Monday, May 19, 2008

Talking Puppets

The “talk” series continues, this time with the Marionettes from 14حِمار and 8حِمار huddled in Qatar.

Safe Landing for Politician’s planes…

Those expecting anything positive to come from Doha would be gravely mistaken; hemmed in by the region’s behemoth, Qatar’s policy is limited to opportunism. The Emir’s need to navigate the trouble Middle Eastern waters leads him to moult double-dealing. So much so that he makes us Levantines look naïve in comparison.

In any case, for Lebanon, the outcome looks bad; the politician’s planes landed safely, after all. The lives wasted over the past few days do not see to matter much to them, and we appear set to waste a few more as they talk some more. The reason is simple; whatever they do, both sides have lost much, and both are gathered there under false pretences.

The one tangible fact is that, while thinks they have the upper hand, both sides have lost much from Hezb’s victory.

Political Capital Crashed and Burned

First, Hezb lost much by achieving a victory that is increasingly perceived as one of Shiites against Sunnis. The idiots gathered under 8حِمار do not appear to realize that theirs is now perceived as a uniquely sectarian grouping, not a national opposition. No spin can hide two key facts;

1- Most Christians stood this one out, which does not help Aoun’s reputation. His few remaining supporters are those who cannot forget Geagea’s past brutality or Hariri arrogance towards them.

2- The Druze stood their ground, taking the “Divine” out of Nasrallah’s wind. Yes, his followers feel emboldened, but all the spin will not hide those Iranians who were caught up in in the Chouf’s maquis.

Way to go, Divine Dude...

A Hard Landing for Lebanon

More worrying, Hariri lost much in this fight. He had been an ineffective leader so far, and has lost in two key respects;

1- For all his insistence on peaceful dialogue and coexistence, he had done little to strengthen civil society over the past two years. The government latest climb-down secured those who claim March 14th the nickname 14حِمار.

2- With the sectarian genie out of the bottle, many Sunnis are shopping around for another leader. It will take much more money for Hariri to regain their trust, if he ever had it. I fear he could only do so by throwing the fundamentalists another bone, thereby storing more trouble for the future, and undermining the case against his father’s real killers.

Way to go, Sonny Boy…

The Control Tower

A worse consequence of the Doha talks is that Lebanese leaders have allowed the crisis to be fully internationalized now. Unable to meet in Lebanon, they had to be ferried by separate planes to meet under the auspices of an outside power.

We’re now back to the days of the Mutasarrifiya, with much power devolved to local Zaims; the puppets remain the same, but only the puppeteers change. But this time, the fight has just began; Metternich is not around to remind those puppeteers the cost of unrest in Lebanon.

Tell the Sultan, if there is war in Lebanon there will be war in the Levant; and tell the Sultan if there is peace in Lebanon there will be peace in the Levant


...

... A Silver Lining;

At least, one positive thing came out of this whole mess; except for one Divine Troglodyte, the politicians are all gone, out of the country. Let them mess up Qatar for a change. see how the Emir likes it.

...

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jeha,
I love your article...but i have few comments:
1-It irritates me when people do not clearly differentiates between victims and their torturers.Those who call themselves opposition(it is a misleading term because they represent the anti-lebaon choice)waged war against the Hariri-Jumblat ..so what the sunni and druze are supposed to do: if they are not able to flee lebanon...are they supposed to surreder to the Status quo? there is a sacred right to defend yourself against your enemy
2-the 14 March are so ignorant when they ask for integrating the Hizb arms into the army as a holistic strategy: are they fooling themelves: Do you know of any military power that surredered its army without a military defeat
3- Saad Hariri is to "soft law" for such a harsh reality...if he wants to be the sole leader of the Sunni he should learn to harden after they massacred his father and humiliated him by tearing down his father's photos and replacing them by Assad: the assassin...I like though al ahdab In Tripoli he made his points so clear
4-If the 14 March wants the help of the international community, they should in a way or another put the army into their wings through improving the conditions and morality of the army...sthg along this line...USA won't help the army if they feel that the arms they provide will end u with the HIZb
Keep writing jeha
Good on you

Ghassan said...

I have been trying for almost two weeks to get an answer to what strikes me as a strange occurence but then the exolanation might be very simple. Anyway , I have not had any luck so far from any of the people that I know and so I hope that either Jeha or some of the readers will have some explanation about the whereabouts of the ISF? They are supposed to be over 16000 strong, well trained , carefully chosen and very loyal. What explains their disappearing act?

BTW, I also share the idea of annonymous regarding Mr. Ahdab. I think that we need more politicians like him. He is young, articulate and courages. I do not know him but that is the image that I have formed of him.

Jeha said...

ISF; the short answer is; nowhere. Much like during the attack on the Danish embassy, they had disappeared. Back then, their disappearance was apparently coordinated with the demonstrators. This time, current events appeared to unfold much like other intifadas back in the day, such as "Safra" when Bashir got rid of the Ahrar, or "Basta", when J&B dispatched the Morabitoun.

Bad Vilbel said...

Actually, the worst of Doha is that M14 is quickly losing any "national" face they had and playing right into the sectarian power allotment game.

Today's news has M14 agreeing to give HA the blocking third in cabinet in exchange for....*Drumroll please*....Excluding Beirut from the electoral law amendment (i.e. preserving Hariri's jerrymandering).

Is THAT what people died for last week? So Hariri would have a favorable law in Beirut for the 2009 elections?

Talk about gunning small...and here i thought we'd want to talk about weapons and state sovereignty.

Jeha said...

Anon 0346; Thanks.

As you point out, those who claim March 14 tend to be pretty ignorant and simplistic, which is why the reports BV cites is not surprising.

But the report is an aljazeera report. If this proves true, guess who can claim that Hezb is now running Lebanon? As such, we'd have lost a lot more than we have bargained for. All of us.

Marillionlb said...

Great post Jeha,
From what I know the ISF is regarded by the Hizb as untrustworthy and that they work for M14, this is the explanation I got for why they were not deployed.
As for the current situation and the latest talks all I can say is "Allah yirham libnan wa trabou".