J. and A. -– both business students at American universities in Beirut—are disappointed by the ceasefire deal. J says, “I didn’t want it to end this way.” He thinks the UN Security Council Resolution is too generous towards Israel, whose atrocities in Lebanon go unmentioned in the text, while laying blame for the outbreak of the hostilities on Hezbollah. I asked him if he finds fault with Nasrallah for accepting the deal. He replied, “Hezbollah often make decisions which don’t make sense to us at the time. We will soon find out what the benefits are.” J. trusts that they know what they are doing.
Most people agree that Hezbollah accepted a ceasefire with unfavorable terms, because it fears internal unrest. “They never wanted war anyway. They wanted to negotiate from the beginning”, another friend says. I am taken aback by the general consensus that we will see a civil conflict within the next few months. Maybe not the way Bush envisioned it—a successful uprising of Sunnis and Christians against the Hezbollah, as soon as the Israeli bombs started targeting civilian infrastructure. Jamal predict we will see an upsurge in car bombings again soon, as Israel and her allies in Lebanon attempt to assassinate Hezbollah leaders and sow fear and divisions amongst the Lebanese.
Driving around Beirut yesterday, I noticed that many more cabs and shop windows now display portraits of Nasrallah; even in Sunni neighborhoods where posters of the late Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and his goateed offspring formerly held a visual monopoly.
As early as yesterday morning, some cars blasted victory tunes from their stereos. But the atmosphere in Hamra was tense; everyone I spoke to was pessimistic that the fighting was over. After Nasrallah’s speech, many people were visibly relieved and confident that both sides were committed to the ceasefire. Last night teenagers drove through Beirut in their cars, hanging out the windows, honking the horn, and flying the flags of Hezbollah and Amal, and portraits of Nasrallah.
A statement from the office of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora says Morocco, Indonesia, Italy, Turkey, Spain and Malaysia and France have agreed to send troops to patrol the south. I hope they open restaurants while they’re here. Bint Jbeil could be the ethnic cuisine capital of the Middle East! The Lebanese Armenians made it clear that they do not want the Turkish army in Lebanon. Someone remarked sarcastically that the Indonesians and Malaysians are eager to come fight Israel. We’ll see if this international force materializes. In the meantime, Anaconda’s conditions that there will be no return to the “status quo ante” in regards to Hezbollah, won’t be met. They will keep their weapons for now. Eventually they could integrate into the Lebanese Army as a special unit, a Golani brigade of sorts.
Unless the Lebanese Army splits and another Israeli/US proxy army emerges.
There were reports that the Americans requested a list of the names of Lebanese army officers who will serve in the south. They will not accept the participation of Syrian-trained officers, nor anyone suspected of “loyalty” to Hezbollah. Apparently they already vetoed some names. No Hassan’s, no Hussein’s, no Ali’s.
In the meantime, some Lebanese boys are sorry to be missing out on this: