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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Michel Suleiman-Bashar Assad Lovefest

From Naharnet (April 30, 2008):

Lebanese Army Commander Gen. Michel Suleiman has spoken to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by telephone to thank him for his supportive stance, local media said Wednesday.
Allo Hayati? Supportive of what? His blocked (by Syria) bid for the presidency? I guess it’s always good to kiss up to Bashar if you want a political future in Lebanon, or even if you just want to live if you happen to be a high ranking official living next to your lovely neighbor.

Assad, in an interview with Qatar's Al Watan newspaper last week, praised Suleiman, describing him as a "good" person.
Thanks Bashar, we all know you are the final arbiter of good and evil in the region. I hope Michel-Sally-Fields is happy: “they like you Micho, they really like you!”

"This is Syria's point of view (regarding Suleiman). It is also the (Lebanese) opposition's point of view," Assad said.
Syria does not meddle in Lebanese affairs. It does however have a point of view on the presidential election (and everything else Lebanese) and speaks for the independent opposition. It’s one of those Zen-middle-eastern things, like the sound of one hand clapping, that only Hassan Nasrallah and his useful idiot Michel Aoun understand.

Here’s the best part:

Suleiman also thanked Assad for going back on his decision to receive Lebanese army officers for military training [in Syria].
You see, Lebanon stopped sending officers for, ahem hem, “training” in Syria after the assassination of PM Hariri. We all should be very thankful now because our officers were missing out on important military lessons: how to defend impregnable positions like the Golan, or how to shoot down dastardly enemy planes bombing innocent North Korean facilities.

And lastly, another cliche straight out of 1984 and good old Soviet era Newspeak:

Suleiman and Assad also discussed "ways of coordination and cooperation" between the two armies.
Haven’t we had enough “coordination and cooperation” during the 30-year invasion of Lebanon by Syria? How about a little break from all that cuddling? And how about calling things by their real name like: “infiltration and endoctrination”?

PS In the meantime, that impotent master of the obvious and of the lame, Pat Sfeir, was telling us, well, the obvious and the lame, yet again.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Intimidation of Judge Riachi Continues

From the Daily Star:

BEIRUT: Justice Minister Charles Rizk said on Tuesday that veteran Judge Ralph Riachi's home in Al-Douwar, Mount Lebanon, had been vandalized by unknown individuals late Sunday in an apparent attempt to intimidate the jurist. Riachi is one of two judges assigned by the Lebanese government to cooperate with United Nations officials in setting up the international tribunal to try suspects in former Premier Rafik Hariri's murder.
According to L’Orient-LeJour (April 22, 2008), this was the THIRD breaking-in of Riachi’s home. His Jounieh apartment was also broken into, but only once.

"Apparent" attempt my foot! OF COURSE it is an attempt to intimidate Judge Riachi (and others) involved in the sensitive Hariri case.

[Justice Minister] Rizk urged UN chief Ban Ki-moon to speed up the appointment of Canadian Judge Daniel Bellemare as prosecutor general on the tribunal in a bid to protect the Lebanese judges by exempting them from their current duties.
Excuse me? Protect our judges by “exempting” them from duties? Of course the international tribunal should be sped up and pressure relieved on Lebanese under threat. But I have news for Charles Rizk, the pressure is never going away until the state wakes up and takes RADICAL action (reappointments, firings of moles and saboteurs, martial law or emergency powers, all that until these threats stop).

Rizk argued that delaying the appointment was putting the lives of Riachi and other Lebanese judges at risk. "What are we waiting for? Does a Lebanese judge have to get killed before Bellemare takes full charge of the case?" Rizk asked.
Indeed you fool! The UN should move but what are YOU and PM Saniora waiting for? MP Walid Eido who was involved with the tribunal's by-laws was killed along with 10 other people. The top Hariri investigator, ISF Capt. Wissam Eid, was killed along with his bodyguard. And on and on and on. You can be sure that lowly employees handling files and evidence are constantly bribed and/or threatened and we never hear about it.

The UN moves like a snail and is not personally threatened like your very own government. What’s your excuse Mr. Minister?

Why aren’t Riachi and his homes and his family PROTECTED 24/7? Does posting two guards in front of his home require a presidential election, parliamentary dialogue, and a solution to regional tensions?

And why isn’t this front-page news, as well as front-page editorial DEMANDS for answers? Too pedestrian for our editorial writers busy, way over their tiny heads, with high-flying international politics?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Aoun’s FPM: Like Nation, Like Party

Yet again, a party/movement once touted as the party of change and difference has caught all the diseases of the Lebanese nation.

Now Lebanon has a good long piece on internal tensions inside Michel Aoun's FPM (Free Patriotic Movement). You say “goodie, good, good”, someone must be coming to his senses over at FPM. Unfortunately, upon reading the whole thing we find that the problems are:

-Fights for power, where Michel Aoun wants his son-in-law in charge (Gibran Bassil).

-Fights over who controls party money, apparently a lot of it.

-Postponement of internal party elections from May to October of this year.

Gee! Personal fights, nepotism, money business and inability to hold elections. Where have we seen this before?

I’m sure some larger policy disagreements loom inside the party, but they are apparently less prominent than the petty stuff.

I am also not so naive as to believe that this stuff is not part of politics everywhere. But really, nothing, zippo, about policy issues?

Yallah, the state can’t hold elections. The political parties can’t hold elections. At least the engineers elected someone somewhere last week, and there was politics involved. For what? I don’t know.

Oh well, Lebanon: same old, same old. Plus ca change...