The unrest in Lebanon and its link to the invasion of Syria
I’ll begin the entry by reiterating, that the current unrest in Lebanon predates the war in Syria. This is important, as the news of another explosion in South Beirut is linked to the demonstrations and the subsequent invasion of Syria. The nightly gun fighting in Tripoli began in 2006 and if it did coincide with events in Syria, it was with the removal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. It also coincided with the short brutal war between the Israelis and Hisb’allah that was given the usual, half-baked coverage by the media here.
I just read a Reuter report on the internet, which spoke of former Lebanese president Hariri and the trial of the four men accused of killing him; nine years ago. Syria was said, by the British media, to have a hand in the assassination but denied it. There were conflicting reports but the incident led to the withdrawal of the Syrian troops from Lebanon. I always suspected this would lead to an attack on Syria by Britain but as we know it did not happen like that. Still, in my view, it gave Britain an excuse for a follow-up exercise to Iraq and a perfect opportunity to punish state socialism and defiant regimes.
I fail to see why President Assad was foolish enough to sanction an assassination destined to be so detrimental to his country. I spent time in Syria just as the withdrawal of troops was happening, the move was probably welcomed by many internally, as the homing of so many Iraqi refugees proved expensive. By the time of my second visit in 2006, the effect on the Syrian economy was really manifesting, as the cost of living rose, a factor that, no doubt, contributed to the waves of demonstrations that ensued in 2011.
Profiteering from misery?
If the displacement of Iraqi people was detrimental to the Syrian economy, I suspect the converse is true in Lebanon. Migration from Syria to the Lebanon might well be profitable, as foreign money is pouring into that country: all in the name of humanity of course. Needless to say that the break up of a small country like Syria, with a huge population, is welcome to a whole array of foreign powers.
The English response to conflict and tyranny
In 2005 people in Britain were completely ignorant of Syrian politics, culture etc, how that has changed! It seems to me that as soon as there is chance to put a couple of pence in a box for a victim or even better talk of an evil dictator; Britain springs to life. It is a shame that people here never hold their rulers to account or at least question their role in the many conflicts that arise in the world.
When British people do react to the ills of their government, our efforts are so neutral, as most people have only bare knowledge of the country in question. It is always the same pattern; a half belief in the media coverage and a strong feeling that peace, or an alternative reality, is the solution. This reality inevitably involves forcing western value systems on the country in question, which might be construed as neo-colonialism.
These values are more often than not driven by a middle class that has been created to exacerbate western values (chicken and egg or what?): and to dilute any real diversion from the dominant ideology of monopoly capitalism.
Gaols; who needs them?
My last comment on recent news coverage is about gaols and who needs them. The last but one entry on this site compared the Dara and the London protests and described how so many people ended up in prison here, for ”political” crimes. So why not in Syria or Iraq?, where political dissent, more often than not, entails plots to physically overthrow the regime by force.
It might serve as a reminder to Britain to mention the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the coincidental release of ”political” prisoners with a kidnapping trend. Who is to say what constitutes a political crime but for a country, that is about to introduce hundred year sentences for ”serious” offenders, a policy, that will no doubt exclude corporate manslaughter and serious fraud; it is a bit rich to even comment on the systems in other countries.
And please do not say ”but that is different” because such a statement really epitomises neo-colonialism, racism and stems from a sense of superiority.
This leads nicely onto the mandatory system of colonial rule that occurred in the aftermath of the first world war when the Ottoman empire was finally brought to its knees; leaving plenty of opportunity for the continuation of western colonialism.