Thursday, October 11, 2007

Constitutional Council - What Happened?

Finally! NOW Lebanon provides a respite from the verbal diarrhea - "dialogue", "national unity", "referendum", "divine victory", and the not naming of names - clogging the nation's media outlets to provide a valid and critical question: Where is the Constitutional Council?

For those who have followed the country's developments since 2005 (and before) the answers and issues raised in the article should come as no surprise. Afterall, we're still dealing the effects of fifteen years of Syrian hegemony and the corrosion of the state institutions it has entailed.

The article highlights a clear timeline of events leading up to and beyond the crippling of the Constitutional Council, starting with: the post-Taef amendment of the council's original mandate; to the Syrian-backed imposition of pro-Syrian magistrates on the council through Syria's tool, Emile Lahoud; to the string of controversial decisions which rendered the body completely illegitimate; to the Cedar Revolution and a new Parliamentary majority; to the resignation of the pro-Syrian magistrates in view of the Syrians' retreat; to the drafting of a parliamentary bill to restore the deserted body, fill the constitutional and judicial vaccuum left by the pro-Syrians' flight, and implement a standardized mechanism for the appointment of new magistrates to the council; and finally to the blockage of those attempts by the pro-Syrian opposition which refused to sign bills - through Lahoud, refused to convene parliament - through Berri, ignited a war - through Hizballah, and provided cover for that war and all the other counter-institutional efforts undertaken by the pro-Syrians - through Aoun, all the while calling the government's legitimacy into question and mounting a violent street campaign to bring down the government and bring back (in one form or another) Syria's hegemony over the country.

Read the article and let us know what you think in this post's comments section.


  1. Excellent summary Jade on a a major subject no one talks about.

    (I'll read the article later)

  2. well the opening statement certainly described me.. looking from the outside it seems like a circular whirlpool of selfperpetuating issues.. and the more i think of it that way the more i worry about ours on this side of the border..

    the article speaks of rebuilding the state organs one institution at a time.. but how can you.. youre are so politically linked.. if you encroach upon the toes of one group at any time they are more than likely to hop around yelping.. this is natural..

    i struggle to see solutions from the outside..

    the only thing i can imagine is that if my country (israel) has peace with its neighbours then that may weaken the power mongers who hedge on conflict- but surely the internal pressures are more complex than that..

    so given my useless analisys i return to you with a task..

    can you please do some visioning and tell us what you think it would take to remedies these illnesses.. and describe practical steps that would have to be taken to get there..

  3. Anonymous1:04 PM

    What utter rubbish. I think you are as simple minded and as bias as the pseudo-journalists who write for Now Lebanon. But then again I wouldn’t expect anything more from someone who takes this internet tabloid seriously. When this pro-Syrian anti-Syrian sham of a government found it couldn’t fill the Constitutional Court (Lebanon's highest judicial body) with loyalist judges it dissolved it indefinitely (in violation of Article 19 of the Lebanese constitution). Why? Because it is a rump government and it wanted to prevent Michel Aoun's challenge to the election results, which the European Union's observer mission refused to accept as a fair and free election.

    What more can one expect from a pro-Syrian anti-Syrian government that leaned its trade under its master.

    You should stop blogging because you are obviously incapable of separating fact from fiction and your emotions from cold hard analysis.

  4. arabic coffee pot4:24 PM

    Do you live on another dimension anonymous? It didn't dissolve it indefinitely the Syria's bootlicking judges quit (they probably got uncomfortable sharing the bootlicking space with Aoun)!

    Aoun wanted THEM to judge whether the elections were legal or not! Wow, real smart dufuss! Why didn't Aoun agree to a new mechanism to elect members of the constitutional council? Why didn't he open parliament so that the issue would even be discussed? No instead he preferred to burn the country with his "strike" and to allow Hizballah to prepare to lead us into another war.

    I used to think that Aoun was the biggest idiot this country had ever seen, but now I know that his followers surpassed their master of idiocy.

    Look jack-assonymous, you want to be critical? Then why don't u put up something that makes sense instead of the typical Orange garbage.

  5. Really anonymous? Really??

    Aoun wanted the same group of magistrates that cancelled Gabriel el Murr's by-election victory and shut down MTV to 'decide on the legality' of the first post-Syrian withdrawal elections. Does that make any sense to you whatsoever?

    I should hope not (otherwise it wouldn't be worth responding to you). Most likely you are driven by the same base politics of spite (nkeyeh) that drives the remaining members of the FPM not recently "converted" from the SSNP. So who is it you're willing to sacrifice the future of the country in order to spite - Geagea or Hariri?

    On second thought, I don't care. The only thing I care about are your actions and not your feelings or your flawed rationale. And for the past two years Aoun's actions have been driving the country back into the hands of the Syrian regime and its assassin-regime.

    Aoun provides cover for assassinations and a state-within-a-state. What he might not realize is that through the assassinations, Lebanon's moderates will be targeted, leaving nothing but hardline-polarizing figures who can do naught but clash. What he might not realize is that his cover for a state-within-a-state is eating away at all of the country's institutions which he pretends to support - from the Army, to the Parliament, to the Constitutional Council and beyond.

    So before clicking on your Iranian-funded Orange TV, try giving pause to who is not separating emotion from logic. Try to dig your way out of the divine garbage-rhetoric you're swallowing in spoonfuls and take a real, objective look at the action and effect of Aoun's stances over the past two years. Then come talk to me about "cold hard analysis".

  6. By the way, here is the EU Report on the conduct of the 2005 Parliamentary elections.

    You can read the entire thing if you want or you can check out the UNSC Presidential Statement on the elections - which welcomed "the report of the EU observer mission and its conclusions regarding the satisfactory conduct of the four electoral stages."

    You could also check out the Council of Foreign Relations' evaluation of the elections, which also highlighted the EU report, meantioning that:

    Lebanon allowed international election observers to monitor the ballot, a first in Lebanese history. A 100-member European Union (EU) delegation monitored voter registration, campaigns, and voting, and approved the election as free of foreign influence and fair, despite some late accusations of vote-buying. EU officials did say, however, that the country's entire election system needed reform. Other international observers included U.N. Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen and U.S. Senator Joseph Biden (D-Del).

    So in contrast to our anonymous propagandist's claims, the EU did give those elections its approval, and it did have some reservations which would not have even come to light had the elections not been free of Syrian influence.

  7. Anonymous12:32 AM

    From where did you pair get your arguments? Did you just cut and paste from Like I said: emotional and irrational!

    I will try one more time to have a rational debate with you.

    The mess that the pro-Syrian anti-Syrian rump government finds itself in has nothing to do with Michel Aoun, Hizbullah or the fruit seller in Hamra (I thought I would throw that in as it’s blamed everyone else). Quite simply its predicament is entirely of its making and the very fact that it is in this position is damning evidence that it shouldn’t be in power. To argue otherwise is pure folly.

    To avoid this very predicament, in 2005 this pro-Syrian anti-Syrian rump government had the opportunity (with overwhelming public support across all religious sects) to start with a clean slate by calling for an election under a new electoral law that fairly represented all sects. Instead it chose to use the Syrian (and members of the now pro-Syrian anti-Syrian rump government) drafted law with its gerrymandered electoral districts in the mistaken hope it could marginalise the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM). Not because the FPM where pro-Syrian (only an idiot would argue that), but because they wanted to maintain the same order less the same level of Syrian interference. Let’s not forget that Rafik Hariri was more than happy to keep the Syrians in Lebanon and this only changed when the balance of support (and therefore power) shifted to Lahoud.

    Nevertheless, even with huge popular support for change and an end to Syrian occupation, the pro-Syrian anti-Syrian rump government still couldn’t win a resounding victory, mainly because the vast majority of the Christian community saw through Hariri & Co.’s plan. When the results were legitimately challenged based on the findings of an independent European body, it decided to dissolve the body that could rule in favour of one or the other. This had nothing do with the Constitutional Council being manned by pro-Syrian because it was the FPM that was challenging the results, a political party so anti-Syrian that the Constitutional Council could never have ruled in its favour if it is as you say it was loaded with Syrian apparatchiks. As per your argument, any ruling would necessarily have gone in the pro-Syrian anti-Syrian rump government’s favour as that would benefit Syrians more than a deeply hostile FPM. However, as the challenge would be based on independent non-partisan evidence the Council would have been forced to overturn the results; so the body was dissolved.

    With this in mind let’s get your logic straight. The pro-Syrian anti-Syrian rump government was happy to use a Syrian law because it thought it would benefit it. When it didn’t and was challenged it dissolved the body that would have investigated the challenge on the grounds that it was pro-Syrian. Is this not a contradiction? What are we to expect from it in the future: each time laws don’t benefit it they abrogate them. They’ve made a good start with the constitution by threatening to overturn it because it hasn’t got the numbers to elect the man they want to the presidency.

    Finally, please don’t even mention Samir Geagea. This man has no political support of any weight in or out of Lebanon. He exists in Lebanon vicariously: through Hariri, as the 2005 elections proved. He is undoubtedly the most hated man in Lebanon by both Christians and Muslims alike; so there’s nothing to spite.

    Like I said: stop blogging; you are embarrassing yourself.

    As for the man above you, please go to the dictionary and look up indefinitely.

  8. Anonymous12:53 AM

    I did and I particularly liked the bit that reads the 2000 electoral law “does not respect the principle of equality of votes." It then goes on to list a host of violations foremost among which was a "substantial number of allegations of vote buying." The most damning bit (which I think you’ll like too) is when the observers categorically state that they directly witnessed "some instances of vote buying" and "was aware of other similar practices."

    By the way, have you read it? I can't conceive why you would point me in that direction had you read it. I think the link you want is:

    This is the final report!

  9. Oh give me a break.

    Look I could go through your crappy analysis and break it down piece by piece, without once having to defend any single member of the the anti-Syrian alliance.

    The issue of the electoral law would/could have been resolved in a manner more appropriate to the new Syian-free phase the country could have witnessed had it not been for Amal/Hizballah's intransigence on the onehand (not one criticism against them anonymous? really?) and Aoun's refusal to recognize and respect the events unfolding on the ground and enter into a serious alliance with those who marched freedom and died for freedom while Aoun was resting comfortably in Paris.

    You say the FPM was deeply hostile to the Syrians. Check your premises. The FPM's young men and women - repeatedly beaten throughout the nineties by the thugs of Aoun's main ally in the Metn, Michel el Murr - might have been hostile to the Syrians, but while the March 14th demonstrations were being planned in Beirut, Aoun was negotiating his return to Lebanon with the Syrians and their representative in Lebanon, Emile Lahoud. To put it bluntly, Aoun was more worried about recovering his financial assets than about engaging with those players on the ground who were actually pushing the Syrians out of the country in 2005 - something neither he nor his misguided followers managed to do in 15 years (nevertheless they tried, something that should be commended - the youths not Aoun).

    As for the existence of the Constitutional Council: it dissolved itself, the judges resigned, live with it. If the FPM really wanted to do anything productive on that front they would have pushed for the election of new magistrates. But they didn't, they wanted the same louses that shut down MTV to judge on this case. Great idea!

    As for your comment about the Presidency, one has to wonder about your perspective when you boast about majorities while good people are being blown up. But go ahead, you'll just save me some time in revealing your character.

    What else do you want to talk about kid? Vote buying? Yeah talk about it, its good. Nobody ever said that transparency was a bad thing But if we're talking about crimes, why don't you mention the crimes committed by Hizballah, or Amal, or the SSNP, for instance? No? Too bad.

    Read this blog some more and you learn about the crimes they continue to commit against the state and its people.

    You've added nothing to what I already commented about the EU Report (other than a dead link). But if you're so interested in international observers' eyewitness accounts, then why not read the report on our country's borders in which int'l observer "witnessed first hand" the smuggling of weapons into the country by the same boys and girls you so lovingly call your allies (did I mention that Hassan Nasrallah continues to sing the praises of the Assad regime that the FPM is so "hostile to"?)

    Anyway, if you want to comment here then go ahead, I won't block you (so long as you're respectful) but the truth of the matter is that this blog, its readers and its authors, have seen a lot of people like you come by with their smart-alec comments. People who don't pause to wonder at the contradictions in their political stances and who refuse to look beyond personal biases and see the damage the positions they adopt are doing to the country.

    For my part, I don't hold any grudges any against any party. If Nasrallah were to give a televised conferene announcing the immedaite freezing of all of Hizballah's paramilitary activity then I would welcome that. If Aoun were to go on TV and clearly state that he would renounce all activities falling outside the purview of the state and its institutions, that he would go back to the stances that led to UNSC 1559, then I would welcome that. I don't hold grudges, but I refuse to blindfold myself and swallow destructive actions dressed up with empty rhetoric.

    If you do (blindfold yourself and swallow), then fine, do it, but don't try to censor people who call u on it.

  10. arabic coffee pot7:23 PM

    NOW Lebanon is not good enough for you anonydouche? Where do you want people to get their news, Al Manar? Or maybe Iranian-funded OTV? What a joke...

    ...and tell me this, are you seriously trying to push your argument? Are we talking about the same EU? The one that continuously declares its support for the government borne of the parliamentary majority elected under that law and in those elections (even after Syria's bootlickers left that government)?

    Wake up buddy, take a look around, think a little, and then try (just try) to write something sensible.


Powered by Blogger.