Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘general aoun

Worst battles between the Christian forces: The army and the Lebanese “Christian” Forces militia of Samir Geagea

Support movement for General Michel Aoun, currently elected as President of the Republic

The issue of the daily Al Balad, May 9, 2005

Testimonials of the civil war in Lebanon

This is the story of a girl who was 13 years old when the movement of General Aoun started after being appointed Prime Minister in interim, after President Amin Gemayel tenure ended without the election of a President in 1988.

All the Muslim Sunni sect leaders, pressured by Syria, refused to form governments. Aoun had to form his own government with the military.

The girl used to participate in the demonstrations in support of Aoun liberation stand against the occupation of the Syrian forces, and joined her schoolmates visiting the Presidential Palace in Baabda. She also drove there accompanied by her aunt and grand dad.

The Dekwani area where she lived was under the control of the “Lebanese Forces”, which was at the time still allied with one of the divided Lebanese army.

She once wrote a poem to General Michel Aoun and drew the Statue of Liberty depicting the territory of Lebanon where the torch stands.

Later, when the Lebanese army faced the trespasses of the “Lebanese Forces” on Red Lines that separated the  militia forces, and the refusal to evict the port of Beirut, people were forced to take refuge in basements.

The children were separated from adults who needed silence to listen to the radios. 

The trapped citizens would go three days without food.  The main ingredient was lemon because it killed the appetite and boxes of Panadol for headaches.

The girl’s grand dad cooked on a blue alcohol flame which took forever for the cooked food to be ready.

General Aoun gave up the fight as the Syrian air force bombed the presidential Palace on October 13, 1990, with the consent of the US, Israel, and Saudi Kingdom.

The citizens heard the General voice on the radio telling them the situation so that ”we save and keep whatever is left in Lebanon”. 

People wept and started burning the General’s cassettes and pictures for fear that the Syrian might indict them.

After October 13, the girl resumed her studies at the all girl school in Fanar where the Syrian troops installed one of their headquarters.  The girls would not go out to play, especially when rumors spread of mass graves in Beit Mery and Deir Kalaa.

The Syrian soldiers used to walk the playgrounds while the students kept to their classes and they celebrated the remembrance of the independence at Independence Day.

The students began throwing leaflets opposing the Syrian occupation from school buses windows when passing Syrian check points; the consequence was school order to shut all school buses windows during the whole trip home.

The supporters of the General had a code car honking and poster were plastered stating “The General will return” from exile in France.

Note 1: I had returned to the US to resume my PhD program. My parents told me peace has come and you decided to leave again? A month later, the worst battles were engaged between the Lebanese Forces and the army under General Aoun.

I had to rely on the Red Cross to get any news of the safety of my parents who had to keep to the lower floor for over 4 months and stacking bags of dirt on entrances and windows. I received my request from the Red cross 2 weeks later: Parents safe.

Note 2: The Syrian forces remained in Lebanon until 2005, after the assassination of ex-Rafic Hariri PM. The International Court, after 15 years of deliberation, still didn’t extend any convincing decision of “Who assassinated Hariri”. This court ended up stating that Syria was Not behind this assassination. As if we, the Lebanese, didn’t know that the US/Germany and Israel were the planners of this “sophisticated” execution.

Another wave of assassinations readied: Bi-Weekly report (#26)


            Israel has readied another wave of assassinations in Lebanon.  The main strategy of Israel in Lebanon is to encourage civil wars because it is helpless to tame the Lebanese by brute force; it tried it three times after 1992 and failed miserably.  As soon as Israel gathers intelligence on social unrest in Lebanon then it begins enflaming sectarian conflicts that the Lebanese have not manage to overcome by its archaic political structure and election laws. 

            We can already predict the timing of political assassinations when the governments in Lebanon fail to form unity government.  Israel participated heavily in the execution of an international decision to assassinate late Rafic Hariri PM because the timing was appropriate.  After Israel and Cheney assassinated Rafic Hariri then Israel went on assassinating the intellectuals and activists George Hawi, Samir Kassir, and Jubran Tuweiny who were in the vanguard of seeking unity among the Lebanese.  The civil war failed to materialize because the leaders of the majority in the Parliament knew that these assassinations were perpetrated by Israel and not by the opposition or Syria.

            Israel resumed another wave of assisations on political figures and Deputies such as young Pierre Gemayel.  Civil war failed to take off and thus Israel decided to activate her military plan to invading south Lebanon for the seventh time.  The war occured in June 2006; after 33 days of active bombardement and destruction of Lebanon’s infrastructure the ground attack failed miserably because Hezbollah resistance kept her ground and defended evey yard and evey town.

            The trend of assassination before the June war 2006 and afterward pointed to close cooperation with Israel among inside Lebanese leaders; it was as if the Lebanese leaders were implicitly selecting for Israel the potential personalities that are disposable for assassination because they constituted liability for the progress of George W. Bush and French Chirac strategy in the Greater Middle East.

            What prompted my article is that after the parliamentary election of June 7, 2009, the same majority in the Parliament are trying to resume their older plan of failing to form a unity government as was agreed on in Dowha.  The signs are pretty leaning toward that direction of hording the government and key civil posts in the administration.  The majority elected 4 under-secretaries to Nabih Berri in the Parliament such as Marwan Hamadeh, Fatfat, Ogasapian, and Zahrat and eliminated a representative of the Tayyar of General Aoun who has a block of 27 deputies out of 128.  These four under-secretaries are servile to their masters and big mouths but they share one other common denominator: they failed to recognize the new dynamics in the region and thus they have become huge liability to their leaders; they should have declined to resume doing politics as usual and stepped out of politics.


            My hunch is that if within 10 days Saad Hariri (called upon by 86 Deputies to form a government) drags his feet in constituting a unity government then Israel would have received the strong hint to try destabilizing Lebanon and would step in. It stands to reason that one of the first candidates for assassination could be from among those big mouths that are serious liabilities to their leaders and have served their duties. There is another Deputy who is a liability to all leaders and has no value in representing any one; his death has greater value for short term gains during the formation of a government.


            Iran won on two counts in the latest round of problems during and after the election.   The Iranians have proven that they have national objectives and are ready for reforms.  I would have been sceptic that the regime in Iran is functioning well if not for these mass demonstrations that are pointing direction for change and rejuvenation of an empire.

Elections’ Aftermath: Bi-weekly report #26 (June 15, 2009)

Iranian President Ahmadinajad won the election by a landslide; over 80% of the Iranians lined up to vote and Ahmadinajad got 64% of the vote.

On June 8, I posted “Bi-weekly report (#25) and stated “Iran is having its Presidential election on June 12, 2009.  The candidates Ahmadinajad and Mossawi faced off in a television debate.  Moussawi suckered to the public opinion of the western nations’ demands: he is speaking as a foreign affairs minister and not a candidate to win the presidency.  The attitude of appeasing the western public opinions is considered very disgusting in Iran and not the characteristic of a candidate of a vast Empire.”

The Iranian people didn’t vote for reforms, for bread, for appeasing the USA (Obama is already appeased), for their right to build nuclear power plant (they have them), or to own their nuclear arsenal (they could if they wish).  The people voted according to their perceived high dignity.

The Iranians have acquired strong sense of identity.

The Iranians sent the clear message that they are not going to cow to the threat of a tiny and puny State such as Israel. If the Israeli government planned that their threat during Election Day is going to turn the balance toward the more “moderate” candidate then it failed to comprehend the current spirit of the Iranians.

The President of Iran has no desicion power since three other implicit institutions have decision responsibilities.  Thus, this election means that the Iranians are satisfied with the tacit “Constitution” erected after the death of Khomeini.

Moving to the election in Lebanon you can feel the lack of dignity and weakness in identity.

Foreign interventions and the purchase of voters are preponderant; the laws controlling the election process are not meant to be applied except on the weaker candidates and their supporters.

The opposition had a definite program for reforms and change of the political system; the opposition was to win the election by a slight majority; it did not.  (The opposition alliance was constituted of Hezbollah, the Tayyar of Gen, Michel Aoun and Nabih Berri…)

Foreign projects of a tacit alliance among the USA, the EU, Syria, and Saudi Arabia dictated that a victory for the opposition is not in line for appeasement at “this junction”.

Syria is going ahead for a “peace” deal with Israel, supported by the US Administration and Saudi Arabia.  Turkey is to resume its mediation.

The other hot “problems” such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestinian State would be negotiated after Syria is fully satisfied for the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Golan Heights to the borders of 1967.

Barak Obama has Pakistan to worry about and the resurgence of virulent Taliban to tame and to control Taliban spreading activities.

Thus, the Lebanese extremist Sunnis were denied representation in the Parliament.

A surprising influx of Lebanese immigrants of over 100,000 within a week destabilized all polling estimates.

Saudi Arabia is not shy denying that it budgeted over $1 billion for the Parliamentary election in Lebanon.  Syria was allocated a major role to bring to power the government coalition in the district of Zahle.  The Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah  Sfeir was allowed to give a warning declaration on the eve of the election that defied election laws: the Patriarch proclaimed a pack of political lies that everyone in politics knew is false; his speech galvanized the ignorant and sectarian citizens to vote for the government coalition.

Hezbollah knew that the opposition was not meant to win and it suited its interest at this phase of the struggle. The real “cosmic” battle was focused on defeating General Aoun and the coalition of the Tayyar.  The Tayyar won against all odds: it increased its bloc from 20 to 27 deputies and captured the two additional districts of Baabda and Jezzine.

The Tayyar defeated Patriarch Sfeir and the President of the Republic Michel Suleiman by a wide margin.

Syria did not appreciate that Michel Aoun defied her staunchest ally Nabih Berry (head of AMAL and Chairman of the Parliament since 1991) in the district and city of Jezzine. Actually, the bloc of Nabih Berry lost 5deputies in this election but will be re-elected at the head of the Parliament.

Michel Aoun proclaimed that he will participate in a national government that allocates ministerial seats on relative victories; thus, if the government is to be of 30 ministers,  the Tayyar bloc should enjoy seven portfolios. It is my contention that the Tayyar will be satisfied in the next government simply because no one, internally and externally, is ready to spare time and counter attack the frequent rightful exigencies of the sole truly opposition bloc in this election.

What General Aoun has to plan for is another serious trip to Syria and Iran for two reasons;

First, to establish direct communication lines for timely advices and updated intelligence offered by States instead of relying solely on his advisors and his personal reflection; it is known that General Aoun is judged “unpredictable” and unbending on principles of autonomy in decisions and the strengthening of the Central State. Many powerful foreign officials are reluctant to meet face to face with Aoun for fear of “losing face” suggesting advices that go counter to Aoun’s principles.

Second, General Aoun has to revamp the misinformation and understanding of his concept for a Third Republic and setting a schedule of formal meetings with foreign officials in Syria and Iran.

Legitimate, Temporary, and Necessary (June 5, 2009)


            On June 7, 2009 the Lebanese will vote for a new Parliament. Theo groups of citizens will vote; the group constituted of the patriotic, secular, and reformists and the group of an amalgam of confessionals, feudalists, isolationists, statue quo,  and “colonial minded” mentalities. The “colonial minded” citizens follow leaders who invariably rely on foreign interventions to balance a broken alliance among confessional castes system and perpetrate the conditions for weak central governments.

            A brief current history might elucidate this drastic splitting among the Lebanese citizens. In May 24, 2000 Ehud Barak PM of Israel withdrew from most of south Lebanon with no preconditions, the first ever in Israel 61 years history. The joint strategy of Lebanon President Lahoud and Bashar Assad of Syria enabled Hezbollah a resounding victory.  The Arab League decided to hold its annual meting in Beirut in August 2002 as a god gesture for its acknowledgment of the victory in 2000 of this tiny State.

In 2003, Syria had plans for partial withdrawal to the Bekaa Valley but the vehement rhetoric from the Druze leader Walid Jumblat and the Patriarch of the Maronite Christian sect slowed down the execution process. 

Before the assassination of Rafic Hariri in February 14, 2005 the Bush Jr. Administration and Jacque Chirac of France issued the UN resolution 1559 for the retreat of the Syrian forces from Lebanon and the dismantling of Hezbollah’s military wing and the return of its heavy armament.  The withdrawal of the Syrian troops was not the main objective because the international community and the main Arab States wanted and kept high hopes that Syria will ultimately be pressured to do the dirty work of taming Hezbollah.

            The Syrian government factored in many variables to opposing the frequent lures and pressures of what is expected of her to do in order to remain in Lebanon.  The targeting Rafic Hariri for assassination by the US, France, Saudi Arabia, and Israel was not one of the variables considered and Syria strategy was shaken violently. In fact, Rafic Hariri received so many encouragements and acted in such confidence that the Syrian government forgot to contemplate such an evil and drastic eventuality.

The mass demonstration on February 14 was not a threat to Syria; General Aoun was still in exile in France and was pressured by the French government not to return to Lebanon.  What Syria comprehended the loudest was the mass demonstration by Hezbollah on March 8, 2005.  Hezbollah thanked Syria for its sacrifices, which meant “Now it is time for your complete withdrawal” Hezbollah was always nervous of the Syrian presence in Lebanon because it was the only power capable of restraining its activities.  Hezbollah was sending the message to Bashar Assad “We can take care of ourselves and still continue the resistance against Israel if you definitely put an end to the international pressures by getting out of Lebanon” 

The mass demonstration in March 14, fortified by the supporters of General Aoun (The Tayyar Horr), was not even a threat to Syria.  It was the realization of Syria that its continued presence in Lebanon will ultimately confront its army directly as the Lebanese government lost control over events and cowered under uncertainties.

Syria withdrew quickly to the frustration of the US and France who realized that they wasted Hariri for naught: Hariri could still be of great benefit to their policies in the Middle East region alive rather than dead.  The International Community, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia fel back to plan B: re-kindling the civil war in Lebanon.  They initiated a series of bombing in Christian quarters hoping that the Christian will side en mass with the Sunni/Hariri clan.  Plan B petered.  They came back with more vigorous scare tactics by assassinating Christian personalities.  Samir Kassir, George Hawi, and Jubran Tweiny were marked as potentially not reliable and could shift sides because they were independent minded and honest characters.  This wave of select assassination backfired because General Aoun signed a pact with Hezbollah and de-activated a potential civil war targeting the Christians.

Plan C also failed and civil war did not flare out.  Thus, direct intervention from outside was considered and Israel trained its forces for incursion into Lebanon with the US total aids and support in all phases.  Hezbollah, intentionally or by coincidence, preempted the completion of the plan in June 12, 2006.  Israel launched its offensive for 33 days and failed miserably in all the goals.  The attack backfired and the stature of Hezbollah ballooned and overflowed to all the Arab and Moslem populations.

The International Community, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia did not desist.  Plan D was to re-enforce the Sunnis with a military wing of extremist salafists called “Jound Al Sham” and financed by Bandar Bib Sultan of Saudi Arabia.   In the summer of 2007 a few ignorant and violent Sunni extremists preempted the timing by slaughtering Lebanese soldiers; the army pride and dignity reacted with an all out attack and crushed this insurrection in Nahr Al Bared Palestinian camp after many months and many martyrs. 

The International Community, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia studied for two years to dismantle Hezbollah secured communication lines and to start a mini civil war in Beirut between the Shiaa and Sunnis.  Plan E backfired again on May 8, 2008 and the Lebanese leaders had to meet in Dawha and agree on the election of a President to the Republic, an election law for Parliament, and the constitution of a national government. Lebanon has suffered for 4 years of an incompetent and illegitimate government; the Lebanese lived in a totally insecure political vacuum; the economy was farmed out to the size of the Hariri clan and the financial debt skyrocketed to $60 billions.  This “political” debt is intended to pressure the Lebanese government into accepting the settling of the 400,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon in return for debt cancellation.


            We need to compare four categories of leaders along the two dimensions of principled leaders and pragmatists.  In the dimension of principled leaders we can discriminate the hate monger isolationist leaders versus the principled for the public and State good. In the pragmatic dimension we have the individual interest oriented and the public/State pragmatists.  For example: Walid Jumblat, Merwan Hamadeh, Amine Gemayel, Samir Geaja, and the Patriarch of the Christian Maronite sect can be categorized in the isolationist, confessional, and personal minded leaders.  Ex-President Emile Lahoud, General Michel Aoun, Suleiman Frangieh, and Hassan Nasr Allah could be classified as the principled and public/State object oriented pragmatists.  The classification of the remainder of the semi-leaders I leave it to the readers as exercises. The Mufti of Beirut is a non entity: he is the bugle of Saad Hariri.  Saad Hariri is a non entity: he re-edited the slogan of the chairman of General Motors to say “What is good for the Saudi Monarchs is good for Lebanon”.  General Motors has declared bankruptcy; the Hariri/Seniora clan will declare bankruptcy on June 8, 2009.


            With the exception of General Aoun who refused any kind of occupation all leaders welcomed the mandate of Syria for 20 years; they kept repeating the mantra “The presence of Syria in Lebanon is “Legitimate, Temporary, and Necessary”; Merwan Hamadeh and all the actual ministers were the ones repeating this mantra to nauseating public.  The Maronite Patriarch Sfeir was against the Syrian presence but was pretty cool regarding Israel’s occupation.   The members of the Seniora PM government did not voice out their refusal of Israel’s occupation of part of south Lebanon and constantly conspired to weaken the resistance forces against the Israeli occupiers on the basis that only international diplomacy can pressure Israel! 

Only President Lahoud stood steadfast with Hezbollah and refused to deploy the army in areas of the resistance’s operations.  Thanks to Hassan Nasr Allah and President Lahoud Lebanon managed to secure its integrity and unify its army.  Thanks to Hassan Nasr Allah and General Michel Aoun Lebanon buried any likelihood for the resurgence of a civil war.  My spirit went to statesman General Aoun who said once the Syrian troops crossed the borders “Syria is now out of Lebanon.  I have no qualms with Syria anymore. This is the time to open a new page in our relations”.  This position stands in contrast to those who begged Syria for crumbs and privileges for 20 years and once Syria withdrew they refrained from normalizing relations with Syria; the fictitious excuses to antagonize Syria were dictated by Saudi Arabia and Egypt.  What kind of state leadership is that?

The election results of June 7, 2009 should fortify Lebanon as a Nation and project the image of a solid central government with serious reforms and changes to the archaic political system.  That are my wishes but I know the struggle will be long and protracted.  Sweet revolutions need time to mature in this diversified Lebanon.

“Shock and Steadfastness” by Kareem Bakradouny (Book Review, May 25, 2009)


This Arabic/Lebanese manuscript “Sadmat wa Soumoud” is of 518 pages and a report of the period of former Lebanese President Emile Lahoud.  The author and politician Kareem Bakradouny is the biographer of Lahoud since he acceded to chief of the army in 1992. Bakradouny met with Lahoud every Friday from 1992 to 2007. The meetings were held first in the Kaslik swimming club till the assassination of late Rafic Hariri PM, and then at the Presidential Palace. Before heading to a meeting, Bakradouny would wait for the call and then they would talk in a small room facing the sea.  The author hand wrote the discussions and sometimes he would record them.

Bakradouny decided to postpone the military period of Lahoud for another volume. The book is divided into three parts each of three chapters.  The first part is “The Road to the Presidency”, the second part “Period of Cohabitation (with Rafic Hariri PM)”, and the third part “Period of Calamities”.


“Shock and Steadfastness” takes you from unifying the army, internal political struggle, the liberation of south Lebanon in May 24, 2000 and the negotiations for confirming the “Blue Line” on the border with Israel, the confrontation with the Moslem extremists in the district of Donnieh, the logic of statehood versus market requirements, the beginning of a string of assassinations, the pressures of the US Bush Jr. Administration, the roadblocks for extending the Presidency tenure three more years, the assassination of Rafic Hariri, the July War of  2006, the withdrawal of the Syrian troops from Lebanon, the string of assassinations, and the ceremony for leaving the Presidential Palace.

            Emile Lahoud used to never wear any coat or jacket during the coldest seasons until a friend was once shocked to see him swimming and asked him “Have you got hit on your head as a kid?”  Since then Lahoud wears a simple black leather jacket in winter time. Lahoud’s breakfast is a piece of banana and a cone of ice cream for lunch.  The main eating session is dinner.  Lahoud records on a tape the topics that he wants to approach in a discussion or matters to follow up on.

            President Lahoud ascended the military ranks normally and was the first Chief of the army who ran the tiny navy. He was appointed Chief in November 1989 after General Aoun was forced into exile to France.  General Lahoud had the task to re-unite the dismantled army after over 15 years of civil war; he combined the regiments so that they represent all the Lebanese sects and ordered the regiments to relocate every 9 months to different parts of Lebanon so that every soldier knows his country.  He negotiated the best deals for arms, medicine, and insurance.

            General Lahoud refused political deals with President Hrawy and Rafic Hariri PM for transferring officers and followed the strict military procedures.  Any high officer who refused to obey orders for the re-organization of the army was dismissed and Syria never tried to pressure Lahoud to rescinding his orders.  The billionaire Rafic Hariri used to offer the army cash money every month but General Lahoud refused saying “The State is responsible for the budget of the army” so that he can exercise his functions without undue political pressures.

            There was an international decision to contain the Islamic resistance in south Lebanon and General Lahoud refused to confront the army with the resistance fighting the Israeli occupiers.  President Hafez Assad of Syria decided to meet Lahoud for the first time; General Lahoud told Hafez Assad “I am re-building the army to resist Israel and my conscience refuses to fight those who are fighting Israeli occupation” Since that meeting the political pressures on Lahoud faded away and he could focus on the re-organization of the army and freeing the resistance from political pressures and its freedom of movement in areas not in the army control.  When Israel bombed Lebanon for 7 days in 1993, General Lahoud ordered to return fire and Israel stopped its shelling.

            Lahoud was elected President of the Republic by unanimity after revising item 49 in the Constitution that denied a high ranked employee candidacy before resigning his post for a period.  Lahoud asked the Lebanese to contribute to a bank account in order to support the State treasury; (I remember that I contributed $100 while in the USA).  He had a program of fighting corruption but the political system in Lebanon was a insurmountable barrier given that the Taef Constitution robbed the President of valuable powers and the power was transferred basically to the Prime Minister and the cabinet.  Rafic Hariri controlled the new powers were bequeathed on the cabinet combined. (to be continued)

Bi-weekly report (4) on Lebanon (December 12, 2008)


A niece of mine emailed me what Natalia Antelava from BBC News in Beirut published on the repercussions of the financial crisis on Lebanon.  Antelava summarized the effects “The world maybe in meltdown but Beirut is booming. The country best known for wars, turmoil and instability has not just survived the global financial crisis; it seems to be thriving because of it.

She goes on; Lebanon’s Central bank treasury vaults are full. Cash has been flowing in like never before, Lebanese banks are posting record deposits and bankers say this is the best year in Lebanon’s financial history. Lebanon was prepared. “I saw the crisis coming and I told the commercial banks in 2007 to get out of all international investments related to the international markets”, says Riad Salameh, the governor of Lebanon’s Central Bank.

Banks weren’t allowed to take on too much debt and they had to have at least 30% of their assets in cash. They were not allowed to speculate in risky packages of bundled up debts.

And weak banks were forced to merge with bigger ones before they got into trouble. “You could have thought they had a crystal ball. It was very wise of the Lebanese regulators not to get involved in all these risky international investments that turned out to be the doom of many banking systems,” says Edward Gardner of the International Monetary Fund.

“The system we created has been tested against wars, against instability, against political assassinations. And our sector would be much more developed if Lebanon did not have political and security risks, but it has also induced us to have a conservative reflex because we were always getting ready for the worst case scenario,” says Mr Salameh.

But the tight reign on borrowing does not apply to the government.  Over the years, Lebanon has taken on loan after loan for post war reconstruction. Today, per capita, Lebanon owes more than any other country in the world.  On paper this makes it vulnerable, but the political realities of the Middle East mean that danger is unlikely ever to materialize.




“This level of public debt has created serious problems for other countries, but the difference is that there is a perception that Lebanon has friends with very deep pockets who will not let it go down financially,” says Edward Gardner of the IMF. “This was demonstrated in 2006 war with Israel, when both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were very quick to deposit large sums of money into the Central Bank to help it to remain stable,” Mr Gardner added.

But Lebanon could still feel the aftershocks of the credit crunch.  Every year, thousands of highly educated young people from Lebanon go to work abroad. With some 12 million Lebanese overseas and only 3.5 million in the country, remittances make up a vital third of the economy. (There are over 16 millions overseas and 4 millions in the country)

The rest of the world is now being forced to sober up after the wild excesses of the global markets, but here the party’s on.

The Lebanese are a nation of survivors, who have paid a heavy price for the fortunes they are reaping now. Through their troubles they have learned how to party as if tomorrow will never come, but also, against the odds, how to bank for their future.


My niece might have felt a displaced pride of that content of the article and I had to reply to her. I said: “I heard all that since the crisis.  It means only the banks are stable because it mainly loans to the bankrupt Lebanese government at high interest loans; why our banks would care to speculate any further? (Lebanon has so far borrowed over $65 billions, or at least four times its NGP, since 1994; a ratio that is still less than the US indebtedness). 

The Dawha (Qatar) political agreement among the Lebanese sectarian caste leaders was forced by the rich Arab States, which helped Lebanon’s reconstruction after the July war of 2006, to safeguard their investments.  

I doubt that the people have experienced any results; the prices are their highest when all over the world prices have dropped sharply.  We used to have Aspicot (aspirin for children) manufactured in Lebanon; for two months we have no Aspicot; everything is exported to the Arab States.  The wholesalers import at low prices and sell at prices before the crisis because no prices have ever declined in Lebanon once they increase on rumors only. I am not fooled and no Lebanese citizen is fooled.  What fortune are the little people reaping?

On the political front, Deputy and General Michel Aoun ended five days of an official to Syria.  The Syrian people welcomed him enthusiastically and he was considered as the civilian Patriarch, not only of the Maronites but also of all the Christians in the Middle East.  The two people have finally repaired the psychological barriers that divided them after 15 years of Syrian mandate in Lebanon. Most of the inconsequential sectarian leaders in Lebanon felt very small after this courageous openness of Aoun and kept lambasting him even before his visit (they are the mouth pieces of Saudi Arabia).  The truth is that the March 14 “alliance” does not dare criticize President Michel Suleiman and thus they target Aoun instead.

Former President Carter is in Lebanon in order to ask for permission to monitor the coming election; he has met with most political party leaders.  Hezbollah did not accord him a private meeting.

President Suleiman is visiting Jordan.  The mouth pieces of Syria have been attacking the Druze leader Walid Jumblat and claiming that he is getting into one of his lunatic phases and he is no longer a viable entity as a leader of the Druze.

Bi-weekly report (3) on Lebanon (November 29, 2008)


The frenzied drama of reconciliations among the various factions has been shelved in a freezer: Parliamentary election preparations for May have taken off.  General Aoun and Suleiman Frangieh are claiming that Saudi Arabia is funding the election campaign for the March 14 alliance and that the funds meant for the reconstruction of homes demolished in the war of 2006 are being used to pave fresh roads in critical districts.  It is predicted that any majority will not exceed a couple of deputies and that the main hot battles would be focused on four Christian districts at most because all the remaining districts are a done deal on confessional basis.  

Samir Jahjah, not a minister and nor a deputy, has been welcomed officially in Egypt.  Now that Deputy General Aoun is being officially invited in Syria then the March 14 alliance is raising all kinds of negative comments and complaining that only government sanctioned invitations should be permitted.  The visit of Deputy Michel Aoun to Syria is being delayed so that the government recoups a few advantages before General Aoun proves to be as potent as a whole government.  General Aoun has certainly gained much wisdom since the late nineties; although he has a secular mind he knows that the Christians in Lebanon have to regain equal standing among the caste system to get any reforms activated.  Thus, he is slowly but surely being acknowledged as the leader of all the remaining Christians in the Middle East.  I am glad that he was not selected President of the Republic; he can do much good in his current position of leadership of thinking clear and pressing for reforms

President Suleiman visited Iran and the US and now he can focus on internal affairs with all their serious headaches; he proclaimed that he will not constitute an independent electoral group for this election.  Seniora PM visited Egypt; as the representative of the Hariri political/financial clan he was more interested in how to control the distribution of the gas and oil trademarked for Lebanon’s electrical power plants.  An understanding had been agreed between Egypt and the Lebanese minister of energy Barsomian before Seniora’s tampered with the deal.  Barsomian had to stop the negotiations pending better conditions. The Hariri clan wants to suck the Lebanese people dry. Lebanon is still undergoing severe electricity shortage, rationing, and outages. 

There are strong rumors that Condoleezza Rice will visit Lebanon to thank her friends for agreeing to extend the 2006 War to 33 days that resulted in the complete destruction of Lebanon’s infrastructure and over 1,500 dead and three fold that number in permanent injuries! The State prosecutor should find it a golden opportunity to round up “Rice’s friends” at the next meeting and hang them for treason. 

If the March 8 alliance wins the majority then Lebanon would be ruled by Syria.  If the March 14 alliance wins then Lebanon would be ruled by Saudi Arabia and Egypt.  In either case there would be no economic stability: if Saudi Arabia dominates our policies then Syria would make sure that Lebanon would not enjoy security, thus no economic development; if Syria dominates our policies then Saudi Arabia and the US would refrain from financial support but at least Lebanon would enjoy internal security which means hope.

At most, five ministers are working and the remaining 25 ministers claim that they have no offices or secretaries to study files and participate in the ministerial meetings.  The serious ministers are of the interior (Baroud), telecommunication (Basil), energy (Barsomian), foreign affairs (Salloukh), health (Khalifeh), and the minister without portfolio (Shamseldine) for administrative reforms.

There is in Lebanon a nitwit of a Christian religious cast called Maronite.  You give them arms and they will find any excuse to use them and initiate a civil war; if no other castes respond to their provocations then they will slaughter among themselves.  This nasty behavior has been proven through centuries.  It is like among all the laudable genes that the Maronites have two ugly resilient genes which develop much faster than the others.  One gene is utter hatred and loathing for everyone among themselves, other castes, and other regional powers (read people).  The other nasty gene is never to learn from past experiences, regardless of how hurtful these events were; it related to their fundamental superficial culture.  One fact stands out; everytime Lebanon faces military confrontation with Syria then it is the Maronite who volunteers to be on the front lines; when peace returns then it is the other castes that advance to reap the benefits and the Maronites are relegated to lick their wounds and nurse their gene of hatred, frustration, and revenge.


Note:  I am a born Maronite and I had to vent my frustration and displeasure with our state of affairs.




March 2023

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