Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Third Republic

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

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

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

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

The Iranians have acquired strong sense of identity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Third Republic of Lebanon: The Tayyar of Michel Aoun (June 1, 2009)

 

            The formal and extensive visits of Michel Aoun to Iran and then to Syria had three purposes.  First, it was symbolic of “breaking bread and sharing salt” which meant that confidence is established and hidden agendas will be stated clearly among friends. The second purpose was to focus attention on the ethnic and religious minorities so that Iran and Syria would exercise more leverage to preserving the persecuted minorities in Iraq. The third purpose was to exposing the draft program of the Third Republic that need to be instituted in Lebanon in order to relieve Iran and Syria from constant worries on the potential political and strategic orientation of Lebanon; thus, relying on Iran and Syria to exercise their influence toward stabilizing an environment of security and peace within Lebanon.

            General and Deputy Aoun had absorbed the various failures of other Christian Lebanese leaders for establishing a lasting stable political system that would save Lebanon of recurring civil wars.  A unified Christian front in Lebanon is not enough to bringing peace and security; this fact Michel Aoun experienced when he was appointed Prime Minister in 1988 and ended in his exile to France.  The most striking recent experiment was the tenure of ex-President Emile Lahoud.

            Lahoud intended to eradicate corruption in the State while maintaining strategic relations with Syria and supporting the Lebanese resistance in the south against Israel’s occupation.  Lahoud failed in his attempts for reforms of the social and political system because he had no civilian political movement and had no previous communication with the deputies in the Parliament.  Lahoud managed to press forward on the corruption front in the first 3 years until Syria realized that the reforms were going too far and driving its Lebanese political supporters to frantic seizures. The incarcerated officials indicted with corruption and stealing the treasury were released from prison and Rafic Hariri returned as Prime Minister to resume his service and real estate economy based on heavy borrowing.

As Syria was under pressure in 2005 to withdraw its troops then it decided to extend the tenure of Lahoud another 3 years.  The UN resolution 1559 for Syria withdrawal, the Lebanese army to expand to the southern borders, and Hezbollah to turn over its heavy artillery to the army pointed to a dramatic clash which culminated in the assassination of Rafic Hariri.  External interventions bolstered the internal confessional forces to side track reforms and forced the Presidency into a defensive corner; thus, not only clipping any remnant of official power but eliminating the role of the Presidency and the Christian necessity for a stable Lebanon among its religious affiliations.

 

What is the Third Republic and what is its strategy? First, the new Republic will bolster the rights, duties, and responsibilities of the President of the Republic and reduce the exclusive privileges of the Prime Minister to administering several “black boxes” such as emergency funds, development and construction council, repatriation of Lebanese refugees’ box, and disaster box that should be returned to the relevant ministries.  These reforms do not require any amendments to the Taef Constitution.

 

Second, the Third Republic wants to desist on reducing the economy of Lebanon to the service sector that it can no longer compete with newer and powerful centers in the region like Dubai, Cyprus, Jordan, and Egypt.  The economy has to revert to basics and develop on industrial and agricultural production, exploiting our water resources, managing better our electrical power generation, and expanding and modernizing our communication facilities. Health for all and education for all at affordable costs are priorities.

 

Third, the reduction of our heavy borrowing policy that reached over 60 billions dollars with the purpose of settling the Palestinians in Lebanon in return of canceling this mighty debt will be tackled in earnest.  I lean to the possibility that if negotiations with the lending parties are not successful then the new government will decree the cancellation of any lending that was politically motivated.  I doubt that reactions would extend beyond the rhetorical recriminations because the case is strong that Lebanon had no collateral economical generation potentials for these generous lending.  As a consequence, the Third Republic will put an end to any international policies attempts to reside the Palestinians in Lebanon.

 

Fourth, the Third Republic will relieve Hezbollah from the constant pressures of international plans targeted at coercing the disarmament of the resistance by coordinate activities with non-patriotic governments that are wiling to cohabitate with the enemy Israel.  This united front will force Israel to desist from any further incursions into Lebanon.

 

Fifth, the Third Republic will move ahead with an alternative election law based on proportionality and revisiting laws that deny equality between genders and secular national civil status laws.

 

Sixth, the Third Republic will demand joint negotiations with Syria relative peace agreements with Israel after recapturing the Shebaa Farms and the Hills of Kfarshouba.

 

The first step in the strategy was for the Christians to regain confidence and stand up to their responsibilities and acknowledging that Israel is the enemy.  This was done.  The second step was an alliance with Hezbollah which defeated many plans to resurrect the specter of the civil war.  The third step was direct contacts with States as representing the largest Christian Parliamentary bloc and opening channels of communications and entente.  The fourth step is wining the majority seats in the Parliament.

 

Lebanon Parliament was expanded in 1992 to include 128 deputies; 64 Christians and 64 Moslems.  The election in June 7 is calling on 3, 260,000 voters to participate and most probably more than 50% will effectively vote. Among the eligible voters of over 21 years of age 888,000 are Moslem Shiaas (27 deputies in total), 874,000 Moslem Sunnis (27 deputies), 698,000 Christian Maronites (34 deputies), 243,000 Christian Greek Orthodox (concentrated in the districts of Ashrafieh and Koura), 186, 000 Moslem Druze (8 deputies concentrated in the districts of Chouf, Aley, and Hasbaya), 163, 000 Greek Catholics, and dozen of other Christian minorities and Armenians (concentrated in Ashrafieh, Burj Hammoud, and Anjar).  The Moslem Alawis of about 27,000 are entitled to 2 deputies.

            In the previous election of 2005, the Tayyar of Michel Aoun without the support of any alliances managed to secure 20 Christian deputies representing 70% of the Christian voters but the Lebanese political system denied this large bloc any governmental representation for 4 years until the Dawha agreement.  The law of this election that correspond to the law of 1960 divides Lebanon into 26 districts called “Kada2” and most of the Christians candidates do not have to rely on Moslem voters for their election.  With the alliance of the “Marada Party” of Suleiman Frangieh in Zghorta, Betroun, and Koura the Tayyar can secure additional 8 deputies.  With the alliance of the Hezbollah the Tayyar can add 3 deputies in the district of B3abda and two more in Jezzine. Thus, if the Tayyar of Michel Aoun sustains the previous election victory then he should expect no less than 27 deputies and over 40 Christian deputies allied to the Tayyar or one third of the Parliament. If we add to this Christian bloc the deputies of Hezbollah and AMAL (over 24 deputies) and the Syrian National Social Party (about 4 deputies) and the Druze and Sunni deputies then the opposition will clearly win the majority of the Parliament.  Thus the Prime Minister will be selected from the opposition and most of the key ministerial posts would revert to the opposition along with a reshuffling of the main first order administrative officials.

 

            The Tayyar is taking the shape of a popular revolution intended to defeating the privileges of the feudal, caste, confessional, and monopolist system. It has no alternative but to follow the legitimate democratic route under this complex social diversity.

 

            As I mentioned in another post, if the Christians do not emerge in this election with a unified and powerful centralized bloc then the chances are that a system based on splitting power among Shiaa, Sunni, and Christians (muthalateh) would be inevitable, even at the expense of a short civil war.  Most probably the civil war would start between Shiaas and Sunnis but will quickly degenerate to fighting between Christians and Sunnis because the Shiaas have already their cantons. This alternative system would be legitimate demographically and the Christian would contend with third of the administration and political power offices.

 

Note 1: My spirit went to statesman General Aoun who said once the Syrian troops crossed the borders in April 2005 “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”.  The Tayyar has a TV channel and a blog; it has established a radio channe a couple of days ago; but I am under the impression that, excluding the members of the Tayyar, the supporters are on the one way communication receiving end. The brochure of the program of the Tayyar has no phone numbers, no email addresses and no central mailing address. I once sent a hand written letter to Deputy Ibrahim Kanaan and it had to go through two intermediaries of the Tayyar; obviously, I never received a reply. 

 

Note 2: I am suggesting to the Tayyar to install central mediating centers in each district so that deputies would handle the various complaints from their respective constituencies, sort of “wassit al kada2”.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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