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.