Risky Fad: Siniora is a Star
In the past few days, PM Siniora* stopped impersonating a "caracon" sergeant, who merely reports the number of dead and wounded, and said "no" to Condi Rice and later went on to shed a few tears during an emotional speech before the useless meeting of useless people (Arab Foreign Ministers) from the useless Arab League.
And now bloggers, friends and family, and political commentators are all fawning about an "emerging leader", a "wise man", an "historic PM".
I think these words are at the very least premature, if not plain wrong. Bloggers know I have dubbed him "Milquetoast" Siniora.
Don't misunderstand me. I believe PM Siniora is a decent man in a very tight spot. I believe PM Siniora is well intentioned and that his tears were heart-felt for the plight of his fellow citizens. However, that can be said of most Lebanese and is not enough to make one a historic leader.
What is needed from a leader in times of war, is bold action, strong words, and vision. None of which appear forthcoming. The government is now talking about sending the army to the south, a welcome move but a move that is a year too late.
When the Iranian and/or Syrian Foreign Ministers contradicts, from Lebanese soil, the Lebanese government's view on a cease-fire resolution, I don't want to hear it's "over the limit". I want my PM to kick their butts out (sorta like Rice).
Siniora, at least, ought to have had the Iranian ambassador recalled. What could happen? Iran might stop shipping us rockets? Nasrallah is going to howl? Even better! Embarrass the crap out of him by looking strong, and taking the initiative. That is how people rally around you.
Siniora has yet to be clear on his government's position on crucial matters, including Hezbollah.
I understand the need to be cautious with Hezbollah, but Lebanon got in this mess by having an incoherent policy, and won't get out of the mess by remaining incoherent.
Here are a few notes from the Charlie Rose interview (Aug 4 show) and his "tears" speech at the Arab League meeting (paraphrasing):
- Siniora: The core problem is/was Shebaa, prisoners in Israel and the mines. That is disingenuous, as he knows Hezbollah is on the record saying that that is not enough, and the Jewish State has no right to exist. I never heard Siniora or Hezbo say "solve these and we have no problem". Siniora may have wanted to, but did not do it. So spare me.
- Siniora: Hezbollah did not tell the government about the attack, so the government cannot be held responsible. Ok Fouad, you are a 4-year old, I am three, and it's all one big joke. (????)
- Siniora: We don’t want Lebanon to be the punching bag for all the regional causes. Then he rants about the Golan Heights and Gaza and the 1967 territories. You don’t want to be a punching bag? Use your head and disengage yourself from the regional issues (to the extent you can). The Golan is a bigger problem for Syria. Why are Syria's' bridges still standing?
-Siniora: Our "Ourouba" [Arabism/arabness] is not conditional. What the hell does that mean? I say it should be EXTREMELY "conditional". Maybe it should be on OUR own terms. That's exactly HOW we became the "punching bag", Foufou. All others are "conditional" Arabs. We're the only unconditional buffoons, with results before our very eyes. A connection there? Ya think? Naahhh!
- Siniora: Let's solve the Lebanese problem (Shebaa etc) and then we can solve the regional problem and have peace. Seconds later. It’s the other way around: Solve Palestine, so Lebanon can have peace. OK I am lost. Which is it?
- Siniora: The protection of Lebanon is the job of the government. Thanks for the news flash Fouad. When is that job going to start? And do you still need Nasrallah's OK for this?
- Siniora: Let's have land for peace (in the region) and solve the whole mess, then Lebanon will be the "last" one to sign peace with Israel. Fine, so it's not just about Shebaa and the mine map, is it? Apparently there is a list of countries, and we are at the bottom of it. (Fine, I don't care, but let's be clear as to why.)
So in my "summary": If not Shebaa-etc then we are linked to other problems. And if we are, then we are likely to become the punching bag, especially if the government is not in charge, which it wants to be, but can't really because of Hezbollah…
Do you get the sinking feeling there is no coherence and we are going in circles trying to catch our own tail?
Coherence and honesty are NECESSARY for a sane successful policy (i.e. where people are not killed). We are not there yet.
And no, Siniora is just a decent man, an incompetent PM who is still spewing deadly inane cliches. By hailing mediocrity and dereliction of duty we perpetuate both.
I hope Siniora does grow quickly into the leader some bloggers "see", though time has almost run out. In the meantime, the stage is still hogged by Nasrallah and his mad agenda.
*or Saniora or Seniora or Sanioura.