Author Archives: ana
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?
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!
For the sake of keeping with our tradition, below are Michel Hayek’s 2008 predictions, albeit late.
– The presidential elections will be used as a pretext to put The Lebanese Republic itself at risk. The conspiracy plan is still taking form so it is not too late for the Lebanese to overcome it, recommended Michel.
– There won”t be a civil war, only smaller clashes or problems.
– The presidential elections will take place despite the latest turmoil.
– The economic and monetary situation in Lebanon will overcome many grand obstacles or crisis with success and Central BankGovernor Riad Salameh will shine further. Hayek sensed a dark atmosphere surrounding Salameh and warned him of possible dangers that might strike his person.
– Real estate boom to be expected. Hold on to your properties people!
– Numerous important business and economic summits shall take place in Lebanon.
– Various Lebanese women (about 4) will receive international honorary titles, including May Chediac, Minister Layla Solh Hmedeh and most probably the wife of a former president .
– Lebanon will not be split into ghettos or confessional cantons.
– Security threats and assassinations will go on, despite a breakthrough in the investigations.
– Skirmishes between Lebanon, Israel and Syria.
– Fireworks will fill the sky of some Lebanese cities celebrating the departure of the head of the Israeli government.
– Shaker El Absi will not remain an obscure matter; He will appear in a new light with a new facet.
– The opposition sitting in Downtown Beirut will be grounds for a scuffle or fight, and some tents or parties will leave the protest.
– Despite Michel Sleiman efforts and achievements, he will be, alongside the Lebanese army, the target of a campaign striving to disfigure his reputation and image.
– A wave of disturbances or turmoil will stir the public opinion, bringing together contradicting parties into one single manifestation or objection.
– Repetitive and different images revolving around the Lebanesearmed forces appear to Hayek. New members enrolling and others leaving within its troops, as well as important changes in leaderships and positions. The army will face local forces (trying to rebel), terrorist groups, as well as civil groups resulting constant military presence on all the Lebanese grounds to enforce security and stability.
– Prime Minister Fouad El Sanioura and General Michel Aoun at the mercy of a new conspiracy. Despite the darkness of the picture, Hayek sees a new stand or opinion, a new authority or leadership position, a new equation or equilibrium.
– To disable a conspiracy, the highest authority of Hezbollah will take a decision that will surprise the public.
– Hezbollah will demand clarifications or an investigation regarding an incident which will target one of his leading representatives or political figures.
– Unanticipated gesture by Emile Lahoud toward Amine Gemayel.
– A controversial billboard will be problematic in a certain area of Lebanon.
– French President Nicolas Sarkozi to face complex crisis, with negative outcome.
– In the end Georges Salibi also got a few personal predictions. An emotional affair or marriage will be the focus of the press. Despite a change of decor, Salibi career will persist at NewTV.
It is amazing to see that the whole political and press coverage is gravitating endlessly around investigating troops’ behavior on the ground, accused of committing crimes against rightful demonstrators. Hizbullah motivation is for the investigations to move upwards, in one direction, within the army corp, in order to neutralize whoever gave the shooting orders, at the next round.
What about investigating, at the level of the demonstrators, and then to pursue these investigations upward in order to find out; 1) who organized these demonstrations and 2) what instructions did the demonstrators receive?
Will Amal and Hizbollah agree to interrogations of subordinates, that would ultimately point upward and ever closer? Their expressions of excessive reprimand and agitation are clearly meant to block this outrageously unacceptable and unthinkable scenario.
This is irrespective of the fact that the party with the most vocal presence among the demonstrators was Amal’s, and that the manipulative Hizbullah has one more time succeeded in hiding, just behind. It is similar to the on-going strategy of Hizbullah that made Aoun believe, exactly like Berry believes today, that he is playing an historical role of national importance.
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.
In the pro-opposition newspaper Al-Akhbar, the newspaper chairperson Ibrahim Al-Amine wrote on August 13:
If the majority team is more confused because of the abundance of candidates among its ranks, it is helped by the support of a large swathe of the Lebanese people and influential factions among the Arabs and the rest of the world while the opposition seems to be more comfortable with the fact that it has only one candidate, the head of the Fee Patriotic Movement General Michel Aoun who enjoys strong support from a large popular mass that includes more than half the Lebanese population.
I beg to differ.
Firstly, let’s get the facts straight. The only person from the opposition to officially endorse Aoun’s candidacy was Wiam Wahab who isn’t high enough in the hierarchy. His statement is simply not enough to make Aoun the official opposition’s candidate. I want to hear it from Berri. Even more, I want to hear it from Nasrallah. Yet, should we not hear the needed endorsement from such figures, that too will say a lot. Back on December 1, 2006, the opposition took for the streets and launched their first day of occupation over Downtown Beirut. Note that back then only Aoun was present. Berri and Nasrallah did not support the orange leader as he led on the Shi’a crowds (remember, few were the Christians who attended that day). Then, the implications of the absence of the Shi’a leaders was understood: they did not take Aoun seriously. Let’s see if they’ll take him seriously today.
Secondly, Aoun does not have the support of more than half of the population. If that were the case, why isn’t he majority leader in the Parliament?
Now let’s go back to Al-Amine’s above argument. He is suggesting that March 14 is unsure of itself whereas the opposition (read: FPM) is fully backing one candidate. My question: since when was diversity a problem?
March 14 is not a political party and therefore is not limited to the nomination of one candidate. The FPM is restricted by party regulations and therefore must nominate one candidate to avoid a conflict of interest within the party itself.
Given that March 14 is a cluster of different political parties and groups that do not have political party status, these different groups have the right to present as many candidates as they wish (of course within the rationale of some sort of meritocratic rubric). The result is the nomination of people like Boutros Harb and Robert Ghanem and perhaps in the near future Nassib Lahoud or Nayla Mouawad.
The fact that these people should feel comfortable nominating themselves within the March 14 democratic spirit is impressionable. They will be a source of competition for each other, and at the end of the day, will not insult or discredit each other. Furthermore, the losers of the elections will accept their loss in good team spirit and support the March 14 candidate that makes it through. This, Mr. Al Amine is democracy not confusion.
As is becoming increasingly common, breaking the constitution is another way for forging the easy way out of facing our country’s problems. Lebanese Army Commander Michel Suleiman presented himself, upon the recommendation of former Defense Minister Albert Mansour, as a candidate to head a transitional government should Parliament fail to elect a new president.
I have serious contentions to such a move:
1. On a psychoanalytical level, Suleiman is at the end of the day a military figure. The reason why Lahoud and Aoun are problematic is because they too are military figures. Lebanon today does not need a military figure to lead this nation.
2. What happened to the constitution? I invite my readers to actually read the constitution, which all too clearly stipulates:
[Chapter] III. The Executive Power
[Section] 1. The President of the Republic
Article 62 [Vacancy]
Should the Presidency become vacant for any reason whatsoever, the Council of Ministers exercises the powers of the President by delegation.
[Chapter] I. Election of the President of the Republic
Article 73 [Election of the President]
One month at least and two months at most before the expiration of the term of office of the President of the Republic, the Chamber is summoned by its President to elect the new
President of the Republic. However, should it not be summoned for this purpose, the Chamber meets of its own accord on the tenth day preceding the expiration of the President’s term of office.
Article 74 [Vacancy of Presidency]
Should the Presidency become vacant through the death or resignation of the President or for any other cause, the Chamber meets immediately and by virtue of the law to elect a successor. If the Chamber happens to be dissolved at the time the vacancy occurs, the electoral bodies are convened without delay and, as soon as the elections have taken place, the Chamber meets by virtue of the law.
The Chamber meeting to elect the President of the Republic is considered an electoral body and not a legislative assembly. It must proceed immediately, without discussion or any other act, to elect the Head of the State.
Suleiman is seriously violating the constitution because nowhere is there any mention of the possibility to create a transitional government and under no means is he allowed to sideline the Seniora government, which is the only entity that can constitutionally take over the president’s extraordinary powers. By offering himself as an alternative candidate for an alternative scenario (i.e. transitional government), Suleiman is challenging Seniora’s legitimacy to rightly follow the constitution’s sole procedure should Parliament not convene. Since when does bypassing the constitution become a feasible option when the constitutional option of extending the Seniora government’s powers exists?
Suleiman’s visit to Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir now comes out as very problematic and begs the question, has Sfeir approved of such a legal violation? It is quite impressive how prone Bkirki is to fatal mistakes. No Lebanese shall forget the church’s serious miscalculations.
Additionally, the statements we have been hearing attempting to justify this move are beyond outrageous:
1. Mansour ridiculously stated: “Such a government would be in keeping with established practice, which is for a president to hand over power to a Maronite prime minister. It happened twice before.” My question to Mansour: since when does established practice take precedence over following the Constitution? I actually am not aware of the second scenario Mansour is referring to besides Aoun’s premiership when a Maronite headed a government so reader input would be great if you can provide insight on this. Nevertheless, Mansour is relying on a political episode like the time of Aoun’s premiership to justify the credibility of Suleiman’s candidacy. Is there anyone out there that actually calls Aoun’s premiership constitutional? History has proven that Aoun’s government was illegal from beginning to end.
2. Lahoud (read Syria) said in a statement that he would not hand power over to the present Cabinet: “I assure you this will never happen. This is why I am calling for the formation of a cabinet of national unity, because in case the presidential election is not held, this cabinet could run the country, simply because it represents all segments of our society.” Ultimately, it is clear who inspired Mansour to approach Suleiman. It is also clear that Suleiman got the green light and blessing from Lahoud to present himself as a candidate to replace him. Given that Lahoud is the official puppet, what does that make Suleiman, associate puppet?
3. Amal MP Ayoub Humayed, as well as his fellow comrades from the March 8 bloc have called the holding of parliamentary sessions as unconstitutional. However I have a question: It is also unconstitutional to not hold a parliamentary session to elect a new president. Therefore, which is more unconstitutional, holding the session or not electing a new president? And actually, according to the constitution, Parliament can convene under “its own accord” to elect a new president ten days upon the termination of the president’s term of office.
In light of my above analysis, I have these concluding remarks to make:
1. The commander-in-chief of the army is supposed to be a solid figure for unity. The army, at the end of the day, is what is currently holding this country together, and has, despite all odds, done a tremendous job. However, the moment you take the head of this institution and put him in Baabda, the army will no longer serve the Constitution and will therefore no longer serve the Lebanese people.
2. Suleiman’s self-appointment as candidate calls into question his true loyalty to this country. After all, Syria would want nothing more than to have control over Baabda and the Lebanese Army.
3. What does all of this mean for Aoun? Suleiman is a dangerous contender to Aoun’s bid for the president because both have the position of Army Commander on their CVs. Aoun can certainly not be happy with this development because he is sidelined, and God forbid his personal ambition for Baabda be contested! Ironic enough, I am looking forward to the FPM making a statement that Suleiman’s move is unconstitutional. Should they do so, they will in fact be only too right.
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.