Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Marché de Dupes

In an interesting article, Raghida Dergham discusses the ongoing regional “grand deal”, which we apparently owe to;

Ehud Barak [...] effectively in control of the Israeli decision making process as a result of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's weakness and the allegations of corruption he currently faces”. It appears that this great liberal mindwants the return of Syria's influence and presence to Lebanon”, since the current regime is “weak the face of Israel but strong in the face of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sectarian Minds

I think Mrs. Dergham only scratches the surface, and her piece could go deeper. Such “Cosa Nostra” type deals are not due to the deluded scheming of one devious individual. Such deals are due to something nastier.

We owe it to a sectarian mindset that is growing all over the region. And this mindset is leading to flawed thinking. Such thinking assumes that sectarian regimes are our Arabic destiny.

But that does not have to be the case.

Syria’s choices do not have to be limited to selecting between a sectarian Alawite minority dictatorship and a sectarian Sunni majority theocracy. Yes, I have no illusion that, under the current conditions, any weakening of the current Syrian regime will result in the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood.

It does not have to be this way.

Secularism remains a reality.

Many forget that quite a few Arabs who opposed to the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine did not harbour anti-Jewish feelings. What became known as the “Arab left” simply opposed the creation of what they viewed as a Jewish theocratic state.

Now, Israel is a reality.

However, the details of that reality are still a matter of debate, not least in Israel itself. The crisis without is only obscuring the debate within.

Many also forget that quite a few Arabs who opposed the creation of Lebanon did not necessarily harbour pan-Syrian feelings. This “Lebanese Left” was a secular movement, opposed to what appeared as a sectarian-Christian Maronite entity, and not necessarily supportive of a sectarian Sunni Monarchy.

Now, Lebanon is a reality.

However, any “Maronite Supremacy” is long gone, if it ever was present, and the future shape of the nation is still a matter of debate. In the context of that “debate”, most Lebanese instinctively took the side of secularism against any form of “Faquihism”, as they did on that famous day on March 14th, 2005.

And it is among the ranks of those lefties that the Cedar Revolution found many of its adherents; their opposition to a religious state in Palestine also applied to the Faqih state in Lebanon.

Sectarian Limits

But the human mind has strong “self-deluding” mechanisms. Once they like a football team, they will justify any cheats and fouls provided the team wins.

Through such mental devices, a few Lebanese lefties choose to side with Hezb & Co. They fail to see the real long-term dangers, blinded by one part of the regional sectarian equation; the one defined by the “Zionist Entity”.

Through a similar mental device, many Israeli lefties are all too willing to share the bed of the Likudniks, as they see only the part of the regional sectarian equation defined by the scimitar-brandishing barbudos.

In this context, Israeli “lefties” were the first to cook-up this modern Maginot line, later perfected by the Right as the “Security Fence”, and behind which Israel hides. Having cut themselves off from the Palestinians, and having turned the remains of Palestine into Banthoustans, they are jumping to the next logical step; walling the rest of the Middle-East out of their little Eretz Paradisos.

What happened is that Israel preferred to deal with Syria rather than Lebanon, Hamas rather than the Palestinian Authority, and [Hezb] rather than the Lebanese government.

The net result is that the example of the Cedar Revolution will be ignored, and sectarian thinking will continue to prevail in this Middle East.

At least till the Maginot line fails,

Or till the legacies fades away

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