A Country Of Contradictions
Posted 16 August 2005 - 08:44 AM
Bro Mansour asked me to write about "Life in Lebanon, Political, Social & Religious Aspect"
I kind of got carried away. Well I thought of writing a small commentary about how I view Lebanon but I found it to be very subjective. Also well it is very hard to understand the aspects of Lebanese life if you didn't understand the background.
Anyhow, I tried to be as objective as possible and I made it in parts so you can choose the title you want and read about it.
The truth is not always pretty but subhana'Allah there is always seeds of good that will grow.
Feel free to ask questions
Posted 16 August 2005 - 08:52 AM
This in turn has a large impact on it politically and socially. In all, the government has officially declared it has 18 religious sects. Five of them are Muslim (largest are Jaafari Shia and Sunni [all madhabs], twelve Christian (includes both Catholic and Orthodox [largest are Maronites]), and the last one is the Jewish. The population is in the range of 4 million.
Ethnically, it mainly has three: Majority is Arabs, small percentage of Armenians, and a minority of Kurds.
It is approximately 10, 425 square km. It has borders with two countries Syria and occupied Palestine. The Syrian border is large is covers the north till the south east side and the Palestinian border covers part of the South.
Posted 16 August 2005 - 09:01 AM
During the Ottoman Rule (19th century)
Lebanonâ€™s is full with tumbling and prosperous times. This is mainly due to its location, situated on the East coast of the Mediterranean Sea. In ancient times it was part of many empires including the Phoenician, Roman, and Islamic. I donâ€™t want to delve too much into those times so jumping to the last, Ottoman Empire.
Lebanon is most known (by the ones who know it exists) as a small country devastated by a civil war. The one that started in 1975 was not the first, there were others; one back during the Ottoman rule that started in the early 19th century and ended nearly in the second half of the century. The main factions in it were the Maronites and the Druz. The reason for the conflict was over the interests of each faction that focused on political reasons and also conflict over lands. At the time the Ottomans gave some type of freedom to the Lebanese in what is known now as Mount Lebanon. Both of the sects suffered and that conflict had many foreign interventions from the Ottomans and the Europeans. Till this day there is an ever existing rivalry between the Druz and Maronites that is highlighted whenever there are any rocky times in the country.
During the Mandate (first half of the 20th century)
At the end of the first world war, as you know the Ottoman Empire ended. The French and British took over what is known as the Middle East. Lebanon and Syria were part of the French mandate. As all occupiers they expected to be obeyed or else. In the 1920s, at the time of the mandate the French added to Mount Lebanon (which back then constituted of the Biqaâ€™ Valley and Jabal Amel) other areas to form what is present day Lebanon. The areas added had political affiliations to what is now known as Syria constituted of a majority of Muslims destabilizing the majority of Maronite Christians in Mt. Lebanon. But the French to ensure that the Christians still had dominance they requested that the president always be a Maronite Christian and the Prime Minister as a Sunni Muslim. The parliament of the other hand was divided into a 6:5 ratio (Christian /Muslim).; though the power was mainly with the president, where he can refuse any legislation done by the parliament. In addition, even though the percentage population will change than 50% to each religion the parliament ratios donâ€™t change and with the power given to the president will cause many conflicts later on; for ultimately the Muslim population did consist of the majority with little power.
Posted 16 August 2005 - 09:05 AM
In November 22, 1943 Lebanon gained independence from the French mandate after a few conflicts with the French at which the first president of Lebanon was imprisoned. The first president of the republic of Lebanon had the same powers given to the position earlier by the French.
Lebanon didnâ€™t begin to prosper when the atrocious Zionists declared what is according to them â€œthe state of israelâ€ and due to the war, massacres, deportation 10 of thousands of Palestinians arrived in Lebanon reaching more than 100,000. In later wars and conflicts, first the 1967 war and later the conflict between PLO and the Jordanians the number reached more than 300,000 Palestinians. They were divided into different parts of the country living in refugee camps that still exist till this present day.
Lebanon in the early half of the 20th century
In 1958, there were some political conflicts during the reign of president Camille Chamoun. Many revolts occurred against him and the government due to it politics and his plans to remove Lebanon from its Arab identity. Here it must be noted that Lebanon was one of the first countries to join what is known as the Arab League. The next president Fouad Chehab brought a somewhat prosperous times to Lebanon; though that didnâ€™t constitute some of the regions mostly the South, Beqaâ€™ valley, and the North which unfortunately still exist to this day (though due to help from wealth citizens the regions are slowly improving).
Edited by Zeinab, 26 August 2005 - 08:09 AM.
Posted 16 August 2005 - 09:07 AM
By the late 1960s the PLO headed by Yasser Arafat was widely known and they carried many attacks from Lebanon on the israelis and even outside of Lebanon. The israelis, as usual, they attacked and retailed against the Lebanese by destroying 13 airliners in the Lebanese airport.
This event caused an already existing rift and displeasure of the political system between the Lebanese people. In 1969, the PLO and the Lebanese signed the Cairo agreement. The agreement gave autonomy and ruling of the PLO over the refugee camps. The Maronite Christians didnâ€™t accept that and slowly militias started growing, the Phalange, headed by the Gmayel family (Chamoun and Frangiyeh families included). The country was divided between pro- Palestinians (Muslims) and their cause and anti-Palestinians (Christians).
This was to become even worse when the PLO had more fighters flood in 1970 from Jordan (after conflicts with King Hussien). The PLO decided to establish Fatah Land in the south of Lebanon as a point of attacked of the northern occupied territory. The israelis didnâ€™t focus their attacks on the PLO instead they wanted the Lebanese government, which was becoming weaker and weaker, to stop the Palestinians so they attacked, pillaged, and destroyed 10s and 10s of Lebanese villages.
The problem: Lebanon was used as a fighting ground for the regional conflict which was backed up by Western countries (for the israelis) and Arab countries (for the Palestinians). Add to that the destabilized and ever growing upset and political disagreements of the Lebanese, a civil war was brewing.
Edited by Zeinab, 26 August 2005 - 08:13 AM.
Posted 16 August 2005 - 09:10 AM
It called it as such because not only the Lebanese were fighting each other. The war had israelis, Palestinians, Syrians, Americans, and Lebanese, etc. The other Western governments and Arab governments backed up the many militias present at the time.
But this war would have ended earlier and wouldnâ€™t have had such an eruption if different Lebanese groups didnâ€™t want to fight in it. There are many reasons for the war but the ones that mainly contributed were: 1) The need and want of the Maronites to be the only ruling power in Lebanon (backed up by the Europeans and US) 2) The ever existing conflict in that the Christians mainly the Maronites want to detach themselves from the Arabs and have closer connections with the Europeans and the Muslims wanting to maintain their Arab connections (this was fueled by Jamal Abed Nasser movement and the political influence of the Russians over the Arabs and their conflict with the US), 3) The Muslims to get a bigger share of the power which was ultimately their right since they constituted the majority of the population. There are other reasons but those are the main ones.
More insight into the Lebanese society youâ€™ll find that there was and still a huge difference between the political affiliations and what it was shaped by different sects, in a nutshell it seemed every sect had its own foreign connections, political agenda, and ultimately what is best for it and for what they thought the interest of Lebanon. So, you had the Sunnis allied with the Arabs and mainly followed the path of Abd Nasser, the Druz followed the Russians and were divided into socialists and communists, the Christians (of different factions) and mainly Maronites followed the French and Europeans and they reached a stage were their conflict with the Palestinians and the Arabs justified their treason and they allied with the israelis (mainly known as Kateâ€™eb and the Lebanese forces), the Shia were from the time of the independence not allowed into the political arena and they mainly lived in the previously mentioned areas, the south, North and Beqaâ€™ valley. They started to gain power during the war backed up by Iran.
The war started on the dark day of April 13, 1975 sparked by the retaliation attacks between the Phalanges and the Palestinians. The Lebanese army tried to stop the war but its efforts seemed futile, first because the political groups disagreed whether the army should be involved, and second because ultimately the army disintegrated and its members joined the different militias and movements.
Edited by Zeinab, 26 August 2005 - 08:18 AM.
Posted 16 August 2005 - 09:13 AM
Regional changes like the Peace accord between Egypt and israel caused a problem for the Syrians in Lebanon and it wasnâ€™t able to maintain peace unless it removed the weapons of the Palestinians and the Phalanges which was a very costly endeavor done alone. Clashes broke out on every corner, the Palestinians and the Christians, the Christians and the Muslims, the Muslims and the israelis, the Syrians with the Christians, and the Christians with the Christians, etc. The situation was getting worse and there is still to come.
During the late seventies, came the rise of a shia temperate man, Musa Assader. He had various relations with different factions, an acceptance and large ability to cause the situation to cool down. He established the Amal movement (Hope movement). But, he was not able to continue what he wanted to do since by an invitation from Qathafi (Libya) to visit he was abducted with two others. Now, Qathafi denies he had anything to do with the issue but the shia accuse him of doing it and that Assader is still alive to this day. Thatâ€™s why the relation between the countries is not at its best. It is said that he did it by a request from the Americans and Europeans due to the growing power of Assader in Lebanon. .
Another issue was one of the Christian militias went to the South to â€œfreeâ€ it from the Palestinians instead they fought along side the israelis and killed their own countrymen and others. The israelis invaded Lebanon 1978 reaching the Litani River. At which the UN made resolution 425 for their withdrawal. They withdrew from some parts in 1978 leaving to fight in their stead the Christians militia. The UN also sent the UNIFIL troops still present till this day.
The worst was to come when the ever growing relation between the Phalanges mainly the Lebanese forces (led by Bashir Gmayel first and later on by Samir Gaâ€™jaâ€™) and the israelis and the retaliation acts between the Palestinians and the israelis. On the order of Ariel Sharon in 1982 the israelis invaded Lebanon to squash according to them the PLO. He went against orders and reached Beirut. After a long siege and the bombardment of Beirut with tanks, fighter plans and battle ships, what was left of the city was reduced to nothing and thousands of people, mainly civilians, died.
Edited by Zeinab, 26 August 2005 - 08:26 AM.
Posted 16 August 2005 - 09:16 AM
At the time Bashir Gmayel was elected president but short after he was assassinated. His brother Amin Gmayel took his place as president. Back then the chaos was at its most, including massacres, there was a wide array of car bombs being planted all over the country. The victims included civilians mainly and many of the bombs targeted religious leaders (pretty much what is happening in Iraq at the moment). The Lebanese army with all the efforts to regain unity failed and disintegrated again. Amin was like his brother he made an agreement with the israelis backed up by the US of how the israelis should withdraw from Lebanon; giving the israelis many privileges which angered the different Muslims factions. This was known as the May 17 agreement. This uprising against the agreement along with the Syrians led to its dissolve.
The israelis withdraw in 1983 till the south and established the security zone backed also up by the militia (now people of different sects joined) which was later known as Lahed army (led by Lahed). The israelis didnâ€™t withdraw until 2000 after being defeated by the Islamic resistance. That year and the one that followed witnessed major attacks on the US marines and other troops. The most known is the one done on the head quarters where more than 200 troops died. That signaled the withdrawal of the US troops.
Fights between the different groups escalated; in addition to other attacks like the US battle ships on the Mounts against Walid Jumblat and his militia and others. In the mid 1980s a new group rose, after having political conflicts within the Amal movement, Hizabaâ€™Allah came into the scene.
Hizabaâ€™Allah (The party of Allah) is known now as a terrorist by its enemies and a hero by its allies. Back then in the 80s they did have conflicts with other groups especially Amal. Their main aim and still is the liberation of the occupied lands of Lebanon and its protection. Many have accused them of being Iranian. No one can deny they had support from Iran but they have always been Lebanese. May be it is Mercy from Allah for this devastated country, no matter what sect you belong to when you have a pure aim and you ask Allah for assistance He will give you victory.
Though it must be said that they were not the first resistance against the israelis; the resistance since the beginning of the invasion included Druz, Christians of dfferent sects, Shias, and Sunnis. But they are known for the resistance since militarily they are the only ones who continued after the end of the civil war.
Edited by Zeinab, 26 August 2005 - 08:29 AM.
Posted 16 August 2005 - 09:23 AM
Aoun didnâ€™t like the Syrian presence and didnâ€™t like the presence of Samir Gaâ€™jaâ€™ (Lebanese Forces) so he launched two battles, one for each. Again one of the few times very heavy artillery was used and again the civilians suffered. Since he was the general of the Lebanese army he used what was in the arsenal on his countrymen and the Syrians.
After another major devastation, in 1990, the Lebanese and Syrians attacked Aoun and he fled to the French embassy and then to Paris and didnâ€™t return until the mid of 2005.
The war at its end, more than 120,000 died, many missing and 10 of thousands permanently handicapped, and about a million were emigrants and many others left the country. All groups lost, nobody wins in such a war, but some proved that they had a right to share in the rule of Lebanon. The politics in Lebanon was to have a major twist. That doesnâ€™t mean many things changed.
In the late 80s, a new Sunni leader was coming into the scene after they have been overcome in the war, Rafik AlHariri. He was from a middle class family from the South. He grew from a school teacher to a tycoon; with large network of international relations, especially Saudi Arabia and France.
Edited by Zeinab, 26 August 2005 - 08:32 AM.
Posted 16 August 2005 - 09:25 AM
If you ask me why the war ended, I really donâ€™t know the full answer to that. I think there were many reasons: there was another war in the region that needed attention from the world (Saddam and his invasion of Kuwait), the money and support couldnâ€™t be given to the militias in Lebanon to fight the conflicts of the big countries; another major factor was that the Lebanese realized that no one was ever going to win this war, Lebanon canâ€™t be for only one group, and that ultimately they were pawns in the hands of many countries to fight in there stead and cause devastation to this small country.
The Taif agreement was signed by the different groups except Aoun that didnâ€™t agree to the election of Rene Mouwad who was assassinated later on and his successor was Elias Hurawi. As mentioned before Aoun was removed by force. A government of militia leaders was developed. The power given to the Lebanese president was lessened and more was given to the ministers and the parliament which saw an increase in number. The president remained a Maronite Christian, the prime minister remained a Sunni Muslim, and the head of parliament was to be a Shia Muslim.
In 1991, the militias were disbanded and removed their arms (though it is known that many still retain some weapons) and many were legally changed into political parties. The government made an amnesty for crimes done in the war (or else most of the government back then belonged in prison) except some crimes. The only group not disarmed was Hizbaâ€™Allah that was recognized as a resistance and not a militia.
Edited by Zeinab, 26 August 2005 - 08:35 AM.
Posted 16 August 2005 - 09:26 AM
After a few unstable governments the 1992 elections came (with a few problems of its own) Rafik AlHariri is now prime minister. He was rebuilding though at first it mainly focused on Beirut.
During the 1990s Lebanon came under attack several and uncounted times from the israelis the most known are the 1993 and 1996. There was the 7 day war in 1993. In 1996, operation grapes of wrath (as the israelis called it) against the Islamic resistance, who was trying to free Lebanon, led again to large destruction of the country. They mainly attacked new infrastructure (bridges, electric companies, roads, etc.) and inhabited houses. Many people from the South fled to Beirut and their numbers were large and the school filled up quickly with beds and aid. A known massacre of 1996 is Qana, a small town in the south, the civilian houses in the town were under attack so the old people, women and children fled to a UN head quarter in the town and it was struck; 150 people died (infants, women, old people and a few UN soldiers).
At the time, Hizbaâ€™Allah was attacking northern occupied Palestine as a reaction to the attack and the israelis couldnâ€™t handle the losses. So the April agreement came into action were israelis agreed to a cease fire with Hizbaâ€™Allah and no more civilians on either side will be attacked any more.
The country was regaining its previous prosperity bit by bit but the amount of debt for such a small country was enormous. The israeli attacks continued though not as before due to the line of defense Hizbaâ€™Allah created. Their time in Lebanon was nearing the end, again in 1999 they attacked and tried to put fear in the hearts of the Lebanese in order to go against the resistance but they failed.
In 1998, Emile Lahoud was elected president; he was the former leader of the Lebanese army. Rafik Al Hariri was not elected PM in 1998 but he came back to the chair in 2000.
Edited by Zeinab, 26 August 2005 - 08:37 AM.
Posted 16 August 2005 - 09:28 AM
May 2000, the month of dignity and freedom, no one even had a clue what was going to happen at the end of this month. No one imagined even the israelis what was going to be achieved. The redemployment of the IOF (israeli occupying forces) was happening before but they didnâ€™t expect to leave completely or to take the traitors who worked for them along with them.
The israelis aimed to leave the murderous militias and traitors of Lahed army in the south while they retreated to occupied Palestine in order to fight Hizbaâ€™Allah and cause chaos, havoc and many civilian deaths. That didnâ€™t came to be instead people of the South themselves followed the tracks of the resistance while they fought at the border to free their lands themselves. The israeli army and Lahed army including the traitors who aided them from civilians didnâ€™t know what was happening. Scores of people coming up the hill towards them! They started to shoot at the people but they kept on coming so the traitors and others left their cars and went on running to occupied Palestine. The world was watching this live on Manar TV while it was happening. May 25 israeli forces left most of the occupied Lebanese territories and were defeated. The most emotional footage caught on tape and was also aired live was the freeing of the women and men prisoners of war from Khiam prison. Where they used to be tortured and have unspeakable things done to them by both Lahed army and IOF.
Edited by Zeinab, 26 August 2005 - 08:40 AM.
Posted 16 August 2005 - 09:32 AM
According to the UN israel has fulfilled resolution 425. According to the Lebanese government it didnâ€™t. The disputed land is called Sheba farms. The UN and israel say it is Syrian lands that were taken in the 70s by the israelis from the Syrians. The Lebanese and the Syrians say it is Lebanese lands. The truth in the manner is that there were Syrian troops when the israelis took it but the land is Lebanese.
This is proved by the official papers the Lebanese citizens have that they own the land, and they used to pay taxes to the Lebanese government and the countless geographical maps of Lebanon that included the farms. The Lebanese government showed the evidence but it was disregarded by the UN. The Lebanese government also voiced several times that 425 is not completed and it was its right to defend and return its lands.
The voices against Hizbaâ€™Allah and its dismantling were rising up from Western governments. The US and israel called it a terrorist group the Europeans donâ€™t regard it as such but want its arms to be removed. Through that the resistance was carrying operations on the IOF in Sheba farms. The end of 2004, resolution 1559 was made asking Syrian troops to leave the country immediately, dismantling of Lebanese militias (Hizbaâ€™Allah) and non-Lebanese ones (Palestinians in camps) and for the Lebanese army to watch the border and go to the south.
This Zionist resolution aimed to remove the power Lebanon had to defend itself; cause strife between the Lebanese; cause once again strife between the Lebanese and the Palestinians; cause problems and give an excuse to attack Syria; and make the Lebanese army protect the israelis on the border by not allowing any resistance attacks; all in all a fitnah resolution.
The Lebanese army was already at the south, there were still occupied territory and the issue of defending the Lebanese against any further attacks. This combined to the unrest in politics brewing in Lebanon was a ground for a major conflict.
Edited by Zeinab, 26 August 2005 - 08:43 AM.
Posted 16 August 2005 - 09:34 AM
Let us recall that Syria came to Lebanon at the request of the Lebanese and at the end of the war after two years (1992) Syria was supposed to re-deploy its troops to the Bekaa valley (according to the Taif agreement). In 1992, The Lebanese and the Syrians agreed to keep the Syrian troops (about 15,000) in greater Beirut since the israeli threat was still large. In 2000, after the partial withdrawal of the israelis more voices Lebanese and Western started to ask the Syrians troops and intelligence to leave. In Lebanon some political and economical conflict between the Syrians and Hariri occurred. In end of 2004, he resigned as PM and Omar Karami came into office.
The major conflict came to be when pro-Syrian ministers in the parliament wanted to amend the constitution to keep president Lahoud in office for 3 more years and at the same time resolution 1559 came into being. The amendment happened though there was Christian, Druz opposition and mounting Sunni opposition. The Shia on the other hand kept on the side attacking mostly the Western inference and resolution 1559. In addition to that, assassination attempts on a Marwan Hmadeh (one of Jumblat Druz ministers) and the huge catastrophe of Haririâ€™s death exploded the situation even more.
Syria was accused of the events happening in Lebanon both by the opposition and Western governments. Though contrary to what happened in the events before the civil war, all sides whether pro-Syrian or opposition called for civil calm and the people complied except for a few minor incidents.
Edited by Zeinab, 26 August 2005 - 08:45 AM.
Posted 16 August 2005 - 09:37 AM
This gave rise to rallies on either side. March 8, Hizbaâ€™Allah, Amal and other non opposition groups that included many Christians (some of them Maronites) and Druz called for a rally. It was the biggest rally Lebanon has ever seen, about 1, 600,000 Lebanese came under what following: support for the resistance, against 1559, against western interference in Lebanese issues, against any civil unrest, truth for the death of Hariri, and thanking Syria for the sacrifices and effort it gave Lebanon. The number of people shocked the opposition and others around the world. Lebanese refused to be pawns in the hands of others. In another rally, the opposition said wasnâ€™t to oppose the other; about a million Lebanese came under: sovereignty and truth for the death of Hariri. Now, some opposition leaders (especially the Maronite ones) wanted to show that the Lebanese kicked the Syrians out but the sister of Hariri, Bahiya who the crowd mostly came for her (sunnis) were not there to say that. She was the last to talk in the rally and thanked Syria for its efforts and that they shall meet again on new grounds for they shall forever be allied and that she supported the resistance.
Here the tables turned and she was even criticized by the opposition for saying as such. But this shows that Muslims (whether Sunni or Shia) would not be a hand to attack or hurt Syria.
Why was Syria thanked?
Syria offered a lot for the Lebanese: it had countless efforts to stop the civil war diplomatically and militarily; it defended with the Lebanese against further israel occupation of Arab lands; it helped Lebanon on the economical level and offered electricity on the many occasions when israelis destroyed the infrastructure; it helped reorganizing and training of Lebanese army troops, etc.
Syria did help Lebanon and no one can deny that, so why the conflict? This was given rise by difference in opinions and some mistakes done by the Syrian government to the Lebanese (even Bashar AlAssad said that). Its official role has ended and it was time for them to leave, April 2005, after a ceremony between the Lebanese and Syrians troops they completely left Lebanon and according as they agreed to the Taif agreement and not 1559.
Lebanon and Syria were always connected together socially, economically, geographically, politically, etc. They are referred to as sisters, for indeed siblings do fight but ultimately since they are literally of the same flesh and blood they will agree once more. The number of intermarriage of Syrians and Lebanese people is high through out all of the sects.
Edited by Zeinab, 26 August 2005 - 08:48 AM.
Posted 16 August 2005 - 09:40 AM
Lebanon still asked to execute 1559, this has become harder and harder as a new government was formed after elections. Hizbaâ€™Allah for the first time has entered the government and has shown through the elections that the Lebanese support them. The government issued they have a right to defend their lands. The Lebanese refused to be played with once again.
That doesnâ€™t mean there is no problems any more, unfortunately some of the civil war reasons still exist. Especially, the ever Maronite call for over all control and voices who agree with israel and the US. They are the following: Michel Aoun (the exiled general that returned), Samir Gaâ€™jaâ€™ (released recently from prison), and others not worth mentioning. On the other hand, this is controlled by a large alliance of Sunnis, Shia, and Druz.
But though what was said causes concern, the worst of civil unrest has hopefully ended with no return by the large amount of calm that the people and leaders showed (expect in the elections)
As with Lebanese politics, its society is an array of contradictions. Demographically the Muslims consist 70% of the population while the rest is for the other religions. The war caused people of the same sects to live together, which was less seen before the war. Since there is relatively a large number of Christians living in one area for example, youâ€™ll see there are unislamic things done like night clubs, casinos, etc. In more Muslim populated areas there is no sign of such issues. While in mixed areas it stands in the middle of the two. Religiously speaking anyone can practice their religion freely. They are a countless number of Masjids and churches (a few synagogues). Even in mixed areas you can see a Masjid right beside a church. Even though Lebanon is an Arab country it has never been classified as Islamic due to the large array of problems that would cause.
There is a large freedom of expression of opinions; oddly almost every major group in Lebanon has their own media center and TV channel or newspaper. Everybody voices what they want. So if you want to know what is happening locally, the different channels need to be watched since every one shows their side of the story on few issues; but generally they do show all matters.
Peopleâ€™s behavior and actions differ depending who you are observing. So one thing about Lebanon is that do not generalize what one Lebanese says or behaves before knowing his/her background.
Even though I tried to present this as objectively as possible if you do ask a Maronite Christian of what I said he/she might completely disagree (I hope you get the drift).
continued if need be...
Edited by Zeinab, 26 August 2005 - 08:52 AM.
Posted 28 January 2007 - 02:01 PM
Sorry it is a bit long but I set in bold the important parts so you can read those if you donâ€™t want to read the rest.
You might notice I took out some events that everybody knows for the sake of making it a bit shorter; you can ask about them if you want.
First, I will give some background in Lebanese political system so you would know what we are dealing with. After the civil war ended in 1990 by the Taif agreement, it was added to the Lebanese constitution.
The Lebanese constitution declares that the president can only be a Christian Maronite, the prime minister can only be a Sunni Muslim, and the head of the parliament can only be a Shiâ€™te Muslim (even though Lebanon has 18 sect); these 3 sects are the largest in Lebanon.
The parliament which is elected by the public, 50% of the members should be Christians, and 50% should be Muslims.
The government 50% should be Christians (of different sects, not all though), 50% Muslims.
We do not have a normal democracy where the majority rules but we have like an agreement democracy were all political groups need to agree on major decisions even if they are not in government.
Beginning of the operation:
The Bush administration and France wanted to remove Lebanon from the Taif agreement (which Syria has a big part in it) into another agreement. This operation began by the UN resolution 1559 (2004), which further interfered in Lebanese sovereignty by asking the parliament not to increase the ruling of president Emil Lahoud. The resolution also asked for the removal of Hizbaâ€™Allah and Palestinian weapons, and Syria to remove its troops.
Death of Harriri:
Rafik Harriri was assassinated on 14 Feb, 2005 and at the time he was not the PM but Omar Karami was. The opposition at the time were Future movement (Saâ€™ed Harriri), Lebanese forces (not the army the party) (Samir Ja3ja3), Democratic social party (Walid Jumblat), Free patriotic movement (Michial Aoun, Kournet Shwen, etc.
Saâ€™ed Harriri accused Syria immediately and most of the above did with no evidence. The only evidence they had was that Rafik Harriri changed his policy and was politically against Syria at the time he died.
Omar Karami resigned after he saw a group of the Lebanese didnâ€™t want him anymore (tell that to Siniora that a million and a half told him they donâ€™t want him, yet he still refuses to leave the chair :notallthere: ) and early election were in order, which the above group refused to delay a month or two to have a new election law that is fair. They were in the zone were they accused anybody who didnâ€™t want the elections that they killed Harriri.
Before the elections their campaign was anyone who doesnâ€™t elect us or ally with us in election is the one who killed Harriri. Hizbaâ€™Allah was with a good relation with Omar Karami and Suliaman Franjiyeh (the ones who were in gov.) and Saâ€™ed Harriri accused them of have some type of responsibility in the assassination (with no evidence of course). There was an underlining rumor towards Hizbaâ€™Allah and Amal(head Nabih Berri and he is the head of the parliament) movement that they had something to do with Harriri assassination because they are allies of Syria.
To curb this rumor and anything like it they decided to make an election and political alliance with Saâ€™ed Harriri. Now, the alliance should have only included the three but Harriri refused to enter it unless Walid Jumblat is also in the alliance. Amal and Hizbaâ€™Allah didnâ€™t like it but they were forced to accept.
Also before the elections, Michieal Aoun returned to Lebanon (he was exiled since 1989 in France) and he was immediately attacked by the group called the Cedar revolution or 14 Feb/14 March people. Samir Ja3ja3 the head of the Lebanese forces was released after 11 year imprisonment (it was for life but you know politics) for killing the former PM Rashid Karami, Tony Franjiyeah and his family, and Dany Chamoun and his family.
So Micheal Aoun made other political alliances after the 14 Feb people turned on him and used his people in mass demonstrations. Aoun represents at least 60% of the Christian population in Lebanon and even more.
Before the elections in a few months the Syrian troops left Lebanon.
After the elections 2005:
The 14 Feb people where able to get 55% of the parliament by the votes of Hizbaâ€™Allah in the mountain region (if the Hizb didnâ€™t vote for them they would not have 55% of the parliament). The 14 Feb people , Amal, and Hizbaâ€™Allah constructed the gov. even though Aoun had a large amount of members in the parliament the 14 Feb people refused to give him what he asked for so he decided to be the opposition in the parliament. They refused to let him enter because his political agenda was to open the corruption files and see why is the gov. losing so much money that no one knows were it goes (basically he wanted to catch the thieves).
This would be the first time Hizbaâ€™Allah ever entered a gov. since it entered the political arena in 1992 (before they were just a resistance). The gov. constructed the list of objectives they should do, which included the freedom of the Hizb to return the PWOs in â€œisraelâ€ the way it sees fit and the return of any occupied land.
As the months progressed Amal and Hizb noticed that they were sidestepped in the political decisions in the gov. the 14 Feb people were not taking their presence seriously and did what ever they want from important decisions like stopping the constitution council (it monitors if the gov. is doing everything according to the constitution, they stopped its formation) . The sidestepping also including important places in the police and other security measures, where Amal and Hizb noticed the 14 Feb. people are assigning people who work for them and not people who are not connected to any political group as the constitution declares. All of a sudden the 14 Feb people started attacking the resistance and asking it to give up its weapons. Amal (which also has a role in the resistance) and the Hizb were surprised because they entered the gov. with an agreement they can continue the resistance.
At this time in the background as both Aoun and Hizb were turned on by the same people they were making an agreement (not a political alliance, there is a difference) about many issues from the weapons of the Hizb, to the relation with Syria, the political view, and social view of Lebanon. It is good to mention here that Aoun was the foremost political opponent of Syrian presence in Lebanon. After they left as there is no reason to be against them any more he wanted a good diplomatic relation with Syria because Lebanon economical y, geographically, and politically canâ€™t survive with it (everybody agrees to that even the 14 Feb people).
[b]The political struggle started brewing slowly and Berri wanted to reach an understanding on all issues so they made what is known as the dialogue table, even though not all the political groups in Lebanon were in it, the ones not represented decided that Aoun, Amal, and Hizb represent them like Suliman Franjiyeah and Omar Karami, etc.
They breezed through all the points from the internal court, relations with Syria, etc. they go to the weapons of the resistance, the 14 Feb. people wanted them to give them up. The Hizb, Amal and Aoun asked what is the alternative of protecting Lebanon with the lack of equipment the Lebanese army and no matter how much equipment they have they need a change in strategy since as known â€œisraelâ€ can win over any organized army. The 14 Feb people said they would add the UN soldiers and they would take promises from the world powers that â€œisraelâ€ would not attack. The
Posted 28 January 2007 - 11:26 PM
Before the Hizb took the israeli soldiers, like months before they told everybody on TV and anywhere else in al occasions they were going to take the soldiers. The 14 Feb people did not refuse or say no because as I said before the objectives of the gov. says the stance can do that.
Anyway you know what happened in the war. Just a note the people who where mainly attacked in the war where foremost the supporters of the Hizb and Amal; their families died and their houses were destroyed. The point was to make them leave the south and â€œ israelâ€ reoccupies it so they canâ€™t return then they make it a no man zone where only NATO troops can reside (evidence was found out the some of the 14 Feb people know about the war and agreed to that). Now that did not go as planned because the resistance (here not only the Hizb, Amal were fighting but other known Lebanonâ€™s resistance groups, some of them are secular and some are Sunni).
After the war:
The resistance groups and Aoun, with other opposition groups knew that the 14 Feb people aimed to destroy the Hizb (as is well known through the aims of the war said by the US and â€œ israelâ€) and then politically exile all other groups that donâ€™t agree with them like Aoun, Amal, Marada, etc.
[b]All the opposition groups , Amal and Hizb after the war and even before it because of the political struggle were asking for a unity gov.; now after the war it was an important step that needs to happen. The 14 Feb people refused to pay up the money for the people to rebuilt, tried to stop the people from returning to their homes in the south, and continued with doing decisions without asking the other groups.
Hizb and Amal gave them time for dialogue all Ramadan and 3 weeks after it, they would not accept a unity gov. In this unity gov. by the way Hizb and Amal wanted Aoun who represents the Christians to enter the gov .and other political groups and not for them to add any seats. The 14 Feb people still refused and kept on doing what they are doing, so Hizb and Amal decided to resign from the gov. and become opposition with the other groups. Because they both represent the Shiâ€™tes in the gov. when they resigned no shia in the gov. anymore this as I explained before makes the gov. unconstitutional unless these ministers are replaced with other Shia. The 14 Feb people were not able to replace them so the gov. became illegal and unconstitutional.
Even though it is unconstitutional it continued to make decisions by sidestepping this time the president, like what happened with the international court. By Lebanese constitution only the president gave make international agreements. The unconstitutional gov. voted for an international court that asked the Lebanese gov. to change its constitution.Then it did it again by making reform paper as they call it (it is not really), without asking anyone and as I said in our kind of democracy that is unacceptable and the gov. canâ€™t do it because it is unconstitutional.[
At this time the opposition made two major demonstrations asking for a unity gov. in 1 Dec, 2006 and another bigger one in 10 Dec, 2006 asking for in additional for a unity gov. for early elections. They make permanent camp in front of the head ministry until they give the people what they want.
I know you hear of TV that the Shiâ€™tes are making a coup and they want to take the Sunni gov. but neither the opposition are only Shia nor is the gov. Sunni. If you stay 60 days in the streets with only peaceful demonstrations asking the 14 Feb people to be partners in ruling that does not constitute a coup.
On 23 Jan, 2007 the opposition decided to show the gov. it doesnâ€™t represent the majority of the people and it successfully did that even the places where the gov. thought it had supporters went along with the opposition. Even non political organization across the country went along with the opposition. The gov. didnâ€™t like that and it sent some people with guns and sticks and attacks demonstrators in the street (this all have evidence of course and not made up). The 14 Feb people got mad at the army for not forcing the demonstrators out of the streets.
On 25 Jan, 2007, the leaders of the 14 Feb people go on TV and say what is happening around the Arab university is a reaction to what the opposition did on 23 Jan. If they were the gov. they would not ask some of their people to have guns and ask snipers to kill the oppositions and shot the army in the streets. They attacked the university and forced the students to stay inside while the snipers shot at them, when the families of the students came to get them out they were shot at also.
Who so trying to make a sunni shia fitnah in Lebanon? Is that not obvious, how would be the one who would benefit the most in the region except â€œ israelâ€?
The opposition constitutes of:
Fatihi Yakan and his group
Omar Karami and his group
Osama Saâ€™ed and his party
Abed AL Rahman al Bisri
Murad (forgot his first name) and his party
The dialogue party
Former PM s
Free patriotic movement (Michiel Aoun)
Marada (Sulieman Frenjiyeh)
Ellie Skaf and his group
Other independent Christians
Wiâ€™am Wahab and his party
Talal Irslan and his party
Other independent Druz.
Syrian qawmi party