Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Fatimid Dynasty

Historical background: “Rainbow over the Levant”

Note: I decided to split the background chapter of my novel “Rainbow over the Levant” in two parts.

This novel has been published 5 years ago on my blog in serial chapters.

A quick summary of the history of this region, the Levant or Near East (Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Turkey), starting two centuries preceding the fiction events of this novel, can shed a satisfactory understanding for the setting of this historical fiction around the last quarter of the 14thcentury AD.

The Mameluks’ Sultan Baybars of Egypt had dislodged the Christian Crusaders from every remaining city in the Near East in 1291. The chased out Crusaders forces were just holding on to the island of Cyprus.

The Caliphates of the Arab empire, who were virtual rulers in Baghdad since the 9th century, were restored to their virtual religious polarization in Cairo under the Mameluks’ hegemony.

The Crusaders from Christian Europe had been defeated previously in 1187 in a critical battle of Hittine in Palestine by Saladin who managed that feat after reigning as Sultan in both capitals of Cairo and Damascus.

To better comprehend the Levant history we need to stress on the facts that the entire region that composes the present States of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and even Iraq (from the 12th century onward) has been throughout its long history under the direct or indirect domination of empires in Iran, Turkey or Egypt.

The local Emirs or appointed governors paid tributes to one of these powerful centers in return to governing their internal affairs, participating in military campaigns and defending the political dominions and interests of the regional Great Sultans.  The reigning Sultan of Egypt had the upper hand in this period of the novel in the Near East region.

In the 10th century, two dynasties ruled part of the Middle East. In Egypt, the Shiite Moslem Fatimid dynasty, coming from Northern Africa established their Caliphate in Cairo and stretched its influence to Aleppo in Syria. Their successor, the Ayyubid Sunni Moslem dynasty, from Kurdish descent, displaced the Fatimid.

The Mamluks (the serfs who came to hold high political and military powers in the Ayyubid dynasty) rose to power and defeated the Mogul invasion in two crucial battles in Palestine in 1260 at Elbistan.

In Iran, the Seljuk dynasty stretched their empire to Samarqand, Bukhara, Khorassan, Afghanistan, part of Turkey, Syria and part of Lebanon. They fought the Crusaders in the Near East during most of their reign through the intermediary of their appointed “Atabeks” in Turkey and Syria.

The Seljuk dynasty was taken over by the Khowarasmi dynasty whose Sultans were at odd with the Caliphate of Baghdad and helped the hordes of Genghis Khan the Mogul, led by his son Holako, to enter and devastate Baghdad in 1258 which ended the Arabic Empire.

The Moguls established two Viceroys in Iraq, one at Mosul in the Northern part and the second in Baghdad for the Southern part of Iraq.  The Arabic Era that lasted for 5 centuries ended as a cultural and organizational influence. The Emirs in Palestine were generally affiliated to the Sultan of Egypt.  .

The societies in the Levant region have experienced a different level of organizational skills and the beginning of the application of the rudiment written rules of Laws from their interaction with the European Crusaders.  We don’t have much information about the status of Mount Lebanon in that period or about its Emirs, its social structure, its allegiances, its demographic constituency or its economic development.

We assume that the Crusaders left a strong impact on the inhabitants in Mount Lebanon which forced the Arab Emirs to start relocating many Arab tribes from Southern Iraq into the Mount Lebanon regions to counterbalance the Christian population.

Even before the advent of the Arabic Empire, Christian monasteries were numerous and spread out throughout the Near East and Iraq and occupied the top of mountains, hills, and the best areas near fresh water sources in the same fashion you notice them currently in Mount Lebanon.

The monks had their special chambers (kelayye) for retreats and prayers.  Monasteries were very prosperous and maintained exquisite gardens of fruit trees, flowers and vegetables and were well stocked in provisions from their land and donations of the faithful.

During the Arabic Empire, monasteries were required to set up annexes of hostels in order to receive weary travelers and to lodge and feed them.  Usually, the relatives of monks maintained these hostels.  Caliphs, Emirs, and well to do noblemen used to patronize the monasteries and spent days in these quiet domains to eat, drink local wine and beer and have great time away from the scrutiny of city dwellers.

The monasteries in the Levant suffered during the Crusaders’ period because of the bad manners of the European invaders, their robbery and plunder, but the monasteries in Iraq and Eastern Turkey were as prosperous as ever because the crusaders did not venture deep in the land of Arabic Empire.

Many castles were demolished during that bloody period, a few were partially rehabilitated, but a lot of reconstruction of war infrastructure was needed.  What is important to note is that wars were no longer waged using chars with spiked wheels that harvest feet or employed exotic animals such as elephants as during the Antiquity.

Canons of wars were not invented yet, except may be in remote China where they were used during the main ceremonies related to their standing emperors. Wars were still waged with infantry, cavalry and archers in the conventional ways. Newly designed catapults for throwing rocks at castles’ walls and entrances were in use by rich nations with well equipped and sophisticated armies.

The full metal armor used by the crusaders was reduced by the noblemen to a vest of meshed chains and a metal helmet: The climate may not have been suitable to European fashion, since we do enjoy at least 7 months of hot and dry seasons.

Hezbollah to desist spreading myths: Encore

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 selecting Hezbollah for my topic, though all 18 religious sects and castes in Lebanon are no better. There are three reasons I am focusing on Hezbollah:

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 the level of serious 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 and physical ailments 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 are generally born 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.  Shiaa have lived in northern Palestine, Lebanon, and northern Syria many centuries before the Turkish Safavid Empire ruled Iran in the 17th century.  The Safavid Empire decided to adopt the Shiaa sect as the Kingdom religion, though the first monarch was a Sunni Turkish tribe leader.

For many centuries, the Shiaa had to flee the Arabic Sunni Caliphate successive Empires and suffered frequent persecutions during the Ottoman Empire.  The Chiaa took roots in India and in the Maghreb (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 (Syria) and its district was a major focal point for the Ismailia Shiaa (known as Hashashine).

The Shiaa also converged from India to Herat (west Afghanistan) and to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan before spreading to East Iran and the eastern shores of the Arabic Peninsula.  Consequently, the Shiaa 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 Kufa simply because its members are Near Eastern and not Persians.

It does not pay in the medium-term for Hezbollah to re-write the history of theSChiaa in Lebanon, 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.

Part two: What is your cult? (Jan. 15, 2010)

The “Pendulum of Foucault” by Umberto Eco; part two

The book query three authors specializing in the occult or diabolic manuscripts that were written and published in Europe in the last 600 years after the persecution of the Templar Knights.

The authors tried to put together the many pieces of the puzzle that were gleamed from ancient manuscripts in order to construct a rational and logical story of Europe history events.

The Templar Knights were persecuted around 1344 by the French monarch Philip Le Bel and the pope of Rome: Templar Knights over extended their power base in acquiring vast lands and lending money to monarchs and princes and had become the most influential secret organization in Europe. The “initiates” or members were willing to die rather than divulge secrets.

The story starts from a cryptic message that it was attributed to the Templar Knights and found in the town of Provins in south-west France near the Cathar sect region. The various interpretations led to the belief that the fleeing Knights took refuge in the town of Tomar in Portugal and devised a plan to be executed for a period of 600 years.

Every 120 years, the headquarters of the “Invisible 36 Superiors” would be relocated to six different places so that each headquarters would relinquish the secret to the next headquarters.

Apparently, there are two secrets.

The initial secret was of religious nature and it became a cover up to the second secret for dominating the world.  The initial cult was based on the premises that either Jesus was not crucified and was whisked to Marseille in France and his descended initiated the Merovingian French monarchic dynasty or that Jesus died but Marie Magdalena was impregnated by Jesus and was whisked away to start a new dynasty.

The other more enduring secret says that earth underground is traversed by currents that can be controlled to spread havoc on earth crust if only the center or “Umbilicus” of the current could be determined; the center could be discovered if the entire pieces of a particular world cartographical chart can be put together and the sun ray hitting the right location on June 23 or Saint John Day at the beginning of earth summer solstice.

A quick summary of part one might be needed.  The plan would move from Tomar in 1344 to Scotland in 1464, then to Paris in 1584 at Saint Martin des Champs, then to Germany in 1704 at Marienburg near Dantzig, then to Bulgaria in 1824, and finally to Jerusalem (The Rock) in 1944.

The headquarters was transferred to Scotland but the next transfer to Paris didn’t take place and problems started. Every sub-cult wanted to put the pieces together all by itself since serious discontinuity of the pieces of the plan to rule the world was ruined.

One rumor is that the Jewish Diaspora got wind that the Christians have an important secret and got into their own investigative whirlwind and the Kabbala cult was expanded.  The ghettos were targeted for information because the abbot Pic de la Mirandolla referred in one of his speeches that Hebrew is the language to learn in order to decipher the cryptic messages using the Talmud.  The trend became to learn Hebrew and applying all kinds of combinational cryptology on the Talmud.

In fact, the Templar Knights had no connections with the Jewish religion; they had no Jewish sources or learned Hebrew.  The Free Masons inherited their cult from the Templar and added this myth related to Hiram and the Temple of Jerusalem.

Another rumor was that the Jesuits organization of Ignacio de Loyola was attuned to these secrets and working to put together the puzzle; the Jesuits were behind switching from the Julian to the Georgian calendar?  Anyway, France’s Grand Master Guillaume Postel died in 1581 and a Jesuit abbot confessed him.

Francis Bacon traveled to Prussia to connect with the Grand Master in Marienburg and he instituted many Templar Knights cults around Europe to gather information.

Most of the scholars in Europe were initiates in one or more of these cults such as Leonardo da Vinci, Newton, Voltaire, Condorcet, Diderot, d’Alembert, Lavoisier, Goethe, Mirabeau, Jules Verne, Francis Bacon, and on.   

Alexander Dumas wrote “Joseph Balsamo”, representing a Grand Master of Templar Knights; most of the heroes of Jules Verne are permutations on Cultists names such as “John Garral” in reference to the Graal or Robur le Conquerent and many of his novels are located underground and in the bowel of earth.  The frenzied endeavors to constructing vast underground tunnels, sewer systems, and metro lines in most European Capitals were decided and initiated by cultist sects; Salomon de Caus, one of the initiates, started the sewer system in Paris around 1665 at the demand of Colbert; Paris ended up with 23 kilometers of underground system.

Napoleon summoned the Jews in Europe to a conclave in 1806; the name of the convention was “Grand Sanhedrin”.  Apparently, Napoleon needed three pieces of the puzzle; since Napoleon failed to invade England then he wanted the last piece of the puzzle that he judged would be in the hands of the Jewish cults, the hierosolymitaine supposed to be waiting in Jerusalem (don’t ask me what is this sect).  The piece of puzzle, before the last, was supposed in the hands of the Paulician sect settled in Russia.

Who are the Paulicians? The sect is one of the hundreds of “heretic” Christian sects according to the Orthodox Byzantium Church. The Paulician refuses the Ancient Testament, the sacraments, despises the cross, and does not honor the Virgin Mary: she was just a fast conduit to Christ already made in heaven.  The sect became widespread and engaged in many wars along side the Byzantium Empire; it reached the Euphrates River in Syria and established communities in the Arabic Peninsula. Emperor Basil of Byzantium ended up persecuting the Paulician sect that fled to Slavic lands.

Now, the Orthodox Synod in Moscow lambasted Napoleon as trying to establish the antichrist reign and rule the world. Napoleon would in 1812 invade Russia to connect with the Paulician branch of the Templar Knights and fail in his endeavor.

Baron von Brunswick convened all the European Templar branches to reaching a consensus: the cultists met and the meeting failed.

The secret service of Tsar Nicholas II, the Okhrana, disseminated protocols in ancient manuscripts and labeled it “Protocols of the Wises of Sion” and the Jews were persecuted in order to get a piece of the puzzle.

Hitler also wanted a piece of the pie.  He tried to invade England and Russia for the same reasons.  Hitler was very meticulous in killing as many Jews as possible, in a well oiled process, in order to discover the secret of the hierosolymitaine branch.

At this stage, the authors of the occults realized that the story was advancing in the wrong direction.

Since the Templar Knights had no connections with Jewish sources then the last branch is not in Jerusalem but the fort of Alamut in the south-east region of the Caspian Sea.  The “Old of the Mountain” was Hassan Ibn Al Sabbah who instituted what the European called the “Assassins sect” based on the word “hashasheen” or those that consumed hashish.

The initiates of Al Sabbah had terrorized all Moslem monarchs and princes and frightened the Crusaders when they attempted to kill a few of their leaders.  The Templar Knights were owed by this sect and valued those fearless initiates and connect with Al Sabbah sect and learned their underground current secret, their organization, and the techniques for training suicidal members.

Al Sabbah would kidnap select young men, drug them, and then move them to the fort.  The young man would wake up and be feasted for many weeks with best food, women, hashish, and everything that might give the man the impression of transplanted in heaven.  Then, when time is ripe, the young man would be drugged again and relocated outside the fort Alamut with instructions.  The move would be to kill an enemy at very close range and then commit suicide (feddayins) if not killed on the spot.  Sultan Salah El Din came very close to be assassinated twice and he decided to desist persecuting this sect.

The sect of Al Sabbah is a variant of the Shiaa Islamic schism: they believe that Ali, the son-in-law of Prophet Mohammad, is also a prophet as are all his descendents; the last prophet is to unveil his existence at the end of time.  This sect is one of the Ismailia sects that the Fatimid dynasty in Egypt disseminated.  The Druze sect in Lebanon is a variant of Ismailia.  Actually, one of the misinterpretations in transcribing manuscripts was confounding Ismaili with Israeli.

In the end, the authors interpreted the cryptic message the right way: the message was based on a commission list of a merchant at Provins; this list was not hidden in a case encrusted with diamonds but a rotting one. Actually, the commission list mentions streets, churches, and forts that are located in the town of Provins.  The town was famous for clothing and growing red flowers imported from Syria during the crusading campaigns.  The merchant jotted down in short hand the locations to deliver six bouquets of roses, 6 roses in each bouquet for 20 sous, for a total of 120 sous.

The cultist mentality wrecked havoc in Europe for 600 years based on rumors and the need for secrets to assemble people in organizations and associations.

Cultists are “Big” kids in need of secrets to perpetuate before merging into adulthood.

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.

Lebanon: An improbable Nation in the making, (February 19, 2008)

 Lebanon has been mentioned countless times in the ancient stories, particularly in the Jewish Bible, as the land of milk and honey, and snow covered majestic mountains of cedars, pine and oak trees. Lebanon has been described for its skilled inhabitants and sea faring mariners, and commercial ingenuity by establishing trading counters around the Mediterranean Sea. 

Lebanon is recognized as a formal States in the UN since its inception at the sessions in San Francisco in 1946, after the end of WWII, and Lebanese delegates participated in the writing of the UN charter.  Lebanon snatched its independence from the colonial mandated France in 1943, with a big help from Britain.  The last French troops vacated this land in 1946.  Still, the Lebanese are lacking the definitive belief in a motherland.

                        Lebanon is surely a good place for leisure time and a vacationing location for its immigrants; many families that can afford to leave for greener pastures are not overly disturbed of losing a “nation”.  Most Lebanese have not participated as a Nation to defend the land from aggressors and to preserving its unity.  

After over 65 years of nominal independence, the political system has failed miserably to convince the Lebanese that prospect for security and lasting development is feasible.

                        The main problem is that we have 18 officially recognized castes, closed sects, with autonomous personal status legal systems associated with each respective sect.  Thus, the Lebanese citizen is defined as practically a member of a caste from birth to death, whether he likes it or not.  The political system has followed this caste structure and allocated the civil service positions, particularly in the highest levels, that a citizen of a certain caste can attain, and the number of deputies in the parliament, and ministers in the government according to a structured quota relative to the hierarchy of the caste after each civil war. Members of a caste have realized that services could be obtained through the leadership of their caste and not from a central government or legal rights.

There are large sections among the citizens who have secular, agnostic, atheist, many of leftist tendencies, Marxists, progressives and seculars ideologies, and comprised of all castes and would like to establish reforms to the political system.  Thus, the following harsh criticisms are not targeting individuals, but the social structure in general.  Unfortunately, I had to adopt sectarian terminology in order to get the point through, as clearly and as simply as feasible.

                        The Druze sect, located mainly in the Chouf district and part of the Bekaa Valley that borders the Golan Height, was originally a Shiaa sect affiliated to the Fatimid dynasty in Egypt around the 13th century.  When we mention Shiaa it is meant a sect among other sects that refused to abide by the Moslem Sunni sect that paid allegiance to a Caliphate, not directly descending from the Prophet Mohammad. 

After the demise of the Fatimid dynasty, the Druze were harshly persecuted and they opted to close the membership in order to discourage serious infiltrations to their sect.  They admonished their members to have two positions, one that would satisfy the power to be and another of a more intimate belief system.  For example, Walid Jumblat is a typical Druze leader with two-faced messages and ready to change his political position when opportunities of allying to the strongest power materialize.

In general, the Druze sect is suspicious and even hates every sect bordering their location of concentration.  They have practically allied to anyone that might weaken the political and economic status of districts of their neighboring sects.  The Druze is the only citizen who recognizes that he belongs to a caste, a closed religious sect, where no outside believers can be accepted, and none of the members scratched from the register. This is a dying sect that failed to open up and comprehend or assimilate the notion of belonging to a larger community or nation to unite with.

                        The Moslem Sunni sect is even worse than the Druze in allegiance to a central government, because it has been functioning as a caste since independence but not acknowledging it.  The Sunni sect has nothing in its religion to prevent it from opening up and uniting with other sects under one nation. It has enjoyed supreme privileges as the main caste during the Ottoman Sunni Empire and had the opportunities to concentrate in the main cities on the littoral and also to trade and communicate with foreigners and other sects but it opted to hide in its shell and stave off changes and reforms.  

Foreign travelers and many accounts have revealed that nobody could rent in a Sunni house or has been invited inside their lodging. Only Sunni males were seen outside doing business; women were never seen outside their domiciles. Man reached the moon but the Sunni caste has yet to acknowledge this achievement.

The leaders of the Sunni caste agreed in the National Pact, right after independence, to share power with the Christian Maronite sect but they kept vigilant to continuously allying with the most powerful Sunny Arab State of the moment.  The civil wars of 1958 and then 1975 started in order to regain hegemony over the Maronite political privileges in the new political system. 

The Sunni sect has allies with the monarchies in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Sunni State of Egypt and it frequently takes positions with Arab foreign powers at the detriment of national unity.  In general, the Sunni still hope for a return to a Caliphate reign and support all kinds of Sunni fundamentalists and salafists.  This caste is very adamant in proscribing matrimonial relationship outside its caste.

                          The Maronite sect was very open for centuries and was the main religion that established roots in the Druze canton because the feudal Druze landlords needed the Maronite peasants to work their hard lands.  In 1860, a bloody civil war broke out in the Druze canton and thousands of Maronites were massacred. 

When Israel invaded Lebanon in 1983, it encouraged the Christian Lebanese Forces militias to entertain military presence in the Druze canton.  As the Israeli forces vacated the Chouf region then the Druze of the feudal Walid Jumblat asked the aid of the Palestinian factions at the orders of the Syrian regime and he systematically slaughtered the Maronites and thus, drove the Christians out of the Druze canton and back to their original cantons of centuries back. 

 Since 1990, the government allocated over two billion dollars to repatriate the Christians to the Chouf and only 15% returned; there is no accountability in which black hole all that money was siphoned in. The Maronite adopted the closed sect system when agreeing to the National Pact and it is extremely difficult for non-Christians to join this sect.

                           Under the leadership of Hezbollah the Shias, in the south and the Bekaa Valley, are basically the main caste shouldering the heavy burden of defending Lebanon from the frequent aggressions of Israel.  Without the Shiaa south Lebanon would have long been swallowed by Israel and Lebanon divided and scraped from the number of independent States.  It is the Shiaa who forced Israel to withdraw from the south unconditionally in May 24, 2000.  It is the Shiaa who foiled the strategy of Israel of reconquering the south of Lebanon in July 2006 and installing a Pax Americana in the Greater Middle East. 

                        Hezbollah split from the main “Amal” Shiaa movement around 1983 and adopted an ideology tightly linked to the Khomeini hardliners in Iran and was responsible for the suicide attacks against the US and French headquarters in Beirut.  Hezbollah was the only resistance movement allowed by Syria to operate against Israel’s occupation in the south of Lebanon: Syria had prohibited all the other Lebanese nationalistic and progressive parties to resume their liberation resistance during its occupation of Lebanon.

                        After the assassination of Rafic Hariri PM in 2005 and the withdrawal of the Syrian troops from Lebanon, we have been experiencing a serious void in the legitimacy of the current government.  The entente between the Tayyar political party of Michel Aoun and Hezbollah has allayed the perception that schemes for a recurring civil war in under planning. 

The patient, internally non-violence strategy of Hezbollah in conducting non-cooperation activities against an unjust and usurping government has permitted the Lebanese population to gain the assurance and relief that another civil war is not feasible.  This Seniora’s government and its allies have been plundering the public treasury for the past three years and for the last 15 years under Rafic Hariri.

 This continuous regime of the Hariri political and financial clan has been spreading poverty and deepening the indebtedness and ineptness of Lebanon, with the explicit support of the Bush administration, under the guise of empty rhetoric of democracy, security and independence from Syria’s indirect involvement in Lebanon.

                         Consequently, the Shiaa have proven to be the legitimate sons of an independent Lebanon and have paid the prices of martyrdom, suffering, sacrifice and pain in order to be the guarantor for the emergence of a Nation against all odds.  It is the sacrifices of the Shiaa and their patience to suffer for the benefit of all Lebanese that is providing them with the leverage of flexibility, intent to change, learn from experience and improve.  The successive unilateral withdrawals of Israel from Lebanon since 1982 without any preconditions have given the Lebanese citizen grounds to standing tall.

                        Our main problem is that International requirements of Lebanon and our local politics are at odds.  The USA, Europe and Saudi Arabia would like to settle the Palestinian refugees as Lebanese citizens with full rights and thus avoiding the corny problem of their rights to be repatriated to Israel as stated in the UN resolution of 194. 

The Monarchy in Saudi Arabia has been viewing the Palestinian question as a major liability since the extremist party of Hamas has taken power in Gaza; Saudi Arabia is exhausted of paying the bills for the destructions of Israel to Palestinian and Lebanese properties and infrastructures at the urging of the USA and would like an end to this conflict that is hampering the internal stability of the Wahabi Saudi regime. 

                        The two main local movements of the Future (Moustaqbal) party (The Hariri’s clan) and Hezbollah are more than content of this unconstitutional political dilemma.  On the one hand, The Future is satisfied with its dominance among the Sunnis in Beirut and the North and thus, giving the Palestinian refugees citizenship might create an unknown variable that could disrupt the majority of the Sunni allegiance to the Al Moustakbal. 

Consequently, the Hariri clan cannot disobey the Saudi orders, but it cannot shoot itself in the foot:  Externally, the Hariri clan is pro Saudi but in reality it is very cozy with the Syrian position of keeping the Palestinian refugee status as its strongest card during the negotiations with the USA and afterward.  The unstable constitutional political system in Lebanon may delay indefinitely any serious pressures from Saudi Arabia and the USA to resolving the Palestinian refugees’ question. 

On the other hand, Hezbollah is weary of having to deal with a constitutional government and negotiate returning its arms to the Lebanese army; thus, the two main parties in Lebanon are supporting each other practically and just playing the game of opposing forces. Furthermore, The USA has decided after the fiasco of the July war in 2006 that no more investment in time on Lebanon is appropriate at this junction.  We have to wait for a new US administration to decide that it is willing to re-open the file of the Near East problems.

                        The allies to the two main parties are side shows; they know it, and they are not allowed to change sides.  Thanks to the vehement rhetoric against Syria of its allies, Walid Jumblatt and Samir Geaja, the Future party has been able to give the impression that it is against the Syrian regime while practically it agrees with the Syrian positions and would like to keep the present status quo in Lebanon’s political system of the Taef constitutional amendments. 

General Michel Aoun has realized that he has been taken by the sweet tender offers of Hezbollah, but he cannot shift allegiance or form a third alliance since the non resolution of the situation is the name of the game until further agreement among the main Arab States and the main superpowers.  General Aoun has declared that it is Hezbollah that needs his alliance.

                        So far, the polemics among the government’s allies and the opposition political parties are not shy of harboring sectarian allegiances in their charged speeches but somehow they failed to discuss the actual caste, or closed religious system in our social structure, which is the fundamental problem toward a modern state of governance. I do not believe that any fair and representative electoral law is of utility unless the basic caste system is recognized as a sin and altered accordingly to represent an alternative for the citizen joining a united and free status under one State.

                        The first step is to instituting a voluntary State marriage law and letting the situation unfold into a more liberal understanding of the need of the people.  The road is very long and arduous before the beginning of a semblance of trust among the Lebanese is established. 

However, I feel that the Shiaa under the leadership of a wise and disciplined Hezbollah, and their corresponding Christian Free Patriotic movement, are leading the way for a semi-autonomous Lebanon, at least in its internal restructuring.  I believe that the necessities of survival would loosen up many stiff ideological and caste roadblocks toward a reformed political system and the institution of a governing body that abide in integrity, accountability and justice for all.

                        It is a fact that extremist Sunni salafist ideology is gaining quickly in all the Arab and Moslem World, out of desperation and the widespread illiteracy and lack of job openings.  The feud between the Shiaa and the Sunny is historically and fundamentally a clan warfare between the Muslims that demand the Caliphate to be a direct descended to the Prophet and those who don’t mind as long as the Caliphate is from the Kureich family, mainly Hashem or Ummaya or whatever. 

Maybe our mix of all kinds of sects might be a rampart to our moderate liberal tendencies.  The spirit of motherland is coming from an unforeseen quarter; mainly the Shiaa caste freshly arriving in the social and political scene around 1970. 

This disinherited caste was already a majority when the civil war of 1975 broke out and it suffered from the total ignorance of the central government for infrastructure and social services and had also to suffer the humiliation and atrocities of frequent Israeli air raids and land attacks and bombing of their villages under the disguise of dislodging the Palestinian guerillas.  This caste is opening up to almost all sects and managed to ally with large sections of many other castes.  This extending arm might be considered as necessary out of the realization that they are a majority in Lebanon and a real minority in the neighboring States of Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. This necessity is a blessing to Lebanon because the main major caste is encouraging unity against foreign invaders.

In the event that Hezbollah maintains its strength then, it can be forecasted that the economic strategy of Lebanon will shift from tourism and third sector (the Hariri’s clan strategy) into more emphasis on agriculture and small and medium industries, many of it geared toward guerilla warfare.

 I used the term “Nation” for Lebanon in a general sense to convey that a form of unity is developing in the conscious of the Lebanese but this notion of Nation is far from appropriate to Lebanon simply because experiences since independence could not provide any evidence to a unified people under legitimate and responsible central governments.  Lebanon is fundamentally an amalgamation of castes that enjoy self-autonomy.  I still believe that the Syrians, Lebanese, Palestinians, and Jordanians naturally form a Nation and they should generate a common market with separate recognized States.

I am convinced the Taef Constitution was meant to have total entente among the various main parties in Lebanon before starting to elect a new president to the republic; the entente should involve everything from election law, to the constitution of the government and other priorities.  This fact translates into agreement among the main Arab States and the main superpowers on how Lebanon should be governed during six years.  Unless the Lebanese leaders and political parties get together to review the Taef Constitution and be willing to pay the price of deciding to have a mind of their own then Lebanon is de facto under the UN protectorate.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2020
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