Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Axis of (Necessary) Evil

We should not be too happy that our diminished government is being invited to this little get together. It’s about time we Lebanese learned that, when lions invite us to dinner, we should pause and think; we could be the dinner.

Today, the region’s great and (not so) good powers are gathered in Annapolis, to talk about Middle East peace. With unjustified
optimism running rampant, and even otherwise staid and prudent magazines such as the Economist are "puffing the magic dragon", and waxing lyrical about Bush as “Mr. Palestine”…

Right. And I’m sure Bush will still respect us in the morning too...

Fat Chance

Seriously. Even the most souped-up hash smoker would be doubtful about all this display of hyperbole? Do they really think we’re buying it, that the chance of peace in the Middle East are anywhere near possible? Now that our national IQ has jumped up a notch, we cannot fail to notice/recall some key facts.

Palestinian Fact; the Palestinian (and thus the Arab) bottom line remains Jerusalem (sort of) and the 1967 border (definitely), generally in line with Abdallah’s plan as formulated in Beirut. To those who disagree with this fact, many Palestinians would invoke their right to be compensated for the past 60 years…

Israeli Fact; the Israelis cannot afford to give them that. They cannot withdraw the colonies, and they cannot leave the Golan. To those who may disagree with this point, I am sure many Israelis would invoke the “principle of precaution”…
Syrian Fact; the Syrians do not really care about the Golan. They would rather be back in Lebanon. To those who may disagree with this fact, I would invoke both the “principle of reciprocity”; before we give Bachar the benefit of the doubt, let’s see how much he is willing to give his own people.

Saudi Fact; the Arabs are now led by the Saudis, and find themselves aligned with the Americans, whose support they need to confront Persian assertiveness.
Iran’s Fusebox

Put all these together, and what you see is not aimed to bring peace to the Middle East
, but rather to create a realignment of sorts. As the region is gearing up for conflict or confrontation with Iran’s Mullahs, both Arabs and Americans need to guarantee the safety of their “rear guard”.

And this means that the main objective of the conference is not to solve the Middle East crisis, but to establish a
way to manage it. And this in turn means that Syria is invited to discuss how they will realign within the Arab world. If they can “deliver” Hezbo and realign away from Iran, then all is well; Bashar would be back in Lebanon just like his Father was in 1990, when he “helped” in liberating Kuwait.

But I doubt that Bashar will be willing to do so. As an indication, I note that the fuses are far too well aligned. Aoun will “blow” himself to protect Hezbo’, and Hezbo’ will “blow” to shield Syria… even Syria can “blow” to protect Iran. On the other hand, he has sent a second fiddle to a meeting attended by decision makers.

And even if Bashar wanted to, I doubt that he will even be able to do so; with all those funds flowing in for “investment”, the "cautious alliance" is now more than that, and Iran has surely infiltrated Syrian services at least as much as the Syrians have infiltrated Lebanon.

Tilting at Windmills

In this meeting, it does not really matter whether it is the French or the Israelis who convinced themselves that they can “deliver” Syria. Even discounting the fact that only Iran can "deliver" Syria, the fact remains that the Syrians cannot or will not "deliver" what the Americans or the Arabs will ask of them.

What may matter is another little detail; if the Syrians cannot, or will not,
deliver anything at Annapolis, they should not expect anything in return. In that case, why did they “stay their hand”, and not used the Lahoud card before it got wasted? Do they have a “plan B” to face Brammertz’ reports, or is something else afoot?

And how do we know
which way the wind is now blowing?

Here's a Lebanese Fact; watch Joumblat


Super Dude said...

You seem to be drifting off at the end of your post. Damn I wanted to use the small tag to make a joke...


I just have a small problem with the argument of Lebanon should not go to Annabanana....

The whole neighborhood decides to meet and discuss the new zoning regulations that will affect your driveway, and you say (not you Jeha) "I will not attend because this is a conspiracy by Hamra street to install parking meters in front of my house".

Mmmmm, nah. When the whole neighborhood goes, including the entity that started the rumor about the parking meters, you better be there yourself.

The trick is to know how to take advantage of the new zoning regulations. But if you are an incompetent house owner, that will matter.

So please, Lebanon should go to Annabanana, but it should also know how to clean house. By that I mean find a way to disconnect Lebanon's colon from that of the Palestinian cause. When that is done, the Syrian appendix will disappear.

Now allow me to humbly gloat and be proud of my loverly metaphors.

Thank you for this space.

Blacksmith Jade said...

Good post Jeha.

Its not that they've only infiltrated the Syrian services, the presence of 1.5m Iraqi refugees in the country also provides a vehicle...no matter that most are Sunni...it only takes a few!

And Jumblatt...ah our little reed tilting with the wind...always good for directional purposes.

Anonymous said...

Your last pic and your first paragraph prompts me to adapt a (for me) local saying:
"The problem is not going to a wedding, it's being the bride..."
...and bush as the priest and guess who as the fiance

btw, didn't forgot your "special reading request" -- I'm without time even to fart and enjoy the smell :)

Amos said...

You are right that nothing good will come out of Annapolis for Lebanon.

Something will happen on the Israeli-Palestinian front though. And after that, other things may or may not fall into place.

Atlanta Dude said...

The US is making a deal with Syria, and simply put this is it:
"We will see about HA later, for now want you to split with Iran and in exchange we will "give" you Lebanon and forget about the Hariri tribunal"