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Polling Lebanon

Interesting data points offered by a new Zogby poll of Lebanon, via Kevin Drum who I think is slightly misreading things. John Zogby, I think, is a Lebanese Christian of one stripe or the other, but I don't recall which (Maronite and Orthodox opinion seem pretty divided) or know exactly what the relevance of that is. It's interesting that we're basically on the Shiite side of a big Shiite-Sunni split in Iraq, while on the anti-Shiite side of the sectarian divide in Lebanon. What does Ayatollah Sistani think? One-of-these-days-now Prime Minister Jaafari?

March 8, 2005 | Permalink


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i dont know why not ask?

Posted by: media in trouble | Mar 8, 2005 12:45:24 PM

The Zogbys I know are all Roman Catholic.

Posted by: Brian Boru | Mar 8, 2005 12:50:36 PM

The US - Shiite alliance in Iraq was largely a product of circumstances. This could (and probably will?) change. When Syria first went into Lebanon, it was at the invitation of the Christians. And the Shiites of South Lebanon initially welcomed Israel as a stabilizing force when it invaded. Of course things have turned around 180 degrees since then.

Another interesting turnabout: the anti-Syrian demonstrators in Lebanon are the urban, educated, secular elites, somewhat similar to the US student protestors in the 60s. Meanwhile the pro-Syrian side are predominantly rural and religious. Our red staters are championing their blue staters!

Posted by: RC | Mar 8, 2005 1:50:01 PM

What does Ayatollah Sistani think?

Perhaps you could email him and let us know: [email protected]

Or you can write to him via, er, Iran:

Islamic Republic of Iran
NO.294 , opposite to alley21 ,
Dowr Shahr Street,
Qom – Iran

Posted by: Blue Iris | Mar 8, 2005 2:01:27 PM

Our red staters are championing their blue staters!

And visa-versa?

I posted on Drum's thread, and won't repeat here, how I thought the numbers really break down. Suffice it to say that the only group in Lebanon that is against us are the Shiites. The other 4 groups (Maronites, Orthodox, Sunni and Druze) do not seem to be against us.

Posted by: Al | Mar 8, 2005 2:24:19 PM

What does Ayatollah Sistani think?

Sistani probably thinks that he's got duped like a madrassa boy and he's got no choice now but to make Allawi the Prime Minister.

Sorry, Mr. Grand Ayatollah, you're playing with the Devil - you lose.

Posted by: abb1 | Mar 8, 2005 2:26:17 PM

No, not vice versa. Even the French want Syria out of Lebanon.

Posted by: RC | Mar 8, 2005 2:43:18 PM

Even the French want Syria out of Lebanon.

If that's what they want we must do the opposite. But they probably only pretend that they want it.

Posted by: abb1 | Mar 8, 2005 2:55:38 PM

As I posted on the Drum thread, the Shi'ites are the plurality in Lebanon right now. More than that, they have the most disciplined political force in the country and are showing it today with 500,000 in the streets. A comparison would be one of Bush's stage-managed rallies where half a million showed up. They're true believers, to be sure, but the whole thing is very well organized.

Posted by: Elrod | Mar 8, 2005 3:01:07 PM


According to a quick Google search, John Zogby is a Maronite. The Maronites are what is known as an “Eastern Rite Catholic Church.” Their liturgy differs from the Roman Catholic Mass, but they are in full communion with (i.e., a part of) the Catholic Church and acknowledge the Pope as the leader of the church, etc. A Maronite who moved to a town without a Maronite Church could join a Roman Catholic parish. Whatever Zogbys you know may well be Roman Catholics at present, but their roots are likely in the Maronite Catholic Church.

Posted by: John | Mar 8, 2005 3:11:57 PM

he Maronites are what is known as an “Eastern Rite Catholic Church.”

Not exactly, but close. The Maronites follow their own ("Maronite") rite, different from that of other eastern rite catholics. The "Eastern Rite" liturgy is the same as the Orthodox liturgy, with aknowledgement of the Pope thrown in. The Maronites have a separate history from the Orthodox in which they developed their own liturgy.

The "Eastern Rite Catholics" in Lebanon are the Melkites, who are Orthodox Christians that decided to side with the Pope back in the 1700s.

Posted by: Constantine | Mar 8, 2005 3:34:40 PM

Oh, whoops. I see now you wrote "an Eastern Rite Catholic Church," not "the Eastern Rite Catholic Church," which makes my insistence of explaining the distinctions irrelevant. There are lots of different eastern rites. The Maronites are one. I will stop being pedantic now.

Posted by: Constantine | Mar 8, 2005 3:42:21 PM

The Syrian Orthodox are not Orthodox the way the Eastern Orhtodox are, though I believe that there are some Eastern Orthodox Syrian Christians. From an Eastern Orthodox point of view, the Syrian Orthodox are heretics.

The Syrian Orthodox are related to the Malabar Christians of India, and theologically similiar to Copts, Ethiopians, and Armenians (and Unitarians), and were expelled during the Council of Chalcedon. The Nestorian Christians, found in Iraq, also were expelled then.

Some of the old Syrian Christians did cut deals with the Catholics or the Eastern orthodox at various times.

You're welcome.

Posted by: John Emerson | Mar 8, 2005 6:31:32 PM

Tinkerbell in a Tank

That's W.: Blow away the evil tyrant, then sprinkle the magic dust of democracy on the people and they'll live happily ever after.

In employing the strategy of regime change, recall that opening Pandora's Box let loose both good and bad spirits.

For a mature read on the subject, check out Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Marina Ottaway's recent essay: "Iraq: Without Consensus, Democracy Is Not the Answer."

Some excerpts:


Few voted for parties that could be considered in any sense nondenominational...This happens regularly in divided countries where communal identities have become highly politicized, heightening tensions and even undermining the state. The disintegration of Yugoslavia started with successful elections in Slovenia and Croatia that brought to power nationalist parties that rejected the old, multiethnic Yugoslavia in favor of new countries that identified with a specific group. Internationally supervised elections in Bosnia in 1996 confirmed the power of the ultranationalist parties, which have frustrated all efforts to put that country back together as a functioning state ever since.

[N.B. The U.S. still has 5000 troops bogged down in Bosnia, along with another 20,000 NATO troops. ]

The power and destructive potential of communal voting must not be underestimated. It deepens conflict and tears countries apart.....

...from the founding of Iraq by the British in 1920 to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by the U.S. invasion, Iraq�s population groups were simply coerced to stay together...

...the United States will never be willing or able to build up forces capable of keeping all Iraqi population groups together against their will, certainly not now that the country is replete with armed militias of various strengths...

Unless Iraqis succeed in creating a new state on the basis of consensus rather than coercion, there is no point in talking about democracy. And the rebuilding of states deeply split along communal lines is proving an elusive project around the world. Disturbingly, the experience of many states shows that democracy is not always the solution and can become part of the problem.

http:// www.carnegieendowment.org...taway.FINAL.pdf


File under careful what you ask for.

On a political note, the attempt to link events in Lebandon to our invasion of Iraq is simply the latest effort to find a rationale for the whole Iraq fiasco.

Posted by: Armsagettin' | Mar 8, 2005 8:40:56 PM

What does Zogby's religion have to do with poll results? No one brought this up in the past when he has done polls on American attitudes. I just don't know what is the relevance. Are you merely curious? Or are you saying that this somehow skews the results? The Zogby company DOES know how to run polls using regular methodology.

Posted by: Anna in Cairo | Mar 9, 2005 4:24:15 AM

What the heck does a person's religion have to do with anything? This is the state of the left [err, progressivism]: divide people by race, religion, sex, sexual preference and ethnicity. It's pathetic that a post like this qualifies as rational thought.

Posted by: Anonotroll | Mar 9, 2005 10:15:15 AM

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