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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 August 2006, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
Mideast bloggers fear for the future
By Steve Metcalf
BBC Monitoring

Iranians work at an internet cafe in Tehran
The Middle East conflict has given rise to intense blogging
Bloggers in Israel and Lebanon have breathed a sigh of relief as the ceasefire takes effect - but it is a relief that is tempered with apprehension about the future.

David Lisbona from Haifa writes that while he has been able to go out jogging with his dog for the first time in a month, he is uncertain how far life will return to its earlier normality.

Many people in Haifa, he says, feel "a lot less secure" than they did before.

A contributor to Israelity says that she has yet to meet "even one blogger or friend" who is happy about the results of the war or the terms of the ceasefire.

A similar view is expressed by Dave Bender in Jerusalem . He is one of several bloggers who has picked up on a newspaper article that spoke of a nation "whose heart has been broken" by its failure.

Jameel at The Muqata , in a post after returning from a funeral, praises the bravery of Israel's soldiers.

But, he says, the war has been lost because of "petty politicians and stock-portfolio generals".

Lebanon tension

There is a sense of frustration and gloom among Lebanese blogging in English.

A post on From Beirut to the Beltway comments on the televised address by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah earlier this week.

"We are back where we started," it says, but with an "emboldened" Hezbollah playing on "sectarian sensitivities".

Raja of The Lebanese Bloggers addresses Nasrallah in a post headlined "ENOUGH!"

"You do not lead Lebanon. You cannot ever lead Lebanon," he says, with a number of other bloggers expressing similar sentiments.

The author of Anecdotes from a Banana Republic describes a tense atmosphere during a drive around Beirut.

She also worries about the "general consensus" that there will be a civil war within months.

Syria and Iran

Syrian President Assad's speech this week also attracts comment.

Mustafa at Beirut Spring is bemused by the speech, concluding that despite the "hardline" rhetoric, it was really meant to pave the way for holding talks with Israel.

The end of hostilities also coincided with the news that President Ahmadinejad of Iran had started his own weblog.

Israeli bloggers, such as Yael K, quickly spotted this and began circulating warnings that the site contained a virus, but later declared the site clean.

The pioneer of Persian blogging, Hossein Derakhshan, was initially sceptical about the presidential blog but later decided that it was a cause for celebration.

"We've made the Western phenomena of weblog so Iranian that even Ahamdinejad, the most radical anti-Western politician, has endorsed it," he wrote.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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