Monday, July 17, 2006

Lebanese Reactions

Screenshot of the Website of a Lebanese-Canadian Organization Opposed to Hizbullah

I've been reading various Lebanese blogs for months now, and I was especially curious what their views would be about the events unfolding in their country. Many Lebanese bloggers are quite opposed to Hizbullah and of course deeply critical of Lebanese and Iranian interference in their country's internal affairs. On the other hand, as is to be expected, few people are "understanding" of Israel. One prominent ex-patriate Lebanese blogger, Abu Kais, author of From Beirut to the Beltway and a Shi'i who is deeply critical of Hizbullah, argues that America, by not reining in Israel, has lost the support of many Lebanese. Abu Kais is voicing the anger of a person caught in the middle of a fight that he did not pick. America, on the other hand, sees Hizbullah as an agent doing Syria and Iran's bidding to frustrate American aims to impose a pax Americana on the Middle East. That might explain why it allowed the Israeli pounding of Hizbullah to continue. Another reason is that America knows that the Israelis believe that their long-term deterrence and security was at stake unless they reacted with the current campaign. So, it would have been hard to stop Israel without some very serious threats. And that just isn't worth it at this stage, especially since Israel is taking on a group with which America has a long score to settle.

As I said, there is a real diversity of opinion among Lebanese on this matter. My impression is that most Lebanese living in North America are angry at Hizbullah. The difference is in whom they blame most for ongoing crisis. Here's part of a statement that I received recently from a Montreal-based mainly Maronite Christian Lebanese umbrella group called the Lebanese-Canadian Coordinating Council (Arabic: al-mansaqiya al-'ama lil-mu'assisat al-lubnaniyya al-kanadiyya). The full statement is available at":
We, the undersigned activists in the countries of the Lebanese Diaspora, and on behalf of ‎the organizations and clubs we represent, express our deepest regrets for the mounting ‎human losses among civilians that our homeland Lebanon is suffering as a result of the ‎destructive military confrontations that are ongoing on its soil between Israel and the ‎fundamentalist Hezbollah group. Those confrontations were imposed on the country ‎against the will of all segments of the Lebanese people [...] We affirm the necessity for an immediate intervention by the United Nations and the Free ‎World in order to secure a ceasefire [...] We reject the military and terrorist hegemony that is imposed on the Lebanese people by ‎the Hezbollah group and its sponsors in Iran and Damascus ...

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