Monday, July 04, 2005

Pegging Participation To A Seat: Aoun Steps Out!

Aound does it again! After a late-night meeting with Saad Hariri in Rabieh, Aoun announced that neither Aoun nor the FPM will be taking part in this newly upcoming government. Why? Again, the issue is a seat; just like the issue during the election bazar was over seats (or was it not?...) The seat this time around is the Justice Ministry portfolio; either this portfolio goes to the FPM or FPM will not take part. MP Hariri amicably relayed to Aoun that the Future Movement would like to take this portfolio under its wing...due to apparent circumstances dealing with the late Hariri's death investigation. In fact, the Future Movement in principle has the right to pick and choose portfolios, them forming a majority in Parliament..but it seemed that the focus was geared towards involving everyone.

Alas, FPM jeopardizes this chance! Why this political maneuver, Aoun? Why peg your movement's and FPM's allies participation in government to a single portfolio? Is it that without the Justice Ministry portfolio FPM's reformist program will not move forward? Why reduce all FPM's reformist program and all last week's positive talk of the 95% of agreement on views to a single seat in the government?

On another hand, Siniora is not giving anyone a clue as to when the government will come into fruition. I join my voice with Ghassan Tueni hoping that the very important Foreign Ministry portfolio would not be given away...Al-Nahar points out to rumors spreading that Yassin Jaber might take over the Ministry after Mahmood Hammoud...which moves us nowhere closer to where we aspire to go in terms of shaping our foreign policy (and shall we say for the first time?...)

I haven't watched the news, just read newspaper headlines. More thoughts will be upcoming.

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

25 comments:

Cheers said...

Doha,

Now, I believe that he never wanted to be a part of the government. The ministry of justice demand is the smart way of achieving that, knowing that it is the most sensitive one to the Hariris. One does not need the justice ministry to open up corruption files. If one has information on an issue, he can reveal them and let them be considered as "ikhbar" prompting the "al niabeh el 3ammeh el tammiyizieh" to act, especially when it comes from a bloc of 21 MP's.

This guy has a mentality of "I want to do it my way, even if it is similar to your way, move away, and let it be MY WAY". A sick ego.

Yet his followers argue blindly with a mantra : "General is right, has always been, and will always be..."

Go figure

Cheers

Cheers said...

On another note, I feel that Najib Mikati could be one of the best candidates for the foreign ministry, if the shi'a releases it.


Cheers

ThinkingMan said...

According to the L'Orient-Le-Jour, it wasn't the Justice Ministry that was the center of the argument, but rather Jumblatt's Friday statements and actions meant to jeopardize the Hariri-Aoun rapprochement.
Recall that it was Hariri who last Tuesday made the visit to Aoun, asking him to join the government- the assumption prior being that FPM was the "opposition".
According to the same article in l'Orient, FPM had agreed on Education and Environment- but again, Jumblatt stepped in and wanted the Education to go to Samir Jisr (PSP).

What is the most alarming part I read in 2 different places so far, is the rumor that the Foreign Ministry would be given to a person close to Hezbollah- and that would be really absurd if it's true they are insisting on it.
The other thing about the Justice ministry being necessary for Hariri's investigation holds as little water as it being necessary for the opening of corruption files. Judges do not report to the Ministry.

Cheers- no need to assume you know the mentality of Aoun- he is "principled"- the my way/your way could be said about any other group, it's a subjective statement- on the other hand, I tend to agree about Mikati in the foreign ministry. He seemed to have done a great job when he was at the Brazil conference.

JoseyWales said...

TM,

You are technically right on judges. However I believe, but they can be pressured by the ministry (viz. appointments. I think if they don't like a judge, they can reassign him/her to a crappy position in a remote location).

Foreign affairs to HA? They de facto have defense and the south, give them foreign affairs and they ARE the state. Maybe then, we can fire the army, and the diplomatic corps and save ourselves a lot of money.

Cheers said...

TM,
The other thing about the Justice ministry being necessary for Hariri's investigation holds as little water as it being necessary for the opening of corruption files. Judges do not report to the Ministry.

True, but then why Michel Aoun and Salim Aoun (MP of Zahleh) said that without it they're out? On the other hand, Ibrahim Kanaan said it's not that crucial. This is quite misleading, hence my comment.
Regarding the "My way/your way", may be I went a bit too far, but I think all of the Bristol parties were quite cooperative from day one, and it was quite an impressive achievement to see that they were able to sit down together, coming from different backgrounds, differ on some issues, agree on others, build on what they agree on, and then move forward.
This kind of partnership that in my opinion people liked, and felt safe with. The longer it dragged, the more it capitalized on national unity, which by the way was quite fruitful, until a bowling ball hit the alley...

Cheers

Anonymous said...

Doha,
Admit it, you just like to pick on Aoun's follies!
You don't mind Jumblat's or Hariri's or any one else's mishaps, but you just love to pick on Aoun's don't you?

I mean we all do sometimes but you just love it!

:-)

Doha said...

My post was a reaction to something that I believed was positive, having FPMers in this new government. It would have been a great experiment to see what reforms they propose and get a practical dose of what they've been saying for long. But Aoun decided not to join the government. Hence my reaction. I'm not picking on anyone; I'm simply reacting. As for the Jumblatt factor, I must confess that if I read the Orient Le Jour, Thinkingman, I probably would have discussed it, but I didn't. And frankly, the reason why I didn't mention Jumblatt at all is because lately, Saad and Aoun have been the highlight.

Again, I don't live in Lebanon and react to news, that's all I've got.

As Beirut Spring wrote, Aoun moving to the opposition is something good. I actually wanted to say that when Aoun did not strike an electoral deal with QS-Future-PSP, he spearheaded a truely democratic race. And now I hope that FPM's opposition stand would help create a healthy competitive environment that moves us forward.

But a thought: Don't you think that perhaps FPM said no to joining the government because of the HA-Amal factor? Would like to get your feedback.

ThinkingMan said...

Re:"But Aoun decided not to join the government."
Doha- I tend to agree with Anonymous that it appears you are "picking" on Aoun- there you go again above.

It could be seen as Aoun not wanting to join, or it could be seen that Hariri couldn't bend on things, or it could be seen that Jumblatt spoiled the party, or it could be seen that Amal-Hezb was a factor- but this is all part of the crazy guessing games that politicians take us through- it's mindboggling and absurd! Let's not fall for it and turn against each other!!! We have shown that as educated bloggers, we are above the internal politics- and we can get along, despite the minor differences.

Even more incomprehensible to me is even the rumors that Hezb wants the foreign ministry. I lightly said it in my post a few days ago that "Hezb is dictating Lebanon's foreign policy"...i wasn't kidding it appears.

How about Seniora's answer 4 days ago that "Hezb is a Lebanese issue"? I don't agree with that- see my post to understand and LP made that point many times over.

So, from my vantage point, I see the Hariri camp as "caving in" to Hezb demands at the expense of Aoun- Be that as it may, the next government will have great responsibilities regarding dealing with Hezb who seems to have gained lots of strength recently.

Anonymous said...

If the Justice ministry is so important for the Hariri investigation, then why not offer it to FPM when the investigation is done?

And Aoun needs the Justice to complete corruption reforms, since if corruption charges are not enforced, nothing gets done.

Anonymous said...

doha, sometimes your "reactions" as you call them, sound slightly immature, which is surprising considering the bulk of your usual posts. Aoun won my respect in the last few weeks, particularly after proving he does have real on-the-ground legitimacy (through the massive vote) and then with his adapting to the conciliatory move by hariri. when they started discussing the ministries "seats" as you call them, he was very clear that he wasn't looking after the more "popular" ministries, but asked for the justice ministry b/c of his need for a proper reform platform to prove he means business. a fair request if ever there was one. this has been on the cards for over a week now, and at no point did hariri or saniora say they were against the justice ministry going to the FPM.

it is only in the last 48 hours, as jumblatt's personal vendetta against aoun began to resonate with his own and others' worry about their own past deeds, that hariri came out and literally said "we were advised" against giving the justice m to aoun. advised? by who? the hariri investigation is just an excuse that doesnt stand up b/c it is in the hands of the international commission not the JM.

at least both hariri, saniora and aoun are all still talking to each other in very positive terms in spite of this drawback (saniora reportedly declared today that he told aoun to consider him his "personal representative in the cabinet to apply the reform"!!??)

it seems aoun is surrounding himself with better and better "advisors" while hariri is, again, losing face thanks to jumblatt's wicked advice.

you should diversify your news sources. try http://www.journaladdiyar.com/ for example.

Doha said...

anonymous 10:06PM:

I believe I was forthcoming when I wrote in my post that I haven't read the news, and haven't read the newspapers, just the headlines when I wrote the post. Having full information now and thinking about the issue at hand more, it is apparent that besides the Jumblatt-Aoun factor which of course would make the two butt heads in the government and cooperate less, we have confirmed predictions that HA-Amal want the Foreign Ministry portfolio, once again uniting steadfastly just like how they did it with Berri and it worked. Therefore, a government that meets less of our aspirations for change is perhaps the reason why FPM stayed out to assume the opposition role, which creates a balance.

Doha said...

Al-Mustaqbal editorial is talking about the need for a "sulha" between Aoun and Jumblatt in order to get Aoun back into forming the government, because without his presence, it would appear as if the Maronite popular presence is being willfully absented, which is not what Siniora or Hariri were bargaining for.

I'm interested to see if this proposal will be put into action. Will Jumblatt and Aoun agree to it?

Anonymous said...

Addiyar front page: Aoun will not attend the hearing today as he became an MP.

and justice be done,

Anonymous said...



أسرار
فيصل سلمان




هل يطلب النائب ميشال عون من اللبنانيين أن يصدقوه حين يقول لهم إن اتفاقه مع سعد الحريري فرط لأنه لم يحصل على حقيبة وزارة العدل؟
وهل يريد من اللبنانيين أن ينسوا ما سمعوه منه شخصياً حول عدم تمسكه بأي حقيبة، سيادية كانت أو غير سيادية؟
وهل يأمرهم بأن يتغاضوا عما أعلنه من توافق بين برنامجه وبرنامج تيار المستقبل بنسبة 95% أما الخمسة في المئة الباقية فيمكن ان نزيدهم على برنامجنا من عنده أو يزيدهم هو على برنامجه من عندنا؟
منذ اليوم الأول للمفاوضات وافق عون على التخلي عن حليفه إيلي سكاف واستبداله بميشال سكاف، كما وافق على عدم تمثيل حزب الطاشناق شرط توزير أحد المقربين من الحزب.
قال إن نسبة كتلته النيابية إلى مجموع أعضاء المجلس النيابي هي السدس، وبالتالي يحق له ان يتمثل مع حلفائه بأربعة وزراء، فكان له ذلك.
وقال وتحدث كثيراً عن البرامج مؤكداً ان الحقيبة الوزارية لا تصنع رجالاً بل العكس هو الصحيح، فقيل له، معك حق.
زاره الحريري مرة ثم مرة ثانية في منزله متحملاً المخاطر الأمنية ووقف عند خاطره.. ولكن وزارة العدل باتت أهم من البرنامج؟ لماذا؟
لأن بعض حلفاء الحريري صرحوا بمواقف اعتبرها الجنرال حملة سياسية ضده.
إلى ان يحين الوقت المناسب لتكشف جميع الأسرار، يستحسن أن يتذكر اللبنانيون كم ظُلمت قرنة شهوان وبأي خنجر طُعنت.
لكن لماذا عقدت تلك الخلوة بين عون والرئيس إميل لحود، ومَن مِن الوزراء السابقين استقبل عون في منزله ليلاً قبل أيام؟
لا أسرار في البلد
.

ThinkingMan said...

Anon- I don't know what you are talking about. Aoun was acquitted:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/upi/?feed=TopNews&article=UPI-1-20050705-08334200-bc-lebanon-aoun.xml

These charges were about "harming Syria" due to his testimony in the U.S., and they were baseless and biased anyways.

We should rather focus on Hezbollah's last stance which is more appropriately "pegging their participation to a seat"- who are they kidding about wanting the Foreign Ministry? I am glad that Seniora is being firm about this one.

Anton Efendi said...

You're missing the point. This is Jumblat's game once again. The single most negative figure in the country right now. I'll be posting on this soon.

Anton Efendi said...

The funny part is just like Jumblat duped you in the elections that this was Aoun's intransigence, he's doing it again now that it's a matter of portfolio. Wrong the first time, wrong again.

Anonymous said...

Doha,
The reason I said you like to pick on Aoun is that for as long as I could remember, it always seemed to me that Aoun was the target of most of your picking (often rightfully) however I didn't remember you picking on the others half as much. (Which is OK, I'm just observing)

So i checked the back log to see if my memory is playing tricks on me!
I found this, this, this and this.

I donnow maybe cause he is more unpredictable, he pisses you off more than the rest :-)
Just so you know.

P.

Anonymous said...

Also Joseywales and thinkingman , since I "cought" you here , can I have you comments on this ?
Specifically it seem to me in hindsight that M. was mostly right about the election and splitting of the opposition. But more importantly "the end results of the movement will shock them, disgust them and make many of them doubt the idealism of youth which now moves so many of them" was almost prophetic!

What M. said turned out more than "half-true" and I feel it was not as "narrow minded analysis" as you guys thought, or am I wrong?

Also Raja if you are reading, please show me how wrong I am as you often do, the last thing we need is for pessimists to be right :-)

P.

Raja said...

If Doha didn't want Aoun to be in the government in the first place, why would she care about him withdrawing (whatever the reasons)?

As for (over?)scrutinizing Aoun and his political maneuvers, I see it as a natural consequence of two things:

1. He is the only new major player in the Lebanese political landscape. Therefore, what he does is new and consequently more "news"worthy.

2. Both him and the FPM have raised all of our expectations with regards to Lebanon's future (even (and maybe, especially) among those of us who have critiqued Aoun's politics).


Personally, I cannot speculate about what happened behind the scenes during the negotiations between FPM and Future. However, the message from FPM itself is clear. As of today, more than one member of FPM has come out to say that the Justice portfolio really was the major (if not sole) point of contention between the two parties.

If the reason for refusing to join a government of change and reform was the justice portfolio, then I cannot but state my disappointment, as I am sure most people would at the reason declared by the FPM. Reform does not come through the Justice Ministry. Reform happens when corrupt ministries like those handling Energy, Agriculture, Transportation, Security and others are cleansed from elements of corruption and converted into entities meant to serve the citizen, rather than the other way around.

Unfortunately though, it appears that all parties involved had other considerations in mind.

Now that's just plain unfortunate for all of us! Especially since the dreadfull thought of seeing someone like Nayla Mouawad handling a ministry portfolio rather than a more competent FPMer has all of a sudden become a very likely prospect!

Doha said...

Anonymous 5:01PM:

First of all, when you have a blog, you'll get to write whatever you like on it and I'll rightfully observe and comment.

Second, I was only ten when Aoun left to Paris, so I don't have anything specific against General Aoun whatsoever. In fact, when he arrived to Beirut a couple of months back, I was excited. But then came his rhetoric, which was a shocker. He was a new element into the political scene and when you look at other blogs writing around that time, we all were writing about Aoun, his agenda, his alliances, the whole tit-for-tat wording matches, his Alexander speech. I know FPMers and I know first-hand their struggles throughout and what they stand for; that's why I was moved to say that one person should not represent a group. Most of my entries on Aoun were questions addressed to FPMers, because I was eager to hear their perspective on what's happening.

Third, I would not have written my entry if I wasn't disappointed that FPM was not going to join the government.

Again, and I don't need to repeat myself a thousand times, my entry was a quick reaction to scanning headlines. And as you can see through the comments, more analysis was made.

The blog is personal, and many times we put our own unique ideas or whatever that is written in the newspapers to further discuss issues in the comments section with others.

Anonymous said...

Raja thanks for your timely response ... I don't really have a problem with critizising Aoun, I guess as you said it's ultimately the FPM's fault for raising most people's hopes too much in him ...

Incidently, I read in annahar today Ghattas Khoury saying it was not an issue of seats (Khoury hasn't been defending any of Aoun's other craziness so I tended to beleive him here)

But I was specifically asking for your comments on your friend M.'s pessimistic views ending up being mostly correct, while a couple of monthes ago everyone seemed to be dismissing them as rather narrow minded.
When I re-read them today, it seemed M. was much more knowledgable of the situation than most of the people in the blogosphere (or on the daily news).

P.

Anonymous said...

Doha,
I am sorry if I offended you in any way. I didn't mean for any of this to be taken that seriously. In fact when I read the first comment I made it was more in teasing tone but somehow it all went out of control later on!

Of course it's your own blog and you have the right to say whatever you want. Hell I'll be pissed at you if you let some anonymous coward which doesn't even have the decency to put a name in his posts to affect what you can say and who you can or cannot blame!

If can can offer a piece of advice, it not to put high hopes in anyone no matter how much hope that gives. You'll see that even with all his follies Aoun will disapoint you much less :-)

So there, mea culpa, I'm sorry and it won't happen again (i guess).

P, the 5:01 anonymous.

JoseyWales said...

Ok P, you ask about M.

Wow that was too long ago, in April 05!

As I recall, I just said disappointment is par for the course at big junctures like March 14. Such big events/times are bound to put you on a high, difficult to perpetuate. That is obvious, I think.

No one is surprised that this is not Nirvana yet, or ever. But M. seemed to be saying "it's not gonna be perfect so don't get excited over Syria's withdrawal, of let's not pressure them too much to leave".

It's that aspect that I sort of objected to. We can agree,I hope, that the withdrawal was necessary (but not sufficient) for improvement in Lebanon.

Anonymous said...

I guess even if nothing else happens that enough is something to be happy about :-)

P.