Reading the tea leaves: The tune being played by Westerners and their allies in the region under the guise of preserving international justice is enflaming internal dissention in the land of the Cedar [Lebanon].
Beirut: Since last Thursday, the day that the United States, France and Great Britain filed a motion at the U.N. to ensure the setting up of an international court to judge the assassins of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri , everyone knew that repercussions would not be long to follow in the land of the Cedar.
This is true first of all because this is a particularly sensitive question in Lebanon. It is one of the bones of contention among a number of groups. The majority are gathered under the banner of “March 14th Movement” – also known as the Movement of the Future – centered around the Hariri family – which holds the post of prime minister in the person of Fouad Siniora .
Allied with them are those that support the Lebanese Forces of Samir Geagea , who was recently released from prison after being implicated in a number of massacres, and who is a partisan of the Gemayel family [The Gemayal family has spawned three previous Lebanese Prime ministers, who were regarded as pro-Western ].
[Editor’s Note: The March 14th movement came into being exactly one month after the February 14th, 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri, when massive demonstrations were held across the country calling for democracy, punishment for the assassins, and an end to Syrian influence ].
The opposition, primarily the Hezbullah Party, the Amal Party and the patriotic faction of General Aoun , rallied its forces under the banner of the “Movement of March 8th” [the date of a protest in favor of Hezbullah and Syrian influence in Lebanon, which occurred the week before the March 14th protests].
These two entities [the Hezbullah and Amal Parties] – momentarily allied due to electoral agreements and even as allies within the government – have split due to conflicting interests: class, religious and geopolitical …
Today the international court, as it has been proposed, has raised the specter of a return of Lebanon’s old demons. This is because events that took place over twenty years ago could be rehashed, and if the will for national reconciliation hasn’t completely ended, it is in any case politically limited.
THE DEATH OF RAFIK HARIRI
In what one must necessarily label “monkey-business,” the Western countries – particularly France and the United States – are playing from a particular song-sheet, which was written after the death of Rafik Hariri. This song sheet is the cantata of U.N. resolution 1559 , played in two parts: The withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon (they arrived in 1986 with the consent of Western nations); and then the disarmament of armed factions – including Hezbullah and other Palestinian groups.
These steps are aimed at isolating anything on the regional landscape that could be construed as an alliance with Syria and Iran, which have been accused of being the source of all evil (hence the axis of evil so dear to George W. Bush). Hezbullah is therefore targeted, both politically and in religious terms.
The Saudi Arabians – Sunnis whose financial interests in Lebanon are obvious – have all but been designated to play the role of policeman, indeed, even as the dispenser of justice. This situation – which the Saudis dearly hope is being accepted as a new way of doing things – is more true in Lebanon than it is in Iraq, where the clash between the region’s Shiites and Sunnis is creating a new and dangerous dynamic for the people of the Middle East, and primarily for the Palestinians.
It is in the context of this confrontation and overall tension that the war in Lebanon began in the summer of 2006. The Israeli plans were ready. But their unexpected defeat altered the consequences. The Shiite movement of Hassan Nasrallah came out of the confrontation strengthened, and even in Sunni regions of the Middle East, the Hezbullah leader’s performance was appreciated. This aggravated Washington – which sees the specter of Teheran everywhere, but it was also a problem for Riyadh, which intends to defend its interests.
It is with this backdrop, worsened by the gridlock of Lebanese institutions – the resignation of Shiite ministers, which left the government without constitutional legitimacy, and with a Parliament that doesn’t convene any longer, which means that the question of Presidential succession cannot be viably resolved for now – that a storm is approaching Lebanon from every direction.
Consequently, it’s easy to manipulate and – relying upon international media – encourage people to adopt the dominant thesis, and especially, to help create or activate small religious groups.
YEMENITES FROM BANGLADESH …
In Europe, we have certainly discovered the existence of Fatah Al-Islam. Within a space of two days, this Islamic group killed close to thirty Lebanese soldiers and, being in a Palestinian refugee camp, it has sown disorder and doubt.
There are practically no Palestinians members of Fatah Al-Islam, as has been shown by the identities of those who were cut down by Lebanese forces over the last two days. They are Yemeni, Bangladeshi and others.
All Palestinians organizations have denounced the deception practiced by this group. Yesterday, certain Lebanese newspapers recalled that last February, four members of this group had been detained and confessed to having instigated an attack near Beirut, in a Christian area. But at the time, the authorities did nothing to eradicate the group. In the same way, when one knows how difficult it is to enter a Palestinian refugee camp – whose access points are controlled by the army – one wonders how such a thing could have happened and whose interests it served.
TENSION CONTINUES TO GROW
Part of the answer has been provided by American journalist Seymour Hersh, known for his revelations about all that is hidden in the international card game. He has an extensive network that provides him with information, and he is regularly informed of secrets by former agents from international secret agencies.
In an article published by The New Yorker in March 2007, Hersh shows that a strategy of confrontation in Lebanon, between Sunni Islamists and Hezbollah, is taking shape under the aegis of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney .
An ex-spy for the British secret service, the famous MI6 is quoted. Alistair Crooke, that is his name, created a think tank in Beirut called “Conflicts Forum,” explains why the Lebanese government favors the entry of such combatants onto its territory.
“It could be very dangerous” he says. He quotes one of these extremist Sunni groups: the Fatah al-Islam, which settled in the camp at Nahr al-Bared. There were 200 of them. “I was told that within twenty-four hours they were being offered weapons and money by people presenting themselves as representatives of the Lebanese government’s interests – presumably to take on Hezbullah.”
According to the French ambassador to the U.N., resolution 1559 regarding the international court could be voted on the end of the month. Meanwhile, the tensions in Lebanon grow by the day, the preparations for war against Iran are gathering apace and the Gaza Strip is nothing but blood and fire