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

Sunday, October 28, 2007

In the Name of Idiocy and Secrecy

Lebanese blogging is down, here and elsewhere. It’s not surprising. As the suspense builds in Lebanon over the selection of a new president in the next few days, the newspapers have become unreadable. It’s all: X met Y, progress was achieved, but it’s all very secret.

On a lucky day, one of X or Y is Lebanese. Usually it’s a non-Lebanese Arab talking to some EU or UN guy and both are saying: hands off Lebanon. And, of course, our locals are bending over backwards to talk to these foreigners, while refusing to talk to one another, yet at the same time yelling “NO” to foreign interference.

The beauty of it is that, not only not much happens, it’s all very hush-hush. God forbid the populace finds out about its own future, or lack thereof.

From a recent Naharnet story (full story here, excerpts below):

Christian Committee Refers Recommendations to Patriarch Sfeir

A four-member committee grouping Christian representatives of the majority and opposition said Saturday that it did not review names of presidential candidates, stressing that the mission is "the leaders' responsibility."
“Not naming names” has become the new national mantra. The committee assigned the task of finding an “agreement” or ‘consensus” (i.e. insipid) candidate did not review names, and if they did they would not tell you the names. They were assigned by their, ahem, “leaders” to do nothing and report back to their, ahem, “leaders”.

The announcement was made by Bishop Samir Mazloum who announced to reporters at Bkirki that the committee has concluded its assignment and would refer its recommendations to Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir, who has the liberty of announcing them or not.
The patriarch will decide whether or not we, lowly bastards, get to know what’s going on. Save it your Eminence, we already know: very little is going on.

We have agreed on specifications and assignment of the new president and Patriarch Sfeir would decide what to do with our recommendations, Mazloum stressed.
Now I have ideas about what the committee can do with its recommendations, but they’re certainly better off with Sfeir telling them what to do.

He [Mazloum] refused to answer repeated questions about nature of the committee's recommendations.
It’s all TOP SECRET, you lowly peons. Move on, it’s only the future of your country.

Referring the recommendations to Patriarch Sfeir apparently settled a reported dispute among committee members on the authority to which its final report would be referred.
Thanks to the great writing at Naharnet, I have no idea what the above means but I think I can guess from previous experience.

When 128 MPs in parliament could not agree, we went to the “dialogue table”. When the dialogue table (some 20 people) could not agree, we went to the Committee of (Christian) Four. Now the four cannot agree, the patriarch will apparently do something. What? Pick a name and keep it to himself? Or maybe, if the patriarch fails to make up his mind, we can CAT scan his brains to come up with the magic qualities of the new prez (but, please, NO name). Jeez, can it be this tough finding a replacement for Emile Lahoud?

It [an-Nahar] also reported in its Saturday morning edition that the Christian committee has agreed that all MPs should attend the presidential elections session, which puts an end to the traditional dispute on quorum, be it two thirds of legislators or just simple majority.
All right, a teeny weeny piece of news here IF (huge if) it actually means that all Christian MPs, read Aounists, will show up on election day, regardless of agreement on a candidate. I have my doubts, see next line below.

However, committee members have not reached agreement on the authority to which its recommendations would be referred, an-Nahar reported.

It said representatives of the March 14 majority want the recommendations referred to Patriarch Sfeir, while opposition representatives want them referred to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Parliamentary Majority leader Saad Hariri who are involved in talks to agree on a consensus presidential candidate.

Referring the recommendations to Berri-Hariri, the report noted, puts them under possible veto by Berri, who represents the Hizbullah-led opposition in the talks.
Refer what to whom? Does any of that sound like they even agreed on the color of the sky?

Hizbullah has noted that it backs consensus among Christians on a presidential candidate conditional to nationwide consensus, leaving the door open to veto by the pro-Syrian opposition.
The above is the crown jewel of the piece. It highlights the supreme futility of all those meetings and talks. TRANSLATION: Hezbo will accept what the Christians say. Unless they don’t like it.

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman on Friday dealt a blow to President Emile Lahoud's alleged hope of remaining in office after his extended term expires on Nov. 24.
Even with the word “alleged” before the word “hope”, the fact that the above needs to be said tells you that Lebanon is living in the Twilight Zone cubed.

Washington would not deal with Lahoud after Nov. 24, the U.S. ambassador stressed in a statement.
Ditto for that statement. In fact, recent polls show 78.2% in favor of a constitutional amendment mandating the summary execution for anyone caught talking to the son of a thousand bitches after November 24.

Meanwhile, MP Michel Murr told LBC Friday evening that Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun does not enjoy enough parliamentary backing to win a presidential vote.

Aha! That old fox Michel Murr breaking the code of silence and blessing all of us with a truth only known to every ass in Lebanon.

"He knows that if he goes to parliament he cannot win," Murr said of Aoun.
Thanks Abou'l Mich Murr. We all know that. However, it’s reassuring to know that some truths are within the shaky grasp of Abou’l Mich Aoun.

By Nov. 11, one day before the date set by Berri for Parliament to elect a president, "we will tell him (Aoun) that vacuum (in the presidential office) is not an option," Murr added.

"I say that we will not accept vacuum, we will not ruin the country if consensus was not reached on him (Aoun)," Murr added.
Yeah, that's leadership. Let’s wait until the end of the world to tell Aoun what every cretin knows to be in the country’s interest. Can we now, at least, suspect that MPs of the worst kind, like you, will step back from the brink one day before Armageddon? Couldn’t you have spared the country months of anguish and economic ruin? (And please don’t change your mind when your buddy Bashar calls.)

"I'll support any candidate accepted by Berri, Hariri and Bkirki," Murr added.
And I’ll accept any candidate supported by Bush, Castro, Assad, Shaker Absi and Pinochet. I just sent Murr one of those new controversial tee shirts with the picture of 2 boobs on it, Hariri and Berri. And it says: Who needs brains when you got these?