Monday, March 06, 2006

Hiwar Al-Tourshan!

Today Jumblatt spoke at the Brookings Institute in DC. I was there and heard what he got to say.

In my mind now, I am thinking whether the Hiwar back in Beirut was truely a trap after all, a trap to lure all the players to agree to Hizbullah's terms.

Basically Jumblatt revealed the deal that Hizbullah has put on the negotiating table: They will give up the Presidency, if the March 14 bloc agrees to drop the issue of the Shebaa Farms, and by that agreeing to the continuation of Hizbullah's resistance role.

If that's the deal put on the table, well, Jumblatt has revealed it to all of us. He is here, in DC, invited by the U.S. Administration so they could listen to his point of view. When asked what would he demand of the U.S. Administration, he said that as a free Lebanese citizen, he will ask for support to continue on with the Cedar Revolution, namely support through pressuring the Syrian regime diplomatically and economically in order for its President to recognize that Lebanon is a free, sovereign country and that it should be left alone.

Such tough language towards the Syrian regime would not have come if it wasn't for the Syrian President's talk aired yesterday evening on Lebanese TV. President Assad talked at length about his opinions towards the outcome of the Lebanese dialogue that is taking place right now in Beirut. He said that those at the meeting should come out of the dialogue with "black and white" answers to important issues about the Resistance and about the Lebanese-Syrian relations. Bashar had the audacity to even defend the "lame duck" Lahoud and explain why he has called for renewing his term (because he defends the Resistance and has helped Lebanon not veer away from its Arabist agenda!). But what shocked me the most was when he said that this ongoing dialogue will determine where each party stands. He has already decided that this dialogue will lead to polarization!

أنا لا أرى أن التيار القومي والمقاوم سيذهب باتجاه أن يقول اننا نعم اتفقنا على قبول التدخل وعلى حل سلاح المقاومة وضرب العلاقة مع سوريا. إما أن تأتي الأمور بهذا الاتجاه وإما أن يكون هناك انقسام وفشل كما سميته الفشل الذريع

My question is why is President Assad doing what the Syrian regime always did, namely dictate to us what needs to happen and what needs to be? We say: President Assad: Leave us alone!

But to return to the issue of whether this Lebanese dialogue has been sabotaged, I was thinking how on the first day of the dialogue, Parliament Speaker Berri was quick at publicizing to everyone that all players have agreed that the Shebaa Farms belongs to Lebanon. Yet, Jumblatt, since he left the country, has questioned this premise, including his representative at the dialogue table, Information Minister Ghazi Aridi.

إنه ليس صحيحاً على الإطلاق أن اتفاقاً تم بالإجماع حول لبنانية مزارع شبعا، أبداً
أبداً. هذا الموضوع كان حوله نقاش، لكن لم نصل الى اتفاق حول تثبيت لبنانية مزارع
شبعا بقرار بالإجماع، وهنا لا بد من الانتباه الى هذه المسألة، فالحوار ما يزال
مستمراً بأجواء هادئة وصريحة

Which leads me to believe that in reality, nothing has been agreed on yet.

Publicizing that all have agreed that the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese, was a clear signal to Syria that it can relax about the urgent demand to demarcate its borders with Lebanon and a clear signal that Hizbullah's arms are there to stay. Interestingly, in the newspapers we read today that Syria's Foreign Minister Moallem has reiterated that the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese. We say: Can you please head to the UN and provide the proof once and for all and relieve us of our chagrin?

After I attended the Jumblatt event, I quickly returned to watch the Lebanese news. Already reporters were hailing a flurry of questions on the politicians involved in the national dialogue, asking them whether Jumblatt's request for U.S. help is a blow to the dialogue. The politicians said that they need to read his statements first, others said that all is being discussed on the table...

Jumblatt was clear; he said what many Lebanese are thinking and feeling, what many Lebanese aspire for regarding their country. We want an independent, free, democratic Lebanon, a Lebanon with a Lebanese agenda, and a President with a Lebanese agenda who is the final arbitrator amongst all factions and parties. Lebanon cannot solve the Arab-Israeli conflict; at least it cannot do it through violent means. Lebanon cannot defend any country's nuclear arsenal. Lebanon cannot defend a dictatorship against another. Lebanon needs a state that is sovereign, able to defend its territories when needed, without the need for others' arms on its land.

Naseer As'ad wrote today in Al-Mustaqbal, trying to draft a win-win scenario for this ongoing dialogue. He claimed that perhaps a "road map" can be devised where Hizbullah will disarm gradually, within a certain context of the Taif Accord and UNSCR 1559. I couldn't finish reading!

I'm aware that if this dialogue comes out with positive outcomes, Lebanon will be better off and Lebanese will be better off. Nothing can be solved in day or two; everything takes time. But right now, there is so much going on for me to be able to process at once. I'll wait a day or two...before making up my mind.

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


why-discuss said...

As usual Jumblatt wants the attention and sabotage any agreement that Hezb may reach with the other forces. This guy is parasite...

Chief said...

The fact that Jumblat left the dialog means that no Major descision will be taken or that it has already been taken. Under no circumstance would he allow himself to be left out of any descision making process. So I guess he has more info than us about the dialog. He planned his trip several days before the beginning of the dialog.

Anonymous said...

vote nick for president!

Doha said...

Nick,'re the guy with the Lebanese agenda? :)

Lazarus said...

khalas, nick has my support!

zwixo said...

a pure Lebanese dialogue with no stings attached is a "trap": this is the most ridiculous thing i heard yet. Being pessimistic or skeptical is one thing, but saying a free dialogue is a trap is absurd. Instead Mr. Joumblat roams the states beating down the hopes of results...
I see that Joumblat's back is against the wall, i can believe that he's in danger from the Syrian regime, but that he chooses to fight that back asking the States for help is pretty unsettling. If he can cleanly nail the Syrian regime, Godspeed. But can he, or will he be blowing up the Hezbollah situation out of hand in favor of his personal relief. Not completely sure what he's doin there...

why-discuss said...

What he's doin there? what he has always done since the demise of Hariri. Trying to side with the strongest to get protection and status.
He would be better acting his oedipus tragedy of revenge on a stage instead of an US audience.
In the meantime his reckless remarks about the Hezb and his appeal to the US to sanction Syria only serves to sabotage the delicate dialog the lebanese are trying to have in Beirut.

Waleed Jumblatt is just a selfish parasite. I think the druze community should get rid of him and find a leader who is not obsessed by his personal vendetta and respect the need of a unified lebanese stand.

Cheers said...

Thanks for the eye-witness report.

This fuss about what Jumblatt said is just a media tactic utilized by "we know who". It was so funny to hear the the flurry of questions, well tuned I might add, that were adressed by the reporters yesterday....(yekhrob zou2kon, dawwakhtouni!!!)

By the way isn't Nick a greek-orthodox?
If not, he gets my vote...

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

Bashar Al-Assad is the only (relatively) secular/modernist ruler left standing between Istanbul and Delhi: toppling the Baathist regime of Damascus at this precise juncture would surely wreak havoc across the whole Middle-East…precisely what Paul David Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld must have had in mind when they decided to invade Iraq 3 years ago…

Anyhoo, below is my neo-Wilsonian five points plan to save the country:


1. Jail and try Hariri, Saniura and the bloodthirsty Wahhabi collaborators of Saydah and Dinnieh who rampaged their way through Achrafiyyeh last month, burning consulates and churches Saudi-style

2. Nullify the ill-acquired SOLIDERE shares held by « generous Saudi investors », and give back their full property right to the lawful Lebanese landowners who were illegally expropriated by Rafic Hariri and Ghazi Kanaan in 1994

3. (Re)send to jail notorious war criminals who have massacred tens of thousands of innocent Lebanese civilians from 1975 to 1990: top of the wanted list is a certain Walid J. « Beyck » who, after having supervising the ethnic cleansing of the Chouf area, was rewarded with the “ministry of refugees” by Hariri père so he could better siphon out all the money earmarked for the orphans of Damour and Souk el Gharb- it’s kind of as if Adolf Hitler had been nominated « minister of death camps survivors » back 1945 ! but I’m digressing…

4. Adopt a new Gerrymander-free electoral law based on the sound principle of the “mid-size district” that would allow for a free and fair parliamentary representation of the people of Lebanon i.e. the precise opposite of the illegal 2000 electoral law imposed at gunpoint by King Fahd Ibn Saud and General Hafiz el-Wahech

5. Proceed with the election of a new president only AFTER transparent parliamentary elections are held across the country, under the supervision of European Union and UN observers

Abu Lanjri Al-Farran said...


Au total, c’est désormais 137 personnes qui se trouvent arrêtées dans cette affaire. Parmi eux, 111 Libanais, 16 Syriens et 10 Palestiniens. ...

La Syrie avait alors été accusée d’avoir noyauté la manifestation, dans l’intention d’allumer une discorde confessionnelle au Liban. Près de 80 ouvriers syriens, ramassés sur des chantiers à Hadeth, au rond-point Cola et à Tripoli, avaient été arrêtés pour enquête, selon des sources fiables.

En fait, la manifestation avait été organisée, initialement, à l’appel d’imams de mosquée proches de Dar el-Fatwa, qui voulaient profiter de l’occasion pour faire de la surenchère sur les groupes fondamentalistes qui les critiquent. Les manifestants étaient venus de Beyrouth, mais aussi d’autres régions du Liban, comme la Békaa et Tripoli, viviers de fondamentalistes sunnites.
Des témoins avaient notamment vu, au col de Dahr el-Beïdar, des manifestants venus en car de la Békaa, faire le plein de pierres et de bouteilles vides, en prévision de la manifestation.

cf. L'Orient-Le Jour de ce jour

Anonymous said...

people, I am starting a very serious campaign from NYC - vote nick for president!

frencheagle said...

@ Abu Lanjri Al-Farran

tiens, c etait ce que je disais depuis le debut moi

on a un pb avec les medias ici, il n y a plus de medias libres