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May 5, 2018: Who’s Buying Votes at the Lebanon Election?

Beirut, Lebanon: On this lovely morning here on the coast of the Mediterranean there is not a cloud in the sky. In less than twenty-four hours voting will begin. However, on this day before the election, a howling wind is blowing from the south making the thousands of posters, banners and building-sized placards that feature the faces of the scores of potential Lebanese parliamentarians dance and sway wildly above the throngs of tomorrows voters.

But this wind, one that just yesterday seemed to bring the promise of a new future for Lebanon, will it be an ill wind that instead dashes this attempt at populist democratic reform, one cast from nine years of progress, onto the rocks of US-backed history?

Judging from the past twelve hours on the streets of Beirut, there is suddenly strong pause for concern. Someone is buying votes!

And just about everyone knows it.

Prior to arriving in the wee hours of this morning, this reporter had checked the newspaper offerings in the three airports transited for features on this very important election. In the New York Times, London Times, UK Independent, Financial Times, their Friday-before-the-election editions included not so much as a mention. In the English language papers of Turkey to the north, neither the Daily News or the Daily Sabah had a similar omission.

Why?

These same papers had news about Armenian, Moldovan and/ or the Maldivian elections where the western powers were already far along in bringing their unelected candidates back to power despite contrary election results past. The many Lebanese spoken with this day did not know of this glaring omission but were not surprised. As one local commented, “Well, they always ignore us…until war breaks out, again.”

The Rules of Engagement.

It’s now 7 PM on this Saturday and the bars are closing; unheard of in this town known for its vibrant nightlife that routinely parties to 4 AM even on a Sunday. It has been nine years since this nation’s last election and the Lebanese government wants everyone sober enough tomorrow to make it to the voting booth. So, if you want a drink only a restaurant can legally serve alcohol; hopefully on a full stomach.

Voting for any of the almost seven hundred different candidates from across the country begins at 7 AM tomorrow. An interesting requirement for voting is that all Lebanese must return to their place of birth to do so, and because of the closed bars, tonight is extraordinarily quiet. As one taxi driver accurately stated, Sunday “will see the return of old Beirut.”

In what appears to be a form of Gerrymandering, when the voters return home to vote, many travelling over a hundred miles to do so, they must vote from a set list of candidates specific to their region. This would appear to be a violation of the Lebanese constitution that allows for universal suffrage and will restrict these voters from voting for more favorable candidates within the party of their choice, but not on their ballot. Despite the excitement of tomorrows historic election, many are quite unhappy about this limited choice that certainly affects their decision at the ballot box.

These separate ballots will be divided across the nation- similar to US congresspersons- by population. This means that Beirut, the largest city, has three different districts and three different ballots. The smaller cites have only one and in the rural areas of many small towns and villages, their ballots are apportioned to a set region.

One hundred and twenty-eight candidates will be elected tomorrow- the entire parliament. This has never before happened and is just as unusual in other worldwide elections where the election cycle is split instead- as in the US- to every two, four or six years. This makes this election all the more important since, post-election, it is these same parliamentarians that will subsequently elect the new Prime Minister, the very powerful three-member Cabinet and the President. Hence the stakes for this election have never been higher and this election will see a wholesale and long-lasting change in influence.

In an attempt to level the playing field for all candidates, all of them are currently under a national gag order that began this morning and will be enforced until the election is over and the results are in. None may, in this period, speak with any Radio, TV, Internet, or newspaper news source. Additionally, any manipulation by virtue of misleading advanced polling data has been restricted making the outcome an unknown to the voter and a further encouragement to get out and vote.

Everyone interviewed, without exception, views the many Hizbullah candidates as the status quo that will prevail. The only question is the final tally of seats. Hizbullah’s growing power has been achieved in the past by it creating various coalition alliances such as the March 7 or March 14 coalitions of many years ago. So the question is not whether Hizbullah will retain power, but whether it may achieve an actual majority.

While there are many other candidates in opposition to Hizbullah, they are aligned with either the Christian, Alawite, Sunni, Druze religious factions. These have previously failed to garner significant support since they have done very little, compared to Hizbullah, to bring real societal change to Lebanon. They also have repeatedly done nothing to defend their country in the three previous wars of incursion by Israel, while the people of Lebanon and Hizbullah have fought side-by-side. This memory applied at the ballot box to the horrors of war past and will have many voters discounting religious affiliations in favor of the national defence. These concerns have given current Minister of the Interior (which manages the police and domestic security), Mouhad Al Mashouk, perceived front-runner status for many who are looking beyond the Hizbullah offerings.

Posters Everywhere: and Hariri on Pop Corn Machine
Posters Everywhere: and Hariri on Pop Corn Machine

Mashouk may have trouble with this since the Shia candidate, retired Colonel Ali Al Shaer is featuring his own defensive track record as a reason for votes.

The image of Saad Hariri, son of venerated Rafik Hariri, is so prevalent by itself, and alongside those of the many candidates, that one would think he was running for election. His image and presence of support for these candidates are designed to hopefully bring him to power again via parliamentary vote. There is no doubt that he is riding the coattails of his father in a similar fashion to Justin Trudeau despite his brief resignation and defection to Saudi Arabia. This is not lost on the voters, but strangely many believe he has a chance since most have forgiven him for his treason.

Western Desperation: Who is Buying All Those Opposition Votes?

What does not bode well for a peaceful and long-lasting result of this election is that some of the opposition candidates are paying for votes. This reporter spoke with five different voters who all told the same story: The going price in South of Lebanon is $800 and the mortita for Beirut is as high as $2000…plus airfare!!

One woman voter spoke of her anguished conversation with her parents who wanted her to change her vote and had admitted to her that they had been given $1000 each for their votes. Another bar patron informed this reporter that, due to the requirement of voting in the district of one’s birth, opposition candidates were going to be bused in from across Lebanon since Beirut is the plum of this election, having far the most seats to win. One bartender spoke with disgust about an opposition staff member visiting his bar- not an hour before- and offering he and other patrons $1000 per vote.

Worse, yet another taxi driver spoke of his parents being contacted in Canada with an offer of airfare and $2000 per vote to come to Lebanon on Sunday.

While this might seem outrageous and expensive, it shows the panic that the opposition is in regarding the likely outcome in favor of Hizbullah. These allegations were made all the more

legitimate based on this reporters observations and conversations with arriving passengers from Brazil, which, interestingly, has a larger Lebanese population that Lebanon itself.

On the inbound flight arriving to Beirut, a large contingent of twenty or more Brazilians was on the same flight. However, during a casual conversation, they revealed few things about their trip other than two key facts: They were staying only until just Monday morning… and had brought with them almost no luggage. This made little sense at the time; until the testimony of many in Beirut certified their true reason for an 11,000-mile ,two-day vacation.

Of further concern was how these paid for voters would be monitored in performing their deeds in the confines of a secret voting booth. With the Lebanese being known for corruption, all spoken with assumed there would be secret monitoring to be sure the opposition got what it paid for.

These facts put together and many Lebanese are concerned about some sort of Maidan Square event taking place tomorrow. So is the army.

Beirut has a strong military presence at all times, but in recent days, here in Beirut, that presence has more than doubled. This morning, this reporter witnessed a convoy of troop transport vehicles head into the city carrying over 150 uniformed soldiers. Every soldier is armed and everyone you encounter is cautious, unsmiling… and locked and loaded.

Despite these tangible concerns, the Lebanese spoken with were taking it all in stride. As one woman put it, draining here cocktail glass and cheerfully chiming in, “ They bomb…we rebuild. They bomb…we rebuild. That’s Lebanon.”

Smacking her glass down loudly on the bar for emphasis, now staring me in the eyes directly, she concluded in an accurate note of optimism, “But they have never defeated us…and they never fucking will!”

May 6th: Staggering Election Loss for the West; Huge Win for Lebanon!!

In what can only be considered a staggering loss for western influence in Lebanon, Hizbullah doubled its seats in the new Lebanese parliament as a result of the first election in nine years…and its own, far too obvious, attempt to influence the result.

The desperation of Saad Hariri’s western backers had been shown by his image shadowing the many candidate’s campaign poster images whom he hoped would be part of his own new coalition, one that would have resulted in additional influence for him and the western backers he met with two weeks ago in Paris. This was exemplified by the vote-buying scandal- ignored by western media- designed to negate Hizbullah’s continued rise in influence.

In a political blunder of geopolitical importance, during the days leading up to this past Sunday’s Parliamentary election this supposedly secret vote buying (for as much as $2000 per vote) was anything but a secret in the minds of Lebanese voters as they went to the polls. The disgust of voters for this attempt to thwart their first move towards democracy after almost a decade served up a defeat that could see Hariri relegated to the dustbin of politics since many of the candidates he counted on were thrashed, losing more than a third of their existing seats, while Hizbullah doubled their seats to twenty-four and many of their coalition partners also made strong gains. This means that, as predicted, the Hizbullah coalition will not only be a block to remaining western influence in the Parliament, this coalition will also now set the agenda and with their new majority have the ability to strongly influence the election of the three most important leaders: the President, Speaker of Parliament and Prime Minister- who will not likely be Hariri.

Trouble for Hariri began early on election morning when, by 2 PM, voter turnout was well below expectations at a paltry 24.7%. This led to impassioned television pleas from current president Michel Aoun asking Lebanon to get out and vote. In a subsequent tweet he wrote, “I reiterate the call, if change and a new approach are what you want, you must exercise your right. You should not miss the opportunity given by the new law which grants everyone permission to access parliament.”

Processions of cars adorned with political party banners and flags began roaming the streets with bullhorns begging voters to come out, and their candidates began soliciting votes in front of the polling stations despite both being a violation of campaign rule78. Kataeb Party leader and MP Sami Gemayel after casting his vote in Metn, told reporters afterwards that he was shocked at “candidates breaking the media blackout rule.” President of the Election Observation Committee, Judge Nadim Abdel Malek, next released a statement warning any media outlet that had breached the electoral silence in today’s vote that they will be referred to the Publications Court.

As has been the case in the lead up to the election, Hizbullah was playing it cool and by the rules. Their supporters are impassioned, well organized, pro- Lebanon down to their core and vote. Thus, the ongoing reports of low turn-out favoured their likely success. Hizbullah did not participate in election trickery, which is consistent with its eighteen-year rise in power that, among other factors has been bolstered by a consistent adherence to ethics as demanded by their Shia doctrine and its abhorrence of corruption. This doctrine has been the proper reflection of the demonstrative corruption and divisiveness of Hariri and the other non-Shia parties. After the widespread vote-buying scandal, voters were left with only two choices, don’t vote or vote against continued corruption. Neither choice favoured Hariri, hence the low turn-out and that his party, the Future Movement Party, went down in defeat.

Election Day Begins- Democracy Wins!

There were no serious incidents reported and problems were limited to long lines, accidentally switched ballot boxes, a lack of privacy in voting booths, lack of handicap access and help for the elderly, complaints that ballot cards were too large and that several politicians were violating Rule 78. Popular Bloc leader Myriam Skaff held a news conference saying that Lebanese Forces Party supporters struck her car with bats and criticized the Internal Security Forces for not intervening when her car was attacked while she was in it, before the Lebanese army finally intervened. Al-Jadeed TV reported that the Lebanese Army pulled a man from his car after he tried to drive through a roadblock in Choueifat.

Thumbs Up! For the First Election in Nine Years.
Thumbs Up! For the First Election in Nine Years.

Chief Observer of the European Union’s Election Observation Mission Elena Valenciano said that the mission and its 131 observers across Lebanon had a “very positive” impression of the voting process in 98 percent of cases observed.“The management of the voting process is happening normally and professionally,” Valenciano said. Her comment, of course, failed to mention the voter fraud so much in everyone else’s minds. Free Patriotic Movement leader, parliamentary candidate and current foreign minister Gebran Bassil more accurately addressed this problem, stating, that there was a “financial brutality” that was “focused on buying votes and the consciences of citizens, which is dangerous.” Bassil said his party was “clean.”

The Electoral Supervisory Committee released a statement denouncing violations of a government-ordered media blackout on electoral campaigns. “Despite releasing continued statements and warnings during its direct observation of the media, it appears that some outlets are still violating the electoral media blackout and are not adhering to Article 78 of the electoral law,” the statement reads. Article 78 prevents news outlets from reporting on campaigns during Election Day.

Despite low turn out, some district voting district locations were packed until closing time. Baalbeck-Hermel was given an additional 73 ballot boxes for multiple municipalities after the original allotted boxes filled up by 3:30 p.m. This led to Hezbollah Deputy head Sheikh Naim Qassem contacting the Interior Ministry overextending voting hours beyond original 7 p.m. closing time. This was denied for correct constitutional reasons, however, the compromise was to allow anyone still in line to enter the polling area before 7 PM and then vote after the doors were closed. This lead to the official close of the vote being at 8:08 PM.

At 10.32pm the Lebanese Interior Ministry revised its final turnout count in the election to 46.88. This was a disappointing turnout after nine years of anticipation and down from the previous election’s total of 55%.

What the Election Means for Lebanon.

On Monday, the group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah spoke of a big political and electoral victory for the “Resistance,” saying that Hezbollah proved wrong any doubts about the support that it enjoys within its base.

The group’s Shia bloc of total Shia candidates emerged stronger than before. Shia dissent against Hezbollah and its allies in the Amal Movement in the south was so minimal that opposing candidates lists failed to reach the election threshold.

Besides increasing Shia representation in full, Hezbollah was able to expand its base in parliament, picking up seats for Sunni and Christian allies in Beirut and the WesternBeqaaValley.

“Hezbollah is the biggest winner in this election,” Kassem Kassir, author of the book Hezbollah between 1982 and 2016, told Middle East Eye. He added that the party and its direct allies will end up with a 50 MP bloc of the 128, not including the past loyal coalition of President Michel Aoun’s lawmakers.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s Future Movement lost seats in several districts where it was previously unchallenged. His party shed a third of its previous share of parliament – down to 29 MPs.

In Tripoli, the Future Movement lost five of the district’s 11 seats to Sunni rivals and ex-prime minister Najib Mikati picked up four while Faisal Karameh, a former minister and the heir of a political dynasty in the north, was able to make it into parliament. Meanwhile, former justice minister Ashraf Rifi was soundly defeated in his hometown of Tripoli, ending his quest to challenge Hariri for Sunni leadership.

The right-wing Christian group, the Lebanese Forces (LF), is expected to expand its presence in the parliament from eight to 15 MPs, making it a major force in Christian politics. LF staunchly opposes Hezbollah and calls its weapons illegitimate, which is the height of political hypocrisy since this group operated as a brutal militia in the 1975-1990 civil war and was banned during the Syrian control of Lebanon until 2005.

Hizbullah Election Support Workers in Beirut District 1
Hizbullah Election Support Workers in Beirut District 1

With Aoun in the presidential palace, his Free Patriotic Party (FPM) looked to at least maintain its large bloc in parliament in support of the presidency. However, the FPM is set to lose a few of its 27 seats. Gebran Bassil, the foreign minister, Aoun’s son-in-law and FPM president, made it into parliament after two unsuccessful attempts in 2005 and 2009. Still, the FPM dropped seats in Mount Lebanon and the North, mostly because of proportional representation, and now it has to deal with stronger opposition from Geagea, who was vying for the presidency himself.

Independent candidates across Lebanon tried to challenge established political parties on Sunday, but they were almost completely unsuccessful which was a huge disappointment for the growing youth movement across Lebanon that detests sectarianism, patronage and corruption and largely due to the vote-buying scandal stayed home instead of vote. Nadia Shaarawi, the manager of the polling station, said that young people had largely stayed away.“The young people don’t want to vote,” she said. “I know from my nieces and nephews, they are not happy with any politicians.”

Their message was only heard in the mostly Christian Beirut 1 district, where journalist Paula Yacoubian, one of the seventy independent candidates with the Kolomna Watani Party, made it to parliament as the only successful woman candidate of the eighty-six offerings.

After the election had closed and the final tally was in, on Monday the interior minister Machnouk has hailed the election a “democratic festival”. At a press conference, Machnouk said all problems were swiftly addressed when brought to the attention of the ministry, which was substantially accurate.

Hizbullah leader, Hassan Nasrallah also dubbed the election an “accomplishment,” praising the government and President Aoun for its success.

The future of Lebanon is now firmly in the hands of those new parliamentarians who are sincere in their desire to see Lebanon prosper and bring their a new kind of future. One based on inclusion and peace. As they head off to change Lebanon, this election will keep in their minds, and in the minds of the western troika one lesson, a lesson that is sure to rise again in the next election and hopefully in new elections across the world…cheaters never prosper!

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Hezbollah, Israel, Lebanon, Shias and Sunnis 
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  1. Do not know what to think of this article.
    As I do not see Israel as part of the west I do not see how how the west lost.
    Maybe on the contrary, as Israel gets more isolated in the world maybe it will understand that it is just a tiny country in the Middle East, that can only survive if it establishes good relations in the region.

    • Replies: @lavoisier
    , @Helga Fellay
  2. Art says:

    Israel is not the only democracy in the ME — PERIOD!

    Think Peace — Maintain Hope — Art

    • Replies: @anarchyst
    , @Art
  3. Greg Bacon says: • Website

    My bet is the ones throwing around that kind of bribes are American and Israeli multi-millionaires, who wanted to boot Hizbullah out of the Lebanese parliament.

    That way, they’d have a complaint set of lackeys–like their owned US Congress–that would sign-off on anything Israel wanted down, like officially giving Israel the Shebba Farms district that Israel had stolen from Lebanon.

    And to make inroads to the Zionist fantasy of taking control of Lebanon’s River Litani, the water which Israel needs to keep those swimming pools filled and their lawns plush.

  4. Tyrion 2 says:

    The Lebanese are a smart and talented people. Somehow, gradually, they are making their diversity work. Hezbollah has been mostly admirable in this. Their generally civic nationalist ideology is paving the way to a genuinely non-sectarian future. If, of course, the huge and often illicit wealth that pours into Lebanon from remittances is a key factor.

  5. Swan Knight says: • Website

    Any result that lessens AngloZionist influence on Lebanon is a good one

    • Replies: @c matt
  6. GeorgeBoy says:

    Here is an article that looks at how much Israel spent during the 2016 election cycle to influence American politics:

    https://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2017/07/washington-which-nation-is-really.html

    Israel has a long track record of influencing elections in the United States so why would electoral interference in Lebanon come as a surprise?

  7. lavoisier says: • Website
    @jilles dykstra

    Israel is CENTRAL to what the West is today.

    Some consider that good–I consider it very, very bad.

    • Agree: anarchyst
  8. Hezbollah won the support of the people because they support the people. Americans need to create such a party to wipe aside the corrupt duopoly that has held power for too long, sold them out and has run the nation into a ditch.

  9. Joe Hide says:

    Election fraud, media manipulation, vote buying….and still the final fairly elected winner is the one who has the highest ethical, moral, and visionary grasp of a nation’s needs and realities.
    Lebanon’s recent events sounds like the United State’s recent events.
    Looks like we peasants are finally waking up!

    • Replies: @Saxon
  10. Americans need to create such a party to wipe aside the corrupt duopoly that has held power for too long, sold them out and has run the nation into a ditch.

    It’s a fake duopoly and during the early part of the last century even politicians wrote openly and in some cases fought valiantly to free us from that. The “interests” and “plunderers,” to use terms of the times, won.

    The things that LaFollette, Borah, and many others said over a century ago are perfectly relevant today. We ‘merkins have been suckered, duped, raped and plundered, first by one set of criminals and then another, and at this point the mafiosi have their crooked systems well tuned and every base is well covered so it’s going to take something big to make even small improvements and get their boots off our necks.

    The rot has long been well established I don’t see any improvement any time soon, new party or no.

    “That the East India Company, obtained the monopoly of that trade by bribery, and corruption. That the power thus obtained, they have prostituted to extortion, and other the most cruel and horrid purposes, the Sun ever beheld. That by the wealth obtained by these means, they have poisoned the Constitution at home [England], into a system of corruption, which they are now endeavouring to extend to this country. “

    -HAMPDEN, The Alarm, Number V, page 4, NEW YORK, October
    27th, 1773.

    Mr. Loth, in four hundred thrilling episodical pages, points out the fact that wherever politics touches a gainful life, politics IS corrupted. This book, “Public Plunder,” might be called, “The Sinful History of American Politics.”

    The angels haven’t started breeding yet.

    - William Allen White is the editor of The Emporia Gazette. http://www.unz.org/Pub/SaturdayRev-1938oct01-00006a02?View=PDF

    I think he meant the Good Angels haven’t started breeding yet; the Fallen Ones seem to do just fine…

    And so it goes.

    • Replies: @Zumbuddi
    , @Zumbuddi
  11. anonymous[739] • Disclaimer says:
    @NoseytheDuke

    Can Hezbollah do better optics?

    Can their men bathe, shave – where decent clothes.

    The secular Arab Batthists in Syria look very clean, handsome – Hezbollah look mostly like dark, hairy, dirty mobs.

    I remember way back when I was ~ 8 years old in the 1970s, I remember Lebanon used to compete very well in international beauty contests including the swimsuit contest. What happened to that great world?

    I dislike Islam for so many reasons, but bad optics, women in black burka tents, men all dirty and hairy – yes bad optics.

  12. anarchyst says:
    @Art

    Israel is not a democracy. It is a theocracy.

    • Replies: @Jake
    , @Cloak And Dagger
  13. @jilles dykstra

    jd – the reason you do not know what to think of this article is your wrong assumption that Israel is not part of the west. Geographically you are of course correct. Israel lies in the Middle East. However, politically you are dead wrong. Israel runs the west. It totally dominates the western US empire, which in turn dominates the rest of the western world. The US wars against Iraq, Syria and Iran are fought on Israel’s behalf and its direction. So the Hizbollah win in Armenia is indeed a staggering loss for the west. Israel will indeed get more isolated in the world, culturally, but it will not change anything until the US empire falls, which it will in the end. But unfortunately it looks like Israel would rather choose to deploy its nuclear arsenal against its ME neighbors, rather than establish good relations in the region (unless, of course, Israelis will choose to replace fascist Netanyahu with a wiser and less fascist leader, which is not at all certain)

  14. Che Guava says:
    @Helga Fellay

    ‘Hizbollah win in Armenia.’

    ROFLMAO.

    Although an attempted ‘colour revolution’ (‘apricot’) appears to be in progress in Armenia, so you may be some idiot attempting to set up a false association.

    Don’t think so, just a fool, though the rest of your post has some logic, you are killing that with the line I am quoting.

    • Troll: Che Guava
    • Replies: @Helga Fellay
  15. Jake says:
    @anarchyst

    As a number of different polls and studies over the years have ranked Israel either #1 or #2 in the ‘Western’ world in per capita atheists and agnostics, ‘theocracy’ is not the best word with which to label Israel. Israel is a state of, by, and for a ‘race,’ regardless of whether the members of that race are religiously Orthodox Jewish, Deist Jewish, atheist Jewish, agnostic Jewish, Liberal Jewish, Buddhist Jewish, Bahai Jewish, even Moslem Jewish.

    Just not Christian Jewish – well, except for some hardline Judaizing Zionist Christian groups.

    • Replies: @Druid
  16. @NoseytheDuke

    Are the Lebanon people more like the people in America, Canada, and Britain than the media is willing to make known. Voting turnout is weak, and power is strong only when the people are fed up..

    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
  17. @Che Guava

    Che: “Although an attempted ‘colour revolution’ (‘apricot’) appears to be in progress in Armenia, so you may be some idiot attempting to set up a false association.”
    I am not the author of that quote. I have no idea where you got that from, but not from me. I spell the word color the US way, and I have no idea what the color apricot even means.

    • Replies: @RobinG
    , @Che Guava
  18. Nobody contributed to the popularity of Hizbullah more than Israel and the US. Each act of aggression by the US, its sidekicks, or Israel, in Syria or elsewhere in the Arab world, benefits Hizbullah.
    Recent Trump announcement that the US is pulling out of its agreement with Iran further undermines the credibility of the Empire, demonstrating to everyone that the US is not even worth negotiating with. This proves Hizbullah right: they were always saying this. No enemy did more damage to the US than its elites. A pity, as the US used to be a decent country.

  19. anon[228] • Disclaimer says:
    @Helga Fellay

    Is the color revolution is Armenia a loss for US? Is it too early to read that into the win? I am interested to know It will have ramifications for Russia Iran Turkey and Kurds

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  20. RobinG says:
    @Helga Fellay

    Unlike Che, I’m not pitiless, (but also RFLMAO). Hezbollah is in Lebanon, not Armenia. (Where are you, lol.)

  21. @anonymous

    Thank you for your comment. I would however suggest that you read my previous expose on Hizbullah, kindly featured on The Unz Review about a month ago. ( A link is shown below this article)

    There you will read the true nature of Hizbullah and that the image you suggest- and one offered routinely by the western press- is very limited, self-serving and substantially incorrect. This article was written on my January trip to Lebanon and will, I hope , give you a more accurate visual presentation of this social, political, and military organization.

    Regards…and PEACE! The Author

  22. Lebanon, is an example, but its not the only place, it is in all places. Creeping
    installation by rule of law and systems that impose monopoly powered
    (privatization, license, patent, copyright and land ownership) corporations
    and feedback systems that contain, surveil, control and limit the knowledge
    and behaviors allowed to slave populations.

    Pharaoh (the global and local associated wealthy and their global corporations)

    Slave Drivers ( obedient to their Pharaoh masters write laws that shuffle slave
    produced wealth into the pockets of Pharaohs and write laws
    that control and limit Slave behaviors)

    Slaves ( poor saps in streets, homes,on roads, rivers and lakes that keep tidy the world and do services
    to keep the Pharaohs happy)

  23. @Helga Fellay

    Hezbollah are in Lebanon, not Armenia.
    You should be renamed Helga Fellatio, since you really are some ignorant cocksucker.
    ( Excuse the vulgarity, Mr Unz, I couldn’t resist it )

  24. @anon

    I can give you a perspective of someone who left the USSR in 1991. The color revolution in Armenia was meant to be a loss for Russia, not for the US. The scenario was standard, but incomplete: there were no snipers (in contrast to Saraevo in Bosnia, Deraa in Syria, or Kiev in Ukraine), so there was no blood spilled so far. Puppet-masters showed their hand early: the newly installed PM was already invited to Brussels.

    However, Armenia is a different case: it has an Armenian-settled Karabakh region, which is technically a part of Azerbaijan. Karabakh is one of many unrecognized states in the former USSR. There is a good chance that Karabakh and Armenia will be taken over by Azerbaijan and Turkey. Turks will use their usual strategy to solve the Armenian problem. For Russia it just means that there will be ~2.8 million more Armenians there (the combined population of Karabakh and Armenia), if it lets them in. Won’t make much of a difference in a country larger than 140 million. My bet is that there will be friendship on the Turkish-Azeri border for a few months. Then Erdogan is likely to decide that one fuhrer is sufficient and send Aliev (current Azeri “president”, came to office after his father) straight to hell to his father. Unless Iran intervenes: Azeris are Shia, like Iranians, whereas Turks are Sunnis. Either way, there will be more chaos and mayhem there. As this seems to be the main goal of the US policy in the region, one might consider that “revolution” a win for the US.

    • Replies: @anon
  25. Saxon says:
    @Joe Hide

    In the west, it’s election fraud, media manipulation and monopoly, asymmetry of info available to the public, vote buying, fake opposition parties that form a uniparty with other party/parties, and importing foreign ringers to stuff the ballot box. Then after the voting process is done, no accountability and no reasonable expectation anything will actually get done.

    Even if it were just the one issue of asymmetry of information, that alone would void the entire idea of an informed public able to make intelligent decisions when voting.

    “Democracy” is not a good system.

  26. anon[228] • Disclaimer says:
    @AnonFromTN

    will be ~2.8 million more Armenians there (the combined population of Karabakh and Armenia), if it lets them in. Won’t make much of a difference in a country larger than 140 million. My bet is that there will be friendship on the Turkish-Azeri border for a few months. Then Erdogan is likely to decide that one fuhrer is sufficient and send Aliev (current Azeri “president”, came to office after his father) straight to hell to his father. ”

    Don’t add up to a master plan of any kind. Why Armenian will flood Russia? Why Azeri will fall out with Turkey?

    Turkey doesn’t want problem with Armenia It does n’t want t the GENOCIDE demon dangle on its head

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  27. anonymous[204] • Disclaimer says:

    The world is fed up with the baby killers, who are threatening to ASSASSINATE ASSAD.

    [Israel will assassinate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if he continues to allow close ally Iran to operate in Syria, the Israeli energy minister has warned.]

    One should say to this zionist that YOU allowed US have a military base aim at every country, yet you are barking against Iran presence. Iran has been invited by the Syrian government to destroy trained terrorists by US/Israel/Britain funded by Saudi Arabia, US and Israelis ally, idiot.

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/israel-will-assassinate-syrias-assad-if-he-allows-iran-to-operate-in-syria-israeli-minister-of-energy/5639764

    The zionist Jews have assassinated many Iranian Scientists, yet still telling the world that they will not stop being terrorists and assassins, they enjoy it.

    Then we have the right to ASSASSINATE YOU the zionists. Someone must assassinate these criminal zionist jews and their supports. Then many in Congress, senate, media and WH are going to be available.

    You have stolen land of Palestine and bombing the regional countries, you are assassinating leaders and burning todllers with the support of the criminal west, especially the zionist pimps at the WH and receiving $billions of American tax payer and $billions more in WMD.

    You still occupy Syrian people’ land and you every day are plotting against the regional countries manipulating gullible American ‘leaders’, traitors, to implement ODED YINON strategy, meaning partition of the regional countries to erect A SECOND ISRAEL, kurdistan, but YOU will take it in your graves. Putin also is in your pocket.

    You must go to New York, the JEWISH STATE. You are a racist and a thief. It is the time THE WORLD assassinate you, after so many assassination you bastards have done.

    The world is fed up with you.

  28. Art says:
    @Art

    Israel is not the only democracy in the ME

    This is important because for 70 years Jews have been saying Israel is the only democracy in the ME.

    Well, they can no longer tell that lie.

    Hezbollah’s Nasrallah is ten time the man that Netanyahu is.

    The stupid Jews assassinated Nasrallah’s predecessor, with the result that they put the strongest Arab leader in the ME into power.

    Think Peace — Art

  29. @anon

    Turkey does not want to be accused of genocide. It does not mean that they won’t do it.

    Also, Sultan tries to restore the Ottoman Empire to the best of his ability. I don’t think he’d forego the opportunity if Azerbaijan and Turkey get a chance to divide what is left of Armenia (mind you, more than half of the original Armenia is now part of Turkey, including Armenian’s sacred mountain Ararat).

    • Replies: @anon
  30. c matt says:

    I would prefer the direct cash vote buying method as opposed to the welfare promise vote buying method practiced in the US, or worse, the PAC politician buying method, where the US voter gets nada. Well, nada other than screwed.

  31. c matt says:
    @Swan Knight

    Any result that lessens AngloZionist influence period is a good one

  32. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @Helga Fellay

    Israel plans that by the time the US fails it will have its hooks in China. Their publications are already talking about it.

    • Replies: @anon
  33. anon[228] • Disclaimer says:
    @AnonFromTN

    No chance ! Neither Russia nor US will allow it . Israel might see an opportunity of playing both Azerbaizan and Armenia to hit Iran and Turkey.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  34. @anarchyst

    Israel is not a democracy. It is a theocracy.

    No, it is a kleptocracy.

    • Agree: anarchyst
  35. anon[228] • Disclaimer says:

    Good news Malaysian new PM is the same one who cautioned aginst global Zionisst in 2002 He is back

    “Iran ” has fired 20 missiles on Israel

    Good news fake news will destroy Trump from the a different angle- sexually motivated money laundering

    Can Pakistan come to senses and throw the Saudis out and remove USA from its soil?

  36. Druid says:
    @Jake

    It’s not a race. It’s a tribe!

  37. @smellyoilandgas

    The more I travel the more I see that people are just people. There are good and bad people everywhere but most just want to get along and raise their loved ones in safety and prosperity. The difference is possibly that the Lebanese have suffered more while Americans have been cushioned from harsh reality by the massive expansion of credit.

    One of my best friends in the US is Lebanese, he met his American wife at a function that I hosted some 30 years ago. Still married, they have adult kids now, all are successful professionals and I have also met some of their friends and business associates including the Jewish ones. They’re as American as anyone else (though tri-lingual) and are as likely to talk about the same things as most people do.

    • Replies: @Drapetomaniac
  38. @anon

    To the best of my knowledge (which is limited to talking to people who live in Russia), after Ukraine turned Nazi, the great majority of Russian population is strongly opposed to helping anyone. All former “brothers” are perceived as parasites. People think that the fewer of those remain, the better.

    So, if Armenians ruin their country (which appears to be in the cards), ordinary Russians would say “good riddance”. The country might let refugees in, though. I don’t think Putin will go against strong feelings of the majority: looks like he got a taste of being popular and would not want to ruin his popularity for something as inconsequential as Armenia. As to the US, it never protected any aborigines, and there is no reason to believe it would start doing so all of a sudden. Not to mention that the Armenian lobby in the US is nowhere nearly as influential as the Jewish lobby. So, if Armenians keep going in the direction “color revolution” implies, we can only say RIP.

  39. evrand says:

    The price for buying votes must have come down at 2000 . Votes for the Anan Plan in Cyprus were going for 3000 not long ago. Tough times.

  40. @NoseytheDuke

    “There are good and bad people everywhere but most just want to get along and raise their loved ones in safety and prosperity.”

    And most are certain that they know how to run everyone else’s life.

  41. anonymous[721] • Disclaimer says:
    @anonymous

    Oh my God! Some pagan or godless degenerate hates True Monotheism because of, among other things, “bad optics”??!!

    Quick, we should begin to get our men and women to act like western pimps and whores…

    No, wait… how about, we spit on your whole whore culture instead.

    I remember Lebanon used to compete very well in international beauty contests including the swimsuit contest.

    I take it you have no issues with basterds like Trump walking into changing rooms, putting their hands on pussies, of your family women? Yeah, pimp?

  42. anonymous[721] • Disclaimer says:
    @anonymous

    Can their men bathe,…
    men all dirty…

    Yeah, like Muslims don’t bathe at all… riiight!

    Anyway, this is ironic coming from presumably someone from a western culture… a culture where people stand and piss, even in their homes, spraying their golden showers everywhere for others to come in contact with, dirty their pant front, and then go around with shit filmed butt cheeks. *puke*

    In contrast, we True Monotheists, use cleansing water and soap to clean our nether regions and hands. Keep that in mind ass-wiper.

    • Replies: @redmudhooch
  43. Che Guava says:
    @Helga Fellay

    Please read the reply to your post from RobinG.

    If you read (as in able to), you will see that the only parts of my post in quotation marks were ‘Hizbollah win in Armenia’, direct quotation from ynu, sure, and ‘apricot’, not.

    That you are pretending not to see that the former was a quote from you, and the rest of my post was in no way represented as a quote is meaning that you are trolling by playing obtuse.

    Sorry, you really were overdoing it. Using obtuseness to be cute in a way that is suggesthng you are a complete idiot does not work.

    Apricot was in quotation marks to mock the empire’s (or US Dept of State’s) cute codenames for colour revolutions.

    Apricot is the assigned codename for Armenia.

    • Replies: @Helga Fellay
  44. Client 9 says:

    Why is everyone so chipper? When one sect of Islam has finished consolidating it’s power in the ME it will set its sights on an ever increasing islamized Europe. And then we’ll have a real Lebanon situation on our hands.

  45. @Che Guava

    I don’t engage on that level. I have stopped following or reading the Unz Review. Please leave me in peace. thank you.

    • LOL: Che Guava
  46. @Helga Fellay

    I fully agree that Israel, jewry in general, more or less runs the west.
    But that does not make it a part of the west.
    Rabbi Graetz in 1890, in a nine volume or so history of jewry, stated that conscience does not exist in jewish culture.
    See
    Houston Stewart Chamberlain, ‘Die Grundlagen des Neunzehnten Jahrhunderts’, 1898- 1907, München
    Shahak confirmed this
    Israel Shahak, ‘Jewish History, Jewish Religion, The Weight of Three Thousand Years’, 1994, 2002, London
    Jewish culture consists of rules, dodging them, interpreting them, the Talmuds, there are two of them, with some 22.000 rules.
    A friend of mine, non religious, non jewish, worked at a jewish institution.
    He was amazed about how jews are unable to make any decision, the rabbi decides.
    Judeo-christian is a contradictio in terminis.

    • Replies: @Che Guava
  47. Che Guava says:
    @jilles dykstra

    Helga was a troll (and not good at it).

    Won’t be back, at least under the same u-name.

    If you look at her minuscule history of posts (and you should), they are all on this thread.

    After her ‘final statement’ here, I was looking up her u-name on Duck Duck, presence on Twit, FB, Linked in.

    Of course, no guaranteeing it is the same person. Maybe she was trolling that person, too.

    Her final post was, if you are parsing it, hilarious.

    I am loving the final sentence of your post, and agreeing, 100%.

    The term is a post-WWII confection, excepting in German and Dutch theology in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, where it was specific to the judaic-ritual faction in early Christianity.

  48. Rurik says:
    @Helga Fellay

    Israel runs the west. It totally dominates the western US empire, which in turn dominates the rest of the western world. The US wars against Iraq, Syria and Iran are fought on Israel’s behalf and its direction. So the Hizbollah win in Armenia is indeed a staggering loss for the west

    you mean loss for the zio-west

    Israel is to the healthy, non-zio, true West as a parasite is to its host

    that is the relationship, and always has been. If the West is to fall, it will be due to this special relationship.

    here’s a parasite that’s remarkably similar to Israel’s effect on the West

    - Toxoplasma gondii

    Toxoplasma is a brain-washing parasite. The microorganism infects rodents, acting directly on their brains to eliminate their fear of cats – the hapless victims are then easily caught and eaten. After the bug reproduces, it passes out of the cat, ready to be inadvertently ingested by the next rodent host. This is the regular lifecycle, but Toxoplasma can also find its way into humans from eating raw or undercooked meat, or from close contact with cats. It rarely affects felines but has been linked to some strange behavior in humans – there’s evidence that the parasite can slow our reaction times, with infected drivers two to three times more likely to be involved in car accidents.

  49. anon[228] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon

    please provide the link I know TABLET magazine penned an article in relation to this development in 2015 when Obama was under pressure for making the Iran deal .

    Glcik wrote in Jerusalem Post or some other post of relocating the body of the hosts to China and India for the parasites she belong to.

    But I don’t have that link.

  50. Zumbuddi says:
    @NoseytheDuke

    Agree. And Amen — May it be so.

  51. Zumbuddi says:
    @jacques sheete

    Tremendously informative comment.
    Thanks.

  52. Zumbuddi says:
    @jacques sheete

    Tremendously informative comment.
    Thanks.
    Did you find those readings on Unz.org?

  53. Corvinus says:
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    Looks like they are on the right side of history.

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