Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Autumn's Last Fig Leaf...

Also Sprach HassAoun...

And no sooner has Nasrallah rattled the airwaves, fresh from another paper victory, that Aoun came along to reinforce the message, as he usually does… Apparently, Hezbo’ promised him a better deal than HaririStill, for all the outrage of the motley majority alliance of nationalists that huddles around the spirit of March 14th, the fact remains that something like this little pas-de-deux was expected.

His Bark, Your Bite

For all the coordination between orange and yellow, they do clash sometimes, and the HassAoun couple could not really dance to the same tune... This was demonstrated last July, when Fath-du-Jour and friends tried a stab/slice/thrust… at a northern Lebanese Caliphate. For all his faults, Der General had to bear in mind that his fan base is recruited among many of the best and brightest of Lebanon’s secular base. So, no matter the Hezbo'Noose around his neck, Aoun could not approve of his partner’s/boss’s “Red Lines”.
Now, he feels he can; much to the dismay of many, those who claim to support March 14th have not been putting their best foot forward for the presidency. They should have done more than marketing crooks like Ghattas Khoury, or using public funds to hurl cheap shots at the presidency… But they act as if we were still in the days of “secret instructions” bestowed upon them by the overlords… Then again, many among them are born-again men and 11th hour Lebanese, and the concept of a spine may not completely catch on... Inevitably, some invertebrates and bottom feeders will remain; try as we might, we'll all remain far from Plato's republic.

War of the Marionettes

Let’s not kid ourselves; none of them is really in control.

We are in the middle of a larger power struggle. In this version of the Middle Eastern Great Game, we are not even pawns; we are part of the chessboard, albeit the central part, for now. And the French, for all the
globe trotting, are not even playing in central stage…

And even if Kouchner can sing, Syria is playing a different tune. And it is playing for keeps, a high stakes poker where it is fast running out of cards. The Assad regime is playing a “Poker-for-Life”, and until now, it needed to maintain a semblance of “
Plausible Deniability”, playing the “furthest” cards first. Only those who could not be traced directly to them were hurled at the table, but things are changing now.
For one, the regime’s options are fast running out; we Lebanese are masters at obfuscation and procrastination, and we could postpone elections till after the elections if need be. Whether this is a good thing remains to be seen; we've done it before with tragic results. Still, it looks like we may do it again and, unlike the past, Chronos may not be on Syria's side.

For another, the regime’s confidence is increasing, its leaders appear to be interpreting the difference in style between French proposals and American demands as a divergence over substance.

The net result is that, as its confidence grows and its options diminishes, the regime will likely start using the cards closest to its chest, after the camps, come Jibril and Hezbo'...

The Greater Great Game

But the regime forgets that, for all is alacrity and shrewdness in criminal matters, it may now only another piece of that chess board. Regional powers increasingly treat it with contempt, and only value it for what it is not, or fear it for what it can do.

Those who value it for what it is not fear that in its absence, an Islamic state would rise in Bilad El-Sham. Many of those wet blankets are in Israel; they fear what it can do and hope that placating it will deflect from them the ire of terrorists.

Munich, Nokhtsumakhn?

And in this lays the weakness of the Assad regime; by alining itself on Iran, it is not merely opposing Western proclaimed "goals" as standing in the way of larger interests. And by promoting chaos in Lebanon and exporting terrorists to other countries, it is convincing even the wettest blankets that the alternative can hardly be worse; not too many burqas in Turkey, after all...

Then, when the last card is dropped, so the last fig leaf of Assad’s cloak of lies will fall, exposing Syria bare… And much as Lebanon now, Syria's gamble's risk demoting it from a pawn to just another square on that chessboard.

God Help us Then

Abid’Allah, we can deal with, but Ahzab’Allah are another thing…

9 comments:

R said...

Jeha,
Could you elaborate more on the time is not on Syria's side theory. I hope you are not presuming that if its not on their side, then it must be on our side :) ?

ghassan karam said...

I have never understood the Lebanese attitude that is very proud of the fact that Lebanon/Beirut have become a Mecca of sorts to many high ranking officials from all over the world. The world community is beating a path to the Lebanese not for any altruistic reasons but only to see what is it that can be done to make this spoiled toddler stop yelling in the middle of the isle. The Lebanese mistake the lollipops handed to them as bribes for gifts and expressions of adulations. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves instead of being proud for being nothing but a nuisance. The trouble with Lebanon is not its neighbours, it is its so called citizens. Neither Syria nor Iran had to do much arm twisting to recruit hoards of Lebanese residents to support their cause and torpedo Lebanese national aspirations. Until we recognize that we are our best enemy then we will not be able to fashion a policy that would treat the real problems of the Lebanese standoff.If we persist in our denial of our own responsibilities and we keep insisting that all our problems are due to neighbours and outsiders then that is a clear sign that we are as dysfunctional as dysfunctional can be.

There is a glimmer of a silver linning in all of this. The current crisis might lead to the birth of a new , mature and functional Lebanon since only turmoil can lead to radical change. But yet these could prove to be false labour signs.

(J, if you do not buy a new computer then I might have to consider launching a fund raiser for you:-)Again the second half of your post fades away to the point of obscurity. I have figured out a way to read it though, copy and paste).

Super Dude said...

Jeha, half way through the post the font becomes really small.

Thanks.

Jeha said...

Sorry guys..

I have been trying to figure out why, and it seems to be something between Blogger and the browser that I am using on this PC. It appears the HTML thingys look normal now, as all the font sizes look the same on the editor...

I am not sedentary now, and may not be able to look into this in detail before the weekend, after I am back... Inch Allah, of course.

BTW, glad you liked the Pajamas thing. I am preparing another one for them for the weekend

The Other Tony said...

Ghassan,

I totally agree with you that the major problem with Lebanon is its citizens. However, citizens of any country can be manipulated when they are economically dependent and I guess many dependencies spring from this including funding for education (paramount in this vicious cycle) and health. So the masses must be educated and must open their minds and learn not to follow like sheep, however this will only come about when the economy becomes less prone to government manipulation and people are judged based on talent and work ethic.

Here's to a "new, mature and functional Lebanon."

The Other Tony said...

Ghassan,

I agree with you when you say that Lebanon's problem lies with its people. However, the people are also stuck in a cycle of economic dependency (in one form or another) on their zaim which is not conducive to free thinking. Therefore, breaking free through education becomes difficult because the next job is dependent on "The Great Leader". The Lebanese society does not judge you (and pay you) based on talent and work ethic, but more times than not based on your connection to influential people.

Here is to "the birth of a new, mature and functional Lebanon".

The Other Tony said...

Ghassan,

I agree with you when you say that Lebanon's problem lies with its people. However, the people are also stuck in a cycle of economic dependency (in one form or another) on their zaim which is not conducive to free thinking. Therefore, breaking free through education becomes difficult because the next job is dependent on "The Great Leader". The Lebanese society does not judge you (and pay you) based on talent and work ethic, but more times than not based on your connection to influential people.

Here is to "the birth of a new, mature and functional Lebanon".

The Other Tony said...

Apologies for the double posting.

Super Dude said...

Jeha,

Thanks for the fix.

I have never in my young life seen so much activity from foreign diplomats, especially the French, trying to do political lobbying in Lebanon. Kouchner should get a PhD. in diplomacy after this, just because he will have been exposed to all of its elements. Great thesis that will make.

Has it ever been this bad in the past with foreign diplomats flocking to Lebanon non stop? One thinks they are collecting triple air-miles on the Beirut route.
Anyone remembers? I am too young to tell.