November 09, 2006

An Argument with Hezbollah

Hezbollah Flag.gif

A member or supporter of Hezbollah who calls himself Al Ghaliboon appeared in my comments and completely dominated the thread. Normally I don't let somebody show up and do that, but it's not every day that a group of Americans gets to argue with someone like him.

I've argued with several members and supporters of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and my personal experience with them runs the gamut. Many are perfectly friendly and pleasant. Some of the higher-ranking party officials are unbelievably vicious and nasty. (If you want to read the uncut version of my experience with nasty Hizbullahi, you can read an account in the pamphlet Adam Bellow and I published last month.)

Al Ghaliboon is somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. As I figured out that he is interested in talking rather than in fighting or screaming, I toned down the temperature of my own responses. Here is my dialogue with him as it originally appeared in real time.

You can read the entire thread here if you want the whole thing.

AG: Mr. Totten,

Regarding your cheap shots at Mr. Fisk, I presume your hero is Mr. Friedman? In which case may I encourage you to actually go beyond the Orientalist perspective, to gain at least an ounce of credibility amongst your wider (non-Orientalist/non-fascist) readership?

Regards,

A Hizbullahi from the South.

MJT: It takes a lot of nerve for a Hizbullahi to call me a fascist.

Get a life, buddy. Or do you enjoy getting bombed halfway to the moon by the Israelis?

Yes, I prefer Tom Friedman to Robert Fisk. He's not a fascist, he's a liberal. Unlike yourself.

AG: Unlike you, I have not painted anyone with blanket statements.

I would say that it is a bit childish of you to make such statements about being bombed to the moon by the Israelis, given that the primary victims of the Israelis have not been the Hizbullah fighters, but rather the babies, women, the elderly, and in general civilians. It is a shame that your so-called liberal hatred has blinded you to the facts, that while we have fought with honour on the battlefield (and the ratio of Israeli civilians to soldiers killed is testimony to that), the Israelis have attempted to take out their anger at their inability by bombing our people, our bridges, our homes, basically everything BUT us. However, if you choose to present the 500 dead figure that Israel claims it achieved (notice how Israel phrases its achievements - in terms of kills and amount of territory occupied; which indicates what they really are after), at least give us some proof of this; I remember during the war they were constantly repeating this figure, and the other 50% figure of rocket launchers destroyed. Tell me, Mr. Totten, since you insist the Israelis bombed us halfway to the moon, what did this bombing-to-the-moon campaign achieve? What achievements can one speak of, at least without sounding as laughable as a clown (or Tzipi Livni apologizing for the Beit Hanun massacre and claiming it was unintentional - I wonder, how many mistakes can one make in the span of uhh, let's say 2 months?) would sound. But since your liberal self chooses to brag about the bombing-halfway-to-the-moon, I presume you are also bragging about the similar bombing to the moon of the 4 UN officers? Or is human life valuable depending on where they hail from, and what colour their skin is, or which God they pray to?

MJT: Yo, Mr. Hezbollah. You don't know who you're arguing with, so I suggest if you want to have that fight you go somewhere else.

How dare you complain about the Israelis bombing civilians? I get to complain about that. You don't. You bombed Haifa and bragged about it. You are an apologist, and perhaps even a perpetrator, of war crimes.

AG: I am really amazed at your usage of fallacies to divert from the point I raised; Regardless of who I am and how hypocritical I might be, your response still constitutes a fallacious diversion.

As for accusing me of bombing Haifa - that got you a bit distressed, didn't it? - that's a bit of an assumption, isn't it?

An apologist - how am I justifying anything? I did not even raise that point. If you choose to forge your arguments based entirely on fallacies of attack on the person, that's an entirely different matter. However, again, it shows more about your standards, than mine.

I am here to discuss respectfully; if you cannot place your biases behind you for a moment, then that says quite a lot about your tolerance and alleged liberal values.

MJT: Al Ghaliboon, if you're here to discuss this respectfully then you can start by not throwing "Orientalist" and "Fascist" around. That is not a way to get on my good side.

Also, if you are looking to argue with someone who thinks Israel did a good job in Lebanon, you're on the wrong blog.

AG: Let me be incredibly honest; I have read your blog for some time, but have refrained from commenting. I can say that I find your views abhorrable, in so far as they (more often than not) justify murder based on Israel's right to self-defense. Mr. Totten, if Israel wanted to defend itself, if Israel believed we were on an equal footing as human beings, if Israel believed in human rights, if Israel believed in the real rules of war, let it fight on the battlefield, let it invade and snatch our rocket launchers from us. To hide behind F-16s and then make unsubstantiated accusations that we hide amongst civilians to justify the kill-of-the-day, is not my idea of fighting like real men. Thus, I consider your views as justifying Israel's attitudes, which do not abode well for human rights (disregard the fact that I might be a hypocrite; this does not make the argument invalid). Moreover, you imply that Israel did not do a good job in Lebanon. What do you mean by that, and would you have said the same if Israel had gone in and practically eliminated us (and killed just as many civilians, let us not say more, to make the comparison on an equal footing)? Kindly elaborate.

MJT: Al Ghaliboon, if you have been reading my blog for a long time then you know that I think Israel's invasion of Lebanon was stupid. More stupid, though, is Hezbollah's war against Israel and Hezbollah's claim of "victory."

If you are tired of war with Israel (maybe you aren't, maybe you like war, but I know some moderate Hezbollah supporters who are tired of the whole thing) you need to realize that it is possible for you to resolve the outstanding issues without getting thousands more Lebanese (and Israeli) people killed.

I know you don't believe me, and I won't be able to convince you, but let me give you some honest advice: Read Ha'arertz every day for a year. It's an Israeli newspaper with an English edition. You won't like everything you read there (obviously), but at the end of the year you will know and understand your enemy far better than you do now.

Here's some more advice. If Hezbollah wants to be respected by Americans, stop saying Death to America. When you declare yourselves our enemies, we will treat you accordingly. Americans have short attention spans and do not hold grudges. We can change the terms of the relationship any time you're ready.

Final advice, Al Ghaliboon. If you don't like getting bombed by Israelis, stop shooting and kidnapping Israelis. They will bomb you again if you keep that up.

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to live in a normal country that doesn't explode?

AG: You and I both know that what Israel did was more than just invasion; in fact, it was not the invasion itself that we have an issue with (we welcome anyone who wishes to fight us face to face on the battlefield), but the aerial attacks that Israel was waging, which did not harm us at all, but killed a significant number of our civilians - reminding you, our families (yes we do have loved ones too, Mr. Totten, so I say as a friendly comment, please think twice before you paint us as monsters and brag about bombing our families to the moon).

What we did was merely what we had promised to do; we had warned of it time and time again, because the understanding that we had arrived to in the previous negotiation was not respected, and our prisoners remained in Israeli jails, and our people continued to be maimed and killed by mines.

Mr. Totten, you underestimate our intelligence. We read Ha'aretz, and we read much more than Ha'aretz, and much more than the English versions of the Israeli press. We read much, much more than that, I can assure you.

Our enmity towards America stems from our hatred of its policies, which have left our people everywhere, in Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and elsewhere among ruins. We hold no grudges towards the average American citizen, but towards the general American policy, which treats us as unimportant, as merely puppets and machines to be manipulated for their interests. We reject and fight any attempt to subjugate us and take our dignity and honour away. You will find that we are not much different in that respect from nations that take pride in their history and civilization, and aspire to practice and maintain their sovereignty. We want and demand treatment on equal terms, not as inferiors. That is the root of our struggle against America.

I have lived in many countries - countries that would fall under the categorization of "the west" and "the first world", countries that don't explode. Countries that don't explode because they export their explosions to my country and bring death and destruction to my people.

However, in my dealings with these people - Americans, and yes, even Israelis - I have felt the arrogance and their feelings of superiority, and their condescending attitudes towards my peoplel - Arabs and Muslims. I chose to leave exactly because I found it unbearable to live in a country that looks down upon us in this manner, although again I tell you, I have nothing against the average American or westerner. You will find that many, many of us, have lived and experienced the west in 1st person, not through the accounts of others. And we have chosen this path exactly because of it. We have come to be convinced that our people's dignity must be raised from the ground, our culture, traditions, religious beliefs revived, if we are to have a chance of demanding our rights as human beings. We stand for justice. Our past notwithstanding, we have shown that we are willing to take a logical path based on free will rather than imposing anything on others, including our fellow Lebanese.

MJT: We want and demand treatment on equal terms, not as inferiors.

You'll get it, at least from me, when you no longer start wars and kill people because you have emotional problems.

My West Beirut landlord lost tens of thousands of dollars in his restaurant business because of that war you and Nasrallah started. Are you going to tell him that this is the price he must pay for your pride? What about his pride? What about his need to take care of his children and provide for them? Doesn't he count, too? He's not a Zionist or an imperialist. He's a middle class Lebanese guy who owns a restaurant and wants to live in a country that doesn't explode.

Look. I've spent a lot of time in Lebanon. I love that country as much as anyone who is from somewhere else and spent only seven months there possibly could. If you want my respect, that's easy. Join the Lebanese project. Choose to build instead of destroy. Don't start wars that get little girls in two countries -- one of which is your own -- killed.

The reason pretty much nobody in this discussion thread respects you is because you choose war over friendship and peaceful coexistence. We can change the terms of our relationship whenever you're ready, but it is you who must change. Americans are not going to side with or respect people who scream Death to America and fire missiles at cities because they lack pride.

AG: First of all, we do not have "emotional problems". Second, we did not start a war; in fact, our very raison d'etre was the Israeli occupation. Nor have we ever started wars; we have conducted operations and these operations have been with the purpose of getting our rights from a country that otherwise refuses to even recognize our legitimate existence.

It is not so much about pride as it is about sovereignty, freedom, and honour - in my opinion honour and vain pride are two different things. When America was hit by terrorist attacks, did it fold its arms and wait for them to hit again? Notwithstanding that the whole Iraq war is a sham. Why did USA react? Why don't we have the same right to react to an equally tragic sequence of events? When we were fighting and dying for liberating the south, they all called us terrorists. But liberation only came through our struggle and martyrdom, not through a set of statements that leaders in Damascus and Ramallah make without even wanting to see the plight of their people. As for your middle-class landlord, what makes him and his plight any more important/valid than the more than 1 million lower-class, unemployed Lebanese?

We do not wish to have anything to do with Israel. At the same time, we do not accept that anyone dictate to us that we should make peace with it. We will make peace with it when the time is right for our people to come to terms with the crimes committed against them, and when we get an apology and reparation from Israel for its crimes against our people (we have all lost people in our conflict against Israel; myself/my family included). Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the war drummers in Tel Aviv who come up with massacre after massacre out of the blue.

MJT: Okay, Al Ghaliboon, I appreciate that you’re willing to put up with an online forum where you have no friends and where you face dozens of people who hate your guts and wouldn’t weep if a bomb dropped on your head.

I hope you notice something else, too, though, while you’re here. All of us think the Arab-Israeli conflict is stupid. No one here wants to see it continue. We all want Peace Now. Even the most flaming right-wing nutjobs in America would rather see a peaceful Middle East than a Middle East that explodes. Have you noticed that a lot of people in this discussion have tried to persuade you to give up the fight for your sake and for the sake of your children rather than for our sakes or for the sakes of the Israelis?

I'm sorry you had a bad experience in the West. And I mean that sincerely. If you were treated badly because you're an Arab, a Muslim, or both, that was wrong. It was wrong. Period. Full stop. That does not, however, mean it is okay for you to join a "resistance" movement that fires missiles at random strangers in other countries who have never met you.

Most Lebanese are lovely people. Some members of your party, though, treated me monstrously. But you will not find me joining a Death to Lebanon movement as a way to get over it.

No one wants to enslave you. Americans fought a civil war with each other 150 years ago and we settled the issue of slavery forever. All we want you to do is stop fighting your neighbors. That’s it. And the reason we want you to stop fighting your neighbors is because we’re tired of getting dragged into your wars.

You do have emotional problems. You, personally, have emotional problems. You said so yourself. Resistance heals your wounded pride.

Obviously resistance pays off for you in some way or you wouldn’t do it. If all you got out of it was bombs for breakfast, you would find something a little less destructive to do.

You aren’t winning the war against Israel in any militarily objective sense. You can’t conquer their territory, and you can’t repel an invasion. You couldn’t even hold your own ground on the fence. Israel could flatten every last house in Lebanon and you couldn’t stop them. The reason they don’t do it is because they don’t want to. On some level, I think you know this. It took the Israelis a month to kill 1,000 Lebanese. If their objective was simply to kill people they would kill 1,000 an hour and no one would be able to stop them.

Anyway, the Israelis and the Americans are not who you need to worry about. If you keep dragging your country into destructive wars against the will of the majority, you may find yourself lynched in the streets. I try not to predict Middle Eastern politics and events, but I have met quite a number of Lebanese Christians and Druze who would love to strip you of your shirt and strap electrified jumper cables to your chest before dragging you through the streets by your nose. And this was before you blew up the country again. One of the reasons I opposed Israel’s invasion of Lebanon is because I knew it would make this horror show all the more likely to play itself out.

I don't think you have any idea just how nasty the animosity toward you is in your country. If you think we Americans are giving you a hard time on this blog, try pretending you're a Maronite who hates "dirty Shia" and hanging out in Jounieh and Achrafieh. I'll tell you what you can expect. One Lebanese guy I know (he reads this blog and he might even show up to say hi) told me he thought the American invasion of Iraq was stupid as hell but is glad it happened anyway. The reason he's glad? Because Zarqawi (he said this last year) is now free to run around Baghdad and massacre Shia. It can get that bad in Lebanon. It was that bad in Lebanon when I was two-thirds finished at my university. I'm only 36 years old. It is not ancient history.

If Geagea and Jumblatt give the orders to fight, you’re really screwed. All of Lebanon will be screwed. They, personally, have given orders to fight before. And their orders were carried out. If I were you, I would quit while I was “ahead” and not mess with them anymore.

You don't have to live with Israelis. But you do have to live with Lebanese. What you do affects them, and your "resistance" means they get killed, too. They don't want to be "martyred." They're trying to get something productive done in Lebanon, and you guys are running around the south like a street gang with a foreign policy.

Some Americans like to egg these people on. They want to see the rest of Lebanon rise up and resolve the Hezbollah problem once and for all. That is my Lebanese nightmare. You know as well as I do how bottomlessly dark a place Lebanon is when it breaks.

If Lebanon explodes again, as it did in 1975, don't expect the international community to come in and save you. Hardly anyone will want to go there after what happened last time and after what's happening now in Iraq. Lebanon will be dismissed as a terminally deranged country, another Gaza, another Somalia, another nation murdered by hate.

I’m impressed with the political progress made since 1991. Most Lebanese really do want to put that behind them. For various reasons, though, your group is the last to progress and figure out that violence will not solve your problems. Whether you realize it or not, and whether you want to or not, you are teaching your countrymen that they may have taken the gun out of politics too quickly.

Believe it or not, I wish you well and hope you find a way to make peace with your country and with your neighbors.

UPDATE: The discussion continues in the comments (of course), and it is more civil today than it was yesterday.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at November 9, 2006 07:42 PM
Comments

...but it's not every day that a group of Americans gets to argue with someone like him.

Ah--HEM!

What, only Americans get to discuss the state of the Middle East?

Joking!

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 9, 2006 08:08 PM

Ok, Mr. Canadian. Sorry for leaving you out!

(We all know Canada is just a suburb of America anyway, ha ha. )

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 9, 2006 08:10 PM

Just to inject some Canadian content that most likely most people are not interested in, our centrist Liberal Party (deal with it) is currently picking a leader, and the quite-intelligent and until-recently-American front runner just pooched his chances by stating that he thought Israel committed war crimes in Lebanon.

Too bad, because they guy seems a lot like a new Trudeau

Okay, back to no-Canadian coverage.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 9, 2006 08:33 PM

Double-Double (you have In-N-Outs in BC?), hey, I'd like to compliment you for helping keep the tone down on the last thread. The Hizbollah guy laid out some very frank comments that we may have never learned about otherwise. Straight from the South, as it were.

And MJT, what a lucid and thoughtful package of reason you wrote up there. It's guys like you I wish I could have voted for on Tuesday.

Posted by: allan at November 9, 2006 08:58 PM

I have to admit that I'm surprised at his "war as soccer match" idea: that using planes and such is somehow "unfair". I thought only American peaceniks had such silly notions.

Posted by: Foobarista at November 9, 2006 11:01 PM

We all want Peace Now. Even the most flaming right-wing nutjobs in America would rather see a peaceful Middle East than a Middle East that explodes.

For a while I've been thinking that there's at least a 10% chance that the middle east won't be inhabited by the end of the century... But somehow it never really sunk in until today when it suddenly started to occur to me the likely effects of gas suddenly jumping to $10 or $15.

In the long run, I'm sure there's no reason that any quantity of oil couldn't be synthesized from plant material or even sewage (as a scientist once told me, the world will never run out of organic chemicals). And of course the world isn't really short of energy sources, just ones that have been developed.

But in the short run I'll bet that 1/4 to 1/3 of Americans would find that they can do their jobs just fine from home. We all have access to broadband, we have high quality phone lines. Really, cubicles just make our work harder by placing us in noisy, annoying environments. We might find that productivity improves if we all stay home.

Of course most of the rest of the people too poor to afford $10 gas can still use public transport, and rich people will hardly notice that anything changed.

Another point is that a place with great internet and phone infastructure like the US will have something of an advange while the world scrambles to adjust.

Heating oil, and gas powered electrical plant will be more serious problems, but ones that I'm sure that a first world country like the US can surmount, if we have better people in charge than Michael Brown.

So while we will mourn the loss of life, and many fortunes will be lost, I think the middle east blowing up won't bring life to a halt. We'll adjust quite easily I suspect. Besides it won't really be a surprise. There's that principle where in economics where people have already prepared for the disasters they're expecting before hand.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 9, 2006 11:22 PM

Great choice in promoting AlGali's thread; no surprise that this is the best English language exchange about Hez w/ a Hizbuli (??) on the web.

And my sincere thanks to AlGhaliboon, whoever he is, for the best propaganda/ history/ perspective/ rationalization/ justification about the S. Leb Shia struggle for "group self-respect".

Yet this fine summary left off at least one big AlGali post, where he answers specific questions. His answers include:
The bases of our fight were honourable and just; those of our enemy were not. ... We adhere to justice, but our responsibility and holy duty to protect our people from further harm necessitates that we take the road that has been imposed upon us. ...
You seem less "freedom fighters" than a power-hungry faction.
We do not seek power; we seek justice. That justice often cannot be achieved except by holding power is why we have entered the Lebanese political scene and run in elections. We are, unlike all other parties in Lebanon, a party that provides extensive social and health services to the local population (irrespective of sect or support for the Resistancee); we, unlike all other parties in this country, have coupled our coming to power with many benefits to our people. The regions that we are present in are the poorest of the poor in Lebanon. There is almost no government presence there, and this is not because we exist to begin with, but because they do not care, never did so; ... 11:40 AM

I notice the huge importance of "justice". Every justice system requires force, and most users of force, even criminals, 'justify' their own use as a justice-based exemption to the usual guideline of peace.

But there is also the confusion of honor with justice, and especially group honor.

Group honor, group respect, and group rights are incompatible with (individual) human rights. This is a basic group-social vs individualism dynamic. The US individualistic based ideals, which I have, are being imposed, thru globalization and modernization and cell phones/ TV/ air travel, on non-individualist societies.

But what I want to support AG on is the basic unaddressed issue of the original creation of the state of Israel. This 1947-1948 action, like the creation of virtually all states, was not done in a just fashion.

But the Arab attack on Israel, which included Lebanon and ended with the Lebanon Ceasefire of 1949, was also unjust. My point is that since that time, both Arab and Israeli sides have legitimate injustice complaints about the other side.

The use of group force to rectify an injustice of the past almost always creates a new injustice of the present.

What Arabs need to learn is that peace/ forgiveness means accepting prior injustices and trying to build a just and peaceful future without using force justified by the past injustice. (This is the huge power of Christian forgiveness in practice -- it is always forward looking for the survivors.)

Finally, if the Hez leaders were more busy in business and wealth creation thru production and commerce, the local Shia would not be so poor.

I suggest laughing at them for being so stupid to think efforts at war, rather than at business, will help their people get respect.

Ha Ha Ha! (sad laughs) You Hez are so silly. Don't you know if you just make good, cheap products the greedy Jews & Americans and Europeans will be happy to give you their money and put Shia to work? Be CEOs of small companies instead of terrorists! It really IS that simple (although creating a successful company isn't all that simple). The Grameen bank shows a way -- get small loans and start small businesses.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at November 10, 2006 12:06 AM

...But somehow it never really sunk in until today when it suddenly started to occur to me the likely effects of gas suddenly jumping to $10 or $15.

Basically, the modern nations would be somewhat disrupted but would adapt.

The third world would be utterly screwed, and any hope of modernizing this century would be gone. They don't have the resources or infrastructure to do it themselves, and the resources the western states might use to help them would be used helping our own economies adjust.

Personally, I would dearly love to invent an alternative to the stuff- hydrogen, electric, whatever. It would be so nice for the middle east to be Europe and China's problem instead of America's problem.

Posted by: rosignol at November 10, 2006 12:10 AM

This is a very interesting thread and, as usual, Mr. Totten, you make good points. I thought you were more touchy-feely over Lebanon. I apologize for the mistake. That is a unique world view that AG has, but all too typical of 'honor/face based societies'. They place too much emphasis on 'justice' and 'honour'. Somehow they themselves are never, ever to blame for the circumstances they perpetuate in their societies.

BUT, (now the punch line) as a recovering addict who has had a lot of bad things happen to him, I can tell you that...

NO ONE EVER DID ANYTHING TO ME THAT I DID NOT ALLOW THEM TO DO.

Sorry about the internet version of shouting. There is this truth to be said, we all are responsible for our own circumstances and that goes for Hizbollah and AG. Thye must stop looking at others as the cause of their woes, their woes are theirs alone.

I have NO patience for their moral equivalence. AG you are indiot, grow the f**k up. Quickly. Or your time on earth will be short and miserable.

The Hobo

Posted by: Robohobo at November 10, 2006 02:51 AM

I thought your commenter did a pretty darned good job! Gave you a run for your money, he did!

How cool it would be if the two of you could cut out the rhetoric and get down to discussing some of the genuine issues you both sidestepped. Still, hats off to both of you for an illuminating exchange. Hezbollah may be terrorists, but the whole thing is a lot more complicated than that.

Posted by: Jeff at November 10, 2006 03:07 AM

Our enmity towards America stems from our hatred of its policies, which have left our people everywhere, in Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and elsewhere among ruins. We hold no grudges towards the average American citizen, but towards the general American policy, which treats us as unimportant, as merely puppets and machines to be manipulated for their interests. We reject and fight any attempt to subjugate us and take our dignity and honour away.

If you are unable to see that it is the Husseins, the Mubaraks, the Khameneis & Ahmadinejads, the Abdullahs, and the Assads of the region, and their countless henchmen, who are treating you as "unimportant, as merely puppets and machines to be manipulated for their interests" -- if you cannot grasp that it is they who "attempt to subjugate you and take your dignity and honour away" -- then you are indeed mentally ill -- delusional -- or supremely dishonest.

It is a pathetic little puppet indeed whose master can so easily make the puppet see the strings as coming from across the ocean while they dangle in full sight right above his head.

Posted by: Michael Smith at November 10, 2006 04:03 AM

be careful, michael. you're a marked man by hezbollah.

Posted by: john marzan at November 10, 2006 05:19 AM

The man talks a good talk, but there is no depth. He recycles mostly the same line and deals in moral equivalency. I salute you, Mike, for giving him a chance; its more than I would have given him (I would have banned him.)

He's trying to appeal to our sense of moral superiority, of wanting to be righteous on all counts; but it is a lost cause at this point.

If he wants his 'honor' and 'dignity' he needs to fight for them like a effing man. If he wants to run and hide and disguise himself as a civilian, then he has no honor or dignity.

He and his kind will be slain in the streets until they realise this. This is part of being part of a larger thing in the world. My own kin (the scots) were beaten and stomped by each other and England until we realised that we had to work together, and that we had to stop calling pride 'honor' and 'dignity' and get on with building something that lasts.

Your pride will continue to be wounded as long as you hold onto it. Al, you might be familiar with the statement of what you would so-call a 'prophet'.

Jesus said: "Whomever saves his life shall lose it, but whomever loses his life for my sake shall be saved."

There are several non-conflicting things that Jesus is saying. One of them is, 'Get over yourself, you pricks.'

Its a lesson that everyone, myself included continually has to learn. And you too.

I suppose its all my fault for being confrontational! I hurt your dignity. Let me get you a wet nap.

Posted by: RiverCocytus at November 10, 2006 06:09 AM

Get a life, buddy. Or do you enjoy getting bombed halfway to the moon by the Israelis?

There you have it....The secret enjoyment of oil loving Americans and their armchair general propensity to ignore history.

Posted by: Charles Edward Frith at November 10, 2006 06:13 AM

RiverCocytus,

I do not see why anyone would not give anyone with opposing views - but who nevertheless respects the unwritten rules of dialogue or written rules of commenting - the chance to challenge and discuss issues raised in one's blog. What is the use of comments? Merely to boost one's ego? I am not aware what Mr. Totten's commenting policy is or has been, as I have never posted and have always limited myself to reading his posts rather than the comments. At any rate, if it has to do with banning people who post a lot, or who post things that most commenters disagree with, then I must say that I don't quite get this concept. If it has to do with not wanting to overload the comments section, then I can say that there are more suitable candidates for banning or censoring.... I realize that this is not a forum, and a personal space where personal policies can be applied when it comes to commenting, etc., but again, it beats the purpose of having a comments section if one does not want to hear critical feedback, or see things that would ruin one's happy post-electoral mood.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 06:36 AM

AlGhaliboon makes one thing very clear - he is fighting for his so-called "honour".

However he does not use the term in the way it is used in civilised society - to represent that which is right, and honourable. Rather he uses it in the archaic, medieval sense - the "you insult me and I'll kill you" sense. This is the honour code of gangstas, street gangs and prisoners. It is the honour code of fanatical elements in the Middle East. It is the honour code that leads to fathers murdering their daughters for hurting their "honour and dignity".

Thus when he says he is fighting for his "honour" what he really means is he is fighting for his "ego" or for "revenge". Why else would anyone consider fighting over the Shebaa Farms - a tiny piece of land that the whole world agrees does not belong to Lebanon? What other sort of warped value system would consider that getting yourself killed in war will restore ones worth?

If only he would realise that REAL men don't have their "honour" or "ego" defined by others. That it takes REAL dignity to make compromises and to acknowledge your own wrongs and the legitimacy of others. That there is no "honour" in firing missiles at civilian population centers. That there is nothing dignified about hiding behind women and children as human shields.

There was a recent NYT op-ed about this disastrous and deadly Hezbollah honour-code. I'll try and copy it into another post.

Posted by: Mertel at November 10, 2006 07:05 AM

Another Man's Honor
By JOHN TIERNEY
July 25, 2006

To Hezbollah, there is no such thing as ''collateral damage'' from its missiles. Israel keeps telling the world that its army aims only at military targets, but Hezbollah doesn't even pretend to. Its soldiers proudly fire away at civilians.

These terrorists consider themselves men of honor, and unfortunately they are -- by their own definition. We in the West can call them barbaric, which they also are, but they're following an ancient social code, even if we can't recognize it anymore.

The best guide to this code is James Bowman's new book, ''Honor: A History,'' which is not a quaint collection of stories about dueling noblemen in Heidelberg. If the obsession with defending one's honor seems remote now, it's not because the urge has disappeared. We've just forgotten how powerful it is.

In the West we've redefined ''honorable'' as being virtuous, fair, truthful and sincere, but that's not the traditional meaning. Honor meant simply the respect of the local ''honor group'' -- the family, the extended clan, the tribe, the religious sect. It meant maintaining a reputation for courage and loyalty, not being charitable to enemy civilians. Telling the truth was secondary to saving face.

This ''tyranny of the face'' continually frustrates Westerners trying to understand the Middle East. When I interviewed villagers in Iraq, I discovered we usually had separate agendas: I wanted the facts, but the villager wanted to avoid embarrassing either of us. So he would tactfully search for the answer that would both please me and not dishonor his family.

When American tanks rolled into Baghdad, Western television viewers were astonished at the sight of the Iraqi information minister steadfastly denying that anything was going wrong. But it made sense from a traditional honor system. The only thing worse than being defeated is the shame of admitting defeat.

He was just following the strategy of Sir Lancelot when the knight was accused of adultery with Guinevere, King Arthur's wife. Everyone, including Lancelot, knew the accusation was true, but Lancelot insisted on fighting his accusers -- and after he defeated them, he proclaimed that his victories proved his innocence. He had saved face; therefore he must be honorable.

Lancelot's strategy, as Bowman explains, ultimately didn't work because his traditional view of honor was going out of fashion, made obsolete by the influence of Christianity. Instead of might-makes-right, Christianity preached turning the other cheek. Instead of according special honors to an elite class of men, it preached egalitarianism and love toward strangers. It emphasized inner virtue, not outward glory.

The result was a new honor system in the West, chivalry, that was an uneasy combination of Christian virtues and knightly violence. Eventually, with the decline of the aristocracy and the rise of the bourgeois and democracy, the system evolved into what Bowman calls honor-by-merit, epitomized by the Victorian ideal of the gentleman who earns his reputation by working hard, playing fair, defending the weak and fighting for his country.

The problem today, as Bowman sees it, is that the whole concept of defending one's honor has been devalued in the West -- mocked as an archaic bit of male vanity or childish macho chest-thumping. But if you don't create a civilized honor culture, you risk ending up with the primitive variety.

''The honor system in Arab culture is the default honor system, the one you see in street gangs in America -- you dis me, I shoot you,'' says Bowman, a scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. ''We need a better system that makes it honorable to be protective of those who are weaker instead of lording it over them.''

When you're confronted with an honor culture like the one in the Middle East, there are two rules to keep in mind. One is that you are not going to placate the enemy with the kind of concessions that appeal to Western diplomats. ''Hezbollah is fighting for honor, to humiliate the enemy, not for any particular objective,'' Bowman says. ''Israel has no choice in what it's doing. Nothing short of victory by either side will change anything.''

The other rule is that you're not going to quickly transform an honor culture. The Iraq war was predicated on the assumption that democracy would turn Iraqis into loyal citizens with new civic virtues. But for now the old loyalties to tribes and sects still matter more than any universal concept of justice. The men would rather have honor than peace.

Posted by: Mertel at November 10, 2006 07:07 AM

Why else would anyone consider fighting over the Shebaa Farms - a tiny piece of land that the whole world agrees does not belong to Lebanon?
I presume the same would not apply to the tiny piece of land that was Gaza? Or the tiny piece of land that Israel allegedly wants ("for security reasons") in order to finally leave the West Bank?

I would say that the rest of your assumptions about what I mean by honour and what honour means for me, are not worth responding to for the very reason that they are merely claims, and unverifiable at that. That is to say, you can accuse me of hiding my intentions till time eternal, and I can assure you that I am not hiding anything, but at the end of the day no one will win. Because you are making an unverifiable claim, which has no place in factual discussion of the very valid reasons why we have chosen the path of resistance against Israel.

You talk about "real" honour and manhood, and refer to acknowledging one's mistakes, and the legitimacy of others' claims. Yet where have I delegitimized others' claims? If you would read back a few posts, in my last response to Mr. Totten, I went out of my way to point out that the argument is not about the legitimacy or illegitimacy of Jews' claims to the land.

But I guess it's a habit for some to assume and accuse without reading.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 07:31 AM

AG:"I do not see why anyone would not give anyone with opposing views - but who nevertheless respects the unwritten rules of dialogue or written rules of commenting - the chance to challenge and discuss issues raised in one's blog."

AG, I agree. But you must admit you were given this chance. You adhered to these "rules", and presented your views and criticism in a reasoned way. MJT and others replied in kind and challenged your views, in the same spirit. As far as the conducting of the debate goes, I can't find fault in either side.

I am baffled by your position on an eventual peace with Israel. Do you think it is desirable? Do you accept that Israeli civilians have exactly the same right to peace and tranquility in their own land as Lebanese or American ones?

You also said:
"We will make peace with it when the time is right for our people to come to terms with the crimes committed against them"

If I understand you correctly this means you choose to be at war with Israel until you can get around to forgive it. Which makes me wonder:
Why is it so hard to forgive the Israelis in particular for the crimes they committed, even as you forgive other Lebanese factions and the Syrians (at least to the extent you are not advocating war with either), who also committed atrocities in Lebanon, often at a far greater scale?

Also, if you are at war with Israel, then Israel is at war with you, which in practice means lots of Lebanese will die. This to me means that achieving a just peace is a moral imperative, not something to be countenanced only after you come to terms with past wrongs. War is not psychotherapy.

My last two questions are practical. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the issues HA claims are unresolved (and must therefore be resolved by the force of arms) are some small uninhabited disputed bits of land and a handful of prisoners. Shouldn't you try to negotiate first? I mean sitting down with Israelis openly, and trying to come up with some peace deal acceptable to both sides. Do you oppose such negotiations in principle?

Finally, as MJT pointed out Israel can kill 1000 random Lebanese in 5 minutes if it chooses to. Its F16 can turn southern Lebanon literally uninhabitable (why bombing with F16 is cowardly but firing Katyushas is not?). Don't you think there is something flawed in a military strategy that relies on the relative restraint of your enemy, an enemy that moreover you hold to be evil and without scruples?

Posted by: Bruno Mota at November 10, 2006 07:53 AM

"Yet where have I delegitimized others' claims?"

How about here:
"I cannot possibly sympathize with their cause (which is phrased in a way as to be perceived and practiced as a zero-sum game) and cannot but consider them my enemies."

What double-speak. If their claims are legitimate then you should have sympathy for them. If you want to make peace one day, then I'm afraid you'll have to consider them something other than your enemy.

But you're not interested in peace. You're only interested in your "honour" and "dignity". And you want to restore them by killing or getting killed.

Pathetic.

Posted by: Mertel at November 10, 2006 08:05 AM

AlGhaliboon, the problem is not that we expect you to cheerfully suffer humiliation, it's that we expect you to address your anger in peaceful ways. See the American civil rights movement for how this can be done. Or if you find it impossible to make progress peacefully, then we expect you to fight with honor, not by randomly bombing innocent people. Any of us would be angry to be stepped on, and resentful of not being the top dog in our own land. But that does not justify terrorism. If you stop the terrorism, you will find that many of us are very sympathetic to your situation. If you do not, you will find the same ones of us to be merciless enemies.

Posted by: Stacy at November 10, 2006 08:14 AM

"Yet where have I delegitimized others' claims?"

Well, Lordy me, I just realised you deligitimized Israel's claim in the preceeding paragraph:

"Or the tiny piece of land that Israel allegedly wants ("for security reasons") in order to finally leave the West Bank?"

OK. If you want to proove yourself, let's hear you admit that Israel has legitimate security concerns that would be threatened by a complete withdrawal from the West Bank.

Posted by: Mertel at November 10, 2006 08:15 AM

Michael:

Thank you for engaging this man in a civil, on-going conversation.

I am encouraged by the tone. It is a beginning.

I have read your blog for some time and I have been affected by your love and support for Lebanon.

My family has many Christian Lebanese friends who long to be able to return home to visit old places and old friends but don't feel they can do so now.

Keep up the good work. Keep talking. Keep taking photos. The good news is if we are talking to each other then we probably aren't shooting at each other at the same time.

I feel sad that the situation with Israel seems unfixable. How many generations will it take for the hate to die?

I come from a military family so I probably could be considered a member of the "rightwing nut jobs"; but as most people who are familiar with the military know---the military is the last group of people agitating for war. It is usually the politicans not the soldiers.

Don't get tired, don't get depressed--keep up the good work.

Posted by: susan at November 10, 2006 08:24 AM

Mertel,

I sympathize with what the Jews went through, and do see why they would want to have a state of their own; however, what I do not sympathize with is the way they have gone about it, and the things they have justified in its name.

Moreover, the possibility of peace does not eliminate the presence of enemies. In other words, just because we might and probably will have peace in the future does not mean that I should not consider them my enemy today; they are my enemy today. They may be my best friends tomorrow; that's if they change their behaviour, and see my people's rights as equally legitimate as theirs.

--

Bruno,

Yes, I admit I was given the chance, but the point I raised was not about that, but about the qualification of this chance by many commenters.

Regarding peace with Israel: we are not war-mongers. We do not go out of our way to wage war. Whatever wars we have waged, have been imposed upon us. Our very existence has been the product of war and occupation. Peace is of course very desirable. I accept every human being's right to peace and tranquility in their own land, including the Israelis; this should not be at the expense of others, however.

Forgiveness does not happen overnight, nor does it happen on its own; it is a long process, and reconciliation takes a lot of effort; first the genuine desire on both sides to talk about the past with the intention of determining an equation that would include definite answers and steps (including compensation/reparation, return of lands, return of refugees, etc. - but the latter is part of the Palestinian issue). Anyway, this is what is chiefly missing in this region, because people (some sides more than others) are more willing to shoot than talk, because they believe that the other side only understands the language of force. At any rate, before we conducted the operation and captured the 2 soldiers, we warned a number of times that unless negotiations resume, we would take such action. Unfortunately, no one listened to us or took our words seriously (hence our operation name pointing out exactly this: "true promise/vow"). Even after the soldiers were captured, we again called for negotiations, and this was rejected out of hand. We told the Israelis that no matter what they do, at the end of the day they will not get their soldiers except through negotiations. We were true to our promise. At any rate, I presume some people will criticize the point in which I said that after we captured the soldiers we also called for negotiations, and they might say, after killing so many soldiers and violating Israel's sovereignty, you expect it not to retaliate? But I tell them, history does not start on July 12, 2006, so if we are going to take this issue to that level, then the operation was not only necessary, it was also completely justified and legitimate. As for a "peace deal", I already said this is out of the question until the Palestinian issue is settled, because you have 500,000 Palestinian refugees who will be lost in the Lebanese limbo, just so that Israel may close yet another front and concentrate its full strength on ethnically cleansing West Bank & Gaza of the Palestinians (the so-called disengagement does not mean Gaza is forever out of bounds for Israel). We cannot separate our conflict with Israel from the wider Arab-Israeli conflict. But we are willing to negotiate a truce and other details, indirectly of course.

Regarding the comparison between Lebanese criminals, Syrian criminals, and Israeli criminals, I do not think you can compare; but you are right, all are criminals - but to varying degrees. I do not accept nor recognize the legitimacy of the Lebanese criminals, indeed I call for their incarceration and trial for crimes against humanity. As for Syrian criminals, may I remind you that we have suffered also at their hands, for example, in 1993, many of our supporters were killed by the army on orders from the Syrians, because we openly defied Syria. However, the importance of the resistance to Israeli occupation, and our absolute preoccupation with it meant that we would not be able to open another front, whoever that front might've been. Moreover, Assad himself is not the one who was behind much of the crimes that the Syrians committed against our people; rather, people like Ghazi Ken'an, Rostom Ghazale, & co., were the ones who had the keys to Lebanon, and in many cases Assad was not even aware of what was going on, as he was deliberately kept in the dark (also provides clues as to who might've been behind the Hariri assassination if it was indeed Syrian elements - Khaddam, Ghazi Ken'an, etc. - the old guard).

Please do not compare bombing with F-16s to firing Katyushas, especially that our Katyushas were fired merely in RETALIATION for the cowardly F-16 attacks on our people; it says quite a lot that the Israelis, with all their guided missiles of F-16s have killed more civilians than we have, even though as I have stated earlier we could DEFINITELY have exacted heavy civilian casualties.

We do not rely on the restraint of our enemy; rather, we take it pretty much for granted. The only thing that we assume is that the enemy would not be stupid enough to massacre our people in broad daylight whereas we hit its battleships, helicopters, and tanks (I see why apologists for Israel never actually bring up these hits). Even then, we cannot provide shelter to civilians, as that would not be feasible; that is the task of the government anyway (they are desperately trying to frame the state-within-a-state argument in terms of the endless chicken-or-the-egg game, but this is not really the case; Hizbullah rose from the absence of the state and its authority and services, and the state continues to be absent, and by state I do not refer to the army, but the institutions).

Finally, as MJT pointed out Israel can kill 1000 random Lebanese in 5 minutes if it chooses to. Its F16 can turn southern Lebanon literally uninhabitable (why bombing with F16 is cowardly but firing Katyushas is not?). Don't you think there is something flawed in a military strategy that relies on the relative restraint of your enemy, an enemy that moreover you hold to be evil and without scruples?

Rest assured, however, when rebuilding our villages, we will take the things we learned from the July war, and put them into constructive use.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 08:41 AM

I meant to say,

"We take it pretty much for granted that they would defy all reasonable restraints."

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 08:46 AM

Michael,

Sincere thanks to you for providing a forum to talk about these issues. I'm sure that the reason why a Hezzbolah supporter/activist/militiaman/terrorist would choose to post on this site is a reflection of the work that you've personally done to raise awareness about the Lebanon issue and the wider Middle East conflict. Bravo to your excellent work!

I do wonder though whether your postings on this site and other publications is going to get you in trouble should you choose to return to Lebanon. It is obvious that you are a marked man by Hezbollah and that despite your denials, you have been lumped into the same category as other Zionists and oppressors, (i.e. the Enemy).

Having said all that, I must return to the discussion at hand. There is obviously a lot of rhetoric on both sides of the discussion and it also obvious that both sides claim to have the truth and the facts on their side.

I was reading a book review in the Economist the other day (http://www.economist.com/books/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8103621) about an Israeli historian who writes about the (possible) ethnic cleansing committed by the Haganah during the lead up to the 1948 war. The fact that a discussion about these issues can even be held in Israel, and that the author is a political scientist at the University of Haifa, is a testament to the strength of democracy in Israel and to the tolerance of ideas that is so sorely lacking in other parts of the Middle East. It is for these reasons why I support Israel, (in general), and can never reconcile my beliefs with the autocratic, tyrannical ideas of Hezbollah, the mullahs in Iran, or the Islamist Shias of Muqtada al Sadr in Iraq.

Posted by: Alasdair Robinson at November 10, 2006 08:47 AM

AlGhaliboon ("the winners", in your own mind).

You keep arguing for Israel to fight you with "equal" weapons. What planet do you live on? This is war, every side will use whatever they have. Usual Arab crazyness, you want to pick a fight and then set your OWN conditions?

If HA had something better than F16 would you guys refrain from using them? What a nutty argument.

How about HA on the Lebanese scene? Are you guys not flexing your weapons that the others do NOT have? Is that "nice" or fair?

Re blanket

Posted by: JoseyWales at November 10, 2006 08:57 AM

JoseyWales,

Where did I say the Israelis should use "equal" weapons?

How does talking about Israel's crimes against humanity (referring to civilians, not fighters!!!) mean that we are crazy?

Certainly we do not set any conditions. However, as I said above, how does that mean that Israel can use its F-16s to wage indiscriminate attacks, especially so on targets that have no obvious strategic importance, which makes it illegal to target these areas even if we are indeed hiding amongst civilians (untrue, unsubstantiated!!!)?

If we had F-16s, we would definitely not commit massacres against civilians like the Israelis did twice in Qana and elsewhere. We cannot do what they did to our children.

We are flexing our muscles internally? How so? And where does that put the Palestinians, the Salafis up in the north, and practically anyone in Lebanon with a hunting rifle (basically 99% of the population) and other such paraphernalia? Ironic no one talks about the Salafis, and ironic that the war criminal Samir Geagea would be the last to demand that the Palestinians be disarmed. How the tables turn. Anyway, I would prefer not to discuss the Lebanese internal politics for the simple reason that it would bore most of the readers here to death (unless you insist on it).

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 09:08 AM

Alasdair,

You talk about freedom of thought/speech, AS IF we have banned anything!!! There are many who criticize us in Lebanon (including some within our sect and in our regions); there are many opposing views in Lebanon; people (some extremists) even go about defending Israel and calling for the massacre of "those Muslims"; there aren't even incitement laws in Lebanon; it's the perfect situation for those of you who are obsessed with freedom of thought. I find it surprising that you cite only Israel; in Israel those who dare speak out are usually marginalized, take Ilan Pappe as an example; or Amira Hass as another example; in Lebanon you have people not only saying things that oppose us, but coming up with new and ingenious ways to do so. At any rate, I realize it might be irrelevant to point this out, as you seem decided on your categorization from the start (and that's your choice and I respect that).

What I find ironic is that you missed the book-burners of Al-Azhar as the biggest threat to freedom of thought in the region; you missed the Saudis who have banned even the Bible & Torah; you refer to the "Islamist Shias of Muqtada al-Sadr", but you make no mention of the Wahabi Sunnis of Bin Laden & Zarqawi in Iraq. I am baffled by this strange choice of allies in the stranges of times...

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 09:17 AM

"In other words, just because we might and probably will have peace in the future does not mean that I should not consider them my enemy today; they are my enemy today. They may be my best friends tomorrow; that's if they change their behaviour..."

You can only make peace with your enemy (Israel) if you first agree they have a right exist.

At the moment you are not asking Israel to change its behaviour, you are asking it to disappear.

So, if you are really interested in peace, as you sometimes claim, do you accept Israel's right to exist?

Posted by: Mertel at November 10, 2006 09:20 AM

Most political discussions online are all about the recent election, and when my net access went down, I wasn't sorry to have missed them.

But I am sorry I missed this one! Michael, this is a very interesting debate.

AlGhaliboon, you said but you make no mention of the Wahabi Sunnis of Bin Laden & Zarqawi in Iraq

..do you know if most of the foreign fighter in Iraq are "Wahabi Sunnis"?

Posted by: mary at November 10, 2006 09:27 AM

OK Ghaliboon,

Thx for your reply. OK Leb politics out and I don't want to get to all the arguments discussed in this thread.

But again, one of my beefs with you here and Arabs in general, is if we are at war with Israel then anything goes.

Let's be clear either make total war, build an army, spend 50% of GDP on it, and accept the consequences of war. Or else, we should shut up and go about our business.

The other Arabs/Iranians can go baa-baa-baa with no consequence because they are far away and/or get us Lebanese idiots to go to war.

I don't care at this point if Israel is right or moral or whatever. I want my country's legal authorities to protect its citizens. PERIOD (and please leave Shebaa out)

Enough please! (and we have not even discussed how many Lebanese would choose to go to war and how such a decision should be taken).

Posted by: JoseyWales at November 10, 2006 09:28 AM

Alghaliboon,

Why are we wasting time with all these hair-spliting details?

You are a loyal soldier of Hezbollah. You have no choice but to argue as you do.

I respect your loyalty to your chosen cause, but your logic is faulty and the reasons are clear.

You are ordered to prevent peace and agreement at all costs. Peace would allow the people of Lebanon to vote and choose their leaders.

Ararfat would speak peace in english and killing in your language. Your present leadership orders you to do the same today.

You can not think to yourself that bombing back and forth for 35 years now has gained you and Israel NOTHING.

Is it logical then to do as Iran orders you to do and just keep smashing rather than building?

If attacks on Israel stopped today, you understand there would be no rocket from Israel to worry about.

If Israel did fire on you un-provoked, the world would be at their throat.

But, Alghalboon, while that IS what you want, it is not what Hezbollah wants.

You are in a difficult place in life. I was in the military during the Cuban missle crises. No bullets flying, however, because the public had no idea of the details and pressures, there were times that many of us wanted to leave.

There was no point though. In nuclear war you would have to move to another planet to escape nuclear poisoning.

You do see the logic of negotiation, agreements and peace don*t you? Anything else is suicide. But that is the new hobby of some groups.

Oh well, we all need hobbies, I guess. = TG

Posted by: TG at November 10, 2006 09:40 AM

AlG,

You are correct in that I omitted the Wahabi Sunnis. I was not attempting to provide a complete list of tyrannical groups in the region. My point remains that the type of deomcracy practiced in Israel deserves my support.

Posted by: Alasdair Robinson at November 10, 2006 09:46 AM

Oh, one more thing, if as you really claim, you hope for peace one day, then I assume you'll be launching a campaign to have your leader and followers stop using the slogans "Death to Israel" and "Death to America"?

Successfully eliminating that rhetoric might do wonders for your sense of "honour", "dignity" and self esteem.

Posted by: Mertel at November 10, 2006 09:59 AM

So much eloquence for someone who seeks the release of Samir Kuntar. Taqiyya indeed!

Posted by: Observer at November 10, 2006 10:15 AM

AG,

The view from Israel (and if you read Haaretz as you say you do you'd know it by now) is: take your Schebaa farms and your prisoners (even the horrible Sameer Quntar who broke open a living child's skull), and get out of our lives. We don't even hate you. You are nothing to us.

The reason why such a deal has not been done is that we don't trust you that this is all you want. Even if you, personally, are sincere, your leaders are not; and even if they were, their puppet masters in Tehran want to drink our blood.

Posted by: Disk on Key at November 10, 2006 10:15 AM

You are ordered to prevent peace and agreement at all costs. Peace would allow the people of Lebanon to vote and choose their leaders.
First claim, unsubstantiated. Second claim, utterly untrue, because we and our people (and all the Lebanese people) vote and choose their leaders.

Is it logical then to do as Iran orders you to do and just keep smashing rather than building?
We do not take our orders from Iran. If I wanted to read what the White House has to say about it, I think I would not be here.

If attacks on Israel stopped today, you understand there would be no rocket from Israel to worry about.
Need I remind you of the 15-year-old shepherd who was shot & killed by Israelis on the border while he was INSIDE Lebanese territory? Oh, sorry, now you will claim he was spying for Hizbullah. After all, everything that Israel does needs to be explained and justified somehow, until we are disarmed and defenseless, for Israel to do to us what it is doing to the Palestinians - if Beit Hanun, the wiping-out of an entire family on a Gaza beach, etc. are any indication. Yeah, I can see how the whole world is at Israel's throat for firing those shells and massacring that family while picnicking on the beach. Almost chocked Israel to death. OK.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 10:16 AM

Oh, please AlGhaliboon,

My aim was not irritate you personally but rather to outline an general overview.

There are elections and there are free elections, but getting mired in a quicksand of detail does not change the principle outlined above.

Iran does not want Hezbollah to stop shooting and this is what irritates you. = TG

Posted by: TG at November 10, 2006 10:29 AM

If you want to proove yourself, let's hear you admit that Israel has legitimate security concerns that would be threatened by a complete withdrawal from the West Bank.
You make an unsubstantiated claim, then you say if I want to prove myself I should admit something? How does that work, really?

I do not recognize that Israel has "legitimate" security concerns that would be threatened by a complete withdrawal from the West Bank. There. You can now seal your "victory".

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 10:33 AM

Al G. You are a member of an organization that is an enemy of my nation.

As such, I consider you a liar and dangerous. This is not my blog.

Blog discussions are game. We are at war.

That is all I have to add.

Posted by: RiverCocytus at November 10, 2006 10:37 AM

BTW ALGH,

Israel is no saint, and I never said it was, but you will admit that it is under a declared threat of a nuclear attack.

Backed into a corner, you can be sure Israel will likely make more mistakes.

Desperation does that. = TG

Posted by: TG at November 10, 2006 10:39 AM

There are elections and there are free elections, but getting mired in a quicksand of detail does not change the principle outlined above.
Yes, and there are real democracies, and then there are Jewish-only "democracies".

Iran does not want Hezbollah to stop shooting and this is what irritates you.
Way to go with your ingenious psychological analysis. The west thinks it understands our psychology and our perceptions. The west has a lot to learn. The west and all its representatives in the region will continue to lose one after the other in the face of indigenous resistance for this very reason. You have exported your world wars to our countries, so that you yourselves can live in peace and consume our resources. It is then easy to philosophize about what people living in war zones, and what people having their lands occupied should and should not do. Your countries' performance in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iran, etc., is quite telling.

Regards,

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 10:39 AM

Gally will always find a pretext...

He doesn't want peace, though he will lie about that to save face in this forum. Just as he lies that Hezbollah doesn't and will not target civilians. We can stop praising this "civilized tone" now, the tone is only civilized because he is saying nearly nothing of what he actually means. The truth is not civilized at all, he wants war till ethnic cleansing, he slaughter without limit. There's nothing to be gained by amusing a monster by hanging on his every lie.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 10:44 AM

Let's be clear either make total war, build an army, spend 50% of GDP on it, and accept the consequences of war. Or else, we should shut up and go about our business.
Building an army is not our responsibility; it should be the responsibility of the authorities. But they are busy subsidizing their trips to the Bahamas rather than thinking about ways to build a national army that can defend Lebanon.

I don't care at this point if Israel is right or moral or whatever. I want my country's legal authorities to protect its citizens. PERIOD (and please leave Shebaa out)
"Your" country's authorities are more than welcome to upgrade the army's French mandate era equipment.

Enough please! (and we have not even discussed how many Lebanese would choose to go to war and how such a decision should be taken).
We have not discussed anything, period. We have not discussed what the responsibilities of the govrnment towards its citizens are. We have not discussed what citizens can and cannot do in the absence of state authority and failure to remain true to responsibilities. We have not discussed what foreign policy direction we want to take as a nation (is such a thing even possible?). We are willing to discuss these things but not with the war criminals Geagea & Jumblatt, and thieves like Hariri that you guys have given the mandate to (although we have called on them to to take a national stand rather than take their orders from embassies and foreign capitals in their numerous, almost-weekly shuttles between Paris, Washington, and Riyadh). The only salvation is through a FPM-Hizbullah government and the incarceration and trial of all war criminals. But I got carried away into Leb. politics...

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 10:56 AM

AlGhaliboon,

There's a job for you at the BBC. That way, we can all ignore you.

Posted by: mikhael at November 10, 2006 10:58 AM

I agree, Josh Scholar. He is full of rhetoric, and propaganda and cleverly worded statments. But his ommissions speak louder than his words.

Therefore I repeat my question:
So, if you are really interested in peace, as you sometimes claim, do you accept Israel's right to exist?

And:
Will you renounce Nasrallah's slogans "Death to America" and "Death to Israel"?

Posted by: Mertel at November 10, 2006 10:59 AM

It is then easy to philosophize about what people living in war zones, and what people having their lands occupied should and should not do. Your countries' performance in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iran, etc., is quite telling.

AlGhaliboon - Your psychology and your perceptions are very easy to understand. Your attempts to disguise your warmongering efforts by calling them a "struggle", calling your Iran-financed war "indigenous resistance" is just reheated marxism, nothing new.

Your motives are old too - you want more money, power and land, just like everyone else who has ever waged war.

Our motives, however, are so complicated, they're a mystery even to us. The best way to fight an asymetric war is asymetrically. The only mystery is - why don't we do that?

In your educated opinion, why haven't we figured that out yet?

Posted by: mary at November 10, 2006 11:03 AM

AG, thank you for your reply. I appreciate your willingness to talk and listen, especially on such a charged subject. I have given up in frustration on discussions with people whose views I found far less extreme than yours, simply because they could not engage in honest debate.

You said:
"Forgiveness does not happen overnight [...], and reconciliation takes a lot of effort [...]"

I accept that. But forgiveness won't happen when both sides are still fighting either. Some 100.000 people died in the civil war, most of whom were not killed by Israelis. I don't know of any of those responsible, many of whom still hold leadership positions, apologizing. Lebanese of all sects suffered, and I'm sure not all is forgiven. Your country is still recovering from the carnage, and of course that takes time. Bur crucially, you have agreed to stop killing each other, and I think we can all agree that was a good thing. Why should the Israelis, uniquely, be excluded from this process whereby cessation of violence leads to acceptance, and acceptance leads eventually to forgiveness?

"[as for] Lebanese criminals, indeed I call for their incarceration and trial for crimes against humanity"
Agreed! But you are not at war with the factions they lead either.

Even if at some stage it was necessary to focus solely on the Israeli occupation, it ended in 2000 (except, possibly, in the SF). Surely from then on Syria became the main oppressor of the Lebanese? Damascus ruled over your country, assassinated people who dared to disagree, and to this day holds an unspecified number of Lebanese prisioners, and refuses to demarcate your common border (a step that could easily solve the Sheeba controversy in your favour). And yet HA not only failed to object (let alone oppose these things militarily), it allied with Syria agaisnt those who did!

I don't buy this 'Assad did not know' thing. But even if this is true, the fact remains that the real rulers of Syria are going around murdering Lebanese. Whether Assad is counted among their number or not is immaterial.

"because people (some sides more than others) are more willing to shoot than talk"

I agree! I would just add that there seems to be plenty of those on HA. The fact that HA feels it needs to kidnap Israeli soldiers to trade for prisoners and the SF is evidence that there is nothing else it is willing to offer. If HA (or, more appropriately, the Lebanese government with HA support) offered a permanent cease-fire, recognition of Israel right to exist, and accepted the UN demarcation as the border between both countries, I'm sure Israel would agree to give up the SF and to exchange all prisoners (even Samir Kuntar, though that creep does not deserve to be freed). Even if you disagree with my assessment of Israel's intentions, surely it is worth trying.

"But [HA is] willing to negotiate a truce and other details, indirectly of course"
Why indirectly? If you can get all you want from negotiations, why not do it openly? I always assumed this was the because because neither HA nor Israel was willing to accept the other's legitimacy. But surely if such a truce is worth the paper it would be written, surely HA must accept Israel's right to exist south of the Blue Line and west of the Green line? Israel likewise must accept HA as a legitimate Lebanese party.

"[...] our Katyushas were fired merely in RETALIATION for the cowardly F-16 attacks [...]"

The F16 attacks were also retaliation for
something else. Which was in its turn retaliation for some other thing. And so on and so forth.

In any case, firing Katyushas indiscriminately against built up areas is immoral. The fact that Israelis also comitted crimes is no excuse. In practical terms, the Katyushas

"[...]it says quite a lot that the Israelis, with all their guided missiles of F-16s have killed more civilians than we have, even though as I have stated earlier we could DEFINITELY have exacted heavy civilian casualties."

How? Could you fire more missiles than you did? They were too imprecise to aim for anything smaller than a city, how could you improve their letality?

"We take it pretty much for granted that they would defy all reasonable restraints."

The Israelis could have destroyed every power station, every dam and water treatment plant, obliterated the airport terminals and knocked down every high rise in Beirut. Think Hama 82, or Grozny 95, or even Caen 44. There would have little you could do if these things happened. This of course is no excuses for some of the things they effectively did, but they could do much worse, and chose not too. However imperfect, the Israelis had some restraints, on which HA bet the very physical existence Lebanon.

"Even then, we cannot provide shelter to civilians, as that would not be feasible"

You could spare some of your state-of-the-art bunker-building abilities to get them some proper shelters. It surely beats dying in stairwells.

"Rest assured, however, when rebuilding our villages, we will take the things we learned from the July war, and put them into constructive use."

Please do. But learn the right lessons. The last thing your countrymen need right now is another victory like that.

Posted by: Bruno Mota at November 10, 2006 11:10 AM

Good one, Mary.

And while we're at it, here's a 4th question:

You claim that Hezbollah does not target innocent civilians. Will you therefore publicly condemn anyone who deliberately targets innocent civilians?

Regards,

Posted by: Mertel at November 10, 2006 11:11 AM

We're getting into circulat arguments here.

Criticizing HA gdoes not mean I am with March 14.

You are disingenuous when you say the state is free to build up its armed forces. Your main ally, to this day, Syria would not and never did permit the army to build up (fearing another Aoun like attach on its invading forces). So don't claim HA is innocent of the state's weakness etccc

Furthermore you guys were very happy with the Syrian invasion or whathe

Posted by: JoseyWales at November 10, 2006 11:12 AM

his ommissions speak louder than his words.
I am taking on dozens of responders, and I am but one person. Patience is a virtue.

So, if you are really interested in peace, as you sometimes claim, do you accept Israel's right to exist?
Israel's right to exist is a vague concept. Please define Israel to me. Is it only about a Jewish state? Is it about borders? What is it about? My answer would depend on certain aspects of your definition; if it is about the concept of Israel as a place where Jews can practice self-rule and sovereignty, I do not have a problem with that, and I accept their right to do so. If it is about the concept of Israel with some sort of pre-requisite borders, it would depend on what these borders are. Again, none of the issues that are core to the Arab-Israeli conflict would be resolved if I say that I do accept Israel's right to exist, because you will have the issue of refugees and not even just borders.

Will you renounce Nasrallah's slogans "Death to America" and "Death to Israel"?
When America apologizes for its injustices against our people, commits to taking a neutral stand on all issues except existential ones for all groups who are under threat, and when it stops shipping bombs to Israel and supporting dictators in our own countries to kill us and/or keep us down. YES, if America does these very reasonable things, we would renounce fully and completely any and all statements against America, including that slogan.

Pretty much same thing for Israel.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 11:18 AM

Your main ally, to this day, Syria would not and never did permit the army to build up
Syria has been out of the country since --???

Syria was not our "ally". Anyone who says so has no grasp of our VERY tense relationship with Syria. Please revise your facts. We have clashed with Syria on a number of occasions, during the civil war and AFTER it. Calling us their allies is what is disingenious.

However, allow me to say that if it is true that we are their allies, what does that make Hariri, Jumblatt, and Geagea? The people have decided, the two parties that have given martyrs for Lebanon are those that have the popular mandate to lead the country.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 11:21 AM

Anyone know what percentage of the hezzbbollah are Iranian?

Posted by: mikhael at November 10, 2006 11:21 AM

The people have decided, the two parties that have given martyrs for Lebanon are those that have the popular mandate to lead the country.

Ahh yes, death equals mandate. So much for the people having a say through elections.

So much for freedom.

So much for peace.

barbarian

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 11:28 AM

AliG - you said that you do not want war.

However, until the kidnapping of the soldiers there was relative peace in Lebanon.

Ok, so a tiny scrap of land, Sheba Farms, that actually belongs to Syria is still held by Israel?

Ok, so Israel has a few prisoners (one of whom is a cold-blooded child-killer).

Do these issues really justify starting up another round of F-16 and Kayatusha attacks?

Lebannon could have peace with Israel, open borders, and a booming economy tomorrow if Hezb just said "Ok, we think that you've done bad, you think that we've done bad, let's just bury the hatchet and move forward."

American just cannot comprehend the grudges that the rest of the world nurses for so many generations. Why waste the time, life, and money?

Posted by: sean at November 10, 2006 11:31 AM

Anyone know what percentage of the hezzbbollah are Iranian?
Practically nil.

In the 80s there used to be the Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guard) for training purposes, with the major training area being Ba'albak.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 11:34 AM

AlGhiboon,

I am reading you carefully and picking up much between the lines.

You are well educated and very good at debate. I thank you for taking the time to exchange views with me.

The West does have a lot to learn. The advances of Hezbollah, al Qaeda and the Taliban owe very much to the sleeping un-informed liberal left of the EU and North America.

As a Canadian I will not try to claim exemption from the US policy as we are pulled along more or less willingly.

You know it is not as simple as exporting wars as there have been exchanges from well before the 241 marines killed in Lebanon in 1983.

I seem to recall that Kuwait was swarmed sometime ago leading the US to help. Not exactly export.

The West may be suggesting what you should do, but I could not do that with my limited education. I have only common sense to go on.

My point was only an overview where 35 years of warring between Lebanon and Israel has rewarded no one.

Seems logical to take a breather and negotiate for a few years and enjoy life a little.

You could be enjoyable if you left your rifle at home. = TG

Posted by: TG at November 10, 2006 11:36 AM

"Al Ghaliboon" means "The Winners" and the email address "muqawama islamiyya" means "islamic union". What if this person is not really a member of Hezbollah; is not Shia; not even an Arab. Heck, how do we know we're dealing with a man.

Folks, Taqiyya (deception) is not just practised by the Shiites. We should be careful about our assumptions.

Posted by: Observer at November 10, 2006 11:37 AM

Do these issues really justify starting up another round of F-16 and Kayatusha attacks?
Your question would be better placed to Israel.

People are accusing us of CHOOSING war when we can choose peace in all instances. If war is a choice ALL the time, then the same should also apply to Israel. Israel was in front of 2 very clear and very diverging choices: talk, or bomb. We told them that if they choose the latter they would eventually come back and choose the former, so let us not take things to hysterical heights. They chose bombing. 34 days later, they had no choice but to accept talking (who was victorious and who was defeated, if anyone, is another issue completely, and I will not even go there). So, who chose war? If we were the ones choosing, this means we know Israel had no other choice, which means people would be accepting the premise that not all wars are by choice, which actually legitimizes our very operation to capture these soldiers, because the Israelis imposed war on us by REFUSING TO TALK about our remaining prisoners.

So, who chose war? Either way, Israel chose bombing not talking, war not peace.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 11:42 AM

"muqawama islamiyya" means "islamic union".
Muqawama Islamiyya does not mean "Islamic union".

There are two phrases on Hizbullah's flag:

"Fa'inna Hizbullah Hum al-Ghaliboon" (from the Holy Qur'an) (translates to: The Party of God are the victors)

and the 2nd:

"Al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya Fi Lubnan", translating to: "The Islamic Resistance in Lebanon"

Muqawama Islamiyya translates to Islamic Resistance. ("al" in Arabic means "the").

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 11:46 AM

AlG - one last point. I think you both do this (Israel and the "muslims") where you ask the other side to essentially surrender before you will even talk. It is nuts.

You say that if the US stops shipping arms to Israel then you will stop chanting death slogans about us.

Israel says they will negotiate with the Palestinians after a period of peace (a month, a day, it doesnt matter as it wont happen).

We wont stop supporting Israel because as soon as their military strength dips the Muslim world will try to annihlate them.

The PA or Hezb wont stop fighting Israel because they believe that their violence is the only thing bringing the Israelis to the negotiating table.

Listen, you each have to pony up inspite of a lack of concession by the otherside. Somehow you have to break the cycle.

As for moral superiority, let me restate an old saying that works still:

"Israel could kill everyone in [the West Bank, Gaza, or Lebanon] but wont, Hamas or Hezb would kill every Jew in Israel but cant."

Until this statement ceases to be true American support for Israel will not waver.

This does not mean that we cant see the Arab/Muslim perspective in this situation and wish everyone well.

I think this is an important point that you, as Hezb, are missing.

You will NOT succede in changing our sympathies by violence and threats, the chants and the slogans only make us recoil from the monstrousity we see on tv.

But if Hezb made the first big geasture, if they cleaned up their logos and slogans, if they offered to make a deal {do business, whatever) with the West you would find a flood of support (especially from Liberal Democrats).

I am always amazed at how poorly the East understands the West (just as vice versa).

You say that you came here and didnt like what you saw, but you probably misunderstood a lot of what you saw... and the rest was simply from such an alien perspective that you were never going to find yourself comfortable with it... but that doesnt make it, the West, wrong.

When we see television images of enraged crowds chanting anti-US slogans this does not encourage us to see your point of view.

When Osama said about the 9-11 attacks that the US feared a coup or a civil war and was afraid from the East to the West coast he proved how very little he understoond the US (we certainly NEVER thought of a coup or a civil war and never would, and we were angry from east to west, not afraid).

Why not try the "high road" for once? Swear off violence, clean up the tv images, and try to work with us instead of against us?

Taking into consideration the civilized restraint that even you seem to admit that Israel (or the US, for that matter) has in regards to the use of force (they could carpet bomb S. Leb or have never pulled out - either time) why not respond to them as the Indians did under Ghandi?

I ask this seriously, Ghandi's tactics would not have worked against Hitler, Stalin, or Saddam... they would simply have been killed. But they worked perfectly against the British, who didnt want to see themselves as monsters. The Israelis would respond the same way as the Brits for the same reason.

On the other hand, violent resistance will always be resisted by the west with violence. So, why not change the terms and win the contest?

Posted by: sean at November 10, 2006 11:50 AM

Observer: "Al Ghaliboon" means "The Winners" and the email address "muqawama islamiyya" means "islamic union". What if this person is not really a member of Hezbollah; is not Shia; not even an Arab. Heck, how do we know we're dealing with a man.

He is who he says he is. I checked him out. And I'll let him wonder how I did that.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 10, 2006 11:50 AM

Thank you AlGhanoom. Regardless, you are a fraud!

Posted by: Observer at November 10, 2006 11:51 AM

Al,

What exactly is left for Israel to say after she asks for her soldier back and is refused?

Posted by: Chris at November 10, 2006 11:53 AM

This thread makes me think of the trading between Union and Confederate troops during lulls in fighting, or the 1914 Christmas Truce. If Al Ghaliboon is really a Hezbollim, then both he and most of the rest of us would be duty-bound to kill each other if we met in person.

But an intelligent person--even while engaged in war--can't help but be open to talking to the other side. War changes things, and each side's goals and cost-benefit calculation can and do shift as a result of political and military events. It's always good to have a dialogue, regardless of what you may think of the other person, or they of you.

Posted by: Stacy at November 10, 2006 11:55 AM

In what way, Tom Grey, was Israel's declaration of sovereignty unjust? Did the Jewish Agency for Palestine not agree to the Peel Commission partition plan of 1937? Were those attempts to secure a small sovereign state unjust? Was it unjust to find some way not to be under the hand of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, a man who proclaimed his intention to solve his "Jewish problem" the same way the Nazis solved theirs in Europe? Was it unjust, in the shadow of the Nurenberg trials, for the Jewish Palestinians to say they'd rather not live under a the man who helped organize the Bosnian SS? a man who had a program to extend the Holocaust to the land where the Jews were born? In what way unjust, "Liberty Dad"?

Posted by: Abu Nudnik at November 10, 2006 11:56 AM

No, AlGhaliboon

When you use (and refuse to renounce) the slogans "Death to Israel" and "Death to America", when you build an arsenal of thousands of missiles, when you launch repeated cross-border attacks over 6 years, when you kill and kidnap soldiers, when you fire rockets at Israeli towns as part of your cross-border raids, when your motto is "resistance", and when you refuse to recognise Israel's right to exist behind secure borders, then YOU have chosen war.

Posted by: Mertel at November 10, 2006 11:56 AM

What exactly is left for Israel to say after she asks for her soldier back and is refused?
What exactly was left for us (Hizbullah) to say/do after we asked for our prisoners back and were refused? If the 2nd (Israeli action) is legitimate based on the above, how come the 1st (our capture of soldiers) isn't?

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 11:59 AM

When you use (and refuse to renounce) the slogans "Death to Israel" and "Death to America"
Israel and America predated our existence.

Our existence was the direct result of America's and Israel's actions and crimes against our people.

Israel's right to exist behind "secure" borders? There you go, the latest trend in zionist rhetoric. Secure borders from whom? The whole Arab world? The Muslim world? Iran?

Funny, since people are basing their arguments on the "goodwill" of Israel, and if Israel were as insecure and existentially threatened, why did it not nuke us? Unless you are saying that the Israelis are stupid to prefer others' lives over their very existence (since you insist that the Israelis are under existential threat).

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 12:04 PM

Oh--they only kidnapped 2 Israelis! Right! I thought they killed 8 too. But since the 8 can't be brought back to life, they're just shovelled into the ground and the story is "revised" down to 2 kidnapped soldiers and an Israeli overreaction.

But there were 20,000 missiles pointed at her by an organization supported by Iran which is trying to create nuclear weaponry.

It's the elimination of Israel they want and everything else said above is a lie. All this stuff about "justice" means a restoration of so-called third generation "refugees" born on Arab nations' soils but denied citizenship, stored like so many bamboo sticks in UN "refugee camps," denied basic rights and sharpened as weapons to destroy Israel. 50 million now, it's claimed, and "justice" means overrunning Israel with enough people to destroy her demographically.

Then the revenge. And what then? A blossoming of the desert? More like what happened to the greenhouses of Gaza!

Posted by: Abu Nudnik at November 10, 2006 12:12 PM

That question was not addressed to you, "AlGhaliboon". You'd be the last person I'd care to get a truthful answer on anything.

Anyway, considering the fate of Ron Arad on this the 20th year anniversary of his capture, I would have hoped Israel would make exception to its capital punishment law(s), and feed the executed remains of Jihadis in its jails to the local raptors in my home town of Haifa, Israel.

Posted by: mikhael at November 10, 2006 12:13 PM

That question was not addressed to you, "AlGhaliboon". You'd be the last person I'd care to get a truthful answer on anything.

Then you're in luck. _

I know, you meant "expect" not "care".

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 12:16 PM

Some filter turned my smiley into an underline.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 12:17 PM

Interesting. Yesterday you accuse Michael of using a fallacy to divert the argument about bombing civilians. You were right, too. Israel either did or did not bomb civilians, and whether or not Hizbullah has bombed civilians in the past had no bearing on what Israel did or did not do this past July as a point of fact.

Now you have committed the same fallacy. Regardless of how many Hizbullah prisoners Israel is holding, and without making any judgement as to the guilt or innocence of those prisoners, the July War was provoked by the kidnapping of Israeli military personel. There was no war on the horizon the day before the kidnapping, and it was an inevitability immediately after the kidnapping. If conversation was what you were after, or if prisoner release was what you were after, you never would have undertaken that "operation."

Posted by: Chris at November 10, 2006 12:18 PM

Funny, since people are basing their arguments on the "goodwill" of Israel, and if Israel were as insecure and existentially threatened, why did it not nuke us?

Wind currents and fallout:

Scientists have studied survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings to understand the short-term and long-term effects of nuclear explosions on human health. Radiation and radioactive fallout affect those cells in the body that actively divide (hair, intestine, bone marrow, reproductive organs). Some of the resulting health conditions include:

* Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
* Cataracts
* Hair loss
* Loss of blood cells

These conditions often increase the risk of:

* Leukemia
* Cancer
* Infertility
* Birth defects

:::::::

Nukes, especially nukes in a crowded area are de facto mutually assured destruction. That's why people don't use them.

Posted by: mary at November 10, 2006 12:23 PM

"Israel's right to exist behind "secure" borders? There you go, the latest trend in zionist rhetoric. Secure borders from whom? The whole Arab world? The Muslim world? Iran?"

Actually it was UN rhetoric (you know the second half of UN resolution 242 that people like you always seem to forget)

And yes, exactly, borders secure from the violent extremists in the Arab world, and the muslim world, secure from Iran, Syria, and, well, from people like you.

"since you insist that the Israelis are under existential threat"

whoops, I believe it may be folks like Ahmadinejad (of lets 'wipe Israel from the map' fame), and Nasrallah (of 'Death to Israel' fame) who insist on creating the existential threat.

Posted by: Mertel at November 10, 2006 12:25 PM

Sean,

1) Israel has a military industry. It manufactures weapons, TANKS, DRONES, AIRCRAFT; USA can stop providing it with bombs and Israel would STILL have military superiority for the next 100 years.

2) The statement you cite is based on an assumption that is yet to be proven. In other words, it is fancy-worded propaganda, and far from reality;

3) You paint as as complete nutcases (and the media does a good job at painting us as such), but you have not seen our true selves, our wishes, and our aspirations; we have been demonized, our struggle delegitimized, our defense portrayed as aggression, our loyalty to our country and people doubted, even our love for our families and children doubted. Yet we have come a long way, and we have done this all the time when we were at war, our fighters being killed, our people massacred time and time again. We have shown pragmatism and have been shunned in response. The west always talk about our past, but when we point out theirs, they ask us to let bygones be bygones and build from scratch. We see the west as inherently biased, and we wish to see that change; we do not do so by attacking the west. We have constantly attempted to fit into the system rather than transcend it. We have adopted more western standards than the west portrays us to have adopted; our struggle is not a clash of civilization, it is a clash of policies. And by no means do we see ourselves in any way inferior to the west, so as to give up on our right to formulate a position independent of it. We chant death to America because America has been the source of much of our suffering. Would you not chant death to Al-Qaida? The comparison of what Al-Qaida did to your people on 9/11 with what USA has done to our people is not a good one, first because people will accuse us of trying to use that tragic event to manipulate you (I assure you that I am not), second because what USA has done to us Arabs and Muslims far exceeds in magnitude from what Al-Qaida did to USA. But unlike Al-Qaida, we are not out to destroy USA or kill Americans; our chant is an expression of our wrath and a mourning for all that we have lost and all our relatives and people who have been killed. I do not deny that it comes from the bottom of my heart. I do not deny that we have issues with USA. But these issues are not between us and the American people. Our issue is with U.S policy. In this age of globalization we have wished that your people would see our suffering on your TVs and read about it in your newspapers and see our children massacred daily, and demand serious changes in U.S policy towards us. But changes have been at best cosmetic. So when you see those enraged crowds, I would ask you to actually see why these people hate America, whether they hate Americans themselves or American policy; see individuals not a faceless mob. When you see our fighters march, you should not feel a threat because our fighters are our guarantees to remaining in this land.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 12:30 PM

Now you have committed the same fallacy.
Rather, it is called proving opponent's argument false by using the very premises adopted by the opponent.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 12:32 PM

No Josh, I really don't care what "answers", "grievances", or "arguments" our Jihadi cares to voice. I'm sure Hitler's boys had just as many grievances, and I care about those just as equally as I care about those of Jihadis. If it was up to me, I'd be quite prepared to send them all to hell.

Posted by: mikhael at November 10, 2006 12:32 PM

If you wany to learn about Alghaliboon's true colors, go to www.lfpm.org and look up his postings in the political forum.

An example thread with AlGhaliboon gems: http://www.lfpm.org/forum/showthread.php?t=19827

One excerpt:

"Salam Omega80,

I was not talking about what the Israelis would let or wouldn't let, I was talking about what Israelis WILL HAVE TO "let". I am afraid they will not have any other choice. It might be hard to imagine such a situation, but if the conditions are ripe for a one-state "solution", then it will also be ripe for the return of the refugees. They WILL return. Remember, as a comparison, at the beginning of the July war, Israel had placed conditions for stopping its war, one of them was that they demanded that H.A be disarmed, the soldiers be released, and NATO control the border and the south. Which one of these happened? So it's not about what Israel wants, but what Israel will have to accept, whether it likes it or not. ;)"

AlGhaliboon wants war and in the meantime he wants to cloud the issues. The mere existence of Israel is hurting his fragile psyche. All the talk about peace is pure deception.

e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 12:33 PM
If Israel were as insecure and existentially threatened, why did it not nuke us? Unless you are saying that the Israelis are stupid to prefer others’ lives over their very existence.

This is why these people think America is weak and will fold. It has been in numerous conflicts it has chosen not to win rather than use nukes against their foes. 10,000 men lost in Vietnam alone and no nuke.

Consider what he tells us about himself and his kind: that they are not stupid, that they do not prefer the lives of the enemy to their own, that they will use nukes when they have them.

He should be thanked for waking up those of us still drowsing.

Posted by: Abu Nudnik at November 10, 2006 12:34 PM

AlGhaliboon isn't familiar enough with Michael's comment section to understand the winnowing of commentors.

Almost everyone who was interested in giving him the benefit of the doubt has either given up on him or left. The remaining commentors are either just browbeating him or are partisans.

If you think you've impressed us or fooled us then the one you've fooled the most is yourself, Ghally.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 12:37 PM

Our Hiz guy in residence has a severe case of Tribalism

Posted by: M. Simon at November 10, 2006 12:37 PM

AlGhaliboon wants war and in the meantime he wants to cloud the issues. The mere existence of Israel is hurting his fragile psyche. All the talk about peace is pure deception.

Yes that's obvious.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 12:41 PM

Mr. "e",

You must be a genius.

You would've had a better point to make if you had stuck to the guidelines of the Israeli MFA website.

However, where in the statement of the return of refugees do you see a reference to war? The issue is about the direction that Israel is taking, which will eventually result in political suicide (nukes notwithstanding). What we are seeing today is merely a manifestation of this process.

I would say that if anything, the above post you quoted shows my principles about the fact that we have no problem with Jews, and would not mind living amongst them and interacting with them and having business/economic relations. But this does not mean that I will support Israel's justifications based on their self-determination argument. Also, my views tend to be rather moderate on this issue more often than they are not, based on political pragmatism; we wish a democratic system where everyone would be equals, but we realize that it might not be feasible. At any rate, that choice rests primarily on the Palestinians, and I would also say that the Palestinians would not accept a one-state solution after all that they have gone through and all after the consolidation of the Palestinian national identity.

Care to debate this?

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 12:42 PM

Care to debate what? That you will force Israel to accept the refugees? How did you plan to do that? By using your debating skills?
e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 12:46 PM

AlG,

No one has "done you". You have done yourself.

Where is the flowering of Muslim Science and technology? Not a new problem. The Ottoman's recognized it in the 1600s. That is 300+ years ago.

The Ottoman answer (and the Saudis and others today) was to import technology and western technologists instead of creating conditions for a flowering of Islamic science and technology. You telling me that the spiritually superior Muslims with 300+ years to work the problem couldn't find the answer?

Posted by: M. Simon at November 10, 2006 12:46 PM
You paint us as complete nutcases… we have been demonized… even our love for our families and children doubted.

That'll happen when you dress them up in bomb-belts and rejoice at their deaths.

Posted by: Abu Nudnik at November 10, 2006 12:49 PM

Actually "e" that thread is interesting, it implies that AlGhaliboon is so incredibly naive that he actually believes every bit of nonsense propaganda he spouts. I may have misjudged him, not a monster but a man with no ability to understand the world he lives in.

In our county idiots don't march around with guns, starting wars, following fools and destroying democracy. We're lucky.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 12:51 PM

you will force Israel to accept the refugees? How did you plan to do that? By using your debating skills?
No one will force Israel to accept the refugees except Israel's uncertainty about what it wants, what future it aspires to, and how it plans to go about it. So far they have taken all the wrong decisions, and have given their worst enemies - us - more than one pretext and internal political and public strength/support to keep our arms.

I find it amusing that apart from a few people (Mr. Totten, JF, Berkeley non-conformist, double-plus-ungood, and Sean, and a few I forgot about - my apologies) the rest have been jumping from one accusation to the other; when one fails, they jump to the other. and so on and so forth.

I also find it amusing that you have hailed your "find" as an achievement and posted it on both entries (this & the other). I realize that when you lack other arguments, the best way to cover up on the inability is to either use diversionary tactics or continue making preposterous assertions and unsubstantiated claims, or to give up on it altogether by shouting one last time: "liar!"

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 12:54 PM

Josh,
It is quite entertaining reading his hundreds of posts on the FPM (Aoun's party) forum. He scares the shit out of the Christians because they know his attitude will lead to the destruction of Lebanon.

He also shoots down any proposal for peace or dialogue with Israel. I can dig up some interesting posts if you like.

He seems to me the kind of sort that is sent on suicide missions instead of the guy that does the sending.

e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 12:58 PM

M. Simon,

No one has "done you". You have done yourself.
Rather, it is both - and we fully accept part of the responsibility. Our position as Shi'ites in the region being very weak and us having mostly been subjects and victims of oppression, has not given us the chance to work on reviving the true spirit of Islam that so many centuries of despotism in the name of Islam have clouded. Absolutely, you are right. That is why I said our fight is as much against our own (internal) enemies as it is against our "other" enemies.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 12:58 PM

This is why these people think America is weak and will fold. It has been in numerous conflicts it has chosen not to win rather than use nukes against their foes. 10,000 men lost in Vietnam alone and no nuke.

Remember the Cuban Missile crisis? I think the world generally agreed that using nukes during the cold war would be a bad idea.

Using nukes against Hezbollah would be like using a bazooka to kill housemice. We really have lost the hang of how to play war games. Would JFK have negotiated with a cheap loser like Ahmadinejad? Would FDR have responded to the kidnapping of embassy personnel the way Carter did?

Islamofascists are the most pathetic enemy we've ever faced. We should have dealt effectively with them a long time ago. The fact that these losers are a threat says more about us than it does about them.

Posted by: mary at November 10, 2006 01:02 PM

He also shoots down any proposal for peace or dialogue with Israel.
We do not accept Israel's concept of "peace" if that's what you mean; I thought you read my comments on this site. We base our readiness for real peace on criteria, the criteria being only fair and reasonable; as for dialogue, dialogue on what? We called for negotiations on prisoners, and all outstanding issues. This could've paved the way - and indeed we would've wished for such stability - for an indefinite truce. But dialogue on land that belongs to us, for peace that is not their right given their history of violence and terrorism against our people, is unacceptable. Period.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 01:02 PM

Algahliboon,
"No one will force Israel to accept the refugees except Israel's uncertainty about what it wants, what future it aspires to, and how it plans to go about it. So far they have taken all the wrong decisions, and have given their worst enemies - us - more than one pretext and internal political and public strength/support to keep our arms."

Explain this to me slowly. You say it is not important what Israel wants, the refugees will return. Yet now you say that Israels uncertainty will force it. I don't get it. Israel will never willingly accept the refugees. So how do you plan to make Israel accept them?

e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 01:02 PM

The Israelis would be perfectly content to let the Pali refugees return to Pali territory.

They are not coming back to Israel proper. Such settlements are often used to settle pre-and post war problems. Look at what many German speaking people had to do post WW2. Relocate.

Its tough. Unfortunately there is no justice in this life. There is only what is next.

BTW your view that America and Israel will forever restrain themselves is a dangerous notion. The Japanese believed such non-sense pre-WW2. Sufficiently provoked, the gloves will come off.

The way to defeat Israel and America is to stop fighting with them. They will go to sleep and in a hundred years will be push overs. All fighting does is give the US and Israel combat experience and a reason to fight.

BTW clever of the Israelis to rotate their combat divisions in and out of Lebanon. It lowered the combat effectiveness but gained a live fire exercise for a lot of troops. They are now blooded for the next war.

Also note that the Israelis can bomb what ever they want if you get in a war with them. What you need are anti-air missles and aircraft to counter them.

As some military man once noted: real countries have an airforce.

Posted by: M. Simon at November 10, 2006 01:05 PM

He also shoots down any proposal for peace or dialogue with Israel. I can dig up some interesting posts if you like.

Yes, please.

He seems to me the kind of sort that is sent on suicide missions instead of the guy that does the sending.

I wish we didn't have to laugh at these things.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 01:07 PM

Why argue with jew-hating death cult hezbollah members? They want eternal war, they've got it. Incredible that they believe in Jihad against the infidel but also want us to believe they are the victims and are only fighting back against oppression. It is the sad desire of Islam to both dominate and claim to be victims. We see that dynamic thruout this excruciating exchange.

Posted by: Gary at November 10, 2006 01:08 PM

You say it is not important what Israel wants, the refugees will return.
I say it is NOT ABOUT what Israel wants. Because what Israel wants (if it knows it, that is - which is very much in doubt) is not what it has been achieving, and it is definitely not what it will be achieving, because it is doing all the WRONG things. Their first mistake was their abandonment of their Iron Wall theory in its middle stages (due to the euphoria of 1967), exactly when they should've captured the moderate Arab initiative for peace.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 01:09 PM

I wonder how many Lebanese, these days, are saying "we better get out of Lebanon, preferably out the middle east before bloody minded idiots (like AlGhaliboon) get us all blown up!"

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 01:13 PM

Alghalibon,
Sorry, I still don't get it. Whatever Israel is confused about, if anything, it doesn't want the refugees. About that, it is not confused.
So, how did you plan making Israel take them? If it is NOT ABOUT what Israel wants, then what is it about? What the Arabs want?

Why don't you explain the process by which Israel will be forced to take them?

e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 01:19 PM

This debate shows the sickness that is killing the Arab world. While the economies of China, India, Indonesia and other asian countries roll along at a steady clip, creating new wealth and hope for their citizens, the oil-rich region wallows in self-pity, and too many of its young people lust after death. They do not know freedom, and warriors like AlGhaliboon do not offer them freedom, merely another kind of slavery to religious fanatics and ideology. False prophets. And right in your midst a Jewish state with hardly any natural resources flourishes and its people live in freedom.

One day the oil will run out in the region. What will feed you then? Your hatred won't feed you. Your wounded pride won't feed you.

Take a look at countries like Germany and Japan. They lost face. Their pride was crushed. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, they turned away from war and built societies that now compete as equals with their former enemies -- peacefully. Their citizens are free and wealthy. They have their pride back. Look at the pride of India and China. Compare that with the shame of Pakistan, even with its nuclear bombs.

What a sad commentary on the dead end road that you and your brothers are on AlGhaliboon. Your countries are being left in the dust by every sane society. Why do you damn your children to this kind of future? Is that an honorable thing to do? It is in your control to change things. Stop blaming others. The language of victimization has no currency in today's world.

And one more comparison to Germany, AlGhaliboon: I urge you to study the map of Germany back from 1871. They launched one too many wars of aggression against their neighbors. They have lost a lot of territory as a direct result of those wars. Israel has been attacked relentlessly by its Arab neighbors since 1948 in an attemt to destroy it. And I know if you and your brothers could, you would destroy Israel today and cause mass death in the region (not hundreds, not thousands, but millions).

One of these days if the attacks on Israel don't stop, a big confrontation will take place and you and your brothers will lose territory and will never gain it back. You should consider yourselves lucky if you get back Shebba and Golan and most of the West Bank. You don't deserve them. What would the map look like today if Israel's arab neighbors had accepted the state in 1948?

Posted by: Karl B. at November 10, 2006 01:20 PM

I think the process goes like this:

1) Iran nukes Israel.
2) Palestinian loving Shiites like AlGhaliboon dump the contents of their Palestinian concentration camps onto radioactive land
3) The Palestinians all die of radiation poisoning
4) ?
5) Profit!

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 01:23 PM

Sorry, my joke was in response to E at 1:19.

Karl posted in between.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 01:24 PM

Alg- thanks for the response.

I dont think that Muslims, Arabs, or Lebanese are complete nutcases.

I think the conflict in the Mid East today is much like the conflict in any part of the world where contesting ethnic and religious groups have had to "duke it out" for control of territory.

The problem here is that the West essentially finished this process in Europe back under the Romans (as the Visigoths, Fandals, and other tribes pushed and shoved for territory) and in America when the Spanish, French, and English rested control from the natives of Mexico, North America, the Amazon, etc. Now we look back in some shame (although not enough to raze our own cities or commit suicide) at these actions. Whereas in the Mid East you seem to still be working on your own final solutions to borders and demographics.

I think that the Arabs would descend on Israel en mass as soon as they thought they could win. Why do I think this? Because they have done it before (several times) and it is still their stated goal and public policy (why shouldnt I believe "you" when you say these things?).

I also understand that the Koran makes it an imperitive for Muslims to force out, kill, or convert non-blievers (especially the faiths that preceded Islam and from which Islam essentially springs, such as Judaism and Christianity). However, there is an "escape clause" that allows for a temporary cease fire when the forces of Islam are outgunned.

Yes, Israel has some arms manufacturing capabilities, as does Syria, Iran, and Iraq... even Lebannon and even the West Bank and Gaza. We all know that what you are really complaining about it is financial support. But, as usual the massive ammounts of financial support spent on Muslims countries, even those who have been or are at war with Israel, is overlooked.

The leader of Hamas just offered to resign in order to bring American and European financial aid back to the PA. The ammount of money (and lives) spent trying to straighten out Iraq is also overlooked. The US is not being "unfair" to support Israel, anymore than it is when it supports Tawain. The goal in both cases is simply to make sure that these tiny nations are not whipped out by their openly militant and aggressive neighbors.

The tiny groups fighting in the West Bank, Gaza, or s. Lebanon are merely forward skirmishers for the remaining "Muslim world". It sucks for them, for you, that the rest of the MW doesnt mind your suffering so long as the conflict with Israel continues and continues and continues (presumably until they get nukes and can negotiation with a better hand - see the early comments about the Koran and "hudnas").

How many "prisoners" did Israel have before the latest war in Lebanon? How many did Lebanon get back by taking its hostages? How many border outposts did Hezbollah man before the war, how many does it have now? How many Christians and Sunnis in Lebanon thought it would work to give Hezbollah seats in Parliament, how many now?

Hezbollah and Hamas have an essentially unwinnable cause. You are not going to "return" to lands in Israel. Im sorry, but it is the truth. Israel will never fall behind in the arms race and if nukes are ever used in your region then there wont be anyone or anything to either return or return to.

Not to mention, why should Jews not get one tiny nation of their own? why shouldnt it be in the lands from which they originally hailed, where their religious figures and ancestors are buried?

Im sorry, but no one in the West is fooled by Mohammed's story of visiting Jerusalem in a dream... it was merely an understandable ploy to connect his new faith with that of Abraham's people and the holy city of Jews and Christians... hey, it was a reasonable move, I might have tried it myself if I were in his shoes... but it does not give Arabs or Muslims any more claim to the area than any other group that fought over the city from the Romans, to the Crusaders, to Saladin. And as discussed before... ethnic groups fighting over borders is nothing new or beyond comprehension, but the world has a little less sympathy for these battles today.

You say that Hezb represents the extreme poor in Lebanon and S. Beirut. You point out that the Palestinians are rather miserable as well. But these economic realities are a result of the violence against Israel. The Palestinian economy was doing fine until the second intefadah. Lebanon had seen the last of Israeli and maybe even Syrian soldiers and was gearing up for a booming summer tourism season (I was on my way to visit myself when the airport was blown up by the Israelis). But the border between Israel and the West Bank was sealed again only after Hamas started up the second intefadah, the airport in Beirut was only blown up after Hezb started the second was with Israel. You guys are doing this all to yourselves and them blaming Israel. The West isnt buying it, and you do need our support (be honest with yourself here, you wouldnt be on this board if you didnt want us to see your side).

So why not change the rhetoric, the chants, and the behavior and try for something other than complete victory over your blood-fued neighbors? Instead of trying to take back Jerusalem and merely allow Jews to live as Dhimi, why not let them have the place and accept visiting rights. After a time of reasonable interactions more and more Arabs and Muslims might be allowed to settle there once more. Meanwhile, you could be working to bring Beirut back to a success story, Gaza could have resorts and a booming port, the West Bank could do a big tourism trade and have many workers passing back and fort between Israel and Jordan. Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Iran could all be doing business with America, Europe, and the West if you would only concede the tiny scrap of land that is already, in fact, on the ground, the state of Israel.

Why bother with the fight at all?

Posted by: sean at November 10, 2006 01:28 PM

Sean,
Do you not understand that it is better to have your children martyred than live like a slave? Al cannot surrender to the Israeli discourse because it will make him a slave, a man without honor. He really really really believes it even if you can't accept that. Sometimes wars are inevitable.
e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 01:35 PM

Josh: I wonder how many Lebanese, these days, are saying "we better get out of Lebanon, preferably out the middle east before bloody minded idiots (like AlGhaliboon) get us all blown up!"

A lot. More than half my friends left Lebanon during and after July.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 10, 2006 01:38 PM

Al cannot surrender to the Israeli discourse because it will make him a slave, a man without honor.

"surrender to discourse," ha ha ha. That reminds me of this gem by Salem:

"Now that Israel has failed to invade us militarily, prepare to confront the cultural invasion."

"What is the plan of attack?"

"In all likelihood, Israel will launch Hebrew banners into the skies over Arab capitals and scald us by pouring ashes from them. They’ll mount Hebrew novels on rockets so as to penetrate our minds and hearts and souls, from which they’ll expel the works of not only Naguib Mahfouz, Taha Husayn and Ahmad Baha’ ad-Din, but also al-Mutanabbi and al-Jahiz and even the complaints of the Eloquent Peasant.7 As for Hebrew melodies, Ariel Sharon himself will lead them in a swift pincer movement to encircle our hearts, destroying the melodies of as-Sunbati, al-Qassabgi, ‘Abd al-Wahhab, and Baligh Hamdi.8 Israel will launch its short history inside a nuclear eraser, capable of wiping out your own history of creativity and wisdom."

"Oh, what a wretched, helpless victim am I! How can I protect myself from this invasion? What should I do to confront these lethal weapons?"

"Don’t speak with them, listen to them, or read them. Convince yourself that they don’t exist. Imagine that Israel is the temptress of the folk tales, the voice of seduction luring you to desire and destruction, the siren of Greek mythology and of the Thousand and One Nights. She sings a captivating song, she possesses an enchanting voice that will lure you away and drag you to the bottom of the Nile. Plug your ears and become deaf. While you’re at it, blind your eyes too, since a nuclear film or something like it could invade you … "

- Ali Salem

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 01:40 PM

[my apologies for cutting that quote short, here's the rest that I intended to paste]:

"Okay, I’ll plug my ears and blind my eyes to protect me from the cultural invasion."

"But this isn’t enough, my friend! They’ll attack with advanced new weapons capable of penetrating your mind without passing through your ears or eyes."

"Oh, what a lost soul am I! How can I possibly protect my mind?"

"Shut it, shut down your mind. That’s the solution."

"Okay, I’ve closed it."

"Now your ears are plugged, your eyes are closed and your mind is shut. Praise the Lord! You’re saved—from the Israeli cultural invasion. Now you are safe and secure in your own heritage, in your national and ethnic culture."

Several weeks before my trip to Israel, Dr. Galal Amin, a professor of political science at the American University in Cairo, came to the weekly evening soirée of Naguib Mahfouz. Amin is an intellectual who will differ with you in a civilized way, without thinking of slaughtering you or beseeching God to strike you dead. He spoke at length about the dangers of the imminent Israeli cultural invasion that threatens Egypt’s heritage and culture. Naguib Mahfouz listened to him and waited for him to finish. Then Mahfouz asked: "Do you actually think Israel is capable of doing this to us?"

"Yes, that’s why I came to ask you what we should do?"

"Die. If Israel is capable of annihilating the artistic, literary, and cultural heritage of Egypt and the Arab world, then we’d better all die."

-Ali Salem

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 01:45 PM

I am waiting for Al to return in order to explain this comment of his:

Quote (from another post - e):
remember they have nuclear weapons

The question is not, do they have nuclear weapons, the question is: can they survive a first strike?

See it in context, it is post #24 on this page:
http://www.lfpm.org/forum/showthread.php?t=19827&page=3

Read the rest of the discussion. It is just as entertaining.

Anyone still think the guy wants peace?

e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 01:47 PM

Josh,
And you thought your process was a joke.
e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 01:50 PM

MJT:

This is interesting stuff, but be careful. If the Justice Dept. is putting people on trial for showing a Hizb TV station, are you also at risk?

Al:

I'm a contrarian against the bloodthirsty folk around here, but if you claim that Israel doesn't know what it wants, neither does Hizballah. No matter how you rationalize "Death To America", people here understand it literally, not as an expression of anger but as a wish for the extermination of our country. If you want your theoretical interests in peace to start being credible, you'll have to start shouting "We're angry at America" instead.

Similarly, Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 and basically left you alone. If Hizballah was interested in peace, it would have left the borders alone. Hizballah started operations against Israel to be popular and to stay in control of its domestic territory. All of your rationalizations aside, you already had the long-term truce you speak of being interested in. And you threw it away for reasons that you are very rhetorical about.

Wanting peace requires more than words. It requires setting priorities. You prioritized Israel's control of a few prisoners below that of keeping peace. In doing so, you doomed a West Bank withdrawal that might have liberated thousands of Palestinians.

Leave fairness off the table. Life is not fair. If you continue to justify your violence with Israeli injustices, Israel with justify its violence with your injustices, and your people will suffer worse than Israel's. If you want to protect your people, you'd be best to renounce violence, unilaterally, right now. The message will eventually get through. It will take a while, because a lot of people hate and mistrust you, but the Shiites of Lebanon will never again be bombed by F-16 as long as no one commits violence against the Israeli state from Lebanese territory.

It's a simple trade and very achievable. Look into it.

Posted by: glasnost at November 10, 2006 01:58 PM

Reading that thread, he was positively ecstatic over the prospect of mutually assured destruction because a nuclear exchange would mean the destruction of Israel (and the deaths of everyone else in the middle east would be acceptable too).

The very definition of bloody mindedness. No wonder Lebanese are leaving en mass.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 01:58 PM

Ahh yes, death equals mandate. So much for the people having a say through elections.
So much for freedom.
So much for peace.
-Josh Scholar

Slavery = Freedom.
Submission = Peace.
Truth = Taqiyya.
Victory = Martyrdom.
Did I miss anything? Y’all would make Orwell giggle.

Posted by: Michael at November 10, 2006 02:02 PM

"e",

What are you trying to prove?

I am here; I am busy typing a response to Sean's well-written arguments.

Still waiting for you to advance one yourself, if you have any that is.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 02:06 PM

Alg- Ok, one last one and then I will let you have the last word - in regard to my comments here.

One of the reasons that the West, especially the US, fails to see the Arab perspective visave the Israelis as the right one is that we dont have your problem.

That is, there is still a Camobodia, a Vietnam, a China. Ireland, England, and France still exist. Spain, Russia, and the Ukraine are still there. And the Congo, Nigeria, and Afghanistan have not ceased to be populated by their people.

So, it is easy to be a Japanese-American (meaning not someone with one Japanese parent and one "American", but rather an American of Japanese heritage). It is easy to be an Italian-American.

We can accept our new identity as an American (a non-ethnic or religious based nationality) because our homeland, the place where our people come from originally, remains.

Arabia is still populated by Arabs. In fact, Arabs now dominate the southern Mediteranean all the way to Algeria. Your people are not at risk of losing their homeland or of ceasing to exist all together.

The Jews were forced from their homeland by the Romans. Then the Arabs and the Europeans fought over it for eons. In the meanwhile the Jews were forced to live as guests through out Europe and the Muslim world. Which didnt go so well for them. In the Muslim world they were a sequestered and declining minority, while in Europe various leaders used them as scapegoats for their own economic and political problems. Finally in WWII some nut named Hitler tried (and nearly succeded) in wipping them out alltogether.

So, it can be understood, I think, that the Jews might want their homeland back. And all the crazy ideas about the UN giving them land in Africa or S. America is just nuts. A homeland is where a people come from, where the soil is intimately tied to their very emergence as a people. Although "Palestine" might have an enourmous religious and cultural signifigance to the Arab people (and to people born and raised there, of course) it is not vital to the continuation of your nation. It is to the Jews.

This is why I, and many other Americans, cant understand why your people, Arabs, wont just let their people, Jews, have Palestine back. Seriously, why not? How horrible could it possibly be to just relocate the Palestinians who wont live under the Jews and move on?

I dont think that you, Alg, can solve this problem yourself, but I would be curious to hear your opinions. Do you not think that the Jews deserve a homeland, as we all do? Do you not think it should be in Israel? If not, where else, seriously? I mean do you deny that the Israelis became a nation along the Jordan river and founded Jerusalem?

I think this is the heart of the matter, all the other stuff is just logistic and tactics for accomplishing the goal of forcing the world and the US to renounce Israel and allow the Arabs to conquer it again.

I hope that I am not being offensive to you, just blunt and seeking out your opinion frankly.

Posted by: sean at November 10, 2006 02:07 PM

Glasnost,

Show the man some respect and believe what he tells you. He prefers to die than see Israel have an "unjust" peace. I was just like you, but as an Israeli, the second intifada convinced me that really really really there are people that prefer death to any solution which includes a Jewish state. Not many Arabs are like that. The few that are, are setting the tone though.

Read the thread from around post 24:
http://www.lfpm.org/forum/showthread.php?t=19827&page=3

Can things be more clear? The human psyche is complex and there are strange people out there that are not like you.

e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 02:12 PM

one last one and then I will let you have the last word
It is not about who gets the last word; certainly I am not seeking that. On the contrary I seek constructive discussion/debate, and there is sadly a lack thereof. If the world had more people like you, JF, Double-Unplus-Good, etc., we would've been able to resolve most of our conflicts by talking, not bombing. Sadly this is not the case and we have people jumping on whatever bandwagon they can make it into just to score some points that they otherwise would be unable to feel the "glory" of.

At any rate, I am preparing a response and you might or might not want to read/reply to it.

I can say that I greatly enjoyed the discussion w/ you, and reading your perspective.

If I have presented any fallacious arguments or contradicted myself, I rely on my opponents to point them out and by no means am I infallible, and will gladly accept these rather than defend them based on a vain sense of pride.

I only wish that we could afford to be as pragmatic when it comes to realpolitik.

Regards,

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 02:14 PM

Al,
I asked you several questions that you have not answered. Please don't evade them:

Whatever Israel is confused about, if anything, it doesn't want the refugees. About that, it is not confused.
So, how did you plan making Israel take them? If it is NOT ABOUT what Israel wants, then what is it about? What the Arabs want?

Why don't you explain the process by which Israel will be forced to take them?

I will add one more question:
Please explain your comment about Israel not surviving a first nuclear strike?

e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 02:17 PM

one last one and then I will let you have the last word
It is not about who gets the last word; certainly I am not seeking that. On the contrary I seek constructive discussion/debate, and there is sadly a lack thereof. If the world had more people like you, JF, Double-Unplus-Good, etc., we would've been able to resolve most of our conflicts by talking, not bombing. Sadly this is not the case and we have people jumping on whatever bandwagon they can make it into just to score some points that they otherwise would be unable to feel the "glory" of.

At any rate, I am preparing a response and you might or might not want to read/reply to it.

I can say that I greatly enjoyed the discussion w/ you, and reading your perspective.

If I have presented any fallacious arguments or contradicted myself, I rely on my opponents to point them out and by no means am I infallible, and will gladly accept these rather than defend them based on a vain sense of pride.

I only wish that we could afford to be as pragmatic when it comes to realpolitik.

Regards,

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 02:17 PM

Thank Alg, I will check back again soon.

Posted by: sean at November 10, 2006 02:20 PM

In a discussion about a possible Israeli embassy in Lebanon Al says:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elyane El Helou
So the Arabs declare war on Israel in 1948 and we regardless of our national interests declare war by proxy. We end up in De jure conflict that we can't seem to get out of knowing militarily we don't stand a chance. Don't you think that this war declaration on Israel is becoming outdated especially that most Arabs, officially and unofficially, are already dealing with Israel ?
[Al's reply - e]
The Arabs declared war on an illegal entity that had stolen land and dispossessed thousands of Palestinians. Actually, it was the zionists who provoked and caused the war, not the other way around.

The question of an "israeli" embassy is a moot point. It will never happen, as long as Lebanon as we know it exists.

The above is in post 29 on this page:
http://www.lfpm.org/forum/showthread.php?t=20318&page=3

On post 42 of that thread Al says:
"Not that I think it is even up to discussion to have an "israeli" embassy, but I guess we should hold a referendum to silence once and for all those who call for "peace" and relations with "israel" under the guise of "national interests". But then again, no matter what we do, it will always be about Syria & Iran. Any more jumpers in the bandwagon?

Al, if there is no chance of peace with Israel, what exactly do you want things to be? Isn't your plan the destruction of Israel?

e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 02:38 PM
So, it can be understood, I think, that the Jews might want their homeland back. And all the crazy ideas about the UN giving them land in Africa or S. America is just nuts. A homeland is where a people come from, where the soil is intimately tied to their very emergence as a people. Although "Palestine" might have an enourmous religious and cultural signifigance to the Arab people (and to people born and raised there, of course) it is not vital to the continuation of your nation. It is to the Jews.

This is why I, and many other Americans, cant understand why your people, Arabs, wont just let their people, Jews, have Palestine back. Seriously, why not? How horrible could it possibly be to just relocate the Palestinians who wont live under the Jews and move on?

Well, the land that I'm currently living on used to belong to the native people who inhabited it. Should I be moved off this land against my will to accommodate someone whose ancestors used to live here?

The original Zionist movement was quite concerned about the rights of the Palestinian Arabs -- it should be remembered that the Zionists were largely socialists -- and tried hard to remember that they were neighbors. The political tensions were too great, and there was more and more friction until it was decided that a Jewish nation would have to be set up to guarantee security. This necessitated the removal of Arabs, by some fairly brutal means in many cases, and is probably the seeds of the present conflict.

I'm only up to about 1920 in Benny Morris' history of the conflict at the moment. I can't wait to see how this all turns out.

AlGhaliboon, have you read Morris' book? Any thoughts on it?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 10, 2006 02:45 PM

double-plus-ungood,
At the cost of spoiling, let me tell you that the ethnic cleansing came after the Palestinians rejected the UN's 1947 partition plan. Perhaps the cause of the conflict is this, but I will let you finish your book and make up your own mind.
e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 02:57 PM

Sean,

First of all it would be inaccurate to refer to Arabs as a monolithic bloc, even back in 1948 where there was more unity than there is today, and probably more than there ever will be; also, it is wrong to dismiss the equally legitimate claims of the Palestinians, who owned most of the land in Palestine; why would anyone accept to willingly give up his ownership? Would you give my people half of your income because we are poor and/or oppressed? Would you say, come take half the plot of land I own, it's yours, because you are homeless? The Palestinians (and later on the Palestinian cause significantly entered into and developed Arab nationalism) felt that they were being dispossessed for the crimes of a madman in Europe; of course, Arab leadership has NEVER actually helped the cause in any way (see for example the clan rivalry between the Nashashibis and al-Husseinis). Far from it, they have been very destructive, and even when they had the best of intentions, they lacked a vision for their people. For us Lebanese Shi'ites it was even worse; we were the latest newcomer to the political stage. Our late politicization and radicalization was the result of a number of factors, not in the least being Jabal 'Amel's predicament in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Admittedly, there is too much hatred against Israel in the region to guarantee that histories would not be used to exact revenge on innocents (I would say that clerics have been largely to blame for this, supported in full by those in rule who have sought to enlist clerics into their payroll, to maintain their rule over unrestful populations); but again all we are asking for is to give us a chance for a fair fight. We are not telling you to fight our wars for us, or to give us weapons and military advantages to eliminate Israel; we want and demand that our people know that they can have the chance to at least fight back in defense, and a strong leadership that would hold the reins tightly. You will see that over time attitudes will change. However, I do not see how installing puppets and dictators, arming Israel to its teeth and making it one of the world's strongest armies (even stronger than or at least on par with France) have achieved anything other than convince the people that America is the enemy? (note that this is what the Palestinians realized in the 30s, when they finally realized that they should revolt against the British mandate rather than fight the zionists; and they were almost successful at it).

Your understanding of the Qur'an is not correct; the Qur'an does not advocate compulsion or forceful compulsion.

Regarding our prisoners, if you will recall the similar operation in 2000, that freed a great bulk of our prisoners; it was a similar scenario, and it did not result in a war. Why? Because Israel chose not to have war and sat for negotiation. As for our prisoners at the moment, they will return, and there are advanced negotiations at the moment. They will return. There is no doubt about that. The only question is, when. We can also say, very soon.

About Christian opinion, it is almost unanimously in support of cooperation with us, so that we can iron out any issues concerning national defense, disarmament, etc., and our memorandum of understanding has paved the way for more, well, understanding between our respective parties and sects. The issue with Sunnis, I would rather not get into. I can say that, at least from my perspective, the future of our relations is not looking bright; unfortunately some people have been importing elements of the Sunni-Shi'ite divide in the wider region (as they are also importing salafism and wahabism, and weapons to arm these murderous nutcases).

The Jews have a right to live in the land of their ancestors. Absolutely. I am even willing to go as far as saying that they have the right to self-rule in 1948 lands. But I don't think anyone is willing to make any further compromise. You will see that we disagree on many points that our alleged masters in Tehran say, including the Holocaust. But again, that does not mean that their suffering is unique, nor does it give them the right to do the same to others.

Al-Buraq wall is an essential part of Islam. For you it might all be some crazy story; heck, for you the whole Qur'an might seem like one. I respect that, but I would also call for respect for my beliefs. We do not claim sole ownership over the area; the ideal scenario would be having joint (3 religions) ownership and management of all Holy places. The ideal would be that Al Quds (Jerusalem) - east and west - would be an international city.

You are wrong in painting the picture of poverty in this manner, namely as a function of violence against (rather biased terminology, assuming that we have always been the ones perpetrating/provoking the violence - far from being the case if you are aware of history; for example, the Suez invasion in 1956); the Palestinian economy was not doing fine until the 2nd intifada (if we are to use this dynamics, then what explains the 1st intifada?); it was doing very poorly, and was only a function of Israeli economy and to the benefit thereof. However, the primary cause of the uprising was the political and social and cultural conditions, the suppression of dissent in the territories, the banning of political activity, the installation of puppet local/municipality leaders, etc. For more see Noam Chomsky, The Fateful Triangle.

Mass-murderer Ariel Sharon is the father of the 2nd intifada (his visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque single-handedly brought about 6 years of violence, and counting - not to excuse or downgrade Israeli terrorism and suppression of the Palestinians of course). This is the guy who led and engineered the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the same guy whose presence brought upon us, southerners who were just as angry with PLO actions, indiscriminate attacks; the same guy who was responsible for the massacres of Sabra & Shatila. Your country considers him "a man of peace". And you want us not to hate your country's policies?

Yes, we do want your support, but not in a way that would make us slaves the same way Egyptian, Saudi, Jordanian, and pretty much all the other Gulf Arab states, are. The least that we want is that our sovereignty and national interests be respected. We want your support more on a grassroots level, too. Not for Hizbullah the party, but for our people. We are the people anyway; you hit us, you hit the people; you hit the people, you hit their bodies but neither their resolve to fight you, nor their anger at you.

We, the people, have always wanted peace and prosperity. But we have seen time and time again that the U.S has replaced our often democratically elected leaders, with dictators. You might not agree with Hamas, and might think what the West is doing is good for everyone involved, but do you really think this goes well for the Palestinians? Tell that to the mother whose kid starved to death, or died because she couldn't afford medication, or could not cross checkpoints and roadblocks because the Jews were celebrating Purim (their Halloween). Here's some reality of daily Palestinian life for you. It used to be the same for us, too, minus the settlers. Tell that to the Iraqis who starved to death because of sanctions meant to depose of Saddam who was supported and armed by the U.S throughout the years of his crimes against humanity (against Shi'ites, Kurds, etc.) and his war on Iran and Kuwait, or to those who were killed by U.S shells that were used to topple Saddam's regime, which was supported and funded for decades by the very liberators. You could've told them that, but they are not alive. Guess it's the most ingenious idea of getting rid of overpopulation.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 02:59 PM

It's a sickening cross-pollination of paranoias that Hezbollah is reading Noam Chomsky.

On the positive side, you can see the salutary effect that Lebanon's multicultural society has, this Lebanese religious fanatic says that the Qur'an does not advocate compulsion or forceful compulsion. Too bad Iraq is breaking up over religious factions killing each other or maybe in 40 years they'd be saying the same.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 03:07 PM

At the cost of spoiling,...

Damn!

I've actually read a synopsis of some of B. Morris' other stuff around the 1948 activities (pretty brutal). The detailed stuff that I'm reading about the earlier years is fascinating. There were so many different political factions at work that it's byzantine.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 10, 2006 03:08 PM

Mass-murderer Ariel Sharon is the father of the 2nd intifada (his visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque single-handedly brought about 6 years of violence, and counting - not to excuse or downgrade Israeli terrorism and suppression of the Palestinians of course).

According to Arafat's communications minister, Imad Faluji, that statement is wrong.

Faluji said:

"Whoever thinks that the Intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon's visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, is wrong ... this Intifada was planned in advance, ever since President Arafat's return from the Camp David negotiations,"

Posted by: mary at November 10, 2006 03:15 PM

Just to make sure that everybody understands that Al is a raging antisemite:

Quote:
Originally Posted by just_lebanese_80
Ah i just love that line, "the jews are our enemies they killed Jesus..." just shows so much tolerance...

[Al says - e]
They say that what goes around comes around.

The Jews have not been great examples of tolerance in human history. In fact, they are probably one of the worst, if not the worst.

See for yourself, post 54 on the following link:
http://www.lfpm.org/forum/showthread.php?t=20318&page=6

Care to defend this statement Al?

Normal human beings want to believe that at heart everyone is reasonable and that peace is always possible. Alas, Al is using the same tactics that Hitler used, speaking nicely to foreigners for political gain while holding a racist and dangerous ideology.

e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 03:16 PM

Yes, we do want your support, but not in a way that would make us slaves the same way Egyptian, Saudi, Jordanian, and pretty much all the other Gulf Arab states, are.

I can't resist responding to the amusement.

Please explain to all of us exactly how all of the gulf states are slaves to the Jews, or the Israel, however you'd like to put it.

This should be good! :)
(and keep in mind, everyone, this is his causa belli for ongoing warfare.)

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 03:17 PM

Double-Plus-Ungood,

For a very thorough understanding (rather than a cheap overview) of the progress of the Zionist enterprise, the settlement plans, the challenges, the conflict, the Palestinian rebellion, the numerous commissions and partition plans, etc., I highly recommend Walid Khalidi's "From Haven to Conquest: Readings in Zionism and the Palestine Problem Until 1948" (which is really a collection of articles not written by Khalidi himself). If there is any book that touches on the A to Z of the roots and development of the Palestine problem, it's this one.

For more recent stuff, I recommend Chomsky's The Fateful Triangle: the U.S, Israel, and the Palestinians.

For the wider Arab-Israeli conflict, a perspective from the Israeli new historians with very nicely done archival research, I highly recommend Avi Shlaim's The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World.

For the Lebanese war, I recommend - gasp - Mr. Fisk's Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon.

But if you want a different perspective (pro-Israel) on 1967 for example, check out Michael Oren's Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East.

Another major work, David Hirst's The Gun and the Olive Branch.

Also recommend anything by Finkelstein that you can get your hands on, and you can alternatively check out his website.

If you want to learn more about Hizbullah, check out 1) Na'im Qassem's Hizbullah: The Story from Within, 2) Amal Sa'ad Ghorayeb's Hizb'ullah: Politics & Religion, 3) Nizar Hamzeh's In the Path of Hizbullah

I can also provide with articles titles and other recommendations (depending on your interests); just let me know. But these ought to get you started.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 03:29 PM

Care to defend this statement Al?
No need for defense; it is true, is it not? However, there is an ocean between making such a statement and extrapolating that there is something innate about Jews that makes them act this way, or that they should be exterminated. Quite a leap from a factual statement to an accusation of Nazism.

Dig on. It's certainly easier than formulating any arguments of your own.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 03:33 PM

Please explain to all of us exactly how all of the gulf states are slaves to the Jews, or the Israel, however you'd like to put it.

I think the slave-master in the context of the thread was America, wasn't it? In that all those (Egyptian, Saudi, Jordanian, and pretty much all the other Gulf Arab states) US-allied dictatorships.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 10, 2006 03:33 PM

...sorry, ARE US-allied dictatorships.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 10, 2006 03:34 PM

Please explain to all of us exactly how all of the gulf states are slaves to the Jews, or the Israel, however you'd like to put it.
If you had actually been reading my statements for the sake of understanding them rather than for the sake of finding something in them to attack me with, you would've noticed that I did not say the gulf states are slaves to the Jews, or to Israel. Do me a favour and re-read it. You will spare me the trouble of reading one more concent-less response.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 03:36 PM

...these ought to get you started.

Lots of reading material there, thanks. I need finish Righteous Victims first, then I have Grossman's Yellow Wind. I'll save your list and work from that next.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 10, 2006 03:37 PM

If you had actually been reading my statements for the sake of understanding them rather than for the sake of finding something in them to attack me with, you would've noticed that I did not say the gulf states are slaves to the Jews, or to Israel. Do me a favour and re-read it. You will spare me the trouble of reading one more concent-less response.

Ok, now you've contradicted yourself.

You've said repeatedly that making peace with Israel would make your children slaves etc. etc.

So go on, explain. I don't have infinite patience for reading nonsense looking for an explanation that isn't there.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 03:42 PM

Al just stated that he stands behind the following quote of his and that it is true:
"The Jews have not been great examples of tolerance in human history. In fact, they are probably one of the worst, if not the worst."

The Jews are worse than the Christians, Muslims, Germans, Mongols, communist regimes, tutsis, Huttus, Turks....

double-plus-ungood, is your new friend to your liking?

e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 03:47 PM

Al,

Can you explain your remark about a first nuclear strike against Israel? You skipped that one.

e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 03:51 PM

E, I'll save DP the trouble of making an annoying self righteous reply. He isn't really making a friend, he's engaging in dialog.

Add a dozen insults, accusing you of being stupid, uneducated and gratuitously insulting and you have a boiler plate DoubleP response.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 03:52 PM

You've said repeatedly that making peace with Israel would make your children slaves etc. etc.
Making peace with Israel on its own terms (which is what peace with Israel in the current circumstances would entail), rather than on just and equal terms, would make our children slaves. My advice to you about reading what you comment on (and not just skimming) still stands.

"e",

You might actually do better if you stop your ad hominems. Have you ever tried that? They say debate is good for the health. But I understand it wouldn't sound so tempting when you're on the losing end of facts.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 03:52 PM

Making peace with Israel on its own terms (which is what peace with Israel in the current circumstances would entail), rather than on just and equal terms, would make our children slaves.

Oh well, it's all obvious to us now. You've plumbed the depths of your understanding to explain exactly how you, your children and every Arab state is composed of nothing but slaves.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 03:56 PM

double-plus-ungood, is your new friend to your liking?

Well, if we're going to play that shithead game, let me just point out that you're ugly and stupid, your dick is short, and everyone fucks your slutty mom.

Happy now?

You guys would be right at home in a Stalinist State. He supplied a reading list. Lock me up! Thoughtcrime! Thoughtcrime!

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 10, 2006 03:57 PM

DP, I thought my expectations of you were low enough.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 03:59 PM

DP, I thought my expectations of you were low enough.

I'm crushed. I need to go and cry for a while now.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 10, 2006 04:01 PM

No, DP, I'm the one who failed.

I failed to preempt your need to make an annoying self righteous reply.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 04:03 PM

Double-Plus- everyone who can identify as a distinct people should, idealy, have a homeland. This is what allows us to go about our lives in other places with some ease. Kinda like owning your own home in the States and then traveling abroad, or more simply just having an apartment as you go into work in the city. Most recognized native tribes in the US have a reservation, say what you will, no matter how small, it is something. The Jews before 1948 didnt even have that (unless you want to call the Ghettos of Europe reservations, which I suppose you could, but at least the Indian reserves in the US and Canada are on land nearly corresponding to the natives' original homelands and include rural as well as urban land).

I am not saying that the Jews alone deserve a homeland, but that the Jews, among many other peoples, deserve a homeland. Arabs too. Are the Arabs suddenly in jeopordy?

Posted by: sean at November 10, 2006 04:04 PM

Aw, an idiot doesn't like me.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 10, 2006 04:05 PM

Al,

My argument is simple, you are really a raging antisemite that wants to destroy Israel and is trying to dupe gullible people by looking "reasonable" and engaging in dialogue. This is the technique Hitler used to buy time and gain strength. If you call unmasking your true position a personal attack, so be it. Since you don not deny anything I say, how is it a personal attack anyway? You are a stated antisemite and it is clear from your posts on the FPM forum that you would be happy to nuke Israel.

e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 04:05 PM

Sorry Sean, that last barb was aimed to JS.

everyone who can identify as a distinct people should, idealy, have a homeland. This is what allows us to go about our lives in other places with some ease. Kinda like owning your own home in the States and then traveling abroad, or more simply just having an apartment as you go into work in the city..

In general, I agree, and I agree that Israel should exist.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 10, 2006 04:07 PM

Aw, an idiot doesn't like me.

I can't believe you spent the previous thread attacking me for being insulting to our Hezbollah guest.

Of course you did it in a gratuitously insulting way then too.

Irony, dude, look it up.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 04:08 PM

I can't believe you spent the previous thread attacking me for being insulting to our Hezbollah guest.

Is... is that hurt feelings I'm seeing? Gosh, you're a lot more sensitive than your loutish bigmouthed demeanor indicates.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 10, 2006 04:10 PM

double-plus-ungood,

How did you know all that stuff about me?
I have recently started taking part of my SPAM seriously and there maybe a solution to one of the conditions you describe.

Seriously, do you think I am off the mark with my assessment of Al?

e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 04:10 PM

Now, as soon as you guys want, you can stop the shitheaded attitude and we can get back to the discussion. Or we can get into one hell of a flamewar.

Which is it?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 10, 2006 04:11 PM

Seriously, do you think I am off the mark with my assessment of Al?

What, you want to sling shit at me and then pretend that you're reasonable?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 10, 2006 04:13 PM

DP, you're down to insults based on pretending no reading comprehension. Grow up. Insolance is not wit.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 04:14 PM

What, you want to sling shit at me and then pretend that you're reasonable?

Jesus, you REALLY need to grow up.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 04:16 PM

Insolance is not wit.

Neither is it discourse, as you've ably demonstrated in the last two days.

What an abysmal fuckwit.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 10, 2006 04:17 PM

Jesus, you REALLY need to grow up.

Oh, all caps. You must really mean it.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 10, 2006 04:18 PM

double-plus-ungood,
I didn't insult you; I was soliciting a comment on my assessment. You really shouldn't take it as an insult. I didn't take your reply as an insult either. Let's put the misunderstanding behind us.
e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 04:18 PM

My argument is simple, you are really a raging antisemite that wants to destroy Israel and is trying to dupe gullible people by looking "reasonable" and engaging in dialogue.
My apologies, I did not realize people were so gullible. I guess we should "import" some of you gullible folks to teach us, ingullible Arabs and Muslims that we are (by nature too - talk about blanket generalizations and racial stereotyping), the art of gullibility.. This is becoming a bit too ridiculous for my taste. What IS your point my friend? Do you even know? I am not surprised, you are a mini-image of the direction Israel is heading in. Keep walking. You turn and turn and accuse me of anti-Semitism; and what would the impact of your accusation or alleged proof be on my fact-based arguments?

I understand your past and the Holocaust do not inspire much trust for people in general, and I also realize the fact that being paranoid does not mean that no one is out to get you, but how on earth did you arrive to the conclusion that I am an anti-Semite? I do not even care if you are a Jew. You see me talking to you. Am I not talking to you? Are you a Jew? Israeli? I don't even care, even though again if you are an Israeli I am technically speaking to my enemy.

If you want scapegoats, try the truly anti-Semitic Arab dictators. Or for once, the Christian Zionist lobby in the U.S, who do not hide their wish and plans for forceful conversion of Jews in their apocalyptic visions of the 2nd coming.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 04:19 PM

Why is it that some people figure they can bully their way around a thread, insulting people left and right, and then when someone does it in response to them, the other guy is the one that needs to grow up?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 10, 2006 04:20 PM

"Whatever wars we have waged, have been imposed upon us. "
- That sounds a lot like a simple statement of your side having no responsiblity for the continuation of the conflict. That is what both sides in most wars believe, but that does not negate the fact that your "side" began this round of conflict, by choice.

"Our very existence has been the product of war and occupation."
- Or maybe they were the product of the Iranian dictatorial regime's desire to inflict improve its power and position in the region?

"Peace is of course very desirable. "
- Everybody desires peace, on their own terms. Hitler would have prefered for Europe to surrender peacefully, but he was still willing to fight to take over Europe. He did so because of a conflict of goals (his ideology demanded control of europe), and because he believed he could accomplish it. To some extent, his ideology not only provided the goals, but made him overconfident. If you have two sides with strongly conflicting goals, and if both are overconfident, the result is inevitable war. If the two sides strongly disagree on goals, but perfectly agree on their balance of power, the concessions each side makes will balance, and war will be avoided. In other words, if one side is absolutely dominant, there is peace. If the balance of power becomes blurred, by a new ideology, or by simple passage of time, war becomes more likely.

"At any rate, before we conducted the operation and captured the 2 soldiers, we warned a number of times that unless negotiations resume, we would take such action."
- Negotiations between whom? Hizbollah is not a sovereign nation with claims over the shebaa farm, and the UN has accepted that Lebanon has no claim over that farm.

"Even after the soldiers were captured, we again called for negotiations, and this was rejected out of hand."
- You have never returned any previously captured israeli soldiers alive, despite previous negotiations.

"you have 500,000 Palestinian refugees who will be lost in the Lebanese limbo"
- In my opinion, the only realistic place for them to resettle outside of lebanon is in the west bank. That is what the palestinians, however, have rejected. My guess is that they rejected that because they still hope for israel's destruction and the refugees' resettlement in Israel.

"But we are willing to negotiate a truce and other details, indirectly of course."
- You are assuming that you need to attack israel to negotiate a truce, but isn't the reality that that there was a prolonged period with no violence i.e. a truce, that you broke, with that attack?

"Certainly we do not set any conditions. However, as I said above, how does that mean that Israel can use its F-16s to wage indiscriminate attacks, especially so on targets that have no obvious strategic importance, which makes it illegal to target these areas even if we are indeed hiding amongst civilians (untrue, unsubstantiated!!!)?"
- If militants hide among civilians, by "international law", that does indeed make that area a legitimate target. As for "indiscriminate" attacks, obviously they were not, otherwise there would have been many more casualties. The reality was that Israel attempted to target rocket launchers, and on some occasions failed. The bridges etc. would have been good targets if Israel intended to isolate the area, and destroy all the hizbollah resistance, as I assumed it would.
What was basically criminal on the Israeli side, was waging a war without a coherent strategy. It would have been cheaper, in terms of lives, money and reputation, to ignore the incident. And due to that lack of strategy, Israeli troops were sitting like ducks in one location, just waiting to be attacked, without orders to attack themselves. This lack of strategy did not even remind people of Israel's real military strengths, which means that the balance of power has become even more muddled: Israel's enemies now believe Israel is weaker than it actually is, which is likely to cause a war in the forseeable future.

"If we had F-16s, we would definitely not commit massacres against civilians like the Israelis did twice in Qana and elsewhere. "
- First of all, there is a difference between intentional targeting of civilians, and the non-intentional. And no I am not certain of this: Israel did less damage against civilians than they could have. Hizbollah did as much damage to civilians than they could.

Posted by: JFTDMaster at November 10, 2006 04:20 PM

Al,

I must have missed it, but what is your fact based argument for the following statement of yours that you endorse again:
"The Jews have not been great examples of tolerance in human history. In fact, they are probably one of the worst, if not the worst."

Please explain how the Jews have been less tolerant than the Christians for example.

Am I missing something? Am I the only one that thinks Al is an antisemite? If anybody thinks I am off the mark here, please chime in.

e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 04:27 PM

Why is it that some people figure they can bully their way around a thread, insulting people left and right, and then when someone does it in response to them, the other guy is the one that needs to grow up?

Because you lack any sense of proportion, because you rejected a sincere attempt to raise the level of the discussion back up and because you're so immature that you think this discussion is about you.

But not only do your feeling in this matter pale insignificance, so does imagined importance of your judgement as to how we should attempt "discourse" with Hezbollah.

This is about matters where people have and people will continue to be killed, and yet you claim the authority to dictate to everyone in the thread how they are to present themselves. You have no right.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 10, 2006 04:28 PM

Don't make me babysit, people. I'm trying to write an article...

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 10, 2006 04:31 PM

I have to admit that I have never been to this site before or know who "MJT" is. I do have to say that after reading the first few paragraphs of this exchange, "MJT" came off as immature and provocative. The "bombed halfway to the moon" thing immediately turned me off. It appears this "MJT" is supposed to be knowledgable of the past and current state of the mid-east, but this conversation makes him look like a total newb to the subject. From one American to another: I am ashamed to read this.

Posted by: Dan C at November 10, 2006 04:32 PM

double-plus-ungood,
I didn't insult you; I was soliciting a comment on my assessment. You really shouldn't take it as an insult.

Fair enough, I apologize for the misunderstanding and my retort.

Look, I think you're hunting for information to support a preconception. For example:
My argument is simple, you are really a raging antisemite that wants to destroy Israel and is trying to dupe gullible people by looking "reasonable" and engaging in dialogue. This is the technique Hitler used to buy time and gain strength.
If this is what you actually think, then why engage in discussion? But if you're wrong, then there is simply no way for AlGhaliboon to prove you wrong.

Similarly, I could claim that my belief was that you in fact want to exterminate the Arab people, but that you are toning your rhetoric down to fool us. Again, the argument is dumb - if I thought that, why would I engage you in dialog? And if I'm wrong, how could you convince me?

AlGhaliboon seems to me to have some fairly moderate opinions that I'm interested in hearing. His opinions may or may not represent the Arab or Hezbollah mainstream thought on these issues, but that's irrelevant, he's presenting them as his own. And if you want to debate him on what you percieve as anti-Semitism, I'd suggest doing that, and not using it as evidence that all his opinions can be written off.

Just my two cents.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 10, 2006 04:34 PM

Hizballah is an organisation that works with the stick and the carrot. In that they are much more sophisticated than the traditional Arab National-Socialists that appeared in in 50's 60's.

The word FREEDOM for the PERSON, the INDIVIDUAL never appears in discurse of AlGahlibon. It's the Party that rules that. If the village doesnt pays the ransom contribution to the cause a broken window, a message, a call in the middle of the night will assure the result.
The logic is of the Mafia.

Posted by: lucklucky at November 10, 2006 04:36 PM

DanC: I do have to say that after reading the first few paragraphs of this exchange, "MJT" came off as immature and provocative.

That's fine, Dan, and partly why I changed my tone.

I used to live in Lebanon and have been personally bullied and threatened and harrassed by Hezbollah. Then they started a war that brought air strikes and bombs to my neighborhood.

I'm sorry if it embarrasses you that I'm a little pissed off and took the opportunity to vent at the first Hezbollah member I have spoken to since the war ended.

You are welcome to read something else if you like.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 10, 2006 04:40 PM

Alg- no, I realize that the Arabs are not a monolithic people... but the most strident agitators do present themselves that way. So either there is an Arab Street that we have to respect and treat as monolithic... or else there are Libians, Syrians, Iraqis, etc. Of course, then we need to break them down into Bedouin, Berbers, Copts, Maronites, etc. Not to mention the Sunni and Shia divide. At some point we have to address the various issues by their respective agitators.

There are the Palestinians living in the West Bank, that is one group. And there are the Palestinians living in Gaza. I distinguish because they have been behaving differently lately. And there are the Palestinians living in "camps" in Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt. And now there are Palestinians refugees from Iraq and Kuwait and elsewhere.

These people all deserve some decent resolution, if not land where they stand, land elsewhere. And they deserve financial reparations, but not just from the Israelis but from the US, Europe, and most crucially the other Arab states... who largely forced their current status upon them by refusing to negotiate with Israel after the 67 war, for encouraging their mass migration in 1948 as well, and lastly for refusing citizenship and freedom of movement in places like Lebanon.

As for the state of Israel... before arguing over the status of Jerusalem and the occupied territories, or bringing up disputed 1948 borders, Hamas and Hezb will need to first recognize the right of Israel to exist at all. After that it is a matter of creating borders that will work.

I have long worried that Gaza and the West Bank cannot survive by themselves, isolated within and by Israel. Then again, I cant see how Israel can exist bisected by Palestinian territories. Contiguity and open sea access is vital to both.

However, there are security issues as well. Israel simply cannot afford to give up the highlands overlooking the Jordan River, nor can it give up the Golan Heights. Yes, other nations can live with insecurable borders (theoreticaly at least, maybe North America is an example). But Israel has had to learn the hard way that its neighbors cannot be given such wiggle room.

I realize that the Koran changes as Mohammed aged and underwent different experiences. But I also know that many passages do indeed argue for conversion by the sword, even as others forbid it. One of Islam's handicapps (I think) is that there is no single body that sets interpretations and rules. Any firebrand individual can successfully teach their version of Islam based on the passages and Hadith that they wish to quote. So, can we agree that some people do indeed see the compulsions and rules that I laid out, and that (from my perspective) these people cause a security problem for Israel and for the West?

And slogans and actions do matter. When Al Queda attacked New York on 9/11 it was as the opening act in a wider war of Islam against the West. We were actually not paying much attention to Islam before that, we were looking forward to shrinking our military and getting out of Europe and anywhere else we could leave well enough alone.

You should see all previous actions of the US government, CIA, or military in the light of the Cold War and Europe's obsession with "the balance of power". Yes, we supported Saddam at times, we also gave Iran some assistance, we did what we could to make sure that neither overran the other. We got involved in Saddam's invasion of Kuwait when he seemed to threaten Saudi Arabia as well, for the same reason. And we supported Israel against the rest of the Arab states for the same reason. When the Cold War ended there was a real chance that eveything was going to change, that this rather cold-hearted way of dealing with the rest of the world was going to end for the US. Osama, smartly, put a stop to that.

His attack was, however, moronic. He attacked the World Trade Center. Citizens of 52 nations and many Muslims died on 9/11. And when we saw Hamas and Hezb supporters dancing in the streets it made a lasting impression. When we continue to see actions like the murder by mob of the Israeli soldier in the West Bank or the kidnapping of border guards the impression of "crazy Muslims/Arabs" is only supported. I know you would rather us interpret your slogans of Death to America as only aimed at our politics, but it doesnt feel that way from here. And just as America is constantly asked to take other nation's impressions and feelings into account, the reverse is also true.

End the violent slogans and the support for terrorism. Stop kidnapping Israeli soldiers and civilians. Stop the suicide bombings and drug running. Urge Palestinians and Lebanese to unilaterally make peace, or at least ignore Israel. Focus instead on the business of life within the borders that you do have. This will generate much good will in the West.

But when you attack Israel, just as when Osama attacked NY, you will only rally Western opinion behind Israel... thus the IDF was allowed weeks to chase Hezb around the countryside before being forced to call a stop. And you can say that you "won" just by staying alive, but Lebanon undeniably suffered. If you wan to cliam to be "the people" than this should be your first priority and worry, not whether Jerusalem is international, binational, or even on fire.

In America Arial Sharon is either unknown or known to be both a man of peace and a bloody warrior. Shabral and Shatilla were horrible events and no one is being given a free pass on that. But Sharon did negotiate Israeli withdrawels against the public opinion of his own party. And at this rate, the man is dead, just as all those events are in the past.

This is the key difference between America and... I guess everyone else. We DONT CARE about Pearl Harbor, or the Battle of the Buldge, or anything else. They happened, they were horrible, but they are not reasons to create even more bloodshed. Only current positions and future threats are worth fighting over.

And I have to respectfully disagree with your view of the 2nd intefadah. The Palestinian economy was objectively doing well. The EU had just built a free airport and sea port. There were jobs in both PA lands and in Israel. The PA was allowed to police itself. And the PA even had a bond rating!? And Camp David and Oslo would have given them just about everything they could ever have expected from Israel.

The visit by Sharon to Temple/Mosque was a stunt, sure, just as when the Japanese PM visited the soldiers' temple and offended China. But it was not an act of violence itself, it was simply a pretext for Arafat to get out of the negotiations, which would have led to his own obsolencense. I understand that many Palestinians even understand this.

Other people have pointed out the futility of the pride, justice, honor line. You should not be fighting for this, if we were to do so much of the world would be in a truly sorry state. Stop fighting because of the past and begin working towards a future. And trust me, there is no future in another attack on Israel and another war in Lebanon. You might have some Christians willing to negotiate with you now, but not after another round of bombings. And the IDF might be pulling back from the border today, but not after another "incident"

Oh, and FYI, IMHO, and FWIW... why did the latest kidnapping result in your last war? Because it came right after Hamas did the same. And it came after Israel had been pushing its people to accept signifigant concessions such as pulling out of Gaza (you might not see it as much of a concession, but they sure did) So your kidnapping was simply intolerable for them. Frankly, your leadership should have known this. Also, the rest of the world does not accept crossing a border, killing, and kidnapping soldiers... I know you have done this to Israel in the past and got away with it, but that was simply because we were not looking that time. Israel was given a free pass to thump S. Lebanon because your action crossed lines the rest of us still try to respect. Dont do it again, please, I dont know what they would be allowed to do in response next time... but I would like there to be a Lebanon to try to visit again in the future.

Posted by: sean at November 10, 2006 04:42 PM

This is about matters where people have and people will continue to be killed, and yet you claim the authority to dictate to everyone in the thread how they are to present themselves. You have no right.

I have the right to respond to insult comments made at my expense. Or are you claiming jurisdiction over that as well?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 10, 2006 04:44 PM

double-plus-ungood,

We judge people by what they write and say. I have provided quotes of what Al wrote. He has not denied these quotes. According to these quotes it is clear to me he is an antisemite but maybe I am getting something wrong. Why doesn't his statement about Jews being the most intolerant people strike you as antisemitic?

e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 04:45 PM

Forgiveness won't happen when we are fighting; isn't this the dilemma in all conflicts? At any rate, the focus should be on smaller issues, things that might seem insigifnicant but which provoke hostilities and more hatred.

The Lebanese are from agreeing on stopping killing each other; they are as resolved to killing each other if that means they will get rid of the other viewpoint. As for comparing this to Israel, I would say the comparison does not hold; while we do have to live with other Lebanese, we do not have to deal with the Israelis. In fact there is a strong argument against the normalization of economic ties with Israel because that would greatly harm domestic agriculture and industries.

I think it's also important to clear this up; Syria are not our allies (vice versa). We have relations, mutual understandings, but not alliance; where did anyone see any alliance? We have had many fallouts with Syria exactly because our diplomatic/political relationship was based on an equal footing (though control of the state and the army apparatus effectively meant that they were the masters of the country, and fighting against them would have necessitated fighting against the army). At any rate, whom did Syria assassinate?

On the contrary, we at Hizbullah are organized and do not - have not at any point - violated orders. There is full control within the ranks. Not one rocket will leave our launchers without the knowledge and approval of our local units and commanders. Not one bullet would be fired until we are given the green light to do so. I will not elaborate more, but I think our great show of discipline speaks more than words can do it justice.

We - Hizbullah and the Lebanese government - have offered permanent ceasefire and accepted UN demarcation (the demarcation took place and the blue line was the result; we even accepted the Israeli encroachment onto Lebanese territory at Misgav 'Am, which we did not have to accept, technically, and could refuse if we wanted to), but have stopped short of recognizing Israel's right to exist; this is as I said part of the Arab-Israeli conflict in general and Lebanon cannot possibly take a stand independent of other countries' positions. Primarily the internal scene would not allow it either.

Indirect negotiations because we do not wish to give Israel something that it has done nothing to deserve, namely recognition of its right to exist. Why would we recognize a state that adopts terrorism as a way of life? Don't they justify their non-recognition based on this too? What would they lose if they recognize us? They even deny that we have a support base; I guess they started believing their own lies after all.

The Katyushas were not indiscriminate; they were fired with coordinates. Being unguided, however, if they fell elsewhere, or that the Israelis did not listen to their governments warnings to stay indoors, that has not been our intention. The same cannot be said for Israel, the same country that was proven to have deliberately targeted the UNIFIL compound at Qana in 1996, killing 102 civilians.
In war, people die, remember? Or does that apply only to us?

As for how we could've exacted hevay civilian casualties, I would leave it open for your speculation (because not everything can be said). However, I can assure you, on my own honour, that we could've done what I am saying, and did not. Feel free to doubt it, or accuse me of lying, as I am sure many will.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 04:46 PM

Why doesn't his statement about Jews being the most intolerant people strike you as antisemitic?

Where did I say that I didn't?

I said that you should discuss that particular statement. But then you compared him to Hitler and said he wanted to destroy Israel, despite several statements by him saying that he recognizes Israel's right to exist.

I can only imagine that you think those statements falsehoods, which brings me back to "then why are you in this conversation?"

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 10, 2006 04:51 PM

My post at 4:46 pm to Bruno.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 10, 2006 04:57 PM

double-plus-ungood,

I am in this conversation because YOU believe that he agrees to the existence of Israel.

Please, please, read the following exchange of his from post #24 on this page:
http://www.lfpm.org/forum/showthread.php?t=19827&page=3

Please convince me that he does not want to destroy Israel and that my reading is all wrong. I am worried that you believe the "moderate" face that he is presenting to you when in fact he is planning armageddon. Shouldn't I be worried about antisemitism+willingness to kill? Shouldn't I be even more worried when reasonable people like you think he is not dangerous?

e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 05:01 PM

"despite several statements by him saying that he recognizes Israel's right to exist."

Well i have to jump in. So do you think that phrase values much more than the all others were he doesnt even talk about israelis and refers to jews as a conspiracy people . If you are so credulous i just hope you never will be in position to do damage.

Posted by: lucklucky at November 10, 2006 05:01 PM

...and to prevent any further spilled blood in this thread, I'll now bow out.

G'night, all.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 10, 2006 05:01 PM
To hide behind F-16s and then make unsubstantiated accusations that we hide amongst civilians to justify the kill-of-the-day, is not my idea of fighting like real men.

Whereas fighting primarily a media battle is? The naked self-preservation in this lads proclaimations of what "honorable" warfare is not surprising... especially for someone who must know that the only reason they are not wiped off the face of the earth is the honor and dignity of their enemy e.g. the willingness of Israelis to be restrained, and embarassed by battlefield faux pas. Interesting that Hezbollah (or al Qeada or a host of other Islamic groups) dont abide by these same 'rules.'

Posted by: bains at November 10, 2006 05:15 PM

"We chant death to America because America has been the source of much of our suffering."
- That is what you have been taught to believe, or what you choose to believe. Yet did America ever attempt to inflict suffering on lebanese civilians? The simple answer would be no. If you have a problem with policies, then you should be shouting "death to bad policy!"

"we are not out to destroy USA or kill Americans"
- Who is "we"? We are under the impression that some of "you" are indeed trying to blow up civilians in all western nations.

"When you see our fighters march, you should not feel a threat because our fighters are our guarantees to remaining in this land."
- These "fighters" could just as easily cause all of your communities to be utterly destroyed, if they do something nasty and stupid enough, like toppling a few skycrapers in israel. And your "fighters" are training other such "fighters" in gaza to do things precisely of that nature.

But my warning to you would be this: those who restrain themselves for too long, can in the end over-react if their resistance/restraint is broken.

"However, I do not see how installing puppets and dictators, arming Israel to its teeth and making it one of the world's strongest armies (even stronger than or at least on par with France) have achieved anything other than convince the people that America is the enemy?"
- I won't comment on the dictators part, because I don't think America or Israel should ever give any support to a dictator. Americans believes Israel should continue to exist. If Israel's neighbours make peace with Israel, American would no longer feel the need to give military aid. In fact, Israel itself would also no longer feel the need to spend a large % of its GDP on its army.

Israel feels the need to be able to defend itself against all possible enemies around it attacking at once. Should that be surprising?

"Regarding our prisoners, if you will recall the similar operation in 2000, that freed a great bulk of our prisoners; it was a similar scenario, and it did not result in a war."
- The one-sidedness of all these trades is a bit annoying. A dead body for a hundred live enemies, many of whom will continue to fight? Do you really expect this to continue indefinitely, especially as continued war hardens attitudes?

"I am even willing to go as far as saying that they have the right to self-rule in 1948 lands. But I don't think anyone is willing to make any further compromise."
- Then for a hizbullah supporter, you are very moderate, but that still does not answer the question about jerusalem, or about refugees, or the question of what happens if the disagreement about these two issues continues (as it is likely to).

"The ideal would be that Al Quds (Jerusalem) - east and west - would be an international city."
- It would be unsustainable by historical standards. How about Mecca being an international city? To jews, it is the only place on earth where god is near.

"his visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque single-handedly brought about 6 years of violence"
- You do know that the palestinians (including Dahlan) were notified months in advance, and gave their ok? And that there is easily available evidence about them planning the violence during those months prior to the visit?

"Tell that to the Iraqis who starved to death because of sanctions meant to depose of Saddam who was supported and armed by the U.S throughout the years of his crimes against humanity (against Shi'ites, Kurds, etc.) and his war on Iran and Kuwait, or to those who were killed by U.S shells that were used to topple Saddam's regime, which was supported and funded for decades by the very liberators."
- First of all, during the cold war, many nasty things were done by both sides, and the reality was that America did not want either Iran or Iraq to win, so when Iraq was on the verge of losing it would receive more support, and vice versa. But many in American politics felt guilty for letting him stay in power for the following decade, and took the opportunity to do what they should have done a decade earlier, i.e. topple Saddam. Also, the sanctions were advocated by those who wanted to avoid the bloodshed of war, but yes, they did turn out to be more cruel than a war would have been, and did not do much to harm him. I think we can agree that it was a mistake.

"Making peace with Israel on its own terms (which is what peace with Israel in the current circumstances would entail), rather than on just and equal terms, would make our children slaves."
- Israelis mostly have a different vision of history, and a different idea of what is just. So accepting your terms would be an injustice to them as well. To them, the conflict is caused by your attacks against them, and by your rejection of their state.

Posted by: JFTDMaster at November 10, 2006 05:28 PM

Let's not fall into this trap of moderation:
"I am even willing to go as far as saying that they have the right to self-rule in 1948 lands. But I don't think anyone is willing to make any further compromise."

Al is not agreeing to a Jewish state in the 48 borders. He is agreeing to some Jewish autonomy within the 48 borders like electing their own mayors. Bye bye Jewish state. Please correct me if I am wrong Al.

e

Posted by: e at November 10, 2006 05:39 PM

These people all deserve some decent resolution, if not land where they stand, land elsewhere.

These Jihadis control plenty of land. They identify themselves as Jihadi, and as such, they have stolen whole continents of land. They have enslaved nations and self-appropriated property too great to measure. To this day they engage in slavery and territorial conquest. The only thing they deserve is to have the lives and property that they have taken from others taken away from them.

Posted by: mikhael at November 10, 2006 06:01 PM

Let us speak for a moment of practicalities. Of realpolitik, if you will.

alGhali, my name is Ric. I understand that means something amusing to you. I urge you to suppress that reaction.

I am, more or less in order of importance, an American, a Christian, a Texan, a military veteran, a Republican, and a descendant of American Indians. Whatever your goals are, you must convince me, and others like me, not to oppose them, or you don't have a hope in Hell.

The reason that is so is that you produce nothing for yourself. You and your people do not even make the explosives you kill people with; you must buy them from the West, or from the Persians. You and your people don't make the televisions you watch Nasrallah speak on; you must buy them from the Japanese and the Koreans. You don't make the studios or their equipment; you must buy them from us, or from the British or French. You don't make the cell phones you use as triggers for booby traps; you must buy them from the West, or again Japan and Korea. You don't make the pickup trucks that transport your "soldiers" to battle. You don't even make the guns you brandish so forcefully, or the ammunition you waste spraying at the sky. The rockets? Russia or Eastern Europe.

You don't even earn the money you buy those things with. You must depend upon the largesse, the generosity, of others, and if you believe that generosity is genuinely in your interest you are too stupid to take seriously, or else you depend upon Western desire for the oil, which was put there by Allah with no effort on your part; you did nothing to earn it.

We, on the other hand (and by "we" I mean the West and those who have copied us) make all those things. It is for this reason that we are strong. We learned, with the most painful lessons coming in the century just past, that both Mao and Machiavelli were wrong. Good soldiers may well get you gold, but for us gold is useful stuff for electronics and not much more; our wealth is elsewhere. The sort of power that flows from the barrel of a gun is transitory and not a little illusory. If you have the power of wealth, guns are so cheap they can be handed out to the likes of you for our entertainment. What we have learned is the deep truth of another aphorism: When you are strong you can forgive your enemies. When you are weak you can only kill them.

You, sir, are a weakling and a coward, and as such we will never support you. You prove yourself a weakling by announcing your intention to kill, thereby establishing that you are too weak to forgive. You confirm that by never producing anything of your own, only demanding that others provide your support. You have no strength, no power. You are not a slave, and we have no desire to have you as a slave -- a slave must at least be able to hew wood and carry water, and you have established that you have not the strength for that even on your own behalf, by demanding that others do it for you while you arm yourself to kill.

Therefore you have failed in your aim. You have not come close, with your glib recital of past vilenesses, to convincing me to support you. I mentioned that I am a descendant of American Indians. A century and a half ago, the invading whites ripped some of my ancestors from their lands, forcing them to walk almost three thousand kilometers to a a desolate untamed land where they were "resettled", and took the ancestral lands for their own. But I am a Westerner. That is in the past, and the reality for today is that if I wish a redress of those grievances, first I must amass the power -- and I understand that wealth is power, and all else is weakness. If I will not build real power I am simply a murderer if I seek to drive the descendants of the robbers from my ancestors' homeland. And, strangely enough, I find that as I amass real power the issue recedes. One bit of land will do as well as another. Speaking of "homelands" is simply an excuse for tyrants to gather political power from lazy people who are wistful for past glory but unwilling to make new glory.

The guns, the rockets, the bombs, all the warstuff you amass is worthless so long as you must get it by trusting the largesse of others. It will never gain you the strength you want. The ability to kill is not power. The ability to build is power, power we can respect. If you have real power, the warstuff is toys and bagattelles.

And if you are seeking "honor" from us, you have failed again. "Honor" as you understand it means that we recognize your ability to kill or damage who or what you like, when you like, without effective reprisal. We call that "bullying" and consider it the behavior of jackals. By insisting upon it you class yourself with those.

Save your rhetoric. You have failed, and will continue to fail. Your every presentation that you consider as influencing the West to favor you instead reminds us of what we consider our dishonorable past; you disgust us because you remind us of our primitive origins, which we have done our best to suppress. Even the word "jihad", which you use among yourselves and in your propaganda as a term of approbation, for us is quite different. An attempt, by military or other violent force, to extend the reach of one's beliefs or religion is a crusade. That's what the English word means. The fact that today's Crusaders wear a crescent-and-star instead of a cross makes no difference. Hassan Nasrallah, and you, are Crusaders. You should change your name to Geoffrey.

It's fun to read your apologias and what you consider to be your arguments, but I am one of the ones you must convince, and you have not only failed to advance that cause, you are farther from it than you were when I had never heard of you. If you want my support -- and you cannot come close to your goals without it, and you know it, or you would not make the attempt -- you must change your tactics. I don't care to advise you on what tactics to use, except to let you know that several others upthread have offered useful hints,because frankly you disgust me. Your presentation has made it more likely that I will shoot you or your followers when I encounter you, not less. You are a failure. Accept that and learn.

Regards,
Ric

Posted by: Ric Locke at November 10, 2006 06:29 PM

AG, thank you for the reply

The Lebanese are [far?] from agreeing on stopping killing each other; they are as resolved to killing each other if that means they will get rid of the other viewpoint.

You are of course in a far better position to judge this than I, but the fact remains they are not killing each other in large numbers at the moment. They do not find it imperative to keep on fighting despite their enduring mutual hate. Thus, in this case practical considerations of peace and self-preservations trump old hatreds.

As for comparing this to Israel, I would say the comparison does not hold; while we do have to live with other Lebanese, we do not have to deal with the Israelis."

Yes you do. You may choose not to trade with the Israelis, but in a war you will be forced to deal with them. Fighting the Israelis (who are not exactly a continent away) brings about death and suffering with no end in sight, just like fighting your fellow Lebanese would. Thus the practical imperatives not to fight are the same if differences can at all be resolved or papered over.

In fact there is a strong argument against the normalization of economic ties with Israel because that would greatly harm domestic agriculture and industries

Fair enough, trading or not is your prerogative, but surely bombs are far more more damaging to your economy.

I think it's also important to clear this up; Syria are not our allies (vice versa). [...] At any rate, whom did Syria assassinate?

You are currently in an alliance, even if just one of convenience. In any case, by the criteria you set forth (occupation, prisoners, violation of sovereignty) they ought to be your sworn enemies. Even if you do not want to fight them militarily, directly or by proxy (although you do take on the IDF, a much harder nut to crack, so to speak), surely there should be some serious pressure to resolve these issues, and I can see none. As I said, demarcation of your common borders (implying Syrian de jure acceptance of Lebanese sovereignty) is not only a worthwhile goal in itself, it will all but guarantee the Israelis will leave the SF.

As for the assassinations, I find it hard to believe that those critical of Syria just happen to blow up spontaneously. In any case, you mentioned earlier a number of HA member executed by the Syrians. Surely that was murder?

We - Hizbullah and the Lebanese government - have offered permanent ceasefire and accepted UN demarcation [...]

My understanding is that HA did not accept the demarcation, which held the SF were Syrian, and after the Israelis pulled that uninhabited piece of land no one had ever heard of before was turned into a reason to continue the resistance. If Nasrallah is offering any sort of permanent cease fire now, he is being exceedingly subtle about it.

[...] have stopped short of recognizing Israel's right to exist; this is as I said part of the Arab-Israeli conflict in general and Lebanon cannot possibly take a stand independent of other countries' positions. Primarily the internal scene would not allow it either.
Why must Lebanon, and Lebanon only, be held at ransom of all the other countries' diplomacy? The Egyptians and Jordanians took an independent stand and have enjoyed peace ever since. The Syrian sat on their asses while you where fighting, and still you are expected to remain in a state of perpetual conflict until they get the Golan back. And if your internal scene cannot countenance the idea of genuine peace, then I'm sorry but you should get ready for rounds 2, 3, 4...n. You can't reject both peace and war and expect the universe to comply and come up with a third option.
Indirect negotiations because we do not wish to give Israel something that it has done nothing to deserve, namely recognition of its right to exist. Why would we recognize a state that adopts terrorism as a way of life? Don't they justify their non-recognition based on this too?
You do not have to do anything to have a right to exist. Many countries did far worse that the Israelis and have not forfeited this right. As far as I know, Israel accepts Lebanon's right to exist too.

Now, what is the point of negotiating if the other side does not accept your right to exist in the first place? It is like saying to someone you want to share a flat with him but you do not accept his right to live there.

This is basic, you do not have to accept any Israeli claims to the West Bank, or agree to resettle the Palestinians in Lebanon, or anything. You just agree to end the fighting, and accept the fellow down south as your neighbors. You give up nothing, and gain a a great deal. Peace between Lebanon and Israel is not a zero-sum game.

What would they lose if they recognize us? They even deny that we have a support base; I guess they started believing their own lies after all.

Nothing, I suppose, although it is hard to imagine them recognizing a movement that refuses to recognize them as a country. And yet, you are the one that ruled out direct negotiations.

The Katyushas were not indiscriminate; they were fired with coordinates. Being unguided, however, if they fell elsewhere, or that the Israelis did not listen to their governments warnings to stay indoors, that has not been our intention.

Come on! Israel could (did) claim with far greater propriety that Lebanese civilians should have heeded the call to evacuate, and that bombs sometimes miss their targets, and sometimes the targets are wrong. This is true, and still does not justify all of their actions. When they fired all those cluster bombs, they knew as HA did with the K. did that no matter how legitimate the aim point was civilians would be greatly harmed because this weapon was effectively unguided. They should not get away with it, and neither should HA.

HA's claim to have fired missiles at a city with no intention of harming civilians, on the off chance it may hit a soldier somewhere, is simply not credible, and would not be morally acceptable even if true.

As for how we could've exacted hevay civilian casualties [...] I can assure you, on my own honour, that we could've done what I am saying, and did not. [...]

Fair enough. But then accept that the Israelis could also have done far, far worse and did not.

Posted by: Bruno Mota at November 10, 2006 06:40 PM

The "victor" suggests the prisoner trade of 2000 as the template that the Party of Allah hoped for when it kidnapped the soldiers in 2006. It's interesting that in 2000, the Party of Allah valued one dead Jew as equal to hundreds of living Arabs, isn't it? Even your own leaders don't think a whole lot of you.

Ric - That was one fantastic post.

Posted by: Ariel at November 10, 2006 11:05 PM

JFTDMaster,

You ask, when has America attempted to inflict suffering on Lebanese civilians. I tell you, when has it not? In 1975 America supported Syrian political and military intervention in Lebanon (read the archives of the State Department; Ms. Condoleezza Rice has been lying to you, the American people, when she says that USA has been trying to free Lebanon of Syria for the past 30 years. In 1982 America supported and took part in the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and throughout the war planned and determined the lines of contact between the Syrian and Israeli armies. In 1983 USA attempted to force peace with Israel on the Lebanese. In 1985 America killed 80+ civilians in the densely populated and mostly Shi'ite southern suburbs of Beirut in an assassination attempt on Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah (who escaped unharmed). From 1982 to 2000 America supported and funded the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon. In 1990 America handed Lebanon to Syria in return for Syria's favours in the Gulf war. That resulted in 15 years of occupation. In 2006 America supported the mass-murder of 1200 Lebanese civilians and even provided the bombs for this end.

When we liberated the South, we defeated not just Israel and the SLA (South "Lebanese" Army), but also USA and all the powers behind the support of all that I mentioned above. You make it seem as if our fight has, from the beginning to end, been, and continues to be, merely a result of hateful indoctrination and "Jihadism" (I find it ironic that people with no basic knowledge of Arabic even, let alone Islam, are now philosophizing about what Jihad really means). Yet why were we, the Shi'ites of the south, who form the bulk of Hizbullah today, not the same in the 50s, 60s, and the beginning of 70s, even up to the 80s? You will find the answer in checking out the suffering of the south by the indiscriminate attacks by Israel. Things could've been much, much different today had Israel not taken that route, killing more of our people than the PLO themselves. You should understand the realities of the situation, rather than paint a picture that makes you happy about Israel's and USA's position vis-a-vis the Middle East. Sadly, the average American voter does not know much about recent Middle East history, and whatever little he knows is probably from what he sees on Fox News or CNN.

You give me a warning, and I say, your warning can go to hell; if martyrdom is what Israel will bestow upon us, we accept it, and yearn for it. But I am not quite sure how Israel would go about doing that, unless you are saying it has every intention of contaminating itself too. We are not afraid of threats and will never bow down to blackmail.

You should comment on the dictators part. You should comment because it is the truth, and it is a big part of our grievance. Ignoring it and merely saying it's wrong IF USA has done it, won't right the wrong. Realizing it, admitting it, and trying to fix it, will. Notwithstanding for example your complete disapproval of the Islamic Republic of Iran, do you realize what the Shah's regime was like? The Shah had incarcerated tens of thousands of his own people - dissenters - in dungeons, and the secret services, SAVAK, had received aid/training from Mossad and CIA in torture methods. In Iraq you were supporting and providing weapons for Saddam's massacres against Shi'ites (and Kurds). In Palestine you are supporting the incarceration of more than 10,000 Palestinians, who have not been charged with anything (or often only with throwing a stone), many of whom are children; you are providing weapons for massacres and occupation. What did USA do in Chile? In Nicaragua? El Salvador? To name just a few.

You talk about the one-sidedness of trades, as if the whole conflict has ever been TWO-sided; you talk as if we have ever had the chance to fight as equals (without foul play on the part of the west that is); you talk as if the conditions leading up to the capture of these soldiers, namely the fact that Israel has quite unequally, kept our prisoners in dungeons for more than 15 years (some of these were civilians and were kidnapped from their homes; one example is Jawad Qasfi, I can name you many more). And then you talk about fairness of trade? The release should've been unconditional to begin with.

You say I am a moderate; I say I am not a moderate. I think the term itself is overrated to begin with, and has lost its real value in rhetoric that has painted even the real moderate Arab leaders who were willing to make many concessions to reach an agreement on the whole conflict, as extremists. This is exactly why I said that the Israelis themselves are responsible for their predicament today, having turned down the Iron Wall theory in its 3rd or 4th stage. Blurring the line between moderation and extremism has only served propaganda purposes, but not reality on the ground, for Israel and for the west elsewhere in the region. The issue of Al Quds (Jerusalem) being an international city is one based on the fact that the city is Holy in all three monotheistic religions; what religious importance does Mecca have for the Christian or the Jew?

The Palestinians giving Sharon their ok to visit what Sharon and all Israelis consider rightfully theirs (the temple mount as they call it) ? Where do you get your "facts" from? What you say is a blatant lie. In fact, the day Sharon's intention to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque was announced the P.A information ministry warned (not threatened) that the visit could give rise to very serious consequences (especially in light of the failure of the summit). Fateh called for mobilization to prevent this visit. The man responsible for maintaining the "security" (i.e. terrorizing the Palestinians into submission) of the West Bank, warned a day before the visit, that the ensuing situation would extend way beyond Jerusalem and his forces would be unable to control the situation. In fact, the violent intifada (uprising) started a day after the visit, AFTER 7 Palestinian demonstrators were killed. Check your facts again before making such false claims to truth.

As for Iran and Iraq, what you say is rather untrue; your attempt to pass off USA's dirty record in our region (and elsewhere) as mere goodwill to prevent one side from overcoming the other, or at best as part and parcel of the cold war (so much for not exporting your wars to our countries), is laughable. The U.S was in fact fully behind Iraq in its war against Iran. If you want more details proving how that was so, let me know (though I would recommend that you read more about the history of the conflict rather than attempt to explain every phenomenon as USA's will to prevent one side from driving over the other). As for the sanctions being a "mistake", tell that to the millions who died. For you it is easy to talk. It is easy to talk when you are sitting thousands of miles away playing war games with the lives of millions of our people. And then you have the face to ask us why we chant death to America.

Finally, Israel accepting our terms - not at all; I did not say Israel should accept our terms of justice; at the very least, it could accept the norms of human rights. That's the very least. But I understand one cannot afford to do that when one faces an existential threat not in waging war but in accepting true peace.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 11, 2006 02:15 AM

Mr. AlGhaliboon,

I don't have patience to read through this all, and maybe you won't even answer this following question since I'm Israeli, but:

what exactly (I mean real precisely) would bring peace in our region other than wiping Israel of the face of the earth - which, obviously, will bring about exactly the opposite?

Tsedek,
Ramat Gan
Israel

Posted by: tsedek at November 11, 2006 03:21 AM

what exactly (I mean real precisely) would bring peace in our region other than wiping Israel off the face of the earth
1. Israel's recognition of the most basic thing: human rights, regardless of religion/ethnicity.

2. Israel's recognition of the equally legitimate claim of "the other" indigenous population - the Palestinians - to live in (and return to) their land.

3. We do not mind Israel with 1948 borders and a Jewish government, existing side-by-side with Palestinians and other Arabs and Muslims.

4. We would like to see Al-Quds as an international city (a capital of both states if you want), or at the very least the eastern part of the city.

5. Solid guarantees that you will not attack us like you did in 1956 and 1967 and 1982 and 2006, in return for solid guarantees (on our honour) that we will not attack you like we did in 1973, and will control any attacks aimed at you from our territories by individual/independent elements.

6. Fair trade relations. Open borders for export of our products, in return for the same for yours.

7. Complete and final demarcation of borders, and an officila, binding definition by Israel of what its FINAL borders are. We will respond with similar declarations.

8. An apology for your crimes against our people, in return for our apology to our crimes against yours. Reparations/compensations for your crimes in return for the same from us, including the Jews who were forced out of the Arab countries (though in many cases the Zionists were proven to be behind the bombing campaigns).

9. The waters of the Litani will be solely ours, given that it is not a tributary to any of the other rivers that flow into Israel. Water sharing agreements on the tributaries, and in return you give us power/energy.

10. You prosecute all your Baruch Goldstein wanna-be,s and Kach-ists, and we will stop all forms of incitement against you and your people.

These are just a few.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 11, 2006 03:41 AM

Call me funny, but - and I'm solely speaking on behalf of my own and for nobody else - I don't see anything unreasonable in your demands, Mr. AlGhaliboon - except for the 2nd point you made : "and to return" - which would, as I'm convinced you can figure out yourself, contradict directly the 3rd point "... a jewish government.." - unless Israel would become a un-democratic country (one-man-one-vote).

Any idea why politicians (incl. 'your' Mr. Nasrallah) keep beating around the bush and don't touch the core problem as we've done just now?

('we' keep hearing that the next claim of the hizb, after returning the shebaa farms, will be 9 villages in the galilea that were originally shia - so it doesn't matter whether 'we' return the farms or not, it won't stop the claims)

Also: if I may take advantage of this opportunity and your patience, what then is the average israeli to think of all the 'zionist state must be wiped of the face of the earth' statements Mr. Nasrallah makes? (this is face of your, in my eyes, quite reasonable claims actually)

Posted by: tsedek at November 11, 2006 04:13 AM

This in effect is why there will be no peace between our countries and peoples. You consider the return of refugees as a non-starter; we are basing our calls on principles rather than practical considerations that can be ironed out after we agree on the basics (and certainly there are many solutions that can be examined and tried). However, the refugees MUST and WILL return. They will return, whether 100 years from now, or 1000 years from now; the timing is a moot point. They will return no matter what you do, and however many civilians you kill. Your position is, in effect, similar to your country's position on the 2 soldiers captured by us. We promised that the 2 soldiers will not return except through negotiations. We stood by our promise. So, we promise that the refugees will return. You can continue to kill in the name of preventing this, but it will create more resentment and in the long run eliminate whatever chance you have of maintaining Jewish governance, or even worse, Jewish presence. There is to a certain extent mobilization for rapprochement and reconciliation between the Palestinians and Israelis today. Your country should take this opportunity seriously and put a hasty solution to the problem. Taking in the refugees today might not spell the end of Israel. Taking them in 30 years from now definitely will.

Actually it's not 9 villages, it's 7 villages. And we have always demanded them, though again our pragmatism has made us deprioritize the issue, as it made us accept the encroachment of Misgav 'Am onto Lebanese territory. However, you should never forget that our current pragmatism is merely circumstancial, and if the circumstances force us to abandon it, we will not forget about the 7 villages as we have 'forgotten' them for quite some time now.

Zionism is a racist and exlusivist ideology (sort of like Nazism if you will not be offended by the comparison - and no offense intended); where it fails to justify its existence by peaceful means, it resorts to force to ensure its Jewishness. Is this the type of state you want? Do you want a Jewish state at the cost of such injustice, and a violation of the most basic tenets of Judaism? If so, then is there really anything to talk about? Our violence is not blackmail; it is a response and a demand for justice (which has failed to achieve results by all other, namely, diplomatic and peaceful, means), and a legitimate and justified one at that. Zionism as such is our enemy, and not Judaism and the Jewish people, or in fact Jewish governance that would be based on justice.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 11, 2006 04:44 AM

Aw, I'm sorry to have taken up of your time, Mr. AlGhaliboon. I was under the impression you came with reasonable demands, considering both parties in this issue - since there ARE 2 parties involved and 2 parties will have to come to a solution - but I'm sorry to see you took a turn to the usual "nobody is to blame but Israel" mantra - that contains nothing constructive into a positive direction.

Fi Amanillah,
Tsedek

Posted by: tsedek at November 11, 2006 04:52 AM

No one said nobody is to blame but Israel; if you read my previous comments here and on the other post, you will see that I place just as much, if not more blame on our leaders who are partly (if not fully) responsible for bringing us to this point. I do not see why stating our position(s) is not constructive. It is certainly a start; a start that you seem to be unwilling to make, for lack of anything that you are willing to make a compromise on (and certainly I have made my concessions in my statements, ones that others will not give you the benefit of). I understand though that living in a political culture of rejectionism of true moderation and concessions, you see this as a way of life. Says more about your readiness to negotiate, than ours.

However, I (and we Hizbullah and the Lebanese) are always ready to negotiate. If you wish to engage in constructive discussion at any point feel free to drop me a line - unless you are afraid for your own security which would also be understandable.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 11, 2006 05:14 AM

OK, let's take up the flwg point then and see that the basics of this demand is the end of the beginning that never can start, since this very point means destruction of the jewish state you say you are willing to recognize:

~~~However, the refugees MUST and WILL return. They will return, whether 100 years from now, or 1000 years from now; the timing is a moot point.~~~

How many refugees of how many countries around the world have EVER returned after more than half a century to their former countries given the fact that they were ALSO part of a war designed to eradicate the jewish people from this land in those days? Besides that: the basic you claim you hold is exactly the non-starter. I K-N-O-W (!) that there are monies put aside for compensation to the refugee Palestinians by the Israeli gov't (taken from the jewish iraqi refugees, but let's not enter into this) - BUT, you hold on to the 'right of return' - which, and there is absolutely NO way this can be interpretated differently, would mean the end of the jewish state (gov't controlled, anyway).

Furthermore: you admit that those villages which are on the jewish land (you would, in your point 3., accept) will still be not forgotten after you receive your first-priority demands.
Which leads me to ask: what exactly do you wish to do with 7 villages that you claim are 'yours' solely because of the fact they were shia ? Shia is not lebanese, not israeli, not palestinian - it's a religion.

Can't you really see that people in Israel can come but to one conclusion only based upon the above: even if the demands are met - it's still not the end - the end will be the end of israel. Because, Mr. AlGhaliboon, that is what you are writing, not in those words, but with stating that your demands are not the end of it. (Prioritizing)

Maybe you find it difficult to understand but people don't want their identity to be destroyed, not even the jewish people, and will do everything to protect it - just as much you do with your identity and other muslims I know in Europe. Comprehending this gets me into situations I can understand other people, other identities and feel wholehearted compassion with what you wrote about honor and being stepped upon - which is about the most disgusting thing I find people are capable of doing (on a human level). But the explanation of your demands would not straighten that out, it would just turn the table around. No more than that.

Posted by: tsedek at November 11, 2006 05:49 AM

if martyrdom is what Israel will bestow upon us, we accept it, and yearn for it

If you yearn to be killed and Israel decides to start killing, there is a Pareto optimal solution to the problem.

Just to pick two of the points for your "peace":

3. We do not mind Israel with 1948 borders and a Jewish government, existing side-by-side with Palestinians and other Arabs and Muslims.

1948 borders were called Aushwitz borders for a reason. Israel would forever depend on the mercy of the Arabs to not finish the job with 1948 borders. This was true in 1967, when the DoD first completed its study on the issue. It is even more true now, given how much faster military actions can move. This is, of course, in line with how Muslims expect Jews to live - as dhimmis with only the "protection" of the Muslims to protect them. My family, among others, had this situation for 500 years and I say no thank you. No thank you to burning Jews alive when you get a little bored, which happend to our family friends in Morocco.

In any case, even after 1948 and before 1967, there were numerous terrorist raids from the Arab territories into Israel. Like the rest of your so-called "peace", your goals are a transparent attempt to put Israel into a place where you can finally drive the Jews into the sea.

4. We would like to see Al-Quds as an international city (a capital of both states if you want), or at the very least the eastern part of the city.

In the previous point, you seek to destroy the mental strength of Israel by making her dependent on Muslim goodwill. In this point, you seek to destroy the spiritual strength of Israel by ripping her heart out from her. There is a theme here; in this step, you want to make Israel lose her reason for being and demoralize her, which will help you drive the Jews into the sea. Jerusalem, and not Al-Quds, is the beating heart of Israel and will never belong to Muslims again.

If Israel was half the terrorist you claim her to be, there would be no more mosque on top of the Temple Mount. Why is it that when Israel controls Jerusalem, Muslims are free to worship there? Again, a comparison with the pre-1967 state of Jerusalem is instructive in considering how reasonable your point is. Jews were not able to worship at the Western Wall, Jewish gravestones were torn up and used as the walls of latrines, etc. Given that history and what has been done from the Haggia Sophia to the temples in India, why would anyone trust you to allow freedom of worship in an "international city" or in a capital?

Let's just say that your promises here are worth the paper they will be written on. Why not start to prove the point by, for example, having your patrons in Iran declare that there will be freedom of religion in their country, and that from now on Zoroastrians, Jews, etc. are free to worship how they choose and don't need to wear the veil in public (if they are women)? The problem is that your patrons, and therefore you, cannot accept any other religion practicing in peace, which is why your words ring hollow on Jerusalem, as they do on everything else.

Posted by: Ariel at November 11, 2006 07:41 AM

if martyrdom is what Israel will bestow upon us, we accept it, and yearn for it

We will. Don't worry.

And we will bestow upon your countries much worse than this. Life without oil. Just be patient while we are developing our technologies.

Posted by: Nobody at November 11, 2006 07:59 AM

To Nobody,
Exactly. The best way to get rid of these guys is make oil $5 a barrel. No bloodshed, no violence. At these prices, Iran won't be able to feed its people let alone support HA. This should be the agenda for the 2008 US presidential elections.
e

Posted by: e at November 11, 2006 08:37 AM

Israel Presses for Oil from Shale

ORA

We know where they all are feeding from. I hope to see with my own eyes Arabs drinking their oil for the lack of better use.

Then we will discuss the refugees' problem.

Posted by: nobody at November 11, 2006 08:49 AM

Israel Presses for Oil from Shale

ORA

We know where they are all feeding from. I hope to see with my own eyes Arabs drinking their oil for the lack of better use.

Then we will discuss the refugees' problem.

Posted by: nobody at November 11, 2006 08:51 AM

How can you argure with a member of Hezbollah when Hezbollah denies the Holocaust happened? Hezbollah is an organization with a Nazi-like hatred of ALL Jews everywhere.

Nasrallah has said that it is better to have more Jews in one place because it makes them easier to kill. That is his ultimate goal.

This man should not be lecturing about racism and intolerance to anyone.

Posted by: Susan at November 11, 2006 08:51 AM

sorry

messed up this link

another try

Israel Presses for Oil from Shale

Posted by: nobody at November 11, 2006 08:52 AM

By the way they are already building the first plant in Negev

Posted by: nobody at November 11, 2006 08:57 AM

I think what is most maddening is this guy's routine:

"False - you make your statement based on an assumption which cannot be verified based on the shifting and dynamic variables which shape this conflict..."

(That's parody, Al G, but not by much.)

Al G... can you ever answer a question directly? Or does it always take four or five paragraphs of rhetoric and subterfuge to mask - poorly - your paucity of common sense?

For example... Israel IS, whether you like it or not: do you, or do you not accept Israel's right to exist?

The ways in which you would change Israeli society have nothing to do with that question: you are not an enfranchised citizen of Israel, and it is not up to you to make its laws anymore than it is up to Israel to make yours.

Likewise, border disputes are also beside the point. You could easily write, "I agree to Israel's right to exist, but I maintain that the Sheeba Farms belong to Lebanon."

Then you'd just have a simple border dispute between two legitimate states, not an incremental excuse which feeds an eternal war.

But you don't do that. Why?

Geeze. Answer the question!

I don't know how people can stand reading you - I must admit, I gave up about halfway through. It's like arguing with a parrot.

Posted by: Wastelandlive at November 11, 2006 10:52 AM

AG: Zionism is a racist and exlusivist ideology (sort of like Nazism if you will not be offended by the comparison - and no offense intended)

There is a significant difference between thinking one's race superior and master to all others, and wishing to protect one's own people, especially when that people have historically been the target of some of the world's worst persecutions.

Individuals within that group might well be racist, and I have certainly seen statements from some Zionists that were shockingly racist, but my understanding of Zionism as a political movement does not seem racist, and is exclusionary not as a matter of ideology but as a route to security and self-determination.

And, if I can presume to offer advice, I would avoid comparisons of Zionism and Nazism. Nothing good can come ever come of it, unless one's aim is to offend.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 11, 2006 11:23 AM

And we will bestow upon your countries much worse than this. Life without oil. Just be patient while we are developing our technologies.

And a pony.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 11, 2006 11:28 AM

At http://www.cmc.catch-free.com/community/index.php
is a public forum for Israeli/Lebanese dialog. I invite all to participate.

My 2 pence; If you truly want to resolve the issues with my country, I recommend the path of nonviolent resistance. From my POV, some of your demands seem outlandish (releasing a convicted murderer like Quntar) and some are quite reasonable (Shebaa Farms, [if and only if Syria revokes it's claim to the land]). Bottom line though - It's negotiable. Our positions in the conflict aren't so far that they cannot be bridged.
I can understand why you would not want to go to direct negotiations with israel (despite Egypt and Jordan doing so), but a nonviolent protest of the sort that was led by visionaries like Martin Luther King, Mahatma Ghandi, the Dalai Lama, or your own Cedar Revolutionaries, will gain you not-only international support but both internal support and even Israeli public support. If HA gave up it's arms, and focussed on trying to politically/diplomatically influence change in Israeli policy, you'd be surprised how much support you'd gain, even within Israel.
It was the Israeli public which took us out of Lebanon in 2000, against IDF generals' better judgment. With the Oct2000 and recent crossborder operations, you proved the Israeli public wrong. Is that your goal? To have Israel occupy South Lebanon again? Your actions, justified or not, are leading to that.
For all our sakes, I suggest you stop looking at the past, and start looking towards the future. Pragmatism pays.

Posted by: Shay at November 11, 2006 02:01 PM

I thought it might help a bit if I touched upon your specific points like tsedek here did.

Point 1 is a given. I'd like to see that too, though honestly, I think the problem is much larger in Arab/Muslim countries than it is in Israel. Arabic is an official language in Israel, Arabs and Muslims are free to practice their traditions, how many Kurds can say the same in Syria, Turkey or Iran?

Point 2 is why we want to negotiate with the Palestinians, who are the only people qualified to deliberate on the Palestinian cause. This has to do with the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon of course, but other than that is a non-Lebanese issue, from my point of view. Particularly, "right of return" is something of an impossibility for us. This is why we want to negotiate of course, because we realize that for the other side this is not a given.
With all fairness though, it's not like the odd million or so Jews of Arab/Muslim countries have a fat chance of ever returning to their homes or receiving compensation for their property.

On point 3 - The whole Arab League gave us 1967 border, you're only willing to give us 1948? That's a bit presumptous, no? Also, as I preceive this as being part of the Palestinian problem, I don't think it's any of the Lebanese business'. If you'd like to try and diplomatically influence policy that's fine though. The point really is that reality has changed since 1967, going back to those borders as if nothing has happened doesn't make sense, since we don't live in the past, but we'd like to build a better future. Though, again, to me this point is moot, I won't argue it.

Point 4 - Assuming a normalization of relationship with Israel, you'd be welcome to visit and practice your religion in Jerusalem. However, the chance of having Jerusalem an international city disappeared when Arab League countries refused the UN partition plan. Besides, I don't see the Saudis giving up Mecca and Medina. If they became Vatican-like city-states, I'd consider supporting this idea. Until then, bollocks.

Point 5 goes without saying. I like that you added that you would take responsibility of all crossborder violence, as is expected from a normal country.

Point 6 would be great! Trade relations are the key to a prosperous relationship. As evidenced by Israeli products flooding the Turkish markets and Israeli funds invested in Jordanian textile plants, we're good to our end of the bargain as far as that goes. I'd imagine a lot of tourism too.

Point 7 is an Israeli strategic goal, denied us by the setbacks in negotiations with the Palestinians. I assure you this is something we both want.

I don't really see the point of 8, though I'm by no means against it. We share a bloody past, but it's hardly the worst. If countries like France and Germany, with their horribly bloody past can now share an economy(!), I'm sure we can get beyond our past and look to the future as civilized peoples.

Point 9 - We have prior agreements with HK Jordan concerning water that require us to take them into account in all our dealings on the subject. However, what you say sounds reasonable. An even better idea would be a joint venture Med-sea water desalination plant. They're very costly, and only cost-effective if done for very large quantities, definitely something for more than one government.

Point 10 is already being done, at least on our side. I'd like for your side to be doing at least as much as we are.

So, as you can see, I really don't think our positions in this conflict are unbridgeable. If we only started talking like civilized people, much could be accomplished.

Posted by: Shay at November 11, 2006 02:33 PM

What exactly does that man have to be proud of?

Posted by: spmat at November 11, 2006 02:56 PM

Al,

I'm late to this conversation, but have read almost all your responses if not the originators.

I'm one who recognizes that Arab, Lebanese, Palestinian and other people have legitimate grievances against Israel. The reverse is also true in my opinion.

What I really don't understand is why you use the tactics you do because in the West, and Israel, they are viewed as barbaric. As a result the focus of most Americans and others in the west is on the way you conduct your resistance and not the resistance itself. It seems to me this is a counterproductive strategy for you. You state you want to change US policy, but your tactics do nothing but reinforce the policy and justify it in the eyes of Americans and the West. Americans are willing to forgive Israeli atrocities because they see your atrocities as worse. In the case of the recent war in Lebanon, Americans viewed your tactics as war crimes that were designed to create civilian casualties. Placing your artillery/rocket pieces next to apartment buildings is one example. If you're so concerned about your own civilians why do you not make an effort at keeping them away from the conflict? A common perception in the west is that you purposely use civilian areas and the UN compounds to complicate Israeli targeting. When the Israelis miss and civilians are killed, your crocodile tears seem hollow. By the same token, your tactics and those used by the Intifada consistently strengthen the right-wing and marginalize the more moderate and peaceful elements in Israel. You are giving them ammunition and hurting your cause – surely you can see that from the reactions and polls taken after your attacks.

Add to this the images Americans see of you indoctrinating your youth into violence by dressing them in toy weapons, uniforms and suicide belts. This is particularly repulsive to Americans who try to keep violence out of their children’s lives. Even in Iraq American soldiers have sacrificed themselves to save Iraqi children when Al Qaeda “martyrs” kill them. Although you may not believe it, Americans and American soldiers take great care in avoiding killing civilians and especially children. Certainly Israel is not free or innocent of committing atrocities and at least they apologize when mistakes are made.

I can see how you would be angry that America supplies arms and support to Israel since Israel is your enemy. Can you also understand why Israel and American would be angry with Syria and Iran for supplying arms to you? I think you claimed that no alliance exists between you and Syria or Iran, but how else are you supplied with advanced weapons? The anti-tank missile systems you used to great effect against the Israelis did not come from some third-world arms bazaar, nor did the C-802 missiles that hit and damaged the Eilat and sank an innocent merchant ship off the Lebanese coast. By all accounts they came from Iran via Syria.

Finally you mention that for peace there must be the right of return but the 1948 borders are acceptable. Aren’t these two conditions at odds? Please explain in practical terms how this would work.

Posted by: Andy at November 11, 2006 07:32 PM

AlGhaliboon,
"In 1975 America supported Syrian political and military intervention in Lebanon "
- A reference to the state department is a little vague, I am not in the habit of reading their archives or actually caring about their opinion. They have become a branch of government of their own, ignoring directives from the executive and legislative branches on many occasions. Not really your problem, of course, but the point is, who in American supported it? Did the State department, over the objections of the rest of the government? That would not particularly suprise me.

"In 1982 America supported and took part in the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and throughout the war planned and determined the lines of contact between the Syrian and Israeli armies."
- Americans accepted Israel's reasons for the invasion, and treated it as a defensive action against the PLO, as did the Israelis themselves. As for contact between the Syrian and Israeli armies, what sinister plot are you implying? That the two armies wanted to cooperate to take down Lebanon? That is not a very good understanding of either side. If anything, the two armies were rivals.

"In 1985 America killed 80+ civilians in the densely populated and mostly Shi'ite southern suburbs of Beirut in an assassination attempt on Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah (who escaped unharmed)."
- If one believes him to be an important terrorist leader, then it is still technically a legitimate target. The only question is one's own level of tolerance of enemy civilians. What are your comments on hizbollah's bombing of non-military american buildings with diplomatic immunity? Why did American political staff, who felt they were there to help the Lebanese, need to suffer?

"From 1982 to 2000 America supported and funded the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon. "
- Yes, we already all know that America sometimes supports Israel.

"In 1990 America handed Lebanon to Syria in return for Syria's favours in the Gulf war. That resulted in 15 years of occupation."
- I have never heard such a claim. I would blame Syria for Syrian occupation if I wanted to blame anybody.

"In 2006 America supported the mass-murder of 1200 Lebanese civilians and even provided the bombs for this end."
- America supports what it believes to be legitimate self-defense with a determined and coherent strategy. When it became clear that Israel was did not have such a strategy, or that its prime minister did not have the will to implement such a strategy, i.e. that the civilians were dying without accomplishing legitimate military aims, America withdrew the support, and Olmert quickly gave in. Also, the number of civilians dead is hard to count when the "military group" involved changes from and into a uniform whenever it feels like it. As far as I know, many count hizbollah militants attacking Israel civilian too, because they are not part of the lebanese army. And again, was it really a "massacre", in the original meaning of the world implying indiscirminate violence?

"When we liberated the South, we defeated not just Israel and the SLA (South "Lebanese" Army), but also USA and all the powers behind the support of all that I mentioned above."
- Are you really so arrogant to believe that a community of what, 3 million? Defeated a first world power of 300 million? Do you think there was an actual war between hizbollah and America, in the real meaning of that word?

"Yet why were we, the Shi'ites of the south, who form the bulk of Hizbullah today, not the same in the 50s, 60s, and the beginning of 70s, even up to the 80s? You will find the answer in checking out the suffering of the south by the indiscriminate attacks by Israel."
- I am sure Iran had something to do with it as well. But yes, Israel's control of South Lebanon was a "formative" experience. However, were Israel's actions in south lebanon really indiscriminate? Finally, I would you like to to recognize that from Israel's point of view, it was defending itself against indiscriminate attacks by the PLO, and they only invaded when they felt they had no choice.
I am sure you recognize that neither Israel nor America wish to create enemies. Yet I recognize too that the Western nations need to have a better understanding of the consequences of attempting to control a society still full of tribal honor for an extended period of time.

I think it would be better for us to utterly defeat any enemy in your lands that attacks us, to promise to do the same in the future against any threats, but not try to control the outcome through nation-building.
To some extent, nation-building goes well with my desire to help the less fortunate, but it goes against my libertarian tendencies. Policing another people is even worse because it implies a governmental control, is done by the military and yet is not truly a military operation by its nature. I wish Israel had not done that in the West Bank and Gaza, and I wish America has not done that in Iraq. I wish Israel would have only stayed in South Lebanon to utterly defeat its enemies.

"You should understand the realities of the situation, rather than paint a picture that makes you happy about Israel's and USA's position vis-a-vis the Middle East."
- We all do this on occasion, believe what justifies our past actions and our side. And did you not give us a hizbollah-is-obviously-right talk too?
I would like to understand the reality, and I am willing to seriously listen to your point of view in order to do that.

"Sadly, the average American voter does not know much about recent Middle East history"
- Because he does not need to, most of the time, until America is involved in something that requires that knowledge. The average American voter knows much more now than t years ago, believe me. And the average American voter doesn't like a lot of the things being learned.

"You give me a warning, and I say, your warning can go to hell; if martyrdom is what Israel will bestow upon us, we accept it, and yearn for it."
- It was not meant to be an insult or a threat, and I am stating it to avoid it. This doesn't even have anything to do with Israel changing its positons or you changing yours. The point is this: I would not want you to underestimate Israel's military ability and resolve in that situation, and I would not want Israel to underestimate its enemies' military ability, because either mistake will lead to unnecessary bloodshed. I would not want you to believe Israel's tolerance level remains constant at all times; that could again lead to innocent blood being shed, which I would not want on your side or on the Israeli side.

War can be a necessary evil, but you should not yearn for it unless you have something to prove. I am not insulting your honor, I am engaging in a faceless, rational discussion.

"We are not afraid of threats and will never bow down to blackmail."
- I am not sure if you are only saying that because you know the Western nations currently don't want to do anything of that sort. And again, it isn't a threat or blackmail, just a dose of reality.

"Ignoring it and merely saying it's wrong IF USA has done it, won't right the wrong."
- Its not an if, its a fact that the USA has supported dictators. Its a fact that the Saudis are still dicators.

"Notwithstanding for example your complete disapproval of the Islamic Republic of Iran, do you realize what the Shah's regime was like?"
- Only in theory. And despite all those things you mention, I consider the current situation to be worse. There are more in jails, there is less economic progress, and there is less individual freedom.

"In Iraq you were supporting and providing weapons for Saddam's massacres against Shi'ites (and Kurds)"
- Almost all of Iraq's weapons were Soviet, and that's a fact. And no, America didn't support the massacres. America was one of the few voices against it, but the crime was not supporting it: it was in not following through with the war, especially when the Iraqi army was already driven out of Kuwait and basically defeated

"In Palestine you are supporting the incarceration of more than 10,000 Palestinians, who have not been charged with anything (or often only with throwing a stone), many of whom are children; you are providing weapons for massacres and occupation."
- First of all, a stone is still a weapon. Second, a 15 year old throwing a stone at a soldier can hardly be considered a child. Third, America is providing assistance to Israel to defend itself, not to massacre civilians. Finally, I already noted that I support Israel utterly destroying the military 'arm' of any enemy that attacks it, but am against continuing the occupation. I also would prefer that Israel unilaterally and immediately declare what it considers its final borders, because I don't think discussions will lead to an agreement in the forseeable future.

"The release should've been unconditional to begin with."
- So you believe. And Israelis believe their state should be unconditionally accepted, before negotiations can even begin. Does that have to mean that negotiations will never happen? You basically have to accept each other as neighbours that you don't have to like, but are not at war with.

"the Israelis themselves are responsible for their predicament today, having turned down the Iron Wall theory in its 3rd or 4th stage."
- Do you believe the average Israeli has even heard of that theory?

"The issue of Al Quds (Jerusalem) being an international city is one based on the fact that the city is Holy in all three monotheistic religions; what religious importance does Mecca have for the Christian or the Jew?"
- Yet it does not hold the same importance to other religions as it does to the jews. To deny the jews jerusalem is basically to deny them their religion.

"The Palestinians giving Sharon their ok to visit what Sharon and all Israelis consider rightfully theirs (the temple mount as they call it) ?"
- That would be correct, although I was wrong about the timing, it was only a few days in advance.
http://www.shalomjerusalem.com/jerusalem/jerusalem37.htm

"the P.A information ministry warned (not threatened) that the visit could give rise to very serious consequences"
- The PA did more than that, they incited and organized the riots, do you want the links documenting their media incitement?

"In fact, the violent intifada (uprising) started a day after the visit, AFTER 7 Palestinian demonstrators were killed."
- Or maybe it started when the palestinian policement started turning their israeli-issued weapons on their patrolling partners, the israelis? Or maybe, as various PA ministers have been quoted saying, the intifadah was being planned as soon as Arafat rejected most of the west bank and gaza? Anyway, are we diverting too much?

"As for Iran and Iraq, what you say is rather untrue; your attempt to pass off USA's dirty record in our region (and elsewhere) as mere goodwill to prevent one side from overcoming the other, or at best as part and parcel of the cold war (so much for not exporting your wars to our countries), is laughable."
- It is not laughable: it was worse than supporting one of the sides, because it led to a war not ending for 8 years. But that's what happened. I don't suppose you heard that on some occasions, Americans supplied weapons to Iran? The point is that there wasn't a conspiracy or an attempt to harm your civilians. There was a neglect of such considerations.

"As for the sanctions being a "mistake", tell that to the millions who died. For you it is easy to talk."
- I would put at least as much blame on Saddam. The sanctions still included Iraq being supplied with food. The problem was that the aid was channeled through the government, which inevitably ended up giving the government more power, not less. To maintain control, Saddam let that food rot in warehouses rather than share it with the non-Sunnis. It is not easy to talk, yet the problem causing these deaths on 'our' side was ignorance, not an attempt to harm Iraqi civilians. In fact, as I mentioned, the fear of damaging these civilians through war ended up hurting more of them through sanctions.

My only concern is for the future, however, so my worry is, did we actually learn the lesson? Would we again in such a situation target a rogue regime with sanctions, giving it an external enemy and hardhips, and at the same time strengthen the regime by funneling aid through the regime itself? I don't feel many have learned the lesson.

"It is easy to talk when you are sitting thousands of miles away playing war games with the lives of millions of our people. "
- I am not going to apologize for saying what I think is the truth, or for sitting far away. I have no ill will towards your people, and I don't have a guilty conscience.

"I did not say Israel should accept our terms of justice; at the very least, it could accept the norms of human rights. That's the very least. But I understand one cannot afford to do that when one faces an existential threat not in waging war but in accepting true peace."
- Israel does not need an external enemy to exist. It is you who said that hizbollah was created as a response to an enemy, so who is afraid of true peace? In fact, I think the Israelis would prefer to be left alone by all of its direct neighbours. As for human rights, Israelis believe they do accept norms of human rights, unlike all of their neighbours, including the ones to the north. Reality is, Israelis were willing to accept a peace deal that included palestinian control of most of west bank and all of gaza, and resettlement of refugees within that palestinian-controlled territory. So Israel is willing to live in peace with its neighbours under those terms. And at least according to Israelis, as well as Clinton's chief negotiator (Ross), it was Arafat who walked away.

I think the PA has much more to lose if there is real peace than Israel. Israel has accepted various divisions throughout the decades, starting with the peel commision, then with the UN partition, etc. while Israel's neighbours have rejected them, is that not true?

Posted by: JFTDMaster at November 11, 2006 08:16 PM

Double Plus Ungood,

You say that belief in racial superiority and wishing to protect one's own people are two different things. You are right. However, you should also realize that the Zionists have been trying, relentlessly, to de-legitimize the struggle of some of the world's most oppressed peoples. But besides that point, I would also point out that we, the Shi'ites, have also undergone some of the worst persecutions, though not as often talked about because it was within the Muslim world. Our people have suffered terribly at the hands of Sunni caliphs and their angry mobs who, throughout history (and up to this day) accuse us of being apostates, and a stalking horse for Persia/Iran (when Arab Shi'ism long preceded Persian Shi'ism). Salahuddin (Saladin), the so-called liberator of Al Quds (Jerusalem) massacred Shi'ites under his rule. Our own history in Jabal(Mount) 'Amel-south Lebanon has shown that we have been victims of government disinterest in our very existence, even in the face of the threats by the PLO back in the 70s. Back then we were pretty much unarmed. Yet at the same time, we were the primary sufferers. We have realized that we can no longer rely on others' goodwill to provide us security and safety. We have taken things into our own hands, and will continue to do so - until such time as we receive solid guarantees that when we disarm we will not be treated in the same way, or considered second-class citizens. But the Sunnis have once again shown unwillingness to make a compromise and accept us as equals in their midst. They want to disarm us even before they disarm the Palestinians in and out of the refugee camps in Lebanon. We cannot accept such a thing unless we willingly want to go back to 1978 and 1982. So whilst some people here are accusing me/us of using our alleged (according to them) historical victimhood as a trojan horse, I would refer to the point you raised about self-determination and security. Certainly Shi'ite claims are no less valid than Jewish ones, in this respect?

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 12, 2006 12:39 AM

Saladin massacred the shia's?? huh?

Posted by: tsedek at November 12, 2006 03:18 AM

"In 1990 America handed Lebanon to Syria in return for Syria's favours in the Gulf war. That resulted in 15 years of occupation."
That's actually true. I might add that Israel was the sole vocal objection in the international community (read: The Arab League!) to this move, but complied nonetheless. This was also the beginning of the end of Israeli occupation, so I guess there was a plus side to it.

"We are not afraid of threats and will never bow down to blackmail."
Them's fighting words, AG. Considering the whole point of the HA operation which led to this summer's bloody conflict was to strong-arm Israel through violent tactics into negotiating under your terms. Do you deny that was the goal? So look at yourself before you look at others.

[...]struggle of some of the world's most oppressed peoples
Give me a break. Do you know how many died under French occupation of Algeria? Soviet occupation of Afghanistan? How many Kurds Saddam massacred? And lest we forget Somalia, Darfour, Iran. And that's just in this region of the planet. Chinese occupation of Tibet is orders of magnitude more cruel. Hell, more Muslims died in Syria's own Hama Massacre than were killed in 100 years of Israeli-Arab conflict. HK Jordan killed more Palestinians in a single month of Black September than Israeli occupation killed in the past 6 years. so let's not get carried away with the Palestinian plight. I think the occupation is wrong, but by any standards, it's one of the most humane occupations in history.

What's stopping Israel from going in with tanks like HRH Hussein did? Precisely our conscience and determination to accord with human rights, which you claim we do not uphold. Resolve these contradictions and you'll see we're not as horrible bastards as you paint us to be.

I know the Shia community in Lebanon has suffered enormously. However, you now stand with two choices; Either reconcile your differences for the sake of one Lebanon, or remain with your old grudges and watch as the Lebanese entity crumbles into civil war again. Even if today your chances of "winning" such a war are greater, is that really what you want? At what cost? The Syrians will be laughing all the way to the bank, as the international community will undoubtedly ask them to intervene, for humanitarian reasons.
With LAF on the border, Palestinian militias are no longer considered a threat to Israel. If HA disarmed, I can guarantee that Israel will have no cause to attack Lebanon again.
Who you should be afraid of, however, is Syria, who will take the opportunity in case of war with Israel to conquer Lebanon. Counter-intuitively, your best bet actually lies with Israel, who would charge a counteroffensive, as we have a strategic interest in an independent, strong Lebanon.

Posted by: Shay at November 12, 2006 03:27 AM

~~~~~We have realized that we can no longer rely on others' goodwill to provide us security and safety. We have taken things into our own hands, and will continue to do so -~~~~~~

Precisely as the jews decided to do after the holocaust and which turned into nationalism here even if the differences from all cultures were pretty strong within this society.

Its nationalism became its invincible strength. Tribalism such as is tearing lebanon apart would have destroyed it. You must find a common ideal, you must become one country, one people. Otherwise all your "fighting" won't help.

Posted by: tsedek at November 12, 2006 03:30 AM

Saladin massacred the shia's?? huh?
Yes,

Tsedek,
your comparison would actually mean that we would/should advance Shi'ite nationalism to the extent of seccesssion, not the other way around.

In fact, if the Christians had not stood by our side during the July war, a very different current would've emerged in Shi'ite politics, one that would've put Hizbullah at a crossroads - risking irrelevance by accepting a united Lebanon, or espousing the seccessionist movement. I think in this regard you will see that our support base constrains Hizbullah rather than the other way around, something that is lacking in other parties in Lebanon.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 12, 2006 06:45 AM

your comparison would actually mean that we would/should advance Shi'ite nationalism ...
========================================

No, Mr. AlGhaliboon, I meant LEBANESE nationalism. I understand that it's difficult with all different factions within Lebanon to actually look at ONE common goal: strengthening lebanon, but as long as you and others don't put Lebanon as your first priority above sectarian differences you will always stay a finger that can't make a fist because you're missing the help of the other 4 fingers.

Is it such a big deal the Christians have stood by the hizb in the last war? In any war people get 'closer' - but now is what counts. Unless, you strive for a continuous war. When I read Lebanese blogs and forums I see not much support from christians now....

Posted by: tsedek at November 12, 2006 07:17 AM

I was talking about historical grievances, and the framework within which these are shaped; this is how nationalisms develop. In Lebanon you have more than one nationalism. In fact, there isn't anything called Lebanese nationalism, or if there is (as some argue), it is not a considerable force/factor in society. You have Sunni nationalism, Druze nationalism, Christian nationalism, Shi'ite nationalism, etc. These have actually contextualized their nationalisms under the banner of "Lebanese unity", but let us call a spade a spade.

Yes, it is a very big deal that the Christians stood by us during the war, and are standing by us today after the war. Why? Because IF God forbid they had stood against us like the Sunnis and Druze did, it would've given rise to huge disappointments and resentment - apocalyptic and umbelievable as it may sound for you - most definitely to the point of no return, i.e. seccession. I for one would've been one of the first to advocate separatism if this were the case. But the Christians have shown that they care - and I fully trust that this was a genuine initiative - and we cannot but reciprocate this. Otherwise we would be dishonourable, disrespectful, and undeserving of what they did for us. They could've easily done what the others did, so it's not an issue of war or no war. In fact, they got a lot of attacks exactly because they stood by us.

A partisan I may be, but if my leaders choose to backtrack on this reciprocation of goodwill (which our honour requires us to do) for whatever reason, I will accuse them of harbouring dishonourable intentions for prohibited (power as an end rather as a means to an end) agendas. You can quote me on that.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 12, 2006 07:29 AM

By the way, what you see on Leb. blogs is not quite representative of the Lebanese internal scene, especially amongst the Christians. The internet, is, on a whole, not a great context to adopt for measuring popularity and sympathy, because not everyone uses the internet to communicate their sympathies, and those who do might happen to be mostly leaning towards one group or another.

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 12, 2006 07:40 AM

Mr. AlGhaliboon,
that's what I mean. 'You' should all come to ONE nationalistic ideal - in complete agreement and without letting grievances (historical) drive you. Don't you agree that sectarian (according to believes etc.) diversion will ALWAYS create tensions and rebellion? If there is no common consensus and each part keep on playing their own interests first i/o representing the will of the population for the whole of the country - can't you really figure out that's a recipe for disaster? Look at Gaza now :(

Can you confirm (prove if you will) that Aoun is generally supported by all (or the majority of) christians?

Posted by: tsedek at November 12, 2006 07:56 AM

Can you confirm (prove if you will) that Aoun is generally supported by all (or the majority of) christians?
Yes,

Here are the results of the elections in the Christian-populated areas of Lebanon (FPM/pro-FPM independents/coalition partners vs. non):

Jbeil (Byblos):

Abbas Hachem (independent, Shi'ite) 62,294 votes - 1st winner
vs
Mahmoud Awad 28,215 votes - 1st loser

Walid Khoury 56,840 votes - 1st winner
Shamel Mozaya 51,678 votes - 2nd winner
vs
Fares Soueid 30,624 votes - 1st loser

Keserwan:

Michel Aoun 67,432 votes - 1st winner
Joseph Hanna Khalil 61,840 votes - 2nd winner
Naamtallah Abi nasr 59,738 votes - 3rd winner
Farid Elias Al Khazen 56,719 votes - 4th winner
Gilberte Zouein 52,376 votes - 5th winner
vs
Mansour al Bonn 3,4138 - 1st loser
etc.

North Metn:

Ibrahim Kanaan 56,840 votes - 1st winner
Salim Salhab 54,776 votes - 2nd winner
Nabil Nicolas 48,872 votes - 3rd winner
vs
Pierre Jemayel 29,421 - 4th winner
Nassib Lahoud 27,565 - 1st loser

Edgard Maalouf 55,017 votes - 1st winner
vs
Philipp Maalouf 20,115 votes - 1st loser

Ghassan Moukhaiber 56,906 votes - 1st winner
Michel El Murr 48,662 votes - 2nd winner
vs
Gabriel El Murr 28,973 votes - 1st loser

Hagop Pakradonian 53,272 votes - 1st winner
vs
Rafi Madayian 25,043 votes - 1st loser

Zahle (Beqaa):

Assam Araji 31,418 votes - 1st winner
Khaled Al Sarout 26,378 votes - 1st loser

Hasan Yacoub (independent, Shi'ite) 31,920 votes - 1st winner
vs
Mohsen Dalloul 28,975 votes - 1st loser

Salim Aoun 36,408 votes - 1st winner
vs
Elie Marouni 22,094 votes - 1st loser

Elie Skaff (independent) 38,035 votes - 1st winner
Nicolas Fattouch 31,111 votes - 2nd winner
vs
Fouad El Turk 28,327 votes - 1st loser

Kamil Al Maalouf 31,108 votes - 1st winner
vs
Youssef Al Maalouf 29,089 votes - 1st loser

Georges Kassarji (other) 35,065 votes - 1st winner
vs
Antoine Nachanakian 26,900 votes - 1st loser

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 12, 2006 09:09 AM

Certainly Shi'ite claims are no less valid than Jewish ones, in this respect?

Absolutely. But I was not suggesting that the Jews were the only ethnic group that have historically suffered, nor that the Shia (or Palestinians, either) should have their own sovereignty, security, or dignity sacrified. I was instead making the argument that, as an ideology, Zionism does not seem to me to have any qualities that I would consider racist, or even anything close to racist.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 12, 2006 09:27 AM

Thank you Mr. Alghaliboon LOL
I don't understand it at all, but I assume this confirms it

Posted by: tsedek at November 12, 2006 09:56 AM

Tsedek, it's the division of votes in particular electoral districts (in Christian heartland of Mount Lebanon and Zahle in the Beqaa valley) between General Aoun's candidates and electorial coalition partners (independents & other parties) on the one hand, and those Christians who have run (for the Christian seats) on the slate of the Hizbullah-Amal-Future Movement-Lebanese Forces-Progressive Socialist Party coalition. So, basically, Aoun & his coalition of independents won singlehandedly in the Christian areas against all these forces (unfortunately we were part of this electoral coalition against General Aoun).

Posted by: AlGhaliboon at November 12, 2006 12:54 PM

Totten - you bit off more than can chew.

The Hezbollahi made you look stupid.

And no - you didn't argue graciously or intelligently, either.

You simply rehashed complete nonsense(typical right-wing Israeli/American propaganda.

Yes - for all intents and purposes Israel lost that war.

Yes - it's a fact that Israel started that war. Undeniably - only a complete idiot thinks otherwise....

Posted by: Steve at November 13, 2006 11:15 AM

"1) Israel has a military industry. It manufactures weapons, TANKS, DRONES, AIRCRAFT; USA can stop providing it with bombs and Israel would STILL have military superiority for the next 100 years."

This is actually quite interesting. Do you realize what you are saying? You are effectively saying: "We have created such a screwed up country that we can't have a military industry. We have to grovel on our knees to Iran and Syria because we have destroyed the ability to make industry in our own country."

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw at November 13, 2006 01:25 PM

AG you said:"We do not take our orders from Iran. If I wanted to read what the White House has to say about it, I think I would not be here."

AG are you kidding me? How naive are you?

-You follow them spiritually: you didn't even break fasting with the rest of the Lebanese this ramadan, you chose to follow khaminei in Iran instead of Fadlallah our biggest shiite religous authority in Lebanon

-you believe in "wilayat al faqih"-hence spiritual leaders' rule. Therefore if your spiritual leader is khaminei you must obey his orders, even if he is not Lebanese or Arab (by the way don't you feel embarassed as an arab to be sub-ordinated to a persian?)

-you depend on them for money 12 bilion after the summer war alone , billions before that (and if you behave, billions more)

-you depend on them for weapons

Please tell me: in what way CAN you refuse to take orders from them?

If your Iranian friends were true friends, they would have opened another front with Israel during the summer when the Israelies were butchering us. But no, why would they open a front FROM IRAN, it would have meant sharing in our misery in our times of need. They're always touting their wonderful long range missile, well why didn't they use them? I'll tell you why, because you were there to die in their place, your country was there to be destroyed again, the Lebanese will always be the soccer ball that is being kicked around by the outside forces trying to jockey for power in the middle East. Its team america/israel from one side vs team iran/syria from the other, lebanon is the soccer field and we're the ball thery're kicking around. At the end of the day, the Iranians and the amreicans and the syrians (and most though for once not all )of the Israelis got to go home and sleep in their beds. We had no homes, no beds.

AG you said:"Your" country's authorities are more than welcome to upgrade the army's French mandate era equipment.

Our country is poor and OUR army's weapons are old and outdated.Nasrallah stated that the army was too weak to protect the South because it is not well armed . Hizbllah has over 20,000 missiles. Hand them over to YOUR country's army. Problem solved.

A "real" country doesn't have two armies, one for the all Lebanese and one for exclusive use by hizballah. Do you want a real counrty? Are you willing to sacrifice? Then show the rest of us a really big sacrifice: give OUR army the weapons so our army can be stronger, and so we can all be equal. You can keep the hunting rifles like the rest of us.

Before you tell me the army wasn't there to protect you I'll tell you something. I have a home in the south , I know the army wasn't effectively there during or after the civil war. However I also know that in the years after, Hizballah would have NO DISCUSSION about the army being deployed there,because that would have curtailed their own activities, so your superiors didn't want the army there and you know it.

When will you understand that Iranians/Syrians/Americans/French/or whoever else will only be there as a friend while our needs align with their causes? They will sell you to the highest bidder if it comes to the crunch between you and them,it's only natural. Yes even your Precious Persians would (and will) do it too. If you don't believe me then you are more naive than I thought.

Posted by: Another Lebanese at November 23, 2006 07:49 AM

correction: meant millions not billions

Posted by: Another Lebanese at November 24, 2006 09:18 PM
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