Tag: Lebanon

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From Lebanon’s beginning as a separate entity, political power in Lebanon has been to some degree pre-allocated on the basis of sect, or religious community.  This tendency was expressed by the Ottoman Millet system, was expanded and codified by France during the mandate, and has formed the basis of Lebanese political life since independence when: […]

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Lebanon? Wasn’t This About Iraq? A Brief Note to the Perplexed.


I thought it noteworthy that an unnamed Pentagon source claims that “an Army brigade” has been put on alert for Lebanon:

Around 5,200 American troops are based in Iraq to train Iraqi forces and help in the fight against Islamic State group militants. Defense officials who discussed the new troop movements spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a decision not yet announced by the Pentagon. A Pentagon official who was not authorized to be identified said the U.S. also had placed an Army brigade on alert to fly into Lebanon to protect the American Embassy. U.S. embassies also issued a security alert for Americans in Bahrain, Kuwait and Nigeria.

That would be a garbled way of saying that the 82nd Airborne has a “be prepared” order to respond to Iran’s oldest and most effective proxy, the original Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hezbollah actually runs the government and the military, such as it is, in Lebanon. They blew up a hotel/barracks full of Marines during President Reagan’s tenure. Naturally, the American embassy in Lebanon would be of particular concern now.

The Middle East: Are Ominous Clouds Forming?


It’s no surprise that disruptive situations are developing in the Middle East; that seems to be the normal state of affairs. Lately I’ve noticed some situations that independently would barely raise eyebrows; collectively, however, I’m concerned that the area is heating up more than usual, and I believe these events will affect not only the region, but will have implications for the US.

It’s been widely reported that Qatar supports terrorism, but you may not be aware of the level of that support.

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These protests in Beirut caught my attention: Protesters and police clashed in Beirut over the weekend in one of the biggest shows of civil disobedience in Lebanon in 10 years, sparked by anger at piles of steaming rubbish on the streets and the political inaction that has led to the situation. Preview Open

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Israel and Her Neighbors


shutterstock_23337061On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed Israel’s independence. If you are interested in the difference between the state established by the Palestinian Jews 67 years ago today and its neighbors – and you have a strong stomach – consider the case of Samir Kuntar.

Kuntar is a Lebanese member of the Palestine Liberation Front terrorist group. On April 22, 1979, Kuntar and three chums landed on a beach in Nahariya, Israel. After finding an Israeli policeman and killing him, Kuntar broke into an apartment belonging to Danny Haran, his wife, Smadar, and their daughters (Einat, 4, and Yael, 2). While Smadar and Yael hid in a crawlspace, Kuntar led Danny and Einat down to the beach. There, according to witnesses, he executed Danny in front of his four-year-old daughter and drowned him in the Mediterranean to make sure that he was dead. Then he smashed the girl’s skull against a rock with the butt of his rifle. Back in the crawlspace, Smadar smothered her two-year-old to death in a desperate attempt to silence her.

In the decades since this terrorist attack, we have gotten used to baroque levels of violence and sadism in the Middle East, so that Kuntar’s crimes seem almost quaintly old-fashioned by comparison. But here is my point. Kuntar was captured, convicted of murder, and spent 30 years in an Israeli prison. (Israel has the death penalty, but it is reserved for those who commit genocide; it does not apply to men who smash the skulls of four-year-old girls). While in prison, Kuntar married Kifah Kayyal, an Israeli Palestinian woman. While they were married, she received a monthly stipend from the Israeli government, an entitlement due to her as the wife of a prisoner of Israel. Also while in prison, Kuntar took online courses from the Open University of Israel, which granted him a Bachelor’s degree in Social and Political Science. In 2008, the Israeli government released Kuntar and four other Lebanese prisoners in exchange for two coffins containing the remains of two Israeli soldiers kidnapped, tortured, and executed by Hezbollah.