Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Chiaa

Beware of the senile stubbornness of an 88 year-old Patriarch; (Nov. 4, 2009)

A serious conclave of all Christian sects (heretic or not) in the Middle East is required.

First some history is needed to set the background.  The Christian Maronite sect was considered heretic by both the Orthodox Church of the Byzantium Empire and by Papal Rome.  The Maronites were monotheists (One God; not three as of Father, Son, and Virgin Mary) and also they believed in only the spiritual existence of Jesus not his physical nature.  Thus, this sect was persecuted by two strong Empires with central Churches.

When the Crusading forces entered the Near East after sacking Constantinople, on their way to Jerusalem in 1100, the Maronite sect decided to pay allegiance to the Pope.  Thus, this sect was saved from being labelled a heretic sect, doomed for constant persecution, and enjoyed the military and political backing of Rome.

This sect has migrated to the northern mountains of Lebanon after the schism of the year 1000 between Rome and Byzantium, and the subsequent major massacres of the “heretic” Christian sects.  Since then, the Maronite sect obeyed the decisions of the central Catholic Church of Rome, both the spiritual and temporal.

The Church of Rome  was the main temporal decision maker in Europe, and thus the Maronite Church facilitated the infiltration of colonial establishments as trade centers, first in Sidon and then to Beirut, to the French and the Italians.  The British and Russia established also commercial centers in Lebanon and had to circumvent the Maronite influence by encouraging respectively Protestantism and the Russian Christian Orthodoxy.

During the civil war of Lebanon (1975-1991), the Catholic Church proved to be mostly impotent to end the war that relegated the Maronite to the third political power, instead of the first since the independence of Lebanon. It also happened during the civil war that a new Patriarch was to be elected. Rome selected her favorite Bishop and the Christian militias selected their own. No Patriarch could be elected after four rounds of secret voting. Thus, Nasr Allah Sfeir was elected to overcome the impasse.

Since then, Patriarch Sfeir made it a personal vendetta to counter Rome’s interference in the Maronite decisions when opportunities knocked.  This Patriarch was openly favorable to the Lebanese Forces militia during the civil war and going even stronger now.  It is to be noted that the current leader of the Lebanese Forces, Samir Jaajah, is the officially a convicted murderer a spent 11 years in prison.

Jaajah was politically liberated in 2005 after serving 11 years in prison for assassinating prime ministers, many officials, and running a state within a state, a forming his own court martial tribunals.

Currently, Lebanon is at an impasse: the appointed Sunni Deputy Saad Harriri (with the largest block in Parliament) was to form a unity government five months ago; he failed, delivered his resignation, and was then re-appointed with a mere 72 vote out of 124; Harriri has no success so far to forming a unity government.

Patriarch Sfeir would like us to believe that the majority should form a government so that Lebanon could enjoy a democratic system of parliamentary opposition. Sound sweet to the ears of the non-initiated western politicians on Lebanese political system.

First, the new Taef Constitution, enacted in 1989 during Lebanon’s civil war, striped the Maronite President of major rights and forced upon the Lebanese a system of fair representation by the major religious sects in any government.  Now the Chiaa, the majority in Lebanon (forming more than 45%) of the population), are in the opposition; if they refuse to participate in a government then the President cannot abrogate a government devoid of any Chiaa ministers commensurate to their ratio.

Thus, a unity government is a must to form any government constitutionally.

Patriarch Sfeir know that formula but he is trying relentlessly to put obstacles to the formation of a unity government under the guise of “democratic practices”.  The other problem is that the new Parliament has no longer a majority of Deputies:  Since the election in June, the 8 Druze Deputies of Walid Jumblatt have taken a neutral position, and thus denied the previous majority any claim to current majority.  This fact also, the Patriarch is happy to forget and resumes his senile stubbornness.

What is in line to the Christians in the Middle East? How to go from here?  Since the Christians of all affiliations are confirmed minorities in every States in the Middle East,  I suggest that all Christian sects (heretic or not) existing in Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey meet in a formal conclave to decide on fundamental programs of administrative and executive assemblies to regaining their rights as minorities.

It is totally irrelevant to dwell on abstract dogma, but to find pragmatic common denominators for feasible detailed programs for survival as a culture.

I sincerely feel that the major Christian sect of “Roum Orthodox” (over 7 millions in the Near East) change their name:  This name reflects allegiance to a long defunct Byzantium Empire (and current Greece is not a proper political or spiritual substitute). The same will go to all sects paying allegiance in their names so that Christianity in the Middle East reflects a patriotic feeling of belonging to a specific people and nation.

It is urgent that a unity executive body with wide range of power be confident to quickly and swiftly preempt any laws that might restrict their fundamental rights, or encourage other religious sects to gaining rights not proportional to their numbers.

Note:  Three years after publishing this article, Patriarch Sfeir was pressured to resign by Rome (he is over 88 years), and a new more opened minded Patriarch was elected.  It is rumored that Rome knew that Sfeir encouraged the US government of G.W.Bush to resume the war on Lebanon in June 2006, after 33 days of terrible Israeli devastation of our country.

Hezbollah to desist spreading myths: Encore; (October 16, 2009)

 

            In a previous post I discussed the two myths: dress codes, and the mixing of State and religious responsibilities. I also stated the reasons for selected Hezbollah for my topic. There are three reasons: first, I need to have a specific target in order to minimize tendencies for generalization; second, Hezbollah is the most powerful movement in Lebanon in number, organization, military training, and in readiness and thus, this important social and political force can either spread havoc or strengthen the independence of Lebanon depending on close dialogue and communication among the Lebanese political parties; and third, because I have a high respect for this organization that saved Lebanon twice from becoming a total non-entity within the last decade. Yes, with Hezbollah I feel that Lebanon is no longer just a State recognized by the UN but has acquired the status of a Nation; a tiny Nation but with the potential of agreeing that we are one people under the law and against all contingencies.

            There is this boring and unsettling tendency at Hezbollah’s leadership to start their speeches with a long litany of the “honored” descendents of the Prophet Muhammad.  I understand that most diseases are inherited but I have not stumbled on studies characterizing intelligence, learning, and wisdom attributed to inherited genes.  Actually, research have demonstrated that offspring of highly intelligent men to be born mostly idiots. 

            The Prophet Muhammad did not die suddenly; he felt terribly sick for eight days and realized that he is to die soon.  The Prophet was fully conscious many times and he said the Morning Prayer before he died in the arms for his beloved and young wife Aicha. If the prophet wanted a close relative to inherit the title of Imam he would have done so; he still had two daughters and two son-in-laws and many close relatives who were Moslems. (Muhammad had four daughters, all married, and two sons; two of the married daughters died before him and his two sons died in infancy before reaching the age of 4).

            Maybe it is time for Hezbollah to desist forcing on people untruths of super great offspring generated by the Prophet. Yes, we must be inclined to pray even more forcefully for them because the odds are that they suffered immensely by the high expectations impelled upon them by ignorant and lazy-minded followers. Maybe it is time to expect the next Mahdi to be born from the common people instead of some “noble” creed.

 

            My fourth worry is this trend of re-writing history to please cultural propaganda of a nascent Islamic regional power such as Iran.  Chiaa have lived in northern Palestine, Lebanon, and northern Syria many centuries before the Turkish Safafid Empire ruled Iran in the 17th century and decided to adopt the Chiaa sect as the Kingdom religion.  The Chiaa had to flee the Arabic Sunni Caliphate Empire for two centuries and suffered frequent persecutions during the Ottoman Empire.

            The Chiaa took roots in India and in the Maghreb in North Africa. From the Maghreb they converged to Egypt and ruled during the Fatimid Dynasty for over a century and enjoyed many converts in Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria when Baghdad’s central power was very weak; the city of Aleppo and its district was a major focal point for the Ismaellia Chiaa. The Chiaa also converged from India to Herrat (west Afghanistan) and to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan before spreading to East Iran and the eastern shores of the Arabic Peninsula.  Consequently, the Chiaa in the Near East are its inhabitants and form an intrinsic part of the fabric of this region: they adopted the same customs and tradition.

            If for political exigencies Hezbollah needs to select leaders who attended religious schools in Qom of Iran, then it does not follow that this short–term need should be the trend.  Hezbollah has no advantage to alienate the main religious center in Al Najaf and then Koufa simply because its members are Near Eastern and not Persians.  It will pay in the medium-term for Hezbollah to re-write the history of the Chiaa in Lebanon and changing their tradition for a far away civilization and taking official sides for this Iranian Ayatollah or that, or this Iraqi Ayatollah or that.  Hezbollah is a resistance movement against any invader to Lebanon because it is Lebanese people and not a branch or an extension or a mercenary force to any regional power. Changing culture and history of the Chiaa in Lebanon can be as dangerous a trend as fomenting civil war.

Why the massive occupation of Iraq? (October 12, 2009)

           

            The crucial main question is unanswered yet: why the US had to completely occupy Iraq?  Saddam could have been deposed in many ways without any military invasion or at least a partial occupation of south Iraq with Chiaa majority and the north with Kurdish majority. The second question is: Why the US did not invest one more year in Afghanistan to stabilize this country before turning on to Iraq?  The third question is: why the US failed to get out after Saddam was finished and his entourage exterminated; why this occupying force is still there after seven years of the invasion?

            At the time of the invasion there was no nuclear program in Iraq and the Bush Junior Administration knew that fact.  Iraq had resumed the development of two other means of mass destruction: the biological and the chemical arms. Saddam Hussein prevented any further inspections by the UN for two years because he had these two arms programs functional.  Thus, the US employed Russia and France to misinform Saddam: Russia would displace and decontaminate the presence of the biological and chemical arms that it had supplied Iraq in return for vetoing any pre-emptive attack by the US in the UN.  This maneuver was effective and the inspectors found no arms of mass destructions in Iraq. It was when the US was totally confident that Saddam had no arms of mass destructions that it invaded Iraq; Saddam had nothing to counter the massive offensive of the US forces, especially that the officers in the field of the Iraqi army had no power but to wait orders from central commands:  that was how Saddam restructured his army since 1980 to prevent any army rebellion to his regime.

            The first clue goes back to 1979.  Iran of Khomeini, Syria of Hafez Assad, and President Bakr of Iraq decided on a rapprochement of Islam (Sunni and Chiaa).  Saddam Hussein was chief of security and Vice President of Bakr; Saddam hated the Chiaa and also Hafez Assad.  At the instigation of Saudi Arabia and the green light from the USA Saddam deposed Bakr and swiftly executed all the Iraqi Baath members who supported this entente; these prominent members of the Iraqi Baath were mostly Chiaa. Thus, Saddam and the Saudi monarchs joined forces to destabilize Iran of Khomeini.  Many regional States, the US, France, and Britain would not allow a strategic and economical block in the Middle East formed of Iran, Iraq, and Syria.

            Thus, deposing Saddam without US military presence in the field meant that Iraq will quickly link with Iran; the other bonus was to control oil production and distribution of the second largest oil reserve to put the squeeze on the giant economic power of China.

            This “pre-emptive” intervention didn’t turn right: first, radical Islam increased and proliferated even further; second, it was the catalyst for the severest financial crash ever, and it alienated Turkey.  The trend is for Turkey to become the fourth State to joining the Greater Middle East strategic and economic block.  Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Armenia are changing their policies to join this bloc as allies if not partners.

            There would be much turmoil within the next five years to prevent this new emerging bloc.  For example, Iran blasted a couple of ministries in downtown Baghdad in retaliation of Syria cozying up with Maliki of Iraq without Iran’s full consent; Maliki promptly broke diplomatic ties with Damascus under lame excuses.  Syria got the message clear and loud not to cooperate with France, the US, or any regional power without prior coordination with Iran.  Syria is not about to ruin its internal security for any baits extended to it by the Western powers. The Arab Emirates are under pressures to kick out all Chiaa immigrants, starting with the Lebanese.  Israel is constantly pressuring the US to get militarily involved in Iran. Turkey is in excellent terms with Syria and Iran: it has canceled an air exercise with Israel and the US that was intended to cross the borders of Syria, Turkey, and Iraq; it is an exercise for Israel to take this air route to blast Iran’s nuclear power stations. . The trend is already inevitable and it cannot be stopped with the world economy and finance in such disarray.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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