Adonis Diaries

Archive for November 25th, 2010

Oligarchy on the way out in Lebanon

Lebanon has been governed by an oligarchy system since its independence in 1943.

About half a dozen tribal or feudal or religious sect leaders have been manipulating the political landscape and social structure of Lebanon ever since and going on, unabashed.

After the 13 years of civil war, the deputies were rounded up and dispatched to Taif in Saudi Arabia in order to sign up on a revised Constitution that was not a Constitution by any yardstick conforming to sovereign and independent State.  Not a single paragraph detailed or explained how the government would apply the Constitution in times of crisis.

For example, in designating a Prime Minister, the President who was appointed in Doha (Qatar), is to consult with the blocks of deputies and appoint the one who received the most votes.

Questions:

1.  If the President refuses to appoint a Prime Minister according to the majority of the deputies then what happens?  Nothing in the Taif “Constitution” attached a procedure to getting out of that impasse.

2. If the Prime Minister is unable to form a government then what happens?  Nothing in the Taif Constitution mentioned a procedure to overcoming that problem. There is no deadline restricting the designated PM to forming a government!  If the PM forms a government, the President has two weeks to sign.

3. If the President refuses to sign on the proposed government then what happens?  Nothing in the new Constitution broached this difficulty.

4. If the chamber of deputy is unable to function properly then what happen?  Nothing in the Constitution that proposes any kinds of  alternatives.  The deputies get paid for four years over $20,000 per month, excluding all the hundreds of fringe benefits and thousands of privileges to them and the members of their extended family.  No one is legitimate enough to send the deputies home and call for another election.

5. If the government is unable to vote by two-third on critical matters then the entire political and administrative machinery is at standstil,l until a new President is voted in (sorry, agreed upon by foreign States) after a 6-year term.

Currently, the oligarchy has created 76 institutions, supposed to be attached to the different ministries,and directly run by the Prime Minister who is from the Hariri clan.  Consequently, many enterprises held by the Hariri clan have their public contracts renewed automatically with yearly outrageous increases; the unity government tried to get informed on the clauses of the contracts with no responses so far.

Since the signing on the Taif constitution in 1991, Lebanon had to be ruled and regulated by a political consensus among Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the US, the co-signers on the constitution.  Basically, Lebanon is under the de-facto mandated powers of three foreign States, if the Lebanese want to live in peace and security.

Since 1991, the successive government of Lebanon refused or were blocked to present a budget to the chamber of deputy for discussion and amendments.  Lebanon is functioning without a formal budget.  Over $20 billion in foreign aides were not recorded officially in the finance registers; all that money were diverted among the oligarchic leaders and their political and clan parties.

For a year, Lebanon has been “enjoying” a unity national government, including all the major political parties, excepting the Communist party.  For a year now, all political representatives in the government have confirmed that this government failed to agree on a single political or social program that may unify or ease the living conditions of the people; they all agreed that the government has failed in its mission but there is no constitutional recourse to getting this government resign, unless the Prime Minister takes the initiative.

The “opposition” parties, within this unity government, have began discussing the application of serious urgent political decisions before the pronouncement of the International Tribunal on the assassination of Rafiq Hariri.

First, the “opposition” within the government is demanding that the false witnesses in the assassination case be brought to trial in Lebanese court system:  The International Tribunal claimed that it has no mandate judging false witnesses. The false witnesses were created and coached on the story to be told by higher-ups to politically incriminate Syria.

Now, Syria is no longer a suspect but many Lebanese officials were sent to jail without judgement, solely based on the false witnesses sayings.  More than 70% of the Lebanese are convinced that the International Tribunal is politicized by the USA in order to keeping the pressures on the oligarchy leaders to doing its bidding and organizing another civil war.

The opposition deputies have been investigating the financial administration, disbursement of funds, and official records that have never been investigated since 1991 and amazing facts are coming to lights.

1. 50% of the Lebanese are living under the poverty line ;

2.  20% are barely surviving as retailers, corner shop owners, and small agriculture.

3. 15% of the population are public servants and receiving salaries that has been stagnant for over 20 years, while inflation has been running 5% per year:  No wonder that bribing is considered normal by public servants in order to make ends meet.

Anyway, most of the public servants are not qualified in their jobs: They have been appointed by the oligarchy for political check and balance within the political landscape.  10% are making a living as “political consultants” to the oligarchy.  4% of the population are producing something of values, such as in industry and agriculture.

Barely 1% of the population own over 80% of the wealth of the “nation” and they are represented in banking,  insurance companies, monopoly wholesalers (mercantile class) importing everything from overseas.

As long as the Lebanese resistance of Hezbollah is strong, organized, and saving Lebanon from further Israeli incursions then, there is a new spirit of setting things on the right tracks and reaching a fairer reform to the political structure.

Sudan’s economy relies 98% on its oil production.  China receives 65% of the oil production and Japan 16% and India 4%.  While the US was prosecuting its preemptive war in Iraq for 9 years, China and India were heavily investing in oil rich African States and exploiting vast regions by major rivers for industrial agribusiness and rice fields.  China was bartering oil for building infrastructures to exporting oil and the natural resources it is exploiting (as in colonial times).  Most of the regions for oil exploration and extraction are located on the bordering line of the prospected partition.

Sudan is bordered by 9 States; all border lines are makeshift borders that colonial powers of England, France ,and Italy drew on “virgin maps”.  The southern part produces 65% of the oil and the agreement is to dividing 50% of all oil production between the two States in 2005, even before the coming referendum. Currently, north Sudan is holding the purse, the locations of the two refineries, and the oil pipeline that serves the major port of export in Port Sudan.

The people in south Sudan are expected to vote on the referendum for either an autonomous or an independent south Sudan in 2011.  A peace agreement signed in 2005 between the State of Sudan and the southern separatist movements put formally an end to an open civil war that lasted 17 years, since 1987, and displaced over 4 million; it is estimated that 2 million perished, mostly from famine, diseases, tribal infighting, and military campaigns.

Sudan is a vast State, as large as the USA (excluding Alaska) but is barely as populated as Egypt, less than 50 million. It acquired its independence from colonial England in 1956. England ruled this vast colony from the Capital Khartoum and totally neglected the southern part; England kept south Sudan in order to securing the sources of the Nile River that start in Ethiopia and Uganda and empty in the delta of Egypt in the Mediterranean Sea.

Foreign media are disseminating wrong information:  They are claiming that the people in south Sudan are Christians and want independence from the Moslem north.  Fact is, most tribes in Sudan, north and south, are animists:  They respect nature, the seasons, the ancestors, and the oral traditions and myths.  The people in Sudan, north and south, have been impoverished and discarded by world communities for 5 decades; they are suffering frequent famine and were plagued by common diseases, and dying from curable illnesses.

If the people in the south decide for independence, the first critical problem to resolving is how the equitable sharing of 50% of the oil agreement can be planned, managed, and executed; the negotiations on the procedures is the main cornerstone problem and it might drag for long time without “independent south Sudan” receiving its due share.

China will make sure that oil production will resume unaffected by internal disagreements and deals will be made with the State of Sudan until “independent south Sudan” demonstrates that it is a reliable State to negotiate with.  How the State of Sudan will reimburse its massive military machinery debts from Russia and China if oil production is disturbed?

The people in south Sudan have no interest in a complete independence:  the history in the last forty years, for third world States that got their independence, demonstrated that the next two decades will be ripe for internal conflicts among the powerful tribes and that most of the oil benefit will be siphoned into private bank accounts and internal leaders receiving handsome bribes from international companies, doing business and plundering the natural resources.  South Sudan will be the scene of camouflaged mandated control and management by foreign nations and regional powers.

The people in south Sudan have interest for an autonomous region.  All the central government institutions in the Capital Khartoum could be duplicated in Juba (the de-facto Capital in South Sudan) for the smooth functioning of the central government in the south.

The State of Sudan, independent for more than 50 years, has already relatively well-oiled army, financial institutions, and foreign ministry that are ready for reform that would satisfy the requirements of a newly autonomous region.  I believe that voting for independence will be a major handicap for any further reforms in north Sudan.

Salva Kir, the leader of the south Sudan movement, has already set the tone for a major phase of terribly discontent with northern Sudan. He blatantly made a  public statesman that he will immediately open diplomatic channels with Israel.  The worst part in the statesman was the announcement that Israel will become a major commercial and supplier of war equipments and training.  Salva Kir thinks that inviting bears in his back yard is normal behavior from intelligent people.

Note:  Satellite pictures of Sudan shows that the line of partition separates the semi-desert region in the north from the greener equatorial region in the south.  If the people in south Sudan opt for independence then, south Sudan will be bordered by the Central African Republic on the west, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda in the south, Kenya, Ethiopia in the east.  It will lack any access to the Ocean and will need to invest heavily for infrastructures to exporting by sea through treaties with neighboring States.  Otherwise, south Sudan will be strongly dependent on north Sudan for exporting its oil production.  Maybe vast underpopulated countries such as Canada, Australia, Argentina, and Kazakhstan should be partitioned too for more effective management and equitable distribution of resources among all ethnic minorities.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

November 2010
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