Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Rafic Hariri

Another story on Late Rafic Hariri and his son Saad (both ex-PM)

*الممثل يوسف حداد يرد على سعد الحريري*

وبيحكي عن الفساد

الحريري الأب وسياسته المالية وإستباحة الدولة وتقسيم النقابات وضرب وشل الإتحادات النقابية وأولها الإتحاد العمالي العام وتحطيم أسس الدولة وبنيانها وتقاسم الحصص والإستيلاء على بيروت وإخراج الناس من منازلهم بالقوة عبر قضاة متزلمين وخانعين ومرتشين وإعطائهم بالمقابل أثمان بخسة لا تصرف،

وسرقة النورماندي وواجهة بيروت وضرب الإعلان والإعلام ورشوة الإعلاميين والمحطات،

والإستدانة بالدولار ورفع الفوائد للأربعين (40%) بالمية،

وإنشاء الجمعيات واللجان، ومليارات رئاسة الوزراء، ومحاربة خطة افرام للكهرباء وإقالته،

وسرقة أموال إعمار المدارس الرسمية والجامعات والمطار وملعب كميل شمعون،

وإستقالة الوزير عز الدين لإمتناعه على إمضاء الفواتير بعشرات الملايين الملغومة ومليارات الخليوي وسوكلين وسوليدير،

ورشوة غازي كتعان وعبد الحليم خدام،

وإعفاءات سوليدير من تلاتين سنة ومنع محاكمة سوكلين، والسنيورة وملياراته،

ومئات ملايين الدولارات أجارات لمباني يمتلكها ، والأملاك البحرية وتلزيمات ب مئات ملايين الدولارات بالتراضي ،

وتطول السرقات والنهب ،

وما أدراكم ماذا يعني مجلس الإنماء والإعمار ومجلس الجنوب والهيئة العليا للإغاثة التي تصرف مباشرة من رئيس الوزراء ومن دون رقيب ،

ولا يمكن إلا أن نقول مبروك لك رياض سلامة الذي نفذ بحنكة ودهاء وإلتزام مطلق وكان الولد المخلص وأهداكم مليارات الدولارات بدون فوائد وعومكم عند إنهيار سعودي اوجيه بملياري دولار ،

والأهم تستره على تهريبكم للأموال ورعايته بمئات الملايين لمشاريع مزيفة ،

والأهم محمد الحوت وحمايته ومزراب الميدل ايست لا تعد ولا تحصى الإرتكابات والتعديات والحمايات ،

وسلب البلد لركائزه وتقاسم الحصص في الإستيراد والنفط والترويكا والدويكا ،

ويلي إستحوا ماتوا ، ويلي مفكر الناس عميان وهبل يراجع ثروة من مليار ونص إلى تمانية عشرة مليار،

والأهم بعد موته التهرب من دفع ملياري دولار بدل إنتقال هذه الثروة المسروقة ب قانون ليوم واحد مفصل على قياس أولاد المرحوم الشهيد المغدور؟

والذي حتى بموته يكلف لبنان حوالي ستين مليون دولار سنويا للمحكمة الدولية المهزلة من ما يقارب 15 سنة أي ما مجموعه 750 مليون دولار لإتهام حزب الله وسوريا وإيران ،

وللإستمرار في إستغلال الدم والتحريض ونهب السلطة وللإستعمال الإنتخابي والتجييش المذهبي وغيرة الدين .

عذرأ طويلة بس تاريخن مليان .منقول .

لكم التعليق

My story and experience with late Rafic Hariri PM: Lebanon ex-President Emile Lahoud

The son of Rafic Hariri, ex-PM Saad, has delivered a speech plagued with faked information during the 15th anniversary of the assassination of Rafic by Israel/USA on the Valentine Day Feb.14 2005 in Beirut.

صدر عن الرئيس السابق العماد اميل لحود البيان الآتي:

كنّا نتمنّى ألا نضطر، في ذكرى استشهاد الرئيس رفيق الحريري، الى إصدار بيانٍ نردّ فيه على نجله، إلا أنّ تزوير الحقائق أرغمنا على هذا الردّ.

لذا، من واجبنا تذكير سعد رفيق الحريري أنّ والده، حين تولّى رئاسة الحكومة للمرّة الأولى، لم يكن رئيساً لحزب أو لكتلة نيابيّة، بل رجل أعمال دعمت سوريا، وتحديداً عبد الحليم خدام، وصوله.

واستمرّ هذا الدعم بأشكالٍ مختلفة، من بينها قانون الانتخاب في العام 2000، وصولاً الى منح الحريري مفتاح بيروت الى اللواء غازي كنعان، حزناً على مغادرته لبنان وردّاً لجميل الرجل عليه.

أما في ما يخصّ الكهرباء والمياه، وقد أغفل الفيلم الوثائقي المزوّر الذي عُرض في احتفال أمس ذكر المياه،

فقد كان رفيق الحريري ينوي بيع القطاعين الى شركتين فرنسيّتين، بسبب علاقته بجاك شيراك الذي لاحقته تهم الفساد لاحقاً، وحين أعدّ الراحل “الآدمي” جورج افرام خطّة لتأمين الكهرباء، عمل مع صديقه خدام على إقالته من الحكومة.

ونذكّر، أيضاً، أنّه حين ضرب الجيش الإسرائيلي محطّة الجمهور أصدرنا قراراً بالردّ بالمثل، وقمنا بجمع تبرّعات لبناء المحطة من جديد من أموال اللبنانيّين وأصدرنا قراراً بأن تأتي التبرّعات الى مجلس الوزراء مجتمعاً، بحسابات وأرقامٍ معلنة وشفافة،

على عكس ما حصل بعد عدوان العام 2006 حين حُوّلت المساعدات من الخارج الى المجالس والصناديق، ومنها الى بعض الجيوب.

أمّا عن الاتهام بعرقلة مسيرة رفيق الحريري، فنسأل عن سبب إصراره على غسل القلوب بعد أن عاكسناه برفض بيع قطاع الخلوي وشدّدنا على استعادة الدولة للقطاع ما حقّق أرباحاً كبيرة تقدّر بملياري دولار سنويّاً،

وما تقلُّص هذه الأرباح لاحقاً إلا بسبب سياسات التوظيف السياسي والهدر الذي يقف وراءه سياسيّون، من بينهم من ينتمي الى فريق الحريري السياسي، ما يثبت أنّنا كنّا حينها على حقّ.

ولا يفوتنا، في موضوع حقّ عودة اللاجئين الفلسطينيّين، إلا أن نستعيد مبادرة الملك عبدالله في القمّة العربيّة في العام 2002، والتي لم تكن تتضمّن حقّ العودة، وكان رفيق الحريري موافقاً عليها، أما نحن فواجهناها وأسقطناها وأصرّينا على أن يتضمّن البيان الصادر عن القمّة حقّ العودة.

وبما أنّ سعد الحريري تحدّث عن الظلم، فعليه ألا ينسى الظلم الذي لحق بالضبّاط الأربعة وغيرهم بسبب اتّهامهم الباطل بقتل والده، من دون أن ننسى استخدام المحكمة الدوليّة ومحقّقيها لتفتيش منازلنا وحساباتنا، من دون أن يعثروا على دليلٍ يتيمٍ يديننا. ولعلّ الظلم الأكبر أن تتمّ مهاجمة رجل النزاهة سليم الحصّ في وثائقي التضليل.

لقد اختلفنا كثيراً مع رفيق الحريري، في الأسلوب والانتماء الوطني، وكانت بداية الاختلاف حين رفضنا قبول راتب شهري منه بقيمة 500 ألف دولار شهريّاً، منذ كنّا في قيادة الجيش،

ولكنّنا خاصمناه بنزاهة ولم نتجنّ عليه يوماً كما فعل نجله في الأمس. وإذا كان سعد الحريري اتّهمنا، مع آخرين، بالعرقلة فإنّنا نسأل عن هويّة من عرقله في إدارة شركاته الخاصّة التي انهارت أو أفلست أو أقفلت، وضاعت حقوق العاملين الذين ادّعوا عليه في السعوديّة ويتظاهرون ضدّه في لبنان، وربما وصلت أصوات هؤلاء المرتفعة الى جنوب إفريقيا.

وعلى الرغم من كلّ ما أوردناه في هذه السطور، وهو غيضٌ من فيض، لعلّنا لم نترحّم يوماً على رفيق الحريري بقدر ما فعلنا في الأمس. كان خصماً ذكيّاً على الأقلّ.

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Ex-President Emile Lahoud

Lebanon uprising (Intifada): Are we just slaves to our caste system?

Since October 17, the Lebanese took to the streets in every city demanding a change in our political/financial system. This sectarian system has degraded since Lebanon “fictitious” independence in 1943: we ended up with 19 officially recognized religious sects. each sect having the monopoly to its co-coreligionist civil registry from birth to death.

Since 1994, the civil war militia leaders of (1975-91) took power and control of Lebanon political system. Nabih Berry, chairman of the Parliament for 22 successive years, became the Godfather of these militia/mafia leaders. Every deputy in the parliament was attributed a monopoly in consumer goods, energy, financial transactions, services… and the head of the parliamentary block receive a substantial part of the profit and they appoint the civil servants in the State institutions. (This is the definition of Anomy political/economic system)

In 1994, Rafic Hariri was dispatched by Saudi Kingdom to become Lebanon PM and he set up the financial Ponzi scheme. Rafic would borrow loans and accumulated Lebanon sovereign debt from just $3bn to over $100 bn. The assumption was that the USA would wipe out all our debt as soon as Lebanon sign a peace treaty with Israel.

Actually, in order to force his being appointed PM, through his financial partners and the chief of the Central Bank Riad Salami, he devalued the Lebanese pound (LP) to 3,000 for the dollar and then re-instated the change to 1,500 to the $ and pigged it to the the dollar ever since.

Note: A re-edit of “Democracy or servitude in Lebanon’s caste system? (October 17, 2007)”

I recently read a 125-pages study by Safia Antoun Saadeh that was researched through a Fulbright grant.

Safia visited Harvard University as a scholar for the academic year 1992-93.  This study is so far the most condensed and comprehensive study of Lebanon social and political structure.

The study was most instructive and it clearly defined our social and political system that explains our problems and recurring civil wars and may forecast our difficulties in the coming months.

In a nut shell, our society has been gradually and consistently developing a political structure, based on a caste system (a closed religious sect) through the Ottoman legacy and has been strengthened since our independence in 1943.

The definition of a Caste is that it is a closed system restricted in five elements;

First, communities are ranked from high to low

Second, it is formed of endogamous groups where marriages is restricted within the caste and intermarriage among caste is socially sanctioned,

Third, membership is determined by birth and is inherited and ascribed,

Fourth, the group at the top may be the largest numerically, and

Fifth, mobility is restricted and an individual can move up within the caste and the caste, as a whole, attempts to move up; thus, the frequent rivalry among castes competing to take precedence in the hierarchical ranking.

All these elements actually coincide mostly with the Lebanese social and political structure and, however we understand the concepts of tribalism, feudalism, sectarianism, clan or classes, we end up realizing that they are incomplete models for our structure and are not satisfactory to explaining and forecasting our predicaments.

The contents of “The social structure of Lebanon” by Safia Sadeh starts with the definitions of tribal, sectarian, feudal, and communities, then on the Ottoman legacy in matters of occupation stratification and religious affiliation, then the period of transition in the 19th century, then the social stratification in Greater Lebanon, then society and social structure, then the fate of the State up to the Taef accord in 1991 and finally the conclusion.

(Greater Lebanon of just over 10,000 sq.km is an assemblage or attachment to Mount Lebanon by the French colonial power of the southern region, the Bekaa Valley and the Northern regions of Tripoli and Akkar)

As the sociology scholar Tonnies stated: “When many use the same language, they must be agreed about the use of names.  This is necessary in science, for science consists in exactly true statements. Every science must therefore start with definitions

I will define the terms of tribe, sectarian, clan, feudal, community, or class as an appendix; and although they are fundamental in elucidating our social structure, this article will overrun the requirements for publishing and I need to go to the point directly. I did though go into the details in my review for this study

The majority of the Lebanese are unable to trace their lineage as tribes and the exogamy rule has not been applied and clans have been integrated within the caste system.

The term sect, taken literally, no longer applies to the current Lebanese situation since we don’t have a theocratic state.  Translating sectarianism by “al ta2ifiyyah” is misleading.  There used to be sects in our ancient history when the Nestorians opposed the Byzantine institutional church or when the Shiis, Ismailis, and Druze opposed the Sunni institutional theocratic state.

The “Arab East” (Arabic Peninsula, the Gulf States and southern Iraq) did not develop a feudal system in any of its historical periods; the lords could not acquire big stretches of land that were passed to the first-born following the law of primogeniture by which the whole real estate of intestate passes solely to the eldest son.

First, the Koranic law stipulates the division of inheritance and second, during the Ottoman hegemony lands (Iqta3) were retrieved from the favorite officers at death.

Syria and Lebanon witnessed the beginnings of private ownership on a large scale after the middle of the 19th century, due to the Ottoman reforms.  The only group which was allowed to inherit land under Islamic rule was the religious order and later named (waqf) when citizens gave their lands to the Religious Order to avoid taxes or trouble.

When the Ottoman theocratic Empire undertook a few reforms that permitted the ownership of private properties and allowed that stratification might move along class lines then a class of feudal lords emerged and new secular schools were established and a Constitution was proclaimed in the Ottoman Empire that enabled landlords and notables to be deputies.

Usually, the Maronite Christian Order supported the peasant rebellions against the feudal lords to maintain its caste supremacy in Lebanon.

For a time, the lords of different religions would unite to oppose peasant revolts but eventually the caste system vanquished that trend and the lords rallied to their respective castes. Feudal lords would become the upper class within each caste.  Each caste had now its own religious courts, its own members in the representative Council and within the government offices.

In present Lebanon, I believe that a few families acquired huge pieces of land and sold whole villages to head the list of candidates to the Parliament within a caste system; for example, the Solh, Salam, Jumblat, Skaf, Eddeh and so forth.  A few of these landlords sold whole villages to the Zionist Organization.

It is unavoidable to defining a class because of the socialist and Marxist theories.

Class is an open system where individuals are ranked instead of communities and intermarriage is not restricted, and membership is based mostly on economic status and the hierarchy takes the shape of a pyramid, with only an elite or small group at the top but mobility is feasible to moving up through finance and professionalism.  Thus, a class is not just the opposite of caste as a closed system; for example, middle classes in countries are formed of individuals from all castes and have received education and intermingled, and intermarried and feel reasonably acquainted with their status and prospects.

Whenever a middle class is weakened then theocracy and undemocratic political systems take over the ruling of society.  The lower class of the poor and disinherited has never been a leader in any political change.

How did Lebanon end up with a caste system?

Stratification in the Ottoman Empire from the middle of the 16th century and up till the beginning of the 20th was set along occupation in its minutest details and then assigned ranks to the different religious community.

The hierarchical ranking of occupations started with men of the sword (Emirs), men of the pen (Ulama or Mollas), merchants and food producers, then artisans, then peasants, and others. The Ottoman theocracy prohibited mobility and ascribed occupations; for example, the son of a peasant was forced to become a peasant and artisans could not move from one guild to another even within the same occupation.

The cities were divided into quarters (haara) representing specific guild corporations (taa2efah) and each quarter was self-contained having its mosque, bath, market and gate to be closed at sunset.

These independent “tawa2ef” had no communication with each other and were directly linked to the central government through an appointed spokesman or “shaykh”; the hara had the right to arm itself and consequently, this historical custom to find arms in each house.

Each guild was imposed a limited number of shops and competition was not existent and even changes in design or fashion or shape were prohibited.  Each guild was linked to a Sufi order spreading fatalism or nasib or kismet (fate).

The Ulama restricted religious appointments solely to their children and thus became the wealthiest and most powerful caste because they were allowed to own lands and they didn’t pay taxes. The Ulama interpreted and set up the laws for the Empire.

The Moslem or (jama3a) relegated the Christians and Jews to a lower status (zhemmah) and were to pay the poll-tax (jizyah) and the land-tax (kharaj) and other restrictions.  The other non-Moslem sects were severely and relentlessly persecuted such as the Shiites, Ismaelite, and Druses.

The weakening of the central authority and the aggressive tensions within the guilds between Muslem and Christians and the increased Indian influence (in religion and caste system structure) led to the merging of the two stratification of occupation and religious orders (millet) and thus the present caste system in Lebanon along religious orders.

The Muslims from India were very influential and overwhelming because the Ottoman Empire cut off trade relations with Europe for a long period and because the Ottoman rulers were originated from Central Asia and the various Sufi movements were Indians by source and indoctrination.

The Christian millet demanded that each Christian sect acquires a separate and independent status and the Porte in Istanbul granted that request which led to the recognition of 17 millets; currently we recognize 18 millets in our political structure to include the alawit caste.

Thus, the identity of the individual is based on his religious community in Lebanon; furthermore, citizens vote in districts (kada2) of their base community and not where they actual reside or work and expatriates have not acquired the right to vote overseas.

Consequently, when the European colonialists were given mandate in the Near East the antagonism was not directed at their economic and financial hegemony but primarily directed on the religious dimension; thus, the Christians of the East paid the heaviest toll as the result of such a perception.

The National Pact of 1943, after the independence of Lebanon, divided the spoil among the two main castes, the Christian Maronite and the Muslim Sunni, which were dominant in the cities and controlled the economy of the country; thus, practically ignoring the rights of the other 15 or so castes until civil wars erupted every 20 years to remind the central government that the State is built on caste structure.

The fact is, just after our independence, and in order to keep the demography of the castes in balance the Christians granted citizenship to Armenians and Christian Palestinians but denied it to the Muslim Kurds and Palestinians. Even a plea by Hoss PM to President Sarkis for a single seat in the Parliament representing a secular candidate was rejected.

Essentially, our civil wars were the result of castes, as a whole, trying to move upward to become at a par with the dominant castes in numbers; for example, the Sunny caste in 1958 demanding equal power along the Maronite and seeking the help of the Egyptian Abdul-Nasser; then in 1975 the Sunny caste siding with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the hope of dominating the Maronite.  In the second half of the civil war, between 1984 and 1989, the Shiites attempted to move upward as a caste.

The internal mobility within caste led to serious changes; for example the political parties of Hezbolla and Amal unseated the traditional Shiite feudal families such as the As3ad, the Hamadeh, the Khalil, and the Osseiran; the Lebanese Forces unseated the like traditional families of Eddeh, Chamoun, and tried to eliminate the Frangieh in the north.

It appears that the Gemayyel family is on the way out after President Amine lost recently the election against a practically unknown candidate; the Armenian caste, which traditionally allied with the Phalanges party, parted company.  The Hariri party (or clan) of Al Mustakbal unseated most of the Sunny traditional leaders in Beirut, and with debatable successes in Tripoli, and Sidon.

The current dilemma is that the Sunny caste is trying to hold to its supremacy against the strongly rising Shii3a caste which is more organized, with self-independent institutions and a military wing that checked the Israeli invasion in June 2006 for 31 days.

The Shi3a caste is homogeneous and managed to unseat feudalism and regroup in just two parties that coordinate their activities and projects.

The Sunny caste would like very much to initiate a third civil war but was turned down by the Maronite caste because it would be the major loser at the end.

Michel Aoun averted the inevitable civil war, sought after by the Sunny caste and headed by the Hariri clan, by ratifying an agreement with Hezbollah; thus, the Maronite caste being divided then no civil war is feasible.

The second card that the Sunny caste is ready to play is to settle the Sunny Palestinian refugees and eventually to surreptitiously granting them the Lebanese citizenship.

Consequently, the Sunny caste is hoping to recapture the numerical imbalance with the Shi3a caste if they succeed in this plan with the support of the USA and the European nations.

The most striking development taking place is that the Maronite caste is in the process of getting freer from a caste structure because the Patriarch and his council of Bishops are no longer implicitly the main political power within the caste; this whole hoopla of referring to Bkerki as the source of their union is just within the explicit caste structure game, but the Maronite Order is losing its hold on the caste at this junction.

Ironically, the Christian Greek Orthodox caste is taking advantage of this situation and doing its best to move upward. The Greek orthodox caste has been basically urban and city dwellers for centuries but never formed a militia, nor did they have powerful feudal lords; their professional elites mostly joined secular political parties.

However, they established a University and the Majlis al-Millah decided to discuss and take concerted action on the current political issues and ordered their three ministers in the government not to abdicate.

I think that the Armenian caste is on the move up after defeating the government’s candidate, President Amine Gemayel, in the Metn election. I believe that the Armenian caste wanted revenge because the Hariri clan sidelines it during the last two elections in Beirut.

The assassinated Rafic Hariri PM game was to divide and weaken the adjoining castes in Beirut in order to have absolute hegemony of the Sunny caste in the Capital which he considered himself the sole leader; and thus he didn’t include the Armenian caste candidates on his electoral lists and preferred to select individual Armenians with no support from their caste.

This system of caste translates integrally into State bureaucracy.  In 1955, competitive examinations for civil service positions was replaced by a pass or fail qualification so that the best applicants would not know that the position was taken by a lesser qualified candidate just to fill the castes quotas.

The most damaging consequences is that the hired civil servant considers that he owns his position to the head of the caste and is not subjected to his superiors in the bureaucratic hierarchy. Thus, every firing of incompetent civil servant is viewed as directed at the caste as a whole!

Once a position is filed then the functionary has to fulfill all the requirements and demands of his caste before catering to the other tasks.  In 1992, after the Taef constitution, a bizarre Maronite Minister of Education hired 300 Maronite employees from his home town and in one sweep; the caste system resolved the problem by allowing each ministry to appoint a similar number of his own caste!

It is known that the Defense Minister Michel Al Murr was not bashful when he refused to enlist Shiites who reached the age of 18 in the compulsory training simply because they would tilt the balance of 50/50 between Christians and Moslems!

The most damaging institution that has prevented any modernization and led to the strengthening of the caste system is the judiciary of the personal status laws.

Each millet or in our case caste follows its own laws concerning birth, death, marriage, divorce, adoption, and inheritance.  Each religious caste has developed its own courts whose verdict the state is obliged to execute.  The castes have become independent legal entities.

The Lebanese state cannot implement reforms in these laws to place them in tune with a modernized society, nor do the religious institutions change the law as the later is considered sacred.  Two failed attempts were made, one in 1936 and the other in 1951, to force the different religious organizations to submit their status laws so that the government can examine them.  In 1952, the Lawyers’ syndicate announced an open strike for civil marriage to be initiated and a civil secular code to replace the various personal status laws.  The strike had to be ended after three months.

The various religious agencies holding both economic and legal power became formidable political institutions that oversee the interest of its members.  Remnants of the Ottoman system the Sunni “mufti” gets his salary from the Lebanese government and all judicial decisions by the Sunnis are published in the “Official Newsletter” issued by the government.

Moreover, this caste system reach an agreement whereby no Christian can inherit from a Muslim, and vice-versa, and thus a non-converted mother cannot bequeath her inheritance to her own children!  Our caste system allows our women to marry foreigners of the same religion but forbid marrying a Lebanese of a different religion.  Historically, a Muslim woman was prohibited from marrying into another religious group but the Christian caste could permit it until the unbalance in the demography restricted it and made it very difficult.

Both internal and external social controls are used in deterring the individual from breaking a specific prescribed behavior. One major factor in the establishment of a caste is the rule of non-exchange of women.

Consequently, the religious orders in Lebanon have acquired the status of caste because the jurisprudence in matter of personal status laws has been relinquished to them by the central government.  Conversion is made extremely difficult among orders by mutual agreement, except for political reasons and within the Christians castes to fill the quota in government offices.

Intermarriages among castes are not common and civil marriages had to be done in Cyprus or elsewhere for the government to accept the marriage according to an existing civil status law enacted during the mandate period.  Generally, males have a much easier allowance to inter marry outside the religious caste.

We, the Lebanese, are denied equality under the law of the land because it does not exists; we are like turtles carrying our baggage over our back and have to be subjected to the traditions of our respective religious castes, a system that is far reaching and follows us wherever we reside.

We are denied freedom to change religion, to change electoral district, to change our names, to work anywhere we chose to and to associate with whatever groups that matches our modern values. We are denied a democratic process based on peaceful transitions from allegiance to caste to allegiance to a rational State that abhors theocracy in any form or shape and release the citizen from his bondage to work toward a modern way of life over all the Lebanese territory.

The way I forecast the next political steps stems from my understanding that:

First, the Sunny caste is the most conservative among the caste and will be the last one to forego its privileges and this system;

Second, the Shiaa caste is the most homogeneous, most numerical, and self sufficient but wary of the combined efforts of the western nations and Israel to destabilize its supremacy and needs reassurances from the Christian castes not subject it to further harassment and displacement; and

Third there might be a tendency for the Christian castes to unite within a process of modernizing the system as the only viable alternative for survival in the future; and

Fourth the realization that, except for the Sunny caste, it would be beneficial for all the concerned parties to unseat Walid Jumblat as the sole feudal lord within the Druze caste.

The Christian Maronite sect in Lebanon has reverted to a closed religion and adopted the caste system since the independence of Lebanon in 1943.  The Maronite sect has agreed on a tacit pact with the non-Christian castes not to allow non-Christian members from the other castes in Lebanon to become Maronite.

I can testify that even Lebanese living overseas were not permitted to change religion: the Maronite Order made it clear that the process of changing religion is not feasible.  This Christian sect has sold its soul to preserve its supremacy as a caste in local politics and ended up losing its supremacy in 1989 at the Taef Conference in Saudi Arabia. (It has been allied to the Zionist movement as it landed in Palestine)

Although the office of President of the Republic, conferred to the Maronite, is no longer that powerful after the Taef Constitution; the current maneuvering is intended to come to an agreement as to the next stages of transforming this caste system and giving the Lebanese citizens a new doze of anesthesia until the plans and logistics for a new round of civil war are completed.

Unfortunately, the secular forces are not coordinating their activities commensurate to the dangerous climate that is being fomented.  The dynamic middle class in Lebanon has fled, for no return, and the existing one is too dispersed, weak and almost totally swallowed by the caste system.

The changes might seem insurmountable, but nothing is impossible with the will for survival.  A grass root movement of all the religious groups and led by the current middle class and syndicates, supported by the dual citizens of Lebanese origin, has to educate the disinherited citizens and to rally the secular forces and parties and to promote a program for a change in our archaic system into modernism.

This movement needs to destroy the barriers against interrelationship to implement the following program:

First, removing the power from the religious hierarchical orders by the following successive steps:

starting by forcing the different religious organizations to submit their status laws so that the government can examine them; then initiating a program to institute civil marriage law and a civil secular code to replace the various personal status laws; and then taxing heavily the religious “waqf” as lucrative financial and economic entities.

Second, a voting system that institutes for two parliaments: the Popular Parliament where a single deputy is selected by the majority of votes for each restricted district (no lists of candidates, please) and the National Parliament by the proportional method and the candidates are selected by the political parties and where women are to acquire a quota of half the numbers in the National Parliament after the second election.  The total of the two parliaments should not exceed 122 deputies.

Third, a decentralization of the government where the re-drawn Mouhafazaat, with access to the sea, might enjoy much wider responsibilities with the appropriate budget to cater for the social and economic well being of their citizens.  Encouraging competition among the Mouhafazats is a must and their corresponding budgets to be commensurate to their profitable investments and efficiency in saving money.

I decided to include the definitions of clan, tribe, sect, feudalism, and community so that the reader might judge on the correct description of Lebanon’s social and political structure.

A Clan or settled Tribe must first be based explicitly on a non linear rule of descent, it then must have a residential unity, and third, it must exhibit actual social integration.  The clan is independent and has a homogeneous system; it is a self-sufficient unit and is not ranked into higher and lower.

The majority of the Lebanese are unable to trace their lineage and the exogamy rule has not been applied and clans have been integrated within the caste system. Thus the tribal theory is inadequate in explaining the complex political, social, and economic picture of Lebanon.

Sects, by definition, welcome a voluntary membership by conversion, as individuals are free to adhere to a specific religious sect once they believe in its tenets. A sect has come to denote a religious conflict society which arises in opposition to an institutional church. The term sect, taken literally, no longer applies to the current Lebanese situation since we don’t have a theocratic state.  Translating sectarianism by “al taa2ifiyah” is misleading.  There used to be sects in our ancient history when the Nestorian opposed the Byzantine institutional church or when the Shiis, Ismailis, and Druze opposed the Sunni institutional state.

Feudalism means that lords have acquired big stretches of land that were passed to the first-born following the law of primogeniture by which the whole real estate of intestate passes solely to the eldest son.  The lords were opposed to the peasants who owned no land.

The Arab East did not develop such a system in any of its historical periods. First, the Koranic law stipulates the division of inheritance and second, during the Ottoman hegemony lands (Iqta3) were retrieved from the favorite officers at death.  Syria and Lebanon witnessed the beginnings of private ownership on a large scale after the middle of the 19th century, due to the Ottoman reforms.

The only group which was allowed to inherit land under Islamic rule was the religious order and later named (waqf) when citizens gave their lands to the order to avoid taxes or trouble.

Thus, historically at least, the feudal theory cannot hold in Lebanon structure. Though, in present Lebanon, I believe that a few families acquired huge pieces of land and sold whole villages to head the list of candidates to the Parliament within a caste system; for example, the Solh, Salam, Jumblat, Skaf, Eddeh and so forth.

Community revolve around three elements that are intimately interconnected: the element of descent which focuses on blood and kinship ties and where “family” life is the general basis or life; then the element of soil exemplified by the village community, and finally the element of occupation centered into guilds, corporations and offices.

Strangers may be accepted and protected as serving members but not easily as agents and representatives of the community. Usually, village communities have not been ranked historically on a scale of higher to lower.  Lebanon did not enter fully the era of communities and furthermore in our villages, communities are ranked leading to a quasi-caste situation.

Class is an open system where individuals are ranked instead of communities and intermarriage is not restricted, and membership is based mostly on economic status and the hierarchy takes the shape of a pyramid, with only an elite or small group at the top but mobility is feasible to moving up through finance and professionalism.

A Saudi Kingdom refugee in France (Saad Hariri) re-landed in Lebanon after being ousted in 2011 as PM

Actually Saad was handed the post of political inheritor (Haririyyeh) of his father Rafic Hariri who was assassinated by USA/Israel in 2004, by Bandar bin Sultan.

Note: re-edited of the post of 2014. “A billionaire refugee in France…”

Officially, the one $billion that the Saudi monarch Abdullah extended to Lebanon was meant to be spent on aiding the Lebanese army to confront all the “terrorists activities” spreading in Lebanon.

Tacitly, ex PM Saad Hariri is to be the money distributor of this huge sum and he returned to Lebanon after 3 years of vacations (as he was ousted) in order to personally supervise the spending of the money.

All this money is basically meant to be spend on the election campaign since the Parliament feels too ashamed to extend its tenure again and again on flimsy excuses of “insecurity conditions”. (Yes, Nabih Berry, head of the Parliament for 22 successive years,  and the Godfather of the militia/mafia “leaders“, refused to hold Parliamentary elections)

He had no political experience and knew nothing of Lebanon social structure: He needed 6 months to learn how to form a government and he spent most of his tenure abroad on multiple vacations, doing personal business deals.

A few months ago, Saudi Kingdom extended 3 $billion to France on the ground of providing the Lebanese army the necessary weapons to confront terrorist factions and the capability to maintain security and the shaky status quo of Lebanon political outdated system.

So far, the 3 $billion have evaporated into deep pockets in both Lebanon and France: financial transparency is not a cornerstone in our system.

Probably, France extended part of that that money to the extremist jihadist factions on our border with Syria.

The Nusra and ISIS have occupied our sprawling town of Ersal for 5 days and committed atrocities and killed scores of our soldiers and kidnapped about 40 soldiers.

Rafic Hariri set up the Ponzi scheme for Lebanon since 1994 by continually borrowing money, accumulating Lebanon sovereign debt from $3 bn to $100 bn and doing his best of destroying any productive activities in industries and agriculture. The basis of Rafic reasoning is that USA will erase Lebanon debt as soon as Lebanon sign a “peace treaty” with Israel.

Jamil Berry posted on FB: 

Mon Opinion

La période que traverse actuellement le Liban est extrêmement brumeuse, et de plus en plus illisible. Laissons nos religions aux vestiaires et réfléchissons.

Qu’avons nous comme données récentes ? Trois milliards Saoudiens évaporés? (Aide à l’armée?)

Hariri qui est rentré sous les caméras au Liban. Avec dans ses valises un milliard … Pour ? Tripoli qui s’agite à nouveau?
Ersaal avec ses vrais martyrs de notre armée Libanaise?

Et ses assaillants salafistes qui trouvent malgré tout des Janus parmi la classe politique libanaise pour minimiser, diluer, et démentir s’ils pouvaient ; nos martyrs.

Il se prépare quelque chose d’extrêmement grave je pense taillé à la seule mesure de la survie de l’état d’Israël.

Israel est plus que jamais conscient du droit du peuple Palestinien à son Etat, appuyé en cela par les rues arabes.

Israel est conscient de l’hostilité croissante des peuples des pays limitrophes face à l’injustice dont il fait preuve surtout avec un Embargo sévère et mortifère contre Gaza, et le morcellement incessant de la Palestine par les implantations juives victimes d’une Shoa économique générée par la crise dans laquelle se débattent leurs pays d’origine ( crise qui ne touche pas que les juifs , sauf que israel se propose comme issue en agitant l’étendard de l’anti sémitisme ambiant)

Rajouter à cela que de gisements immenses de gaz et de pétrole son découverts aux larges du Liban et de Palestine

Le Liban entre désormais dans le club des pays frappés par la malédiction du sous-sol. (Huge reserves of gas and oil known and confirmed even during the French mandated colonial power in 1935) 

Un exemple : l’Algérie a un sous sol infiniment riche , la Tunisie pas . Cette dernière connaitra rapidement accalmie et prospérité, la première se débattra toujours.

D’un point de vue purement sécuritaire, Israel a été contraint de rendre le Liban sud a ses Libanais (et sans condition en May 25, 2000) malgré son eau dont il a besoin. ( le prix devenait prohibitif pour israel. Trop de morts , vu le virus Ezbolla (Hezbollah) qui y sévissait)

L’Irak, La Lybie, La Syrie , étaient des menaces sécuritaires pour israel. Ces pays ont été scientifiquement et méthodiquement mis à terre en 3 temps chacun ( observez les 3 temps d’un dromadaire quand il veut se mettre à terre ) sans pour autant cesser de tambouriner qu’il faut que la résistance libanaise dépose ses armes.

Entretenir la faiblesse des pays arabes et les anémier pour les cent ans à venir, passera désormais d’après les stratèges du pentagone et d israel réunis par la semence d’une guerre Suchi ( Sunnites / Chiites) et elle commence à donner ses fruits mortifères. Les printemps se suivent mais ne se ressemblent pas.

Le Liban ”is different ” . Devenu très anglophone, très peu francophone, la France (sa mère adoptive ) en grande difficulté économique ne viendra plus vraiment à son secours car :

1/ Il s’est tourné vers les USA
2/ la France est un pays matérialiste, Laïc. Défendre la chrétienté, lui est vraiment passé de mode.

La guerre sunnite / chiite a déjà commencé dans la région, et je suis intimement convaincu que ces stratèges de l’apocalypse nous diront bientôt qu’il ne faut pas mettre tous les salafistes dans le même sac

Il y aura les bons salafistes: ceux qui se battront contre le Ezbollah , et les mauvais salafistes ceux qui se battront contre l’armée libanaise (sic!)

Plus que jamais au Liban, les politiciens Libanais ne commandent plus sur rien et n’ont de l’autorité que dans la mesure où ils ne l’exercent pas.

Bientôt , même une chatte au Liban, ne reconnaîtra plus ses chatons.

Ah les Chrétiens … J’allais vous oublier : je ne vous pense pas les vrais visés dans l’apocalypse annoncée, vous serez soit des victiles collatérales, soit des victiles de diversion. Dans les deux cas, vous aurez vos ” couloirs humanitaires ”

Déjà que le Liban est couloir en soi . Couloirs dans un couloir : rien de mieux pour couler notre pays.

( Jamil BERRY )

What Baha2 Hariri, Saad Hariri’s eldest brother, confessed of the tight connections among Saudi secret services, Bandar bin Sultan and Walid Jumblat…
Lebanon National Debt: A rough computation?

Note: this article was published in 2013 and nothing changed but the amount of debt that ballooned from barely $9 bn in 1993 to $90 bn (or 130% of Lebanon GDP. Same as in Greece). A third of the budget goes to repaying the interset on the debt

As clear as water….thank you George Sabat !
The story of the Lebanese National debt is simple to tell to the uninitiated citizen who cannot understand how a small country like Lebanon could have built a $60 billion (reached 90 this year of 2018) debt in the short space of 20 years.
It starts with an initial budget deficit of some $2 billion of Lebanese Budget in 1993 to which one ought to add the entire civil war reconstruction cost that amounted to some $7 billion as declared officially and detailed by the Authorities in their famous book: “Rebuilding Lebanon”.
From this initial debt of some $9 billion that has never been repaid, one ought to add the accumulated compound interest at the end of every year.
Of course the table shown below is not the authentic one that appears in the Government Accounts but, for the uninitiated, it explains clearly enough how this Debt has grown from an initial amount of nine billion US dollars in 1993 to reach today over sixty billion US dollars.
The Authorities will never explain to you such matters so simply.
They will use a lot of complicated and obscure terms and definitions to keep you in the dark over a matter which is, after all, frighteningly simple.
The people of Lebanon, represented by their government (that is you and me and four and a half million other Lebanese citizens) borrowed in 1993 some two billion US dollars, then another seven billion US dollars to pay for the reconstruction.
The rest, or some $53.5 billion is the amount of interest paid to bankers and foreign depositors over the past twenty years. That’s all folks.
Note 1: The late Rafic Hariri PM clan (known as the Future movement, Al Moustakbal) pread the word to its close friends to deposit their wealth at 18% interest rate and each one of them reaped millions in 3 years.
Most of the borrowed money were distributed to the militia/mafia leaders who kept running the country after the war. No political party won the war, but the militia leaders stayed in power and were absolved of all the killing and mischief against humanity they committed during the war
Note 2: After the assassination of Rafic Hariri in 2004, his wealth amounted to $14 bn  (from barely $2 bn when he first became Prime Minister with the total support of the Syrian regime of Hafez and then his son Bashar Assad) and his family members paid just a single million as taxes to the government run by his protegee’ Fouad Seniora PM
Note 3: It is common knowledge that Rafic gave his first wife to the Saudi Monarch Fahd to marry.
Note 4: Lebanon has since been begging borrowed money for no economic reasons, and the loaners didn’t mind to raise Lebanon national debt to $90 bn (130% of its GDP). Obviously, those loans are meant to take Lebanon hostage for later deals related to regional situation and giving the Palestinian refugees the nationality.
Note 5: More than a third of the population are in the public sector and most of them don’t even show up to work and receive another third of the budget.

Old Cosmopolitan Beirut: Before Saudi and Gulf Emirates Real Estates Developers landed

How the Hariri clan (Starting with late Rafic Hariri PM) destroyed Beirut heritage

A string of illegal robbery of Prime Real Estates properties

Those rich emirs wanted a comfortable stay in Beirut that feel very capitalist and a view on the sea.

So their representative in Lebanon, late Rafic Hariri PM, bribed and forced illegal laws to capture Downtown Beirut for pennies and instituted the Solidaire company.

Not only Hariri and his partners in the triumvirate (Nabih Berry and Walid Jumblat) occupied the Downtown but they dumped the sea and created many acres of new prime land.

The proprietors of prime land were given shares. The land is worth over $10 billion, but the shares never increased a dime over the last 30 years. The term of the company was to end 10 years ago, but it was extended another 10 years by the same triumvirate.

Currently, Beirut Downtown is as dead as the desert in Saudi Arabia.

The citizens were chased out from the premises by making the shops and the items too expensive for paying a visit to this cosmopolitan Capital.

Before 1975, Beirut was the hub for all the Lebanese who could find the best quality merchandize at affordable prices in its old souks.

The souks have been razed and demolished to erect skyscrapers that are empty.

Even the Emirs failed to visit Lebanon. Worse, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates are warning their people Not to spend their vacation in Beirut.

Joseph Dergham's photo.
'Beirut Martyrs Square in 1965'
'Beirut Martyrs Square in 2015'

Maroun Ingeatostop destroying your heritage!

Beirut Martyrs Square in 1965 :

Green spaces, Trams, Bus & Taxi Stops, Traditional houses, Tonzim modoni…

All this was illegally destroyed by a well known private company

And replaced by illegal parkings, buildings and water front.

The Zeitouny Bay, Dalieh, Raouche, Ras Beirut, Downtown, the ancient famous souks…

Restore Beirut to whom it belongs!

Youssef Mohammad Al Moussawi's photo.

 

This implicit new Constitution in Lebanon

Militia Leaders with veto power

Many believe that when tensions and conflicts in a political system include mechanisms for a political mediation to vent out violent resentments, then adopting violent means is no longer necessary.

In working democratic systems, people marching for a demand is a good enough opportunity for the system to listen carefully to the request of the people.

The people who felt this urge to get out to the streets and demonstrate must have kept their latent violent feeling under check for too long, and it is a good policy to tend to the voices of the demonstrators. A hundred demonstrators suffice for the mediation process to get activated and serious negotiation taking place.

The marching phenomena in Lebanon is evidence that one or several main leaders are critical of current politics and are sending the proper message to the government.

When Lebanon cease marching and demonstrating, it is an indication that the leaders are negotiating and trying to reach a consensus. Thus, demonstrating in Lebanon gives the cue that a few main leaders are not satisfied with their quota in the loot for public funds.

The main problem in Lebanon is that the institutional framework that was developed over 70 years, with endless patching up sections added to it, most of it implicit or verbal, is a process of consensus among the main ethnic-religious schisms and feudal tribes who are considered to constitute the fabric of this patched up society.

The constitution was frequently a scapegoat or smokescreen to pass policies against the interest of the common people. The constitution is implicitly admitted to be broken at wish and temporary laws replacing the constitution until the original constitution is forgotten and no longer taken seriously.

Essentially, the current implicit “reformed constitution” is to give veto power to about 5 leaders on “critical matters” that keep changing.

Each religious sect has appointed civil political leaders to represent its interest, in addition to the religious clerics. When a major religious sect ends up with more than one powerful civil leaders (militia), then a civil war is expected within the sect until a resolution is found.

For example, in the Christian religious sects many leaders battled for prominence, and they all failed after the war ended. Aoun found political asylum in France and Jeaja was put in prison for 11 years.

After the Syrian troops vacated Lebanon in 2005, Aoun returned and Jeaja was set free for political purpose in order to counter the Aoun ascendance.

The current battle for leadership is among Gen, Michel Aoun (Tayyar movement), Samir Ja3ja (Lebanese Forces), Suleiman Frangieh in the northern part, and to a lesser extent the Phalange party represented by Amine Gemayyel.

The Shiaa Muslim sect battled between Amal militia represented by current Parliament head Nabih Berry and Hezbollah.

Berry was Syria Man and still is and has become the broker of politicians. Amal and Hezbollah reached a consensus on dividing the roles and currently form the most cohesive and powerful section in Lebanon’s politics, in number, in firepower and organization.

The Sunni Muslim sect battled among many leaders and the assassination of scores of them until late Rafic Hariri purchased the sole leadership with Saudi funding.

After the assassination of Rafic in 2005, the Sunnis tried to affiliate and bring back old leaders and assemble around their local leaders.  Currently, Saad Hariri  (son of Rafic and the chief of Future movement or Mustakbal, mostly in absentia, navigating between Paris and Saudi Arabia) is being imposed upon the Sunnis as their leader with the same Saudi funding and political pressures.

The Druze  sect managed to get more political clout that their number represents because they allied behind a single leader Walid Jumblat who inherited the leadership from his late assassinated father Kamal Jumblat.

The current 5 leaders were generated during the lengthy civil war (1975-89) and several of them inherited their fathers’ leadership.

Basically, the current veto power holders are: Saad Hariri, Walid Jumblat , Michel Aoun , Samir Ja3ja, and Nabih Berry (voicing the desires and positions of Hezbollah).

These leaders split the spoil of public funds and distribute the loot among their subordinate. Kind of Lebanon decided in the last decade not to submit an official budget for the Parliament to vote on. Every month, the main political leaders get their cuts handed over through the ministries in the government that they secured through months of haggling before a government is formed.

The Parliamentary system failed to elect a new President to the Republic for 11 months now.

The former president Michel Suleiman had appointed 3 ministers in the current government as his quota in the spoil, though he has no deputies and has no political party. Ironically, he is still meeting regularly with these ministers, flaunting all decent constitutional customs.

The former President was elected with Syria blessing. When Syria got in trouble, he shifted allegiance to the Saudi Arabia block of regional alliances in order to receive his share of the loot.

It is understandable in this mercantile State: The more powerful Iranian regional block has not the financial means or international clout to cover the President financial exigencies and to travel the world as an acceptable and honored president.

And why no President is about to be elected?

We have no legitimate parliament. and the government is working under a consensus that all the ministers have to agree on any decree, even the most trivial of decisions.

And security received a universal tacit approval that no major disturbances are to take place in the time being. For executing this tacit security deal, the political parties got the orders to meet and start the negotiation processes, two at a time.

A so the nemesis of Hezbollah and the Future are meeting at Nabih Berry palace. And the historic enemies of Aoun and Jeaja are also meeting. And nobody believe that any of these duo negotiations will approach and discuss the main critical divergences.

Protracted negotiations just to give the impression that a resolution could become possible once the green light has been received: kind of putting the final editing touch to the deals before the order is dispatched.

Hapless, tiny and impoverished Lebanon happened to have this red line crossing its land: The regional powers divide between the Saudi Arabia block and Iran block. And these two regional blocks are waiting for the USA and Russia to reach a negotiated settlement over Ukraine, and particularly, the fate of Mariopol, a tiny port city in the Ukraine.

Even the signing of nuclear deal with Iran, which has been finalized, is postponed until the USA and Russia agree on a resolution.

And the hapless Lebanese are being caught between bears, wolves, eagles and jackasses.

Note: Turkey got out of its cocoon during the Arab Spring revolutions and got involved heavily in supporting the various national Moslem Brotherhood movements. The Arab States and Iran managed to return Turkey back to its cocoon and clip its wings as it was getting immersed in the Arab World.

In reaction and retaliation, Turkey of Erdogan directly supported all the extremist Sunni terrorist movements such as ISIS and the Nusra Front in Syria and Iraq. Turkey is the main entry point for all the extremists willing to join the terrorists in Syria and Iraq, and Turkey has dispatched 10,000 of its citizen to join the fray.

Turkey wants its piece of the cake in the regional power tug of war before relinquishing its support to the terrorist movements.

 


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

March 2020
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