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by CTuttle

Lebanon’s Plight

12:15 am in Uncategorized by CTuttle

MarkfromIreland had replied in my last post’s thread, in regards to the Beirut bombing…

The violent protests in Beirut aren’t surprising Charles, Christians and Sunni Muslims ruled the roost in Lebanon for a long time and are sore losers.
There was some fighting involving lightly armed gunmen from Tariq al-Jdideh who were dimwitted enough to attack Barbour including by all accounts using RPGs. They were driven off with some casualties. No casualties amongst the defenders. Some sporadic fighting continued until the army arrived and forced the attackers back to Tariq al-Jdideh. The army are conducting raids into Besharah al-Khouri, Qasqas, Tayyouneh “pour décourager les autres”.

I did some more digging around and from Intelnews.org…

The Significance of the Killing of Lebanon’s Security Chief

…It is true that Friday’s bombing silenced a strong critic of Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime, who had an instrumental position inside the Lebanese government’s security establishment. But Hassan was hardly the country’s most important security official, and anything but unique in his anti-Syrian views within the context of the staunchly anti-Syrian ISF. {…} Thus despite his consistent criticism of the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, Hassan had few friends in Israeli intelligence circles. To this mix add the Iranian intelligence, which has been battling with the ISF for decades, as well as Hezbollah, whose leadership often views the ISF’s intelligence division as an outright enemy, and you can get a limited sense of the immense complexity of this case.

Another area of confusion concerns the riots that broke out in Beirut following Hassan’s funeral on Sunday. It is important to stress that the large crowds of Lebanese who were present at the funeral were not necessarily there to pay their respects to the dead man. Although Hassan was a senior official in the ISF, very few Lebanese knew his name prior to Friday. In fact, few —if any— ordinary Lebanese civilians had ever heard of Wissam al-Hassan prior to his high-profile assassination, just as few Americans today know the name of the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Security Branch. The crowds that descended on downtown Beirut on Sunday went there as participants in an act of defiance against those who planted the bomb that killed Hassan. These were primarily Sunni Muslims, who are largely supportive of the Free Syrian Army. On the other side of the divide, Lebanese Shiites, including Hezbollah and some of its Christian allies, tend to be staunch supporters of the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. The rioters who tried to storm the headquarters of the Lebanese government on Sunday afternoon believe that the Lebanese government should end its neutral stance on the Syrian Civil War and openly back the rebels. This is, of course, a highly predictable reaction to the bombing, so much so that it almost rules out the possibility that Damascus may have been behind Hassan’s assassination.

Ultimately, the view that last week’s bombing, and Hassan’s killing, may signify the internationalization of the Syrian Civil War is myopic. Politically and ideologically, Lebanon has been an integral part of Syria for decades, so much so that it would be strange if the Syrian crisis did not —sooner or later— engulf parts of Lebanon… …The situation in Syria is gradually beginning to resemble, not the Spanish Civil War, as some claim, but rather 1980s Angola —a gathering place for mercenaries, ideologues and Cold Warriors, all armed to the teeth and operating under the convenient protection of international apathy.

From The Arab News…

Lebanon at the edge of precipice

…News reports spoke of direct links between Al Hassan and other Hariri loyalists, and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) which is waging an 18-month war against the regime of Bashar Assad. The Syrian president had warned recently that Syria’s crisis will have tremor-like consequences on the region. Only last week UN/Arab League special envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, warned of a spillover effect of the Syrian crisis that could burn everything. {…}

Since the Hariri murder Lebanese factions have been polarized along pro and anti Syria fault lines. The 8 March coalition, headed by Hezbollah and allied with Christian leader Michel Aoun of the Free Patriotic Movement, Amal and other secular movements, has backed Mikati as prime minister and currently has an edge in Parliament. Hariri and his allies have called on Mikati to resign in the aftermath of the Al Hassan murder. He has submitted his resignation to President Michel Suleiman who has not accepted it until now.
Observers believe Mikati’s departure will create a dangerous political vacuum in Lebanon that could manifest itself in street violence. And there are signs that not all members of the 14 March coalition see the government’s resignation now as a good thing for Lebanon’s stability.

Lebanon has always been considered as an open stage for proxy wars involving almost every country in the region, from Israel to Syria to Iran to the Gulf States. In recent months and weeks the Syrian crisis has overshadowed Lebanese politics. Premier Mikati has been trying to implement a policy of non-interference in the Syrian issue. But recent reports have pointed to direct Hezbollah involvement in the ongoing Syrian civil war; fighting along the side of the regime. The US backed Hariri has been pivoting to the FSA and the Syrian opposition. One of his party’s top aides is said to be based in Turkey liaising with the general command of the FSA…

Kofi Annan had mentioned Lebanon in a recent talk…

‘Libya imploded. Syria would explode across the region,’ Kofi Annan says

Speaking to a small, well-heeled group in downtown Toronto Wednesday night, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan conceded his peace mission to Syria this year was doomed to failure.

“Mission impossible,” he said succinctly.

He’s not wrong. But the question left unanswered is this: Is the UN in its current form capable of accomplishing any goals — missions possible, if you will — that are worth accomplishing?

Mr. Annan’s answer would be a qualified yes. {…}

On Iran, Mr. Annan believes “military adventures” would be extremely dangerous, and warned if Israel strikes, Iran will likely retaliate against the West generally. He also conceded he saw no reasonable prospects of progress between Israel and the Palestinians soon.

He also sounded downright pessimistic on Syria: “Libya imploded. Syria would explode across the region.” He compared it to Lebanon, which needed 15 years to emerge from its civil war. “And Syria is much more complicated than Lebanon,” he warned.

…So what can be done?

“Work toward a political solution,” answered Mr. Annan: A ceasefire, an interim government and a new constitution that satisfies the various ethnic and religious factions. Most important, he said, is preserving the Syrian security forces, under new leadership. Syria must not see a repeat of the chaos in Iraq after its military was disbanded in 2003″

Speaking of Iraq… In Iran, Like Iraq, the Objective Has Always Been Regime Change

The very same can also be said about Syria…!

Wtf are we doing over there…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

Syria’s ‘Dead Man Walking’…

4:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Reuters reported today…

America and Syria’s ‘dead man walking’

…A peaceful solution to Syria’s protracted crisis now looks remote enough to wonder whether Bashar Assad might outlast Obama in power. The US president is not assured of winning another term in office next November. But the odds of the Assad regime surviving into 2013 look better with every passing day, even though one of the US government’s top experts on Syria has labeled the Syrian president a “dead man walking.”

There are several reasons for skepticism about a resolution to the Syrian crisis in the near future. One is the government’s military superiority over fractured and lightly-equipped opposition forces. More importantly, there is no international consensus on how to deal with what began 14 months ago as peaceful demonstrations against a 40-year family dictatorship and now includes huge suicide bombings of government targets that have raised suspicions of Al-Qaeda involvement.

At the summit of the G8 — the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, Canada and Japan —an aide to Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev made clear, again, that Moscow, unlike the West, does not see Assad’s departure as a necessary step toward ending the bloodshed.

“Some may like or dislike the Syrian government but one cannot avoid a question — if Assad goes, who will replace him?”
said Mikhail Margelov…

A very savvy question, indeed…

Beyond Bashar, Syria’s rebels are facing far more significant resistance

…China, Russia and Iran support for Bashar Assad makes a Western military intervention in Syria impossible, given the likely catastrophic repercussions for all concerned. In the eyes of this coalition, Assad is a tool and pretext. He is the façade against which the courage of the insurgents will continue to collide as long as Russia and its allies on the one side, and the United States and its allies on the other, fail to dispassionately settle their differences, therefore reach agreement over their contending interests, through negotiations…

Negotiations…? What negotiations…

U.S. considering plan that arms Syrian rebels…

…The effort, U.S. officials told The Associated Press, would vet members of the Free Syrian Army and other groups to determine whether they are suitable recipients of munitions to fight the Assad government and to ensure that weapons don’t wind up in the hands of al-Qaida-linked terrorists or other extremist groups such as Hezbollah that could target Israel.

The plan, which has not yet been finalized, reflects U.S. frustration that none of the previous efforts — including diplomatic rhetoric from the United Nations and the multinational Friends of Syria group, and special envoy Kofi Annan’s plan for a cease-fire — has even begun to nudge President Bashar al-Assad from power. The vetting would be the first tiny step the U.S. has made toward ensuring that the Syrian opposition uses the weapons to fight Assad and not to turn it into a full sectarian conflict.

While some intelligence analysts worry that there may be no suitable recipients of lethal aid in the Syria conflict, the vetting plan has arisen as the least objectionable idea in a complicated situation…

As Steve Hynd wrote… US To Vet Syrian Rebel Arms Recipients – Really?

So if this vetting will prevent Saudis funding arms for Al Qaeda (yeah, right) how far beyond that will it go? The chances of arming some pretty nasty people that have the only virtue of being not-AQ are pretty high.

A United Nations investigation said Syrian government forces and rebels trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad had both committed serious human rights abuses despite an attempted ceasefire in the conflict and opposition activists reported fighting in several regions on Thursday.

…The rebels, who are increasingly armed and well-organized, have executed or tortured captured soldiers and government supporters, it said. They have also abducted civilians in an apparent bid to secure prison exchanges or ransoms.

It doesn’t matter how many bad ideas you pile on top of other bad ideas, the result will never be a good idea.

Remember, it’s not just our grubby fingers at work, but, the House of Saud/GCC’s too… Syrian rebels get influx of arms with gulf neighbors’ money, U.S. coordination…

Meanwhile, the UN’s Ban Ki Moon spewed this nonsense today on CNN…

‘We have no Plan B’ to stop the violence

…With the carnage in Syria that has left thousands dead now entering its fifteenth month, the United Nations Secretary General says there is no clear path beyond the current mission being led by Kofi Annan.

“At this time, we don’t have any plan B,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview for ‘Amanpour’ on CNN International. “The joint special envoy Kofi Annan has proposed six peace proposals, among which the complete cessation of violence is number one. Unfortunately, this has not been implemented while with the deployment of monitoring missions, we have seen some dampening effect.”

Many regard the Annan mission in Syria to be a failure already.

There will be discussions in the Security Council next week about the situation in Syria Mr. Ban said, and he will make a report about the situation. But the lack of cooperation from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is making the situation very difficult…

God Bless the Syrian People, from all our misguided ministrations…!

*gah*