Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The North: Putting Battles In Order Of Priority

In my assessment, General Aoun and FPM have indeed succeeded in transforming the election campaign and political discourse from that of pro-Syrian loyalists versus Opposition. As one could see in the last election front, the north, strategies are shifting, being recalculated and redrawn to accomodate that tranformation.

But yet again, I would like to note that the Syrian intelligence influence has not completely disappeared. Intelligence officers have been emblodened and they are set to ensure a comeback for Franjieh and his allies. The news is disturbing but worth noting, even if the article is coming from Al-Mustaqbal newspaper whom some of the readers frown upon.

The north is different from the Matn and Kissirwan-Jbeil, especially the Akkar, Tripoli, Dinnieh, and Zgharta areas. The north almost reminds me of the Bekaa. The results in some parts of the Bekaa reflected the Beka'is call for change; a break from the Syrian intelligence influence. The same goes for many parts of the north. Yes, the northerners and Tripolitans in particular want reform and accountability, but they also have been suffering under the Syrian tutelage for long. We shouldn't forget that; ultimately that's what we want to see go first.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."


G.C. said...

The results of Zahleh and especially Northern Mount Lebanon importantly affected the preparations of the North's elections. While in the "pre-12th june era", the win of the Mustaqbal and his allies in the 2 Northern districts was considered as "normal"; today there is a clear tendency to admit that the battles will be fierce and that the Aoun-Frangieh coalition might be more likely to overcome any opponent, especially after Prime Minister Karamé joined the FPM group. I was told by very accurate sources that the reconciliation between Omar Karamé and Suleiman Frangié was in no way a result of Aoun's mediation; it was mediated by a Syrian Intelligence Officer (Yes those again! I also got a name but i'm gonna keep it secret for now).
Saad Hariri tried to make up for what Frangié gained yesterday by visiting today the Djamaa Islamiyya headquarters in Beirut; but the group insisted on boycotting the elections in Tripoli and Dunniyyeh.
I feel that the Mustaqbal-LF coalition is still strong in District 1 (Bcharreh-Dunniyeh-Akkar); however in District 2, i start to see an orange triumph in the horizon....

cfw said...

shouldn't this interference by syrian intelligence agents bother the FPM a little bit more? how can aoun actively assist the same people who he fought against for so many years, when he knows they have not in any way changed their old allegiances? if aoun didn't mediate that reconciliation, he obviously knows it. so is aoun tacitly supporting syrian meddling in lebanese elections??

oh, and was anyone else creeped out by the image of aoun sitting snugly in between karami and franjieh?? i hope we never have to get accustomed to that picture!

Raja said...

It's amazing! I've been proved right! Sa'ad el Hariri went to Jama'a'l Islaamiya because these guys have people on the ground who can get other people to vote!

I really believe that such a "mechanism," as I've referred to it before, is the Achilles heel of the Future Movement! For God's sake, turn-out in Beirut was something like 25%, even though Future and Sa'ad were consistently saying "Vote! Vote for the Martyr!" 25%! What a slap in the face!

Such a poor performance in Beirut does not bode well for the upcoming elections in the North (where Future's presense is even weaker), and in my opinion, it is the only reason Sa'ad is talking to the Jama'a. The Future movement definitely has the money (which is very effective when it comes to dealing with other politicians - i.e. forming coalitions and what-not). It has the media, which may convince people to believe certain things. But it does not seem to have the organization or the people that are needed to actually go out there and get people to vote. I truly doubt Hariri/Future will make any significant gains in the North.

Raja said...

I really hope I'm wrong, by the way... ((sigh))

Doha said...

Actually, you are ;)

The Future is only fielding for instance two Sunni seats in Tripoli: Jisr and Alloush. The rest have their own constituencies and have already assumed parliamentary seats: Safadi, Kabbara, and Ahdab. The Takattol Traboolsee (Kabbara, Safadi, and Maurice Fadel) are an important group that has won all seats the last time around. Ahdab, still as an independent, will make it as well (for God's sake, he made it under Syrian intelligence tutelage). I have my doubts on Elias Atallah; he's an outsider. I also have my doubts on the Alawite seat fielded by the Opposition list; the one running with Franjieh is a popular face. So as you see there are new and old faces in both lists running in Tripoli. I have a feeling that the "zay ma hiyye" slogan will not work so much; it will work better in the first electoral district as CG said.

As for Zgharta, Batroon, and Koura...it is indeed uncertain. I'm sure Butros Harb is worried; if Nassib Lahoud didn't make it, I guess he should be worried as well.

Anonymous said...


Great analysis. I think Tripoli is safe while Zgharta and Batroun will probably be an orange victory. Koura I think will get a mix.

Boutros Harb will be a disastrous loss. I would be inclined to lose all hope... Let's hope we we can avoid it.

Master Blaster said...

But Raja's point is important, as well as Doha's. Sunnis need to GO OUT AND VOTE (instead of blaming it all on Aoun). If they are pissed with Karameh and Frangieh, VOTE them out! Doha's point is "toshtib." Use it! See my replies to Firas and Mohammad who commented on my latest post. Inchallah kheir. Just please, no more irresponsible rhetoric.

Doha said...

Well...Tony I didn't quite say that poeple should go for "toshteeb", but of course they are entitled to use that right and should. I might be wrong, please correct me, but I feel that you're under the impression that the poeple I've mentioned other than those who are exclusively from the Future Movement are not part of the Opposition List. They are...so how can I call for tishteeb? My comment was in response to Raja who claimed that the list the Opposition is fielding in the second electoral district is only overseen by the Future Movement and that it will garner no backing.

...And after watching the news, Karami welcomed Saad Hariri to Tripoli and claimed that the Tripolitans are disturbed because they don't like intruders (ghouraba'). I'm wondering who he means: Elias Atallah? Everyone else is 100% northerner.

Anonymous said...

Anyone knows where canone get a list of all the people runnign and on which list every candidate is running ... Is there an official site ?

G.C. said...

Well people were relying on "Tochteeb" in Keserwan for example; however we saw complete lists, and unknown figures like Gilberte Zouein were preferred to established personalities like Farid Haykal el Khazen.
Saying that Ahdab or Safadi can win while Atallah has little chances will have little meaning if people opted for full tickets, regardless of the names involved. If people voted politically against the Mustaqbal and his allies; then Abdel Majid Rafei and Ahmed Karamé will be as good winners as Fayez Karam or Ahmed Hbouss. The "zay ma hiyyeh" slogan can therefore turn totally against the Hariris.

Mustapha said...

If it helps, my family (Tripoli Sunni) is all going to vote, for Hariri, and yes "zay ma hieh" and they take pride in it.
Just for perspective, i'm talking here about around 200 voters.

In the second district, it's a battle of turnover between Muslim Tripoli and Christian Zgharta, Koura and Batroun. So it's all a matter of who feels more strongly about his case. The sunnis are particluarly irritated from Sleimen Franjyeh and Omar Karami (and don't want Aoun to be too powerful and stand in Hariri's way),this is why they want to make it a point to vote for all of Hariri's list.
The Christian voters might join the Aoun Bandwagon but Butros harb can still grab a sizeable chunk, although his voters might vote for the Sunnis chosen by Aoun.
As for the Jama3a islemiyeh Raja, my next post will answer you.

Raja said...

Good Mustapha, answer me. Because my fear is that one of the negative consequences of Aoun's surprise emergence is the phenomenon of "Christian voting for Christian and Muslim voting for Muslim." Hariri is only approaching the Jama'a now, even though he could have approached them (or a similar not-so-appealing "sha'bi" organization) in Beirut, and conceivably gotten a larger turn out. Moreover, it is obvious that he's the one who's trying to reconcile with the Jama'a, who might ask for certain compromises from him. I fear that in the interest of defeating Aoun (who's victory we can attribute to the Maronite voters' desire for leadership), Hariri is appealing to Sunni groups he'd rather not have to go to - groups that Christian voters might not find too appealing.

The good thing about the way things were before Aoun is that both Hariri and Jumblatt were doing their best not to hurt Christian sensitivities (at least in their rhetoric). That behavior was in their interest since they wanted to win Christian votes as well. Now though, for a myriad of reasons which we've dwelt on for quite some time now, the incentive for those two players to do so has diminished - the "moderate" Christian elite (i.e. Hariri & Jumblatt allies) have all but disappeared.

Am I reading too much into this? I don’t know. But I’m definitely sensing a change that does not appear to bode too well for Lebanon.

Anonymous said...

It’s hard to believe that Saad-an the monkey businessman with a pimpish goatee beard a la Fahed Iben Saud has the nerve to accuse general Aoun and Omar Karameh of having a soft spot for Damascus!…

But after all, the Saudi-appointed collaborator is a good friend of Herr Jumblatt, the feudal Kurdish (war)Lord who lives in a 17th century castle and drives a Bentley, but passes for a “Marxist democrat” (whatever that oxymoron may mean!) in some pseudo-intellectual circles…actually he also passes for a “patriot” even though he has burned the Lebanese flag in public more than once during the civil war- but I guess I’m digressing a little.

Let’s recap: when the Syrian regime was real strong in the early 1990s, Hariri and Jumblatt competed aggressively for the title of “favorite Assad lapdog” and helped Syrian intelligence officers loot Lebanon and siphon away hundreds of millions of dollars- not to mention their condoning the mass killings and imprisonments of Lebanese resistants -“Aounist” or otherwise.

Now that Syria is on its knees, Hariri and Jumblatt give interviews to Newsweek and Paris-Match where they pontificate shamelessly about “restoring Lebanon’s sovereignty” and “fighting against corruption”!!

Saudi cash combined with brash Gerrymandering and alliances of circumstances allowed these crooks to steal the first round of the elections in Beirut, but last week voters in Mount Lebanon gave them a lesson they’ll never forget... and on Sunday, Northerners will show Saad-an and his accomplices that TRIPOLI stands for “Traitors, Renegades, Infamous Pimps Out of Lebanon Immediately”

Raja said...

I just live for comments like these... soooo enriching!!!