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

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

MPs Gone Wild

When Lebanese politicians speak, no one listens and it usually is one of three things:

-90% of the time it’s predictable and useless, typically it boils down to “it’s my opponents’ fault” or its variant “it’s the foreign meddlers’ fault”.

-6.2% of the time it’s about something useless because it is “secret”. They speak of, or threaten with, secret lists (recently Sfeir), or secret plans (now M14 and Abou Faour), or secret negotiations and documents (now Aoun). This would be farcical were it not readily swallowed whole by the politically dormant populace and by a comatose press.

The height of hilarity comes when a Lebanese pol threatens to unveil a “secret” if things don’t go right. Things never go right and no culprit is ever uncovered. French President Sarkozy seems to have caught the disease. He said a couple of days ago: elect a prez now or else France will name the obstructionists. Still waiting.

-The remaining 3.8% of the time, our despised politicians’ utterances are still useless (batting a hundred in that department) but now it’s because they make no sense whatsoever.

Here are two recent examples, one from each political camp, M8 and M14.

Aounist and Hezbo (M8) “partner” MP Ibrahim Kenaan:

[…]if legislators failed to reach consensus on a presidential candidate "we can still vote in parliament" irrespective of who wins or loses.
"At that point we could reach agreement and that would be great, and if we did not achieve an agreement lets go to parliament, and we might win or lose at parliament," he added.
"We are saying that we could, or could not, reach an agreement. If we did not reach an agreement we go to elections," Kenaan explained.
You, Kenaan, and your allies refuse to show up to elect. Your absence causes a (supposed) lack of quorum and the election has been stalled for months now, causing a political vacuum. Excuse me but are you still in Aoun’s party or have you switched sides overnight and forgot to tell us?

And if you speak for your party, then what was holding up the election before candidate Suleiman came to the fore?

What am I missing here guys?

From the M14 side, we get MP and uninspired aspirant prez Boutros Harb:

MP Butros Harb cautioned against a scheme to strip the presidency of its powers and partition Lebanon in order to naturalize Palestinian refugees.

Harb, in an interview with Naharnet, said the "issue is not that of amending the constitution or who is president. This is a mere phase in a scheme to partition Lebanon in order to enforce the naturalization of Palestinians in the future."
If you read the whole thing, Harb says that the state and the presidency are being weakened by the current stalemate. Fair enough, but nothing earth shattering there. Harb goes on to say (diplomatically) that the French screwed up. Interesting, but more details would be nice.

What does not make sense to me is the “Palestinian naturalization/implantation” statement above that, as usual, is left unexplained. No details, no elaboration.

Is Boutros Harb accusing Hezbollah and Aoun of favoring Palestinian naturalization? I don’t believe it and neither does Harb. Is it Syria? Syria has no interest in any kind of long-term solution and favors keeping the Palestinians in Lebanon as destitute and angry tools. Can’t be Syria.

That accusation used to be normally hurled by Lahoud and Hezbo AT M14 and at Saad Hariri in particular. Is Harb accusing his own ally here?

Or is Harb accusing the US and France of saying they want a strong state in Lebanon while working behind the scenes to destroy it?

What the hell is this presidential contender talking about? WHO is working toward that implantation? Israel? Then Israel is playing its own friends the US and France for fools?

I really don’t get. What are these people talking about?

Anyone with a clue, please enlighten me. I mean it.


  • At 12/19/07, 8:06 AM, Blogger Marillionlb said…

    Do you really think that they actually know what the are talking about? The Orange deranged General yesterday on Al Jazira had to be reminded by the interviewer of Francois Hajj's name for example. They have all run out of excuses and lies and now utter nothing but rubbish.

  • At 12/19/07, 1:24 PM, Blogger Katkout said…

    ya alla aren't there any lebanese blogs that talk about someting else than politics ?! ra7 mout ana w nabbish !

  • At 12/19/07, 4:27 PM, Blogger Smurf said…

    Lebanese Political Syndromadol... someone should invent such a pill, targeted at the Lebanese 'sick and tired' populace, sell it for 500 Liras and donate the money to build a world-class mental institution, inaugurated of course, by our own complete set of politicians...

    Darn! clumsy me... it's not christmas yet, I've just spoiled my wish, oh well...

  • At 12/19/07, 6:59 PM, Blogger JoseyWales said…


    Welcome to the blogosphere, you may try "blogging beirut" blog, or go to "From Beirut to the Beltway" (on my blog roll) and try "Away from Politics" links in the left column.

  • At 12/20/07, 12:45 PM, Anonymous Bad Vilbel said…


    I'd like to know where you came up with your percentages!!! Can't post hard data like that without sources....

    Hehe Just kidding..

    More seriously though. I commented about the Harb ramblings the other day. This whole "weakening the Christians" and "Palestinian tawteen conspiracy" are just boilerplate stuff. It doesn't have to make any sense. The stupid Lebanese gobble it up (in this case it's intended for the Christian audience). It's the same as "Al Adoow Al Sahiouni" that Hezbollah bandies left and right for their Shia audience. That's one of the BIGGEST problems in Lebanese politics. This use of completely useless and empty boilerplate slogans that have lost all meaning. It's something we've been brainwashed with for 30 years now and don't know how to get away from. One is reminded of the old Communist regimes where every sentence was sprinkled with "Imperialist conspiracy".

    As for Kenaan. His comment actually makes sense (in a roundabout kind of way). Technically, what he's saying is exactly what should have happened a long time ago: Electing a president is a matter for the MPs, and they have to go in and vote, and accept the results, consensus or not.

    The problem is that none of them seem to realize that's what they're supposed to do.

  • At 12/20/07, 1:27 PM, Blogger JoseyWales said…

    Agreed BV,

    Still Harb has to say WHO is pushing Tawteen. At least when the M8 idiots say "Tawteen" they have a "story/theory" with a "culprit" Hariri and a "justification" which is more Sunnis in Lebanon. They can sell that to their supporters.

    Who the hell is the relatively "credible/plausible" guilty party in Harb's divagations (other than his own allies)???

    As to Kenaan, my writing was not clear enough. Of course what he says makes sense: no agreement, go to election, live with result. It's what you and I have said a million times.

    The mystery is that HE, Kenaan, the boycotter of 7 or 8 sessions is saying that. At the same time his master Aoun is STILL saying NO ELECTION without negotiations, consensus whatever...

  • At 12/20/07, 10:23 PM, Anonymous Bad Vilbel said…

    The short of it, Josey, is that these morons don't NEED to make sense. You know why? Because they have legions of followers that buy their nonsensical comments hook, line and sinker. And nobody in the press calls them out on it (like you are).

    If we had a public and a media that called the fuckers on this bullshit, like the media does in the West (regardless of its flaws), leaders would think twice before opening their mouths.

    Everytime a leader says something stupid in the US, France, the UK or elsewhere, it's a big scandal in the press. Senators have had to resign, or bow out of electoral races for making dumb comments. In Lebanon, no one calls these bozos on their bullshit. Even worse, a bunch of people listen, nod in agreement and go "Oh yeah! He's right! Tawteen! Ooohlala!" (or whatever the conspiracy du jour happens to be).

    So again, the flaw, in my opinion (and i can't say this enough times) is us, the people (and the press by extension). We don't demand better leaders, and we don't hold these guys accountable for their words or actions. We get exactly what we deserve.

  • At 12/27/07, 9:26 AM, Blogger Mustapha said…


    I'm having problems with your feed. Could you by any chance have a feedburner account?

  • At 12/27/07, 3:24 PM, Blogger JoseyWales said…

    Hi Mustapha

    Thx for checking the feed and links.

    I don't know what you are talking about (backburner ???).

    Not sure what is happening on Open Lebanon site also. There, my blog's name appears after Headlines unrelated to me. Any thoughts??

    BTW, I suggest you have an easier way (links) to your recent posts. Only way to get there now is via "home" and scroll down, not very use-friendly to your new or infrequent reader.


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