I am currently residing in Sanaa, Yemen, in one of these beautiful old houses in the Ottoman Quarter, in an apartment provided to me by CEFAS, a French research center. Soon I will be in Saudi Arabia, where I will spend the rest of the year interviewing reformers for my master’s thesis, on a research grant provided by CEFAS. Flying to Sanaa from Beirut feels like traveling in a time machine: Sanaa, gorgeous as it is, seems a very uneventful place, where even the cars look like they date from the early Ottoman empire. Imagine my surprise then, when it turns out that superfast ADSL is the norm in internet here, the tap water is potable and there are no electricity cuts whatsoever. What is it with Lebanon, such an advanced and modern country on all other levels, that keeps it from providing the most basic services to its citizens, which even a virtual third world country like Yemen can do (at least in the capital)?
Anyway, I am now reduced to following the news from Lebanon over the internet only, and looking at what the Daily Star offers its readers today, not much seems to be happening – I reprint the article in full here, as it is a stunning thing to put in a newspaper:
‘Clairvoyant’ sees new Lebanese president, more assassinations, Hizbullah ‘surprise’
The Daily Star staff, Beirut, 30 0ctober 2007: Reputed clairvoyant Michel Hayek predicted late on Sunday that “Lebanon will witness the election of a new president despite current problems.” He also ruled out the “imminent” threat of civil war. In an interview with George Salibi on New TV, Hayek foresaw “a few skirmishes and problems” in the country.
“There is no impending end to the string of assassinations,” he said, referring to the political murders that have plagued Lebanon since 2005.
Nicknamed “the Nostradamus of the Middle East,” Hayek is known for his yearly predictions for Lebanon, the Middle East and the world.
“I see tripartite skirmishes between Lebanon, Syria and Israel,” Hayek said without further elaboration.
He predicted that Shaker al-Abssi, leader of the Fatah al-Islam militant group “will reappear in a different situation.”
In September, the Lebanese Army took over the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli after three months of fighting with Fatah al-Islam.
“The achievements of Lebanese Army Commander General Michel Suleiman will be distorted,” said Hayek. “I see attempts to attack the army as well as changes in its personnel and leaders.” He also said the army would face some “internal problems.”
Hayek’s forecasting also implicated political leaders.
“Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun and Premier Fouad Siniora are part of a plan and I see a new stand, position and equation,” he predicted, adding that Hizbullah would make a decision “that will surprise many people.”
On the international scene, Hayek said that French President Nicholas Sarkozy “will face a complicated crisis.”
In addition, he predicted the death of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert – who promptly announced on Monday that he has prostate cancer.
Among past predictions, Hayek has foreseen the deaths of Princess Diana and former Premier Rafik Hariri, as well as MP Gebran Tueni.