Monday, February 28, 2005

Lebanon's Pandora's Box: This is missing from the coverage about Lebanon. In sectarian terms, the majority of Lebanese are Shi`ites (at least 55 % of the population). And they are not in the opposition, and their two major movements (Amal and Hizbullah) are still aligned with Syria, for whatever reasons. And then there are those who were formed under the leadership of former prime minister Salim Huss today (he is Sunni) under the banner of The Third Force (independent from the opposition and the government alike), and who are a loose coalition of independents, Arab nationalists, leftists, communists, socialists, Nasserists, etc. They also are NOT part of the opposition. And even within Sunni ranks, there is no consensus, and Sunni public opinion has already expressed disagreement with the right-wing slogans and symbols of the main elements of the opposition. Amid the euphoria, which the Bush administration and its submissive US media want to promote to validate Bush's empty slogans about "freedom" and "democracy", the reality of Lebanese factionalism and sectarianism is disguised. Chirac said that the Bush administration opened a pandora's box in Iraq. Angry Arab says that Chirac himself and Bush have just opened another pandora's box in...Lebanon. How insulting that the Syrian president gave his first comments on the Lebanon crisis Italian newspaper. And how insulting that the US government is treating the events in Lebanon as if they constitute a victory for the US, for some reasons. (Look at Lebanese public opinion orientations toward the US and Bush's wars in the newly released report on Arab public opinion by Jordan University's Center for Strategic Studies (posted below--I think). And how insulting that the Lebanese president is doing what he does best...remaining silent.