How Hezbollah Got Defeated in The New Government

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After more than 10 months of stalemate and bickering, which is a record by itself, Lebanon has a new government formed of 24 ministers headed by PM Tamam Salam. The new coalition government was announced yesterday after last minute intense negotiations. Although all parties have made compromises to get to where we got, but Hezbollah’s compromises seem more sever.

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When MTV and LBC Broadcast Like Israeli TV

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This is not the first time some of our Lebanese media adopt the Israeli occupation view without any challenge or critic, so you get the LBC reporting this week (via a Palestinian agent) from the inside of an Israeli air base broadcasting direct message to Hezbollah via the Israeli army officials, with a show-off of the F16 and its missiles.

But what’s worse is when we dilute the international borders for the sake of Israel. MTV is on standby for that.

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Iran’s Newly Expanding Navy on The Verge of The Atlantic

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In an unusual article about the navy of Iran’s army (separate from the Revolutionary Guards), the Iranian semi-official news agency FARS brags on their achievements in reaching beyond their shallow waters, in a trend established in 2006.

The article says Iran’s aim for the navy expansion is to establish their presence internationally; this is to protect the Iranian oil vessels from piracy near Somalia or wherever, and to maintain “regional and world security”.

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Observations on The First Interview With Al-Nusra Leader Al-Joulani

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So Tayseer Alouni did it again…

After his famous interview with Oussama Bin Laden, which led him to prison in Spain, Alouni of Aljazeera Arabic got the scoop of interviewing the leader of the Alqaeda-affiliated Jabat Al-Nusra Abou Mohammad Al-Joulani (or less Al-Golani) for the first time on TV. Al-Nusra is one of the military wings fighting in Syria against Bashar Al-Assad’s regime with an aim to establish the Islamic Caliphate and the law of Sharia after the fall of the regime.

The interview was aired in full (51 minutes) on Aljazeera two days ago. Continue reading

The U.S. About to Accept Assad, Lebanon

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The American rhetoric has got stiffer against Assad in the due course of the revolution in an increasing order until it reached its peak three months ago, when it started reversing to an extent it is moving to the other extreme of the scale. Let’s revise this impressive timeline on Syria: Continue reading

Replace Suicide Bombing With Sauna, Cocktails and Classical Music

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If I said suicide bomber, foreign embassy and Beirut, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Probably Hezbollah and a 1980s attack on the American embassy in Beirut.

Now try again, suicide bomber, foreign embassy and Beirut? May be it can allude to anti-Hezbollah parties after this week’s attack on the Iranian embassy in Beirut.

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Iran Plans Mutually With America Attacks on Other Countries Too

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Photo: Jihad Mughniyeh (Son of former Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh) behind Qassem Suleimani in a recent public event (funeral of Suleimani’s mother).

A recent outstanding piece in The New Yorker by the respected Dexter Filkins, which I have just managed to read due to its length, has focused the attention again on Qassem Suleimani the Head of the Iranian Quds Force.

Suleimani is described as the most powerful operative in the Middle East. With his lead of the Quds Force, he is responsible for the “special operations” of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. In other words, shaping, if not leading the Iranian foreign policy on the ground.

In our immediate regional vicinity, that means he is the architect of Hezbollah in Lebanon (and beyond), the maestro of the post-war Iraqi chaos with the US and more recently the implementer of the Iranian backup to Syria’s Assad regime in crushing the 2011 peaceful protests, then their involvement in the follow-on civil war.

What is fascinating in “The Shadow Commander” among other tips is its reveal of the American contacts with hardliner Qassem Suleimani on many occasions mainly on Afghanistan and Iraq:

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Henry Kissinger Requested Hafez Assad to Invade Lebanon in 1976

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Newly declassified documents show the close coordination between the United States and Syria’s Hafez Assad over the Syrian intervention in Lebanon in 1976. The documents confirm what has been always known in the political and diplomatic domains, that America gave the green-light for such a move in liaison with the Israelis – despite being hesitant.

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The Public Presence of Extremism in Syria – Islamic State of Iraq and Sham

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In addition to the Jabhat Al Nusra in Syria, the other AlQaeda-affiliated faction ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Sham) has gained grounds in the northern parts of Syria to the extent they are not seen as militiamen wandering the desert, but rather than they have presence within the populated areas, and trying to establish an Islamic system.

They are engaging with all possible means which shows their strategic minds and financial backings; they publish books, have offices, manage a police force, operate courts, organise gathering, distribute aids, posts street ads and graffiti.

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Why Federalism Doesn’t Work For Lebanon

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With the rise of sectarianism and talks about separatism in the region, there is no surprise if the federalism is back as a subject in Lebanon. As always, Lebanon is an incomplete project.

I used to detest the idea which represented a confirmation of both the lead of the negative non-loving forces in the society, and the conspiracy to divide up the Middle East to smaller states. Although the conspiracy is not entirely fictitious but let’s just focus here on the subject of the viability of the federalism to Lebanon.

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The Shiite Hezbollah to Fight Wherever Required, Says Its Chief

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Secretary General of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah said yesterday in Al-Quds day – which is an Iranian gesture started with a call by Al-Khomeini in 1979:

…We are after strong relations with all the Palestinian factions despite our differences regarding some Palestinian and Syrian issues. Al-Quds must unite us regardless of any jurisprudential, political, national, religious or ideological dispute

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Lebanese Argument, Egyptian Version

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We knew from the start of the Arab Spring in 2011 that the wave and the urge to revolt against the ruling political establishment will never arrive to Lebanon.

Now, the whole scene looks in reverse; it seems Lebanon exported violence, sectarianism, chaos, militias and instability to the whole region and can compete to be better in some categories…

Below is a video showing an Egyptian version of a typical Lebanese political argument about numbers… Which you can’t argue with.

This time it’s about Tahrir roundabout, errr…sorry, Tahrir Square.

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A Saudi Conference on Women in Society

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This is a photo for a conference in Saudi Arabia about women in society (source).

On top of the obvious observation, I actually like the comfy sofas at the front row; very ‘Gulfy’.

Note the ultra-comfy position for that guy on the first seat from the left. Respect!

Look closely for his feet…

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The Shiite Jihad of Iran [Photos / Videos]

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The view of Sunni extremist jihadists is not necessarily new to our eyes. That was common in many places all over the world like Afghanistan, Iraq, Algeria, Egypt and others including now Syria. Or simply refer to Al-Qaeda.

Now we are witnessing more and more the other side of that coin, the Shiite jihadism. Shiite extremism existed in a political framework after the Islamic revolution of Iran in 1979, with its mantra to spread the revolution beyond its borders which was demonstrated in Lebanon with the establishment of Hezbollah in 1982 by the Iranian Revolution Guards.

Having said that, Shiite extremism was more acceptable and seen more pragmatic. Hezbollah led the way in getting the Lebanese, Arab and Islamic masses to accept its “Shiism” by successfully fighting Israel. Now we know that image has been shattered by the developments in Lebanon since 2005 and in Syria since 2011. Without getting into the details, we all know how Hezbollah changed its reconciliatory rhetoric and how it conducted its interventions…

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First Lebanese Battalion in FSA After Hezbollah’s Call

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Lebanese individuals might have been involved in Syria’s war from early days. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Aseer declared Jihad and went himself there couple of months ago with his fighters too for a show-off exercise, but permanent or independent Lebanese fighting battalion are not known to be present as of yet.

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My Cultural Shock of Hezbollah

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If I want to draft my cultural shock caused by Hezbollah on a chart, it would look to be at its peak now.

May be that shock started mildly in 2005 when Hassan Nasrallah thanked Bashar Al-Assad in public on March 8, just after the Lebanese protests at the time helped to push a foreign Arab army off the national soil.

Then the dramatic political events that caused the deadlock in the country afterwards pushed this chart up. Then it spiked around May 7th 2008 when Hezbollah attacked Beirut and Mount Lebanon for whatever reasons. Now, the chart is heading to infinity with Hezbollah’s fight in Syria.

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Lebanese Politicians Visit North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un

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After visiting Bashar Al-Assad in Syria, third class Lebanese politicians (not main party leaders) continued their successful visits to the leaders of the world of free resistance; this time going to North Korea.

The Lebanese delegate met Kim Jong-un on Thursday morning and discussed how bad they believed the situation is in the west with their unbearable living standards, and how North Korea is on track to beat imperialism. Kim Jong-un expressed to the delegate how he experienced the corrupted west first hand while studying in Switzerland, rightly validating the reason why North Korean government employees currently get paid only 3$ per month.
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The Story of Ziad Rahbani, The Lebanese Left and The Syrian Moukhabarat

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I am from a generation who loved Ziad Rahbani, growing up with his music, songs, shows, plays and ‘revolutionary’ appearances and quotes like most of the youth of my time.

I can nearly recite all his plays, which I think they were masterpieces and will be engraved in our cultural heritage. I can never forget Joseph Sakr’s great songs in Sahriyyeh, the revolution of Abbas and Fahed in Nazl el sourour (which suits our current mood by the way), the social struggles of both Thurayya and Zakariya in Bennesbe La Boukra Shou, the Western conspiracy and our sectarian disease in Film Ameriki Taweel, the broken Lebanese society in Shi Fashel and the stubborn Lebanese people in his last series of Bikhsous el Karameh wel Shaab el Aaneed and Lawla Fos’hat el Amal. I adore his music and songs whether were part of his plays or not. He composed the greatest music and anthems, not exhaustively, but I mention Mays el Reem, Prelude 83, Abou Ali, People’s Winds and The Revolution Anthem.

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Najib Mikati’s resignation – A Masters Class in Jumping Ship

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And he finally did it. PM Najib Mikati resigned on Friday after lots of previous calls for resignations, explicitly by March 14 and implicitly – in form of threats – by Hezbollah’s camp. But Mikati did not do it to please those guys, it was simply the best action for him.

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Michel Aoun Mathematician The Great

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Michel Aoun is one of the direct and blunt politicians in Lebanon which makes him say stupid things a lot of time, if not most.

In his continuous and pointless sectarian defence to his sectarian electoral law proposal (Orthodox Law) which stipulates each sect electing its MPs, and getting the Christians to elect 50% of the parliament, he said:

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Health and Safety at Work in Lebanon on MTV

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I salute Serge Zarka the host of Seven – the weekly show on MTV – for his response to my twitter request and tackling health and safety in his last episode last night.

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Spreading American Democracy [Photo]

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In Iraq, you can easily earn money by spying on your people, also known as spreading democracy.

Above is an old photo for a British military vehicle with a poster ‘you can get some money, in exchange for some information’.

Seems the British army deals with dollars too, or with others’ dollars.

Source: @IraqiBlogger

Orthodox Law: Back to The Future

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After nearly 29 years on the implementation of the federation of sects which started in 2013 with the Orthodox Gathering electoral Law, strong voices are reappearing again calling for the “correction of the injustice” that some minorities within the same big sects still face.

These minorities include the Maronites living outside Mount Lebanon, Shiites living outside the South and Bekaa, and Sunnis outside Beirut and the North. Their concerns revolve around their feeling of being third grade citizens within their big sects. These feelings led to the formation of extremist organisations like MMMM (Maronites Mad Max Man), MWSJ (the Military Wing of the Shiite of Jbeil) and DMB (Druze Militia of Beirut). Also, Sunnis show relatively more severe disintegration than other sects with another dimension of the clash being between the four main religious doctrines: Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanafi, and Hanbali.

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