Walid's Wanderings

Reflections on life, good-and-evil, family, humanity, and anything else that occurs to me, usually when I travel. Right now I am on a 6-year trip through Lebanon, the homeland I had never really lived in before.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

It's not just me

The whole mood was just not as friendly, to put a kind face on it. Fewer cars in the streets, and the crazy-fast driving is back. On Monday, for the first time in my life, a car, a Lebanese taxi cab no less, stopped to let me use the pedestrian crossway (zebra crossing) before I jumped ahead into traffic to block its path. Wednesday was back to the usual disgruntlement. One newspaper today (Thursday) speculated that a misplaced optimism at Rice's visit had overcome the Lebanese on Monday, but they knew what was what before the Rome conference on Wednesday even started.

The overall mood on the unbroken part of Beirut was probably best exemplified by the soaring demand for air tickets out of Damascus, Amman and Nicosia to anywhere in the world. We'll need to wait a couple of weeks to take a commercial flight after a border run under fire. Or we'll have to wait for the next American evacuation vessel, which will appear on an "unscheduled" basis from now on.

Real people are starting to get it

But as irrational as the politicians who make policy may be, the professionals in their entourages often understand reality quite well. And in the corridors of today’s conference I met several men and women who, on background or off the record (meaning they were afraid of losing their jobs if caught talking too frankly) laid out a picture of the situation in the Middle East right now that was convincing, frightening, and seems to have escaped the notice of Dispatcher Rice altogether.

The bottom line: Hizbullah is winning. That’s the hideous truth about the direction this war is taking, not in spite of the way the Israelis have waged their counterattack, but precisely because of it. As my source Mr. Frankly put it, “Hizbullah is eating their lunch.

That was Newsweek article. Hate to say "I told you so" a week ago.
Courtesy of Tayyar.

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