May 14th

The situation seems to have stabilized and, to use the tired cliche of the last week, ‘an uneasy calm prevails’… I could’ve sworn I heard very distant gunfire and RPG’s last night coming from down south, but I might have been mistaken, as there’s no mention of any fights in any press or blogs today. The Arab delegation has arrived today (they opened one of the airport roads for them, though I don’t know whether this will remain open or not). The delegation headed straight to Berri’s residence in Ain al-Tineh before moving on to the Grand Serail to see Siniora. That kinda gives a good indication of where the real power is today, notwithstanding the newly defiant M14 rhetoric of yesterday and today.

Read the Land and People blog for an overview of the situation now (well, yesterday really, but nothing seems to have changed yet), as well as a glimpse of Lebanese war ‘entrepreneurship’: ‘Most roads in and out of Lebanon are closed or dangerous. The Damascus highway is closed in Majdel Anjar by masked men belonging or close to the Future movement, although there are rumors and press reports that they are closers to Salafis than to the Future. In any case, all the hotels of Damascus are fully booked, and travelers will have to spend the night in the airport if they find seats of a flight. The airport road is still closed. A new luxury yacht transport system has been initiated from the Dbayyeh and Jounieh ports by seafaring entrepreneurs. The yachts are fully equipped with satellite TVs and cell phones and will take you to Cyprus in 6-7 hours for $1,500 per adult. One way. They take 14 passengers. Do the math: that’s a quarter of a million US$ in a week’s work. I’ll stick around.’

Meanwhile, in the typical Lebanese fashion of joint public-private partnership (i.e. public investment to generate private profits): ‘Public Works and Transportation Minister Mohammed Safadi gave instructions to rehabilitate the port of Jounieh.’


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