Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘George Hawi

 

Testimonials of a civil war: A Communist party member

The issue of daily Al Balad, April 26, 2005

Samir Al Ocda was barely 12 years old when the civil war started.  His father was a dedicated Communist party member and hided a Kalashnikov in his house located in Ras Nabaa.

Samir’s father was strict in never allowing any one in the family to touch the Kalashnikov, or missing a school day for demonstrating, or to hanging out in centers where political meetings were taking place.

Once, as Samir was 10 years old, his father and a few of his comrades parked the jeep in the neighborhood.  His father lifted the kid Samir and placed him behind the Doshka machine gun mounted on the jeep. That was the first great impression for power and glory.

Samir political awareness began in 1980 when he was in middle school:  He read the daily newspaper “Al Watan” (the Nation) distributed at the school door.  He badly desired to wear the green vest called “field” that was donned by the communist fighters.

When the bombing intensified, he stood at the school door and harangued the students not to enter and instead to join the demonstrations.  The school  principal remonstrated them and they replied by throwing rocks at him.

In Ras Nabaa stood a house called “Nadi Ruwad” (the patrons club) which hosted Russian delegates and various sports activities. In this house, Samir got indoctrinated and started reading ideological books and participating in discussions.

In 1981, Samir was already 15 years old and joined a training camp for the Communist in Kfar Matta under the direction of a comrade called “Stalin”. He had told his family that he was going out on a scout camp.

The taller the comrade the closer to the front row was the regulation and thus, short Samir was always standing in the back wearing oversized Cuban military garments.

Abu Anis, the war code name for the head of the Communist Party George Hawi, sent immediately these fresh graduating recruits to manning the barricades in St. Theresa, in the Dahia neighborhood in order to face-off the offensives of the “Amal” militias also called the disinherited Shiaas.(Nabih Berri, chief of the Parliament for 25 years, claims that he is the leader of this militia)

Samir was restless from then on and barely visited his family.

In 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon and entered Beirut.

Samir helped his comrades recover the military vehicles and hardware buried in the “Sport City” compound and distributed the vehicles to various corners in West Beirut, and mainly around the “Cola” neighborhood.

By dawn, the inhabitants got the fright seeing that amount of military vehicles and chars and started vacating to more peaceful areas in coincidence with the admonishments of the Israeli flyers for the people to empty the surroundings and so Samir’s folks did too.

Samir collected 250 house keys that the tenants left with him for safe keep.

While guarding barricades, Samir used to finger his guitar and a photo was published of him with the legend stating “The break time of a fighter at “Mat7af” (National Museum area)”, followed by the slogans “Down with guns; Long life to guitars!”

His last battle was at “Mat7af” where he faced the Israeli soldiers and managed to earn the scare of his life before successfully retreating.

Samir still believes that he fought for a just cause, but the circumstances and new facts are leaving him to wonder whether this civil war was worth the damage and death.

Since the Taif agreement in 1990, which stopped the war, but left no victors,  and the parliament proclaiming that “All has been forgiven and all involved have been pardoned”, Samir has experienced deep depression periods and witnessed a half-peace and lack of opportunities to earn a living.

(These militia/mafia “leaders’ are still in control of Lebanon in the last 3 decades and bankrupted the State at all levels)

An eye witness confessed to see a bunch of kids playing soccer on a sandy field to discover that the ball was indeed a human skull.

Rami, now 33 years old, used to gather insects in bundles and burn them just to hear the crackling sounds in the fire.

George Hawi visiting a Communist Militia Camp, Ayoun Al Siman Mountains, 1976
George Hawi visiting a Communist Militia Camp, Ayoun Al Siman Mountains, 1976 Photograph: Diab Alkarssifi
Political martyrs memorial rally, Almarg village, 1977
Political martyrs memorial rally, Almarg village, 1977 Diab Alkarssifi Photograph: Diab Alkarssifi
Political martyrs memorial rally, Almarg village, 1977
Political martyrs memorial rally, Almarg village, 1977 Diab Alkarssifi Photograph: Diab Alkarssifi

A lost Lebanon – in pictures

When artist Ania Dabrowska started working with Diab Alkarssifi, a homeless Lebanese man in London, she made a startling discovery. He was a compulsive photographer with a hoard of unseen pictures from his homeland

To support the publication of this archive, visit

A Lebanese Archive at kickstarter.com/projects/ 723440909/a-lebanese-archive-by-ania-dabrowska

Brothers Khader and Mohammed Alkarssifi, Baalbeck, 1977
Brothers Khader and Mohammed Alkarssifi, Baalbeck, 1977 Diab Alkarssifi Photograph: Diab Alkarssifi

Nesrin Jare and Ietedal Alkarssifi, Baalbeck, 1981
Nesrin Jare and Ietedal Alkarssifi, Baalbeck, 1981 Photograph: Diab Alkarssifi
Mustafa Shalha, Baalbeck, 1974
Mustafa Shalha, Baalbeck, 1974 Photograph: Diab Alkarssifi

Good or bad? A tribute is a tribute: on late Ghassan Tueni

Ghassan Tueni, a famous Lebanese journalist, the owner of the daily Al Nahar (The Day), a politician, a deputy, a minister, a representative to the UN, a board founder of educational institutions…passed away on Friday June 8, 2012. He was 87 years old. And he was a heavy smoker.
For 10 days now, the daily Al Nahar is publishing tributes by hundreds of people. All the tributes published in Al Nahar and other dailies describe a “freedom loving leader” and very dedicated to freedom of expression and…

Tueni joined the Syria Social National Party (SSNP), the Lebanese branch, early on in his youth while the leader Antoun Saadeh was exiled in Argentina.  When Saadeh returned to Lebanon in 1947, he dismissed Tueni and scores of other leading members for transforming the party into a Lebanese party and not representative of the Syrian people (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Iraq).

Tueni published a scathing diatribe of the 24-hour mock trial that ended in the execution of Saadeh by a government of a pseudo-State that tacitly supported the creation of Israel.

Tueini later rejoined the party after Saadeh was executed and was elected deputy as a member of the SSNP in the 50s.

 Ghassan Tueni was sent to jail several times for his outspoken criticism of the performance of various governments in Lebanon.
Ghassan Tueni knew how to recruit talented journalists with different viewpoints. The journalists views were published complete in the daily, but the editorial line of the paper represented Tueni’s current political positions…
Al-Nahar was a leading Lebanese paper in the 1950s, 60s and 1970s, and contributed in the publishing of many valuable cultural periodicals such as “Fekr” (Research opinion) that canalized the free expressions of many intellectuals…

An-Nahar is no longer such a leading free opinion daily: people still think that it remains “leading” to this day…For example, Israeli scholars of the Arab world still cited Al-Hawadith magazine because they still think that it is as popular was it was back in the 1970s.

Tueni mimicked the successful journalistic formula of the US: the use of weekly supplements, the division into sections, the sensational use of pictures on the front page, and the introduction of technology when newspapers were very old-fashioned in the Arab world.

Tueni was mostly able to sustain the preeminence of his daily in Lebanon thanks to the financial support from Gulf countries and from other Western powers during the Cold War.

An-Nahar and its publishing houses were intensely involved in anti-communist propaganda during the Cold War. A book on the cultural Cold War in the Middle East would have a special section about An-Nahar.

Ghassan Tueni was made famous in the world community when he delivered a speech at the UN demanding “let my people live…” during the 17 year-long civil war.

Ghassan Tueni believed that the civil war was instigated and planned by foreign powers, (superpowers and regional powers), though the Lebanese people know that they were and still are dried branches, ready to burn for failure to reform and change their social/political structure since 1943…

A few people are angry for heaping all the good qualities and attributes on Ghassan Tueni.

As’ad AbuKhalil  posted on his blog Angry Corner on June 14 under “Ghassan Tueni: About the Tributes” (with slight editing):

“It is one thing to see the March 14 (Hariri and Saudi-funded) press in Lebanon paying tributes to Ghassan Tueni. But to see Western media talking about him is to be reminded about the extent of propaganda and its disconnection to reality.

When David Ignatius, for example, writes about Ghassan Tueni and his contribution to Arab media, you have to question if he knows what he’s talking about?

How can someone who does not know the language and culture of a region comment on press in that culture?

What is the value of my comments on Chinese media if I don’t know Chinese? That only shows that those are recycling conventional wisdom and established propaganda clichés.

The New York Times carried a glowing obituary of Tueni and singled him out as the most important Arab journalist. Funny, the New York Times even linked him to the “Arab spring” as if anyone in the new Arab generation followed his writings.

Who in Tunisia or Saudi Arabia knows who Ghassan Tueni is?

Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, for example – whether you like it or not – is known and read throughout the Arab world. Tueni never had that stature outside the Near East region.

Abdul-Bari Atwan is another Arab journalist who is known and read throughout the region, particularly due to his Al Jazeera appearances, but Tueni never enjoyed that kind of acclaim.

Sami Moubayed wrote another glowing tribute and claimed that Tueni was courageous about support for “freedom” – even Saddam spoke about the virtues of generic freedom.

Moubayed spoke about the courage of Tueni when the man was never known for his political courage and made peace with whoever dominated Lebanese politics (his son, Jubran was in fact outspoken against the Syrian regime).

For decades Al Nahar exhibited racist anti-Syrian rhetoric. But Western media don’t know better.

Elias Khoury in Al-Quds Al-Arabi even referred to Tueni as “revolutionary”. Various tributes talked about his love of “freedom”.

Yet, George Hawi (late assassinated communist leader) in his book published by Dar An-Nahar put it best: “Tueni supported freedom only when he was out of power, and only occasionally”.

Tueni is the champion of the counter-revolution in the Arab world. He has been aligned with the conservative Arab regional and international order throughout the decades. His paper was part of the propaganda devices of the US during the Cold War.

The paper was successful and effective in the 1960s up to the eruption of the Lebanese civil war in 1975.

Tueni, far from being a courageous critic of regimes, was aligned with successive regimes in Lebanon.

For example, Al-Nahar, under Tueni, praised President Bishara al-Khoury before belatedly joining the opposition, and it remained faithful to the terrible rule of President Camille Chamoun. It was critical of President Fouad Chehab but only on behalf of the right-wing coalition of the Hilf (“the alliance”) in the 1960s.

An-Nahar was aligned with the regime of Elias Sarkis and Tueni had the most influential political role in the administration of Amin Gemayyel – probably one of the worst and most corrupt administrations in contemporary Lebanese history.

People forgot (or pretended to forget) that Tueni served as the overall coordinator of the Lebanese-Israeli negotiations that produced the still-born May 17 Agreement. The paper never raised its voice against the repression of Amin Gemayyel.

When Ghassan’s son, late Jubran (assassinated), took over the paper, it no longer pretended to adhere to the cloak of journalistic objectivity. It became vulgar and sectarian, and played a partisan role in the Lebanese conflict.

Khouri talked about hiring leftists, but it would be more accurate to say that the Tuenis, father and son, only tolerated leftists after they become ex-leftists.

The ideology of the paper was unmasked even during the times of Ghassan. He said so in the book Sirr Al-Mihnah (“Trade Secret”): The three intellectual and political influences in his life were Charles Malek, Camille Chamoun, and Antoun Saadeh.

Malek and Chamoun inspired him all his life and he adhered to their conservative and right-wing agenda in the paper. His long time editor-in-chief, Louis al-Hajj, spoke of the services that the paper rendered to Pierre Gemayyel (founder of the right-wing Phalanges Party) and even revealed the sectarian mindset of the paper.

Tueni played an important political role in Lebanese politics and society. He promoted conservative and right-wing notions and themes under the guise of a liberal bourgeois framework. But he was always cautious politically and his editorials were only daring in favor of this traditional politician against that traditional politician.

In the Arab Cold War, Tueni’s paper earned tremendous financial benefits due to its stance in favor of the anti-communist coalition (Al-Hayat and An-Nahar were the voices of anti-communism and of the Arab regimes of oil and gas).

While the stature and political significance of the paper declined, it continued to do well financially. However, this was only due to a corrupt monopolistic scheme that its Lebanese Forces’ ally, Antoine Choueiri, arranged whereby most revenues from the ad market would end up at the paper at the expense of all other papers in Lebanon.

Tueni left an already insignificant newspaper. An-Nahar belongs to a bygone era. The arena is now taken over by new outlets and publications. But there is no denying that Tueni was influential a very long time ago”. End of As’ad AbuKhalil  post

Ghassan Tueiny shouldered his responsibilities when his dad died and his elder brother died and had to run a daily in young age.

He had a full-life.

He lost his brother. He lost all his three children, the latest was Jubran, assassinated.

He lost his first wife Nadia. He remarried at the age 70… How many of us can claim that we have a life?

Good or bad, a tribute is a tribute for an engaged and active life. Compassion and passionate occasions were plenty to disseminate and flow around…

Ghassan Tueini knew how to lead people and go the extra mile in sustaining a daily and its employees, train journalists and reporters and maintaining Lebanon a base for freedom of expression when dictatorial regimes all around forced their intellectuals to flee to greener pasture for free opinions…

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.

What is Legitimate, Temporary, and Necessary ?(June 5, 2009)

            On June 7, 2009 the Lebanese will vote for a new Parliament. Two groups of citizens will vote: The group constituted of the patriotic, secular, and reformists and the group of an amalgam of statue-quo confessionals, feudalists, isolationists, and “colonial minded” mentalities. The “colonial minded” citizens follow leaders who invariably rely on foreign interventions (regional or superpower States) to balance out a broken alliance among the 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 decision in Israel 61 years history. The joint strategy of Lebanon President Lahoud and Hafiz Assad of Syria enabled Hezbollah a resounding victory.  

The Arab League decided to hold its annual meting in Beirut in August 2002 as a good 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 of Rafiq 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 nothing in return: Hariri could still be of greater benefit to their policies in the Middle East region alive rather than dead. 

The International Community, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia fell 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/Mustakbal/Hariri clan.  Plan B petered out. 

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 of war preparation.  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 “Jund Al Sham” and financed by Bandar Bin 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’s 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 Dowha and agreed on the election of a President to the Republic, an election law for the 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 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 the 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 back to Syria, “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 antagonizing 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.

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.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
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