Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Patriarch Sfeir

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

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

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

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

The Iranians have acquired strong sense of identity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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