Saturday, July 29, 2006

Nasrallah's new address. In this one, Nasrallah atypically reads from a written text although he added some while reading it. The speech as a speech was, from the literary point of view, not strong at all I think, but it may be the most effective because it speaks to Lebanese people from different sects, or so it was intended. I have been saying that Nasrallah needed to address the Lebanese people given the intensity of the Saudi-Hariri-Israeli propaganda in Lebanon. This was clearly an address to the Lebanese people, addressing Lebanese issues and concerns (although he made an important point regarding the decline of the status and image of the Israeli soldier--he knows that this is an important point for Arab and Israeli public. And he as always cites Israeli sources so as not to sound bombastic a la Yasir `Arafat. He also said that Israeli "achievements" in Lebanon are not military but in the realm of "savagery"--good point). It is amazing how much of his talks on Lebanese matters during this war are directed--without naming him--at the propaganda of Saudi tool (former Iranian and Syrian tool), the well-known feudal warlord, Walid Jumblat. He mostly responded to the notion that Jumblat raised yesterday in an interview with Hariri Future TV, and in Ash-Shira' magazine (Ash-Shira` was a publication for Libyan intelligence, before serving Iranian intelligence, and now serves Saudi intelligence). Jumblat raised this question: To whom will Nasrallah present the "victory of the resistance?" Nasrallah responded today with a very Lebanese nationalist speech--even the poetic parts spoke of Lebanon's beauty, of its mountains, etc. He also was very keen on speaking in terms of Muslim-Christian unity, invoking the name of Jesus, and speaking of the notion of "love." Nasrallah, some people in Lebanon say, is at his best when acting as a Lebanese politician against his opponents in Lebanese politics. His address was meant to reassure the Lebanese public about the results of this war. Jumblat is nervous, and he is showing it. The Israeli calculations, and the calculations of its (direct or indirect) allies in Lebanon was that Hizbullah will come weaker out of this, begging for forgiveness. No signs of that whatever. If anything, the tide of public opinion seems to be swinging in Hizbullah's direction. I was astonished that after Nasrallah's talk, AlJazeera interviewed Edmond Sa`b (a right-wing sectarian Christian journalist with An-Nahar) and he spoke in emotional and glowing terms in praise of Nasrallah. Jumblat is sensing that. Nasrallah's stature is growing in the Arab world and inside. As Sunni columnist Nuhad Mashnuq (who broke with Saudi Arabia last Monday) wrote in As-Safir, it was unprecedented that a picture of a Shi`ite cleric (Nasrallah) was posted and raised in Al-Azhar during the last few weeks. Mashnuq spoke of the miscalculation by Saudi Arabia--that explains that sudden announcement of generosity by House of Saud. When I was in Lebanon last summer, I met off the record with a former advisor to King Faysal who used to pay various PLO and Lebanese leaders. The list is so big. But the advisor spoke in very respectful terms of Kamal Jumblat (not like his corrupt son, Walid who reads the New York Review of Books and brags about it because it makes him feel like an "intellectual") who refused all offers of Saudi money. In the house of this person, I saw two pictures: one of Kamal Jumblat and another of Hasan Nasrallah--and the person is a secular Sunni. I think that latest address by Nasrallah will work in Lebanese domestic politics: after the talk, Hariri deputy, Muhammad Qabbani, spoke and he distanced himself from Jumblat's comments. Personally, I can't stand any tributes to Lebanon as a homeland, or to Lebanese nationalism. I personally have always been opposed to Lebanon as a political project. It is too early for me to evaluate the status of Lebanese politics in the wake of this Israeli war of aggression, but I can't see how the Hariri Inc crowd will be able to come out stronger. It is clear that they are now weaker than ever, although Walid Jumblat still reads the New York Review of Books. And what is with Walid Jumblat always, as of late, attacking Noam Chomsky and "that person in the Knesset"--a reference to `Azmi Bisharah? In other news, Israeli leaders are mourning the loss of Marun Ar-Ras--the pride and glory of the Israeli military.