Free Patriotic Movement, Hezbollah, Lebanon, Reform

General Aoun’s Interview with Marcel Ghanem

Free Patriotic Movement leader General Michel Aoun went on Kalam al-Nas (the most widely-watched political talk show in Lebanon) last Thursday, and had a long conversation with Marcel Ghanem, the show’s famous host.

The entire interview is available on YouTube in ten-minute installments. You can catch the first one here, and then navigate to the subsequent bits in the sidebar.

Some of the more interesting sections:

Section 2: Discussion of the constitutionality of majority governments, and Ta’if vs. Doha.

Section 6: The defense strategy and Hezbollah’s weapons.

Section 7: The possibility of reform in the electricity sector.

Section 8: Rafiq Hariri’s assassination, and on who will succeed Aoun in the FPM, Christian politics, etc.

Section 10: Aoun explains the steps towards de-confessionalism (i.e. secularization).

Based on Aoun’s hints and allusions, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Free Patriotic Movement and the Future Movement announce a Memorandum of Understanding within the next couple of months.

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12 thoughts on “General Aoun’s Interview with Marcel Ghanem

  1. “Based on Aoun’s hints and allusions, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Free Patriotic Movement and the Future Movement announce a Memorandum of Understanding within the next couple of months.”

    I can’t even imagine the reaction from some quarters in that event… delicious. I hope you’re right, if only to see what bizarre rationalizing contortions the ideologues on all sides come up with to explain it.

    Posted by Philippe | November 18, 2009, 11:02 pm
  2. QN, your last paragraph hit me in the head like a shakkoush. After all these years in Lebanon, I thought I could not be surprised anymore… You mean the FPM would end up having 2 MOU?

    Posted by mj | November 19, 2009, 4:35 am
  3. I am equally confused and flabbergasted. Either FPM would have to renounce to the first MOU, or draft the second one in terms so vague and ambiguous so that it doesnt conflict with the first one.
    I have to say I havnt watched the interview yet though, but explanations would be welcome QN.

    Posted by Blackstar | November 19, 2009, 5:52 am
  4. It looks like QN based his conclusion of FPM and Mustaqbal having an MOU solely on the interview and not on actual facts of what actually went on between Hariri and Aoun during the five months of government formation.

    The truth of the matter is there will be no MOU’s between the two movements. Aoun asked point blank for this MOU in one his meetings with Hariri. The answer from Hariri was very clear and even more point blank: There cannot be multiple bilateral deals of so-called MOU’s. There can only be one national agreement that includes all the players. Hariri is currently standing at a historic moment that will shape the Lebanese State. He knows that and he knows he is in the same league with such men as Riyad El-Solh and Hariri senior. Giving Aoun a cheap MOU does not make sense in this case.

    The game that Aoun is playing has come to an end. He can convince himself that he represents the largest Christian community. But in fact dissension within his movement is beginning to come out in the open and the LF is not far behind in popularity. So whatever happens in the Christian landscape from now until few years, Aoun will continue to claim a moderate to marginal following. He is on a downward spiral. Of course he will use all the means to inflate himself, but I do not think anyone will buy his claims seriously. After watching the ten interviews I came to the conclusion that he himself understands that he has no place to grow. He was dodgy, apologetic and actually looked defeated in many of his answers, despite Marcel’s attempts to play on his inflated ego. Hariri and his advisers are not stupid. They are not going to open any avenues for him to make him look bigger than what he really is. They’ll keep him down to size. Otherwise, they could have formed the government the very first week 5 months ago.

    Posted by mike | November 19, 2009, 11:44 am
  5. Perhaps not a ‘declared’ MOU as such, but a ‘détente’ nevertheless. The former opposition, primarily Hizbullah, would welcome such a move, indeed encourage it. The Hizb needs a breather from domestic wrestling, and such a rapprochement would be welcomed. In fact, I believe that everyone, with the exception of the Lebanese Front Party and to a lesser extent Amin Gemael’s Phalange Party (perhaps not Sami) would react to such a development with various levels of acceptance, including the Presidency.

    I hazard a guess that, in his eagerness to become a PM, Hariri has succumbed to pressure, especially with his political mentor, MP Jumblatt, and main regional mentor, KSA have become more realistic in looking at and dealing with Lebanese affairs; not to mention hariri’s international mentor ‘busy’ with matters of ‘more importance’ namely the ‘peace process’ and Iran.

    As to Aoun’s political gathering, I believe that it gain in momentum and perhaps political prowess as time passes by, especially that it will be the focal point of domestic politicking with the Hizb’s attentions elsewhere.


    Posted by Question Marks | November 19, 2009, 12:08 pm
  6. Sorry, please read “Lebanese Forces Party”, not “Front”.


    Posted by Question Marks | November 19, 2009, 12:10 pm
  7. Reading all the comments seems people take their wishes for reality.
    The reality is we are witnessing the birth of a new alignment : Basically everybody IN except the two marginal parties in Lebanon Lebanese forces and Kataeb.
    This is a return of the status quo of the early 90’s replacing Qornet Shehwan with FPM.

    Posted by elsheikh | November 19, 2009, 2:03 pm
  8. What reality are you talking about No. 7?
    LF has 3 ministers in government versus 1 for FPM. Who’s in and who’s out?
    Kataeb may have been dealt a bad deal. Granted. But they are not completely out as you wrongly imply. In fact, they have their best man in government, contrary to FPM.
    So in this government Kataeb = FPM with the quality qualifications tipping in favor of Kataeb.

    Posted by mike | November 19, 2009, 2:19 pm
  9. Mike

    who are the three LF ministers? where do you get your news ? FPM has 5 ministers 4 with portfolios compare that to the minister of social affairs for Kataeb yeah FPM did not get a good deal 🙂

    Posted by elsheikh | November 19, 2009, 2:24 pm
  10. elsheikh,
    The only FPM minister in those 5 portfolios is Jubran. The other 4 are not FPM’s.
    keep on smiling.

    Posted by mike | November 19, 2009, 2:35 pm
  11. What are we arguing about 1 & 5)!

    The 5 ministers were named by Aoun and report to him. For all political intents and purposes they are ‘aounis’ who has the largest block of Christian ministers ministers in the current Cabinet. This fact is for Aoun not against him. It reflects a a certain political shrewdness in ally building and/or his far-sightedness.


    Posted by Question Marks | November 19, 2009, 2:46 pm
  12. mike
    u conveniently forgot to name the THREE LF ministers
    Aoun announced the 5 names from his home in Rabieh (he did not hear the names in the news as some Hariri allies.)
    I am smiling what is it to frown about

    Posted by elsheikh | November 19, 2009, 2:53 pm

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