The Lebanese Army In The South At LastAfter years of waiting, thousands of southern Lebanese went out to the streets of their towns and villages to welcome their national army with traditional dancing, flowers and the Arab welcome gesture of throwing rice. It has been a moment that most the people have been waiting for decades.
The army reached Thursday the barbed wire on the Lebanon-Israel border and the deployment of the 15,000 troops was to continue for days. The troops are to be backed by thousands of U.N. peacekeepers in the next few weeks.
Four days after the cease fire went into force, life was going back to normal in Beirut with people going out during the day and rubble was being removed from heavily damaged areas so that reconstruction can begin.
Still when I drive around the capital at night all the memories of the 1975-90 war come back to me especially because the roads at night are almost empty and dark due to electricity cuts. But now that fuel tankers have entered ports, hopefully electricity will come back 24 hours a day, the airport will be active like before and businesses will reopen as usually.
Life will get better day after day.
In politics, now that the 34-day war ended, it seems that the problems are beginning to rise in Lebanon and Israel. Hezbollah as well as Israel's politicians and army chief of staff are being criticized.
Anti-Syrian politicians Walid Jumblatt and Saad Hariri criticized Hezbollah saying that only a strong state should be responsible for the protection of its people. Jumblatt asked where is the state if Hassan Nasrallah behaves the way he wants.
Hezbollah's reaction came through Al-Manar television that started its main news broadcast by saying, without naming any politician, "some are settling accounts with the resistance." It also said that what is going on "is a coup against the victory."
In Israel, the popularity of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz is dropping and Chief of Staff Dan Halutz is being widely criticized for selling stocks shortly before the war started in July.
As days pass we will see more and more leaders being criticized on both sides especially when they both say they won war. Those who did not win this war for sure are the people who lost their lives, peace be upon souls.
By Bassem Mroue
Beirut, August 18, 2006