Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hizballah and Amal ministers resign from government (Part II): Analysis

The obvious question after the resignation of the five ministers representing Hizballah and Amal from the Lebanese government is: What's the real motive ? Why this insistence on having a "blocking presence" whithin the Lebanese government ?
The personal analysis that I offer in this post is that this move was not on those two parties' agendas at this specific time, but rather was improvised due to the swift progress towards the implementation of the international court.
Many interesting anectodes happened during the latest round of roundtable talks held by Lebanon's leading politicians. Firstly, the March 14 coalition agreed in principle that General Aoun be represented in government. This would be akin to having a national unity government since all the major political players in the country would have been represented in government. The only condition the March 14 coalition imposed was that the opposition could not hold a one third "blocking" representation in government. Such a representation was even subject to a compromise involving a change in the president of the republic and the approval of the international court. Hizballah claimed to have no problem with the international court but that the details should be subject to debate. It is obvious that the "strength" of a legal document lies in its details, that is why people look for "loopholes" whithin a certain legal document. Are they trying to create such loopholes to protect someone ? In fact, it is worth noticing that Hizballah was always reluctant on matters relating to the international court. Almost one year ago when MP Jubran Tueini (from March 14) was assassinated, the government suggested that the international court be expanded to investigate all the political assassinations occuring on Lebanese soil. At this moment, the Shiite ministers in government threatened to resign and actually boycotted the government meetings.
Furthermore, if one goes back to the 1990's, the stongest opposition to the Taef agreement (that brought the civil war to an end) came from none other than Hizballah and Aoun. Now, those parties claim that the latest governmental decision (of approving the international court) was not in compliance with the "spirit" of the Taef agreement- the exact same agreement that they opposed not in spirit but in essence. From a legal perspective, the government is still consitutional since less than one third of its members resigned. What is debatable is whether the government lost its political legitimacy without any Shiite representation. It is amusing to note that Hizballah mentions both legitimacy and nationalism only selectively . One would necessarily wonder whether they consulted any major Lebanese sects before the July war and whether the only legitimacy that counts is theirs. One would also wonder why every single foreign diplomat's visit to Syria is met with welcoming silence while the Lebanese government is accused of all sorts of treachery for receiving them. Could it be because a deal is in the works ? (as mentionned by the article in the Economist "Sir Nigel goes fishing" [1])
Hizballah might have interpreted the latest American elections, the latest July war, and the worsening American position in Iraq (a position so bad that it could perhaps call for a Syrio-Iranian-American deal to improve it) as signs of changing times, times in which they can be more vocal about their views and positions. It might also well be true that the power politics of the region and the American-Iranian saga might determine how things evolve in Lebanon. However, one thing is for sure: the Lebanese political landscape has changed considerably, and in the same way Hizballah rejects the "rule of the majority", it is warranted that March 14 rejects "the rule of minority".
The country is heading towards political vacuum that could spiral out of control. It might only be logical to understand that there will be no vinquor or vanquished, not to allow the Lebanese to alienate each other and to start seriously looking for solutions. The "holier than thou" attittude is not a way out anymore, the government and the people should be made aware of the precise points in which the government deviated from its platform and evidence should be given to the Lebanese for every claim put forth against the government. Once the Lebanese factions start accusing each other of various conspiracies, with the help of their remarkable imaginations, it is then obvious that we're heading the wrong way. Or perhaps we'd better all go fishing for a deal with Sir Nigel and stop discussing these side issues altogether?
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  1. This calculated resignation is the first material step towards implementing the coup plot that is being cooked since august. Hizbiran who forms a state within a state now is putting Lebanon in front of two options that serve the strategic interest of Iran in the Middle east:

    -Give them the control and command of the whole Lebanese state, or
    -Let them declare the official "establishment" of their own sectarian state outside the Lebanese consensus.
    Both options are unacceptable and are going to cause civil strive.

    PS: I refer the reader to the speech made by Ali Khamenei the deputy of the deputy of the hidden 'Imam' in Iran, who said that The USA will be defeated in Lebanon and it will be shown the example. His speech was in the context of his support of the Amal-hizb moves.

  2. Anonymous8:01 AM

    debate's crazy rantings aside, this post makes good arguments. But why no criticism of March 14th too? They are acting unilaterally!

  3. Janzir8:04 PM

    Debate isn't crazy! What else explains their behaviour??

  4. Anonymous12:18 AM

    How much more evidence do you need??

    Haven't Jumblatt's coffers been filled to the brim with the money meant for the displaced? Hasn't GeaGea killed enough people? Hasn't Hariri stolen enough land?

    Corruption, Greed, Murder...its all there! Open your eyes! Its time for change and reform!!!

  5. who are you anonymous? are you the same person each time or there are more than 1? let us so at least to know how we can debate with you

  6. Who's is going to bring change and reform? Aoun the war criminal? or Nasrallah the milita leader?

  7. excellent point anonymous. but why'd u stop there? what about michel el murr? nabih berri's coffers? where was hizballah when lebanon was being violated and leached upon by the syrians? why aren't they trying to secure the release of lebanese prisoners from syrian jails? where was michel aoun, the guy who vowed to die in lebanon before leaving it, when geagea was in solitary for over 11 years? and just so u know, geagea's imprisonment had nothing to do with his past, but was a political decision for his refusal to play ball with syria by joining the cabinet at the time (read hrawi's book for further info). before there was bint jbeil and maroun er-ras, there was za7leh and achrafieh. so get off your imaginary moral high-ground and open YOUR eyes, history started way before 1982.

  8. P.S. rock on "debate"

  9. Guys,

    What I mentioned in the post might have sounded unclear. The evidence I was asking for relates to where the government deviated from its platform, a platform Hizballah agreed on (since they were in the government). Furthermore, I was referring to serious allegations made by the March 8 camp regarding the July war and where March 14 stood from it. What most of you referred to are civil war issues that I'd rather not discuss here.

  10. Anonymous7:59 PM

    Ok, name one aspect of how the government succeeded in accomplishing but one of the objectives it stated and that was aggreed to by the hizb ministers? this government has been drifting aimlessly; the ministerial statement agreed by this now defunct government was forgotten even before it was written.

    who knows, a hizbi government may be worse, but you cannot deny that this government has failed in implementing any decisions agreed upon by all sides.

  11. Anonymous,

    I think this government took some good decisions (one example is the diplomatic appointments that were hanging for too long now among other things) and did not deliver on other things. Basically, just like any other government in the world. What I would like to know from the opposition is the following: What is it that they think the government has done so badly in that it warants resignation, toppling of the government etc.... I am asking the opposition for this and for evidence of their claims in order to be convinced that their sole goal isn't to stop the international court.

  12. Anonymous12:28 AM

    IB, I think thats a valid point.

    Although the opposition has stressed many times and agreed many times to the international court.

    What they are saying is the government has failed to accomplish many of its goals and duties in regards to, for example, the things agreed upon in the first national discussion sponsored by Berri, e.g. the Palestinian camps and the arms within them. There was a six month deadline and when the July 12 came, it was almost there.

    Another thing, is the corruption. Nothing has been done to stem it... especially concerning the post-war aid. Its true that Hizbullah is vague. But I think that this government has been even more vague. Hizb at least has a resistance against Israel platform. This current government seems aimless... last time they made a big deal about the displaced and then about the tribunal and then about the president... ok, look, they're compeltely obssessed about the tribunal and donor conference coming up... they've got their priorities wrong. They make a big deal of small things and then in a couple weeks they focus the people on some other thing, stroking fears of this or that... the Hizb also needs to become more clear though, but right now, and this is my opinion, they are 'less wrong' than the government. Unfortunately, I have to choose between levels of wrongness.

    In no way does this mean that a new government would be any better or worse than the current one.

  13. Anonymous,

    I see your point. Although I disagree with your assessment about Palestinian arms (these arms were at least indirectly protected by Hizballah, and thus removing them is much harder than just taking a decision) , the issue of accountability in spending is an important one and should be adressed ultimately.


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