Conspiracy theories – take your pick…

Angry Arab/Friday Lunch Club:

‘Who killed Francois Al-Hajj, chief-of-operations for the Lebanese Army? Nobody knows of course. He certainly was not close to the Hariri camp; and there is the widely circulated reference to an article in As-Siyasah (from January 26th, 2007) in which he was identified as an enemy of March 14. Personally, I think the explanation may be found not in Lebanese politics, but in Lebanese-Palestinian politics. I had predicted when the Lebanese Army (supported by March 8th and March 14th–government and opposition alike) was destroying the Nahr Al-Barid camp that the horrors would produce a new vengeful organization, just as Black September was born out of the Jordanian massacres of Palestinians. Al-Hajj had a key role in the Lebanese Army operations in Nahr Al-Barid.’

From Beirut to the Beltway:

‘Nabih Berri wasted no time after the assassination of Suleiman’s aide to demand Aoun’s conditions be satisfied, namely an interim presidency, a consensus PM and agreement on the next army commander. (who was tipped to be the slain Hajj).The timing of Berri’s “advice” to March 14 to negotiate with Aoun could not be more telling. Assad’s allies want March 14’s total political annihilation. Berri, a master time-buyer for the Syrian regime, could not care less about the constitution. In fact, if you browse the archive of this blog, you will notice that every assassination was preceded by some form of initiative or dialogue with Berri. The Assad regime’s welfare is top priority for its loyalists, and Suleiman cannot be allowed to arrive via the Siniora government or March 14. Period. The army commander’s speech yesterday in the south, in which he said Lebanese sovereignty started when the army deployed in the south, is not the way a pro-Syrian Lebanese president is supposed to talk. Today’s assassination was a lesson, or a reminder, if you will, that Suleiman should not aspire to become more than a disposable Syrian puppet. The Syrian VP said it right when he referred to the situation in Lebanon as a “battle against Syria” that “cannot be won”. That is how the regime views Lebanon, a battleground. Lebanon is not allowed to vote for a president, or have functional cabinet and parliament without Syria’s approval. The country is being forced to function as a property of the Assad regime, through terror, and as Sharaa described them, though the regime’s strong allies. The Lebanese army is on the only functioning institution, and is perceived as a uniting element by most of the population. Targeting the army now is a sign that the Assad regime, believing March 14 is weakened to the point of extinction, is feeling confident enough to obstruct the presidential election and bring the Lebanese army back into its fold.’

Oh, and for the record: here’s the view from Robert Fisk‘s ivory tower. The man really should start spending some more time checking his facts and looking at the larger picture rather than attending Walid Jumblatt’s dinner parties. Maybe (just maybe, mind you) it might even pay off if he gave up his ridiculous resistance to the internet and emailing. I must admit that I’ve lost a lot of respect for Fisk since I’ve moved to Lebanon and saw for myself the wide gap between his ‘philosophical’ reporting and his gratuitous and wildly biased moral stances on the one hand, and the actual situation on the ground…

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