Documents

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published in MER240

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Siege Notes

by Rasha Salti
published in MER240

Rasha Salti moved back to Beirut from New York on July 11, 2006, the day before Hizballah’s cross-border raid and Israel’s month-long war on Lebanon. We publish here excerpts from several entries in a diary she kept during the war. Her “Siege Notes” can be read in full at www.electroniclebanon.net.

International Law at the Vanishing Point

by Richard Falk , Aslı Bâli
published in MER241

In the summer of 2006, two border incidents were invoked by Israel, with strong US diplomatic support and material assistance, to justify a prolonged military offensive in Gaza and a crushing “shock and awe” assault on Lebanon. The main international response, effectively orchestrated by Washington, was built around the bland assertion that Israel has the “right to defend itself.”

The Lebanese Impasse

by Fawwaz Traboulsi , Elias Khoury
published in MER242

On November 11, 2006, the six Shi‘i ministers in the Lebanese government, affiliates of Hizballah and the Amal movement, left the cabinet in protest of their colleagues’ rejection of their demand for a government of “national unity.” Such a government would give the Shi‘i parties and their Christian ally, the Free Patriotic Movement of Gen. Michel Aoun, greater representation in the cabinet. The majority in the cabinet argued that Lebanese had elected their government, in the May–June 2005 parliamentary contests that came on the heels of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri and the departure of Syrian troops from Lebanon.

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Deconstructing Hizballah and Its Suburb

by Mona Harb
published in MER242

During the Israeli war against Hizballah in the summer of 2006, the innocuous Arabic word dahiya, meaning simply “suburb,” achieved an unprecedented notoriety. For several days, Israeli warplanes pounded one particular dahiya, the southern suburb of Beirut, whose neighborhood of Harat Hurayk contains Hizballah’s “security quarter” (al-murabba‘ al-amni). Various media presented Harat Hurayk as a fortress, a place whose destruction was justified because it sheltered terrorists who threatened the security of Israel. About 265 residential buildings, housing more than 3,000 housing units and 1,600 stores and workshops, were razed to the ground or heavily damaged.

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Signs of a New Arab Cold War

The 2006 Lebanon War and the Sunni-Shi`i Divide

by Morten Valbjorn , Andre Bank
published in MER242

During and after the 34 days of intense fighting between Hizballah and Israel in July and August 2006, observers advanced competing interpretations of the varied reactions in the Middle East. One popular narrative pointed to an emerging Sunni-Shi‘i divide in what one might label a “post-Arab” Middle East. According to Vali Nasr, author of the much discussed volume The Shia Revival, the Lebanon war marked a spillover of sectarian tensions manifest in Iraq, confirming his prophecy that cleavages within Islam will define the region’s major conflicts in the future.

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