The Qnion

Aoun Rejects Hariri’s “Conditions” For Lunch Meeting

duck l'orangeBEIRUT, Lebanon — Lebanese MP and leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, General Michel Aoun, rejected Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri’s invitation to discuss the stalled cabinet formation over lunch.

A dispute over the candidacy of Aoun’s son-in-law Gebran Bassil for the position of Telecommunications Minister is widely believed to be the main obstacle to the birth of a new Lebanese government. In a press conference at Aoun’s residence in Rabieh, the fiery general rejected Hariri’s “arrogant” conditions regarding the lunch date.

“Who does he think he is? He invites me for lunch without providing any more information? Am I supposed to just accept his invitation blindly?” Aoun asked a group of newspaper reporters.

Aoun dismissed suggestions that the lunch proposal was intended to reach an acceptable compromise, saying  “Before we accept any invitation, we need to have all the information ahead of time so that we can study it carefully. We were not born yesterday, you know,” said Aoun.

When asked by an al-Akhbar journalist about what kind of information he was looking for, Aoun replied, “The choice of restaurant, for starters! Hello? What if I don’t particularly like the restaurant that he chooses? Why does he get to decide where we’re eating? Plus, why does it have to be lunch? Maybe I don’t eat lunch. Maybe I only eat breakfast and dinner. Or brunch! Maybe I only eat brunch. Did the MP-designate ever think of that?”

When reminded that al-Hariri was actually the Prime Minister-designate, Aoun responded: “No, I prefer to call him MP-designate. He’s not the Prime Minister-designate until after the government is formed. It’s just plain arrogance to call yourself the Prime Minister-designate just because you’ve been designated Prime Minister. I mean, ha ha, what a laugh.”

Asked if he had any preferences for lunch venues, Aoun said that he’d prefer not to give away any sensitive information at this juncture, but that he would respond to the other camp’s proposals, “once they stop beating around the bush.”

“I’m not trying to be difficult,” said Aoun. “I will study any real proposal with the attention it deserves — whether it’s sushi, or Italian, Chinese, whatever. But I’m simply not going to rush into things with no guarantees ahead of time. It wouldn’t be fair to the people who voted for me and my party.”

Saad Hariri’s press office would not comment on the General’s remarks.

Qnion-smallBy Qifa Nabki

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Discussion

21 thoughts on “Aoun Rejects Hariri’s “Conditions” For Lunch Meeting

  1. LOL…thanx for the laugh. His press conference today was hillarious.

    Posted by maverick | August 17, 2009, 3:21 pm
  2. Your comment is quite possibly the most astute observation of this delicate situation.

    Posted by SL | August 17, 2009, 4:43 pm
  3. Yup we all are laughing albeit with real pain at the antics of Lebanon’s clown…I think this mentally imbalaced (too many rancid oranges… at brunch)joker should be disregarded at all times…

    I thought his favourite food was his pills…which he forgets to take them due to dimentia…

    Posted by danny | August 17, 2009, 7:15 pm
  4. QN you are a genious. this stuff is gold. However do you think the people reading and commenting to this post know that this isn’t ‘real’ or ‘truthful’ rendition of yesterday’s press conference? Your artistic/dramatic liscence is a marvel!

    Posted by the Sydneysider | August 17, 2009, 7:43 pm
  5. Sydneysider,

    I wonder about that sometimes. But I can always rely on the comment section to straighten them out.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 17, 2009, 8:06 pm
  6. Speaking of genius, I personally think that Aoun’s current strategy is genius.

    He knows March 14 has no majority, so why make Hariri’s life easy? He’s going to put up a wall of China until he gets what he wants. What can Saad do about it? He can’t even form a M14 government anymore, now that Jumblatt has left.

    Aoun’s got Hariri in a corner and he knows it.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 17, 2009, 8:20 pm
  7. and that’s why he insists on having brunch at a place of his choosing. He don’t wanna go to Barbar in Qorateim.

    Posted by the Sydneysider | August 17, 2009, 8:26 pm
  8. Here’s an interesting assessment of Aoun’s politics in The Daily Star. I’ll copy it below because the Star’s links expire after a few days.

    Aoun’s project will stay grounded until his mastery of key skills grows clearer

    Roughly a week after Walid Jumblatt made waves by confessing his problem with being a member of March 14, causing many people scratching their heads, we’ll now see headlines and op-ed columns dominated by the “position” taken by Michel Aoun, on the formation of the government. It’s time for another round of puzzlement, and an attempt to make sense of what Aoun means in the Lebanese political context.

    When Jumblatt dropped his bombshell, we said that in some ways, his reasoning was borderline-maddening. However, it was completely in line with the requirements of our sectarian political system and the performance of its practitioners.

    But Aoun represents a true conundrum; when you go beyond the noise that’s being generated, a supposed John McCain-style straight-talker is actually quite confusing.

    President Michel Sleiman’s role in the system is fairly clear; Samir Geagea’s concern with the Christian com­munity pegs him as a certain type of politician. But the secular Aoun’s alliance with the Islamist Hizbullah, a group that’s in some ways outside the state the former general has long championed, is not as easy to fathom.

    Hizbullah’s desire for an alliance with Aoun is understandable, but not the other way around. Aoun is allied with some of his fiercest enemies in the past; does this make sense to his followers? He was all in favor of examining waste and corruption when it came to the Ministry of the Displaced; now, Jumblatt’s a nice guy, and talk of “opening files” is forgotten. Why is Aoun on such bad terms with the Maronite patriarch? Many such questions can be asked.

    When Aoun returned from exile, he ranted against chaos and a lack of discipline, but he seems to lack organization and institution-building in his own party.

    Aoun champions competence and ending the old ways, but he’s a family operation, with a nephew and son-in-law as his chief political representatives.

    With the exception of harping about the debt, which anyone can do, Aoun’s agenda is all over the place. Issues bubble up, and disappear.

    While Jumblatt is obviously of the system, Aoun offers us a “para-politics,” of trying to pretend that he’s the key element in the system, while trying to be above the system at the same time. When you hear him speak, you hope at first that you could be a part of this new Republic he advocates; when he’s finished, you find yourself disgusted because you’re in the actual one.

    As for competence, anyone can be good at one thing: but to be really effective in politics and public life, there are essential people, organizational and communications skills that must be mastered. Until a clearer picture of Aoun as a politician, communicator and organizer emerges, he won’t get his project off the ground.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 17, 2009, 8:37 pm
  9. I guess if you don’t have a son to inherit your political party, a son in law will do.

    Come on. This is from a party that was lecturing all other parties about nepotism and inheritance of positions. Must be embarrassing.

    Go figure.

    Posted by Ras Beirut | August 17, 2009, 9:50 pm
  10. “The choice of restaurant, for starters! Hello?”

    Funny. Nice one. You’ve outdone yourself one more time.

    e, guess what? I just won a bet with a dozen of my friends that The Qnion was gonna make a story out of this today. Yallah, in case you’re in Lebanon around Christmas time, you’re invited over for a Knefeh breakfast. Not to worry; not all are Aounieh and the Orangey ones can appreciate a good laugh.

    Am still stuck at work. Will comment on The Daily Star piece later (not that there is anything new or unexpected there).

    Best.

    PS: e, in case you have not done so already, I highly suggest you check The Orange Room comments around this issue.

    Posted by PN | August 17, 2009, 10:51 pm
  11. PN

    Thanks! I look forward to knefeh at your place around Christmas. (Probably more like New Year’s). Invite all of your Aounieh friends.

    As for the Orange Room, I’ve been reading it most of the day.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 17, 2009, 10:56 pm
  12. Really? You think ‘mon general’ is genius? That is a good laugh.

    The guy stepped way beyond his reach and there is no where for him go but to the drain, of course in the company of his son in law and few crazies from among his followers who seem to be as blind as he is. You want comedy, QN? Here’s some more before you go too far. No way to beat Euripides. This is real Lebanese comdey. Not a fake Harvardian nonsense.

    الجنرال وصهره”ييّ.. على عيونو”!!

    ::ميرفت سيوفي:: الشرق

    بصراحة لم نكن نعلم أنّ صهر الجنرال “الفحل” (الفحل عائدة للصهر لا للجنرال( هو أبو عيون جريئة في الأغنية الشهيرة، ولم يخطر لنا أيضاً أنه “فحل” إلى هذا الحد لأنه “مش مبيّن عليه”، وفحولته عمّت كل الميادين التي تحدّث عنها “حموه” لا فضّ فوه، وأن لبنان لم يشهد مثلها.. فالفحل جبران على ما يبدو وكما يقول المثل الشعبي: “وارد رنّو.. ما في منّو”!!

    عندما يخرج مسؤول سياسي على الشعب ليقول: “لعيون صهري ما يكون في حكومة”!! لا يكون هذا الشعب يعيش في كنف دولة، بل في “زريبة” أو “غابة”، والمسؤول الذي يتصرّف على هذه الشاكلة في منطق ممارسته العمل السياسي، لا يكون ممثلاً للشعب، بل يكون لا يعتبر الشعب أكثر من دواجن في مزرعة عائلته، يهشّ على الدجاجة “بقبق بقيق”، فيما عائلته “تزّغط” وزة وبطّة الشعب لتسمنها وتقدمها له تزيّن “صينية رقاق”، وصهره الطفل الفحل “مهوشل” خلف “صيصان” الشعب، ويبكي عائداً إلى عمه إذا ما “نقده الديك”، هذا البلد لا “ديك” له، بل “ديوك”، ومن الواضح أنه تحوّل إلى مجموعة “مزابل” سياسية، وكل “ديك على مزبلتو صيّاح”!!

    هكذا سياسي، مكانه ليس تحت قبّة البرلمان، بل في مصحة يمضي فيها ما تبقّى من أوهامه وأحلامه وكوابيسه، فعندما يتجرّأ رجل بلغ من العمر أرذله، ويصف كل الصحافة برؤساء تحريرها وأسمائها وكتابها بأنهم “مجانين مسعورين” لمجرد أنهم تجرّأوا وكتبوا عن حقيقة تعطيل البلد من أجل “صهر” العائلة، ولا يجد لا نقابة صحافة ولا نقابة محررين تردعه – لأن أربابها أيضاً على ما يبدو أيضاً بلغوا من العمر أرذله ويتغير الرؤساء في هذا البلد وحرية الصحافة تلصقهم بكراسي النقابة – لا تستحق صحافته أن ترفع رأسها لأنها لا تقاضيه بتهمة ولا تتقدم إلى المجلس النيابي لإسقاط حصانته التي يحتمي بها ليشتم الناس صباحاً ومساء، وعندما نشاهده على الشاشة نقول: يا مثبت العقل والدين ثبّت علينا عقولنا، حتى لا تكون نهايتنا مثله، “ولك بعد شويّ سيطفش في شوارع الرابية أو يطل عن “بلكونه” ليرشق سكانها بالحجار، ومع كل حجرة يهوبر: تاراراتاتا جبران”!!

    عيب.. حان الوقت ليتدخل رئيس البلاد واضعاً خطوطاً حمرا للغة التخاطب السياسي، لقد شبع اللبنانيون من احتمال من يتندر الكلّ بـ”جنونه المسعور” وتروى حكاياته أيام بعبدا والهوشلة في أحراجها، وشبع اللبنانيون من أن يسلط عليهم “مريض نفسي بداء عضال اسمه جنون العظمة”، وملفّه النظيف يسجل دخوله إلى المصحة مرتين، ومع هذا، لا يكترث أحد لعدم أهليته، حان الوقت للحجر عليه سياسياً على الأقل، وضبّ لسانه إن كان متعذراً ضبّه في المكان المناسب..

    زمن كاليغولا وستالين وهتلر وموسوليني وكل الديكتاتوريين المجانين ولّى، ولم يتبقّ من ديكتاتوريي العرب من أمثال هؤلاء إلا الأخ العقيد ملك ملوك أفريقيا وعميد الحكّام العرب وإمام المسلمين وخيمته.. ما سمعه اللبنانيون بالأمس معيب، بل مشين في حق رئاسة الجمهورية ورئاسة الحكومة ورئاسة مجلس النواب والكرسي البطريركي والشعب اللبناني.. “عيب” أن يرهن مصير شعب لرجل غير مسؤول عليه كل “فنعة بدها حلم الله”، عام 1989 خرج على اللبنانيين وقال لهم: “موتوا.. ولتدمر بيروت”، وعام 1990 كذب هذا “الجبان الذي فرّ من المعركة” بعدما أعطى أوامر لضباطه وجنوده بالقتال حتى الموت، وكانوا أشجع منه ولم يجبنوا ولم يفروا من معركة نفّذت فيها بهم أحكام إعدام ميدانية فأطلق الرصاص على رؤوسهم، وهو الآن يتاجر بدماء مقاومتهم ونضالهم راوياً لنا قصص “الساحر المناضل المقاوم البطل الفذّ السوبرمان و “وومن” أيضاً” زوج الإبنة المدللة!!

    جنرال.. هذا البلد ليس “تكية”، وليس مما أورثك إياه الوالد، والشعب اللبناني أذكى بكثير مما تتصوّر، وإذا كانت الإبنة المدللة “غشيانة” بحب زوجها، لأن مرآة الحب عمياء، وإذا كنت “مبسوطاً” لـ”بسط الإبنة المدللة”، فيا ريت بتحل عن “…..” الشعب اللبناني، الذي شبع من سخافات عنترياتك الفارغة، وطبعاً لسنا “تركة أبوك” ليرثنا جبران الراسب في النيابة، ويا ليتك تحل مشاكل عائلتك بعيداً عنا!!

    الآن عرفنا لمَ كان العقلاء كلّما تقدّموا في السن يدعون الله أن لا يبلّغهم “أرذل العمر”، بالأمس وأنا أستمع إلى الجنرال “عنترة” أدركت ما هو أرذل العمر، “تاري عن جد رذيل”، ففي بلد قدّم فيه الكثيرون أبناءهم وآباءهم وإخوتهم شهداء من أجل لبنان، يريد مسؤول سياسي أن يقدّم لبنان وشعبه هدية لصهره… يا عيب الشوم على هكذا مسؤولين سياسيين، وصدق رسول الله القائل، أول ما أدرك الناس من حكمة النبوّة: “إذا لم تستحِ فاصنع ما شئت”!! والجنرال لا يستحي، “بدو حقّو وما أورثه إياه الوالد”!! فالرجل ورث كابراً عن كابر وزارة الداخلية والاتصالات، وليشكر اللبنانيون ربّهم أنه قال لهم لعيون جبران، وليس لـ”…..” جبران!!

    بالأمس قال الجنرال أنه ينتظر ليرى ما “إذا كانت الصحافة “ستفلت” عليه اليوم”!! والصحافة والصحافيون ليسوا “كلاباً فالتة.. ولا مسعورة” يا جنرال، ولكن نحن نرى رأي العين كيف يأكل “الفاجر” في السياسة كأفضالك رأس مال الشعب اللبناني!! أما إذا كانت تلبيتك دعوة غداء مشروطة بكم أفواه الناس، لأننا لم ننسَ قمعك للصحافة والصحافيين ومنع الصحف من الصدور عام 1990، فيا جنرال: “عنّك ما تزمرقت ولا تبقّطت” وآخر الزاد فوقها، أما تزمرق وتبقّط فهي من الألفاظ العربية الفصيحة… وقد صحّ في كلام الجنرال المسعور – النعت مسعور عائد للاثنين معاً – قول شاعر الحكمة زهير بن أبي سلمى: “وإنَّ سَفَاهَ الشِّيْخِ لا حِلْمَ بعدَهُ / وإنَّ الفَتى بعد السَّفَاهةِ يَحْلُمِ”!!

    Good luck with your next piece.

    Posted by mike | August 18, 2009, 5:43 am
  13. Hey QN,

    Christmas, New Year; you know that you’re always welcome.

    Now back to your “interesting” pick from yesterday (post#8):

    “Here’s an interesting assessment of Aoun’s politics in The Daily Star. I’ll copy it below because the Star’s links expire after a few days.”

    QN, in my opinion, not only the Star’s links have short-term expiry dates, but more so a great deal of their content. As a matter of fact, the content is way past its expiry date and its consumption has zero nutrient value to say the least if not exposing a significant risk of toxicity to the reader.

    Honestly, I could not figure out what is so interesting about this assessment besides the author’s marvelous ability to convolute facts and rack up misconceptions on top of contradictions. Here is my take:

    1. “But the secular Aoun’s alliance with the Islamist Hizbullah, a group that’s in some ways outside the state the former general has long championed, is not as easy to fathom. Hizbullah’s desire for an alliance with Aoun is understandable, but not the other way around. Aoun is allied with some of his fiercest enemies in the past; does this make sense to his followers?”

    Marhaba…our official understanding with the Hizb has been ongoing since early 2006 and the not – so – official understandings likely root back to the mid 90s (and inshallah el kheir la eddam). All this time and the author has not assimilated it yet!

    So what, if the FPM is a secular party and the Hizb is not? Don’t they claim that FM is a secular party? How would they explain their common understandings with their non-secular allies (most of them old time adversaries)? Btw, our “fiercest enemies” have always been forces of occupation and corruption. Fairly, the Hizb has never been perceived in this light, but rather in shining contrast to it.

    2. “He was all in favor of examining waste and corruption when it came to the Ministry of the Displaced; now, Jumblatt’s a nice guy, and talk of “opening files” is forgotten.”

    Who said so?

    Mish maoul shou shatreen bit-elleef (except taleef el houkoumeh). The above is one of the basic issues topping the discussion itinerary being put in place for the upcoming meeting between the two MPs. No worries; even though we have a magnanimous spirit, nothing is forgotten.

    3. “Why is Aoun on such bad terms with the Maronite patriarch? Many such questions can be asked.”

    I’d like to add, many such questions can be made up.

    As the spiritual leader of the Maronite Church, neither GMA nor the Aounieh have any problem with the Patriarch. On those terms, ma hada bi salli we bi dawi shmou3 aktar minna. Yet, on political terms, the Patriarch’s stance happens to tilt more towards the other camp. If the situations were reversed, would that make him at bad terms with the other group?

    4. “When Aoun returned from exile, he ranted against chaos and a lack of discipline, but he seems to lack organization and institution-building in his own party.

    What does “seem to” mean?

    For the concerned ones, please not to worry about our house. It’s got a solid base that is earthquake proof, high ceilings supported by firm advanced walls, and large adaptable doors and windows to welcome positive sunhine energy and recycle the negative one to generate green power that keeps the house running. Since we like CHANGE AND REFORM, we consider house rennovations essential every now and then, yet we always paint with a skilled Orange brush. Sometimes, we make a few bad strokes, but hey; no one is perfect. We are a constant warsheh in progress. Believe me, Lebanon can only benefit from our building, rennovation, and disciplined skills.

    5. “Aoun champions competence and ending the old ways, but he’s a family operation, with a nephew and son-in-law as his chief political representatives.”

    Aoun’s “family operation” has over 70,000 registered supporting and active party members that span the national landscape and the Lebanese mosaic in the diaspora. So what, if his nephew and his son in law are political representatives? I did not hear any fact about their non-competence (will comment more on that in my reply to Ras Beirut below). And btw, my quoting “family” is intended since this is how most FPMers feel in our one on one intercation with the leadership.

    6. “With the exception of harping about the debt, which anyone can do, Aoun’s agenda is all over the place. Issues bubble up, and disappear.”

    Ya lateef; shou hal logic? I thought the ruling majority puts the agenda which indeed has been all over the place for the past 19 yrs.

    7. “As for competence, anyone can be good at one thing: but to be really effective in politics and public life, there are essential people, organizational and communications skills that must be mastered. Until a clearer picture of Aoun as a politician, communicator and organizer emerges, he won’t get his project off the ground.”

    TAKE THAT: his project pulled off the ground in 1988. It has been an up-hill very steep climb ever since; nevertheless a climb. For those who see otherwise, you’re simply free to live in denial. “The project” started with the youngest ever Chief in Command of the Lebanese Army declaring a war of Liberation: 1)liberation from foreign occupation, and 2) liberating the Lebanese from the corrupt ruling ways. The first pillar of the project has been mostly achieved (thanks to the many strong spirits across the nation; most resistant of which in our beloved South) and inshallah the remaining 1% of land will get back soon. The second pillar of this project may take even longer, but you can count on us to keep on climbing.

    Ras Beirut (post #9):

    “I guess if you don’t have a son to inherit your political party, a son in law will do. Come on. This is from a party that was lecturing all other parties about nepotism and inheritance of positions. Must be embarrassing.”

    I tend to enjoy your comments and agree with you on many of your postings in this blog particularly the ones pertaining to the Arab-Israel conflict. On this issue though, I beg to differ.

    The Free Patriotic Movement has nothing to be embarrased about. If anything, the likes of Gebran Bassil grace our party with their contribution and their leadership potential. Before being GMA’s son in law, and even more honorable than serving in the ranks of the FPM per say, Gebran served as a member of Ansar El Jeish and as Red Cross volunteer/supporter at a time when it really counted to be at the frontline. For those of you who may have been too young (or too passive) to be familiar with the term, Ansar EL Jesih are courageous young men and women who joined the ranks of the Lebanese Army as volunteers and put their lives on the frontline fighting the Syrian occupation’s invasion of the Free Zone back in the late 80s. Shortly afterwards, and publically vocal at a time when many would not even dare to whisper against Syrian presence, Gebran joined the Aounieh’s call. He was a staunch activist on and off AUB campus and along with other young activists, he took a bold step to defy he imposed rules back then and setup a dynamic bridge between the grassroots in Lebanon and the those in the diaspora and played a vital communicating role. It was not until 1999; i.e. that is almost a decade after his active role in the FPM that he became GMA’s son in law. As an FPMer who happened to study and live on AUB campus during the same yrs while Gebran was an engineering student/activist there, why would I mind that he takes a well deserved leading role in the party? If anything, it would be reverse discrimination. Afterall, while Gebran and other courageous Aouniyeh were voicing their resistance loud and clear at the risk of loosing their lives and perhaps those of their loved ones, I was silent from fear and my support was limited to gearing my vote for our reps on campus, not to mention crying for 2 days every time my friends and el shabab were being harrassed and detained in the dark cold cells of the Syrian intelligence under the watch and the rediculing eye of todays neo-independents.

    Ras Beirut, nepotism exists when one gets favored without merit. On such terms, putting Gebran Bassil, Ziad Baroud, and a few others aside, the majority of the political figures and the ruling eilte of the past and the now should be bashed for taking office. Would someone please care list their most meritable achievments?

    Mike (post #12):

    This piece of “trash journalism” gives strong support to all that the generale stated yesterday. Wait a minute! aren’t some of the scandalous files that were forwarded by the current telecommunications minister to the judicary system for investigation somwhat related to whoever has stakes in the fabulous “real Lebanese comedy” platform that you seem to like?

    QN, your “fake Harvardian nonsense” could be most annoying at times and hilariously funny in many instances, but thus far from what I’ve seen it does not take double standards. So, even though the subject of your humor in this post is no one other than our beloved el generale, wou bass kermel 3aynou la mike, I am giving you my FIVE STARS.

    Posted by PN | August 18, 2009, 12:14 pm
  14. Mike

    I didn’t say mon general is a genius. I said his latest move was. Read before you rant.

    If it were up to me, the winning side would not form a fake “partnership” cabinet. They would rule for their term and that would be that. But Hariri has no choice but to deal with Aoun because, whether you like it or not, he is backed into a corner.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 18, 2009, 1:46 pm
  15. Thanks PN for the vote of confidence 🙂

    I don’t want to get into a long argument discussion about the FPM, but on the subject of nepotism etc., I was wondering how you think it makes any difference that 70,000 people are registered with the FPM.

    Surely what matters is the dynamic at the top, right? Mustaqbal and Hizbullah probably also have tens of thousands of registered members, but how are they any less democratic than the FPM when it comes to determining the course of party politics?

    What I also find unfortunate about Aoun’s rhetoric is that he regularly comes across as an opportunist. The current discussion about powersharing is a perfect example. When he calls for proportional representation in the cabinet, what is he basing this on? There is no constitutional basis. If the tables were turned, I’m sure that Aoun would have told M14 rou7o balltou l-ba7r if they came asking for proportional representation.

    One minute he is 100% for something, then the next minute he is 100% for something else. And don’t tell me that this is just my interpretation because I read The Orange Room a lot, and I’ve seen people’s reactions to certain strategies that didn’t seem to work so well! 🙂

    This kind of inconsistency bothers me.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 18, 2009, 2:09 pm
  16. I read PN’s Essay desperately trying to find some sort of missing information that can put my Aoun bashing to rest. No such luck. Its funny how generic the Oranges arguments are. You catch them red handed swimming in hypocracy and theyre reply is “well whatabout such and such, you didnt bother mentioning them”.

    Posted by maverick | August 18, 2009, 3:51 pm
  17. QN,

    Perfect rebuttal to PN…However, you forgot to add the most authoritarian party of them all that had billions (ok…millions) of “members”…The communist party…

    Posted by danny | August 18, 2009, 4:47 pm
  18. PN,

    Thanks for the reply. My intention was not to disparage Gibran’s qualifications at all. I’m sure Gibran being a graduate of engineering from AUB (BTW, I grew up just a few blocks from AUB long ago) is a smart and capable guy to run a ministry and he has.

    As an unafiliated observer, I based my comment on “Perception”. Like it or not, true or false, perception is there. Just like the perception out there for other political families and their succession program/reality.

    Where I think FPM has a bigger issue than the others in that department, is that they advertised their platform, especially before and during 05 criticizing this system big time.

    In light of this, third party observers, including journalists, are thus inclined to criticize GMA for his very stern stance on securing an important ministerial position for Gibran, especially in light of Gibran loosing his seat in the latest election.

    The whole GMA position just reeks in the perception of favoritism. It could be untrue in reality. Who knows? It just makes the perception window much more open.

    When you stake such a hard edged position on this subject, I think you have to walk the talk if you want to be taken seriously.

    In my view, FPM would have been better served, vis a vis the public perception if a winning FPM MP is selected for the position, and I’m sure there are many qualified and capable folks who would not have to deal with this cloud of perception. The insistance on Gibran is accentuating this negative perception in my view.

    Just my 2 2roush.

    Posted by Ras Beirut | August 18, 2009, 9:29 pm
  19. lol@ 2 2roush.
    QN you have a rival in the humour stakes!

    Posted by the Sydneysider | August 19, 2009, 1:52 am
  20. QN,

    The long byzantine “argument/discussion about the FPM” we had off-blog a while ago was way more than enough 🙂

    You shared The Daily Star’s piece with your readers. Being one of them, I was simply presenting my take on it.

    Regarding nepotism (favoritism without merit), I don’t see it. The fact is that G. Bassil & MP A. Aoun belong to a league of long-time serving Aounieh activists who have significantly contributed to the gradual, bottom-up progress of Tayyar from a spontaneous movement to an organized political party with the 2nd largest bloc in parliament today. In that same league, they fought side by side next to many others the likes of I. Kanaan, H. Deeb, S. Abi Roumia, Z. Aswad, N. Sahnawi; all highly committed and well established professionals who serve among the “chief political reps” of the FPM today. Right, they do influence “the dynamic at the top” of the over 70,000 members, but very much for the same reasons why other FPMers in the same league also influence the dynamic at the top. So, to state “Aoun champions competence, but he’s a family operation” is the most misleading to say the least. I do not see any facts validating the in-competence/favoritism of either Alain or Gebran. They more than earned their roles.

    “Mustaqbal and Hizbullah probably also have tens of thousands of registered members, but how are they any less democratic than the FPM when it comes to determining the course of party politics?”

    Did you hear me say this anywhere? In fact, it’s the other camp that points at the Hizb as a totalitarian non-democratic party. And it was not us who spoke of “kamiyeh” wou “naw3yeh”.

    “What I also find unfortunate about Aoun’s rhetoric is that he regularly comes across as an opportunist….When he calls for proportional representation in the cabinet, what is he basing this on? There is no constitutional basis.”

    Right. Proportional representation is not anti-constitutional either.

    QN, you can bet that we’ll use every rightful opportunity to advance our platform and meet our goals (clearly stated in our Charter). In my book, Aoun could have been the kind of “unfortunate opportunist” you’re describing should he have taken the deal:

    1. offered by the triple powers on a silver plate back in 1989-1990
    2. constantly being served on a golden platter to hush about Tawteen and forget about the Right of Return
    3. de-link from the hizb; for this one he would secure the ultimate prize from the regional and international power players

    “One minute he is 100% for something, then the next minute he is 100% for something else. And don’t tell me that this is just my interpretation because I read The Orange Room a lot, and I’ve seen people’s reactions to certain strategies that didn’t seem to work so well! 🙂 This kind of inconsistency bothers me.”

    Funny! 🙂 wasn’t it my suggestion for you to check The Orange Room comments? yup, “certain strategies didn’t seem to work so well!” which would mandate the implementation of changes that you’re calling “inconsistencies”. As long as the values and aspirations stay put, the rest does not bother me.

    Ras Beirut:

    Thanks for your feedback (post #18); very much appreciated. Tawzeer Bassil was never the issue for us (it is quite evident from our discussion threads in The Orange Room in the past weeks). As a matter of fact, when C&R bloc settled for 5 ministers instead of 7, the stance was to see which ministerial portfolios the bloc gets and then the names will be selected accordingly based on the credentials that would be necessary for each. Suddenly, MP Jumblat flips his position, MP Hariri vanishes out of the country on a 12-day meditation break, and magically tawzeer G. Bassil becomes the ONLY hindrance in the way of forming a national unity government. I first heard of it through their media and annoying chain messages that showered on me from LF friends. So, in other words, they advertised as the ISSUE until it materialized. We don’t buy the excuse that he failed to be elected to parliament. In the current government, Bassil and a number of other serving ministers also failed to be elected in 2005 and no one made an issue out of it. Why now? Why this huge negative campaign? It actually had a reverse influence on many FPMers like me who would stand in support of the party’s insistence that Bassil stays as minister.

    You were absolutely right. Perception plays a vital role. But, the other camp forgets that it would only be fair to take into consideration the perception of the other side as well.

    Best.

    Posted by PN | August 19, 2009, 11:56 pm
  21. PN

    I actually don’t mind the fact that Bassil is Aoun’s son-in-law. Politics is full of family operations, especially in Lebanon where the logic of family and clan and tribe is so dominant. And I also don’t think that Bassil’s appointment makes the FPM a family operation, by the way.

    My issue is with his inconsistencies. In 2005 he declared his support for the convention of not allowing candidates who had lost parliamentary elections to serve as ministers. Now he’s flip flopping.

    As for proportional representation, you can’t just get off the hook by saying “Proportional representation is not anti-constitutional either.”

    For a party whose roots lie in strengthening the authority of the state, how is this strategy served by challenging its central document?

    If the roles were reversed, I’m sure that every other word out of the General’s mouth, day in day out, would be “the Constitution!” “the State!”

    You say:

    As long as the values and aspirations stay put, the rest does not bother me.

    Well that answers the question in the new post, I guess. 🙂

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 20, 2009, 6:57 am

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