Juan Cole, being the perennial "expert" on everything, decided to once again stake a foothold in Lebanese affairs. The result, as always, is that his foot found its way deep down his mouth. So once again, we're treated to a spectacle of disingenuousness, inaccuracies, wild assumptions, insinuations, anti-Bush hysterics, apologetics, dogmatic ideological nonsense, and flat out stupidity. There's of course Cole's psychological complexes that come into play, where he needs to hold on to discredited theories that he himself put forward a year ago to maintain his sense of infallibility.
Juan wastes no time. The dishonesty hits you directly in the first paragraph: "The protests therefore are probably not mostly purely about religion." Get that? Probably, not mostly purely. OK folks? Just in case you were wondering. Certainly, not probably, Juan is most purely full of mostly pure hot air. Anybody with a brain and access to what the protesters themselves have been saying knows full well that this has nothing to do with "anti-imperialism," as Juanito put it. That's just his ideological bias, and the useless orthodoxy of Middle East Studies in America.
Then Cole pukes out some nonsense about Lebanon, most of which I won't bother with (like the dramatic nonsense about how the desperate attempts by the clerics were "drowned out by gunfire from the Lebanese security forces." Juan Ricardo reporting on the ground. Beirut, Lebanon). It was hilarious how dogmatic spasms find their way into anything this poseur writes. So of course, somehow he had to tie the riots with George Bush and the Iraq war! What is the other central dogma of these types? The Palestinian cause. So, true to form, Juanito throws this gem at us: "In reaction to the on-going dispossession of the Palestinians in Lebanon, and to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, a few Sunni Lebanese and Palestinians have joined radical jihadi currents."
Mmmmm, yeeees. Why the hell not!? You see folks, the reason why there are Jihadis among Sunnis in Lebanon is because of the dispossession of the Palestinians and the ocucpation of Iraq! But this is normal from a man who firmly believes, and has said repeatedly (and he cites himself on this issue!) that the lone Lebanese hijacker on 9/11, Ziad Jarrah, became a Jihadi because he "held a deep grudge" against Sharon for the 1982 invasion, which "traumatized" him, and consequently (yes, the plot is rather thick), pushed him to "hate the US so much" as to try to fly a plane into a US building. And Cole knows this through direct necromancy. I'm baffled that anyone on this planet takes this joker seriously.
Cole also necessarily has to dabble with Lebanese demographics to show how much of an expert he is. So he spits out baseless numbers left and right. Numbers, I might add, that contradict earlier numbers he himself put out one time when he decided that he was a Lebanon expert for the day. You see, one time in March of last year, the Shiites according to Q-Juan-tum Mathematics, "may now be 40%," or, in another formulation, "may be as much as 40 percent." On another day in that fine month of March, 2005, Cole decided that the Shiites were "probably over 40 percent." I mean, why the hell not!? But apparently, within the span of one year, the Shiite population of Lebanon, diligently tracked by the paramount demographer Cole, miraculously increased by 5-10%!
The miracle doesn't end there. This is Juanderland, after all. With the miraculous increase in Shiite numbers, the Sunnis, according to Cole's well-documented statistics, also increased by 5% in a matter of 11 months! Back in March 2005, apparently the month when Juan was deeply mastering all things Lebanese, he concluded that the Sunnis were "probably" (mot du jour) 15% of the population. Today, after updating his statistics, he "informs" us, always with the ubiquitous "probably," that the Sunnis are 20%! Oh Juander of Juanders!
Then come the apologetics for the Syrian thugocracy, because, you see, it's a "secular Arab nationalist" regime. Of course, it doesn't hurt if by making such dishonest insinuations, he attempts to confirm his earlier theories as truths! We are informed that the Hariri assassin (there was only one guy, you see), in reference to Abu Adas, was from this group of Jihadis, who only became Jihadis because of the dispossession of the Palestinians and the Iraq war! Why would someone from that group kill Hariri, Juan doesn't inform us. We'd have to check his earlier crackpot theory. Of course, the Mehlis report and the whole trajectory of the investigation has completely dismissed the notion of Abu Adas being the mastermind of anything. So Cole disingenuously throws the "he may have been working for someone else." Priceless! I mean, the guy is one of a kind!
But then it gets even better and more explicit. Here's where the "probably" disappears from the lexicon, and the whole arsenal of certainty -- the "Informed" in Informed Comment -- steps in. Cole dismisses as "cynical" Washington (it's all about Washington after all) and anti-Syrian Western propaganda, any accusation that the Syrian regime was involved in the riots and the torching of the embassies in Damascus. He chastizes these cynical Western bastards for playing "power politics with the incident." "There is no proof," he screams (unlike, for instance, his airtight statistics, forensics, and necromancy). And to completely put us in our place, he pulls out his own counter-proof: it all just "seems unlikely." That's right son. For real real. Tell it like it is: "It seems to me more likely that Muslim radicals took advantage of the protest to incite a mob than that the Syrian Baath deliberately unleashed arsons on the Danes." How you like me now?
To hell with what Syrian dissidents themselves are saying. It's that goddamned Muslim Brotherhood fo' shizzle.
And so on and so forth. Another dazzling post by our "expert" on everything. Here's my advice to Juanito: Stick to what you pretend to know.