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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 5-Apr-2014
5-Apr-14 World View -- Sunni jihadists in Lebanon prepare for war with Hezbollah

Web Log - April, 2014

5-Apr-14 World View -- Sunni jihadists in Lebanon prepare for war with Hezbollah

John Kerry says 'It's reality check time' for Mideast talks

This morning's key headlines from

U.N. registers million'th Syrian refugee in Lebanon

Syrian refugees (UN)
Syrian refugees (UN)

Lebanon, with a population of 5.9 million, is now hosting one million registered refugees from Syria, according to the United Nations. The one millionth refugee was registered on Wednesday, and some 2,500 new refugees are registered every day. In addition, it's thought that hundreds of thousands of additional Syrian refugees have entered the country illegally, and are not registered.

According to the United Nations, 9.5 million Syrians, about half the population, have fled from their homes, and 2.6 million have fled to other countries:

Due to the rapid deterioration of the economy and social structure in Lebanon, especially near the Syrian border, the United Nations is "making a conceptual shift in its focus" from a purely short-term humanitarian effort to a long-term effort to develop and instill "resilience." This means that instead of just providing aid to individual refugees, the U.N. will help develop employment opportunities and improve infrastructure and basic services.

However, a humanitarian analyst opposes the change in focus, because it would dilute resources:

"I think whatís a problem is when you have an emergency setting and humanitarian actors get bogged down in also dealing with development responses.

If you see someone drowning you donít start a project to build a jetty."

BBC and Daily Star (Lebanon)

Sunni jihadists in Lebanon prepare for war with Hezbollah

Prosecutors in Lebanon on Friday charged two militants with being tied to a jihadist group that have targeted military positions several times, including a recent suicide car bomb that killed three soldiers. The militants are charged with being members of the Syrian-based al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra (the Islamic Front). Al-Nusra is one of the rebel groups fighting Syria's Shia/Alewite president Bashar al-Assad, who is systematically targeting Sunni civilians.

This is the latest action by Lebanon's government to fend off a growing threat by al-Nusra to attack Lebanese government and army targets, and particularly Hezbollah, the Shia terrorist group funded by Iran. This was a shift in al-Nusra's strategy last year, after Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah announced that Hezbollah soldiers will be entering Syria to fight alongside the Syrian army to target Sunni civilians and rebels. Al-Nusra is also claiming that the government and army are allied with Hezbollah, and so should be targeted as well.

Since then there's been a string of terrorist gunfights and bombings by al-Nusra terrorists in Lebanon. But new security reports that a large number of al-Nusra militants are taking advantage of the large influx of refugees from Syria to infiltrate Lebanon in the last few days. These fighters have scattered to several refugee camps, while some are residing in secret apartments. Reports indicate that they have already rigged several stolen cars with explosives, which they plan to use on Hezbollah targets. Reuters and Daily Star (Lebanon)

John Kerry says 'It's reality check time' for Mideast talks

It's hard to know what to say about U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. He burst onto the scene in 1971 when he declared to the Senate that U.S. Army soldiers were no better than Nazi stormtroopers, and he's been belittling the army and the United States ever since.

His appointment as Secretary of State was laughable from the beginning, but was possible only because the President believes that war is outmoded, and that he's uniquely able to end war forever, at the same time that he's healing the earth and rolling back the tides, because of his community organizer skills. John Kerry and President Obama have made fools of themselves and the United States with one debacle after another -- in Egypt, in Afghanistan, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Crimea, in Iran. It seems that there is almost no foreign policy issue that hasn't been made worse by some sort of clueless botching by this Administration.

Last July, Kerry used several carrots and sticks to get the Israelis and Palestinians to begin new "peace talks," which I and many other people said were completely pointless. The talks have gone on for nine months, and were considered a joke in the Mideast. Now, on Friday, Kerry said the following:

"Regrettably in the last few days both sides have taken steps that are not helpful.

There are limits to the amount of time and effort that the United States can spend if the parties themselves are unwilling to take constructive steps. So itís reality check time."

He's making himself the victim here. Poor John and Barack went to all this trouble, but nobody ever listens to them. If people only listened, Obama and Kerry could heal the Mideast and the world. So now it's "reality check time."

This Administration lives in a dream world where reality hasn't played much of a part. So it's hard to know what kind of "reality check" plans Kerry will make, but there's no reason to believe that they will reflect any more reality than they have in the past. Bloomberg and NY Daily News

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 5-Apr-14 World View -- Sunni jihadists in Lebanon prepare for war with Hezbollah thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (5-Apr-2014) Permanent Link
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