We have another problem, General Aoun

By Ana

Once again, Tayyar.org fails to amuse me in its highly selective coverage of news in Lebanon. An interview with General Aoun is worth mentioning (and a standing ovation is in order for writer Nadine Farra Zakhem who is the perfect example of why journalists should not be politicized).

In the interview, Aoun committed several logical fallacies. Of course, if I were to write a post analyzing each one, I would never finish. I therefore picked out the ones that I felt were most important.

Firstly, the general fails to define his terms and distinguish between actuality and relevance. Aoun believes that the Seniora government’s agenda is to “regionalize and internationlize the crisis as it points to non-existent dangers like the return of Syria, Iran, [and] civil war.” What is non-existent of these very existing scenarios? Is the return of Syria not something to be fearful of, or does the general not see any clash between Lebanese sovereignty and Syrian tutelage? What about Hezbollah’s bid for more power in the government and a desire to keep its arms, are these not Iranian prerogatives? Or are we to only call Iranian involvement actual involvement when it involves Ahmadinejad coming in person to Beirut? And general, were you not the first person to bring up the subject about a potential civil war in Lebanon? Perhaps we need to get our casuality chronology corrected: the international and regional problems of Iraq, Iran, Al-Qaeda, and Israel existed before this political crisis, not after it.

Secondly, the general either exaggerates certain issues or dismisses others as completely unjustified. Aoun calls the current crisis a “simple political problem.” I invite him to explain what he means by this statement. Is is simple that for the first time in Lebanese history, a Shi’a militant ideologue and a Christian hysterical general get together? Has this ever happened in the context of another regional war?

And of course, there is the fallacy of hypocrisy. When asked to discuss the current government, Aoun calls the government “insensitive to national problems.” Last time I checked, the reason why Aoun left the March 14 camp back in May 2005 was precisely because he failed to distinguish between national priorities and personal ambition. And what does he mean when he adds, “In the old days the Syrians didn’t let street demonstrations drag on.” If Syria was better at maintaining law and order, should they return? (Of course, I make this statement in a fully ironic context: you are against the Syrians and Syrian tutelage, yet you ally yourself with the only actor in this country who wills Syrian return and can bring Syria back if it was able to. Given your alliance to them, you’ve raised and not diminshed the stakes of such a return)

I also find your word choice, Mr. General, to be absolutely hilarious when you state: “I reject all foreign mediation, as I said the other day. We have great respect for the countries that intervene and we want to remain their friends.” So diplomacy bugs you but the smuggling of arms doesn’t?

Additionally, do you take us for fools when you claim you are both against the “Saudi-Sunni” and “Iranian-Shi’a” axis? If you were against the latter axis, you wouldn’t have signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding with Hezbollah back in February 2006. Let us of course ignore that the question Zakhem asked you was not well-thought and the idea that March 14 is within the Saudi-Sunni axis makes no sense. What about the Druze and Christians that are a major part of the camp?

Clearly, I could go on and on. However, I will let my readers draw their own conclusions and add to my list of fallacies. In case you missed the link to the interview above, here it is again. And, for those of you who read French, you can check out another article on the same subject here.



Filed under Lebanon

4 responses to “We have another problem, General Aoun

  1. Charlie+

    For the Sake of Christians


    This is what Aoun said in regards to why he wants the government to collapse.

    “Taking to the streets is our battle to recover the role of the Christians on the level of power, since the electoral law deprived us of our rights and our participation.”

    For those who want to understand what he means, please read the analysis below.

    After the 2005 elections, a lot of the Christian seats in parliament were taken by Hariri, Jumblatt and Hezbollah/Amal, due to the bad election law which sidelined the Christians. Of the 64 Christians in the parliament, 32 were Christians who did not represent Christians. That’s 50% of the Christian seats. These 32 seats were distributed as follows:
    17 were part of Hariri’s bloc equating to 47% of his entire bloc
    8 were part of Jumblatt’s bloc equating to 50% of his entire bloc
    7 were part of the Hezbollah/Amal bloc equating to 20% of their entire bloc

    The remaining 32 Christian seats were distributed as follows:
    14 to Free Patriotic Movement
    5 to Lebanese Forces
    5 to Qornet Shehwen
    3 to Elie Skaff’s Bloc
    2 to Kataeb
    1 to Tashnaq
    1 to Democratic Left
    1 to Murr

    According to these results:
    27% of Christians support Hariri before any other politician
    22% of Christians support Aoun before any other politician
    13% of Christians support Jumblatt before any other politician
    11% of Christians support Nasrallah/Berri before any other politician
    8% of Christians support Geagea before any other politician

    This is what the 2000 election law did. Everyone knows that Hariri, Hezbollah and Jumblatt don’t have more Christian supporters than Geagea. In fact, Hariri, Jumblatt, Hezbollah and Amal combined probably don’t have more than 1% support amongst the entire Christian population. The 2000 election law helped deliver 50% of the Christian seats to people that don’t represent Christians. This is absolutely disgusting and frightening. To see Christians being insulted in such a way is a massive breach of democracy and of the Lebanese constitution.

    The biggest beneficiary was none other than Walid Jumblatt, as Christian seats accounted for 50% of his parliamentary bloc. Hariri was also a major beneficiary with Christians MPs accounting for 47% of his bloc. Hezbollah/Amal also benefitted but not to the same extent, as Christians only accounted for 20% of their blocs. This gerrymandering of election laws and sidelining of Christians has to stop. Not only did the 2005 election sideline the Christians, Christians even had to face the disgusting prospect of Hariri running candidates for seats in Christian areas were he has ‘zero’ representation such as Zahle and Jbeil. He even wanted to add insult to injury.

    The current government make-up is perhaps more disgusting to Christians than the parliament. Of the 12 Christian ministers, 6 are part of Hariri’s bloc and 1 is part of Jumblatt’s bloc. How do these people represent the Christians? To their credit, Hezbollah/Amal have no Christian ministers. One Christian minister is an independent and one is pro-Lahoud. Only 3 of the 12 Christian ministers were members of Christian parties (includes the late Pierre Gemayyel). We Christians are being sidelined in the government. Because of this reason, the government has to fall. The Christians that are calling for more Christian representation are being labeled ridiculous names such as ‘pro-Syrians’ and silly things like being against the international tribunal. Hariri/Jumblatt are trying to distract the Christian people with lies so that they can remain in power. I hope the Christians are a bit more intelligent than this. The Christians must continue to call for the government to collapse and for new elections under a fair election law to get back their full representation. The Christians are now being supported by Hezbollah in regards to this and we now form a majority. We must continue to call for this and not back down just because Hezbollah is now with us. We must use Hezbollah’s support to get what we want and take advantage of this.

    His Eminence Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir in a recent interview with May Chidiac also called for new elections under a fair election law. With pressure from Cardinal Sfeir, Hezbollah, Amal and Aoun and allies, new elections under a fair election law may take place ahead of schedule. What is really important is for Christian parties such as the Lebanese Forces, Kataeb and Ahrar to join in these calls for new elections. What will they do? Do they want a Lebanon where Christians are equal? The Lebanese Forces only have 5 seats in parliament, Kataeb just 2 and Ahrar none. Don’t they want more seats in parliament? Why aren’t they calling for new elections?

  2. mireille

    Dear Ana,

    i read a lot of your articles & it seems that you are against General Aoun policy.

    If you are a journalist, you cannot be as much s you are negative!! you are from a certain political party, witch is normal since you are a lebanese but please talking like that about the tayyar.org .
    you should be more open to the differents parties &respect them otherwise you will be a louser

  3. ana

    Dear Mireille,

    Yes, you are right, I am against General Aoun’s policies. As a journalist, however, I have every right to be negative of his ineptness as long as I justify my stance.

    However, who said that I am from a certain political party? I am certainly a member of no political party in this country and I use my liberty to my advantage. I am also not fond of the way you categorize “Lebanese.” Regardless, it is clear where your loyalties lie.

    Thanks for your comment.

  4. Gerard

    This is a true picture of reality of why we lebanese will never have a peaceful country, we attack each other in every angle we can and we always stand behind this leader who is supposedly going to save us. This leader who one day was a serial murderer or a professional thief who rubbed the country. Stop standing behind who you think is there for christians or muslims, start thinking of humanity.

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