13.9.06

The Way I See It

I apologize for the long post but my skin was scratching.

This is the way I see it.

Israel launched a war on Lebanon with the objective of liquidating Hezbollah. The war was endorsed, facilitated and encouraged by the government of the United States and by its allies, including England, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. It was thought that a massive military campaign relying on overwhelming air power with limited ground incursions would achieve this goal in a relatively short amount of time.

A large and heterogeneous political group in Lebanon was an active (and powerless) player in this war. Various discourses ranging from implicit backing to timid objection were assigned to different members of the group. The fact remains that key figures in March 14 thought that the Israeli war would rid it of its main opponent in the internal political scene. Denying this reality amounts to cheer ignorance or extreme hypocrisy. There are no conspiracy theories here: the narrow aspirations of a local group intersected with a larger regional project.

The war failed. It was clear from the first days that Hezbollah was ready for such a ferocious battle. Israel took unprecedented casualties; Mirkava tanks were torched by the dozens; Israeli troops failed to progress beyond a few miles from the border; Al-Manar television did not go off-air for a single second; no high-ranking Hezbollah official was murdered; Hassan Nasrallah regularly appeared on television, and consistently managed to upstage the Israeli propaganda machine.

The image of an all-mighty and invincible Israel was severely shaken. While Israeli public opinion was in disarray over this stunning failure, while Olmert was struggling for his political future, while members of the American establishment were debating this unexpected turn of events, many voices in Lebanon rose declaring a Hezbollah defeat. Though true that Lebanon’s infrastructure was severely damaged and that the country suffered incredible losses due to the pornography of the Israeli war machine, speaking of a Hezbollah defeat is stunningly absurd. The fact that those Lebanese voices (online and elsewhere) had to routinely rely on articles written by the most demented neo-conservatives and by Israelis falling to the right of the Likud party says something about the credibility of such a statement.

Not only did Hezbollah hold on and manage to politically and militarily survive this attack (already a great feat); it also humiliated the Israeli army and forced it to stop its aggression without any of its objectives being accomplished: The two soldiers were not returned; missiles kept raining on Northen Israel until the last second of the war; and most importantly, Hezbollah was now stronger than ever.

Hezbollah’s popularity within the body of the Shiite sect was already overwhelming before the war and did not really need additional demonstration. However, due to a combination of traditional sectarian sense of belonging and intense and unshakable belief in a just cause, the level of passionate support and identification with the party reached never seen before heights during the war. It was obvious that hundreds of thousands of people were ready to sacrifice everything to achieve victory. And from where they stand, they did achieve victory.

Although the backing of its own people was guaranteed, Hezbollah would not have held on had it not received the support of significant internal allies. A heterogeneous body (the opponents of March 14) stood by the resistance. The reasons are varied and are not always honorable, but the fact remains. The Communist party, the Syrian Nationalist Party, Suleiman Frangiyeh, Najah Wakim and Salim El Hoss, to name a few, stood by Hezbollah. But the support of all these personalities did not amount to a hill of beans compared to the position of Michel Aoun.

Michel Aoun gave invaluable cover to Hezbollah. I can’t see how they will ever forget his firm position, and that is March 14's loss. Michel Aoun was pushed towards Hezbollah months ago due to March 14's insistence on marginalizing him and excluding him from the government. The Aoun-Hezbollah coalition was formidable enough to effectively split the country in two. It was surreal to hear officials from the Free Patriotic Movement, many of whom used to be members of the traditional Christian right-wing, praise the resistance and vehemently attack Israel, while on the other side “leftist” ex-members of the “national movement” were barely stopping short of praying Olmert to do a better job.

In any case, the war ended. The mandate of the proposed international peacekeeping force is fuzzy and ill-defined. Israel failed, and the failure is apparent in the ambiguity around the implementation of resolution 1701. The feeling in the Hezbollah camp is two-sided: unmeasurable joy at a historical victory, and deep anger and resentment towards those who did not stand by them. Michel Aoun is also ready to collect. The power balance in the country had changed, and voices for a government of national unity were raised.

Unsurprisingly, March 14 refused the calls. Instead, we heard the same old rhetoric: Hezbollah must be disarmed; the defense of the land is the duty of the army; the government should come up with a defense strategy; Hezbollah is working outside the legal institutions of law; Hezbollah are Iranian agents; Aoun is an ally of Syria; and so on. Just if a war had not just happened. Just if last month was just a bad dream.

It is slightly painful to see how utterly disconnected from reality some people can be.
It is pathetic to witness powerless and opportunistic politicians demanding to disarm Hezbollah just days after Israel with all its might and barbarism failed to do so.
It is pathetic to witness the call for a national defense strategy when we just witnessed two glorious examples of said strategy, first in Marjeoun and then in the government’s stellar handling of the blockade.
It is pathetic to hear talk about allegiances with Syria and Iran, when March 14 are practically treating the UN troops as their own local police force.
It is pathetic to hear Aoun being accused of sleeping with the Syrians when the discourse of March 14 has never been so identical to that of the most hawkish voices in the US and Israeli administrations.
It is pathetic to refer to Iran and Syria as “foreign interference” while the country that just nearly destroyed everything we have is a key member of that most pathetic euphemistic construct in history: “The International Community”.

Guys, fine, you are entitled to your opinions, and so are we, but we cannot shut our brains off. That is not allowed. That would be the end of everything.

March 14 in their dream land still believe that the international community will hand them Lebanon on a golden plate. That’s the same international community that torched the country and didn’t blink when its supposed Lebanese allies started to whine. They still believe they can run the county on their own.

The problem of March 14 at this juncture is not Hezbollah. Hezbollah are already in the government. The problem is Michel Aoun.

Saad Hariri is the backbone of March 14. Walid Jumblat is his main beneficiary. Hariri and Jumblat achieved the parliamentary majority through a well-tailored electoral law. They guaranteed power at the expense of the Christian representation in the traditional Lebanese sense. The Christian deputies in March 14 were weak back in 2005, and relied on the votes of the Hariri supporters (and Hezbollah’s, irony of ironies). These Christian deputies are only weaker today. In contrast, Michel Aoun sweeped the Christian regions and imposed himself as the main Christian leader. Current attempts by March 14 to pump up Samir Geagea’s popularity and ignore Aoun’s power are useless. Aoun is overwhelmingly more popular, and they know it. Samir Geagea is weak because he depends on another Sectarian leader. Aoun is strong because he stands on equal grounds with Nasrallah in the Hezbollah/FPM alliance. That’s the litmus test in Lebanese politics.

The call for government change is fueled by a Christian and Shiite feeling of misrepresentation. Aoun and Hezbollah represent a portion of the Lebanese population that cannot be ignored without dire consequences.

It does not matter how many articles Mouna Fayyad publishes in Annahar. It does not matter how many obscure anti-Hezbollah Shiite personalities May Chediac manages to dig up. It does not matter how much flirting March 14 throws Nabih Berri’s way. Hezbollah are the biggest party in Lebanon; they are currently at the peak of their prestige and popularity and it seems they are here to stay for a while. Michel Aoun is an extremely popular leader, and his popularity is only increasing. Let us forget about our opinions concerning these political forces, and let’s try to be pragmatic.

People, it is time to wake up. Let us put our ideological and tribal differences aside for one moment. Let us admit there are red lines we must never cross. Let us agree that the only worthy thing is guaranteeing that Lebanese don’t start killing each other again. Let’s stop debating who is a Syrian agent and who is an American agent for a moment.

Where is March 14 leading us by refusing to change the government? Don’t give me the drivel about legitimacy and parliamentary majority. This is not Norway, this is Lebanon. It is all about equilibrium and balance. Half of the Lebanese population feels it is outside the political establishment. Let them in before they get out of hand.

Elections will eventually come. March 14 will try to design a law that guarantees them the majority. But there is no way round it; the country is too small. If Aoun got 70% of the Christian vote last time, he is going to get 85% next time. Hezbollah’s participation will surely be frightening and will break all records, if so much is at stake.

The problem of course is that there are no elections coming up. Elections would have restored the balance. Instead we are heading towards uncertain times.

Certain individuals who are mistakenly pleased with their non-existing intelligence will surely ask: “If Hezbollah does not like the government, why don’t they just resign?”

Wlik tislamli ma allazzak.

Ya habibi, don’t you know how things work? Who would represent the Shiites then? I’m sure you’d love Hezbollah to resign and hand the whole country over to you, but be careful what you wish for. Hezbollah are still controlling their supporters. Once this gets to the street, there is no turning back.

The two sides are tense and hungry and evenly matched. Release the tension before it is too late. Before we start getting nostalgic for the days of the Israeli war.

59 Comments:

At Wednesday, September 13, 2006 9:13:00 AM, Blogger maha said...

Actually jij, the only thing "pathetic" is that you are so confident of your own opinion and "intelligence" that you resorted to ad hominem ... Classic.

 
At Wednesday, September 13, 2006 11:37:00 AM, Blogger Chief said...

I only want to comment on a couple of paragraphs, not that i agree with all the rest..

You say
Israel took unprecedented casualties; Mirkava tanks were torched by the dozens; Israeli troops failed to progress beyond a few miles from the border; Al-Manar television did not go off-air for a single second; no high-ranking Hezbollah official was murdered;

It's all true and very bad for Israel

The image of an all-mighty and invincible Israel was severely shaken. [...] Israeli public opinion was in disarray over this stunning failure, [...] Olmert was struggling for his political future[...]
All true.

Not only did Hezbollah hold on and manage to politically and militarily survive this attack (already a great feat); it also humiliated the Israeli army and forced it to stop its aggression without any of its objectives being accomplished: The two soldiers were not returned; missiles kept raining on Northen Israel until the last second of the war; and most importantly, Hezbollah was now stronger than ever.
Still, all good.


Now, what the fuck did we gain from this war?? What did we gain as a country? is the situation better now than before the war? Are we any safer now? It is true that Israel paid a high price for this war, but does that make us benefit from the war? Was the sole purpose of this war inflicting damage to Israel? Is that what we have come to? We now make wars to inflict damage to the opposite party without benefiting?
How do you define victory? What was the goal of this war? I don't care if Israel won or lost.. All i care about is what did i gain as a Lebanese from this war? Am i any freeer? Am i any richer? Am i happier? Or do you consider that all what matters is that Israel lost?

Hezbollah claim they are here to defend Lebanon from Israeli aggressions... And now they rejoice in the fact that they're still alive.

I really don't care who gained on the political scene from this war, but as a private citizen, i know at lost. And at the end of the day that is what matters, i don't care about any political party any leader any cause, anyone, in the end, all i want is to live happy. And this war didn't make me any happier.

I'll end my post with a few lines taken from a Brassens song:

Georges Brassens, Mourir pour des idées
[...]
Des idées réclamant le fameux sacrifice
Les sectes de tout poil en offrent des séquelles
Et la question se pose aux victimes novices
Mourir pour des idées, c'est bien beau mais lesquelles ?
Et comme toutes sont entre elles ressemblantes
Quand il les voit venir, avec leur gros drapeau
Le sage, en hésitant, tourne autour du tombeau
Mourrons pour des idées, d'accord, mais de mort lente
D'accord, mais de mort lente

O vous, les boutefeux, ô vous les bons apôtres
Mourez donc les premiers, nous vous cédons le pas
Mais de grâce, morbleu! laissez vivre les autres!
La vie est à peu près leur seul luxe ici bas

Car, enfin, la Camarde est assez vigilante
Elle n'a pas besoin qu'on lui tienne la faux
Plus de danse macabre autour des échafauds!
Mourrons pour des idées, d'accord, mais de mort lente
D'accord, mais de mort lente

 
At Wednesday, September 13, 2006 1:10:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

In addition to "this is not Norway", you forgot something jij.
It's not that march 14 is just opposing hizballah, many of them tried from the early days after war (or during war??) to intrude in shia iternal issues. This is very dangerous in such a Lebanese sectarian system.
I share you the idea of Aoun. Usually a sect goes for a strong leader despiting who are his allies. They search for a Leader whose position comes from an equal level to others.

Ja3ja3 does not have this equal level with other 14 march poltiticians. It's pretty obvious that jombla6 and saad hariri are leading it all.

Not to mention other christian politicians in March 14 that are neither major or minor players.

As for Atallah, ya3neh khalleena seikteen a7san.

In the early days of war I talked about shia exclusion. I was definitely sure It wil reach here.

Nasrallah was very calm in his interview with assafir.
Just to give you an example on "foolish" media, Remember the news introduction (The informaion in it was referred totally to sources) that lasted for 7 minutes on future TV couple of days ago? They were almost ging to give the name of the man who will be shot in the demonstration after Ramadan!!!

As for people asking why hizballah do not withdraw from the gvernment, I can tell them that hizballah is making the right choice by staying (I don't know how long will it last). When Shia is out of governmet, they will be excluded from the political process. "Street" tension will rise more and more and won't be controllable.

I can't but laugh when I see 14 march politicians praising Berri Day and night, a totally naive political attempt.

 
At Wednesday, September 13, 2006 2:17:00 PM, Blogger Emil , Jerusalem said...

Dear Jij ,

The post is very interesting , particularly because of internal Lebanon politics.
I have to agree about Israel’s failure , the question is now about whether the proper steps will be taken. But I doubt if no goals were achieved. For example , the fact that Hizballa will not make provocations anymore at the border is very significant. Of course the price was very heavy. Too heavy.

But I also think that Hizballa suffered a serious blow and now it cannot behave like before 12 july. The another blow will be the fall of Ahmadinejad & co.

The figure of Michel Aoun is very interesting and controversial. Are there any other serious candidates for presidency ?

I wish Lebanon never get to another civil war. Israel is interested in a strong Lebanon whose army will control all its territory , even before the peace treaty will be signed. Remember the years 1949-1967 : there were no problems at all at your southern border.

Best regards ,

Emil

 
At Wednesday, September 13, 2006 2:25:00 PM, Blogger jij said...

maha, thank you for your valuable and incisive input.
Chief, my point was not to show if Lebanon (all of us) gained or lost in the war. I don't want the discussion to go there; that's not very useful. The war happened, it had consequences, and we all should take them into consideration, regardless of what were we stand on issues. Can we discuss things with a cold ye, or is that impossible?

 
At Wednesday, September 13, 2006 3:32:00 PM, Blogger BOB said...

maha

do no even bother, Jij way of discussion is to immediatly turn to insults, personnel attacks and ad hominem. it is a shame.

For an example check his very "valuable and incisive input" to my last post (the one before this one)

a word of advice to the wise: If you demand respect from others, you must learn to treat them with respect.

Peace

 
At Wednesday, September 13, 2006 3:38:00 PM, Blogger jij said...

Bob, the "Hezbollah fetish" thing was not an insult. It was a genuine observation. Sexuality is a fascinating thing, no need to be embarrassed ;)
No, but seriously, let's call a truce. I only started to tease you because I didn't feel you were interested in a serious discussion; you were just flooding us with articles from the same perspective.
Tell me where you disagree with me; let's talk about it. Objectively, tell me, how do you think things will work without change in the government? March 14 are the ones monopolizing power, and that’s why I am criticizing them. When Hezbollah and Aoun start doing that, then I will criticize them.
Maha is welcome to join us anytime she wishes.

 
At Wednesday, September 13, 2006 3:43:00 PM, Blogger jij said...

hilal, March 14's tragedy is that they do not have a viable Shia ally. There is no going round Hezbollah. Nabih Berri is smart (corrupt and criminal, but smart) and he knows that. He'll stick to Hezbollah till the end.

 
At Wednesday, September 13, 2006 4:45:00 PM, Blogger BOB said...

great truce it shall be...

How things will work out? Well first of all no change of government with lahoud in power. He has to sign the decree and we know who he serves.
So if Aoun wants to be part of the government then he will have to agree that a neutral president must put in power. Then we can talk about a change of government.
Anything before that is suicide.
For do you realistically believe that once this government resigns that we will be able to form another one?
Who will lead the country meanwhile? Especially with the current tensions and big decisions that need to be taken (the international tribunal and finding a solution to Hezbollah, among many others) as you know any governmental change will take at least 15 to 20 days. If you are wiling to leave the country leaderless for that long I do not share your opinion. These are dangerous times.

I know that my argument can be used in another way: because these are dangerous times we need a national unity government. Great I accept that but if I was the leader of March 14th this would be the trade off, change of president (a neutral one not 8th nor 14th but 22nd) and an immediate disarmament of...nope not Hezbollah but the Palestinians.

What do you think? Am I reasonable...?

but alas I have no idea what the 14th of march are thinking or if they will take this deal and neither do I know what Aoun and Hezbollah are really after. But let us role-play for a while you represent them and their interests and tell me what do you think of my proposal!

Peace

 
At Wednesday, September 13, 2006 5:02:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

bob,
before talking abot the government change thre was a talk about expanding the government. This was also refused by March 14.

about your proposal.
- why palestinians? elaborate.
- If you have a neutral name in mind for presidency, suggest and let's discuss it.
- I wanna make this remark. One of the problems the state of taef has is that that the Prime minister is the sunni representative, the head of parlaiment is agreed on for Shia. But when it comes to the Lebanese president, he has to represent the whole country not the christians. This is a major problem from the christian community prospective. This is why they go after Aoun not after ja3ja3. A neutral president it MIGHT mean another weak christian representative.
This is not how I wish it to be. but this is how it goes on ground.

 
At Wednesday, September 13, 2006 5:19:00 PM, Blogger BOB said...

Hezbollah defensive strategy {sic}

Let me refresh your memory, Hezbollah never said that their defensive strategy is about stopping Israel from invading Lebanon or having a major battles inside and around civilian houses. And Nassrallah himself said that Hezbollah cannot and is not interested in holding to set geographical positions.

Hezbollah’s defensive strategy, according to Nassrallah stated several times, consist of a balance of terror, using the thousands of missiles he had to stop Israel from ever again attacking Lebanon, and bombing its infrastructure and targeting civilians.

That strategy failed utterly, not only this balance of terror proved futile and did not stop Israel from going on a 33 days of bombing on the contrary I believe that this arsenal proved to be one of the causes that this war took that long to end…

And for those who like evidence this picture is for you…

Translation: Our homes will not be destroyed
Our children will not be killed
Our people will not be displaced
Those days are over

No Comment!!!!!



Well taef stated that the council of ministers as a whole rules the country.
the powers of the PM is directly linked and governed by the council! That is why the 14th are adamant to keep two thirds of the council of ministers

Now Palestinians because their arms serves no purposes and are a threat to the country.

Enlarging changing, it all needs the approval of the president and as long as lahoud is sitting in the big castle 14th of March will not agree.

Michel eddeh is an example... a neutral president is not a weak one!

Peace

 
At Wednesday, September 13, 2006 5:22:00 PM, Blogger jij said...

Bob,
Honestly the talk about a suicide is not very convincing. What are we so worried about change? They can agree on a government and then the current government can resign. No void period needed. It’s simple: Let’s say the government has the following members: Hariri (or Senioura), Jumblat, Aoun and Nasrallah. I think Berri could accept that; Geagea will just have to sit this one out. The country is evenly split, and the government should reflect that.
Talking about the presidency is just to sabotage the government change, since Lahoud is relatively powerless and it’s the government that really holds the power. Why would Aoun accept anyone else as president? He is the Christian leader and he is aware of it. Hariri is already very well represented in the government. He is the government actually. How could he be given the presidency also? Remember it is about sharing. March 14 are monopolizing power now; it can’t work any longer.

 
At Wednesday, September 13, 2006 5:56:00 PM, Blogger The Lebanese said...

Man,

Just read my post on Lebanese politicians. I am not a politician, I am a citizen of the State. I will not talk ideology with a politician. I have the right to judge them all, and none of them has the right to judge me. I demand my rights, and if they want to bicker over ideologies, let them do it in private, because I don't want to hear about it.

I want jobs, electricity, roads, water, education. etc. I ahven't heard a word about all these and what they are doing to address them, all I hear is bickering. They can all go to hell for all I care.

 
At Wednesday, September 13, 2006 6:06:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

Bob,
- Micheil Eddeh kbeer kteer bob.
It would be an example of how to monopolize Christians "rights" same as what happened in the Syrian years. He will talk on "mlookhiyyeh" all the time. Not that I don't like the guy but he doesn't fit.

- I didn't understand to whom are u directing your first half of your comment.

- Actually Lahoud would have agreed to enlarging the government that's if not he demanded it himself, and that will avoid the problem you raised. (although I don't see it very dangerous as you state. It just depend on how will all the participants act during this period and since they will agree on something before then no such a problem will rise).

- As for Palestinians, well there was an attempt in the near past to solve it (famous visits to the camp). It can be continued in that attitude. Tensed declarations won't solve anything. Moreover the Lebanese state has to be give rights as civilians (a thing that martyr Hariri tried to do but some of march 14 people today disagreed on that that time in the parliament). For example, I don't know why it is forbidden to enter building materials to the camps. Such a change will agree on reaching a compromise/solution.
Just to note also that there is no heavy weapons in the Palestinian camps.
U have Jebreel camps only who is an ally of Syria, now my question is mach 14 declarations (which oppose Sanioura calm declarations many of the times and lead to the absorption of its power) would serve such a agreement with Syria?

- About the victory (And this is the last time I'll discuss that cause it's turning boring), when Israel does not achieve its original goals from the war, this is called a defeat. They will be negotiating on the prisoners swap (including Quntar) soon. (I don't know if it started yet). This will be another failure for Israeli government. Look at the internal Israeli situation of Olmert and u'll be certain of that.
- Last, the major problem is in the "majority" phrase. In Lebanon, It has always been that there is Hizbollah never directed his arms towards the Lebanese. No matter how Nasrallah calm the things down in his talkings (which he did in all his previous talks), he will be quoted in a wrong way, A thing which was the major reason for Hezbollah last announcement.
- I am in the UK at the moment. Blair is a lost case. I don't know what was the purpose of his invitation (??). He will be soon out from the whole process. We gained nothing but internal clashes. His invitation (??) was a serious mistake. Yu will tell me about Condie and Bolton previous meeting, I'll tell you that Hizballah was fighting in the battle and was delaying any internal clashes. A thing 14 march didn't do in the war.

 
At Wednesday, September 13, 2006 6:14:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

*will help

instead of

will agree

 
At Wednesday, September 13, 2006 9:34:00 PM, Blogger BOB said...

A quick reminder

hezbollah used its weapons on many Lebanese during the civil war...

peace

 
At Wednesday, September 13, 2006 11:41:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

yeh bob,
but to remind u also that hizballah went into two phases.
and we are in phase 2.
:)

 
At Thursday, September 14, 2006 12:49:00 AM, Blogger Chas said...

jij,
I acknowledge that Hezbollah fighters involved in the direct fighting with the IDF fought well and bravely. On the other hand if not for Hezbollah there would have been no IDF to fight anyway!
In the aftermath of the conflict I got very sick of people from all sides claiming victory.
I call it "the war that no-one won". The nice thing about this title is that it does not take half a page of blogging to justify!

There have already been way to many casualties from this conflict .. if the Lebanese democracy, for all its failings were to be added to that list it would truly be a disater for the whole region.
Elections should certainly be held .. but not now, let people regain their bearings, rebuild and mourn .. and have time to think soberly about what they really want for the future, not merely react to the past.
If Hezbollah remains an armed presence in Leb society then democracy is doomed .. and sooner or later those arms will be turned on their fellow Lebanese.
A descent into inter comunal violence would be pounced on by outside forces who would intervene on one side or the other ensuring a long and bitter war.
Do any Lebanese really want to help complete the destruction of their homeland so ably begun by Israel?

Lebanon has a future! and it should not be as a battleground.

Peace Chas

 
At Thursday, September 14, 2006 1:00:00 AM, Blogger jooj said...

I don't wish to divert the focus of the discussion. But regarding bob's comment "hezbollah used its weapons on many Lebanese during the civil war...", I hope by lebanese bob does not mean the SLA. As for HA's little war with Amal, let us agree it was the smallest of all wars of the lebanese civil war. For instance it does not compare to 7arb l jabal or 7arb l ilghaa' on any scale. It didn't last long and it was very limited, w sle7 khafeef, kteer khafeef. Which makes me wonder, is it even worth mentioning?

 
At Thursday, September 14, 2006 2:19:00 AM, Blogger Mirvat said...

not wanting to divert the course of the discussion either which i have to admit is the first constructive discussion between lebanese on this site yet.. (i guess jij's posts are always logical and focused which always helps), but i just wanted to repeat jooj's comment. to point out the HA/amal fight is, with all respect, a cheap shot. we all know our history and we know of a time when the syrian/amal alliance did not represent the left and the palestinian cause and in those times (phase 1 as hilal puts it) i'm still all for HA. other than that and compared to our internal dirty lengthy wars, HA hasn't significantly raised arms against lebanese. their cause (phase 2) is well known and has been consistent.

jij great post as always.

 
At Thursday, September 14, 2006 2:25:00 AM, Blogger jij said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Thursday, September 14, 2006 2:26:00 AM, Blogger jij said...

Bob: La hawla wa la kouwatta illa billah... You really have to get over your phobia before we can have a serious discussion. Ya3ni I am starting to wonder if your hizbollah-phobia is really this advanced, or if you're just doing a parody of Hizbollah-phobia.
Forget the fact that you hate these people so much; you can't have a functional country if they're not on board.
Nothing personal, just an observation.
"Peace."

 
At Thursday, September 14, 2006 2:46:00 AM, Blogger Lazarus said...

having them or not having them on board isn't the question. How much of hezbollah do you want to have on board: the political side, or the whole combo including the resistance?

we can spend quite a long time arguing about what has happened and what is happening now, but what do you guys want to happen in the FUTURE?

mirvat, implying that the syrian/amal alliance represents the left and the palestinian cause is mistaken. They represent themselves; always have, and always will do, just like any other political entity.

- l.

 
At Thursday, September 14, 2006 3:28:00 AM, Blogger Mirvat said...

lazarus i said did not :)

 
At Thursday, September 14, 2006 6:04:00 AM, Blogger jij said...

Laz,
March 14 must understand that solving the arms issue (i.e. from their view getting rid of them) right now is impossible. They should stop broadcasting the message that they are trying to get rid of the weapons and they're failing, because the implication is that they'd welcome outside help. Outside help (invited or uninvited) has come and has failed. Let us get over that ad be pragmatic. No one can seriously claim that Hezbollah is after controlling the whole country. But it is true that they want a bigger share, as does Aoun. That is after all the goal of any political entity. March 14 are the problem because they are now in the monopoly position. They are scared to share the government because, in my opinon, they know that what they give now they will never get back. There is no way to bypss Hezbollah without ruining the country; recent events should have taught us this. Strike a compromise: The army deploys wherever it wants, and Hezbollah's weapons go underground and keep a low profile. A government f national reconciliation is formed. Then they can all sit on that table again and talk till they're blue in the face. I don't see any positive change in the near future, so let's just settle for calming things down and preventing very bad shit from happening.

 
At Thursday, September 14, 2006 2:08:00 PM, Blogger BOB said...

first, i never said that I hate Hezbollah, and I accept them as Lebanese. Does that mean that I have to like their ideology, politics, religious fanaticism, of course not, especially that I am a staunch atheist and for me they represent a very negative sides of religion and its glorification of death…

Second i said that Hezbollah used its weapons internally because many have used the argument that Hezbollah NEVER used its weapons internally. and whether HA/amal war was small, big that is irrelevant, the point is that hey used their weapons internally. Now hilal said 1st phase and second phase great, but next time you or anybody else want to use the argument that Hezbollah NEVER used their weapons internally you need to specify that this is post civil war and not use the word NEVER!

Third, people keep forgetting that HA and Amal are part of the government and their is no monopoly of power. So to have a new government you need to change the president, easy formula...But anyways i do not believe that this will happen Aoun will not accept anyone else to be president and March the 14th will not accept him. So i guess in a few more months lahoud term will end and then we will have a constitutional crisis on our hand. So why make all this fuss, wait a few month and the international tribunal will be set (one of the causes of March the 14th reticence in changing the government) and then we will surly have a change in government...

Peace

 
At Thursday, September 14, 2006 4:40:00 PM, Blogger jason said...

I don't see how this is a victory
for Hezzbolah. They didn't capture Sheeba Farms. Every time during the war they tried to infltrate they were repelled. If they humiliated Israel they would have been able to take it. At the end they resorted to a truck bomb attack which was foiled. They tried 8 suicide bombings from the west bank with palestinian operatives which failed. There drone attacks all failed. Israel's ship that was hit was back up within weeks.

There anti tank weapons against Israel tanks will soon be outdated. Israel's new trophy defense system will be able to stop these rockets. The few tanks that had this system had no damage.

Also Israel will have a new laser guided missile defense which can stop hezzbolah's rockets.

Also southern lebanon is littered with 500,000 cluster bombs. Several hezzbolah fighters have been killed picking them up. They are littered in their homes.

The plant that was hit burned cancerous fumes in a cloud for two weeks. It spread all over Beirut the affects of this will hurt hezzbolah having children in the future.

Hezzbolah's rocket attacks mostly killed arab civilians in arab villages. They fired 4,000 and killed 20 jews in israel.

A lot of the israeli deaths were friendly fire.

Hezzbolah killed less than two israelis in direct combat over the 34 day war.

Palestinians killed much more in the infatada during there suicide bombings.

Israel was able during the war to take out hezzbolah's banks and killed a top hezzbolah military commander which hezzbolah announced. Also the number two leader of hezzbolah came close to losing his son.

Now Israel has cooperation from turkey to stop all weapons shipments by air and land to syria to hezzbolah in lebanon.

Israel wasn't forced to stop the UN stopped them. Hezzbolah was the one that was begging for a ceasefire for weeks.

Northern Israel has almost no damage.

When you talk about causualties Israel has lost four digits to the palestinians. They lost 3,000 in a 6 day war.

Hezzbolah didn't kill one top israeli.

Hezzbolah wasn't able to capture one israeli or their dead body during the war.

Israel captured 5 hezzbolah and dozens of dead bodies of hezzbolah.

Israel was allowed to take out positions in lebanon on the ground.

Hezzbolah didn't hit one israel military base and wasn't able to take out israeli's artillery tanks right across the border. Every time during the war after the first sneak attack they tried to infiltrate they were stopped.

At the beginning nasrallah said he would go by land and attack israel air force bases and israel castles were his words in israel. He failed.

He couldn't even capture sheeba farms.

Hezzbolah had dead bodies in rubble in southern lebanon stinking for days in homes and bunkers.

Just remember the next israeli leader might not be so kind and might bring out the big guns.

Israel has nuclear submarines right off the coast. Those nukes are game changers. Hezzbolah could be obliterated on one order.

And the wind would flow north just like the cancerous cloud from the power plant.

 
At Thursday, September 14, 2006 4:54:00 PM, Blogger jason said...

Also don't want to leave out the damage to your ecosystem. You have no idea what the effects from that oil spill will be. It is deep into the sea bed. Forget about having fish for over a decade.

Hezzbolah in beirut that ere affected by that toxic cancerous cloud will have trouble having kids. The toxic cloud left cancerous dust all over the beirut area. When it rains it will seep into the water tablet. You will be shocked to see the affects of this.

Also before you declare victory Israelis aren't the ones begging for a blocade to be over. Israelis don't have cluster bombs in their homes. Israel soldiers were dug up from rubble inside their homes like hezbollah.

No F-16 crashes in the whole war. Even the afgans shot down russian fighter jets. Hezzbolah is so overated. One helicotper shot down out of several thousand flights. Friday before the war 50 landed and they started shooting at hezzbolah from behind and one arab reporter even said he saw them start to cry. You can smell the stench of hezzbolah death down in the bunkers in lebanon.

Those fools think they are invincible they are picking up highly sensitive cluster bombs and dying by the droves. I have heard reports of 6 hezzbolah fighter already dead from this. One idiot fighter from bbc story online even is dumb enough to leave it on his shelf.

This is some victory when you have several hezzbolah fighters dead from these cluster bombs and out of 500,000 bomblets only 10,000 have been picked up and that isn't even counting the cluster shells from the tanks.

 
At Thursday, September 14, 2006 6:04:00 PM, Blogger jason said...

One more point israel soldiers could at will drop in. They raided the hospital in beeka with no causualties. They raided tyre with no causualties.

They didn't advance past a few miles because olmert didn't order them too. The last few days when they were allowed to advance some reached the litani in a day.

You have no idea the firepower Israel has that didn't use. They now have top of the line bunker buster bombs that they didn't have during the war.

Israel didn't lose anything. They are building razor wire fences right now in lebanon terrirory. They are taking lebanese at will back to israeli jails and interogarting them. They have israel flags waving in southern lebanon.

Let me make this clear to you I was just in northern israel they haven't lost a thing. If you think they lost a lot you are in your own world. Israel life is back at full steam. Warren Buffet is investing 4 billion in israel company. There is no part of israel like southern beirut. warYou wouldn't even know there was a war being in israel.

Hezzbolah has zero deterrence factor. What good are they. They offer you no protection. Israel F-16's can hit lebanon from the air and hezzbolah can't do anything.

What exactly did israel lose again. Palestinians in 2005 killed more israel soldiers in gaza than hezzbolah with FAR less weapons.

Hezzbolah's two greatest weapons will soon be useless against israel.

Their new tanks will have a sheild defense system that will be able to take out the rockets before they hit. The tanks that had them weren't damaged. The new laser system the U.S is building will be able to stop a lot of the rockets that hezzbolah fires.

The bunker busters Israel now has that they didn't have during the war will be able to take out any bunkers in israel.

Hezzbolah lost a top military commander had the son of the number 2 seriously wounded, lost a top commander that brings in weapons from syria.

Cyprus is now stopping syrian ships. Turkey is stopping iranian trucks and planes that u.s tips them off too going to syria and then on to lebanon.

I want to know what exactly did israel lost. They lost less than 2 soldiers per day during the 34 day war that is nothing. Even palestinians in the west bank were saying they killed far more with suicide bombs attacking military personnel on buses during the infatada.

Israel was the one on lebanese soil taking out positions and going where they wanted. Hezzbolah was stopped dozens of times trying to infiltrate after the first sneak attack.

Their drones were stopped. The last night a truck bomb attack was foiled at the border. 8 suicide bombers were stopped in israel.

Hezzbolah didn't hit one tank artillery unit in israel, not one air force base, not one israel base. They didn't take out any israel leaders.

What exactly did israel lose. Please tell me. They were the ones on your soil going at will into lebanon. You judge the war by the line.

Maybe you should ask yourself why is it that hezbolah didn't get sheeba farms or the 7 other vllages they claim if it was such a great victory. The answer is they tried and failed brutally.

Hezzbolah was exposed. Out in the open they are horrible fighters. They tried to infiltrate the sheeba farms in novebmber 2005 and were stopped cold losing 4 fighters. This time they did too. Out in the open when israel was on war footing hezzbolah was exposed. They are terrible fighting out in the open. They can't advance into israel. How does Nasrallah think he is going to take back sheeba farms when the terrain is out in the open with a force like hezbollah that can't advance. What great fires they can sit in a bunker and pop their head out and fire a rocket or have a farmer place a rocket launcher in some grove and have him fire them.

Israel also took out a lot of hezzbolah's long range zelzal. Look at tel aviv compared to beirut. Most of their long range rockets were taken out the first night. Israel took out a lot of their truck shipments from syria you could see the secondary explosions. They were able to go in and find their headquaters in villages and their maps of israel towns and their bunker system, their fliers recruiting kids, their russian made tank weapons, their british night vision gear.

They now their tactics of firing rockets from behind houses, firing from mosques, schools, hospitals. They now know hezzbolah tried to hit israel's petro facilities in haifa and failed. They now know of the elaborate bunker system. They know they fire close to un positions. They now know they built homes for villagers and used bunkers in their homes and fired rockets behind their homes.

They now know the tactic of using anti tank rockets against infantry in the field.

Hezzbolah used to be able to fire at israel soldiers all the time and think they could get away with it. That will be no more especially with bibi as the new israeli prime minister.

I still am waiting to here what they gained. You will now have international troops stopping weapoins from the sea, at the airports, will be at the border soon between lebanon. Israel will still have drones over the lebanon/syria border.

Israel will now speed up the orders for the tank system and rocket system.

And hezzbolah's weapons from iran will seriously be hurt with turkey on board.

What exactly was this great victory. As one lebanese by the border said we have been damaged so bad we don't want to admit it.

You talk about hezzbolah firing 200 rockets like some huge achievement. Those 1,000 rockets the last 5 days killed one jew. 80 percent of them were landing in the open burning trees that is it.

Israel the last few days was firing over a thousand cluster bombs leaving hundreds of thousands of bomblets, they were firing tens of thousands of shells from tanks in israel hezzbolah never touched because out in the open they can't advance. They aren't a real advancing force they are weak and exposed in that way. Arabs can't fight out in the open they hide behind civilians.

After the ship was hit and israel turned on their anti ship weapons system not one more ship was hit. Hezzbolah could have hit several ship if they were smart before the system was turned on. After it was turned on they hit an egyptian ship. The last few days the ships were leveling southern beirut.

Israel restricted themselves to southern beirut next time that won't happen. Next time the bunker busters will be used in beirut. Next time bekka will be leveled with bibi as prime minister.

Just remember in less than 20 seconds 11 buildings were flattened in southern beirut. Just think what bibi would do if hezzbolah ever was successful at hitting at petro chemical plant.

The japanese made the mistake of messing with a nuclear power. Israel in 1997 had 400 nukes now they could have over a thousand. Just think what two nukes did to japan.

The syrians, iranians, and hezzbolah are playing with fire. Israel could obliterate their enemies on one order and the next prime minister will not be so nice.

If you don't respect the deterrence of a nuclear power then it will be enforced.

Hezzbolah didn't gain anything because on one order they and their syrians and iranian friends could be blown back to the stone ages.

Just remember who holds the balance of power. Those nuclear subs weren't touched by hezzbolah so to say israel has been hurt is comical. You have no idea the arsenal israel has. To say hezzbolah withstood some great assault is comical. You have no idea what the real deterrence is. If you think hezzbolah is going to bring you security you are wrong.

 
At Thursday, September 14, 2006 7:28:00 PM, Blogger jij said...

lol.

"I don't see how this is a victory
for Hezzbolah. They didn't capture Sheeba Farms."
????

"At the end they resorted to a truck bomb attack which was foiled. They tried 8 suicide bombings from the west bank with palestinian operatives which failed."
????

"hey didn't advance past a few miles because olmert didn't order them too."
????

It is kind of nice to see the other side getting hysterical. Time to take your pills jason.

 
At Thursday, September 14, 2006 7:41:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

please welcome the new LBF "what is occupation".

 
At Thursday, September 14, 2006 8:12:00 PM, Blogger apokraphyte said...

It almost has a threatening feel, but then I read "less than two" and my courage returns ... ;)

 
At Thursday, September 14, 2006 8:42:00 PM, Blogger jij said...

ha ha ha ha

 
At Thursday, September 14, 2006 8:50:00 PM, Blogger Mirvat said...

hilal we need kodder for this one!

 
At Thursday, September 14, 2006 8:52:00 PM, Blogger hummbumm said...

Netx time Hizbullah wants my support maybe they should ask me before embarking on their stupid ventures... Economy is in the tank, do aoun and Hizbullah really think they can improve the lot of the average lebanese.... HAHAHA, bread and butter economic discourse is beneath these guys, they are all about dignity and blahblah

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 12:36:00 AM, Blogger Mirvat said...

it's funny when someone decides in a discussion what is relevant and what is not based on his/her own and only point of view. i can see how one might think they can do that on their post to limit the discussion to the topic they raised but all the time!

what funnier than that is saying, as a defense to a certain position with or against any political/tribal/confessional direction in lebanon that one is an atheist, hence... objective? sounds like our arguments during college.. to be fair we made more sense back then.

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 1:03:00 AM, Blogger jij said...

To any "atheist" who supports Hariri, I ask, who is more backward, Iran or Saudi Arabia? Mind you, most members of the Lebanese Forces are self-declared "atheists" for example, so we must take such declarations with a pinch of salt.

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 9:57:00 AM, Blogger John Smith said...

The Israeli objects of this war WERE achieved (in spite of the stupid people running the show). The kidnapped soldiers will return home in the next few weeks, and HA was removed from the Israeli border and I hope will not harass Israel in the next few years. Why do you think these objects should have been achieved by the IDF? Don’t you understand the military operation was just a way to leverage the diplomatic effort?

One more thing, the Israeli army DID look weak, but only because THERE WERE NO ORDERS! Olmert (the stupid) and Peretz (even more stupid) just couldn’t decide what to do. I have a lot of friends in the IDF infantry (about 15) and almost all of them (except 2) say their only order in this war was to enter a specific house in Lebanon and just stay there. I have 2 friends in tank units that say their orders were dumb and irresponsible and somebody from the high IDF command should be shot for that. I myself was in the artillery forces and found myself many times a day firing hundreds of shells on one spot on an empty field. It seems like most of what the IDF did in this war was make a lot of noise.

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 2:01:00 PM, Blogger apokraphyte said...

I agree. All Israel did was make some noise ... That 1,000 Lebanese civilians had to die, well isn't that the point of shock and awe ... ?

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 2:29:00 PM, Blogger jij said...

"the military operation was just a way to leverage the diplomatic effort"
What a gem... You say that you want the soldiers back no questions asked all way long, Hezbollah says dream on, and now you're going to negotiate, and you'll never see your prisoners back until you've returned ours... Yep, you have definitely improved your bargaining position :)

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 2:45:00 PM, Blogger John Smith said...

You might say that Israel could have bargained for the soldiers from day one, instead of going to war, but what message that would send to other terrorists planning to kidnap more soldiers?

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 3:17:00 PM, Blogger Maya@NYC said...

Jij.. although i disagree with some of the points you raised, I have a strong "dislike" of the 14 Mars line of politics. What pains me the most is that the real makers of Mars 14 (namely kassir, and tueini, and the 1 million lebanese people), are gone. The current Mars 14 does not represent anyone or anything. just adding chaos. a chaos well orchestrated by Joumblatt and Hariri (in my opinion), and played upon by regional and international countries. And again, the current fight in lebanon (albeit a political fight this time), is simply between 2 views of the countries. How is it possible to build a nation when we haven't agreed yet on a history book that truly represents our past?

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 3:22:00 PM, Blogger Mirvat said...

if by 'terrorists' you mean HA, it would be the same message the british gave the jews after all the terrorists attacks by the Irgun and the suicide ships by the hagannah, the message would be back then 'it seems we did you wrong and that's why you are resisting, we need to stop being assholes and end your suffering'.. with israel it would be ' it seems we've occupied you and now you learned to resist your occupier.. maybe next time we should think twice before we completely walk all over you or throw you in prison'
help me out please, what's a terrorist?

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 3:43:00 PM, Blogger jij said...

Maya, just a quick point. March 14 represent a lot of people; this must be acknowledged. The other camp represents just as many. Let's start from here. Although I don't see the difference between Tueini and Kassir and the current March 14 lineup, I agree with you: There is no way to build a nation. So let's settle for smaller objectives.

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 6:52:00 PM, Blogger apokraphyte said...

John,

Is it your opinion that military assaults have deterred or halted Palestinian attacks on Israelis over the last, I dont know, 40 years? It is my sense that every former Israeli Defense Minister and every former head of Mossad says they do not? But what do they know ... ? Your thoughts on such military solutions to political problems ... ?

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 7:16:00 PM, Blogger John Smith said...

I vote for Israeli left wing parties, so I believe the final solution to the Palestinian issue is to give land for peace (it does NOT mean I think this land belongs to them, it only means I’m ready to give up some of MY land for peace. I still think ‘the occupied territories’ should be called ‘the disputed territories’). Anyway, the final solution should be a diplomatic one and we are getting there slowly (VERY slowly) but surely.

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 7:51:00 PM, Blogger apokraphyte said...

Actually, I think the opposite. I think the "rocket threat" will allow the Israelis to take even larger portions of the West Bank. This will be extremely difficult as it will require some ethnic cleansing-lite, but if there is going to slow creep, I think it will be in this direction. Part of this comes from my sense that no present or future israeli politician will have the political clout to affect a substantial evacuation of the West Bank. Such a pull-out may, and i say may, have been possible 10-15 years ago, but I think Israeli politics (and society by extension) has become so diverse (or thin) that an evacuation coalition seems impossible ... Gaza of course is not comparable for any number of reasons ... But it is interesting to think that what Gaza First means is that in the second stage, the West Bank must be turned into a Gaza ... I think only a serious upheaval of the regional order (unlikely, but I do not underestimate American blundering)would alter these seemingly historical physics ... Your thoughts ...?

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 8:29:00 PM, Blogger John Smith said...

I believe most of the Palestinians are tired from wars and do want peace with Israel. These people give me hope (in spite of my 30 plus years of bad experience) and encourage me to vote on Election Day and comment on blogs on all other days. There are however other people/groups/organizations in the Palestinian society that will probably never accept Israeli state as a fact, and will continue to ‘resist’ even when there will be nothing more to resist to. Talking to THESE people is futile. On the movie ‘Independence Day’ (1996) the US president tries to understand what will make the aliens stop attacking humans. He walks up to a captured alien and asks him “What do you want us to do?” The alien simply replies “Die. Die.”.

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 8:33:00 PM, Blogger John Smith said...

Actually Ariel Sharon’s plan, just a few months ago, was to pull out of Gaza as a first stage AND the west bank later, and it had the support of the majority of Israelis. Unfortunately, it relied mainly on his charisma (which Olmert does not have). The Lebanon war was another turn for the worse. It seems a delay of a few months/years is inevitable.

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 8:47:00 PM, Blogger jij said...

That’s right john, the Independence Day metaphor is so right on the money, Palestinians have absolutely no rational reason to resist and to say no, it's just irrational age-old magic-like hate. It has nothing to do with occupation, exile, murder, stealing land, economical asphyxiation, kidnapping elected state officials, murdering people in broad daylight, apartheid-like policies, dying on border checkpoints, etc. And you vote for the Israeli left, which gives us an idea of what to expect from said left.

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 8:58:00 PM, Blogger John Smith said...

Yes, I agree Israel should have left the Gaza strip many years ago (as I states before) but how about Hammas launching Kassam rockets at the city of Sderot almost every day AFTER the IDF left the Gaza strip? How about Hammas kidnapping Gilad Shalit AFTER the IDF lest the Gaza strip? Is this still resisting the occupation?

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 9:14:00 PM, Blogger Peter said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 9:21:00 PM, Blogger Peter said...

Ran HaCohen had an excellent column on Gaza:

"The persistent homemade Qassam missiles that terrorize the Israeli town of Sderot are conceptualized by Israelis as typical Arab ingratitude, as shameless ungratefulness for the great gift that Israel has presented the Palestinians by withdrawing from Gaza, allegedly restoring their freedom, honor, and well-being.

The reality is different. Having pulled its settlers out of Gaza, Israel is now imposing a total siege on the tiny Strip: the 1.5 million Palestinians locked up there have no access to the sea (Israel never let the Gaza seaport be built), no access to the air (Israel destroyed the Gaza airport), and all the crossings are under Israeli control (i.e., practically closed most of the time). Since the Hamas victory in the elections, Israel and the international community have also been imposing an economic siege on the Strip, severing the financial ties with the Palestinian authority; to pay their Authority's employees, the Palestinians have to smuggle cash through the crossings. Israel's "security system" – the Occupation incarnated – is the one who decides whether Gazans will have flour, medicines, and any other goods, how much, and when."

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 9:37:00 PM, Blogger jij said...

John, do you honestly believe that turning Gaza into an open-air prison (while it's open season on stealing land from the West Bank) is going to bring you peace? Palestinians are not going to quit until they have a dignified existence (something we are all entitled to). What your state is doing is illegal and racist occupation. What is this crazy world where the torturers complain about the ingratitude of the tortured? Do you actually believe this or are you trying to convince yourself?

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 10:03:00 PM, Blogger John Smith said...

I think the Israeli policy regarding the Palestinians in the last decades was wrong and it has only in the last few years that new winds of change have started to blow giving hope to both our people.
In the mean time the Palestinians have managed to screw the process every time.

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 10:05:00 PM, Blogger John Smith said...

jij, Have you been to Israel?

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 10:10:00 PM, Blogger jij said...

No john I havent. Let me guess, I got it all wrong, right?

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 11:07:00 PM, Blogger John Smith said...

Most of it ;-)

Peace dude.

 
At Friday, September 15, 2006 11:30:00 PM, Blogger John Smith said...

Just kidding... What I mean is, from here, It's not all a black and white thing. Both sides are right and both sides are wrong.

Peace dude.

 

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