Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lebanon update: Apres moi le deluge

I haven't written about Lebanese politics on this blog for a while. Instead, I have focused on Tunisia where the popular uprising is stil full of vigor, and where Jeffrey Feltman the US assistant secretary for near Eastern Affairs and former diplomat in Israel and Lebanon, who has messed up Lebanon a plenty, has arrived for vacations.

Back to Lebanon, where things have been moving fast. Quick reminder: the international Hariri tribunal, now widely discredited as a US-Israeli tool to destroy the Lebanese Resistance (led by Hizbullah) and to pressure Syria and Iran and protect Israel is about to indict members of the Resistance. For a while now, the Resistance and its multi-confessional allies in the Lebanese opposition have been asking Lebanon to formally withdraw from a process that is clearly corrupt, as was made clear by wikileaks and by the taped witness interviews that were allegedly sold to the opposition by members of the tribunal, and by the relationship between Hariri-the-son, prime minister until a few days ago, and the false witnesses of the tribunal. Hariri-the-son has been refusing to bring the issue of the false witnesses to discussion in the council of ministers, but it is when he went to the US to receive direct orders that the opposition members of the Lebanese coalition government resigned, effectively ending Hariri-the-son's tenure as prime minister.

In Lebanon, prime ministers (who must be sunni muslims) are appointed by the president of the republic (who must be a maronite christian) following consultations with members of parliament. The opposition (soon to be the majority) refused to name Hariri-the-son's for PM and put forth the name of Najib Mikati, a (very) rich businessman from Tripoli who promised to work on bringing about national entente and reconciliation. Mikati is an affable person and has never been accused of corruption. But I very much doubt that he will work on the basis of a social justice agenda.

Yesterday's first round of consultation yielded results in favor of Mikati, indicating clearly that there has been a swing in the parliamentary majority in Lebanon. The main agent of change was Walid Jumblat, whose parliamentary group split into two entities, each one giving votes to a different candidate.

An immediate outcome of the consultation process was that Hariri-the-son became very upset, he huffed and puffed and held his breath asking to be given back his dad's PM seat. His goons poured into the street yesterday and stopped traffic in many areas, not least on the southern highway linking Beirut to south lebanon, and which is a major lifeline for the people of the south and for the resistance. The army intervened and tried to keep the quiet. Concurrently, Hariri's cronies were holding a loud sectarian discourse on TV, pushing people towards more confessionalism and extremism, and making it sound as if the parliamentary rejection of Hariri was akin to the oppression of the whole Sunni muslim sect. They declared today a "day of anger", calling for demonstrations and sit ins across the country. Their main allies are Lebanese Forces, led by mass murderer sectarian war criminal Samir Geagea. The Lebanese Forces are bad people, always ready to take to the street and use violence in order to create an atmosphere of fear where they thrive.

Meanwhile, the public of the Resistance, who could swallow Hariri's paid thugs and Geagea's fascists without chewing has kept quiet. Quite commendable. Especially that Hariri's racist followers habitually accuse the Shi'a generally and the Resistance supporters in particular of being "uncultured riffraff who are born on the street and who damage Lebanon's civilized image". Meanwhile, Hariri's temper tantrum has only one explanation: "either me or let Lebanon burn". This was the title of Ibrahim al Ami's column in Al Akhbar today.

1 comment:

Yann said...

Thanks for the explanation.
I'm French and learn a lot reading you.