Friday, March 07, 2008

Putting Lebanon First: Part I

Them Be Fightin' Words

Praise are in order:
An Nahar, citing well-informed sources in Beirut, said the Lebanese delegation [at the Arab League Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Cairo] suggested pointing out its view from the Lebanon crisis in which it considered that the "major problem" was not restricted to presidential elections, but was outlined by the Syrian-Iranian intervention in Lebanon.

The delegation argued that the Syrian-Iranian meddling began by encouraging rebellion, by providing anti-government Lebanese groups with arms and by continuing to press ahead with efforts to cripple Lebanon institutions all the way to the presidential void.

The delegation, therefore, insisted that the Arabs should deal with the root of the Lebanon crisis.
At the head of that delegation, and reading out its statement calling for the Arab League’s official recognition of what is unofficially obvious to all, was Lebanon’s acting Foreign Minsiter, Tarek Mitri, who took on the Foreign Ministry portfolio following the pretend-resignation of Fawzi Salloukh in December of 2005.

I actually got a chance to meet Dr. Mitri in person, some months ago, at an AUB Alumni Event organised in Montreal. Listening to him talk during the event one had a sense of the intellectual depth and forward vision with which he approached his recent foray into public service; and the zeal he could barely contain for confronting the obstacles he and others were facing in their quest to (re)build the state.

Indeed, behind the shaggy ‘do’ and jolly demeanour, Mitri was bristling for a fight. However, his intonations on the democratic duty of a country’s citizens to uphold the institutions of the state, and work through them, as opposed to undermining them, sailed comfortably over the heads of most the audience. And when an audience member was prevented from asking a question deemed “too close to political” by an over-zealous (in more ways than one) attendant at the event, Mitri insisted that he wanted to take on political questions.

But back to the point at hand...
[Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid] Muallem hit back at Mitri, accusing the Lebanese majority of inviting U.S. warships to Lebanon in a bid to attract international interference.
Ah, the old international interference quote. You know I always found it funny that a country which had occupied us for fifteen-some years, engaged in armed conflict on our soil, and dictated what conditions should be met if we're to have elections [Presidential or Parliamentary], should complain about foreign interference on our soil (never mind the validity of the claim itself).

Oh, and lets not forget the regime’s unabashed backing of Iranian-funded groups in Lebanon (Hizballah), Palestine (Hamas), and Iraq. But lets go back to that Hizballah thing for a moment...


  1. Syrians have no shame, it is nothing new. Neither any respect for international accepted rules and conventions. We learned that the hard way when they sent us back our ambassador in small boxes. The only language they understand is violence, unfortunately. It is sad for them and for their neighbors, but it is a fact.

    What I don't get is that Sarkozy still believed something could be done by negotiating with the Syrians. Chirac knew better (despite the fact he is an idiot) than discussing with murderers.

  2. Alphast: Here is Michael Young on French behaviour.

  3. Young is right all along. Kouchner is a helpless idealistic and arrogant know it all, but he got the right "gut" feeling. Levitte is an extremely knowledgeable guy, but he is a man of the previous administration and Gueant is just an ambitious ignorant who happens to have Sarkozy's favor. Unfortunately, Sarkozy and his allies might have great ideas and show a lot, the fact is that none of them as any great experience on the international front (if anything, their record even internally has shown exceptional incompetence). France is suffering on the international scene in general and in the Middle East in particular, because it lacks competent politicians with a vision.


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