November 23, 2006

March 14 Wins the Day

Blacksmiths of Lebanon reported, and Naharnet confirmed, that Minsiter Hasan Al Sabaa has returned to the Lebanese cabinet after resigning last year in the wake of the Danish cartoon riot fiasco. The axis's strategy to murder the cabinet just got a bit harder.

Meanwhile, my friend Carine (who sometimes appears in the comments) went to Pierre Gemayel's funeral and posted photos.

War No More.jpg

Happy (belated) Independence Day to Lebanon.

UPDATE: Just a thought here...How different a country would Lebanon be if people at a "March 8" rally (Hezbollah+Amal+Aoun) held up banners that said WAR NO MORE?

Posted by Michael J. Totten at November 23, 2006 08:01 PM

Thank you for the links Michael (and for the Photos, Carine). Thank you for the "Happy Independence Day". Let's hope one day, we will have REAL independence.

And to all those from abroad, who think the Lebanese want war with their neighbours, want to destroy Israel, and hate freedom (or whatever else silly comments i've read over the years),

To all those who said "Why don't the Lebanese DO anything? Why do they always expect the international community to fix all their problems?",

And more importantly, to all those who said "The Lebanese don't deserve a country, if they're not willing to stand up and fight for its freedom.",

800,000 people turned up today to prove all of these comments wrong. There is hope yet.

As Michael said: "Shove your civil war!"

Posted by: bad vilbel at November 23, 2006 08:51 PM

Thanks again MJT for keeping us posted on Lebanon. Largely through your blog this American reader has developed a great affection for the country and its people without ever having visited the region. Watching how their fledgling democracy is under attack is very distressing.

Too bad Bush allowed us to become so weakened in the region through Iraq that we are now looking for a quick way out via Baker & Co. This would be the hour to come to the aid of March 14 in any way they needed it. Baker has a lot of credibility in the world, also in Europe, but names like April Gillespie also need to be remembered from his days as a player. His classic kind of lazy deal would be fatal at this point.

One senses that, now that the fighting between Israel & Hezbollah has ceased, the fight over Lebanon's soul is going into its critical phase. Hezbollah desperately needs to undermine the democratic movement in Lebanon to prove that it won the war with Israel (strange as this seems). That is their story. The other story is that Hezbollah did Lebanon a disservice by provoking war and that they lost the war. And in the manner so typical for the region, power is going to determine which story prevails. It may be the power of the people, but we cannot be naive enough to assume that people power alone is going to disarm Hezbollah. How can America help Lebanon at this stage without undermining the people we want?

Posted by: Karl B. at November 23, 2006 10:21 PM

... without undermining the people we want to help.

Posted by: Karl B. at November 23, 2006 10:23 PM

How can America help Lebanon at this stage without undermining the people we want?

Threaten Syria with force. I'm sorry to say it, but that's all there is. Cutting a deal with Bashar is just evil, and ignoring him isn't an option.

In the meantime, get the tribunal resolution passed in Lebanon and formally indict Assad as a criminal.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 23, 2006 10:27 PM

'indict Assad as a criminal'.

Amen, brother.

Posted by: The Perpetual Refugee at November 23, 2006 10:32 PM

Second that "Amen, brother".

Posted by: bad vilbel at November 23, 2006 10:58 PM


Do you really think that if the US was not in Iraq they would be in a better position to help in Lebanon?

Posted by: davod at November 23, 2006 11:28 PM

Maybe we should give Syria a taste of their own medicine by offing some of their ministers.

If you kill one of our ministers, we'll return the favour, doubled.

Now that's how you cut a deal with Assad.

Posted by: harrison at November 24, 2006 12:05 AM

Now that's how you cut a deal with Assad.


Don't make a deal with Assad. Make a deal with his replacement. If the replacement doesn't keep the deal, make a deal with his replacement.

Posted by: rosignol at November 24, 2006 01:01 AM

There is a need for some old enemies to forget the past and join in a common cause against the Hez and Moqtada both.

The Baath and Saddam were the problem. Now there are many Sunni who must join in against Hizbullah or live under the oppressive rule of Shiia religious police.

My view is from very far away but it does seem that some real solidarity is needed to slow down the Hez.

Join with Druz and Christians. Get strong together. Resist Hizbullah. Earn World respect and then live together with an uneasy tolerance as the French and English do in Canada.= TG

Posted by: TG at November 24, 2006 01:10 AM


The question is, if Bush & Rummy had done the right thing after the decision to invade fell, wouldn't we be in a better position to influence action in Lebanon. 400,000 or 500,000 trops breathing down Syria's & Iran's necks from Iraq certainly would be more convincing than our current posture, even if Iraq probably still would be unstable.

FYI, just so we're not talking past one another, although I was no cheerleader for that war, I did not oppose it, and I will not turn around now that everything's "up shit creek without a paddle" and try to pretend that I was against it from the start. Frankly, I didn't see much choice after our European allies decided to follow the anti-american propaganda route at the UN. France & Germany might have thought that their antics would make a war less likely, but they almost forced the US into going it alone with Britain.

The incompetence that followed after the fall of Baghdad has done almost irreperable damage to our reputation in the region. If the occupation period were a car, it would be a Ford Pinto, another example of what happens when we don't live up to our standards.

I'm still in favor of trying to assist democratic forces in the region. If a behind-the-scenes guy like James Baker would put his energies towards supporting the democratic forces, well, that would be a pleasant change of pace. Give guys like Baker some credit MJT. He and Bush senior helped orchestrate the peaceful dismantling of the iron curtain, certainly one of the most amazing peaceful revolutions in recorded history, as well as the peaceful reunification of Germany (in spite of severe misgivings among even close allies). That opened the way for EU and NATO expansion. The coalition that they put together during the first Iraq War certainly was impressive. You can argue about the decision not to overthrow Saddam back then, but history has proven that many of their concerns about the aftermath were justified. Nevertheless, I remain very skeptical about what Baker is going to recommend in Iraq.

BTW, glad to see that Perpetual Refugee is back and posting, even if not very frequently.

Posted by: Karl B. at November 24, 2006 01:11 AM

Solution: take care of Assad's children! If he did not get the message, send another message to his palace! You can't reason with that criminal!

Posted by: hassan khaled at November 24, 2006 02:37 AM

Michael, I am really suprised that you put "Aoun" under the March 8 category. You must have forgetten that every single FPMer was out in force on March 14, 2005...

Posted by: Omega80 at November 24, 2006 02:49 AM

200 000 people yesterday according to security sources, not 800 000 nor 1 000 000 like what was claiming the LBCI.
It shows how biast can be the lebanese media by not reporting security sources numbers.
Even the independence05 organism states that yesterday was not a new 14 of march

Posted by: abcd at November 24, 2006 04:14 AM


You must have forgetten that every single FPMer was out in force on March 14, 2005...

I forgot too you guys were at March 14 and I am also about to forget what Aoun became famous and loved for in the 1990s: standing up to Syria.

Come on guys! I hate corruption and I think this government sucks big time, but I don't have to be blind to Syria's murders and I don't have to be in love with Hassan Nasrallah.

MJT, thanks for keeping Leb in the limelight.

Posted by: JoseyWales at November 24, 2006 05:01 AM


how is sabe3 returning a win to anybody? incompetence gets justified these days for partisanship, im afraid this is as tribal as the best of the lebanese


Posted by: bodhi at November 24, 2006 05:37 AM

I hear you bodhi.

The Sabeh thing is symbolic and for the numbers game. Other than that, it is the maddening aspect of Leb.

The country is falling off a cliff? Replace Dumber by Dumb who was there in the first place and left because he could not do the (SECURITY) job.

I repeat: ARMY, EMERGENCY POWERS, MARTIAL LAW, not shuffling assholes around.

Posted by: JoseyWales at November 24, 2006 05:44 AM

Don't you know the Lebanese are exaggerators? Everyone knows that. So when LBC says 1,000,000 demonstrators yesterday, they know your average viewer in Lebanon will divide that number by 5 to get the real number. If LBC said 200,000, the viewer will conclude it was only 40,000, and the LBC report would be irresponsibly misleading. The LBC people have a high professional ethic, they want to give you the right idea and are forced by the "exaggeration factor" to pump it up for you. LOL.

Posted by: NoSleep at November 24, 2006 06:23 AM


I have told those LBC guys not to exaggerate, at 100 billion times.

Posted by: JoseyWales at November 24, 2006 06:30 AM


OOps, should have been "at least 100 billion times".

Now I feel for you John Kerry, just "botched" the joke.

Posted by: NoSleep at November 24, 2006 06:56 AM

LBC is the number one news source in the world. Last year their revenues were more than those of CNN, BBC, and NBC combined ;-)

Posted by: NoSleep at November 24, 2006 06:56 AM

Let me add another "Amen, Brother".

BV, I have been one of those who have said a number of times, "The Lebanese don't deserve a country, if they're not willing to stand up and fight for its freedom."

I was very surprised at the open show of support by the people for a free & independent Lebanon. Took a lot of courage for them to do so. Will it work? All guesses are valid here, but is is a critical first step in the right direction.

Will there be a high price to pay for the public show of support for a F&I Lebanon? Almost certainly, though there will be a higher price for them to pay if they do nothing.

What Churchill said about Chamberlain just prior to WWII is apt: "You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war". (perhaps not an exact quote, but the meaning is clear)

On my list of (and high on this list) things to do next week is call my U.S. Congressman, Senators and leadership of both Houses expressing my support of the Lebanese and strongly asking that we take military action against Syria. Will my actions make a difference? -perhaps not, but if enough people did the same thing it would make a difference.

Best Regards,

Posted by: Ron at November 24, 2006 08:50 AM

I have to agree with Josey Wales here. Martial Law, The Army, Emergency Powers!

It is about time our so-called "leaders" put their foot down. Enough of this "Mr. Nice Guy" crap.

Posted by: bad vilbel at November 24, 2006 09:52 AM

LET'S FIND THE HIZ WEAPONS OURSELVES: Set up a web site showing where Hiz has hidden weapons in Lebanon. Use free sat photos to locate, get witness reports from Israelis, Lebanese, tourists, anon UNIFIL soldiers, anyone, who has seen anything. Use web site maps to verify and cross check GPS locations. Ask every web site visitor to contact their elected leaders to act on this info. Ask big blogs to help.

Posted by: DemocracyRules at November 25, 2006 08:24 PM
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