: Of course, Robert Fisk sees Syria’s withdrawl from Lebanon as bad news.

  • Dave

    Hi Jeff;
    What do you mean by “off course”? Is there something you know that we don’t know? Why don’t you please enlighten us.

  • Dale

    How about that bankruptcy law, Jeff?
    Jeff, you there?
    Oh, sorry. As a “proud liberal” it’s more important for you to run with your endless eeyore shtick.
    Sorry for the interruption. I’m sure you’ve got an Instalanche coming your way.

  • J. Peden

    That Fisk is a Moron?

  • Mumblix Grumph

    It would be facsinating to read DinoMedia’s take on all this if it was Kerry or Gore in office.

  • preacher

    It is very interesting to me how so many are taking any little twist in the changing winds of the Middle East to shoot it down. I think how much longer it would have taken this country to throw off the chains of England and have freedom if these folks would have been around then.

  • cagy

    Frist, I know they wanted someone that the Dems could not turn into NEWT but on the other hand they have no respect or fear of Frist

  • Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon???

    Boy, that happened quick, huh? And without being reported anywhere …

    Talk about counting your chickens before they hatch … But I forgot, if we don’t all express insane, groundless optimism on Bush Administration cue then the terrorists have already won, right, Jeff?

  • Whoops, that’s what you get for posting before your morning coffee. What I’d intended to say was that the Syrian withdrawal is effectively meaningless when Hizbollah remains in place, as does the political (and demographic) logic of Syrian dominance in Lebanon—as the Juan Cole post I linked to strongly suggests, backing up Fisk.

  • Kat

    So does the large pro hizzbollah terrorists rally show that more muslims support the terrorists than the moderates?

  • BumperStickerist

    re: Dr. Cole and Fisk
    Could somebody on the Left/ Liberal/ Progressive/ Too Clever by Half (TC*1.5) side of the aisle please point out where either Dr. Cole or Robert Fisk was accurate in their prognostications?
    There are instances of ‘temporary accuracy’ (to paraphrase an example – “The US advance was stopped short of its objective” .. yes, they were refueling) but nothing Cole’s written gives *any* indication that Cole understands the regional politics as they play out in an international setting … despite his having read and written books.
    As for Fisk … he’s Cassandra without the benefit of being right about his predictions.

  • flaime

    There you go again…dissing Eeyore. You need to pick a different mascot for stupid people. Eeyore is just cynical and pessimistic. He isn’t stupid. :P

  • In time, Cole’s perorations will be considered like those of Candidus
    … who? …
    why that famous Loyalist during the American Revolution.
    same rhetoric
    same result

  • richard mcenroe

    President Assad issued a statement today:
    “We’re going on to Beirut! And Israel! And France! And England! And Holland! Yeeeeeeaargh!”

  • -asx-

    Oh, look, it’s the Jarvis style: call people names, refuse to engage their ideas or their points. I don’t see anything here attempting to engage Fisk’s actual argument or concerns. But that’s not relatvent, is it, Jeff? I mean, he has the “wrong opinion,” and can just be refuted ad hominum. No need to actually express any meaningful insights.

  • Ryan

    In short,
    Syria’s long time occupation = good.
    Israeli long time occupation of Palestine & American occupation in Iraq = bad
    Sounds about right for a suck up to the Kymer Rouge.

  • Gunther

    When it comes to commentary about Lebanon, I’ll take the opinions of people who have some background and knowledge about the history of the middle east (i.e people who’ve made this the center of their career or who’ve worked there for years) over someone who feels compelled to mention that he was in the same room as Geneva Overholser and Tina Brown.

  • “I’ll take the opinions of people who have some background and knowledge about the history of the middle east (i.e people who’ve made this the center of their career or who’ve worked there for years)”
    So here’s Tony. He fisks Juan Cole on a regular basis. Lots of examples of Hezbollah intimidating people into showing up at rallies.
    Also notice how the anti-Syria rallies are more mixed gender and Westernized, and the pro-Syria rallies look like nothing but angry young male jihadi types. My guess is alot of them are bussed in from Palestinian refugee camps.

  • Bill

    Even the Israelis are debating among whether to support efforts to end the Syrian presence in Lebanon. (See Zeev Schiff in Haaretz.)
    Fiske lives in West Beirut, as he did when much of the worst violence in that city occurred. Fiske fears that the civil war may resume (as the piece Jeff cited from the March 8, 2005 Independent makes clear). In part, Fiske feared this because he knew that the then-upcoming March 8 pro-Syrian demonstration in Beirut would dwarf the earlier anti-Syrian protest. Fiske also reasonably expected it to be heavily-armed. An incident could have sparked a bloodbath.
    Fiske is not a pro-Syrian apologist. His articles following the Hariri assassination were not friendly to Syria. In his March 9, 2005 story in the Independent about yesterday’s large pro-Syrian demonstration in Beirut, Fiske remarks that in 1987 the Syrians massacred Hezbollah members. (Fiske also reports that he saw evidence that there were Syrians among the demonstrators, although he affirms that the crowd was overwhelmingly Lebanese.)
    However, there is another problem that Fiske recognizes: a majority of Lebanese may support the Syrian presence. (There have also been pro-Syrian demonstrations — presumably largely Sunni — in Tripoli.) Unfortunately, the break-down between opponents and supporters of the Syrians seems to be largely along confessional lines (but not exclusively, hence there are Sunnis on both sides).
    Perhaps everything in Lebanon will work out, but Fiske has reasons for his pessimism.

  • Kat

    Yehudit might just be 100% correct!!{The giant Hezbollah rally that drew nearly half a million purported supporters of Syria’s occupation of Lebanon included non-Lebanese citizens, Syrian workers, students and municipal employees coerced into joining the protest} (former Lebanese Prime Minister Michel Aoun)
    (“Yesterday’s huge protest calling for Syria to stay made it look to the world like a large segment of the Lebanese population actually wants to live under Syrian occupation,” said Aoun, speaking from Paris. “But the protest wasn’t what it appeared to be. It was an elaborately staged affair.” )

  • bill

    Michel Aoun is a Maronite Christian and a long time opponent of Syria. What else would he say? He can hardly admit that hundreds of thousands of Lebanese disagree with him.
    Funny that none of the observers on the scene reported that Palestinians were at the demonstration. Not even the Israeli press is claiming that the crowd contained Palestinians. Also 500,000 is the minimum number at the demonstration. When Haaretz reported that Lebanese security officials put the number at one million, it did not challenge the figure.
    Lebanon has a total population of about 3.5 million. There are at most 400,000 Palestinians in Lebanon, though some social scientists believe that it has been reduced to 200,000 due to immigration to Europe. Hezbollah organized the pro-Syrian rally in under two days. Because of time constraints, the rally had to be largely made up of Hezbollah members and supporters.
    Hezbollah is not a Palestinian organization. There was insufficient time to bring in Palestinians, even if Palestinians had wanted to participate.
    Regarding Yehudit’s remarks about the appearence of the demonstrators: it is hardly surprising that the members of a Shiite party appear in non-Western clothing, particuliarly given the class break-down in Lebanese society. (Perhaps Yehudit means that only those in Western garb should be allowed to express opinions.) Fisk reported that there were families at the demonstration. The NY Times commented that there were many women wearing traditional attire at the Pro-Syrian rally. Of course, if Yehudit is correct that the majority of the Pro-Syrian rally is male, that would suggest that Pro-Syrian sentiment is much higher than the demonstration would otherwise indicate (after all, the traditional Shiite women stayed home.)

  • Kat
  • unknown

    Fisk is just another I-Hate-America American. Hey, Fisk, we hate you too.