Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Samir Kassir

Not all the assassinations after Rafic Hariri assassination were executed by Israel

This time around, Walid Jumblat did it “again” with Journalist Samir Kassir?

Apparently, the Druze militia “leader” Jumblat ordered the assassination to save a “family sex honor”?

The investigation was conducted by Serge Bramirts, a former International Court judge.

Note: The article mention “son of Walid’s uncle”. I had no recollection that Kamal Jumblat had a brother. Any explanation?

الديوان الكويتية:جنبلاط قتل سمير قصير لأسباب لها علاقة بالشرف العائلي

السيدة نورا جنبلاط

نقلت صحيفة الديوان الكويتية عن مصدر مقرب من التحقيق الدولي في مقر مجلس الأمن الدولي في نيويورك، بأن القاضي سيرج براميرتس الذي ترك رئاسة لجنة التحقيق الدولية بمقتل الحريري مؤخرا ،

توصل إلى دلائل وشهود يثبتون بأن الزعيم الموالي لأميركا وليد جنبلاط هو من يقف خلف عملية إغتيال الصحفي الفلسطيني الأصل، المعروف بعلاقاته الوثيقة مع السلطات الفرنسية .

وقالت الصحيفة ان برامرتس حقق مع هشام ناصر الدين ومع رامي الريس ومع ناصر المصري وجميعهم من مسؤولي جهاز الأمن في حزب جنبلاط ،

وذلك بعد تقدم ن. ن. جنبلاط إبن نورا جنبلاط زوجة إبن عم جنبلاط التي أجبرها وليد بك على الزواج بعد تطليقها من زوجها.

نجيب تقدم من اللجنة ومن القاضي براميرتس في نهاية الصيف الماضي وسجلت شهادته في مئة وخمسة وسبعين صفحة ،

وفيها أنه علم من عناصر أمنية تابعة لجنبلاط بأن الأخير أمر بتصفية سمير قصير الذي كان بحماية رجال جنبلاط وذلك بسبب ما علمه جنبلاط عن علاقة غرامية تربط إحدى النساء اللواتي يمتن بصلة قوية جدا من وليد جنبلاط .

المرأة نقلت بعد إصابتها في الإنفجار الذي إستهدف السيارة التي تستقلها مع سمير قصير فقتل الأخير وأصيبت هي إصابت قوية، نقلت بعدها إلى مستشفى الجامعة الأميركية ، ثم إلى فرنسا لإخفاء علاقتها بسمير قصير عن الصحافة وعن لجنة التحقيق .

المرأة لم ترغب في العودة بعد شفاءها وبقيت لفترة (يعتقد بأنها لا تزال في فرنسا وحقق معها براميرتس هناك) حيث يقيم ولدها البكر .

المرأة كانت قد قضت الليل في أحضان الصحفي قصير الذي إستلم سيارته صباحا من عنصر جنبلاطي قبل أن ينصرف الأخير بطلب من سمير قصير الذي لم يكن معه أي مرافق وقت وقوع الإنفجار علما بأنه كان قبل أيام من إغتياله قد تحدث بنفسه عن ورود إسمه في لائحة إغتيال وزعتها السي أي أيه على الزعماء والشخصيات اللبنانية المتعاونة معها لإرعابهم .

نقلا عن:الديوان الكويتية من بول ابي ضاهر – نيويورك/تاريخ3/4/2008 .

How the Lebanese economy cannibalises itself

A horror State for enterprising people

14 August 2018

Conventional wisdom holds that Lebanese are born entrepreneurs—and it’s generally true, everywhere but in Lebanon itself.

They’ll succeed in Silicon Valley, carve out their own space in Nigeria and manage multimillion dollar projects in Saudi Arabia.

But a core reason for all this activity abroad is, precisely, how difficult it is to break through back home, in an economy that preys on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) while continuously feeding corruption and clientelism.  (And a small market and when regional trades are closed due to constant conflicts)

The ideal of the Lebanese entrepreneur nonetheless pervades Lebanon’s economic landscape. The Central Bank has (supposedly) dedicated over $400 million to support investments in the digital sector.

Western embassies bankroll incubators and mentoring programs expected to churn out the next generation of innovators.

Politicians in Beirut speculate that Lebanese companies will rebuild Syria.

And Lebanese elites recently attended a much-heralded conference in Paris, with the poorly defined goal of saving Lebanon’s economy through partnerships with the country’s private sector.

Amid all this haphazard bustle, conspicuously absent is a clear understanding of what makes the country’s entrepreneurial environment so self-consuming, especially when it comes to small-scale, productive ventures.

Unease of doing business

At first glance, setting up shop in Lebanon seems easy. Creating a limited liability company takes a matter of days and requires modest capital–5,000,000 LP, or slightly over $3,000.

Yet serious problems soon arise.

As the owner of several high-end restaurants put it: “Being an entrepreneur in Lebanon is effortless for the first 48 hours. After that, it becomes virtually impossible.”

At a macro level, the World Bank’s “ease of doing business” indicator—which measures regulations and procedures to open and run a company—ranks Lebanon below the already dismal average for the Middle East and North Africa.

From poor infrastructure to labyrinthine bureaucracy and a nonsensical regulatory environment, the challenges to successful business are myriad.

While no single issue in and of itself is necessarily prohibitive, problems pile up to the point where little gets done.

Simply paying bills and taxes can be extraordinarily time-consuming, and therefore resource-intensive.

Your phone? Set a reminder to go to the local branch of the national supplier once a month, where you will queue at the counter to avoid being disconnected for pending invoices.

Electricity? Chase down both the owner of the neighborhood electricity generator (private energy provider) and the representative of the public electricity provider, who have an uncanny tendency to show up outside office hours.

A lucky business opportunity? Submit hard copies of your contract to the Ministry of Finance within five days of signature, or risk penalties.

Taxes? Drive to the bank through heavy traffic, fill out forms, get a banker’s check, and bring it to the Ministry of Labor—each time a specific tax is due.

Merely collecting a receipt conforming to state-imposed standards may entail waiting at a special counter to acquire a size A4 printout complete with various stamps and signatures.

Such rules are a nuisance made worse by the almost comic lack of clarity regarding their application.

In 2017, the country spent months wondering if the value added tax, or VAT, was 10 or 11%—while national politicians dithered on the matter.

That same year, the government bumped up social security contributions retroactively and with no advance notice. In 2018, tax evaders enjoyed a sudden, sweeping amnesty.

In short, entrepreneurs simply cannot trust existing laws to provide consistency.

Foreign investors or employees can be denied work or residency permits that they are formally entitled to, if they fail to play by the system’s informal rules—namely through kickbacks and commissions.

“I have been waiting for visas for two Chinese nationals for three months,” grumbled the founder of a digital startup. “Now I am told that I can only get one and I have to choose whom to give it to—there is no logic to it.”

Essential aspects of a business-friendly legal framework are missing entirely.

In particular, Lebanon does not enforce intellectual property rights. It also lacks, amazingly, a bankruptcy law.

As a result, it is virtually impossible to shut down an existing company. “What we do is that we wait for five years, deliberately not doing anything,” explained a public accountant. “That’s how far back the Ministry of Finance can go to ask for documents in our archives. Then it’s over. The company continues to exist in perpetuity, but is considered dormant.”

On top of structural impediments to business, the Lebanese environment also throws up sporadic, petty obstacles—notably in the form of official negligence that sometimes borders on sabotage.

The owner of a street food restaurant, having incurred a devastating sewage leak in front of his establishment, recounted: “I called the municipality and heard that they couldn’t come for the next two weeks. So, I had the road fixed myself. I pay taxes and also foot the bill for public works.”

A trader in perishable goods shared another horror story: “I have to import my cargo in refrigerated containers, because the port administration delays my merchandise so much that it goes to waste. That would be expensive in itself if I didn’t have to send someone every day to check that they don’t unplug the air conditioning!”

The broker economy

In typical Lebanese fashion, SMEs have responded to this obstacle course not by lobbying for reforms, but through makeshift solutions that have become part of the system.

The entrepreneurial spirit that exists is, unfortunately, predominantly invested in navigating the economy’s structural deficiencies, rather than investing in its potential.

As a result, a sector has flourished around intermediaries who position themselves between SMEs and the numerous public administrations they must contend with.

Most companies retain at least one full-time employee whose sole function is to carry out the pesky, menial tasks that are essential to running a business in Lebanon—such as spending a day in traffic to pick up and deliver a banker’s check, for a service that could easily be done over the internet.

Such errands multiply in ways that often seem absurd: Subscribing to the state electricity grid requires a rental contract that must be approved by the municipality, a formality which can take days without a dedicated middleman.

Banks themselves have turned this go-between function into a remarkably profitable service.

They will settle a company’s internet, mobile phone and electricity bills for $5 per invoice per month. That may sound expensive, and it is—but it is still appealing compared to the resources otherwise wasted in transportation, parking and queuing.

Another form of mediation consists in buffering SMEs against Lebanon’s convoluted fiscal and legal framework.

Accountants and lawyers are essential allies in sustaining any enterprise, not so much by clarifying the rules, but by capitalizing on their inherent flexibility.

Accountants often use personal connections and bookkeeping wizardry to find arrangements with the Ministry of Finance to circumvent penalties or minimize taxes.

Lawyers tend to tap a higher-profile network to resolve more serious obstruction originating within specific public institutions.

Brokers help negotiate relations with the authorities at all levels.

While red tape and inefficiencies are in no way unique to Lebanon, the amount of time, energy and money that Lebanese must spend to overcome them is indeed special.

Business would prove literally impossible without such efforts. For instance, a digital startup operating outside of Beirut only gained decent access to the internet via an old friend at the Ministry of Communications.

Bigger problems require higher level brokers, leading many companies to operate under the umbrella of political patrons, or zuama.

These public figures (militia leaders of civil war in power) , who typically trade favors for electoral support, have the power to unlock seemingly hopeless situations. They are the ultimate brokers, to the point where their goodwill can become an existential issue.

Compete with the wrong people and you may soon see ordinary problems multiply, to the point of putting you out of business.

This phenomenon is deeply entrenched, not least because it dates back generations.

In his History of Beirut, Lebanese historian and journalist Samir Kassir refers to the handful of families who controlled the economy up to the mid-1970s as “the consortium.” They dominated imports from the US—then the country’s major trade partner—and economic pillars such as finance, services and industry.

Members of the consortium were either directly involved in politics or enmeshed with the political elite.

Today’s system functions in similar fashion, with small groups of individuals running oligopolies in key fields of activity, where competition is minimal and returns inflated.

Such profits provide the happy few with ample financial capacity to deal with all the problems mentioned above—by hiring a host of assistants and brokers, bribing bureaucrats, or giving kickbacks to the political patrons on whom their businesses depend.

Rent extraction

Generally speaking, entrepreneurship in Lebanon is heavily constrained by a number of very high barriers to entering the market.

Communication services are among the most expensive in the world.

Basic postal services likewise: “Even with higher labor costs and taxes and stricter regulations, France and Germany have lower delivery costs than we do,” raged the CEO of a delivery company.

Trivial banking operations are outrageously priced, and hourly rates for ordinary legal counsel can easily reach hundreds of dollars.

Standard accounting fees are officially set at 5,000 USD per year, even when minimal work is required. The CEO of a social impact company described his astonishment upon the discovery: “I asked for a few quotes and they all gave me the same figure. I had no employees and little activity. I thought, ‘what a rip off!’”

Meanwhile, contracts, value added and profits all incur significant taxes, while social security contributions add at least a 20% overhead cost to salaries (despite providing staff with such poor services that many are forced to purchase private insurance anyway).

In short, costs are often similar to those in developed economies with high-functioning infrastructure, services and regulatory frameworks.

The end result is a layered landscape that leaves little space for conventional business.

At the bottom, a bulging informal economy accommodates most would-be entrepreneurs, who fail to create SMEs precisely because the entry costs are too high.

At the top sit the large corporations, who are sufficiently well-connected and profitable to consider such expenditure trifling.

Worse, top corporations have a vested interest in keeping the economy as exclusionary as it currently is, to repress the healthy competition that could change the rules of the game.

In between these extremes, small and medium-sized companies struggle. Typically, they end up being dependent on bigger fish, who patronize them by helping them survive but not thrive.

Hence many SMEs remain in a grey area where it is impossible to sign contracts with public administrations for tenders or trade with foreign partners.

Tripoli is a case in point, as home to several billionaires, a sprawling informal sector, and just a handful of SMEs—despite cheap labor, affordable industrial space and adequate infrastructure.

The great fortunes built on an otherwise thoroughly stagnant economy evoke the notion of “rentierism,” denoting economic systems where elites extract wealth from existing resources rather than generating it through productive activity.

In Lebanon, numerous rents are derived from controlling niche markets in which oligopolies ramp up the prices—as customers enjoy no alternatives. A wine merchant acknowledged: “Lebanese wines are more expensive in Lebanon than abroad, amazingly. Here they can afford to be over-priced because imported wines are themselves kept artificially expensive.” In other words, the rent is “extracted” from the purchasing power of ordinary citizens, who find it increasingly hard to make ends meet.

Just as an oil state redistributes its riches through subsidies and co-optation into the state bureaucracy, Lebanon generates a plethora of unproductive jobs that implicitly serve a similar function.

Banks are replete with people and functions that would not be necessary were absurdly archaic services to be automated.

While companies hire poorly qualified staff to pick up banker’s checks and pay the bills, administrations do as much to process them.

Across the board, inefficiencies go hand in hand with low-paying jobs meant to supplement them. In a sense, this system offers an essential social safety net by creating accessible employment.

But the argument of solidarity only goes so far: The fact that Lebanon’s unproductive economy is geared toward oligopolistic accumulation is the reason why people struggle to find suitable jobs in the first place.

The government and its international partners are right in pinpointing the crucial role SMEs must play in generating and circulating more wealth.

But that will only happen once local authorities and their external backers take steps to restrain the ferocious appetites of Lebanon’s oligarchs, by reaching an agreement on basic reforms in exchange for sustained investments.

So far, all that talk about entrepreneurship has done little more than cover up lack of action.

This piece is excerpted from a series of short essays, the Lebanese Economy Watchdog, which unpacks economic issues most critical to Lebanese citizens, from their vantage point and in accessible terms. To sign up for updates, go here.

The Ugliest period of involvement of France in Near East (1950-62): Dimona nuclear plant in Israel

The successive governments in France between 1950 to 62 established reduced “parallel governments” just to expedite transactions with the new State of Israel.  Most ministers, Parliament, and key institutions were kept in the dark of the decisions of the parallel governments, headed by the PM, the minister of Defense, the Chief of Staff of the army and aviation, and nuclear research institutions…

Whatever was the list for military hardware handed over by Israel to the French Defense Minister was approved with zeal and excitement. The new Myster IV fighter jet version were dispatched to Israel: The US had already contracted out 24 of this newest version of fighter jets for the NATO forces, and France worked diligently to appease the US into receiving only 12 fighter jets and deliver the remaining 12 to Israel, just before Israel preemptive war on Egypt in 1956…Israel withdrew from Sinai a year after France and England troops had vacated Egypt: Israel claimed Sinai as part of Greater Israel…

After the aborted invasion of Egypt in 1956 by France, England and Israel, which coincided with the invasion of Soviet troops of Hungary and pressured the US to offer a face lift to the western alliance and aborted the campaign on Egypt, following the nationalization of the Suez canal by Gamal Abdel Nasser, France zeal to providing Israel with weapons of mass destruction went unabated. Actually, the French people didn’t exercise enough pressures on the government to revise its foreign policies in the Middle East: The propaganda put forth Nasser as the main villain and public enemy number 1.

Worse, France in a frenzy volunteered to build the first nuclear power plant in the Middle-east, and specifically in the Negev desert in Israel. France military and research centers contributed whatever uranium and heavy water that was needed to make the plant operational. France detonated its first atomic bomb in 1960, and Israel was equipped of a bomb in 1968.

The plans for the plants and factory to extracting pure plutonium from the enriched uranium were started in 1958. The USA of Eisenhower got worried, and for some reasons, france decided to lie and claim that the plant was for peaceful reasons: generating electrical power! The US opted to take the assurances of France at face value… And later on, in 1962, what the factory for the extraction of plutonium was meant for?

Many Jewish nuclear scientists and pro Zionist physicists in Europe converged to Israel after WWII. The scientist and chemist Chaim Weizmann was the President of Israel and he encouraged that exodus. Mind you that the Jewish Oppenheimer was the lead theoretical scientist who detonated the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945.

In 1949, a year after the UN voted Israel in by a margin of a single vote, Israel defense ministry dispatched overseas (The Netherlands, Switzerland, England and the USA) groups of young researchers to specialize in nuclear fields. A research department was created under the Weismann Institute to study the know-how of extracting low-level of uranium in phosphate and how to distil heavy water for nuclear purposes…

Israel created in June 1952 the Commission for Atomic Energy under chairman Ernst David Bergmann, and it was kept a secret for two years. The USA had constructed a small nuclear reactor (5,000 KWatt) in Nahal Soreq for research purposes. Israel was to handover (restitute) to the US all the used up combustible of uranium.

In 1953, France concluded an accord of cooperation in the nuclear field with Israel. France was also in the process of acceding to the Club of nations possessing atomic bombs that can be delivered by missiles.

The chemist Israel Dostrovsky claimed that he developed a new procedure for producing heavy water not based on electrical energy, and France bought the patent. It turned out that this method was totally uneconomical! Israel PM, Moshe Sharett, informed the Knesset that researchers from Israel and France are closely collaborating in the production of atomic bombs…

Hence, France extended to the Israeli researchers the most modern scientific centers in France to swap technological know-how, particularly in Saclay. This atomic cooperation went hand-in-hand with military cooperation on the vastest of scales, never witnessed between a colonial power and a small emerging State…

In fact, Shimon Peres ratified an agreement in Sept. 1956 for the construction by France of a nuclear reactor of the Type 13 to be installed at Richon le Sion in Israel. In that period, Peres was literally parked in France, dealing, wheeling, and conspiring… France PM, Guy Mollet, kept repeating after the Suez fiasco: “I owe it to the Zionist State our atomic bomb. And I will give Israel its nuclear capability…”

In 1981, Francis Perrin, a high authority figure in France political circles, confirmed that france contributed to the construction of the installation that transformed combustible uranium into pure plutonium, ready to be used in atomic bombs. This declaration was supported a year later by Pierre Pean, another high official.

Mordecai Vannunu, Israel nuclear scientist, revealed this fact to the Sunday Times in 1986, and was kidnapped by Israel secret services and jailed for 18 years.  Vannunu is still under house arrest.

The French Jew Bertrand Goldschmidt had developed the plans for the construction of this plutonium factory.

Israel imported 20 tons of heavy water from Norway in 1959, and 4 tons from the USA in 1963, under the false pretence of peaceful usage…

Evidences point to the fact that the plutonium factory was designed to require 36 tons of heavy water (24 tons as refrigerator, and 12 tons as moderator) from its inception.

The financial transactions were done through Rivaud, as a smokescreen behind the company Saint-Gobain undertaking the vast project.

The irony is that, if all the ground work and planning were done under the 4th Republic, the execution phases were undertaken under de Gaulle 5th republic, even after the preemptive war of Israel against Egypt and Syria in 1967.

Between 1963-64, more than 700 Frenchmen were working in Dimona (2,500 French citizens, including wives and children).  French technicians stayed till 1969 at Dimona

Israel had produced enough plutonium by the end of 1966 to get an atomic bomb ready in 1968. Most probably, France delivered the first atomic bomb to Israel since Israel had not the means to test the bomb.  It is not sure that the 300 atomic bombs that Israel had put together are functional or will work:  They are mostly constituting a serious danger for their obsolescence and nuclear leaks…

It is rumored that Israel blackmailed the US with its atomic weapon to be dropped on Egypt in 1973, if the US fails to deliver all the necessary sophisticated conventional weapons via an aerial bridge, which the US did…

Note: Post inspired from chapters in the “Itineraires de Paris a Jerusalem” (Schedule from Paris to Jerusalem) by Samir Kassir and Farouk Mardam Bey (1992)

Another wave of assassinations readied: Bi-Weekly report (#26)

 

            Israel has readied another wave of assassinations in Lebanon.  The main strategy of Israel in Lebanon is to encourage civil wars because it is helpless to tame the Lebanese by brute force; it tried it three times after 1992 and failed miserably.  As soon as Israel gathers intelligence on social unrest in Lebanon then it begins enflaming sectarian conflicts that the Lebanese have not manage to overcome by its archaic political structure and election laws. 

            We can already predict the timing of political assassinations when the governments in Lebanon fail to form unity government.  Israel participated heavily in the execution of an international decision to assassinate late Rafic Hariri PM because the timing was appropriate.  After Israel and Cheney assassinated Rafic Hariri then Israel went on assassinating the intellectuals and activists George Hawi, Samir Kassir, and Jubran Tuweiny who were in the vanguard of seeking unity among the Lebanese.  The civil war failed to materialize because the leaders of the majority in the Parliament knew that these assassinations were perpetrated by Israel and not by the opposition or Syria.

            Israel resumed another wave of assisations on political figures and Deputies such as young Pierre Gemayel.  Civil war failed to take off and thus Israel decided to activate her military plan to invading south Lebanon for the seventh time.  The war occured in June 2006; after 33 days of active bombardement and destruction of Lebanon’s infrastructure the ground attack failed miserably because Hezbollah resistance kept her ground and defended evey yard and evey town.

            The trend of assassination before the June war 2006 and afterward pointed to close cooperation with Israel among inside Lebanese leaders; it was as if the Lebanese leaders were implicitly selecting for Israel the potential personalities that are disposable for assassination because they constituted liability for the progress of George W. Bush and French Chirac strategy in the Greater Middle East.

            What prompted my article is that after the parliamentary election of June 7, 2009, the same majority in the Parliament are trying to resume their older plan of failing to form a unity government as was agreed on in Dowha.  The signs are pretty leaning toward that direction of hording the government and key civil posts in the administration.  The majority elected 4 under-secretaries to Nabih Berri in the Parliament such as Marwan Hamadeh, Fatfat, Ogasapian, and Zahrat and eliminated a representative of the Tayyar of General Aoun who has a block of 27 deputies out of 128.  These four under-secretaries are servile to their masters and big mouths but they share one other common denominator: they failed to recognize the new dynamics in the region and thus they have become huge liability to their leaders; they should have declined to resume doing politics as usual and stepped out of politics.

 

            My hunch is that if within 10 days Saad Hariri (called upon by 86 Deputies to form a government) drags his feet in constituting a unity government then Israel would have received the strong hint to try destabilizing Lebanon and would step in. It stands to reason that one of the first candidates for assassination could be from among those big mouths that are serious liabilities to their leaders and have served their duties. There is another Deputy who is a liability to all leaders and has no value in representing any one; his death has greater value for short term gains during the formation of a government.

 

            Iran won on two counts in the latest round of problems during and after the election.   The Iranians have proven that they have national objectives and are ready for reforms.  I would have been sceptic that the regime in Iran is functioning well if not for these mass demonstrations that are pointing direction for change and rejuvenation of an empire.

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.

Legitimate, Temporary, and Necessary (June 5, 2009)

 

            On June 7, 2009 the Lebanese will vote for a new Parliament. Theo groups of citizens will vote; the group constituted of the patriotic, secular, and reformists and the group of an amalgam of confessionals, feudalists, isolationists, statue quo,  and “colonial minded” mentalities. The “colonial minded” citizens follow leaders who invariably rely on foreign interventions to balance a broken alliance among 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 in Israel 61 years history. The joint strategy of Lebanon President Lahoud and Bashar Assad of Syria enabled Hezbollah a resounding victory.  The Arab League decided to hold its annual meting in Beirut in August 2002 as a god 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 Rafic 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 naught: Hariri could still be of great benefit to their policies in the Middle East region alive rather than dead.  The International Community, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia fel 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/Hariri clan.  Plan B petered.  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.  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 “Jound Al Sham” and financed by Bandar Bib 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 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 Dawha and agree on the election of a President to the Republic, an election law for 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 object 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 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 “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 antagonize 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

October 2020
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