LEBANONESQUE

Impressions, views, and steam-blowing by a lonesome cowboy.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Lahoud Must Go: Part II and Again

I wrote Lahoud Must Go,Period a year ago. Today, I feel it needs repeating and a part II.

In light of Pierre Gemayel’s assassination and all the other assassinations and in light of the death threats hanging above the cabinet’s head: Emile Lahoud must go. Now. Right now, before the international tribunal, before Seniora’s economic measures.

Screw the economy. There’s no economy if there is no country. Plus the economy will never ever take off in the sick, turbulent, violent, unstable environment we are in for the foreseeable future if there is one.

If Lahoud stays, there will be neither an international tribunal nor an end to the killings. Lahoud will obstruct the tribunal and I believe setting up the tribunal requires his signature that won’t come.

One of the reasons Gemayel was assassinated was to bring the number of cabinet ministers down, now 17 down from 24. If the number goes down further (assassination or resignation by threat) the (ineffective) government falls, creating a constitutional crisis and further mayhem. That is why the government is beefing up security (har har) and asking current ministers to leave their homes and set up quarter in the PM’s headquarters.

Why does killing a minister deplete the cabinet? Because you cannot replace him. Why can’t you replace him? Because it requires Lahoud’s signature and Lahoud and his Syrian masters want the government to fall.

Killing ministers works because Lahoud is obstructing. Cleaning house at security agencies and police is impossible because Lahoud is obstructing. The international tribunal may not happen or will take forever because Lahoud is obstructing.

The country is in a deep existential crisis and Lahoud has a FULL (unconstitutional) year to go. Any other country would have declared martial law or a state of emergency a long time ago. Our politicians and religious instances are still playing games with the office of the presidency and its occupant. Of course Maronite Patriarch Sfeir carries more weight when it comes to the presidency and he is no fan of Lahoud. However, like most decision-makers in Lebanon he is totally lacking in imagination and in boldness.

The time for half-measures is long long gone. I am not saying that Lahoud is the only problem. There are many others including whore Nabih Berri who could also obstruct. And there are certainly things the government should have done, and could do, but won’t. Still, dumping Lahoud is absolutely necessary though not sufficient.

If you can’t catch the killers at least take away one of the reasons they kill. You need to name new cabinet ministers and Lahoud is in the way. Granted not many people will be lining up for a cabinet position, but some fearless souls remain and/or some big egos who will love the title.

The gravity of the situation should be brought to bear in the extreme on all, and on Aoun in particular, even if the last resort is to give him the presidency. The alternative for March 14 and everyone else is the return of Syria with a vengeance. And that dear Joumblatt, Hariri, Geagea etc means your days are counted, or if you are lucky it’s exile.

I’ll let lawyers and constitutional scholars figure out how to get rid of the Lahoud cancer. Here’s my crazy idea, especially since the Maronite Church stands to never recover should Syria re-enter Lebanon. The Maronite Church excommunicates Lahoud. He therefore is not a Maronite anymore. He can’t be president. Let’s have an election.

PS I hope and pray the funeral is peaceful today.

18 Comments:

  • At 11/23/06, 2:02 AM, Anonymous fubar said…

    Yes, Lahoud must go. But excommunication requires a religious, not political, reason. The church cannot do what you suggest. But then you know that...

     
  • At 11/23/06, 9:27 AM, Blogger JoseyWales said…

    Hi fubar,

    Sure I know. Just tongue in cheek, maybe he skipped church 2 sundays in a row.

    I maintain however that extreme times require extreme measures, every mean of demeaning, denigrating, ostracizing, suing, prosecuting etc must be put in place to get this catastrophic piece of garbage to go.

    It may already be too late, but it's this creep or the country. We cannot wait another year. The patient is on his last breath.

     
  • At 11/23/06, 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    March 14 should use 'creative' measures to deal with the lahoud problem.

     
  • At 11/23/06, 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    After Taef, the president is merely a decorative token.
    How on earth do you see Lahoud a priority.
    The bipolarisation of Lebanon, 50% Shiite-RPL and 50% the rest is the real problem.
    The election law that was not changed since the Syrian tweaked it.
    If people in Lebanon in accept the concept of one person one vote, then all conflicts would be resolved by PMs.

     
  • At 11/23/06, 8:28 PM, Blogger JoseyWales said…

    Anon 8:10,

    Taef weakened the president but the president still needs to sign resignations and appointments of ministers, as well as the appointment of a new PM and a new cabinet.

    That is why the country is stuck. If this cabinet leaves or falls, Lahoud who represents NO ONE but Syria, not even Hezbo nor Aoun, still has veto power.

    That is a big problem right now for gvmnt, the tribunal and cleaning up the police. The other things you mention are debatable, longer term. and at this point irrelevant.

    Again: Lahoud is an (unlawful) puppet with no base whatsoever preventing a parliamentary majority from governing (whether you like the 2000 election law or not).

     
  • At 11/23/06, 9:50 PM, Anonymous ghassan said…

    I strongly agree that Lahoud must go! Solution? I hate assassination and I don't want to even mention it! Rumor: At one time, he started negotiation with the US government to give him ammunity and a place to stay in the US and he was willing to go! By the way, his wife came to the US and brought with her tens of luggages assuming that she is staying here for ever since she has close friends in California.
    Do you think that the US should do that for a person that may be he will be asked to appear before the internation tribunal?

     
  • At 11/23/06, 9:52 PM, Anonymous ghassan said…

    I strongly agree that Lahoud must go! Solution? I hate assassination and I don't want to even mention it! Rumor: At one time, he started negotiation with the US government to give him immunity and a place to stay in the US and he was willing to go! By the way, his wife came to the US and brought with her tens of luggage assuming that she is staying here for ever since she has close friends in California.
    Do you think that the US should do that for a person that may be he will be asked to appear before the international tribunal?

     
  • At 11/23/06, 11:01 PM, Anonymous fubar said…

    Josey,

    Assuming no more ministers die or resign in the meantime...

    If Lahoud refuses to accept the Hariri tribunal and send it to the Chamber of Deputies, he should be accused of high treason for acting as an agent of a foreign government by placing the interests of Syria above those of Lebanon in violation of his oath of office. If nothing else, his impeachment would suspend him from office and allow the Council of Ministers to exercise the powers of the President until the Supreme Court settles the matter.


    Article 60 [Responsibility]

    (1) While performing his functions, the President of the Republic may not be held responsible except when he violates the constitution or in the case of high treason.

    (2) However, his responsibility in respect of ordinary crimes is subject to the ordinary laws. For such crimes, as well as for violation of the constitution and for high treason, he may not be impeached except by a majority of two thirds of the total membership of the Chamber of Deputies. He is to be tried by the Supreme Council provided for in Article 80. The functions of Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Council are performed by a judge appointed by the Supreme Council in plenary session.

    Article 61 [Suspension after Impeachement]

    Should the President of the Republic be impeached, he is suspended from his functions. The presidency remains vacant until the Supreme Council has settled the matter.

    Article 62 [Vacancy]

    Should the Presidency become vacant for any reason whatsoever, the Council of Ministers exercises the powers of the President by delegation.


    BTW, this would avoid the resignation of the entire government, Article 69, (1) The Government is considered resigned in the following circumstances: (d) at the beginning of the term of the President of the Republic. So, if the President is impeached, the council takes over his duties pending the outcome by the Supreme Court (sure to take some time); and, in the meantime, the government continues on as no new President can be elected until the matter is resolved.

    And all is well in the world, until the next council minister is killed...but even so, the council can act for the President in appointing new ministers, so again, on it goes, until the Prime Minister is killed which, under the Constitition, results in resignation of the government.

    So, my questions is, who is looking after Siniora? I sure hope it is not Fatfat.

     
  • At 11/23/06, 11:08 PM, Anonymous fubar said…

    Opps, my bad, Supreme Court should read Supreme Council.

     
  • At 11/24/06, 8:17 AM, Blogger JoseyWales said…

    Ghassan and fubar,

    Yes anything. I mention in my year-old post that threats to prosecute remove etc everything should be used and Sfeir should be very clear and vocal, as should civil society types etc with strikes and so on....

    As to the Supreme Council, I don't know. Is it not missing members (because of Lahoud obstruction) or most of them are pro-Syrian and/or threatenable like everyone else in Lebanon?

     
  • At 11/25/06, 9:24 AM, Blogger bee said…

    Great idea!

     
  • At 11/25/06, 9:39 AM, Blogger Wil said…

    Brilliant, JW! Return from Massachussets and run for...er, what's your confession? Can you run for president, PM or pope?

     
  • At 11/28/06, 6:06 PM, Anonymous Blogsurvey said…

    Blog Survey

    Hi my name is Jane and I’m doing a survey on Blog community for my Meaning of Information Technology class at the University of Colorado @ Boulder. I was wondering if you could complete the quick survey below. Please e-mail your answer to blogmit@yahoo.com or post it to http://www.xanga.com/BlogMIT. This survey is only run for 1 weeks and the results of the survey will be posted on the Xanga website on December 5th. Thank You for your participation.

    1. Do you have a personal blog? Or do you visit community blogs where you can post comments on?

    2. How many blogs do you have?

    3. How many blogs do you visit or are active in (writing, reading and/or commenting on)?

    4. How freely do you express yourself on blogs on a range of 1-10 (1 least opinionated and 10 you’re blunt)

    5. How much do you reveal about yourself? (Personal information such as where you live, names of people you mention in the blog, places you went to, etc.)

    6. What do you talk about on your blog that you have or visit? (Technology, family, friends, school, sports, music, etc.)

    7. Are you yourself when you’re on blogs or do you pretend you’re someone else?

    8. Do you think blogs have an impact in the community blog? (Do you see people sway their opinion(s) on blogs due to someone else’s opinion)

    9. Do you think blogs have a political or social impact on people’s opinion and society in general?

    10. When did you start blog-ing? When did you start joining community blogs?

    11. What are your opinions on the future of online community? (Do you think people will use it as often as now, less, more? Or will there be a more significant impact of community blogs on political, social opinions?

    12. Is your majoring of your blog entries open to public, restricted to friends list or kept private?

    13. Gender (optional)

    Thank You for your participation!

     
  • At 11/28/06, 6:08 PM, Anonymous Blog Survey said…

    Blog Survey

    Hi my name is Jane and I’m doing a survey on Blog community for my Meaning of Information Technology class at the University of Colorado @ Boulder. I was wondering if you could complete the quick survey below. Please e-mail your answer to blogmit@yahoo.com or post it to http://www.xanga.com/BlogMIT. This survey is only run for 1 weeks and the results of the survey will be posted on the Xanga website on December 5th. Thank You for your participation.

    1. Do you have a personal blog? Or do you visit community blogs where you can post comments on?

    2. How many blogs do you have?

    3. How many blogs do you visit or are active in (writing, reading and/or commenting on)?

    4. How freely do you express yourself on blogs on a range of 1-10 (1 least opinionated and 10 you’re blunt)

    5. How much do you reveal about yourself? (Personal information such as where you live, names of people you mention in the blog, places you went to, etc.)

    6. What do you talk about on your blog that you have or visit? (Technology, family, friends, school, sports, music, etc.)

    7. Are you yourself when you’re on blogs or do you pretend you’re someone else?

    8. Do you think blogs have an impact in the community blog? (Do you see people sway their opinion(s) on blogs due to someone else’s opinion)

    9. Do you think blogs have a political or social impact on people’s opinion and society in general?

    10. When did you start blog-ing? When did you start joining community blogs?

    11. What are your opinions on the future of online community? (Do you think people will use it as often as now, less, more? Or will there be a more significant impact of community blogs on political, social opinions?

    12. Is your majoring of your blog entries open to public, restricted to friends list or kept private?

    13. Gender (optional)

    Thank You for your participation!

     
  • At 11/29/06, 4:26 AM, Blogger R said…

    Hey fubar,

    a -I am not chasing you across the blogosphere

    b - you need 2/3's of the chamber of deputies, i.e. parliament to impeach. You have about 70 of 128...

     
  • At 12/4/06, 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Here is the solution to your conflict:

    If you start hating Jews more, the Hizbullah guys will love you.

     
  • At 12/7/06, 4:57 AM, Blogger Nobody said…

    Good article by Michael Young

    Daily Star
    December 07, 2006

    In the broad details, there are striking similarities between the communist takeover in Czechoslovakia in 1948 and what is occurring in Lebanon today; between the "coup of Prague" and the "coup of Beirut," which Hizbullah and its comrades are presently sweating to implement.

    As in Lebanon, the Czechoslovak communists benefited from a Cabinet crisis to kick off massive street protests. They controlled the government and the security ministries, and chose to act because they were expecting to lose ground in upcoming parliamentary elections. The communists had to strike quickly at a time when their external patron, the Soviet Union, was entering into a confrontation with the West. Indeed, Moscow had forced the Czech government to reverse its initial acceptance of Western aid under the Marshall Plan, fearing this would take Prague out of its orbit and offer more legitimacy to non-communist forces.

    In Lebanon, too, Hizbullah is being pressed by its external patrons, Iran and Syria, to overthrow a system they fear losing. Syria seeks to reimpose its hegemony over Lebanon, and its priority is to undermine the tribunal dealing with the Hariri assassination. Iran, for its part, doesn't like the fact that United Nations Security Council 1701 is stifling Hizbullah along the Israeli border. Hizbullah may not control security ministries as the communists did in Czechoslovakia, but it has influential allies in the military, and its militia is more powerful than the army. It may not fear losing elections, but its setbacks in the July-August war, particularly the destruction visited on Shiites, obliged it to mobilize its supporters against the government so they would not turn their anger against the party. Like the Czech communists, Hizbullah is using both institutions and the street to seize power. It has also succeeded, like the communists did with the socialists in Czechoslovakia, in neutralizing a key actor whose opposition could have decisively damaged their ambitions: the Aounist movement. --> Full Source

     
  • At 12/9/06, 12:07 AM, Blogger Fares said…

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