Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Aoun & the Blame Game

In the past few weeks many of us have pinned the blame on Aoun for ruffling the opposition’s feathers and splitting its ranks. While I am in agreement, I always urged everyone to explore the other's perspective. True Aoun is to blame for rescuing Syria’s puppets, yet what where his choices? Leftovers was all he was being offered by Jumblat and Co. And while we have admired the General’s principled positions in the past, its irrational to expect him to continue while others make the compromises necessary to eat the entire cake.

As in the past, some are again leaping to blame Aoun for the government formation debacle. Frankly, I saw Aoun’s demands as being rational and transparent from the start. Unlike the behind the scene horse trading between the others, the man stated his rational demands in a very public and transparent manner. It also should have been clear to the average observer that Hariri and Sanioura had no problem with his demands. Thus, talk of the requested portfolio being of “special significance to Hariri” doesn’t fit the facts.

It was Jumblat from the start who sprung to sabotage the deal. A political understanding between Hariri and his political nemesis threatened his position within Lebanon’s new emerging political reality. Aoun’s recent talk about “opening files of corruption” surely added to Jumblat’s worries and were a mis-speak on his part. (One on many to say the least) One should read Jumblat’s comments today on the issue of "opening files" to understand how much it worries him.

All in all, the blame game goes on. Who’s right and who’s wrong is a matter of opinion. All I’m saying is that there are two sides to each story and one shouldn’t pick and choose. I'll end by saying taht I am disappointed the Free Patriotic Movement and the Future Movement won’t be on the same side for now. They have much in common to let a squabble over seats get between them. Yet again, agendas dont seem to matter much in our beloved country.


ThinkingMan said...

I agree with you Firas. Not that Aoun needs my/your defense,- he can do it on his own, but I thought the guy is going out of his way to show and act his transparency and honesty. Same for Saad who went out of his way to show mutual respect with Aoun.
So, I too am disapointed they couldn't sleep in the same bed- but I don't think this "game" is over yet. Jumblatt, the party spoiler is definitely disapointing. His remarks on TV this evening were extremely "defensive" as if he's really scared of "opening files", and equating that to Rustom Ghazaleh's practice is a plain insult to our intelligence.

Anton Efendi said...

Firas you got it right. It's the same game Jumblat played with the electiosn. I've prepared a post but haven't had the chance to post it yet, but the gist of it is that Jumblat (and Nasrallah) is currently operating antithetically to Lebanon.

As for FPM and Future, that's one thing Jumblat wasn't able to do, despite Aoun's non-participation: he wasn't able to break them up. Aoun and Seniora exchanged incredibly warm words and assurances, etc. So there's no bitterness between the two over this, and Aoun has continuously said that the problem was Jumblat (and sidekick Ghazi Aridi).

So like you said, "for now" Jumblat won a round, but he's not winning the battle. His extreme alliance with Nasrallah (two of the most threatened people in Lebanon, one using the illegal muscle of the other to pistolwhip the rest) won't sit well with Sunnis, not just Christians. I think we saw a hint of that with Seniora's reaction to their intransigence on the foreign ministry. Also, you may have noticed how their rhetoric regarding the weapons has been so much more subdued than Jumblat's. It's going to flare up on the issue of taxes (and the energy portfolio for that matter) considering that Hizbullah never pays taxes or bills, but most of all it will flare up on the Palestinian refugees issue.

But perhaps most worrisome is the track they're putting us on (Jumblat and Nasrallah). Aoun mentioned the issue of 1559 as a reason why he didn't join. Remember Jumblat's remarks, that anyone who doesn't reject it cannot participate. We know Nasrallah is ideological as hell, but Jumblat is playing that too. That will put us on a collision course with the UN, the EU and the US. We cannot afford that, literally, and Hariri knows this.

Let's see how this unfolds. But the calmness of Aoun reflects a comfortable politician. The shrillness and demagoguery of Jumblat reflects a very threatened politician, one who is overplaying his hand.