|
Your continuous donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » General Forums » Politics & Religion » Lebanon on the brink

Default Lebanon on the brink

May 11th, 2008, 04:33
PJ or Polygon could anwser that better but I don't think they made any friends by reminding everyone of the civil war.
V7 is offline

V7

Keeper of the Watch

#41

Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 668

Default 

May 11th, 2008, 08:40
Originally Posted by zahratustra View Post
While that's possible that would also mean that Sinioura listened to Jumblatt but haven't consulted army? And if there was no consultation why have military agreed to Sinioura's plan?
If there was a plan, the military clearly wasn't involved — Sa'ad Hariri's move to kick these troublesome decisions to the army looked like an obviously improvised and rather desperate move.

Sinioura has no military background, which means that his contacts within the army are pretty limited. It's quite possible that he doesn't, in fact, consult with them. He strikes me as being a pretty weak leader — his heart in the right place, but not devious nor strong enough to be able to navigate these waters. But as I said, I'm as puzzled as you are.
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#42

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

May 11th, 2008, 08:51
Originally Posted by zahratustra View Post
I am not sure how isolated Hezb have actually become. Like PJ said, they took up arms against fellow Lebanese (something they said they will never do) but fighting was brief, casualties minimal and only time will tell if they have suffered any lasting damage. And let's not forget that Hezb enjoyed quite wide support among Lebenese population so, depending on how much popularity they actually did loose, it might matter or it might not.
It matters, believe me. The distrust between the communities runs very, very deep. One of Hezb's main assets has been that it is the only militia never to have turned its arms against fellow Lebanese. This gives legitimacy to its claim to being a national resistance directed against the Israeli occupation (or, since 2006, defending against any future attempts at Israeli occupation). Now that it's shown that it will, in fact, cross that line, non-Shi'ites will regard it with far greater suspicion. If Michel Aoun doesn't reconsider his alliance with it, his support among the Maronites will erode further, civil war loyalties or no.

(The Maronite Christians are split internally between supporters of Samir Geagea and Michel Aoun; this split dates from the civil war. Aoun is the very definition of a loose cannon in a country full of loose cannons, and Samir Geagea hasn't really been doing all that much, except quietly reactivating the Forces Libanaises militia. Aoun is (currently) pro-Hezbollah, Geagea is pro-government.)

But the fact remains that isolated or not, the Hezbollah can resist any pressure put on it by anyone… unless Iran suddenly decides to drop its support, which isn't going to happen unless the USA, the EU, and Tehran suddenly become bosom buddies. There simply isn't any force in the country, or even the region, that can compel it to do anything they don't want to do. That's the reality that nobody wants to acknowledge, but everybody will have to.

(Come to think of it, the upcoming US elections just might be a factor in this too. Maybe the Hezb is calculating that the Dems will win, which will lead to détente between Tehran and Washington, which will lead to Iran putting a tighter leash on them, which would cause their position to deteriorate further. So, once again, better to move now than later. But probably not; that's getting slightly far-fetched.)
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#43

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

May 11th, 2008, 08:52
Update: Beirut is mostly quiet and they're hoping to open the airport soon, but serious fighting has erupted in Tripoli in the north. I didn't expect that.

Edit — my interpretation of this twist: To my knowledge, Hezbollah doesn't have a presence in Tripoli. That means that the opposition and government supporters are in close contact with no disciplined and trained force in place on either side. Government supporters are probably stronger there. So what we're seeing there is probably a flare-up of uncontrolled street fighting, where the government supporters are exercising their right to bear arms against the opposition supporters, in retaliation for the crap that went down in Beirut. The result is a lot of ugly, uncontrolled street fighting. Let's hope the army (or anyone) gets that under control soon, 'cuz otherwise the real militias will step in and it'll start all over again.

Another edit: the uglier explanation would be that this is an attempt at ethnic cleansing — the Tripoli Sunnis taking out their frustrations on the Alawite community there, which is rightly or wrongly associated with Syria (whose ruling clique are also Alawites).

Third edit: according to the latest update on BBC, this is more or less what has been happening.
Last edited by Prime Junta; May 11th, 2008 at 09:15.
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#44

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

May 11th, 2008, 10:32
At last, some electricity. As PJ states things are calm now (in Beirut at least), but in the north where it was supposed to be safe there's a lot of shooting going on. Mainly in Tripoli where Hariri's supporters are the majority.

An intersesting notice in what happened is how only Sh'ites and Sunnites fought. Maronites didn't, although Aoun's and Geagea's supporters are neighbors.
While Druze, were passionate with each other. Talal Irslan who is a Hizbullah supporter, called Walid junblatt and made sure he's alright and offered help and was too emotional with him. While now I'm watching an interview with Weam Wahab, another pro-hizbullah Durzi, he just defended Junblatt about the 3 killed Hizbullah members and said that he didn't give the order to kill them. I always thought Druze will unite when things get serious, and what happened convinced me even more.

In saida where I live only one shooting session happened and two were killed but nothing serious
POLYGON is offline

POLYGON

POLYGON's Avatar
Heavy Smoker

#45

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: UAE-Dubai
Posts: 122

Default 

May 11th, 2008, 15:42
Glad to hear things are calming down, at least in the original area of conflict, and that there were few casualties in your immediate area, POLYGON. Not so glad to hear that new fighting has erupted elsewhere. All these different groups with a violent grievance against each other makes it hard to unravel the news stories, but it helps to hear your and Prime J's explanations.

There's a huge resistance here to negotiating with Iran and Obama being willing to even consider it is a McCain talking point against him (and no one can tell where Clinton really stands, other than the obliteration remark which is hardly helpful.) It makes me wish so strongly that people could be exposed to the reality behind the news and understand that the situation is really much more complex than either the media talking heads or current administration paint it. 9-11 really has fogged the issue terribly for the average American, and we can only hope that time and disillusion will make it easier for us over here to see what works and what doesn't in this situation so that the US and other countries can do something concrete to help.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
magerette is offline

magerette

magerette's Avatar
Hedgewitch
RPGWatch Team

#46

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 7,929

Default 

May 11th, 2008, 17:28
Originally Posted by POLYGON View Post
An intersesting notice in what happened is how only Sh'ites and Sunnites fought. Maronites didn't, although Aoun's and Geagea's supporters are neighbors.
That's because not a one of them is ready to get killed over Hezbollah. Aoun or Geagea perhaps, but they don't trust the Shi'ites any further than they can spit a rat. And Aoun was noticeably quiet here. In fact, I have a feeling that unless Aoun rethinks his alliances, he's going to lose a quite a bit of support, civil war loyalties or no.

While Druze, were passionate with each other. Talal Irslan who is a Hizbullah supporter, called Walid junblatt and made sure he's alright and offered help and was too emotional with him. While now I'm watching an interview with Weam Wahab, another pro-hizbullah Durzi, he just defended Junblatt about the 3 killed Hizbullah members and said that he didn't give the order to kill them. I always thought Druze will unite when things get serious, and what happened convinced me even more.
That's for sure, the Druze have learned that they can only count on themselves. If push comes to shove, I'm pretty sure they'll unite behind Jumblatt.

In saida where I live only one shooting session happened and two were killed but nothing serious
By most standards, street fighting that leaves two dead would count as something pretty serious. Good to hear you're OK!
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#47

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

May 11th, 2008, 18:20
Originally Posted by POLYGON View Post
.While Druze, were passionate with each other. Talal Irslan who is a Hizbullah supporter, called Walid junblatt and made sure he's alright and offered help and was too emotional with him. While now I'm watching an interview with Weam Wahab, another pro-hizbullah Durzi, he just defended Junblatt about the 3 killed Hizbullah members and said that he didn't give the order to kill them. I always thought Druze will unite when things get serious, and what happened convinced me even more.
Well, according to the latest reports Druze haven't united behind Jumblatt. Talal might have been affectionate to him but he also told him that price of ceasfire is that Jumblatt's faction has to turn their weapons over to Lebanese army. AND it appears that the old man agreed… It's a huge blow to Jumblatt's prestige and it (if he goes through with it) renders his faction irrelevant in future power games. It also(unfortunatelly) appears that Hizbullah is now the only major power in Lebannon…..
Last edited by zahratustra; May 11th, 2008 at 18:27.
zahratustra is offline

zahratustra

SasqWatch

#48

Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,345

Default 

May 11th, 2008, 20:22
Originally Posted by zahratustra View Post
Well, according to the latest reports Druze haven't united behind Jumblatt. Talal might have been affectionate to him but he also told him that price of ceasfire is that Jumblatt's faction has to turn their weapons over to Lebanese army. AND it appears that the old man agreed… It's a huge blow to Jumblatt's prestige and it (if he goes through with it) renders his faction irrelevant in future power games. It also(unfortunatelly) appears that Hizbullah is now the only major power in Lebannon…..
So it does look like Jumblatt will be the scapegoat… and I'll have to substitute "some other Druze chieftain" for Jumblatt. Them's the breaks…

Re Hezbollah: it's not quite as simple as that. In a lovely twist of historical irony, Hezbollah's position in Lebanon isn't that different from the USA's position in Iraq. They're the strongest fighting force in the country by far — best trained, best equipped, most cohesive, and certainly most experienced. However, they can only exert military control over the ground they stand on (other than their strongholds), and there aren't enough of them to stand on all of Lebanon. If they do choose the way of armed confrontation, they'll be facing an interesting reversal of roles — they're the strong ones in the open, and they'll be facing much weaker opponents doing harassment and hit and run on them. I doubt they're very interested in that outcome. That means that they'll have to deal with the other factions there.

As of this writing, this means:

(1) The army. Michel Sleiman came out of this smelling like a rose. It's been said of the Lebanese army that it's actually a pretty good army, except that if you want to fight a war, you should invite some other army. That still holds. They're good at maintaining order and keeping the peace… *as long as* they don't need to go against any of the other major factions in the country. They also have plenty of boots to stand on — meaning, they can effectively clamp down on the chaotic street-level fighting that we've been seeing in Tripoli and now east of Beirut. (I hope so anyway.) But since the army consists of people with dual loyalties all over the place, their freedom of action is very severely limited. You won't see them going against Hezbollah or Amal, probably not against the Forces Libanaises or Aoun's supporters either.

(2) Forces Libanaises. Geagea's militia has been the underdog lately, but don't count them out. If Aoun's popularity tanks, Geagea will be the big winner. He's an old fox, an old soldier, and has been quietly reactivating his forces. Expect more from him.

(3) The government. Sure, it's "irrelevant" — the army doesn't do what it says, if the country is invaded all they can do is weep on TV, and so on. And yet… it's the "irrelevant" government that precipitated this mess. If the political deadlock can be resolved — in *any* way — the Lebanese government will be a player again. In particular, if we should see the unlikely situation of the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, and the President of Parliament all pulling in the same direction and not trying to screw any of the other major players, they'll be very much in the game. In a way, this is the prize the others are angling for.

(4) The Druze. Don't count them out either — Jumblatt may be down, but he won't be out until the fat lady sings. If push comes to shove, the Druze *will* unite, and I'm still betting it'll be behind one of their traditional chieftains, of whom Walid Jumblatt is numero uno. I would expect Jumblatt to pay some token penance, hand over a few rusty rifles, and withdraw to Mukhtar to lick his wounds. After which he'll be back. But most definitely he's a big loser here.

(5) Business interests. Specifically, the Hariri clan and the other Beirut Sunnis. They don't have that many guns, but they've got all the butter, and the Saudis to back them up. Gun power is scary, but it has its limits; money power is less obvious, but it just might win out in the end. The Hariris have that. They took one in the gut big-time here, but don't count them out either.

(6) Last but definitely not least, General Michel Aoun and his merry men. He may be old, power-mad, and mentally unstable, but he's (a) enormously popular among his base, and (b) his wacky program actually has the advantage of recognizing the reality that the other factions fail to admit — that Hezbollah is the power that needs to be dealt with and brought on board the Lebanon project if the country is ever to vaguely resemble a country rather than Italy ca the year 1500 — and that Hezbollah won't come aboard out of the goodness of their hearts; they need something very tangible if they're ever to play ball.

I would expect the next rounds of this chess-boxing match to be played out between these seven factions, plus the Syrians, Iranians, French, and Americans/general Western interests. But don't anyone think it's the external parties who are calling the shots — it's the Lebanese factions who are wheeling and dealing between each other and the foreigners, and tripping all over themselves in their cleverness.

Let's just all hope that the next round will be chess rather than boxing.
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#49

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

May 12th, 2008, 00:12
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
So it does look like Jumblatt will be the scapegoat… and I'll have to substitute "some other Druze chieftain" for Jumblatt. Them's the breaks…

Re Hezbollah: it's not quite as simple as that. In a lovely twist of historical irony, Hezbollah's position in Lebanon isn't that different from the USA's position in Iraq. They're the strongest fighting force in the country by far — best trained, best equipped, most cohesive, and certainly most experienced. However, they can only exert military control over the ground they stand on (other than their strongholds), and there aren't enough of them to stand on all of Lebanon. If they do choose the way of armed confrontation, they'll be facing an interesting reversal of roles — they're the strong ones in the open, and they'll be facing much weaker opponents doing harassment and hit and run on them. I doubt they're very interested in that outcome. That means that they'll have to deal with the other factions there.
But they were smart weren't they?, as soon as they showed their point they pulled out of the streets to avoid any "hit and run"s.

As of this writing, this means:

(1) The army. Michel Sleiman came out of this smelling like a rose. It's been said of the Lebanese army that it's actually a pretty good army, except that if you want to fight a war, you should invite some other army. That still holds. They're good at maintaining order and keeping the peace… *as long as* they don't need to go against any of the other major factions in the country. They also have plenty of boots to stand on — meaning, they can effectively clamp down on the chaotic street-level fighting that we've been seeing in Tripoli and now east of Beirut. (I hope so anyway.) But since the army consists of people with dual loyalties all over the place, their freedom of action is very severely limited. You won't see them going against Hezbollah or Amal, probably not against the Forces Libanaises or Aoun's supporters either.
The question is will the army stay united if things get rough?
They did well in the last few days to stay together, but then again the events of the last few days were not rough enough to split it. The only one that can avoid this is Micheal Suleiman, if he's strong enough the army will play a role, otherwise they won't.
(2) Forces Libanaises. Geagea's militia has been the underdog lately, but don't count them out. If Aoun's popularity tanks, Geagea will be the big winner. He's an old fox, an old soldier, and has been quietly reactivating his forces. Expect more from him.
The biggest winner in all of this IMO. He did not fight, no casualties, political victory over his fellow maronite Aoun. It was Aoun's allies who wreched havoc after all, so if anybody is losing support among Maronites it's Aoun and if u're not with Aoun and u're a maronite then u're with Geagea. IMO, he is the most dangerous leader in Lebanon, he has no ethics whatsoever.
(3) The government. Sure, it's "irrelevant" — the army doesn't do what it says, if the country is invaded all they can do is weep on TV, and so on. And yet… it's the "irrelevant" government that precipitated this mess. If the political deadlock can be resolved — in *any* way — the Lebanese government will be a player again. In particular, if we should see the unlikely situation of the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, and the President of Parliament all pulling in the same direction and not trying to screw any of the other major players, they'll be very much in the game. In a way, this is the prize the others are angling for.
Other than weeping on TV, what role will they play? a cure to the political crisis is highy highly unlikely.
(4) The Druze. Don't count them out either — Jumblatt may be down, but he won't be out until the fat lady sings. If push comes to shove, the Druze *will* unite, and I'm still betting it'll be behind one of their traditional chieftains, of whom Walid Jumblatt is numero uno. I would expect Jumblatt to pay some token penance, hand over a few rusty rifles, and withdraw to Mukhtar to lick his wounds. After which he'll be back. But most definitely he's a big loser here.
Agreed. Just that there might a little fight their leadership between Junblatt and Weam Wahab before they unite.
(5) Business interests. Specifically, the Hariri clan and the other Beirut Sunnis. They don't have that many guns, but they've got all the butter, and the Saudis to back them up. Gun power is scary, but it has its limits; money power is less obvious, but it just might win out in the end. The Hariris have that. They took one in the gut big-time here, but don't count them out either.
Of course they are not to be counted out. When a full scale war breaks everybody will try to be their friends. They have the money to buy the equipment of ten well-equiped armies.
(6) Last but definitely not least, General Michel Aoun and his merry men. He may be old, power-mad, and mentally unstable, but he's (a) enormously popular among his base, and (b) his wacky program actually has the advantage of recognizing the reality that the other factions fail to admit — that Hezbollah is the power that needs to be dealt with and brought on board the Lebanon project if the country is ever to vaguely resemble a country rather than Italy ca the year 1500 — and that Hezbollah won't come aboard out of the goodness of their hearts; they need something very tangible if they're ever to play ball.
IMO he made a lot of enemies when he returned. While he also made friends, they might snub him as soon as they need someone to die for them. Then, his enemies won't offer him any help and Geagea will crunch him.
I would expect the next rounds of this chess-boxing match to be played out between these seven factions, plus the Syrians, Iranians, French, and Americans/general Western interests. But don't anyone think it's the external parties who are calling the shots — it's the Lebanese factions who are wheeling and dealing between each other and the foreigners, and tripping all over themselves in their cleverness.

Let's just all hope that the next round will be chess rather than boxing.
IMO, you should rule out the government and probably the army and of course outside interference will be decisive.
I'me sure the next couple of rounds will be chess, but then who knows it could be a under-the-belt-punching-allowed boxing match.
POLYGON is offline

POLYGON

POLYGON's Avatar
Heavy Smoker

#50

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: UAE-Dubai
Posts: 122

Default 

May 12th, 2008, 08:24
Originally Posted by POLYGON View Post
But they were smart weren't they?, as soon as they showed their point they pulled out of the streets to avoid any "hit and run"s.
They did. This time. If this spins out of control again, this might well change. These things have their own dynamic; you get drawn in even when you don't want to. That happened to Israel in the South — they came in to kick out the PLO, but found that there was "just one more thing" to sort out, until eventually they got fed up with the Hezbollah sticking pins in them day in, day out, and left… in a way that looked like a humiliating retreat. That sort of thing is almost inevitable in a situation where there's one overwhelmingly powerful military imposing itself on a population that doesn't want it.

The question is will the army stay united if things get rough?
No, it won't., and everybody knows it. I don't think anyone wants the army to split up — the ensuing mayhem will be too big; it'll be full-scale civil war for sure. That's why it's a stabilizing factor for the time being — keeping neutral as the other parties slug it out, and brokering plus enforcing deals between them.

They did well in the last few days to stay together, but then again the events of the last few days were not rough enough to split it. The only one that can avoid this is Micheal Suleiman, if he's strong enough the army will play a role, otherwise they won't.
You're thinking of this a little bit differently: the army *is* playing a role, and its role is directly bound to the limits of its freedom to act. The only way the army would really be free to act as armies really do is if it splits, in which case we'd have two armies. But that doesn't mean it's irrelevant; quite the contrary. It's the most important stabilizing factor in the country today.

The biggest winner in all of this IMO. He did not fight, no casualties, political victory over his fellow maronite Aoun. It was Aoun's allies who wreched havoc after all, so if anybody is losing support among Maronites it's Aoun and if u're not with Aoun and u're a maronite then u're with Geagea. IMO, he is the most dangerous leader in Lebanon, he has no ethics whatsoever.
Yup, Geagea looks like a big winner here. However, the Maronites don't change allegiances at the drop of a hat, and Geagea started out way behind Aoun in popularity. If Aoun manages to spin this with his supporters that it was all Jumblatt's and the government's fault, he may get away with a small dent. We'll see.

Other than weeping on TV, what role will they play? a cure to the political crisis is highy highly unlikely.
Unfortunately, that's how it looks. But some kind of resolution to the political crisis is also inevitable — either the country splits up and civil war starts in earnest, or there will be a solution. If there is a solution, the Hezbollah are the big winners there. They'll settle for nothing less.

Agreed. Just that there might a little fight their leadership between Junblatt and Weam Wahab before they unite.
Them, and Arslan. We'll see who comes out on top. Then again, Druze loyalties don't change at the drop of a hat either; that power struggle might be a nasty one. (I looked into Druze-on-Druze history a bit yesterday, and they're a lot less united than I thought.)

IMO he made a lot of enemies when he returned. While he also made friends, they might snub him as soon as they need someone to die for them. Then, his enemies won't offer him any help and Geagea will crunch him.
His new friends certainly would; however, he also has a pretty big and very hard core of Civil War period supporters. Those aren't going anywhere. Aoun has a very effective youth organization too; the next generation of Aounists is merrily growing up.



IMO, you should rule out the government and probably the army and of course outside interference will be decisive.
No, I don't think I should. They are the prizes of the contest after all, and any end to the crisis will have to come through them. Their freedom of movement is pretty narrowly circumscribed, but they have the mass to make up for it. They won't be "defeating" or "crushing" anyone just yet, but they're very much of a player here.

As to outside interference, I have long believed and continue to believe that Lebanese tend to overstate its importance by an order of magnitude. What Lebanese factions do with Damascus, Tehran, Paris, and Washington is far more important than what Damascus, Tehran, Paris, or Washington do with them. Sure, they matter, but the only traction they have on the ground is whatever the faction they sponsor is willing to give them — and that will be limited by the freedom of movement of that faction.

I'me sure the next couple of rounds will be chess, but then who knows it could be a under-the-belt-punching-allowed boxing match.
That's what I'm afraid of too, unless there's a checkmate in this round. Which, of course, is very unlikely.
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#51

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

May 12th, 2008, 09:27
Looks like this only rated a destroyer, not a battleship — the U.S.S. Cole is on its way to parade up and down the coast.

In related news, Hezbollah said that they're going to get medieval on the country at any sign of American interference. I would be inclined to take them at their word. Hoo boy…
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#52

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

May 12th, 2008, 11:52
More running commentary: the fighting hasn't entirely died down yet, and there's a real possibility it'll escalate again. Let's keep our fingers crossed. In particular, there's been some Shi'ite/Sunni violence on Hamra street in Beirut (it's a major shopping street), and some Druze/Druze/Shi'ite violence southeast of Beirut, just northeast of where POLYGON lives.

Incidentally, this exposes yet another often-repeated myth of Lebanese political life — that "Hezbollah is the only group allowed to keep its arms after the civil war." When things start heating up, whoops out come the rifles, and we have pitched battles between Jumblatt's and Hezbollah's fighters.

IOW, when someone triumphantly proclaims that a militia has been disarmed, or has voluntarily disarmed, whether it's in Lebanon or in Iraq, don't you believe a word of it. All it takes to disarm a militia is to remove the armbands, stow the rifles under the floorboards, and rename it to the Mahdi Football Club, or whatever. When the time comes to activate it again, it's up and about in about fifteen minutes flat.
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#53

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

May 12th, 2008, 13:10
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
They did. This time. If this spins out of control again, this might well change. These things have their own dynamic; you get drawn in even when you don't want to. That happened to Israel in the South — they came in to kick out the PLO, but found that there was "just one more thing" to sort out, until eventually they got fed up with the Hezbollah sticking pins in them day in, day out, and left… in a way that looked like a humiliating retreat. That sort of thing is almost inevitable in a situation where there's one overwhelmingly powerful military imposing itself on a population that doesn't want it.
That's not a good comparison, IMO. Hizbullah has headquarters and presence almost in every city in Lebanon. Yes, they vary in size and support but they can always use those as a rendez-vous. I mean Israel had to cross half of Lebanon to reach Beirut, so they can't retreat once they did what bthey came to do, while Hizbullah can take back west Beirut in one hour, do their business there then go back to the south suburbs again and again.
No, it won't., and everybody knows it. I don't think anyone wants the army to split up — the ensuing mayhem will be too big; it'll be full-scale civil war for sure. That's why it's a stabilizing factor for the time being — keeping neutral as the other parties slug it out, and brokering plus enforcing deals between them.
You're thinking of this a little bit differently: the army *is* playing a role, and its role is directly bound to the limits of its freedom to act. The only way the army would really be free to act as armies really do is if it splits, in which case we'd have two armies. But that doesn't mean it's irrelevant; quite the contrary. It's the most important stabilizing factor in the country today.
Once the army splits it won't remain a respected and legitimate player as it is now. So, they will lose their biggest advantage which is doing their business without being shot at. Yet, I agree they won't disappear , they will play a role though not as big as an army should.
Yup, Geagea looks like a big winner here. However, the Maronites don't change allegiances at the drop of a hat, and Geagea started out way behind Aoun in popularity. If Aoun manages to spin this with his supporters that it was all Jumblatt's and the government's fault, he may get away with a small dent. We'll see.
Yes it depends on how smart Aoun is.

Unfortunately, that's how it looks. But some kind of resolution to the political crisis is also inevitable — either the country splits up and civil war starts in earnest, or there will be a solution. If there is a solution, the Hezbollah are the big winners there. They'll settle for nothing less.
If there is a solution, a new president will be elected thus a new government formed. I can't see how the current government will play a role. The new government is totally unpredictable. I mean this is the reason behind everything. The new government is a dilemma. A solution will mainly be the new government formation.
Them, and Arslan. We'll see who comes out on top. Then again, Druze loyalties don't change at the drop of a hat either; that power struggle might be a nasty one. (I looked into Druze-on-Druze history a bit yesterday, and they're a lot less united than I thought.)
IMO, Arslan is too weak to lead all the Druze. I know he has his supporters but in leadership traits he's weak.
You mean which era in history?
I always thought Druze would have been extinct in Lebanon if it's not for the PLO who fought their war for them against the Phalange back in the 70's. What can they do now? not much with no one to fight with or for them. They're weak IMO.

His new friends certainly would; however, he also has a pretty big and very hard core of Civil War period supporters. Those aren't going anywhere. Aoun has a very effective youth organization too; the next generation of Aounists is merrily growing up.
Indeed, but I don't think his friends are ready to lose a penny for him. He's only their ally to make them say "we are majority''. No matter how strong he can be, Geagea is still a veteran in these type of wars.
As to outside interference, I have long believed and continue to believe that Lebanese tend to overstate its importance by an order of magnitude. What Lebanese factions do with Damascus, Tehran, Paris, and Washington is far more important than what Damascus, Tehran, Paris, or Washington do with them. Sure, they matter, but the only traction they have on the ground is whatever the faction they sponsor is willing to give them — and that will be limited by the freedom of movement of that faction.
Agreed. Except for Hizbullah who needs Iran to stay in the status of power they reached. That's why they acted quickly to revert the decision of removing Shkair(their man) from the airport. They need the airport just in case Syria shut their borders in the Hezb's face.

What you totally missed PJ, is an important player. Palestinians, although they are not in the picture now, but they will be dragged sooner or later. Did you see what Amin Al Jmail said 2 days ago? He said that Hizbullah's actions has made Lebanon a productive place for people like Al Qaida whose members have already reached Lebanon in Ein EL Helweh camp. Of course, Ein El Helweh camp is the biggest, most populated, and most armed palestinian camp in Lebanon. A few more statements like these from MAronite leaders can drag the Palestinians into the game.
That's what I'm afraid of too, unless there's a checkmate in this round. Which, of course, is very unlikely.
LMAO and also a KO is highly unlikely when the boxing match starts.
POLYGON is offline

POLYGON

POLYGON's Avatar
Heavy Smoker

#54

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: UAE-Dubai
Posts: 122

Default 

May 12th, 2008, 13:11
Hezb may not be the only one with weapons but as far as I'm aware they're better armed, its one thing to be able to provide rifles to your irregulars and another to be able to deploy antishipping missiles. (Wonder if that had any influence in the decision not to send a battleship).
V7 is offline

V7

Keeper of the Watch

#55

Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 668

Default 

May 12th, 2008, 13:58
Originally Posted by V7 View Post
Hezb may not be the only one with weapons but as far as I'm aware they're better armed, its one thing to be able to provide rifles to your irregulars and another to be able to deploy antishipping missiles. (Wonder if that had any influence in the decision not to send a battleship).
Oh, there's no question about that. As stated, the Hezb in Lebanon are like the Americans in Iraq — they have absolute military superiority relative to anyone else in the country; indeed the only fighting force nearby whom they need to fear is the IDF — they beat them playing defense, but they won't survive if they try to play offense.

That said, I'm quite certain Jumblatt, Geagea, and Aoun have pretty decent stockpiles of stuff that's a bit heavier than rifles — RPG's, grenade launchers, possibly light field artillery, possibly Katyusha type rockets, possibly even light anti-aircraft missiles. Hezb is just the only one fielding heavy weaponry at this time. (Not that it'll make much difference in the event of an inter-Lebanese rumble; for that sort of thing, what counts is numbers, training, cohesion, morale, command and control, and experience, and they're miles ahead of anyone else there too.)

My point was just that news reports very often (triumphantly) state that some militia has agreed to disarm, or has stood down, or has ceded control of some area to some army, when in actual fact said militia has simply taken off the armbands, stowed away the rifles, and gone to ground temporarily.

Re the U.S.S. Cole: I kinda doubt Hezb's missile capability was a factor here; probably the Cole was the closest available. I also kinda doubt they'll actually attack it. If they did, the US would certainly retaliate with a massive bombing campaign à la 2006, and while the Hezb weathered it just fine, I'm sure they didn't much enjoy it, and aren't really looking for a re-run, especially if they have so many other things on their plate. But even so, if I was a sailor there, I would be sleeping just a wee bit lightly the next few nights.
Last edited by Prime Junta; May 12th, 2008 at 14:40.
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#56

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

May 12th, 2008, 14:29
@POLYGON, yep, the Palestinians are another wild card in the game. I doubt AQ is very active in Ain el-Helwe (perhaps you have better info on this?), and the Lebanese Palestinians are a bit short on external support right now. It's certainly not safe to count them out, but they're not a player for the time being. What do you think will happen if they are drawn in?
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#57

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

May 12th, 2008, 16:16
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
@POLYGON, yep, the Palestinians are another wild card in the game. I doubt AQ is very active in Ain el-Helwe (perhaps you have better info on this?), and the Lebanese Palestinians are a bit short on external support right now. It's certainly not safe to count them out, but they're not a player for the time being. What do you think will happen if they are drawn in?
Choas.
The Palestinians are not united like in the past, now there's a variety of factions(in Ain El Helweh at least). I see an inter-Palestinian struggle if they're drawn in. In Ain El Helweh, PLO(Fatah) and Osabat Al Ansar(Salafi Islamic group but not AQ) are the strongest and they agree on their hatered for Hizbullah but don't on theirr relationship with the USA.There's Hamas and Al Qeyada Al A'ama group(Ahmed Jubreil's) also, who are in terms with Hizbullah.
I can see the government dragging the army to a war on AL Ansar group(like they did in Nahr Al Bared) whcih will easily draw the rest.
I can't even imagine what will happen, this is so unpredictable.
As for AQ's presence in the camp, it's non-existent unless it's something very confidential and thus should be limited.
POLYGON is offline

POLYGON

POLYGON's Avatar
Heavy Smoker

#58

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: UAE-Dubai
Posts: 122

Default 

May 12th, 2008, 17:13
Thanks, Poly. That's more or less as I pictured it. Let's hope things don't go that far.

BTW, in case there's anyone non-ME-nerd still reading, here's a short "who's who" of the major players, that might help decipher the commentary. It has a bit of a slant in the tone, but once you adjust for that, the facts and descriptions are pretty accurate: [ http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exer…DD1C1F50F6.htm ]
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#59

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

May 12th, 2008, 18:45
Yep, still reading, and I'm thinking a "cast of characters" could prove very useful about now. Like we've concluded elsewhere, this faction business is a little complex for us imperialist pig-dogs (or at least, this imperialist pig-dog). It's much easier to follow when there's only two major players and you can't hardly tell the difference between them (at least on a global political spectrum).

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
Dallas Cowboys: *sigh* / / Detroit Red Wings: Took injuries to see them, but how about them youngsters!
dteowner is offline

dteowner

dteowner's Avatar
Shoegazer

#60

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 11,314
RPGWatch Forums » General Forums » Politics & Religion » Lebanon on the brink
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 12:20.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright by RPGWatch