Lebanon

What To Read On the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

I, the humble author of this blog,

NOTING that two developments related to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) are rumored to be just around the corner: (1) the adoption, by the new Lebanese government, of a ministerial policy statement that may end Lebanon’s official cooperation with the STL; and (2) the confirmation of the indictments by the STL’s pre-trial judge, Daniel Fransen;

OBSERVING that, on the first issue, what’s most likely to happen is that some kind of vague language is put in place that commits the government to “justice” in the matter of the Hariri assassination, without mentioning the STL by name;

RECALLING that even if the Mikati government were to dismiss the STL altogether or just not mention it in its policy statement, that would probably not constitute a violation of Lebanon’s Memorandum of Understanding with the STL (as the government would likely have to refuse to cooperate in an extradition or arrest request for the cooperation agreement to be considered violated);

REITERATING  that even if the indictments are confirmed by Fransen in the next few days, he is not under any obligation to make them public, and could instead order the indictment to be “sealed” until the accused are notified;

CONJECTURING that all the hoopla about the earth-shaking character of these rumored developments may actually not be so earth-shaking after all;

ADMITTING that all the hoopla is perhaps understandable given that we’ve been waiting over six years to hear this punch-line;

POINTING OUT that, just for comparison’s sake, the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, established in 1993, is only supposed to start wrapping up its proceedings in 2014;

INTIMATING that, by extension, we could still be in for a very long ride;

ACKNOWLEDGING that everything I’ve said thus far is not going to make a whit of difference to all those who remain convinced that we are on the brink of a major new phase in the STL saga;

HEREBY PROPOSE that the following links may be of some interest:

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Discussion

54 thoughts on “What To Read On the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

  1. You sound so pompous today, QN!

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 28, 2011, 5:35 pm
  2. Quite a long sentence you wrote there, but I am proud to say it is not a run-on.

    Posted by Nasser V | June 28, 2011, 5:44 pm
  3. Gary Gambill’s article is interesting. Maybe this was covered before…

    But Mr Gambill refers as Hard Evidence to the prepaid cards and their links to Ahbash etc.

    How did HA get mixed up in all of this?

    Is there a relation?

    Or was the Ahabash link disproved at some point between 2008 and now?

    Posted by Gabriel | June 28, 2011, 6:17 pm
  4. BV

    I was going for legalistic, given the character of the links I posted.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 28, 2011, 6:48 pm
  5. The STL is a sideshow compared to the ongoings next door. There are so many loopholes and legal avenues that M8 leaning lawyers and solicitors can manipulate and take advantage of, that can further erode the potency of the indictments or warrents. There is the ministerial statement’s succint wording to provide an indication to whats to come.That’s if it wraps up in this decade as QN alluded to.
    The real existential threat comes from next-door. Never seen the pro Syrian camp in Lebanon sweat so much.

    Posted by maverick | June 28, 2011, 7:39 pm
  6. It does not matter whether any of the suspects indicted by the STL is handed over for trial. What is important is for the process to be completed.
    Once the case is presented then the Lebanese government can choose to live up to its legal obligations and to do what is right by facilitating a trial of the accused or it can choose to do otherwise. If it chooses not to cooperate with the STL and thus renounce its obligations by acting like a rouge state then it would be asking the world and many of its citizens to treat it as a failed state . That is its prerogative.
    Ultimately what is crucial in this case is the court of public opinion. If the indictments are based on solid evidence and the case is well researched and well argued then HA ?Syria and all its allies will be at least besmirched. My guess ; and I have argued this point very extensively in the past; then HA and its allies will be forced to relinquish power and even give in on what they have always claimed to be nonnegotiable, the right to act as a state within a state only because of the force of illegal weapons.
    Lebanon has wasted years of paralysis scheming and trying to guess what the STL would do and who is to be indicted. This time and energy by all parties, has been a total waste of time, resources and energy since any rational person should have known that the STL is a process that cannot be stopped or changed to accommodate the whimsical wants of the accused. It could be a lesson about what is meant by the phrase “rule of law”.

    Posted by ghassan Karam | June 28, 2011, 9:33 pm
  7. Flowchart of next steps… http://bit.ly/l6xOBX

    Posted by Tosk59 | June 28, 2011, 9:39 pm
  8. Imagine a World without Ahmadinejad

    The “Independent” is reporting that ‘Nejad will be replaced in the coming weeks.

    Purim II.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 28, 2011, 10:53 pm
  9. It is so disheartening to watch a PM tie himself into a knot every day in an attempt not to take a position on an issue that is viewed as one of primary importance to most of the Lebanese.
    The last thing that the country needs at the moment is a PM who is trying to be for the STL and yet against it at the same time. What a disappointment.
    It is even more ironic when we remember that he is the one who sought the job and the job did not seek him. Didn’t he know that he would be expected to come clean and take a stand on the STL or was he driven only by blind ambition.
    What PM Mikati is attempting to do is similar to the flip flops of Senator Kerry who voted the $87 billion war supplemental before he voted against it 🙂 Maybe someone should point to Mr. Mikati that the above position by Kerry played a major role in his defeat.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 28, 2011, 10:58 pm
  10. I love it. Just as long-winded as the situtation in this country.

    Posted by Rana | June 29, 2011, 12:59 am
  11. Hi all, Been a long time since I posted but I am just now returning to Beirut having been in civilization the past 2 months. What a difference between the two…

    GK, I enjoy your posts and comments on this site very much. Though I don’t always agree with your analysis, you make great points time and time again. However, having extricated myself from Lebanon for two months in a row I am now able to see things from a slightly different light. I now believe that one of the critical assumptions you make when predicting Lebanese behavior is flawed beyond repair. You mistakenly believe that the Lebanese animal will behave in a rational manner. Yet time and time again, and I witness this first hand on a daily basis, the Lebanese are not at all rational. In fact they go out of their way to be irrational.

    Anyway, just my two cents. Keep up the good work QN. This site was my source of Levantine news while in the US.

    Posted by Johnny | June 29, 2011, 3:03 am
  12. The Iranian president is about to fall from grace over a corruption scandal of one of his cronies; al-Assad/Mahkouf apartheid regime will go down with the Syrian economy by the end of the year, the Israelis will continue to ignore every UNSC resolution, every U.N. panel recommendation and all international law on the basis that the U.S., China, Russia, France and England do, so why shouldn’t they as a top nuclear military power; and, then there is the STL – if it names people associated with the party of god, then the party of god – taking all things into consideration – will arrest them and hand them over. It isn’t as significant to most families as, for exaple, the price of fish. Or milk. Or a job after graduation!

    Posted by S al-riachy | June 29, 2011, 6:22 am
  13. Thanks Johnny. Welcome back.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 29, 2011, 7:13 am
  14. NYT reporter in Gaza. Looks like things are improving there.

    As long as Hamas keeps their missiles on their side of the border…

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4088354,00.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 29, 2011, 7:13 am
  15. Thanks Tosk59. Did you make that yourself? If so, do I have your permission to tidy it up a little in Photoshop and re-use it?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 29, 2011, 7:13 am
  16. It’s just pondering…I will wait till the indictments.
    Nassrallah has set up his table; let’s see what kind of smoke n mirrors he will use to deflect the criminality of his junta.
    Amjad in trouble at his domain. Promises of an interesting summer..

    Posted by danny | June 29, 2011, 7:25 am
  17. I believe that the fall of Amjad is irrelevant. The power has always been with the ayatollah, and the RGC will not go against him.

    Posted by Ali | June 29, 2011, 8:41 am
  18. An interesting comment I read today from Berri: If the ministerial statement is not completed by the 13th (?) of July, then this government stands resigned and should act as a care taker.

    This made me think of BV’s prediction on bringing down the house.

    Posted by Ali | June 29, 2011, 8:55 am
  19. Ali,

    No one is speaking of power. If Amjad’s “reformist” followers were to join the Green movement; then you’ll see the shift of the power on the street.
    Berri is a grandstanding idiot!

    Posted by danny | June 29, 2011, 9:28 am
  20. It seems that Hezbollah is demanding that the government statement would be clear against the STL. Why would they make such an unreasonable demand unless they don’t really want a government in place? With the indictments just around the corner (or so we are being told), it is unlikely that Miqati would take such a risk for himself and for Lebanon.

    Posted by AIG | June 29, 2011, 9:34 am
  21. AIG,

    Has any one of HA leaders or spokesmen expressed that view publicly?

    Posted by danny | June 29, 2011, 9:57 am
  22. paraprosdokian…. 🙂

    Posted by HK | June 29, 2011, 10:24 am
  23. Danny,

    I am not sure, but why else is there a problem with the government statement? Why not just ignore the STL in the statement?

    Posted by AIG | June 29, 2011, 10:45 am
  24. There seems to be a gun battle rattling on in Beirut for the last 3 hours … yet nothing on any news outlet ?!

    Posted by R2D2 | June 29, 2011, 11:00 am
  25. The nature of the indictments notwithstanding (…and I do wish to challenge assertions that more than ‘half’ of Lebanese support it; especially with the credibility issue facing the Tribunal), it seems to me that Lebanese are as equally adept at destruction as they are at appeasing each other if/when the need arises. A case in point is the politically induced ‘amnesty’ granted to ‘Dr.’ Samir Jaja, who was tried and found guilty of murder and consequently a sentence was passed, initially death and later reduced to life.

    Before anyone jumps in defence, I am neither condoning nor acknowledging the due legal process of the Jaja trial. I am solely stating a relevant fact of history.

    What I am further suggesting is that the above case clearly indicates that Lebanese are not above ‘finding’ solutions. After all the victims in both cases are Prime Ministers, one assassinated while in office, the other just out of office and planning a return!

    What could be at stake here is the not-so-little matter of trying to minimize the genuine possibility of civil strife at best, and the sectarian civil war at worst.

    As a Lebanese, I should not care much about the tag of rogue state if my country is engulfed in a civil war that might very well be much more treacherous than ever before. At the end of the day, most of those calling for maintaining a strong steady line in support of the Tribunal come what may are either outside, or have the capabilities to leave at a moment’s notice. We’ve been there and seen it all. It is the ordinary people, those who do not possess the resources to emigrate, once again, and those who will not wish a repeat of yesterdays when they become homeless, indeed stateless.

    If here is no country, then who cares whether it is rogue or it is the flavour of the month for Washington, London, Riyadh, Doha and Paris et al.

    The conduct of the tribunal leaves a lot to be desired and supports allegations that it has ‘ulterior’ motives pertaining to regional and Lebanese domestic considerations. Lest we forget, all concerned were initially adamant that Syria is the culprit, only for it to be exonerated by former PM Hariri himself no less. All of a sudden it became Hizbullah’s doing. This ‘new’ theory transpired post-2006 war with Israel! Now there is talk about the murder of Hariri senior being a ‘joint effort’ by Hizbullah, Syrian intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards of Iran.

    One ought to perhaps bear in mind the matter of Siddiq & co, and the incarceration of 4 heads of Lebanese security for many years only to be totally exonerated, although some wish to dilute what is really a matter of rule of law and civil liberties by suggesting that their release “doesn’t imply their innocence”. For those inclined I refer them to various statements issued by the 2nd i.e. post Mehlis version of the tribunal.

    That said, and contrary to certain views abound, I believe Hizbullah is not overly concerned with the Tribunal’s assessment. The Group has already made its position clear, and has been successfully chipping at the Tribunal’s credibility and objectives. This has had a visible impact on the so-called domestic public opinion.

    My reading is that Hizbullah is trying to prevent any fuelling of the Sunni-Shiite schism that might lead to wide-scale military skirmishes in certain areas. The real threat to Lebanon and Lebanese is the genuine possibility of others fanning the conflict. Here a few come to mind such as the state of Israel, who will not feel quite safe so long as its Northern extremities are not under its full control, and the ‘Resistance’ getting more prepared. Additionally, one cannot disregard the potential role that organisations such as Al Qa’ida and its satellite entities could play in advancing the central strategic objective of regaining a region i.e. Middle East devoid of non-believers –read Christians and ‘rejectionists –read Shiites. A cursory look at Nahr Al Bared with all its intrigues may provide a clue to whoever is observing.

    My humble view (it could be my wish) is that those convinced of the political expediency of the tribunal above all other considerations, includinh justice, are well entrenched, irrespective of the nature of the long-awaited announcement by the Tribunal.

    Regards

    Posted by QuestionMarks | June 29, 2011, 11:11 am
  26. RE #24

    After thorough investigation on the streets of Beirut, it has come my attention that the machine gun fire, pistol fire and firecrackers we have been hearing all afternoon is due to … the official release of high school students’ grades .

    **Nothing to see here … Keep walking**

    Posted by R2D2 | June 29, 2011, 12:37 pm
  27. #22…Are you Armenian? 😛

    Posted by danny | June 29, 2011, 12:39 pm
  28. Ali #18: It’s usually a good move not to bet against me 🙂

    Y’all know the refrain by now: It’s the STL.
    The various motivations at play for the various parties are pretty obvious and pretty much mirror what I have been harping about for some time.

    HA is not interested in seeing a govt. formed. They can continue playing the waiting game for the time being as long as there is no framework to disarm them or bring them to justice. They will not tolerate a Mikati government that does cowtow to the STL requests though.

    Mikati never really had a chance. The current wrangling over the ministerial statement is just an extension of the 5 months of paralysis, under a new guise.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 29, 2011, 12:41 pm
  29. There is something true about what QM says. It would be stupid to trash Lebanon in the name of “justice”. A grand bargain where all previous political violence offenders are given amnesty, Hezbollah gives up its arms (joins the army is also fine), and the Shia are granted more political power (rotating the positions held, adding more Shia members to parliament, is the best compromise for Lebanon and can even stick for many years. If this happens, the international community will get behind it.

    Posted by AIG | June 29, 2011, 12:43 pm
  30. Question Marks??? Where do I start questioning your misrepresentation of events and facts?

    “A case in point is the politically induced ‘amnesty’ granted to ‘Dr.’ Samir Jaja, who was tried and found guilty of murder…”

    Are you now seriously comparing the Syrian mukhabarti court that convicted Geagea with that of the International court? The court has yet to issue indictments lol. Seriously now. I know you have more respect to our (if not for Lebanese sheeple) intelligence.Hopefully you do realize we are not all clAounies or form the Dahiye. 😛

    “The conduct of the tribunal leaves a lot to be desired and supports allegations that it has ‘ulterior’…”

    The STL has barely started its administrative duties. Please do tell what conduct are you alluding to?

    “Lest we forget, all concerned were initially adamant that Syria is the culprit, only for it to be exonerated by former PM Hariri himself no less.”

    I hope you are not misrepresenting what Hariri said. He said hid political accusations were wrong and that he will wait for the STL findings. How on earth can Hariri exonerate Syrian butchers unless he himself knows the killer????

    “That said, and contrary to certain views abound, I believe Hizbullah is not overly concerned with the Tribunal’s assessment. The Group has already made its position clear, and has been successfully chipping at the Tribunal’s credibility and objectives. This has had a visible impact on the so-called domestic public opinion.”

    Now is that the reason they’ve been barking a storm since 2005. Read the Manar site if you would like to see how much HA is CONCERNED with STL!!!
    Chipping away with what? Please enlighten us with the :
    Is it: ” Counter intelligence crack unit that was tracking an Israeli spy at the exact location and time that Hariri was assassinated? Seriously now!

    or
    Is it?: The 1997 video footage of an Israeli overflight…trying to suggest it was 2005. Seriously now!

    or

    Is it?: Overthrow of the existing majority with the Black Shirts parade?

    or
    Is it?: The new found CIA operatives.? Seriously now?

    It seems you people irrespective of your education or place of residence and enlightenment will defend the terrorist HA to the end of time.

    Now that’s my not so humble opinion. 😀

    Posted by danny | June 29, 2011, 12:58 pm
  31. AIG,

    Under the current prevailing “animosity” between Sunni & Shia in the region would make that “deal” next to impossible. HA has the guns and the superiority on the ground. Why capitulate now? their goal is not domestic but regional. I think as an Israeli you are dreaming in technicolor. The last time I checked the HA cheques were being cut through Tehran.

    Posted by danny | June 29, 2011, 1:02 pm
  32. Danny,

    I didn’t say I expect such a deal to happen. All I said is that it makes a lot of sense for Lebanon. I agree that such a deal is against Iranian interests.

    I am not sure by the way that the Hezbollah supporters would see such a deal as a capitulation. In the end, there are three serious options in my opinion:
    1) Grand bargain
    2) Civil war that ends with grand bargain
    3) Hezbollah ruling a restive Lebanon with a depressed economy

    Posted by AIG | June 29, 2011, 1:11 pm
  33. What Danny said.

    While I agree that in the ideal world, AIG’s suggestion makes sense, in the real world, it’s not likely. Not even remotely likely.
    If you’re HA, and you feel you’ve got the upper hand and the guns, why would you give those up for ANYTHING? When you can instead choose to dictate stuff?
    HA doesn’t need amnesty, nor does it need “rotating power to the shia”. They have almost complete control of what matters TO THEM.

    Having said that, I have to chuckle a bit at AIG for the seeming naivete of that suggestion…I wonder how he’d feel if one were to make some similar whitewashed suggestion to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…”Just give amnesty to all those Hamas guys, and forgive the Israelis for their land occupation and settlements, and let’s all live happily ever after…”
    I’d probably get laughed off the reservation for making such a suggestion, no?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 29, 2011, 1:14 pm
  34. QM,

    I take offense at the following logic/statement
    As a Lebanese, I should not care much about the tag of rogue state if my country is engulfed in a civil war that might very well be much more treacherous than ever before. At the end of the day, most of those calling for maintaining a strong steady line in support of the Tribunal come what may are either outside, or have the capabilities to leave at a moment’s notice. We’ve been there and seen it all. It is the ordinary people, those who do not possess the resources to emigrate, once again, and those who will not wish a repeat of yesterdays when they become homeless, indeed stateless.

    First off. Lebanon would not survive as a rogue state. Despite is endemically dysfunctional nature, it has managed to “survive” this far because it relies in LARGE part on international help (in the form of loans, debt rolling, commerce, etc) Without loans, and without the ability to do business with the gulf, Europe and North America (let’s say, if Lebanon were to be under sanctions), all would fall apart in Lebanon. VERY VERY Quickly.

    Secondly, this notion that the “common people” left in Lebanon will be the ones that suffer is a bunch of self-fulfilling self-serving, woe-is-me BS.
    It is these “common people” who take up arms against their brethren in the case of civil strife.
    It is these common people who are currently voting into office the likes of Hariri, Aoun, Jumblatt and Frangieh.
    They reap what they sow.
    You want the common people to avoid all this crap? Vote for someone else!
    If the common people do not “wish to repeat yesterdays”, it is entirely up to them to make it happen and stand up for what THEY want.
    I’ve said this before: The only reason Lebanon is where it is today is because the Lebanese allow it to be so. I’ll repeat..”THE ONLY REASON”.
    You may not believe me, because of the everpersent mythos we’ve fostered over the past 60 years that we are powerless, that it’s all the work of Israel, or the CIA, or Syria, or foreign powers…
    The truth is…WE are the ones who pick up those machine guns and get all worked up into a lather everytime some clown barks some nonesense on TV, be it Nassrallah or anyone else. WE are the ones who get sucked into defending this clown or that clown, or this sect or that sect.
    Enough with the BS…

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 29, 2011, 1:22 pm
  35. BV,

    Obviously if the Palestinians accepted a two state solution that Israel could live with, there would be amnesty included, just as amnesty was given as part of the Oslo process.

    In what way is Hezbollah having their way in Lebanon? They cannot dictate a government. They cannot use their weapons against Israel since 2006. They cannot get rid of UNIFIL or the Lebanese army in the South. They are at an impasse like everybody else. Yes, they can take over Lebanon, but then what?

    Posted by AIG | June 29, 2011, 1:47 pm
  36. AIG,

    I think you’ve read my previous dissertations on the topic.
    I personally don’t think HA is all powerful in Lebanon. In fact, I have argued they are weaker than ever at the moment and have close to no cover and no options left.

    But really that wasn’t the point I was making in the above comment.

    From THEIR point of view, they are not weak. HA, while not officially “taking over” the country (it is not in their interest to do so), have put themselves in a position where they are the only real power broker in Lebanon at the moment. Being a non-constructive entity, it is not really about them being able to form a government or to build anything. Quite the contrary: It is their ability to obstruct and hinder at every turn. And you would agree they have done exactly that since 2005, and continue to do so.
    From their point of view, it’s all about maintaining their current “supremacy”. They are the only armed party in Lebanon (not counting small arms that everyone appears to have). They are the only side with essentially “veto power” over what happens or doesn’t happen in government. Who gets assigned to what posts, etc.
    They have successfully managed to avoid all accountability from the populace or the rule of law by staying “above the law”.
    They continue to act as a self-righteous, divine-empowered entity which considers itself not-answerable to anyone in Lebanon.

    Why on earth would they be willing to give up their weapons, integrate in the army, in exchange for what??? Being able to have a Shia president?
    Their goal has never been shia presidency. Their goals – in the long run – are a vision of Islamic “Resistance” across the levant. Their vision is that of an Iranian style revolution sweeping up Lebanon, Bahrain and the such. The Lebanese presidency, or premiership are petty concerns to them.

    That’s why I found your statement above somewhat comical (although I do understand what you were trying to say, and like I said, in an ideal world, I agree that would be a solution to make everyone happy).

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 29, 2011, 2:00 pm
  37. As has been discussed before….Some signs of what may come:

    http://nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=286834

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 29, 2011, 2:19 pm
  38. “ME Constipation” vs. the “Arab Spring Laxitive”

    Except for the “Arab Spring”, it’s all “STATUS QUO”.

    The “Arab Spring” is the only force that has the ability to change things, and even that is remote…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 29, 2011, 2:23 pm
  39. BV,

    This has been my contention with QN from the start. He believes that Hezbollah can become a political party and shed its military arm. I am clearly skeptical and agree with you. Just testing the waters to be sure…

    Posted by AIG | June 29, 2011, 2:57 pm
  40. BV

    You already owe Ghassan a donation to his favorite charity (and will be buying the first few rounds at the annual QN happy-hour-and-sing-a-long) for being wrong about Mikati putting together a cabinet lineup. If they eventually come to a compromise over the STL clause and get a policy statement passed before July 13, what are you going to do to atone for your prognosticating errors? 😉

    My sense is that what will probably end up happening is that they’ll throw together a clause that says something vague about justice but does not mention the STL itself. In other words, they won’t commit themselves to continued cooperation, but they won’t formally break off the agreement either. If they can pass that without bringing the sky down on their heads (in terms of sanctions, etc.) then they’ll just wait to see how strong the STL’s case and how well they can spin it.

    By the way, did anyone catch that fantastic article in the New Yorker a couple months ago about CICIG (the UN tribunal in Guatamala)? I’ll try to post something about it later this week.

    AIG, your proposal sounds very sensible. If you can throw a few bridges into the package as well, I think Lebanon just might buy it.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 29, 2011, 3:02 pm
  41. QN,

    I stand by my owing Ghassan whatever it was we bet on (beer money? a bottle of wine?)

    I don’t think it really matters whether they come up with a vague STL clause or drag their feet. You’re losing sight of the bigger picture here.
    My overall point still stands. This IS about the STL and HA is doing what it can to maneuver around that. Hasn’t that been my main point of contention all along?
    I still think that ultimately, when push comes to shove and the international community demands actual accountability of the Lebanese govt, HA will be backed into a corner and have to bring the cabinet down. Wasn’t that my prediction in the previous discussion? I never really got into predicting the details of the STL clause in the ministerial statement.
    The current cabinet’s position is untenable in the long run.
    That doesn’t mean it’s going to fall tomorrow. I’ll repeat: Lebanon cannot afford to become a rogue state under sanctions.
    Have you guys noticed how there seems to be a sudden surge in stories floating around about sanctions? Aid suspension, the draft law in congress, etc.
    Yesterday, the US added Lebanon to some about human trafficking, for example.

    For now, Mikati is dancing on that tightrope, trying to keep a “pro-western” face to his cabinet, all the while having to face the “veto” of HA/Aoun.
    He may, as you predict, formulate some kind of vague STL clause and gain confidence for his cabinet with parliament.
    But eventually, something’s gonna have to give.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 29, 2011, 4:15 pm
  42. QN…You can’t be rejoicing on a victory that was assisted by Alex’s Bashar can you? 😀
    I am agreeing with BV all the way that it was and still is the STL. Off course things have shifted in Bashar’s little universe as his existance in his own country is in peril.
    My only distinction with BV; is the matter of the Bus Driver. I assert that it was Bashar all along with the acquiescence of the supreme Ayatollah Khameini. HA is willing passengers.

    QN you still are wrong in the big picture. The days ahead will prove how wrong though. 😛

    Posted by danny | June 29, 2011, 4:41 pm
  43. I think it would be an exaggeration to say that HA is overly concerned about the indictments. HA has a strategy prepared and its supporters will remain supporters while its critics will remain critics, regardless of the STL.

    I think the real party behind the current cabinet statement delay is Michel Aoun. Let’s not forget that Emile Lahhoud, president at the time, did not sign the agreement with the STL and the Lebanese constitution says the president must sign international agreements to make them official. (correct me if I’m wrong)

    I think Aoun is weary that such presidential powers being bypassed takes away much of the power that remains for the Maronite Christians in Lebanon. To add more to the problem, during the OGERO fiasco, a lowly ISF officer (under orders from Rifi) single-handedly insulted and humiliated, all at once, the three highest ranking (more or less) Christians in government: the minister of the interior, the minister of telecommunications, and the president.

    I think it’s only natural for Aoun to try to ensure that the Christians keep whatever little power they have left. Assuming he has presidential ambitions for the future, it’s the logical thing to do.ncerned about the indictments. HA has a strategy prepared and its supporters will remain supporters while its critics will remain critics, regardless of the STL.

    I think the real party behind the current cabinet statement delay is Michel Aoun. Let’s not forget that Emile Lahhoud, president at the time, did not sign the agreement with the STL and the Lebanese constitution says the president must sign international agreements to make them official. (correct me if I’m wrong)

    I think Aoun is weary that such presidential powers being bypassed takes away much of the power that remains for the Maronite Christians in Lebanon. To add more to the problem, during the OGERO fiasco, a lowly ISF officer (under orders from Rifi) single-handedly insulted and humiliated, all at once, the three highest ranking (more or less) Christians in government: the minister of the interior, the minister of telecommunications, and the president.

    I think it’s only natural for Aoun to try to ensure that the Christians keep whatever little power they have left. Assuming he has presidential ambitions for the future, it’s the logical thing to do.

    Posted by Usama | June 29, 2011, 4:55 pm
  44. oops sorry about the double paste… damn cell phone

    Posted by Usama | June 29, 2011, 4:57 pm
  45. BV and Danny

    You guys are becoming more vague with each passing day. 🙂

    Does anyone deny that the STL is:

    (1) kind of a big deal for Hizbullah?
    (2) kind of what brought down the Hariri government?
    (3) kind of what has complicated the formation of the Mikati government?
    (4) kind of what has complicated the policy statement issue?
    (5) likely to continue to be a big deal for all parties concerned?

    None of that is at issue here, so I don’t understand why you keep trying to suggest that you’ve been “right” all along when the only thing you (or anyone, for that matter) have been consistently right about is these very basic principles that are very plain to see and that no one has objected to.

    What you’ve been wrong about is what follows from these principles. You’ve argued that because the STL is such a big deal, Hizbullah would not want to form a government and prefer to maintain a political vacuum. When Mikati succeeded in putting something together, you argued that the ministerial statement would fail to pass and this would return Lebanon to a vacuum. You could still be right about this, but news reports now suggest that they’ve worked out a deal.

    At what point will you revise your theory? I’m not talking about the “big picture” theory that you’re now clinging to (about the salience of the STL, which no one disputes), but rather your original theory about how Hizbullah operates in Lebanon and how it plans to deal with the fallout of the indictment phase. Our REAL dispute had nothing to do with the issue of whether or not the STL is relevant to Lebanese political culture; that’s in fact the premise of our entire debate. What we were going back and forth about was the question of whether Hizbullah preferred a vacuum (your point) to a functioning government that it had considerable sway over (my point).

    You will probably say that even if Mikati’s policy statement passes, the state of affairs will not be functionally much different from a vacuum, since Hizbullah and its allies have got Mikati by the balls. But I would suggest that there are important differences and that these differences are worth paying attention to and not whitewashing with vague slogans like “Hizbullah has no interest in seeing a government formed.” Actually, it turns out, they do, and that’s interesting for all kinds of reasons.

    New post up.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 29, 2011, 5:36 pm
  46. QN,

    I’ll stop repeating myself after this post. I guess there really is no point proving who was ‘right’ about anything.

    But for fairness’ sake. I never claimed the ministerial statement wouldn’t pass. I always claimed that it did not matter one way or the other.

    The one thing I did repeat over and over (and this is what I want you to hold me to, if you must) is: When push comes to shove and actual action is required of the Lebanese govt to meet its international obligations or face sanctions, HA will be forced to bring the government down.

    That is my prediction. Go back to my previous comments if you must. You’ll see that is the only actual “prediction” that i made (spare for the one I was wrong on with Ghassan).

    The rest has been mostly me trying to explain my theories.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 29, 2011, 5:52 pm
  47. BV#41:

    “Have you guys noticed how there seems to be a sudden surge in stories floating around about sanctions? Aid suspension, the draft law in congress, etc.”

    If you, or anyone else, is interested in substance about proposed US legislation affecting Lebanon, I suggest you bookmark the following link from Americans for Peace Now. They’re the American (& wussy) version of the Israeli Peace Now org and do a great job tracking Congressional actions related to Israel, her “interests” and the region.

    http://peacenow.org/legislative-round-ups/

    “cardiac case” Howard Berman is your bestest (D) friend in the House. He has yet another piece of anti-Lebanese sovereignty (amendment #14) he’s attempting to attach to a DOD bill, HR 2219.

    Posted by lally | June 29, 2011, 7:10 pm
  48. QN,

    Are you spinning?
    https://qifanabki.com/2011/06/16/what-hizbullah-wants-from-mikati/#comments
    #17…

    I think I answered all your “queries”…

    You are still wrong. Just try to see the bigger ‘Bicture” instead of harping on what Mikati or HA did on orders from their masters!

    You are right in being wrong. 😀

    Posted by danny | June 29, 2011, 8:03 pm
  49. AIG #39,
    As much as HA would like to postpone this eventuality, its military wing will have to ultimately be dissolved/absorbed. HA will become purely a political party, and when that happens it will become of secondary political significance. If that is what QN is saying then I am in the same camp since I have been saying this for a very long time.
    I do not agree with HA on most political issues but I do not agree with any of its opponents either 🙂 My strong and vocal objection to HA has nothing to do with their right to articulate any political philosophy that they choose but everything with their insistence to hold a monopoly on resistance.
    My position, again for a long time, has been that the STL and foreign developments will weaken the bargaiing position of HA and force it to compromise on its military wing. On many an occasion i said; tongue in cheek; that this will most probably take place by 2015.:-)

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 29, 2011, 8:12 pm
  50. Lally,

    Is there a reason why most of your posts (on this Lebanese website) refer to Israel or the US?

    Is there any news from the ME that is independent of these two countries or do you believe that everything that happens in the ME is because the US and Israel plan it that way?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 29, 2011, 8:14 pm
  51. Dear A Palace.

    Have you stopped beating your wife yet?

    Posted by lally | June 29, 2011, 9:56 pm
  52. QN,
    Yes, I did make that flowchart up myself after reading through the materials on the STL web site. Feel free to modify and/or use as you will….

    Posted by Tosk59 | June 29, 2011, 11:50 pm
  53. We tend to have an over-fascination for nuts and bolts and an allergy for concepts. QM#25 is absolutely right on the mark. The daily rants here ultimately turn out to be a plethora of nuts and bolts recommendations without a proper conceptual framework which could sustain our national security management system in the coming 10 years, if not much longer.We should avoid this in carrying forward this important exercise, because no matter how much you all rant, scream or shout, Hezbollah is here to stay and is stronger than ever, regardless any of your ill wishes, STL, stupid US congress resolutions, UNSC, EU, or Wahhabis shenanigans….etc…Kudos to Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah! 🙂

    Posted by HK | June 30, 2011, 1:53 am

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