Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Breaking in Two: The Presidency (Part II of II)

Two-government crisis or not, military victory or not, the advancement of yet another military man as a 'compromise' or 'salvation' candidate for the country's number one seat might prove harder than it seems, especially when that candidate is no compromise at all.

Already the government has mobilized its international allies to confront the on-the-ground rallying of Syria's finest in their preparation for the formation of a second government. The move comes months after the spiritual leader of the community to which that seat is reserved has openly voiced his opposition to the 'rule of generals'. In both cases, a strong message was sent to another wistful member of the opposition with a keen interest in the Presidency and whose political missteps in pursuit of that Presidency in the present (as in the past) have thrown the door wide open to a re-installment of Syria's domination over the country.

Allow me to digress.

The anti-government coalition, as it stands today, is a heterogeneous body in composition. Where Hizballah operates on an axis of Iranian power-policy projection and where the Marada, SSNP, Baath, and Amal political machines operate on the fuel of Syrian power-money interests, the third component of this opposition - the General's predominantly Christian FPM - is a party with a supporter base that has in the past shown its readiness and dedication to placing the Lebanese question above those foreign considerations - if not above its leader's myopic presidential pursuits.

The presence of this third component, even as it undergoes transformations which have brought the members of its top echelons more inline with the interests of those providing it with the rials to operate its expanding operation, has provided those other elements (first among them being Hizballah) with the political cover they have needed to advance the moral and topical fudging (and attempt at equity) they have pushed in their undermining of the state.

And therein lies the urgency and importance of creating a crisis in the Presidency for the Hizballah-led opposition. Any facilitated resolution of the question of Lebanon's Presidency would in turn spell the end of the grounds on which Syria's allies in the country could continue to hide the true fault line currently dividing the country.

A fault line separating a vision of a western-oriented 'conformist' Lebanon as espoused by those parties currently in government, from the eastern-oriented 'rejectionist' Lebanon as embodied primarily by Hizballah. A fault line which any meritorious President would be expected to bridge through a successfully managed disarmament of Hizballah within the framework of the country's previously agreed upon sectarian balances (or within the framework of a successfully drafted new agreement) all the while securing the international guarantees (both in the form of text resolutions and military armaments) needed to defend and insulate the country's delicate internal structure from regional players to the north, east, and south.

And so from the perspective of those actively working to prevent the establishment of bulwarks for the state and its sovereignty over Lebanon, it becomes evident that there can be no Presidency without a President willing to allow the continued assaults on the state engineered in Damascus and Tehran, and implemented in Lebanon through their fifth-columnists there.

In the short run, the political cover provided by Aoun and his FPM will be preserved by the Syrians and their quislings through one of two possibilities. The first would entail the placement of the General at the helm of an illegitimate Presidency (setup in conjuction with the parallel government those pro-Syrian forces will move to establish). The second, and perhaps more likely, scenario would witness an escalation and prolongation of the crisis of the Presidency along the same lines on which the country's Parliament has been consistently undermined - that is, by calling its legitimacy, mandate, and duration into question.

In addition to forcing (or enabling) Aoun to maintain his position within the opposition through a prolongation of the crisis (and basically keeping his hopes for the presidency alive), this scenario would also provide Syria with the additional bonus of a precipitation of Lebanese internal strife and chaos so important for its argument that there can be stable Lebanon without its choking control of it - all the while preserving Hizballah's weapons and those in the hands of other Syrian controlled militant groups (both inside and outside the camps).

And if all else fails, there would remain for the Syrians that other favored option for undermining the country's democratic institutions, death by assassination. Which brings us to the final point: If the General were to somehow attain the Presidency, he might finding himself departing it far sooner than he would've expected, and doing so on the backside of a concussion wave. An unfortunate thought, but one made all the more so by the fact that of 3 past Presidents to have come in without having been explicitly chosen for the seat by the regime in Syria, two have met such an end (Bashir Gemayel and Rene Mouawad - the third being Amin Gemayel who served his full term and subsequently went into self-exile in France out of fear for his life).

That is the fate that any Presidential candidate possessing a hint of deviation from Syria's interests must be ultimately aware of.


  1. Jimmy3:07 PM

    Hezbollah’s political bureau member Mahmoud Qamati: “The idea of a second government is up and serious.”

  2. Jimmy3:08 PM

    Hezbollah’s Hajj Hassan after visiting Hoss: “Electing a president on half + 1 basis is a shortsighted dangerous step, if not a ticking bomb.”

  3. Anonymous4:41 PM

    Yup...Killing one to empty the presidency is easier than killing 8 MP's or one more Minister to empty parliament or cabinet.

  4. Maybe M14 should endorse Aoun just for the fun of it. It would be hysterical to watch what Hezbo and Syria would do. ;-)

  5. Does anyone doubt that Aoun will say anything, do anything to get to that chair? Once he is there - all bets are off.... and you have to wonder what his plan is to gain the power (no longer Constitutional) for him to use his broom for his clean sweep of the 'thieves, murderers and collaborators' of Lebanon. There is no way that Syria, Iran or Hezbollah would let him live. He is terribly erratic and filled with vengeance. He will go through Lebanon one person at a time until each and every 'perceived' wrong is avenged, as this will eventually include Syrians and their agents - he would quickly be stopped.

    what a very sad little man


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