Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Status quo ante bellum: A Possibility In Lebanon?

A ceasefire has finally taken place.

Regardless, Hezbollah and the IDF still fired against one another in ‘lighter’ skirmishes post the 0500 GMT deadline yesterday. In fact Sunday night and early Monday morning saw the most intense fighting between both sides as they sought to inflict more damage before the ceasefire was to take effect.

The ‘official’ end of the war brought detrimental economic, civilian and infrastructural damage to both sides. According to the Lebanese government, 1,071 Lebanese have been killed (mostly civilians). On the other hand, the news agencies estimate conservatively that 900 Lebanese have been killed and place an upper aggressive estimate of 1,150. The Israeli side witnessed the death of 114 IDF soldiers and 43 civilians.

Even worse, according to the UNHCR and the Lebanese government, 700,000 – 900,000 Lebanese have been displaced. Human Rights Watch estimates 500,000 Israelis have been displaced as well. The actual 34 days of fighting cost Lebanon a conservative estimate of $2.5 billion in losses and $1.1 billion was incurred by the state of Israel.

However, the costs are just beginning to kick in. Lebanon’s foreign real estate investments as well as the income continuously derived from tourism have plummeted. Moreover, the ‘expected’ income from these two sources for the following years has also plummeted.

The results of the conflict:

1) The passing of UN resolution 1701 which called for a peacekeeping force stationed in southern Lebanon (15,000 Lebanese army personnel and 15,000 UN troops).

2) Israel did not accomplish its goal of ‘eliminating’ Hezbollah. In fact, in many respects Hezbollah has gained more credibility as a viable political and military power in Lebanon.

3) Contrary to the previous point, it is still unclear what will become of Hezbollah’s position within Lebanon’s borders. They have angered many Shia businessmen who had poured millions of dollars in investments around the country.

4) The Lebanese population (to an extent) remains split with regards to their position on Hezbollah. The poor echelons of society see Hezbollah as their liberator and savior whereas on the contrary the richer niches of society see peace with Israel and the absence of violence more beneficial to their well being (regardless of their sectarian affiliation – even Shia).

5) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been greatly criticized in the Knesset by both the Labor and Likud parties for various reasons. Firstly, he initiated a conflict which Israel did not finish and was not able to complete in a timely manner and instead wasted the lives of the civilians and of the IDF. Secondly, he was criticized for not being tougher with Hezbollah thus achieving the government’s goal of incapacitating the group and halting all future threat to Israel.

6) Hezbollah has gained further support from Syria and Iran who rejoiced after Hezbollah’s resistance against Israeli forces and their ability to inflict substantial damage on Israeli soil. Both countries considered the battle a victory for Hezbollah

7) The war was overall a complete waste with lives lost, economies tarnished and no peace agreement signed. However, it did send very powerful messages which have rippled across the Arab world and as far West as the United States. Ahmadinejad and Assad embodied such a message in their post-bellum speeches,

“[Israel] is in front of an historic crossroads — either it [Israel] moves toward peace and gives back rights or faces constant instability until a generation comes and puts an end to the issue”

Hezbollah is much more powerful than Israel previously anticipated and as I mentioned in my previous post, the crux of its foundation relies on an ‘idea’ and a ‘concept’ of resistance which will continue to prevail.

8) The apathy and acquiescence of neighboring Arab governments cannot continue. The conflict proved that one can certainly not rely on the West and especially the United States to find a solution to the overall Palestinian-Israeli conflict as well as the general hatred towards the state of Israel. Leaders of the Arab world must take a more proactive and pragmatic approach to the situation and most importantly need to decide which side they belong to; in this case among Israel, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, Syria and Iran – quite a decision to be made.

The status quo ante bellum in Lebanon? Not for a while.

Lebanon has much work to do to reach its position prior to July 12th. More important than the mere status quo is the assurance that security will be maintained. While Hezbollah’s future remains somewhat esoteric at this point, the current situation within Lebanon’s borders is floating on a sponge which is willing to absorb a multiplicity of changes such as the:

• Empowerment of Hezbollah politically
• Weakening of Hezbollah politically
• Reintroduction of Syria in Lebanese politics
• Repulsion of Syria from Lebanese politics
• Shifting of relations among the sectarian lines within Lebanon


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always wonder how many people would not live at all if not for the following

Some of the more notable Jewish contributions to the medical and biological sciences in the modern era are listed below. (The names of non-Jewish scientists mentioned in the accompanying discussion have been denoted with the superscript "+" in order to avoid confusion.)

The invention of local anesthesia by Carl Koller and the discovery of Novocaine by Alfred Einhorn.
The discovery that pancreatic dysfunction is the cause of diabetes by Oskar Minkowski (together with Joseph von Mering+) and the subsequent discovery that this dysfunction involves a deficiency in the hormonal secretions of the islets of Langerhans by Moses Barron. The work of the Canadian team that isolated insulin (Banting+, Best+, Collip+, and Macleod+) was based on these two prior discoveries.
The introduction of the side-chain theory of antibody formation by Paul Ehrlich, which has evolved into clonal selection theory, the central paradigm of modern immunology. Ehrlich shared the 1908 Nobel Prize with Élie Metchnikoff* for their independent contributions to immunology. Ehrlich is also considered to be the founder of modern chemotherapeutic medicine.
The discovery of the ABO and other human blood groups and of the Rh factor by Karl Landsteiner, Alexander Wiener, and Philip Levine. Landsteiner received the 1930 Nobel Prize for this work; he is also considered to be one of the giants of immunology, having made major contributions to the understanding of the chemical basis of antigen-antibody interaction.
The isolation and development of penicillin by Sir Ernst Chain. Chain shared the 1945 Nobel Prize for this work with Sir Alexander Fleming+ and Sir Howard Florey+. It was Chain who recognized the potential of Fleming's+ nearly forgotten discovery of the antibacterial properties of Penicillium molds (one of many agents then known to have such properties). Chain, a biochemist, was able to isolate the active antibacterial substance, viz., penicillin, and to work out its molecular structure. Using samples that Chain produced, Chain and Florey+ demonstrated penicillin's stability, nontoxicity, and effectiveness against staphylococcal, streptococcal, and clostridial infections in laboratory animals and humans.
The development of streptomycin by Selman Waksman. Waksman received the 1952 Nobel Prize for this work, which created the first antibiotic (a term that he introduced) effective against tuberculosis, for which it remains a therapeutic mainstay.
The isolation of cortisone by Tadeus Reichstein. Reichstein shared the 1950 Nobel Prize with Philip Hench+ and Edward Kendall+. Kendall+ and Reichstein independently isolated and characterized the hormones of the adrenal cortex, and Hench+ demonstrated the therapeutic value of cortisone in treating rheumatoid arthritis.
The chemical synthesis of cortisone for large-scale production was achieved independently by the chemists Carl Djerassi and Percy Julian+.
The invention of acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) by Charles Gerhardt. Aspirin is an artificially modified form of salicylic acid, a naturally occurring substance whose analgesic properties have been known since antiquity. Salicylic acid is, however, very poorly tolerated by the digestive system, which greatly limits its medicinal value. The original proposal to reduce its toxicity through acetylation, and the first synthesis of acetylsalicylic acid was the work of Charles Frédéric Gerhardt. Although Gerhardt's 1853 synthesis apparently failed to yield acetylsalicylic acid of sufficient purity to be medicinally useful, the basic idea behind aspirin was his. The first successful synthesis of pure acetylsalicylic acid was achieved in 1897 by Felix Hoffmann+, working at F. Bayer & Co. in Germany. Recently developed evidence indicates, however, that credit for this development should have gone equally, or even predominantly, to Hoffmann's+supervisor, Arthur Eichengrun.8
The discovery of prostaglandins by M. W. Goldblatt. (Also discovered independently by Ulf von Euler+.) Sir John Vane* was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1982 for demonstrating that the anti-inflammatory and analgesic action of aspirin-like drugs was via their inhibition of prostaglandin production. Vane* also discovered the vasodilator prostacyclin, which led directly to the development of the ACE inhibitors widely used in the treatment of hypertension, heart failure, and other vascular diseases.
The discovery of neurotransmitters by Otto Loewi. Loewi shared the 1936 Nobel Prize with Sir Henry Dale+ for their independent work on acetylcholine. Sir Bernard Katz and Julius Axelrod shared the 1970 Nobel Prize for advanced work on neurotransmitters. Their work led directly to the development of the class of anti-depressants that includes Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil. Axelrod was also the co-developer, with Bernard Brodie, of the pain reliever Tylenol.
The discovery of endorphins and enkephalins by Solomon Snyder and Hans Kosterlitz, respectively.
The development of Warfarin (Coumadin) anticoagulant therapy by Shepard Shapiro. Warfarin is the most commonly used anticoagulant for the prevention of heart attacks and strokes. It is also one of the most widely prescribed medications in the world. It was discovered in 1946 by Karl Paul Link+, who developed it as a rat poison. Its identification and development for use in human anticoagulant therapy resulted from the work of Shapiro in the early 1950s. Previously, in the early 1940s, Shapiro had pioneered the clinical use of the anti-clotting agent methylene dicoumarin (dicoumarol), which was also discovered by Link+.
The development of oral contraceptives by Gregory Pincus, Carl Djerassi, and Frank Colton.
The development of the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines by Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin, respectively.
The development of the Hepatitis-B vaccine by Baruch Blumberg and Irving Millman. Blumberg received the 1976 Nobel Prize, in part for this work.
The co-discovery of interferon by Alick Isaacs (and Jean Lindenmann+). The large-scale production of recombinant interferon for medical use (a market currently in excess of $7 billion annually) is based largely on the work of Charles Weissmann and Sidney Pestka.
The invention of cancer chemotherapy by Louis Goodman, Alfred Gilman, and Sidney Farber. In the early 1940s, Goodman and Gilman discovered the effectiveness of nitrogen mustard in the treatment of lymphatic malignancies. In the late 1940s, Farber produced the first chemically induced remissions from leukemia using the folic acid inhibitors aminopterin and methotrexate. Eventually nitrogen mustard and methotrexate, used in combination with other anti-cancer agents, would lead to cures for many previously fatal lymphomas and leukemias, respectively.
The co-development of 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP) by Gertrude Elion, which used in combination with methotrexate and other drugs, has led to cures for most forms of childhood leukemia. Elion was also the co-developer of azathioprine (Imuran), the immunosuppressant that made organ transplants possible between individuals other than identical twins, and of acyclovir (Zovirax) for the treatment of herpes viral infections. Elion and George Hitchings+ received the 1988 Nobel Prize for their joint work.
The discovery and development of cisplatin by Barnett Rosenberg, which has led to a complete reversal in the prognosis for testicular cancer, a malignancy that had almost always been fatal and is now nearly 95% curable. The chemotherapeutic protocols for the use of cisplatin in the treatment and cure of testicular cancer were developed by Lawrence Einhorn.
The development of AZT and of protease inhibitors used in the treatment of AIDS by Jerome Horwitz and Irving Sigal, respectively.
The discovery of retroviruses by David Baltimore and Howard Temin. Baltimore and Temin shared the 1975 Nobel Prize for their independent discovery of these viruses, which are implicated in AIDS and in some cancers.
The co-discovery of oncogenes by Harold Varmus and the elucidation of their role in human cancer by Robert Weinberg, Michael Wigler, Bert Vogelstein, Arnold Levine, and others. Varmus shared the 1989 Nobel Prize with Michael Bishop+ for this work.
The co-development of monoclonal antibodies by César Milstein. Milstein shared the 1984 Nobel Prize with Georges Köhler+ for this work.
The elucidation of the biochemistry of cellular metabolism by Otto Warburg*, Otto Meyerhof, Gustav Embden, Jacob Parnas, Sir Hans Krebs, Fritz Lipmann, Herman Kalckar, Carl Neuberg, Gerty Cori, Konrad Bloch, and others. This includes much of the basic work on glycolysis (Embden-Meyerhof-Parnas pathway), the urea cycle, the citric acid cycle (Krebs cycle), the pentose phosphate pathway, and oxidative phosphorylation and the role of ATP, as well as significant contributions to the characterization of glycogen and fatty acid metabolism. Warburg*, Meyerhof, Krebs, Lipmann, Cori, and Bloch all received Nobel Prizes.
The invention of radioisotopic tracer techniques by George de Hevesy, Friedrich Paneth, Rudolf Schoenheimer, David Rittenberg, Martin Kamen, William Hassid, and Samuel Ruben. Hevesy and Paneth introduced the general technique, for which Hevesy won the 1943 Nobel Prize in chemistry; Kamen and Ruben discovered the long-lived carbon-14 radioisotope, which has had widespread application in biology (and is also the basis of radiocarbon dating). Melvin Calvin employed carbon-14 to elucidate the so-called dark reactions of photosynthesis, for which he was awarded the 1961 Nobel Prize in chemistry. (Other Nobel Prize winners who made important contributions to the understanding of photosynthesis include Richard Willstätter, Otto Warburg*, and James Franck.)
The invention of radioimmunoassay by Rosalyn Yalow and Solomon Berson, which has revolutionized clinical and research practice in such fields as endocrinology and blood banking. The technique, which can be made exquisitely sensitive to trace amounts (nano- and pico-molar concentrations) of specific blood substances, is employed in measuring the levels of most hormones, screening donated blood for hepatitis-B virus, and in allergy and drug level testing. Yalow received the Nobel Prize in 1977 for this work. (Berson died in 1972.)
The introduction of x-ray crystallographic methods for biomolecular structure determination by John Bernal*. Important applications and advances have included the work of Sir Max Perutz on the structure of hemoglobin, for which he was awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in chemistry, and that of Rosalind Franklin on the structure of DNA. Franklin's x-ray diffraction studies of DNA and the DNA base pairing ratios discovered by Erwin Chargaff were key components of the experimental basis for the Watson+-Crick+ double-helix model.
The breaking of the genetic code by Marshall Nirenberg. Nirenberg and Har Gobind Khorana+ shared the 1968 Nobel Prize for their independent determinations of the code.
The co-invention of gene splicing by Stanley N. Cohen. Cohen and Herbert Boyer's+ invention opened up the new field of genetic engineering. Cohen is a recipient of both the US National Medal of Science and the US National Medal of Technology. Other major contributors to genetic engineering include Paul Berg, Walter Gilbert, and Daniel Nathans, all of whom received Nobel Prizes for their work.
The discovery of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) by I. I. Rabi. Rabi received the 1944 Nobel Prize in physics for the demonstration of NMR in molecular beams. Felix Bloch shared the 1952 Nobel Prize in physics with Edward Purcell+ for their independent inventions of condensed matter NMR spectroscopy, which is important in biomolecular structure studies, as well as being the basis of the MRI diagnostic imaging technique.9
The invention of the sonogram by Robert Rines.
The invention of the flexible endoscope by Basil Hirschowitz, which has revolutionized surgery by greatly reducing the complexity and invasiveness of many surgical procedures. (This work, undertaken in the mid-1950s, led to the production of the first glass-clad optical fibers, which later revolutionized modern telecommunications.)
The co-invention of LASIK eye surgery by Samuel Blum (together with Rangaswamy Srinivasan+ and James Wynne+).
The invention of phacoemulsification cataract surgery by Charles Kelman, which is the technique most widely used for cataract removal worldwide (more than one hundred million such operations have been performed). It has revolutionized the procedure by completely eliminating the need for hospitalization, which had previously averaged one week. Intraocular lens implantation, a regular adjunct to this surgery, was also pioneered by Kelman.
The invention of the cardiac defibrillator, external pacemaker, and cardiac monitor by Paul Zoll. Zoll (and, independently, Wilson Greatbatch+ ) later invented the implantable cardiac pacemaker. Michel Mirowski and Morton Mower were two of the four inventors of the automatic, implantable cardiac defibrillator.
The invention of the Heimlich Maneuver by Henry Heimlich.
The co-invention of the basic technique used worldwide for the controlled chlorination of drinking water supplies by Abel Wolman. Wolman and Linn Enslow's+ invention resulted in a dramatic reduction in the incidence of such waterborne diseases as cholera, dysentery, and typhoid fever; as such, it was arguably the single most important contribution to public health in the twentieth century. Wolman received both the Lasker Award for Public Service in 1960 and the US National Medal of Science in 1974. The Abel Wolman Municipal Building, one of the largest buildings in Baltimore, MD (where he taught at Johns Hopkins), was named in his honor.
1. Manasseh ben Israel, The Hope of Israel (London, 1652), reprinted in Manasseh ben Israel's Mission to Oliver Cromwell, edited by Lucien Wolf (London, 1901, pp. 50-51).
2. Winston Churchill, History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Vol. 1 (Cassell, London, 1956).
3. Frank Heynick, Jews and Medicine: An Epic Saga (KTAV, Hoboken, NJ, 2002).
4. Ibid., p. 123.
5. Ibid., pp. 124,130-131.
6. Ibid., p. 13.
7. For statistics on Vienna, see Vienna and the Jews, 1867-1938: A Cultural History, by Steven Beller (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1989, pp. 36-37); on Berlin, see Germany Without Jews, by Bernt Engelmann (Bantam, New York, 1984, pp. 59-60).
8. See http://www.rsc.org/pdf/pressoffice/1999/annconf99press3.pdf and http://www.findarticles.com/cf_dls/m0999/7276_321/69057212/p5/article.jhtml?term=.
9. The image reconstruction algorithm employed in all tomographic imaging is based on the Radon transform, which was invented by the Austrian mathematician Johann Radon+ in 1917. In his paper, Radon+ states that his result is based on the prior work of Hermann Minkowski and Paul Funk. Minkowski was the younger brother of the above-mentioned physiologist Oskar Minkowski. Paul Funk was a Czech mathematician who survived internment in the Nazi concentration camp at Terezín (Theresienstadt). Gábor Frank obtained German and Hungarian patents for x-ray tomographic scanning in 1938. Unlike Funk, he did not return from the camps.

* Metchnikoff had a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father; Bernal, Vane, and Warburg had Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers.
+ Non-Jewish.

1:15 AM  
Blogger D.B. Shobrawy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:12 PM  
Blogger D.B. Shobrawy said...

swinging by to support a fellow egyptian/chicagoan blogger.

P.S. Anoynomous sure has alot to say huh? Comments that long should be saved and compiled a book availible for purchase.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Bec said...

Intriguing, well-reasoned post, Egyptian Observer. I thought that #8 was especially thought provoking.

In a news article today on the Lebanon Army arriving in South Lebanon, one villager said it all. He greeted the soldiers with total delight and said, "I've been waiting for you guys for 40 years!"
Maybe there will be some positive results in some small ways yet undetermined. I'll hope so.

10:20 PM  
Anonymous zingtrial said...

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3:21 PM  
Blogger zalame said...

A very insightful analysis, I enjoyed reading it. Thanks.

7:03 PM  

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