31 May 2007

Text of UNSCR 1757 Regarding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

The text of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1757, adopted on 30 May 2007, regarding the agreement between the United Nations and the Lebanese Republic on the establishment of a special tribunal of an international character to try all those who are found responsible for the terrorist crime which killed the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and others can be found here.

Thank you Blacksmiths of Lebanon.

30 May 2007

Lebanon: More on the Crisis in the Country*

*Written for Global Voices Online

For the second week, Lebanese bloggers have posted anecdotes, reflections, updates, photos, videos, jokes, sarcasm and drawings on the issue that is taking precedence over all other topics. The issue is the ongoing violence which is taking the form of clashes in the north between the army and the militants and the terrorist explosions jumping from one location to another around the country.

So what are the bloggers saying?

In drawings
Mazen Kerbaj drew this art piece. The Arabic words inscribed in it are saying: “me and the Gemmayzeh (a street in Beirut where people hang out in pubs, etc) and the beer are waiting for the explosion…
Waiting for the explosion

About the relief efforts
A new blog was set up to post updates on the The Nahr el Bared Relief Campaign. The founders of the campaign describe their work as spontaneously formed following the tragic events in Nahr el Bared Camp. They declare that they are a grouping of unaffiliated individuals working on relief and civil action to end the violence and offer aid to those injured and displaced due to the Nahr el Bared conflict.

Upon visiting the Baddawi camp, Dr Rami Zurayk shares with us a couple of things that he learned “On War” and “On Needs”:

I just got back from the Beddawi Refugee camp near Tripoli where most of the displaced from Nahr el Bared have found shelter. It is a tiny piece of land, no more than 1 km2, which, until May 22, used to be home to 18,000 people. Now they are 30,000. You can feel it in the streets: impossible to move by car without hitting someone.

Dr Marcy Newman along with the Nahr el Bared Relief Campaign were also at the Beddawi camp in an effort to help the civilians fleeing the fighting and had this to share:

When we arrived at the camp, we saw that the aid relief in Badawi has improved in some ways, but deteriorated in other ways quite seriously. Groups seem to be better coordinated, but now the camp is flooded with journalists and NGO workers as well as a refugee population that continues to swell. Aid still is not reaching most families in houses, although this is what our group is working on in collaboration with civil society organizations in Badawi.

Golaniya posted a list of the civilian deaths and injuries inside the camps as a result of the clashes.

On the jokes
Diamond mentions some of the jokes that are spreading and also attempts analyzing the phenomenon of humor during conflicts:

After all, we teach children to deal with bogeymen and other fears by putting them into perspective with daylight and laughter - and I think that now it is equally important not to be bowled under by fear of militancy, in whatever form it may come.
On the other hand, we don’t laugh at the graves of those who have died serving their countries, their families, or other ideals. As long as the laughter is life-affirming, rather than situation-denying, I think it can be a very healthy thing.

More jokes about the militants fighting the army can also be found at Liliane’s blog.

From inside of the camps
Dr Asa’ad Abu Khalil made a phone call to a friend who was still inside the Naher al Bared camp. Excerpts from the conversation regarding the situation and analysis of the causes and expected results of the fighting were posted by Sophia.

Sietske also made a trip to the Palestinian refugee camps in North Lebanon after reporting on the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut.

And Kadmous posted a number of recent videos shot during the crisis in the North.

Against the bombs
There are also posts with arguments against the bombing of the Palestinian refugee camps. Among them are Leila who said:

This bombing is not good for the future of Lebanon. If Fatah al-Islam is such a problem, aren’t there other ways to address it than by causing immense suffering among civilians, and thereby creating a whole new generation of future recruits to terrorism?

And Apokraphyte who wrote about the futility of such a measure as bombing the camps to get rid of terrorism:

I don’t care if Fatah al-Islam is evil incarnate. I don’t care if they are Hariri-funded or a front for Syrian mukhabarat or Islamaniacs from Tunis or aliens just landed from Mars. Artillery is NOT THE ANSWER. Worst of all, everyone knows this, especially the LAF. The problem of the camps (in its myriad forms) is not a mystery, not a new development. Direct military confrontation serves no purpose. In fact, if security and peace are the objectives, one can easily argue that such an assault is horribly counter-productive as it only increases the militance-misery quotient.

About the explosions
EDB and her friends thought that leaving one part of Beirut for another would keep them far from the expected terror bombs. But the explosion followed and occurred on the street that her friend passed several times during that day:

Now they have consecutively targeted both the upper crust Christian and Muslim areas in Beirut. I bet over in Achrafiye they’re relieved its not in their neighborhood again,” I remarked. “I passed by there twice today,” L. muttered as we watched a chaotic scene unfold on TV.

Jamal satirizes what he terms as the “anonymization of the perpetrators of crime”:

Part of the noise factor and the dangerous speculation battles taking place is the anonymization of the perpetrators of crime. So while Abou Hurayra, Abou Yazan, Abou Jandal, Abou Adass and Sejaan Saadeh are neck deep in accusations or dead; the people with faces who actually answer to registered triple names and might be involved in this mess remain unscathed and even run for office.

On worries of a new civil war
Maya[at]NYC starts her post by using the slogan of the anti–civil war campaigners which calls for the remembrance of the war so it can be avoided. She writes that that the civil war should be remembered because it will be repeated.

We are a country of poor people who think they can afford to indulge in great ideological beliefs. We define ourselves in our “moral” ideological ethical belonging. If there was a competition of gullible people, we would win the race. We each have chosen to believe in a different fight, in a cause “with our soul with our blood”. An emotional morass of immature followers. We are all followers. Not questioners. Of course: it’s easier.

On questions and answers
Here is Sean trying to make sense of some of the puzzles involved:

A few things don’t make sense, though. If these guys were really pro-Syrian, why would they have splintered off from the very pro-Syrian Fatah al-Intifada? And if they were really a tool of Hariri, why would they be fighting the ISF? Of course both of these questions assume that whoever financed these guys is still in control — which may not be the case at all.

And MFL answers and analyzes some of the questions and issues raised during the past weeks in this post that is titled: “Fatah el Islam and Lebanon: Between Reality and Conspiracy Theory.”

Till next week, stay well.

27 May 2007

I think UNSCR 1559 is also Involved

I think that UNSCR 1559 is part of what's happening in Lebanon today. Here's a refresher:

[...]
1. Reaffirms its call for the strict respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, and political independence of Lebanon under the sole and exclusive authority of the Government of Lebanon throughout Lebanon;

2. Calls upon all remaining foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon;

3. Calls for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias;

4. Supports the extension of the control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory;

And to back me up, here's U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey D. Feltman

With UNSCR 1559, the Security Council affirmed its support for the full sovereignty and independence of Lebanon, free of foreign forces. The United States strongly believes that Lebanon should be allowed to determine its own future and assume control of its territory. The Lebanese people have a right to exercise their rights as free people and to make choices about their future as free people, without outside coercion and interference.

Lebanon has the potential to become a model of democracy and respect for human rights in this region. Lebanon has a proud history of lively participatory politics, with strong civil society organizations and an active Parliament. The Lebanese press features a wide range of views in it pages, reflecting a full spectrum of political debate. [...] The U.S., working with its Security Council partners who are committed to helping Lebanon implement UNSCR 1559 [...]

Lebanon: Inside Nahr al-Bared and Bedawi Refugee Camps

"Another Waco in the Making"
Excerpts of
Franklin Lamb's second report for CounterPunch

With very intermittent internet access and this ancient pc with one lone wire running from the spaghetti wiring system tied to the ceiling and taped to a single bare light bulb socket, plus 8 toddlers, two babies, crawling over and under this 'foreigner' in a 10 x 12 concrete room where 28 or more of us slept on the floor last night, this blurb may never be sent. But if it does get out and for what it's worthan update on the situation in the Palestinian Nabr al-Bared and Bedawi Camps. Will try to send results shortly of my interviews with 11 Fatah al-Islam fighters regarding who paid them and got them travel documents and weapons and what was their mission. There was no bank robbery by them. That was a fake story put out by the Welch Club. Sorry I misreported it. BBC was suckered. Also, no, repeat no heads cut off. Where are the medical reports from those who claim it? That was black propaganda to smear Fatah el-Islam. Must leave this building now may not be until tomorrow or so.
[...]
There is some-near panic in Bedawi caused by many rumors. One rumor, widely believed, is that the Lebanese government plans to demolish al-Bared to make room for the huge US/NATO airbase which is to be built next to the camp. 5,000 of the Palestinians in al-Bared are from the 1975 ethnically cleansed east Beirut camp Telazatter.
[...]
Fear among PLO camp leaders that there could be a blood bath. "It's the Bush complex," one German NGO volunteer said. "The Lebanese government wants to be macho like the Israelis to gain some respect. This could be another Waco in the making, for no reason." The PLO is trying to mediate with the army to avoid a slaughter that would occur if the army tries to enter al-Bared. "What is needed is leadership and for the warlords to keep quiet."
[...]
The Welch Club wants the army to "wipe out the terrorists", and "protect our Palestinian brothers". Not one Palestinian in either camp or observer I know believes that. Rather the Palestinian community here believes that the whole Fatah al-Islam "very strange case" was designed to assault their 420,000 population here.
[...]
Seven PLO factions operate in both camps. They jointly chased Fatah al-Islam out of Bedawi on September 21, 2006 not long after they split from Abu Musa's Fateh Intifida which has been based in Badawi since 1983. Fatah Intifada still man's the entrance to Bedawi but they seem to have only about 100 members left. When one interviews them they are almost apologetic about their step-brothers, Fatah al-Islam. "We expelled them because we did not like their friends (Hariri intelligence staff) they were too religious and acted strange but we did not think things would come to this"
[...]
Amazing examples of humanity happening here. There are many family connections between the two camps. Kids distribute and water bread when it arrives in cars from Beirut and elsewhere. Young girls picking up and caring for babies of people they don't know, helping old people find a place to sit and listen to them when they tell of what happened. I could be wrong but I have rarely witnessed the solidarity among people as I see here with the Palestinians. Clean, smart, patient, charming, funny, and caring toward one another-determined to return to Palestine

Analysts: Bombardment may spark Palestinian uprising all around Lebanon

Some of us are afraid that this may (will) happen.

Lebanon’s government is framing its fight against Islamist extremists based in a Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon as an existential fight between freedom and terrorism.

Economy Minister Sami Haddad told CNN on Monday night his army was battling “international terrorists” from the Sunni militant group Fatah al-Islam and that there was no friction between Sunnis and Shias in Lebanon.

But with the army continuing to fire heavy artillery into Nahr al-Bared camp, a square-kilometre slum housing over 40,000 Sunni Palestinian refugees, analysts are warning not of intra-Lebanese strife, but the prospect of the growing civilian casualties sparking a wider uprising across Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian refugee camps and beyond.

“If this situation continues and the army continue to shell civilian areas in the camp, then we could see a domino effect across all of Lebanon’s refugee camps and we could start a war between the Palestinians and the Lebanese,” Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, visiting scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Centre in Beirut, told IRIN.

25 May 2007

Inside Nahr al-Bared and Bedawi Refugee Camps

Who's Behind the Fighting in North Lebanon?
Random excerpts of Franklin Lamb's article at CounterPunch

"To understand what is going on with Fatah al-Islam at Nahr el-Bared one would want a brief introduction to Lebanon's amazing, but shadowy 'Welch Club'.
The Club is named for its godfather, David Welch, assistant to Secretary of State Rice who is the point man for the Bush administration and is guided by Eliot Abrams.
Key Lebanese members of the Welch Club (aka: the 'Club') include:
The Lebanese civil war veteran, warlord, feudalist and mercurial Walid Jumblatt of the Druze party( the Progressive Socialist Party or PSP)
Another civil war veteran, warlord, terrorist (Served 11 years in prison for massacres committed against fellow Christians among others) Samir Geagea. Leader of the extremist Phalange party and its Lebanese Forces (LF) the group that conducted the Israel organized massacre at Sabra-Shatilla (although led by Elie Hobeika, once Geagea's mentor, Geagea did not take part in the Sept. 1982 slaughter of 1,700 Palestinian and Lebanese).
The billionaire, Saudi Sheikh and Club president Saad Hariri leader of the Sunni Future Movement (FM).
Over a year ago Hariri's Future Movement started setting up Sunni Islamist terrorist cells (the PSP and LF already had their own militia since the civil war and despite the Taif Accords requiring militia to disarm they are now rearmed and itching for action and trying hard to provoke Hezbollah).
The FM created Sunni Islamist 'terrorist' cells were to serve as a cover for (anti-Hezbollah) Welch Club projects. The plan was that actions of these cells, of which Fatah el-Islam is one, could be blamed on al Qaeda or Syria or anyone but the Club.
To staff the new militias, FM rounded up remnants of previous extremists in the Palestinian Refugee camps that had been subdued, marginalized and diminished during the Syrian occupation of Lebanon. Each fighter got $700 per month, not bad in today's Lebanon.
[…]
Things started to go very wrong quickly for the Club last week.
FM "stopped" the payroll of Fateh el-Islam's account at the Hariri family owned back.
Fateh-al-Islam, tried to negotiate at least 'severance pay' with no luck and they felt betrayed. (Remember many of their fighters are easily frustrated teenagers and their pay supports their families). Militia members knocked off the bank which issued their worthless checks. They were doubly angry when they learned FM is claiming in the media a loss much greater than they actually snatched and that the Club is going to stiff the insurance company and actually make a huge profit.
Lebanon's Internal Security Forces (newly recruited to serve the bidding of the Club and the Future Movement) assaulted the apartments of Fatah-al-Islam Tripoli. They didn't have much luck and were forced to call in the Lebanese army.
Within the hour, Fatah-al-Islam retaliated against Lebanese Army posts, checkpoints and unarmed, off-duty Lebanese soldiers in civilian clothing and committed outrageous killings including severing at four heads.
[…]
The Seniora cabinet convenes and asks the Lebanese Army to enter the refugee camp and silence (in more ways than one) Fatah-al-Islam. Since entrance into the Camps is forbidden by the 1969 Arab league agreement, the Army refuses after realizing the extent of the conspiracy against it by the Welch Club. The army knows that entering a refugee camp in force will open a front against the Army in all twelve Palestinian refugee camps and tear the army apart along sectarian cracks.
[…]
The Welch Club's major error was when it attempted to influence the Lebanese Army into disarming the Lebanese Resistance led by Hezbollah. When the Army wisely refused, the Club coordinated with the Bush Administration to pressure Israel to dramatically intensify its retaliation to the capture of the two soldiers by Hezbollah and 'break the rules' regarding the historically more limited response and try to destroy Hezbollah during the July 2006 war.
The Welch Club now considers the Lebanese Army a serious problem. The Bush administration is trying to undermine and marginalize it to eliminate one of the last two obstacles to implementing Israel's agenda in Lebanon.
[…]
For their part, the Welch Club wants to keep some Palestinians in Lebanon for cheap labor, ship others to countries willing to take them (and be paid handsomely to do so by American taxpayers) and allow at most a few thousand to return to Palestine to settle the 'right of return' issue while at the same time signing a May 17th 1983 type treaty with Israel with enriches the Club members and gives Israel Lebanon's water and much of Lebanon's sovereignty.

Long story short, Fatah el-Islam must be silenced at all costs. Their tale, if told, is poison for the Club and its sponsors.
We will likely see their attempted destruction in the coming days.
Hezbollah is watching and supporting the Lebanese army."

24 May 2007

Strategic Planning and Political Common Sense

Some side effects of the systematic diluting, over the past years, of the political common sense, of the already delusional Lebanese, are the conviction that what is currently happening (and what has happened) is just a projection of the bickering between the regressive Syrian regime and (their ex–allies) the life–loving–progressive–cedar–revolutionaries.
And that any talk of involvement of inter–continental–corporations can be swept away as another conspiracy theory conceived by sick minds.
And as if the US has no plans or strategies which it is trying to implement in the Middle East.
And that there is not even a thin string of link between the Palestinian issue and (the high and mighty) Lebanon.
And that only romantic nationalists and leftist day dreamers (leftovers) still hold these wacky thoughts.
And that the heat of the roaring flames in Iraq is completely isolated and has no way of even tickling our sexy flat six-packs or deflating our beer bloated bellies.
And that Iran… and that Israel… and that Saudi Arabia… and…

  • President Bush warned Americans to expect "heavy fighting" this summer during a critical time in his war strategy. "We can expect more American and Iraqi casualties," Bush said. "We must provide our troops with the funds and resources they need to prevail."
  • A senior U.S. officials told CNN that as many as six U.S. military cargo flights carrying ammunition are scheduled to land in Lebanon over the next two days to resupply Lebanese forces fighting Islamic militants near the northern city of Tripoli. The Western-backed government of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora urgently requested the ammunition ... the officials said.
  • Minister of Youth and Sports Ahmad Fatfat (still acting as acting minister of interior even though the interior minister went back on his resignation) responded to a question about the high civilian casualties expected in the Nahr al Barid assault by saying: "you can't make omlet without breaking eggs".
  • The same Minister of Youth and Sports (who was acting minister of interior then) ordered the security officers and the military apparatus in the Marjiyoun barracks not to confront the Israeli invasion army, during the July war, because it would have caused a lot of casualties.
  • This bulleted string must stop otherwise the digression will continue indefinitely...

Lebanese Army Command calls all media to avoid naming its martyrs

The Army Command-Orientation Department calls all the media to avoid mentioning the names of the martyrs and the wounded soldiers before the issuance of an official statement from the Army Command and also reminds the media of the content of its previous report regarding the compliance with the order to avoid the live coverage of the transports and activities of the army units and the security forces in the operations area to facilitate the work of the intervening forces and the good execution of the mission and to protect the safety of the reporters and photographers.

List and photos of declared Lebanese Army martyrs.

Lebanese Army Website

Nahr el Bared Relief Campaign

Members of the Nahr el Bared Relief Campaign describe their efforts as spontaneously formed following the tragic events in Nahr el Bared Camp. They are a grouping of unaffiliated individuals working on relief and civil action to end the violence and offer aid to those injured and displaced due to the Nahr el Bared conflict.

For information and/or to contact:
marcynewman@gmail.com
r.moumneh@gmail.com
or at this blog:

Nahr el Bared Relief Campaign

23 May 2007

Explosion in Aley

A powerful explosion went off in the commercial district of the mountain resort of Aley a short time ago.
LBCI TV station said several people were injured in the blast which also caused extensive damage to homes and shops.
Naharnet

Updates:
Reports of 6 civilians lightly injured. Bomb was placed under the stairs of a building.
Reports about two Syrian citizens heavily beaten by angry Lebanese before security forces intervened.

Bush administration arranged support for militants attacking Lebanon


Says Hersh again in his interview with the CNN. Hersh's first article, "the Redirection" (March) was given much attention and quoted, critiqued and/or criticised for accusing the current Lebanese government of allowing members of Fatah al Islam to enter the country and providing them with weapons and money. These are the same militants fighting the army in the North today. And no, they are not a Palestinian group. Here is the video and the transcript of his interview thanks to the Raw Story.
(photo is of civilians fleeing Nahr al Barid Camp)

RUSH TRANSCRIPT

HALA GORANI: Well, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported back in March that in order to defeate Hezbollah, the Lebanese government supported a Sunni militant group, the same ones they're fighting today. Seymour joins us live from Washington. Thanks for being with us. What is the source of the financing according to your reporting on these groups, such as Fatah al-Islam in these camps of Nahr el Bared, for instance? Where are they getting the money and where are they getting the arms?

SEYMOUR HERSH: The key player is the Saudis. What I was writing about was sort of a private agreement that was made between the White House, we're talking about Richard -- Dick -- Cheney and Elliott Abrams, one of the key aides in the White House, with Bandar. And the idea was to get support, covert support from the Saudis, to support various hard-line jihadists, Sunni groups, particularly in Lebanon, who would be seen in case of an actual confrontation with Hezbollah -- the Shia group in the southern Lebanon -- would be seen as an asset, as simple as that.

GORANI: The Senora government, in order to counter the influence of Hezbollah in Lebanon would be covertly according to your reporting funding groups like Fatah al-Islam that they're having issues with right now?

HERSH: Unintended consequences once again, yes.

GORANI: And so if Saudi Arabia and the Senora government are doing this, whether it's unintended or not, therefore it has the United States must have something to say about it or not?

HERSH: Well, the United States was deeply involved. This was a covert operation that Bandar ran with us. Don't forget, if you remember, you know, we got into the war in Afghanistan with supporting Osama bin Laden, the mujahadin back in the late 1980s with Bandar and with people like Elliott Abrams around, the idea being that the Saudis promised us they could control -- they could control the jihadists so we spent a lot of money and time, the United States in the late 1980s using and supporting the jihadists to help us beat the Russians in Afghanistan and they turned on us. And we have the same pattern, not as if there's any lessons learned. It's the same pattern, using the Saudis again to support jihadists, Saudis assuring us they can control these various group, the groups like the one that is in contact right now in Tripoli with the government.

GORANI: Sure, but the mujahadin in the '80s was one era. Why would it be in the best interest of the United States of America right now to indirectly even if it is indirect empower these jihadi movements that are extremists that fight to the death in these Palestinian camps? Doesn't it go against the interests not only of the Senora government but also of America and Lebanon now?

HERSH: The enemy of our enemy is our friend, much as the jihadist groups in Lebanon were also there to go after Nasrullah. Hezbollah, if you remember, last year defeated Israel, whether the Israelis want to acknowledge it, so you have in Hezbollah, a major threat to the American -- look, the American role is very simple. Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, has been very articulate about it. We're in the business now of supporting the Sunnis anywhere we can against the Shia, against the Shia in Iran, against the Shia in Lebanon, that is Nasrullah. Civil war. We're in a business of creating in some places, Lebanon in particular, a sectarian violence.

GORANI: The Bush administration, of course, officials would disagree with that, so would the Senora government, openly pointing the finger at Syria, saying this is an offshoot of a Syrian group, Fatah al-Islam is, where else would it get its arms from if not Syria.

HERSH: You have to answer this question. If that's true, Syria which is close -- and criticized greatly by the Bush administration for being very close -- to Hezbollah would also be supporting groups, Salafist groups -- the logic breaks down. What it is simply is a covert program we joined in with the Saudis as part of a bigger broader program of doing everything we could to stop the spread of the Shia, the Shia world, and it bit us in the rear, as it's happened before.

GORANI: Sure, but if it doesn't make any sense for the Syrians to support them, why would it make any sense for the U.S. to indirectly, of course, to support, according to your reporting, by giving a billion dollars in aid, part of it military, to the Senora government -- and if that is dispensed in a way that that government and the U.S. is not controlling extremist groups, then indirectly the United States, according to the article you wrote, would be supporting them. So why would it be in their best interest and what should it do according to the people you've spoken to?

HERSH: You're assuming logic by the United States government. That's okay. We'll forget that one right now. Basically it's very simple. These groups are seeing -- when I was in Beirut doing interviews, I talked to officials who acknowledged the reason they were tolerating the radical jihadist groups was because they were seen as a protection against Hezbollah. The fear of Hezbollah in Washington, particularly in the White House, is acute. They just simply believe that Hassan Nasrallah is intent on waging war in America. Whether it's true or not is another question. There is a supreme overwhelming fear of Hezbollah and we do not want Hezbollah to play an active role in the government in Lebanon and that's been our policy, basically, which is support the Senora government, despite its weakness against the coalition. Not only Senora but Mr. Ahun, former military leader of Lebanon. There in a coalition that we absolutely abhor.

GORANI: All right, Seymour Hersh of "The New Yorker" magazine, thanks for joining us there and hopefully we'll be able to speak a little bit in a few months' time when those developments take shape in Lebanon and we know more. Thanks very much.

HERSH: glad to talk to you.

22 May 2007

Lebanon: Violent Clashes and an Explosion*

The clashes between the Lebanese army and the organization of Fatah al Islam, as well as the explosion in Ashrafieh (Beirut), took precedence over all other news and blog posts in almost all of the blogs during the past two days. Following are quotes from a number of these posts including a post quoting a civilian trapped in the camp of Nahr el Barid in North Lebanon, in the crossfire, between the army and the organization.

Go to GVO to read more about: In the Nahr el Barid Camp, Explosion in Ashrafieh–Beirut, Word on the Street, Blame Game, Updates, Civilian Casualties, On Fatah al Islam and On How Will the Clashes End

*
This roundup was written before the explosion tonight in Verdun (see previous posts 1 2 3) but published after on Global Voices Online.

21 May 2007

Car Explosion in Verdun near Scoozi

The explosion resulted from a car bomb near Scoozi restaurant which is in the same building as the Russian cultural center. The damage is about a kilometer in diameter.

Update:
Six civilian injuries were reported.

Damages vary from fires in buildings (as high as 4th floor), destruction of cars, to the shattering of glass etc. all around the point of the explosion which near the Russian cultural center and not far from Dunes. Verdun street, which is officially late PM Rashid Karami street, was recently under renovation, reconstruction and widening of its sidewalks to make it an open mall. The street was made a one way from the Concorde bldg to where the explosion occured. Lycee Verdun has its Secondary division near the explosion site as well as the official residence of the Speaker of Parliament (Ayn el Tina) and the home of ex PM Mikati.

Explosion in Verdun

The explosion is in Verdun not far from where I am typing this now.

Was that an explosion?!

I just heard what sounded like an explosion!!

Now sirens!!

Clashes in the North - 2

"It will end like every other incident of this kind ends: in a stalemate, and in things returning back to abnormal. This is Lebanon."

Clashes in the North

Beware [be aware] of the rumors!

15 May 2007

Memory Matters - 'Nakba Day'

Why do some people have the power to remember, while others are asked to forget? That question is especially poignant at this time of year, as we move from Holocaust Remembrance day in early spring to Monday's anniversary of Israel's declaration of independence on May 14, 1948.

In the months surrounding that date, Jewish forces expelled, or intimidated into flight, an estimated 750,000 Palestinians. A living, breathing, society that had existed in Palestine for centuries was smashed and fragmented, and a new society built on its ruins. [...]

As Israeli journalist Amira Hass recently observed: "Turning the Holocaust into a political asset serves Israel primarily in its fight against the Palestinians. When the Holocaust is on one side of the scale, along with the guilty (and rightly so) conscience of the West, the dispossession of the Palestinian people from their homeland in 1948 is minimized and blurred."

What this demonstrates is that memory is not just an idle capacity. Rather, who can remember, and who can be made to forget, is, fundamentally, an expression of power. [...]
- Prof George Bisharat: "For Palestinians, memory matters It provides a blueprint for their future"

14 May 2007

Creepy Quotable Quote Courtesy of Bush

"The advance of freedom is the great story of our time, and new chapters are being written every day, from Georgia and Ukraine, to Kyrgyzstan and Lebanon, to Afghanistan and Iraq"

- President George Bush as he celebrated the 400th anniversary of the founding of America's first permanent English settlement.
Eerie!

Lebanon: On Freedom, War and Olive Oil

The Lebanese bloggers wrote about a wide variety of topics this week making it difficult to cover them all in just one summary. This week’s weblog covers topics like the upcoming Lebanese presidential election, the Winograd Report regarding the Israeli July 2006 war on Lebanon, Lebanese agricultural products, Syrian workers, freedom of speech and freedom to blog in the Arab world, resistance to colonialism and the implications of being a leftist in Lebanon.

Although this summary attempts to cover as many interesting blog posts as possible, others are still left out because of lack of space and time. So always check back as more blogs and topics are surveyed each week.

Go here to read the rest about: the Presidential Election, the Winograd Report, Lentils and Olive Oil, Syrian Workers in Lebanon, the Freedom to Blog, Resilience and Anti–Imperialism, and on being a Lebanese Leftist.

12 May 2007

Beirut 04-Geneva 06 A Persan Opéra a L'Ombre du Grand Arbre



A work by Ziad el Ahmadie, Robert Clerc and others...

05 May 2007

Does what happen in the Facebook stay in the Facebook?


The author of this flash presentation contends that Facebook intentionally places its users in a position where their private information can be used to generate revenues by companies, gather intelligence by government agencies etc. The presentation asserts that the users can do nothing about this since they have given Facebook the permission to do that just by accepting their terms of service.
Watch this presentation and share your opinion [on Facebook].

04 May 2007

the opposition to Olmert, had victory been achieved...

...the opposition to Olmert and Peretz is not because they went to war instead of choosing the diplomatic track, nor because they killed too many civilians, but solely because they failed to achieve victory. Had victory been achievable, and achieved, would anyone have cared about the price in civilian lives that the "enemy" had to pay, or for that matter, expressed anti-war sentiment...

- Angry Anarchist

03 May 2007

Ironical

Ehud Olmert (circled) calling for Golda Meir's resignation after the 1973 War.
Photo found by Sol Salbe and posted at Richard Silverstein's "Tikun Olam".

02 May 2007

Brief History of the Car Bomb

The car bomb was invented in the US and was used to devastating effect by Mario Buda, an anarchist who exploded his horse-drawn wagon on Wall Street in 1920, thus prompting the title to Buda’s Wagon, a new book by often controversial and politically radical Mike Davis. Buda was the first car bomber, his progeny are many.

The Zionist Stern Gang used car bombs in the late 1940’s to blow up buildings in Palestine in an attempt to drive out the British and terrorize Palestinians. The Irgun and Haganah, underground Zionist groups labeled as terrorists by the British, quickly followed suit. The use of car bombs by Zionists represented a major step forward both in the lethality of the bombs and their use as political weapons.

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01 May 2007

"May 1 - Lebanon paralyzed"

The "1st of May" is actually a way to buy labor forces off by giving them a symbolic gift (a day in their name) so that they shut the fuck up and continue accepting the main partitioning of resources between elites.

-Bech

"Strategic Planning"

"And yes, I believe in conspiracies. The corporate world calls them "Strategic Planning"."

-Rami Zurayk

 

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