Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘General Michel Aoun

UN Declaration: “The people has the rights to Resist Occupation”?

The US occupation of Iraq for 8 years doesn’t make it less Illegal if the US enlisted 2 dozens States to “share” in the occupation.

The US occupation of Afghanistan for longer than the Soviet Union doesn’t make it less illegal if the US pressured 2 dozens States to commit illegal activities.

Is that an old story?

Israel occupation of “All of Palestine”, parts of south Lebanon, and the Syrian Golan Heights  has been going on for over 65 years.

Is that an old story?

This is not directly the subject of this article.

I need to tell you of an insanity.

The current “State” of Lebanon managed to form a government after an entire year of waiting in limbo, while 1.5 Syrian refugees flocked to this tiny country of barely 4 million, and dozen of terrorist car explosions plagued the safety and security of the civilians, the economy totally grounded, and no projects and programs voted in a Parliament that extended its tenure for 2 more years and never met since then.

I need to tell you of a worst insanity.

For an entire month, the new government was discussing this “letter of intent” to be submitted to parliament in order to be voted in.

The main critical point was: “Has the Lebanese people the rights to resist Israel occupation“?

Apparently, Israel, the US, and Saudi Arabia are loath of including Israel as a “potential enemy”, even though Israel occupies several towns in Lebanon, had waged over 8 preemptive wars on Lebanon  and destroyed its infrastructure, and has never stopped “infiltrating” and invading Lebanon airspace, water and land since 2008.

Apparently, the new minister of the interior Mashnouk (The hanged) consider Iran to be the main nemesis to Lebanon security, the same thesis consistently expounded by Israel.

Many of you are chuckling of the insane conditions that the Lebanese society are to submit to “peacefully”.

It is not funny for the Lebanese who have been feeling down on their luck for over 2 decades and who have been “humoring” the lame successive governments that claimed “Lebanon force is in his weakness” (meaning that Lebanon is better off with a weak army not endowed with proper weapons to resist occupations, invasions and terrorist attacks)

Another insanity is that this government was primarily formed in order to fill the gap in “legitimacy” if the Parliament fails to elect a new President to the Republic in May, which is highly probable since a President is meant to be also of the weak kind with no popular or political support base, like the current Michel Suleiman.

And this Parliament has no legitimacy in electing a president since it failed to be voted in by the citizens for a new term. Why? The people views and opinions have changed in the last 4 years and they demand more representative deputies.

Note 1: After the Syrian troops vacated Lebanon  in 2005, and following the assassination of late and former PM Rafic Hariri, the only political movement that steadfastly confronted this occupation was the followers of General Michel Aoun who was in exile in France.

The Lebanese who longed to the withdrawal of the Syrian troops formed a human flag in Downtown Beirut on March 14, 2005.
This event was organized and called for by the Free Patriots of the Tayyar movement of General Michel Aoun.
نحن 14 آذار. وهذا العلم الذي تبناه البعض هو فكرة وتنظيم لجنة الشباب والشؤون الطالبية في التيار الوطني الحر في 12 آذار 2005.
Since then, all the political forces that supported the Syrian occupations hoarded this event as their own such as the Moustakbal of the Hariri clan, Geaja3, Kataeb…
Hezbollah had called for a demonstration on March 8 to “thank Syria“, although Hezbollah was the main party that feared most the presence of the Syrian troops in Lebanon and lived in constant anxiety for any tacit deal between Bashar Assad and the US to satisfy Israel demands for a “permanent and lasting peace” in the region at the expense of the Palestinian rights and Hezbollah to resist occupation.
Note 2: The rebel Syrian town of Yabroud has been liberate by the Syrian army. Yabroud was the main source of introducing suicide car bombers into Lebanon.  Thousands of terrorist rebels have been flocking into the eastern mountain range that borders Lebanon and Syria.
If Lebanon and Syria fail to coordinate their security programs, it is likely that these mountains will become another kind of Tora Bora Land, as the Beluchistan separating Afghanistan and Pakistan. Any weakness in either State will witness a counter offensive by the massed “Wahhabi terrorists” once money and weapons flow in in order to wage waves of terrorist attacks that satisfy the interest of countries that want this region totally destabilized.

Farewell address and messages to ministers: Nicolas Sehnaoui, former Telecommunication Minister

The young and dynamic former Telecommunication Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui used to be in constant touch with the youth and keeping them updated on the performances in his ministry and adopting a transparent policy for quick feedback.

Nicolas was replaced by a very old lawyer Butros Harb (Boutros) who is more interested in political squabbling and getting re-elected in the Parliament  than caring for the need of the telecommunication users.

 
Hello everyone</p><br /><br />
<p>I have 3 important messages and 1 Call to Action I would like to communicate.</p><br /><br />
<p>Excuse me if it's long but hope you can follow it till the end.</p><br /><br />
<p>Message 1 to the Team of the Ministry of Telecom</p><br /><br />
<p>To the team at the Ministry, and at the Operators Alfa, Touch and Ogero.</p><br /><br />
<p>Putting Lebanon on the Digital World Map could not have been achieved<br /><br /><br />
without you.</p><br /><br />
<p>The hope mentioned by our Youth today is only due to your dedication and hard work.</p><br /><br />
<p>It will always be my pride to have served Lebanon surrounded by such a team of great Men and Women.</p><br /><br />
<p>Message 2 to General Aoun, Minister Bassil and Minister Charbel Nahhas</p><br /><br />
<p>I would like to thank General Aoun for giving my team and I the chance to prove ourselves and his wise guidance through every step of the way.</p><br /><br />
<p>I thank also Minister Nahhas and Minister Bassil for laying the foundation of many projects which we were able to complete and deliver to the Citizens of Lebanon.</p><br /><br />
<p>You have placed the sector's progress and reform on track and we were able to accelerate it and to take some parts to completion. </p><br /><br />
<p>Message 3 to Minister Boutros Harb</p><br /><br />
<p>Our team and I wish you good luck. Although we don't belong to the same political party we are united by a common goal which is to serve Lebanon and our fellow citizens. </p><br /><br />
<p>We remain ready to provide you with any help which would facilitate keeping the fast progress of the sector on track.</p><br /><br />
<p>But, in a positive and constructive way, we will also be keeping together with the Young Digital Lobby, a keen attention on the digital road map and its progresses. </p><br /><br />
<p>The hopes and aspirations of our Digital Community can move mountains and if disappointed we will do just that.</p><br /><br />
<p>Finally a Call to Action to our Digital Community</p><br /><br />
<p>I have spent my whole life wanting to change the world but never knew how. You taught me how. </p><br /><br />
<p>Through every tweet and post, through every social<br /><br /><br />
awareness campaign and every viral video, you are seamlessly changing our society every day.</p><br /><br />
<p>The messages and tweets you have sent me in the past 24 hours where touching and inspiring.</p><br /><br />
<p>They made me realize more than ever what it is that unites us all.</p><br /><br />
<p>The strong belief that Technology and Digital Communication can change our lives for the better.</p><br /><br />
<p>So let's make a pact. To never give up. To always raise our voice. To keep pushing for Lebanon's Digital Economy. </p><br /><br />
<p>To keep creating and proposing new<br /><br /><br />
ideas and new apps. To never doubt that we can reach the world, from here, from Lebanon, from our homes and offices. </p><br /><br />
<p>Not only can we reach the world,<br /><br /><br />
but we can amaze it, we can change it and I am sure we will. </p><br /><br />
<p>Stay connected.
Hello everyoneI have 3 important messages and 1 Call to Action I would like to communicate.Excuse me if it’s long but hope you can follow it till the end.

Message 1 to the Team of the Ministry of Telecom

To the team at the Ministry, and at the Operators Alfa, Touch and Ogero.

Putting Lebanon on the Digital World Map could not have been achieved
without you.

The hope mentioned by our Youth today is only due to your dedication and hard work.

It will always be my pride to have served Lebanon surrounded by such a team of great Men and Women.

Message 2 to General Aoun, Minister Bassil and Minister Charbel Nahhas

I would like to thank General Aoun for giving my team and I the chance to prove ourselves and his wise guidance through every step of the way.

I thank also Minister Nahhas and Minister Bassil for laying the foundation of many projects which we were able to complete and deliver to the Citizens of Lebanon.

You have placed the sector’s progress and reform on track and we were able to accelerate it and to take some parts to completion.

Message 3 to Minister Boutros Harb

Our team and I wish you good luck. Although we don’t belong to the same political party, we are united by a common goal which is to serve Lebanon and our fellow citizens.

We remain ready to provide you with any help which would facilitate keeping the fast progress of the sector on track.

But, in a positive and constructive way, we will also be keeping together with the Young Digital Lobby, a keen attention on the digital road map and its progresses.

The hopes and aspirations of our Digital Community can move mountains and if disappointed we will do just that.

Finally a Call to Action to our Digital Community

I have spent my whole life wanting to change the world but never knew how. You taught me how.

Through every tweet and post, through every social
awareness campaign and every viral video, you are seamlessly changing our society every day.

The messages and tweets you have sent me in the past 24 hours where touching and inspiring.

They made me realize more than ever what it is that unites us all.

The strong belief that Technology and Digital Communication can change our lives for the better.

So let’s make a pact. To never give up.

To always raise our voice.
To keep pushing for Lebanon’s Digital Economy.To keep creating and proposing new
ideas and new apps. To never doubt that we can reach the world, from here, from Lebanon, from our homes and offices.Not only can we reach the world,
but we can amaze it, we can change it and I am sure we will.

Stay connected.

Part 1.  Biography of a period (Lebanon, 1989-2009): President Emile Lahoud

Before 1989

The mother of President Emile Lahoud is from Armenia and his wife is Armenian and he speaks Armenian. In 1954, Emile miraculously recovered from meningitis while studying in London and thus decided to enjoy life to the hilt.  He spent his adolescent years riding a convertible white jaguar; he had a chalet on the beach and partied all night long. Lahoud married Andree Amadony in 1967.

Emile Lahoud would repeat this anecdote, countless times, for whoever cares to listen:  When a schoolboy, he got into a fight and had his regulation school overcoat ripped. His father, General Jamil Lahoud, asked him “Is your conscious at peace?” The reply was affirmative and the father said “Don’t you worry then; you will have another coat made”

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, just to save appearances of normalcy.

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.

General Emile Lahoud, Army Chief

Emile Lahoud ascended the military ranks normally and was the first Chief of the army who came from the ridiculously tiny navy. He was appointed Chief in November 1989 after General Michel 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.

The General 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 Lebanese 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.

Walid Jumblat, leader of the Druze sect in the district of Shouf, offered General Lahoud a bullet proof car on account that their fathers were close friends.  Lahoud returned the car a few months later when he realized that Jumblat is in the habit of blackmailing for political gains.

The government had ordered the army to recuperate all public facilities and Lahoud recaptured the palaces of Al Amine in Beit El Dine to the growing angst of Jumblat.  Another time General Lahoud sent an army support to accompany the Druze Sheikh Akl Bahjat Ghaith to his home because Jumblatt forbade the Sheikh from entering his hometown.

Mr. President of the Republic

Lahoud was elected President of the Republic by the majority of 118 out of 128 deputy votes after revising an item in the Taef Constitution.  Item 49 in the Constitution denied candidacy to any a high ranked employee before resigning his post for a period. General Lahoud was elected President on October 15, 1998 and his first public oath in the Parliament said: “The President of the Republic is the only official to swear allegiance to the nation and to obey the law.  Thus, since I will be under the Law I expect everyone else to emulate my subordination to the Laws of the Land”

President Lahoud had a program of fighting corruption and made it clear and loud in his speech that didn’t mention the ex-President Hrawi or the ex Hariri PM in any sections of the speech.

When ex-President Hrawi urged Hafez Assad to change his choice Assad said: “The Lebanese public polls selected Emile Lahoud for President and I want him there” The Syrian President had complete confidence in the former Army Chief that he will first, resume his policy of strengthening and unifying the Lebanese army and will refrain from drawing the Lebanese army in internal infighting such as with Hezbollah and thus save the Syrian army any uncalled for problems, and second, that Lahoud will never contemplate unilateral negotiation with Israel.

Hafez Assad was not concerned with the Lahoud’s program for drastic reforms and fighting corruption.  Thus, Lahoud had to deal with a rotten political system in Lebanon that constituted an insurmountable barrier to change: the Taef Constitution robbed the President of valuable powers that were transferred basically to the Prime Minister and the cabinet combined.

Hariri had proclaimed three months ago that “I will return Prime Minister whoever is elected President to the Republic”  Hariri had returned from a long trip visiting important capitals and secured assent to be accepted as Prime Minister but only 83 out of 128 deputies selected him directly and the remaining deputies allowed the President to vote for them.

Cocky Hariri went publicly asking that another round of consultation takes place because he wanted as many representative votes as the President of 118 deputies.  Lahoud reacted by publicly accepting Hariri refusal and appointed Salim Hoss as Prime Minister with 95 deputy votes.

This tactic of Hariri backfired as he realized that Syria could easily deal with another Prime Minister.  Hariri was positioning himself for a vaster role as co-partner in the coming Middle East peace accord that he sincerely believed was almost agreed on.

It was a tradition since independence for the newly elected President of Lebanon to pay an official visit to France first of all.  Jacques Chirac was highly displeased that Lahoud did not mention France contribution to the April 1996 agreement to localize the confrontations in south Lebanon and for not consulting him on the government that excluded Rafic Hariri.  Consequently, Chirac took it personally and canceled the appointment for a formal visit to France.  Later Chirac was pressured to dissociate France interest in Lebanon from his personal animosity with Lahoud and the Francophone convention took place in Beirut in 2000.

In June 1999, assassins of the extremist Sunni movement “Osbat al Ansaar” killed four judges within Saida Court House and fled to the nearby Palestinian camp of Ain Helwi.  Lahoud understood that it was a trap to inciting the Lebanese army to start a war on the Palestinian camps; instead Lahoud focused on encircling the camp to apprehend the assassins.

As this nasty trap failed to divide the government, Israel launched destructive raids on Lebanon’s infrastructure targeting the electrical power plants and water pumps. Lahoud asked the Lebanese to contribute to a bank account in order to support the State treasury to rebuild what was demolished; (I remember that I contributed $100 while in the USA).  The Lebanese overseas contributed 50 millions dollars to that fund.

The president of the Parliament, Nabih Berri, told Lahoud “You are an excellent soldier but lack political acumen”.  Lahoud replied “If I managed to become Chief of the army and President of the Republic with lack of political acumen how do you think my path would have unfolded if I was cleverer in politics?”

In another moment Berri told the biographer:  “Lahoud plays it dumb but he is aware of all the political details and smarter in politics than most Lebanese politicians.  For example, Lahoud retains General Jamil Al Sayyed, Director of the General Security in Lebanon, in all his discussions with foreign personalities so that Al Sayyed would testify to the Syrian officials.”  Berri had no liking for the strong Shiaa man Al Sayyed.

Lahoud finally met with Rafic Hariri in the summer Palace of Beit El Dine after months of avoiding face to face encounter. Lahoud told Hariri “From the first moment, I knew that you wanted as much weight among the deputies as I obtained in my election for the presidency so that you may force on me your conditions. I kept the honest and performing high officials that you appointed and will dismiss anyone that is not up to his responsibilities.  I intended you to be my first Prime Minister but I was in no mood to be subjected to any conditions.  I know that you are spending lots of money on the media to ruin the image of this government but this not the way to behave with me.”  Two days later president Basher Assad paid Lahoud a quick visit to Lebanon and publicly supported the president and Hoss PM. To be continued

Note:  This is a biography of ex-President of the Republic of Lebanon Emile Lahoud from 1989 to 2009, written by Karim Bakradouni.  I had already reviewed “Shock and Steadfastness” (Sadmat wa Soumoud) in two posts.   I decided to re-edit the two posts in two tighter articles based on historical chronology, and further expansion.

The day before the municipal election in northern Lebanon two brothers were shot dead by a member of a Maronite political party that retained its civil war period name of “Lebanese Forces” headed by Sameer Geaja3.  A spree of public condemnations by several party leaders alluded to a resurgence of  the “spirit of militia”, transmitted and disseminated among  the members of the Lebanese Forces, after their leader Geaja3 was released from prison in 2005.   It might not be simple coincidences that political assassinations and civil war vandettas increased after the return of Geaja3 to the political scene; actually, Geaja3 made it a point of honor of warning about coming assassinations few days before they occurred.

Sameer Geaja3 was convicted of masterminding the assassinations of many political officials and a Prime Minister during and after the end of the civil war; he spent 13 years in a military prison and was politically released for one main reasons:  After the Syrian troops vacated Lebanon in 2005, General Michel Aoun who was a political refugee in France returned to Lebanon; his party the “Tayyar Hurr” swept the Christian votes in the Parliamentary election.  It is to be noted that this victory came about without the need for any alliance with other political parties; almost all political parties coalesced to tarnish Aoun image and initiated an AounPhobia culture.  Thus, the sectarian political structure in Lebanon decided to find a political counter weight among the Christians to the leadership of Michel Aoun:  Geaja3 was promptly set free.

The civil war ended but the spirit of militias remained intact; all the militias kept many of their weapons hidden.  The militia leaders were returned to the government in order “to give peace a chance”.  Apparently, Sameer Geaja3 got the impression from the US administration that a civil war was a strong possibility in order to tame the power of Hezbollah; it is the Saddam Hussein mentality or syndrom of hearing what pleased his plans and inclinations.  But first, Israel was to take a serious shot at Hezbollah and it failed in 2006.  The US administration of Bush Junior tried one more time to distabilize Hezbollah in 2008 and again failed:  Hezbollah counter attaqued vigourously and close all Israeli bunkers in Beirut and the Mustakbal para-military centers of Seniora PM in Beirut under the names of “Security Private Guard” offices.

The “spirit of militia” of the Druze leader Waleed Jumblat was contained practically in 2008 and then politically in 2010 by officially visiting Damascus. The “spirit of militia” of Nabeeh Berry (head of the Parliament) was also contained practically by Hezbollah and politically by Syria.  Only the “spirit of militia” of Sameer Geaja3 was still to be controlled and the time has come.

This government of “national union” of all the main parties was not possible without the tacit agreement of the US.  It means that the US wants a diplomatic and political resolution of the Middle East crisis.  Consequently, Lebanon was not to be the scapegoat or the excuse for any further distabilization in the region where all regional powers use Lebanon to sending “messages” of disagreements to stability plans in the region.

AounPhobia versus AounIdolatry

Note: I received this e-mail in French and decided to translate it, and re-post it post within context and clarify a few issues.

First, a few clarifications:

General Aoun was ousted as Prime Minister in 1989 by the Syrian forces with a US green light.  Aoun became a political refugee in France till 2005.

As the Syrians troops were getting ready to leave Lebanon in 2005, Aoun was getting ready to return to Lebanon.  France did its best to discourage Aoun to return to Lebanon at the urge and strong pressures from all political parties in Lebanon that felt that Aoun might take center stage with Lebanese anxious of Syria withdrawal.

As Aoun landed he proclaimed: “Now that the Syrian army is out of Lebanon then I no longer has any qualms with Syria”  

All political parties refrained from allying with the Tayyar of Aoun during the Parliamentary election of 2005, both the March 8 and the March 14 alliances, respectively with the US or Syria interference in Lebanon.  And yet, Aoun’s party won hands down the election with a landslide majority of the Christian voters.

Now the e-mail.

“The current principal Lebanese cleavage seems to be between what separate the two political groups: AounPhobia (or March 14 political alliances) versus AounIdolatry (or March 8 alliances).  You are under the impression that we got over the old quarrels between Arabists and Phoenicians origins of the Lebanese; that we got over pro Bush Junior or Bashar Assad of Syria, and that March 8 or 14 alliances are old and insipid tales.

All the fracturing lines are AounDeluvian. You can no longer sit for dinner without AounPhobia group AounLambasts  AounIdolaters.  The evening is thus ruined for the rare AounNeutrals

The worst part is that the actual staunchest AounPhobias were the most AounIdolaters when General Michel Aoun was the designated Prime Minister in 1988 and fighting the Syrian troops in Lebanon as invaders.

AounPhobia people are irremediably AounPsychaitrists: their diagnostics are AounChrist (antichrist), AounMegalomania, and Aounarcisist. AounPhobia people are under AounDepressents and proud to be AountPhobia addicted….”  An Aounxieted citizen

In 2006, before Israel’ pre-preemptive war on Lebanon, Aoun had a rapprochement with Hezbollah that upset all alliances and made the alliances of the majority of Christians with the Moslem Shias an unbeatable political power pressure.

Syria then welcomed Aoun officially as a major State personality for an entire week.

It seems that Syria is trying currently to clip the advances of Aoun’s party by ordering political leaders who sided staunchly with Aoun to desist from total support rhetoric.

For example, the Maronite Suleiman Frangieh of Zogarta, the Druze Erslan of Aley, and Skaf of Zahleh have been showing lukewarm enthusiasm for Aoun during the latest municipal election.

Even Hezbollah, through its alliance with AMAL of Nabih Berry, has been implicitly trying to weaken the Tayyar influence.  Still, the Tayyar of Aoun managed to win big time in both the Parliamentary and municipal elections.

Right to Return: for the Palestinian refugees (June 15, 2009)

 

            There are more than 400,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and their birth rate is three times the average of the Lebanese.  The Palestinian refugees are concentrated in a dozen camps (ghettoes) and they run their communities. The Lebanese government is not extending facilities to the camps or to issuing work permits.  The UN agency UNRUWA is supposed to care for the education and health of the refugees since they were chased out from their homeland in 1948.  In the last decade the UNRUWA budget has been politically reduced to force the Lebanese government into de facto enacting residency status to the refugees.

            Lebanon facilitated the influx of the Palestinian refugees in 1948 under the perception that it was a temporary stay since UN resolution demanded the return of the Palestinians. Israel exacerbated the problem by sending another wave of refuges in 1967 after it occupied the West Bank.  The Palestinian resistance was born but it failed to rely on the Palestinians inside the State of Israel for effective resistance against the occupiers. 

            There were three camps in the Christian districts which were closed down during the civil war such the ones in Dbayeh, Jesr al Basha, and Tell al Zaatar; the Christian militias forced the evacuation of the Christian Palestinians by military activities, genocide, and terror.

            Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 and with the cooperation of the USA and France the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) headed by Arafat was forced to evacuate Beirut to Cyprus and then to Tunisia.  The remaining camps were supposed to be the refuge of civilians and not containing any heavy weapons.

            The entrance/exits of camps are monitored by the Lebanese army and the movement of the refugees strictly controlled.  A salafist Sunni movement “Jund al Sham” challenged the army in Nahr al Bared camp in Tripoli.  This camp is demolished and waiting for financial aid to be re-constructed.

            The ex-President Emile Lahoud fought the good fight to keep the right of return of the UN resolution 194 alive during his tenure. For example, before the Summit of the Arab League in Beirut of April 2002, the Saudi Foreign Affairs Seoud Al Faissal visited President Lahoud on March 22 and handed him the project of the Saudi Monarch of “peace for land” without a specific clause of “the right of return”.  President Lahoud refused it. Lahoud was subjected to al kinds of pressures and diplomatic maneuvering to let the project as is with no modifications but he didn’t relent. The Arab leaders suggested including the “right of return” as a separate clause to no avail. The Saudi Prince Abdallah was forced to include the clause as intrinsic part of the peace for land PROJECT.  The USA vowed to make the tenure of Lahoud a period of hell for foiling their major political goal.

            It is crystal clear that the western nations have a sole political purpose for Lebanon: accepting the Palestinian refugees as Lebanese residents.  The civil war from 1975 to 1991 failed to achieve completely that goal though most of the prosperous Christian families preferred to immigrate.

            Late Rafic Hariri PM believed that an overall peace deal with Israel is highly serious and went along a program of easing the conditions of the Palestinian refugees.  It turned out that there will be no peace with Israel because Israel’s interest is not in any kind of peace.  Pragmatic Hariri realized that the social and political fabric in Lebanon cannot digest 400,000 Palestinians and he changed his strategy; he was assassinated by the detonation of a roadside truck containing 1000 kilos of TNT.

            Though the US Administration comprehends better the predicament of Lebanon it is still hoping that this tragedy could be settled at the expense of the Lebanese people. Hezbollah challenged that strategy and won its war against Israel in 2006. The leader of the Tayyar Party, General Michel Aoun, has picked up the banner of fighting any policies targeted at settling the Palestinians in Lebanon and he won by a landslide in Mount Lebanon.  The coalition of Hezbollah and the Tayyar has put a strong break to the western strategy of reducing Lebanon to a refugee status.

Bi-Weekly Report (#25) on Lebanon and the Middle East (June 8, 2009)

 

Sunday, June 7, 2009 Election Day in Lebanon

 

I got up at 4 a.m. on Sunday June 7, 2009; it is Election Day for the Parliament in Lebanon.  I wrote and published the post “I have a position: I am voting today”.  As my parents were ready we drove around 8:15 to one of the three election centers in the town of Beit-Chabab. Our center was located in the previous private school that the municipality has purchased five years ago and didn’t move in yet.  This is the first time in Lebanon that election is done in one day: Parliamentary elections were performed in two successive Sundays until the last election proved that parties with heavier financial muscles could regroup, focus, and swing elections to their advantages by chastising parties that didn’t stick to the alliance terms in the previous Election Sunday. 

I was shocked by the long line that did not move. The army was positioned outside the perimeter and the internal security forces within the enclosed place.  You had first to exhibit your ID to enter the only entrance/exit “door”.  You wait for a security officer to call on a range of numbers corresponding to your family civil record.   The elder people were given priority and my parents voted within half an hour.  The urn assigned to my category was very slow in processing voters. I sat and ate a loaf of “mankoush bi zaatar” that one party was distributing. I asked my parents to hitchhike home.  I waited for an hour and a half and the line never budged. I lost any hope for my turn to come in the morning. I returned home hoping to come back after lunch for the line to get moving.  Those who arrived at 7 a.m. made it nicely. My brother-in-law, a retired military officer, voted for the first time as well as one of his eligible daughters.

  I retuned at 1:30 after lunch to the voting urns and had to wait another hour before I managed to vote.  There were too many voters for the reduced number of urns (kalam ektira3); citizens complained that they lined up as if they were receiving rations “i3ashi”.  General Michel Aoun of the Tayyar Party has warned a couple of months ago on the strong possibility of this problem and had suggested that election be resumed on two successive days.

The opposition claimed that the slow process was intentional to discourage their voters from exercising patience.  Apparently, the slow processing of voter lines is due mainly, in addition to the first reason, to the decrease in numbers of urns because of shortage in personnel.  By law, any voter within the enclosed voting area was eligible to vote after 7 p.m.  Dozens of election monitoring groups from around the world were gathered in Lebanon to take notes of the proceedings; the groups of ex-US President Jimmy Carter, the European Union, and the Arab League were present weeks before that well “observed” and critical day.

News are that over 100 thousands Lebanese immigrants flew in to participate in the election process.

 

Monday Morning, June 8, 2009

                       

            I got up at 4 a.m. and watched TV for any crumbs of news on the election results and removed to my study to read.  Official results will not be in before noon but I got a good idea of the trend.   Our neighborhood and the districts of Metn and Kesrouan are very calm and not because people are not up.  The government coalition parties that usually are the loudest and the most trouble makers have lost the election in these two districts.

            Unofficial results indicate that the government allies received a majority of 67 deputies to 57 for the opposition.  Actually, the results were already known before midnight.  The minister of the interior Ziad Baroud had announced previously not to expect any official results before late afternoon.  My contention is that, in addition to waiting for formal arrival of evidences, the minister of the interior was asked to delay official results for 18 hours.  The purpose of that delay is first, to permit negotiations for swapping deputies from losers to winners as the implicit entente of the Dawha agreement demanded so that the main leaders represented there will re-enter Parliament and second, so that the difference between opposition and government coalition deputies would not exceed more than 5 deputies.

            The opposition coalition major defeats were in the districts of Betroun, Koura, Zahle, and Ashrafieh (Beirut 1).  The government coalition lost Baabda and Zghorta districts.

            The main leaders on both sides are winners; Saad Hariri, Michel Aoun, Walid Jumblat, and Hezbollah. Thus, any government has to be formed of the three major blocks representing the three main religious sects (Maronite, Shiaa, and Sunni) with practically even power politically in the parliament. 

            Basically, the Tayyar of Michel Aoun has increased the number of its deputies from 20 to over 27; the Tayyar gained the leader Suleiman Frangieh of Zghorta and lost Skaf of Zahle.  Michel Aoun strengthened his unchallenged Maronite leadership in Mount Lebanon (the district of Jubeil, Kesrouan, Metn, Baabda, and Jezzine). The block of General Michel Aoun represents two third of the Maronite deputies and 50% of the Christian deputies and an overwhelming popular support in all Lebanon.

            Hezbollah gained the strategic district of Baabda because it is an extension to its headquarters in south Beirut.  Consequently, the resistance had secured internal political backing of all Mount Lebanon to the southern borders. Obviously, Hezbollah prevails militarily and Lebanon policy of defense cannot circumvent Hezbollah’s concerns for its internal security. 

             

            Saad Hariri emerged as the unchallenged leader of the Sunni sect in Beirut, Saida, North Lebanon, and the central Bekaa Valley.  Fouad Seniora PM got a seat in Saida.

            The main losers are the President of the Republic, Michel Suleiman, because the opposition coalition badly defeated the President’s implicit list of candidates in the district of Jubeil. The Maronite Patriarch lost because he can no longer claim any political weight in Mount Lebanon since he publicly supported the parties challenging Michel Aoun.  Thus, Michel Aoun is practically the political leader of the Maronite sect according to Lebanon’s caste system.

            One fact stands out in this tough election: it is my contention that the sacerdotal caste of the Christian Greek Orthodox did its best to challenge Michel Aoun as the pre-eminent representative of all the Christians in Lebanon.  The Greek Orthodox clergy played politics big time by defeating the Tayyar in Koura, Betroun, and Ashrafieh.  I am not worried about this positioning at this phase because the Greek Orthodox citizens are the staunchest Lebanese patriots against our main enemy Israel; most of the secular and national founders of political parties were Greek Orthodox.  Michel Aoun will have to temper his zeal and negotiate with this Christian sect as an equal.  In any event, Saad Hariri will owe the Christian Orthodox big time for the next four years otherwise he is doomed to lose the majority in next Parliamentary election. 

            The Christian Armenians could swing victory only in the Metn district because they failed in Ashrafieh and Zahle to make any difference facing the outnumbered Sunni voters. 

            Actually, the 4,000 Sunni voters in Koura reversed a sure win for the opposition to a defeat by less than one thousand votes. The opposition lost the district of Zahle because the government hads transferred the registration of over 25 thousands of Sunnis to Zahle in preparation for this election. This election was an exacerbation of Sunni confessional rallying cry as the other religious sects were distancing from confessional rhetoric.  Saudi Arabia monarchy is deeply immersed in an ugly and dirty confessional battle.

 

Monday Evening

 

            Ziad Baroud returned partial official results of 15 out of 26 districts (kada2) by noon and a full declaration by 6 p.m. The trick that there were discussions going on for swapping deputies did not take off in Lebanon’s archaic confessional political system.  For example, I considered that at least two losing traditional deputies in Zahle would be declared winners in return for two traditional losers in the Metn District.  Lebanon election experienced high turn out averaging over 60%.

            Hassan Nasr Allah of Hezbollah delivered a speech by 8:30 p.m. He reminded the citizens of the lies of the government coalition leaders who used scare tactics claiming that the resistance would use its military power to affect election procedures and results.  In any case, if the new political power sharing is to take off then any discussion of Hezbollah military reality should be restricted to the special conference table on defense strategies.

 

            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 vast “Empire”.

            The largest, widest, and lengthiest military exercise conducted by Israel for 5 days and which started on May 31 faltered and was a failure.  The Israeli citizens did not respond as expected and went on to their daily routine as if nothing is happening, regardless of the loud and frequent siren alarms.  Those five days were a holiday and not of any serious exigencies.  The Israelis on the Lebanese borders were the least concerned.  The message was clear and louder than the siren alarms “Governments of Israel, we want peace.  We no longer believe than security should take priority over peace treaty.  For 61 years you have driven us hard to countless pre-emptive and expansionist wars. Enough is enough.  We paid dearly for mindless and losing priorities and we want your policy to do the right thing.  We want peace, period”

 

            President Barak Obama has to deliver something tangible in the Middle East and very soon, and not six months from now as he is planning. Periods of sweet talking with nothing tangible in return are gone.  The Palestinian Statehood is due now!  The return of the Golan Heights to Syria is due now!  Direct negotiations with Palestinian Hamas and Lebanon Hezbollah are due now!  Stabilizing Pakistan is due now!  The return of the Shebaa Farms and the Hills of Kfarshouba to Lebanon is due now!  A specific schedule for the return of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to Palestine is due now!

 

            Why my urgency to resolving decades of roadblocks in the Middle East? Simple: the Middle East has been steadily catching on to extremist confessional attitudes as the absolution of Israel’s horrors and genocides has been the trade mark of the western nations.  Lebanon is catching on quickly to isolationist confessional extremism and if Lebanon is no longer a viable experiment for democracy then the USA and Europe will have no one to blame but themselves for laxity in executing and enforcing what is the right thing to do in this region.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2020
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