Lebanon: a microcosm of struggle all condensed in one country

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Lebanon: a microcosm of struggle all condensed in one country
The U.S. project in the Middle East which began officially after the events of 9/11 in New York


I'd like to share this with you. It's a transcript of an interview with
Bilal Elamine, speaking from Beirut. The interview was conducted by
Stefan Christoff, taken here from a mailing to the imc-beirut email

Activists in the radical wings of the global Peace and Justice Movement
have commented that events of the last few days in Lebanon "scared the
bejesus out of us", articulating in this colourful way our collective
fears in relation to the potential of an explosive and slaughterous
avalanche of blood that may re-ignite the Eastern Mediterranean. These
fears are justified, and currently being expressed widely in various
versions among those of us who are located in the Muddled Middle East
and also among activists in Western Europe and North America.

Especially among the latter, there is a great confusion about politics
in the Middle East and more specifically about politics in Lebanon. At
this point, Lebanon is a microcosm reflecting the entire situation of
the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern region, all condensed
within one country.

Elements of concern - which remain almost mysterious, big unknowns,
sources of fear and ignorance for Leftists in the West - are the
interactions between religious (also called "sectarian", or
"confessionalism based") forces, class forces, patriotic forces,
nationalists, right-wingers, state forces, global/regional imperialist
forces, regional progressive forces ..."the whole shebang" we might
say, is a dynamic of forces mostly unknown and misunderstood by
activists in the West.

In fact, many Leftists in the West look at Lebanon and have a hard time
figuring out who is the Left and who is the Right. "Who do we support?"
is a common question. "Is it ok to support a particular political
movement only partially, on one or a few points, and to remain critical
of its positions and actions on other parts of reality?"

The sources quoted and listed here in this article can help clarify
some elements of the present political juncture; and to help put them
in some kind of context that can be useful for analysis in the near

Some items excerpted [and edited] from reports published online by a reasonable observer in Beirut:
"• Hezbollah are here to stay without being disarmed no matter what
under the banner of resistance, even applied on local politics.
• You can never have diplomacy from now on (not that the government was
doing better diplomacy); if two coalitions reach a dead end, arms will
be the name of the negotiations. It will most probably will be won by
• Hezbollah for the first time directed their weaponry to the inside
[of Lebanon] under the leadership of Hassan Nasrallah, and hence the
party transformed to a local militia party with foreign sponsors, like
almost everyone else. There operation was "freeing the Sunnis from
Future Movement"; I doubt it will solve any crisis by dismantling their
movement's primamy centers.
• AMAL Movement, based on their ground performance yesterday, are
highly trained in guerrilla warfare, unlike being loose Orcs in the
1980. They way they swept through West Beirut shows their training on
the ground to the extent of making them the second most powerful
militant party in Lebanon.
• What Hezbollah planned, it was achieved: a quick military victory in
West Beirut over the Future Movement before they can re-organize
themselves and witness the rise of the Cantons.
• Hassan Nasrallah's plan was unveiled: Blame everything on Walid
Junblatt in his speech, and go after Future Movement and disarm them
from everything, then deliver them to the Lebanese Army as if they were
..The total obliteration of Future to the extent of burning to the
ground their station and cutting all broadcasting machinary showed to
what extent they targeted Future Movement.
• Hezbollah and AMAL made sure to enter different areas of West Beirut
wherever there were Sunnis and even uproot their snipers with minimum
civilian casualties.
• The government is on its own, all the money spent in purchasing arms
to impose some power on Hezbollah and the Opposition proved futile."


But what is the relationship to Hezbollah, or its evaluation, by
formations of the Left? Is there a total break between them with
entirely separate and distinct agendas? What is the background of these
relationships, the point where class struggle meets faith-based
organizing and armed patriotic sentiments?

A prominent member of the Lebanese Communist Party, Marie Nassif-Debs,
discusses some of the history, both the bitter and the positive
elements of that history between the Socialist Left and Hezbollah, past
and present, here - this is from an interview published by the
"International Viewpoint" group, allied with the Fourth International:

"International Viewpoint:
Do you see possibilities for a further evolution of the Hezbollah?

Marie Nassif-Debs:
They are more or less grouped into two big tendencies. The tendency of
the Da’wa, i.e. the one that just wants Islam. And the other tendency,
the one which has evolved, which talks about sharing power, which talks
about an alternative, and so on. I don’t think that they have any
choice but to continue evolving; we are going to continue the
discussion with them and we think that if they don’t evolve they will
lose the fruits of victory, for the second time ... because what
happened in July and August, I call that a victory. We stood up to
Israel, the strongest power in the region...

We think that if the Hezbollah wants to take advantage of the victory,
if it wants the Lebanese to take advantage of the victory, it has to
evolve, otherwise we will go back to the same point as in 2000. In 2000
it was thanks to the Islamic resistance that our country was liberated,
for the first time in Arab history. But the victory was devoured by
confessionalism. I think that some of Hezbollah cadres understood that.
And we hope - because there is a continual battle inside their party -
that they will not lose again, by once again adopting confessional
Hezbollah and Resistance / November 2006
The viewpoint of the Lebanese Communist Party
Marie Nassif-Debs


What about the General Strike that was being planned for this week in
Lebanon? Authors writing on the World Socialist Web Site, also allied
with the Fourth International, examine the situation with the Strike as
a starting point:
"A general strike by the leading trade union to protest rising prices
and demand an increase in the minimum wage has led to armed conflict
between the pro-Western Sunni and Druze-based government of Prime
Minister Fouad Siniora and the Shia-based Hezbollah and its ally, Amal.
The ruling March 14 group, though appearing as the victim of an
offensive by Hezbollah, has, in fact, been working for months towards
an open conflict with the Hezbollah-led March 8 Alliance, which also
includes the Christian Free Patriotic Movement of Michel Aoun. It has
done so in collaboration with the United States and Israel, both of
which have made clear their intention to resume hostilities against
Hezbollah, and threatened Syria and Iran."


Most of the analyses leave behind elements of personal and political
life that usually are more interesting for Western radical activists.
What about the Feminist Left in Lebanon? The Gay-positive Left? How do
they view the developments? What about the Environmentalist ~Green
Left? Will a rise to power by Hezbollah lead to a loss of rights for
women and gay people? Is there a Socialist-oriented Islam-based
branch of the Resistance that can generate enough mass support by the
people to alter reality or to at least affect it through labour action
and/or by force of arms? Some of these questions remain unclear and
will probably continue to be unclear for the near future; our
colleagues in Lebanon are now faced again with the possibility of
large-scale bloodbaths and constant power games; this tends to
obliterate certain aspects of politics, removing them from the
country's self-perceived reality.

Whereas Spirituality and Sexuality are the CORE elements of human
experience around which all the formations in Lebanon (and around the
world) organize their political and military forces, organized
yearnings for a Liberated Sexuality and Spirituality do not seem to
have a prominent role yet in the country's politics. Or if they do,
those efforts seem to be taking place at a discreet level that is
veiled to outside observers.

Many of the issues which we usually associate with the political style
of the New Left do not yet carry a crucial enough level of activism in
Lebanon to be easily discernible to the outside observer. We hope our
comrades in Lebanon will give us more insights on these issues as
things develop.

Below is the recent interview with Bilal. Many thanks, Bilal, for your comments and updates. Looking forward to more!
Petros Evdokas


Date: Tue, 13 May 2008
From: Tadamon! <tadamon@resist.ca>

To: imc-beirut@lists.indymedia.org
Subject: [Imc-beirut] Lebanon: Currents of Conflict. Broadcasts from Beirut

Lebanon: Currents of Conflict
An interview with Bilal Elamine

Broadcasts from Beirut: A Tadamon! interview project aiming to
highlight progressive voices from the ground in Lebanon on the ongoing
conflict, voices independent from major political parties...


Conflict in Lebanon has spread this past week beyond Beirut, to
mountain areas above the capital city, to Tripoli in Northern Lebanon.
Throughout Lebanon a tense political stand-off remains between the
U.S.-backed government lead-by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and a
political opposition fronted by the armed Lebanese political party

Fear concerning a return to the violence that defined the fifteen year
Lebanese civil-war has spread across Lebanon and the entire Middle
East. In recent days fighting has expanded beyond the capital as the
death toll resulting from internal strife has sharply risen, including
a gruesome killing carried out against Hezbollah supporters by
pro-government militias in the mountains above Beirut. Events in recent
days are intensifying fears that Lebanon will once again fall to the
bloody violence common throughout the fifteen year civil conflict.

Current conflict in Lebanon is intimately tied to recent history,
particularly the 2006 Israeli attack on Lebanon that left over
one-thousand Lebanese civilians dead and wreaked major damage to the
civilian infrastructure across the country. Despite Lebanon's major
losses, resistance to Israel's attack lead by Hezbollah, severely
undermined Israel's military image in the Middle East, after the Israel
failed to wipe-out Hezbollah with strong U.S. backing for a war that
ended with a U.N. brokered ceasefire in August 2006.

Disarming Hezbollah is a critical point to U.S. policy in the Middle
East, a goal central to U.S. support for Israel.s attack on Lebanon in
2006 and defined in writing in the U.S.-French sponsored U.N.
Resolution 1559. A recent move by the current Lebanese government to
declare Hezbollah.s telecommunications network illegal, compliments
U.S. aims to disarm Hezbollah in Lebanon. This government decision
sparked the recent violence in Lebanon.

In this interview Bilal Elamine, currently living in Beirut, originally
from Southern Lebanon, the former editor of Left Turn Magazine, offers
reflections on recent events in Lebanon and their relation to the
broader U.S.-driven policies in the Middle East.

Stefan Christoff: Since mid last week there has been fighting in
Lebanon, first in the capital Beirut but now it has spread to other
districts in Lebanon. Could you provide your perspective on the current
situation in Lebanon?

Bilal Elamine: Beirut has now calmed down significantly. Fighting in
Beirut created immediate ripples to the north where some ugly incidents
took place. Hariri supporters in the north, who were seeking revenge
after loosing the battle in Beirut, went around burning offices of
opposition political parties in northern Lebanon, attacking an office
for the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, which is involved with the
opposition in Lebanon. In this attack eleven people from the Syrian
Social Nationalist Party were killed, a pro-government militia attack
with a high number of deaths.

Then fighting moved into the mountains, up above Beirut, an area that
is heavily populated by Druze in Lebanon, an area traditionally
dominated by the politician Walid Jumblat. Confrontations started in
the mountains yesterday, including some civil-war type atrocities
carried out by militias loyal to Walid Jumblat, when a small group from
Hezbollah were kidnapped, then two were killed execution style, their
bodies cut-up with knife blades. After this four civilians were killed
in an attack on an area sympathetic to Hezbollah, carried out again by
pro-government militias, which really ignited a battle up in the

This battle in the mountains ended after Druze leaders allied with the
opposition stepped-in, engaging in negotiations with Jumblat and
starting to work to disarm the mountain areas. A call was put out after
these negotiations to halt any fighting within the Druze community
split between opposing sides in this conflict. Although now opposition
leaders are claiming that militias allied with Walid Jumblat still
maintain heavy weaponry, that could be used to further sectarian
violence. People in Lebanon are uneasy at the possibility that militias
allied with Jumblat in the mountains maintain heavy weaponry and worry
further if they plan to use this weaponry against the opposition. This
situation in the mountains is much less stable compared to the
situation in Beirut.

Today there was an Arab League meeting which doesn't seem to have
resulted in any new developments. However the Arab League is sending a
number of ministers to Lebanon for Wednesday to hold a marathon type
negotiation to attempt to resolve the political crisis. Now concerning
the Lebanese government which is currently under the lights, the
government of Fouad Sinora, most people in Lebanon expected that the
government would reverse their two decisions, which ignited this entire
episode, however the government has postponed a decision on this until
Wednesday. This suggests that the government may not even go back on
these two decisions and that they are certainly not going to resign,
however we will wait until the Arab League arrives to broker

It is clear that the opposition has now created facts on the ground,
which are going to be difficult to reverse, having tipped the power
scales to where they should have been a long time ago between the
government and the opposition. Clearly the opposition will win
political gains from what they have done on the ground in Lebanon in
recent days. If the violence doesn.t become carried away in the
mountains, the opposition will have carried out a rather short and
limited operation that avoided confrontation with the Lebanese army and
major sectarian violence. Certainly sectarian tensions exist however
the situation hasn't broken down into major sectarian violence between
Lebanon's religious communities. Hopefully we will arrive at a
political solution very soon, especially after these last horrible
days. Casualties may rest at around sixty people dead with over
one-hundred injuries.

Stefan Christoff: In Lebanon today parallel identities or political
visions for the country exist. First the shadow of the former Lebanese
government lead by Prime Minister Fouad Sinora and then the
Hezbollah-lead opposition, which maintain very different visions for
Lebanon. Could you highlight the key political differences between the
two major forces in Lebanon today?

Bilal Elamine: Often the difference between these two political forces
is characterized as being sectarian, however it's really a political
disagreement. The cutting edge for this disagreement is related to the
U.S. project in the Middle East, which began officially after the
events of 9/11 in New York. This U.S. project in the Middle East is met
with resistance from both political movements and government regimes in
the region who are opposed to the U.S. project in the Middle East, who
stand to oppose it and have everything to lose from the U.S. vision for
the Middle East. This force includes the governments of Iran and Syria
who have been openly targeted by the U.S., along with Hamas in
Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Often it's repeated that Hamas and Hezbollah are tools for Iran in the
region, however a more accurate way to view the relationship are than
these are all political forces that have a common opposition to U.S.
interference in the Middle East. Also movements and governments that
are opposed to Israel.

In Lebanon we are divided between these two separate visions for the
Middle East, with one side represented by the current government who is
attempting to implement the U.S. project for the region, from the
adoption of a neo-liberal economy, to opening the door for concessions
to Israel, or even the possibility to settle the hundreds of thousands
of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon as a major concession to Israel in
order to erase the Palestinian right to return.

So the other political force in Lebanon is openly trying to resist this
U.S. vision for Lebanon and the Middle East, this side is lead by
Hezbollah and a number of other political parties within the Lebanese
opposition. It is clear today that the Lebanese opposition spans all
sects in Lebanon and that the major difference spurring the current
fighting in Lebanon is political not sectarian.

Stefan Christoff: Now concerning the current events in Lebanon there
obviously exists a major fear within the country towards a return to
the violence that defined the Lebanese civil-war between 1975 and 1990.
Do you feel that people in Lebanon today who are politically
sympathetic to the ideals represented by the opposition are also
critical towards the recent actions taken by opposition forces in

Bilal Elamine: Certainly it was a very dangerous undertaking, the
recent actions from Hezbollah, a movement that has always had great
fear to turning their weapons towards internal battles in Lebanon.
Hezbollah turning their arms toward internal political battles could
lead people to categorize Hezbollah as another militia and Lebanese are
very fearful towards militias due to traumatic and violent experiences
within the civil-war.

Also this recent move from Hezbollah is dangerous because it has the
possibility to create sectarian strife in the country particularly
between the Shi'ite and Sunni Muslim communities in Lebanon.
Unfortunately sectarian civil strife has a long history, so once it
starts it's difficult to reverse the tide.

For these reasons the Lebanese opposition has been reluctant to do
anything for so long, to take any concrete action against the
government despite continued provocations. It's been two years now for
the opposition receiving blow after blow from the government,
particularly Hezbollah, even the gunning down of Hezbollah supporters
by the Lebanese army only months ago.

A decision from the Lebanese government last week to attempt to
shut-down Hezbollah's communication network was a qualitative
provocation from the government, in that the decision directly attacked
a key element for the Lebanese resistance. This communication network
is very important, it protects the Hezbollah leadership, it's an
attempt from the government to uncover Hezbollah to an enemy that is
dying to attack, which is Israel.

This move to enter Beirut by Hezbollah was taken in this context and
this move from Hezbollah preempted what could have been a serious civil
war because essentially pro-government forces have been using
increasingly sectarian language in Lebanon. Last week the night prior
to a major labor strike called by General Labor Confederation, the
grand Mufti in Lebanon, the top Sunni cleric, delivered an extremely
sectarian speech, that to any Lebanese should be a terrifying speech,
which was openly using sectarian language. This speech illustrates that
the pro-government forces were attempting to rally Sunni communities in
Lebanon around the government on a sectarian not political basis, which
is extremely dangerous.

Sectarian strife in Lebanon has been avoided until now due to the
methods behind Hezbollah's recent actions, which did include some
serious mistakes including an attack on a pro-government T.V. station
and newspaper by Hezbollah allies. Although overall the Hezbollah-lead
actions were quick, clean, they avoided the type of sectarian violence
that we all fear in Lebanon. Although clearly things are not settled
especially in the mountain areas above Beirut.

Stefan Christoff: Can you comment on the role that media has played in
the recent conflict in Lebanon, you mention that a pro-government T.V.
network, Future T.V. was attacked by opposition forces. In this context
could you expand on the political role that media in Lebanon and
internationally has played concerning recent events in Lebanon?

Bilal Elamine: Most media networks in Lebanon are an extension from the
various political parties, especially in such times this reality
becomes more defined. There is one channel that is sympathetic to the
opposition but that doesn.t belong to a political party, which is New
T.V., which you can view for some semblance of balance. Today political
news is passing over the T.V. channels 24 hours a day, without missing
a second, even in calm periods there is heavy political coverage in
Lebanon, many talk shows on the various networks debating political
issues with politicians and analysts.

Concerning recent events many networks have been maintaining live
coverage throughout the day, which allows one to follow the events
closely, however you have to view a mix from all the channels to get a
sense on what's really going on, to get a clear picture. One thing that
stood out in these recent events, is that once opposition forces did
attack the Future movement media outlets, Al-Arabia, a Saudi Arabia
financed T.V. station attempting to compete with Al Jazeera T.V.,
played a nasty, vicious, Fox T.V. type role concerning the events in
Lebanon by propagating rumors that have the potential to create
massacres in Lebanon.

Last week an angry person, who doesn't belong to any political party,
attacked a funeral in Beirut procession for a Sunni person who died in
a very sensitive area in Beirut, killing a number of people at the
funeral. After it was was clear that this person had no connection to
the opposition, Al Arabia continued to broadcast that this person was
from the opposition. In a sense Al Arabia was compensating for the type
of broadcasting that is common on Future T.V., which is often sectarian
and rumor based.

Also Al Arabia is currently preparing to air a program framed on the
future for Sunni Muslims in Lebanon. For Lebanese clearly we are aware
that sectarian sensitivities exist, sensitivities that are amplified in
the context of the current political dispute, however Al Arabia is
attempting to portray Lebanese society as more sectarian that it really
is, which is extremely provocative.

Clearly the government throughout the past couple years has been
attempting to contain the opposition movement as Shi'ite or
Iranian-backed, attempting to tip the scales against the opposition.
This same language is being heavily utilized by Al Arabia.

Today it's possible that the possibility for sectarian violence in
Lebanon has been possibly thwarted by the recent actions from the
opposition, who have successfully undermined the government that has
been propelling sectarian strife in the country.

Stefan Christoff: Now let's focus on the way that you witnessed recent
events. In Beirut you with friends operate an alternative café in the
Hamra district, Taa Marbuuta, can you describe the recent events in
Lebanon as you witnessed them?

Bilal Elamine: As the fighting started had all just finished watching
the speech from Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of Hezbollah,
at the café. Within the hour after the speech, in the area surrounding
the café became very tense. This is an area which is close to where
opposition leader Saad Hariri lives, an area with major security.
Despite claims from pro-government parties that they aren't harboring
or creating militia forces it has became apparent that pro-government
parties, mainly the Future movement, have been organizing groups of
young unemployed men into militias throughout West Beirut.

Shortly after the speech from Hassan Nasrallah last week, men appeared
in the area carrying large machine guns, with military vests, then
suddenly these men working in pro-government militias started screaming
and yelling then fire fighting broke out. By the next morning these
elements had disappeared, the Hariri militias, who were completely
routed out by Hezbollah, very quickly. Looking back it's easy to
understand, as the Future movement militias were obviously very
disorganized, meaning that they were very easy for Hezbollah and allies
to disperse.

In Hamra, Hezbollah forces did come into the area however along with
other armed groups that are based in the area, including the Syrian
Social Nationalist Party, who in coordination took over the entire area
throughout the night. The next morning in walking around it was clear
that there were some battles that did take place but nothing major, as
the death toll after the first night of fighting in Beirut was below a
dozen people, which was surprising.

In this area, in Hamra, the two sides practically know each other, as
we are talking about the Syrian Social Nationalist Party came from just
a few blocks down the street to take this area. Most likely the people
fighting on both sides had some level of familiarity which most
certainly helped to diffuse the tensions very quickly. Since late last
week people are weary, coming out from the house not often, just to
stock-up on supplies, to get some fresh air.

Last week during the days of fighting I did see some armed men driving
around in cars with arms hanging out the windows, a scary image
reminiscent of the Lebanese civil-war, however by yesterday in Beirut
most of the armed men were off the streets although there are still
pockets around the city especially in sensitive areas.

Mainly now it's the military that is present, all around the Hamra
area, near the café, which is very unusual for this area. At night
people generally stay inside, many are waiting for the meetings to
start this week, brokered by the Arab League, hoping that they will
bring good news.

Stefan Christoff: Now let's talk about the regional context relating to
the recent events in Lebanon, especially the war between Lebanon and
Israel in 2006, especially given that you mentioned that many are
awaiting to see the results from the upcoming visit from the Arab
League to Beirut.

Bilal Elamine: Clearly the U.S. has a particular project to change the
political face of the Middle East, a project that is facing some major
opposition, often represented by the governments of Iran and Syria. In
Lebanon resistance to the U.S. project for the Middle East has been
lead by Hezbollah, now a targeted organization or movement.

Hezbollah has been faced with many obstacles in recent years, first
U.N. Resolution 1559 that didn't really develop into anything concrete
in Lebanon, it essentially failed, then after the assassination of
former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, the U.S. was able to increase the
pressure by pressuring the Syrians to leave Lebanon, hoping to cut-off
the links between Syria and Hezbollah.

Then the most serious attack on Hezbollah came in July 2006 as Israel
attacked Lebanon. At this time it became quickly apparent that Israel
after a couple weeks wanted to halt the attack on Lebanon, however the
U.S. insisted, pushing Israel to continue the war until Hezbollah was
finished. This scenario lead Israel into a military disaster in Lebanon.

Since 2006 pro-U.S. forces have been gathering in Lebanon, bringing
together various parties that cut-across sectarian lines, lead by the
Future movement represented by Saad Hariri and Walid Jumblat from the
Progressive Socialist Party in Lebanon, to undermine Hezbollah
internally in Lebanon through various attempts that until now have been

For example the tragedy surrounding Nahr el-Bared, when the Lebanese
army virtually destroyed a Palestinian refugee camp in North Lebanon in
the past year, in a battle against the radical Sunni militia Fatah
al-Islam. At one point the government had thought, which was outlined
through various research conducted by journalists internationally, that
Fatah al-Islam could be utilized a shock troops against Hezbollah.
Clearly this plan exploded in the government's face.

Until now the pro-western government has tried many things to undermine
Hezbollah which hasn't worked. Now the government moved to apply
pressure on Hezbollah in declaring their communications network
illegal, a move that provoked the fighting in recent days.

At one point it was clear that the U.S. was pushing to hit Iran with
military strikes, however U.S. allies in the region, particularly the
Arab Gulf states, argued correctly that at strike on Iran would be
disastrous for their economies. The U.S. also moved to attempt to
isolate Syria, to put pressures on the Syrian regime, shortly after the
invasion of Iraq, a move toward Syria that eventually didn't go

Also the U.S. has been developing ways with allies in the region and in
Lebanon to apply serious pressure on Hezbollah, within the same
campaign. Between the events in the past week and the 2006 war that
Israel lost, the U.S. seems to have gotten their fingers burnt in
Lebanon. Now the U.S. campaign in the Middle East has gotten another
slap in the face.

Hopefully with a new administration in the U.S., some lessons will have
been learned as a result of numerous serious set-backs to U.S.
interests in the region and beyond, from Afghanistan, to Iraq, to
Palestine and now in Lebanon. Despite the failings for U.S. policy in
Lebanon, other strategies are being attempted, now the U.S. has once
again sent the USS Cole, a massive U.S. military ship, to patrol the
coastal waters not far from Beirut.

Although I think that the movement from the U.S. to send the USS Cole
is most likely an empty gesture. In a sense I think that the U.S.
wasn't ready for the events that have taken place in Lebanon this past
week, in any case the U.S. isn't reacting quickly, or at least don't
know how to respond exactly to the situation today in Lebanon.

Until now the U.S. hasn't moved to address the current situation in
Lebanon at the United Nations, hasn't threated anything serious in a
unilateral sense, actually in comparison to other situations the U.S.
statements have been mild, which perhaps means that the U.S. didn't
expect Hezbollah to sweep Beirut in the way it did, it has taken the
U.S. and their allies off guard.

* Bilal Elamine is currently living in Beirut, originally from Southern
Lebanon, the former editor of Left Turn Magazine. In Beirut, Bilal
works with the alternative café in the Hamra district, Taa Marbuuta.



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Lebanon: a microcosm of struggle all condensed in one country



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Lebanon: a microcosm of struggle all condensed in one country