Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘maronite

Bi-Weekly Report (#21) on the Middle East and Lebanon (May 9, 2009)

 

            The US Administration keeps flopping between the policy of a peace treaty (Israel/ Syria) first or a Palestinian homeland in the Near East.  So far, the US Administration has changed priority more than once in a single month and the US delegates are crusing the regions for a hint and a suggestion while carrying all kinds of tentative projects.  The energumen Israeli foreign affairs minister, investigated for criminal activities by the Israeli police, is visiting a few European States to confirm his opposition for a Palestinian State.  Thus, the US is pleasuring Israel by shifting its priority to (Israel/Syria) peace treaty first.

            Anyone of these projects to take off there are powerful regional powers to satisfy.  For Syria there are Iran and Turkey that should cooperate fully and sign their agreements.  Iran would pressure the US first, to handle the nuclear arm policy equitably since Israel owns one too many nuclear arms; and second, that the treaty preserves unconditionally the sovereignity of Syria in the Golan Heights. This is no longer a State to State treaty but a regional status of dignity that no usurper is to enjoy advantages by military forces.

  1. Turkey would insists that France drops her veto to a potential attachement of Turkey to the European Union; otherwise, why Turkey would go at such length and effort to get re-immersed in regional quagmires?   The other condition of Turkey is that Moslem Syria is not pressured into “losing face” and thus, exacerbates the sense of humiliation and desperation that the Arab World has been subjugated to for centuries.

 

            One policy that the US Adminstration has decided on and is executing with the support of the Pakistany army and government is to defeating the military power of the Taliban style ideology in norther Pakistan.  Pakistan is the main source of instability in order to re-arrange the Greater Middle East stability.  I hope that the Barak Administration has already extended its military policy in Pakistan into including the social and economic stability and viability of the Pakistani State.  Pakistan is worth heavy investment in money and time until the Taliban (Wahhabit) ideology is contained and controlled.

 

            For the Palestinian homestate to take off there are Egypt and Saudi Arabia to be satisfied, assuming that Syria has signed a peace treaty with Israel.  Egypt would insist that first, its enjoys the status of the most preferred nation in Gaza, kind of practical mandate if not diplomatically; and second, that Israel relinquishes any kinds of controls in the Palestinian State that Egypt might be denied, and third, (during the Mubarak dictatorship) that Hamas is not to be the most powerful faction in the Palestinian government and Parliament: Mubarak understands that the “Moslem Brotherhood” party in Egypt has more legitimacy among the population than his regime.

            Saudi Arabia would insists that the clerics to the Mosques that it invested in building or maintaining in Palestine be hired by the wahhabit sect and answering directly to the “fatwas” emanating from the Capital Riad.

 

            The President of Lebanon, Michel Suleiman, has declared yesterday that after the Parliamentary election in June 7 the Dawha agreement will have been satistisfied and the Taef Constitution will be applied: The winning coalition in the parliament will govern and the losers will oppose.  The leader of the Tayyar al Horr (Change and Reform Party), and currently the dominant “Christian” representative in the parliament, General Michel Aoun has been promoting the advent of the Third Republic to replace the governing system imposed on Lebanon since 1993 during the Syrian mandate and after the withdrawal of the Syrian troops in 2005.  The polls favor the opposition (Tayyar, Hezbolah, and Amal) to gaining 65 deputies out of 120. 

Michel Aoun has decided to run in the district of Jezzine (a Christian enclave) with his list of 3 candidates when all the attempts for an agreement with Berri failed.  Berri is the Chairman of the Parliament and the leader of the Shiaa Amal Party that represented the Shiaa during the civil war but was supplanted by Hezbollah.  Berri understands that his weight and standing in the political structure are solely based on heading the parliament and all his machinations are to securing this post that he chaired for over 20 years.

Regardless of the wining coalition, the Taef Agreement will be re-applied in its entirety with various success and time span. For example, a second confessional Partiament of the 19 religious sects will be formed so that the popular Parliament will be elected devoid of sectarianism and hopefully according to a new law based on relative percentages (nisbiyya) and not on majority.

If the Tayyar returns with additional gains into the Parliament then the application of Taef Constitution will accelerate with modification after substantial lapse of time such as providing the President of Republic additional leverage and imposing time constraint on the government (mainly the Prime Minister) to ratifying decision as it is imposed of the President.

In case the Tayyar loses then a dangerous cycle await Lebanon with end results of sharing power not on the basis of 50/50 between the Moslem sects and the Christian sects but on the basis of three major sects, the Shiaa (the most populous), the Sunni, and a combination of the Maronite and Christian Orthodox. 

  1. Lebanon is a precarious State depending on many foreign interests in the Middle East and not specifically for the sake of Lebanon.   In any case, a stable Lebanon is connected with a stable Syria that is satisfied with Lebanon’s foreign administration of relations. The fundamental interests of Syria cannot be circumvented and supersede the USA if Lebanon is to enjoy security and stability.

Lebanon: An improbable Statehood in the making (Part 1, February 19, 2008)

 

Note: I had this large file; I split it in smaller specialized topics. Thus, I created another category called “Lebanon/Middle East”.  I divided the large articles into parts of less than 1500 words after re-editing and attaching notes for current events.

 

                        Lebanon has been mentioned countless times in the ancient stories of the Jewish Bible as the land of milk and honey and snow covered majestic mountains (thus its name) and of cedars, pine and oak trees. Lebanon has been described for its skilled inhabitants and sea faring mariners and commercial ingenuity by establishing trading counters around the Mediterranean Sea.  Lebanon is recognized as a formal States in the UN since its inception in 1946 at the sessions in San Francisco after the end of WWII; its delegate participated in the writing of the UN charter and the Human Rights.  Lebanon snatched its independence from the colonial mandated France in 1943 with a big help from Britain.  The last French troops vacated this land in 1946.  Still the Lebanese are lacking the definitive belief in a motherland.

                        Lebanon is surely a good place for leisure time and a vacationing location for its immigrants; many families that can afford to leave for greener pastures are not overly disturbed of not returning definitively.  Most Lebanese have not participated as a “Nation” to defend the land of aggressors and to preserving its unity.  After over 65 years of nominal independence the political system has failed miserably to convince the Lebanese that prospect for security and lasting development is feasible.

                        The main problem is that we have 19 officially recognized castes, closed sects, with autonomous personal status legal systems, associated with each respective sect.  Thus, the Lebanese citizen is practically a member of a caste from birth to death whether he likes it or not.  The political system has followed this caste structure and allocated the civil service positions, and in the highest levels, according to tacit agreements. A strict quota define what level and which function a citizen can attain and the number of deputies in the Parliament and ministers in the government according to a structured quota relative to the hierarchy of the caste after each civil war.

                        Members of a caste have realized that services could be obtained through the leadership of their caste and not from a central government or legal rights.

 

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

                        The Druze sect located mainly in the Chouf district and part of the Bekaa Valley that borders the Golan Height was originally a Shiaa sect affiliated to the Fatimid dynasty in Egypt around the 13th century.  When we mention Shiaa it is meant a sect among other sects that refused to abide by the Moslem Sunni sect that paid allegiance to a Caliphate not directly descending from the Prophet Mohammad.  After the demise of the Fatimid dynasty the Druze were harshly persecuted and they opted to close the membership in order to discourage serious infiltrations to their sect.  They admonished their members to have two positions, one that would satisfy the power to be and another of a more intimate belief system.  For example, Walid Jumblat is a typical Druze leader with two-faced messages and ready to change his political position when opportunities of allying to the strongest power materialize. In general, the Druze sect is suspicious and even hates every sect bordering their location of concentration.  They have practically allied to anyone that might weaken the political and economic status of their neighboring sects.  The Druze is the only citizen who recognizes that he belongs to a caste, a closed religious sect, where no outside believers can be accepted and none of the members scratched from the register. This is a dying sect that failed to open up and comprehend or assimilate the notion of belonging to a larger community or nation to unite with.

                        The Moslem Sunni sect is even worse than the Druze because it has been functioning as a caste since independence but not acknowledging it.  The Sunni sect has nothing in its religion to prevent it from opening up and uniting with other sects under one nation. It has enjoyed supreme privileges as the main caste during the Ottoman Sunni Empire and had the opportunities to concentrate in the main cities on the littoral and also to trade and communicate with foreigners and other sects but it opted to hide in its shell and stave off changes and reforms.  Foreign travelers and many accounts have revealed that nobody could rent in a Sunni house or has been invited inside their lodging. Only Sunni males were seen outside doing business; women were never seen outside their domiciles. Man reached the moon but the Sunni caste has yet to acknowledge this achievement.

                        The leaders of the Sunni caste agreed in the National Pact, right after independence, to share power with the Christian Maronite sect but they kept vigilant to continuously allying with the most powerful Sunny Arab State of the moment.  The civil wars of 1958 and then 1975 started in order to regain hegemony over the Maronite political privileges in the new political system.  The Sunni sect has allies with the monarchies in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Sunni State of Egypt and it frequently takes positions with Arab foreign powers at the detriment of national unity.  In general, the Sunni still hope for a return to a Caliphate reign and support all kinds of Sunni fundamentalists and salafists.  This caste is very adamant in proscribing matrimonial relationship outside its caste.

             The Maronite sect was very open for centuries and was the main religion that established roots in the Druze canton because the feudal Druze landlords needed the Maronite peasants to work their hard lands.  In 1860 a bloody civil war broke out in the Druze canton and thousands of Maronites were massacred.  When Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, it encouraged the Christian Lebanese Forces to entertain military presence in the Druze canton.  As the Israeli forces vacated the Chouf region then the Druze feudal lord Walid Jumblat asked the aid of the Palestinian factions at the orders of the Syrian regime and he systematically slaughtered the Maronites and thus, drove the Christians out of the Druze canton and back to their original cantons of centuries back. 

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

           

            The Shia Moslem sect is currently the most numerous but it was not so when Lebanon got its independence and it was not centralized to effect any political changes. The feud between the Shiaa and the Sunny is historically and fundamentally a clan warfare between the Muslims who demand the Caliphate to be a direct descended to the Prophet and those who don’t mind as long as the Caliphate is from the Kureich family, mainly Hashem or Ummaya or whatever.

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.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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