Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Rice boils

Naharnet reports on Condi's decision to cancel her visit to Lebanon.

"Rice's expected visit Wednesday was canceled only to be replaced by a series of meetings by her assistant for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch and Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams with March 14 leaders.

Monday, 17 December 2007


Its good to see that Lebanon lives up to its traditional image of hospitality. Here refugees fleeing Iraq are given special attention. The AP news agency reports:

Iraqi refugees in Lebanon live in fear of arrest, which could mean a long spell in prison until they agree to go back home to their country.

"I work for little money but at least it is near where I live," said Muhammad, who was an assistant accounting professor back home in Iraq.

"I am worried that if they detain me, then authorities will detain my wife and children," the 34-year-old said, refusing — like many Iraqis here — to give his full name for fear of reprisals from police.

Unlike other Arab countries, Lebanon has adopted a policy of arresting Iraqis who are in the country illegally. Often they are kept jailed beyond their original sentences until they agree to return home. About 77 percent of the roughly 50,000 Iraqis in Lebanon have entered the country illegally, the Danish Refugee Council estimated in a survey Friday.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Who's caved in?

As General Francois al-Hajj was laid to rest France and the US seem to have ordered the ruling M14 coalition to end the deadlock over a new president. It has emerged, however, that the opposition wanted assurances over the formation of a broad cabinet.

We will find out over the next week the extent of the compromise.

I spoke with both the Communist Party leader and a representative of the opposition at the recent world Against war conference in London. Neither seemed enthusiastic about the prospect a resolution soon.