Friday, December 15, 2006

National Union

“Government of National Union” is the fashionable slogan today which the opposition, for the most part Shia followers of the charismatic leader of Hizbullah, Hassan Nasrallah, brandishes at every opportunity to block any effort of the part of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to govern the country or to take measures to alleviate the catastrophic economic situation in which every Lebanese finds himself in today.

National Union is a heady term which means nothing when the objectives and allegiances of the respective political formations are at odds and where every such formation seeks power. The Opposition which includes such pathetic characters as General Aoun, demand one third of the Council of Ministers plus one to be in a position to veto any important decision which requires a two thirds majority, thereby reducing Government to a debating society. No wonder, therefore, that Prime Minister Siniora and his allies have rejected the proposal put forward by Hizbullah, for valid intrinsic reasons, apart from the fact that it has received the open or tacit support of Iran and Syria; Iran to foment opposition to the United States for the purpose of pursuing its atomic programme; Syria to avenge its ignominious withdrawal from Lebanon after thirty years of rule, and in the hope of returning at some future date.

And so the merry go round continues with Amr Moussa, the Secretary General of the Arab League, accompanied by a representative from Sudan (why Sudan, we wonder), engaging in lengthy meetings with all the powers that be in Lebanon, in the hope of finding an acceptable solution to the various problems which bedevil Lebanon. It is sad to note that his efforts have so far not produced any positive and concrete results. He promises to return next Monday to resume his meetings

In the meantime the strikers continue to occupy the centre of Beirut and to paralyse life in general. President Lahoud continues to occupy Baabda and to make asinine statements every now and then. He refuses categorically to step down before the last minute of his term of office. The International Court of Justice remains a subject of contention. The latest is that a Committee of six jurists has been appointed to consider its terms of reference; another method for pushing the subject into limbo.

In other words, we are back to square one, with no possible solution in view.