Wednesday, July 06, 2005

We Need Your Help To Save The First Independence Government!

Ten hours ago I wrote: "What remains to be seen is FM-Siniora's decision to either push forward with their (Ministerial) mix and face the possibility of hurting their ties with HA-Amal (which probably won't be a pretty sight, knowing that Berri is the Speaker for at least another two years) or give in to their demands."

Al-Mustaqbal editorial heeded the call today (June 7th) for confrontation:"What is the Strategy of Cordonning Off March 14 in Riad Solh Square? The Majority Alliance Faces Political Suicide If It Concedes Once More."

It is apparent from the title what the editorial delves into. A two-pronged maneuver took place yesterday--one of sending an Executive Order to Parliament to hold an exceptional session to pass the nominations for heading and manning the Parliamentary Committees, without mentioning whatsoever Geagea's release; second that of HA-Amal's instransigence with regards to the Shiite representation and the Foreign Ministry portfolio.

Interestingly, and not picking, but questioning why Aoun's gathering did not sign off on the petition drafted by MP Butros Harb and readily signed by FM-PSP-QS and other Bristolers demanding holding a session as soon as possible to call for Geagea's release. MP Youssef Khalil of Aoun's gathering said on TV that their justification for not signing is that it is unconstitutional to pass such a demand (even if demanded by a Parliamentary majority) if there is no government set in place. Which takes us back in reality to square one or puts us in a vicious circle: The longer the complications remain, the more the government formation will be postponed, the longer Geagea will stay in prison. My question: Aoun was almost in a similar boat as that of Geagea; Aoun was "released", and has called for Geagea's release. Then why the justifications for not signing off on the petition?

(Update: Lahoud approved the petition to hold an extraordinary Parliamentary session to pass Geagea's order of release. It's a bit sad that Aoun's cluster did not sign the petition; their justifications apparently did not matter, because at the end it's not about constitutionality of this or that, it's an "Executive Order" that will make or break whether Geagea is released.)

Interestingly, we see that some sort of an evil force is still in the air in our country. A game like that of the Parliamentary Committees issue was almost geared towards further dividing the Opposition. Perhaps those who signed off on this Executive Order were bargaining that maybe Jumblatt or FM would let this one pass, but they didn't let it pass and LF MP Antoine Zahra's press conference was very positive towards the swift and supportive move that LF's allies took towards this issue.

But to go back to my initial thought: The Al-Mustaqbal editorial bears it all and enters into unchartered territories in the level of criticism towards Hizbullah. It talks of a strategy to let the Bristol Alliance become a tool to achieve the demands of Ain El-Tineh by: 1) Toppling the March 14 force popularly, by blocking the initiatives they have promised to achieve on the eve of the elections; 2) Seizing state power through the Presidency of Lahoud, the Parliament--Berri, and the leadership of Hizbullah; and 3) Undermining the popular support that backs this Opposition, by reminding everyone of the Shebaa' Farms issue, by ensuring that the intelligence apparatus is not able to proceed with investigating the murders of Samir Kassir and George Hawi, by imposing Berri to head the Parliament, by relentlessly pushing to hold the Foreign portfolio, by protecting President Lahoud's mandate, and finally by blockading tens and tens of trucks on the Lebanese-Syrian borders.

Wow! The Future is opening full-blast their horns on Hizbullah (and Lahoud of course). I believe that we saw (and actually a number of times noted in our blog) signs of distrust between Hizbullah and FM during the elections. And we did agree with Toni from Across the Bay that Hizbullah is promising nothing. I'm looking forward to see how this editorial is translated into words, now that Saad will be returning from a visit to Saudi today (Thursday.)

My question is how Jumblatt is managing to balance his swift, loyal moves towards his strategic Lebanese Forces allies and the Bristol Gathering allies in general, and his strong, supportive talk of protecting the Resistance and dropping support of 1559? Will he be changing his moves now that FM seems to be moving towards raising the heat with HA-Amal?...We'll wait and see.

My other question is that Lahoud and the Maronite Archbishop Council have asked for a National Unity government, which translates to the need to have Aoun's FPM represented in the government (Update: Apparently Lahoud made it clear to Seniora that Aoun's FPM needs to be represented in the government). And Aoun has declared officially that his gathering will not join the government. Where is this going to lead? Especially that now the discourse has become popularly charged and has moved to: If Aoun's FPM is not part of the government, then the Christian representation is absent.

Tonight, MP Pierre Gemayel said something that struck me (and he rarely does strike me). He said that we should not be asking for who gets the "dominant" portfolios in the government, but rather we should be asking to help save our first independent government. I join my voice to Gemayel. Please Save Our First Independent Government, Lest March 14th Will Truely Come Tumbling Down Our Heads!

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


Cheers said...


I'll be the first one to post on this thread, and I will be picking because I just couldn't swallow it last night. And the point is about the level of political education MP Youssef Khalil has. I was beyond shocked, especially when answering the question you referred to (Geagea's release) by relating it to a possible international blockade that worries him that it could prevent from getting anesthesia supplies.

This MP received the vote of some 60,000 people in his constituency, and by the way he ended up representing me. Grrr...

I'll get over it, I promise. I just need some time.

My apologies Doha as this is not the core of your post.


ThinkingMan said...

The only substantial conclusion I can reach from this is that Hezbollah is turning up to be the dividing factor for Lebanon. This was coming.
Aoun's "stubborness" is peanuts compared to Hezbollah's pretentious intransigence. At least one can reason with Aoun, but I haven't seen any significant dialogue with Hezbollah that faces their issues head-on. We keep skirting that issue, and paying lip-service to it. When you look at their arguments, they are pretty weak if you use some logic (excerpt from my blog):

Argument: Hezbollah is a Lebanese internal issue.
Counter: But how come you are linking it to the full resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict?

Argument: We have never turned our arms against the Lebanese people.
Counter: OK, but in the meantime, foreign investment is shying away from Lebanon because you are still perceived as a negative macro-economic factor.

Argument: Who will protect Hezbollah if we give our arms?
Counter: Jordan and Egypt are at peace with Israel, and there has not been any violations. If peace agreements are good for Jordan and Egypt, wouldn’t they be for Lebanon?

Argument: Hezbollah’s arms are needed to protect Lebanon.
Counter: Why couldn’t a Lebanese army of 70,000-100,000 (well equipped and modern) do the same job as the 10,000 Hezbollah fighters?

Argument: We won’t discuss disarmament until the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Counter: The Palestinians inside the Territories are now discussing peace with Israel without being concerned about the rest of the Arab world. Syria is the only remaining stumbling block. If we keep waiting for them, this could extend the status-quo for another 30 years, something the majority of Lebanese may not want. Why don’t we take a referendum in Lebanon regarding whether Lebanon should start peace discussions with Israel now or wait for Syria?

Argument: We are a resistance movement, not a militia, therefore the UN 1559 and Taef do not apply to us.
Counter: This is pushing the semantics rhetoric too far.

Doha said...

I have a legitimate question to ask: Why is Lahoud not doing or saying anything about Hizbullah? Isn't he our President? I know that turned back Seniora to rethink his Ministerial mix yesterday (aka, to include Aoun), but what is his take on the HA-Amal demands?

Anton Efendi said...

I'm glad Faris finally wrote something on this. It's ridiculous, and it's Jumblat's doing.

Here's the greatest irony. Jumblat is bitching about a Aoun-Lahoud duo!?!? What about Hizbullah's backing of Lahoud!?!? Hizbullah is backing Lahoud, because he backs the "resistance." So, according to this logic, Lahoud and Jumblat are in agreement!!

Anton Efendi said...

I also think that this part of the Sunni-Shiite tension I've been talking about.

ThinkingMan said...

Echoing Tony's, only a week ago, Lahoud was extolling the virtues of Hezbollah's resistance & lashing at the "Israeli ennemy", bla bla he's paying lip service, regurgitating Syrian-inspired rhetoric.
It's shame that they are all paying lip-service to Hezbollah, therefore delaying a resolution to their dilemma. No wonder, they felt emboldened asking for the foreign ministry.
And I do sense some Sunni-Chia tension, unfortunately.

Anton Efendi said...

Check this out:

See the last couple of paragraphs about Hizbullah, the resistance, and the Shi'a.

Doha said...

I know, I read it Toni and it was indeed inspiring and rings so true.

Iunderstand said...

Why is it such a problem for you that it is OK for Aoun to nag and boycott if he doesnt reveive the Justice Ministry but Hizballah can't demand the Foreign Ministry?

Why didn't anyone nag and bitch and Nayla AIrhead was listed for the Ministry of Economy which drafts policies and discusses reforms?


1.Foreign Investment is not shying away because of Hizballah but because of red tape and corruptness....anyone even discussed of reforms in those areas? No one WANTS to do business here because of the bribes and the hassles...

2. The Jordan,Egypt and Hizballah comparision. Those countries should shut up and be happy that they still exist after losing a million times in wars. We were occupied for 22years and have had daily violations on air, land and sea after that. Plus if integrated into the Lebanese Army maybe our army could be capable of executing simple defense missions without dying en masse. (Think Dinnieh and Corniche el MAzraa)
Plus Jordan and Egypt are American dogs who rely on the aid of the that how you want to live? Off seconds?

3. So you want Hizballah to yield and say : "Yes the US who fixed 1559 as to include the "militia" clause will have us disarmed."
This is an internal issue and will be dealt as such.