[News] Lebanon - Mounting crises in escalating chaos

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Dec 6 12:30:56 EST 2006


http://electronicintifada.net/v2/printer6161.shtml

Opinion/Editorial
Mounting crises in escalating chaos

Hasan Abu Nimah, Electronic Lebanon, 6 December 2006

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The people of this region are being abandoned by 
the world to escalating chaos. The political 
crisis in Lebanon is a manifestation of this 
chaos, linked more broadly to the catastrophe in 
Iraq, and the butchery in Palestine. Despite 
empty gestures, fake goodwill and worn out 
slogans from a parade of prominent visitors to 
Jericho, Gaza and some regional capitals, there is no reason at all for hope.

Hypocrisy and double standards have reached new 
levels of shamelessness. Members of the so-called 
"international community" refused to take any 
position on the inclusion in October of an openly 
fascist party in the Israeli government, on the 
grounds that this is a purely internal matter. 
The real reason, shall we painfully deduce, is 
they do not have any objection to ethnic hatred 
and religious extremism as long as its victims 
are mere Arabs and Muslims. God forbid.

The current crisis in Lebanon is also a purely 
internal matter. Nevertheless, countless Western 
and other officials have rallied to offer support 
to the cabinet of Lebanese prime minister Fouad 
Siniora, against peaceful mass demonstrations 
calling for its resignation. The same forces who 
condemn the demonstrations against Siniora, and 
implicitly consider them an attempted coup, 
hailed the mass demonstrations that brought down 
the previous government a "Cedar Revolution" and 
hailed them as a great wave of people power. At 
the same time, those who view the Siniora 
government as democratic and demand that it 
survive at all costs, are often the same people 
who participate in the starvation and siege of 
the Palestinian people under occupation to 
overthrow the Hamas administration they democratically elected last January.

The crisis in Lebanon is a direct outgrowth of 
Israel's devastating aggression on the country 
last July. Israel exploited a Hizbullah border 
raid in a long running war to try to decisively 
change the political make up of the region. If 
Israel had truly been troubled by Hizbullah 
forces crossing its border, as it alleges, it had 
many lawful means to pursue, including going to 
the UN Security Council. Instead, it launched an 
all out attack on Lebanon's civilian population 
and infrastructure, deliberately sowing death and 
destruction among the innocent in the hope of 
turning the people of Lebanon against the 
movement. It was a move that some forces in the 
region, other than Israel also thought they would 
benefit from. In addition to standing in the way 
of Israel's aggression and colonization, 
Hizbullah articulates the hopes and demands of 
Lebanon's poorest, the Shia plurality long 
marginalized from power by the elite. If 
Hizbullah had been destroyed on the battlefield, 
it would have become a lesser factor in Lebanese politics.

But the opposite happened. Hizbullah defeated 
Israel, and is now emboldened to demand a unity 
government in which the party receives a rightful 
share of power on behalf of the masses it 
represents. Of course Hizbullah does not stand 
alone, but with other factions representing a 
cross section of the country's sects. While the 
lazy and biased Western media routinely repeat 
the propaganda that Hizbullah is simply doing 
Teheran's bidding, and that the opposition 
demonstrations in Beirut are "pro-Syrian," they 
forget that among the leaders of this movement is 
the Christian general Michel Aoun, who fought a bitter war against Syria.

All of this can only really be understood when we 
step back and look at the big picture. While 
there are attempts to portray the crisis in 
Lebanon, the civil war in Iraq, or the tension 
between Hamas and Fatah in Palestine as local 
squabbles, or irrational sectarian hatreds, the 
reality is that these faultlines mark the 
division between those who have supported and 
benefitted from Western intervention in the 
region, and the effort to reshape its politics to 
suit Israel, and those who have chosen to resist 
culturally, politically and at times militarily. 
All those who accept foreign hegemony are 
labelled "democrats," no matter how narrow their 
base; everyone else is accused of being a 
"terrorist" or a puppet of Iran or Syria. 
Similarly, all those in Iraq who opposed the 
invasion and occupation of their country were 
labelled either supporters of Saddam or Al-Qaida, 
closing the door to dialogue that could have ended that country's agony.

Parties like Hamas and Hizbullah, which are able 
to mobilize the masses in their countries and 
inspire millions more across the region, have 
called the bluff of those who use the language of 
democracy. Neither has asked for anything more 
than the fair share of power it won at the ballot 
box, on behalf of the people it represents.

The approach of slamming the door on all the 
forces that oppose Western hegemony in the 
region, can only have the effect of increasing 
the conflict in all these arenas. In Iraq it 
seems already beyond control. The dangers in 
other areas of escalation are clear to all.

The answers seem crystal clear. If, for example, 
there is opposition to Hizbullah retaining its 
weapons as a resistance movement, then all 
international efforts should be aimed at ending 
the Israeli occupation and constant violations of 
Lebanese territory. This week Israel talked about 
unilaterally withdrawing from the Lebanese 
village of Ghajar in order to prop up the Siniora 
government by showing that Lebanon can retain its 
rights by means other than resistance. But the 
Israeli move only further discredits the Lebanese 
government and vindicates the widely held view 
that only resistance works. After all, Resolution 
425 of 1978 called on Israel to withdraw from 
Lebanon "forthwith." Israel did not do so until 
it was forced by Hizbullah in 2000.

In Palestine too, the Hamas-led Authority is 
demanding nothing except that election results be 
respected, and offering Israel a full truce for 
ten years to allow negotiations. For the first 
time ever, Israel verbally accepted a truce offer 
(although continues to murder people on the 
ground), not because it is strong, but because it 
failed to stop resistance even after carrying out 
daily atrocities in the Gaza Strip that briefly 
shocked even the calloused consciences of European Union officials.

Those who continue to offer advice to the region 
should understand that unless they are willing to 
drop their double standards, apply the principles 
they proclaim but violate every day, and support 
the rights of ordinary people to a life free from 
foreign occupation and colonization, then they 
have nothing to contribute. And the situation will continue to deteriorate.


EI contributor Hasan Abu Nimah is the former 
permanent representative of Jordan at the United 
Nations. This article originally appeared in the 
Jordan Times and is republished with permission.


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