Israeli occupation forces; besides, up till very recently, the Israeli press kept reiterating that President Bashar Asad was under the control of Sayyed Nasrallah. So could you please make up your minds so that we know how to reply (see why I told you what is written is funny?)

To all the others who keep on praising Michael and his "unbiased" coverage, I tell you one thing, we could go on arguing for years about Israel's right to exist, however, this will change nothing of the fact that whatever is built on wrong will sooner or later collapse: this is a country that was established on the miseries of millions of Palestinians, and history tells us no such entities continue (don't go too far, just check how the South African regime ended, I don't find it surprising that that regime and the Israeli were allies, same thought, same racism). Now you'll tell me Israel is strong with nukes whatever, Ok I'll ask you: can ever think of a day when Israelis will ever live peacefully as long as millions of Palestinians just look at their land and homes being occupied by people from other countries; personally, I can never foresee such a day; as for those who believe that Israel is there and will stay I say when Israel occupied South Lebanon everybody thought that it would remain there (especially with its ambitions concerning Lebanese waters) as it stayed in the Golan Heights and the West Bank, but what happened later is that through the sacrifices and Resistance of Hezbollah, the Israeli occupation forces were forced to retreat in humiliation, and later from Gaza and in the near future from parts of the West Bank (don't you agree that all these are signs that the whole project is crumbling?) Therefore, I'll repeat, you can make millions of blogs and articles, nevertheless, what is right will be right forever, and what is wrong will never be right. Right?

Posted by: Folan at May 1, 2006 03:57 AM

you copuldnt be further from the truth.... haha.. you talk shit

Posted by: clare piteri at May 1, 2006 04:39 AM

Here's an idea: instead of adorning every pic with the pretentious "Photo copyright Michael J. Totten", how's about a simple caption, so we know what we're actually looking at?

Posted by: Kim Hartveld at May 1, 2006 04:45 AM

Great reporting Michael.
I commend your efforts, bravery, words, and insight!
I'll take the IDF officers message through you, over the corrupted MSM and Folans et al.
The photos speak volumes too.

Posted by: richfisher at May 1, 2006 07:55 AM
Che Guevara -
once Iran and Syria are weakened, Hezbullah will cease to exist. Don't you think so?
How do you "weaken" the Syrian mafioso running the country? It's an eventually losing proposition due to other Sttates, Western collusionary - China and Russia making it meaningless.

And if you remove them you are confronted with the same set of problems we see in Iraq and another front for foreign jihadis not to mention potentially untabilizing Iraq further. Bashar is a partial fool but he's not running the show anyway. And they've caught up very adroitly recently. They've murdered Syrians and whats happened to them? NADA? no disrespect but LOL... come on.

We've been trying to "weaken" the regime for how long now? While the EU supported his father... And his father set the precendent for brilliant playing of both sides... He is as brilliant and disgusting as the King in Bravehaart. "But sir our arrows will kill our own troops too... so they will, but that will be the end of the Scots in the process"
(I know it's a film by Mel Gibson but go with me)

Che -
What about the Armenian Genocide? Old Turk leaders are also murderous barbarians. The whole region is a mess.
What does this have to do with my point about you castigating Iraq and then calling for US GI's to invade Syria? bcs it improves your situation. Ali and Mohammed, well oh well.... Chhe -
What about Hitler? Doesn't the UN know about all these? What does it do? Does it care for human lives or raped land? Neither UN nor the great leaders care for anything except their own benefit. Does President Bush care for Armenians? Did he keep his promises before he came into power? I don't think so. Why? he needs the oil from the Caspian Sea and Azerbeijan.
Bro, you're all over the place. And of all the people to be cynical of the US went into Bosnia, what was our "benefit" there. How much are US taxpayers footing for Iraq? That's gonna be a "money making" venture for us? Please.

What did Bush promise to the Armenians?

And you left out the Genocide occuring right now in Sudan. The UN does nothing but preen with their fingers up their ass... or is it their tongues up the Arab League's ass??

Mike

Posted by: Mike Nargizian at May 1, 2006 11:48 AM

UN Sec Council Resolution on Sudan

Arab States Support Genocidal Khartoum Regime
Sudan continues to receive the support of other Arab nations, especially Egypt. The Arab nations oppose bringing in UN, and especially European, peacekeepers. This would offend the dignity of the Arab world (the way overthrowing Saddam Hussein did), thus the Arabs allow the ethnic cleansing of Darfur to continue, even though the victims are Moslem. These attacks are less painful to Arabs because the victims are black Africans, who have always been held in low esteem by Arabs, even if the Africans are Moslem.
The UN, however, will not stop criticizing Sudan for its support of the violence. However, a coalition of Arab and Moslem nations, plus China (which wants to protect its business interests in Sudan), block any too aggressive operations by the UN.

And don't forget the 1rst Genocide there against the Southern Black Christian and Animist Population.
Manute Bol's People Slaughtered By Aram Islamist Forces

Posted by: Mike Nargizian at May 1, 2006 11:51 AM

Folan. Being a Lebonese and supporter of Hezbollah, I am left wondering about your aim for success? Do you want power & wealth, or just revenge?

You say Hezbollah is only guilty of....?
==========

Being Lebanese I can tell you some things for sure. All the "ordinary" Lebanese back and support Hezbollah.
[If they do not, could they lose their heads?]

What I mean by the non-ordinary Lebanese are those who are scared to death when they hear some threats by the Israelis and the Americans.
[Those who prefer not to become walking bombs?]

These people want Lebanon to be weak, unarmed, to make it easier for any Israeli politician facing any internal political difficulties to come and stage three or four raids on Lebanese territories killing some civilians and he'll have his situation in polls.
[These people who would like a peace agreement?]

Much better (for the readers who don't believe this I tell them to monitor the Israeli public opinion's reaction when their leaders kill more Palestinians).
[Opinion is expected to be positive when Mad bombers are stopped.]

Otherwise, how can anyone explain why things are very calm in South Lebanon why the Lebanese there feel so safe.
[Fewer Mad bombers walking now from South Lebanon?]

(please go back to the history of Israeli aggressions against Lebanon between 1948 and 2000).

However, it seems this situation does not appeal to our daring reporter who likes to claim that he is standing in the face of the demon Hezbollah, whose only crime is that it has pushed an occupation force, through resistance, to leave occupied South Lebanon.
[Hezbollah and Hamas web sites pushing children to become suicide bombers, is not a crime against kids and parents?]

Currently it is defending this area in the face of a state that was established on massacres and the expulsion of a whole people, the Palestinians, who are now scattered as refugees throughout the world, while "immigrant" occupiers come from different parts of the world to take their homes and land.
[Are you suggesting their homeland is on the moon then?]

(I wish someone does this to you, Michael, and the people like you, I would like to see what your reaction would be).
[You mean set up good schools so children could learn about fairness, freedom and democracy? Guess not. Children who are educated are so difficult to make slaves of.]

I wish I had the time, I could go on for hours.
Anyhow, finally, what made me really smile are the people who commended your professionalism.
[Maybe they thank Totten for the truth? … Do you know what truth ixxxx Can you speak of any truths , Folan?]

Posted by: Folan at April 29, 2006 09:41 AM

Posted by: Canadian044 at May 1, 2006 01:14 PM

Kim Hartveld - it isnt pretentious. It is necessary. Occassionaly Michael uses photos that are not his own, like mine for instance, or Lisas. He is hopping that you can figure the photo out from his accompanying prose. I think I can, but you are right, sometimes it gets confusing. But I am not sure how he can do both, give credit and a caption, and keep the site readable. How about we just cut him some slack?

Posted by: sean at May 1, 2006 02:30 PM

Mike Nargizian,

I am not good at politics at all but I mentioned the genocides and other stuff to prove my point that the UN and major countries and their presidents do not give a damn about little countries.

I feel sorry for the taxpayers but on the other hand as these coutries are getting what they want, fortunately for the little countries, they are in the way cleaning up some of the mess like in Iraq.

That's all what I will say.

Posted by: CheGuevara at May 2, 2006 01:43 AM

Sean,

I mentioned this to Michael before. The copyright thing is rather ludicrous.

Captions and news agency style accredidation will work much better.

Posted by: lebanon.profile at May 2, 2006 06:03 AM
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