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Beirut, 2020
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Beirut, 2020

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Yesterday at Chicken Company, a man said I was a cross between Mr. Magoo and Pat Morita, of The Karate Kid fame. If I’m not compared to a freshly perforated corpse, I’m complimented. Chowing out with his hijabed wife and mewing toddler, dude was perfectly groomed, with each black hair impossibly sculpted.

What can I tell you, I love fried chicken, so Chicken Company is the best restaurant in the world. “EAT CHICKEN CO AS IF YOU WERE TO DIE TOMORROW,” blares an English diktat on its wall. Don’t be fooled by its formica, fast-food harshness, or the polyester outfits of its associates, this is fine dining, sez moi.

Eating cheap fried chicken on a bridge under a slight drizzle in New Orleans has to be one of my most satisfying memories. Travel worn, I was a mess.

Granted, Chicken Company’s rice, roll and french fries are rather blasé, but, doggone it, perfection must always be tempered, tinted or farted upon by at least a smear of crap, to remind us we’re still on earth.

 

Draped along the Mediterranean, Beirut is a legendary city with Roman, Crusader and Ottoman ruins, French colonial buildings and dozens of bars with history, thus character, so I should be elated, but I’m in a serious funk, man, because this elegant place is so sadistically degraded. The last time I felt this way was in Kiev in 2016, because Ukraine, too, was going through war and economic collapse.

There are too many beggars here. Men, women, old, young, some trailing kids or lugging a baby, they are all neatly dressed, thus still dignified. Most know only one English phrase, “one thousand,” meaning 66 cents at the official rate, but just 15 cents in purchasing value. The cheapest sandwich costs 4,000.

After I had already given a woman several thousands, she hounded me for two more blocks, tugging my arm at times, until I gave a bit more. Today’s Beirut reminds me of Saigon two decades ago.

Wandering around, boys under ten try to sell stems of flowers. Teenaged boys offer shoeshines with a soft-spoken “please” in English. Old men and women push facial tissues to cars at intersections. Near the bus and van terminal, I walked by a little girl sitting by herself, on cardboard. On a leafy median strip facing a hospital, I encountered a black African mother, with two kids, relaxing on stacked mattresses, their home.

Even the well-heeled are being squeezed. With capital controls, only so much can be withdrawn each week. Since this causes all sorts of problems, some have vented their rage on banks. Earlier this year, dozens in Beirut, Sidon and Tripoli were torched, so now, many banks are boarded up, with just a door slot, or even steel plated. These flat surfaces only invite more angry graffiti, and look at this smashed ATM, with red paint splattered on it. The handsome central bank is defaced with black curses, some quite high up, which means the vandal had to climb on its steel grills, perhaps. Its two surveillance cameras failed to deter.

Armed with assault rifles, soldiers guard government buildings, embassies and even some banks, mosques and churches. They man roadblocks. Armored vehicles are casually parked at certain corners. After a while, you hardly notice the concrete barriers, concrete sentry boxes, concrete pill boxes, anti-tank barriers, boom barriers and razor barb wire, for they’re just part of this urbanscape, along with the trendy cafes and hipster bars. Steel, concrete or plastic barriers are arrayed in front of buildings or stores to shoo away car bombs.

At the Al-Omari Grand Mosque, I stared at a pushed-in window, with its aluminum frame concave, its glasses broken, and several of its wooden panels, with their cool, modernist slits, simply blown away. Before it was converted into a mosque in 1291, this was a church built by Crusaders in the 11th century.

The port explosion four months ago damaged thousands of homes and businesses, including 165 hotels, with most still not reopened. At the five-star Le Gray, there’s a large banner, “STANDING STRONG / TOGETHER WE SHALL RISE AGAIN / SEE YOU SOON.” Most nearby luxury shops are shuttered. Entire streets are barricaded by razor wire-topped concrete slabs, to keep out looters. The misleadingly-named Beirut Souks shopping center is a ghost town. The poorest can’t even replace their blasted doors.

 

In all of Lebanon, there was just one Vietnamese restaurant, Le Hanoi, so I called, just to make sure it was still open, but all I heard was recorded piano music.

Days later, I found myself walking in that direction, so why not, I kept going, even under a slackening hailstorm. Drenched, I was finally at that address, but Le Hanoi was still awol, so I called again. Presto, a man answered!

“Are you open today, brother?” I said in Vietnamese.

“Yes, we are.”

Wonderful! I beamed. “I’m standing right at the corner, but I don’t see your restaurant.”

Oddly, he said nothing for several seconds. When I heard a man’s voice again, I repeated, “I’m at the corner, brother, but I don’t see your restaurant.”

“Wrong number,” this second man said in English.

“Oh, I’m sorry!”

So eager to inhale a bowl of pho, I had mistaken spoken Arabic for Vietnamese! I’m seriously losing it. After my phone mishap, I did manage to find what’s left of Le Hanoi. Empty, stripped, darkened and unlocked, it’s dead.

Le Hanoi was on the edge of Gemmayzeh, a trendy, cosmopolitan and Christian neighborhood just east of Martyrs’ Square and the former Green Line. Walking down Gouraud, you’ll pass Swiss Butter, Mitsu-ya, Sandwiched, The Plub and Electric Bing Sutt, etc., all reopened and lively in the evening. Sacré Coeur College and St Anthony Catholic Church bookend this commercial strip.

 

In Lebanon, most neighborhoods or villages are primarily Sunni, Shiite, Druze, Maronite, Greek Orthodox or Greek Catholic, etc., because it’s only natural for folks to be close to their place of worship, and among their own kind. In Beirut, the Shiites are mostly in the south, so that’s where you’ll see Hezbollah billboards and banners, and portraits of Nasrallah, al-Musawi and the young martyrs, who died defending Lebanon against Jews.

Jutting into the sky, minarets or church spires identify a village, but even if you don’t see them, you clearly know where you are by the religious icons, or their absence, in front of private homes. A dramatic depiction of Husayn being pierced by so many arrows nearly 14 centuries ago is also a giveaway. To Shiites, it happened yesterday. Entering tiny Lebaa, I was flabbergasted by a meek, arm folded Mother Teresa being paired with an actual artillery piece, complete with a sculpted mound of cannonballs. MOMA or the Tate Modern should snatch this up, before it’s pulverized in the next war.

For just $29 a night, I’m staying at The Mayflower in Hamra. I was trying to find an even cheaper place, but Taxi told me it wasn’t worth it. Security is paramount in this desperate time.

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On the ground floor, there’s a pleasant pub, Duke of Wellington, where I’ve sat to write most of this piece, while downing cheap Almaza Beer. For lack of business, the sunset bar on the roof, above the 7th floor, is not open, or I’d sit there.

 

Though listed on the menu, neither roast beef sandwich nor shepherd’s pie are available. Nearby, Little Bangkok, Asia Express and Roadster American Diner are all KOed. Sinking into austerity, we’ll revert to our grandpas’ diet, if that. Peak foodism is past.

The American University is in Hamra. With its symbolism and history of kidnapped administrators, it’s robustly walled and guarded, so I can’t see jackshit, prowling its perimeter. Its main gate is like a mini Crusader castle, but with Islamic windows and entrance. On its wall, someone has sprayed a brief editorial, “Your education is nonsense, fuckers.”

A quaint feature of many small towns, in Europe as well as America, is a tiny, rarely visited museum that features almost nothing but household items, such as cabinets, sofas, tools, toys and bedside lamps, etc. With the removal of, say, just half a century, everything is striking, if not strikingly beautiful. Visiting any strange city, then, you’re feasted with a gigantic museum of stupendous ordinariness, so it’s more than enough, almost too much, to just walk around, for a week, month or even the rest of your life.

 

Driving me to Beirut, protective Ali has warned me to avoid Sabra specifically. “They’ll take your money, your camera,” he chuckled. Populated mostly by Palestinians, it’s a neighborhood of decayed tenements, entangled electrical wires dangling overhead, and narrow, winding alleys.

Without intending to, my body somehow steered me directly to Sabra one morning, and it’s not like it’s even close to The Mayflower. You can bet each soul has its compass. Plus, I’m an alley junkie. They just suck me in.

Its overwhelming poverty and shabbiness were the first clues, then all doubts were erased when I started seeing portraits of Yasser Arafat and a painted Palestinian flag on the smudgy wall of a green grocer. Among garbage, ragged, dirty sheep greedily ate. There was plenty of commercial activities, however, so folks were getting by, selling everything, even in the most makeshift stores. Walking home from school, kids were neatly dressed.

My worst misadventure that day was stepping through a broken grate, so that one leg was sunk into the road up to nearly my knee. The pain wasn’t too bad, but I was fearful of any laceration, since it’s definitely not cool to hobble around bleeding. Luckily, there was not even a bruise.

As for Sabra, I was met with indifference, and even some love. Spotting me, a young man shouted from afar, “What is your name? Where are you from? I love you!”

It was his sweet way of welcoming me to the neighborhood. Among long-suffering victims of Jew-sucking Uncle Sam, I wasn’t suicidal enough to shout, “America!” so I trumpeted, “Vietnam!” which was also true. Waving, I beamed back a bright smile. Ashamed of their country’s absurdly long crime tally, how many white Americans have claimed they’re Canadian? During a candid moment, Ali calmly said to me, “I hate America.”

Merging into Sabra is the Chatila refugee camp. In 1982, Jewish-backed Christian militias massacred over three thousand Palestinians here. For a definitive account of this, read chapter 11 of Robert Fisk’s Pity The Nation: Lebanon at War. For exposing such Jewish criminality, Fisk is already being slandered by hired hacks, just a month after his death.

After seeing so many grotesquely violated men, women, children and babies, Fisk finally returned to his Beirut home, “I felt ill, sick because of the smell of my clothes, and I showered for more than an hour but could not shake off the stench. Four hours after I had gone to bed, I woke up sweating and nauseated, convinced that the corpses of Chatila were piled on the sheets and blankets round me, that I was actually lying between the bodies, that they were all in the room, even old Mr Nouri. I could smell them still, in my own home. In the morning, my cleaning lady Ayesha refused to wash my clothes. ‘Please burn them, Mr Robert. They are not good.’”

 

One evening, I strolled three blocks to Captain’s Cabin. Open since 1964, it’s one of Beirut’s oldest bars. This family also had a burger joint across the street, one of the city’s first. With its small, unlit sign, and no plate glass window to showcase itself, Captain Cabin’s hardly inviting. Opening its old door, I was met with more gloom. Six men were at the bar, with four chatting at the far end. All its nicotine-stained walls were animated with scribbles, mostly in English. Its many tables were empty. On my left was a blank pool table. Fleetwood Mac was wailing.

How many dives like this have I tucked into, in places like Chicago, Columbus, Youngstown, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Scranton, Trenton and, of course, Philadelphia? Before it became even more trust funded, tight jeaned and woke, Manhattan had a bunch like this, though there are still some left in Washington Heights, and, of course, across the river in Jersey City. If it’s still open, you must head to the Golden Cicada. It’s a gem.

Done and seen plenty, perhaps too much, Taxi is tired of direct experiences, so she’s traveling inward. Me, I find nothing too trivial or idiotic to notice, for each moment is a revelation, and a modification of everything one has ever seen, heard and felt.

Taxi suggested I meet some Lebanese intellectuals, but I told her I prefer morons, for they anchor and enlighten me. Of course, I might be a world class moron myself, but since each man is his own idol, I would be the last to know. Protean stupidity is the bedrock of any civilization.

ORDER IT NOW

Having to endure so many mind-numbing conversations, bartenders are well-versed on this topic. Within earshot at Captain’s Cabin, a young man switched back and forth between Arabic and English. Confiding to Andre, the bartender and owner, he said, “Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, yeah, but Queen, I even don’t like.”

Although his English accent was perfect, the misplaced “even” was a clue Amir, let’s just call him that, was no native speaker. After downing some clear liquor, he went on, “Jimi Hendrix, yes, definitely, but Guns and Roses, I even don’t like.”

As the bartender served other customers, Amir stared into darkness, then he continued, “I had a dog for 17 years, Andre. I took him everywhere, to all these countries, and not in some carton. I bought a separate seat for him on the airplane.” Amir paused to let Andre absorb this fact. “It was expensive, Andre, but I just wanted my dog next to me. I had him for 17 years, but he just got old and sick, and one day, you know, he just fell down.”

Devastated anew, Amir said nothing for half a minute, then, “I will never have another dog, Andre. Never.”

Presently, we were all distracted by a black and white TV sequence, shown twice, of a woman being hit by an SUV, which finally stopped after it had rolled over the victim. She was now just a white form lying on the road. In silence, we stared.

“She just walked right in front of it!” I piped up. “It’s not the driver’s fault.”

Wearily, Andre said, “She was on the cellphone, and so was the driver.”

“So will he go to jail?”

“No, but he’ll have to pay damage to her family.”

With a bankrupt and broken government, traffic lights and street lamps are often turned off. Arriving in Lebanon six weeks ago, I immediately noticed how dark the country was. At night, busy city streets are lit only by cars, houses and shops. Inevitably, accidents increase.

Anywhere here, the lights will suddenly go off, and that’s normal, so you just keep gobbling your fried chicken, say, until your dark world is illuminated again, soon after, or maybe never, but we haven’t reached that point yet.

Having unmuted myself, I chattered a bit with both Amir and Andre. Though Lebanese, Amir was born in Abu Dhabi, where his immigrant father is a very successful businessman. His old man also owns supermarkets in Monaco and Canada.

“It’s interesting you came back here,” I said.

“I love Lebanon.”

“It’s a shame this country is in such bad shape.”

“Our government is so corrupt.”

The more unstable a country, the more corruption. The less confidence people have that their business or investment will survive in ten or twenty years, that an honest effort is rewarded, the more likely they’ll just escape, or loot, for it’s no crime to remove some furniture from a sinking ship, they reason. You will see this played out in America, too, most nakedly.

“I don’t think Lebanon can be normal again until Israel is gone,” I said.

“Ah, don’t say that! I don’t have a problem with anybody. I don’t care if you’re Christian, Jewish or Buddhist. We should all live in peace!”

“But look at how many wars the Jews have caused around here. Just look at Syria and Iraq, and how they’re always threatening Iran. The Jews have messed with so many Arab countries. Just look at Libya…”

“You can’t talk like that, man. We should all live in peace. We must have peace.”

Smiling, Andre nodded towards me, “You’re right.”

“I want peace, too,” I continued, “but sometimes, you must fight back. What will you do the next time Israel attacks Lebanon?”

“I’ll fly to Canada! I don’t want to shoot anybody.”

“You said you loved Lebanon,” I smiled.

“Yeah, but I don’t want to shoot anybody.”

Soon, Amir had to call it a night. “You’ve had a few vodkas,” Andre grinned.

“They do make me angry. I’m going to fuck up the first guy who looks at me funny!” Not very likely, I thought.

Getting off his stool, Amir gave me that slight, Lebanese bow, with his arm briefly crossing his chest, “It was a pleasure talking to you, Sir.”

“That was fun. We’ll meet again, I hope.”

 

With Amir gone, Andre told me that yes, Lebanon can only be revived with Israel gone, and that day will come soon enough, for life here can’t go on like this. Further, Hezbollah will lead the charge.

On his phone, Andre then showed me a video of a motorbike riding for minutes inside reasonably wide, well-lit tunnels.

“Hezbollah?”

“Hezbollah, inside Israel!”

“That’s incredible.”

Fifty-seven-years-old, Andre has spent all but two years of his life here, and he’s more than sick of seeing his country degraded.

Of the 2005 assassination of Rafik Hariri, Andre remembered, “Before I could hear the explosion, my bar door opened,” he chuckled, “from the pressure.”

Swiveling on my stool, I looked at the solid wooden door. From its latch hung a grimy windchime that’s topped by a tiny fan with “GOOD LUCK” and a cartoon cat on it. Next to the door was a poster for a Johnny Cash impersonator, performing in Mabou, Nova Scotia.

Andre, “It was definitely not a truck bomb. I know a mechanic who actually saw the prime minister’s car. If it was an explosion, it would have blown the car away, but only its roof was pushed down. There was even a survivor. They pulled him out and put a blanket on him, but when they took the blanket away, he started burning again! He lived for six more months in the hospital.”

I shook my head.

Andre, “You know how much that investigation cost Lebanon? A billion dollars!”

“And it solved nothing!”

“Nothing. It was some new, special weapon. There was something in the air. Going by there, I felt sick, so I avoided that area.”

 

For an expert analysis of this crime, you must read Thierry Meyssan’s “Revelations on Rafik Hariri’s assassination.” Meyssan dismantles every assertion of the official account, and below, in brief, are his refutations that it was merely a truck bomb:

Looking at the crime scene, anyone can easily observe the very large and deep crater that a surface explosion could not have dug out […] When looking at the photos and videos taken immediately after the attack, the first most striking feature is the blaze. Car parts and various types of objects are burning all around. Then, the bodies of the victims: they are charred on one side and intact on the other. An astonishing phenomenon which bears no resemblance to what is normally caused by conventional explosives […] from the photos showing Rafik Hariri’s corpse one can observe that his solid gold wristwatch has melted, whereas the collar of his luxury shirt still hugs his neck in pristine condition […] The explosion generated a blast of an exceptionally intense heat and exceptionally brief duration. Thus, the flesh exposed to the blast was instantly carbonized, while the body underneath was not burnt […] videos show that a number of limbs were severed by the explosion. Oddly, the cuts are clean, as if made on clay statues. There is no sign of shattered or jutting bones, nor of any torn flesh. The reason is that the explosion sucked up all the oxygen and dehydrated the bodies, rendering them friable. In the hours that followed, several on-the-spot witnesses complained of breathing ailments.

A German weapon was likely used, Meyssan contends. If this is true, one shouldn’t be surprised the UN Investigation Commission, as led by two Germans, Detlev Mehlis and Gerhard Lehmann, pointed elsewhere entirely. It was a truck bomb planted by Hezbollah, they insisted.

Meyssan:

Technically speaking, the weapon is shaped like a small missile, a few tens of centimeters long. It must be fired from a drone. Actually, several witnesses assured they had heard an aircraft flying over the scene of the crime. The investigators asked the United States and Israel, whose surveillance satellites are permanently switched on, to provide them with the pertinent images. On the day of the attack, the United States had deployed AWACS aircraft over Lebanon. The live feeds could help to establish the presence of a drone and even to determine its flight path. But Washington and Tel Aviv—which indefatigably urge all parties to cooperate with the STL—turned down the request.

Adding to Lebanon’s humiliation, four of its top generals were falsely accused of this crime and jailed for four years, then released without even an apology. This can’t go on.

Beirutshima has also not been investigated properly, and, again, the US and Israel have refused to provide satellite photos, so what are they hiding? Butchering, they often blame their victims.

With a long history of unleashing weapons of mass destruction on defenseless civilians, these satanic rogue regimes must be decapitated.

 

Wandering around Beirut, sometimes I chance upon a serene, timeless tableau, as at some spartan and strifeworn cafe, where old men play cards at well-nicked tables. Others sit alone, puffing fancy-looking shisha pipes, or just lost in thought. Some faces are still ruddy and fleshy, while others are weatherworn, desiccated and practically mummified. From a more dignified era, they’re still spruce in their rumpled suits.

Just after dawn, men, some quite old, thus misshapen, still dive into the frigid ocean from the pitted and cratered rocks of Corniche El Manara. Toweling themselves afterwards, they greet each other.

Behind them, the silver sea meets a brightening sky.

Linh Dinh’s latest book is Postcards from the End of America. He maintains a regularly updated photo blog.

 
• Category: Culture/Society • Tags: Israel, Lebanon, Middle East 
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  1. lloyd says: • Website

    The Chatila refugee massacre was in 1982. Linh should be more careful with his editing. 1974 marked the resignation of President Nixon which precipitated the fall of Saigon. I enjoy reading Linh after I pass his revolting parts.

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    , @Colin Wright
  2. Wyatt says:

    “You can’t talk like that, man. We should all live in peace. We must have peace.”

    I always marvel at people who think peace is just a state we’re not in. You think that guy’s ability to just jet off to a foreign nation not under Hebrew assault predisposes him to that way of thinking or do you think it’s “Imagine” type shit that turns peace into a word and an idea that people just hope into existence?

    • Replies: @Rev. Spooner
    , @obvious
  3. Sirius says:

    If there is one thing I’ll miss about Donald Trump is his candor. He said that the Beirut incident (maybe they should call it 8/4 harking back to 9/11) was a bomb, not realizing that the first suspects would be the Israelis. That remark is surely to be buried and forgotten in the “MSM”, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he heard it in an intelligence briefing.

    Concerning the Hariri assassination, it was ridiculous how the “international community” and many Lebanese (the March 14th faction) blamed Syria first and then Hizbollah later. There was no plausible motive. There are more obvious suspects, namely Israelis, but that was hardly mooted as a possibility. No wonder no one trusts media anymore.

    All in all, another fascinating post by Linh Dinh.

  4. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @lloyd

    Hi lloyd,

    Thanks for this correction. I simply misremembered when it was. I just asked Ron to change it to 1982.

    Linh

    • Replies: @Defcon
  5. Linh Dinh says: • Website

    Hi all,

    Below is Meyssan’s article. Click on the link to see it with photos.

    https://www.voltairenet.org/article167553.html
    Revelations on Rafik Hariri’s assassination
    Thierry Meyssan

    All the conflicts rocking the Middle East today crystallize around the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). Peace hinges on it, and so does war. For some, the STL should bring about the dissolution of the Hezbollah, quell the Resistance and establish a Pax Americana. Others consider that the STL is flouting the law and subverting the truth to ensure the takeover of a new colonial order in the region.

    The Tribunal was created on 30 May 2007, pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 1757, to prosecute the alleged sponsors of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s assassination. In the political context at that time, this implied nothing more and nothing less than bringing to trial serving Presidents Bashar el-Assad of Syria and Emile Lahoud of Lebanon, not exactly favourites of the neo-conservatives. However, the charges were not pursued since they were based on flimsy evidence planted by false witnesses. With no accused left, the Tribunal could easily have disappeared in the meanders of bureaucracy were it not for a turn of events that catapulted it back into the epicenter of the turbulent Middle East political scene.

    On 23 May 2009, Atlanticist journalist Erick Follath disclosed on Der Spiegel Online that the prosecutor was poised to indict new suspects: certain Hezbollah military leaders. For the past 18 months, Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary-general, has been proclaiming his party’s innocence. He maintains that the real aim of the proceedings is to decapitate the Resistance and clear the region for the Israeli army. For its part, the U.S. administration in a sudden surge of righteousness pledged that no one would be allowed to shun international Justice.

    In any event, the indictment – which all believe to be imminent – against Shia leaders for the assassination of a Sunni leader is of such a nature as to spark off a fitna, namely a Muslim civil war, plummeting the region into new depths of bloodshed and violence.

    During his 15 and 16 November official visit to Moscow, Saad Hariri – current Lebanese Prime Minister and son of the deceased – reiterated that the political exploitation of the Tribunal exposes his country to the risk of a new conflagration. President Medvedev retorted that Russia wants Justice to be served and reproves any attempt to discredit, weaken or delay the Tribunal’s proceedings. This position of principle arises from the confidence that the Kremlin decided to place in the STL. But it risks being severely eroded by Odnako’s revelations.

    Indeed, we deemed it desirable to delve into the circumstances of Rafik Hariri’s assassination. The data we unearthed has opened a new avenue, making one wonder why it had never been explored until now. In the course of our lengthy investigation, we encountered a great number of actors, too many no doubt, so that the news of our work spread quickly, alarming those for whom the assassination trail implicating the armed Lebanese Resistance represents a real godsent. Aiming to intimidate us, the Jerusalem Post on 18 October launched a preventive attack through a piece referring to our work. In a purely libelous vein, it accuses the author of this article of having received 1 million dollars from Iran to exonerate Hezbollah.

    Getting down to facts, Rafik Hariri’s convoy was attacked in Beirut on 14 February 2005. Twenty-three people were killed and one hundred injured. A preliminary report commissioned by the Security Council calls attention to the unprofessional conduct of the Lebanese magistrates and police. To redress the situation, the SC assigned its own investigators, providing them with the important means that Lebanon was unable to offer. From the outset of the investigation, it was generally accepted that the attack had been perpetrated by a suicide bomber driving a van packed with explosives.

    Having been established to compensate for the Lebanese lack of professionalism, one would have expected the United Nations mission to scrupulously observe the classical criminal procedures. Not so! The crime scene – on the basis of the topography still intact as well as the photos and video footage shot on that day – was not examined in detail. The victims were not exhumed and no autopsies were performed. For a long time, no attempt was made to ascertain the modus operandi. After discarding the hypothesis of a bomb buried in the ground, the investigators espoused the one involving the van withough bothering to verify it.

    And yet, this version is implausible: looking at the crime scene, anyone can easily observe the very large and deep crater that a surface explosion could not have dug out. Faced with the adamancy of the Swiss experts who refused to endorse the official version, on 19 October the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) recreated the crime scene behind closed doors. It didn’t take place in Lebanon, nor in the Netherlands which is the seat of the STL, but in France, one of the countries funding the Tribunal. The buildings surrounding the crime scene were reconstructed and earth was brought in from Beirut. The convoy was reconstituted, including the armoured vehicle. The aim was to demonstrate that the height of the concrete buildings had confined the explosion, making it possible for the blast to produce the crater. The results of this costly experiment have never been divulged.

    When looking at the photos and videos taken immediately after the attack, the first most striking feature is the blaze. Car parts and various types of objects are burning all around. Then, the bodies of the victims: they are charred on one side and intact on the other. An astonishing phenomenon which bears no resemblance to what is normally caused by conventional explosives. The theory that the van was transporting a mix of RDX, PETN and TNT does not account for the damages occurred.

    What is more, from the photos showing Rafik Hariri’s corpse one can observe that his solid gold wristwatch has melted, whereas the collar of his luxury shirt still hugs his neck in pristine condition.

    So, what really happened?

    The explosion generated a blast of an exceptionally intense heat and exceptionally brief duration. Thus, the flesh exposed to the blast was instantly carbonized, while the body underneath was not burnt.

    High-density objects (such as the gold watch) absorbed the heat and were destroyed. Conversely, low-density objects (like the delicate fabric of Hariri’s shirtcollar) didn’t have enough time to absorb the heat and were unaffected.

    Moreover, the videos show that a number of limbs were severed by the explosion. Oddly, the cuts are clean, as if made on clay statues. There is no sign of shattered or jutting bones, nor of any torn flesh. The reason is that the explosion sucked up all the oxygen and dehydrated the bodies, rendering them friable. In the hours that followed, several on-the-spot witnesses complained of breathing ailments. Wrongfully, the authorities interpreted them as a psychosomatic reaction following their psychological trauma.

    Such observations constitute the abc of any criminal inquiry. They should have been the starting point, yet they do not figure in any of the reports submitted by the “professional experts” to the Security Council.

    When we asked a number of military experts what kind of explosives would be capable of generating such damage, they mentioned a new type of weapon which has been developed over several decades and is featured in reports appearing in scientific journals. The combination of nuclear and nonotechnology science can trigger an explosion the exact strength of which can be regulated and controlled. The weapon is set up to destroy everything within a given perimeter, down to the nearest centimeter.

    Always according to the same military specialists, this weapon can also produce other types of effects: it exerts a very strong pressure on the area of the explosion. The minute it stops, the heaviest objects are propelled upwards. Accordingly, cars were sent flying through the air.

    There is one unequivocal fact: this weapon is equipped with a nano-quantity of enriched uranium, emanating radiations which are quantifiable. Now, it just so happens that one of the passengers in Rafik Hariri’s armoured car survived the explosion. Former Minister Bassel Fleyhan was taken to a topnotch French military hospital for treatment. The doctors were astounded to discover that he had been in contact with enriched uranium. But no one linked this to the attack.

    Technically speaking, the weapon is shaped like a small missile, a few tens of centimeters long. It must be fired from a drone. Actually, several witnesses assured they had heard an aircraft flying over the scene of the crime. The investigators asked the United States and Israel, whose surveillance satellites are permanently switched on, to provide them with the pertinent images. On the day of the attack, the United States had deployed AWACS aircraft over Lebanon. The live feeds could help to establish the presence of a drone and even to determine its flight path. But Washington and Tel Aviv – which indefatigably urge all parties to cooperate with the STL – turned down the request.

    Hezbollah intercepted and released videos from Israeli drones surveying Rafik Hariri’s movements and the scene of the crime.

    At a press conference held on 10 August 2010, Hassan Nasrallah showed a video which, according to him, was shot by Israeli military drones and intercepted by his organisation. All of Rafik Hariri’s movements had been registered for months, until the final day when all the surveillance converged on the bend in the road where the attack was staged. Thus, Tel-Aviv had been surveying the area prior to the assassination. Which is not to say, as Mr Nasrallah himself points out, that they were the authors of the crime.

    So, who fired the missile?

    This is where things get complicated. According to the military experts, in 2005, Germany was the only country which had a handle on this new technology. It is, therefore, Berlin which supplied and set up the crime weapon.

    Hence, it is easy to understand why former Berlin Attorney General Detlev Mehlis – a very controversial figure within his own profession – was eager to preside the UN Investigation Commission. He is, in fact, notoriously linked to the German and U.S. secret services. Assigned in 1986 to shed light on the attack against the La Belle disco in Berlin, he diligently covered up all Israeli and U.S. fingerprints to falsely accuse Libya and justify the bombing of Mouammar Khadafi’s palace by the U.S. Air Force. In the early 2000s, Mr Mehlis was lavishly paid for his stint as researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (think-tank linked to AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby) and at the Rand Corporation (think-tank attached to the U.S. military industrial complex). All elements which cast a shadow over his impartiality in the Rafik Hariri affair and should have sufficed to have him taken off the case.

    Mehlis was seconded by Commissioner Gerhard Lehmann, who is also a well-known German and U.S. secret services agent. He was formally identified by a witness as having taken part in the programme run by the Bush Administration in Europe, involving the abduction, detention and torture of prisoners in “black holes”. His name is mentioned in the ad hoc Report by the Council of Europe. Notwithstanding, he managed to dodge all judicial proceedings on the strength of a strong though unlikely alibi provided by his colleagues in the German police.

    Mehlis and Lehmann propagated the theory of the explosives-laden suicide van to deflect the investigation from the German weapon that was used to commit the crime.

    Various earth samples were taken from the scene of the crime. They were first mixed, then divided into three jars that were sent to three different laboratories. In the first two no trace of explosives was found. The third jar was kept by Mehlis and Lehmann, who personally sent it to the third laboratory. Here, remnants of explosives were detected. In principle, if the decision is made to resort to three judiciary experts, in case of disagreement it is the majority opinion that prevails. No way! Mehlis and Lehmann violated the protocols. They deemed that theirs was the only reliable sample and embarked the Security Council on a false trail.

    The profoundly flawed character of the Mehlis-Lehmann investigations has amply been proven. Their successors acknowledged as much sotto voce and declared entire sections of proceedings nul and void.

    Amidst their manipulations, the most famous one relates to the false witnesses. Five individuals purported to have seen the preparations for the attack and incriminated Presidents Bashar el-Assad and Emile Lahoud. While these allegations were fueling the drums of war, their lawyers exposed the lies and the prosecution backed down.

    Detlev Mehlis, President of the UN Investigation Commission violated all the rules of the criminal procedure, fabricated evidence and used false witnesses to exonerate Germany and accuse Syria.

    Based on these false testimonies, Detlev Mehlis arrested – in the name of the international community – four Lebanese generals and had them incarcerated for four years. Pushing his way with his cow-boys into private homes, without a warrant from the Lebanese authorities, he also detained for questioning members of their entourage. With his assistants – who spoke Hebrew to each other – he manipulated the families. Thus, on behalf of the international community, he showed the wife of one of the generals a doctored picture to prove that her husband had not only obscured his implication in the murder, but was also two-timing her.

    Concurrently, he tried the same maneuver on the son of the “suspect”’, but in this case to convince him that his mother was a woman of loose morals, a situation which had plunged his desperate father into a murderous folly. The aim was to induce a family crime of honour, thereby tarnishing the image of respected and respectable people.

    Even more incredible is Lehmann’s proposition to libertate one of the four imprisoned generals in exchange for his false testimony against a Syrian leader.

    Moreover, German journalist Jürgen Cain Külbel highlighted a disturbing detail: it would have been impossible to trigger the explosion by remote control or by marking the target without first disactivating the powerful interference system built into Rafik Hariri’s convoy. A system among the most sophisticated in the world, manufactured in … Israel.

    Külbel was approached by a well-known pro-Palestinian advocate, Professor Said Dudin, to promote his book. However, the outrageous declarations frequently made by Dudin served to torpedo it instead. Külbel, a former East German criminal police officer, was quick to find out that Dudin had a long-standing reputation for being a CIA mole within the German left-wing. The journalist published a number of old East-German reports attesting to this fact and was sentenced and briefly imprisoned for illicit dissemination of documents; meantime, Dudin was settling into the German Embassy in Beirut for the purpose of infiltrating the families of the four generals.

    Overlooked in the Middle East, Germany’s role in this region is worth spotlighting. After Israel’s war of aggression against Lebanon in the Summer of 2006, Chancellor Angela Merkel deployed a very large contingent to join the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The 2 400 soldiers from Germany control the maritime infrastructure to prevent arms supplies from reaching the Resistance via the Mediterranean. On that occasion, Ms Merkel declared that the mission of the German army was to protect Israel. A wind of rebellion arose among the officers. By the hundreds, they sent letters to remind her that they had enlisted to defend their homeland not a foreign country, be it an ally.

    An unprecedented development took place on 17 March 2008 and 18 January 2010, when the German and Israeli governments held a joint Council of Ministers meeting where various programmes were adopted, especially in the defense sector. At this stage, there shouldn’t be too many secrets left between the Tsahal and the Bundeswehr.

    The investigation conducted by Detlev Mehlis is both steeped in ridicule as regards the false witnesses, and tainted with the illegal detention of the four generals. To the extent that the UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention formally and firmly condemned this excess of power.

    This being said, the opprobrium that befalls Mr Mehlis’ work should not reflect on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon which is in no way responsible for his manipulations. But here, again, things get complicated. The credibility of the STL rests on its ability to curb, in the first place, all those who attempted to mask the truth and falsely accused Presidents Bachar el-Assad and Emile Lahoud, with the intention of provoking a war.

    Now, it transpires that the Tribunal refuses to try the false witnesses, giving the impression that it is covering up the manipulations under Mehlis’ watch and is in fact pursuing the similar political objectifs (this time against the Hezbollah, and perhaps against others in future). Even worse, the Tribunal will not hand over to Jamil Sayyed (one of the four generals illegally detained) the minutes of his accusers’ hearings, thereby barring him from requesting compensation and making it look as if it condones four years of arbitrary detention.

    In more prosaic terms, the Tribunal is shirking its responsabilities. On the one hand, it must judge the false witnesses to thwart further manipulations and to make plain its impartiality; on the other hand it refuses to undertake a “clean-up” operation which might force it to arrest Prosecutor Mehlis. However, Odnako’s revelations on the German lead render this posture untenable. All the more since it’s already too late: General Jamil Sayyed filed a complaint in Syria and a Syrian examining magistrate has already indicted Detlev Mehlis, Commissioner Gerahrd Lehmann plus the five false witnesses. One can imagine the commotion at the STL should Syria decide to call on Interpol to have them arrested.

    Just as the Mehlis commission was supposed to compensate for the lack of professionalism on the part of the Lebanese forces of law and order, the STL should equally have ensured the impartiality that the Lebanese courts may have been short of. But things are far off target, which raises the question of the Tribunal’s legitimacy.

    Kofi Annan didn’t want the Lebanon Tribunal to exert international jurisdiction, but to function as a national Lebanese tribunal with an international character. It would have been subjected to Lebanese law while half of its members would have been nationals of other countries. The plan did not materialize because the negotiations came to a sudden end. More precisely, an agreement was reached with the Lebanese government presided at the time by Fouad Siniora, the former authorised representative of the Hariri estate, but it was never ratified either by Parliament or by the president of the Republic. Hence, the agreement was endorsed unilaterally by the UN Security Council (Resolution 1757 of 30 May 2007). The end result is a hybrid and fragile entity.

    As pointed out by Kofi Annan, this Tribunal is not analogous to any other so far created within the purview of the United Nations. “It is neither a subsidiary organ of the UN, nor a component of the Lebanese judiciary system”; it is simply “a conventional organ” sitting between the executive authority of the Lebanese government and the UN. Judging by the international rule of separation of powers and independence of the judiciary, the STL cannot be regarded as a genuine tribunal, but rather as a joint disciplinary commission within the executive frameworks of the UN and the Lebanese Government. Whatever decision it may make will inevitably be coated with suspicion.

    Worse still, any Lebanese government can terminate it since, not having been ratified, the related agreement was binding only on the previous government. As a result, the present Lebanese coalition government has become a battlefield between partisans and foes of the Tribunal. In an attempt to maintain governmental stability, week after week Lebanese President Michel Sleimane has been dissuading the Council of Ministers from taking a vote on any issue linked with the STL. This embargo cannot hold out forever.

    Bad news coming in pairs, suspicions have now extended to the President of the STL, Antonio Cassese. This reputable international jurist was President of the International Criminal Tribunal For the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). He happens to be a ardent supporter of the Jewish colonialisation of Palestine. A personal friend of Elie Wiesel, Cassese received and accepted an honorary award, presented by Wiesel himself. He should normally have withdrawn and resigned when Hassan Nasrallah disclosed that Israeli drones had been reconnoitering the crime scene as well as the victim’s movements for months.

    According to the President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Antonio Cassese, the armed resistance in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan should be tried for “terrorism”.

    Worst of all, Judge Cassesse personifies an interpretation of international law that causes division in the Middle East. Although his official curriculum vitae obscures it, he took part in the 2005 negotiations between member states of the European Union and those bordering the Mediterranean Sea (“Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean”). His definition of terrorism blocked the discussions. According to him, terrorism is exclusively the act of individuals or private groups, never states. It follows that a struggle against an occupying army would not be considered as “resistance” but as “terrorism”. In the local context, this juridical view is consistent with a colonial framework and disqualifies the STL.

    The methods of the Special Tribunal do not differ from those applied by the Mehlis Commission. STL investigators collected mass files on Lebanese students, social security recipients and subscribers of public utility services. On 27 October, in the absence of the Lebanese judges, they even tried to snatch medical records from a gynecological clinic frequented by the wives of Hezbollah members. It is obvious that these probes have no link whatsoever with the Rafik Hariri assassination. Everything leads the Lebanese to believe that the information is actually earmarked for Israel, of which, in their eyes, the TSL is merely an offshoot.

    All these problems had clearly been foreseen by President Putin when, in 2007, he had vainly made a pitch for a different wording of the STL founding resolution. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin had denounced the “juridical loopholes” of the system. He deplored that the Security Council should threaten to resort to force (Chapter VII) to achieve unilaterally the creation of this “conventional organ”. He had emphasised that while the Tribunal should be working towards the reconciliation of the Lebanese people, it was devised in such a way as to divide them even more. Finally, Russia – as China – refused to endorse Resolution 1757.

    The truth ultimately seeps through. The Israeli drone videos released by the Hezbollah expose Israel’s involvement in the crime preparations. The facts revealed by Odnako point to the use of a sophisticated German weapon. The puzzle is nearly complete.

    This article was first published in Odnako on 29 November 2010.

  6. Biff says:

    For its part, the U.S. administration in a sudden surge of righteousness pledged that no one would be allowed to shun international Justice.

    The hypocrisy is that of psychosis ad extremum partem.

    • Thanks: Iris
  7. TG says:

    Lebanon is not that big a country. Back in 1990, the population was about 2.5 million.

    Enter endless numbers of Palestinian and Syrian and Somalian etc. refugees, today it’s about 7 million – it would be a lot more except that the natives are fleeing.

    More people produce more wealth – sure, but only if they have first been supplied with more developed resources and tools. Dumping a bunch of warm bodies into a country without an open frontier has only and ever impoverished the natives.

    But hey, the elites have all the cheap labor they could ask for, and live in walled fortresses, so it’s all good.

    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @Sirius
  8. Sirius says:
    @TG

    Here we go again with false divisions.

    Lebanon, Palestine and Syria were all the same country in 1920. They were partitioned by France and Britain. Lebanon is not that big a country because French leaders designed it that way. In fact they enlarged the Mount Lebanon area to include Beirut, Tripoli, Sidon, Baalbek, etc. They even called it Greater Lebanon at its inception (Grand-Liban).

    To treat Syrians and Palestinians as a foreign element is fundamentally incorrect. They speak the same language, have the same culture, produce the same cuisine.

    When East Germans fled to West Germany during that country’s partition, West Germans welcomed them with open arms, and money to start a new life.

    When Lebanese fled to Syria during their times of trouble, both during the civil war of 1975-1991 and the severe Israeli bombing during the 2006 war, they too were welcomed in Syria.

    You would do better to point out that there is an economic war currently being waged on Lebanon and Syria by the US, which is led by the nose by Israel and the Zionist lobby, if you’re really concerned about the welfare of Lebanon. That obviously makes it more difficult to offer assistance to refugees as well, and to Syria’s recovery.

    • Replies: @Joe Levantine
  9. Leaving for Beirut tomorrow to visit family and friends, I dread to see first hand the horrific scenes described by Linh Dinh. it’s not my first second or tenth visit, but the inescapable juxtaposition is scaring me.
    May Israel and the US be stopped soon.

    • Replies: @GMC
    , @Rev. Spooner
  10. J says:

    He saw Jewish ghosts everywhere and missed the latest attraction of Beirut: the demolished silos in the port.

    • Troll: Ann Nonny Mouse
  11. @lloyd

    ‘…I enjoy reading Linh after I pass his revolting parts.’

    You make it sound as if you ate him.

  12. @Sirius

    ‘…There are more obvious suspects, namely Israelis, but that was hardly mooted as a possibility…’

    Indeed. But while Israel is capable of anything, it does not follow that it is responsible for everything.

    • Agree: TKK
    • Replies: @Joe Levantine
  13. If the American University in Lebanon is anything like the American universities in America, it should be closed. Send a young person to just about any American institution of higher learning and he or she will come back with a head devoid of knowledge but full of lies and self-hate.

    • LOL: Biff
  14. @Sirius

    If there is one thing I’ll miss about Donald Trump is his candor.

    Joe Biden is candid too. He said before the election, “We have put together, I think, the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics.” And his word was as good as gold!

    • Agree: Peripatetic Itch
    • LOL: Plato's Dream
  15. Dumbo says:

    Well, at least I don’t see the child beggars wearing masks, so there’s that. There doesn’t seem to be much concern there about this “pandemic”, with so many other worse stuff going on.

    There was nothing “Christian” about the Sabra and Shatila massacre, it seems to have been an act of revenge for a previous political murder. Of course Israelis explore local sectarian politics for their own purposes (“divide and conquer” is what they do), but in this case, it’s not directly their fault. Not that the IDF has not committed other atrocities, mind you.

    There were Jews in the Middle East before Israel was created, so the way I see it, there are only two options, either accept Israel or accept Jewish communities in the Arab countries. We don’t want them back in Europe, thank you. 😀 😛

    • Replies: @Alfred
    , @Colin Wright
  16. GMC says:
    @Alternate History

    Take it easy AH, keep a small journal
    oo dah chee.!

  17. Defcon says:
    @Linh Dinh

    Linh, thanks for another good write up, I always look forward to them. I don’t think anything will beat the guy in Lebanon that used to have 4 sisters though, I still get a laugh when I think about that one.

  18. I do hope you have the balls to continue on to Israel from Beirut. If it happens, your reportage will be well worth reading. Please don’t chicken out!

  19. @Sirius

    Why would the Israelis assassinate Hariri? Is it just their satanic orneriness?

    • Replies: @Iris
    , @Sirius
  20. Goddammit, that was just sad. OTOH, Beirut is what, 5000 years old? This is just a blip on the timeline of a great city.

    What caused this fuckery? I seem to remember that Arafat moved his HQ to Beirut in the 70s, which caused the Israelis to become involved.

  21. Claus says:

    Hi Linh,
    the little girl sitting on cardboard is very touching , I am currently creating a doing a documentary on economic issues (small indie Polish production), could I buy the right to use it for a small fee, it’d be visible on screen for around 1-2 seconds)?
    If so please email me, cheers
    Claus

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  22. prek says:

    America’s high crime rate that might shame some White Americans into pretending to be Canadians abroad is entirely due to Black America’s criminal excesses. White Americans commit as many crimes as do Poles or Czechs.

    • Disagree: Fred777
    • Replies: @Fred777
    , @Neuday
  23. Emslander says:

    Taxi suggested I meet some Lebanese intellectuals, but I told her I prefer morons, for they anchor and enlighten me. Of course, I might be a world class moron myself, but since each man is his own idol, I would be the last to know. Protean stupidity is the bedrock of any civilization.

    “For the Wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.”

  24. Iris says:
    @Anonymouse

    To force Syrian peace-keeping forces out of Lebanon and to bring international sanctions on Hezbollah. Both goals were achieved.

    • Agree: Sirius
  25. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Claus

    Hi Claus,

    Just use it. Email me at [email protected] and I’ll send you a larger file.

    Linh

  26. Hello Mr Dinh,
    I wish you peace and happiness and most important of all, safety, while traveling in that dangerous region of the world where human life is perhaps cheap. Also no less important: stay healthy since you are no longer a young man and I don’t know if you have “international” health insurance. Why don’t you come back to America for a visit? I bet you miss America, for better or for worse, because it was where you lived most of your life: a second homeland, perhaps? Hopefully Friendly Lounge in South Philly is still open.

  27. Sirius says:
    @Anonymouse

    Response #5, the article posted by Linh pretty much shows the basis for Israeli involvement.

    From its violent foundation in 1948 and before Israel has been an agent of chaos in the region.

    It should be remembered that Count Folke Bernadotte, a Swedish diplomat and UN peace negotiator, was assassinated back in 1948 by a terrorist group led by future Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir. There is a long history of assassination there.

    If one takes the cui bono method, let’s look at what happened after Hariri’s murder. Syria was blamed, and an anti-Syrian movement was born in Lebanon, the March 14 alliance (not to be confused with the March 8 alliance, which is pro-Syrian). This movement protested the Syrian army’s presence in Lebanon and the Syrian government peacefully withdrew all its remaining forces, albeit a small force by that time, from Lebanon.

    It was a major objective of the Israeli government, which earlier tried to predicate its own withdrawal from Lebanon on a “reciprocal” Syrian withdrawal. This didn’t happen because the Hizbullah resistance basically kicked Israel out in 2000.

    The assassination changed things and the resulting furor worked entirely in Israel’s favor.

    When the charge against the Syrian government didn’t stick, the blame shifted to Hizbullah itself. Now it became 2 benefits for the price of 1 assassination. With the Syrians already out, the pressure was on its Lebanese ally, which could have created conditions for another Lebanese civil war (the article above mentions that too). Fortunately it did not result in one.

    The Syrian withdrawal “coincidentally” led to another Israeli invasion attempt in 2006 to “settle scores with Hizbullah” and a massive bombing campaign on Lebanon. This, the 3rd Israeli invasion on Lebanon in 3 decades (the others were 1978 and 1982), ended in failure as well, thanks again to the resistance of Hizbullah.

    Evidently, and I didn’t know this until I read the aforementioned article, Detlev Mehlis had strong Zionist ties, especially with his work with WINEP, an arm of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC. That alone should have disqualified him in his role as chief investigator of the crime. The inquiry seems to have been a set up from the beginning.

    That might be a more comprehensive answer than you were looking for but I don’t prefer simple proclamations in such a complicated topic.

    • Agree: Joe Levantine
  28. German cunts have been fucked so much up the ass by you know who that they have become so useless…

  29. Z-man says:
    @Sirius

    The Zionist Entity has been attacking Lebanon since before the ‘6 Day War’. International Jewry, jealous of Beirut (The Paris of the Middle East), lent their cousins a hand. A POX on them!

  30. Fred777 says:
    @prek

    Americans abroad pretend to be Canadian so they don’t have to get into fist fights, or worse, because of the neocon jackasses running our foreign policy.

    • Agree: Iris, foolisholdman
  31. anon[410] • Disclaimer says:

    Don’t think this article should be quoting Thierry Meyssan’s “Revelations on Rafik Hariri’s assassination.” Granted, Hariri’s assassination is mighty suspicious, but Meyssan’s report looks like a Poison the Well excercise. Some of Meyssan’s conclusions are bizarre:

    ‘looking at the crime scene, anyone can easily observe the very large and deep crater that a surface explosion could not have dug out.’

    So where’s the crater left by a large surface explosion? On the Moon?

    Another:

    ‘The explosion generated a blast of an exceptionally intense heat and exceptionally brief duration.’

    High explosive detonations are by definition, of intense heat and brief duration. What’s Meyssan’s
    point? He continues by describing injuries to Hariri’s body:

    ‘Thus, the flesh exposed to the blast was instantly carbonized, while the body underneath was not burnt.’

    Of course the flesh was charred and the deeper layers were intact, because, the blast was… ‘of exceptionally intense heat and exceptionally brief duration.’ This kind of blast injury close to an explosion is absolutely typical, but Meyssan wants to mystify it.

    He leaves the best part for the end:

    ‘There is one unequivocal fact: this weapon is equipped with a nano-quantity of enriched uranium, emanating radiations which are quantifiable. Now, it just so happens that one of the passengers in Rafik Hariri’s armoured car survived the explosion. Former Minister Bassel Fleyhan was taken to a topnotch French military hospital for treatment. The doctors were astounded to discover that he had been in contact with enriched uranium. But no one linked this to the attack.’

    Evidence for this unequivocal fact? None whatsoever. Total BS. It looks like ‘evidence’ for a
    Poison the Well disinfo op, or perhaps, Erich von Däniken doing a crime scene investigation.

    • Disagree: Biff
    • Replies: @Alfred
    , @Iris
    , @anon
  32. Neuday says:
    @prek

    The crimes being referenced aren’t by American citizens, Black or otherwise, but by our ZOG masters who can’t keep from messing with other nations to keep the Empire going and further the Globalist agenda. You know, “invade the world, invite the world”.

    • Agree: foolisholdman
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  33. Agent76 says:

    Oct 2, 2020 Crisis in Lebanon: foreign pressure sabotages new government

    “Lebanon’s prime minister-designate Mostafa Adib quit on Saturday after trying for almost a month to line up a non-partisan cabinet, dealing a blow to a French bid aimed at rallying sectarian leaders to tackle the worst crisis since the nation’s 1975-1990 civil war.

  34. @Neuday

    If we are being honest, that unfairly lets US citizens off the hook for the horrors done with our tax money, in our name, and yes, directly by the hands of US Citizens hired to be thugs for those powers that be.

    The needless, non-defensive, non-retaliatory murders, maiming, terrorization, impoverishment, and displacement of helpless civilians through bombings, drone strikes, outright land invasion and occupation, physically have been done by the millions of US citizens deployed by the US military, especially since the first Gulf War under Bush Senior in the early 1990s. Thirty years of particularly widespread morally, legally, and militarily unjustified slaughter, starvation, and bullying.

    There is no way for US citizens who “served” in the military or supported the aggression of US soldiers to escape moral responsibility. Probably they, and we back here at home, will be made to take physical responsibility and suffer violent retribution, too, as the US further weakens and declines.

  35. Anonymous[246] • Disclaimer says:

    On its wall, someone has sprayed a brief editorial, “Your education is nonsense, fuckers.” This Lind says is outside the American College in Beirut.
    I cant help laughing at this. Not because it’s outside a college or Beirut but it’s going to be true for all countries.
    Soon universities will award degrees and doctorates to whomever they please as you will be studying from home and will have to go along with their assessment, having no outside reference.
    Your next door drooling neighborhood idiot who needs a nurse 24 x 7 will be our next president.
    Don’t worry, be happy.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  36. @Wyatt

    I’ts an act which needs money.

  37. @Alternate History

    Have courage and stay alert. Peace and blessings.

  38. Alfred says:
    @Dumbo

    We don’t want them back in Europe, thank you.

    What makes you think that the Ashkenazim belong in the Middle East?

    The word “Ashkenaz” is the Hebrew for “German”

    United States 5–6 million
    Israel 2.8 million[1][4]
    Russia 194,000–500,000; according to the FJCR, up to 1 million of Jewish descent.
    Argentina 300,000
    United Kingdom 260,000
    Canada 240,000
    France 200,000
    Germany 200,000
    Ukraine 150,000
    Australia 120,000
    South Africa 80,000
    Belarus 80,000
    Brazil 80,000
    Hungary 75,000

    Ashkenazi Jews (Jewpedia)

    • Replies: @Dumbo
  39. Alfred says:
    @anon

    So where’s the crater left by a large surface explosion? On the Moon?

    Plenty of car bombs have gone off in the Middle East in the past few decades. They don’t leave large craters. Hariri’s car was hit by a missile that penetrated the ground. It is an huge crater.

    I challenge you to show us any photos of the car bombs that demolished American armoured vehicles that have any crater whatsoever. FYI, the blast goes in the direction of least resistance.

    Right-click on photo below to see full size

    • Replies: @Peripatetic Itch
  40. Dumbo says:
    @Alfred

    I know little about genetics. I’m personally partial to the Khazar theory, as Ashkhenazim look more similar to turks and other people in the region than to most White Europeans, but I’m not sure, some look more White, and I think they could also have a lot of Middle Eastern heritage too.

    The word might mean “German” but they are not Germanic. (Although many have mixed with Germans and Anglos and other Europeans of course; some say Northern Italians too). Anyway, I think historically they belong in the Middle East – even though they have been in Europe for quite a while too, but they never assimilated exactly – and in the Middle East, in a way, they do. I wouldn’t say Israelis are European (but I’ve never been to Israe). I also think that Jews probably get along better with Muslims than with Christians (despite the current rivalry, I don’t think they hate Islam as much as Christianity, and their religions are more similar).

    It’s like Gypsies, they lived in Europe for who knows how long, but historically and genetically they would belong more in India.

  41. Iris says:
    @anon

    Details of President Hariri’s assassination were described in great details by author Imran Adham, a Syrian opponent of French nationality, in his 2014 book “American Hypocrisy“.

    Adham got confidential information regarding the killing from his exceptional network, including from former CIA officer John Perkins.

    A small-scale missile containing enriched uranium for high destructive capability was launched from the sea towards the motorcade of President Rafik Hariri. Such missiles were owned only by the United States, Germany and Israel.

    Hariri’s head of security was part of the assassination plot. He refrained from accompanying Hariri while he was preparing to move from the Parliament to his house in Qureitam; he was the one who instructed the motorcade to take the fatal sea route on the way back.

    Perkins informed Adham that U.S. and Israeli satellites filmed the assassination in great details, and so did an Israeli helicopter flying along the Lebanese coast that was closely monitoring the operation.

    The U.S. administration refused to have a Lebanese commission of inquiry investigating the assassination. Instead, German investigator Detlev Mehlis was chosen to head an international commission of inquiry so he could fabricate the charges and deflect attention from the German-made weapon.

    Hariri’s car was equipped with advanced technical monitoring devices that no country, except the United States and Israel, could disable. The mission of deactivation was assigned to the Israeli ship, stationed on the border of Lebanese territorial waters and supported by an American AWACS aircraft and the Israeli helicopter.

    The Swedish Chief of the Investigation team, Bo Astrom, said that the Israelis and Americans refused to provide the investigation with satellite imagery, which has obvious implications about Washington’ intentions to conceal the truth.

    Adhlam’s revelations independently confirmed Thierry Meyssan’s version of the events.

    • Thanks: Peripatetic Itch, Alfred
    • Replies: @Ann Nonny Mouse
  42. @Dumbo

    ‘…There was nothing “Christian” about the Sabra and Shatila massacre, it seems to have been an act of revenge for a previous political murder. Of course Israelis explore local sectarian politics for their own purposes (“divide and conquer” is what they do), but in this case, it’s not directly their fault…’

    That’s about the same as saying it wasn’t the Germans’ fault when Lithuanians massacred Jews in 1941.

    The Jews disarmed the Palestinians, armed the Christians, let the Phalange into the camps, and lit the camps with flares and kept the victims from escaping while the Phalange slaughtered their caged victims.

    How was it not directly Israel’s fault? Because they didn’t actually pull the triggers? But the Germans usually used Trawniki men to do the actual shooting of Jews. Was the Holocaust not directly Germany’s fault?

    • Replies: @obvious
    , @sarz
  43. @Anonymous

    ‘..Your next door drooling neighborhood idiot who needs a nurse 24 x 7 will be our next president…’

    I take it you don’t think Trump’s going to get anywhere with his claims of fraud.

    • Replies: @anon
  44. for 3,000 years, everywhere the Jews wander

    they bring destruction, misery, despair, and death.

    and now and then, just a spark

    of “antisemitism”. It’s the latter,

    that keeps hope alive.

    • Replies: @obvious
  45. @Dumbo

    Khazaria.com is a website devoted to everything Khazar. They say there is no genetic link between Ashkinazim and Khazars, from a recent genetic study, article currently on their homepage. The Khazars were a mix between Caucasian and Mongoloid typical of Central Asia. Khazaria-as-a-jewish-empire is also a myth. All or part of the royal family of Khazaria converted to the jewish cult about 900AD, along with a very small number of the nobility. Why is not clear. Other than those, Khazaria was Animist, like the Mongolians. In the 12th century Chengis Khan’s boys swept in and destroyed the Khazarian state. My understanding is the Ashkinazim are Sephardic or Mizrahi on the paternal side and Roman Italian on the maternal side from marriages during the Roman Imperial time, likely bought and paid for wives of jewish merchants operating out of Rome. Therefore, by “the law”, Ashkinazim are not joooish. The Sephardi have contended for centuries that the Ashkinazim are not real jews, citing those Italian wives.

    • Disagree: obvious
    • Replies: @gT
  46. gavishti says:

    A thought provoking essay. The following paragraphs were insightful –

    “But look at how many wars the Jews have caused around here. Just look at Syria and Iraq, and how they’re always threatening Iran. The Jews have messed with so many Arab countries. Just look at Libya…”

    “You can’t talk like that, man. We should all live in peace. We must have peace.”

    Smiling, Andre nodded towards me, “You’re right.”

    “I want peace, too,” I continued, “but sometimes, you must fight back. What will you do the next time Israel attacks Lebanon?”

    “I’ll fly to Canada! I don’t want to shoot anybody.”

    The King James version of the Bible, 1 Corinthians Chap 13 verse 12 states :
    “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

    “Done and seen plenty, perhaps too much, Taxi is tired of direct experiences, so she’s traveling inward. Me, I find nothing too trivial or idiotic to notice, for each moment is a revelation, and a modification of everything one has ever seen, heard and felt.”

    • Agree: Polemos
  47. @Alfred

    Plenty of car bombs have gone off in the Middle East in the past few decades. They don’t leave large craters.

    Agreed. Another bomb that did leave a large crater was the Bali bombing of 2002. The size of the crater, as well as its destructive force, led Joe Viallis and others to postulate the device used was a small tactical nuclear weapon (and hence probably a false flag). It destroyed ten three-story buildings up to 200 m away, damaged 47, produced a mushroom cloud, a shock wave that was felt two kilometers away, displaced two tons of sand and rock, hurled body parts for several blocks and left surviving victims with skin hanging off them.
    https://www.cuttingedge.org/news/n1715.cfm
    https://crazzfiles.com/the-bali-bombing-2002/

    Incidentally the second citation above published the photo you showed as one of the Bali crater. I’m inclined to think they are the ones that are mistaken, given the Arabic writing and green berets. What do you think?

    • Replies: @Mustapha Mond
    , @Alfred
  48. anon[221] • Disclaimer says:

    Northern Canada has crime. It is committed by aboriginals.

    Anyhow, it is not crime that makes Americans hide their identity overseas.

    It is anti-Americanism related to Bush, the wars overseas, the predominance of US cultural colonization that rouses envy, Trump Derangement Syndrome and the fact that the rest of the world cannot distinguish between what they see on television and real life.

    Add to that the actions of George Bush turned Europe into a refugee camp.

    Nobody in Europe cares about the crime rate in the US. That makes no difference to them. It was actually somewhat higher in the 80’s and 90’s when crack cocaine hit.

    No, it is political. And also a form of national class envy.

    • Agree: obvious
  49. @Peripatetic Itch

    I guess it all depends on how big the bomb is.

    The 4,800 pound fertilizer bomb that went off in Oklahoma City on April 19th, 1995, left a crater that is claimed to have been 30 feet wide by eight feet deep:

    “One third of the building was destroyed by the explosion, which created a 30-foot-wide (9.1 m), 8-foot-deep (2.4 m) crater on NW 5th Street next to the building.”

    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklahoma_City_bombing)

    • Replies: @Peripatetic Itch
    , @anon
    , @Biff
  50. @Mustapha Mond

    I guess it all depends on how big the bomb is.

    Not a bomb expert but from what I read both size and overpressure seem to be important in crater formation. Overpressure seems to depend on the type of explosive. That said, there is dispute about the Murrah Building. Brigadier General Benton K. Partin, an explosive expert, concluded the building was blown out from the inside.

    Anders Breivik, in Oslo, 2011, apparently tried to replicate the Murrah bombing with the same types and amounts of explosives but his truck bomb did only fascial damage to his target, with no crater, I think.

    Of course the amount of ammonium nitrate used in those attacks supposedly filled a good-sized Ryder truck.

  51. anon[454] • Disclaimer says:
    @anon

    Ah what took you so long to spread what you accuse others of. Without entering any new evidence or indicating what your expertise is in such matters, which would go a long ways in trying to decide which is spreading the propaganda or muddying the water as you put it.!!1

  52. anon[454] • Disclaimer says:
    @Colin Wright

    Of course, he’s not (it’s only a distraction) Trump was never an outsider he simply was a white Obama, and he served them well although his term in office, the 1% reaped hundreds of millions off his tax cut and hundreds more off the virus, but the suckers keep proving that there’s a fool born every minute, and you can’t stop that its to late and the brainwashing goes to deep.,1!

  53. @Dumbo

    Actually, it seems that Ashkenazi Jews are substantially White European genetically. The European component is predominantly Italian. The majority of their genetics is Semitic / Middle Eastern (akin to Arabs and Sepphardic Jews), but usually not by much.

    https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2013/10/08/ashkenazi-jewish-women-descended-mostly-from-italian-converts-new-study-asserts/

    I would have thought that Ashkenazim were much more German or Slavic genetically, but not according to this study. Apparently a large number of Italian women married Jewish men many centuries ago (no accounting for taste), but their “jewish” descendants rarely intermarried with white europeans during their generations in Germany, Austria, Poland, Ukraine, etc., theresfter.

    • Replies: @obvious
  54. anon[712] • Disclaimer says:
    @Mustapha Mond

    “4,800 pound fertilizer bomb that went off in Oklahoma City”

    I’ve got some swampland in Florida to sell you.

  55. obvious says:
    @Wyatt

    Here’s a radical thought: drop all hostility to the Jews. Give up and repent of your evil ways, then fuck off and die. This babble about “the Jews” has gone on forever, and if you are a Westerner, the Arabs are just taking your sympathy the same as they will take your money and pride. Their mind is not your mind, and it just goes around in circles.

    I just read a great article from 1961, nothing has changed:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1961/10/the-arabs-of-palestine/304203/

    This little Viet Cong rat is craving attention, and you’re giving it to him. He’s a piece of shit from Philadelphia, trying to be important and jaded, and 100% full of noise.

    • Replies: @Wyatt
    , @Ugetit
  56. obvious says:
    @RadicalCenter

    It probably depends who you test. Everyone comes up with different results, and they all reflect paths of history lost in millennia past:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5478715/

    This one says Iranian, and Turkish.

    • Thanks: RadicalCenter
  57. obvious says:
    @Haxo Angmark

    How come nobody else noticed in all that time?

  58. obvious says:
    @Colin Wright

    Think about why it is the Christian Lebanese hated the PLO camps so much… it’s not about “Palestinians”, it’s about the murder and oppression they brought to Lebanon.

    Everything “Palestine” is a curse and a fantasy: it was old in 1961

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1961/10/the-arabs-of-palestine/304203/

  59. sarz says:
    @Colin Wright

    Was the Holocaust not directly Germany’s fault?

    No. Neither directly nor indirectly. The Holocaust is the industrialised killing of millions of Jews using poison gas. There was no such event.

    The death by shooting of tens of thousands of Jews in Lithuania is a sad detail of the war. (As it happens someone who was dear to me lost many relatives.) But that’s not the Holocaust.

    • Replies: @Joe Levantine
  60. HalconHigh says: • Website

    Oh Magoo, you’ve done it again !

    “I wasn’t suicidal enough to say I’m American.”
    LOL

    Thank You Linh for this extremely interesting and informative article.

    Back here in the ol’ USA the only thing growing is the length of lines at the food banks.

  61. Biff says:
    @Mustapha Mond

    The 4,800 pound fertilizer bomb that went off in Oklahoma City on April 19th, 1995, left a crater that is claimed to have been 30 feet wide by eight feet deep:

    Never saw it. Never herd about it. Craters are formed when a bomb is dropped from high altitude and the ordinance is traveling at around two hundred miles and hour when it simultaneously hits the ground and begins to explode. The full explosion is not yet completely combusted above ground level, but a bit underground depending on speed and weight thus creating a crater.
    The atomic bombs dropped on Japan never created a crater as they where detonated well above ground level.

    Boom

  62. Alfred says:
    @Peripatetic Itch

    I’m inclined to think they are the ones that are mistaken, given the Arabic writing and green berets. What do you think?

    Yes. They were sloppy. 🙁

  63. @Colin Wright

    Just think ‘ cui Bono’. It hardly requires Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot. If it is not Israel, then it must be the USA. Those two countries are above international law and can get away with murder.

  64. Wyatt says:
    @obvious

    Give up and repent of your evil ways, then fuck off and die.

    Ok, ok. I see your offer and I raise you this.

    What if the jews do that instead.

    If that happens, we can have (relative) peace in the middle east, child sex trafficking reduces tremendously, there would be one less rogue nuclear state in the world, the primary backers of anti-white culture disappear, financial control is wrested back into the hands of the state, the news loses half or more of its propagandists and we don’t have to give 4 billion a year to wanton murderers.

    This babble about “the Jews” has gone on forever

    Yup. Goes back to the biblical days with butchering native peoples, disobeying their god multiple times, pretending like they were owed Roman money, killing the son of their god and him getting fed up with their bullshit and expelling them from their holy land (for like, the fourth time). Such a thing continues throughout history of jews being expelled for similar reasons.

    It’s almost like some people have these longstanding trends of being vile cretins whom entire nations hate for very good, well documented reasons. I mean it’s not like jews are responsible for Communism, an ideology that massacred tens of millions of people for wrongthink and farming inefficiencies, right? Not like they’re responsible for Neoconservatism, probably the most cowardly form of genocide inflicted upon brown people in the ME.

    • Thanks: FLgeezer
  65. Not “Satanic” regimes, they’re Jewish, but keep trying to act like you can be on team white/Aryan and a “christian” simultaneously. Does.Not.Work.

  66. @sarz

    “ The death by shooting of tens of thousands of Jews in Lithuania is a sad detail of the war”

    Let us not forget the one sad fact that constantly repeats itself throughout history: some leading Jews commit horrendous crimes, just like the Soviet Jewish Politburo members and the commissars of the Bolshevik revolution, and many ordinary Jews get to pay the price for their lack of opposition to their hierarchy because of the Jews’ sense of the collective.

  67. @Sirius

    Well Sirius, we do not want to engage in a repeat of your exchange with Hiram of Tyre.

    While there is no denying that the Syrians and the Palestinians are culturally closest to the Lebanese than anyone else, we cannot deny the fact that Syria is Syria and Lebanon is Lebanon. For tiny Lebanon with its mostly mountainous terrain and one of the highest population densities in the world, to expect a 4.5 million population of natives to absorb an extra refugee population of 1.5 million, is stretching reality to the extreme.

    Syria thankfully opened her borders to a few hundred thousands of Lebanese refugees during the civil war and the 2006 Israeli offensive but Syria is a country that is eighteen times bigger than Lebanon with a population of more than 22 million. With the current refugee population, the density is surpassing 600 per square kilometre and that is adding enormous pressure on the underdeveloped infrastructure of this country that had to withstand all the murderous destruction of Israeli wars and the runaway corruption of the Syrian and post Syrian mandate. Add the American sanctions to this bleak picture, and it is no wonder most Lebanese are opting to immigrate.

    • Replies: @Sirius
    , @Colin Wright
  68. This is a very fine eyewitness report from Beirut. I admire Dinh for going on foot to war or semi-war zones to see what’s going on and reporting on what he sees.

  69. JimmyGee says:

    The zionists work to suppress development in countries around theirs.

    Saudi Arabia & the Gulf monarchies suit them just fine — backward, corrupt, unpopular with their own people, and dependent on the US. Minimal threat & no competition to Israel’s re-eminent position in the Middle East.

    ‘Uppity’ states like Lebanon and Iran get crushing sanctions, direct military attacks, or behind-the-scenes subversion.

    Paul Craig Roberts wrote a couple of years ago about US jets attacking a water treatment facility in an Iraqi city — a facility painstakingly rebuilt over the previous years. He concluded that this raid was likely undertaken because Israel did not want to see the Iraqis move forward.

    If true, the mean-spiritedness of an objective like that is mind-blowing.

  70. Sirius says:
    @Joe Levantine

    Well, you kind of are reopening the debate by mentioning it, but okay, it’s a friendly debate.

    “Tiny Lebanon” is tiny because the French created it that way. Again, back to 1920 to 1945. Unfamiliar readers are invited to check my previous posts so I don’t have to repeat it all. A thread started with the following:

    https://www.unz.com/ldinh/lebanese-snippets/#comment-4272069

    You: “we cannot deny the fact that Syria is Syria and Lebanon is Lebanon”. I propose that this never should have happened, but okay, partition was successful if only because it was enforced by outside powers and it’s a reality today. But it should never be forgotten that there was a partition, just like the Germans never forgot that their country was partitioned and they determined to reunite it one day.

    The repair that needs to take place is integration between the 2 countries, not discrimination and separation. One can argue that after 45 years of separation the East and West Germans had less in common than the Syrians and Lebanese do now. The systems were so very different. It didn’t stop them. That is something to be admired.

    You say that the 1.5 million Syrian refugees are “stretching reality to the extreme”. But isn’t that because rather than getting assistance, Lebanon is actually being sanctioned? (And possibly bombed, by the way, on August 4, as Mr. Trump, in one of his moments, asserted). Do you not see that Lebanon is being wrongfully punished and that outside powers would like these tensions to rise?

    Anyway, I don’t think it’s the number of 1.5 million that is the main problem. There are 5-6 million internal Syrian refugees and they are in the high density areas, some at the coast, many in Damascus, which was spared the horrors of Halab (Aleppo). It’s the lack of resources that you mentioned. It’s a huge disaster for Syria and unfair to Lebanon, but the big-minded view in my opinion is a shared destiny not a separate one.

    That Syria is much bigger than Lebanon is true but it’s an unfair comparison. Much of Syria is barely habitable (desert-like) and 1/3 of the country is under foreign occupation or “rebel” control.

    I don’t know how many Lebanese sought refuge in Syria during Lebanon’s wars but I can almost assure you that Syria would have accommodated the entire population of Lebanon if it had to back in those days. Syria accommodated maybe 2 million Iraqis or so, during its wars and economic sieges when Syria had better times.

    And if one were to go further back to WW1, Syria (the undivided version, so it includes Lebanon) accommodated Armenians and Kurds as well, fleeing Turkish repression. Circassians, Albanians, Slavs from the Balkans found refuge in Syria before that war as welll. None of this should be forgotten.

    • Replies: @Joe Levantine
  71. @Joe Levantine

    ‘…it is no wonder most Lebanese are opting to immigrate.’

    I’d guess you mean they’re opting to emigrate. Given the global population of Lebanese, if most of them opted to immigrate, you’d have a real problem.

    • Replies: @Joe Levantine
  72. gT says:
    @Bombercommand

    The Kievan Rus destroyed Khazaria hundreds of years before the Mongols arrived, pity I can’t get to the Khazaria.com website to see what else fake is written there.

  73. @Sirius

    Pretty much agree with most of what you stated. However I do not want to engage in a debate with all the exegesis of the Levant and its extremely deep and hard to grasp history. Suffice to say that the core of what is called now Lebanon is Mount Lebanon which has had a indelible identity dating back to thousands of years. Also the borders of Lebanon have been a function of geopolitical factors as proven by the terrain that Emir Fakhreddine managed to control within the Ottoman Empire.

    “ The repair that needs to take place is integration between the 2 countries, not discrimination and separation.”

    And here you do touch the core of the issue. Ever since Lebanon and Syria took their independence, the Syrian rulers have engaged in a heavy handed approach towards Lebanon as proven by the many times the Syrian Lebanese border was closed by the Syrian authorities in an attempt to put economic pressure on the Lebanese government for political leverage. Also, during the Syrian mandate over Lebanon, Syrian officials in charge of the Lebanon file, such as the late Abdul Halim Khaddam, never spared an opportunity to stick wedges among the different political and sectarian Lebanese parties. And while an economic integration between the two countries is very beneficial to both parties, I doubt that such a modest aim is possible as long as both countries lack the necessary forms of democratic and accountable governance that is the sine qua non of any such successful cooperation. I have sensed from previous posts that we have a common admiration for a visionary leader by the name of Antoun Saade who had a dream to unite the Levant; this great intellectual was not parachuted from a military jet nor did he come on a military tank. Since Syria’s independence, Syrian rulers have opted for a win lose internal policies trying to settle political and sectarian issues by force whereas the Lebanese have opted for a policy of accommodation under the motto “ no victor, no loser” which led to the current governmental inertia with its debilitating effects.

    The aim of closer Syrian Lebanese cooperation is laudable; the reality is that neither country has found a path to be emulated by the other. Both countries are knee deep in the muddle of trying to run multicultural societies that still need a long time to find a true uniting common denominator, without discounting the extra burden of sharing a border with the Israeli entity and being in the crosshairs of Western imperialism.

    • Replies: @Sirius
  74. @Colin Wright

    At an estimated 8 to 10 million, the Lebanese diaspora is a drop in the bucket even we add to it the 4 million still living in Lebanon. Though the Lebanese who immigrate or emigrate have proven to be extremely adaptable to the point that the second generation totally melts with the culture of the host or adoptive country.

  75. Sirius says:
    @Joe Levantine

    No doubt that the challenges are enormous, both with internal tensions and outside pressures, and outside pressures constantly stoking more internal tensions. It’s unfortunately a geopolitical feature of living at the crossroads of the great landmass of Eurasia/Africa, arguably the most central point on the planet.

    The main point here is at least to not view the situation as one of separate peoples (or 3 counting the Palestinians), whatever screw-ups governments or government officials have been making in the past. Minimally, the ideal of cooperation and eventual unity should be maintained, whatever the obstacles.

    If I recall my history correctly, Syria and Lebanon even had a currency union until 1950 and they blew that one. And then even import duties were imposed between them! Ridiculous. I don’t know the details so well (again I would invite references if you have any, or insights), but I do know that period was of exceptional instability in the recently independent Syrian Republic. Just the year before, it suffered the US-backed overthrow of its democracy with 3 military coups and countercoups in 1949 (that must be a world record!).

    we have a common admiration for a visionary leader by the name of Antoun Saade

    Absolutely. His works should be required high school reading in Syria and Lebanon but more than likely are suppressed or ignored in both.

    And not to forget Butros al-Bustani either… 🙂

    • Replies: @Joe Levantine
  76. “In Lebanon, most neighborhoods or villages are primarily Sunni, Shiite, Druze, Maronite, Greek Orthodox or Greek Catholic, etc., because it’s only natural for folks to be close to their place of worship, and among their own kind.”

    Hey Lin, I truly enjoy your writing, you paint the picture well. The quote stuck me hard. I’m reading E. Michael Jones’s book: “The Slaughter of Cities”: Urban Renewal As Ethnic Cleansing. It’s a cold read, (your adopted city of Philly is primary) and as a 72 year old Catholic who grew up in a close knit Italian neighborhood on the East side of Buffalo, NY, I now have a completely revised understanding as to what happened to my neighborhood, and who was behind its destruction. And we thought moving to the suburbs was progress. Just the opposite, it was the planned destruction of the city’s Catholic neighborhoods, and along with it, went the family unit. I sympathize with the Lebanese. Unfortunately I don’t believe life is going to get much better, any time soon. Again, love your stuff.

    • Replies: @Joe Levantine
  77. @Sirius

    About the breakup of “ Banque de Syrie et du Liban”, that was only a natural consequence of the different courses that the economies of the two countries took after independence. Basically, the Syrian economy was moving into a more closed and protectionist pattern with a vibrant agrarian sector, whereas the Lebanese economy was moving towards a service economy with banking as its primary arm as per the vision of one of the founding fathers of Lebanon, Michel Shiha, whose strategy worked wonders until the beginning of the civil war. Many Lebanese officials feared for the nascent Lebanese industries from the competition of Syrian products with the advantages of a bigger market and economies of scale and relatively cheaper labour, especially the textile industry, and protectionist cries startled rising from Lebanon which led to tariffs.

    The crux of a fruitful collaboration among the three economies of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, is a comprehensive infrastructure project based on a network of highways and railroads to be sponsored by the Chinese masters of the game, coupled with a trading strategy that builds on each country’s innate advantage. Sadly, talk is cheap and action is hampered by the imperial adversity of the Western block. If and when the world’s power structure moves East, the dream of closer Levantine cooperation could materialise. Until then the best that can be done is to hold the structure from total collapse.

  78. @the grand wazoo

    At the time, an American could keep his/her cultural peculiarities without the identitarian streak that is afflicting the American society. Blacks, Whites, Italians, Germans… were above all Americans. Now, the gay and transgender communities are clamouring for a special status.

    Dr. E. Michael Jones has proven to be an authority on the subject of the Anglo Saxon Protestants using ‘divide et impera’ as a strategy to keep the Catholics from becoming a dominant majority courtesy of their rejection of abortion and contraception during the baby boom era. Protestants and Jews would resort to city planning, or to Blacks in the capacity of a battering ram, to get closely knit Catholic neighbourhoods to disappear.

    Your post stirs in me fond memories from my college years in Boston in the early eighties when I used to indulge myself with fine food at the Italian quarter especially at ‘ Joe Tetcci’s’, a restaurant without a signboard, were I would be treated for the finest Italian cuisine. The most fun part was a feeling that I blended so well in this Italian Catholic environment. When I visited my folks who all lived in wealthy suburban areas, I found the experience extremely dehumanising and it impacted on me the ugly face of America where neighbours hardly spoke to each other, and the whole cultural life was centred around the mall.

    • Replies: @the grand wazoo
  79. Lin Dinh it is always with pleasure that I read of your travelling adventures and examine
    your very interesting accompanying photos. Of course that pleasure is not without an element of vicariousness for those of us who miss the same kinds of haphazard travel experiences, for these experiences are the bread of life.
    But I especially want to thank you for the insertion of the Thierry Meyssan piece on the assassination of Lebanese president Rafiq Hariri in your Lebanon essay. Lin Dinh and Thierry Meyssan together in one essay! Oh man, you made my morning! Thierry Meyssan produces the very best geopolitical investigations and revelations. Thanks for recognising this.
    Now if you could only find some way of inserting Thierry’s work on the Iran- contras dealings, with the surprisingly familiar names of certain U.S. and Iranian officials and politicians, into another charming travel essay.

  80. Voltarde says:

    Amid the sadness and sorrow, some great talent has graduated from the American University in Beirut.

    The Sparse Fourier Transform : Theory & Practice
    https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/103715?show=full

    It is not common for someone’s PhD thesis to be significant enough to merit separate publication as a book. In this case it was. The following excerpt is from Amazon’s description of the book form of (now) Prof. Hassanieh’s landmark thesis research.

    “Haitham Hassanieh is an assistant professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science departments at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He received his bachelor’s in Computer and Communications Engineering from the American University of Beirut in 2009. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011 and 2016, respectively. He works on wireless networks, sensing systems, and algorithms. He has won multiple awards including the 2017 MobiSys Best Paper Award, the 2011 SIGCOMM Best Paper Award, the Sprowls award for best thesis in computer science at MIT, the TR10 award for Technology Review Top 10 Breakthrough Technologies, and the ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award.”

  81. Ugetit says:
    @obvious

    This little ‘obvious” rat is craving attention, and we’re ’re giving it to it. He’s a piece of shit from Tel Aviv, trying to be important and jaded, and 100% full of noise.

  82. @Joe Levantine

    A late thank you. I lived 17, from 1994-2011, in Providence R.I., and spent many evenigs dining at restaurants in the North End of Boston. Great fare.

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