Wednesday, July 13, 2005

We Asked Him To Let It Be: Aoun Wreaks Havoc

Aoun wreaks havoc! His bloc met today in Rabieh and announced their disapproval of Seniora's move to include 30 Ministers in his government lineup and his breaking the promises he made to them with regards to representation.

Aoun claimed that he asked for four representatives based on a 24-member government and if it has increased to 30, then he asks for five. Morever, he was given 4 representatives, two with Ministerial portfolios (Justice and Environment) and two State Ministers (without portfolios). Aoun is demanding all four (or five) to have portfolios.

When asked whether it is advisable to let go at this sensitive juncture of our history, he claimed that the majority is the entity that should provide concessions. He further added that in his mind he sees three major partners in the government: the Hizbullah/Amal bloc, his bloc, and Hariri's bloc. (He completely obliterated Qornet Shehwan/Lebanese Forces and Jumblatt's bloc.)

He believes that this move to increase the government members to 30 is based on distrust.

The majority, even before President Lahoud and the Maronite Archbishop Council put out their official statement, was pushing for a "National Unity" government to face the major contentious issues ahead of our country; hence Hariri's visit to Aoun a couple of weeks back. My question is: isn't the majority allowed to have at least one or two extra Ministers so it could facilitate moving forward its policies and initiatives? Isn't it a right, or not? Or do we want to go back to the olden days when initiatives were blocked by Lahoud's bloc and we did not achieve anything, except more negative economic growth and political backwardness?

Moreover, the confusion is arising from oscillating between talking about sectarian representation versus representation based on political backing. So, Seniora yesterday submitted a lineup of 10 Maronites, 10 Sunnis, 10 Shiites, 4 Orthodox, 3 Catholics, 3 Druze, and 2 Armenians (sectarian-wise, there is equitable representation). Further, there was an issue with finding a Shiite to assume the Foreign Minister position (it had to be a Shiite, HA/Amal said). The other issue was a Maronite represenation one, where when Aoun's bloc opted out of joining the government, talks were rampant about the absent and lacking Maronite reprentation in the government. Seniora brought back Aoun, gave him the Justice, and Hizbullah got a Shiite in the Foreign Ministry.

But then over this sectarian layer, you have a political backing layer, like when Aoun demands 5 of the Ministers to be from his bloc, or when Hizbullah/Amal are upset that the sixth Shiite representative is not from their bloc, but from the Future's. Seniora moves from one set of obstacles to another.

Now in your mind, you think Lahoud will say "YES!"? Of course not!

Is Seniora that off-course? I've never been an avid supporter of Seniora, but what I've seen from him the past 12 days since he was voted in as the Prime Minister-elect is a person who is working diligently and positively to overcome the obstacles.

Will Seniora make it? Will Lebanon make it? That is the question.

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


Firas said...

I dont understand the constant focus on Aoun as being the one "wreaking havoc." Hizballah declared their reservations too and Amal is expected to follow.

It really is simple...the parties will just not agree to a government with a Hariri & Co. 2/3 majority. If Hariri & Co are adament about that, then let them not waste time & form a government on their own. They have the parliament votes to see it through without hizb, amal and Aoun. Otherwise, it compromise time.

There exist no reason for the other political parties to give political cover to a one color government.

ThinkingMan said...

I agree with Firas. Aoun's 5th seat is exactly the same as HA/Amal wondering about the extra Chia' seat as well. Furthermore, Berri was quoted saying he had reservations about the 30 because he hadn't been consulted on that expansion.
Aoun's position re: 4 or 5 was very clear from Day 1: it was 4 of 24 or 5 of 30.
Also, it was reported from sources close to Seniora said that the expansion to 30 was related to the Murr incident.

Doha said...

Firas, your last statement is what Lahoud's close circle has said yesterday. Let's not start talking his talk and walking his walk.

It was good intentions that moved the majority (and I'm not saying Jumblatt, but Hariri here) to bring in Aoun's bloc into the government.

Concessions will of course be made to move things forward, but according to news sources, Aoun disapproved of the government lineup, while HA/Amal had reservations. That was yesterday, now Aoun's bloc meets and officially declares its disapproval. Go to

rr said...

i don't like aoun, but what saniora did is pretty low. they agree on 4 ministers with portfolios out of 24. then give them 2 with portfolios and 2 without out of 30, without any kind of consultation whatsoever?? this is ridiculous.

Firas said...


1st- I went to and read Aoun's comments carefuly prior to writing my comment.

2nd- Lets not adopt the Syrian method of guilty by association of opinion. I have no idea what the "Lahoud circles" opinion is on the matter and certainly dont base my opinions on his. I dont walk his walk nor do I walk that of Hariri for that matter. I urge you to do the same.

3rd- Allow me to say that there are no
"good intentions" in politics. Hariri & Co recalculated correctly and approached Aoun. If it is feasable for them to form a government on their own they would have done it.

4th- As you know I am largely supportive of the "March 14th Movement" and Hariri. This however should not be mistaken for blindly adopting all their positions on issues. You also know that I've bee n critical of Aoun repeatedly.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I sort of agree with Firas. Why are we focusing so much on Der Generale, Aon. In the grand scheme of things, he is no more significant or successful than George Costanza.


Doha said...

I'm not in no way adopting any party's line; my focus is to get a government in place as soon as possible. And this was my focus in the post; I'm not blaming anything on Aoun, I'm only reporting what happened the minute I read it on

As all can see, my analysis centered around the layers of sectarian and political demands that Seniora had to contend with, and it has been largely centered around HA/Amal, Aoun's bloc, and Jumblatt. And these are facts (what we all read) and not an opinion.

And of course if Aoun's bloc or HA/Amal are unhappy about the lineup, then Lahoud will not approve, even if his representatives are included.

I know Aoun is transparent and clear; at least we know what his demands are, but we all know that when he decided to pull out last time, it didn't work. He keeps on saying that it is healthy in a democratic system to have an Opposition, but Lahoud and the Maronite Bishop Council see it best to have a "National Unity" government and to include him because he represents many people's views.

Again, concessions will be made to form a government. But where is it all heading? Ghassan Tueni sees that it's best to form a small government in order to accomplish the needed changes swiftly and to hold the country together.

Do you think a 30-member government will do much?

MIC said...

No one is ever transparent and clear. Especially in politics. Aoun is no exception.

ThinkingMan said...

Unfortunately, we are seeing the sausage making part of the government making, and it's not a pretty sight.
A 30-member government just aims to "please everyone" and that's a lame, low-consensus kind of excuse. Of course, it won't be as effective as a 12-member strong team.
So, the dilemma was: 1) a small, effective government of technocrats, 2) a large, marginally effective united nations of government.

What Lebanon "needs" really is a small, effective gvnt. But what the politicians "want" is a larger representation.

As usual, the needs and wants are totally different. Just like I want to fly to the moon tomorrow; but do I really need to?

Doha said...


And it's becoming more and more evident that no one party can be fully pleased. It's difficult to do so.

Do we think our system is flawed and needs to be changed? I think yes. But again, a majority can rule, but it would run the risk of being misconstrued in a sectarian way for instance. In a place like Lebanon, the last thing you need is to make one party feel marginalized; even if you intend not to, you'll end up being accused of doing so.

The sausage-making was there before, but Syria used to very quickly help move things forward, by appeasing this person or that and oppressing this party and that. Now, things are different. But we have to prove that National Unity is not something that the Syrians have created, a mirage, but a reality that we are able to achieve on our own.

ThinkingMan said...

Doha- in response to your last post:
- I think we are not a "mature" democracy yet, so we can't stomach ruling and opposition- as you said it gets automatically misconstrued as marginalizing others.
- I would submit that the sausage-making was not apparent before; Syria did a good job at hiding it and shortening its process by squeezing at their own will.

Acrobat said...

Doha, your headlines are becoming to sound more and more like the crap english used on "Aound wreaks havoc"? where did that come from? if you made a deal with someone and they smiled and shook your hand then came back the next day with the opposite of what you had agreed on, would you just accept it?? come on, lighten up. Firas's points are correct, there is no point for Aoun to join the government just to give it a "national consensus" stamp, while in reality and effectively it is a majority government. If Seniora wants a majority government, let him not try to include others.

aoun's problem is though, that he is stuck between a hammer and a hard place, he is given a carrot, and he likes it, so he comes out all positive, only to find they threw a bone at him. he barks back, and he is immediately treated as the barbaric one, especially with lahoud using him as an excuse to mess up the government creation, and sfeir pushing for a "unity government". is joumblat even better than we all thought at playing hariri's fingers on aoun's buttons?

the other and much more crucial problem is that *nothing* can check what happens in a lebanon governed by a majority government given a carte blanche by a legislative majority. true we want and need change and reforms and a quick and effective executive government, but previous hariri governments with more or less carte blanche have done some irreversible damage to the country. let's not be too naive in thinking that the hariri business empire will suddenly understand the required differentiation between public money and private money, and that all private agendas and interests will suddenly stop playing a major role in their decisions.

i had major praise for hariri's and seniora's open stance of the last few weeks, but this stunt they tried to pull was incredibly foolish, and it really does nothing to uphold confidence of the other political players.

think about it before you swallow the propaganda hook, line, and sinker.

Doha said...

I agree with you, anonymous 3:02PM, I was paid by to post this entry! Actually, I'm not affiliated to any group and follow no person. And I do think before I write.

Again, please read the post, and don't judge the book by its cover. I stated what Aoun said today in his press conference. And then I moved to talk about the difficulties facing the formation of this government. And if you follow what I write on this blog, then you'll know how eager I am for the government to be formed.

Yes, we were all surprised yesterday when Seniora announced that he submitted to Lahoud a 30-Minister lineup. And I mentioned before that Aoun was clear about his demands. But he got the Justice Ministry and the same goes for HA/Amal, they got the Foreign Ministry. Can we discount these moves? You even said that you liked Seniora's moves the past week.

It's frustrating; Lebanon is sinking into an abyss, has been sinking since February. There are important issues that Lebanon has to deal with and stalling is leading us nowhere (the Lebanese border, farmers issues, economy, relations with Syria, Hariri's investigation, Palestinian question, Hizbullah, etc...)

I did also say that a majority government is logical, but logic sometimes does not work in Lebanon. Read Thinkingman's last comment: we're still unable to handle opposition without those who are in power are misunderstood as marginalizing others.

In my opinion, even if Seniora formed a majority government, it will fall apart very soon as it would be impossible to withstand opposition.

Anonymous said...

Aoun wants 15% of any government.
Lahoud want 1/3
HZ/Amal want 1/3

Fine, let them form a government! I blame Hariri and co, they are loaded and they should just say F%$%k it, cash their investement in Lebanon and move to Paris. Koreitem can be donated to herr general..

JoseyWales said...

Doha, last anon,

My 2 cents: Siniora, should state that he could not form a national union gvmt. I guess he is going to recuse himself Thursday morning according to L'Orient.

I would have rather he formed a Hariri majority gvmt., with express number-one priority the security situation, and number-two the Syrian border situation. Leave the other issues for later. Announce the names of the ministers, and leave it to Lahoud to refuse and bear the consequences.

Doha said...

The Al-Mustaqbal editorial (Thursday's) has a pessimistic view: Lahoud will turn down the 30-Ministerial mix, Seniora will work again on coming up with an acceptable lineup (that basically stipulates that the Parliamentary majority cannot rule)...leading to a political vacuum till Dehtlev Mehlis publishes his report.

Hussein said...

I am far from being a Aoun supporter, but on this one, I think he's right.

Why did Seniora suddenly increase the number of ministers to 30? He should have expected such a reaction from Aoun.

It was a bad (stupid) move on Hariri's part.

Anonymous said...

Sinoura had to increase the numbers so Murr and Rizk can be in the cabinet to pacify Lahoud. It was a hail Mary pass. Aoun is being unreasonable, why is it that FM and co. always have to give and give.. They have 75 MP out of 125, in any democratic country that is a majority and they can form a government. Lahoud should have have been pushed after March 14th. I blame Sfeir, , he is the cause of this mess!

Doha said...

I believe that increasing the government to 30 members was intended to resolve the obstacles, only to find out that it increased them (even the LBC news today started by saying that...)

J said...

A national unity governement means that all parties at least in the parliement must be in the government.
So for all of you guys who know how to write, you should know al least how to calculate... think how Aoun should get, how Amal/HA should get...else the majority have to form the government like any democratic country (but i think still it's difficult due to the importance of issues the government have to deal with and our blocs are divided through their confession).
It is not a big cake and you are taking a share and you got a small one , but it s ok cause you will eat something else's a country , it is a matter of justice, equality and...