Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Betroun

“The sirens of the Levant (Near East)”; (Feb. 24, 2010)

Hurrah, Evil wins this time around in this first French novel by the Lebanese Peter Germanos.  It is not amenable to reviewing because

1.  first, the situation in the Middle East, especially Lebanon, is very complex and would require another novel to explaining the conditions in order to make a semblance of sense;

2. second, this story involves half a dozen of intelligence institutions such as CIA, GRU (Russia), Mossad (Israel), Second Bureau (Lebanon and France), Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, to name a few nations, involved in having Lebanon a good starting base for interfering in the Middle East and securing oil exploitation and transport is one too many for a short novel of 242 pages.

We have two heroes: The Lebanese intelligence officer Marwan Hajj and the Al Qaeda.

Marwan is originally from Akoura in Mount Lebanon or “Marounistan”as Germanos calls the district, in one of the districts where the Christian Maronite sect is in majority (Kesrouwan, Jbeil, Betroun, and Bshari). Marwan is young, from a “noble” family, drives a Porch, and is willing to shell thousand of dollars for beautiful girls wishing to have lifting of whatever needs lifting so that they look “jnoun” (driving males crazy) as their gorgeous girl friends.

Al Qaeda is regaining ground after the Lebanese army defeated it in the Palestinian camp of Nahr El Bared.  The Qaeda was far better equipped with modern arms and high tech communication facilities and the army suffered over 170 soldiers and officers, not counting hundreds of injured, after 6 months of fighting.  The US refused to arm the Lebanese army and only Syria supplied the army with canon shells to resume the battle.

Al Qaeda (well established in Iraq, northern Africa, and around the Indian Ocean) is planning a major terrorist activity that would close the Suez Canal for ten years; thus, oil prices would jump to $600 the barrel and the “koffar” in Europe and the US would suffer economically.  Al Qaeda disseminates misinformation that the attempt is targeting the Strait of Hormus in the Arabic/Persian Gulf.  All the intelligence institutions have wind of a major terrorist act but are mislead on the proper maritime target.

The Mossad is cooperating with Al Qaeda in order to ignite another civil war in Lebanon to weaken Hezbollah and also to involve the US in a war against Iran.  The US army prime enemy is Al Qaeda (Islamic Sunni sect extremists) but the CIA (and its officer in Lebanon, Kyle from Kentucky) is willing to cooperate with Al Qaeda against Hezbollah and the Shiaa axe (Islamic sect) extending from Iran to Iraq, northern Syria and Lebanon.

If you feel disoriented bare with me a little while.

Wealthy Saudi princes are financing Al Qaeda terrorist plans to weaken Hezbollah and Iran, and wealthy Lebanese business men and politicians are cooperating with Al Qaeda and the Israeli Mossad to weaken Hezbollah.

Hezbollah launches a counter attack and within a couple of hours closes down dozens of Mossad bunkers and safe heavens along with other offices of the Sunni and Saad Hariri militia in Beirut who were wearing security guard outfits.  Samuel Dagan, (Israel’s Mossad chief who is currently under fire for involving many European fake passports to assassinating Hamas officer in Dubai), said that “Hezbollah destroyed within hours four years of work and preparation”.

To make a long story short, Al Qaead managed to secure a dirty (low level) atomic bomb to the port of Beirut and used the Middle East like Ho Che Minh route of (Tripoli-Palmira Syria- Anbar Iraq) to deliver the dirty bomb to Saudi Arabia.

The novel mentions the Egyptian Al Zawahiri as the master mind of Qaeda but I think it is the Libyan Al Libi who is involved in terrorist activities targeting the Shiia sect since Zawahiri is trying hard to unite all Islamic sects against the US imperialist strategy.

I could follow the story, but I doubt people (non Lebanese and none politicized) will find the courage to finish this exciting novel.

Note: Minorities in societies have this knack of constructing myths; they end up believing myths for real. You cannot defeat myths “made real” when communicating for establishing real modern States.

A night at Jamal restaurant in Betroun; (August 11, 2009)

Note: Story extracted from my diary of Saturday, July 26, 2008

The weather is cloudy and slightly windy this afternoon.  Hanane left early. David slept over and is helping William with a project. Adrea left with Elie to open the dress shop.  Chelsea is watching cartoons and Victor is sleeping.  Ashley has finished taking a shower and is getting dressed.

Victor wanted to take Chelsea with him to work, but Chelsea would not miss her scout meeting this afternoon.  David and Ashley are assembled in William’s study.  A girl is honking for David to chase away the dogs in the court yard.  Tony has joined the gang of three in William’s study.  I sat on my computer and resumed my diary.  Victor and Raymonde left at 5:30 p.m. for the wedding around Betroun.  Ashley brought down a few pieces of “gateau glace”: they had purchased two large pizzas from Pizza Hut.

A discussion was floating around “where to spend the night?”. Romie strongly suggested Jammal Restaurant in Betroun; she said that she was familiar with the owner and the restaurant is inviting a band.  Nobody offered another alternative, so Romie’s option was agreed upon by default.

Betroun is a coastal town, about 75 minutes drive, and it has been experiencing some attraction with its night life and bars: there is a powerful rumor that the USA intended to establish a maritime base around Betroun. These are pure chimerical dreams in Lebanon: even if the US wished to have a base in Lebanon with all its heart and might, it cannot happen.

Around 8:30 p.m. Ashley asked me if I would like to join them for a night out in Batroun and I accepted.  Elie brought Adrea around 9 p.m. and she was satisfied with the selling of clothes: she had cashed over 200,000 LL.

We drove off around 10:30 p.m. in two cars; Romie and David went with Hanane; the second car was driven by Fadi; Ashley, Tony and I went with Fadi.  Ashley stopped at the Byblos bank to get cash and we met at Antilias public parking lot.

We met Habib and then we dropped Hanane’s car in the parking lot of the supermarket Aoun in zouk.  Hanane drove with Habib and we stopped in Joubeil to pick up Youmna and the David’s girl friend; she was wearing high shoes and hanged a long face to prove to David that she is very upset with him; probably David failed to provide details to dress accordingly.

We arrived at Jammal Restaurant by 11 p.m. as Fadi realized that he is running out of gas for the return trip. Fadi decided to check a gas station to fill his car tank. We had to cross the dense main street of Betroun in this crowded Saturday night. I guess we found no gas stations around; Fadi consumed more gas and we got in the restaurant pretty late.

The entrance fee to Jammal’s was $20, including two drinks.   Many were swimming in the sea and there was a firework in the nearby beach.  Hanane and Habib were already enjoying a swim in the sea; we had hard time finding an empty table by the sea.

There were many foreigners in thongs and swimming trunks. Most of the girls were drunk or getting there fast. It was not just an impression; my walk to the isolated far end of the beach showed me the precarious barefoot steps of the girls, and their need to get hold of arms and waists.

I ordered vodka and cranberry juice because I like sour cranberry. David danced for an entire hour with Romie, uninterrupted, and in lascivious contortions.  I joined them at the outside ring of the open “dancing floor” along with Ashley, Hanane, and Habib.

The tiny passage to the bar was blocked by the dancing area. Fadi was bored; I am not sure if he is on a short vacation or he is leaving shortly to France for a job.

A Capella Lebanese band started playing after 2:30 a.m. I decided to have a swim but the beach was filled with rounded stones; the waves made it even more uncomfortable to reach the deeper part.

At 3 a.m. everyone in our group decided that it was time to leave and it was a let down for me because I felt that this is the best moment in the party. My getting wet was not worth it. What with these people?  If they were already worn out before going out then why force it?

Habib dropped David and Romie at Aoun supermarket and we picked them up; it was an occasion for me to piss “en plain air”.  We arrived home by 4:30 a.m. Tony decided that he was in an adequate form to drive home to Furn El Chebak.  I backed my car to let Romie drive to Beit El Kiko.  I ate a small “fatayer bi lahm”. I had many dreams by 6 a.m.

Bi-Weekly Report (#25) on Lebanon and the Middle East (June 8, 2009)

 

Sunday, June 7, 2009 Election Day in Lebanon

 

I got up at 4 a.m. on Sunday June 7, 2009; it is Election Day for the Parliament in Lebanon.  I wrote and published the post “I have a position: I am voting today”.  As my parents were ready we drove around 8:15 to one of the three election centers in the town of Beit-Chabab. Our center was located in the previous private school that the municipality has purchased five years ago and didn’t move in yet.  This is the first time in Lebanon that election is done in one day: Parliamentary elections were performed in two successive Sundays until the last election proved that parties with heavier financial muscles could regroup, focus, and swing elections to their advantages by chastising parties that didn’t stick to the alliance terms in the previous Election Sunday. 

I was shocked by the long line that did not move. The army was positioned outside the perimeter and the internal security forces within the enclosed place.  You had first to exhibit your ID to enter the only entrance/exit “door”.  You wait for a security officer to call on a range of numbers corresponding to your family civil record.   The elder people were given priority and my parents voted within half an hour.  The urn assigned to my category was very slow in processing voters. I sat and ate a loaf of “mankoush bi zaatar” that one party was distributing. I asked my parents to hitchhike home.  I waited for an hour and a half and the line never budged. I lost any hope for my turn to come in the morning. I returned home hoping to come back after lunch for the line to get moving.  Those who arrived at 7 a.m. made it nicely. My brother-in-law, a retired military officer, voted for the first time as well as one of his eligible daughters.

  I retuned at 1:30 after lunch to the voting urns and had to wait another hour before I managed to vote.  There were too many voters for the reduced number of urns (kalam ektira3); citizens complained that they lined up as if they were receiving rations “i3ashi”.  General Michel Aoun of the Tayyar Party has warned a couple of months ago on the strong possibility of this problem and had suggested that election be resumed on two successive days.

The opposition claimed that the slow process was intentional to discourage their voters from exercising patience.  Apparently, the slow processing of voter lines is due mainly, in addition to the first reason, to the decrease in numbers of urns because of shortage in personnel.  By law, any voter within the enclosed voting area was eligible to vote after 7 p.m.  Dozens of election monitoring groups from around the world were gathered in Lebanon to take notes of the proceedings; the groups of ex-US President Jimmy Carter, the European Union, and the Arab League were present weeks before that well “observed” and critical day.

News are that over 100 thousands Lebanese immigrants flew in to participate in the election process.

 

Monday Morning, June 8, 2009

                       

            I got up at 4 a.m. and watched TV for any crumbs of news on the election results and removed to my study to read.  Official results will not be in before noon but I got a good idea of the trend.   Our neighborhood and the districts of Metn and Kesrouan are very calm and not because people are not up.  The government coalition parties that usually are the loudest and the most trouble makers have lost the election in these two districts.

            Unofficial results indicate that the government allies received a majority of 67 deputies to 57 for the opposition.  Actually, the results were already known before midnight.  The minister of the interior Ziad Baroud had announced previously not to expect any official results before late afternoon.  My contention is that, in addition to waiting for formal arrival of evidences, the minister of the interior was asked to delay official results for 18 hours.  The purpose of that delay is first, to permit negotiations for swapping deputies from losers to winners as the implicit entente of the Dawha agreement demanded so that the main leaders represented there will re-enter Parliament and second, so that the difference between opposition and government coalition deputies would not exceed more than 5 deputies.

            The opposition coalition major defeats were in the districts of Betroun, Koura, Zahle, and Ashrafieh (Beirut 1).  The government coalition lost Baabda and Zghorta districts.

            The main leaders on both sides are winners; Saad Hariri, Michel Aoun, Walid Jumblat, and Hezbollah. Thus, any government has to be formed of the three major blocks representing the three main religious sects (Maronite, Shiaa, and Sunni) with practically even power politically in the parliament. 

            Basically, the Tayyar of Michel Aoun has increased the number of its deputies from 20 to over 27; the Tayyar gained the leader Suleiman Frangieh of Zghorta and lost Skaf of Zahle.  Michel Aoun strengthened his unchallenged Maronite leadership in Mount Lebanon (the district of Jubeil, Kesrouan, Metn, Baabda, and Jezzine). The block of General Michel Aoun represents two third of the Maronite deputies and 50% of the Christian deputies and an overwhelming popular support in all Lebanon.

            Hezbollah gained the strategic district of Baabda because it is an extension to its headquarters in south Beirut.  Consequently, the resistance had secured internal political backing of all Mount Lebanon to the southern borders. Obviously, Hezbollah prevails militarily and Lebanon policy of defense cannot circumvent Hezbollah’s concerns for its internal security. 

             

            Saad Hariri emerged as the unchallenged leader of the Sunni sect in Beirut, Saida, North Lebanon, and the central Bekaa Valley.  Fouad Seniora PM got a seat in Saida.

            The main losers are the President of the Republic, Michel Suleiman, because the opposition coalition badly defeated the President’s implicit list of candidates in the district of Jubeil. The Maronite Patriarch lost because he can no longer claim any political weight in Mount Lebanon since he publicly supported the parties challenging Michel Aoun.  Thus, Michel Aoun is practically the political leader of the Maronite sect according to Lebanon’s caste system.

            One fact stands out in this tough election: it is my contention that the sacerdotal caste of the Christian Greek Orthodox did its best to challenge Michel Aoun as the pre-eminent representative of all the Christians in Lebanon.  The Greek Orthodox clergy played politics big time by defeating the Tayyar in Koura, Betroun, and Ashrafieh.  I am not worried about this positioning at this phase because the Greek Orthodox citizens are the staunchest Lebanese patriots against our main enemy Israel; most of the secular and national founders of political parties were Greek Orthodox.  Michel Aoun will have to temper his zeal and negotiate with this Christian sect as an equal.  In any event, Saad Hariri will owe the Christian Orthodox big time for the next four years otherwise he is doomed to lose the majority in next Parliamentary election. 

            The Christian Armenians could swing victory only in the Metn district because they failed in Ashrafieh and Zahle to make any difference facing the outnumbered Sunni voters. 

            Actually, the 4,000 Sunni voters in Koura reversed a sure win for the opposition to a defeat by less than one thousand votes. The opposition lost the district of Zahle because the government hads transferred the registration of over 25 thousands of Sunnis to Zahle in preparation for this election. This election was an exacerbation of Sunni confessional rallying cry as the other religious sects were distancing from confessional rhetoric.  Saudi Arabia monarchy is deeply immersed in an ugly and dirty confessional battle.

 

Monday Evening

 

            Ziad Baroud returned partial official results of 15 out of 26 districts (kada2) by noon and a full declaration by 6 p.m. The trick that there were discussions going on for swapping deputies did not take off in Lebanon’s archaic confessional political system.  For example, I considered that at least two losing traditional deputies in Zahle would be declared winners in return for two traditional losers in the Metn District.  Lebanon election experienced high turn out averaging over 60%.

            Hassan Nasr Allah of Hezbollah delivered a speech by 8:30 p.m. He reminded the citizens of the lies of the government coalition leaders who used scare tactics claiming that the resistance would use its military power to affect election procedures and results.  In any case, if the new political power sharing is to take off then any discussion of Hezbollah military reality should be restricted to the special conference table on defense strategies.

 

            Iran is having its Presidential election on June 12, 2009.  The candidates Ahmadinajad and Mossawi faced off in a television debate.  Moussawi suckered to the public opinion of the western nations’ demands: he is speaking as a foreign affairs minister and not a candidate to win the presidency.  The attitude of appeasing the western public opinions is considered very disgusting in Iran and not the characteristic of a vast “Empire”.

            The largest, widest, and lengthiest military exercise conducted by Israel for 5 days and which started on May 31 faltered and was a failure.  The Israeli citizens did not respond as expected and went on to their daily routine as if nothing is happening, regardless of the loud and frequent siren alarms.  Those five days were a holiday and not of any serious exigencies.  The Israelis on the Lebanese borders were the least concerned.  The message was clear and louder than the siren alarms “Governments of Israel, we want peace.  We no longer believe than security should take priority over peace treaty.  For 61 years you have driven us hard to countless pre-emptive and expansionist wars. Enough is enough.  We paid dearly for mindless and losing priorities and we want your policy to do the right thing.  We want peace, period”

 

            President Barak Obama has to deliver something tangible in the Middle East and very soon, and not six months from now as he is planning. Periods of sweet talking with nothing tangible in return are gone.  The Palestinian Statehood is due now!  The return of the Golan Heights to Syria is due now!  Direct negotiations with Palestinian Hamas and Lebanon Hezbollah are due now!  Stabilizing Pakistan is due now!  The return of the Shebaa Farms and the Hills of Kfarshouba to Lebanon is due now!  A specific schedule for the return of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to Palestine is due now!

 

            Why my urgency to resolving decades of roadblocks in the Middle East? Simple: the Middle East has been steadily catching on to extremist confessional attitudes as the absolution of Israel’s horrors and genocides has been the trade mark of the western nations.  Lebanon is catching on quickly to isolationist confessional extremism and if Lebanon is no longer a viable experiment for democracy then the USA and Europe will have no one to blame but themselves for laxity in executing and enforcing what is the right thing to do in this region.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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