Category Archives: Lebanese Christians

How immature is LBC’s Daher?

By Mezzo

To cut short the speech of Lebanon’s Prime Minister, our Prime Minister, before it ends is not innocent. Daher is a confused person. He does not realize how critical these times are for the Lebanese, for us, Christians and Muslims alike. We are not concerned with his continuous irritation over the legal case raised by the Lebanese Forces for the hundreds of millions he owed and pocketed. Where is the grand mission of LBC? Will Daher burn the oild fields like Saddam did when he unwillingly withdrew from Kuwait?

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Filed under Fouad Seniora, Lebanese Christians, Lebanese Shi'a, Lebanese Sunnis, Lebanon, March 14

How Strange is LBC-Daher’s Behavior?

I was watching LBC on the day after the large turnout of February 14. A very short appearance of Geagea criticizing Nasrallah’s
monopolistic control over peace and war, there was no analysis over yesterday’s participations, and suddenly LBC switched to social
affairs. I zapped around and stopped at Future TV as the moving banner was just indicating what was coming next; an evaluation of yesterday’s Christian’s participation. Few minutes later down this review, Geagea appeared but for a longer period of time than on LBC, as he also discussed the presidential elections and of a new initiative to come if it does not happen any time soon. Recently, colleagues and friends also noted the subtle existence of a partial blackout on Geagea. How irresponsible of Daher to think that he can enjoy his upper hand during these critical times. Is Daher in such a hurry for consuming his revenge in anticipation of the outcome of his conflict with Geagea over LBC’s ownership? He reminds me of Aoun when he took his political ambitions over and above our national interests. And what a dear price we are still paying!

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Filed under Aoun, Geagea, Hassan Nasrallah, Lebanese Christians, Lebanon, March 14, Middle East/Gulf/Iran/North Africa

Initial reactions on Aoun’s latest mistakes

By Ana

General Michel Aoun slammed March 14 saying they don’t have a right to be decision makers. He also said that he represents the majority of the Christians and being shut out of the debate for the presidency is isolating the voice of the majority of the Christians. He also criticized the U.S.’s recent statement rejecting a president that is affiliated to a terrorist organization or foreign power.

1. March 14 is the majority and therefore is the decision maker by constitutional default;
2. The FPM and their leader need to re-check the Metn results: the only substantial Christian bloc that voted for Camille Khoury was Tashnag, and certainly not the Maronites (although I fully respect and advocate the view that the Maronites are not all the Christians); and
3. How can you, Aoun, support a president that has the carte blanche from Hezbollah (like yourself) when they are clearly a terrorist organization, one that you acknowledged back in 2002?
4. Lastly, Aoun equates the Shi’as with Hezbollah. How wrong he is. The Shi’as are more than just the political Shi’as of March 8.

The problem with demagogues is that they can never be consistent. It makes the fact that they have no logic too obvious.

For French readers, I highly recommend you read Carlos Edde: Le Fascisme. The article was published in L’Orient Le Jour last week. Fascism in a new light. Note to readers: Read between the lines, it’s a lot more fun.

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Filed under Aoun, Camille Khoury, Free Patriotic Movement, Hezbollah, Lebanese Christians, Lebanese Shi'a, Lebanon, March 14, March 8, Tashnag

Replaying their cards, the opposition’s official backing of Aoun should raise some eyebrows

By Ana

Three months back, Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri had announced the three candidates he would consider elligible and legitimate to run for president. His list, he had said, represented the unified interests of the March 8 bloc. The three names were Boutros Harb, Jean Obeid, and Fares Boueiz. Berri had classified them as the only three candidates the March 8 bloc would be willing to vote for come November.

And yet yesterday, the cards changed: Berri reiterated that presidential elections should be held on time, Abbas Hashem called Aoun the modern Napoleon, and Wiam Wahab called Aoun the only candidate capable of replacing Lahoud. Let’s analyse this a bit more:

1. Wahab was talking on behalf of the March 8 bloc and called Aoun’s candidacy for the presidency legitimate and officially supported by the movement. He stressed that March 8 should not stop supporting his candidacy.

2. Wahab placed an ultimatum to his public: either Aoun or no one at all. This raises some questions. Does he not know that March 14 will never let Aoun take the presidency (and thankfully they can still guarantee this constitutionally because they hold the majority)? In otherwords, the most liable of the two scenarios is the latter. But will March 8 keep its word? “No one at all” means that the cabinet will take over the executive powers of the presidency. The cabinet of today and of November is the Seniora government. Is Wahab serious when he says that March 8 is willing to not have anyone as president? If so, they would constitutionally have no choice but to allow the Seniora government to take over all extraordinary authority. Eyebrows should be raised because Wahab did not refer to the looming scenario of a split government where the legitimate current government will be pitted against that of the minority.

3. Most importantly, how could it possibly be good for Aoun if he is equated to Lahoud? Wahab called Aoun the only capable politician able to replace the current president, saying the replacement “should be like Gen. Emile Lahoud: a resistance fighter and a believer in Lebanon and not in the orders of foreign embassies, a believer in the state and a believer in his people.” So basically, Aoun is capable of being another Lahoud: i.e. take orders from Syria, counter the tribunal efforts, move away from the West towards Iran and Syria, and guarantee that the country remain in economic dissmal and political catastrophe. Yes, he is right, Aoun is certainly capable of replacing Lahoud in that regard.

But of course, the FPM and their leader fail to see behind these ego-boosting words. Aoun hears from March 8 that he won a “World War” in the Metn. He hears that they call him a Napoleon. But does he remember that Napolean’s disastrous miscalculations, ambition, and military stupidty are the very reasons why he lost against Russia? You cannot fight winter. Yet Aoun thinks he is capable of more than just fighting the weather.

Even the United States now considers the general to be officially within the March 8 bloc and that means as a serious contender to the existence of the Seniora government. Earlier this week, the Bush administration issued a list of prominent business men that are allegedly funding members of the March 8 bloc, including Aoun and the FPM. I am therefore very glad that the Metn elections happened right after to show the world just who these supporters really were. They were not the Maronites who mainly voted for Gemayel. They were the 8,400 Tashnag supporters, 2,500 SSNP followers, 2,000 Syrian naturalized Lebanese, and the list goes on. Thankfully, however, the Maronites are not the ones being labeled by the United States. The Christian Lebanese saved themselves with these elections.

Why should eyebrows be raised? Because Aoun is no longer the Christian leader. It is almost impossible to compete with his voting record when the last elections he had back in May 2005 got him over 70 percent of the Christian vote. When Aoun left March 14 back in 2005, he took all the Christians with him. Now, the Christians are back where they belong, but Aoun is no where to be seen.

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Filed under Amin Gemayel, Aoun, Fouad Seniora, Free Patriotic Movement, Lebanese Christians, Lebanese Presidential Elections, Lebanon, March 14, March 8, Syria, Tashnag

Aoun can’t manage a political party

By Mezzo

Until recently, I never asked myself whether Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) could be turned into a political party that could survive him. This thought, however, came to my mind after seeing Aoun everywhere; leading every appearance, on every TV debate, at every reunion, and in every newspaper. Basically, everywhere and barely any trace of Camille Khoury, the real candidate against Amin Gemayel. The real point of concern is whether any member of the FPM can see the difference between starting a political movement that requires a LEADER, and the making of a political party that requires a MANAGER.

Let us go back in time, when Aoun created his movement: One member from his closest ones started drawing an organization chart while all others were attempting to contribute enthusiastically, thinking that they were making history that night. Their contribution to the creation of the FPM movement became louder and louder until Aoun, who was listening to his most trusted colleagues with exasperation, nervously realized how far behind they were from his great ideas and vision. Being the Leader, he briskly claimed ownership of that crucial moment, confident that his preconceived ideas would do the job just fine. Aoun redrew the organization chart on a brand new piece of paper, exactly like he would have done it in the army. Aoun looked around, screened the faces in the room, steered in the air trying to visualize few others from older days, and started filling names in the empty boxes. He had just created a political movement and he proudly spilled it out to his team with excitement and a large smile on his face. Of course, everybody agreed with him that this is the best that can be made. It was a long night that stretched to the early hours and what Aoun did not know, was that few from the team returned home with a tail in between their legs. Every day since, unwillingly, Aoun made somebody go back home with a tail in between his legs. After a while, they all got used to it, and so did he, on the justification that it is the privilege of a LEADER.

If a movement requires a structure and a team, then a party needs a responsible team of people that are empowered. To expand from the few to the masses, time is of the essence, and therefore empowerment is key for success. That is exactly what Aoun missed and still is missing: the manager’s skills. He micromanages his whole team and every situation that arises. He basically does not trust their capabilities being not powerful enough and enough hate to reach to the masses.

Aoun presents himself as the champion of democracy, names family members in key FPM positions and then blames the others for being feudal and anti-democratic. Aoun’s supporters look exactly in the direction he wants them to look and see exclusively the problem among the March 14 political leaders. For Aoun, closing the parliament is a rightful democratic act when the majority doesn’t do what the minority wants it to do. Closing the roads and burning tires is against the law but not really when it is in the name of citizen’s freedom of speech and movement. Occupying Downtown can’t be his fault if Seniora refused to resign. Aoun’s democracy is of his own vision and creation, stretching it at every situation to meet his needs. Meanwhile his naïve supporters are just amazed and proud to have him as a chief and a champion of democracy.

Aoun simply acts and behalves like the chief of a tribe who is always right and never wrong while his fans and supporters are stupidly steering towards him with gaping mouths. For him, DEMOCRACY is simply in his path bothering him in whatever he wants to do. Aoun finds it always in the middle just in front of him, and at every occasion he never miss and tumbles on it. Aoun has the stereotype profile of a dictator and if it wasn’t because of DEMOCRACY, he would have terminated every politician, fired every responsible, criticized every head of state, and many more things.

No, Aoun is not a manager and his FPM movement will not survive him, unless new blood from within dares come forward.

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Filed under Amin Gemayel, Aoun, Camille Khoury, Fouad Seniora, Free Patriotic Movement, Lebanese Christians, Lebanon

Is Aoun worth the presidency?

By Mezzo

It is not important what Aoun says but what he actually does. This is the only way to evaluate a controversial candidate who is continuously hammering the people with great speeches on the Christians’ existence, on restoring presidential power, on fighting corruption, and many other great things.

A good president for Lebanon needs to show the people that he has a clear view of all matters affecting the country with national, regional, or international circumstances and dimensions. He must also convince the people that he has an unambiguous understanding of what is at stake and that he can establish intelligent relationships with most of the political forces of the country, its neighbors, the West, and the East. Basically, the people want to know where he stands and why he stands where he is. The people want also to be convinced that he is a mature politician.

It worries me greatly to see Aoun only focusing on Hariri, Seniora, Geagea, and recently Amin Gemayel. I would have liked to see Aoun tackling, together with his March 8 partners, bigger and more important matters such as Syria’s unwillingness to draw its borders with Lebanon, its unwillingness to exchange diplomats, the poor application of the UN resolution 1701, the continuous arms smuggling into Lebanon, Syria apparent support to terrorist organizations, Hezbollah’s readiness for another war, and much more. I would have liked to see Aoun, lobbying with his partners to address these matters with Syria, not exactly to the full satisfaction of the 14th March population, but to his best. It took Aoun 48 hours before he made a statement following the 20th of May events at Nahr El Bared.

It is also very worrying to see Aoun completely unaffected by the daily declarations made by Hezbollah, Syria, Iran, and other radical organizations, while disregarding the events happening daily to us and around each and every one of us. The Tayyar.org website has no depth and is full of pitiful news, otherwise hinting and accusing the government and the Lebanese Forces for all the bombs and assassination. How can he still say that the killers of late of Pierre Gemayel are within this government when specific links to Syria and Fatah Al Islam are now public news? How truly honest is he? How did he dare go public live on Al Manar on Friday, 26th of January, with forged pictures trying to implicate the LF into the Arab University incident and then come and talk to us of transparency?

In the eyes of Nasrallah, and the silent complicity of Aoun, the 14th of March coalition is perceived to have a direct responsibility in the New Middle East that the US wants to create: the US-Iran nuclear program, Hezbollah being on the US terrorist list, and the fact that the US has always wanted to protect Israel. Can Aoun assist Nasrallah in identifying the steps, actions, and stands that the Seniora government (and the 14th of March coalition) took as a result of direct or indirect pressures from the US and from the West? We should remind ourselves that it was in 2003 that the US Senate voted unanimously the “Syria Accountability and Lebanon Sovereignty Act”, that in Sep-04 the UN voted the 1559 resolution calling for Syria’s withdrawal, in Feb-05 Hariri was assassinated, and as a result of all that, the 14th of March became the commencement of a dream-to-come-true. This is why I call on Aoun to ask Nasrallah to publicly tell us: What exactly did the 14th of March coalition do, or is doing, that without US pressure, it would have done differently?

Nasrallah adopted a classification based on the logic that the friend of my enemy is my enemy, and therefore being friends to the US and the West, the 14th of March coalition becomes Israel’s friends and therefore Hezbollah’s enemy. With a similar approach, Aoun sees that the enemy of my enemy is my friend and therefore he is an ally of Hezbollah, regardless of what Syria does in or with Lebanon. Would Nasrallah and Aoun feel better if we drop our call for delimiting borders with Syria, on the disarmament of Hezbollah, and on returning the Chebaa farms diplomatically? And what about giving Hezboallah the third minority blockade in the government in order to force the government not to ask for the renewal of the UNIFIL and cancel the list of judges who will siege at the tribunal?

The most extraordinary talk in town nowadays comes from the FPM supporters who are openly arguing with conviction, and on the basis that it is about to happen anyway, the allegation that the Shia’a deserves one third of the country’s representatives whether in the public administration, the government, or in the parliament. They are also saying that Aoun never supported the Ta’ef agreement and therefore he would entertain a renegotiation of the constitution in line with Nasrallah’s wishes. Whether this is the net result of brainwashing is not as important as the motif of Aoun who sees no hopes for the President Job outside the support of Hezbollah and Syria.

What is important today is that we analyze every aspect of what Aoun really does and to question what he actually says. He is, in my opinion, simply unfit for the presidency and he does not have enough strength and latitude to stop Syria from re-entering Lebanon. He just chose the wrong partners… one more time.

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Filed under Amin Gemayel, Aoun, Fouad Seniora, Geagea, Lebanese Christians, Lebanese Presidential Elections, Lebanon, March 14, March 8

Chameleon Murr and the implications on Metn

By Ana

It was only a few weeks back that Michel Murr made a long, comprehensive, and clear press statement where he firmly presented himself as the Christian who would be in charge of finding a compromise candidate for the Metn in the upcoming by-elections to take place on August 5. In this press conference, he had also specifically stated that he would try to make Amin Gemayel, father of the late Pierre Gemayel, the compromise candidate for both political blocs.

On Friday, July 20, Gemayel presented his candidacy to the by-elections in an emotional speech.

It is therefore quite unfortunate that yesterday, General Michel Aoun, Michel Murr, and the Armenian nationalist Tashnag Party, presented themselves as a tripartide bloc and gave their full support to FPM candidate Camile Khoury, who will be running against Gemayel. After Aoun spoke, Murr stated that the alliance “was not born yesterday,” implying that the bloc had previously met and had chosen to back an FPM candidate. So what was his grand insistence on presenting himself as a potential moderator between the two blocs? Although expected, one is always surprised to see how words never manifest themselves into action.

On another note, the Metn by-elections promise to be a very interesting experience for the FPM and their leader. Aoun was compelled to challenge Gemayel but through a proxy (Khoury) rather than presenting himself. The move is interesting on two levels. Firstly, by not running, Aoun will not have a second voting record before the presidential elections to take place in November. This means, that should Gemayel beat Khoury, Aoun will not interpret is as a personal loss on his personal ambition to take the much desired political seat. Secondly, should Gemayel beat Khoury, it will be interesting to assess the voting gap between the two. What Aoun does not wish to get, is that to manifest what he has been saying for the past few months (i.e. that the FPM has gained a broader support base), his candidate should, by default and unquestionably, get a majority of the votes in the Metn. However, not just a simply majority, but an outstanding majority. To teach the general how to count ahead of the game: a broader support base means MORE than 70 percent (which was his voting record back in May 2005).

Unfortunately, when, and I say when because I find it most probable that Gemayel will succeed his son, Khoury does lose significantly to the former president, Aoun will not interpret this as a red light that something is very wrong (i.e. his talk and the ground figures don’t add up). Let’s see how he is going to present to his constituents that the elections were undemocratic or were manipulated when he is asked by journalists to come to terms with his Metn defeat.

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Filed under Amin Gemayel, Aoun, Camille Khoury, Lebanese Christians, Lebanon, Michel Murr, Pierre Gemayel, Tashnag

Are Bkirki and the Archbishop in agreement?

By Mezzo

Archbishop Bishara El Rai’i’s interview with As-Safir can be simply summarized as another wrong step to the discredit of the Maronites.

I was astonished when El Rai’i said that Seniora’s government is Islamizing the country. My astonishment came as I recalled that Bkirki’s communication style is not one to mention names in public statements but rather is characterized as diplomatically discrete to an extent that, from time to time, I cannot even understand what they mean or who they are talking about. So why would Bishara El Rai’i mention the name of Seniora (government of)?

My second surprise followed as soon as I reminded myself that Seniora’s government includes 10 Christian ministers. I spent the next minute actively trying to figure out how had the Sunnis managed to manipulate the government from within, and set in motion the Islamization of Lebanon that has only been noticed, two years down the road, by Gebran Bassile and Bishara El Rai’i?

Then I started wondering why this is happening at the worst possible timing to gradually move to a very disturbing conclusion that, probably the wind had changed direction and I had not noticed it. Maybe something dramatic is about to happen that incited Bkirki to quickly re-position in favor of the Hezbollah-led coalition, and so by giving Aoun a solid boost of a much-needed community support.

Regardless of all possible motives, I do not agree with Bkirki for many reasons:

1) Bkirki can’t position the Christians as a standing-up community facing the other Muslim communities on every single subject and topic. The 14th of March Christian politicians adopted an advanced strategy of opening up to the Muslim communities and inviting all parties for a shared role in governing and developing the nation, within the boundaries of the Ta’ef Agreement.

2) The timing for intentionally hitting the Sunnis and inducing a political setback, is so inappropriate in view of the latest political and security build-up of an imminent regional conflict with international repercussions. This will definitely displease the international community, who will also recall, how irritating the Christians in general and the Maronites in particular are, given their inability to never ride the proper sail nor do so on time.

3) It can’t help Bkirki and the country if Seniora is out since Paris-III is specifically link to the Hariris and Senioras.

4) Damaging the reputation and the political representation of Seniora (and the ones who are behind him: Hariri, Al Mustakbal) would eventually invite a new Sunni coalition to emerge. Can Bkirki guarantee to us that the replacing coalition will be as moderate as Siniora and Hariri, and as open to the world as the Christians want?

5) It is the Seniora’s government, and Hariri in particular, who negotiated a multiple Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian support, to then gave the army a green light to enter a red-lined Palestinian camp and to hard hit Sunnis fellows. It is therefore quite hypocritical to attack Seniora’s government, the very government that ordered the destruction of the fundamentalist organization and numerous terrorizing cells that are Bkirki’s and Hezbollah’s daily nightmares.

6) The Aouns and the Frangiehs will not take back all they said and did to the patriarch from 1989, and everyday since, until today (i.e. Branding Patriarch Sfeir a womanizer or calling him inept to legitimately represent the Christians).

Aoun is mentally still living in the pre-war era where, once upon a time, the president had all the powers that Ta’ef took away as a result of Aoun’s liberation war against Syria. Bkirki, on the other hand, moved forward and stayed in the post-war era where the Christian community suffered further downsizing by the occupier and other communities. It seems today that Bkirki has not cross the line into the post post-war era that started on the 14 of March 2005 and my views are that the 14th of March politicians should not longer wait on Bkirki, ignore Aoun, and take us to the next step of abolishing confessionalism according to Ta’ef. It is only a question of time for the remaining fanatic Christians and ideologically driven Shi’a to ease their political consideration and move, as if by gravity, to their natural home that is the March 14 Intifada.

And last but not least, there is another reality that I want to mention that was understood by Rafiq al-Hariri a long time ago but that Bkirki is yet to recognize: Bkirki does not represent the Christians but the Maronites who make 18.5% of the Lebanese population according to statistics on holders of Lebanese ID cards. The other 16.5% of Christians are completely ignored by the Maronites politicians in the same way Aoun and Bkirki advocate that the Christians are ill-represented today. For the Maronites, it is time to share more of their power with other Christian communities. We only have to look at Al-Mustakbal ministry and parliamentary composition to see that Rafiq al-Hariri capitalized on this point at the right time. Accordingly, Bkirki should be very careful not to assume that it can easily manipulate the Christians in the name of Maronitisim.

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Filed under Aoun, Bkirki, Fouad Seniora, Free Patriotic Movement, Lebanese Christians, Lebanese Sunnis, Lebanon, Ta'ef Accord