Tuesday, May 22, 2007
One of Robert Fisk's worst articles
"......And then comes the crackle-crackle of rifle fire and a shoal of bullets drifts out of the camp. A Lebanese army tank fires a shell in return and we feel the faint shock wave from the camp. How many are dead? We don't know. How many are wounded? The Red Cross cannot yet enter to find out. We are back at another of those tragic Lebanese stage shows: the siege of Palestinians.
Only this time, of course, we have Sunni Muslim fighters in the camp, in many cases shooting at Sunni Muslim soldiers who are standing in a Sunni Muslim village. It was a Lebanese colleague who seemed to put his finger on it all. "Syria is showing that Lebanon doesn't have to be Christians versus Muslims or Shia versus Sunnis," he said. "It can be Sunnis versus Sunnis. And the Lebanese army can't storm into Nahr el-Bared. That would be a step far greater than this government can take.".....
And yes, it is difficult not to feel Syria's hands these days. Fouad Siniora's government, surrounded in its little "green zone" in central Beirut, is being drained of power. The army is more and more running Lebanon, ever more tested because it, too, of course, contains Lebanon's Sunnis and Shia and Maronites and Druze. What fractures, what greater strains can be put on this little country as Siniora still pleads for a UN tribunal to try those who murdered ex-prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005?
We read through the list of army dead. Most of the names appear to be Sunni. And we glance up to the fleecy clouds and across the mountain range to where the Syrian border lies scarcely 10 miles away. Not difficult to reach Nahr el-Barad from the frontier. Not difficult to resupply. The geography makes a kind of political sense up here. And just up the road is the Syrian frontier post......"