Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Rafic Hariri PM

Who assassinated late Rafic Hariri PM of Lebanon in 2004?

Israel initiated the idea of assassinating late Rafic Hariri on the ground he was disturbing the plans they had for the Middle-East because of his wide network of connection with powerful policy makers.

Israel needed the cooperation of the USA in order to disturb the sophisticated electronics in the cars of Hariri, a technology that the US had.

Condolesa Rice, State Secretary to Bush Jr. was the main connection to late Sharon PM. Bush Jr. contacted his father Bush Sr. who convinced him Not to pursue this plan.

Sharon came back with more arguments to Rice who tried again and succeeded.

Sharon decided that the assassination should take place in Beirut for further advantages in destabilizing Lebanon political system.

The main security person was in the game and directed the convoy of Hariri to take the route Israel wanted, and he excused himself Not to be in the convoy.

The world repercussion was minimized: Ailing King Fahed was no longer friendly with Hariri and the real power man Abdullah was at odd with Hariri. French Jacques Chirac was lured to get a few economic advantages from the invasion of Iraq.

A small missile with depleted uranium was fired from the sea. These kinds of missiles were available to Israel, USA and Germany.

(My contention is that Germany contributed greatly in the execution, before and after the assassination)

An Israeli helicopter was circling the seashore and a US AWACs was collecting the data. Later, tasked by the International tribune, the US claimed that for technical reasons the collection of data failed.

The US administration forbade Lebanon to conduct any investigation. Instead, they dispatched the German Detliv Milis to conduct the dirty investigation.

من قتل رفيق الحريري …؟؟؟
( وهنا الجواب …للمعرفة…للتاريخ..)

صدَر قبل فترة قصيرة كتاباً يحمل عنوان : *“النفاق الأميركي“* توزعه “شركة شرق الأوسط لتوزيع المطبوعات” ويسلط فيه الضوء على كثير مما يدعي أنه مؤامرات ومخططات أمريكية في الشرق الأوسط وفي العالم.

لكن أخطر ما فيه هو ما يدعيه من أن الولايات المتحدة وإسرائيل كانتا وراء اغتيال رئيس الوزراء اللبناني الراحل *رفيق الحريري .* ويورد في هذا المجال شهادات يقول إنها نقلت إليه شخصيا من أصحابها الذين كانوا مسؤولين كبارا في المخابرات الأميركية ويورد أسماءهم الصريحة . ويؤكد في الوقت نفسه أنه يملك ما يوثق هذه الإفادات وهو مستعد لعرضهم إذا لزم الأمر. إذ يقول حرفيا : “أنني أحتفظ بعناية بالمستندات التي رفدتني بالمعلومات والأسرار الكبيرة والصغيرة وأنا على استعداد كامل للكشف عنها إذا لزم الأمر” ص 78 .

ثم يقول : أبدأ بحادثة أغتيال رئيس الوزراء اللبناني الأسبق رفيق الحريري ، وهي قضية لا تزال مفتوحة في المحكمة الدولية الخاصة بلبنان .

جون بيركنز ، أحد كبار المسؤولين في المخابرات المركزية الأميركية (قبل تقاعده) , روى لي القصة كاملة وأنقل وقائعها على لسانه وقال : الصاروخ الصغير الحجم الذي أطلق من البحر باتجاه موكب الرئيس رفيق الحريري ، كان يحتوي على الأورانيوم المخصب ، وهو ذو قدرة تدميرية شديدة .

وهذا النوع من الصواريخ لا تملكه إلا الولايات المتحدة وألمانيا وإسرائيل .

والمسؤول عن موكب الحريري كان يعرف جيدا *ساعة الصفر .*
ولأنه كان يعرف , فقد أمتنع عن مرافقته عندما كان يستعد للأنتقال من مجلس النواب إلى دارته في قريطم ، بل إنه هو الذي أشار على الموكب بسلوك الطريق البحري في طريق العودة .

ثم يضيف : وبشيء من التفصيل , قال بيركنز إن الأقمار الأميركية والإسرائيلية صورت عملية الاغتيال ، إضافة إلى طائرة هليكوبتر إسرائيلية كانت في الجو في محاذاة الشاطئ اللبناني وكانت تراقب سير العملية .

وقد رفضت الإدارة الأميركية أن تتولى لجنة تحقيق لبنانية التحقيق في العملية .

وفي تلفيق التهم , تم اختيار المحقق الألماني “ديتليف ميليس” كي يرأس لجنة تحقيق دولية ووافق على تشكيلها الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة كوفي أنان” . ص 80 .

ويضيف أيضا : وبالمناسبة , أقول (والكلام لبيركنز) إن سيارة الحريري كانت مزودة بأجهزة رصد تقنية متقدمة لا تستطيع أي دولة – باستثناء الولايات المتحدة وإسرائيل – تعطيلها . كذلك , مهمة التعطيل هذه أوكلت إلى الباخرة الإسرائيلية التي كانت ترابط على حدود المياه الإقليمية اللبنانية تساندها من الجو طائرة “أواكس” أميركية وهليكوبتر إسرائيلية. ص 81.

ثم يقول في الصفحة 84 :أعود إلى اغتيال الحريري، على لسان بيركنز إياه , لأتوقف عند ما قاله المحقق السويدي في طاقم المحكمة الدولية “بو أستروم” ، وهو كبير المحققين ونائب رئيس فريق التحقيق ، من أن الإسرائيليين والأميركيين رفضوا تزويد التحقيق بالصور التي التقطتها الأقمار مما يحمل دلالات مهمة على أن واشنطن لا تريد الإسهام في كشف الحقيقة .

لقد اكتفت الحكومة الأميركية بالقول إن مشاكل تقنية حصلت خلال فترة أغتيال الحريري . ولهذا السبب , لم نحصل على أي معلومات حيوية ولعل الأمر مجرد سياسة .

ثم يتوقف صاحب الكتاب أمام إفادة لمسؤول سابق آخر في المخابرات المركزية الأمريكية هو “دافيد وين” الذي يصفه بأنه كان مسؤولا طوال ثماني سنوات على أمتداد الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا حتى آخر أيار 2014 , فيروي التالي : قال لي “وين” إن أسبابا عدة تجمعت وأدت في النهاية إلى اتخاذ القرار .

وأبرز هذه الأسباب أقتناع إسرائيل بأن “الحريري” يقف حجر عثرة في وجه خططها الأقتصادية والسياسية على السواء ، وبأنه شخصية عربية قوية تتمتع بحضور مؤثر على المستويين الإقليمي والدولي .

كما أنّ هذا الرجل نسَج شبكة علاقات بالغة الأهمية ، عربيا وأوروبيا وأميركيا ، وظفها في مساندة المقاومة ومساندة سوريا ، كما وظفها في خدمة لبنان وتعزيز دوره المالي والأقتصادي كقطب جاذب للرساميل والأستثمارات الخليجية .

وما حصل عقب الأكتشافات النفطية الأخيرة ، أن لجنة أمنية – سياسية نبهت الحكومة الإسرائيلية إلى أن وجود الحريري في الحكم سوف يتسبب بمتاعب لإسرائيل ، خصوصا في عملية ترسيم الحدود بين قبرص ولبنان ، الأمر الذي يضع الدولة العبرية أمام ما يشبه “الأمر الواقع” في ما يتعلق بحجم ثروتها النفطية والغازية .

وقد ورد في التقرير بالحرف الواحد : لا بد من التخلص من هذا الرجل ، لأن تطلعاته وطموحاته لا تنسجمان مع تطلعاتنا وطموحاتنا ونظرتنا إلى مستقبل المنطقة ودور إسرائيل في المدى الإقليمي.

ويضيف بعد ذلك : وفي هذا الصدد , يقول “ديفيد وين” أن المشاورات كانت تجري بين أعضاء الحكومة التي تعتبر المصدر الأساسي لكل القرارات الإسرائيلية الكبرى والتي أدت إلى أقتناع متزايد بأن بقاء الحريري على قيد الحياة يشكل خطرا حقيقيا على مطامع إسرائيل المستقبلية . لكن أي قرار بأغتياله يفترض أن يأخذ في الأعتبار التداعيات السياسية المحتملة لأن العلاقات التي نسجها عربيا وإسلاميا ودوليا بالغة التأثير .

وطوال أسابيع عدة , كان رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي يتشاور مع القيادات الأمنية في الصيغة الفضلى لتصفية الحريري من دون إلحاق الضرر بإسرائيل .
وبعد مداولات طالت , أستقر الرأي على أغتيال الرجل في بلد أوروبي أو عربي .
لكن خبراء “الموساد” رفضوا هذا التوجه لأنه قد يرتب عواقب وخيمة على إسرائيل .

هنا أقترح رئيس الوزراء “أرييل شارون” أستبدال كل الخطط الموضوعة بخطة تقضي بتنفيذ العملية داخل بيروت وبذلك تصيب إسرائيل عصفورين بحجر واحد : التخلص من الرجل والتأسيس لصراع داخلي طويل في لبنان بين أنصار الحريري من جهة ومؤيدي سوريا و “حزب الله” من جهة أخرى ، ما يؤدي إلى أنسحاب القوات السورية في نهاية المطاف ومذهبة الصراع السياسي الداخلي . ص87 .

*الدور الأمريكي* ~ وفي خلال أيام قليلة ، يضيف “وين” : وضعت خطة بديلة تم رفعها إلى الحكومة المصغرة في أواخر العام 2004 .
وفي أثناء مناقشة هذه الخطة, تم تنبيه الحكومة إلى أن الحريري يستعين في تأمين حمايته الشخصية بأجهزة إلكترونية متطورة ، يتطلب تعطيلها مساعدة أميركية وتعاونا من الدائرة المقربة منه من أجل ضمان نجاح العملية .

وعندما قدمت إسرائيل إلى الدوائر الأميركية المختصة أقتراحا يقضي بالتعاون مع الأجهزة الأميركية في تنفيذ العملية ، بكل حيثياته الأمنية والإستراتيجية ، وافقت ال “CIA” على هذا الأقتراح . وعندما حملته “كونداليزا رايس” وزيرة الخارجية إلى الرئيس جورج بوش ، ناقش بوش المسألة مع نائبه “ديك تشيني” ، ثم أتصل بوالده جورج بوش الأب يستمزجه رأيه في القرار .

وما حصل أن بوش الأب أعترض على العملية وقال : إن الفائدة من هذا الاغتيال محدودة لكن عواقبها كبيرة . وبالحرف الواحد , قال الأب للإبن : إن تصفية الحريري سوف تخلق مشاكل مع جهات عدة ، بدءا بالرئيس الفرنسي “جاك شيراك” والملك “فهد بن عبد العزيز” وولي عهده القوي “عبد الله” وقادة عرب وأوروبيين آخرين .
عندها رفض “جورج دبليو بوش” إشراك بلاده في العملية ونصح الإسرائيليين بالعدول عنها .

عندما تلقت إسرائيل الرفض الأميركي , أتصل “شارون” ب “كونداليزا رايس” بقصد إقناعها بمدى خطورة “الحريري” على مخططات إسرائيل النفطية والأمنية ، لأنه على علاقة حميمة ب “حزب الله” . ومما قاله : نحن لا نزال ندرس الإجراءات العسكرية الممكنة لضرب بنية “حزب الله” ، لكن الحريري يتصدى لهذا المسعى . إنه يعرقل مشاريعنا الأمنية والاقتصادية ولا بد من إزاحته .

ويضيف صاحب الكتاب قائلا نقلا عن “وين” :
أعود إلى الاغتيال . بعد المكالمة الهاتفية الطويلة بين “شارون” و “رايس” وعدت رايس بالحصول على موافقة الرئيس الأميركي ونائبه “ديك تشيني” و “دونالد رامسفيلد” وزير الدفاع و”ليون بانيتا” بصفته مستشارا أمنيا .

وعندما رتبت وزيرة الخارجية هذا اللقاء الرباعي , أعيد فتح ملف الاغتيال ، فقال “تشيني” : إن الملك “فهد” وولي عهده (رجل القرار في تلك المرحلة) لا تربطهما علاقة جيدة بالحريري ، وتصفيته لن تثير مشكلة مع المملكة . وأضاف : إن “عبد الله” لا يستسيغ كثيرا علاقات شقيقه الملك ب “الحريري” وبصورة خاصة على المستوى المالي ، ويمكن أمتصاص غضبه وأحتواء رد فعله إذا حصل . أما “شيراك” , فيمكن إقناعه – سواء نجحت العملية أم فشلت – بأن سوريا التي تمسك كل الخيوط في لبنان هي التي نفذت الاغتيال ، ويمكن إعداد إخراج ملائم لهذا الإقناع .

أما ردود الفعل العربية والأوروبية الأخرى , فليست ذات قيمة ولن تؤثر على مصالحنا في المنطقة ، علما أن إسرائيل تمكنت من احتواء ردود الفعل التي حصلت بعد الأغتيالات التي نفذتها في العالم العربي .

وهكذا , تم إقناع الرئيس “بوش” بجدوى العملية بعد شرح كامل للخطة استغرق أكثر من ثمانين دقيقة . ص 88 .
وبعد ذلك , يتحدث “وين” عن نقل “رايس” الموافقة إلى المسؤولين الإسرائيليين وإلى التعاون الذي تم بين أجهزة الدولتين بما لا يخرج عما كان “بيركنز” قد رواه سابقا .

هذه الرواية الخطيرة المنشورة في كتاب موقع من رجل أعمال سوري دولي كبير ومعروف في مختلف أوساط رجال الأعمال والسياسة على المستوى الدولي ، والمنسوبة لمسؤولين كبار سابقين في المخابرات المركزية الأمريكية ، ألا تستحق من “محكمة لاهاي” الدولية الخاصة بلبنان أن توليها شيئا من الاهتمام ، وهي التي لا تستنكف عن مساءلة صحافي أو إعلامي لبناني تناول بأقل من ذلك بكثير بعض المعلومات عن مجرى المحاكمات وبعض شهودها شبه المجهولين ??

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

Before 1989

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

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

Emile Lahoud used to never wear any coat or jacket during the coldest seasons until a friend was once shocked to see him swimming and asked him “Have you got hit on your head as a kid?”  Since then, Lahoud wears a simple black leather jacket in winter time, just to save appearances of normalcy.

Lahoud’s breakfast is a piece of banana and a cone of ice cream for lunch.  The main eating session is dinner.  Lahoud records on a tape the topics that he wants to approach in a discussion or matters to follow up on.

General Emile Lahoud, Army Chief

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

General Lahoud had the task to re-unite the dismantled army after over 15 years of civil war; he combined the regiments so that they represent all the Lebanese sects and ordered the regiments to relocate every 9 months to different parts of Lebanon so that every soldier knows his country.  He negotiated the best deals for arms, medicine, and insurance.

The General refused political deals with President Hrawy and Rafic Hariri PM for transferring officers and followed the strict military procedures.  Any high officer who refused to obey orders for the re-organization of the army was dismissed and Syria never tried to pressure Lahoud to rescinding his orders.  The billionaire Rafic Hariri used to offer the army cash money every month but General Lahoud refused saying “The State is responsible for the budget of the army” so that he can exercise his functions without undue political pressures.

There was an international decision to contain the Islamic resistance in south Lebanon and General Lahoud refused to confront the army with the Lebanese resistance fighting the Israeli occupiers.  President Hafez Assad of Syria decided to meet Lahoud for the first time.  General Lahoud told Hafez Assad “I am re-building the army to resist Israel and my conscience refuses to fight those who are fighting Israeli occupation”

Since that meeting the political pressures on Lahoud faded away and he could focus on the re-organization of the army and freeing the resistance from political pressures and its freedom of movement in areas not in the army control.  When Israel bombed Lebanon for 7 days in 1993, General Lahoud ordered to return fire and Israel stopped its shelling.

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

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

Mr. President of the Republic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The US military presence is leaving Iraq next year.  The US military involvement in Afghanistan is going to stop next year.  Open ground troops wars in the Middle-East without serious prior diplomatic and political involvement in that region cannot secure the interest of the US.  While the US got mindlessly into the muddy and dirty job of conquering the region by force; and without preparing the mind and soul of the people for convincing and valid alternatives, China has been filling the vacuum peacefully and efficiently.

The worst part is that the US prefers to run political negotiations in the region solo, except in military matters, and refuses the European Union and Russia any serious partnership in resolving the Middle-East dilemma.  How can this exhausted and lame superpower be able to resolve anything of such a magnitude on its own resources?  The US even failed resuming the direct negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians and felt helpless exerting the modicum of pressures on its vassal Israel to stopping expanding colonies in occupied lands.

The US having failed militarily to imposing its wants, the alliance of Iran and Syria demonstrated that they are the real regional players in the Middle-East.  Iran, Syria, and Turkey are the major players in Iraq and Lebanon.  Iran is slowly but surely displacing exhausted and diminished Pakistan as the most powerful regional power in Afghanistan.  Iraq can only be governed by the joint agreement among Turkey, Iran, and Syria. 

The US has retained the weakest regional players: First, Saudi Arabia does not even dare allowing its army to getting involved in Yemen:  The fragile Wahhabi Monarchy doesn’t want to open the window for military coups once its military becomes virulent and excited; second, Egypt is barely able to feed half its populous citizens (65 million) and was impotent resolving the case of Gaza.  Egypt has lost its influence in Sudan (for over 50 years) and allowed Sudan to be partitioned instead of catering to its stability and safeguarding its southern flanks.

The US, by giving the impression that it will side with its puny vassal of Israel against Turkey, has lost the confidence of the Turkish people.  Turkey was the key regional power that the US could count on during the Cold War against the Soviet Union.  With the overthrowing of the Shah regime in Iran, Israel and the US are impotent in exercising any convincing pressures to any kinds of negotiations with the Palestinians and Syria.  I guess the US would prefer that the inevitable revolts in the “moderate” Middle-Eastern States happen now before its ground troops vacate the region next year.

This geopolitical overview was necessary to discussing the Palestinians, Lebanese, and Syrians dilemma.  The US has usurped the International Court, for investigating the assassination of ex-Rafic Hariri PM, by using it as a political weapon to destabilizing Syria and Lebanon.  That is the vast opinion and impression in this region.  The UN is pressuring the International Court (IC) not to deliver the records and documents of its hearing with the 33 false witnesses to the Lebanese government.  Thus, Lebanon has no choice but to re-open its investigation with these false witnesses in order to be forewarned and convinced about the “political” preliminary accusations of the IC that might destabilize Lebanon’s fragile unity.

Syria has never received any tangible concessions from the US or Israel to resuming seriously negotiations.  The US has always delivered tangible preconditions to Israel before the start of any negotiation (in arms, financial support, and political backing).  The people and government in the Middle-East are not stupid to falling for the hundredth time with the pressuring slogan “take advantage of whatever the US can deliver before the preliminary election!” 

So far, the US is unable to changing its policies in the Middle-East for its own interest while all the facts and evidences of changing times are blowing in its face.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Shock and Steadfastness” by Kareem Bakradouny (Book Review, May 25, 2009)

 

This Arabic/Lebanese manuscript “Sadmat wa Soumoud” is of 518 pages and a report of the period of former Lebanese President Emile Lahoud.  The author and politician Kareem Bakradouny is the biographer of Lahoud since he acceded to chief of the army in 1992. Bakradouny met with Lahoud every Friday from 1992 to 2007. The meetings were held first in the Kaslik swimming club till the assassination of late Rafic Hariri PM, and then at the Presidential Palace. Before heading to a meeting, Bakradouny would wait for the call and then they would talk in a small room facing the sea.  The author hand wrote the discussions and sometimes he would record them.

Bakradouny decided to postpone the military period of Lahoud for another volume. The book is divided into three parts each of three chapters.  The first part is “The Road to the Presidency”, the second part “Period of Cohabitation (with Rafic Hariri PM)”, and the third part “Period of Calamities”.

 

“Shock and Steadfastness” takes you from unifying the army, internal political struggle, the liberation of south Lebanon in May 24, 2000 and the negotiations for confirming the “Blue Line” on the border with Israel, the confrontation with the Moslem extremists in the district of Donnieh, the logic of statehood versus market requirements, the beginning of a string of assassinations, the pressures of the US Bush Jr. Administration, the roadblocks for extending the Presidency tenure three more years, the assassination of Rafic Hariri, the July War of  2006, the withdrawal of the Syrian troops from Lebanon, the string of assassinations, and the ceremony for leaving the Presidential Palace.

            Emile Lahoud used to never wear any coat or jacket during the coldest seasons until a friend was once shocked to see him swimming and asked him “Have you got hit on your head as a kid?”  Since then Lahoud wears a simple black leather jacket in winter time. Lahoud’s breakfast is a piece of banana and a cone of ice cream for lunch.  The main eating session is dinner.  Lahoud records on a tape the topics that he wants to approach in a discussion or matters to follow up on.

            President Lahoud ascended the military ranks normally and was the first Chief of the army who ran the tiny navy. He was appointed Chief in November 1989 after General Aoun was forced into exile to France.  General Lahoud had the task to re-unite the dismantled army after over 15 years of civil war; he combined the regiments so that they represent all the Lebanese sects and ordered the regiments to relocate every 9 months to different parts of Lebanon so that every soldier knows his country.  He negotiated the best deals for arms, medicine, and insurance.

            General Lahoud refused political deals with President Hrawy and Rafic Hariri PM for transferring officers and followed the strict military procedures.  Any high officer who refused to obey orders for the re-organization of the army was dismissed and Syria never tried to pressure Lahoud to rescinding his orders.  The billionaire Rafic Hariri used to offer the army cash money every month but General Lahoud refused saying “The State is responsible for the budget of the army” so that he can exercise his functions without undue political pressures.

            There was an international decision to contain the Islamic resistance in south Lebanon and General Lahoud refused to confront the army with the resistance fighting the Israeli occupiers.  President Hafez Assad of Syria decided to meet Lahoud for the first time; General Lahoud told Hafez Assad “I am re-building the army to resist Israel and my conscience refuses to fight those who are fighting Israeli occupation” Since that meeting the political pressures on Lahoud faded away and he could focus on the re-organization of the army and freeing the resistance from political pressures and its freedom of movement in areas not in the army control.  When Israel bombed Lebanon for 7 days in 1993, General Lahoud ordered to return fire and Israel stopped its shelling.

            Lahoud was elected President of the Republic by unanimity after revising item 49 in the Constitution that denied a high ranked employee candidacy before resigning his post for a period.  Lahoud asked the Lebanese to contribute to a bank account in order to support the State treasury; (I remember that I contributed $100 while in the USA).  He had a program of fighting corruption but the political system in Lebanon was a insurmountable barrier given that the Taef Constitution robbed the President of valuable powers and the power was transferred basically to the Prime Minister and the cabinet.  Rafic Hariri controlled the new powers were bequeathed on the cabinet combined. (to be continued)


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