Op-Ed by Brett Redmayne-Titley
In a matter of mere hours, a new election will take place. Unlike seemingly all other national elections worldwide, this election will bring real “hope” to a needlessly impoverished country. This election will see real “change” come to a country far too long restricted and controlled by external foreign powers. For this is an election that is steeped in real democracy; not the US-inspired definition – the one based solely on the archaic shards of what little is left of a desperate empire struggling to hold onto its waning influence. This election will showcase, finally and thankfully, a return to the true definition.
This Sunday, May 6, 2018, is the most important election in the world!
Proving the point, why is this election is being swept under the rug of worldwide US media control? Here, unlike the remaining hapless world, there is a very bright future awaiting for all … an example for an anguished world begging to finally be set free. It will be this democracy, correctly re-defined and judiciously administered, that will, on this coming day, succeed for all.
World! Welcome to Lebanon.
Once Upon a Time: Democracy.
When accurately considering supposed worldwide “democratic” elections, they are routinely a facade and mean little. Once US foreign policy is done, these nation’s elections provide nothing for the people who have no other choice for effecting change other than their single useless vote. For the voter who favours a return to true popular nationalism, in every post-election cycle-unless the result is acceptable to Washington – US hegemony, falsely branded as “democracy,” is designed to quickly negate the result of the multi-months long showcase of a promised electoral process. In reality, elections have not brought true populist hope and change to any country; except for the aristocracy and the power hungry. Instead, further degradation of their internal political processes, elimination off constitutional civil liberties, imposed economic austerity, and civil wars of division are the usual US inspired democratic result. US policy calls for only the election of political leaders who care not for their countries or countrymen and who will sell their souls – and their allegiance – in favour of a goody bag full of promised US rewards.
This Sunday, May 6, at the voting booths across the streets of Lebanon this malignant form of hegemonic democracy will be smashed to bits before the world’s eyes. An example to all of what could, and what should, be.
Here in Beirut, Lebanon, this election will go on as planned. It results, regardless of the outcome, guaranteed. There will be no interference from the Western troika: the US/UK/ EU. This election will provide a new future, new politicians, national unity and – more importantly – the certification that this fledgling nation will, come the following Monday morning, march forward together with very much to look forward to. In doing so, Lebanon, virtually insignificant in 2000, will soon become a guiding light to a world so desperate for a true return to, “the will of the people.”
Bringing true democracy to the people of Lebanon has already been a decades-long and bloody battle. Surprisingly to most, it has been Hizbullah that has led Lebanon on this path from the beginning. As discussed in a previous article, Hizbullah’s very strong Shia influence, personified by spiritual and political supreme leader, Hassan Nasrallah, provides a very direct, sincere and all-inclusionary path for political development: One that also has a very strong moral and ethical requirement.
This influence in no small measure has lead Lebanon to this Sunday’s election.
Hizbullah was born of a need for a defense against invasion by foreign armies, political or otherwise, its roots steeped in the social uprising of the Lebanese Shi’a community in the late 1960s and early ’70s. Divisive Lebanese politics and a 15-year (1975-1990) civil war war spawned by the Israelis, who pitted the Christian militias and the Syrians against the Muslim Lebanese, created, as intended, a fractured country fighting each other in the streets for more than a decade.
Hizbullah formalized a new Lebanese parliamentary structure after bringing the civil war to a close and since democracy has slowly and very methodically flourished. The current Lebanese parliamentary structure is a result of the negotiations that ended the Civil War. A unique feature of the Lebanese parliament is the principle of “confessional distribution.” Prior, during elections held between 1932 and 1972, seats were apportioned between Christians and Muslims in a 6:5 ratio. By the 1960s, Muslims had become openly resistant to this system. Postwar, The Taif Agreement of 1989, which effectively ended the civil war, reapportioned the Parliament to provide for equal representation of Christians and Muslims, with each electing 64 of the 128 deputies. With this, each religious community- Shia, Sunni, Alawite, Christain, Druze and Hizbullah- campaigns for the parliamentary seats.
Lebanon is unusual in that its cabinet of three ministers is by law the country’s executive authority, effectively more powerful than the president, prime minister or parliament, which is the body that elects the cabinet to begin with. This means that a coalition of party seats can bring in a Cabinet of their choosing. It is here that the political power of Hizbullah has been clearly shown.
Hizbullah’s political growth has as much to do with its successes in Lebanese society as with its military victories of defence. Beyond an improved military, the fundamental change has been in the area of access to public social services, once substantially missing under the pre-2006 Lebanese government. During and after the 1975-90 civil war, the Lebanese central government of that time neglected service provisions for the public. Municipal elections were not held for 35 years, and thus the municipalities’ human, financial and technical capacities deteriorated, rendering them mere skeleton institutions.
Today, Hizbullah runs a range of philanthropic and commercial activities including hospitals, medical centers, schools, orphanages, rehabilitation centers for the handicapped, supermarkets, gas stations, construction companies, a radio station (Nur) and public service television station (Al Manar). Health care is now universal and heavily subsidized, if not free. In endearing itself to the Lebanese public as a whole, Hezbollah has developed a highly organized system of health and social-service organizations. The service system is made up of the Social Unit; the Education Unit; and the Islamic Health Unit, which together make up its network of national service providers.
In a Lebanese parliament that had too often in the past echoed the false western model of democracy in that it ignored the true interests of those that did cast votes in their favor, here in today’s Lebanon it is Hizbullah that has been unwavering in directly representing all Lebanese regardless of religion or former nationality. This upcoming example of worldwide leadership is, of course, anathema to the expanding empire and its increasingly draconian, if not barbaric, proffering of their horrifying bastardization once known as “democracy.”
Defining Modern US Democracy.
This year alone has seen far too many new examples of democracy lost. Keep in mind the many previous US successes at regime change and control using the US form of proffered democratic change: the Brazils, the Venezuelas, the Ukraines, Syrias, Yemens, Egypts, Turkeys, of our world, whose people’s democracies and therefore their futures have already been cast upon the jagged rocks of history. In just a few short months of 2018, one should have noticed the continued, yet similar, the pattern of obvious endemic hegemony.
Start with Honduras, where the populist candidate, Juan Orlando Hernández, was overthrow after his initial presidential electoral victory by a US manipulated run-off election in favor of their candidate, Salvador Nasralla (no relation). So, true democracy be damned, victory for Juan Orlando Hernández and the impoverished people of Honduras was so easily turned into defeat. The final election results: Chaos for the Honduran people; control for the US military.
Of course, the established first world democracies have seen their own attempts at populism ultimately thwarted as well. Take the Catalonian Independence vote: one that was more of a “nice try “ than a binding election. Or Brexit, that is, two years hence, no further along than before the referendum vote was taken and now, as predicted, seems doomed to be blown onto those same jagged rocks by the minions of the empire – the UK Parliament and House of Lords – which are howling and raging against it daily in the UK press despite the outcome of that vote.
In turn, consider the one UK politician who may – although untested – bring true socialist labour back to Britain, but is assailed by the same press just as regularly as being tantamount to the next Joseph Stalin. Like Lebanon, however, Jeremy Corbyn’s true threat is not merely his championing a return to populist socialist reform via British democracy: No, it is because his leadership would likely provide hope and change -and a future – for all of Briton. This is, of course, is not acceptable to the established powers that exist to willfully maintain the status quo of continued austerity, trickle-up economics, US/EU subservience, and national social degradation. Hence, Corbyn’s remaining days on earth may be terminally shortened.
A True Democratic Definition for the World.
With the Israelis keeping the 2006 horrors firmly on the minds of all Lebanese while demanding regime change, it seems safe to say that Hizbullah is not a long shot in gaining a legitimate coalition majority in the May 6 election. If this happens, it will be because of, not a Shi’a majority, but a Lebanese people’s majority made up of all Muslim religious affiliations, as well as Christian, who will likely cross any political party affiliations when they vote. Because of the constitutional voting right of universal suffrage, and Israel’s continued demands for more war, many who vote will indeed have one primary political motivation: self-preservation.
In February 2006, Michel Aoun and Hassan Nasrallah signed a memorandum of understanding that called for a broad range of reforms, such as guaranteeing equal media access for candidates and allowing expatriate voting. However, Hizbullah appears to be playing it cool in the ramp up to the election. Their TV station, Al Manar, is staying focused on foreign, Syrian and Mid-East news with little election coverage. Interestingly, Western media to date also has very little coverage of this very important election, a glaring, if not suspicious, omission.
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The Lebanese parliamentary politicians who are elected this weekend will have a lot on their hands, but also a lot of chips to play with. Being pro-Lebanon is a must to be considered for election, but also the love and demand for peace in a nation too often victimized by wars of incursion. With Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah embracing the Lebanese army, the candidates are free to also embrace both and their defense of Lebanon. With the drums of war beating ever louder from Tel Aviv to Washington, a future for Lebanon starts firmly at its own borders. The Candidates know this well.
Foreign military power will not be overturning this election.
Indeed the military wing is now far more organized and prepared for defense than before the 2006 war, however, Hizbullah’s persona under the direction of their spiritual and political leader, Sheikh Sa’id Hassan Nasrallah has also dramatically changed. There is a moral, disciplined side to the militia that comes from the overlying Shi’a religious doctrine espoused by Nasrallah, one that now accepts all religions, but with a firm grasp on professional, ethical performance of its military duties … when necessary.
Although Hizbullah does not reveal troop strength in numbers it is universally considered to be the largest non-state military in the world and considerably stronger than the Lebanese army. Estimates indicate at least 20,000 professionally trained soldiers and 25,000 civilian militia fighters are maintained, however, this is a very low-ball estimate considering that US military estimates for the Syrian based Hizbullah units are currently 60,000 and that, with western Syria back under Assad’s control, most of these battle-hardened troops will be returning home soon. Whatever Hizbullah’s military may have been before the Syrian war, it is unquestionable that it is currently far better manned, armed, supplied, and trained than ever before.
Beyond the fact that Lebanon’s defense is now the composite of two well trained and armed armies; and that just one needed to stop Israel three times, Lebanon’s position relative to the other Mid-East nations will soon be of interest to this upcoming parliament.
The biggest defensive disadvantage to the two Lebanese armies is that neither, reportedly, has surface-to-air missiles. This is due to the Lebanese government’s weakness in the 2006 peace deal; however, Hizbullah is reportedly beginning manufacture them in secret. Strategically, Lebanon has so far been nothing more than an Israeli “no-fly” zone used for their attacks on Syria. Israeli warplanes are seen routinely in the skies since the Lebanese armies can do nothing about it. Using this past Saturday’s Israeli attacks on Iranian positions in Hama and Aleppo, Syria as an example, IDF strike forces crossed neutral Lebanon airspace and entering from the Mediterranean, and thus arriving unscathed at the Lebanon/Syrian border at high speed; their time to target approximately thirty seconds.
Considering the reported Iranian loss of life applied to Russia’s announcement of selling the vaunted S-300 anti-missile/aircraft system to Syria and Putin’s stern warning to Netanyahu before the Israeli attacks of this weekend, it is more than likely that the soon-to-be No-Fly zone in Syria will be expanded into Lebanese territory. This would add to Lebanese defense and more importantly secure the western flank of Syria by a sovereign independent and neutral nation. Never before has Lebanon had a vital place in world geo-strategic politics. With a new ramp-up to US war in Syria brewing, Lebanon will likely be at center stage of preventing an escalation to war very soon.
Democracy and Money.
“Oil wealth is for all the Lebanese.” – Hassan Nasrallah.
Lebanon has been impoverished compared to many of its Mid-East counterparts primarily because it did not have its own natural resources to harvest. This means that Lebanese suffer daily electrical blackouts and little in the way of infrastructure such as healthcare and education, a gap filled by Hizbullah via Iranian funding. Lacking its own gas or oil Lebanon must import expensive diesel fuel at an annual loss to the economy of some $2.5 billion. Lebanon is one of the world’s most indebted countries with debt to GDP of some 145%. The Syrian war and internal Lebanese political stalemate have frozen its offshore energy exploration until now.
In 2010 the oil and gas geopolitics of the Mediterranean changed profoundly. That was when a Texas oil company, Noble Energy, discovered a huge deposit of natural gas offshore Israel in the Eastern Mediterranean, the so-called Leviathan Field, one of the world’s largest gas field discoveries in over a decade. The same Texas company later confirmed significant gas resources offshore in Cyprus waters near the Israeli Leviathan, called Aphrodite. Israel conducted war games in 2017 off the Cyprus coast in preparation to steal these fields as well.
A UK company, Spectrum, conducted geophysical surveys in the offshore Lebanese section of the Levant Basin in recent years, including 3D seismic, and estimated that the Lebanese waters could hold up to 25 trillion cubic feet of economically recoverable gas. Development of those gas reserves would alter the entire economy of Lebanon. And increase its autonomy from foreign influence, while providing a new massive revenue stream that can be used for improving Lebanese society while decreasing foreign debt and its control.
Contracts for initial exploration and test wells have already been signed with XXXX. In a post-election era, Lebanon’s parliament will have the chance to greatly expand on what Hizbullah’s move to parliamentary nationalism has already accomplished. It is no secret that through Hizbullah’s already significant improvements in education and social services have been funded primarily by Iran, but in a Lebanon that barely two decades ago had almost none of these the benefits will show soon. Political corrupt has seen an iron fist from the example of Hizbullah and its Shia allegiance to Islam that promotes educations and is intolerant of political corruption. This means that when it comes to voting on Lebanon’s future these parliamentarians will keep their voter’s true interests true to their hearts…and no one else’s.
Lebanese Democracy: An Example to the World!
This Sunday, a return to a proper definition of democracy will return for the world to behold, cherish and wonder at its results. Meanwhile, in the land of the exceptional US-style democracy in the form of the 2018 mid-term elections has the voter once again uselessly heading to the polls. By the admission of the two political parties; the US voter this time has a new and simple choice to make: Vote for the democrat…as an anti-Trump statement; vote RNC and be pro-Trump, or as Trump himself defensively opined last week, “Vote Republican or the Democrats will have me impeached.” These are apparently the best selling points that US democracy has to offer voters this time.
These two options, of course, are devoid of any domestic policy specifics whatsoever and also fail to draw attention to the failures of the DNC, the RNC and the two/one party US monocracy that furthers the personal disenfranchisement of the voter from their own political system and their own future. But fly the flag they will as these flag-wrapped voters again fail to realize that their political system is equal to the worldwide definition of democracy they pretend to be the exception of.
It is now time for Americans and world citizens across the globe to understand clearly the true definition of US democracy. This is a fraudulent democratic model that is far more akin the the false tenets of ISIS or modern Zionism.
Just as ISIS sold a failure of conscience by offering its own self-serving bastardization of the Koran in order to justify its expansion and sanctioned horrors; just as Zionism manipulates and distorts the Torah and the Talmud while falsely claiming to speak for all Jews worldwide in order to incorrectly legitimise its expansions and horrors, thus we now must compare the US religion of “democracy.” We have seen all too clearly that US democracy, exposed for what it truly is in our world, similarly misuses what once was a pure ideology; one of a definitive democracy from long ago, now nothing more than a tool – an excuse – to destroy or conquer.
On Monday morning May 7, 2018, this illusion will be forever smashed to pieces, not just on the jagged rocks of history, but far more importantly…a changing of the minds of all the peoples of our world; those yearning to be free.
For true democracy has only one definition; one that may not be re-defined. It grapples for return within our bones, within our souls and our collective human conscience that has for far too long bared witness to the horrors and the “Sorrows of Empire.” In Lebanon, a land that has suffered much at the hands of empire, here there is only one remaining definition, one that is offered, this coming Sunday to the remaining civilized world…Freedom.
And nothing else!
Author’s Note: This article is a continuation in a series direct from Lebanon. The author will be reporting live from the Lebanese election on Sat. May 5 and Sun. May 6, 2018. For more details on this important election and its results please refer back to this publication or visit the author’s archive at www.watchingromeburn.com
About the Author: Brett Redmayne-Titley has published over 150 in-depth articles over the past seven years for news agencies worldwide. Many have been translated. On-scene reporting from important current events has been an emphasis that has led to multi-part exposes on such topics as the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, NATO summit, KXL Pipeline, Porter Ranch Methane blow-out and many more. He can be reached at: live-on-scene((at)) gmx.com. Prior articles can be viewed at his archive: www.watchingromeburn.uk