Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Lebanese-Palestinian Link

And as if any more evidence to prove the linkage between the “two fronts”were needed, we are now greeted by a call from Lebanon’s opposition to hold early parliamentary elections. This initiative comes merely two days after Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, raised the stakes over at his own neck of the woods by – you guessed it – calling for early legislative elections.

For its part, the venerable Daily Star penned an article titled, “Opposition raises the stakes with call for early legislative elections” - as if this move comes out of the blue ... and, in so doing, (inadvertently?) ascribing to the opposition undue originality and independence.

The newspaper does not even bother to mention developments in Palestine throughout the artilce's body – never mind attempt to link the two together.

Daily Star aside though, coordination between Lebanon's opposition and Hamas at such a level does not surprise me - although it is quite disconcerting. Politicians and parties in Lebanon have always been so much more responsive to foreign actors than to their own constituents (all of them have the illusion of being "bigger" than Lebanon, for some reason). Yalla, I'm waiting to see what will happen if the Palestinians descend into all-out civil war.

18 comments:

3li- said...

Raja-

It is Abbas, as you pointed out correctly, that is calling for the early election-not Hamas. Hamas is the gov't.So I am not sure of what "coordination" you're talking about.

A more apt discussion would be to ask why Western gov'ts will back up Abbas's call for early elections against a democratically-elected gov't, but thinks the Lebanese oppostion's similar call a threat to democracy.

Raja said...

3li,

i know that abbas called for elections, coordination doesn't have to mean two people doing the same thing.

As for your note on the West's reaction to the two developments, it's duly noted.

turtlecurls said...

Abbas is also elected, making it a split government between parties which is freezing the country (at least to some observers). Abbas's position is the one with authority to call for new elections as part of the democractic process in that state.

Hezbolla is a state within a state and proved it this summer with a war, not approved by the rest of the government. Hence the hesitation to believe what they want is to integrate into the democracy when they aren't agreeing to leave the arms behind in the process. They are also calling for a change in the governmental process, not a new arrangement within it.

Yes the West has picked it's allies to their democracies (based on past as well as present situations). However, the thoughts include those above, that are beyond that.

Hamas's position to eliminate Israel is not conducive to peace. Hizbollah's position to eliminate Israel is not conducive to peace. Bush has great dreams and very little common sense, resulting in some simplistic and therefore devastating approaches.

I haven't figured out how the rest of the America electoral got so dumb for a period of time. I'm suspecting the "numbness" that descended under Bush. Since mid-term there has finally, finally better an active chatter of ideas from every direction on what to do now, mostly in Iraq at the moment, but it's such a contrast to the almost stiffling silence for the last few years.

Anonymous said...

The difference here is that Abbas has the constitutional right to call for early elections.
Hizbullah doesn't.

If the Lebanese parliament can convene and decides to call for early elections (as i think, is constitutional), then I don't think anyone would have any objections to that.

Suha said...

Bad V.,

In the Palestinian consitution, the president may call for the dissolution of the Council of Ministers if he acts as Prime Minister and he can act as Prime Minister in exceptional cases and during a state of emergency. That is not the case now as Haniyah is still PM. He could also call for the dissolution of the House of Representatives (which would necessitate new elections), but he would have to have it ratified by 2/3 of the Council of Ministers.

Apart from that it does not mention that the President can call for early elections.

If its absence means it is constitutional, then show me the interdiction in the Lebanese constitution which makes it unconstitutional. I cannot seem to find it.

Anonymous said...

A democratically elected government should not be afraid of early elections, if that's what it takes for them to get out of a deadlock. March 14 coalition would be wise to agrree to early elections, on the condition that the Hariri tribunal is ratiofied first, and the current government is not dissolved until after the elections.

3li- said...

Turtlecurls, b-vilbel,

Your comments are somewhat disingenuous, don’t you think?

You don’t mean to tell me that the West is reading into the Lebanese constitution and the Palestinian constitution and has, on purely technical merit, decided that one is a legitimate, lawful call while the other is not? I think Raja understood what I alluded and left it at that.

Thanks to Suha for clarifying the constitutional laws. I know Hamas has already stated that the Palestinian President does not have the constitutional power to call for early elections. But with the threat of civil war looming, aided and abetted by the West, it, Hamas, may just capitulate.

debate said...

What Hamas is to Palestine, Hizballah is pushing to be for Lebanon. Total disaster...They are nothing more than 2 regional iranian tools that move along the moods of Tehran.

turtlecurls said...

3li,
No my comments were not disingenuous. They incorporated much more depth than you read into them when you focused on just one aspect of what I said.

Also, strange thing about a democracy, what's legal does effect what's supported, so yes, that is a factor. If they didn't think that was legal, they'd be looking for other options that were (at least sort of legal).

Your implication was that the west is superficial and choose it's sides without justice in mind and is just out to get your side. I pointed out that there are more factors than those superficial ones in the choosing of sides. And that there are more concerns than being out to get your side. However, your implication is superficial, and assumes that of the U.S..

I don't know the legalities. I know it is believed to be the president's Abbas's right to call for early elections according to him, and to the U.S. (and in the media). They are acting on good faith in their perception. Doesn't mean it's an accurate belief, but at least know, that they are genuine in their belief. If it is inaccurate then your need to write to Pres Bush or your favorite representative. Enough people write & it does make a difference. (One of the convoys to Darfur was literally the result of an in pouring of letters to Pres. Bush.)

turtlecurls said...

"He could also call for the dissolution of the House of Representatives (which would necessitate new elections), but he would have to have it ratified by 2/3 of the Council of Ministers."

So it is legal for Abbas to call for new elections as long as it's formally said as "calling for dissolution of the House." However he would not have actual control over whether new elections were held since it requires a vote. (I didn't hear his speech the other day. What words did he use or is he still 'going to do it'?)

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