Archive for the ‘politics/finance Today’ Category
How do you understand “Secular States” to mean?
Note: This is an edited version of an article I published in 2009. This essay applies to all States, western, orient, animists, pagans, monotheists, secular, semi-secular, democratic, theocratic and other political systems…
Charles Malek, a philosopher and Lebanon’s representative to the United Nations in its earliest 1946 sessions in San Francisco, proclaimed in the sixties that Lebanon cannot survive as a State, unless all Lebanese convert to Christianity! Lately, the Moslem Sunni fundamentalists proclaimed in 2006 that the State of Lebanon should be governed Caliphate-style. The Moslem Shiaas of Hezbollah want to establish the rule of the “Wilayat al Fakeeh”, an Ayatollah who would lead by holding both the spiritual and political powers.
Fact is, Lebanon political structure is multi-theocratic, though the Constitution, (which has never been applied), never mentioned religion to be the sources for generating laws or running and administrating our civil status.
For example, the Christians during the civil war wanted to establish Christian cantons, exclusively for the right-wing Christian Lebanese, since they over ran the Palestinian Christian camps in their “enclaves” and evacuated the lucky surviving Palestinians from the massacres outside the Christian cantons.
Do Christians in the Levant (Near East States) have ground to be worried? Islam means by “Jihad” the right to proselytize Islam everywhere and all the time. As if the western nations have not been carrying their own brand of “Jihad” since Medieval Age to any place they wanted to colonize.
The Christians in the Levant have grounds to be apprehensive: the Christian sects have refrained from converting Moslems because conservative Islam sects demand as “halal” the shedding of blood for the “blasphemous” re-converted Moslems.
The Moslem Sunni salafists in north Lebanon, twice fought the Lebanese army within two years; hundreds of soldiers died and were handicapped for life. The Qaeda of Osama Bin Laden has the same political objective with a twist; the Qaeda wants to establish the restrictive and ultra conservative Wahhabi sect as the essence of selecting Caliphates. The Wahhabi sect is the one adopted by the obscurantist Saudi Arabia theocratic monarchy.
In 1925, the Sunni Ali Abel Razzak wrote in his book “Islam and origin of governance” that “Islam is innocent of what the conservative Islam understands of the Caliphate. The Caliphate was never in the religious planning, and neither were the religious judges nor any of the civil administrations in the government. The Prophet Muhammad didn’t recognize them or order them or denied them. The political and civil administrative issues were left to the Moslems to decide upon them. Thus, it is proper that we engage our mind and consider the experience of nations, and the rules of politics that are the best around for our Nation.”
In Iran, Ayatollah Borojardy was detained because he wanted to separate States civil politics from religion, thus, resisting the “Fakeeh” concept of government. In Lebanon, the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasr Allah, publicly harangued the Shiaa to considering “Wilayat al Fakeeh” as the official political system of his party.
Knowing that Nasr Allah speaks as a clergy in every religious ceremony, blending religion with politics with resistance to the Zionist Apartheid State, could we ever hope that the politics of Hezbollah are just short-term tactics to uniting the Shiaa against Israel?
The State of Israel would like you to believe that a mythical leader they named Moses had a revelation by a superior being named Yahweh to conquer land by the sword and genocides: Land that was “promised” to the horde of tribes following him. Thus, Israel would like to establish a Jewish theocratic State in Palestine.
It has been categorically proven that the Old Bible was initiated in the second century before Christ in Alexandria, and chapters were added many centuries later, and it was re-edited several times. Hebrew, as most Arabic verbal slangs bordering Syria, was a verbal slang of the Aramaic written language: A written version was created in Alexandria as Jews flocked to Egypt around 300 BC.
If you are nowadays following Lebanon’s politics and the preparations for the election in June 7, you might have the impression that it is the political leaders of the religious sects who are manipulating the sacerdotal castes of our 18 officially recognized religious sects.
Don’t be fooled; ask any Lebanese and he will tell you that he is forced constitutionally to pay his first allegiance to his sect. In fact, the sects were given the legal and official right to administer the civil status of its co-religionists from birth to death and the central government is totally helpless in interfering; even if any serious government wishes to change the political system, it would never want problems to blow in its face…
My question to the western States’ citizens is: Do you believe that the separation of State and religion is implicitly a de facto reality? Do you believe that religious clerics and institutions have desisted from meddling in State affairs? That during voting periods, the religious sacerdotal castes do not impress on the political climate?
Do you believe that there is no religious backlash on religious minorities? Isn’t religion recognized in your constitutions and in the prayers of your national ceremonies? Are not the civil administrative posts implicitly submitted to a quota system?
I am sincerely worried about the practices of those hypocritical Secular States who force its minorities to submit to the various litmus tests, on the ground of applying civil laws and regulations. Personally, my position is that religious doctrines and stories are a bunch of hog wash nonsense of myths and abstract concepts that even “zero IQ quotient ” individuals refuse the premises.
The religious sacerdotal castes would like you to substitute “your belief in a Creator” from watching the cosmos and the mysteries of life, into total faith in their particular ideological constructs and set of values. I feel limited in finding a resolution where check and balance can be erected to cope with the all permeating power of the sacerdotal castes in every States around the world.
Constitutional laws need to be thought out to restrict the implicit power of the thousand tentacles that religions have instituted to infuse their ideologies in schools and civil administration of people’s daily life. One of the best and most efficient methods is to encourage the establishment of opportunities to exercising choices in every aspect in our lives from birth, decentralized schooling systems, marriages, legal divorce alternatives, and burial at each of the legislative, legal, and executive branches.
Only available opportunities for choices, backed by political determination to honor those choices in the workforce, in the daily living, and in society structure, can permit a fighting chance for all those free minded and reflective citizens and families who respect their potential power for deciding what is best for their spiritual development.
The best that “secular” Western States could do was restrict separation of State with religion to public servants, and refrain from explicitly relating religious political pressures in political campaigns. Other than that, religions and particularly the religion of the majority, are definitely the most influential power-brokers, alongside the financial multinationals.
What’s going in Hama (Syria)? Western States selective memories: Stability is NOT synonymous with continuity of political systems!
What’s going in the fourth largest city Hama (700,000 citizens) in Syria? News were too overestimating the number of demonstrators at 500,000 marchers! Nevertheless, it is an indication that Hama is against the Assad regime, stock and lock. Hama is probably the most strategic city in Syria for internal logistics, located smack in the center of Syria.
The French daily Liberation reported from a nurse working in the hospital in Hama: “On July 3rd, the hospital received 35 civilians killed by live ammunitions. The people in Hama are in a state of rage. They used to demonstrate peacefully after closing shops and on Friday. Right now, they refuse to leave their city and let the brutal Syrian security forces enter easily. The citizens are burning tires and setting up barricades.”
Robert Fisk wrote in the British The Independence: “The cycle in Syria is closing on. On February 1982, the regime of Hafez Assad opened fire with tanks on the civilians in Hama for many days and killed over 10,000 at least. This time around, the revolt is not concentrated on Islamists. The people have rekindled the indignities (zul) they suffered three decades ago.” A hundred families have fled Hama, as long as fleeing is not the trend, as in Jisr al Shaghour.
Last month, the Syrian regime decided not to encircle or enter Hama: Hama streets were left to the peaceful insurgents. A couple of days ago, Bashar al Assad decided to send over 100 tanks to surround Hama and its suburbs, and resumed searching every house… Lately, the US ambassador and the French ambassador decided to visit Hama, on the eve of Friday prayers. Are they trying to send the strong message: Syria regime, “No pasaran into Hama”!
Sarkis Naoum, the editorialist in the Lebanese daily al Nahar, wrote: “There is no real survival for the ethnic minorities in the Middle-East, as there is no stability for the brutal majority rules”. (This is a most important topic to be discussed at length)
It is time to comprehend that stability is Not synonymous with continuity, and vice versa. For example, Lebanon political structure has been instituted to be a Non-State for over 70 years, and still going “strong”, but Lebanon barely witnessed any kind of stability for any length of time. Military coups and civil wars are score, if we count the unofficially recognized coup and civil wars.
The dictators and absolute monarchs and their oligarchies were happy noticing the heads of the Western leaders nodding approval that the continuity of their regimes is synonymous to stability of the western interests. The western leaders knew better, but it is so convenient to dealing with dictators “who deliver” on biased non-discussed contracts, by any representative of the people and at the expense of the wealth of a developing country.
Israel is serious about launching its nth preemptive war, early this September for several reasons:
First, Israel knows that war (the only activity that Israel did better than anything else before the 2006 war) is the best diplomatic means to delaying the establishment of a Palestinian State: A war before the UN vote will delay the issue and Israel will gain more time for proving that a Palestinian State is a geo-political non-feasibility…
Second, Israel will try again, using a different military strategy to weakening the military might of Hezbollah. Hezbollah is the most scary enemy to Israel because no system can destroy short and medium-range missiles, landing by the hundreds on cities, towns, airfields, and military infrastructure and production complexes…
Third, Israel will coax Syria to respond and take the initiative to demolishing the regime security forces centers and headquarter of Bashar al Assad. Consequently, facilitating regime change and weakening the strategic links of Iran in that region.
Fourth, Israel is about to get the green light for that preemptive war from the US and Turkey. This triumvirate has reached an agreement that the Moslem Brotherhood parties sharing power in Egypt and Syria is good to business and stability.
Iran wishes that Israel will refrain from coaxing the Syrian regime into a war, simply because any war with Syria will change the name of the game with its strategic ally. Iran wants to agree with the US, China, and Russia that the most plausible alternative in the short-term is a resumption of benign insurgencies, and the Syrian regime not going overboard with its repressions. I believe Israel beg to foolishly differ: Israel military infrastructure and production is the strongest catalyst for engaging in preemptive wars: It is good for business and for the military budget in periods of internal crisis.
Lebanon will endure harsh periods whether Bashar regime succeed or fail. Especially, if a civil war sweeps Syria: Lebanon social structure is so drastically divisive. Would the new Lebanese government take seriously the imminent next preemptive war and vigorously coordinate the defensive strategy among the resistance, the army, and the people?
Frankly, what may delay the preemptive war in early September is a strong stand by Egypt (State and people) and a change of regime in Syria. I believe, this time around, a preemptive war launched by Israel will be catastrophic to this Zionist State, economically, politically, and militarily. Definite political and social changes will get roots in the Middle-East. “An Arab Autumn Revolt” will spread its fire and seeds for freedom and democratic systems.
Note: It is plausible that Israel might advance its D-Day as Syria tanks enter Hama: Thus, fomenting a civil war that was not forthcoming.
Death is not depressing: It is the Wham! The silence afterward
A second ago, you have this lively creature, and then it ceases to move; that must be depressing. It is like a vigorous mosquito, stinging you and harassing you…and wham! You feel relieved, but can’t shake off this feeling of depression at the sight of this inanimate so little thing, which captured all your attention a short while ago, and covered the entire room with its buzzing…
Luckily, we feel depressed on rare occasions (don’t we? Occasions that catalyze our depressive moods are rarer than Fukushima catastrophe!): You are pretty sure the mosquito is dead, but the body cannot be located anywhere. Legally, there is no ground to feeling depressed. It is like the security forces of a violent dictator or absolute monarch: The first fundamental they learn is “First, Dig the Mass Grave”. You don’t want families parading the “martyrs” in open streets and displaying the distorted bodies in open gaskets, and chanting victory or “down with…”.
It is not death that is depressing: It is this sustained calm and silence, before the storm, a calamity about to strike. It is like a brutal dictator watching a lively and peaceful demonstration down his window: He cannot feel depressed at this junction! Suddenly, his security forces disperse the marchers; the streets are emptied, and quietude is re-established. The next day…Wham! A few officers who had been filmed live disfiguring a cadaver, suddenly disappear. Capital mistake: You forgot that the dictator should not be given any reason to feeling depressed. Sort of a strong correlation existing between feeling depressed and feeling guilty.
It is like a close friend is reduced to being paraplegic; his brain is still functioning full speed, and even much better than in his agitated lively state, nothing works. No matter how you prepare your attitude to acting upbeat, it never works, you are a lousy actor when depressed.
It is like you are engaged in a crazy discussion, and somehow you “misplaced” a word, a sentence, and your crazy companion fidget, sit rigid, opened mouthed…No matter how righteous you thought your position was, you feel guilty, you feel depressed. That bastard should have kept blubbering incoherently: That is the main reason for discussion.
Only lively movement can extend the feeling of living and hope in the slithering and volatile future. Society worship youth for a fundamental reason: Youth give the impression that life is resuming its course; we vanquished apathy and indifference. It is like you water a parcel of something you saw a few days ago, and a morning exhibits a green something covering you labor. Keep moving and acting!
Qadhafi mastered the skill of “changing everything frequently, in order to changing nothing”: Keeping the momentary Capital, the institutions, the Constitution, and technocrats were to be kept momentary realities: They are to be frequently transformed, displaced, retrograded, reinstituted…in order not to change anything in the environment of power he feels most comfortable in.
What’s the total wealth of French citizens? In material added-value?
How much France is currently worth, stock and lock, land and citizens, in material added-value throughout the centuries? The French weekly “Le Nouvel Observateur” published an account “Who possess France?” The weekly estimated that France is worth a bit over 12 trillion Euro, about $14 trillion? This is the national debt of the US. Which means, if the US possessed France, it could sell it piece-meal and pay off its entire debt! The US has the expertise of purchasing decrepit a business, repackage it, and resell its asset one chunk at a time.
Indeed, who own France? The French families own 76.5% of the wealth, the non-financial societies 15%, the financial enterprises over 5%, and the State about 3.5%. The French households accumulated Real Estates valued at 6.5 trillion Euro. For example, it is estimated that the average French family is valued to be richer than the German counterpart, but less than the English family. What that mean?
It means that the French State and its communities failed to satisfy the housing requirements for its citizens: Real Estate value doubled in the last decade, while the real added-value of doing business increased only by a third in the same period: The GNP or internal brute production of France lagged far behind Germany and many other leading European States. Germany is the leading exporter of material goods in Europe, far ahead of France.
Thus, while the French families were asleep, their conservative financial strategy doubled in a decade, but the French citizens are nowhere positioned to compete in the world market, except in selling their properties for the wealthiest around the world. In 2010, 62% of French household owned one or more properties.
France is subdivided into 180 million parcels. The average mass agricultural land is about 75 hectares, and about only 5% are over 200 hectares. A political decision kept the price of agricultural lands low: Around 4,000 Euro per hectare, compared to 15,000 in Germany and 20,000 in England.
The French State is so indebted and needs a lot of liquidity that it has been selling most of what it possesses: highways, historical locations, sky resorts, publicly owned enterprises such as generating electicity… Most of these properties are supposedly purchased by local communities: As if the State is unable to maintain the properties, the communities could do the job!
Real Estates put on the market by the State, with value over 2 million Euro, are purchased by foreign investors 55% of the time. It is estimated that the French State owns 10 billion Euro in Real Estates, land and building.
The French communities are actually in charge of over 43,000 historical monuments representing 40% of the total. Private owners are in charge of maintaining 5,000 out of the 6,500 best Castles such as Cheverny, Chenonceaux, Usse, Villandry, Clos-Luce…
The billionnaires around the world are vying for the sunny locations on the Mediterranean Sea. The billionnaires try their best to infringe on the rights of the public for free movement, especially on the public beaches, by setting nets with the lame excuse of protecting the beach from meduses or even setting security zones around their yachts and properties… The communities are watching and preventing these astute prespasses on public rights, guaranteed by law.
A Real Estate in France valued at over 4 million, one out of two owners are foreigners. Real Estates valued at over 30 million are purchased by Saudis, Qataris, Chinese, and Russians. The most beautiful Real Estates in the Cote d’Azur have a turnover rate every 7 years. In the Capital Paris, it is the Italians who buy the luxury properties and hotels.
Most ancient mythical story in 550 pages: Who is Gilgamesh of Iraq?
German author, Thomas Milkeh, published the mythical story of “Gilgamesh, King of Uruk” in 550 pages, and 35 chapters, and a chronological list of names and historical events. Nabil al Haffar translated the book into Arabic and was published by Cadmus.
Previous German archeologists and authors, Albert Shut and Wilhelm Soden, and Helmut Shmokel had published versions of the Gilgamesh story, a mythical grandiose account of the ancient Iraqi kingdoms of Sumer and Akkad…seven thousand years ago.
The gardener Chokalitoda of the town of Kish adopted the infant Gilgamesh. “The black bird of the storm, Amdod, deposited the infant, wrapped in cloth and in a reed basket, amid the trees”. Gilgamesh grew up to become a captain in the army of King Mbaraghezy of the city of Kish.
Gilgamesh occupied the rival city of Uruk and met with his mother Nin Son. He forced-labored the inhabitants of Uruk to build a new defensive wall around the city and proclaimed himself King of Uruk. Gilgamesh befriended the other hero Ankido.
While occupying the city of Uruk in the name of King Mbaraghezy, Gilgamesh was appalled by the savagery of soldiers and confronted them. The leader of a group of soldiers, engaged in the massacre of unarmed people, said: “We are doing the mutilation for fun”. In dawned on Gilgamesh that these soldiers were the mercenaries who were supposed to be defending Uruk: They sided with the victor and were demonstrating loyalty to the new king by committing atrocities and more looting.
Gilgamesh is having this conversation with Paranam Tarra, the virgin girl serving the temple:
Gilgamesh: “What is the origin of Gods?”
Paranam Tarra: “Maybe from these Stars, to where they returned”
Gilgamesh: “What is the origin of the Sumer people?”
Paranam Tarra: “They came from the land of Milokha. Over those eastern mountain chains” This is an indication that there existed higher level civilizations outside the borders of Kish and Uruk, in Persia, Afghanistan, and India…
Gilgamesh: “Where is our destination when we die?”
Paranam Tarra: “The good people end up on the “Island of the Eternals” to serve the Man that the Gods extended eternity to Him.”
This is another dialogue between Gilgamesh and his close friend Ankido. Gilgamesh ordered the construction of a new high fortification wall and Ankido have been observing the miseries endured by the citizens, resulting from the building process. A titanic fight ensued between the two previous friends and this conversation:
Ankido: “Why this new wall?”
Gilgamesh: “Before engaging in a new war, I have to be capable of defending what I have. Didn’t you realize that our walls are deteriorating and crumbling? Don’t you realize that the Kings of Nipur, Laghash, and Shorobak are readying to plunder our wealth? Maybe my leaven is not ripe yet, but it is better to get a head start”
Ankido: “So far, you have been exercising your might on the weak”
Gigamesh: “You are wrong. I am preparing to defend my city against new waves of plunder, massacre, and looting from outside wrath.”
Ankido: “How could you claim to be defending the city from outside enemies when you are in the process of destroying it from the inside?”
Gilgamesh managed to overcome and kill Ankido and decided to travel to the Island of the Eternal to mourn his friend. Gilgamesh had to overcome a series of obstacles in this arduous trip and is having a beer in a bar. He is having this conversation with the girl attendant:
The bar attendant: “What is your destination?”
Gilgamesh: “I am heading to the Island of the Eternals”
The girl: “The Gods transferred feelings and emotions to mankind because they were unable to experience emotions. The Eternals do not need emotions: They cannot suffer and they can live forever without this fear of dying. Mankind has to die because he can feel and suffer. “
Gilgamesh was seeking a secluded island to learn detachment from people exigencies and unlimited wants and wishes. He wanted to engage in introspection and get a handle on life and the universe. He wanted to leave a few wisdom to posterity, in a calm and serene environment.
Isn’t what Homer undertook 4,000 years later? Isn’t what a few Jews of Alexandria, 200 years BC, did by writing the Bible or the Old Testament? A few learned Jews decided to re-write the history of a wretched community who was easing out of nomadic life into the learning stage.
All these mythical stories emulated one another: Social behaviors are common in most communities; there is nothing new to add, except writing the stories in particular contexts of customs and traditions. The sacred part of all these mythical accounts are the common denominator of mankind agitation as communities. What is most important in all these account are the frank and honest description of local customs, traditions, and social behaviors.
Note 1: A review of that book was done by Abd al Mahmoud in the Lebanese daily Al Nahar. It could be a most interesting read this summer.
Note 2: It is very possible that this “Island of the Eternals” was the Island of Bahrain, a must stop destination for merchant ships to and from India and Iraq, and where “noble” princes from the neighboring kingdoms had vacation palaces.
Note 3: Empires vanish as demographics decreases steadily due to loss of hope for better future. Consequently, empires hire cheap mercenaries for keeping control and the kingdom begins a non-reversible decline. The Kingdom of Uruk was doomed because it hired mercenaries to defend its authority.
Worst ecological disaster: Who is Pablo Fajardo Mendoza?
Texaco started oil operations in the State of Equator in 1964. The location was in the Amazon provinces of Sucumbios and Orellana; the main towns are Largo Agrio and Shushufindi up north. Texaco dug around 356 oil wells. For every well, Texaco constructed five open-air basins for storing toxic waste and polluted water used for the operations of the wells. All these basins were located by the river Rio Victoria so that the wastes are conveniently emptied to save on the safety requirements. Roads were drenched with oil instead of asphalt. For five decades, water, air, soil smelled and tasted oil. Texaco had built a 550 km pipeline to the pacific shore.
Texaco claimed that oil does not pollute, that the Amazon basin is an oil land and nobody should be living there, that oil is biodegradable and its effects disappear within weeks, that cancer cases were related to the hygiene standards in the region…
Two of the five indigenous tribes in the region, the Tetete and Sansahuari, are extinct. The other three tribes were forced to join the cheap labor force for lack of fishing and surviving of the forest bounties. An ecological catastrophe devastated the entire region, a calamity 30 times larger than the Exxon Valdez in Alaska.
Pablo Fajardo Mendoza was 14 of age, and the fifth of ten kids, when his parents moved from the province of Manabi to the town of Sushufindi, two decades ago. At the age of 16, Pablo was leading groups of contestants to the ecological catastrophe: He was fired.
Pablo continued his education with the help of catholic Capuchin priests and obtained his law degree by correspondence at the age of 32. Every time Pablo and his groups file suite, the Equator government would require a lawyer to represent them. Consequently, Pablo figured out that he will be the lawyer. Pablo was under the strong impression that the government did its best to facilitate Texaco businesses.
As Pablo was resuming his high school education, the lawyer Judith Kimberling published “Amazon Crude” that made a long fire. In 1993, three separate US lawyers filed a suit in New York tribunals. The US tribunals claimed their incompetence in the matter and suggested that the lawsuit be presented in Equator. In 2002, nine years later, the court of appeal decided that the case can be carried out in Equator.
By 2003, Pablo Mendoza lodged another lawsuit in the province of Sucumbio. 106 expert reports were presented, among them 56 of them financed by Chevron. The cost of the 30,000 Equatorian plaintiffs was covered by the Philadelphia law firm of Kohn, Swift, and Graf. The US law firm estimated the victims will cash in $28 billion in damages.
In 2004, 8 days before the start of the expertise phase in the judicial process, Pablo’s brother (28) was savagely assassinated. Pablo escaped and scattered his family members for security reasons.
In February 2011, the tribunal in Lago Agria issued its verdict: Texaco-Chevron will pay $8.5 billion in damages, the saving that Texaco generated by flaunting the safety and health standards in the oil production.
The US judge Lewis Kaplan of South New York district declared that the verdict cannot be executed in the USA. Texaco-Chevron have interests in 50 other States around the world, and damages will be collected from everywhere Chevron is doing business.
Note 1: This article was inspired by a piece published in the French weekly “Courrier International” number 1078
Note 2: Texaco was purchased by Chevron in 2001. Texaco was replaced by the State operator Petroecuador in 1990.
Note 3: The irony is that Texaco-Chevron invoked in 2010 the Federal law of “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act” to dismiss the case. The plaintiffs are members of an organized criminal association!
Is Turkey doing the “bidding of the US” in the Middle East?
Apparently, the US has “contained” the Arab Spring revolts, though the US is far from getting a handle on its financial and economic problems: The US is not seriously facing its internal turmoil.
A few leading European States have vested traditional interests in northern Africa and the Middle East States, and thus, the European Union is not about to reach a consensus on political guidelines for confronting the “Arab” upheavals.
Wise Germany has realized that the Arab temporary governments have not relinquished the US as the leading leverage power for resolving their internal conflicts. Consequently, Germany has declined to interfere in any military forms: Germany is waiting for the dust to settle and expand its economic export and industrial might in the Mediterranean basin.
The Moslem Brotherhood political parties in Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Yemen are very satisfied with the negotiations conducted with the US Administration. In fact, Islamic movements in Yemen are cracking down on the youth movement and putting democratic demonstrators in jails: Many Yemenites wished they didn’t weaken the regime of dictator President Saleh so badly. The Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt is assured a sizable share in the next parliament and government ,and actually confronting the youth movement for change. Tunisia is back to harassing and suppressing demonstrations…
Turkey seriously wants the Syrian-kind of Moslem Brotherhood to share power with the Assad regime: It quickly gathered the Moslem factions in Turkey to meet and challenge the Syrian regime…Turkey strategy is to have inside power in Syria politics in order to balance out the strong influence of Iran and Syria in Iraq politic scene. Consequently, Syria regime is not against reforms, but it has serious doubts about giving the Syrian Moslem Brotherhood party substantial influence on foreign policies (read note). Turkey has to wait for better opportunities to obtaining equal weight in influencing Iraqi politics.
Syria responded by inviting all the opposition parties and leaders to meet in Damascus, thus diluting the Turkish strategy.
What about Turkey?
Erdogan party won the election (50% of the votes), but Erdogan PM was waiting, stone faced in the Parliament, for the opposition deputies to officially recognize him as the new leader: The opposition failed to show up because many elected deputies are still held in prison!
It feels that Turkey and the US have agreed that the sharing of power with Moslem Brotherhood factions in the Greater Middle-East is the best alternative to maintaining their vested financial and economic interests in the Middle-East and northern Africa prospering as before the uprising.
Turkey, as the other colonial powers, made deals with the previous dictators and absolute monarchs: It is so convenient and easy to deal with “stable” oligarchies. For example, Mohammar Qadhafi invested billion in Turkey in order to bring the Erdogan Party to power. In fact, 27,000 Turkish engineers and professionals were working in Libya as the revolt started.
The time has come for Turkey to demonstrate that it can navigate among “democratic” regimes in the Arab World and is willing to deal with the people, as the source of power.
So far, Turkey is giving the impression that it filed the Palestinian case and is linking with Israel for various political reasons. Turkey is giving the impression that it is no longer hot for the armada of humanitarian aid “Freedom 2″ to reaching Gaza. Had anyone read that Israel officially apologized to the assassination of the 9 Turkish peace “agitators” on “Freedom 1″ convoy? As if shelving the Palestinian cause for an independent Statehood and the return of Palestinian refugees has ever resolved any problem in the Middle East.
Turkey has been undertaking a slow but steady regional economic “imperialism” by eroding the emerging industries and production bases in the regional States with the flood of its cheaper export products. The Syrian government was forced to subsidize its industries in Aleppo in order to maintain its development plans and programs.
Turkey is associating its geo-political strategy with the US, under the tacit US conditions. This is not a good medium-term tactics: The “Arabs” have revolted because they are indignant of the US and former colonial powers supporting and encouraging dictatorial and absolute monarchy regime for over a century now. The anger against Turkey and its former Ottoman hegemony might resurface.
Note: In the 60′s, a Syrian by name of Marwan 7adid (Hadid= Iron), returned from Egypt and settled in Damascus, and began disseminated an extremist Islamic ideology acquired from the Egyptian “Islam brotherhood”. Marwan got no responses, but he persisted and managed to gather a few extreme and violent Islamists. One of them was an officer in the army and machine-gunned many officers in Hama. The response of late Hafez al Assad was to enter the city of Hama by force in 1981, and eradicate Islam extremist elements.
Lebanon to where? This intermediate stage to a State of citizenship
Finally, Mikati PM formed a government. For over four months, the Lebanese knew that Mikati was waiting for a “green light” from a regional power to stop suffocating Lebanon with irrelevant local smokescreens. Anyway, Lebanon has been run by “virtual governments” for decades, most of the time the sort of care-taker governments, governments that run daily affairs for their families, waiting for short-lived official governments to be sworn in. So what happened?
At first, Syria of Bashar al Assad was in no hurry for Mikati to constituting a government: Bashar was waiting for concessions from the US and Saudi Arabia to ease his way…Concessions were not forthcoming: Instead, a popular revolt was fomented against, or “naturally erupted as urgent moratorium on”, this dictator clannish regime of the Assad family.
Hezbollah was seriously shaken with the hysterical violent reactions of the Syrian regime in confronting peaceful early marches. Hezbollah felt that, if the Bashar al Assad fails to regain his composure as a reliable and viable legitimate entity, the Syrian dictator might cow down under the pressures of the US and European States, and strike a deal at the expense of Hezbollah’s growing power in Lebanon.
Consequently, Hezbollah lead a concentrated effort to coax Bashar to focusing some of his attention to the deteriorating situation in Lebanon and put the squeeze on Mikati PM to forming a government, and immediately.
The rational of Hezbollah was that, if Lebanon is left in the vacuum with no legitimate government, most probably Syria might be cornered to conduct incursions within Lebanon borders and things might get out of hand. The Syrian regime realized that it behaved hysterically and went overboard, killing and incarcerating scores of innocent people and peaceful demonstrators.
The Syrian opposition groupuscules were invited to meet in Damascus, instead of moving around between Turkey, Paris, and lately Russia…The strategy worked. And General Secretary of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasr Allah, delivered his third speech frankly supporting the Assad regime
Mikati PM formed a government quickly, but it has yet to submit to Parliament a unified paper of intent as to its guidelines. It is no surprise that this politisized International Court for the assassination of Rafic Hariri decided to submit the miserly four names as potential perpetrators to the assassination. Mikati PM government finalized its paper to coincide with the International Court decision.
Hezbollah is temporarily off the hook, and the threat of a deal with Syria of Bashar at its expense has been delayed. Why?
First, the submission of official names by the International Court (IC) releaves Lebanon from this masquerade that has been dragging on for over 6 years: The four names have been out of Lebanon for the last 30 years, and two of the names are believed to be virtual names, not registered as Lebanese “citizens”. The IC “bomb” landed but didn’t explode: Lebanon went on as usual. Even if the US and Israel detonate the bomb by remote control, most likely the bomb is totally outdated and rotten and will do no damage that the Lebanese have endured in the last decade.
Second, the blade of the sword of the International Court on the assassination of late Rafic Hariri PM has been blunted: Hezbollah did a good job discrediting this politicized court. The Lebanese have learned that the legitimacy in the institution of this special International Court is to be desired. Why?
First, the UN has no basis to seeking chapter seven: Lebanon was not experiencing any civil war, and no massacres were witnessed. A “legitimate” government was running the country. What of the far more serious cases of “crimes against humanity” of President of Bashir of Sudan that UN is waiting to be captured and yet being warmly welcomed in China? What of Qadhafi and his son…? What of Bush Jr., Ramsfield, Tony Blair,…
Second, the Lebanese government of Seniora PM was barely representing 30% of the people when it demanded for the institution of this court. All the Shiaa ministers (representing 60% of the people) had quit the government. And the ministers of the Christian political party of the Tayyar (representing more than 50% of the Christians) had also quit the government. By the Constitution, if one of the main religious group is out of the government then, the government is not “legitimate”…
Lebanon is a very tiny, highly volatile, unstable society, and NOT immune to radical revolts. How unstable?
First, since independence in 1943, Lebanon officially recognized two failed internal coup d’etats, one in 1949 and another in 1961. There are a dozen of other unofficial military coups. Lately, Lebanon witnessed a minor failed coup d’etat at the ministry of communication, because a private interest wanted to conserve its mobile communication business.
Second, Lebanon witnessed two civil wars, one in 1958 and another one in 1975 that lasted 17 years. Since the end of the civil war in 1991, Lebanon experienced a major military coup d’etat in 2008 that started in the Palestinian camp of Nahr el Bared around Tripoli: The army needed 11 months to overcome the uprising of the Islamist salafists Jund al Sham. Many short-lived unofficially recognized civil wars occurred since 1991.
Beirut experienced a quick military coup in 2007 by Hezbollah, as the government attempted to control land communication lines. The war of 2006 against Israel was actually a military coup perpetrated by the Lebanese government to control Hezbollah’s military might.
Third, Lebanon is practically a Non-State country since its independence. The 18 religious sects represent the main de-facto powers and also by law to exercising political influence. Civil status of every “citizen” is run and administered by the officially recognized religious sects that own more than 50% of the land. Every religious sect is backed by over three confessional “political parties”.
The two historically secular political parties, the communist and the Syrian National Social parties, were denied participation in the Parliament via biased and tailored-made election laws and procedures. The Syrian National Social party was recently permitted to enter the parliament, carried on the shoulders of other main confessional parties. The multi-theocratic system, backed by the financial institutions that lend Lebanon governments to cover their budget deficit, have vested interests in prohibiting the constitution of any viable and sustainable modern State governing system.
Fourth, Lebanon lacks sustainable public institutions and any long-term programs and policies. The only benefit the citizen enjoys is a mere passport. There exist no serious governance for the people to march against and demand reforms. It is like demanding from Qadhafi to relinquish his authority and Qadhafi replying: “But I have no official posts or even an official job to relinquish!”
This “opposition” government will do a great job “masking our virtual State” in strengthening the legal system, confront the highway robberies of the Hariri clan governments, and give the impression that Lebanon is an autonomous State…but the fundamentals will not change and Lebanon will remain a multi-theocratic State, run by the financial institutions and clerics…
The hot season has started in the northern hemisphere, and the stream of “Spring Revolts” might cool off a bit. In Lebanon, we missed the spring upheavals that swept the “Arab” world, but we planted the seed of a fresh drastic non-violent revolt for the next spring season.
The youth in Lebanon organized five marches in various cities in Lebanon demanding change in the confessional political structure. The banners of “We want to change the regime” is extending credit to a non-State, as if Lebanon has a State and non a virtual State run by de-facto clerical and financial powers. What the banners should say are: “We want to create a State”, and “We want to feel citizens in the modern concept of a State”.
Next Spring, the revolt will still be non-violent, but the target and purpose of the revolt will not be a matter of patching up a reform here and another there. The traditional “leaders” have demonstrated that they refuse to establish a functioning State for all “citizens”: Lebanon has been run by Non-State governments, or care-taker governments.
The youth Movement for Change must be ready for the dawn of the next spring season: It must start doing serious due diligence. For example,
First, specialized teams have to dig-up and dust-off the policies and programs stored in the basements of ministries. The goal of reviewing and revising already studied programs is: “A political system from the people to the people”.
The Lebanese have to feel true citizens with equal rights under the law. The Lebanese have to enjoy fair and equitable election laws that allow common people to accede to decision-making positions.
Laws have to be revised for citizens, regardless of genders, race, or religious affiliation, to have fair opportunities to all political positions and job opportunities in the public and private institutions and enterprises.
The Constitution has to be re-written to separate religion from civil power and responsibility…
Radical changes are possible: There are no other alternatives to patching up a rotten political and social structure; it is not feasible to move on with small incremental reforms under the power of the ferocious religious and financial oligarchies that have been dominating our lives and subjugating us to constant instability and indignities.
We have grown up to be mature and responsible adult “citizens”. Lebanon is Not immune to drastic revolts, and the next revolution will be successful!
Who is Qadhafi? Plausible resolution to crisis in Libya
You may read on Libya in the historical, geographical, and social context through the link in note 1: I relegate links to notes so that readers are not prompted to be sidetracked and fail to resume reading the main article.
Muammar Qadhafi was born in 1942 in a desert town, from the modest and minority Qadadfa tribe, in central Libya by the coastal town of Syrte. He was 10 year-old when his parents sent him to Syrte (in the middle of the 1,700 km coast line between Tripoli and Benghazi) to get education. Qadhafi had no one to care for him, and he slept in mosques. Even at this early age, Qadhafi exhibited natural authority over his companions. Muammar memorized the Coran and constructed his individual interpretation of Islam.
Later, as leader of Libya, Qadhafi sent the message that every learned person is entitled to interpret the Coran and does not need a religious cheick to give his “fatwa” on conflicts. Qadhafi discouraged polygamy on the ground that the Prophet was very explicit that a husband will fail treating equitably his several wives. Qadhafi spread the notion of equality between genders and allowed women to join education systems, the army, and the police force.
At the age of 14, Muammar moved to the desert town of Sebha, in south-west Libya in the large region of Fezzan, and finishes secondary schooling. It was there that the events of the Suez crisis (1956) broke out. Eisenhower had summoned England and France to withdraw their occupying troops, along with Israeli troops. Gamal Abdel Nasser was worshipped as the new Arab leader, fighting colonial powers and vanquishing them. Muammar is leading student demonstrations and marches in solidarity of Egypt and Nasser.
Qadhafi is not lacking any new excitments in that period: Algeria is revolting against French colonial occupation, Lebanon is witnessing a short civil war, Syria asked to unite with Egypt and Nasser agreed to the short-lived union (barely 3 years), Yemen is revolting against the theocratic Imam in Sanaa, the Palestinians are expressing their indignity for the massacres perpetrated by the new Zionist State in order to expell Palestinians and expand territory…
Consequently, the student leader Qadhafi is expelled from the Fezzan schools in 1961. Muammar moved on to the coastal town of Misrata to study law, as a pre-requisite of joining the army officer corp. He is in charge of the recruitment and cooptation of superior officers. He was sent to England to continue his military education and mastered the English language.
Back to Libya, Qadhafi witnessed Israel preempting a war in 1967. Israel warplanes used Libya airspace and military airports of the monarchy to destroy Egypt airforce bases. The mass upheaval in the Arab world for the indignities suffered by Egyptians, Syrians, Jordanians, and Palestinians were a catalyst for Qadhafi to plan a military coup against the monarch. In 1969, twenty officers were successful in occupying all key military bases, while the monarch Idris I was on official visit outside Libya.
This group of officers formed a high-command and the real leader Qadhafi refrained from stepping out as the leader for over three years. Slowly, by the way the others commanders behaved in the presence of Qadhafi, foreign leaders comprehended the main force behind the insurgents.
Qadhafi nationalized the oil industry and demanded that England close down its military bases. He paid a historic visit to Gamal Abdel Nasser, his political and national guru, and supported anti-colonial movements in Africa and the independence movements in Africa. Qadhafi was consistent in his anti-imperialism ideology and didn’t permit the Soviet Union of establishing military bases in Libya, as it did in Egypt and Syria.
Qadhafi was an admirer of Proudhon and Bakunin who were staunch adversaries of private properties ideologies: They considered any private ownership as blatant thefts, encouraged by the power-to-be for political support of the bourgeoisie.
How Qadhafi managed to stay in power for over 42 years? How oil revenue was distributed and handled? How Qadhafi’s sons and close relatives are monopolizing Libya economy? That would be explained in a separate article. As a hint, you may read the link in note #3 “Qadhafis-shock-strategy-of-the-rat-bag”
What is the plausible resolution for the crisis in Libya?
After WWII, England encouraged the monarch Idris I Senussi to become the monarch of Libya: The first Constitution was of a federal-type model with two self-autonomous States, one in the east, and another in the west, with Benghazi (in the east as the central Capital). As oil was discovered in 1953, the Constitution was changed for a unified State. In 1969, Qadhafi succeeded in his military coup d’ etat and shifted the capital to Tripoli and neglected the eastern region that was still pro-monarchic.
Since there is a high homogeneity of the population in Libya (90% are “Arabic” and speak the same slangs, while 5% are of Berber origin (Algeria and Morocco), and another 5% related to African tribes from Niger and Chad) the most plausible resolution, after satisfying the pre-requisite of ceasing the power of Qadhafi and his bloody sons, is the following:
First, Libya would be federated into two States: The eastern State based in the Capital Benghazi, and the western State based in the Capital Tripoli. The Federal government would be relocated to the city of Syrte, in the middle of the long coast line of 1,700 kilometers, or the historical dividing line between the two concentration of people and tribes (and where Qadhafi was born).
Second, the oil revenue (constituting 90% of the GNP) will be split into three parts: 40% to each State and 20% for maintaining the central government and its key federal institutions such as army, foreign affairs, currency… Since the western part is relatively more populous (6 million in total for entire Libya), it is reasonable to allocate for this State a higher share in oil revenue.
Third, federal revenues will be proportionally budgeted and allocated to the people living in the deep desert oasis such as Kufra and Sebha.
Note 2: You may read the French book “In the heart of Libya of Kadhafi” (Au coeur de la Libye de Kadhafi) by Patrick Haimzadeh