Friday, September 29, 2006

Lebanon's Central Banker: Best in the World

Riad Salameh, Lebanon's Central Bank Governor has been awarded the prestigious Euromoney Central Banker of the Year award. In presenting the award, Euromoney magazine had the following to say about why they thought Lebanon and its central bank governor deserved to win:

'There has been no meltdown in Lebanon's financial markets, or a run on the banks or major sell-off in the currency. That is largely attributable to the foundations laid by the battle-hardened central bank. The bank has, for example, built up its foreign reserves to $13 billion, acting as a safety net in ensuring the Lebanese pound remains stable. The banking system is solvent and liquid, and has worked closely with the central bank to minimise disruption. At no point was there a risk that Lebanon may default on its debt.'

For more, follow this link...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Egypt goes Nuclear; Saudi goes for Peace, and Israel for Technology

Here are three articles related to regional events not directly related to Lebanon and the war we witnessed this summer, but that have important reprocutions for Lebanon and its development.
The First Article, highlights a takeover by software giant Microsoft of an Israeli IT company specializing in easy-to-use networking software. According to the article:
The acquisition of Gteko is part of Microsoft's strategic decision to turn Microsoft Israel into a research and development center for the international firm. Moshe Lichtman, one of the company's senior executives, will oversee the R&D operations in the country.

Microsoft's history in Lebanon dates back approximately eight years to when the government at the time implemented stringent anti-privacy laws in order lure international firms into investing in the country. More recently, Microsoft was one of the first companies to flee Lebanon after the flaring of hostilities this past summer.
The Second Article, highlights what seems to be important progress on the Middle East front as secret talks between high ranking Saudi and Israeli officials or contacts were leaked in the Israeli press. The talks centered around the Saudi Peace initiative endorsed by the 2002 Arab Summit held in Beirut. The wide-reaching initiative calls for Israel's return to its pre-1967 border in return for peace with all Arab countries, simultaneously. Despite receiving significant White House support at the time of its proposal, the initiative failed to generate a response from the Israeli government of the time, headed by Ariel Sharon.
The Third Article, deals with a speech given by Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak's son, on Egypt's desire to 'eventually' build nuclear power facilities. Although the statement has been widely dismissed as crude electioneering for a domestic audience, the article indicates that Egypt could move to secure an agreement with Western countries for the supply and disposal of the nuclear fuel needed to run any future nuclear facilities with little hassle. Such a move would come serve as a counterbalance to the growing Iranian influence spreading over the region.
The BBCNews website is reporting that Turkey also plans to pursue nuclear power facilities. According to the article, Turkey plans on building 3 nuclear power plants by 2015, while Egypt plans on only building one. Read more...
Isreali Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres urged Saudi Arabia, on Thursday, to publicly engage Israel if it wanted to play a wider, political role in the Middle East and if it wanted to advance its 2002 Peace Initiative. Read more...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Monday, September 25, 2006

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Some pics from Hizb_Iran's ceremony

No matter how hard they try to give a Lebanese dressing to their rallies, hizb_Iran always reveals its true colors, that of complete serfdom to a foreign power called Iran.
As, I mentioned in my earlier post concerning the coup plot planned for in October, consider the rally of Friday, September 22 to be the official kickoff. Let's wait and see if they are able to achieve their goal, keeping in mind that the pro-Assad demo of March 8, 2005 was the cause of the March 14 cedar revolution.
This should serve as a wake up call, for all Lebanese wishing to preserve their nation from being turned into an Iranian vassal state.

PS: Pictures decipting Nasrallah are older

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Pheonecia Reborn?

I came across this article in the comment section of another blog and decided to put up the maps given the source (Armed Forces Journal). Don't expect to find anything in depth in the article but some might enjoy it (depending on what side of which border they sit on!).

Here are some quick quotes:

"The boundaries projected in the maps accompanying this article redress the wrongs suffered by the most significant "cheated" population groups, such as the Kurds, Baluch and Arab Shia, but still fail to account adequately for Middle Eastern Christians, Bahais, Ismailis, Naqshbandis and many another numerically lesser minorities. And one haunting wrong can never be redressed with a reward of territory: the genocide perpetrated against the Armenians by the dying
Ottoman Empire."

"A just alignment in the region would leave Iraq's three Sunni-majority provinces as a truncated state that might eventually choose to unify with a Syria that loses its littoral to a Mediterranean-oriented Greater Lebanon: Phoenecia reborn. The Shia south of old Iraq would form the basis of an Arab Shia State rimming much of the Persian Gulf. Jordan would retain its current territory, with some southward expansion at Saudi expense."

"For its part, the unnatural state of Saudi Arabia would suffer as great a dismantling as Pakistan. While non-Muslims could not effect a change in the control of Islam's holy cities, imagine how much healthier the Muslim world might become were Mecca and Medina ruled by a rotating council representative of the world's major Muslim schools and movements in an Islamic Sacred State — a sort of Muslim super-Vatican — where the future of a great faith might be debated rather than merely decreed."

The Lebanese Bargaining Chip

OK, so I hope everyone will be a little patient with me (readers and other contributors alike) as I figure out how I'm going to balance the material being presented on this blog and on my personal political blog. I've decided not to promote Cedar Mountain in the way I do Blacksmiths but that inevitably means that less people read and give feed back on the posts there. Anyway here's the latest...
(Originally published 09/15/2006 on Cedar Mountain.)
The small town of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, became the secret centerstage of the Middle East peace negotiations on January 3rd, 2000 as top Syrian and Israeli diplomats and government officials met there, under the auspices of then American president Bill Clinton, to hammer out a peace treaty between the two nations. Lebanon featured heavily in those negotiations, quotes and complete recount of which (in the words of Bill Clinton) can be found here: Clinton on Syrian-Israeli Negotiations (I recommend you read that post before continuing with this one); in this present post I analyze the importance of the Lebanese Bargaining Chip.

In the context of Shepherdstown, the Lebanon question was an important one for both players. If Israel had secured a deal over the Golan without securing a wider peace with Lebanon, then the Syrians, through their control of Hizballah would have benefited in maintaining one of their negotiating ‘cards’ even after the conclusion of the talks. After the Syrian peace, the Syrians would have intensified, and not quenched, Hizballah’s activity to the point where the only thing Israel and the US could offer Syria in return for snuffing out the fire in south Lebanon would have been Lebanon itself.

This is the major reason, I believe, for Syria’s reticence and Israel’s insistence when it came to including Lebanon in the peace talks. This also goes a long way to explain much of the Syrians’ maneuvering and interference in Lebanon today. For the past 3 years, the Syrians have been actively pursuing the United States to re-open negotiations with Israel but the Israelis have resisted. The ultimate position from which the Syrians have launched their negotiations has basically been: we’ll sign peace over the Golan with Israel under their terms, i.e. Israel would retain control of the shores of Lake Galilee, and in return let us retain Lebanon as our own.

The complete addition of Lebanon to Syria’s ranks is an outcome the Israelis have successfully avoided, through their own destructive actions and policies in Lebanon, for a number of years. In the context of the most recent events, the Israelis, along with the Americans and French, have successfully pushed a policy that has resulted with Syria continuously losing larger and larger segments of its influence in Lebanon. Through the latest conflict the war this summer has resulted in an elevated degree of pressure – both internally and internationally – on Hizballah to disarm, and has resulted in a significant deployment of international troops on Lebanese soil. Taken with the expulsion of Syrian troops from Lebanon in 2005 and the refusal of Israel and the US to engage Syria in any negotiations, these moves are proving to be devastating to the Syrian regime’s foreign policy platforms.

As always these massive fluctuations in regional power and positioning have taken an excruciatingly high toll on the Lebanese, and the road doesn’t look any easier. On top of having to weather the internal political upheaval from these regional changes, it is becoming more and more clear that the only way for Syria to counter these regional shifts is to instigate a level of instability and chaos in Lebanon so that they are once again left as the only ones capable of securing peace in the region. In short, Lebanon would first be devastated by instability and violence, only to then be locked into a slow death under an equally violent and repressive autocratic Syrian regime.

God help Lebanon.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Pictures: Mine and Explosive Ordinance Clearing in Lebanon

I found these pictures on the website of a really great organisation involved in mine clearing activities across the world. The organisation goes by the name of the Mines Advisory Group, is based in the UK, and is a co-laureate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize. Here is their website where you can click to find out more about their activities, ways to help, and possible employment with the group, they also have a larger selection of pictures along with captions and stories to go with them so its definitely worth a visit.
If you're interested in donating to the group's activities in Lebanon, then please check out the link in our Help Lebanon section (sidebar).

Friday, September 15, 2006

Clinton: Syrian-Israeli Peace Negotiations

“On January 3 [2000], I went to Shepherdstown, West Virginia, to open peace talks between Syria and Israel.”
After having finished reading Bill Clinton’s mammoth memoirs I decided to type up the sections related to the intense efforts and peace negotiations between the Israelis and Syrians conducted under the auspices of the Clinton administration. I’ve provided a pdf version of the text here: Syrian-Israeli Peace Negotiations and I recommend that all our readers read it in its entirety (its not that long). I’ve also compiled a series of quotes from the section in this post, along with significant (or so I tell myself) analysis from myself on the Lebanon question on my personal blog: Cedar Mountain.

The Clinton administration’s intense efforts at resolving the Middle East conflict were unparalleled in US history. Although the text provided in my pdf file can be considered to be complete with respect to the Shepherdstown negotiations, there are two factors one should keep in mind while reading the text (and the quotes). The first is the Palestinian peace track, an important and ongoing factor in the entire peace process and throughout the negotiations at Shepherdstown, and perhaps more importantly, the May 25th, 2000 Israeli unilateral withdrawl from south Lebanon. The total relevance of this withdrawl is tackled in my analysis piece based on the pdf text, the link to it is: The Lebanese Bargaining Chip. A majority of the negotiations were held after this withdrawl and its significance should always be maintained when addressing the section 'after June 4'. Anyway I won't blabber anymore, here are the quotes, try to read the entire pdf file, and if you find either incomplete...then read the book!

“Ehud Barak had pressed me hard to hold the talks early in the year… he was prepared to give the Golan Heights back to Syria as long as Israel’s concerns could be satisfied about its early-warning station on the Golan and…the Sea of Galilee”

“Barak had to contend with a very different Israeli electorate from the one Rabin had led. There were many more immigrants, and the Russians in particular were opposed to giving up the Golan… They also considered Syria to be no threat to Israel. They weren’t at peace but were not at war either. If Syria attacked Israel, Israel could win easily. Why give up the Golan?”

“[Barak] soon began to worry about the political consequences of giving up the Golan without having prepared the Israeli public for it. He wanted some cover: the resumption of the Lebanon track to be conducted by the Syrians in consultation with the Lebanese; the announcement by at least one Arab state of an upgrade of relations with Israel; clear security benefits from the United States; and a free-trade zone on the Golan.”

“On the first issue, Assad hedged, saying the Lebanese talks should resume once some headway had been made on the Syrian track.”

“It quickly became apparent that the two sides were not that far apart on the issues. Syria wanted all the Golan back but was willing to leave the Israelis a small strip of land, 10 meters (33 feet) wide, along the border of the lake; Israel wanted a wider strip of land. Syria wanted Israel to withdraw within eighteen months; Barak wanted three years. Israel wanted to stay in the early-warning station; Syria wanted it manned by personnel from the UN or perhaps from the U.S. Israel wanted guarantees on the quality and quantity of water flowing form the Golan into the lake; Syria agreed as long as it got the same guarantees on its water flow from Turkey. Israel wanted full diplomatic relations as soon as withdrawal began; Syria wanted something less until the withdrawal was complete.”

“The Syrians came to Shepherdstown in a positive and flexible frame of mind, eager to make an agreement. By contrast, Barak, who had pushed hard for these talks, decided, apparently on the basis of polling data, that he needed to slow-walk the process for a few days in order to convince the Israeli public that we was being a tough negotiator… I was, to it mildly, disappointed… Barak had not been in politics long, and I though he had gotten some very bad advice. In foreign affairs, polls are often useless; people hire leaders to win for them, and it’s the results that matter”

“…we began meetings on border and security issues. Again, the Syrians showed flexibility… I was encouraged, but it quickly became apparent that Barak still had not authorized anyone on his team to accept June 4, no matter what the Syrians offered... What would it take? Barak said he wanted to resume the Lebanese negotiations… Shara was in no mood to hear this. He said that Shepherdstown was a failure, that Barak was not sincere, and that he would have to say as much to President Assad…the latest bracketed text of our treaty leaked in the Israeli press, showing the concessions that Syria had offered without getting anything in return. Shara was subjected to intense criticism at home…For the time being we were stumped”

“On the way home [from Pakistan]… I flew to Geneva to meet with President Assad…Compared with his stated position at Shepherdstown, Barak was now willing to accept less land around the lake, though he still wanted a lot, 400 meters (1,312 feet); fewer people at the listening station; and a quicker withdrawal period. Assad didn’t want me even to finish the presentation. He became agitated and, contradicting the Syrian position at Shepherdstown, said that he would never cede any of the land, that he wanted to be able to sit on the shore of the lake and put his feet in the water…Barak had made a respectable offer. If it had come at Shepherdstown, an agreement might have emerged. Now, Assad’s first priority was his son’s succession… After we parted in Geneva, I never saw Assad again.”

“In less than four years, I had seen the prospects of peace between Israel and Syria dashed three times: by terror in Israel and Peres’ defeat in 1996, by the Israeli rebuff of Syrian overtures at Shepherdstown, and by Assad’s preoccupation with his own mortality.” [pp 903-904].

More Hizballah Tunnels in the South

Independence '05 originally posted some pix of tunnels in the south. I got these (along with the Indy '05 ones) in an email.

Debunking the Coup Plot: Part II: A Question of Semantics

I would like to draw the attention of our readers to the following issue.
It is preferable from now on to use the term hizb_Iran i.e. the party of Iran when you talk about the so-called hizb_Allah i.e. the party of God.

Two main reason:

First, for a believer in God it is an obvious sacrilege to coin this term when talking about a political party, especially a low-life party like this one, plus it's of the outmost hypocrisy to claim that they have the exclusive right to this naming, which appears in the Quran where it refers to the nation of believers as a whole as opposed to those who don't believe in God.

Second, for a non-believer in God, such a wording is nonsensical, as it conveys a ridiculous sense of unwarranted mystic to a group that claims to be a "resistance movement" while in really it is nothing more than a militia that has formed a state within the Lebanese state in order to promote the interests and the agenda of the regime in Tehran.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation

Thursday, September 14, 2006

So Who Are You Fighting For?

This picture was taken during Hizballah demonstrations against Blair a few days ago. I'll stay on the lookout if any British or American flags show up in any protests...but I doubt any will.

Source: AP/Mahmoud Tawil

Absolut Dahyeh?

More like Absolut Photoshop!
Absolut is, however, showcasing a new ad series that can be viewed on Cold Desert.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Blair's visit to Beirut

Well, the British PM's visit has caused a lot of noise in Beirut.
Understandably so. This man's visit came to soon after the war, the wounds still have to heal.
After all, this is the man who condoned the way Israel was conducting its bombing campaign of Lebanon.
The campaign which targeted a lot of infrastructure, factories, fisheries, power plants and killed over a 1000 innocent civilians.
Furthermore, since it seems that Blair will not survive another year as Prime Minister, Sinora should have politely told Blair that this visit would be of ill timing and avoided this whole controversy.

Blair's personal quest of improving his tarnished image at home and in the world, by visiting the Middle East and pretending to understand the situation on the ground, should not have been supported by our government.
If his own people want him to step down, partly because of his master-lackey relationship with Bush, why should we treat him any differently at this point in time?

Video: Nasrallah's Complicity in the Death of Hundreds

All throughout the 'July War' the Lebanese have stood together and condemned the Israeli attacks on civilian targets in Lebanon, but we will not allow Nasrallah to erase our collective memories! Especially not with the blood of those killed by this unwanted war of his fabrication!

Israel's guilt before the world is clear to see, but so is Nasrallah's!

Quick Message to Readers: We're Changing Frequencies!!!

Hey Everyone,
First of all I'd like to apologize for the unannounced hiatus we (the contributors) took from posting at the blog. As our popularity has grown, and as the pressures of returning to school or embarking on a new career have sprung with the arival of the Fall, we have taken the time to reconsider the organisation of the blog. The major point of this reorganisation is that we will (in general) be decreasing the frequency of posts from daily, to something a little lighter.
I'd like to thank all our regular readers who have been visiting the site and contributing to our posts through both private and public comments. Your interest in our attempts to reflect the sometimes disparant thoughts and opinions coming out a country as politically diverse as Lebanon has really encouraged us keep on engaging Lebanese of all philosphies and creeds on how to make our country a prosperous one for generations to come.

Hizbullah Pours Scorn on March 14 Forces

He said: "If you want, through the language of dialogue or negotiations to negotiate with anyone about these arms then I will tell you who to bargain with ... only with the shoes of the children of Qana."

get story:

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Video: LBCI Movie Featuring Ron Arad (Trailer)

Israeli online news service provider, has put up a video of the promotional trailer to the highly anticipated LBCI programme "Great Swap".
The programme, due to air this week, features never-before-seen footage of missing Israeli airman Ron Arad, who's plane crashed over Lebanese territory in 1986 while on a bombing run.

Sources close to the television station claim the images on the programme date from 1988, two years after Arad was captured by pro-Syrian Shiite militants from the Amal movement. The video also features Arad talking in Hebrew for over a minute.
"He's speaking Hebrew, and I think this is authentic material," said Israeli television producer Naftali Glicksberg, who participated in the LBCI production. "This doesn't just look like him, this is a sound track of an [Israeli] speaking - this sounds like Ron Arad. I believe this is indeed him", said Glicksberg on Israeli Army radio.
Meanwhile, members of Arad's family have expressed their belief that the footage is indeed genuine.
Much mystery surrounds the case of the missing airman with several diverging accounts of his aircraft's downing, his capture, his health, and his whereabouts circulating throughout regional media outlets.

Israeli daily, Ha'aretz gives the following recount of events:

"Ron Arad was captured in October of 1986 by the Amal organization, headed by Nabih Beri, today chairman of the Lebanese parliament. His Phantom jet was on an offensive mission against a terrorist tent-encampment in south Lebanon. During the attack, a bomb Arad released from the jet exploded and hit the jet following technical fault.

Arad and pilot Lieutenant Colonel Ishay parachuted and reached the ground safely. The navigator was apparently injured during the descent and the wind carried his parachute towards Amal troops.

The pilot was extracted by a Cobra helicopter sent in search of the two. Israel negotiated for a year and a half with representatives of Nabih Beri through Ori Lobrani, the operations coordinator for the Israeli government in Lebanon. Lobrani even met with Beri at the time in a secret London meeting.During the negotiations, Israel received a picture of Arad, as well as letters and regards through Red Cross representatives.

Beri had demanded the release of terrorists from Israel in exchange for returning the navigator, but Yizhak Rabin, the defense minister at the time, backed by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, believed the price to be too high and that a better deal could be made."

Following the breakdown in talks, Mustafa Dirani, a member of the Amal security service, was widely believed to have transferred Arad to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard - or to parties close to the guard - which held the airman in the Bekaa Valley. Dirani is belived to have given Arad up in exchange for money. Dirani, who was kidnapped by Israeli commandos in 1994, was later released to Lebanese authorities on January 25, 2004, in a waidespanning German-mediated prisoner swap. Dirani, 22 other Lebanese prisoners and approximately 400 Palestinian prisoners were exchanged for the bodies fo three Israeli soldiers (killed in a commando raid on Lebanese territory) and a retired Israeli colonel abducted by the Shiite resistance group, Hizballah.

Breaking News: Assassination Attempt Rocks Lebanon

Naharnet (and others) reported today the attempted assassination of a top Internal Security intelligence officer, heavily involved in the investigation surrounding the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

While the officer in question, Lt. Col. Samir Shehade, escaped with only minor injuries, a number of his aides were killed in the attack.

The attack took place near the city of Sidon and consisted of a roadside bomb being detonated as the officer's convoy passed. Security officials admitted that the officer had received numerous death threats related to his work on the Hariri case. According to statements made by Interior Minister Ahmad Fatfat, the death of the body guards and aides in the first 'decoy' vehicle indicated that they had been expecting some sort of attack and had taken the necessary security measures.

Shehade was also involved in the arrest of four pro-Syrian Lebanese generals last August, among them his former boss, former Internal Security cheif, Brig. Gen. Ali Hajj.

Debunking the Coup Plot, Part I: A Tea Party from the Past

Hello, I was surfing the net and I saw this picture, actually it did not shock me because I knew already the story of this ex-general, but I am a bit surprised by the clarity of his "yellow" smile :)

So here it goes, ex-general Michel Aoun recently came on TV to condemn the interior minister of Lebanon Ahmad Fatfat, falsely accusing him of mishandling the incident of the marjayoun tea party and its subsequent investigation. Claiming that, even if 10 years had passed, the investigation remains ongoing from a judicial point of view...

However, during his angry and loud TV intervention, he forgot to condemn the following behavior that you see in this picture depicting him smiling, while his fellow comrades are shaking hands with the Israeli general who supervised the siege of Beirut during the long summer of 1982. A siege and a campaign that resulted in the death of 25000 innocent Lebanese civilians over a period of 4 months (25 times the number of casualties of the current war).

Now, one may point out to similar pictures depicting other Lebanese politicians from the war era engaged in similar "tea partying" behavior... etc...I think the same critique applies to them too, but as the Lebanese popular saying goes: "yalleh bayto min izez, ma birchou2 ghayro bil hajar..." Meaning that if you want to accuse others of misdeeds, look at yourself and check first if those accusations don’t apply to you as well... you be the judge.

Click on this link to get the story:

Monday, September 04, 2006

New Johnny Walker Ads

Thanks to my friend Chafic who got me 'official' copies of these ads from the advertising company putting them out!

Video: Gebran Tueni's Message to a New Lebanon

After the dust settles from this latest conflict, all the Lebanese will have to go back to the difficult task of nation building. It is this message that all Lebanese should remember when they embark on their new task. Whoever you choose to support, make sure its for the right reasons!
"In the name of God
We, Muslims and Christians,
Pledge that united we shall remain
To the end of time
To better defend our Lebanon"
Gebran Tueni March 14, 2005 Martyrs' Square

(courtesy of

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Urgent, Urgent, A coup plot is being cooked

Urgent Call please spread the news

Arab officials have acquired confirmed intelligence on a possible Coup d’Etat attempt that will take place by the end of the month of Ramadan in October. The Syrian regime will try hard to push Hizbullah and general Aoun to cause chaos and violence on the streets of Beirut to try to force the government to resign so that Lebanon is plunged into anarchy* and that the Syrian leaders escape the bitter taste of prosecution pertaining to the international tribunal into who plotted, conspired and executed the assassination of ex-PM Hariri.

The coup campaign started this week, and will continue to reach it’s (wished for) pinnacle in October. I believe people should be aware and the news must be spread in order to debunk it from its get-go…

*There are ominous signs of openly armed manifestations in various areas under hizb-Iran control in the suburbs of Beirut and in the Beqaa valley.


Arabic Sources:
Future TV editorial (sept 2, 2006)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Aid and Destruction in Numbers

Here are a bunch of numbers and figures concerning the war in Lebanon and Resolution 1701. The BBCNews website was my primary source, but also used some supplemental articles from other news sites.

Military Aid to UNIFIL

· Italy: 3000 troops (also includes air, naval assets)
· France: 2000 troops
· Bangladesh: 2000 troops (2 battalions)
· Spain: 1000 troops (1 mechanized battalion)
· Germany: 1000 maritime troops (plus several surveillance warships)
· Indonesia: 1000 troops (1 battalion + engineering company)
· Malaysia: 1000 troops (1 battalion)
· Poland: 500 troops
· Belgium: 400 troops
· Finland: 250 troops
· Norway 100 soldiers
· Greece: Frigate, Helicopter, Special Forces (also, landing craft and support staff)
· Denmark: 2 warships (at least)
· Nepal: 1 battalion

Financial Aid to Lebanon

· Qatar: $ 300 million
· US: $ 234 million
· Arab Fund: $ 112 million
· Saudi Arabia: $ 60 million
· EU: $ 54 million
· UAE: $ 50 million
· Italy: $ 38 million
· Spain: $ 34 million
· Canada: $ 28 million
· Sweden: $ 20 million
· Netherlands: $ 7.7 million
· Belgium: $ 7 million
· Japan: $ 5 million

Here is an estimate of the impact of the crisis on Lebanon and Israel up to 14 August, 2006 (unless otherwise stated).

116 soldiers (Israeli Defence Force)
43 civilians (Israeli police)

Total: 1,109 (Lebanese government)
28 Lebanese soldiers (not in conflict with Israelis) (Agence France Presse, 6 August)
Hezbollah - there are no reliable figures Israeli military estimate more than 530 Hezbollah and fellow Shia militant group Amal say 55 fighters have been killed (Agence France Presse, 5 August)

Serious - 32
Moderate - 44
Light - 614
Treated for shock - 1,985 (Israeli police)

3,697 (Lebanese government)

500,000 approx (50% of population in the north of Israel) (Human Rights Watch)

915,762 (approx 25% of Lebanese population) (Lebanese government)

More than 300 buildings, including houses and factories. (Israeli police)

15,000 houses/apartments
900 factories, markets, farms and other commercial buildings
32 airports, ports, water- and sewage-treatment plants, dams and electrical plants
25 fuel stations
78 bridges
630km of roads (Lebanese government)
Environment - It is estimated that the initial clean up of a huge oil spill caused by the Israeli bombing of a power plant will cost $64m (£34m) (UN)

3,699 Hezbollah rockets have landed in Israel (Israeli police)

7,000 air strike targets hit (Israeli military)

70% of businesses closed in northern Israel (Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce)
Tourism - expected to reach NIS 1bn ($230m) (Governor, Bank of Israel)
Total cost of war (includes military spending and lost GDP) - up to NIS 23bn ($4.8bn) (Israeli Ministry of Finance, Haaretz newspaper 13 August)
Direct and indirect damage - NIS 5 billion (US$1.1bn) (Israeli Ministry of Finance, Haaretz newspaper 13 August)

Repairs to buildings and infrastructure and rebuilding expected to reach $4bn (Lebanese government)
Tourism - Lebanon's tourist industry has been decimated. Tourist is estimated to earn Lebanon $2.5bn (£1.3bn) (Lebanese government)


Video: Beirut 1966-2006

Note: This movie should not be taken to be a historically accurate recount of Lebanon's history. It is meant to be viewed in an entertaining capacity.
I originally received this video by email during the July war and decided to put it on the backburner. Now that things have cooled a little I've put it up.

I found it to be entertaining, and not very enlightening. Apart from a few introductory words at the beginning of each 'era' there is nothing else in terms of putting the images in context. But fear not! We have a self-proclaimed historical expert in our midsts and I'm sure our most gracious of contributors, Debate, would be more than happy to answer anyone's questions with regards to the historical events highlighted in this video.

I was a bit disappointed to find that it ended right before the start of this most recent war but that is not the fault of the producer of the film as it was released on July 7th.

Some scenes were taken from movie "West Beirut", specifically the bus scene (depicting the ambush of a bus carrying Palestinians in Beirut by Phalangist militia men – the events surrounding that ambush, along with the ambush itself, are widely accredited with igniting the civil war in Lebanon). The second scene to be taken from that movie was the checkpoint scene in which a resident of the city is informed that it has been split in two – East Beirut: controlled by (Right-Wing) Christian Militias; and West Beirut: controlled by Leftist, Druze, and Muslim militias.

The movie contains some really nice footage. There is a scene of an aerial dogfight that took place over Lebanese skies between Syrian and Israeli fighter jets. One of them didn’t make it, its not clear who.

There is also a scene with Sharon leading the 1982 invasion, standing at Beaufort castle looking over the landscape and basically seeing exactly the same terrain as we have featured in our ‘My Beautiful South’ section which Kronos has been kind enough to provide.
The Lebanese poet highlighted in the video is Saiid Akl. Now I'm not much of an Arabic poetry buff (major understatement) but what I know about this guy is that most people from my generation make fun of him. Luckily for our readers, however, you don't have to rely on me in this area of expertise as we have our very own in-house poet, Attractor, who might be able to tell us more about Saiid Akl...if anybody cares.

Alright enough out of me, I hope you enjoyed the movie.
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