Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Some Interesting dialogues

"My friend belongs to the category of Arabs that like to talk more about strategies and grand conspiracies than elections. I like to call them the Euro-Arabs" Euro-Arabs

"I do not think religion has to be treated as some sort of disease." at Cairo Protests

"In the psyche of the American, a person is worth as much as his resume, and the lowest life form is the individual who is where he is at because he somehow inherited it." at A contrast of Lebanese and American psyches

"Can you imagine a party without enarques?" at Forum France-√Čtats-Unis

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Will the Cedar Revolution Fail?

Raja asks, "Two days after a protest that would have brought down the most formidable government, there are still no positive developments worth mentioning! Why?"

Solomon2 answers: Perhaps it works because the opposition isn't really organized yet. It could call a million people for a demonstration, but not a collection of representative speakers to issue demands of the form, "Do this, and if you don't, WE will issue the orders to government officials, and if THEY don't obey, well, we're a million strong, aren't we?"

Yes, it raises the spectre of civil war - the Lebanese Army vs. Hezbollah. But it should scare the hell out of the the Asad regime, and may knock sense into everyone else.

We forget that the Beirut Spring is only a month old. The faster pro-democracy forces organize, the faster the existing government must react.

It won't be easy. The Soviet Union trained its secret agents to act as provacateurs, taking up extreme positions that make "unity" impossible. Those folks will have to be shaken out. No, the opposition won't stay united -- but real democracies never do, not on everything...

In my judgment, the Lebanese can't just sit at home and just expect things to happen. Demonstrating ALONE is not enough.

Esther: As to why they're stalling -- it's for their very existance. If they ever leave, it's going to be kicking and screaming. Because once Syria is kicked out of Lebanon, Iran and Syria will lose their foothold to easy attacks on Israel as well as their quick pipeline to getting the PA arms to fight Israel and they're not going to like that. Not only that, if Lebanon gets to taste freedom, you can bet Assad will be wondering how long before his fellow countrymen toss him out on his butt? And if that happens, Iran is going to completely freak out. Hizbullah is the wild card in this...one that could cause a helluva lot of problems. Their loyalty is to Iran...and that's bad news.

Solomon2: If Hizbollah places its loyalty to Iran above that of loyalty to Lebanon, that may confound the Lebanese into inaction, for have they not built up the image of Hizbollah as "patriotic" organization that expelled the Israeli's from "occupied" Lebanon?

It seems to me that any confrontation with Hizbollah risks breaking the unwritten compact of silence and myth that has existed since Israel's departure from Southern Lebanon. If Hizbollah insists on its current course, there is no way I can see that the Lebanese will achieve freedom without confronting it, at least partially, unless the Lebanese make a total break is made with Hizbollah -- unlikely, but possible.

Hizbollah must realize this; that's why they throw wild accusations of "Jew" or "Zionist" at their very Lebanese political opponents. So the least shameful alternative is either to break with Hizbollah (how strong is the Lebanese Army?) or do nothing and let the Beirut Spring wither and die. I do not know how Lebanon will choose.

Raja: Hizballah is being confronted as we speak. However, the military option is not viable. It will lead to civil war because the entire Shia population will rally behind Hizballah's banner.

Somethings gonna have to give. I just hate waiting so damn long!

Solomon2: Thank you, Raja. I understand a little better now the repetitive efforts to get Hizballah to cooperate with the opposition.

Maybe Husseini has the right idea, "The resistance doesn't belong to a certain person or party." So why shouldn't Hizballah not "disarm" but yield their weapons to the Lebanese government?

But if the Shia support of Hizballah is so strong, why should Nasrallah yield an inch to such demands? Only if Nasrallah really cares about the people of Lebanon. And if he doesn't, what then?

Like you said. We gotta chew our fingernails and wait.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Monday, March 07, 2005

Mad Mullahs Go Boom!

In my opinion, the Iranians are seeking an "instant" nuclear weapons capability. They already have developed and deployed ballistic missiles.

They only need The Bomb and boom!

But I don't think we'll find out about it first. Unlike North Korea, I think the mullahs actually intend to use it.

That is the logical progression to Khomeini's question: "If we have the power, what are we waiting for? Why are we holding back?" (Quoted from memory; someone please correct me if I'm wrong.)

(First published at The Adventures of Chester)

Is there an answer? Does the U.S. military need to intervene? Or is there another way?

After the Khomeini's "students" captured the U.S. embassy in 1979, they pieced back together and published shredded documents detailing U.S. involvement in Iranian affairs. The primary purpose of doing so was to instill a lasting hatred in the Iranian population of The Great Satan.

I wonder if today, when Iranians read these documents, the mullahs achieve the effect they so desired. Or do they achieve the exact opposite?

(First published at The New Sisyphus.)

Thursday, March 03, 2005

George W. Bush, D.D.S

There are bad people in every country, it's just that in these countries the bad people have had to upper hand too long.

I don't think it is useful to believe in "good people" and "bad people". Too simplistic.

Better to believe that good and bad exists in most people, but the right external conditions can bring one quality or the other to prominence. The remaining population consists of:

1) the incorruptibly "good" (nothing to worry about there)
2) the irredeemably "evil" (to be locked away or killed)
3) the blissfully ignorant, and
4) dentists.

That's "dentist" in the broadest possible sense of the word. I'm a dentist. George W. Bush is a dentist. Most U.S. soldiers are dentists, too.

Being such a "dentist" doesn't necessarily have to do with medicine. It is how a dentist makes you feel and how a dentist makes you heal.

How do you feel before going to a dentist? Nervous anticipation of pain and hope of healing. How does the dentist heal? He drills to dispose of the bad teeth, and thus permits the good teeth and gums to prevail, so you feel better.

How do you remember the dentist long afterwards? You remember the drill, the pain, and the self-confidence of the dentist, not the affliction that caused your suffering.

I do not believe it is an accident or coincidence that some of the first pro-U.S. Iraqi bloggers have been Iraqi dentists. The thinking is the same.

How did most Iraqis feel as the certainty of a U.S. invasion approached? How have U.S. troops liberated their country?

How do France, South Korea, and other U.S.-liberated countries feel about America today? And what do they expect the U.S. to do if they feel threatened by a "toothache" in the future?

That doesn't mean being a dentist isn't a worthy profession. (And it's a much better term than that plastic word, "neocon".)

All hail George W. Bush, D.D.S.!