01 January 2010

* 2010 will witness the most destructive wars in modern history

2010 will witness the most destructive wars in modern history

2010 will determine the fate of Iran and Lebanon for many years

2010 will observe a bitter end of Hezbollah and the destruction of Syria´s missile and chemical programs

Middle East journalist and analyst, Hamid Ghoriafi, wrote this analysis in Arabic especially for the Lebanese Canadian Coordinating Council (LCCC http://www.10452lccc.com)

Translated by LCCC Chairman, Elias Bejjani

Middle East analysts predict that the year 2010 could make the past nine years look laughable considering the kinds and ferocity of tragedies that might hit the region that has been a violent battlefield for four crushing wars.

The first two are the Taliban regime of Afghanistan and that of Baathist Saddam Hussein in Iraq which were toppled by force in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks by Osama bin Laden's Al Qaida group that targeted New York´s twin towers and the Pentagon in Washington.  

As a result of this deadly attack, Lebanon's political and military map was changed in the aftermath of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war. By the end of this devastating war, an Israeli security belt was established inside the entire southern Lebanese territory as far as 20 miles to the south of the Litani area.

In 2000 Israel withdrew its troops from a previous security belt in southern Lebanon, to a distance not exceeding four kilometers. This new wide Israeli belt on her borders inside Lebanon is maintained by a force from 34 countries under the UN flag, and not by her own troops as was the situation before 2000.

Meanwhile, Lebanon, Syria and Iran were forced to approve the redeployment of the Lebanese army in the entire southern region, including the Lebanese –Israeli borders after it was driven away by the Syrian occupation all through its 30-year occupation of Lebanon.

At the same time, the Syrian occupation of Lebanon was knocked out in a successful political war in 2005 in which the Lebanese "David" defeated the Syrian "Juliet" and the Syrian army was forced to withdraw from Lebanon with accordance with UN Resolution 1559 after 30 years of brutal and savage occupation of the country.

Still in the Middle East, last year the creeping Iranian military invasion has viciously reached Saudi Arabia´s southern borders with Yemen, where a fierce war is waging,  probably in its last stages, in which the Iranians and their Yemeni Al-Howthy proxy are heading to a significant defeat.

In 2010, weapons of mass destruction that were developed after the unprecedented Iraq war, will probably determine the fate of at least two Middle East countries and that of a mini-state: Iran and its nuclear program, Lebanon and Hezbollah, and the Gaza Palestinian Strip mini-state. It is expected that events will unfold in a dramatic way that could be much more catastrophic and destructive than all the previous wars that hit the region throughout the past 50 years. Analysts assume that these coming wars will remove all obstacles that US President Barack Obama is presently facing in his endeavor to solve the Arab - Israeli conflict which has been raging for the last 61 years. In the midst of all these dramatic foreseen events, Syria and Lebanon will have no other option but to the sign a peace treaty in compliance with Israel's terms.

After containing the major Middle East conflicts, it is expected that the mighty Western countries will seriously focus their military interventions to resolve and end conflicts in three fragile countries, Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia, in a bid to put an end to the problems that these three unstable countries are inflicting on their neighboring countries and on global peace and order.

Meanwhile, Syria and Lebanon might encounter a serious internal crisis as a result of the indictments and arrest warrants the Special International Tribunal for Lebanon is scheduled to issue. Hezbollah is expected to use its weapons internally to deter the Lebanese government from extraditing the witnesses and the accused that could include its elite leadership. This Iranian armed militia will replicate its May, 2008 military invasion of Sunni western Beirut and the Druze Mount Lebanon that was waged to stop by force and terrorism the Lebanese government from dismantling its illegal telecommunication network and to transfer the head of security at Beirut airport who happens to be a Hezbollah loyalist.

Lebanon and Hezbollah

Israeli experts at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Universities strongly believe that the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad regime in Tehran could pre-empt any international military attack against its nuclear program and start a war against Israel from south Lebanon through Hezbollah and several Palestinian armed militias allied with Syria that are stationed in Lebanon.

These experts say that such an Iranian act will give Israel´s Netanyahu government the needed justifications to go ahead and wage an unprecedented destructive war against both Hezbollah and Lebanon and totally cripple their capabilities for many years to come.

These same experts predict that Israel will need from five to six weeks to totally liquidate and eliminate Hezbollah's leadership, including Hassan Nasrallah, his deputy, Naim Qassem, all the military and political teams working with them, and to dismantle the Lebanese army structure and all its security apparatus that is still following the Syrian doctrine that Syria enforced during 30 years of her tutelage of Lebanon. The Israeli forces will target the Lebanese army leadership, weapons' caches, barracks, facilities, and members throughout Lebanon.


Despite the fact that the Syrian Baathist regime has been avoiding during the last three decades any direct military confrontation or even friction with the Israeli army, the Israeli analysts  are under the impression that their country will widen its hit on Syrian targets to include sites in the capital Damascus and in the northern Syrian regions up to the Turkish border in a bid to once and forever eliminate Syria's chemical and missile programs in addition to the nuclear sites that were built with North Korean and Iranian experts. Syria would be hit more massively if it turns out to the Israelis that Hezbollah's long-range missiles that could target Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities were Syrian-made (an argument Israel's generals have been contemplating for a while).

Experts estimate the number of Israeli casualties as a result of the Iranian and Syrian missiles that Hezbollah would launch on Israeli cities and towns in this coming war between 1,000 and 2,000, with a twofold number of injured. Meanwhile, the Hezbollah and Lebanese losses will be four to five times greater than their casualties of the 2006 war. These losses will be around 8,000 dead and twice as many wounded. Many Shiite border villages as well towns and cities in the Bekaa valley and Beirut's southern suburbs will be totally destroyed and cease to exist.

Experts estimate the number of the Lebanese that would be displaced from their homes, mainly from south Lebanon, the Bekaa valley and southern Beirut suburbs would be more than a million citizens, with most of them taking refuge in Syria at this time. The same scenario indicates that the Lebanese economic infrastructure will be destroyed and transformed into mere ruins, while all international and Arabic efforts through the convening of aid conferences (e.g. Paris 2 and Paris 3 were special international economic conferences held in Paris to aid Lebanon in reconstruction) in order to raise funds for reconstruction will take for many years to be productive.

British defense officials have affirmed that this grim, intimidating and scary picture predicted by the Israeli experts for the coming year seems to be very close to the actual devastating reality that will hit Lebanon in the next war. The Israelis,  as they are advocating worldwide, are solidly determined to close the Hezbollah case once and or all, due to the fact that wish to eliminate the possibility of any future wars and finally achieve security on their northern border.


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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.