Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Government Sees The Light!

The Government sees the light!

Lahoud increased his allies to four (added Yacoub Sarraf, the Governor of Beirut). Charles Rizk, Lahoud's ally, was given the Justice portfolio (I believe a concession on the part of Seniora). Seniora, therefore, replaced two of the Future Movement representatives, Atef Majdalani and Bahij Tabbara, with Lahoud's Yacoub Sarraf and Future Movement's Ahmad Fatfat. And while keeping all the other names the same, he in a smart maneuver shuffled the portfolios around to appease Lahoud's stand on the Christian representation. I'm excited!

This is the lineup:

Maronite: Charles Rizk (Justice), Jihad Azour (Finance), Nayla Moawwad (Social Affairs), Pierre Gemayel (Industry), Joe Sarkis (Tourism)

Sunni: Fouad Seniora (Prime Minister), Hassan Sabeh (Interior), Mohammad Safadi (Public Works), Khaled Qabbani (Education), Ahmad Fatfat (Sports and Youth)

Shiite: Fawzi Salloukh (Foreign), Talal Al-Sahili (Agriculture), Trad Hamade (Labor), Mohammad Khalifeh (Health), Mohammad Fneich (Energy)

Orthodox: Elias Murr (Deputy PM and Defense), Yacoub Sarraf (Environment), Tarek Mitri (Culture)

Druze: Marwan Hamade (Telecommunications), Ghazi Aridi (Information)

Catholic: Michel Pharaon (Minister of Parliamentary Affairs (a new portfolio...)), Nihmeh Tohme (Displaced)

Armenian and Minorities: Jean Ogassapian (Administrative Reform), Sami Haddad (Economy and Trade)

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


Firas said...

Wise of him to replace Tabbara with Fatfat. Future needs to cement its relations with the North.

Anonymous said...

Deeply disappointed re: Justice ministry...


Anton Efendi said...

... and also the energy portfolio. HA gets that!? They never paid electricity bills, and this has been part of the problem with this most corrupt of portfolios.

Hassan said...

I think HA taking the huge energy task can either prove political suicide or turn out as a success and empower them as a political movement, which is a first step to establishing themselves as a non-armed party.
Also I think that none of the others has proved themselves as real political movements. This is most obvious in their petty politics and practice of state affairs.
To give it the benefit of the doubt, this government can be a chance for all to prove themselves, and Aoun might prove to be really good as an opposition figure. I think it's his most efficient place for now.
My only worry is the christian representation in government. Are we repeating the Syrian trend of ruling out representative christian leaders?

JoseyWales said...


HA at energy, let's hope it's "Nixon goes to China", though not holding my breath.


Agree with you(?). What do we know about Charles Rizk? All I know is: lifetime bureaucrat, pro Chehab and Maktab-Tani in the 60s & 70s, a lot of experience. No idea if competent and/or whether willing to stick his neck out other than for himself. Feedback anyone?

Anton Efendi said...

Are we repeating the Syrian trend of ruling out representative christian leaders?

I think Michael Young (and Jihad Zein, way back in the spring) wrote that Jumblat is essentially trying to recreate the Syrian order without the Syrians. His keeping the displaced portfolio out of which he made good money (like Berri with the fund for the south) certainly points in that direction. But his deal with Amal-HA (who by the way, back Lahoud more than Aoun does! Aoun is interested in the OFFICE, not Lahoud. HA are interested in Lahoud, because under the Syrians, they and Lahoud controlled the military and intelligence aspects of Lebanon) was really aimed at that. Zein wrote from the beginning that Nasrallah's goal was to bump off the Christians from the "new majority" and to replace them.

If it weren't for the Aoun-Hariri rapprochement, I'd say Jumblat managed to pull it off. Let's see.

Anton Efendi said...

We seem to keep forgetting because of Jumblat's propaganda that HA had it GREAT under the Syrians. They are essentially trying to preserve or reinvent (like Jumblat) that same order.

Anton Efendi said...

Johnny Abdo speaks.

لكن لا يمكن القول مثلاً إن رفيق الحريري لم يتمكن من إقامة مثل هذه الجسور. لم يتمكن غير صحيحة. الصحيح هو أنه لم يسمح له ببناء علاقات قوية مع الطوائف الأخرى. في حكوماته الأخيرة كان يمنع من الاتيان بوزير مسيحي مؤيد له، في حين سمح بذلك للرئيس نبيه بري أو للوزير وليد جنبلاط. كان هناك قرار واضح مفاده: ممنوع على رفيق الحريري أن يكون نقطة توافق بين اللبنانيين. سبب المنع أن الحريري كان الوحيد الذي يستطيع أن يكون نقطة وفاق وتوافق بين اللبنانيين. سعد الحريري انطلق بعد زوال الضغوط ومارس ما كان والده يتمنى أن يمارسه وبدقة. معرفتي بالاثنين تدفعني الى القول إن سعد لا يخطو خطوة إلاّ وفي ذهنه أن يكون رفيق الحريري راضياً عن هذه الخطوة. سعد الحريري يؤمن بصحة نهج والده. حدق في عينيه حين يتحدث تشعر كأن جانباً من نظره يتجه دائماً الى ضريح والده يستلهم منه الخطوات. وهو القادر على معرفة ما إذا كان والده راضياً أم لا. إنه الأقدر في معرفة ما كان والده ليفعل لو كان في ظروفه.

Anton Efendi said...


Anton Efendi said...

From the link above:

لت انها وجدت تفهماً من الحريري وتأييداً من العريضي، لوجهة نظر «أمل» والحزب التي عرضها النائب علي حسن خليل وحسين الخليل اللذان عبرا عن انزعاجهما من احتساب الثنائية الشيعية من ضمن الثلث المعطل لمصلحة لحود ومن الحذر في التعاون معهما وكأن الثقة مفقودة، علماً ان قرارهما بالائتلاف الانتخابي في بيروت والبقاع الغربي وبعبدا – عاليه لم يكن من اجل مقعد نيابي بل لقيام حلف سياسي.

Talk about lack of trust between Hariri and the Shi'a.

Anton Efendi said...

By the way, that piece confirms what I said about HA-Amal seeking to bump off the Christians and reestablish the Syrian order, even if without the Syrians, which excluded Christians.

Anton Efendi said...

As such, if this is true:

وفي المقابل فإن الثنائية الشيعية بحسب ابرز المسؤولين فيها، اختارت التحالف مع الحريري وجنبلاط ولأن اكثرية الثلثين لن تقدم او تؤخر في تعديل الموقف اللبناني لجهة التسليم بشروطه الداخلية مع وان «المستقبل» و «اللقاء الديموقراطي» لن يفرطا بالمقاومة.
ولا تنظر الثنائية الشيعية الى علاقتها مع «التيار العوني» بالمنظار نفسه لعلاقتها مع «المستقبل» و «اللقاء الديموقراطي»، خصوصاً انها توافقت مع الاخيرين على الاطار العام للملفات الشائكة التي تنتظر الحكومة، معتبرة ان الثلث المعطل الذي لن يكون موجوداً طالما انها رافضة ان تتحول قوة تجييرية ضد الاكثرية في الحكومة وطالما ان التفاهم على العناوين الرئيسية سيتضمنه البيان الوزاري.

then we're fucked with the international community, and of course, financially and economically. That would recreate the old order.

Anton Efendi said...

I guess we'll find out when the bayan al-wizari (the cabinet's programme) is issued.

Anonymous said...

Tony, please refrain from using profanities; it disturbs my virgin ears.

Question: does anyone know or can speculate as to why Lahoud insists on having the justice ministry?


Doha said...


I read in an analysis which I sent you a link of in Al-Balad that basically claims that HA cannot be disarmed in a beat; it takes about two years. so think about those two years, think about that in reality what we're seeing is some time being bought off while Lahoud is still in power and while negotiations are going to for instance to merge the military wing of HA into the army. so of course we'll see changes happening, but not what we're all anticipating. all what the international community wants to hear is that we are as lebanese all committed to deal with the HA issue and they want to see a plan of how we're going to implement the needed reforms economically, politically and socially and based on that we'll get the aid package that we're promised.

I mean how long do we think the gov't will last. It's rare that any gov't lasts for more than a year. All what I'm asking for is some stability, to prove and show to the lebanese, to ourselves that we're able to rule on our own, to basically set off on a right course. but any talk of abolishing political sectarianism, revising the Taif Accord, establishing a Senate...this is all long-term stuff. I mean just think how on its own passing a new electoral law will take so long (I anticipate) and will most probably cause a lot of political polarization and craziness (the usual Lebanese way of passing an important bill...).