Hezbollah-Sadr Updates

Hopefully both of these will hold.

From CNN:

BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) — Hezbollah militants will leave Beirut’s streets in response to the Lebanese army’s assuming security in the city, an opposition spokesman said Saturday, but “civil disobedience” will continue.

Not exactly clear what civil disobedience means (could be bad). Hezbollah clearly showed it could take over the capital but not hold it–it’s base is in the South and the Army moved towards cutting off their supply lines. But hopefully all out war will be averted.

Sadr City

CNN again:

The Iraqi government and Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s movement have agreed to a cease-fire to end weeks of fighting in Baghdad’s Sadr City district, spokesmen for both sides said Saturday.

Not entirely clear it will hold. Some elements of the Mahdi Army may not stand down, other militias in the neighborhood are non-Sadrist. The ISF (i.e. Badr Corps) gets to search the city of heavy weapons and make arrests. Not sure if this is another move on Sadr’s part to point out/hand over unruly elements in his group. Aid and evacuations of the wounded and the re-opening of East Baghdad will then occur according to the agreement.

No doubt right-wing American blogs will call this another victory for the Maliki government and they will proclaim the death of Moqtada al Sadr (for only about the twentieth time at this point). All I know is that each of those previous obituaries were, Mark Twain-esque, in their prematureness. He is by far the shrewdest politician in Iraq and has the strongest cred on the street (just like Nasrallah in Lebanon).

It could be just like the Hezbollah situation. They showed they can take down the army in a fight, but they don’t want to bring an all out Shia (Iraq) or country wide (Lebanon) civil war.

Update I: Your WTH moment on this one courtesy Senator Clinton:

I am very concerned about the current situation in Lebanon. Hezbollah-allied militias, using weapons supplied by Iran and Syria, have seized control of West Beirut and are demanding that Prime Minister Fouad Siniora resign and hand over power to a military government. This is both an illegal challenge to a democratically-elected government and an issue of regional stability with international consequences.

The United States must actively support the sovereignty of the Lebanese government and the independence of Lebanon.

The United States needs to engage in vigorous diplomacy with its regional allies to support the Lebanese government. Outside parties, such as Iran and Syria, must immediately stop their interference in Lebanon and allow the election of the President to proceed.

Notice how this whole description (Bush-like) acts as if Hezbollah is some foreign transplant force. Memo to the Senator, they’re Lebanese. The reason Siniora is President has to do with the complications of the Peace Deal signed in the wake of the ending of the Civil War appropriating roles based on ethnic makeup, which in the years since has shifted towards the Shia, who are underrepresented (now) in the scheme. So one could argue I suppose that the system is undemocratic (small d). The President of Lebanon has no power or influence in the South of Lebanon and its not because of Syria or Iran. Those weapons for all we know could have been bought on the black market. And if they are supplied, we were supplying and training the Sunni militias that lost. We just keep backing Sunni militias that are not strong in a fight (e.g. Fatah and now these Lebanese dudes).

The code words are sovereignty, independence, and regional allies–all of which clearly translate into Sunnis.

These groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, and Mahdi Army are not simply going to go away by the US saying they are pawns of Iran-Syria and by working with Sunni Arab dictators. I guess we’ve learned that Clinton’s plans to both obliterate Iran and extend nuclear deterrence shields to Arab autocrats includes the Sunni Lebanese. If McCain is Bush’s Third Term, foreign policy wise so is Clinton.

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. CJ,

    Peel back the false facade and it is abundantly clear that American foriegn policy has tied itself to the Sunni Muslims in any country in the Middle East. The Shia are the enemy. Mrs. Clinton is just an echo of this failed, but vigorous, foreign policy.

    We are blind to Sunni oppression of their Shai brothers. We refuse to see the aparthied in their societies. In fact we promote separate and unequal societies for these people, despite having denounced such practice in South Africa and renouncing it in the USA. We support, with billions of dollars, miltary aid and political sanctuary, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is a Kingdom of Sunni Muslims. At the same time, we deny basic human rights to Palestinian Shia. We denounce the democraticly elected Shia leaders anywhere as terrorists if at some time in the past, or presently, they try to break their chains of oppression and rule themselves. We won’t even listen to or talk with them.

    There is an old saying which is in play now. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”. This is insanity because we should have no enemies there. The Shia have become our enemies only because we openly support the side that oppresses them. We never had to pick a side in the first place. We should have taken the center position of peacemaker. Its not too late, yet.

    Pray for peace
    Tim

  2. Palestinian Shia ?

    For the US’ objectives the main difference between SUNNI and SHIA. Within contemporary Shi’ism as developed by the Ayatollah Khomeni, they actually formed an Islamic Government and they attempt to export this to other Shia communities i.e. Lebanon and Iraq and there is pretty much no other communities with a Shia majority to achieve this.

    The US is committed to destabilizing all Islamic governments, so the Shia is now public enemy number one.

    As far as the Sunnis, All Sunni countries are controlled by monarchs and dictators and they suppress their societies. In response the Sunni have formed oppositions groups but don’t have any real power in the government. Therefore there is no real threat.

    This is why the US is supporting the SUNNIS despite the fact that they represent some of the most repressive, non-democratic countries in the world. SUNNI Hamas is an anomaly, hence the reluctance of SUNNI countries to support them, due to the implications this would have in their own countries and thus Iran is their big supporter, simply because Hamas has tried to achieve an Islamic Gov’t, which again Iran is trying to export apparently even if it is a Sunni gov’t.

    Apparently America is only pro-democratic and supports the will of the people just as long as their will is NOT to form an Islamic gov’t.

  3. CJ

    Are you watching this Lebanon situation, what we see is a plot of destabilization by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Israel.

    Post the recent war with Israel, where the Lebanese army was humiliated and Hezbollah flexed its muscles and even embarrassed the powerful Israel.

    Through the instigation of the U.S., Saudi Arabia is backing and instigating the SUNNIS in Lebanon against the Hezbollah.

    Israel is close to completing a peace agreement with Syria for the Golan Height, which is an attempt to further isolate not only Hezbollah but Iran.

  4. Thank you enigmatic, for a little broader encapsulation of the partisans. What you write clarifies some things.

    Am I wrong that the Palestinians are Shia? Am I wrong that the root ’cause’ of the infitada(sp?) is the oppression by the occupation force? Am I wrong that the ’cause’ is taken up by all Shia in Greater Arabia? Am I wrong that these are the poorest of the poor in Greater Arabia, with no way to shake off their shackles?

    Thanks for explaining the link between Shia and Fundamentalist Islamic governance. The Shia do not have a tradition of monarcy or western democracy. They do not want a sectarian government. However, it is my understanding that each Islamic government formed is by democratic process, are they not? Am I wrong that these Islamic democracies have all been formed in response to deprivation of its poorest citizens, a grass roots response, if you will?

    Has anyone from the west investigated the possibility that Islamic Fundamentalists and the sectarian west can live together in peace? If we respect Sharia law, can we do business with them? Do they advocate the overthrow of capitalism, as the ruskies did? Do they attack and conquer their neighbors?

    Are we afraid of them *solely* because they want their brothers in Palastine to be treated like humans? Is this rational? What are their stated impediments to peace with the west? Is it the existance of Israel, or as I suspect, is it Israel’s arrogant treatment of their brothers and sisters, all created by the same God?

    It seems from the progress of this fire that we are looking to support any group that can squash the Shia. Is this moral? Is this sound public policy for my government?

    And why is Jimmy Carter vilified everytime he tries to do what I would do, namely listen to everyone with an open mind and the goal of ending this insanity? Has anyone examined *why* his efforts are at odds with my government? Is it only because Israel insists upon controlling the region, despite being unable to do so? Why have we adopted Israel’s failed policy of non negotiation?

    It is a red-herring to say one won’t negotiate with another group because they are labeled. Control is the hand we are not supposed to see. “Terrorism” is a symptom, a condition, not a cause. Because of our near hypnotic need to see the herring, we are blind to the real cause of this unending(and growing) war.

    Pray for peace

    Tim

  5. Hey Tim,

    That was well said.

    As far as Palestinian, they are overwhelmingly Sunni, whether, its Fatah, Hamas, or Islamic Jihad, these are all Sunni groups, I’m not saying that there may not be a some Shia there, but there is no shia movement that I’m aware of. Iran merely supports Hamas because of the Islamic platform and they too are bitter adversaries to Israel, plus it increases their street cred in the Arab Streets, just as Nasrullah of Hezbollah won major points amongst Sunni with their summer war with Israel.

    Other than that I concur with everything you said.

    Tim, and I say this as a Muslim, that we are now witnessing is Islam making itself relevant in this modern era. Muslim thinkers are tinkering with Islamic democracy, and they are analyzing the success and failure of each attempt around the world and further fine-tuning it. The attempts that we have seen have shown wide support amongst the masses. The scares the hell of the monarchs and strong men around the Arab world, so they are doing their best to paint to them in the west as radical and threats, but its only a matter of time.

    The US policy is so hypocritical because these Islamist groups are the biggest advocates for democracy in these undemocratic and repressive countries but the US support the Monarchs, over their repressed masses. So when the Islamist gets the advantage will they be pro-US or anti-US.

  6. enigmatic,

    Well, I should not be surprised by the little secret we Americans are not privy to. I am stunned to learn the religous ethnicity of the Palestinians.
    Okay, so was the infitada a religous movement coordinated by Sunni or Shia? Was it simply a wide-spread cry for humanity which then got propogandized into a religous thing?

    I have two sources I trust for info about this 50 years holy war(only half way there!). Carter’s book and a friend from Lebanon. The latter’s view is personal and translated for a friend to understand. The former seems to be a balanced, dare I say common sense, review of the mess. I’m going to re read it.

    My friend was raised Catholic, by French nuns, in Lebanon ’till her early 20’s. The family abandon their home due to the war. That was 35 years ago. She says someone needs to take each side by the scruff of their necks and shake them both ’till they agree to get along. They will fight until that happens. She says it isn’t religous, really. Its about power and money. Corruption is everywhere.

    So, we know the USA national interest is oil. Are we afraid we can’t do business with Sunni or Shia based democracies? We are successful with a Zionist based democracy. The answer to this question may indeed be the key to unraveling the stalemate.

    I bought a copy of the Koran. I will read that too. It may not be relevant to the political issue we are discussing, but I will admit I’m ignorant about this faith.

    Thank the Good Lord, and Moses, we are voting soon. We need to get something started about ending this.

    Peace
    Tim

  7. The intifada was not a sectarian movement but rather as you say a cry for humanity. It the Middle East, the biggest motivating factor is not democracy, human rights or typically western ideals it is religion to the extinct that religion is used as an excuse and justification for everything. It does not matter if the thing justified, violates the most sacred aspects of the religion. So now suicide bombing is from religion, fighting for territory is now from religion, and women not being allowed to drive from religion but I digress.

    In regards to the Shia or Sunni based democracy, I believe if it is the will of the people, they could and should exist. However, the US is threatened by this.

    If and when you read the Koran, I think you will the similarities with the Old Testament and you will definitely recognize themes and certain ideals.


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