From friend of PULSE and correspondent in Beirut, Franklin Lamb.
It appears that the Biden visit is part of a US bid to supervise the electoral campaign of a Lebanese party, which feels threatened politically, in light of the expected outcome of the legislative vote. We call on all Lebanese, regardless of their political views, to rise up against such meddling that represents a flagrant violation of Lebanese sovereignty. Biden’s visit is part of U.S. efforts to impose its views on the government that will be set up after the elections. They are tracing red lines for the future government but we will rise up to this.
— Hezbollah MP Hassan Fadlallah, Friday morning 22 May 2009 as Joe Biden arrived in Beirut.
Let U.S. Vice President Joe Biden hear what Lebanon needs and not listen only to what the U.S. wants
— Hezbollah deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qassem in a message to President Michel Suleiman (22 May 2009)
How not to win votes for the ‘US team’
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Beirut with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman aboard a U.S. military helicopter at 11:50 am this morning. At 12:14 pm Biden arrived at Baabda Palace and went straight to meet President Michel Suleiman ignoring media questions. Biden was greeted at Beirut’s airport by Hezbollah supporter Fawsi Salloukh, Lebanon’s Foreign Minister and one of the key back channels for US-Hezbollah communications. Biden’s Salloukh meeting is likely the extent of any dialogue between Biden and Hezbollah this trip. Biden’s first words, shouted to some journalists outside the Baabda Presidential Palace were, “I am happy to be in Libya…I mean Lebanon…this morning!”
If Biden was having a good morning, many Beirutis were not. Many woke up furious as they learned they will be on “lockdown” from 11 am to 6:30 pm for Vice President Joe Biden’s quick visit. It will be the 14th visit by a US official over the past six months to assure the people of Lebanon that the US will not interfere in the June 7 elections. In fact, US interference has now reached a near fever pitch just sixteen days before the voting.
Continue reading “Biden Does Beirut”
Franklin Lamb writes from Wavel Palestinian Refugee Camp, Bekaa Valley, on what Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees, over a tenth of the country’s population, require from Lebanon’s June 7th Election, as well as how Hezbollah, major Lebanese Party Platforms and US foreign policy weigh in.
Al-Ahram Weekly, the English language twin of the Arabic daily, is an Egyptian state organ. The Weekly has a broader range of opinion than the tame daily, and does often contain interesting articles. The great Palestinian thinker Azmi Bishara, for instance, can be found in the Weekly. Unfortunately, however, Egyptian regime nonsense concerning the Persian-Shia ‘threat’ is also fed into the mix. This article by Galal Nassar is a sad example. Below is my response to his piece:
Continue reading “Sectarian Rabble-Rousing”
The Israeli regime’s bloodbath wasn’t just about upcoming elections and re-establishing deterrence, Norman G. Finkelstein writes [doc], though it did have much to do with this and was indeed calculated to pander to the worst elements of that society. Beyond this, the main goal of Israeli intransigence and its main goal in the Gaza slaughter was to fend off the latest threat posed by Palestinian moderation: that is, to sabotage credible peace efforts. This is an excellent summary of otherwise already well-established facts and a reminder of Israel’s stoush with Hezbollah:
Early speculation on the motive behind Israel’s slaughter in Gaza that began on 27 December 2008 and continued till 18 January 2009 centered on the upcoming elections in Israel. The jockeying for votes was no doubt a factor in this Sparta-like society consumed by “revenge and the thirst for blood,” where killing Arabs is a sure crowd-pleaser. (Polls during the war showed that 80-90 percent of Israeli Jews supported it.) But as Israeli journalist Gideon Levy pointed out on Democracy Now!, “Israel went through a very similar war…two-and-a-half years ago [in Lebanon], when there were no elections.” Continue reading “Foiling Another Palestinian “Peace Offensive””
Contrary to criminal US-Israeli plans, the new Middle East emerging is one of the triumphs of Arab resistance, writes Ramzy Baroud:
When Israel unleashed its military fury against Lebanon for several weeks in July-August 2006, it had one major objective: to permanently “extract” Hizbullah as a fighting force from South Lebanon and undermine it as a rising political movement capable of disrupting, if not overshadowing, the “friendly” and “moderate” political regime in Beirut.
As Israeli bombs fell, and with them hundreds of Lebanese civilians and much of the country’s infrastructure, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sprung into action. She too had one major objective: to delay a ceasefire, which the rest of the international community, save Britain, desperately demanded. Rice, merely but faithfully reiterating the Bush administration’s policy, hoped that the Israeli bombs would succeed in achieving what her government’s grand policies failed to achieve, namely a “New Middle East”.
Continue reading “New Middle East”