Sunday, September 09, 2007

Big Pharaoh’s : Lebanese Playground Army

Now of course I do admire the Big Pharaoh, if I haven’t why would I lurk around in his blog? Now what a better, obviously pseudo-diplomatic introduction to prepare the reader of the entry to accept my utter dislike to the Big Pharaoh? Not that I dislike him, that’s just an illustrative example because that’s practically how the Big Pharaoh started his entry by saying:
With all my due respect to Lebanon

Ok that seriously went very close to sarcasm or even hypocrisy. What respect? If the Big Pharaoh’s arguments made much more sense he wouldn’t have resorted to such an obnoxious start. You see, when my mom was hailing the army’s victory I said the same thing that the Big Pharaoh was stating, I told her that the victory came to a very high price. But unlike him, I actually do admire the Lebanese army for what it did. I admired them for actually being brave enough to go into this war though they knew that it’s going to be very expensive. I admired them for going into a war they were not supposed to enter, up until the last day many were just trying to bribe the terrorists away. Everyone stood against the army, Palestinian bashed us by nurturing such repulsive monsters then backing them in battle, then crying infanticide when the army fired back. The army was attacked by Hezbollah who explicitly refused the camp to be attacked. Many politicians believed they could just solved it “peacefully” by begging the terrorists to be merciful! But the army against all odds refused to back off and demanded to avenge the fallen soldiers! I remember the dark years before 2005 like for example when 4 judges were shot inside the courtroom by similar terrorists who hid in… A Palestinian camp… (some things never change!) And the army was not allowed to go into the camp, everyone said no Lebanese army would ever enter the camps, and indeed no one EVER entered and cleaned any Palestinian camp since Arafat chose to pass through Jounieh to reach Kods! No one except for the Sabra and Chatilla massacre… As far as I am concerned this victory is far better and more worthy of praise and celebration! Don’t you think?
So please DO respect the souls of the dead, they did choose to die bravely holding their Lebanese flag high not hiding like mice, hiding between civilians and blowing corpses… Yes I am talking about Hezbollah’s divine victory. This army fought with everything it had, it didn’t have enough? True, but they are celebrating their unexpected victory… Respect!
I simply cannot understand how the Lebanese army can be so weak

He said, but didn’t really bother thinking of why and how the army could be so weak so I’ll attempt to think for him just this time:
  • Our army is weak because, for the past 30 years, the army was ordered to be weak. Keep in mind that we had a civil war, the army can’t enter the war… Who wants the national army to go into the war anyway? That’s suicide! At the start of the civil war the soldiers received the order to each join the closest military station which would mean that each would join stations from the same sectarian group. Of course one might say that the army was already weak, if it wasn’t weak then the war wouldn’t have fallen upon us, true. Which takes us to the second point…

  • The Lebanese army was weakened upon international request. When Abd El Nasser was celebrating his Arabic dream he was forcing his Arabizing upon us by smuggling weapons, in accord with the Syrian regime back then, into Lebanon, through the Syrian/Lebanese borders of course (yes some things just never change). Back then the Lebanese army was overwhelmed and asked for the UN’s aid, they sent a commission to investigate, they were witnesses to one raid over a smuggle attempt in the Bekaa, they were smuggling weapons over mules from Syria to Lebanon. The attempt was intercepted and the Lebanese army officials thought this, and other incidents would ensure international support. No! the report concluded that there were no sufficient evidence of an organized smuggling process. They just turned away their looks and allowed others to give weapons to the parties who opposed Abd El Nasser…

  • Yes the Syrians didn’t allow the army to grow any stronger during the post-Ta’ef period… Which is predictable and needs no explanation!

  • Lebanon’s an undeclared confederacy, centralizing the power before reaching genuine secularism in politics would mean that sects would control sections. The Maronite, for instance, would monopolize the military force… As maronite as I am I don’t want to see that happen. In fact the army was only fortified for an ephemeral phase in the Lebanese history: Michel Aoun’s monarchy years! Michel Aoun, unlike what most Lebanese would accept to admit, built the concept of a strong army he was the only one that raised the soldiers’ salary back in the 80s and he was the only one to actually build a strong army. But where did that lead to? Well, it led Aoun taking over the government (in a legal but unwise manor). In the end, as a result we had the famous 2 governments, one being legal and the other viable. Aoun soon lost the resources to sustain his claims, since he was surrounded by enemies that he had created for himself and the rest is history, I just thank god that Hoss was wise enough back then to prevent any further schism by refusing to create another Lebanese army in West Beirut, but no thanks for Aoun! This my friend the Pharaoh shows you how delicate the Lebanese situation is

  • Lebanon has only two bordering countries, with one of them holding a knife under our nose (yes I am talking about Syria). This situation means that the army is in fact crippled in its role to preserve the Lebanese/Syrian borders, cause on one hand our tiny army is very tiny in comparison to the Syrian one, on the other hand any move from the army to put the Syrians at bay would automatically result in a diplomatic crisis=closing the borders=chocking of the transit activity=more bad news for us. Ever wondered for instance why doesn’t San Marino have an army? Or even Monaco?

  • The Lebanese army, in the space of only 3 years had to lose a lot of soldiers (because the forced military service was canceled), stretch to go cover the southern border and deal with internal turmoil starting from the 14th of march challenge, ending with the Downtown Beirut occupation, passing through the January 23rd failed coup d’état (trust me you had to be there to know how delicate and dangerous the situation was!)…. I believe that this is part of the respect bit that you claim to have for us. Respect means that you respect the army that was overwhelmed… Afterall shit happens man!

Now that I have stated the reasons that first popped into my head as I was trying to think for you, let’s move to the next part of our conversation:

Was the Lebanese army as weak as you are actually stating?

Well comparison is required. But allow me to detail your entry:
I remember going to the Lebanese army’s club in Jounia in Lebanon in 2002. My mom and I were only allowed to enter after the security guard at the gate knew that my father was a general in the Egyptian army.
Upon entering the club and checking out the swimming pool, my jaws literally dropped. Lebanese babes in bikinis were sitting around the pool french kissing their soldier boyfriends. I turned to my mom and told her: mom, A huge difference from the Egyptian army right? But do you know why Hezbullah is in the South? Do you know why Syria is occupying this country? Because of how weak this army is.

  1. It’s Jounieh not Jounia, pronounced like Jounié… ok lol let’s get serious.

  2. Now let’s see… What has the jaw-dropping-babes have to do with the fact that our army is weak? I don’t know if you are calling us immoral for wearing bikinis and French-kissing in social gatherings (even military ones) thus weak because we french kiss or are you calling our army undisciplined? Or are you saying that since there’s a war in the south then soldiers shouldn’t French kiss? What the hell are you trying to prove with this? I honestly fear that this is a masked expression of how you have a problem with our modernism and liberated lifestyle (sorry).

People just think of it. 155 Lebanese soldiers lost their lives while fighting 360 Fatah al-Islam terrorists. 155. That’s almost half the size of their foes. And today over 20 militants where killed as they were trying to escape the besieged refugee camp. Of course 2 Lebanese soldiers had to be killed in the gun battle that erupted.

  1. As far as I know it’s 424 terrorists either killed and captured and an unidentified number of terrorists that had fallen in battle. Plus, unlike what all Palestinians say, many other factions actively participated in the battle. Oh and keep in mind that more than 20 soldiers were killed on the first day when the terrorists attacked their post, before the war had even effectively started.

  2. Let me see, you say these casualties were too big, right? In comparison to which other victory in the Arab world?
    Iraqi victory against Iran ? Um no, that was no victory, it looked nothing like the army v/s guerilla war that went on in Lebanon.
    Egyptian victory against the Israelis in Sinai? That isn’t even funny to say the truth. That war was lost my friend… With all respect at least the Lebanese army achieved victory!
    Hezbollah’s victory against Israel? Oh fuck no! that’s a major loss in denial!
    American victory in Iraq? Afghanistan? This is getting ridiculous…. How about you be the smart person and let me know to which mighty victory are you comparing our army’s victory to conclude that we were THAT weak!
    We were not prepared: yes!
    We were taken by surprise: yes!
    But seriously where are you living Big Pharaoh?! If the Lebanese army was so perfect, if Lebanon was all so jolly and happy would’ve 14th of march demonstration been necessary? If we didn’t have problems we wouldn’t have needed to work on solving, am I wrong?
    In fact, usually the greatest military victories are usually are in either resisting conquest or repressing demonstration… I can’t believe that you people are forgetting what it is like that you loved about Lebanon in the first place!

I just can’t believe it. An entire nation’s army besieging a refugee camp cannot solve a problem caused by 360 people!

Why do I get the impression you are talking about the soviet army! A Nation?! Like seriously man! How many soldiers in the Lebanese army is there according to your opinion?
Lebanon’s friend, especially the US and France, must really help the Lebanese army grow some claws if this nation was to cease being abused.

Oh thank you for that wise advice… Friends?

I apologize Big Pharaoh but with all respect your statement was closer to an insult and it was absurd.


xoussef said...

hehe well said :p
though i don't know much about Lebanon's crisis and politics.. in fact i do know nothing, sorry. I usually refrain from getting in topics i don't know, it prevents me from being "remis à ma place" like that. ^^
It's normal to have a national pride, but we tend to have inflated collective egos in ME and NA instead. In the case of Egypt it's without borders, which makes it utterly irritating to me.
For these two reasons i confess being 100% subjective and 120% supporting you ^^.
[/ end of an useless comment].

NOMAD said...

Xoussef, I admire your discernement ;

well I want to add some geographical precisions : San Marino and Monaco sizes are the same as NY central park ; their dedication are toutism, gambling, bank, richissim jet-setters from world-wide living in somptuous flats with private guards ;

to compare Lebanon with an EU country, I thought first of Luxemburg, but too small (yes);
the state which is equivalent in superficie is Kossovo ! and, sadly, we can see the same caracteristiques : ethnical and religious antagonisms, international involvment...

so with friends like France and the US, that makes no difference with the Kossovo where we are equally involved, the only difference is that they are, for part of them, from slave origin (Serbs) and therefore the Russians felt the obligation to participate to peace-making !

dunno if the laters thought having the same ties with Lebanon (yest internet providers though), I didn't check all the nationalities being there as HZB targets

Jeha said...

It may be not only the army has been undermined. It seems that DNA testing has taken less time that it should have.

This was pointed out by Ghassan, who posted his comment at Beirut to Beltway. From your previous posts, I have a feeling you may have a good idea of the technicalities.

Severian said...

I agree. Apparently all the respect he feels Lebanon is due is...none.

I guess I agree that Lebanon's army seems weak but to somehow assign that to a personality defect of the Lebanese people is actually quite insulting not to mention ignorant. And to suggest the solution is to rely on more outside interference is idiocy. Outside interference is the major cause of problems in the Middle East. You think any help Lebanese Christians get from France or the USA doesn't come with a price?

I'm fed up with the problems in Lebanon. They just don't deserve it. I was talking with Bedouin recently and he agrees my idea for a solution is radical and humorous in its mild insanity, so I guess it is worth posting.

I propose that all Lebanese Christians band together and form their own nation. Let the Muslims do as they wish in the rest of the nation. Am I being inconsiderate of Arab cultural bonds? Perhaps, but from what I've seen, Lebanese Christians and Muslims already live in separate though interacting worlds. Why continue to force oil and water to try to live together?

Perhaps the most difficult question is- where? In the north? That would be easiest I guess. But perhaps south, becoming a new neighbor to Israel, would be a better long term solution for the entire region.

Okay, I'm not serious but I am currently frustrated enough (about a problem that isn't mine, of course) to suggest crazy ideas.

NOMAD said...

You think any help Lebanese Christians get from France or the USA doesn't come with a price?

which price ?

I think that the lebanese diaspora among France, and US is asking for our intervention.

I agree that's no use for you, and less for us, but seems that Sarko wants to show that he is an American partner for the whole ME mess

shlemazl said...

We are all great military leaders... when watching battles from a safe distance.

Severian said...

schlemazl, that is more true than you intended it to be. When is the last time in history a high ranking general died on the combat field? I think you'd have to go back to the 1800's for any notable examples. Who is really fighting the wars of today's world?

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