10 July 2007

Lebanon Hot Summer

Israeli and Arab sources are telling Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) that there is a very strong likelihood that Israel will launch new military operations into southern Lebanon before the end of the summer, and that pressure for such attacks is coming from the circles of Vice President Dick Cheney. According to one source, a new Israeli assault against Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon would be based on the 1982 Israeli invasion plan of then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, and that the attack could include operations launched from the Golan Heights, in an effort to draw Syria into the conflict.
An Israeli source acknowledged that there is strong opposition in some Israeli political circles to such a pre-emptive attack, and that Syria has already been warned that part of the war scheme involves the effort to draw Syria into the war. One U.S. intelligence specialist acknowledged the war danger, but cautioned that Hezbollah has also revised its military plans, in anticipation of such an Israeli action, and that they are prepared to carry out much more damaging asymmetric retaliatory attacks on Israel. In short, any move by the Israeli Defense Forces would generate a larger regional conflict with the potential to spread beyond Israel and Lebanon.
All of the sources who spoke to EIR acknowledged that the biggest driver for the Israeli action is Dick Cheney and the Cheney apparatus in the Bush Administration and the neocon camp in Washington. Such an Israeli hit on Hezbollah is seen by Cheney and company as a vital part of their war plans against Iran, which call for a "carpet bombing" campaign against an estimated 20 military and infrastructure targets inside Iran, before the end of this year, several sources asserted. The only certain way to stop these planned military actions is for Cheney to be forced out of office in the immediate weeks ahead. That, several sources said, would tilt the political balance inside Israel, allowing the anti-war forces to prevail, and greatly weakening Cheney's key ally, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
July 7, 2007 (LPAC)

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Lebanon Time-Line

Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.