Lebanon's southern neighbor sent 8 fighter jets today to spook Lebanese people while the majority of their elected representatives aimed their guns at their illegal president, with some (Marwan Hamadeh) even describing him as a "whore lecturing on virtue".
The Lebanese army reportedly fired at the Israeli jets, which flew at a low altitude over much of the country, including Beirut where parliament was passing bills as well as firing salvos at the puppet president. Siniora stood up to condemn the Israeli violations, and said the army was retaliating. Berri made fun of UNIFIL's surface to air missiles.
None of the parliamentarians dared to point out what those Israeli war machines were after. Their flagrant violations of Lebanese sovereignty aside, the jets came to monitor the continued arms smuggling via the Lebanese-Syrian border, performing a few mock raids over their easy Lebanese targets.
What does the Lebanese government think about the smuggling? Expect only general and vague statements. After all, "government representatives" only talk to outsiders because they are "afraid".
Lebanon regularly reports arms being smuggling into the country from Syria but the authorities are treading softly due to their fragile political situation, a senior U.N. envoy said on Monday.
Government officials have informed the United Nations of smuggling as recently as "the last few weeks," although they are providing no information on the quantities or types of arms being secreted across the border, said Terje Roed-Larsen, the top U.N. diplomat on Lebanese ties with Syria.
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton, quoting Roed-Larsen, said the officials were not being precise about the smuggling for fear of retaliation from Syria. "The absence of complete cooperation by the government of Syria remains very troubling in that respect and I think it's very courageous for any of the democratic politicians in Lebanon to go about their business under that kind of threat," Bolton told reporters.
Asked about Bolton's comments, Roed-Larsen said he had no specific information about threats of retaliation. But he noted there had been 14 assassinations or attempted assassinations in Lebanon since the February 2005 murder of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.
"Generally speaking, the situation in Lebanon is worrisome," Roed-Larsen said. "The political rhetoric shows that there are very high tensions, and I think we have to look at the situation in Lebanon with all caution."
Al-Seyassah yesterday reported that EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana-- who, and following a visit to Lebanon described the situation in the country as "not good"-- was shown videos by the Israeli military of the continued arms smuggling.
So, the Lebanese government and March 14 are still afraid of Syria. And they are besieged by Syria’s proxies, Hizbullah, Aoun and their “streets”. The only person they are not afraid of is Emile Lahoud, although none of them can really touch him.
And now, their fear drove them to accept dialogue, or consultation, with the same enemy over how to best neutralize power they don’t really use because they are afraid to use it for fear of civil war, assassinations, etc. So instead, we hear endless praise of Nabih Berri’s statesman qualities, Hizbullah's "victory but..." and lots of Lahoud bashing.
And time is wasted. Hizbullah is offered treats, for fear of their tricks. But the tricks come anyway. And Hassan Nasrallah says and does whatever he wants. March 14 hopes for a miracle in the form of an international tribunal. Fine. But is there really nothing else that the "devils" can do in the meantime?
While Nasrallah threatened today, Jumblatt, March 14's official warrior, told the assembled few at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington that he came to the US to seek support for the Hariri tribunal, without which "we won't have any weapons of mass deterrence" against the Assad regime and its proxies. He also said that there won't be peace in Lebanon "as long as the border is not monitored" by the UN.
Jumblatt, who earlier this year came to US to argue for regime change in Syria as a prerequisite for democracy in Lebanon, told us how he, Hariri, Siniora and Berri opposed UNSC 1701 passing under chapter 7 because they wanted to spare the country civil war.
And today, Nasrallah accused March 14 of seeking to pass that same resolution under chapter 7. And he threatened to “use the street” if his demands for national unity government and early elections are not met within seven days from Monday.
Jumblatt, who had not seen Nasrallah's interview yet, said that Nasrallah is protected by "national consensus" and that he should risk losing it.
National consensus. What a joke. As if they care? Was there consensus when Nasrallah kidnapped the Israeli soldiers, miscalculating his way into a catastrophe? Does Nasrallah have consensus today? He has the consensus of his backers. It is March 14 that is acting against the consensus of its supporters.
Yes, Jumblatt, a national unity government can lead to "paralysis and weakening of 1701, end of tribunal, etc", but pray tell me, who controls parliament now? Nabih Berri or that majority? What is the Lebanese government doing? Who runs the country? The cabinet, or Nabih Berri? Who controls the security forces? Who commands the army?
Better: who bypassed the Lebanese cabinet and is negotiating with the Israelis over the exchange of prisoners? Who is bypassing the Lebanese government and dealing directly with UNIFIL because they don’t trust the government and think they are using UNIFIL in domestic politics? Hizbullah. Who has ultimately kept its "promise" to its constituents? Hizbullah.
Who has failed its constituents? March 14 and the parliament majority.
Enough. Before we know it, the Israeli mock raids will turn into real ones, and Hizbullah will use Israel's fear of direct confrontation with Syria to rule the Lebanese scene. And then everyone will be spooked for real. And Lebanese citizens, in the absence of forward looking political discourse, will be left to default to their sectarian instincts in deciding who to follow. Some will continue their march towards Hizbullah's slaughter house. And many will choose life abroad over a stupid and meaningless death at home.
And March 14 will still be trying to preserve civil peace, while calling Lahoud "Baabda's settler" and accepting Hizbullah's terms and conditions at the same time. Whatever.