Sunday, June 10, 2007

Breaking News: Attack in Tripoli

An explosion accompanied with gunfire has been reported in Tripoli, along the coast, possibly against an Army checkpoint there.

Details have emerged revealing that a hand grenade was thrown from a car which refused to stop at an Army checkpoint in the city. Lebanese Army soldiers fired on the car and apprehended at least one culprit.

Clarification and details of the incident.

Thanks to everyone for your dedicated readership. Starting last Friday the website has been on a reduced updating frequency as the team here at Blacksmiths of Lebanon goes on vacation.

For updates and analysis we recommend you refer to our Lebanese Blogosphere Feed in the sidebar.

Most notably, Anton and Abu Kais report on the arrest of two brothers with intimate ties to Syrian intelligence agencies and who, it has been revealed, facilitated and orchestrated both the fighting in Nahr el Bared and the bombings across the country.


  1. Thanks for the updates and the hard work, enjoy your vacation!

  2. Jimmy4:36 PM

    Have a nice vacation, come back soon!

  3. Anonymous4:53 PM

    Since you are an avid reader of the NY Times, tell us your feedback on this story?

  4. I thought the season finale of the Sopranos was fantastic!

    (It was featured in the header of the link you sent me) ;)

    But all joking aside, this isn't the first report of its nature. I remember watching a CNN special on the same topic, the funding and support of Iraqi Sunni tribal groups across villages in the "Sunni Triangle" to counter Al Qaeda elements that are, for a large part, 'foreign'(as in, using fighters and leaders brought in from outside Iraq, many through Syria...but other places as well).

    But to understand the dynamic of this funding you have to understand that the Sunni insurgency in Iraq is made up of a number of elements.

    First there are the Baathists or secular Sunnis, who enjoyed a significant amount of power and importance in the country (even at low ranks in the police or army) before the US invasion, subsequent disbanding of the Army, and imposition of de facto Shiite rule in the country.

    Then there are the religious (extremist) Sunni groups, that are homegrown in Iraq and who share a view of the US invasion as having precipitated a rise of Shiite power in the country, to their demise, and which they oppose from a religious standpoint as well as a political one (which they share with the Baathists).

    Finally there is the imported Al Qaeda element, which differs from the above in that it is imported and operates on a global level, not an Iraqi level (unlike the above which comprises groups like Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia).

    The funding that is being talked about in this article deals with the first two.

    Now I highlight these differences because I think you are trying to draw a parallel between the events recounted in this article and events in Lebanon. Such a conclusion would be incredibly naiive, and betrays a total misunderstanding of the political situation on the ground in each country.

    I also think you are trying to nurture a throwback to Seymour Hersh's piece, which I believe was accurate enough on the broader Middle East while completely missing the point in Lebanon. A number of reporters, bloggers, and analysts have already highlighted exactly how Seymour Hersh bungled the Lebanon angle of his report (e.g. all his sources had intimate ties to Hizballah and the Syrian regime and/or its cronies in Lebanon).

    But you wanted to know about Iraq so we'll talk about Iraq...even though this blog has nothing to do with Iraq.

    I don't think the plan is all that terrible (this from a person who is totally unaffected by the fighting in Iraq), and it should be viewed within the context of a wider Saudi sponsored initiative to allow the Sunnis a greater share of the post-war Iraq the Americans have doled out (and over which they continue to have less and less influence).

    In addition to arming Sunni groups who would renounce allegiances to the global (imported) Al Qaeda, there will be moves to alott to those Sunnis greater constitutional powers, perhaps in the form of a re-writing or amendment of the Iraqi constitution.

    This element, reported on in the artile you linked to, is part of this greater strategy which also embodies the "Surge" in US forces in the country, and the crack down on radical Shiite elements, such as Moqtada Sadr, and increased pressure on the Shiite government in Iraq to tow the American line.

    The truth of the matter is that the handling of the US occupation of Iraq was a complete disaster, both on the military level (not enough troops) and the political one (disbanding of Iraqi Army, dismantling of the entire bureaucray on the basis of de-Baathification, the reliance on less than reliable elements within the ex-pat Iraqi political groups to build up a political infrastructure to replace the one dismantled, and an ignorance of sectarian dynamics within the country which has led to a boiling over of bad blood, and the feeling of complete disenfranchisement among Sunnis).

    Lebanon today, despite feelings to the contrary by many people in the contrary, is very far from the level of inter-communal violence being witnessed in Iraq.

    While we are suffering from a form of political paralysis, the causes of that paralysis are not sectarian tensions but a conflict between a number of groups:

    Some of whom have seen that it is in their interest to ally with the Syrian regime; some who find it is in their interests to work against those Syrian interests; some who view this as primarily a fight for Lebanon's sovereignty and in opposition of Syria's interests and attempted hegemony over the country; some who adhere to an Iranian agenda; and finally some who think the world would be a fantastic place if they were President.

    It is up to each Lebanese to choose where we wants to stand.

  5. Interesting as always BJ.
    Thanks for your input.

  6. Anonymous3:02 PM

    Syria has sent in more fighters to Nahr el Bared and Aoun and Hizballah are providing political cover for them.

    We are at war and half the country is with the other side.

    Fucking Traitors and collaborators!!

  7. Language please...

    ...and yes they are traitors and collaborators.


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