Go back to start – do pass by the bank…

So all those bags of dollars distributed by the emir of Qatar to the mafioso clanlords ‘leading’ this country have only bought a few measly weeks of semi-peace after all. While the politicos have been jostling for cabinet positions for a month or so, the economy keeps going downhill and someone somewhere keeps paying hooligans and snipers to stoke unrest in the streets. The fighting has now moved to Tripoli where the pro-government sunni forces (presumably assisted by some assorted international jihadi brothers) have been battling it out with the opposition (mainly SSNP) alawites in the Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh neighbourhoods, along the very same frontline that saw heavy fighting during the second week of May. Mortars, RPGs and even snipers were all invited to the party. Up to now, nine dead and some forty wounded have been counted and a combined police & army action has been going on for a while in an effort (not universally welcomed, it would seem) to stop the fighting. Is this what Condoleezza Rice brought along on her ‘surprise visit’?
A bomb has also exploded in Ain al-Hilwe, the Palestinian camp near Saida. The link is to a crappy article, I know, but I couldn’t resist it, especially as they call Jund ash-Sham ‘Yund al-Shams’ and describe the salafi jihadis as a ‘grassroots sunni organization’ (which is technically true, I suppose… the factual information in the article, apart from that, is correct though).
Meanwhile, the gulf states are showering even more money on the country, as they pledge to contribute half of the funds to reconstruct Nahr al-Bared (at a fraction of what it reportedly cost them to buy Nabih Berri in Doha, of course), as well as ’15 nearby villages‘. Would those be the villages inhabited by Lebanese who demonstrated last year not to rebuild the camp in their backyard, perchance?
On an only slightly lighter note, it seems that even a European football cup is not safe from politicization by the Lebanese: while the maronites overwhelmingly support(ed) the French, the shia have a distinct preference for Germany. The orthodox christians tend to side with Russia and Greece. It is actually beyond me why the Lebanese – who in general prefer basketball to football anyway – should even feel compelled to choose one European country out of the lot to support, buy they do so, and fervently. Cars decorated with the respective flags are all around and there is no public place in sight that hasn’t put up a screen showing all the matches. One team that doesn’t attract a lot of support, though, is the Italian one. Both times they won a cup – in 1982 and 2006 – all hell broke loose in Lebanon immediately after…
The Lebanese do have a national football league, by the way, but it plays its matches without an audience present – not allowed for security reasons. Of course, any old team is, you guessed it, either supported or owned by a specific political/sectarian faction. So let’s just play it safe and ban public matches altogether…

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