Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Litany River

Why Israel begged for an immediate cease fire in its preemptive July War of 2006?

If you want to know the context of the July War that lasted 33 days, you may read the Note first.

Hassan Nasr Allah, Hezbollah Secretary General, gave an extensive interview to Ghassan Ben Jeddo on the channel Al Mayadeen, a day before the car bombing of Bir Al Abed that harvested 26 killed and over 270 injured.
In that interview, corresponding to the anniversary of the cease fire of Israel preemptive war on Lebanon in 2006, Nasr Allah explained:
“In the first 29 days of the war, Bush Jr. and his administration vouched that this war will not end until Hezbollah is wiped out or decide to turn over all its weapons…”
On day 30, Israel sent messages that it is ready to consider a cease fire, but preferred to play coy and insisted on the preconditions:
1. The UN peace keeping forces should be increased to 15,000 instead of the present 2,000 soldiers
2. No Lebanese southern refugees (about 400,000) will be denied the right to return until the 15,000 UN force has arrived. It was estimated that this UN force to assemble will take 5 months to be ready to be deployed.
3. Hezbollah military forces will vacate behind the Litany River and be substituted with the Lebanese regular army…
Hezbollah refused, and its missiles kept showering the Israeli settlements and reaching far inside Israel. About over 600,000 Israelis fled their settlements.
On day 31, Israel ambassador to the UN woke up Qatar ambassador Hamad at 3 am and begged him to do his best to arrange for an immediate cease fire.
US ambassador George Bolton insisted on Hamad to do his best effort for this most urgent demand, claiming that their friend Israel have begged Bush Jr. to desist and accept a cease fire.
(Mind you that Bolton is the one who ironically asked the Arab ambassadors to the UN to take their yearly vacation since this war is going to last…)
At the first meeting of Hamad with Nasr Allah, the main question on his mind was:
What happened for Israel to drop all its preconditions and beg for a cease fire?”
Nasr Allah gave his own interpretation:
Israel has used up all its tactical and strategic means to conduct successful operations within Lebanon.
1. Israel air force bombed everything and even all Lebanon infrastructure, electrical power centers, bridges and production facilities… and yet, Hezbollah missiles increased in numbers, in reach and in accuracy within Israel…
2. Israel navy suffered direct hits and casualty and was taken out of further coordinating operations
3. The many land operations were disastrous and the most modern Merkava tanks were not match to the Cornet missiles
4. Israel failed to hold on any small village during the previous days, even those on the borders. Israeli troops would show up in the morning and retreat in the evening…
5. The last major incursion to reach the Litany River, 6 km away from Israel, the supposed dividing line for a cease fire, was a total fiasco: Over 150 tanks were destroyed and hundred officers and soldiers were left on the field of operation…
Israel thought out one last shot, a night operation: Israel realized that Hezbollah never tried to shoot down any helicopter at night and assumed that Hezbollah lacks night facilities and gears.
And consequently, on the 30th night, Israel dispatch a helicopter carrying 5 officers to prepare the ground for the night operation and landing.
A Cornet missile shot down the helicopter and the 5 officers died. (Cornet missiles are meant to target tanks)
And Israel lost every hope for any meaningful operation in this war. Israel was to be on the receiving end of Hezbollah missiles for any additional day that this war last. Hezbollah was launching over 300 missiles every day and reaching far away strategic installations within Israel.
Nasr Allah confirmed that Hezbollah had missiles that could reach Tel Aviv if Israel refused to take his warning seriously by bombing Beirut.  And Israel refrained from bombing the Capital Beirut because it believed the words of Nasr Allah.
On the last minutes before the cease fire took effect, Hezbollah had the last word and showered Israel with hundreds of missiles.
And why the Lebanese government delayed its response to the Resolution 1701 with devastating consequences?
Note: War in context.
On July 12, Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers on the borders. Hezbollah has been Warning Israel and the Lebanese authorities that it will kidnap soldiers to swap with Lebanese prisoners in Israel.
Israel had already conducted prisoner swaps before with Hezbollah under German hospices, and it was to be business as usual this time around. Two difficulties emerged:
1. A tank arrived on the scene and was destroyed by a land mine, killing all its crew
2. Bush Jr. and Saudi Arabia were totally upset with Hezbollah successes, and pressured Israel to launch a total preemptive war.
A preemptive war was already programmed and planned for late September, and Israel was not ready for an earlier war.  Israel Chief of Staff Halutz promised his government a swift air strike that would put Hezbollah on its knees within two days.
Three days and nights of intensive airstrikes didn’t prevent Hezbollah from delivering hundreds of missiles within Israel.
Israel Foreign Minister Livni asked the government to stop the war since the Jews in the settlements were fleeing en mass and Israel had no experience with these internal problems due to Israelis taking refuge elsewhere. And the settlement had no underground refuge or bunkers for these kinds of wars.
Bush Jr. and his administration would not listen to Israeli dilemma and insisted on the resumption of total war until Hezbollah is wiped out…

“Why Hezbollah of Lebanon pissed me off “: GW. Bush explains

GWBush wrote in his biography:

“On July 12, 2006, Laura and I had a stop-over in Germany on our way to the G8 at St. Petersburg. Angela Merkel recounted her childhood during the communist era in East Germany. Angela had a happy childhood, but her mother never ceased to warn her of mentioning family discussions in public: The Stasi (internal intelligence services) was everywhere.

News of Hezbollah capturing Israeli soldiers as hostages (and killing 8 Israeli soldiers who arrived promptly to the rescue and fell in the trap) triggered a strong reaction from Israel.

Israel bombed Hezbollah targets in South Lebanon, and bombed the civilian airport in Beirut to prevent further weapon supplies.

Hezbollah launched missiles on Israeli towns and cities

(How simplistic are the recollection of Bush Jr. on this important preemptive war on Lebanon! In a paragraph, Bush Jr. summarized the various attacks of Hezbollah on American targets within Lebanon in 1983…)

At the G8 summit, all members condemned Hezbollah for starting Israel reactive war. (

It was proven later on that Bush and Israel had finalized a plan of attack to begin in September, and thus Hezbollah preempted this planned war, but was not aware of the violent all-war reaction of Israel).

I was frustrated that Israel declined to attack Syria, thus facilitating communication and movement of Hezbollah.

Israel military targets in Lebanon were mostly doubtful, especially targets in Beirut and north Lebanon.  The immense damages to the infrastructure in Lebanon and the over 1,500 casualties among the Lebanese civilian were widely disseminated in the news media, and hampered the long-term prosecution of the war.

(In the first week, Israel failed to capture the first small town on the border called Maroun el Ras)

On the second violent week of Israel war, many members in the G8 demanded a cease-fire.  I didn’t side with their request: I wanted to continue the war until Hezbollah military power is eradicated. Fundamentally, the war on Hezbollah was to sending a strong message to Iran and Syria.

Unfortunately, Israel behavior in the third week of the war plan exacerbated the world community and the Lebanese government headed by Seniora, which was a strong ally to the US drive for democracy and liberty…

Israel bombed a building in Qana and killed over 30 civilians huddled in the basement.

(Israel had bombed Qana in 1996 where civilians took refuge in a UN compound and killed over 30o civilians).

Seniora was furious and was about to resign if the war resumed. The Arab leaders were afraid that the carnage in the pictures and video, circulating 24 hours on TV, could foment strong reactions of the people in the streets.

I convened the National Security Council, and the debate was hot.

Dick Cheney said: “We have to let Israel finish off Hezbollah.

Condoleezza Rice replied: “If we allow that, you may kiss good-bye to the presence of the US in the Middle-East region” and she proposed a cease-fire resolution in the UN and dispatching a multinational UN force to the Litany River.

I was for the resumption of the war, but I feared that lodging a veto in the UN will lead to isolating the US, instead of Syria and Iran.  Consequently, I figured out that long-term pressures on Syria and Iran out-weight the short-term successes on Hezbollah.  I dispatched Condi to the UN to iron out resolution 1701.

A cease-fire took hold on August 14,  Israel reactive and approximate war decisions, cost its precious and remaining credibility in the world community, even though Hezbollah was seriously weakened militarily.”

Four days before the voting on a resolution, Israel attempted a last, all-out advance of just 3 miles toward the Litany River.

Hezbollah destroyed 50 Merkava tanks and forced the Israeli troops to retreat every which way to the border.

(Interestingly, in the third day of the war, the delegates of Lebanon to the UN demanded to submit a cease-fire resolution.  The UN ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, informed them haughtily and in no uncertain terms that there will be no resolution before Israel annihilate Hezbollah.

Three days before the actual cease-fire, it was Bolton hurrying up to the Lebanese delegates and begging them to present a resolution.  He explained: “The Israelis are horribly harassing us for a cease-fire resolution, at any cost…”)

Note 1: The July war 2006, covered only three pages of the 484-page of the autobiographical book “Decisive moments: GW.Bush”  Amazingly, this war was the turning moment for the total failure of the US strategic plan of the “Greater Middle East.

Israel was reduced to defensive position, licking its wounds, examining its failures…

The Arab dictators and absolute monarchs who encouraged Israel to prosecute the war in order to eradicate Hezbollah military power were judged traitors by the Arab masses.

Turkey and the European States were pissed off with GW.Bush insistence of continuing the war for over 4 weeks. It was evident after the first week that the strategic goals have fizzled.  The remaining 3 weeks of the war were total liability to the US administration and Israel.

Hezbollah was on the offensive and frustrated all the haphazard attempts of Israel to getting back on the driver seat.

Note 2: Three days before the decided cease-fire, Israel imported cluster bombs from England of Tony Blair and launched 3 million bombs in south Lebanon (kids are still being killed and injured six years later).

This behavior was in retaliation of huge frustration and with the hope that the tiny bombs will delay the return of the inhabitants to their homes.

Amazingly, the next day of the cease-fire, the citizens in the south returned in mass, irrespective of official warnings and the destruction of all bridges

Israel goals failed on all front, and Hezbollah emerged as the first resistance force to checking Israel offensive all-out war.

Note 3: You may read the follow-up article How I spread liberty...https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/how-i-spread-liberty-george-w-bush-explains/

Note 4: Why Israel begged for a cease fire? https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/why-israel-begged-for-an-immediate-cease-fire-in-its-preemptive-july-war-of-2006/

Demography explains hope in future: How Empires decline?

In general, history stories are recounted Hollywood-style, packed with actions, heroes, traitors, smart generals, and farsighted leaders and monarchs.  Empires decline due to steady decrease in demography rate.

The Moslem Ibn Khaldoun, in 15th century North Africa and considered to be the first sociologist and ethnographer, wrote that as people lose hope for a better future to their descendants, they decrease the procreation rate; conversely, in periods of high hope, population increases.”

If you revisite history stories, you can link, with high positive correlation, between periods of luxury and fast and increase in procreation. It is basically a mass perception of predicting the short-term evolution for survival.

For example, France was the most populous nation in Europe in the 18th century, until people started reducing procreation, which affected the process of holding on to colonies.  The Napoleonic wars exacerbated this perception of instability and insecurity. It was useless giving birth so that children are sent to wars for no return in profit or hope of a better future.

You might offer a counterpoint: “How come after 70 years of slow and steady holocaust process, inflicted by the Zionist movement (Israel State) on the Palestinian people, this strategy did not slow the increased procreation of the Palestinians?”  My conjecture is that most Palestinians live in camps: Camp life would be too depressing if devoid of kids playing, laughing, and cheering up the camp.  The more kids are playing around the more hope is sustained.

Camp life creates community supports and discrepancies among classes are not noticeable to prevent sharing the little that families have, and to caring for kids of neighboring families.

Another example relates to demography in South Lebanon.

Even during the French mandate to Lebanon (1919-1943) the Zionist movement planned and schemed to extend the northern borders of the future State of Israel (recognized in 1948) to the Litany River.  The successive Lebanese governments, since Lebanon Independence in 1943, ruled as if South Lebanon was of no concern to them: no funds and no budgets were allocated to infrastructures, schools, hospitals or any kinds of development.

Then, in 1969, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and headed by Yasser Arafat, and with the support of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser forced Lebanon to allocate a portion of South Lebanon (Al Arkoub) an autonomous status to the PLO.  Israel was pleased with this new situation and bombed the villages in the south on pretense of reacting to the presence of the PLO.

The “inhabitants” in south Lebanon started to vacate their villages and flocked to the suburbs of Beirut (Al Dahiah). With the civil war that started in 1975, the PLO was ruling as the de facto State in South Lebanon. Regular mass immigrations to Africa and elsewhere set in. South Lebanon was in the steady process of depleting of its inhabitants, which should have satisfied Israel’s great dream.

Then, Israel decided on the worst strategic blunder ever: Israel of Begin PM and Sharon invaded Lebanon in 1982, the Israeli army entered Beirut, and the military wings of the PLO were chased out to Tunisia, and thus freeing south Lebanon from the hold of the PLO.  Israel resumed its blunder and decided to occupy south Lebanon for 25 years.

That is how a purely Lebanese Resistance to occupation, constituted from many political parties started in full fledge. The regime of Khomeini in Iran extended new religious zeal, an ideology, organization, training and arms to a Shiia splintered faction of AMAL named Hezbollah.  The tide had turned.  Israel was forced to vacate south Lebanon unilaterally in 2000.  The Lebanese returned to their villages with greater hope in the future.

Israel tried another attempt in 2006 to chase out Lebanese from the south during an intensive and savage 33 days war.  Israel covered the land with over 3 millions cluster bombs imported from Tony Blair of England.  The purpose was to scare people off from returning to the south.

The day the UN declared cease-fire, people returned the same day to the south and didn’t wait from the government declaring the trip safe.  Makeshift bridges were erected (Israel had bombed out all bridges and highways) and where cars and trucks could not cross then walking was as good.

Currently, the border villages in Lebanon are witnessing boom in tourism and tourist facilities, yards away from Israeli tanks and border patrols.  The tide has turned. Israel may launch another savage and devastating pre-emptive war in Lebanon, but the game is over: hope in south Lebanon is high for a better future while Israel is experiencing the worst period in lost hope for a stable Israeli State.

Israeli is reverting to its ghetto mentality and holding on to biblical archaic myths and laws.

Note: TheSChiaa population in Lebanon is over 60%, and increasing at a higher rate than the other 17 other religious sects.


So, who won? Israel or Hezbollah? Or are we asking the wrong question?

Note:  I decided to re-publish an article posted on May 14, 2007 in order to get a perspective for newer analysis of the situation

Thomas Friedman has written an article a few days ago claiming that Israel has won the July 2006 War tactically, strategically and politically. The Israeli daily Yedeot Ahronot is adopting this position in an attempt to win over the shattered Israeli morale. That Israel had won tactically by destroying extensively and hatefully the headquarters and the military and social installations and institutions of Hezbollah and weakening it temporarily is not a big feat, given the military imbalance in the kind of air and naval superiority with the full backing of the US and the treachery of the Arab States.  Israel foreign minister Sevy Livney declared that in the first two days all the targets in the Israeli intelligence “data bank” have been exhausted and she urged Olmert PM to end the war on the third day.  That Olmert felt emboldened to resume the war for another 30 days, and then, accepting a cease fire without effectively reaching the Litany River (two miles away) means that the purpose of the war was modified at the urge of external powers to eradicate the Lebanese Resistance and shatter the image of the invincible Hezbollah.

That Israel had won strategically because its northern borders have been very quiet for seven months after the war is a half truth; the international UN forces are there because Hezbollah allowed its deployment.  Fact is,  the borders have been very quiet since Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from south Lebanon in May 24, 2000.  The few encroachments were the results of Israeli incursions in Lebanon:  Hezbollah reacted only on these infiltrations or attacks within our borders. That Israel had to stop its incursion in Lebanon with all the backing it was enjoying from the US, Europe ans “moderate” Arab States proves that its strategy was foiled and severely checked.

Friedman claims that Israel has won politically because the Lebanese army has entered the south is also a half truth: Hezbollah didn’t mind the deployment of the Lebanese army which saved it from further escalations and unwanted pressures from the UN and the need to focus more on the internal political  affairs of Lebanon.  The immeasurable popular support from all the Arab and Moslem citizens for Hezbollah’s valiant resistance is by no means a political victory for Israel; it is a severe defeat because it rekindled the resistance spirit in the Arabs.  The inability of Israel to squelch the second Palestinian “intifada” is rooted in the rejuvenated spirit of resistance in Palestine as well as in Iraq.

Certainly, Hezbollah has been temporarily weakened militarily and that the “illegitimate”  Lebanese Seniora’s government has been doing its utmost to capitalize on that fact and dragging Hezbollah in the morass of Lebanon’s political quagmire. The “illegitimate” Lebanese government is deliberately re-opening tough issues that have been agreed on during the round table before the July War and giving them diabolical twists on the basis that the devil is in the details. The Moderate Arab States (a euphemism for traitors States who encouraged Israel to eradicate Hezbollah) are harnessing their widespread communication media to dissipate the popular support for Hezbollah and labeling it as merely an Iranian stooge and working against the interest of the Arabs who want peace and prosperity with Israel.

Hezbollah must have learned a great deal from this unilateral stand against Israel but there is a most important message that Hezbollah failed to get.  It is extremely dangerous for Hezbollah’s charismatic leader Hassan Nasr Allah to swear on promises (Wa3ad) that are long-term in nature for their realizations and then,  feeling pressured to deliver them almost immediately. For example, the last promise to repair and rebuild what has been destroyed, almost instantly and with “pure halal” money, is too impractical and fraught with decisions that overextend the capabilities of Hezbollah beyond its limits and weaken it in the process.  The other example was a promise before the war to snatch a few more Israeli soldiers as prisoners in order to liberate the remaining three Lebanese who have been detained for more than 15 years; it is laudable to make such kind of promises but when it is uttered in a “divine” revelation by Nasr Allah himself it becomes very binding and communications with Hezbollah’s allies become tenuous. It is dangerous to rely on Nasr Allah to publicly force decisions, as if emanating from a prophet, and to clarify issues that should be left to the leadership and its allies within the political process.

It is inadmissible for Nasr Allah to appear during religious celebration to deliver political speeches that give the opposite results and reflect images of increased weaknesses for relying on the religious faith and passions of its supporters instead on the rational and deliberate mind that our society is in dire need to overcome a strong enemy.

I believe that people are asking the wrong question.  It is not whether Hezbollah has won the war because just by getting out strong and effective after 33 days of a savage war of eradication, with no serious support internally or externally, is a striking victory.  The question should be whether the US-Israeli-”Moderate” Arabs States objectives have achieved any tangible results.  Nasr Allah has claimed that not a single objective came out satisfactorily neither tactically, strategically, nor politically in Lebanon or in the “Greater Middle East region”. The response should be focused on refuting Nasr Allah’s claims, satisfactorily and convincingly.  So far, no one discredited Nasr Allah’s claims.

History revisited: Decline or loss of hope? (Part 2, Apr. 21, 2010)

In the previous article I wrote: “History is a collection of stories that need to be revisited frequently; stories to be revised with new eyes and new knowledge, since human behavior did not change perceptibly.  If any, human cruelty to mankind and nature increased by several notches.”

In general, history stories are recounted Hollywood-style, packed with actions, heroes, traitors, smart generals, and far-sighted leaders and monarchs.  Empires decline due to steady decrease in demography.

The Moslem Ibn Khaldoun, in 15th century North Africa and considered to be the first sociologist and ethnographer, wrote that when a people lose hope for a better future to their descendants they decrease the procreation rate; in periods of high hope population increases.”

If you revise history stories, you can link, with high positive correlation, between periods of luxury and fast and increase in procreation. It is basically a mass perception of predicting the short-term evolution for survival.

For example, France was the most populous nation in Europe in the 18th century until people started reducing procreation, which affected the process of holding on to colonies.  The Napoleonic wars exacerbated this perception of instability and insecurity. It was useless giving birth so that children are sent to wars for no return in profit or hope of a better future.

You might offer a counterpoint: “How come after 70 years of slow and steady holocaust process, inflicted by the Zionist movement (Israel State) on the Palestinian people, this strategy did not slow the increased procreation of the Palestinians?”

My conjecture is that most Palestinians live in camps: Camp life would be too depressing if devoid of kids playing, laughing, and cheering up the camp.  The more kids are playing around the more hope is sustained.

Camp life creates community supports and discrepancies among classes are not noticeable to prevent sharing the little that families have, and to caring for kids of neighboring families.

Another example relates to demography in South Lebanon.  Even during the French mandate to Lebanon (1919-1943) the Zionist movement planned and schemed to extend the northern borders of the future States of Israel (recognized in 1948) to the Litany River.  The successive Lebanese governments, since Lebanon Independence in 1943, ruled as if South Lebanon was of no concern to them: no funds and no budgets were allocated to infrastructures, schools, hospitals or any kinds of development.

Then, in 1969, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and headed by Yasser Arafat, and with the support of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser forced Lebanon to allocate a portion of South Lebanon (Al Arkoub) an autonomous status to the PLO.

Israel was pleased with this new situation and bombed the villages in the south on pretense of reacting to the presence of the PLO.

The “inhabitants” in south Lebanon started to vacate their villages and flocked to the suburbs of Beirut (Al Dahiah).

As the civil war started in 1975, the PLO was ruling as the de facto State in South Lebanon. Regular mass immigrations of Lebanese Shiaa to Africa and elsewhere set in. South Lebanon was in the steady process of being depleted of its inhabitants, which should have satisfied Israel’s great dream.

Israel decided on the worst strategic blunder ever: Israel of Begin and Sharon invaded Lebanon in 1982, the Israeli army entered Beirut, and the military wings of the PLO were chased out to Tunis, and thus freeing south Lebanon from the hold of the PLO.  Israel resumed its blunder and decided to occupy south Lebanon for 25 years.

That is how purely Lebanese Resistance to occupation from many political parties started in full fledged. The Islamic regime of Khomeini in Iran extended new religious zeal, an ideology, organization, training and arming a Shiia splintered faction of AMAL named Hezbollah.

The tide had turned.  Israel was forced to vacate south Lebanon unilaterally in 2000.  The Lebanese returned to their villages with greater hope in the future.

Israel tried another attempt in 2006 to chase out Lebanese from the south during an intensive and savage 33 days preemptive war.  Israel covered the land with over 3 millions cluster bombs imported from Tony Blair of England.  The purpose was to scare people off from returning to the south.

The day the UN declared cease-fire people returned the same day to the south and not waiting from the government declaring the trip safe.

Makeshift bridges were erected (Israel had bombed out all bridges and highways) and where cars and trucks could not cross then walking was as good a means of transport.

Currently, the border villages in Lebanon are witnessing boom in tourism and tourist facilities, yards away from Israeli tanks and border patrols.  The tide has turned.

Israel may launch another savage and devastating preemptive war in Lebanon but the game is over: hope in south Lebanon is high for a better future while Israel is experiencing the worst period in lost hope for a stable Israeli State.

Israeli is reverting to its ghetto mentality and holding on to biblical archaic myths and laws. And had built the Wall of Shame along all its borders: No see, no fear, no aches…

Note: The Shiaa population in Lebanon is over 50%, and increasing at a higher rate than the other 17 other religious sects.

Part 8. “On the Wild trail of Mount Lebanon”: Aaychieh; (Mar.13, 2010)

Pierre Bared, a middle-aged man, tall, svelte, with graying beard and three children decided to walked alone for 22 days on the wild trails of Mount Lebanon.

He crossed Lebanon from the upper northern town of Kobayat to the southern town of Marje3youn in June 2008.

At 8:30 am Pierre and his part-time companion Chamoun walk toward the south: destination unknown.  They pass by an improvised station for washing cars by an irrigation canal.

They had decided to take the asphalt road for fear of cluster bombs that Israel haphazardly dropped on South Lebanon in 2006, in the last three days of the 33 days of the July preemptive war. At noon, they take a rest under the lone oak tree in the vicinity.  They eat at a restaurant in the village of Kfarhouneh: homus, chich taouk (chicken), and a large platter of salad.

It is Sunday and calm. The break is extended: Pierre’s friend George called and is joining the walkers with his girlfriend Farfoura.  Pierre visits alone a convent because the cleric seemed antipathetic; a local TV team is filming the inside of the convent.

By 7 pm, they are in Zeghrine. The Moslem Muezzin is calling for evening prayer.  Adolescents are eating ice cream and dropping the paper where they stand.

Next destination is Aaychieh.

Three armed civilians ask for ID; Pierre responds by asking for their ID first.  The armed men contact the Hezb HQ.  Two brothers invite the walkers and bring them fruit juice; the youngest accompany them to his house in the village; after a hot shower, the travelers join the family for dinner and sleep in an apartment.

In the 70’s, Palestinians killed the father; the family has now forgiven and looking forward.

The next morning they pass a house; the man invites them for tea.  The town of Marje3youn appears on the top of a mountain.  There is an army post.

Private Ali from Akkar whom Pierre met a couple of weeks ago holler to Pierre: Ali confided that he is no longer satisfied with army life and its small rations.

The Litany River valley separates the travelers from Marje3youn in the south and the Crusaders’ Beauford Castle (Chekeef Arnoun) on the west.  Several pauses were necessary during the steep ascent.

In Marje3youn, Pierre orders mankoush and soda; the owner refuses to accept money. Pierre finds a church and takes off his boots.

The residents in the second floor of the opposite building call the army; two soldiers arrive and search all the belonging of Pierre.  Pierre told the fat harassing soldier that he will meet with the Army Chief and will suggest to him to order all soldiers and military personnel to walk Lebanon from North to South; the fat corporal is not happy and takes Pierre’s conversation very seriously.

Chamoun arrives with Nasser, a good-hearted man (aleb tayeb); they eat at Nasser’s house where the family was ready to have dinner around an outside table; all kinds of food were arranged on the table.

Pierre asks to care for the barbecue since he does not feel hungry yet.  Then Pierre locates the mayor to negotiate the proper location for planting the cedar tree. Political infighting with the council is exacerbating any decision.  The travelers spend the night at Jamil’s (Nasser’s nephew) house.

The next evening, a correspondent from the daily Al Nahar had an interview with Pierre; Chamoun tried to pressure Pierre to lie and say that Chamoun coincidently walked in a separate trail. The photographer Alfred arrives and takes photo sessions for the planting ceremony. They had a car ride to Jezzine to perform another planting ceremony.

Pierre got into thinking: it is these warm, good-hearted and welcoming families who represent the true character of Lebanon.  End of the 22 days walking trip on the wild trails of Mount Lebanon.

How Superpowers behave toward the smaller States (June 1, 2009)

 

The ex-French Foreign Affairs, Hubert Vedrine once told Lebanon ex-President Lahoud: “When our relations with the US Administrations are closer to cooperation than competition we communicate our information to them but they fail to return the honor.  When our relations are fine then the US tends to horde the solution.  When world politics deteriorate then the US asks us to resolve the problems on their behalves, on conditions that the signing of any agreement is done in Washington, DC.

Bill Clinton insisted on the sick and dying Hafez Assad for a month to meet him in Geneva in February 2000 on the ground that a deal is ready for the return of the occupied Golan Heights.  The two Presidents met in March.  Clinton knew very well that Assad is not ready to negotiate for less than 100% on the returned land. Clinton proudly declared “Ehud Barak is willing to return 98% of the Golan Heights”.  The meeting was over in ten minutes.  Clinton lost a golden opportunity for peace in the Middle East.

Madeline Albright, US Foreign Affairs during Clinton tenure, met in Beirut with Lebanon’s Salim Hoss PM in September 1999.  It was the first high ranking US emissary in 16 years.  Without preambles, Albright ejaculated “The USA wants the two highjackers of the TWA of 1985; the USA wants the perpetrators for the blowing up of the Marines headquarter in 1984; the USA wants those who demolished the US embassy in Beirut and the one who assassinated our Ambassador” Our Prime Minister retorted “When the TWA was high jacked I was subjugated to an assassination attempt and three of my bodyguards died.  At the time of this civil war Lebanon witnessed 150,000 civilian victims’ dead and over 400,000 severely injured” The same Albright confronted President Lahoud to desist demanding an accurate demarcation line (The Blue Line) on the southern borders after Israel withdrew in May 24, 2000.  

The Syrian young President Bashar Assad described the superpower games saying “The first fundamental principle is that superpowers and especially the USA try hard to convince the smaller States that they are too weak and need urgent aids.  They claim that the smaller States have practically no “products” to transact.  They insist on “market demand and offer” and barely care about State values or the logic of Statehood.  The second principle is that superpowers care to the extent they need to resolve a problem.  It does not matter the level of rhetoric or the squeeze of economical and financial embargo on the smaller State; once a superpower is in need then everything is forgotten and relations resume normally.”

 

In October 2000, Hezbollah took prisoners three Israeli soldiers in the Shabaa Farms and then lured the retired Israeli Colonel El Hanane Tanenboum to Beirut.  Israel had withdrawn from south Lebanon unilaterally in May 24, 2000 but had failed to vacate the Shebaa Farms. Albright demanded the release of the Israeli prisoners and Ehub Barak gave an ultimatum of 4 hours. Lahoud answered the US Ambassador Satterfield “Consider the 4 hours have ended.  I will not negotiate the release of the Israeli prisoners” Lahoud was in strong position because the Lebanese army was not on the borders so that Israel could not exercise any pressures on the President and Lahoud won his bet and Israel refrained temporarily from any incursions.

Foreign diplomats and officials view the problems of Lebanon from the outside in; they never consider the precarious social and political conditions of Lebanon.  Emile Lahoud refused to deploy the army across the Litany River since he was appointed army chief in 1989 and then President of the Republic till July 2006 when Hezbollah agreed under UN resolution 1701 to withdraw his military presence behind the Litany River.  During all these years the international community and the Arab States had constantly pressured Lahoud to send the Lebanese army to the borders with Israel.  Lahoud kept steadfast and never obeyed any of these orders and he was completely right; he had said: “As long as there are no guarantees that Israel will not violate Lebanon’s integrity and security then the Lebanese army will refrain playing the police force and antagonizing our resistance to easing Israel’s security at the expense of jeopardizing Lebanon internal security.” (To be continued)


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