A Lebanese Abroad

Opinions from an opinionated Lebanese abroad about Lebanon's politics, business and the future of a United Lebanon.

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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Lebanon is Still the Same...

...and so are MOST of its political leaders, even some of the newly elected ones.

Prior to February 14th, I used to occasionally read l'Orient or The Daily Star to check-up on the evolving state of the homeland, only to be often disappointed, disgusted and stunned in disbelief as to some of the absurdities uttered by the local politicians and the on-going vicious circles they live in. With the advent of the post-Hariri assassination Spring 2005/Cedar Revolution era, we were given hope and a sense of renewal, given the possibility that new elections and non-Syrian intervention would bring about change and usher Lebanon into a new era of prosperity, normalcy and long overdue evolution towards a modern, vibrant and economically strong country.

The formation of the current government and the events of the last few weeks and days have shown that Lebanon is still very much the same. Although some fresh figures are giving us hope and straight-talking to us (Aoun, Tueni primarily...but pls give me more names and examples), the scene is dominated by opposing forces, each pulling Lebanon in a different direction.

- Hezbollah. We know what they don't want: they don't want to end the resistance, they don't want to surrender their arms, they will not accept any withdrawal from any occupied land in return for any deal, they will not accept U.S. aid to Lebanon and they don't acknowledge UN Resolution 1559. But what do they want? Hezbollah has their own agenda. In essence, they have indefinitely hijacked the country's political system and forcing it to remain into a dangerous stagnation.

- Lahoud and his cronies are still thorns in the system; they often praise the "resistance", sometimes seemingly side with Aoun, sometimes push their own agenda, but despite of their pro-Syrian past were totally powerless in dealing with Syria on key issues that surfaced recently.

- Jumblatt is the ultimate rotating device that swings with the wind, but often is more confusing than enlightening- therefore a big negative.

- Hariri has proven his inexperience and immaturity, judging by how he got manipulated by Jumblatt or blackmailed by Hezbollah, and how he is back-peddling now on the Hezbullah issue; in reference to his CNN interview where he adopted the typical Lebanese low standards "we need to deal with each issue one a time". He is really a figure head, represented by Seniora who had to compromise to the hill to give birth to a mediocre cabinet.

- Amal and the Lebanese Forces are practically insignificant players on their own. Amal is really about the Berri persona, and the LF's role will depend on Geagea's demeanor.

- Aoun and the Future Movement are still the most honest political players. Aoun will not bought, sold or blackmailed. Unfortunately, he is the victim of a smear campaign by his opponents. He is still widely misunderstood by them, but slowly will gain new supporters. His place in the opposition is perfect, as he will call every bluff and every absurdity by its very name.

So this is how I see "poor Lebanon". It's a tragedy and a comedy at the same time. To those that think that the current situation is better than before, I would say: You probably have pretty low standards.


Blogger moka said...

Good observation!

It's sad to notice that pre-feb 14th, the country was ruled by a coalition of Syrian allies: Joumblat + Amal/HA + Mostaqbal + Lahoud/Murr.
Now, in post-syria Lebanon, Joumblat, Amal/HA and Mostaqbal tried to kick the Lahoud/Murr entity to replace it by Kornet Chehwan guys and remain in power.

Unfortunalty for them Lahoud/Murr are still there, with the help of those who were always and still are left out: the FPM (representing more than 70% of Christians).

So they new system in place is a copy of the old one, MINUS the Syrians and PLUS a few Kornet Chehwan Ministers who don't really have legitimity among the Christians (ex: Among the Christians, if you take Batroun, Koura and Zghorta voice counts in the last elections, N.Moawad and Harb are big losers).

Aoun's place in the opposition is perfect as i'm confident that he will be able to change something in this system.

12:40 AM  
Blogger JoseyWales said...

Good piece which reminded me a bit of this recent one by Gambill.


8:23 AM  
Blogger JoseyWales said...

Sorry, LINK again:

8:24 AM  
Blogger ThinkingMan said...

Thanks Josey- I hadn't seen Gambill's piece, but it's a good one.

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lahoud and his cronies are still thorns in the system; they often praise the "resistance", sometimes seemingly side with Aoun, sometimes push their own agenda, but despite of their pro-Syrian past were totally powerless in dealing with Syria on key issues that surfaced recently

You talk about the own agenda of Lahoud. What items do you presume to be on this agenda?

10:32 AM  
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