Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Najib Mikati PM

Complicating the Class-Divide: New Contractor Bourgeoisie in Lebanon Politics: Rafik Hariri clan, Najib Mikati, Muhammad Safadi, and Issam Fares…

Before the civil war (1975-1989), Lebanon was ruled and controlled by the “comprador” bourgeoisie class (importing from developed nations and selling to the regional States) and their attached commercial/financial banks who manipulated the feudal/tribal/sectarian structure of Lebanon political.social landscape.

During the civil war, Lebanese immigrated in trove to greener pastures and left the space to the sectarian warlords militias leaders. The warlord leaders split the country into sectarian cantons, displacing, transferring and remodeling the mixed communities into “cleansing” de facto closed societies.

The moslem Sunnis preferred to migrate to the new Arab Gulf Emirates and Saudi Arabia. A third of Lebanon work force migrated there within a decade: from 50,000 in 1970 to over 210,000 in 1980. Those struck wealth were in contracting civil work, basically working as subcontractors to Emirs and princes who had the proper connections.

Late Rafik Hariri PM, Najib Mikati PM, finance minister Muhammad Safadi, and vice PM Issam Fares were among these new contractor bourgeois…

The Moslem Shia migrated mostly to west Africa where they joined relatives and struck wealth through adventurous trade deals.

The Christians immigrated to the US and Europe for higher education, and most of them never contemplated to return home to settle. Why?

Most opportunities after the war were allocated to the Moslems, particularly the educated Sunnis who filled the vacant institutions, managed and administered foundations of the new breed of contractors, public civil work, and controlled side institutions attached to the Sunni prime minister

For example, the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR),  communication ministry, internal police force in Beirut, internal intelligence gathering section, Solidere, Sukleen, appointing the governor of the Central Bank and the minister of finance…

This new landscape was an immediate result of the Taif Constitution that expanded the political strength of the Prime Minister at the expense of the President of the Republic.

The business-politicians and neoliberal technocrats in the Future movement network of Rafik Hariri constituted a force for neoliberal “reforms” that appeased the US administration as to the financial policy direction of  the State of Lebanon.

The Hariri clan network had three main purposes:

1. Privatizing State-controlled entities by acquiring them for cheap since they had the liquidity and were backed by Saudi Arabia, and

2. Pegging the Lebanese currency to the US dollar in order to incur far more debt than necessary on the government and insuring total control of the financial condition, mainly to blackmail their rival political leaders into  difficult situation that only the Future movement of Hariri can untangle this volatile condition… (More details in a follow-up article “Applying neoliberal mechanism on Lebanon”)

3. Controlling the city center of Beirut through the chartered company Solidere

For over 2 decades, the Hariri clan were given the financial responsibilities through appointing the governor of the Central Bank, the minister of finance, and controlling the municipality of the Capital Beirut.

After the civil war, Rafik Hariri filled the vacuum of the Sunni leadership, thanks to the total backing of Saudi Arabia, which was the main loan guarantor for the infusion of international lending multinationals. The Hariri network of clientelists and media empires (TV and dailies) strengthened their electoral votes in the Sunni communities.

The Hariri clan was successful in 3 dimensions:

1. Reaching political offices like Prime minister, ministers, deputies, governors of public institutions…

2. Gaining control of public institutions to further their economic agenda, especially creating and controlling side institutions directly linked and attached to the PM

3. Gathering popular following, particularly among the Sunni community, the Druze and a few Christian parties

Saad Hariri, son of Rafik, monopolized the Sunni political leadership and contributed to the widening rift between Sunnis and Shiaas.

Najib Mikati PM and Muhammad Safadi had to climb a stiff road for claiming a political representation of the Sunni communities. Particularly, that the Future movement allied with the Sunni conservative and extremist Moslems like Lebanese Moslem Brotherhood, the extremist jihaddist wahhabi, the A7bash, the Jund al Sham, the Jamaa al Islamiyya

In fact, it was the Future party that financed and covered the many “terrorist” activities of these fringe Sunni organizations, such as in the Sirat Donnieh, the Palestinian camp of Ain Bared, the massacre committed in Halba, and lately what is happening in the large town of Ersal, confronting the army.

The new neoliberal Contractor class is a level added in class interpretation of Lebanon political structure.

How this new Contractor class acquired its wealth in the billion? (To be followed)

Note: From a chapter by Hannes Baumann in “Lebanon after the Cedar Revolution” by Are Knudsen and Michael Kerr.

Beirut Blast and Branding a Revolution?

The consequences and ramification of the car explosion in Achrafieh that occurred on Friday at 2:30 pm are in progress.  More casualties (injured and killed civilians) are increasing: Infighting in Tripoli and in Beirut are still taking place, for no reasons but to vent out the anger of the jobless youth, galvanized by opportunistic political leaders, wanting to secure a ministry in a possible government shuffling…

I knew a friend living in the nearby of the blasted street and sent her a message: “Zeina, this street is familiar to me. Write something…” The apartment of Zeina and her family was blasted but they are all uninjured…

And the scores of dead victims from the blast had no anchor man or woman to cover the grieving of their families and the 110 injured civilians scattered in the hospitals of Beirut…

Habib Battah published this Oct.20, 2012 in “The Beirut Report” under “Branding a revolution”:

It’s been barely 24 hours since the assassination of the Lebanese internal intelligence chief Gen. Wissam Hassan, and the political wheels are already in full gear.

There have been speeches tonight in downtown Beirut calling for the resignation of prime minister and tents being set up for a sleep-in, which organizers promise will not end until their demands are met (see top right image above).

Politicians opposed to Prime Minister Najib Mikati are calling for a massive turnout for Hassan’s funeral tomorrow, and tonight, the media (allied to the Hariri clan) is playing its role in getting the word out.

The Future Television (Hariri or Moustakbal movement) has begun filming one of its talk shows in the tomb of slain former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, seeking to draw his supporters in by creating a visual link between Hariri’s killing and that of Hassan:

Future TV has even created a Hassan graphic with the date of tomorrow’s funeral:

Meanwhile, other stations have been filming nightly talk shows from Martyr’s square where only a few hundred party loyalists have gathered. These crowds are relatively minuscule compared to the hundreds of thousands of Lebanese that have gathered in downtown Beirut in years past (particularly in March 14, 2005), but in filming live from the area, television stations are building momentum for tomorrow’s event by treating the small crowds as a major news story.

On MTV, the scene is carefully framed with the anchor standing in front of the two tents that have been erected earlier this afternoon (see first photo in this post), which pales in comparison to the hundreds of tents set up by Hezbollah and its allies during their occupation of downtown in 2006. Yet the tight shot does not allow viewers to actually count the tents.

Neither does the wide angle, which shows a relatively small crowd of a few dozen, mainly young men holding party flags:

Similarly, Al Jadeed also filmed its evening talk show tonight from Martyr’s Square, but again wide shots revealed almost no one gathered for an event that can barely justify– in terms of news worthiness– the cost of such an outdoor broadcast.

On the other hand, LBC has chosen to film its show in studio tonight. But like the other channels, the guests are familiar faces, with very partisan affiliations, making very familiar, heated arguments.

The same was true for OTV, which is supportive of the government and thus brought out pro-government figures that Lebanese have seen on televisions for years if not decades.

Clearly, all this advertisement about tomorrow’s rally from pro-government channels may have an impact on some viewers. But at the same time, many have grown tired of being spoon-fed polarizing and often sect-specific views from entrenched party figures.

If tomorrow’s rally does not draw the huge crowds it is promising, this could be a small but significant blow to the traditional Lebanese political order, which finds itself under increasing pressure amid the changes going on in the region.

Note: The bodies of Wissam and his bodyguard Sahyoun were being readied to be buried next to late Rafic Hariri PM when a nitwits, standing by ex-Siniora PM, took the micro and harangued the masses to storm the close-by government building (The Grand Serai).

The fanatic youth of the Lebanese Forces, the Kataeb and the radical Islamist extremists surged and overturn the few policemen standing guard. The army commandos came in reinforcement and the “official” leader of March 14 coalition (Saad Hariri) spoke from Paris and ordered the masses to retreat. Why?

He claimed that the government building, constructed in the early 1910, was built by his late assassinated father Rafic Hariri PM.

Another car bombing in Beirut, another immediate political finger-pointing, and scores of civilian dead and injured

A nephew of mine called from Beirut and asked me to turn the TV on and tell him the location of the blast: It sounded close to the Justice Palace where his direction was headed to. It turned out the explosion was in Achrafieh, on the hill overlooking the Palace.

The “Urgent Flash news” on LBC claimed the blast was in Sassine Square, but there was some traffic. Then the camera showed a cloud of black fumes emanating from the right corner of the Square, and a possibility that Starbuck was targeted. And I said to myself: “That is a probable target: Starbuck has been financing Israeli colonies in Palestine…”.

The news claimed that the blast was 400 m from the headquarter of March 14 coalition, headed by the Hariri clan of Al Moustakbal, but the distance is a way far to be the target.  And the news said that one of the Kataeb (Phalange) Party was 30 m away…

We were in the dark, until over an hour later, it was confirmed that the main target was Wissan Hassan, director of internal intelligence gathering.  Why this delay? They recognized Wissam from his jogging shoes?

A car exlpoded in a side street in Achrafieh.

The target was not Wissam, but the institution of internal intelligence center.

The target was not Hassan, but this political climate that put forward the director as the main hero for the internal “security”, and loaded all kinds of praise on the director for any “minor” exploit, just to taunt the other political coalition…And quickly promoting him General…

The target was this symbol of a policy that says: “Lebanon is neutral in the calamities befalling on the Syrian people and the State of Syria…”

The target was selected to bring us back to the same political environment when late and ex PM Rafic Hariri was assassinated in 2005, an event that witnessed the prompt withdrawal of the Syrian troops from Lebanon after 15 years of a mandated power over Lebanon, a mandate agreed upon by the US, France and Saudi during the late Syrian dictator Hafez Assad…

The March 14 coalition (the Hariri clan Moustakbal movement), funded by Saudi Arabia and under the direct guidance of the US, immediately pointed the finger at the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad…

The March 8 coalition is accusing Israel because Wissam Hassan was given credit for dismantling several Israeli intelligence networks in Lebanon, with the coordination and cooperation of Hezbollah, and the army intelligence bureau…

It is well known in Lebanon that Wissam Hassan was in constant contact with the Syrian regime, and visited Damascus on a bi-weekly routine to coordinate security problems.

Wissam changed focus with the political winds.

In the beginning, Al Hassan was part of Rafic Hariri security team. In 2005, Najib Mikati PM appointed Wissam as head of the internal intelligence branch, and also appointed Ashraf Rifi (another of Hariri employee),director of the internal forces…

After the assassination of Rafic Hariri, Hassan was given the job of gathering intelligence pieces in order to indict Hezbollah as the executioner of the Syrian regime  dirty activities and turning the investigation toward Hezbollah as the main perpetrator, and purposely not considering all the other alternative criminals such as Israel, the US and France, the radical Islamists…

Four Generals in the various internal security institutions were jailed for 4 years, with no material convicting evidences, simply on political charges and for revenge…

Lately, Hassan rounded up the former minister Michel Samaha, on charges of carrying explosives from Syria in his car…

There are information relating this assassination to a more recent event.

A month ago, three top Al Qaeda leaders from the Jund El Sham have been whisked out of Roumieh jail: They got out surreptitiously from the main gate. Internal investigations have been pointing to Wissam Hassan as the main authority in circumventing the minister of the interior. Hassan has already displaced countless witnesses in many serious charges to outside Lebanon, particularly shipping them to France, Dubai or Qatar.

Jund El Sham radical Islamist had occupied the Palestinian camp of Nahr el Bared (close to Tripoli up north) and attacked the Lebanese army.  It took over 6 months for the army to re-enter the camp, scoring hundreds in casualties, and totally destroying the camp and evacuating the refugees…

France, in cooperation with German secret services, is suspected of being the main power in charge of planning the dirty operations in Lebanon and Syria, as former mandated power. As one of these dirty operations coincides with the interest of Israel, then Israel is subcontracted to carrying out the explosions and assassinations… with plenty of benefits, politically and financially…

The US has cornered itself by listing many powerful organizations as “terrorists”, and consequently, most of the CIA agents in Lebanon have been uncovered by Hezbollah and left Lebanon. The US is currently relying on Germany and France agents to feed it with intelligence pieces…

Note: The “institution” headed by late General Wissam Hassan was illegally operating and functioning outside of the Parliament legitimacy: no laws were enacted for the expansion of its tasks and personnel…

 

Ideal case study for alienated youth: City of Tripoli, Lebanon

This week was terrible in Tripoli, Lebanon. The gunfire is relentlessly going on. So far, 120 were hospitalized and increasing, a dozen killed , and scores of Lebanese soldiers seriously injured, paying the heavy price of a pseudo-State with a pseudo government. Why this infighting between two blocks of “rocket holed” buildings in Bab El Tebbani (mostly Islam Sunnis) and Jabal Mohsen (mostly Islam Alawits)?

Jabal Mohsen is a block of crumbling building built on a small hill overlooking the Syria boulevard separating it from Bab El Tebbani.

Since 2005, after the withdrawal of the mandated Syrian troops from Lebanon, these two quarters in Tripoli have been at one another throats.  Hysteric, out of work, never worked in their life, and terribly famished youth have this nack of stepping forward and grabbing the TV micro and claim that their weapon was purchased with their own saved money to protect themselves from the enemy…Whose money again? Who is this enemy?

The irony is that the government PM is from Tripoli, and he would not form the government until 5 ministers are from Tripoli, sort of securing a public base for the next election in 2013 and being proclaimed the political leader of this totally neglected city for 4 decades. These political “leaders” were totally helpless in resolving the deteriorating conditions…

The funny part is that the army didn’t officially enjoy political cover to take control of the infighting, until things went out of hand. Why?

A funnier story was told by the leader of Jabal Mohsen, Mr. Eid, that all their weapons and ammunitions are bought from the Hariri Clan (The Future movement), the same political party that extend the same kinds of weapons to the Sunni fighters in Lebanon…And from where the Hariri clan bring in this assortment of weapons? From this absolute Wahhabi monarchy of Saudi Arabia, the other absolute Emirate of Qatar, and the political cover of the USA.

After 4 decades of neglect, economically and in public facilities, generations of youth were brought up as “citizens” out of subject matter, out of touch from the remaining regions of Lebanon, a vast ghetto of famished, jobless, illiterate youth, and lead by clerics who are bought and sold for a nickel…

You cannot imagine how rotten are the brains of these clerics, under soiled turban and various headdresses…Their main jobs, these clerics is to get the youth moving out to the street, for one reason or another, preferably after Fridays’ Prayers, and chanting “Allah wa Akbar”, greater from who? They are in charge, these clerics, of distributing the proper weapons of machine guns, rocket launchers, batons, iron rods, tires to burn and block traffic…

After four decades of total neglect, the youth in Tripoli constitute the Ideal case study for alienated urban kids, to all kinds of researchers around the world, sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, archeologists, mental derangement cases…

Two weeks ago, heartless and mindless local TV reporters wanted to have their 15 minutes”glory” under the sun and took the families of the kidnapped Lebanese in Syria/Turkey by total surprise.

The “urgent news” were displayed on TV channels that a Syrian fighter jet bombed a town by the Turkish border, and that the 11 Lebanese civilians kidnapped two months ago have all perished.  The news were false. But the consequences are not that false at all.

This tribe of Moqdad, and many other Lebanese tribes of Jaafar…(far more numerous than in Libya) reacted by kidnapping 40 Syrians and Turks…on the Lebanese soil and demanding their right for revenge…

Worst, the Moqdad tribe refused the minister of the interior any communication with them until the government proved that it has the  kidnapped Lebanese at heart and is working diligently for their liberation and is in control of the situation…

Lebanese gunmen from the al-Moqdad clan in southern Beirut, Reuters
The citizens of Saudi Arabia, the Emirate States and Qatar were urged (ordered by their governments) to fleeLebanon, and not just the fleshpots of Beirut.
As a reminder, kidnappings were fuel to the fire of the first weeks of the 1975-90 Lebanese civil war. But the reason for these abductions is a lot less clear.

Robert Fisk wrote a week ago:

“We have to look at the case of one Hassan Selim Moqdad, for whom Beirut’s latest hostages are held. A Lebanese Shia, he was seized by the Free Syrian Army inside Syria and videotaped babbling that he was a Hezbollah member, part of a 1,500-strong assumed contingent of Hezbollah fighters sent to assist Assad.

Now there happen to be about 17,000 Moqdads in Lebanon, all members of the same tribe but including not just Shia, but Sunnis and Christian Orthodox as well. The wife of said that Hassan Moqdad, far from arriving in Syria with a legion of Hezbollah fighters,had been staying in Syria since before the revolt began 18 months ago, because of financial problems in Lebanon.

Hassan’s money difficulties resolved, he was on his way home to Lebanon when he was kidnapped and transmogrified into a Hezbollah warrior. Hezbollah have denied that Moqdad was a member, just as they have insisted they’ve no militiamen fighting in Syria, a statement that may bear the merit of truth…

The Hezbollah Party of God cannot deny that the 40 hostages in Beirut – all but six of whom had been released last night as Maher Moqdad (another of the famous 17,000) announced an end to such abductions – were all taken in an area which the government long ago effectively handed over to the Hezbollah.

In reality, however, the kidnappings symbolise not the power of Hezbollah but the utter impotence of the divided, self-abusive Lebanese government.

Maher Moqdad said one of the detained Syrians was an army lieutenant who wanted to join the rebels. Meanwhile, those same rebels claim to hold dozens of Iranian ‘spies’ captured on the Damascus airport road, although Iran says that all were visiting a shrine outside Damascus.

But would Iranian secret agents really take a vulnerable bus to Damascus airport? The case is faintly similar to the six Iranian ‘militiamen’ captured in Homs who turned out to be legitimate power station workers.

Michel Samaha, ex-minister, ex-MP, and Lebanese supporter of Assad, is charged with plotting to blow up Lebanese politicians on behalf of Syria’s security, General Ali Mamlouk, the ‘terror conspiracy’ – without a shred of evidence publicly revealed – has become fact.

Like the mass of bank robberies around Beirut, the clan battles in the Bekaa Valley and the armed offensive against Lebanese troops trying to destroy the country’s hashish fields, the entire shooting match doesn’t exactly invite tourists and Gulf investors to sunny Beirut. Nor did it help when the Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, announced that the kidnappings “bring us back to the days of the painful (civil) war.” Nor, I suppose, is there a surgeon who can put Lebanon together again.”

Note 1: For an entire week, starting Dec.8, 2012, another round of clashes was ignited, leaving 12 dead and a hundred injured in Tripoli. Why? Two dozen Lebanese were dispatched to fight in Syria against the regime, and the regular Syrian army ambushed the infiltrators and killed them… The Lebanese army was there and was unable to restrain the shelling…

Note: One thousand personalities in Jordan signed a petition demanding that the King and his government desist from meddling in Syria’s affairs. Jordan has been submitted under heavy pressures from Saudi Arabia and Qatar to play an active role in Syria problems.

It is in the interest of King Abdullah of Jordan that the extremist Sunnis insurgents do not spill over into Jordan and depose this absolute monarchy, instated by the British Empire after WWI…


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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