Thursday, December 25, 2008
This in the (deceptive) title of this very long and comprehensive article by Afif Diab and Nicolas Abou Rjeily in Al Akhbar about the Lebanese Bedouin's of the West Bekaa, and their new "emancipation" movement. The sheikhs of the various tribes and sub tribes got together recently to agree on joint political action. Their ambition is to get one of their sheikhs elected to the Lebanese parliament in order to represent them and their demands and their needs. Usually, they are used during the elections and then the MPs forget about them. Their discourse is: "'Although we are close to Hariri, we are on good terms with all other Lebanese (sectarian) parties, we need someone in the parliament to represent us." Apparently, the Bedouins of Wadi Khaled in the Bekaa have 2 MPs, but they are Hariri backbenchers and we never hear about them.
There have also been accusations that this is a Syrian ploy to undermine the elections. What's interesting is that 2 major sheikhs attended the meeting. One is a Saudi Bedouin sheikh and the other is a Syrian sheikh, the Emir of many of the Lebanese sub tribes. He was an MP in the Syrian parliament but he lives part of the year in Saudi Arabia.