Friday, April 28, 2006


The political scene in Lebanon defies all analyses in its complexity and utter futility. We have a President of the Republic who sits but does not govern except negatively in frustrating the efforts of the Prime Minister to manage the affairs of the State. We have a Prime Minister who bravely tries to govern but who finds himself blocked at every turn by machinations carried out through a Syrian second column such as Deputy Naser Qandil who had just emerged on the political scene after eclipsing himself for some twelve months for having been suspected in having a hand in the assassination of Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. We have a Speaker of the House of Parliament, serving a fourth term as Speaker, a wheeling dealing Machiavellic figure who has exploited his astute qualities to advance his own career, both financially and politically and who continues to dominate the Parliamentary scene. We have Saad Hariri who wears the political mantle of his assassinated father, with a Parliamentary bloc of some seventy Deputies. The pot pourri of Lebanese politics includes, of course Walid Jumblatt, the acknowledged leader of the Druze community, and on the other side of the fence, we have a General Aoun, an “officier médiocre” according to his official military career who has the temerity to declare himself as the future President of Lebanon. What fools these mortals be. To achieve this objective, he the Maronite par excellence, has allied himself with Hezbollah, described by some as a militia and by others as a resistance movement, which was largely responsible in driving Israel out of Lebanon. On the scene also is Samir Geagea, who following twelve years of imprisonment now speaks as a responsible statesman. There are others whom we may have forgotten.

All the above characters, as of this evening, Friday 28th April, will meet to resume the General Dialogue Conference, adjourned from its last session a month ago, to consider unresolved issues of national importance, such as the Presidency, and how best to get rid of President Lahoud, to our mind a dead issue, for he will remain till the end of his Syrian dictated mandate. A second important issue, if not the most important, relates to Syrian Lebanese relations which are very strained at this very moment, and last but not least, a hitherto forgotten hamlet in South Lebanon under Israeli occupation. The question is whether this hamlet, known as Shibaa Farms is Syrian or Lebanese. As part of Lebanon it provides Hezbollah with an alibi to maintain its military wing, but if Syrian, then Lebanon has nothing to do with it. Syrian has declared verbally that it is Lebanese, but it has refused to sign an official document to that effect.

It is our opinion that the Conference to which we referred earlier on will lead nowhere. It has been and will remain a dialogue between deaf people.

For the rest, God, in His infinite mercy, may decide to save Lebanon from destruction.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


More often than not, terrorism is a by-product of repression and oppression. Such was the case of the Palestinian suicide bomber who blew himself up in the midst of Tel Aviv, killing nine Jews and wounding many others, to escape the indignity of hunger and starvation which threatens the whole of the Gaza district as a result of the Israeli land and sea blockade of the area. That twenty year old Palestinian has been branded as a terrorist. Israel with its wanton destruction, confiscation and mass murder or imprisonment has escaped that condemnation, because in President Bush's twisted mind, Israeli terrorism is justifiable. The same President Bush had made a point of calling for free and democratic Palestinian elections and went as far as to send observers to monitor the elections. Hamas, known enmity to Israel, won with an overwhelming majority, which led the same President Bush to bulldoze economic sanctions to throttle the new Hamas Government. If that is not mass terrorism, how else can we describe it; a blatant attempt to starve a whole nation.

The line between rebellion, revolution and terrorism is very thin. To the oppressed, terrorism can be the only means available to avoid oppression, even though the end result can be counter productive.

The Al Dahab Sinai terrorist attack, or rather holocaust is a heinous terrorist attack, where unlike the Palestinian who blew his life away, the perpetrators have so far escaped justice and retribution. A pin prick against the Egyptian economy in discouraging tourism, cannot by any standard justify the assassination of foreign visitors enjoying a holiday on Egyptian soil.

Let it be said once and for all, terrorism, be it state sponsored or perpetrated by individuals cannot be tolerated nor condoned by any moral standard or ethic, regardless of the objective. It is the gravest of sins, for in the words of God, "though shalt not kill your brother.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The cast

Emile Lahoud

Fouad Siniora

Nabih Berri

Michel Aoun

Walid Jumblatt

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah

Samir Geagea

Monday, April 24, 2006

Introduction : The Wizard of Beirut has just been conceived

The Wizard of Beirut has just been conceived as a project to analyse and comment on developments in the Middle East and more specifically in Lebanon. For Lebanon we will begin with a cast of the characters concerned, "Dramatis personae", for the most part megalomaniac self centred politicians whose primary concern has been to serve their own interests rather than the interests of Lebanon.

At the top of the pinnacle stands or rather sits President Emile Lahoud who clings to his presidential seat with demonic ferocity, despite the rising tide of unpopularity and opposition to his very existence. Nominated to his high office of President of the Republic by the Syrians who occupied Lebanon at that time and who bulldozed a prolongation of his six year term of office by an additional three years, using threats against Prime Minister Rafik Al Hariri and a number of Lebanese deputies to insure a favourable parliamentary vote.

The next character of the cast is the Speaker of the House. Nabih Berri, who is currently serving his fourth four year term of office as Speaker. He is machiavellic and very astute, and very au courant with the foibles and seamy side of his deputies which he has exploited to perfection to perpetuate his position as Speaker of the House.

Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora, is more of a sheep among the wolves. Nonetheless, he has shown great courage and innate political sense in facing and dealing with the challenges of his critics in and out of Parliament, and of course in dealing with the ever looming menace of the Syrian regime.

Out of office, we have a buffoon called General Aoun, who acts and speaks like a buffoon and who aspires to become President of Lebanon, with the help and support of the Hezbollah, a Shiite political and military group which takes credit for the liberation of South Lebanon from Israeli occupation. At the head of this group stands Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, a charismatic cleric who runs Hezbollah (party of God) with an iron hand. He is a brilliant speaker and tactician and he is of course a close ally of Iran and Syria, on which two countries he relies for funds and arms.

Last by not least comes the feudal lord and socialist leader Walid Jumblatt who controls the Chouf mountains, the stronghold of the Druze community in Lebanon. He has and continues to play a principal role on the Lebanese stage. A skilled politician, he has an acute nose for the direction of the wind and he plays his respective roles accordingly. Currently he is very much anti-Syrian.

There are of course other actors on the stage, such as Samir Geagea of the Forces Libanaises, Samir Franjieh and others. They are important figures but they play a secondary role.

This introduction may help the readers to understand future developments in Lebanon.