This is your Lebanon – Episode II

tea.jpgWhile the Maronite Patriarch continues to meddle in politics and his right-wing followers (gangs of Samir Geagea) continue to bash Iran left, right, and center for being a “theocracy”, the tea-serving internal security forces have fired live ammunition at protestors, killing one, injuring at least 4 others, in Beirut. The incident took place as the forces arrived at the area to remove what they call “illegal” housing. The authorities allege that the protestors started rioting and firing shots, preventing them from performing their “duties” (but they did perform their duties in Marja’ayoun), which forced them to fire in the air to disperse the demonstrators. The result of this “firing in the air” fest? At least 4 civilians sustained gunshot wounds, and another died. An autopsy revealed that the killed civilian had received two gunshot wounds in the back from two different rifles, at a distance of 2 meters. Members of the tea-serving force received stick-and-stone wounds, and are now whining about “varying material damage” to their vehicles.

I prefer that they stick to tea-serving. Really. I am sure they would make ideal husbands.

In the meantime, Israeli jets continue their fly-overs. Today they picked Ba’albak in particular. Still waiting for UNIFIL to shoot down a fighter jet or two. Mandate? What mandate? Now I get it. The Bush administration’s definition of terrorism has to do with who serves tea to Israelis when they come face-to-face, and who doesn’t. And UNIFIL only shows its rotten and bloody (the blood of the victims of the Marwaheen massacre) teeth at the Lebanese. Of course. I mean, they said it outright. They were here to protect Israel’s “right to exist” (or was it “right to self-defense”? I mean, it changes so often, at times it’s just self-defense, at others it’s more hysterical, it has to do with existence and extinction).

By the way, some of the best tea I’ve had is Bigelow. Especially the orange & spice herb tea. Well they have lots of flavours, but I haven’t tried all. Their website is tea heaven. Something the internal security tea-serving forces should look into.

Also see: Episode I


13 responses to “This is your Lebanon – Episode II

  1. Anorchorev,
    Someone I know, who shall remain nameless, is kind of a big-shot in the field of middle east politics and policy. I’m not sure how “up” he is on what is happening now in southern Lebanon, but he is of the opinion that Israel is not “stealing” water.

    If you have some facts on this, will you please pass them on to me so I can forward it to him? It may be useful as he is someone who develops and writes government policy papers for a very large and powerful country, that shall also remain nameless. (I’m sure he doesn’t want his name or CV to be bandied about, so I’ll respect his wish for privacy).

    He says that during the 1982-2000 occupation of southern Lebanon, Isreal was actually pumping water into a couple of border villages. True? Anyway, any info on the latest water thing would be valuable and useful to know.

    PS (just for background): I really have no influence on what he does, our emails are general interest stuff, he has no idea of what my “politics” are on this issue (but that may change soon), and I’ve never even told him about this blog or what you or anyone else has said on it. Although that might be a good thing.

  2. If the Maronite Patriarch, Nasrallah Boutros Cardinal Sfeir is ‘meddling’ in politics then what is the leader of Hezbollah, Sheikh Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah doing?

    By the way, is there a trend amongst Lebanese politico-religious leaders to bear the name Nasrallah?

  3. Hey Chris,

    What exactly does he mean by “Israel is not stealing water”? Does he mean that the story of Israelis installing pipes to carry water is fake, or that they are somehow entitled to that water under int’l law, which would be well inside Lebanon if the Blue Line is taken into account, and not the current line of occupation (of Al-Ghajar village) that the Israelis have drawn? The story is true, and has been covered by many journalistic sources.

    There are no bilateral water agreements between Lebanon and Israel, but both states are bound by the UN Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses, which has NOT been formally ratified. It must be noted that even this convention does NOT give Israel the right to actually draw water from within Lebanese territory. It merely puts a loose restriction on Lebanon in its usage of “international watercourses” that have downflow across the boundary. The Convention merely says that the state from which the watercourse flows should make sure to use the water source on its territory in a “reasonable manner”. This does NOT mean that Israel has the right to extend pipes across its boundary and pump water into Israel!!! Such a thing would fall under a bilateral agreement, which does NOT exist between Lebanon and Israel. Water diversion from the territory of one country by a foreign country is illegal under international law.

    In fact, Israel’s occupation of Al-Ghajar and theft of water is merely a measure of revenge at a Lebanese project that dates a few years back, in which the Wazzani waters were to be put into use as part of a project to provide water to south Lebanese villages with no water access (a perfectly legitimate, legal project), and over which Israel was throwing a tantrum. It also explains why Israel has been pressuring Lebanon for the past 3 decades to initiate economic ties with it. This would basically mean the beginning of bilateral agreements, of which water is deemed to be an inseparable part. Direct access to these water sources would ensure that Israel would cover at least 40% of its water needs, not taking into account the Litani.

    Between 1982 and 2000 Israel was pumping water OUT of Lebanon. Actually there is a very interesting study on this, I think done by the Lebanese ministry of energy & water, in the form of a booklet, but I think it’s only available in Arabic (a colleague once showed it to me, but I have not been able to get my hands on it). Throughout the occupation, the government in Beirut was prevented from having access to the water in the occupied south, while Israel pumped millions of cubic meters of water into Israel. From 1978 (Operation Litani) onwards, Israel stopped publishing full water and cultivation figures. Instead, only loose estimates were made available. As a counter-proposal to the Johnston plan for an agreement on the allocation of water sources to Arab countries and Israel, Israel proposed the diversion of the waters of the Litani (which does not feed any of the water sources inside Israel). Of course, the Johnston proposal was in itself inherently racist, and though its aspirations were high on resolving water conflict in the M.E as a precedent to political settlement, it nevertheless was a big failure not merely technically but also theoretically, in that it did not look at the core sources of the conflict (dispossession and colonization), but rather focused entirely on arriving to an artificial solution (settling the Palestinians in the Sinai desert). If you can, you should check out an article by John K. Cooley titled “The War over Water”, in the journal Foreign Policy, No. 54. (Spring, 1984), pp. 3-26.

    For example, the article points out that “[w]hen they captured the dam and lake at Qir’awn in June 1982 … the Israelis immediately seized all the hydrographic charts and technical documents relating to the Litani and its installations. The Israelis were openly augmenting the flow of the Hasbani across the frontier into Israel by laying surface pipes to catch the run-off and other waters from the mountains and nearby springs. Moreover, a watchful American military observer claims to have seen Israelis burying pipes deep in a hillside near Marj’uyn [Marja’ayoun] after the Israeli incursion of 1978, indicating that the Israelis might be secretly siphoning water underground from the Marj Plain in southern Lebanon into Israel, without affecting the measured flow of the Litani. Such a diversion would trap the extensive underground aquifer, which is fed by seepage from both the Litani and the Hasbani rivers and by underground streams from the Mount Hermon region…. [S]eismic soundings and surveys had been conducted at a spot on the Litani gorges called Deir Mimas – soundings that Lebanese Litani River Authority officials were certain had been undertaken to find the optimum place for the inlet of a diversion tunnel to be dug about three miles into Israel (p. 22-23).

    Another interesting read is an article titled “Israel’s Water Policies”, by Uri Davis, Antonia E. L. Maks, and John Richardson, which appeared in the Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 9, No. 2. (Winter, 1980), pp. 3-31.

  4. what is the leader of Hezbollah, Sheikh Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah doing
    Nasrallah is a Sayyed, not a religious leader/patriarch. Also, in case you didn’t notice, what I was pointing to was the hypocrisy of the right-wing nutcase Maronites who criticize Iranian theocracy and accuse HezbAllah of being Iranian agents (using derogatory terms).

    No, there is no such trend that I know of. For the record, Nasrallah is a combination of two words: Nasr (victory) and Allah (god), so something like divine victory.

  5. For Shias a Sayyed is a descendant of the prophet Muhammad. Sayyeds wear a black turban.

    Nasrallah is an Islamic scholar who studied in Najaf and Qom, two Shia holy cities. He may not be equivalent to a patriarch but he is certainly a religious leader. Interestingly, he was born in Bourj Hammoud, the Armenian section of Beirut, and apparently speaks Armenian.

    My point is with so much ‘meddling’ by so many actors why single out poor Sfeir. What you should be pushing for is total separation of religion and state with no interference by any religious figures in the Lebanese political process and a definition of Lebanese based purely on citizenship.

  6. For Shias a Sayyed is a descendant of the prophet Muhammad. Sayyeds wear a black turban.
    You’re not getting the point. The point is that Nasrallah is not the Maronite Patriarch’s equivalent in the Shi’ite sect.

    Who cares if he speaks Armenian?

    Actually I did not single out Sfeir, but I did single out his followers (well, at least the right-wing nutcase types who follow mass-murderer Samir Geagea) because THEY are the ones who whine about theocracy and all that, not the Shi’ites and certainly not Hassan Nasrallah’s followers…

    You are mixing two entirely two different issues together for the sake of scoring some cheap goals at my expense. Please read carefully what I wrote. Here, I quote it again for you:

    “While the Maronite Patriarch continues to meddle in politics and his right-wing followers (gangs of Samir Geagea) continue to bash Iran left, right, and center for being a “theocracy”,”

    What’s so invalid in pointing out their hypocrisy? And how exactly does it mean that I am not against the mixing of religion and statehood? I don’t believe in either. So what is your point, if you have any?

  7. Anarchorev,
    Fabulous. A more complete answer than I hoped for.

    Could you please email me personally, again? (I’ve lost your email address!). There are parts of this that I’d like to push forward but need to go offline.

  8. Hey Chris, you may e-mail me at anarchorev at riseup dot net .

  9. It is true, throughout the Middle East, babies are being named Nasrallah. He is even popular with Sunnis, for fighting back against Israel.

  10. having tea with israelians … can be a good beginning for the peace process…

    hmmmmm which peace process anyway, the middle east is just a bloody battle field (thx bush and olmert)

  11. Pingback: Beyond The Fringe » Blog Archive » Israel’s water theft

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  13. Now I know who the brainy one is, I’ll keep looinkg for your posts.

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