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Daily Roundup from Willard Payne (Night Watch Information Service
Thursday, 22 November 2007 21:35
by Willard Payne
Beirut (Deserted Tent City) - The Reuters photo of the deserted tent city in downtown Beirut is symbolic of the last peaceful attempt to create a broader based government in Lebanon. The demonstrations, led by Hezbollah, began a year ago with the intention of reducing the influence of France and the West in Lebanon’s government. That would be an acknowledgement of the increased popularity of not only Hezbollah but also of nationalist political parties both religious and secular including Christian nationalists who used to identify with France. Hezbollah’s support increased, including in Lebanon’s army units in the south, during last year’s war against Israel and Lebanese nationalists, across the political spectrum, reduced their allegiance to France since Paris keeps insisting the country owes France an enormous amount of debt due to Lebanon’s civil war from 1975-90. Most Lebanese are aware it was Maronite militias controlled by Paris that started the war in 1975 and they also know it was France which established Lebanon in 1920. So now most Lebanese are refusing to pay for something the French created. The maniacal possessiveness of the French establishment is one of the primary reasons any negotiated settlement is impossible. It is that possessive state of mind which set the stage for these crises and civil wars.
Lebanese Parliament - Another civil war has come closer since late Tuesday Nabih Berry, the Speaker of Parliament and member of the opposition, postponed the Parliament session to elect a new President until Friday. The current President Emile Lahoud is also a member of the opposition and is therefore working with Teheran-Damascus. His term ends Friday and under the constitution that would mean Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, still allied to France, would serve as interim President, but Lahoud has stated publicly he would not support it. Lebanon Today/AP are reporting since Berry’s announcement the Army and Police are sending reinforcements to the capital in the event violence erupts Friday with no agreement. Army units in the north, including army commander General Michel Sulieman have supported Teheran-Damascus as a result of the fighting that erupted May 20 at the Palestinian refugee camp-city Nahr al-Bared just outside Tripoli near the Syrian border. When the fighting against the suicide unit Fatah al-Islam finally ended in August not only did Damascus congratulate Lebanon on its victory but General Sulieman stated the army can now turn its weapons against its real enemy Israel.
Hezbollah - However between Lebanon and Israel are the 12,000 European troops in UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon), trapped along the Lebanon/Israel border, that arrived just after Hezbollah’s war with Israel last year. They were dispatched as a result of the Rome Conference and Teheran had al-Qaeda declare them to be an enemy of Islam (Iran) as soon as they began to arrive. The units have spent their time ignoring Hezbollah’s re-arming with the flagrant assistance of Teheran-Damascus and Lebanese army units. UNIFIL commanders have also complained about Israel’s surveillance flights to monitor Hezbollah and even threatened to fire on Israeli aircraft. Teheran appreciates UNIFIL’s dubious sense of mission but since the West has always been the main target of Teheran’s foreign policy Iran will have Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, Lebanon’s army, Palestinian militants and eventually Syrian-Iranian units unite in a combined effort to destroy UNIFIL.

That is why Hezbollah’s Parliament member Mohammed Raad was quoted by Al Jazeera as warning of a “catastrophic picture” if an agreement cannot be made Friday on a new President. It is a military catastrophe the Islamic Axis of Teheran-Damascus-Riyadh have been planning as they continue to remove the West’s military presence from the region. Raad continued by saying, probably happily, a failed agreement Friday would mean “constitutional life would be gone with the wind.” It is a nuclear-ballistic wind Teheran has prepared to blow away the West, which is why Iran has listened to a host of compromised proposals from the West with amusement. Rula Amin, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Beirut has observed, “The Lebanese people are now very scared. They know only a nightmare solution awaits them if a deal is not reached.” War in Lebanon is about to explode again to an even greater extent than from 1975-90 and it has the potential of laying waste and displacing almost the entire country, a national no man’s land of World War III.

This is a greater nightmare than Israel is facing and unlike the West, Israel is prepared to confront it and with the perverted reactionary thinking in Western foreign policy circles UNIFIL will probably exit blaming Israel. I suspect Europe-U. S. have been operating under the grand illusion the diverse political, national and religious groups in West Asia (Middle East) would be too busy fighting each other than to take time and attack UNIFIL or the UK/US bases in the region. That illusion is about to be destroyed. The West may not realize the extent of the hatred Teheran and other Islamic governments have toward the West, the one exception being Egypt President Hosni Mubarak since he has always hated Islamic radicalism ever since they assassinated his predecessor Anwar al-Sadat in 1981.

Teheran has been negotiating with officials they want to see destroyed and the institutions and societies they represent and Iran has been conducting no negotiations with Israel. Most analysts predict no agreement on Lebanon’s President will result in the formation of two rival governments. Teheran has made certain most of the Army is with Iran making their only opposition UNIFIL’s attempt to work with Maronite and Druze militas and the Druze leader Walid Jumblatt is noted for shifting sides. I suspect he will support whichever way the military wind blows, toward Teheran. Jerusalem and the lost alliance of London-Washington will be too heavily engaged on other fronts in the region to give much assistance. What Teheran has planned is a catastrophic bloodbath.

Daily Roundup from Willard Payne (Night Watch Information Service)

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