Monday, August 14, 2006

The discussion is now about who won and who lost. If you really want to know the answer to that: just see the Israeli press, the Zionist propaganda media, and the fanatics in the comments’ section of this site. They are pretty angry, are they not? They are quite frustrated and disoriented. They are fulminating and babbling incoherently. (Read the comments under this post, and you will get the picture). I was 7-years old in 1967, and was 13 in 1973, and I can’t compare anything to what is coming out from the Israeli government and press. Something has changed. You have to be somebody familiar with the Arabic language, culture, and politics to appreciate the far-reaching impact of what happened. You have to realize the significance of the developments in Lebanon. Of course, Bush and Elliot Abrams have no clue. They don’t know what the region is about. There is no doubt: the Israeli army has been humiliated for the first time in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Of course, the 1973 war began with Arab victories but the lousy regimes of Egypt and Syria could not push the war to its logical conclusions: the survival of the regimes, and the plan for an alliance with the US on the part of Sadat, later reversed the course of the war, and gave Israel military and political victories. This is why this war is significant. This was what Israel had referred to as “Hasan’s rag-tag army.” So by their own propaganda terms, they were humiliated and defeated by a rag-tag army. They were so embarrassed with the results, and they were so confused with the developments, that they had to lie. Arabs who watched this war on TV must have been most proud to see Israeli propaganda machine doing the fabrications and the lying, while the Arab propaganda machine was playing it low-key. Which reminds me; what ever happened to the three dead Iranian bodies who spoke Persian and sprinkled saffron on their rice, while dead, mind you, in South Lebanon? No word on that. What is next? And notice that as the Israeli army was being increasingly humiliated by the Hizbullah army, they kept exaggerating their assessment of the fighting force, and they kept exaggerating the Iranian role. They had to: they fought their wars and succeeded in spreading the myths of the superior Israeli soldier, and the inferior Arab soldier. The Arab regimes, always fearing war with Israel for fear of their own survival, helped in spreading that myths in Arab mass culture. Many Arabs started to buy into it, and many were able to resign themselves to Israeli regional hegemony. Many were able to tolerate humiliating peace-treaties with Israel, because they became firm believers in their incompetence and their helplessness vis-à-vis Israel. That has been shattered. This will embolden Arabs, even vis-à-vis their governments, but certainly vis-à-vis Israel. The movement against the American peace process, or what is left of it—not that it needs to be resuscitated—will only grow, and certainly more Arabs will want to join a struggle against Israeli aggression and hegemony. But fortunately, this war has also discredited the suicide bombings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad: aside from ethics, it has been clearly revealed to be ineffective and worse. And Arab popular self-confidence is much more threatening to Israel, in strategic terms, than large Arab armies. The small size of the Hizbullah army will only add to the growing mystique. It will also foil Saudi/US/Israeli plans to foment Sunni-Shi`ite discord. Is there any doubt in anybody’s mind that the Shi`ite Hasan Nasrallah is now more popular in the entire Arab world than any other Sunni Arab figure? But then when you think that the proponents of Sunni-Shi`ite discord have been Al-Qa`idah and House of Saud you realize that both don’t have mass following, thankfully, and will not succeed in their sectarian plans. I watchd Nasrallah’s speech today: a polite but firm speech. This one is directed to the Lebanese audience: to those who were displaced, but also to the wavering and neutral Sunnis in the country. There has been changes. In Tripoli’s Sunnis for example have been won over by Hizbullah: Hariri Inc lost Tripoli. There are pictures of Nasrallah in Tall Square now. Beirut’s Sunnis seem to constitute the power base of Hariri Inc (Sidon is split). Nasrallah did not invoke Iran or Syria: but promised generous compensations and aid to the families of the refugees. He acted and spoke like the head of a state in Lebanon. But that is Lebanon anyway? there is no state in Lebanon, never was, and never will be. There are statelets in Lebanon. Jumblat has his own state; Hariri Inc has its own state, Hizbulalh has a state, etc. And then there is a façade or mirage of a “central government” which exists only in name. Just as Reagan was supporting the Phalanges militia in 1982 in the name of “supporting the central government of Amin Gemayyel”, Bush is now supporting the Hariri Inc in the name of “supporting the democratic government of Lebanon,” not knowing that it includes Hizbullah ministers. And all the bluster and bombast in the discourse and rhetoric of Bush and Hariri Inc is meaningless. The most extreme option to disarm Hizbullah has been tried, and it did not work. What will they use now? On what power do Hariri and Jumblat puppets rely when they insist on disarming Hizbullah? They think that they will use Jumblat’s militia against Hizbullah? I really now rule out a civil war only because street battles will be won without Hizbullah having to fire one shot? I mean, could you imagine Jumblat’s militia going against Hizbullah? That will not happen. But while I have avoided commenting on Lebanese domestic politics in the last month, or not as much, I still believe that Lebanon as a project will not succeed. It is not a homeland, and never was, and never will be. It will either splinter eventually—along sectarian lines, or will be dissolved in a larger entity, especially after a democratic transformation in Syria, and the liberation of Palestine. Hariri Inc is now weaker than ever: Bush has one more year in office—his last year will be consumed with the presidential campaign and he is unlikely to begin a new adventure especially as his previous foreign policy adventures have been abysmal failures, one after the other. I still recommend that Walid Jumblat open a Lebanese restaurant in Paris, France. Nasrallah seems aware of the factor of time, and that is why he spoke about Lebanese-style negotiations and dialogue. The mass return of refugees today was planned, and was smart, and was intended to weaken Israel’s hands in South Lebanon, and limit its ability to operate freely in the region. Of course, it was also convenient to smuggle in supplies and the like. Israel lost South Lebanon. I mean, you think of those commando raids? Who would have thought that we Arabs would live to mock Israeli commando raids that netted Hasan Dib Nasrallah, and in another one in Tyre found an old lady in a house, and in another one found nobody. These were the elite Israeli forces. I, for one, don’t speak in terms of victory although the people of South Lebanon, and the fighters in the South are the people of South Lebanon lest you forget, fought bravely and courageously against a savage invading foreign army. I don’t speak in terms of victory because the brutal Israeli destruction and devastation (and the innocent lives, including innocent civilians in Israel--and I blame Israel which started the war for their deaths) don’t allow for celebrations and jubilation. But it is a victory against Israeli arrogance and brutality. It is also a victory against the notion that mass violence by an superior and advanced army is capable of breaking the will of a people. Look at the Palestinians: a century of Zionist violence has not killed the Palestinian national impulse: it certainly has made it grow and expand. The Zionist project is doomed. That is clear in the year 2006.