The Christian crosses of a Beirut cathedral surround a minaret of al Amin mosque in Beirut November 28, 2006. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (LEBANON) - GM1DUAUJGFAA
The survey researchers interviewed Arabs of various religious backgrounds, largely in the Levant and North Africa. Eric Gaillard / Reuters

The US should take note that there is more to the Lebanese political mosaic than Hizbollah



Israel conducted wide-scale military exercises earlier this month, its largest for two decades, simulating an attack by Hizbollah. Nikki Haley, the US permanent representative to the UN, recently wrote that "just as Hizbollah is stepping up its efforts, the United States, and now the United Nations, are stepping up our efforts against them". This comes against the backdrop of tireless lobbying by certain groups in Washington to make Lebanon and Hizbollah synonymous with one another and to hold Lebanon and its people responsible for Hizbollah's unilateral decisions and for its military adventures.

Should the US administration fall for this misrepresentation and support Israeli aggression that targets Lebanon, it would be making a serious mistake that would only serve to endanger the lives of countless innocent people and destroy Lebanon’s political and physical infrastructure. Since an Israeli aggression could not be carried out without support or at least acquiescence from the US, the anger and condemnation that such aggression would generate in the region would be channeled towards it. This would deal a serious blow to American national interests in the region and fuel extremism both in the Middle East and beyond.

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Read more from Opinion on Hizbollah 

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Lebanon is a mosaic of 18 religious sects and a plethora of political parties that compete for public service. These interested groups hold varying, often divergent, political views and aspirations. Their diversity is managed through a delicately-balanced consensual democracy that respects each group’s beliefs and its political outlooks. Except for a period of domestic instability during the previous century, the Lebanese people have lived in harmony for centuries. As such, Lebanon has traditionally represented a prototype of peaceful coexistence and of democratic institutions that Arab intellectuals and political activists considered a role model.

Hizbollah is one of many Lebanese political parties, albeit it is the only political entity that operates an armed militia and conducts military activities inside and outside Lebanon without the approval of either the government or of most Lebanese people. Domestic political efforts to reach a solution in which Hizbollah would disarm or merge its military wing into the Lebanese armed forces have been unsuccessful so far.

Hizbollah has also become a major player in neighbouring Syria, where it fights under Iranian supervision to uphold the regime of Bashar Al Assad. Most Lebanese want Hizbollah disarmed, but disarming it by force is not an option.  Indeed, a political resolution is the only way to rectify the odd situation that Hizbollah represents without disturbing the harmony of the Lebanese mosaic.

To that end, national dialogue to settle the thorny issue of having an armed militia operating inside and outside Lebanon's sovereign territories despite a national accord to the contrary continues unabated. In the meanwhile, Hizbollah's military presence near Lebanon's border with Israel is subject to United Nations Security Council Resolution UNSCR 1701, and it is consequently monitored by the Lebanese army and by UN peacekeeping forces. Said border has been generally quiet for over 10 years.

While it would it be a fool’s errand for the Lebanese government to try to disarm Hizbollah by force, any such attempt by a foreign entity would trigger fissures that could evolve into major regional fault lines and destabilise the region.  Most members of Lebanon’s parliament and its cabinet reject the existence of any armed militias on Lebanese soil and call for disarming it; and they disapprove of Hizbollah’s military involvement in Syria’s civil war.

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More on sectarianism in Opinion

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They have instead called for neutrality and for non-interference in the domestic affairs of other countries, and they are determined to resolve the controversy over Hizbollah's activities domestically, peacefully, and on their own. They continue to call for the strictest adherence to UNSCR 1701, and they persist in working diligently and earnestly to make sure that the Lebanese army and Lebanon's internal security forces are the only armed forces in the country.

America needs more friends in the Arab world, not more animus among large swaths of people in that region. Making Lebanon synonymous with Hizbollah and holding it responsible for the militia’s unilateral actions would lead to the latter.

Adib Farha was an adviser to former Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora while he was Lebanon's finance minister. He is a businessman and political analyst

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ARGYLLE

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, John Cena

Rating: 3/5

Three trading apps to try

Sharad Nair recommends three investment apps for UAE residents:

  • For beginners or people who want to start investing with limited capital, Mr Nair suggests eToro. “The low fees and low minimum balance requirements make the platform more accessible,” he says. “The user interface is straightforward to understand and operate, while its social element may help ease beginners into the idea of investing money by looking to a virtual community.”
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RESULTS

Bantamweight:
Zia Mashwani (PAK) bt Chris Corton (PHI)

Super lightweight:
Flavio Serafin (BRA) bt Mohammad Al Khatib (JOR)

Super lightweight:
Dwight Brooks (USA) bt Alex Nacfur (BRA)

Bantamweight:
Tariq Ismail (CAN) bt Jalal Al Daaja (JOR)

Featherweight:
Abdullatip Magomedov (RUS) bt Sulaiman Al Modhyan (KUW)

Middleweight:
Mohammad Fakhreddine (LEB) bt Christofer Silva (BRA)

Middleweight:
Rustam Chsiev (RUS) bt Tarek Suleiman (SYR)

Welterweight:
Khamzat Chimaev (SWE) bt Mzwandile Hlongwa (RSA)

Lightweight:
Alex Martinez (CAN) bt Anas Siraj Mounir (MAR)

Welterweight:
Jarrah Al Selawi (JOR) bt Abdoul Abdouraguimov (FRA)

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

WHAT IS A BLACK HOLE?

1. Black holes are objects whose gravity is so strong not even light can escape their pull

2. They can be created when massive stars collapse under their own weight

3. Large black holes can also be formed when smaller ones collide and merge

4. The biggest black holes lurk at the centre of many galaxies, including our own

5. Astronomers believe that when the universe was very young, black holes affected how galaxies formed

Switching sides

Mahika Gaur is the latest Dubai-raised athlete to attain top honours with another country.

Velimir Stjepanovic (Serbia, swimming)
Born in Abu Dhabi and raised in Dubai, he finished sixth in the final of the 2012 Olympic Games in London in the 200m butterfly final.

Jonny Macdonald (Scotland, rugby union)
Brought up in Abu Dhabi and represented the region in international rugby. When the Arabian Gulf team was broken up into its constituent nations, he opted to play for Scotland instead, and went to the Hong Kong Sevens.

Sophie Shams (England, rugby union)
The daughter of an English mother and Emirati father, Shams excelled at rugby in Dubai, then after attending university in the UK played for England at sevens.

Top goalscorers in Europe

34 goals - Robert Lewandowski (68 points)

34 - Ciro Immobile (68)

31 - Cristiano Ronaldo (62)

28 - Timo Werner (56)

25 - Lionel Messi (50)

*29 - Erling Haaland (50)

23 - Romelu Lukaku (46)

23 - Jamie Vardy (46)

*NOTE: Haaland's goals for Salzburg count for 1.5 points per goal. Goals for Dortmund count for two points per goal.

SPECS

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The rules of the road keeping cyclists safe

Cyclists must wear a helmet, arm and knee pads

Have a white front-light and a back red-light on their bike

They must place a number plate with reflective light to the back of the bike to alert road-users

Avoid carrying weights that could cause the bike to lose balance

They must cycle on designated lanes and areas and ride safe on pavements to avoid bumping into pedestrians

The bio

Favourite book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favourite travel destination: Maldives and south of France

Favourite pastime: Family and friends, meditation, discovering new cuisines

Favourite Movie: Joker (2019). I didn’t like it while I was watching it but then afterwards I loved it. I loved the psychology behind it.

Favourite Author: My father for sure

Favourite Artist: Damien Hurst

Most F1 world titles

7 — Michael Schumacher (1994, ’95, 2000, ’01 ’02, ’03, ’04)

7 — Lewis Hamilton (2008, ’14,’15, ’17, ’18, ’19, ’20)

5 — Juan Manuel Fangio (1951, ’54, ’55, ’56, ’57)

4 — Alain Prost (1985, ’86, ’89, ’93)

4 — Sebastian Vettel (2010, ’11, ’12, ’13)

'Peninsula'

Stars: Gang Dong-won, Lee Jung-hyun, Lee Ra

Director: ​Yeon Sang-ho

Rating: 2/5

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government