War? In Lebanon, the next stage?

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War? In Lebanon, the next stage?

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Designates Hezbollah as Terrorists – Deploys Al-Nusrah Against them in LebanonBy nsnbc internationalGlobal Research, March 03, 2016nsnbc international 3 March 2016...

...So...is this the next move? To force Hizbollah back into Lebanon to defend their country`s Territory? To weaken the Alliance behind the Syrian Government`s effective military actions vs. NATO et al?


from Timothy Guzman Silent crow News....

Declaring Hezbollah a terrorist organization is the first step in launching a new war on Lebanon’s southern border. The idea is to defeat Hezbollah at all costs so that the U.S., Turkey and the GCC can weaken the Syrian government. That would allow enough time to rebuild ISIS and other terror groups to remove its President Bashar al-Assad but with Russia and Iran in the picture, that will not happen. What is inevitable is another war between Israel and Hezbollah.


from voltairenet.org/en   re the next war in Lebanon...

...Two options are now possible for Washington and Tel-Aviv – either a classical war, like in 2006, or else – more simple and more discrete – a civil war, like the war suffered by Lebanon between 1975 and 1990......

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A look at Lebanon’s ongoing historic uprising

The ongoing uprising in Lebanon, fuelled by political disillusionment and economic anxiety, is an extraordinary opportunity for progressive movements to change politics.​

For the last week, Lebanon has been witnessing an unprecedented uprising — both in scale and intensity — against the country’s ruling class. What started as a modest protest on Thursday, October 17, quickly turned into a massive demonstration. Over the next few days it grew to become arguably the largest protest movement in the country’s history. Estimations of the number of protesters across the country the following Sunday range from 1.2 to two million people, in a country of six million.

The magnitude of this movement stems primarily from its massive spontaneous grassroots involvement. The people not only filled the large squares of downtown Beirut, reclaiming it after it was transformed in the last 30 years into an exclusive gentrified space for the rich, but they also mobilized locally. At one point, protests were taking place simultaneously at up to 60 different locations, including most major cities and towns.

The power of these mobilizations has been simply overwhelming.

A general strike — although not comprehensive, as many employers are not allowing their employees to join — has disrupted the country’s economy and institutions since last Friday. However, it is not a strike led by unions, as one would expect. Instead, it is enforced by protesters blocking the major roads of the country, preventing most economic activities and giving workers an excuse to join the strike and demonstrations.

Unsurprisingly, the people’s demands are not set in stone; in the end it is a popular uprising where most participation is driven by the spontaneous initiative of citizens and residents, rather than by any organized effort. However, all protesters seem to agree on a few basic demands: the resignation of the current Council of Ministers, the formation of a government that is independent from the ruling parties to prevent an imminent economic collapse and early elections.

The political class has struggled to foil the uprising, but not for a lack of trying. First, political parties attempted to downplay the significance of uprising while supporting the demands. Then some parties attempted to co-opt the movement by encouraging their supporters to take part in the protests and influence rhetoric, especially outside Beirut, but lately also in the capital’s iconic Riad al-Solh square.

While authorities soon gave up on attempts to contain the uprising by means of police repression, it has deployed the army in an attempt to end the numerous roadblocks. Their reasoning is that even one million protesters in downtown Beirut do not disrupt governance and capital accumulation as much as the obstruction of the flow of goods and workers across the country.


The uprising started on Thursday afternoon with a call to protest by LiHaqqi — a progressive and horizontally-structured political movement that was born out of a grassroots parliamentary election campaign in 2018— and some individuals, after the country woke up to the news that the Council of Ministers passed a series of regressive taxes, most remarkably a strange 20-cent tax on every first WhatsApp call every day, which would amount to a maximum of six dollars per month.

The ministers could hardly have passed a more regressive tax, because the Lebanese, especially working-class people, rely on WhatsApp as an affordable means of communication as telecom services are very expensive and unreliable.

Two hours after the call, the protest had gathered just a few hundred participants, but when they blocked a main bridge in Beirut, the media became interested and news of the action quickly spread to all corners of the country. After marching through various neighborhoods of Beirut, the protest ended up coming back to the starting point in Riad al-Solh, now joined by many thousands more.

However, this is not an uprising against a WhatsApp-tax; this was nothing but the straw that broke the camel’s back. The tax merely served to expose the real face of the country’s political elite and its top-down class warfare. Moreover, the days before the protest had already displayed the elite’s profound incompetence in managing the country.

Four days before the uprising started, wildfires had ravaged in various areas of Lebanon, eventually destroying as much forest in two days as are normally lost to wildfires in an entire year. The Lebanese state rushed to ask the support of Cyprus, Jordan and Greece, who sent firefighting airplanes, as Lebanon’s own firefighting helicopters had been grounded for years because the authorities failed to allocate funds for their maintenance.

While people came together to create spontaneous solidarity initiatives and send support to volunteer firefighters, some politicians saw the moment fit to incite division. A member of the right-wing political party Free Patriotic Movement, the largest both in parliament and the cabinet and known for its sectarian rhetoric and scapegoating of migrants and refugees, popularized a conspiracy theory that fires targeted the Christian demographic in the Chouf area of Mount Lebanon.

The failing to deal with the wildfires combined with the passing of regressive taxes brought the frustration many people felt with the government to a boiling point. It reminded many of us that we lived in a country ruled by incapable elites who not only fail to manage the government, but who moreover actively seek to divide and impoverish the people.

It was a week which brought out the very worst in Lebanese politics, and the very best in its people....

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..includes film footage

“People Have Reached the Limit”: Lebanon Joins Wave of Anti-Government Protests Across Middle East


RAMI KHOURI: Yes, I think to see these protests in their proper historical and human context, you have to see them as being the latest phase of popular street demonstrations, activism using the law, activism using elections, petitioning leaders, boycotting groups that are abusing you, doing all kinds of things that Arab men and women and groups, civil society groups, have done for the last about 45 years. You could really trace the beginning of this movement of citizen activism for a more decent life, for social justice, for equity, for opportunity, for accountability, for participation, for voice, for a decent life.

That’s all people are asking for. They’re not asking for power or wealth or revenge. They just want to live normal lives, which they haven’t been able to do in recent years, with about 66% of all Arabs now well documented by many surveys, both Arab and international—about 66%, about two out of every three Arabs is poor and vulnerable. And they are marginalized politically and they don’t have any rights and they often don’t even have any voice. If you speak out now in places like the United Arab Emirates or Egypt or other places, you are indicted or sent to jail or something.

So this is a long process that started 30, 40 years ago, never got anywhere because the autocratic authoritarian power structure was so strong and could beat back any kind of rebellion. But now people have reached the limit. And you see in Jordan and Lebanon and Iraq, Sudan, Algeria, other places, you see people just—they can’t put up with it anymore. They can’t feed their children in many cases. They don’t know what to do when they have four or five children and none of them have jobs, none of them are going to have any decent income.

So this is a process of public demonstrations representing people who have reached the limit of their endurance, and they are being treated by their own power structure—forget about Israel, forget about the U.S., forget about Russia, Iran, all these other people who are militarily and politically being involved in the Middle East and abusing people—just the internal disdain with which governments treat their own people, that’s the driving force.


Lebanon and the Threat of Renewed Strife


"Hariri's resignation places Lebanon on the mouth of a volcano. There are many forces at play, both local and foreign, that care nothing for the country's stability and security and whose sole aim is to target Hezbollah due to the challenge it poses to Israeli and American schemes in the Middle East..."


An example of the above...


Lebanon Arrests Canadian-Lebanese Dual Citizen Over Syping For Israel


"Lebanese intelligence forces have arrested a Lebanese Canadian dual national on charges of spying for Israel's Mossad spy agency through gathering intelligence about army forces. Lebanon's private LCBI television network reported that the man, identified as Tabet Tabet, was arrested by members of the General Security Directorate at Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport..."

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Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hariri Resigns, But Protests and Demands For a New Government Continue


For more, we go to Beirut, Lebanon, where we’re joined by Lara Bitar, an independent journalist who is co-founder of the independent media workers collective Al-Murasila. We welcome you to Democracy Now!, Lara. I know there is a bit of a satellite delay. Can you explain to us the significance of the resignation of the prime minister demanded by the protests and what more the protesters are demanding?

LARA BITAR: Good morning, Amy. Good morning, Juan. As you indicated in your report, the people on the street who have been demonstrating since October 17th, they’ve declared a general strike that lasted about nine days. Schools and banks have been shut down for 11 days. So yesterday after the announcement of the resignation, people were celebrating, they were congratulating each other, while at the same time acknowledging that the struggle is still very long.

However, the general public is very uneasy with the situation right now because there is uncertainty in terms of the political and economic front. We are going through a severe economic crisis at the moment. Political parties such as the president’s party, the Free Patriotic Movement, and their supporters viewed this resignation as cowardly, as Prime Minister Hariri as relinquishing his duties and his responsibilities to the nation. But we just got word earlier that the current Lebanese president assigned Prime Minister Hariri to stay on as caretaker prime minister.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: What happens now, Lara? Will the president call new elections or will there be an attempt to form a parliamentary majority government without elections?

LARA BITAR: This is what civil society organizations on the street are calling for. They are calling for primarily the formation of a new, completely independent government that is not represented by any of the political parties that are currently in power, and specifically not the political parties that participated in the 15-year-old Lebanese Civil War. They are asking also for that independent government to have the ability to legislate laws, laws including one to guarantee the independence of the judiciary, another law to reform the electoral law and hold early elections to form a new independent government.

AMY GOODMAN: Lara, can you explain who the political elite is? The demand of the protesters that it’s not enough for just Hariri to step down; they want the ouster of the entire political elite. And you just said that he has been asked to stay on as a caretaker. So does that mean he is not leaving?

LARA BITAR: It seems like for the short term, at least, that he is going to be staying in power. I just got news of this right now, so I’m not sure what the reaction on the street is, but I assume people are not very happy with this decision. I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear the beginning of your question, but in terms of the ruling elite, these are different political parties. As they say, as demonstrators have been saying, these are people who in essence at the end of the Civil War in the early 1990s took off their military uniforms and replaced them with suits and ties, and they have been ruling this country since.

So when people talk about the complete overhaul and the complete and radical change of the political system, they’re talking about these people. They’re talking about the neoliberal economic policies that were implemented at the end of the Civil War that people are really suffering because of these policies. They want to change the entire system and they want every single political party or officials who have been complicit in the crimes that were committed during the war and postwar to be held accountable. And just let me also add—and this is why it’s incredibly important to have an—


The Neo Arab Sting, in Lebanon & Iraq


"(a) Popular protests in Lebanon and Iraq, aimed at corruption, elites and dysfunctional states. (b) US and Israeli based forces target the Resistance which saved Lebanon from Israel and Iraq from Daesh."


Why Lebanon and Iraq Are At the Brink of Further Strife


"While the devastation in both countries are about local economic and political issues there are foreign actors involved who want to use them to achieve their own goals..."

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Women Stand Defiantly At The Vanguard Of Lebanon's Protest Movement

In Beirut’s calls for revolution stand a distinct army that are protecting the mass protests from falling into violence: the women’s frontline.

Throughout the sprawling anti-government protests that have brought Lebanon to a halt, the country’s women have positioned themselves at the front line of protests. As they assert their role in the demonstrations, they are also redefining their role in Lebanon.

For over a week they have been forming human walls between protestors and security forces to ensure that the Lebanese revolution is peaceful. Now they face new resistance as police have deployed women officers to assist clearing the roadblock revolution and violent Hezbollah supporters have descended on the capital.

The women’s frontline began on the third day of the demonstrations, as a small group of women stood between riot police and protestors in front of one of Beirut’s principal government buildings.

After the first two nights of anti-government gatherings, in which tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, and water cannons were deployed against protestors, they did not want to see further clashes.


As word quickly spread of what they were doing, the women’s front line grew in strength.

Since that first Saturday, the women, often three or four rows deep, guard the space between the protesting masses and security forces.

Outside central Beirut, women have been a key factor in the success of acts of protest across the country. Throughout the past week protestors have been trying to close down roads, hoping to bring the country to a halt and maximise pressure on the government.

With the police trying to dismantle roadblocks and open the roads, the women’s front line yet again sprung to action.

At a normally busy intersection on the edge of Beirut’s Downtown, the Lebanese police deployed female officers on Saturday to remove the women protestors taking part in a sit-in. For a time police succeeded in reopening one lane of the highway but as more protestors joined, the police finally gave in.

The security forces’ new tactics stood little chance against the protestors’ determination to keep the roads closed. “We’re not going anywhere,” said Fay Abu Hassan, 30. “They can bring dog cops and we’re not going to get off the street.”

“It didn’t really matter if it was men or women trying to pull us off the street,” agreed her sister Fairuz. The 27-year-old actor believes the protestors hold a key advantage: “The police are with us, they’re with what we’re trying to say.”


Sayyed Nasrallah Urges Quick Formation of Lebanon Gov't: 'Resistance is Very Strong'


"...Regarding the current situation, Sayyed Nasrallah urged the Lebanese people to push for avoiding vacuum. 'A new government must be formed as soon as possible,' His Eminence affirmed. 'This new government must listen to the demands of the people who went to protest in the streets.' He also called for dialogue and communication between all Lebanese components and the protest movement's representatives. 'We call for a real sovereign government whose decisions should be purely Lebanese. We must talk about the American role that prevents Lebanon from getting out of its current situation..."


'Stay the Hell Away From Us' (and vid)


"Lebanon does not need lessons from an admitted liar, thief and cheater..."


The Angry Arab: The Origins of Lebanon's Protests


"Rafiq Hariri, assassinated in 2005, is more responsible than any other person for the corrupt economic-political system fueling the demonstrations, writes As'ad AbuKhalil..."


"Lebanese protesters struggling to live the Ukrainian Dream - abject poverty and kleptocracy, neo-Nazi death squads and civil war, endless austerity budgets and a remittance economy that forces millions of citizens to work abroad as cheap, exploitable migrant labor..."


The same propaganda flik is currently being promoted by USAID backed protesters in Hong Kong. Another 'Arab Sting' anyone?

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Statement by MENA Socialist Feminists and Allies on the Popular Uprisings in the Region

In all the ongoing struggles in the region,  the most progressive demands have been raised by women participants who oppose patriarchy and do not separate social justice from women’s emancipation.  In order for the 2019 uprisings to move forward,  the struggle for women’s emancipation and its inseparability from the struggle against capitalist exploitation and alienation needs to become much more explicit and act as a guiding light for the movement. What can socialist feminists in the region and around the world  do to help in this effort?

November 4, 2019

The current wave of popular protests in Iraq and Lebanon are a breath of fresh air and a beacon of hope for the region and the world.   What truly stands out in these protests and the uprisings which emerged earlier this year in Sudan and Algeria,  is the presence of women and the ways in which the mostly young protesters do not separate the struggle for social justice from opposing religious, ethnic and other types of sectarianism and religious fundamentalism.

The protesters’ demands for the overthrow of regimes and the challenge to all the ruling factions, regional and global powers,  reveal that the desire for a  radical transformation in life and labor is alive and well in the MENA region.   In Lebanon, women  have formed barriers on the frontlines to protect the rest of the protesters, and have called out sexist and homophobic slogans.  A woman kicking a firearm out of the hands of a man has become the icon of the Lebanese protests.  In Iraq,  women  who have been protesting sexual harassment and rape,  are active participants in the struggle.  In Sudan,  the symbol of the anti-military sit-in  which was violently crushed by the military last June,  was a woman.  Sudanese women protesters were actively promoting discussions about their self-emancipation.  In Algeria, the continuing mass protests involve a large number of young women who oppose the  subservient roles that were re-imposed on women revolutionaries  after the Algerian war of independence.

In all the ongoing struggles in the region,  the most progressive demands have been raised by women participants who oppose patriarchy and do not separate social justice from women’s emancipation.....


"This is a bad direction for Lebanon protests to take. They are being used by Lebanese Forces, PSP and Future, all US stooges who have become a part of the protests. They will steer it in a very ugly and violent direction to increase their political power. It's in the open now.



Brown shirts come in all colours and are being deployed globally by oligarchies. Fascists understand their history.

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Despite uncertain future, Lebanon’s uprising remains united against political elite

Holding a megaphone, a women chants to the crowds gathered at Martyrs’ Square in the middle of central Beirut, “We are the revolution of the people, you are the civil war!” The people, filling up the entire square and streets leading up to Lebanon’s parliament, repeat the words in unison. “You are the civil war,” they chant, “we are the revolution.”

It is an afternoon in early November, more than three weeks since the uprising against political corruption began in mid-October. Unlike previous protest movements in the small Mediterranean nation, demonstrations have spread to all parts of the country, including small towns and villages, and are targeting the entire Lebanese political elite.

“All of them, and we mean all of them!” the protesters chant, sparing no one.

Like each day, it is a diverse crowd that has gathered in the square. Parents have arrived with their children, young people with their friends. In their hands are posters with handwritten slogans or jokes, each smarter than the other.

“We are missing our lessons to teach you one,” one student’s poster says.

“We are not here to study history, we are here to write it,” says another.

More than ever before, youth have come to form an important part of the movement. University students have led sit-ins and strikes; school children have articulated the most clear-sighted demands and critiques. Just like the uprising as a whole, the students do not have a unified leader. Many have organized on their own, or through university student groups.


But Lebanon is different. There is no absolute ruler to be toppled, no dictatorship to be brought to an end. The country, at least on paper, has some features of a democracy — an elected government, even if many politicians are former warlords, a partly free media and a deeply rooted tradition of free speech.

What remains is a long list of failures, which is what brought people out into the streets. There is record-high inequality (Lebanon has one of the highest rates of billionaires in a population), terrible infrastructure (the electricity cuts out daily, and despite rich rainfalls, water is in constant shortage), the looming ecological crisis (manifest most blatantly in the garbage crisis of 2015, when trash was left in the streets for weeks) and an ongoing, yet-to-be-resolved economic emergency.

The blame for all of this, say the protesters, is on the political class, which has managed, successfully and uninterrupted, to stay in power since the days of the 1975-1990 civil war, ruling through extended networks of patronage.

The formula for ruling, since Lebanon’s foundation as a state, has been to distribute power along religious lines (the country has 18 recognized religious groups). But it has been a formula for division, not unity.

“The sects have been hijacked by the politicians, and people have become hostages to their sects. This sectarian system will never be able to function,” said Lamia Osseiran, a long-time civil activist.


But the path ahead is far from straight. Political divisions, kept in place by the sectarian system, run deep in the country, and are not easily overcome. In the face of a mostly absent state and non-existing welfare system, people are left with few options but to rely on the sectarian leaders.

Leaders from across the political spectrum have tried to play things to their own advantage. Parties like the Kataeb and Lebanese Forces went down to join the protests — to the outrage of activists, who do not want to their revolution to be hijacked. Supporters of opposing parties, Amal and Hezbollah, intimidated and confronted demonstrators, and destroyed the tents on Martyrs’ Square.

After two weeks of demonstrations, Prime Minister Saad Hariri came out with his resignation, leaving the country without a sitting government. But few saw this as a victory for the protesters.

“He was the low-hanging fruit who was likely to resign,” political analyst Rami Khouri said to Al-Jazeera.

It did not end the uprising either. Schools may have reopened — as have banks, amidst talks of collapse and bankruptcy — but sit-ins and demonstrations are organized daily. People take aim at symbolic institutions like the Central Bank and the state-owned electricity company, or hotels built on formerly public land.

Across the country, at 8 p.m. each night, people beat loudly, in unison, with spoons on pans from their kitchens. The message: We have nothing to put in our pots.


Few people can say where things are headed, whether there will be any real, significant change. Not everyone is optimistic. But one thing is clear, one transformation has already happened.

“We have never seen people united like this before. Not even before the war, nor at any time in our history,” Osseiran said. “I think no one expected it to happen so soon and in such a massive way.”.....


"Israel violated Lebanon's sovereignty to launch its criminal raid on Syria. All this talk about Iran from the corporate press and the US State Department, but it is the Israeli regime that is terrorizing our people - as it has done daily and nightly since its inception in 1948."



Lebanon's Oil & Gas: MES- EP 28 (and vid)


"The Lebanese-Israeli maritime border is in an area potentially rich in oil and gas..."

[Includes additionally, excellent discussion of Yemen]


The Angry Arab: US Role in Lebanon's Crisis Goes Unrecognized


"The bulk of Lebanon's corrupt ruling class are clients of the US and Saudi Arabia, not Iran. But this fact is inconvenient for Western media to point out, writes As'ad AbuKhalil...."