Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Et Tu, Brute?

Within all the “noise”, an interesting few comments by Berri sneaked in. Rumour mills in Beirut are indeed awash with a promise of “the Berri Spring”.

Tu quoque, Fili?

That guy may be placing himself as the Shiite alternative to Hezb; no doubt that, after his recent trip there, the Saudis are betting on this horse for leverage against Hezb. No doubt that they are betting that Nasrallah’s mistakes may have damaged his popularity among Shiites.

His “Landmark Visit to Saudi Arabia”, while formally aimed as an attempt to avert a Shiite-Sunni war, may have been a way to place himself outside Syria’s influence… And get plenty of greenbacks for his favourite charities.

Someone should tell Bashar to “beware the ides of March”. He has moved too close to Iran for the taste of most Arabs.

Mutassarifiya, Part Deux / Saudi Version?

In this case, a new sectarian alignment would see Shiite-Sunni dominance over Lebanon, with the Christians and Druze relegated to second roles.

In an opinion piece, the Daily Star's Young had already warned the Christians not to stay on the sidelines too long, lest they be sidelined (If, by sidelines, he means Aoun’s alignment with Hezb, then it comes oddly after his earlier advice to do just that). Now that the United States may be preparing its exit from Iraq, a new grand bargain may be in the offing.

I am not sure how it will all work out, however.

The Fate of Best Laid Plans.

On one hand, a 21st Century Lebanon need more than a new version of the 19th Century “Mutassarrifiya”. The Lebanese have outgrown the vassal status, especially the most economically productive among them.

On the other hand, if the last war demonstrated anything, it is Von Moltke’s dictum that “no plan survives first contact with the enemy”. Especially a plan among such unreliable allies.

Expect another surprise from Walid Beyk.

If Berri is successful (he already looks very presidential), Walid is unlikely to remain on the sidelines, lest he be swept aside with the divided Christians.

He has already cleaned up the Druze house, with an organising law passed with unanimity in a divided Lebanese Parliament, and a successful election that satisfied the Joumblatis, reassured the Yazbakis, and sidelined the house of Arslan.

Now that the Druze house is in order, another of Joumblat’s trademark shifts may already be in the works.

In the Meantime…

Expect more manoeuvring, and a resumption / interruption / postponement of the “National Dialogue”. That may be the best “surprise” Berri can really deliver. At least, it will bring some badly needed business to Downtown stores.

In the meantime, as our “leaders” are distracted, we better “get the hell outta Dodge” while we still can, like so many others have done already.

Dead men (and women, and children… and Lamas…) tell not tales.

Follow-Up (Oct. 27, 2006): A Damp Squid

Nabih Berri made his announcement; He “invited Wednesday rival political leaders for a consultation session to be held October 30 aimed at resolving demands for the formation of a national unity government”.

Apparently, the “surprise” he promised is that there will be no surprise.


fubar said...

Proof I read to the very end.


tell no tales

Are you advocating the brain drain of Lebanon - those smart enough to read the tea leaves, and with the resources, should leave?

Certainly good for them, not so good for Lebanon. One could argue that it is precisely because of the past brain drain that the Shia population continues to grow while all else continues to decline.

Where are you planning to make your stand (at some later time, of course)?

R said...

- Could you post a link to Michael Young's article if its still there ?

- On another note, I am going to risk jumping the gun (on Michael Young), and say the following. Minorities in Lebanon, of all forms, be they sectarian minorities, or true democratic minorities (e.g. liberals, democratic leftists) cannot afford to sit on the sidelines. On the other hand, participation should not be under the old sectarian rules of the game, but rather aimed at reshaping the game itself. The goal would be to initiate a transition from the sectarian rat-hole that is lebanese politics to something that resembles participatory politics, where the citizen is the smallest decision making unit, not the sect.
Anything short of that, would just introduce another player in an already overcrowded game, where sectarian alliances shift constantly and politics is deadly in that discord can escalate into violence very easily as we have seen too many times. With demographics not on their side, the current game is rigged against minorities. Hence the need for getting off the sidelines, not to participate under the current rules but to change the sport itself.

Anonymous said...

I imagine what u say might be a flame of reality cause berri wants to rule something as the others, being in saudia is to see what the sinnite would offer him and compare to what nassrallah can do, and try to be (maa el waeff). its difficult to translate what the politics think but they always think of theselves and leave lebanon fo the least priority.

its interesting to know the suite..... sweet home sweet. all fight for the countries freedom but no one talks about it......

Jeha said...

This is no advocacy for emigration; it is only a statement of the facts as I see them... Our leaders are proving to be less than reliable; Mene, Mene, Tekel, Urpharsin...

I just added the links to the Daily Star's site. Sorry about this; I had no source that lists the entire article.

Indeed; he may be trying to get the best deal for NumbaOne...

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