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Lebanon

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    They Can March Too: Hezbollah and the Politics of Staged Protests Abhinav Aima March 07, 2005

    from Beirut Indymedia US Neocon enthusiasts who have been slapping each other’s backs for the recent anti-Syria demonstrations in Beirut are going to face an inconvenient reality on Tuesday, March 8, when Hezbollah will lead a rally in support of Syria in Beirut. The announcement for the rally was made by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, who has drawn tens of thousands of followers to his rallies in the past. It is a show of strength designed to put into perspective the anti-Syrian Lebanese protests that have been the topic of news coverage for the last two weeks, and have been described as spontaneous and courageous.

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    Aoun and the Muslim Tsunami Bilal El-Amine June 28, 2005

    The last round of the staggered Lebanese parliamentary elections ended with a bang last Sunday in the north of Lebanon. Most of the final results were predictable: the Harriri-Jumblatt alliance will control the majority in the new parliament with 72 members, the Shia Muslim bloc of Amal and Hizbullah got 35 seats, and the remaining 21 went to Michel Aoun and his allies. Keep in mind that these are not solid blocs and could easily come apart as they get down to work.

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    Empire’s Reach Bilal El-Amine October 01, 2007

    To say that the United States is on the brink of a critical failure in the Middle East is not so controversial anymore. Despite the latest attempts at some kind of military solution in Iraq by increasing troops, Washington seems to be getting nowhere fast. With thousands of US troops tied down in Iraq and hundreds of billions of dollars spent, Bush has certainly been forced to limit his “New Middle East” quest, with the completely lunatic schemes like attacking Iran taken off the table for the time being. Yet the Iraqi quagmire has not significantly eased Washington’s heavy-handed intervention in the region as a whole. In Lebanon and Palestine, for example, the US is actually making some headway with equally dangerous consequences as those in Iraq.

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    The Mehlis Countdown Bilal El-Amine September 23, 2005

    It astounds how much political drama a country as tiny as Lebanon is capable of producing, with consequences not only for the region but the world (and we haven't a drop of oil!). There were, for instance, three separate Lebanese delegations in New York to attend events related to the UN summit, in the midst of which Condoleezza Rice was not too busy to meet Saad Harriri, who leads the largest parliamentary bloc here. The recently passed UN Resolution 1959 (not to be confused with last year's Res. 1559 calling for Syria's withdrawal and disarming the resistance) legally puts every member nation and its intelligence services at the service of a UN commission-led by the German judge Detlev Mehlis-whose mission it is to find out who killed Lebanon's prime minister Rafiq Harriri.

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    Post Lebanese Elections Update: Aoun Bares His Teeth Bilal El-Amine August 29, 2005

    I. Syria Strikes Back The first order of business of Lebanon's new prime minister within 24 hours of getting parliament's vote of confidence was a visit to Damascus. Fouad Siniora was a lifelong friend and confidant of the former prime minister Rafiq Harriri who most believe was assassinated by the Syrian military, thus prompting their hasty withdrawal from Lebanon. For weeks, Syria was subjected to a storm of criticism (much of it unfortunately true) in the Lebanese and international media. Some 30 Syrian workers were lynched, many more were attacked and abused, and tens of thousands fled home in fear. Just as Siniora was forming his government and drawing up its manifesto, Syria decided it was time to hit back.

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    The Cedar’s Ashes Bilal El-Amine May 21, 2005

    All eyes in Lebanon right now are on the parliamentary elections scheduled to start at the end of May and run for 3 weekends, ending sometime in mid-June. A lot has happened since they were declared, a period of dizzying flux followed immediately as each camp moved to claim its piece. Only recently has it become clear where things are going, who are the winners and losers, and why. And given Lebanon’s, lets say, diverse political landscape, it’s enough to make your head spin. Lebanon, to virtually all here, has now passed from Syrian rule to what people here politely refer to as “international oversight” (i.e., Lebanon now answers to Washington and Paris).

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    Hizbullah and the Beirut Poll Bilal El-Amine June 02, 2005

    Armed resistance A dramatic series of events in the last few days. First, on the 5th anniversary of the liberation of southern Lebanon, the irresistibly charismatic leader of Hizbullah, Hassan Nasrallah, strikes a defiant tone saying that it is “madness” to forcibly disarm the resistance. He revealed for the first time that they have thousands of small rockets (“more than 12,000,” according to Nasrallah) aimed at northern Israel in case they get any ideas about invading again.

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    Resistance Sweeps the South Bilal El-Amine June 08, 2005

    All quiet on the southern front this morning. There is not a cloud in the sky over my small village of Deir Kifa in southern Lebanon. You could hear fireworks and far off celebrations well into the night. Yesterday was the south’s turn at the staggered parliamentary elections taking place here in the wake of the Syrian withdrawal. In an unprecedented show of solidarity, the south’s Shia—70% of the population here—came out in force to defy US (and, to many, also Israeli) demands to disarm the Hizbullah-led resistance that liberated them from more than two decades of Israeli military occupation. Everyone knew who would win well in advance—no one doubted that the alliance of the two major Shia parties Amal and Hizbullah would clean up.

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    Activism in Lebanon: Post Ceasefire Sami Hermez February 01, 2007

    Post-official-ceasefire Lebanon has brought many Lebanese together to work on grassroots efforts to help rebuild the country after Israel’s 33 day assault this summer. The groups and organizations formed after the war cut across sectarian and religious lines in this historically divided country and have created a new opportunity for progressive forces to work together. Sami Hermez looks at some of the organizations born from this effort, their politics, and future potential.

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    Independence in Lebanon? Bilal El-Amine August 03, 2005

    The merry-go-around of Lebanese politics of changing loyalties and shifting alliances since the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Harriri on February 14, has finally arrived at its natural resting place: religious sectarianism, or “confessionalism,” as it is referred to here. Millions protested in downtown Beirut calling for “freedom, sovereignty, and independence” and the mafia Syrian regime in control of Lebanon for nearly 30 years dramatically withdrew. Many optimistically predicted a new beginning for this divided land – a time of unity and prosperity. No more excuses about external forces meddling in our affairs, the Lebanese will finally control their own fate.

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