Lebanon Unite!

‘MP Samir Franjieh (Qornet Shehwan Gathering, a sort of ‘Phalanges-plus-some-independents’ that’s part of M14) urged the Lebanese to set aside differences and agree on a “safety dragnet” that can protect the nation from a regional war that is in the offing. Franjieh, who made the plea in an interview with Naharnet, accused the Hizbullah-led March 8 opposition of taking a “big risk” by keeping the nation exposed to threats. “They remind me of the Lebanese nationalist Movement in 1982 when it had indications about a possible Israeli invasion but failed to freeze the domestic dispute in favor of creating a safety dragnet, so Israel invaded a Lebanon incapable of resisting due to its internal differences and hundreds of other reasons,” Franjieh added. He said deployment of the USS Cole guided missile destroyer in Mediterranean waters off the Lebanese coastline is “not linked to the domestic Lebanese situation, but rather to the explosive situation in the region. It could signal the imposing of new sanctions on Iran. The situation is very serious in the region, which could be heading to a war. Would such a war serve the interests of the majority or the minority? Certainly not. It would serve interests not related to all those factions. (…) War is coming, let’s unite to avoid the storm.“‘ The problem with Lebanese politicos urging all parties to unite is that they ‘extend their hands to their rivals’ only after first insulting them for half an hour or so – witness e.g. Saad Hariri on the 14th of February. Frangieh proves no exception to this extremely inefficient (or hypocrite) practice…
The incumbent ‘compromise’ president and present army chief has signaled that the Lebanese army will not ‘stand by hands tied’, to use a franglais expression that is currently very popular in this country, if (sorry: when) Israel attacks: “Suleiman urged his commanders to “achieve high combat readiness of their units to confront all expected probabilities, especially defending the southern land, maintain domestic security and stability (…) He noted that the troops’ “basic duty is to prevent the Israeli enemy from occupying Lebanese territories or attempting to use them as a passage to launch an aggression against Arab brotherly countries.” Suleiman reiterated “the army’s determination, backed by the people and the resistance, to confront any new Israeli aggression with all available means and capabilities. Defending the land is a sacred right consolidated by international charters, it is a national priority that deserves unifying resources and efforts.” The army commander stressed that his troops would not fall back “if the enemy decided to occupy the south, because abandoning this territory means abandoning the whole of Lebanon.” ‘The resistance’, by the way, refers to Hezbollah, while the “Arab brotherly countries” mentioned can, geographically speaking, of course only be Syria.
Saudi Arabia, not content with issuing a negative travel advice for Lebanon, has now ‘urged its subjects to leave Lebanon immediately’. Apparently, there have been some specific threats against Saudis and one of their diplomatic cars got shot at. This is very bad news for the Lebanese tourist industry (not to mention the prostitution sector), which has relied almost exclusively on Gulf tourists since the July war scared off the Europeans and Americans in 2006.
Here’s one of these delicious little details that reveal so much about the people of this country in a few words: The interior ministry has issued a statement to stress ‘the need to avoid opening fire or toss grenades to celebrate a television interview given by a political leader. It said the shooting “causes panic and inflicts casualties as well as damage to both public and private property.” The ministry called on politicians to “cooperate” in this respect by asking their supporters to abstain from opening fire.’ You would think that after 15 years of civil war and several invasions and occupations, the Lebanese would have realized by now that guns and grenades are dangerous toys…
In other news, the continuing earthquakes and aftershocks rocking the south of the country have not failed to launch another few tonnes of toxic waste into the Mediterranean. The waste slided of the infamous toxic mountain outside Saida, which is incongruously located between the tourist attraction of ancient Sidon and the Mediterranean sea.


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