Monday, December 11, 2006

The Fear of US Hegemony

The threat of a complete alignment of Lebanese interests along a purely American agenda, has been one of the most moving and passionate media weapons used by the pro-Syrian opposition in Lebanon. These claims have sought to play on the passions of thousands deeply affected by the recent July war, and dangerously misinformed about its roots and causes. But for the more rational observers, and perhaps supporters of the opposition, these calls have centered around two issues, Lebanon’s relationship with Syria, and the disarming of the resistance. In each case, however, the government has acted in a manner that has reinforced national integrity and sovereignty in the face of regional and international pressures.

Perhaps the most notable misrepresentations of the government’s stances have been centered on the arms of the resistance, and the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559. A resolution strongly supported, and heavily lobbied for, by the only member of the opposition currently giving the Hizballah-led opposition a significant degree of sectarian and political cover, Michel Aoun. This incredibly contradictory position within the ranks of the pro-Syrian opposition stands in stark contrast to the unwavering commitment to Lebanon’s defense with which the government has sought to approach the issue. At every instance the government has sought to find an agreement with Hizballah on how to disarm, while strengthening Lebanon’s defensive capabilities. At every instance, this government has defended Hizballah, and has granted them political cover in the international scene. It has done this out of national duty, and in the face of Hizballah’s abandonment of the National Dialogue talks on disarming and a comprehensive defense strategy. Perhaps most importantly, the government has done this even in the face of the devastating war started by Hizballah at the behest of regional powers whose hegemony has been experienced first hand by the Lebanese.

The other issue on which the pro-Syrian opposition has sought to attract sympathizers has been that the actions and overall attitude taken by the government towards Syria will have a devastating effect on the relationship between the two countries. Much of their concern has been based on a fear that only negative consequences can come out of this government’s perceived support of what will inevitably be a failed US agenda for the Middle East.

Lebanon and Syria have a symbiotic relationship and we will have to work together in the future in order to develop and prosper. But we can never forget, in these strained times, that it is the current Syrian regime that is the aggressor and not us. For everything coming out of Lebanon now is a reaction to more than 20 years assassinations, bombings, kidnappings, rapes, beatings, and humiliations that a majority of the country had to endure. Today, the impetus is on Syria to extend its hand of friendship to the Lebanese, not through pretty words but with real gestures. These could include a commitment to a joint review of the status of the Shebaa Farms, and the establishment of a proper diplomatic relationship respective of Lebanon’s sovereignty. Of course, the settling of these issues could not be characterized as a comprehensive solution to the Syrian-Lebanese crisis as it stands today, but it would signify an important step forward aimed at building a new relationship between the countries. A relationship based on trust and the respect of each country’s sovereignty.


  1. Anonymous4:33 PM

    great post, and the pics in the previous post were good too. since lebanon's independence more than 50 years ago, syria still does not recognize lebanon as an independent country, so perhaps that would be a good place to start. RECOGNITION. once they let go of their pipe dream of lebanon becoming part of syria once again, then we can move forward.

  2. manuk7:08 PM

    It is the Future Movement and March 14 who is the aggressor, they want to put american policy through the tribunal and dro the regime in Syria! So Syria is under attack!

  3. Anonymous10:19 PM

    Good post overall. Manuk is an idiot. I was wondering if many March 14 supporters are in favor of a change of government in Syria.

  4. Anonymous10:53 PM

    manuk...your name says it all. and perhaps you might want to tell me where do you hear any of the march 14 politicians saying anything about the syrian murderous regime be overthrown. unlike bashar, who consistently attacks the lebanese govt and refers to them as traitors (this coming from somebody who secretly talks to israel ) and perhaps you can tell me why thousands of syrians came across the boarder to participate in a demonstration that has nothing to do with the syrian govt, rather against a LEBANESE GOVT..

  5. Anonymous12:55 AM

    HI i am from Australia and regularly read the posts on Global Voices, and am amazed at how many passionate people their are, no disrespect meant, it is hard for a lot of people to understand the complexity of the middle east as your culture is so much older than most western culture, some times when you see things on the telly where a majority of people get there news and propaganda from they don't get all the back ground, like the latest demonstration against your government, by pro-Hizballah, they don't get how it isn't straight forward, how a lot of these people marching are not even from Lebanon, and how other countries are manipulating things. I suppose what makes some things harder for western people is how much religion plays in your daily life, even thou a lot of people are religious it isn't the main driver in their life's, the middle east is the most important environment on the planet at the moment and we all need to be understanding off issues that are effecting others and stopping people from living in peace to bring up their children in what ever religion one believes in.

  6. A western view.1:03 AM

    Well i say all lebanese are idiots. You people couldn't build a modern country if you were the only populated piece of land left in the world, isolated from everything else in this universe.

    The pro government, mostly poor Shiites, long oppressed and looked down on by their fellow Lebanese don't know any better than following a warmonger like Nasrallah. And instead of reaching out to them and maybe teaching them a thing or two, people on the other side just keep the insults coming and magnify them. Talk about giving the other side an inferiority complex.
    You Lebanese have a problem of thinking you're better than anyone who doesn't share your unique view.
    People you have to live together!!
    Furthermore, now suddenly all the sunni are anti-syrian after all those years of licking assad's ass?
    You wan't a clean, modern country with people like Geagea & Jumblatt having a say, both infamous war criminals?
    Have Saad Hariri lead the country, an illiterate spoilt kid with no political experience?

    Do you just follow your leaders blindly? Are you that dumb? Really?
    And you want a modern country?
    So for the sake of reason I call on both sides to grow up and abandon their alleigances before it is too late. Sick....

  7. A midwestern view4:56 AM

    I am very worried about how the Future Sunnis have been beating up pro-opposition Sunnis and burning their cars and trashing their windows. Is this how they think a civilized state will be built? They are by no means better than the Hizballah guys who went to demonstrate after Nasrallah was mocked by that Tv show (forgot its name).

  8. Arab Coffee Pot5:59 AM

    Haha, funny comment 'a western view'. Although I have to say you yourself sound distinctly Lebanese!!

  9. Anonymous6:53 AM

    Not only Lebanese but a silly Aounist playing an old broken orange record, bla bla bla

    go get the recycled views elsewhere, maybe on the orange site.

  10. Anonymous5:51 PM

    So now you're talking about a "simboitic relationship" with Syria and want to "work together in order to develop and prosper"!
    Do you think the common syrian will forget what you did to the poor workers that were killed simply because they were syrians?
    Do you think that this common syrian wants you (the lebanese)or a stupid american administration to change Syria's regime ? I'm sure not.

  11. Why are you "sure not"? To me that answer isn't so obvious.

    The whole 30 poor workers thing, yes it was sad, but we still have HUNDREDS of prisoners in Syria. Innocent men and women who did nothing more than verbally criticize an occupying force, or not stop at an illegal checkpoint, or refuse to allow these forces to take their homes away. For these hundreds there are thousands who were killed, tortured, or humiliated who are still in Lebanon. And for these thousands there are hundreds of thousands in Syria who have faced the same thing under this regime. And for these hundreds of thousands there are millions who live their lives in a state of fear of the security and moukhabarat regime that permeats every aspect of life in Syria.

    So no its not obvious to me that they wouldn't want change, and if there is any forgiving to be done, the lion's share will come from the Lebanese people's hearts.

    And it will come, you can be sure of that!

  12. A western view6:26 PM

    My mother is Lebanese and my father is British. Due to the laws of your "modern" country I am unable to obtain the Lebanese passport. And, oh wait, the only person who has spoken in favor of changing the law is Aoun.
    Furthermore, Hariri had the chance to legalize civil marriage but he didn't Aoun. Again, Aoun is in favor. So maybe Aoun's orangeness is a good thing.
    You think feudal, religious warlords like Jumblatt or Geagea would be in favor of something like that? I doubt it.

  13. The "common syrian" is against the Assad regime just as much as we are, if not more. It is the baathists that are afraid of the syrian people's wrath, not the Lebanese govt.

  14. Anonymous6:42 PM

    Nick habibi, go to Syria and see it by yourself. Otherwise stop talking about "simbiotic relation" and "work together" and stop your idiot propaganda. A month ago you were eager to spit on everything syrian.

  15. Anonymous, both Nick and I have been to Syria, and we both have Syrian friends. Why don't you want us to talk about working together with the Syrians? Why is that idiot propaganda? Cause it might actually be good for the country? I advise you to have something constructive to write in your reply.

  16. Anonymous7:18 PM

    From were I am, I can see the huge amount of "forgiveness" (!!!) that the Lebanese have in their heart towards Syria and Syrians in global. Take your reply about syrian workers "the 30 (!!) poor workers thing" it's not a thing habibi, it's human being killed because they were syrians. If your problem is the syrian regime and only the syrian regime, you should, at least, have had some compassion. So isn't what you're saying stupid propaganda ? Is that constructive enough?

  17. By thing I was referring to your argument. And no its not stupid propaganda. Its propaganda when you want to highlight these murders as being more significant compared to 20,000 murdered at the hands of this regime in Hama, or as I stated, the suffering that millions have had to endure at the hands of this regime. Thats the point you should understand, and thats where constructive criticism should start, not by insulting a desire to change the hate that is a direct result of the actions of the Syrian regime currently in place.

  18. Arabic Coffee Pot8:04 PM

    a western view: I don't know why you're bringing that up. Is your point that Lebanon has some antiquated laws? Well almost every country in the world does, not least of which is Britain.

  19. Janzir8:36 PM

    Anonymous wants to throw everything this regime did in Syria and Lebanon under the carpet. He wants to limit our memory not just in time but in events too!! Good for you anonymous for using the baathist book on crowd control, deny theres a problem and blame it on Israel...that should be coming soon right anonymous?

  20. Anonymous10:23 PM

    Janzir Habibi (lots of Habibis today!),
    If it wasn't the syrians, it would have been any other "regime" or even yourselves the Lebanese.
    May I unlimit your memory and remind you that you spent a certain time killing each others and the funniest is that Geagea, Jumblat, the Gemayels and even little boy Hariri are now talking Democracy and Lebanon construction!
    Actually, I'm not concerned by your country's affairs even though talking about it highlights lots of incoherence in what your nowadays government is saying, but it's your country not mine blacksmith it as you may desire. My point is that I'm fed up with you pointing your fingers to syria with the most incoherent accusations simply to replay what you have been told to say and to explain your incapacity to rule your country. Go see your country's real problems, solve them and leave Syria alone the Syrians do not need you nor your masters.
    May I unlimit your memory again and remind you that you asked the syrians to come and then the UN asked them to stay. Everyone knew what was going on in Lebanon and no one said anything during the whole 90's because they knew you were using the syrians to settle your internal comunitarian problems.
    By the way, it's funny that the Israelis kept bombing you during a month but, even though, it's Syria that is your enemy. I can't find the logic in you criticizing the syrians and going to Syria for shelter.

  21. Janzir10:57 PM

    Anonymous you should learn some history before trying to dictate it, but here again we see your use of the Baathist manual. Syria's dirty dirty involvement in Lebanon's war, even in the igniting of the war is very well known and I won't waste my time on a hate-mongerer like you. Its good to see you did succumb to using Israel as a convenient distraction from your Baathist atrocities. Don't worry, both Israel and the Baathists of Syria r Lebanon's enemies. Happy?

    Now go back to your beloved regime while the rest of your people suffer. It would appear you are one of those made rich and powerful by the Baathist corruption. Enjoy it while it lasts!

  22. kalach11:01 PM

    Mr. organist retard go take your orange propaganda elsewhere, you are insulting the intelligence of our readers by defending the cause of mentally retarded general war criminal whose only obsession is to become Brezident even over a banana republic

  23. Anonymous11:20 PM

    Can't you find anything else but meaningless accusations and stupid excuses?

  24. I think everyone is drifting off a bit here. Try to keep comments on-topic please.

  25. Janzir11:54 PM

    I apologize if I went off-topic. But when faced with arrogant stupidity, I sometimes lose my cool! The topic of this post, BSJ seems to me to be that you think:
    "the impetus is on Syria to extend its hand of friendship"

    Our friend anonymous didn't seem to think so.

  26. Anonymous12:11 AM

    "the impetus is on Syria to extend its hand of friendship"!!
    Wahhaaa Janzir!! talking about arrogant stupidity?
    Why should they ? after all you have done and said ?

  27. anonymous, habib albeh, all that we're seeing in lebanon today is an attempt by iran to pull syria's leadership out of the hole it dug itself by killing hariri. it won't work, but their dogs in lebanon are trying. assad and syrian sheep like urself should be grateful, and should expect to repay iran soon. if syria thinks it can play iran for now, and then ditch it when the time is right they're seriously mistaken. so if i were u, i'd catch up on my farsi cause u're gonna have a lot of persian ass to kiss.

  28. Janzir5:35 PM

    Anonymous you worthless coward haven't you understood anything? After all that we've done and said? You imbecile look at what your country has done to us for 30 years!! Khallas roo7 fik 3an .... inta wa baladak el ....

    I'm out!

  29. Anonymous10:24 PM

    So you see Jade, my point is that your problem is not with Syria's regime but the whole country (reference made to Janzir's last post).
    Let me clarify my position: I came to certitude that the Lebanese hate the Syrians (and not only the Regime) after dealing with some Lebanese and two visits to Lebanon. Of course, no one can blame you on this, but what makes me mad is when I read or hear about the so called "symbiotic relation" between the two countries.
    I'm fed up with all this bullshit and with March 14 clowns advising Syrian people and reiterating that they like their Syrian brothers but they want this bad bad bad regime to be overthrown. They do not even have the legitimacy to talk about democracy and country prosperity, I'm not talking about their positions in Lebanon, this doesn’t concern me nor interests me, I'm talking about how they "advise" the Syrians. Every Syrian knows that this is propaganda dictated by the Masters and only receives it with disgust of this pathetic "role playing" performed persons who detest them.
    I think it's time to be objective, the neighbors don't like others, but this doesn't mean that they can't live as neighbors and simply as neighbors.
    Regarding all the atrocity that you say the Syrians have made in your country, well let's be constructive by not falling in the useless accusation trap and the pathetic exchange of insults, a UN nominated judge is conducting investigations and a court will judge whoever is responsible of these crimes. But, please, stop advising and serving us the "cousin populations" couplet, we're done. We know our problems and we know how to deal with them.

  30. Oh excuse me Anonymous I didn't realize you'd been to Lebanon twice now already. And here we are wasting your vast knowledge and expertise on my bedeviled country and its peoples in a silly comments section.

    Look, your hate for Lebanese people and Janzir's (referenced) hate are personal issues. Good for the both of you. As someone who knows more than a few Lebanese and Syrian people, and as someone who not only has lived in Lebanon but has studied and observed both the under-the-table and the over-the-table dealings between the countries first hand, I can tell you that you can't disregard the connections between the two countries.

    The truth of the matter is that you and I could argue for hours, days, weeks, and months on end and it still wouldn't make a difference. No matter what, you can't deny Syria's involvement in Lebanon over the past 30 years. You can't deny that this regime of yours is meddling in our affairs to this day: witness their latest signal - embodied by a declaration of a possible resolution to the crisis coming out of Damascus. That is, to break it down for you, they said ok, we'll solve a crisis that their allies cooked up in the first place. That is the problem, that has been the problem for decades, and that will continue to be the problem unless we build decent, respectable national institutions capable of conducting the relationship between the two countries in a manner respectful of each's sovereignty.

  31. Anonymous12:13 AM

    Excuses accepted...but don't do it again, huh habibi ?

    It really smells like teen spirit...

  32. Anonymous12:45 AM

    My name is Willy,
    I am so silly,
    I am writing from Paris (say it in French so it rhymes)

    Anger Management song!!

    ...It really smells like the General's oranges!

  33. anonymous, let's pretend u're syrian (2owmeh 3owneh is close enough)
    ur little comments have been veiled cries for help from the beginning. you have been raised on a regime that isn't afraid to torture and kill syrians brave enough to criticise it. good boys like you are safe, just as long as you do what you're told and keep your mouth shut. i don't have to elaborate, you know exactly what i'm talking about. so before coming to these blogs to lecture your neighbours, remember the people being beaten, tortured and killed in prisons all over syria.

  34. The principles of the Alawite Regime in Syria:

    No Principle (when the situation requires)
    1-Create the fire then sell the water
    2-Defeat is victory
    3-Always negotiate on the verge of the abyss
    4-There are no 'burned' cards
    5-The regime never fights, others fight for it
    6-Survival is revival

    Anonymous read principle number 5 and think carefully because it applies to persons like you...

  35. Now I have seriously no idea whats going on! I think its time we ask Anonymous (or Willy?) To take it easy with the smelling? Weird!


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