War Math!

Amidst the current chaos in Lebanon, an interesting episode occurs and brings back to mind some of the things that are at stake in this entire tragedy – a foiled prison break involving the four security officers imprisoned on suspicion of involvement in orchestrating the Hariri assassination. While we have no reason to believe the speculations in the report that the entire episode was orchestrated by Syrian intelligence, but, it does indeed stand to reason to believe that Syria would have been at least the preliminary destination of these figures. Their failure must have saved the Syrian regime some undesired attention at this stage. Still, we cannot but wonder as to the sort of other clandestine activities that are currently taken place in Lebanon, benefiting from the current state of affairs. War crimes come in different guises.

On a related note, and as reminder of the kind of mayhem that the continuing erosion of central authority in the country can produce, we have a report here that highlights the relevance of complicated social and sectarian cleavages in this matter. It speaks of growing poor Shia encroachments onto plush Sunni suburbs and of the growing fears of the chadorization of the local mores, or, of a clash of mores. In other words, this is a story of the Shia and the poor coming home to roost.

Indeed, should the current offensive last longer and conditions continue to deteriorate, there are enough contradictions lingering and growing within the Lebanese society to plunge it into another round of civil mayhem. Perhaps, there are those in the region who are betting on this, for the more bright the Lebanese implosion is the more relevant and central their role would be.

Indeed, War has its own rather hard and disquieting calculations. In this, dissidents like me are easily outgunned, out-sleazed, and all but completely out-done. As we sink deeper and deeper into the quagmire of war and mayhem, liberal dissidents simultaneously take an even deeper plunge into irrelevance. Hell, we are bound to become objects of disdain and hatred. We have always been preaching against the national and the social mores, so how could we not be fifth columnists and agents of the Zionists and the West?

But this developments does not come as a compelte surprise for me. I have always suspected that the best that we can achieve at this stage is to simply survive, though I had dared wish and work for more just in case my cynicism was not as amply justified as I thought. Anyway, the odds are just too high for inaction. So, and while surviving, we also have to keep an eye on the future. Indeed, some vision and some planning will go along way in this regard, for very few actors on the scene tend to have any vision at all, or any real long-term plans. We, the dissidents, the democrats, the heretics of our modern day and age, should strive to fill that void.


9 thoughts on “War Math!

  1. Ammar:Interesting post and good to bring out the hidden dangers of war and social problems that may linger on for years afterwards.Solomon2: nice try. Allying with Israel is not something that the typical Syrian democrat or dissident would contemplate. The reason is simple and has nothing to do with enmity or distrust. we (and I don’t pretend to speak for a definitive or identifiable group) find ourselves allying with like-minded people by default rather than design. Generally, these are people who are committed to democracy, secularism and social justice regardless of location, colour or creed. We have a lot of work to do in Syria and many Syrian hearts and minds to win over. Alliance of Syrian dissidents with the “enemy” State of Israel, with all its institutions, history, policies and strategic plans is like a marriage of convenience between a mouse and an elephant. It is both absurd and irrelevant, not mention scary for both parties! Ghadry and Chalabi spring to mind.Thank goodness for cyberspace. like-minded Israelis, Syrians, Lebanese, Jordanians, Palestinians and Egyptians can all talk and test ideas and beliefs out in the open without fear or inhibition. They will be talking to each other as indviduals and the more people talk the more promising it is for the spread of democracy, secularism and social justice in the region. It’s a long march. One day, both Syria and Israel will find themselves embracing each other by default rather than design, but that cannot happen until they have put the Palestinian baby safely to sleep! A somewhat facetious answer, I know, but nevertheless sincere.

  2. It is not often that calculations made under conditions of war can lead to rational decisions. War Math is an oxymoron similar to the venerable Military Intelligence.Oh how I long for the day when war would be an idearelegated to history books. The book Singularity Now promises that as of 2040 we might be able to live forever. I wonder whether I can make it in order to experience a world without wars and without war materiale.

  3. @solomon2This could’ve been a very smart solution if Hezbollah were really a “terrorist group implanted by Iran do destabilize the region and kill innocent Israeli civilians”But in fact, the wide support that hezb has among lebaneses, makes it lean more to be: “national resistance forces, who are smart, strong, very effective in comparison with the Lebanese army and they were never part of the civil-war”.So trying to disarm Hezbollah the military way is enough to take the country back to the 80’s.

  4. I certainly cannot speak for the syrian people, but there’s a technical detail that one should not forget: Israel occupies the Golan hights and has annexed it in 1981 and has no plans to return it any time soon. You draw your conclusions…

  5. AnonymousNo one is forgetting the fact that the Golan was lost in battle to the Israelis. Whether the Israeli government has formally annexed it or not is not relevant to the conflict and does not change the balance of power.Ultimately, a diplomatic solution will be agreed when it suits both Israelis and Syrians. Never say never. At present, we have a job to do in putting our own house in order.

  6. Ammar, Great post, it is so hard these days to be swimming agaisnt the current in Syria…the regime had managed to rally all people to an external enemy and divert all the attention from the disgusting domestic situation of oppression and extreme corruption. It is a very bad situation and I don’t know how it will end.Very interesting arguments philip, I am starting to be curious about your academic background!PEACE and all liberals have my total support…

  7. Indeed, Philip, before we can reach out to outside, before we can effectively address the Golan issue, we do have to put our house in order. The Assads have had 30-odd years to effectively address this issue, and have failed to do it. It is time for their failure, which took place on many other fronts as well, to be addressed.

  8. Philip I: Thank you for the best answer I’ve read yet.shady zayet: it’s easy to enjoy popular support from those who you hold a gun on and threaten to shoot if they do not please you. Let’s hope Israel uses up enough of Hezbollahs armed assets to (1) let people make up their own minds, and (2) get the people to reconsider their support in the first place.

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