Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Ammar vs. Fatfat - my biased opinion

"The Orthodox are coming!!! They're coming to steal our civilization,’ geography, women, and everything we've built!!!"

MP Ali Ammar's ominous warning to Minister Ahmed Fatfat went as such in Ali Hamade's show on Future Television. Ammar was implying that the Sunnis and Shi’as should unite against the Christians as Imam Ali and Mu’awia did against the Byzantine Empire in their days. At a later point in the show, MP Ammar criticized Fatfat for being a “romantic” (In light of his own words, I found that criticism to be quite intriguing to say the least).

An Observation About the Two Individuals:

It is easy to decipher the nature of the political organizations both these men belong to from their personalities and the way they communicated with each other. Ahmed Fatfat was gregarious, witty and quick to jump into a discussion when he felt that it was in his interest to do so. MP Ammar was quiet, somber, serious, quickly annoyed by any interruptions, and gave the impression that when he spoke he did so with tremendous effort. It appeared as if he was digging deep into his reserves to express himself.

In short, I can easily imagine Fatfat in a round table discussion attempting to grind out a common decision pertaining to a certain issue. On the other hand, I cannot imagine Ammar in such a situation. Rather, I see him as listening attentively in a quiet room to someone, and/or lecturing a political philosophy class - or, in fact, a class dealing with any similarly esoteric subject matter.

My Personal Standing in this Debate

Let me be explicit: My world view is congruent with Fatfat's, so I am biased. I don't care how powerful the United States is and how many "injustices" it has committed over the past 50 years, but I simply prefer the American way of life over the Iranian way of life. I prefer the American model of governance over the Iranian model of governance. I prefer American culture and norms over Iranian culture and norms. Consequently, I ask that no one expect an unbiased opinion from me on these issues because, again, I am extremely biased.

Some Comments Concerning MP Ali Ammar

MP Ammar was extremely emotional and appeared to be very sincere when he talked. In fact, at some points, he was even convincing. However, I completely disagree with most of his arguments. The entire point of the show in Ammar's perspective was simply to convey to his audience the impending American "slaughter" of Syria and Hizballah.

To make his argument more persuasive, he claimed that there was no difference between the Syrian regime and its people; he pointed to America's slaughtering of Iraqis (I'm so glad that Fatfat pointed out that the Iraqis were pretty much doing most of the killing); and of course, he mentioned the Palestinian-Israeli struggle. The MP basically told Fatfat and his Lebanese audience that Hizballah possesses a strategy to take on the "Zionist-Imperialist-European" coalition, and not only must all accept that strategy, but they must do so selflessly (i.e. without any thoughts to their own safety and wellbeing).

Ali Ammar's view was so one-dimensional at certain points that it eventually started getting annoying. For God's sake, when Hamade asked him to respond to certain claims that Lebanon was headed towards civil war, he said that any individual who made such a claim was an "Israeli!" Now isn't that a bit too narrow-minded? Can he not relate a negative action or entity to something other than Israel or the United States? Why does every bad or negative thing have to have some sort of connection to Israel in his mind?

Concluding Remarks About Hizballah

It is now clear to me more than ever. Hizballah is in essence a military outfit. Even though its leaders do not wear the modern outfits of officers, they are very much Generals. Every nation should have Generals and an effective military to go along with them. However, all Generals must come under the command of civilian leadership. Military men are one dimensional. Politicians are not. Military men are one dimensional because being as such is good for their job. If Nasrallah was not fully convinced that what he does is right, how could he justify his son's sacrifice? Politicians, on the other hand, look at things from different angles and compromise because those are traits suitable for their profession. They consider many tools that are at their disposal to achieve political objectives - not just military tools.

Hizballah must be absorbed by Lebanese state institutions - I'm refering to its military arm. Furthermore, unless some real changes take place from within, which would reinstitute civilian leaders as a replacement to the current military clique, I can only beg the Shi'a community to form alternative nodes of power that will better serve their interests. In short, an organization that is hell bent on taking on the world militarily no matter what the expense, is one that benefits no one, least of all those whose interests it claims to represent.


melissa said...

I appreciate your indepth review. Thank you.

Mustapha said...


Unfortunately, i'm as biased as you are, but here goes:

I think the most important thing that fatfat told ammar is this phrase:
"what you are saying indicates a problem with your [Hezbollah's] collective psychology. You seem to sincerely believe that the whole world is against you"

Mustapha said...

i forgot to mention the name of that "collective psychology problem:" Paranoia

Doha said...

Mustapha, It wasn't me who wrote this post, it's Raja. But I did watch the show and I do agree with you that what Fatfat said about their paranoia made me crack up. Ali Ammar said, no, this is reality; Fatfat said, no, it's not reality, it's a psychological issue and it's a problem.

Anyways, the problem with Hizballah I have deduced is that they don't answer any questions that relate to Lebanon, and only Lebanon. While Fatfat looked inside Lebanon, talked about his concerns with its sovereignty and security, Ammar ducked such issues and focused only on America (the big Satan).

Ammar was only focused on Syria being victimized, as it is a target by the Americans. But I ask, what about Lebanon? Couldn't it be for once a victim?

Ali Hamade, the reporter, asked Ammar that he agrees with him that America is a big "whale" (hout, according to Ammar), but he asked then what about Syria? Isn't it a small "whale" and many Lebanese have been heart by the Syrians?

Guess what? Ammar did not answer this question even when Ali Hamade repeated to him twice. How can we stand united behind the "moukawame" cause when they don't show any sensitivity towards the "others". They only show sensitivity towards other Iraqi, Palestinian, and Syrian brethren, but not Lebanese.

Fatfat on the other hand, looked at things from a positive side. Swallowed allegations from here and there. And impressed me when he set the framework for negotiations with Hizbullah on Shebaa, Lebanon's border security with Israel, among others.

Oh God, I should write a post!

Mustapha said...

sorry raja :)

I know that Doha is a fan of Ahmad Fatfat so i immediately assumed that she wrote this piece.

btw, raja, are you from Tripoli? because if you're not, Tony refered to you as from Tripoli in his post and maybe you should tell him

hummbumm said...

Raja i agree with you 100% which is why I think Mustapha's interpretation of the AUB elections on his blog are wrong. Hizbullah has no economic angle, it has no internal lebanese angle, it has one dimension, one mission, to fight the other. It seems that other lebanese fall in that category.

Raja said...

hummbumm, I just read Mustapha's post, and I thought it was a great (but hopefull) interpretation of events. Hizballah is very much one dimensional in its mission, objectives and structure. In short, it is a military outfit with a marginal social/political component which helps it remain legitimate. However, in being as such it has opened itself to pressures from society.

The pressures from those it claims to represent are as real as its military structure, if not more so.... Hopefully these demands will shake Ali Ammar and his boss enough so that they both wake up from their fantasy of having Israel and the US as the only real challenges they have to deal with.

Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

"i forgot to mention the name of that "collective psychology problem:" Paranoia "

Or mass hysteria

Anonymous said...

It is not that Hizbollah has no internal concerns, but the fact is that internal and external issues extremely overlap. Nearly all what is happening on this region is being manipulated by external forces.
However, i also think that Hizbollah has definitely an economic angle since he was since the 90s criticizing the economic policies of the governments and providing alternative plans for improving the exonomy.

hummbumm, you cant generalise the fact that Hizbollah is fighting israel to say that their only mission is to fight the other!!!