As the June legislative elections draw nearer, the Lebanese parties-cum-militias (and they all are that, not just the ubiquitous Hizbullah) start their campaigns which, apart from an increase in petty violent confrontations, often involve financial donations to undecided voters and serious haggling and dealmaking among even the most bitterly opposed parties in their attempt to deal with the hopelessly complex and decidedly undemocratic Lebanese election system. As there are no credible surveys being held and figures about just about anything and anybody are notoriously hard to come by in this country, it is anybody’s guess which of the two main blocs will come out the winner, but rest assured any victory will be by a small margin. This margin consists mostly of the Metn, a district in the christian mountain heartland where M14’s Lebanese Forces and (less importantly) Phalanges and M8’s Aoun will battle it out, both greatly hindered by the sitting-on-the-fence position of Michel Murr, formerly with M8 recently gone ‘independent’, having candidates connected with both blocs on his list. The decisive votes may well lie with the country’s Armenian population, whose two parties are each allied with one the two blocs (or what did you expect?), although the M8-allied Tashnag now appears to have candidates on Murr’s list… As if all that is not complicated enough, Nasrallah has recently announced that if M8 wins the elections, they would preferably form a government of national unity, even offering M14 veto power (like M8 in the current national unity government) and Saad Hariri the prime ministership – the PM has to be a sunni anyway under the Taif accords. Nasrallah’s proposal makes political sense in a country as divided and ungovernable as Lebanon, but pisses a lot of M8 supporters off, seeing as they are still going to be governed by the same punks no matter who or what they vote for. A non=sectarian partu meanwhile remains as unlikely a proposition in this country as ever. For all this and more information, there is now a good new source, a blog called Lebanese Elections 2009, regularly updated by Deen Sharp, a freelance journo in Beirut. Also interesting is a new article by Franklin Lamb, full of original facts and ideas from the perspective of Dahiyyeh – if you can wade through his chaotic writing style and shoddy editing…
PS – I just noticed I have written 385 words on Lebanese elections without even one mention of a foreign country meddling – that simply must be a first!
PS2 – a thank you to some of my readers for rallying to my defense against some guy calling himself after a pistol who seemed to insist that my writing style was ‘effeminate, passive’ whereas the Middle East, in his opinion, needs to be written about in ‘shorter sentences in a bolder, more assertive manner’ – yes, very weird, I know, and I was just letting it pass unanswered myself, although I found it laughable enough to publish, but some of my readers clearly thought otherwise…
Jeha’s Nail has a good overview of some recent minor events in Beirut that I had noticed as odd but somehow not connected or thought worth mentioning:
‘1- the February 12th kidnapping of Joseph Sader, the Middle East Airlines (MEA) director of information technology operations. Coincidence: he may have been related to the fact that he processed and prepared files related to the Hariri assassination case.
2- The February 18th assassination of Ghassan Miqdad, the MEA pilot, found dead in his own car in Beirut’s Ouzai district. Coincidence: he had transported the Hariri files to The Hague on Feb. 9. Coincidence: 2 months ago, his brother, Mohammed, was similarly assassinated, in the same area. Coincidence: 2 weeks before that, his house was burglarized.
And the biggest Coincidence of all; both the Airport and Ouzai district are under the control of Hezb’O. So as they hide their head up their own gluteus maximus;
Lebanon’s great and good say it’s all personal.
I say its just business as usual…’
So confident is the Israeli army that the Gaza offensive against unarmed civilians restored its full deterrence force after its humiliating defeat by Hezbollah in 2006 that they actually had the guts to shoot across the Lebanese border at a Hezbollah… graffiti! Purity of arms indeed. Duh.
‘An Israeli soldier has opened fire on a Hezbollah mural painted on a wall near the entrance of the Aadaisseh village in southern Lebanon. “A soldier got out of his vehicle and deliberately fired at the wall bearing the inscriptions,” some 20 meters (yards) from the border, a Lebanese Army spokesman told AFP on Tuesday. He said five bullets had hit the inscription which shows the “hand of resistance”, a reference to the “divine victory” Hezbollah achieved over Israel during the 33-day war Tel Aviv waged on southern Lebanon.’
This is an interesting email circulating in Lebanon right now – it comes from Aouni circles (Free Patriotic Movement) and details all the assassinations attributed, rightly or wrongly, to Samir Geagea. Some of them are proven and generally known, others less so. I reprint the mail in full here:
HOW COULD ‘DEMOCRACY’ PROGRESS IN LEBANON WITH A TALIBAN GURU AS A MODEL?
BESIDES HARIRI INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL, A TRIBUNAL NEEDED FOR MOTHER THERESA GEAGEA.
MY GOLDEN ALBUM OF ASSASSINATIONS:
1- Former Prime Minister of Lebanon: the murder of Rachid Karameh.
2- Son of former Lebanon’s President Suleiman Frangieh: Tony Frangieh, his wife and daughter
3- I murdered Ghaith Khoury, Head of the Kataeb Iqleem of Jbiel. I sent Fawzi Rassi with a group after him at night. After shooting him to death, the group murdered his wife Noura in the hospital, after she survived the assassination attempt.
4- General Secretary of the Maronite Christian Patriarchate of Bkerki: the murder of Bishop Albert Khreich. I sent Georges Makhlouf, aka ‘Jarbouh’ who pulled the trigger, killed Bishop Khreish and ordered the guys to dump his body next to Hotel Printania in Brummana in order to relieve suspicion and blame President Amine Gemayel for the crime, but the body was thrown near Ghazir by mistake.
5- Son of former Lebanon’s President Camille Chamoun: the murder of Dany Chamoun, his wife and kids. That was in coordination with Syrian Intelligence chiefs in Lebanon Ghazi Kanaan and Rustom Ghazali who use to visit me in my Headquarter in Ghedras all the time. I was such a moron that I didn’t figure out that the Syrians were going to use me later on as a scapegoat for this crime and keep me 11 years in jail for it.
6- Lebanese Army: the murder of Brigadier General Khalil Kanaan. I personally sent Alec Eliyia who pulled the trigger and killed him. Then I silenced Alec by killing him, as everybody knows; a dead person will never speak up.
7- Lebanese Forces Military Infantry Leader: the murder of Dr Elias El Zayek
8- Lebanese Forces commander in Chief: Dr Fuad Abu Nader. Failed murder attempt, Abu Nader escaped shot and wounded in the leg instead)
9- Member of Lebanese Parliament Najah Wakim. It was a failed murder attempt. MP Wakim killed the killer, sent by Geagea, at the door of his home.
10- Commander of the Ashrafieh military barrack: the murder of Maurice Fakhoury. Fakhoury was killed by hatchets; his penis cut and put in his mouth, his body was thrown in the street for days. He was killed in such an unprecedented ferocity in a Christian neighborhood of Beirut.
11- Commander of the former Armored Division of the Lebanese Forces: the murder of Charles Korban. We picked him wounded from his hospital bed in Hotel Dieu de France, shot him and threw his body in the sea.
12- Commander of the former Berjawi military barrack in Beirut: the murder of Emile Azar.
13- Military Unit commander: the murder of Michel Israeli: I murdered him and threw his body in the sea to cover evidence
14- February 1990: Killing by hatchets of Lebanese Army Captain Antoine Haddad. I had to offer something to humanity, killing an officer by hatchets was a good idea after all.
15- Upon my orders, Toni Taan Rahme killed Lebanese Army Lieutenant Joesph Nehme in Hbaline. Nehme used to be the Lebanese Army artillery officer in charge of bombing the Syrian military positions in Batroun.
16- April 1990: I had to poison 3 Lebanese Army officers who were bothering me a lot. I sent few pretty girls with a ‘special poison’ to do the job. Officers Chamel Rukoz, Fadi Dawood and Dany Khawand were deadly poisoned. They had to be flown outside Lebanon for treatment & recovery.
17- A peaceful demonstration of civilians handling candles was taking place in a Beirut suburb called ‘Nahr el Mott’. I had to call the moron in charge Hamid Keirouz and authorize him to pull the trigger and spray them with bullets. The results were 23 civilians dead.
18- The four Iranian Diplomats were kidnapped on my order at the Barbara military Checkpoint, managed by Ragi Abdo, aka ‘Captain’. After a fight with Elie Hobeika on the priority who is to murder them first, we sent them to Hobeika to collect the glory.
19- The gentleman Khalil Fares from Rmeil was bothering me. I had to get him assassinated in the street of Ashrafiyah.
21- In 1986, he and his group murdered 500 Christians Lebanese in the street of Beirut under various justifications of collaboration with Syria. He later received in his office Syrian General Ghazi Kanaan and coordinated with him the murder of Dani Chamoun and the downfall of the Lebanese Army in Baabda the 13th october 1990. While the Syrian Army was progressing on Lebanese Army positions from the front, Geagea was busy with Syrian Intelligence chief Ghazi Kanaan shooting at the Lebanese Army back helping the Syrian Army progressing.
HOW COULD ANYONE FORGET?’