Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Hariri clan

Lebanon: An improbable Statehood in the making

Mind you this article was posted in February 20, 2008, 12 years before the total bankruptcy of the State of Lebanon, politically, economically and financially.  

Under the leadership of Hezbollah, the Shias in the south and the Bekaa Valley are basically and currently the main caste shouldering the heavy burden of defending Lebanon from the frequent aggressions of Israel. 

Before Hezbollah, Lebanon had many secular political parties confronting Israel aggressions (The Communists and the Syria National Social parties), especially during Israel invasion of Lebanon in 1982 until 1989, when mandated Syria gave Hezbollah the “monopoly to conduct the resistance.

Without the Shiaa, south Lebanon would have long been swallowed by Israel and Lebanon divided and scraped from the number of independent States. 

It is the Shiaa who forced Israel to withdraw unconditionally from the south in May 24, 2000. 

It is the Shiaa who foiled the strategy of Israel of reconquering the south of Lebanon in July 2006 and installing a Pax Americana in the Greater Middle East.  

Hezbollah split from the main “Amal” Shia movement (of Mousa sader) around 1983 and adopted an ideology tightly linked to the Khomeini hardliners in Iran and is made responsible for the suicide attacks against the US and French headquarters in Beirut. 

Hezbollah was the only resistance movement allowed by Syria to operate against Israel’s occupation in the south of Lebanon since 1989 when the US Administration permitted Syria mandate over Lebanon for over 15 years. 

Syria had prohibited all the other Lebanese nationalistic and progressive parties to resume their liberation resistance during its occupation of Lebanon. 

After the assassination of Rafic Hariri PM in 2005 and the withdrawal of the Syrian troops from Lebanon we have been experiencing a serious void in the legitimacy of the current government. 

The signed entente between the Tayyar political party of Michel Aoun (Free Patriotic Movement for Reform and Change) and Hezbollah has allayed the perception that schemes for a recurring civil war in under planning. 

The patient internally non-violence strategy of Hezbollah in conducting non-cooperation activities against an unjust and and mafia control of the government has permitted the Lebanese population to gain the assurance and relief that another civil war is not feasible.  

This Seniora’s government and its allies have been plundering the public treasury for the past three years (since 2005) and for the last 15 years under Rafic Hariri.

This feudal/sectarian/contractor continuous regime, establishing a Ponzi scheme for our financial system, has been spreading poverty and deepening the indebtedness and ineptness of Lebanon, with the explicit support of the Bush administration, and under the guise of empty rhetoric of democracy, security and independence from Syria’s indirect involvement in Lebanon.

Consequently, the Shia have proven to be the legitimate sons of an independent Lebanon and have paid the prices of martyrdom, suffering, sacrifice and pain in order to be the guarantor for the emergence of a Nation against all odds. 

It is the sacrifices of the Shia and their patience to suffer for the benefit of all Lebanese that is providing them with the leverage of flexibility, intent to change, learn from experience and improve. 

The successive unilateral withdrawals of Israel from Lebanon in 2000, an occupation that lasted since 1982, without any preconditions have given the Lebanese citizen grounds to standing tall. 

Our main problem is that the International requirements of Lebanon and our local politics are at odds. 

The USA, Europe and Saudi Kingdom would like to settle the Palestinian refugees as Lebanese citizens with full rights and thus avoiding the corny problem of their legitimate rights to be repatriated to Israel as stated in the UN resolution of 194. 

The Monarchy in Saudi Kingdom has been viewing the Palestinian question as a major liability since the extremist party of Hamas has taken power in Gaza.

Saudi Kingdom is exhausted of paying the bills every time Israel destroys the infrastructure of Lebanon and covering some of the expenses of the Palestinian refugees and would like an end to this conflict that is hampering the internal stability of the Wahhabi Saudi regime.

Israel invasions of Lebanon and its genocide tactics against the Palestinians are done at the urging of the USA 

The two main local movements of the Future Party (Hariri clan) and Hezbollah are more than content for this unconstitutional political dilemma which suits their short-term interests. 

The Future is satisfied with its dominance among the Sunnis in Beirut and the North and thus, giving the Palestinian refugees citizenship might create an unknown variable that could disrupt the majority of the Sunni allegiance to the Al Moustakbal. 

Consequently, the Hariri clan cannot disobey the Saudi orders but it cannot shoot itself in the foot. 

Externally, the Hariri clan is pro Saudi but in reality it is very cozy with the Syrian position on the Palestinian refugee status as its strongest card during the negotiations with the USA and afterward. 

The unstable constitutional political system in Lebanon may delay indefinitely any serious pressures from Saudi Kingdom and the USA to resolving the Palestinian refugees’ question. 

Hezbollah is weary of having to deal with a constitutional government and negotiate returning its arms to the Lebanese army. 

Thus, the two main parties in Lebanon are supporting each other practically and just playing the game of opposing forces.

Furthermore, The USA has decided after the fiasco of the July war in 2006 that no more investment in time on Lebanon is appropriate at this junction.  We have to wait for a new US administration to decide whether it is willing to re-open the file of the Near East problems.

The allies to the two main parties are side shows: they know it and they cannot change camps with the deep mistrust for the other side pledges and dependent policies to foreign powers. 

Thanks to the vehement rhetoric against Syria or its allies in Lebanon by Walid Jumblatt and Samir Geagea, the Future party has been able to give the impression that it is against the Syrian regime while practically it agrees with the Syrian positions and would like to keep the present status quo in Lebanon’s political system of the Taef Constitutional amendments.  

General Michel Aoun has realized that he has been taken by the sweet tender offers of Hezbollah but he cannot shift allegiance or form a third alliance since non resolution of the situation is the name of the game until further agreement among the main Arab states and the main superpowers.

Recently, General Aoun has demonstrated his independence by visiting Syria for 5 days amid a popular welcome to re-establish entente between the two people, if not the regimes.

So far, the polemics among the government’s allies and the opposition political parties are not shy of harboring sectarian allegiances in their charged speeches, but somehow they failed to discuss the actual caste, or closed religious system in our social structure, which is the fundamental problem toward a modern state of governance.

I do not believe that any fair and representative electoral law is of utility unless the basic caste system is recognized as a sin and altered accordingly to represent an alternative for the citizen joining a united and free status under one State. 

The first step is to instituting a voluntary State marriage law and letting the situation unfold into a more liberal understanding of the need of the people. 

The road is very long and arduous before the beginning of a semblance of trust among the Lebanese is established. 

However, I feel that the Shia under the leadership of a wise and disciplined Hezbollah and their corresponding Christian Free Patriotic movement are leading the way for a semi-autonomous Lebanon, at least in its internal restructuring. 

I believe that the necessities of survival would loosen up many stiff ideological and caste roadblocks toward a reformed political system and the institution of a governing body that abide in integrity, accountability and justice for all.

It is a fact that extremist Sunni “salafist” ideology is gaining quickly in all the Arab and Moslem World, out of desperation and the widespread illiteracy and lack of job openings. (See note 3). 

Maybe our mix of all kinds of sects might be a rampart to our moderate liberal tendencies.

The spirit of Statehood is coming from an unforeseen quarter. Mainly the Shia caste freshly arriving in the social and political scene around 1970. 

This disinherited caste was already a majority when the civil war of 1975 broke out and it suffered from the total ignorance of the central government for infrastructure and social services and had also to suffer the humiliation and atrocities of frequent Israeli air raids and land attacks and bombing of their villages under the disguise of dislodging the Palestinian guerillas.  

The Shia caste is opening up to almost all sects and managed to ally with large sections of many other castes. 

This extending arm might be considered as necessary out of the realization that they are a majority in Lebanon and a real minority in the neighboring States of Syria, Jordan, and Egypt.

This necessity is a blessing to Lebanon because the main major caste is encouraging unity against foreign invaders. 

In the event that Hezbollah maintains its strength, then it can be forecasted that the economic strategy of Lebanon will shift from tourism and third sector (the Hariri’s clan strategy) into more emphasis on agriculture and small and medium industries, many of it geared toward guerilla warfare. 

This is how the future looks like to me if no overall peace treaty with Israel is realized any time soon.

I used the term “Statehood” for Lebanon in a general sense to convey that a form of unity is developing in the conscious of the Lebanese, but this notion of Nation is far from appropriate to Lebanon simply because experiences since independence could not provide any evidence to a unified people under legitimate and responsible central governments. 

Lebanon is fundamentally an amalgamation of castes that enjoy self-autonomy. 

I still believe that the Syrians, Lebanese, Palestinians, and Jordanians naturally form a Nation and they should generate a common market with separate recognized States.

I am convinced the Taef Constitution was meant to have total entente among the various main three religious castes in Lebanon before starting to elect a new president to the Republic.

The entente should involve everything from election law, to the constitution of the government and other priorities. 

This fact translates into agreement among the main Arab States and the main superpowers on how Lebanon should be governed during six years. 

Unless the Lebanese leaders and political parties get together to review the Taef Constitution and be willing to pay the price of deciding to have a mind of their own, then Lebanon is de facto under the UN protectorate.

Note 1: the current Dawha agreement, after Hezbollah destroyed Israel communication control in 2008, translated the spirit of Taef in its temporary execution until the Parliamentary election takes place.

Note 2:  The Future movement of the Hariri clan (Saad Hariri is a Saudi citizen) is practically pro-Syrian but it cannot overtly open up to the Syrian regime as long as Saudi Kingdom is not currently in good term with President Bashar Assad.

Note 3:  The Sunni “salafist” movement expressed its strong arm tendencies in the Palestinian camp of Nahr Al Bared. The Lebanese army destroyed the camp along with the extremist Sunni groups and the ramifications are not over in our internal strife.

Note 4:  The social/political structure is held by 19 recognized religious castes that grow at different paces in demography.  Thus, the top of our Temple must be very flexible and changeable when foreign powers decide to destabilize the tacit agreement among the caste political feudal leaders.

Any peaceful State outside of Lebanon?

Question: Do the citizens of these unstable States have any hope in the future?

Mass upheaval almost everywhere in the world, from Latin America, Europe, Hong Kong, Africa, The Sahara States, Middle East… and most of these upheavals are the result of the USA policies and its International Monetary Fund.

Since October 17, Lebanon mass upheaval didn’t witness any killing by the Army who basically was safeguarding the uprising from the hooligans of the civil war militia “leaders”.

Note that the Internal security Forces refused to get out of its barracks, simply because it is meant to protect the investment of the militia/mafia in Beirut, and mainly those of the Hariri clan and Nabih Berry (chairman of the Parliament)

Most of these States can conceive of a “brighter” future, but can the Lebanese dare to elevate their wishes for a sustainable Lebanon?

بالأمس مساءً، أيّ بتاريخ ١٧ تشرين الثاني ٢٠١٩، قمت بجولة إخبارية على محطات التلفزة العالمية : Euronews, CNN, BBC, TF1, …وتأكدت بأن كلّ بلدان الكرة الأرضية خربانة وولعانة…

عددوا معي:

– مظاهرات وإعتصامات في بوليفيا، التشيلي، المكسيك، البرازيل، غواتيمالا، البيرو…هذه في أميركا الجنوبية…

– قتلى وجرحى بالعشرات في عمليات إطلاق نار في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية…

– مظاهرات في مقاطعة كيبك في كندا للمطالبة بالإستقلال الذاتي…

– مظاهرات وإعتصامات في بريطانيا…

– القمصان الصفراء Gilets jaunes... كسّروا بعض معالم باريس وأقفلوا الطرقات في معظم مدن فرنسا…

– مقاطعة كاتالونيا (Catalonia) تطالب بالإنفصال عن إسبانيا من خلال عصيان مدني شامل…

– مظاهرات وإعتصامات في سلوفاكيا، والبانيا، وكرواتيا، والمانيا، واليونان…

– حروب ومظاهرات ونزوح وقتلى وجرحى في تركيا، والعراق، وسوريا، وإيران…

– مظاهرات وحروب في الجزائر وليبيا والمالي وبوركينا فاسو …

حرائق مدمِرة وقتلى في أوستراليا…

مظاهرات وعصيان مدني في هونغ كونغ…

– … ولبنان على شفير الحرب …

لا يوجد آمان في أيّة دولة في العالم … فالنظام الذي أوجدته الدول الكبرى بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية ينهار بالكامل…

أيها اللبنانيون… الهجرة ليست الحلّ… الحلّ هو بالتعقّل والحوار وقبول الرأي الآخر والعمل بصدق على إعادة بناء وطننا الحبيب لبنان …

A few of the Sons and relatives of mafia/militia leaders have off-shores accounts

Note: updated the article of 2016

One of the batch of the Panama financial leaks list these figures

The first batch of names are:

  1. Bassam Yammine, a former minister assigned by the potential new President of Lebanon Michel Suleiman
  2. Hind Nabih Berry: Daughter of Chairman of the Parliament for 26 consecutive years
  3. Nader Hariri: Brother of Saad Hariri, former and current PM and political successor of his late father Rafic Hariri
  4. Tarek Sami Nahass: a member of the board director of the Hariri clan
  5. Maysara Sokkar: general manager of Sukleen and Sukomi (waste disposal and contracted out to Saad Hariri)
  6. Wael Fouad Seniora: Son of former PM Fouad Seniora who didn’t deposit $11 billions into the Central Bank
  7. Houda Abdel Basset Seniora: wife of Fouad Seniora PM
  8. Walid Dawook: Relative of Adnan Kassar and appointed minister by former Mikati PM
  9. Riad Salameh: Chairman of the Central Bank for 20 successive yearsNote: Iceland President submitted his resignation after he was listed in the leaks
    Ghassan Saoud posted  on FB

    هيك هيك الدنيّ ضاجة بوثائق باناما وكتير عالم ما شافوا كتاب “الحاكم بأمر المال” أو شافوه وما عنالهم.. هاتوا نخبركم القليل:

    بسام يمين – وزير سليمان فرنجية السابق الذي هو عضو مجلس إدارة في كريدي سويس (لبنان) فينانس ورئيس مجلس إدارة إهدن كامبيغ العقارية يرأس مجلس إدارة Novi Orbis Development التي يشير سجلها التجاري إلى أن أبرز المساهمين فيها هي شركة Goldan sands invest المسجلة في جزر بريطانيا العذراء.

    هند نبيه بري هي عضو مجلس إدارة في شركة KIDZ INVESTMENTS HOLDING التي يرأس مجلس إدارتها علي كزما، وأبرز المساهمين في هذه الشركة هم رانيا نعمة الله أبي نصر وشركة Kids Edutainment Park التي تضم ثلاثة أعضاء مجلس إدارة بارزين هم: ابراهيم عازار نجل النائب السابق سمير عازار، رجل الأعمال السعودي محمد ضحيان بن عبد العزيز الضحيان، شركة RB VENTURES INTERNATIONAL المسجلة في «جزر بريطانيا العذراء».

    نادر الحريري – مستشار سعد الحريري
    مساهم في شركة Millennium Real Estate Holding التي يرأس مجلس إدارتها الأمين العام المساعد للشؤون المالية والإدارية في تيار المستقبل وليد سبع أعين. وسبع أعين هو مؤسس شركة CELLCAST HOLDING التي آلت كل أسهمها لشركة «بنبيت انترناشونال ليمتد المسجلة في جزيرة في المحيط الهندي اسمها جمهورية السيشل.

    طارق سامي نحاس – عضو مجلس إدارة «ميلانيوم» التي يرأس مجلس إدارتها نادر الحريري هو: عضو مجلس إدارة في شركة مونو بلازا هولدينغ التي يعتبر صندوق الشرق الاوسط للاستثمار العقاري المساهم الأكبر فيها، والأخير مسجل في «جزر بريطانيا العذراء». وهو مساهم وعضو مجلس إدارة في شركة منارة كابيتال العقارية التي يرأس مجلس إدارتها حازم مفيد الفرا. علماً أن المساهم الرئيسي فيها وفقاً للسجل التجاري هو شركة PRIMAVERA HOLDINGS المسجلة في جزر الكايمن. وهو محامي شركة قنطاري 2259 التي يرأس مجلس إدارتها مروان فخري دلول، علماً أن المساهم الرئيسي فيها وفق السجل التجاري هي شركة kantari residence limited المسجلة في جزر بريطانيا العذراء.

    ميسرة سكر – سوكلين وسوكومي – هو رئيس مجلس إدارة ليدز انترناشيونال، والمساهم الرئيسي فيها هي شركة AVERDA INTERNATIONAL LIMITED المسجلة في جزر بريطانيا العذراء.

    وائل فؤاد السنيورة
    مساهم رئيسي وعضو مجلس إدارة في شركة «لوسيد انفستمنت كوربوريشن». لوسيد شريكة رئيسية لشركة KABABJI INVESTMENT COMPANY في تملك وإدارة شركة كبابجي (هولدنغ). وKABABJI INVESTMENT COMPANY مسجلة في جزر الكايمن.

    هدى عبد الباسط السنيورة – زوجة فؤاد السنيورة
    رئيسة مجلس إدارة «الأمل هولدنغ». والأمل هولدينغ مساهمة في شركة فردان 1341 العقارية، والمساهمة الرئيسية معها هي شركة«فينيسيا انترناشيونال هولدنغ» أما المساهم شبه الوحيد في الأخيرة فهو شركة «فينيسيا انتربرايزس» المسجلة في بنما.

    وليد الداعوق – الوزير الميقاتي السابق وصهر الوزير السابق عدنان القصار (فرنسبنك)
    ساهم وعضو مجلس إدارة في شركة M1 REAL ESTATE LEBANON التي تعتبر M1 REAL ESTATE INTERNATIONAL المساهمة الأكبر فيها، وهي مسجلة في»جزر بريطانيا العذراء».

    غسان سعود – رولا ابراهيم

Old Cosmopolitan Beirut: Before Saudi and Gulf Emirates Real Estates Developers landed

How the Hariri clan (Starting with late Rafic Hariri PM) destroyed Beirut heritage

A string of illegal robbery of Prime Real Estates properties

Those rich emirs wanted a comfortable stay in Beirut that feel very capitalist and a view on the sea.

So their representative in Lebanon, late Rafic Hariri PM, bribed and forced illegal laws to capture Downtown Beirut for pennies and instituted the Solidaire company.

Not only Hariri and his partners in the triumvirate (Nabih Berry and Walid Jumblat) occupied the Downtown but they dumped the sea and created many acres of new prime land.

The proprietors of prime land were given shares. The land is worth over $10 billion, but the shares never increased a dime over the last 30 years. The term of the company was to end 10 years ago, but it was extended another 10 years by the same triumvirate.

Currently, Beirut Downtown is as dead as the desert in Saudi Arabia.

The citizens were chased out from the premises by making the shops and the items too expensive for paying a visit to this cosmopolitan Capital.

Before 1975, Beirut was the hub for all the Lebanese who could find the best quality merchandize at affordable prices in its old souks.

The souks have been razed and demolished to erect skyscrapers that are empty.

Even the Emirs failed to visit Lebanon. Worse, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates are warning their people Not to spend their vacation in Beirut.

Joseph Dergham's photo.
'Beirut Martyrs Square in 1965'
'Beirut Martyrs Square in 2015'

Maroun Ingeatostop destroying your heritage!

Beirut Martyrs Square in 1965 :

Green spaces, Trams, Bus & Taxi Stops, Traditional houses, Tonzim modoni…

All this was illegally destroyed by a well known private company

And replaced by illegal parkings, buildings and water front.

The Zeitouny Bay, Dalieh, Raouche, Ras Beirut, Downtown, the ancient famous souks…

Restore Beirut to whom it belongs!

Youssef Mohammad Al Moussawi's photo.

Master muddler: Buster of our internet and telecommunication system

The fibre optics lines have been installed a few years ago, and yet these lines are waiting for this idiot to connect them.

Abdel Moneim Youssef is not your average public servant. If there is one compelling impression from meeting him in person, it is that there is much more to him than meets the eye.

(He is such an idiot that he enjoys playing the game?)

In this sense, his office at the Ministry of Telecommunications is  confusingly unrevealing: large but functional, not overtly more guarded than the premises of other Grade 1 national officials, and adorned with memorabilia — fittingly in his case, blown-up images of historic Lebanese phone cards decorate the spacious waiting area.

 posted in Executive this April 7, 2015

But the bureaucrat has certain attributes that pit him as quite exceptional for a public servant.

For one, he singlehandedly holds a tremendous amount of power over the telecommunications sector.

He is at once director general of operations and maintenance at the Ministry of Telecommunications and chair–general manager of state owned fixed line operator Ogero (private company belonging to the Hariri clan), which acts as an internet service provider while simultaneously being responsible for selling international capacity to the private sector.

The man is also incredibly elusive.  (What can he says? “I am working for the Hariri clan who wants to buy this public institution for cheap?”)

Reaching Youssef required going through specific channels that are not usually required for journalists to meet public servants.

Then, there are the opinions people hold of him.

Everybody involved with telecommunications in Lebanon seems to have one.

Some view him as highly self interested, others regard him as no different from any other government employee — and some of those in the know even provided Executive with two conflicting views, describing him as “extremely smart and charming if he wants to be,” but also going as far as alleging that he must be “a maniac” or have a “crazy conspiracy theory” — speaking on condition of anonymity, of course. 

But for anything telecom sector related, Youssef is the go-to person.

He is Mr. X as Executive termed the theoretical, all knowing, unknown telecoms guru.

He is the one who should be able to answer basic questions on the minds of the Lebanese.

Questions such as:

1.  Why has the new fiber optic internet backbone not been turned on yet?

2. Why isn’t Ogero granting international capacity to private sector ISPs?

3. Why is our internet so slow and expensive?

Before Executive encountered Youssef, we were told he had a knack for derailing a topic by either losing his interlocutors in details or with his charming personality.

Sitting down with him, it quickly became clear that he was not going to give us any information — much less a straight, serious answer.

Youssef can talk, knows how to waste time and is a master of deflecting inconvenient questions.

Besides not allowing recording equipment, Youssef would craft his answers in a way to not only avoid the topic, but also be unspecific to the point of making generalization into an art form.

 When asked why the new fiber optic network contracted in 2011 — which now connects the bulk of the central offices in Lebanon as well as many of the country’s heavy users such as universities and hospitals — has not been turned on, Youssef immediately retorted on the semantics, not the substance, of our question.

‘Heavy users’ is a meaningless term, he shot back, embarking on a diatribe arguing that the term was “not even a word.” If you look up ‘heavy users’ on Google, he said, it would yield no results. He went further to say that ‘heavy users’ was only a term used by people in Lebanon, to describe a concept that does not exist in the rest of the world’s parlance.

Executive of course does not know when Youssef last googled the term, but we can confirm that a March 2015 search yields high level international technical sources as using the term ‘heavy users’ in important discussions — such as the net neutrality debate — and for considerable time in exactly the same way in which it was entailed in the question posed to him.

To a question about why our new, state of the art fiber optic backbone had not yet been switched on to carry data traffic, Youssef retorted with an ill informed rebuttal about heavy users.

The question remained unanswered, but Youssef’s response served a purpose: the longer the talk about definitions, the more time Youssef won as the clock counted down to 6 p.m., when he informed us he had another meeting.

At a certain point in the interview — and though his English appeared highly adequate for claiming knowledge on the appropriateness of the technical terms he disputed — Youssef became apologetic about his poor command of the language, excusing himself, in English, as having been “French educated” and switched to arguing in French from that point on.

“What’s the relation between internet and fiber optic?”

There are many strategies to waste time through talking, but it is an art to talk for 40 minutes and provide answers that are as far from clear as they are far from being quotable, in the sense of saying anything of informative value.

“What’s the relation between internet and fiber optic?” he barked at Executive when once more pressed for an answer as to why the fiber wasn’t turned on.

The discussion ascended to heights usually reserved to the performances of the Théâtre de l’Absurde as Youssef advanced to question the premise of a newly existing fiber optic network by asking us how we were sure it was really there.

The question was surprising, given that the network had been budgeted, tendered and indeed installed according to various statements given to Executive by telecommunications consultants, private sector contractors and vendors who had worked on the project — and notably, by advisors to the Ministry of Telecommunications.

Taking a somewhat contradictory position to the gauntlet just thrown that was perhaps worthy of a Camus essay, Youssef then went on to assert that of course we have fiber optic internet.

But this statement is too vague to be understood as a claim that the new network is indeed on, as Lebanon does have an older fiber optic network built over a decade ago that links 5 central offices together, which we understand is in operation.

This network was originally built only to carry Ogero’s internal traffic, and was not meant to be used as a wide area network as it is used now, to carry internet traffic.

When speaking, it is very common for one to forget to be precise and qualify what is being discussed, so any potential misunderstandings can generally be clarified through merely asking a simple follow up question. When pressed for a more specific answer, as in whether Youssef was referring to this older network, or if he was claiming that the new network was, indeed, turned on, he exploded.

The bone of contention appeared to be that Executive had called the fiber optic network “old,” or as he reworded it, “ancient.”

He thus addressed this supposed question of network longevity — which Executive had not asked and not intended to ask — with a discourse on how fiber optic cables have a very long lifespan.

Indeed, fiber optic cabling, provided it is properly insulated under the ground, is essentially good forever.

Yet when it comes to being able to carry an entire country’s capacity, no matter how long it physically lasts, it will not be able to carry traffic it was not designed for.

Youssef added that the older fiber that was built from 1994 to 2000 is only being used at 35% of its capacity.

(So why not making good use of the overwhelming remaining unused capacity?)

But in an attempt to revert back to the matter of whether Youssef was actually claiming that the new network was off or if his claims were just stating vague facts in order to confuse, Executive asked him if he had signed any documents approving the activation of the newer network.

He responded saying that he signed papers for fiber optic cables “every day.”

Again, it is unclear whether this means that Youssef signs papers approving some kind of fiber optic related work or if he was indeed claiming that he had signed papers approving turning on sections of the new network.

To close the discussion, he invited Executive to call up all of our sources and tell them they were wrong.

“They are completely ignorant,” he said.

Every source we had cited in our interview — the advisors to the Ministry of Telecommunications, the consultants, the internet services providers — were implied. All of them (are ignorant?).

After we dismissed some ideas implied by our interviewee — such as buying shovels and digging trenches to check for the presence of cables, or calling respected experts to insult them — the net gain of 40 minutes’ exposure to Youssef’s mastery in haranguing was thin.

What we learned was that the questions we were asking, for some reason, were questions that Youssef did not want to answer.

If there is one thing Youssef can be congratulated for, it is his prowess in semantics.

Not unsimilar to the style of long, colorful discourses of thesis and antithesis that are preached by certain prestigious schools in Paris in order for their students to succeed in oral presentations, Youssef can talk.

While we leave him with new appreciation of how one can use this talent in a top public administrative position, we can only speculate as to how this public servant uses this ability for the greater good of national telecommunications.

What we no longer wonder about is his charm, or that he knows what he is doing.

As he shakes hands with Executive before ushering us out of the door, smiling, he apologizes for being so “disagreeable.”

Note 1: Charbel Nahas  (former communication minister) shared this link on FB this April 12, 2015 

عبد المنعم يوسف يخطف شبكة الألياف الضوئية التي تم تلزيمها خلال تولي شربل نحاس وزارة الاتصالات
ويمنع اللبنانيين من الاستفادة منها
وهي تربط كل سنترالات لبنان وتصل مباشرة إلى مئات المؤسسات التي تستخدم الإنترنت بكثافة (إدارات، مؤسسات إعلامية وصحافية، تلفزيونات، موزعو إنترنت، جامعات…)

Abdel Moneim Youssef is not your average public servant.
Executive got to meet him for 40 minutes, and the least we can say, it was a bewildering encounter.

Brown spills, sewage dump…: Beirut, Na3meh, Khaldeh…

For over 15 years, Sukleen (one of the Hariri clan company) has been renewing its contract with the government without bidding procedures and used open air dumps for its garbage collection enterprise.

Sukleen has been charging the municipalities $140 a ton of garbage and paid directly from the municipality fund (like taxes on payrolls), while the few private providers allowed to work and independent municipalities with their own system are paying $40 a ton.

Saida had amassed a hill of garbage and the municipality is fooling us that this hill will become a green garden for the citizens, eventually.  With potential perspectives and architectural plans… to back it up.

In Na3meh, the people have been suffering from increased cancer problems, living in an environment of constant stench. They endeavored to sit-in and prevent any more trucks to empty garbage.  The government has again promised to resolve this problem within two years...

Brown spills of Khalde

It’s a nasty sewage dump- mainly flowing from southern Beirut, Khaldeh and the suburbs like Aramoun/Bchamoun/Choueifat…

Noticed most of your recent posts have to do with that short trip you took to Jordan- best way to learn about Lebanon is to leave it for a few days every couple of weeks- refreshes your perspective

In addition to the landfill crisis on Beirut’s streets–covered on this blog yesterday— there appears to be a heavy dose of brown stuff spewing into the Mediterranean near Beirut Airport, as seen in these pictures I took a couple of days ago.
You can see the runway at the top right. And the output point appears to be near a sea resort near Khalde, a few hundred meters before the Ouzai tunnel running underneath the tarmac.
Zooming in on the same area in Google Maps, the brown substance appears to come from very close to this resort, near a green area, before being flushed out to sea via a short canal:
Zoom out and you can see the extent of the damage across the coastline:

But these satellite images could be quite dated– in some parts of Beirut I have noticed Google earth images to be 2-3 years old.

Judging by my current airplane window shots, could this mean that the slime has been pumped out constantly for 3 years or even much longer?
No wonder Sidon and Khalde are not safe places to swim.

En reponse a M Nehmat Frem ce soir sur telelumiere qui a specule qu'uniquement 15% des libanais seraient capables de trier leurs dechets, j'aimerais preciser qu'entre les annees 1996 et 1998 les habitants de Bsharri furent les habitants du premier village au Liban a trier leurs dechets a la source (c.a.d chacun dans sa maison). En effet environ 80 % des habitants avaient participe au tri des dechets organise par le Comite de Sauvergarde de l'Environnement de Bsharri, projet que la municipalite de Bsharri avait malheureusement refuse de reprendre lors de sa reprise de pouvoir en 1998. Avec de la bonne volonte, de la patience et du courage, rien n'est impossible M. Frem.
In response to Ne3mat Frem who speculated that only 15% of Lebanese (meaning municipalities, baladiyat?) are able to sort out their garbage… I would like to remind M Frem that between 1996-98 the citizens of the town of Bsharreh were the first to sort out their garbage at the source, their homes.
Indeed, 80% of the inhabitants participated in the project Safeguarding the Environment Committee. Unfortunately, the next municipality refused to take up that project.
With will, patience and courage, nothing is impossible.
The French text posted by Habib Rahmet:
En reponse a M Nehmat Frem ce soir sur telelumiere qui a specule qu’uniquement 15% des libanais seraient capables de trier leurs dechets, j’aimerais preciser qu’entre les annees 1996 et 1998 les habitants de Bsharri furent les habitants du premier village au Liban a trier leurs dechets a la source (c.a.d chacun dans sa maison). En effet environ 80 % des habitants avaient participe au tri des dechets organise par le Comite de Sauvergarde de l’Environnement de Bsharri, projet que la municipalite de Bsharri avait malheureusement refuse de reprendre lors de sa reprise de pouvoir en 1998. Avec de la bonne volonte, de la patience et du courage, rien n’est impossible M. Frem.

Same casualties in car explosions, different media effects…

How powerful are media?

“This is the third explosion I escaped. I don’t know if I will die in the fourth one”.  Tweeted the 18-year old Maria Jawhari.
And her apprehension was fulfilled this time around.
Last year generated over 290 car explosions, many kamikaze-type, around the world, resulting in over 3,500 killed, and five fold of injuries.
Iraq experienced about 3 times more car explosions than in 2012: 92 compared to 35.
Syria witnessed about 27 explosions.
Shall I mention the calamities in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mali, Libya, Tunisia…?
Countries under foreign occupations experienced only 35% of the total explosions in 2013.
How powerful are the media?
Lebanon witnessed 3 explosions last year, mainly in the last two months.
This year has started with another 3 explosions.
Onset of the explosion
لحظة الإنفجا OTV Lebanon –
If this trend continues, Lebanon might outpace Iraq, assuming that
1. Iraq continues to crack down hard on the hot zones or sources of terrorism in the cities of Ramadi and Falluja in the Anbar province by the Syrian borders.
2. Syria manages to liberate the large towns of Yabrod and Deir Zur from the ultra Wahhabi Islamists, funded by Saudi Arabia, the people in Kuwait and the Arab Emirates…
3. The town of Qusair stays freed from these Al Nusra Front terrorists
The first car bomb exploded in Haret Hrik in Dahiyaa. The media covered intensively this first since it took place in Hezbollah stronghold. The second one in Dahiya generated lukewarm reactions in the Lebanese media.
The third explosion targeted Iran embassy.
The fourth car explosion generated tons of comments… in Lebanon and abroad, describing the death of Mohammad Shateh
and the selfie kid  Mohammad Sha3ar
(Mind you that this car explosion is supposed to be targeting Al Mustakbal sympathizers of the Hariri clan)
The successive explosions generated none. And all these car explosions resulted in the same numbers of killed and injured. What give?
Another photo depicting the aftermath of #HaretHreik explosion, south #Beirut – #AFP #Lebanon
Maria Jawhari, the 18 year old who was killed in today’s‪#‎HaretHreik‬ ‪#‎explosion‬ had this to say before she died:
رَد إعادة تغريد تفضيل المزيد
رابط دائم للصورة المُضمّنة
Martyr Maryam Jowhary #beirut #bombing #harethreik
Martyr Maryam Jowhary #beirut #bombing #harethreik
Maria el Jawhari was reported as one of at least 4 victims of a bombing in southern Beirut on Tuesday. Netizens shared this image of a January 2 post from Facebook reading,
The car bomb attack was claimed by the Nusra Front in Lebanon and was the second blast in less than a month in the Shia-dominated Haret Hreik. Read more:
“This is the third explosion I escaped. I don’t know if I will die in the fourth one”.
Maria el Jawhari was reported as one of at least four victims of a bombing in southern Beirut on Tuesday. Netizens shared this image of a January 2 post from Facebook reading, "This is the third explosion I escaped. I don't know if I will die in the fourth one". The car bomb attack was claimed by the Nusra Front in Lebanon and was the second blast in less than a month in the Shia-dominated Haret Hreik. Read more:
Ali Ibrahim Bashir, another victim of #HaretHreik‘s #explosion |#Lebanon
Ali Ibrahim Bashir, another victim of #HaretHreik's #explosion | #Lebanon

Demolishing Iconic public Stairs: Mar Mikhael stairs in Ashrafiyeh (Lebanon)

Would you protest for the removal of a historic set of stairs in your neighborhood? People in Beirut are suffocating for lack of green spaces, and yet, local residents are willing to fight for stairs.

I watched on the evening news the protest of the neighborhood to that iconic stairs (about 66 stairs) and they all promised to die in front of the bulldozing machine… Many people have taken these stairs as their reference and place of daily work…

Ashrafieh is hilly. Sassine square is up on a hill and Mar Mikhael’s toes dip in the sea (before reclaiming the sea that is).

Anyone who walks around Ashrafieh/Gemmayzeh/Tabaris/Mar Mikhael knows how essential these stairs are, and the time they save. They’re also cultural and historical icons where dozens of festivals, exhibitions and performances take place.

 posted this Nov. 9, 2013

Residents Protest Demolition of Mar Mikhael Stairs

Here’s why the decision by the Municipality of Beirut (dominated by Al Mustakbal movement of the Hariri clan) to demolish the Massaad stairs, known as the Mar Mikhael stairs, is unreasonable.

  1. It means too much to so many people. This is a historic piece of land that many if not most of us have memories on. Personally, I’ve walked up and down (believe it or not) those stairs dozens of times when I lived in the area growing up. I’ve also been to many an art performance and exhibition on those now colorful steps.
  2. It is the only outlet for many houses on it.
  3. It’s too narrow. Just look at it, how can a road (which will have cars parked on the side) be of any use?
  4. Traffic. There’s a vast network of crisscrossing roads already, and adding this one won’t have much value, if any. It’ll just add to traffic on Armenia Street and make the resident’s lives uncomfortable.

I hope the ultra-corrupt Beirut Municipality will reconsider, and that the residents’ pleas are heard. I’d also like to tell the residents we are with them, and will support them in any non-violent action they take to try and stop this unfair and unnecessary plan.

Blast in Beirut: Covered by an US reporter?

A powerful bomb devastated a Christian neighborhood of this capital city of Lebanon on Friday, killing 8 civilians and the targeted intelligence official Gen. Wissam Al Hassan, and injuring over 110 civilians…

In a nearby upstairs apartment, Lily Nameh, 73, said she had been taking a nap with her husband, Ghaleb. “I thought it was an earthquake,” she said. “Suddenly everything was falling on us.” Her husband said, “It felt like a plane landed on the building.”

I have posted several articles on this car explosion in Achrafieh, in east Beirut, and decided to post a typical coverage from a foreigner who needs to satisfy the idiosyncratic message of the New York Times in order to have the piece published.

You feel as if this reporter is not in the mood of comprehending anything: All that this reporter knows is what the editor likes to see published in the Middle-East and the same versions of the Federal Administration wants to convey to the US citizens about this region… I added numbers of the victims of the blast and content between parenthesis are mine…

Bilal Hussein/Associated Press. The explosion at the heart of the Christian section of Beirut on Friday injured many and shattered windows for blocks. More Photos »
ublished on October 19, 2012 in the NYT:
BEIRUT, Lebanon — The blast, which sheared the faces off buildings, killed at least eight people, wounded 110 and transformed a quiet tree-lined street into a scene reminiscent of Lebanon’s long civil war, threatened to worsen sectarian tensions.
By nightfall, black smoke from burning tires ignited by angry men choked the streets of a few neighborhoods in the city, which has struggled to preserve a peace between its many sects, including Sunni, Shiite, Christian and Druse.

Hasan Shaaban/Reuters. A wounded man was helped after the blast.                            More Photos »

Within hours of the attack, the Lebanese authorities announced that the dead included the intelligence chief of the country’s internal security service, Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, instantly spurring accusations that the Syrian government had assassinated him for recently uncovering what the authorities said was a Syrian plot to provoke unrest in Lebanon.

“They wanted to get him, and they got him,” said Paul Salem, a regional analyst with the Carnegie Middle East Center.

But if the attack was targeted, the blast was most certainly not. The force of the explosion left elderly residents fleeing their wrecked homes in bloodied pajamas and spewed charred metal as far as two blocks. Residents rushed to help each other amid the debris, burning car wreckage and a macabre scene of victims in blood-soaked shirts.

It was the first large-scale bombing in the country since 2008 and was the most provocative violence here linked to the Syrian conflict since it began 19 months ago.

The attack struck a heavy blow to a security service that had asserted Lebanon’s fragile sovereignty by claiming to catch Syria red-handed in a plan to destabilize its neighbor, which Syria has long dominated.

It threatened to inflame sectarian tensions by eliminating General Hassan, a Sunni Muslim known for his close ties to fellow Sunni politicians (the Hariri clan of the Mustakbal movement) who support the Syrian uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. General Hassan was viewed by Syrian opposition activists as an ally and protector.

Imad Salamey, a political science professor at Lebanese American University, blamed Mr. Assad’s government and said that the attack seemed intended to show that Syria has the ability to destabilize Lebanon and threaten to embroil the region in chaos.

The Syrian government issued a statement condemning the bombing, quoting the information minister, Omran al-Zoubi, as saying, “These sort of terrorist, cowardly attacks are unjustifiable wherever they occur.”

The attack harked back to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a longtime foe of Mr. Assad’s, in a car bombing in 2005. Syria was widely blamed, and protests in the aftermath of that killing forced Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon, a major blow to its regional influence.

But a series of bombings targeting politicians, journalists and security officials followed, shaking Lebanon and sending the message that Syria’s power still reached deep into its neighbor.

The size and location of the bomb on Friday awakened a general feeling of dread that the Syrian conflict, which has already depressed Lebanon’s economy and sent thousands of Syrian refugees into the country, was coming home to Lebanese civilians, and could set off tit-for-tat killings and reprisals that could spiral out of control.

The blast seemed to accelerate a pattern already established, as the Syrian civil war increasingly draws in the region, crossing the borders of its many neighbors. Recently, a mortar blast from Syria killed civilians in southern Turkey, prompting the Turkish military to respond with artillery strikes into Syria for several days. Jordan has struggled to absorb as many as 180,000 refugees.

Shells have exploded in the disputed Golan Heights region occupied by Israel. Iran has been accused of sending weapons and advisers into Syria to help Mr. Assad.  Saudi Arabia and Turkey have provided weapons and cash to the rebels trying to oust Mr. Assad, and rebels have taken control of border crossings between Syria and Iraq.

In Beirut, there were efforts to tamp down animosities, and keep the peace.

Not far behind the ambulances, politicians arrived at the scene of the blast. They urged Lebanese citizens to resist being drawn into the conflict — but also pointed fingers at Syria and its Lebanese allies in sharp language that seemed as likely to induce anger as to warn against it.

“For the first time, we feel that it is the regular Lebanese citizen who is being targeted in this explosion and, maybe, this is the beginning of what Syrian authorities have promised us in the past,” said Nadim Gemayel, a member of Parliament from the Christian Phalange movement that is part of Lebanon’s opposition March 14 bloc. “The Syrian regime had talked about burning everything in their path.”

As news spread of the bombing, the streets of Beirut’s largely Christian Ashrafiyeh district were initially calm. People walked dogs and escorted children home from school. But they also gathered in small groups warily discussing the bombing and clutched cellphones to share news.

Outside a damaged grocery stood Sandra Abrass, a filmmaker and former Red Cross worker, frustrated that she was not allowed to help on the scene because her skimpy yellow flats were no protection against broken glass, and said she was in pain first for the wounded and then for Lebanon.

“You don’t feel safe any more,” she said. After growing up during the 1975-1991 civil war, she said, she was no longer used to the idea that bombs could go off at any moment, and feared that there would be more bombings and reprisals.

“They cannot let us live happily,” she said.

General Hassan came to prominence as a security chief for the assassinated former prime minister, Mr. Hariri. Early on, he was a suspect in that killing, but later helped build a circumstantial case, based on phone records, that a team from Hezbollah, the militant Lebanese Shiite organization aligned with Syria, had coordinated the Hariri attack and was at the scene of the murder. Hezbollah, which has since become an important member of Lebanon’s government, claims the records were fabricated.

Another security official, Wissam al-Eid, who helped compile the phone records, was killed in a car bombing in 2008, part of a series of assassinations of political figures, journalists and investigators.

More recently, in August, General Hassan shocked Lebanon by arresting a prominent pro-Syrian politician, Michel Samaha, on charges of importing explosives in a bid to set off bombs and wreak sectarian havoc as part of a Syrian-led plot. It was a surprising move in a country where state institutions have rarely had the power to take on political figures, especially those backed by foreign powers or Lebanese militias.

In a brief interview on Friday, the chief of the Internal Security Forces, Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi, said, “Wissam al-Hassan was targeted because of Samaha’s case.”

The Internal Security Forces have often been seen as allied with Sunni anti-Syrian factions. But Mr. Salem of Carnegie said that General Hassan did not pursue only his friends’ political enemies; he was also credited with disrupting numerous networks of Israeli spies.

Mr. Salem said that General Hassan and his investigators were “one of the bright spots that saw the Syrian influence apparently ebb,” demonstrating that “the Lebanese state was beginning to develop capacities, they could arrest Samaha, they were doing things that a sovereign state does.”

While some anti-Syrian politicians suggested that the bombing was intended to distract from allegations that Hezbollah is fighting on the Syrian government’s side, they stopped short of accusing the party of involvement in the bombing. Several analysts said Hezbollah was unlikely to carry out such an attack, which would threaten its political standing inside Lebanon.

In the bombed neighborhood in Ashrafiyeh district on Friday, Civil Defense officers picked pieces of flesh off a security fence and put them into plastic supermarket bags.

On Friday nights, areas of central Beirut are usually crowded with cars and pedestrians heading out to party. But after the bombing, the usual Friday night traffic jams never materialized, and watering holes that usually send excess crowds on to the sidewalks in neighborhoods known for night life sat quiet and forlorn.

Reporting was contributed by Hwaida Saad, Hania Mourtada and Josh Wood from Beirut, and Christine Hauser and Rick Gladstone from New York.

A version of this article appeared in print on October 20, 2012, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Blast in Beirut Seen as Extension of Syria Conflict.


Ideal case study for alienated youth: City of Tripoli, Lebanon

This week was terrible in Tripoli, Lebanon. The gunfire is relentlessly going on. So far, 120 were hospitalized and increasing, a dozen killed , and scores of Lebanese soldiers seriously injured, paying the heavy price of a pseudo-State with a pseudo government. Why this infighting between two blocks of “rocket holed” buildings in Bab El Tebbani (mostly Islam Sunnis) and Jabal Mohsen (mostly Islam Alawits)?

Jabal Mohsen is a block of crumbling building built on a small hill overlooking the Syria boulevard separating it from Bab El Tebbani.

Since 2005, after the withdrawal of the mandated Syrian troops from Lebanon, these two quarters in Tripoli have been at one another throats.  Hysteric, out of work, never worked in their life, and terribly famished youth have this nack of stepping forward and grabbing the TV micro and claim that their weapon was purchased with their own saved money to protect themselves from the enemy…Whose money again? Who is this enemy?

The irony is that the government PM is from Tripoli, and he would not form the government until 5 ministers are from Tripoli, sort of securing a public base for the next election in 2013 and being proclaimed the political leader of this totally neglected city for 4 decades. These political “leaders” were totally helpless in resolving the deteriorating conditions…

The funny part is that the army didn’t officially enjoy political cover to take control of the infighting, until things went out of hand. Why?

A funnier story was told by the leader of Jabal Mohsen, Mr. Eid, that all their weapons and ammunitions are bought from the Hariri Clan (The Future movement), the same political party that extend the same kinds of weapons to the Sunni fighters in Lebanon…And from where the Hariri clan bring in this assortment of weapons? From this absolute Wahhabi monarchy of Saudi Arabia, the other absolute Emirate of Qatar, and the political cover of the USA.

After 4 decades of neglect, economically and in public facilities, generations of youth were brought up as “citizens” out of subject matter, out of touch from the remaining regions of Lebanon, a vast ghetto of famished, jobless, illiterate youth, and lead by clerics who are bought and sold for a nickel…

You cannot imagine how rotten are the brains of these clerics, under soiled turban and various headdresses…Their main jobs, these clerics is to get the youth moving out to the street, for one reason or another, preferably after Fridays’ Prayers, and chanting “Allah wa Akbar”, greater from who? They are in charge, these clerics, of distributing the proper weapons of machine guns, rocket launchers, batons, iron rods, tires to burn and block traffic…

After four decades of total neglect, the youth in Tripoli constitute the Ideal case study for alienated urban kids, to all kinds of researchers around the world, sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, archeologists, mental derangement cases…

Two weeks ago, heartless and mindless local TV reporters wanted to have their 15 minutes”glory” under the sun and took the families of the kidnapped Lebanese in Syria/Turkey by total surprise.

The “urgent news” were displayed on TV channels that a Syrian fighter jet bombed a town by the Turkish border, and that the 11 Lebanese civilians kidnapped two months ago have all perished.  The news were false. But the consequences are not that false at all.

This tribe of Moqdad, and many other Lebanese tribes of Jaafar…(far more numerous than in Libya) reacted by kidnapping 40 Syrians and Turks…on the Lebanese soil and demanding their right for revenge…

Worst, the Moqdad tribe refused the minister of the interior any communication with them until the government proved that it has the  kidnapped Lebanese at heart and is working diligently for their liberation and is in control of the situation…

Lebanese gunmen from the al-Moqdad clan in southern Beirut, Reuters
The citizens of Saudi Arabia, the Emirate States and Qatar were urged (ordered by their governments) to fleeLebanon, and not just the fleshpots of Beirut.
As a reminder, kidnappings were fuel to the fire of the first weeks of the 1975-90 Lebanese civil war. But the reason for these abductions is a lot less clear.

Robert Fisk wrote a week ago:

“We have to look at the case of one Hassan Selim Moqdad, for whom Beirut’s latest hostages are held. A Lebanese Shia, he was seized by the Free Syrian Army inside Syria and videotaped babbling that he was a Hezbollah member, part of a 1,500-strong assumed contingent of Hezbollah fighters sent to assist Assad.

Now there happen to be about 17,000 Moqdads in Lebanon, all members of the same tribe but including not just Shia, but Sunnis and Christian Orthodox as well. The wife of said that Hassan Moqdad, far from arriving in Syria with a legion of Hezbollah fighters,had been staying in Syria since before the revolt began 18 months ago, because of financial problems in Lebanon.

Hassan’s money difficulties resolved, he was on his way home to Lebanon when he was kidnapped and transmogrified into a Hezbollah warrior. Hezbollah have denied that Moqdad was a member, just as they have insisted they’ve no militiamen fighting in Syria, a statement that may bear the merit of truth…

The Hezbollah Party of God cannot deny that the 40 hostages in Beirut – all but six of whom had been released last night as Maher Moqdad (another of the famous 17,000) announced an end to such abductions – were all taken in an area which the government long ago effectively handed over to the Hezbollah.

In reality, however, the kidnappings symbolise not the power of Hezbollah but the utter impotence of the divided, self-abusive Lebanese government.

Maher Moqdad said one of the detained Syrians was an army lieutenant who wanted to join the rebels. Meanwhile, those same rebels claim to hold dozens of Iranian ‘spies’ captured on the Damascus airport road, although Iran says that all were visiting a shrine outside Damascus.

But would Iranian secret agents really take a vulnerable bus to Damascus airport? The case is faintly similar to the six Iranian ‘militiamen’ captured in Homs who turned out to be legitimate power station workers.

Michel Samaha, ex-minister, ex-MP, and Lebanese supporter of Assad, is charged with plotting to blow up Lebanese politicians on behalf of Syria’s security, General Ali Mamlouk, the ‘terror conspiracy’ – without a shred of evidence publicly revealed – has become fact.

Like the mass of bank robberies around Beirut, the clan battles in the Bekaa Valley and the armed offensive against Lebanese troops trying to destroy the country’s hashish fields, the entire shooting match doesn’t exactly invite tourists and Gulf investors to sunny Beirut. Nor did it help when the Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, announced that the kidnappings “bring us back to the days of the painful (civil) war.” Nor, I suppose, is there a surgeon who can put Lebanon together again.”

Note 1: For an entire week, starting Dec.8, 2012, another round of clashes was ignited, leaving 12 dead and a hundred injured in Tripoli. Why? Two dozen Lebanese were dispatched to fight in Syria against the regime, and the regular Syrian army ambushed the infiltrators and killed them… The Lebanese army was there and was unable to restrain the shelling…

Note: One thousand personalities in Jordan signed a petition demanding that the King and his government desist from meddling in Syria’s affairs. Jordan has been submitted under heavy pressures from Saudi Arabia and Qatar to play an active role in Syria problems.

It is in the interest of King Abdullah of Jordan that the extremist Sunnis insurgents do not spill over into Jordan and depose this absolute monarchy, instated by the British Empire after WWI…




March 2023

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