Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Word About Suleiman: Part I

Where is Shaker el Absi?

Maybe I should start this post by looking at the possible positives in our leader-to-be, as opposed to the realities of the negatives.

That Suleiman is Syria's man is sure, that Syria in its relationship with Lebanon will be limited in its involvement – as compared with its 15 year occupation, and in the short run, at least - is also sure.

To that extent, it is possible to view Suleiman's arrival to the Presidency as the commencement of a nominal thawing of the past three years' icing over of relations between the Syrian regime and the Anti-Syrian parliamentary majority that has governed [or attempted to in the face of the pro-Syrian oppositions blockages] the country, a thawing that could bring with it certain superficial [and maybe useful] advantages.

These advantages include the possible expansion of the UNIFIL mandate to the Syrian-Lebanese border. This enforcement of one UNSC Resolution [1701] would come – to a certain extent - at the expense of another [1757] – to another certain extent.

Another, perhaps more long term, advantage could be witnessed in the continuation and augmentation of American-led efforts at bolstering the capabilities of a Lebanese Army long-drained of any capabilities by regional “equations” [i.e. the maintenance of Israel’s regional air superiority] and “proxy armies” [i.e. Hizballah and its continued policy of undermining the establishment of strong national army].

Where is Shaker el Absi?

As far as the Army’s [and the state’s] relations with that “proxy army” are concerned, however, the placement of Suleiman in the country’s top post seems to have highlighted the complete withdrawal of the issue of Hizballah’s weapons from the Lebanese domestic political scene and secured it in a broader international framework. A framework which could see Syria finally selling [if it still can] the only thing the world [the West] is interested in buying – Hizballah’s disarmament.

Nevertheless, it seems unclear that a domestic solution – and the election of a man willing and [to some extent] capable of implementing it – could have been reachable in the first place. The last time it was tried [through the 2006 National Dialogue talks aborted by Hizballah] the country found itself mired in a devastating “July War”.

The enthusiastic support Suleiman received in the “build up to his nomination” from the Egyptian political and military establishment, along with the upcoming US delivery of training jets to the Lebanese Army, seems to be confirmation of movement in a direction that can’t afford to be impeded by the Army’s infiltration by Hizballah and the officers who’ve plundered its armories for the group.


  1. Also check part ii of a word about suleiman, and the first post of the "word" series: a word about aoun (including an important correction made to the original post).

  2. BJ, do you have a source that actually confirms the delivery of that navy relic to the LAF?

  3. Hey Superdude,

    I missed that bit in my editing! Thats supposed to say "upcoming delivery".

    Thanks for pointing it out.


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