Lebanon, Reform

The Lebanese Presidency, Twenty-Five Years after Ta’if

presidential-chairLebanon failed to elect a president this week, but the failure was rather dignified by recent standards. Unlike the 2008 election — preceded by twenty months of government paralysis, public demonstrations, a parliament building locked by its Speaker, and several high-profile assassinations —  it was a relief to watch 124 parliamentarians show up at the Chamber of Deputies last Wednesday and cast their votes.

Most commentary over the past couple of weeks has centered on the maneuverings of the likely candidates. Would Saad Hariri cut a deal with Michel Aoun? Has Samir Geagea successfully transformed himself from a convicted war criminal to a respectable presidential contender? Is there a ghost candidate waiting in the wings? One can dream

I have to admit that I’ve found these discussions unsatisfying. More relevant than the matter of who the next president will be is the question of whether Lebanon needs a president at all, a quarter century after the Ta’if Agreement.

Consider the President’s powers and duties (articles 49-63 of the Lebanese Constitution). Apart from serving as “the symbol of the nation’s unity” and safeguarding “the constitution and Lebanon’s independence, unity, and territorial integrity,” the President of the Republic does very little without the say-so of the Council of Ministers. He or she accredits ambassadors and promulgates laws, but doesn’t have a vote in cabinet, cannot select a Prime Minister without binding consultations with the Parliament, cannot dissolve Parliament without permission of the Council of Ministers, and cannot effectively block a law from being passed. 

Before Ta’if, the Presidency was far more powerful than it is today, at the expense of both the Chamber of Deputies and the Prime Minister’s office. If there is one thing that unites Lebanon’s Christian parties, it is their revanchist attitude toward Ta’if and their demand that the President’s powers be restored. This seems very unlikely today, but I agree that some drastic reform of the position needs to be considered.

The presidential election process in Lebanon (courtesy of IFES). Click to enlarge.

The presidential election process in Lebanon (courtesy of IFES). Click to enlarge.

One problem is the way in which presidents are elected, which — like the process by which cabinets are put together — is far too vulnerable to spoilers masquerading as political consensualists. This is partly the fault of the constitutional language describing the process. In the first round of voting, a candidate needs an extraordinary majority (two-thirds, or 86 votes) to be elected. In subsequent rounds, an ordinary majority (51%, or 65 MPs) is sufficient. What happens, though, if no political bloc commands a majority in Parliament, as is often the case? And what if one bloc declines to participate in the session, denying a quorum? The Constitution provides no answer to these questions, and as we saw in 2007-08, this can be a problem. As a wise friend recently put it to me: “A constitutional vacuum is one thing; a vacuous constitution is another.”

On the other hand, it’s short-sighted to approach the question of presidential powers from an exclusively constitutional basis. The Speaker of Parliament’s powers are very limited as far as the Lebanese Constitution is concerned, and yet Nabih Berri has wielded them to great effect. Conversely, we’ve seen the powers of the Prime Minister (who is, textually speaking, primus inter pares) effectively eroded since 2005 with the introduction of the blocking third in the Council of Ministers and the ever-lengthening cabinet formation period.

From this perspective, President Michel Sleiman has similarly been able to do more with his limited powers than the Constitution suggests. Ziad Baroud’s nomination as Interior Minister in 2008 was apparently a Sleiman demand, and the work on a new electoral law for 2013 was carried out by another of his appointees, Marwan Charbel. However, whenever the Commander-in-Chief made the mistake of expressing his opinion on military matters, he was quickly put in his place.   

Twenty-five years after Ta’if inaugurated Lebanon’s Second Republic and nearly nine years after the Syrian departure gave us a new, mysterious set of protocols (what I like to think of as Lebanon 2.5), it is time to rethink the country’s principal institutions and symbols. The President today is responsible for safeguarding a Constitution that is consistently ignored, convening a national dialogue process that is ineffectual, and leading a Christian community that no longer thinks of itself as a single political unit. In this context, why should the identity of the President matter?

In other news, I’m happy to report that I’ve just wrapped up my teaching for the year, and I should have more time to devote to blogging again. Please forgive the long hiatus.

Discussion

226 thoughts on “The Lebanese Presidency, Twenty-Five Years after Ta’if

  1. My friend As’ad Abu Khalil responds to my post here.

    And here is a response:

    “There is not a single Christian political party in Lebanon, not even the Phalanges, which calls for the restoration of the presidential powers of pre-1975 Lebanon.”

    Maybe they don’t explicitly call for the complete restoration of the pre-1975 powers, but there’s absolutely no question that leading Christian politicians have called for strengthening the Presidency again. They say this publicly and privately. I can furnish links if you’d like.

    “The civil war was largely fought over this very subject, and the demographic realities of Lebanon today would make such a call seems rather kooky.”

    There are calls for many things today that fly in the face of demographic realities, as you know. The Orthodox Law is the most extreme example, and every single Christian party supported it.

    Can you name one achievement of Sulayman? One, not two?

    The point was not that he has recorded several great achievements, but simply that he has been able to do more than what the Constitution allows him to do. He has been able to name important ministers, for example. The Constitution says nothing about that. And yes, Baroud was circumvented by Rifi on matters of security, but he still made some significant advances in the area of the electoral law. You say that Sleiman had nothing to do with it, but Marwan Charbel would not have been able to draft the law that he did (which was basically the same as Baroud’s proposal) without presidential support. I have this on very strong authority.

    “In fact, it can be argued that the powers of the prime minister has been largely strengthened since 2005 because the Syrian regime ran the show and ran the prime minister before 2005.”

    I disagree on this point. It’s true that Syria ran the PM, which made all pre-2005 PMs Syrian viceroys. Today, the playing field is considerably more open to manipulation by less powerful parties. The Prime Minister does not have a free hand to do what he wishes; he is significantly constrained by the blocking third and by the demands that are extracted during the very long cabinet formation processes.

    Thanks As’ad. 😉

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | April 26, 2014, 1:22 pm
  2. It is sad that our standards of governance have become so low so as to be happy to see that MPs (illegal MPs that is) finally and peacefully showed up in parliament for the presidential vote.

    Briefly on the issue of the presidency, I’m not sure how we can see Suleiman’s naming of ministers as an achievement or an example of power, as he does it as any other so-called political leader would and by virtue of precedence and tradition, providing the cover of any power or influence….

    Looking at the national dialogue is tricky in itself, let alone wrong to see it as an achievement for the president to have set it up (regardless of its results), a process that circumvented all institutional channels, with no rules and regulations as to its membership and procedures, an absolute waste of time, and quite harmful if only in giving false hopes.

    Posted by Eye on the East | April 26, 2014, 3:30 pm
  3. Eye on the East said:

    “Briefly on the issue of the presidency, I’m not sure how we can see Suleiman’s naming of ministers as an achievement or an example of power, as he does it as any other so-called political leader would and by virtue of precedence and tradition, providing the cover of any power or influence….”

    The Constitution does not grant the President the right to name a minister, and Sleiman is not a traditional political leader. So it was not inevitable that he would have the chance to do so. The point was not to say that this constitutes an achievement, but rather that the practice of politics is not a reflection of a constitutional blueprint.

    “Looking at the national dialogue is tricky in itself, let alone wrong to see it as an achievement for the president to have set it up (regardless of its results), a process that circumvented all institutional channels, with no rules and regulations as to its membership and procedures, an absolute waste of time, and quite harmful if only in giving false hopes.”

    Again, I didn’t say it was an achievement but rather the opposite: ineffectual.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | April 26, 2014, 3:39 pm
  4. So it seems everyone has their hands tied and can’t do anything, so where do you think real power is derived from?

    The ability to intimidate others by putting your guns to their head like hezbollah/amal. Or the ability of self-determination against that, like the Druze?
    Infiltrating state institutions and running them even when you’re not in power like the telecom ministry or the airport?

    I am just wondering what makes one powerful because it seems that everyone with an official government job is toothless without some army or armed thugs backing him

    Posted by Fadi | April 26, 2014, 3:47 pm
  5. It is wrong to accuse the constitution as vacuous when it is not, as we can see below from presumed constitutional experts. Well, they are more experts than our presumed experts here on QN,

    الرفاعي ضد “العرف المقدس”: نعم لنصاب النصف+1!

    المصدر: “النهار”
    فرج عبجي
    23 نيسان 2014 الساعة 20:43

    انتهت معركة تحديد الاحجام في الدورة الاولى لانتخاب رئيس الجمهورية، لتبدأ معارك الدورات المقبلة، والتي يرى البعض ان للنصاب حصة فيها. رئيس مجلس النواب نبيه بري رد اليوم على سؤال النائب سامي الجميل عن نصاب الجلسة المقبلة لانتخاب الرئيس فأجاب “اي دورة ثانية لانتخاب الرئيس لا تكون الا بحضور 86 نائبا”. لكن موقف بري من النصاب ورغم موافقة الكتل الاساسية عليه حتى الآن، بقي محط نقاش بين بعض اهل الدستور.

    فالخبير الدستوري حسن الرفاعي يرفض تمسك بري بنصاب الثلثين في الدورة الثانية، ويقول لـ”النهار” ان “ما قاله الرئيس بري اجتهاد شخصي ومخالف للدستور، فصحيح ان الجلسة الاولى تتطلب حضور ثلثي اعضاء المجلس لتنعقد لكن الجلسات التي تليها تعقد بالنصف زائد واحد”.

    ويوضح ان “اجتماع المجلس بالنصف زائد واحد يكون صحيحاً طالما ان المرشح بحاجة للنصف زائد واحد ليفوز، وفي المبدأ، نصت المادة 49 على وجوب حضور النواب جلسة انتخاب رئيس الجمهورية وحددت عدد الاصوات التي يجب ان يحصل عليها المرشح وليس عدد النصاب القانوني”. وجهة النظر هذه تقابل برفض النائب السابق مخايل الضاهر المدافع عن ما سماه العرف المقدس اي حضور ثلثي عدد النواب لانتخاب رئيس الجمهورية في جميع الدورات الانتخابية.

    ويقول لـ”النهار”: “صحيح ان الجلسة الثانية بحاجة ايضاً الى حضور 86 نائباً وذلك وفق المادة 49 من الدستور التي تنصّ على ان انتخاب رئيس الجمهورية يتم بالاقتراع السري بغالبية الثلثين في مجلس النواب بالدورة الاولى، وبالغالبية المطلقة في الدورات التي تليها، وذلك لأنه عندما يتم الانتخاب بالثلثين في الدورة الاولى، والنصف زائد واحد في الدورات التي تليها، يعني ذلك ان النصاب مؤمن لكن يكفي ان ينتخب بالنصف زائد واحد”. ويضيف انه “ولحين تعديل الدستور وتحديد النصاب المطلوب في الجلسات المخصصة لانتخاب الرئيس فهذا العرف سيبقى ساريا وقدسا”.

    faraj.obaji@annahar.com.lb

    twitter:@farajobagi

    Posted by Mustap | April 26, 2014, 5:54 pm
  6. Akbar Palace,

    I’m still waiting for your answers from previous post as there seems to be new developments in the reconciliation saga.

    We can continue here.

    I’m amused by AA’s remarks. I didn’t know he was a friend of QN. We will soon have a full resistance circus here and more fun.

    Posted by Mustap | April 26, 2014, 6:09 pm
  7. Mustap,

    I responded with a long reply earlier today. It may have been deleted? I’ll try to recover it or just redo it…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 26, 2014, 8:38 pm
  8. Mustap – I found my post in the last thread (Bassam Haddad for Guernica Mag). It says it is awaiting moderation.

    Here it is:

    Mustap,

    Here are my comments:

    … how much do you think Netenyahoo indirectly played a role to bring about this fantastic event? You need to consider the following while formulating an answer:

    1) Bibi squeezed the juice out of Abbas in order to free a mere 80 prisoners, most of them have been in jail for more than 20 years, while he was more than eager to free more than 1000 prisoners for Hamas.

    2) Bibi refused to recognize any sovereignty for the PA over the West Bank while he was more than eager to recognize Hamas’ sovereignty over Gaza.

    Mustap,

    BB has no control over Abbas’s decisions. Let’s step back from the “all-powerful jews” conspiracy. Let’s go back to Camp David. The issue was a few square kilometers of the West Bank and a few square meters of the Old City. In return, AN END TO THE CONFLICT. Palestinian leaders have never been ever to countenance that.

    It all goes back to the most each side is willing to give up and it will never be enough. Therefore, the status quo will be “as good as it gets”. Which is fine for everyone except for American administrations.

    And further, do you think Abbas learnt from Hamas based on the above and he’s just playing the same Hamas game as being hard to get?

    This seems to be the ME method for negotiating. At one time the Great Lion of Syria though he was the most beautiful girl in the ME. She still hasn’t got a date.;)

    Isn’t Hamas a useful tool for Bibi and he would seek to invent it if it didn’t exist? If your answer is yes to this question, then by extension wouldn’t so called resistance fall into the same category of useful tools for him, albeit, we know that these tools are discredited as far as the objectives they claim they seek to achieve, regardless of the fact that the threesas, the lollypops and the Ghrayebs cheer them as the ultimate panacea for Arab and Muslim grievances?

    Yes and no. Fundamentalist resistance pros make Israel’s job easier by their intransigence, however, they are armed and dangerous.

    we need to address this latest attempt by our threesa to dissociate self from the web of so-called resistance

    You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. I have no interest making anyone “see the light”. But I do enjoy showing how the ideas are inconsistent and illogical.

    The first most important reason, of course, is the continued use of the jargon of resistance.

    Good point, Language is important. That is why incitement is part of the peace process. That is why Germany has laws against anti-semitism. Free speech is fine; yelling fire in a movie theatre is not.

    The second important question, undoubtedly, is how many threesas in the Arab world there were prior to the outbreak of the Syrian revolution who were cheering the so-called resistance of hezbollah…

    Another good point. I am sensing that because of the Syrian revolution, a LARGE number of arabs have withdrawn from the Resistance Pro outlook and the anti-Israel bandwagon. Assad has done more for Zionism than Rabbi Schneerson (z”l) 😉

    I’ve read the most anti-Israel commentators on this and other websites, and they’re all very quiet now. Silence of the Lambs. However, I wonder if your POV changed in these past 3 years. We never spoke for the “arab spring”.

    How could such collective failure of intellect be so wide spread in such a vast world as the Arab one so as to allow millions to be deceived by such a mediocre character of the like of nasrallah?

    Words. Government-owned media. Government-paid clerics. Economic failure. Political failure. Human rights failure. Mix it all together and we find a Zionist boogeyman. Sad that arabs and jews can’t work together.

    If you look at the Arab world, you will see that only the Saudis, thanks to the wise counsel of their Monarch, and the people of the Gulf were the Arabs who escaped such misfortune of deception, and never looked up at nasrallah and his resistance mumbo jumbo except as the demagogue that he really is.

    That may be a sunni-shia reason, where each group is wary of the other.

    It is obvious that, except for the Saudis and the few Gulf States, the Arabs at large have not yet grown beyond adolescence, and they still need one to two hundred years to reach the threshold of maturity. Nasrallah and his demagoguery of resistance has made this fact clearly visible to the naked eye.

    The problems are deep. My thoughts are, protect yourself first. Let other kill themselves if they want.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 26, 2014, 9:53 pm
  9. Mustap,

    My posts are getting stuck in moderation both on this thread and the last one. QN needs to fix it once the semester ends and he’s finished grading papers….

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 26, 2014, 10:11 pm
  10. “Has Samir Geagea successfully transformed himself from a convicted war criminal to a respectable presidential contender?”

    _falsely_ convicted you mean.

    Posted by Rani Geha (@RaniGeha) | April 27, 2014, 4:58 am
  11. Akbar

    You are posts are getting stock because you misspelled your email address in your excitement to respond to Mustap.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | April 27, 2014, 6:32 am
  12. Rani

    This is an old question. Very few people doubt that Samir Geagea earned his time in prison; the problem is that many others deserved to be punished and no one else was. He was targeted by the Syrians but I don’t think it’s quite accurate to say that he was falsely convicted.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | April 27, 2014, 6:37 am
  13. QN,

    I guess you think it is time for a review of Taef and total review of the power sharing formula. That would entail a new census as well as definition of who is considered as Lebanese. Should the expats wield same power. Should dead people still allowed to vote? one person one vote? A new comprehensive and not so freaking ambiguous Constitution. Free Judiciary…

    Lebanese presidents have been nothing but perilous to Lebanon from day 1. If Sleiman had any “power”; it is because the HA politics dictated so to supposedly show a measure of strength to nullify the M14 Christians.
    That is so evident now; the way they treat Sleiman; as the “yellow gold” has turned to wood.

    Currently; the election of a President in Lebanon is important because the current head mafiosi of HA think they can use it to get concessions from the Sunnis and Christians(West and the KSA). Basic blackmail. Why is not there a M8 presidential nominee? The politics of squeezing any advantage is important.

    “He was targeted by the Syrians but I don’t think it’s quite accurate to say that he was falsely convicted.”
    Do you mean the trials were transparent and factual evidence was presented? If people are accusing STL of being fixed; although it is transparent, how could you come to such a conclusion with the Kangaroo mukhabarati courts?

    As for Geagea; at least he served 11 years. What about all the others still wandering around? Now that is the point of the matter. Why is it OK to accept one and not the others?

    Posted by danny | April 27, 2014, 9:05 am
  14. QN – Thanks for the heads-up. I thought for sure you were busy grading term papers. Guess what? I just got a glimpse of Fox News this morning and they had some college kids on complaining about college professors who berate students for their conservative political beliefs. Good thing we have Daniel Pipes’ website to give parents and kids a indication of who their teachers are going to be BEFORE they waste their money. Just think of all the money you’d be wasting if you were stuck in a class with Norman Finkelstein.

    Mustap,

    Here are my comments. I took some valium to cut down on my excitement:

    … how much do you think Netenyahoo indirectly played a role to bring about this fantastic event? You need to consider the following while formulating an answer:

    1) Bibi squeezed the juice out of Abbas in order to free a mere 80 prisoners, most of them have been in jail for more than 20 years, while he was more than eager to free more than 1000 prisoners for Hamas.

    2) Bibi refused to recognize any sovereignty for the PA over the West Bank while he was more than eager to recognize Hamas’ sovereignty over Gaza.

    Mustap,

    BB has no control over Abbas’s decisions. Let’s step back from the “all-powerful jews” conspiracy. Let’s go back to Camp David. The issue was a few square kilometers of the West Bank and a few square meters of the Old City. In return, AN END TO THE CONFLICT. Palestinian leaders have never been ever to countenance that.

    It all goes back to the most each side is willing to give up and it will never be enough. Therefore, the status quo will be “as good as it gets”. Which is fine for everyone except for American administrations.

    And further, do you think Abbas learnt from Hamas based on the above and he’s just playing the same Hamas game as being hard to get?

    This seems to be the ME method for negotiating. At one time the Great Lion of Syria though he was the most beautiful girl in the ME. She still hasn’t got a date.;)

    Isn’t Hamas a useful tool for Bibi and he would seek to invent it if it didn’t exist? If your answer is yes to this question, then by extension wouldn’t so called resistance fall into the same category of useful tools for him, albeit, we know that these tools are discredited as far as the objectives they claim they seek to achieve, regardless of the fact that the threesas, the lollypops and the Ghrayebs cheer them as the ultimate panacea for Arab and Muslim grievances?

    Yes and no. Fundamentalist resistance pros make Israel’s job easier by their intransigence, however, they are armed and dangerous.

    we need to address this latest attempt by our threesa to dissociate self from the web of so-called resistance

    You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. I have no interest making anyone “see the light”. But I do enjoy showing how the ideas are inconsistent and illogical.

    The first most important reason, of course, is the continued use of the jargon of resistance.

    Good point, Language is important. That is why incitement is part of the peace process. That is why Germany has laws against anti-semitism. Free speech is fine; yelling fire in a movie theatre is not.

    The second important question, undoubtedly, is how many threesas in the Arab world there were prior to the outbreak of the Syrian revolution who were cheering the so-called resistance of hezbollah…

    Another good point. I am sensing that because of the Syrian revolution, a LARGE number of arabs have withdrawn from the Resistance Pro outlook and the anti-Israel bandwagon. Assad has done more for Zionism than Rabbi Schneerson (z”l) 😉

    I’ve read the most anti-Israel commentators on this and other websites, and they’re all very quiet now. Silence of the Lambs. However, I wonder if your POV changed in these past 3 years. We never spoke for the “arab spring”.

    How could such collective failure of intellect be so wide spread in such a vast world as the Arab one so as to allow millions to be deceived by such a mediocre character of the like of nasrallah?

    Words. Government-owned media. Government-paid clerics. Economic failure. Political failure. Human rights failure. Mix it all together and we find a Zionist boogeyman. Sad that arabs and jews can’t work together.

    Right now I am finding the leading anti-Zionists are generally white Americans and Europeans. Not arabs. Like the lead-up to WW2, it only takes political turmoil and a bad economy to revive anti-semitism. When people are doing well, they don’t need boogeymen. Right now, the things I’m reading are totally delusional. People work themselves up with so much hate they pop. Just a few weeks ago an American anti-semite killed 3 people (he thought were jewish) at a Kansas City JCC.

    If you look at the Arab world, you will see that only the Saudis, thanks to the wise counsel of their Monarch, and the people of the Gulf were the Arabs who escaped such misfortune of deception, and never looked up at nasrallah and his resistance mumbo jumbo except as the demagogue that he really is.

    That may be a sunni-shia reason, where each group is wary of the other. The Saudis, I suppose, live in a stable world with a great economy. They want to protect that.

    It is obvious that, except for the Saudis and the few Gulf States, the Arabs at large have not yet grown beyond adolescence, and they still need one to two hundred years to reach the threshold of maturity. Nasrallah and his demagoguery of resistance has made this fact clearly visible to the naked eye.

    The problems are deep. My thoughts are, protect yourself first. Let others kill themselves or destroy their countries if they want to.

    With much excitement,

    AP

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 27, 2014, 10:05 am
  15. “Rani

    This is an old question. Very few people doubt that Samir Geagea earned his time in prison; the problem is that many others deserved to be punished and no one else was. He was targeted by the Syrians but I don’t think it’s quite accurate to say that he was falsely convicted.”

    I don’t care about the “others.” I care about the truth. The security services tortured people to get confessions for heaven’s sake (books have been written about that, check Antoinette Chahine and George Alam). Robert Hatem, in his book, explains how Hobeiqa sent him to count Dany Chamoun’s bodyguards and how the operation was done by the Syrians and Hobeiqa. It is immoral to not doubt those trials.

    Posted by Rani Geha (@RaniGeha) | April 27, 2014, 10:17 am
  16. Danny, don’t despair! The Superdooper Power’s main man in Beirut will be working with KSA to insure that there is no foreign intervention in Lebanon’s presidential efforts.

    Tweets:

    Naharnet ‏@Naharnet 22h
    MTV: U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale might visit Riyadh to discuss the presidential elections with Saudi… http://www.naharnet.com/

    Naharnet ‏@Naharnet Apr 26
    LF chief Samir Geagea discussed with U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale the presidential elections and the … http://www.naharnet.com/

    BTW. Is it true that Geagea built a replica of his cell in his home? 11 years in solitary can drive a person nuts, you know.

    Posted by lally | April 27, 2014, 10:54 am
  17. Akbar Palace,

    Thanks for the answers. Regarding my POV whether it has changed in last three years: NOPE. I always looked at hezbollah as an agent of foreign hostile entity that has no room in our midst. I describe it as I always did a fifth column that needs to be eradicated NOT NEGOTIATED WITH.

    Our biggest worries are the amateur politicians, chief among them is Hariri junior. This man has done the greatest harm to Lebanon after Hezbollah and the worst part about it is that he either doesn’t know that or refuses to acknowledge it, and he’s still dreaming of becoming a PM at ANY cost. This man must disappear from the political scene altogether. He is not fit nor made for it. We say in Arabic: a kid will remain a kid even if it rules a country.

    His latest fiasco is convincing the Saudi leadership to support financially the Lebanese Army, which is by all measures an institution supporting terrorism. This is the greatest disaster which may hit Lebanon after hezbollah.

    What is he thinking about? He thinks he can gain the army to his side by couple billion dollars? Does he not know that this army is penetrated deep to its deepest core and to its highest levels by agents of hezbollah? This is the kind of mediocre politicians we’re dealing with. I’m hoping the Saudis will soon realize the fallacy of such project and move to scrap any such perceived aid to this institution of support of terrorism, and save the money for better use. I also hope western states will move to list the LAF as a sponsor of terrorism and to cut any aid or arms to it.

    Would you finance an enemy to become a PM?

    Posted by Mustap | April 27, 2014, 11:38 am
  18. lally,

    Yes the USA, KSA and new friend Iran are meeting about Lebanon…and promise they will not interfere. 😀
    Yup it is true about Geagea building the replica. He was crazier when he went to jail; whereas he found God and music and dance.

    http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=geagea+dancing&docid=608044327014239038&mid=0E0DA8981C2AB3DCE37A0E0DA8981C2AB3DCE37A&view=detail&FORM=VIRE1#view=detail&mid=0E0DA8981C2AB3DCE37A0E0DA8981C2AB3DCE37A.

    Posted by danny | April 27, 2014, 11:44 am
  19. Here’s another one of the happy feet…

    Posted by danny | April 27, 2014, 11:47 am
  20. The Lebanese constitution needs to be amended ONLY to reduce the number of Druze MP’s to 4 from the current 8. The Sunnis would get 3 and the Shia would get 1.

    The Druze are the only sect over represented in this archaic parliament.

    Jumblat must be reduced to proper size. He must not be allowed to play the king maker any more. Nominating Helou by his so-called revived democratic gathering is one more farce of the many he was able to get by while other gullible politicians look on helplessly to the satisfaction of his heart.

    Posted by Mustap | April 27, 2014, 1:43 pm
  21. His latest fiasco is convincing the Saudi leadership to support financially the Lebanese Army, which is by all measures an institution supporting terrorism. 

    Mustap,

    We are on a day trip to Harper’s Ferry, WV this beautiful Sunday. This town was at the center of the Civil War and located where 3 states meet and where the Shenandoah river empties into the Potomac.

    There is a memorial stone dedicated to the first “free” Blackman killed by John Brown’s Raid for guarding the town’s armory. The monument was erected by confederate sympathizers. Why would confederate commemorate a free black when they wanted slavery? Why didn’t they abolish slavery to prevent war and the destruction of their property? I guess they thought they could win. How does this relate to life in the ME?

    I think Hariri is trying to prevent war by accommodation. The Lebanese had a civil war and it was horrible. We, living elsewhere can tell the Lebanese what to do, but they have to live with the consequences. I would accept the status quo and let Syria be HAs fire to put out.

    Meanwhile lovers of freedom have to convince the people that foreign armies have no business in Lebanon and there is room for only one army.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 27, 2014, 3:04 pm
  22. Akbar Palace,

    You’re giving Hariri way more credit than he deserves comparing him to figures of the American civil war. The guy is dumb. He wouldn’t recognize a civil war even if he were to be on the front lines in the middle of it. On the IQ scale he wouldn’t score 50.

    No, he’s not trying to prevent civil war. He wants to be a PM at any cost. In fact, the Hariris are the worst thing that happened to Lebanon after hezbollah. His father’s actions before him are responsible for the current state of affairs, particularly his deal with Assad senior to allow hezbollah to keep its weapons in return for symbolic participation of Assad’s thug army in the coalition of the willing to oust Saddam from Kuwait. Hariri junior is following on the same path of discredited accomodation with devilish entities for purely personal gains, with the exception that he doesn’t posses the aura that surrounded his father. He must disappear altogether for the sake of Lebanon. In fact, his actions will eventually lead to civil war.

    On the other hand how can you trust an army which is already penetrated up to the highest levels by agents of terrorists? A time will come when you have to say NO MORE to accomodations.

    Posted by Mustap | April 27, 2014, 3:55 pm
  23. Mustap,

    Unless the Lebanese are prepared for a civil war, maybe they should learn to love the yellow flag of wesistance.

    What’s your plan? What does the KSA brain trust recommend?

    Seems to me lebanese Sunnis are weak.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 27, 2014, 7:43 pm
  24. Here is the memorial I mentioned earlier today. Notice the confederate groups who presented this disingenuous memorial (in the 1930s) to commemorate an innocent black man noting the “character and faithfulness of thousands of Negros”.

    Meanwhile the confederates refused to free blacks and treat them as equal citizens. And it took another 100 years for blacks to ride buses with whites, eat at the same restaurants, go to the same restrooms, schools and e bcuz en drink from the same water fountains. Talk about “apartheid state”.

    That stone is an historical joke that we can learn from today.

    http://www.stonesentinels.com/Harpers_Ferry/Heyward_Shepherd.php

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 27, 2014, 10:25 pm
  25. Akbar Palace,

    You cannot measure the standards of 200 years by today’s standards. The concept of apartheid was not considered by many as abhorrent as it is looked at today.

    On the other hand, the brain trust of KSA is not where we should be looking to for answers. It is the other way around. The Saudis must be brought to the conclusion that they should abandon Hariri as their man in Lebanon. Once, the Saudis do that there will be a dramatic change. Currently, there are opposing camps within the Saudi royals. One camp supports Hariri and the other camp considers him a liability. Time will come when, I believe, the camp opposed to him will gain the upper hand. Regarding the Sunnis of Lebanon they are not as weak as you may imagine. True, they have no organized militia, but they do have a loyal sizeable part of the army, besides they have a lot of economic clout.

    The Sunnis need to get rid of Hariri in order to prove themselves and force the Saudi hand. They would set an example by voting him and his block out. Chances that happening in the next elections are not so great. But I expect that he would score very poorly compared to last elections.

    Raising the yellow flag ain’t gonna happen.

    Posted by Mustap | April 27, 2014, 11:29 pm
  26. Akbar Pakace,

    By the way, even two hundred years later you still have Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling.

    Go figure.

    Posted by Mustap | April 27, 2014, 11:58 pm
  27. Fadl Shaker for PM! 😛

    Posted by danny | April 28, 2014, 6:44 am
  28. Mustap,

    I guess my purpose for the civil war memorial is “narrative”. This memorial is supposed to make confederates look good by making a black into a martyr. Meanwhile the confederates considered blacks sub-human and property. Refer to the Dred Scott case and see what the Supreme Court head judge said. Actually, John Brown was considered a terrorist. After reading more, I discovered there were a lot of whites who, like John Brown, fought for black freedom. Anyway, this was just a side thread.

    The main thread is civil war. No one wants it, but sometimes it is inevitable. I suppose when there is nothing left to lose or the sides think they can win.

    Too bad AIG isn’t around, because he understood Lebanese politics a lot more than I do. I think his argument was let the despots lead and let them take responsibility for their failures. That includes HA.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 28, 2014, 8:10 am
  29. PS – There will always be racism; it is something you can’t legislate. But if the laws aren’t fair, then that’s a problem. The main issue with lebanon is the existence of militia acting outside of government control.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 28, 2014, 8:14 am
  30. Akbar Palace,

    “Too bad AIG isn’t around, because he understood Lebanese politics a lot more than I do. I think his argument was let the despots lead and let them take responsibility for their failures. That includes HA.”

    AIG’s argument is flawed. Despots are not accountable to anyone. So they cannot be held responsible for any of their actions.

    “But if the laws aren’t fair, then that’s a problem. The main issue with lebanon is the existence of militia acting outside of government control.”

    The issues in Lebanon are much deeper than that. For example, a convicted criminal normally doesn’t get a chance to run for office in a country respecting the rule of law. In Lebanon, this is a very normal farce to pull, and we have a living example right in front of us, the convicted Geagea who killed a very respected prime minister currently running for office! This is also a result of Hariri’s accommodationist policies that have only one objective: to make political gains at ANY cost.

    Hezbollah thrives when it has apparent opponents such as Hariri and his father that it can use for whatever accommodations it desires. Who was Hariri compared to PM Karami, murdered by a thug like Geagea? Karami, was a known historical nationalist figure of well known national heritage well before the obscure Hariris came into the scene.

    Posted by Mustap | April 28, 2014, 9:10 am
  31. AP please can you guys (…Mustap) exchange emails and communicate on a personal level. This is not my blog; but it is becoming cumbersome for anyone trying to scroll through dozens of back and forth between you and the Assir follower that has no bearing either on the posted topic or substance.

    I apologize as it is not my place but I am sure the sentiment is shared by many!

    Posted by danny | April 28, 2014, 9:14 am
  32. Akbar Palace,

    I think it is better to ignore this Geagea fan who obviously contributes nothing here neither in form nor in substance to anything that matters. It is obvious, besides his admiration to a criminal who he would like to see as pres. of the republica, has nothing to offer except, on occasions, some spiteful and vengeful comments seeping with jealousy. This behaviour is well known and typical of some mountain village inhabitants who on their first on visit to Beirut become the object of fun to Beirutis amused by the reactions of Neanderthal’s first encounter with civilization.
    Let’s move on …

    Posted by Mustap | April 28, 2014, 9:29 am
  33. Classic.

    “In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[4]”

    Where I have come from, Mutsap would be on the fast track for banning. A Palace, I would expect you to know better than to be seduced into contributing to this disruptive behavior. It’s enormously disrespectful to QN.

    Danny, thanks for your for intervention. BTW, it’s rather clear just who is the uncivilized rube here.)

    Posted by lally | April 28, 2014, 10:56 am
  34. Akbar Palace,

    Classic crowding of the gang.

    So, Lally knows where she comes from, and obviously she read my previous comment speculating about who she may really be, but she waits until she gets the nodding help from Daniel of the Lions den hundred comments later and then unleashes her vengeance.

    It can’t be more CLASSIC than this CLASSIC.

    OK, Lally you’re NOT Amal Ghrayyeb, and you’re NOT Sharmine? But, please don’t tell us you’re an American Jew!!

    your cover is blown LOOOOOOOONG LOOOONG ago.

    And you have the audacity to lecture us about trolls? Get serious.

    By the way, you still think I’m Hussein Ibish?

    Posted by Mustap | April 28, 2014, 11:33 am
  35. Danny,

    Fair enough. On this or other websites, if there is a participant I don’t like I usually whiz past it. Nonetheless, Mustap and I can communicate off line. Mustap, feel free to email me at my gmail account. My username is in reverse: palace first; akbar second separated by a “dot” @gmail.com

    I’ll chime in only when I see something that I want to comment on (at the pleasure of the owner who is busy grading papers).

    Lally,

    I’ll what until the owner comes down on me. Granted the opinion Mustap and I share are not shared by most here and I agree it’s not fair to carry on a personal “conversation”.

    Anyway, I look forward to reading more about “Foggy Bottom”, the CIA, Richard Pearl, the Five Dancing Israelis and the whole cast of characters! 😉 You do win in the colorful adjectives department…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 28, 2014, 11:49 am
  36. Akbar Palace,

    I’ll be happy to exchange e-mails with you, but we should not go offline on the false accusation that we’re exchanging personal conversations on this website. I never asked you anything personal and neither did you ask me anything personal. All we talked about here were Lebanese and Middle Eastern issues. In fact, we’re the only ones among the few contributing something of relevance to Lebanon, the Middle East and to the topic on hand. I don’t recall Daniel or Lolly contributing anything worth reading except if you count gimmicks like eh, ooh, eeh, happy and frowning faces as something worth looking at.

    I hope, and strongly urge you, that you continue to engage in discussions because you’re a valuable contributor to this blog with opinions worth sharing with all of us, and please do not get intimidated by irrelevant comments obviously harboring ulterior base motives.

    And as you correctly pointed out, until the owner comes down with his ruling we should ignore these remarks coming from Daniel and Lolly, as I will ignore them for certainty and will continue to engage with you.

    Posted by Mustap | April 28, 2014, 12:01 pm
  37. QN, great article.

    It has dawned on me recently on whether Lebanon has entered a new phase in its political affairs. Our present system is being put to its greatest test with less interference of “outside” variables”. As regional countries are dealing with more pressing problems on their own, foreign influence on Lebanese affairs (though still present) are arguably less than they were in the late years of the pre-1975 era or the early years of post-Syrian occupation. For the first time in a long time, the opportunity to elect a “Made in Lebanon” president has emerged.

    In other words, the very feasibility of our system is being tested, whereby “feasibility” is measured by whether domestic actors can compromise and elect a President that represents the broad interests of the electorate. Such is obviously undermined when foreign influence becomes prevalent, but today this narrative has weakened; the election of a president primarily depends on whether our Lebanese officials can come up with a solution and avoid a presidential vacuum (though of course these officials will take into account foreign considerations).

    If, then, our officials cannot take advantage of this opportunity and are unable to come up with a purely Lebanese solution, then it is not only the structures of the President that must be questioned, but rather the very system (in particular its consociationalist aspects) itself. Of course these questions were always valid in my opinion, but they become even more important in light of a situation where domestic actors cannot perform as they are tasked (that is to represent the interests of the broad population).

    Posted by gbeaino | April 28, 2014, 12:04 pm
  38. A Palace. It’s not about opinions, it’s about manners. You and the salafist terrorist would have been fine had you continued your conversation on the previous thread which was already way past it’s due date. This spankin’ new thread was being subjected to an attempted hijacking within a mere handful of comments. That’s a forum NoNo.

    Posted by lally | April 28, 2014, 12:49 pm
  39. Watch your language AND YOUR MANNERS lolly (oops lally, is it?) before you assume the role of setting rules for manners and forums.

    You’re the last one qualified to do so. You’re at your best masquerading, poor as your stint has been. I suggest you find another cover and repair the damage before hezbo handlers get upset at the ‘unforgiveable failures’?

    Posted by Mustap | April 28, 2014, 1:02 pm
  40. *sigh*

    Yes, I’d be grateful if Mustap and Akbar could get a room. But do come back to discuss the topic at hand.

    Gbeaino: I did see something in the press recently about how Lebanon has fallen low on the totem pole of foreign agendas. That’s a good thing.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | April 28, 2014, 1:20 pm
  41. QN,

    What is your sigh about? May be you sigh is directed to both parties. But you only singled Akbar and I in the body of your comment. So I have to respond.

    If you don’t want us here, then just say so. No arguments needed.

    If you want discussions about the topic, Akbar and I exchanged over 10 comments specifically about Lebanon and the elections of the president among other things strictly Lebanese. But Lebanon is NOT an island standing by itself in an ocean. My first comment, in fact, was bringing the nahar article refuting many of your premises. Everything was inline until the rants came up from the ONLY TWO TROLLS here: Lally and Daniel.

    So, please don’t be selective and have them behave. Neither I nor anybody else is interested in their ranting or nonsense. They should also refrain from setting rules they are not qualified to set. This is VERY VERY IRRITATING AND LACKS MANNERS AND ETHICS. We accept it from YOU BUT NOT FROM THEM.

    Posted by Mustap | April 28, 2014, 1:35 pm
  42. You’ll never guess who said that : “Despots are not accountable to anyone. So they cannot be held responsible for any of their actions”

    Posted by 3issa | April 28, 2014, 1:58 pm
  43. Who was the last “Made in Lebanon” president? Suleiman Frangieh? That presidential term did not turn out very well.

    Posted by Jim Reilly | April 28, 2014, 2:15 pm
  44. Threesa,

    I think it was Yassir Arafat.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 28, 2014, 2:31 pm
  45. To those talking about amending the constituion to restore power to the presidency, or those thinking that amending Taif would require a new census and all that…You’re missing the point completely. All that stuff is irrelevant.
    The only change to Taif or the Lebanese constitution should be to abolish the sectarian system completely.
    Once the president can be elected by popular vote, and can be of any sect, a census becomes moot.
    Walid Jumblatt’s number of druze seats in Parliament becomes moot.
    The powers or lack thereof of the presidency becomes moot.

    Tweaking Taif or representation while maintaining the confessional system is a waste of time. It won’t fix anything. It needs to be done right and done once and for all. Little tweaks for little perceived gains are useless, and counterproductive.
    I don’t care about the president gaining a few more tweaked powers here and there while he’s still mandated to be a Maronite. I don’t care about the druze having 4 or 8 seats in parliament while it’s still a sectarian parliament, elected by a confessional formula. Those tweaks do not solve anything.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | April 28, 2014, 4:46 pm
  46. Gbeaino says:
    “If, then, our officials cannot take advantage of this opportunity and are unable to come up with a purely Lebanese solution, then it is not only the structures of the President that must be questioned, but rather the very system (in particular its consociationalist aspects) itself. Of course these questions were always valid in my opinion, but they become even more important in light of a situation where domestic actors cannot perform as they are tasked (that is to represent the interests of the broad population).”

    Sorry. But you’re just now waiting to find out based on THESE elections if our very system is viable?
    I think that question’s been answered many times already, over the past decades.
    The current system is NOT viable and has not been so, arguably, since the days of Fouad Chehab (if not earlier).
    I see a lot of self-congratulating going around lately, regarding foreign influence being on the wane in Lebanon.
    I also see a lot of arguments being made that share the implicit hypothesis that none of our problems would occur if foreign actors hadn’t been meddling in our affairs for decades.
    While I don’t argue that foreign influence has had a big role in Lebanon’s issues over the years, I would argue that is not and has never been the MAIN or original cause of our ills.
    The confessional system itself and the very pillars on which Lebanon was founded are the main reasons for our dysfunction. The foreign meddling is something that came about as a result of the flawed system we have, as it presented countless opportunities for foreign powers to play out their interests via proxies in Lebanon. But those foreign powers have NEVER (not once!) been the root cause of our ills. Consequences, yes. Contributing factors? Sure. But root cause? Nope.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | April 28, 2014, 4:53 pm
  47. What is the root cause of foreign meddling in Lebanese politics? IMHO, this is a very profound question that needs to be addressed on equal footing as the subject matter of the post. The argument has already been made here that the election of a president is still awaiting green lights from several far and near capitals. So these two topics are initimitately entwined.

    To say that foreign meddling in Lebanese affairs has been around for decades is an understatement at the least. Foreign meddling goes back for two centuries at least. The various Lebanese sects encouraged certain powers in the early 19th century for sponsorship and eventual protection, which the foreign powers were more than happy to oblige to provide for well known reasons none of which has anything to do with the well being of the Lebanese.

    As a result, the Lebaese became an inherently born sectarian over a period of at least 200 years of setarian breeding.

    The question then arises as to how can we de-sectify the naturally sectarian born Lebanese with a stroke of a pen? Isn’t this somewhat idealistic to say the least? It is fine and dandy to sit and theorize from the comfort of NY or LA , but how are you going to address a resident of Lebanon who has been fed sectariasm even before s/he was born and while developing in the womb? The means and arguments on how to do so escape me altogether.

    You can go on and blame the politicuans. But these are nothing but the product of this same breeding which has been going on for centuries.

    I will say few words that may sound uncharacteristic of me regarding the Shia sect. Only recently, this previously deprived sect began to learn about the powers gained by relying on a foreign protector, while the Christians, Sunnis and Druze have been doing it since time immemorial and gaining in political and economical capital in Lebanon. How do you propose to convince these Shia that they should abandon the same means which provide them with newly acquired powers you used for centuries to your advantage and to their detriment.

    Posted by Mustap | April 28, 2014, 6:33 pm
  48. Bad Vilbel,

    I agree entirely with what you said, and my earlier post does not really contradict with your arguments. Indeed, I particularly mention that questioning the consociationalist aspects (i.e. confessionalism) of the system becomes even more obvious if a merely symbolic and weak president is elected (even though neither side wants this outcome), because one can no longer use the simplistic excuse of foreign intervention as the cause of state immobilism.

    I share your opinion (and I’ve recently completed writing my honours thesis on this very topic) that it is the confessional system that is the root cause of ineffective governance in Lebanon, and the environment that sectarian power-sharing agreement creates is conducive to foreign meddling (as you mention). I only view the current events surrounding the presidency as the latest of a very long list of examples that illustrate the limitations of our present sectarian system.

    Posted by gbeaino | April 29, 2014, 10:14 am
  49. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Lebanese (whether a colleague, associate, friend, or relative-by-marriage) who has anything good to say about sectarianism. Yet it seems everyone living in Lebanon is condemned to navigate their lives within a (universally despised?) sectarian framework. Sectarian attitudes and assumptions become internalized as survival strategies. How does one “undo” this kind of hardwiring? The closest US analogy I can think of is race.

    Posted by Jim Reilly | April 29, 2014, 10:48 am
  50. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Lebanese ….who has anything good to say about sectarianism. Yet it seems everyone living in Lebanon is condemned to navigate their lives within a (universally despised?)”

    Again, this NOT true, simplistic and idealistic to say the least. I suspect the speaker is an expatriate and this is typical of expatriates who always try to dissociate themselves from the ills back home, regardless of the real intentions behind it.

    The matter of fact is, if you’re in Lebanon, despising or not despising confessionalism depends on who you ask, or to which sect s/he belongs to. If you happen to ask someone from a sect who believes s/he is benefiting from confessionalism then the answer would be more subtle, less direct. and outright dishonest. If s/he may also happen to know that you belong to a sect which is perceived at a disadvantage, at least by you, then s/he will offer you all sorts of consolation nonsense while deep inside s/he may have different thoughts. Needless to say, the Lebanese are well equipped to distinguish your ‘sectarian heritage’ sometimes at a glance or by throwing couple questions or remarks here and there.

    If the proposal for removing confessionalism is championed by a sect, or a group from that sect, which previously benefitted from it and now senses it is becoming at a disadvantage by this confessionalism, then the issue will become even more complicated as it would draw cynicism from others and deep distrustful suspicion with regards to real intentions. Go back and read AA’s cynical response to QN at the very beginning of this comment section.

    It all goes back to the centuries of sectarian breeding. There is no escaping from the realities of time and its effects on the ‘genealogy of the species’. It is not even comparable to the race issue of the US.

    Posted by Mustap | April 29, 2014, 12:05 pm
  51. A few answers on the fly to the previous few comments:

    1- The vast majority of Lebanese people are sectarian. Most try not to admit it to “outsiders” (people from other sects, or foreigners) by outright lying, as mentioned above, and putting on a progressive, liberal, “we want to modernize and hate sectarianism” facade. But when push comes to shove, they marry within their sect, they vote for their sectarian zuama, and they start businesses, partner, and live their everyday lives with their co-religionists. Everyone agrees that “in theory” a secular system would be ideal, but no one wants to give up the perceived privileges, connections and patronage that they receive from their sect.

    2- Yes. My “strike of a pen” approach to abolishing sectarianism is idealistic. I grant you that. But in the end, that is how it’s going to have to happen. Incremental approaches are NOT going to work because of the inherent flaws in the existing system. No one is going to want to give up whatever advantages they perceive they currently have. In my opinion, it’s going to have to be a case of “rip the bandage fast and once and for all”. Will it happen? Probably not in my lifetime. But the only way I see it happening is through some sort of enforced approach. The Lebanese and their current crop of leaders (which are actually very representative of their constituents, even though most people would hate to admit that) are not capable or willing to do away with sectarianism. It’s something that is going to have to be imposed. Not unlike what Ataturk did in Turkey. Mind you, I am not saying that is the model to follow. But my feeling is that someone is going to have to come down and impose this “stroke of a pen” approach one day and say “No more sectarianism”, forcing the people to adapt. It’s not something they’re going to evolve into naturally (as much as all the do-gooders would like to believe). The constitution needs to be torn up, the laws need to be changed, all at once. Someone needs to come in and impose a new system, where the president is elected by the people directly (and can be of any sect). Where the people will elect their MPs directly (free of any sectarian quotas and proportionalism) and so on. And when they are forced to do this for a few iterations, then, sectarianism will start to fade over time. Yes, let the first president of this “third republic” be a Shiite (assuming demographics and sectarian voting will happen). And yes, let there be a parliament where Shiite, Sunnis and Christians are each taking up a third (roughly speaking). And yes, it’s gonna be messy. And “minorities” are going to resent this.
    But I’d like to hope that over time, the sects will stop voting for their own guy, and focus on who gets them better jobs, and tax breaks, and infrastructure and healthcare…

    YOU KNOW. JUST LIKE THEY DO IN THE CIVILIZED WORLD 🙂

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | April 29, 2014, 1:15 pm
  52. OK, now this is the BV that I know.

    having said that, I must qualify my initial assessment by saying that half way down the comment BV reverts back to idealism as can be seen in the excessive use of verbs such as should, must, have, impose and other obligatory affirmative action type verbs.

    Nevertheless, your analogy with the Ataturk example is not too far fetched. In fact, it is better than comparing the case on hand with the case of US races. There is only one exception, however, and it is a HUGE exception. There were and still are VIRTUALLY NO SECTS (in the sense of OTHER SECTS) in Turkey when Ataturk did what he did.

    You can go further and bring other analogies, also, from nearby to home. They all fall under the same category as the Ataturk model, and they are ALL as successful as the Turkish example to varying degrees. You have Ben Gurion in Israel and Abdu Al-Azeez in the Kingdom. Guess what? They ALL have one and the same thing in common as the Turkish example: There were and still are virtually NO SECTS (in the same sense as above of course) in those models.

    So, Mr. BV, we’re back to square ONE. How do you de-secterianize Lebanon FIRST, in order to set the stage for a would-be Ataturk, Ben Gurion or Abd-AlAzeez to come to the rescue? Other than that, I see no solution and the issue will remain an academic showcase to study for generations to come.

    Posted by Mustap | April 29, 2014, 1:49 pm
  53. No argument from me. I think in the real-world, there is no apparent solution. Not any time soon, at least.

    In the theoretical world, having multiple sects (vs. the one in Turkey or KSA) makes my argument even more salient. With multiple sects, you have no possibility of all of them agreeing simultaneously to give up sectarianism.
    The mentality across the Lebanese spectrum is (and has always been) one of fear and suspicion between sects. Which brings me back to the notion that the only way it could happen is if it were imposed.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | April 29, 2014, 1:53 pm
  54. No argument from me either.

    I move that a new topic by QN should be in order.

    Posted by Mustap | April 29, 2014, 2:29 pm
  55. Interesting that there is a Syrian Nationalist party in LEBANON….

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Lebanon

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 29, 2014, 4:33 pm
  56. AP,

    Only in Lebanon right? Whereas there’s a political party advocates the absorption of Lebanon by Syria…

    Well in Canada there was Bloc Quebecois that sat in the Federal Legislature but advocated the secession and statehood of Quebec…

    Posted by danny | April 29, 2014, 4:40 pm
  57. Ataturk was a war hero who defeated a “national” enemy (Greece), and with this political capital (and some ethnic cleansing and a favorable international environment) proceeded to impose his idea of secularism on the leftover hodgepodge of Muslim ethnicities in the Anatolian lands of the old Ottoman Empire. Fortunately, I think, I don’t see how such an analogy is useful or relevant to Lebanon. As for this contributor’s “identity” — well, I don’t use a pseudonym here.

    Posted by Jim Reilly | April 29, 2014, 5:13 pm
  58. I don’t think Turkey is an example of democracy you would like to emulate. Journalists jailed randomly, jailed for insulting “Turkishness”; Judges interfered with…Prosecutors and judges dismissed summarily as they expose corruption with Erdogan culture. A PM who vows to crush the opposition and dissenting opinions…

    Only Bibi is the true friend of Erdogan and Turkey.

    Posted by danny | April 29, 2014, 5:39 pm
  59. Please note (and re-read my comment if need be) that:
    1- I clearly stated I didn’t think Ataturk was necessarily a good model to follow. I was simply making an analogy.
    2- I never claimed Turkey was a successful democracy.

    All I said and meant, was that I don’t see the Lebanese people lifting themselves away from sectarianism on their own volition. The mentality is self-perpetuating.
    If you accept that statement, then it follows that the only way sectarianism can be abolished in Lebanon is through secularism being “imposed” (as in, from the top down).

    Many argue that it’s something that should evolve organically, or from the bottom up.
    Ideally, it SHOULD, yes. That’d be great.
    But my assertion here is that it won’t evolve from the bottom up because the sectarian mentality in Lebanon is self-perpetuating, and therefore, the cycle can only be broken from the “top down”.

    I’m happy to debate this theory with those who disagree.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | April 29, 2014, 5:46 pm
  60. Ataturk’s analogy is relevant because of the sectarian issue which we’re dealing with in Lebanon. It seems that for some reason different ethnicities are more liable to coexist and develop than societies made up of different sectarian groups. Besides at the time of Ataturk, ethnic identification was something new and not well developed in that region of the world, and could have even been shunned by many segments of the societies. In other words, a Muslim at that time associated his identity with religion (or sect) and NOT with a particular ethnicity. The US case is another example in which the races some how got together, but it is completely different development since religion was never considered an identifying force in the US. I may be wrong on this, so please correct me if I am.

    So was Ataturk simply lucky to have appeared on the scene at a particular time in history when the problem of ethnic conflicts was still dormant or not yet developed? If so, then Ben Gurion was also lucky and so was Abd-AlAzeez. But I don’t believe in three times-in-a-row lucky. Besides at the time of Ben and Azeez nationalists fervor was at its peak. It looks like Abd Al-Azeez, at least, outlasted ALL the Nationalists and so did Ben.

    Sects, unlike races, seem to have proven to be prone to repeated intervals of civil wars and to being easily manipulated by foreign sponsors in the name of protecting this or that sect. So we need to stop looking overseas for an imported solution and look closer to home, i.e. if you still feel or believe you belong there.

    I never heard of a race (or ethnic group) seeking protection from an outside power, which could be oceans away as in Lebanon’s case, until recently in the Ukraine and Crimea. But at least these two areas are adjacent to the sponsoring power. And I would even say that has a lot to do with a former KGB officer looking for vengeance and glory. However, it may turn out to be another academic showcase to be studied further down the road.

    I doubt a Turk would agree with your assessment that today’s Turkey is a hodge podge of leftovers of various Muslim ethnicities. To an outsider, it may have looked at the time as you described. But when the Ottomans fell, the various Muslim ethnicities were spread everywhere from Morocco to the Indian subcontinent. It looks like Turkey was more or less an exception in the sense that it developed quite differently – in a positive sense, of course.

    So, you confirmed my assessment of being an expatriate by pointing out the name. Good to know and glad I was right. It was an oversight from me not checking the poster’s name.

    Posted by Mustap | April 29, 2014, 5:48 pm
  61. “But my assertion here is that it won’t evolve from the bottom up because the sectarian mentality in Lebanon is self-perpetuating, and therefore, the cycle can only be broken from the “top down”.

    I’m happy to debate this theory with those who disagree.”

    It seems to me we’ve been through this already. What is there to debate?

    Basically, I said the top down approach requires the bootom be prepared and in a certain state to accept the approach from the top. Otherwise, either the ‘saviour’ would fail or his approach would not work. So, what do you want to debate?

    And, we’re not discuusing good or bad models. We’re looking for solutions to an intracteable problem. The models we looked at are solutions. Beggars do not get to be selective. Execuse the blunt expression. But if there are real objections to being described as beggar, may be then you should go back to history (early 19th century) and have a pause of self assessment. Wasn’t seeking foreign sponsorship just exactly that? Begging? And when you realize that it is still perpetuating up till now, then you can resume from your pause to normal daily activities including posting here.

    Posted by Mustap | April 29, 2014, 6:26 pm
  62. Only Bibi is the true friend of Erdogan and Turkey.

    Yes, I remember the close relationship between Turkey and Israel. I went on vacation there with a group of Israelis in the 90s. The Islamists ruined a good thing. I guess Turkey prefers being friendly with the Ayatollahs.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 29, 2014, 6:28 pm
  63. There is no solution, Mustap.
    The fact that the sectarian system is self-perpetuating pretty much guarantees that for the foreseeable future, and until a major change happens, there will be no solution to this problem.
    Either Lebanon will continue to go about the way it has for the past 60 years, or it will devolve into chaos and another civil war, or it will simply break apart (this, of course, requires other factors and large scale regional changes to happen).

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | April 29, 2014, 7:04 pm
  64. AP,

    They are BFF again…He always tries to be relevant. Erdogan tried with Morsi; only to have it blow up in his face. He tried with Syria; only to have Obama hand calf him…. He’s back home with Bibi…

    http://www.afp.com/en/node/2337565/

    BV,

    I have no argument with your conclusion. However; I think Lebanon is a lost cause because it is whored out constantly. It was never a nation but a gathering of tribes or communities. Now it is a band of mafiosi (brothers) who have agreed to coexist as the laundromat of the world.

    Posted by danny | April 29, 2014, 7:33 pm
  65. “….whenever the Commander-in-Chief made the mistake of expressing his opinion on military matters….”

    Would the responsibility for the declaration of War in “Commander in Chief” General Suleiman’s hands? I have assumed that the office of the president was largely ceremonial?

    Perhaps if Lebanon once again survives without a president for an extended period of time; it would help to prove up the validity of the irrelevancy thesis.

    Posted by lally | April 29, 2014, 9:45 pm
  66. They are BFF again…He always tries to be relevant.

    Danny,

    Puleeeze! A LOT has to be repaired for Israel and Turkey to get back to the close relationship they had before Erdogan and the Islamists ascended to power.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 30, 2014, 7:17 am
  67. AP,

    Erdogan has been in power over 11 years now and I have not seen any deterioration of Turkey’s relationship with Israel; except in the news (each party playing to their base constituents). Could you tell me if any of the military treaties have (I think there are about 16 of them) been abrogated?

    Erdogan is trying to bring in the old Ottoman flare of dominance and diplomacy. Alas, he will not be able to play “supporter” of Islamist democrat as he is a dictator in his behavior and acts.

    Posted by danny | April 30, 2014, 8:12 am
  68. I’m stuck in Moderation Mode again. My email looks right….

    QN?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 30, 2014, 9:56 am
  69. Too many links.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | April 30, 2014, 9:58 am
  70. Akbar Palace,

    I don’t think we need to worry about Erdogan and his party any more. The wise King has taken care of that issue quite effectively, I believe.

    Besides the so-called Erdogan’s differences with Israel are old and VERY stale news. Bringing them into discussions by whoever brought them into this thread is a DISTRACTION adding no value whatsoever to the topic. In fact, it is even diminishing any value the site may have.

    If you want to bring Israel into the discussion, then we need to worry about more recent developments: Why did Sec. Kerry made whatever statements he made about Israel in the last few days? And how accurate are those statements? There are other developments that we can also bring to the discussion such as the recent unfolding saga of so-called Palestinian reconciliation and how that relates to what the secretary said recently.

    Posted by Mustap | April 30, 2014, 10:23 am
  71. Akbar Palace,

    In addition to the statements of the secretary, there are other interesting aspects to the story that look like a soap opera which will form a lively subject for discussion before this thread goes dead as a result of deliberate attempts at derailment.

    There seems to have ensued a spat of words between the secretary and the reporter who broke the story. I do not recall the name of the reporter but he can be easily traced. The sec. is accusing the reporter of obtaining the recordings illegally, and the reporter is defending himself on the basis of some journalist privileges or whatever.

    Do you know who this reporter is, and who does he work for? How did he know, before hand, that the secretary is going to utter something worth breaking to the media in a closed door meeting? And how was he able to sneak into a closed door meeting in the first place? Which news media does he work for? and last but not least, is there a security breach in the secretary’s office leaking agendas and meetings to members of the press, and who is paying the leak if any?

    Posted by Mustap | April 30, 2014, 10:55 am
  72. Mustap,

    I found this (google: john kerry apartheid reporter)

    Funny how we all perceive things differently. The “apartheid” comment to ME is old and tiresome and attributed to the hard-left and anti-zionist. To me, the cooperation of Turkey and Israel (and even Jordan) was a strong force for stability and lucrative defense spending.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/29/daily-beast-john-kerry-apartheid-remarks_n_5234184.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 30, 2014, 11:11 am
  73. Akbar Palace,

    Based on your assessment above, can we say that the current administration is anti-Zionist?

    At least Kerry seems to be so from those photos you linked, besides, of course the remarks he made.

    How about others within this administration? Are there more anti-Zionists?

    And by extension is American sentiment shifting towards ant-Zionism?

    What is this Daily Beast? Who or what groups does it affiliate with?

    As for Turkey, I think if the US administration was different, it will be a different story. But we don’t need to worry much at the moment. The wise King is taking good care of that problem in the absence of credible US policies.

    Posted by Mustap | April 30, 2014, 1:52 pm
  74. Mustap,

    It’s a bit complicated. Obama’s roots, his associates and friends from college to the floor of the Senate to the White House have been Leftists, socialists and communists. John Kerry was a poster-child for the anti-Vietnam crowd. Somehow, Kerry found it necessary to indict the US military in Vietnam and made up atrocities to do so. So he has been known to be anti-war from the beginning. And that fitnin well with Obama’s anti-war stance. If you ever wanted a flower-child hippie to lead the country, Kerry is it.

    The Left has always had various hues of anti-zionism, so they all feel comfortable with each other despite their empty words to the press about how much they love Israel.

    Van Jones was the only radical appointee I am aware of, and he quit after some pressure by conservative groups.

    My assessment is that the administration is anti-war, so despots are coming out of their spider holes to take advantage of the new “Glasnost”.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 30, 2014, 2:30 pm
  75. It’s very hard to appreciate someone’s contribution on the site where after few reasonable and intelligible post that same person speaks about “a wise King”. Man…

    Posted by 3issa | April 30, 2014, 3:48 pm
  76. Akbar Palace,

    Could you please take care of threesa? He seems to be upset about Turkey being taken care of by the Wise King!!

    He probably wants Erdogan to have a free hand in the area. Looks like he’s shifting from resistance to communism and now trying to settle on an AKP.

    Anyway, you’re the best to find out the triple truth about this.

    Posted by Mustap | April 30, 2014, 4:09 pm
  77. a Wise King worshipper should be Wiser than that … (btw you ain’t getting the “saudi” passport anytime soon ya zalameh…)

    Posted by 3issa | April 30, 2014, 4:32 pm
  78. Getting back on topic… What do you understand from such declaration?

    Qassem: No Point in Holding Presidential Election Sessions if Current Conditions Persist

    What conditions does the wise men want? Maybe they should consult the wise king and make a mess of country again and again! Wise men of Turbines indeed…

    Posted by danny | April 30, 2014, 4:51 pm
  79. Danny

    I assume that neither Geagea nor Aoun will be elected. Warlords are not serious candidates nor others too close to the traumatic past like Gemayel or Frangieh). HA may be able to accept Salameh but M14 would not accept Obeid, Helou or even Qahwagi. M14 may accept Ghanem or Harb but HA is unlikely to accept either. Baroud is too honest and independent to be accepted by anyone (including berri and jumblat). So it may be down to Salameh who is a non political entity and would not be acceptable to M14 or FPM. I am not sure really. QN, any ideas?

    Posted by Parrhesia | May 1, 2014, 2:49 am
  80. I am with you regarding the warlords (including clAoun and Franjieh)…Although they gave themselves an amnesty (although it did not work for Geagea); they should be banned from politics.

    I think Ghanem seems to be acceptable. Although in M14 he is an independent. His father was Chief of LAF. During elections he works with WJ and the druse. He was saying the right things on Kalam el Nas a few weeks back about the “resistance”…
    If FPM coalesces; then you never know. The problem is again that HA is hedging its bets on more “victories” in Syria to assign their own man.

    Salameh would be lost in that post; and maybe that’s what HA wants.

    Posted by danny | May 1, 2014, 6:59 am
  81. Seems like Lebanese Christians are split, with half in March 8 and the other half in March 14. Why are they split? Why would christians get in bed with the rag-a-muffin?

    Harriri’s party has 35 seats….not bad….

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_in_Lebanon

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 1, 2014, 8:06 am
  82. Dear QN,

    If I have a comment in moderation, which I am sure I have since I spent valuable time on it, then I must have made an error either in my e-mail box or in the moniker box. Please, ignore it and do not release it as I will repeat it below with particular attention paid to my posting credentials

    Akbar Palace,

    It is amazing how much insight one can get from such a simple tool as Google. The beautiful thing about it is the detailed data neatly tabulated, which allows an analyst, familiar or unfamiliar with the landscape, to peek into the inner workings of the societies in that part of the world, particularly Lebanon.

    How would such analysis come to pass? In order , we need to go back to the earlier notion which I raised with regards to historical foreign sponsorship or protection of the various groups. As the sponsors multiplied overtime so did the factions. It didn’t take long for the people to learn to their misery as well as good fortune that being a faction, particularly a minor faction, is extremely beneficial as it is the first necessary condition to obtain legitimate foreign sponsorship. Lebanese are known to be smart and they have no qualms bragging about it. It would be demeaning to this reputation if they haven’t discovered these HUGE ‘benefits’ particularly after two centuries of adapting to it. So that’s how it came to pass. You are at an advantage when you are perceived as a victim from a minor group. The mentality of victimhood far outweighs any benefits you may draw by becoming a major faction. Because once you achieve ‘major’ status you have forsaken ALL the benefits that come with being a victim. Even though in Lebanon, historically, it has been proven that those who claim victimhood were and still are enjoying most of the benefits presumably enjoyed by the ‘oppressor’ who is from a ‘major’ group. I also have to bring back the blunt expression which I used before in order to highlight this fact, i.e. that of a beggar. We have a popular Lebanese saying which describes the situation on hand, but I am not sure I can render it into a corresponding English phrase. So I will describe it and, please help me to Anglicize it if you can. The simple picture of a beggar which comes to mind is that of a man standing on a street corner extending his hand asking for help. In the case of this saying as it describes the various ‘minor victimized sponsor-seeking factions’ it states that the man has broken his hand and used it as an excuse to ask for ‘donations’ (donations here is not necessarily asking for coins. it is for sponsorship and all that comes with it). The Arab speaker will know immediately the expression that I am referring to: كاسر ايدو وشاحد عليها

    So it doesn’t matter if Hariri has an impressive number in his block. He has given up on the claim of victimhood. He is no longer qualified. He shut himself out of the system. That is it. He is a LOSER. Miqati with only TWO in his block shut him out of the system. It is also from your GOOGLE table.

    That is why Hariri MUST GO as I’ve been telling you all along. He DOESN”T KNOW HOW IT WORKS, neither did his father. And he also doesn’t want to know because he is incapable of such knowledge.

    Posted by Mustap | May 1, 2014, 11:38 am
  83. historical foreign sponsorship or protection of the various groups

    Mustap,

    I don’t see any way around this. In the short term, HA may be weakening themselves. I wonder if that will translate into something else, like fewer seats or even forced disarmament.

    There are other ways around having so many political parties, like a minimum. The GOI has a minimum percentage required to get a seat in the knesset. Kach was kicked out for being racist. But as of now, being anti-Zionist is OK;)

    Your saying was translated in Google Translate as:

    “Edo breaker and it Hahadd”

    Google must be defective.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 1, 2014, 1:06 pm
  84. Try this with Google Akbar:

    شحاذ يكسر يده عمدا لكي يتذرع للشحاذة بسبب يده المكسورة

    Posted by Mustap | May 1, 2014, 2:06 pm
  85. Is it Safe?

    Mustap,

    Much better. Thanks.

    QN,

    Now that you’ve finished grading papers, perhaps we should plan a QN summer trip to Lebanon. A sort of fact finding mission. Maybe this is something you could coordinate through Brown.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 1, 2014, 10:23 pm
  86. Wesistance if Fundamental NewZ

    For those interested, this is the type of “stuff” Israel has to contend with. These comments are from former Jordanian foreign minister, Kamel S. Abu Jaber:

    http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2014/05/former-jordanian-fm-quotes-mein-kampf.html#.U2OGcFcZpv8

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 2, 2014, 8:11 am
  87. And the Flip Side (from MEMRI):

    http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/7959.htm

    Israel tends to bring out the best and worst from people. It’s so confusing….

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 2, 2014, 8:40 am
  88. True words!! So what’s a president’s powers when Iran makes all pertinent decisions.

    “Leader’s Military Aide: Iran’s Line of Defense Located in Southern Lebanon”

    http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13930213000276

    Posted by danny | May 3, 2014, 7:57 am
  89. Of course the wesistance axis would never admit the Syrian people were at the center of the Syrian conflict. It always has to be a Zionist boogeyman and/or conspiracy.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 3, 2014, 8:30 am
  90. Akbar Palace,

    An Arab friend of mine just came back from a tour of Israel. He told me he was VERY impressed.

    Posted by Mustap | May 4, 2014, 10:19 am
  91. Ha ! Kingdom Of Light you were not supposed to tell about my first trip there ! Tel Aviv is sooooo vibrant… I really don’t understand what these “palestinians” are complaining about.

    Posted by 3issa | May 4, 2014, 5:21 pm
  92. Threesa,

    Are you kidding? EVERYONE in the ME is complaining, and the Palestinians are making the least noose.

    Mustap,

    I’m glad your friend enjoyed his visit. You should have went as well. What impressed him/her?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 4, 2014, 9:38 pm
  93. btw – my pda changed NOISE to noose….

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 4, 2014, 9:39 pm
  94. Akbar Palace,

    My friend was impressed mostly by the friendliness of everyone he met. He also liked the well planned cities lined up with palm trees and other trees. He also made a comment on how peaceful the places he visited were and the happiness of people in genral.

    I am now seriously thinking of going on a tour soon.

    Posted by Mustap | May 4, 2014, 9:50 pm
  95. The House Of Saud gonna hit the road ! Let’s ride ! I also heard that the palm trees and other trees lined up are an enchantment for the eyes … how lucky you are Wise King

    Posted by 3issa | May 5, 2014, 4:23 am
  96. Mustap,

    Great! You should go. There is plenty to see for everyone, no matter if they are jewish, christian or muslim.

    If I was going, I would be happy to show you around!

    Threesa,

    You should go to. You could do a Zionist Entity fact-finding mission like the one I proposed for QN in Lebanon. It would be fun searching for apartheid and posting it on YouTube for all to see.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_citizens_of_Israel

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 5, 2014, 6:57 am
  97. Akbar Palace,

    Agree, there is plenty to see even for threesas.

    But, my friend and his wife told me most Palestinians they met are very happy. Their only complaints were against Abbas and Hamas who they feel are making pawns of them and neither is qualified to be a government.

    Posted by Mustap | May 5, 2014, 8:01 am
  98. AP,

    Whatever happened to agreeing to not polluting the site with irrelevant tidbits?

    Guys it is obvious you have a memory fail….Please keep your personal innuendo through the personal emails you exchanged…

    QN,

    This site has (?) reputation for exchange of ideas…It is seriously becoming a hostage…Please release it!

    Posted by danny | May 5, 2014, 8:17 am
  99. Danny,

    Your last post was dated May 3, 2014, 7:57 am. I was the only person to respond to it.

    When there is a discussion dealing with the details and individuals surrounding Lebanese politics, I usually bail out and not post very much because I don’t know nearly as much as the commentators.

    But when there is a lot of “empty” air time, and no one is posting, I may chime in with something of interest.

    I don’t feel like I am “polluting” anything, especially when there is many hours and days of no one posting anything.

    Anyway, is it possible to ignore my posts? I really don’t think I am being excessive or bothering anyone.

    Cheers,

    AP

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 5, 2014, 8:28 am
  100. I can’t really keep people from discussing whatever they like when I’m not posting regularly. Feel free. But, seriously, the Saudi-Israeli lovefest is a little surreal. Whatever works for you guys.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | May 5, 2014, 8:31 am
  101. AP,

    Nothing against you dude. I respect your opinions and ideas. Sideways humor is great too. The substance of the post was about Lebanese Presidential elections…Do you wonder why hundreds of commentators who used to enjoy exchanging ideas (from all sides of the spectrum) seem not to have posted at all (after the 6th or so comment the love fest resumed)…

    Anyway, it seems QN is kindda enjoying the romance…enjoy the wise king’s disciple’s rants and mutterings. Whatever floats your boat. 😀

    Posted by danny | May 5, 2014, 9:06 am
  102. Akbar Palace,

    The only poster here polluting the site is the one who is complaining and who usually contributes the least relevant comments most of which would normally be considered trolling. Just count how many ooohs, ahhhs, ehs, eeehs and such irrelevant incomprehensible gimmicks s/he makes. S/he is particularly on edge these days due to Geagea going down the tube with his farcical candidacy. Any law-loving normal Lebanese, however, would be happy to see such farce drop out of sight due to the connotations it has considering the history of such individual

    Your contributions are usually are very thoughtful and appreciated by everyone including the threesas. But you cannot make everyone happy especially when it comes to a highly emotional and highly charged subject like nominating a normally disqualified person for such a post like the presidency.

    Come to think about it, the inadequacy of such candidacy should be the main topic to discuss here. But it is the opposite that such folks would like to discuss. They want to make the inadequacy fade away in their irrational behaviours.

    Besides this topic, to discuss first hand knowledge about the Palestinians being happy and complaining only about Abbas and Hamas is of most importance to this site, IMHO.

    On the other hand, this individual is VERY UPSET because he couldn’t turn me into an ICEMAN against my wishes, even though, I began to admire this ICEMAN after hearing so much about it. So every thing this daniel says is nothing but vendetta – typical of people of certain areas of Lebanon that are usually higher in elevations above sea level.

    Posted by Mustap | May 5, 2014, 9:17 am
  103. Well, no one has explained to me why the Lebanese Christian community is split between the two main factions.

    One would think most Christians would back the March 14 faction, which tends to be more liberal.

    Is Christian support for March 8 based on fear or ideology or what??

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 5, 2014, 11:48 am
  104. Both, A Palace. Both. They too are afraid of the kin of the throat slitters in our skies on 9/11. Never forget.
    Ideology as in people of the book? Perhaps.

    Scroll down for the well documented Iranian regime outreach to their Jewish and Christian countrymen The regime envoy visits a church and a synagogue in Shiraz:

    “Presidentˈs special assistant for ethnic and religious minorities Ali Younesi said religious extremist notion like that of the al-Qaeda has no place in Islamic thinking because it poses threat to global peace. He made the remarks here in southern country while talking to a gathering of Iranian Jews Friday evening. He said other divine religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism too dismiss such extreme notions.

    Younesi further stressed that the general policy of the Islamic system in Iran and the present government in particular is that no Iranian be deprived of its rights for religious reasons.

    He said the Islamic system believes that followers of all divine religions are free in conducting their religious rituals. He also noted that good manners of the ancient Iranians made the country a cradle for all divine religions wherein followers of all religions were capable of leading a peaceful life.

    Representative of the Iranian Jews in the parliament Siamak Moreh Sedq said that members of the Jewish community have all throughout the history proved to be ˈgood Iraniansˈ fulfilling their national commitments.”
    http://www.payvand.com/news/14/may/1018.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    Now ask yourself if anything resembling the above could ever happen in the KINGDOM.
    …..

    Mutsap. Are you Mohammed Dahlan?
    Just kidding.

    Posted by lally | May 6, 2014, 12:38 am
  105. But Lally, the Wise King once hosted the Interfaith Dialogue Conference in Madrid, Spain! … 🙂

    Let’s see your ayatollahs beat that!

    Posted by Vulcan | May 6, 2014, 3:02 am
  106. “Let’s see your ayatollahs beat that!”

    But Lollypop is Jewish American who lives in Manhattan!

    How can the Ayatollah’s be her’s to ask for anything?

    Is it Haret Hreik, Lollypop? May be near Sfeir gas station? Or Hay Assollom? Beir Al-abd?

    That’s as close I can get to Manhattan or the Bronx in Beirut.

    I’m not sure.

    Posted by Mustap | May 6, 2014, 8:09 am
  107. Have you heard this song, Lally?

    From Hay Assollom to Brooklyn, ya 3youni, مرت سيارة حمرا هالله هالله

    It’s a new hit by Byonce. Everyone in Brooklyn is head over toes.

    Posted by Mustap | May 6, 2014, 8:58 am
  108. busy at work, but I see a good fight brewing….get ready mustap…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 6, 2014, 9:43 am
  109. Here’s my attempt at an explanation re Christian political divisions. In a political system built around local patronage networks with ties in turn to external patrons, contests for supremacy within the recognized confessional communities are normal and not unusual. Thus, Aoun vs. Geagea. A reader who wishes to challenge this assertion might point to the countervailing examples of Lebanese Druze and Shia communities which appear internally relatively united on the political level. To which my reply would be that the Junblatt/PSP supremacy was consolidated during the civil war years when the Druze population, aware of both of its historical importance and numerical weakness, closed ranks behind the leadership that offered the best chance of protecting them through the vicissitudes of recent decades. (The Junblatts’ rivals the Arslans appear to be only minor players, if I read things right.) As for the Shia, their “feudal” and old-guard leadership (As’ads, Khalils, Osseirans) were marginalized during the years of war and rural-to-urban flight, and the “resistance” environment of the 1980s-90s allowed Hizballah to relegate the Amal militia and party to the status of a junior partner. In contrast, Maronite Christians rarely achieved functional political unity, and the two most polarizing figures to survive the civil war era (Aoun and Geagea) have projected their rivalry onto the current March 8th-March 14th division. I know this is a potted history, but in general I think that confessional political unity is the more anomalous situation.

    Posted by Jim Reilly | May 6, 2014, 10:22 am
  110. I have no arguments with the professor’s explanation. It ties in with ‘my’ centuries-old external patronage theory.

    Posted by Mustap | May 6, 2014, 10:31 am
  111. The debate in scholarship — or one of the debates — is how far back to project these kinds of confessional and patronage dynamics. An argument that I’ve found persuasive is that confessional political consciousness — where membership in a religious community is understood to be a fundamental fact of political existence — is relatively new in Lebanon. Confessional self-consciousness of this kind has its origins in the 18th century and started to receive ideological and programmatic articulation in the 19th century. Institutionalization (the Mutasarrifiyya, etc.) followed. Fast-forward one century, and Lebanon’s Shia (in the 1960s) were among the last to begin articulating a confessional political identity (i.e., quasi-national identification with Shiism as a political category; viz. Musa al-Sadr during the Chehabist era). An interesting question is, how did the advent of the Lebanese state interact with and become part of this confessional dynamic? Was the reaffirmation of confessionalism as a principle of political life in the Lebanese Republic a cause or an effect?

    Posted by Jim Reilly | May 6, 2014, 10:46 am
  112. “An interesting question is, how did the advent of the Lebanese state interact with and become part of this confessional dynamic? Was the reaffirmation of confessionalism as a principle of political life in the Lebanese Republic a cause or an effect”

    But these questions have already been answered. The Lebanese state came as a reaction to the confessionalism advanced by the Ottomans. Have we not observed earlier that Muslims under the Ottomans considered Islam and NOT the ethnicity as THE identity?

    Nationalism, even after almost a century, was NOT able to overcome this religious force of identification, which is not necessarily unique to Islam, but more forcefully articulated for Muslims than other faiths prescribed to in this part of the world. Perhaps the reason was because nationalism dealt with religiosity as an adversary and not as an ally or vice versa, or perhaps because it was championed by those who you also pointed out felt threatened due to lack of numbers and was lukewarmly accepted by the mainstream as a typical cynical reaction among competing ‘identities’.

    Lebanon developed out of confessionalism and so did the other neighbouring states. The other states experimented with imported ideologies, who somehow felt the false sense of luxury of not having to deal with multi confessional entities, and utterly failed with the exception of the ‘authentic Gulf-hoods’ who clung to traditions to the endless bitterness of grudges that ate the hearts out of so-called progressives and revolutionaries until the latter surrendered and got thrown to the wolves.

    Was Nationalism a bastard child that NEEDED to be disowned?

    Posted by Mustap | May 6, 2014, 11:16 am
  113. Well Vulcan.

    Aside from the fact that it was a joke, I suppose the point is that the dead lettre Interfaith Conference initiative of the WISE and ALL POWERFUL KING could NOT be held within the confines of his very own KINGDOM. Not to mention that the LEIGE of the UNIVERSE couldn’t wander into either a church or a synagogue because, hey, there aren’t any allowed in KSA.

    Beyonce Mutsap? What do you think of Mylie Cyrus?

    Posted by lally | May 6, 2014, 12:28 pm
  114. Thanks for responding. But isn’t even confessionalism a kind of “imported ideology”? In other words, those who articulated a modern Maronite political identity and a modern Muslim political identity, in the Ottoman period, were trying to find a new basis for communal life in relation to the modern state. So Jamal al-Din “al-Afghani” offered a program of Islam as a kind of national identifier commensurate with the modern age. He was very much attuned to 19th-century global issues, and he was trying to develop an ideology and a movement that could counter modern British imperialism. Ditto (on a somewhat different plane) Sultan Abdulhamid’s revival of the “caliphate” idea. So I’m not sure that “indigenous” vs. “foreign” is the best way to understand why some ideas established an enduring institutional presence, and others did not. For example: did Nasserite Arab nationalism fail because it was an “imported ideology”? Or because Egypt did not have the resources, wherewithal or regional/international conditions to be an Arab Sardinia or Arab Prussia?

    Posted by Jim Reilly | May 6, 2014, 12:29 pm
  115. P.S. I meant Arab Piedmont…..

    Posted by Jim Reilly | May 6, 2014, 12:32 pm
  116. Lilly’s Iranian Utopia Debunked

    protecting them through the vicissitudes of recent decades

    Jim Reilly,

    Thanks for the response. I’m not sure I understood all of it. It just seems to me a number of different tribes settled in Lebanon over the years, and they are trying to protect their communities and their way of life from any perceived enemy or rival community (using my language;).

    I think that is why so many groups switch sides. They have no choice considering the potential for violence.

    Scroll down for the well documented Iranian regime outreach to their Jewish and Christian countrymen

    Lilly,

    Thank you for that extremely well cut and pasted article of Iranian “hasbara”. And you know what “hasbara” means. I found you using the term quite often in your study of the hebrew language.

    Because as you also should know, many more Jews immigrated to Israel than the total number of Iranian Jews who still live there. Moreover, you won’t find any commemoration of Israel’s Independence Day or Holocaust Remembrance Day in Iran because there is no free speech in Iran, and people generally, want to stay out of jail and away from a public execution.

    But if Iran is as liberal as your hasbara lends us to believe, why are immigrants risking their lives making their way to Israel and not Iran?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/irans-jewish-community-reflects-a-complicated-relationship-with-israel/2013/10/02/e531039e-2ac4-11e3-b141-298f46539716_story.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Iran

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/27/iran-iraq-global-rise-capital-punishment

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 6, 2014, 1:13 pm
  117. Of course Abdulhamid had to work with whichever model he’s accustomed to, until Ataturk showed up and ‘took advantage of a unique point in time’. I wouldn’t consider Afghani’s program as viable either or even would be acceptable to the mainstream. It mutated into what became another failure which we’re currently witnessing in the case of the brotherhood.

    Nasser’s nationalism was not even indigenous to Egypt itself. The ‘pathetic’ hero of so many dinosaurs, surviving mostly in Beirut and the environs, was simply treading in the footsteps of the Levantine nationalists. Notice that the Egyptians shed nationalism almost four decades before the Syro-mesopotamian hard cores who clung to it because they had nothing else viable to offer, in addition to having champions from within entities perceiving themselves as numerically threatened. It didn’t take much effort for Sadat to undo ALL of Nasser’s ‘legacies’ if any.

    Traditionalism survived and succeeded for one reason or another in the Gulf sheikdoms, Jordan and the western Sahara i.e. Morocco. These are the only viable models we currently have post Arab Spring, unless you prefer Erdogan.

    Posted by Mustap | May 6, 2014, 1:24 pm
  118. Akbar Palace,

    I believe our common problem with Iran goes much deeper than one could imagine.

    It is a clear case of two races that cannot coexist. I mean we, the Semites (Jews and Arabs, ONLY descendants of the Great Patriarch) and them the Aryans who at one point in time produced the most hated criminal in history seeking to exterminate the Semites for no reason but jealousy and spite. You know that Nietzsche was a fan of zarathustra, the so-called prophet of the Aryans.

    Of course, the Iranians will not admit to it. But they will offer lies, deceptions and dissimulations, etc….. I’m sure when it comes to it, the Wise King will never hesitate to make the right choices which will ensure that the descendants of the Patriarch are treated respectfully as they should.

    Posted by Mustap | May 6, 2014, 1:35 pm
  119. A Palace. Bet your bippy that was some damn good hasbara; helps that it’s the truth. But apropos the recent Mayday outreach, according to Debkafile, it gets even better:

    “Even if this was part of the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani’s campaign of smiles for the West, the visit to the Shiraz synagogue Friday night, May 1, by the head of his assistant for minority affairs, Hojat- Islam Ali Yunessi, was especially noteworthy. He was the first high-ranking Iranian cleric to visit a Jewish synagogue in a decade and, moreover, he delivered a speech in praise of Iran’s ancient Jewish community’s successful coexistence with other groups.
    But most remarkably, he admitted that historical research and archeological excavations in the last 150 years had corroborated the Biblical account of the deeds of the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great (550-530 BCE).
    (The Bible recounts that Cyrus issued a fabled decree for the emancipation of slaves, including the Jewish people, from Babylonian captivity, and allowed them to return to their homeland in Judah and rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem.)
    That reference alone will undoubtedly be enough to bring Iran’s radical elements down on Yunessi’s head for his temerity in gainsaying precepts laid down by the founder of its Islamic Revolution.”

    http://www.debka.com/article/23892/High-ranking-Iranian-cleric-visits-Shiraz-synagogue-confirms-Biblical-version-of-Jewish-homeland-

    More Iranian Jews emigrated from Iran to Beverley Hills than to Israel. Beverley Hills has much better palm trees.

    Posted by lally | May 6, 2014, 2:09 pm
  120. Akbar Palace,

    It looks like Goebel’s propaganda machine at the Beirut Middle East Center of Research of Amal Saad Ghorayeb is running full steam these days,

    http://resistance-episteme.tumblr.com/

    Posted by Mustap | May 6, 2014, 2:27 pm
  121. George Clooney for President !

    Posted by Nitty Graffiti | May 6, 2014, 3:31 pm
  122. Those Murderous Little Theocrats & their pet Joos NewZ

    Lilly,

    I must say, I am impressed. All of a sudden, and without warning, the “tolerant” little rag-a-muffins are using their jewish hostages to make nice.

    What happened (the term in hebrew Lilly is “Ma pitom?”)

    Could it be the heat of propping up the Empty Suit of Syria? Could it be nuklar talks with the West?

    I’d be a little more impressed if the Wesistance Theocrats and their Taco Supreme complied with their IAEA responsibilities and walk away from the Suit & Tie Despot in Syria and their goon squad in Southern Lebanon.

    BB says, “Don’t take the heat off the Iranians”. And he’s right.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 6, 2014, 4:14 pm
  123. Goebbels grrrrrrrrrrl ASG joins Obama in hating on Russia Today? …..how droll.

    US Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale doesn’t know better than to equate Lebanon and Ukraine? I know Lebanon can confuse folks but really, this is a bit much:

    http://lebanon.usembassy.gov/oped_050614.html

    “Respect for Sovereignty” my ass. Perhaps it’s time for another DC functionary to cycle into Beirut.

    Was Hale the US diplomat who told As Safir that Lebanon is forbidden to aid Syrian refugees to vote in their own election?:

    “The U.S. government conveyed a clear message to the Lebanese government asking it not to facilitate the voting process of thousands of Syrians living in Lebanese territories in the Syrian elections slated next month, a U.S. diplomat told As Safir daily on Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

    “Lebanon’s interior minister is required not to issue any supportive statement on behalf of the Lebanese government backing the elections, which comes in commitment to the Baabda Declaration and the dissociation policy adopted by the cabinet since the mandate of PM Najib Miqati,” the source said”.
    http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/129353-washington-asks-lebanon-to-impede-syrians-voting-from-lebanon-in-syria-elections

    A Palace. Don’t you care about the Christian hostages too?

    Posted by lally | May 6, 2014, 4:34 pm
  124. I care about you Lilly. Women’s rights are important.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 6, 2014, 5:05 pm
  125. JR

    Thank you for your analysis. I am not sure that we could link Ottoman era religious rights (accorded to Druze and Maronites and other religious minorities) to what is called confessionalism today; the link that could be made is with the political feodalism where villages and cities swore allegiance to local beks in return for protection and belonging. That is a social network model based primarily on zaims or zouamas (the medieval equivalent of caudillos).

    Obviously, the post colonial era failed to introduce nationalism in the ME as an ideological umbrella everywhere except Turkey. The cohesiveness of nations was constructed on pacts between tribes or groups under French protectorates (in Lebanon, between religious groups represented by modernized leaders, the new face of politicians who were beiks) and on local rule by kings with imagined legitimacy and real following or military support under British ones. But soon military institutions or militarized parties took over the role of imposing cohesiveness through pan arabic ideologies (assisted by the occupation of Palestine by Zionists and the subsequent wars).

    Political Islam was created as modern ideology as well, by Qutb and others, as a third alternative to capitalism and socialism. So there are no indigenous religious, nationalist or pan arabic movements in the ME. Radical religious fundamentalism and its offspring religious nationalism is also a modern creation in opposition to globalization cultural forces (specifically Hindu, Muslim, or Christian Protestantism) . So where can we situate the allegiance of Lebanese peoples to christian, druze and shia identities? I don’t believe that religion plays more than an instrumental role in building cohesiveness around feodal leadership. The political model is not religious but feodal and lebanese belongingness is to a social network that is local, led by powerful and wealthy leader (through appropriation and exploitation) and where religion is only a marker that is a remnant of the confessional divisions of the 1890-1930 period. Religion becomes the ideology that holds the system together but does not provide a true national or supranational identity. The lebanese imagined community is still seeking an adequate representation or symbolization of an identity defined in terms of shared memories, experiences and desires but leaders and circumstances are not allowing for that cultural invention/creation. The Lebanese thus have an identity and a history but they cannot articulate it. Beneath the us versus them ideological model, Shia, Druze, Sunni, Christians, etc., who dwelled in Lebanon have a lot more in common than they have differences; the most important thing that they share is their inability to represent and build on their social and historical experinces of shared suffering and hopes.

    Posted by Parrhesia | May 6, 2014, 8:10 pm
  126. Who’s Afraid of Barry NewZ?

    While Iran visits synagogues, the normal fanfare continues…

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran will target American aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf should a war between the two countries ever break out, the naval chief of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard warned Tuesday as the country completes work on a large-scale mock-up of a U.S. carrier.

    The remarks by Adm. Ali Fadavi, who heads the hard-line Guard’s naval forces, were a marked contrast to moderate President Hassan Rouhani’s recent outreach policies toward the West — a reminder of the competing viewpoints that exist at the highest levels within the Islamic Republic.

    Iran is building a simple replica of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in a shipyard in the southern port of Bandar Abbas in order to be used in future military exercises, an Iranian newspaper confirmed last month.

    Fadavi was quoted Tuesday by the semi-official Fars news agency as saying the immense size of the U.S. carriers makes them an “easy target.” He said contingency plans to target American carriers are a priority for the Guard’s naval forces.

    “Aircraft carriers are the symbol of America’s military might,” he said. “The carriers are responsible for supplying America’s air power. So, it’s natural that we want to sink the carriers.”

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 6, 2014, 8:22 pm
  127. Akbar Palace,

    I think it’s time for threesa to say something. It looks like the silence of the lambs.

    OTOH, I just read a piece of well crafted disjointed logic, full of contradictory mumbo jumbo which happened to precede your latest.

    Some claim knowledge of our own history and proceed to make mess out of it. I never met anyone yet who doesn’t know first hand that the Ottomans advanced confessionalism well before the nineteenth century, which later became our most cherished tradition and fought wars over it since the 1840’s with the support of the powers of the 4 corners of the globe since then

    I still haven’t met anyone who doesn’t know that Islam embeds the concept of nation deep within and fundamental to its core belief system. But self professed ‘pundits’ on this site know better.

    Now here’s a most precious gem: Lebanese ARE a nation because they share the common characteristic of NOT knowing how to articulate such nationhood. BRILLIANT!!

    Sa’id ‘Akl would lose a mind (‘Akl) to come up with something like this. He’ll be called Sa’id without ‘Akl. At least he was modest enough to admit that the few left over cedars are the outgrowth of Ishtar’s hair follicles she tore away in mourning when she recognized Adonis’ blood while flying over the muddy river.

    Please articulate for us something about Iranian nationhood. We’re eager to know what it is. Is there such a thing? FYI, since Khosroe disappeared from the scene, we believe there was no such thing. And Muslims believe there WILL NEVER BE. So exactly what are the mullahs after?

    Posted by Mustap | May 6, 2014, 8:56 pm
  128. Islam embeds the concept of nation

    Mustap,

    I always thought the goal of Islamists was a “caliphate”; a large geographic area (the ME, “fertile crescent”, etc) controlled by one Islamic theocracy/authority. No internal border would be necessary.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 6, 2014, 9:38 pm
  129. Akbar Palace,

    That’s how many people see it because at one time, and for quite long tome, it was so.

    It’s kind of nostalgic.

    But the belief in one nation goes much deeper than that. Historically, i.e. prior to twentieth century disintegration, a Muslim identified himself as a member of one Islamic umma (nation) according to

    ان هذه امتكم امة واحدة

    A Qura’nic verse proclaiming the unity of the nation under God.

    فتقطعوا امرهم بينهم كل حزب بما لديهم فرحون

    Another Qura’nic verse exhorting eschewing divisions.

    However, for the self proclaimed ‘philosopher’ who pops up here every once in a while, and who denies Ottoman’s role in advancing confessionalism, s/he needs to be reminded of a very authentic TURKISH term describing the concept known as the ‘millet system’. Long before the term confessionalism was coined, the millet system was essential to the administrative governing of the Ottoman provinces of the Levant and elsewhere. In fact, the system can be traced to much earlier dynasties, but the Turks made it into what it became later on, and as we know it since the 19th century. If the proclaimed ‘philosopher’ is of Iranian descent as we all suspect, then the concept of millet administration would be foreign to him/her. S/he would be more familiar with a different system which was outside the jurisdiction of the Sultan. Therefore, s/he knows better about that thing which s/he has never been familiar with.

    Posted by Mustap | May 6, 2014, 10:26 pm
  130. I still haven’t met anyone who doesn’t know that Islam embeds the concept of nation deep within and fundamental to its core belief system.

    Mustap,

    So are you advocating a “One Nation” approach to the ME under Islamic Law (ya’ani “Caliphate”)?

    I think that would be impossible.

    I advocate a western, democratic system: 1 citizen, 1 vote, majority party or coalition and then opposition parties…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 7, 2014, 7:40 am
  131. Akbar Palace,

    No I’m not. This is all part of the earlier discussion about history.

    Posted by Mustap | May 7, 2014, 7:58 am
  132. Mustap,

    What are your thoughts on the article I linked to below?

    http://news.yahoo.com/saudi-liberals-website-founder-sentenced-10-years-jail-160518135.html;_ylt=AwrTWf2wY2pTKm0AeVXQtDMD

    On another subject, this Israeli spying issue is going to raise some eye-brows in the jewish community. It doesn’t sound good. No matter what the facts are, it shows a crack in the relationship. I will have a field day at the jcc tomorrow when I confront my liberal, Obama-lovin’ co-religionists on this. They will pay.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 7, 2014, 10:52 pm
  133. Akbar Palace,

    This man will eventually seek and most likely receive pardon from the King after the man recognizes his errors and repents.

    But it needs to be determined first if he is working on behalf of outside groups. In this case, the King may approve a severe punishment fir him.

    Posted by Mustap | May 8, 2014, 7:47 am
  134. Mustap,

    Why would the King of Saudi Arabia care about what some guy puts on a website? Did he sell some important state secrets? What is his crime?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 8, 2014, 8:16 am
  135. Akbar Palace,

    The guy was obviously spreading lies. Saudis do not like liars especially when the intentions might be malicious in harming public good or serving foreign agents in order to spread misinformation and possibly disorder in the Kingdom.

    The King is entrusted in the well being of his people and obviously he needs to know everything in order to ensure such well being is protected.

    Posted by Mustap | May 8, 2014, 8:45 am
  136. Again…What seems to appear as a cultured man capable of self criticism when it comes to his own historical heritage…dives again in…you know..

    Posted by 3issa | May 8, 2014, 3:59 pm
  137. Akbar Palace,

    Ehud Barak said today that the US can destroy the Iranian nuclear program in one day and one night.

    If that is so, then why doesn’t the US do it?

    And while at it, if Ehud is right, then probably the US can also destroy the Iranian army in a week or two. If so, then why doesn’t the US do it?

    Posted by Mustap | May 9, 2014, 1:52 pm
  138. Pst.. because Barak is a Shiaa twelver

    Posted by Vulcan | May 9, 2014, 4:55 pm
  139. Mustap,

    What he saying is correct. The US doesn’t do these things for the same reason the SAN doesn’t flatten the Syrian parliament.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 9, 2014, 7:40 pm
  140. New pda…SAF, Saudi Air Force

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 9, 2014, 7:41 pm
  141. Dear QN,

    I tune in every once and a while to see what’s going on, and almost as far as I remember the comments section here has been dominated by Zionist and (proto)Salafists. But since my main reason for following this blog is to keep up with what the Harirri line on things would be if Harriri himself weren’t so useless, I never thought to complain rhat these close Harriri cousins are so prominent. But are you really gonna let stuff like MUSTAP | MAY 6, 2014, 1:35 PM pass?

    It seems you’ve been happy as of late to remove posts and issue ‘timeouts’. I’m not sure for what exactly, but its hard to imagine it was for something worse than that little gem. I’m just asking for the barest modicum of standards, really.

    Posted by masoud | May 9, 2014, 8:08 pm
  142. Masoud,

    Why are you complaining about a website you never participate on? Engage someone instead of complaining to the management.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 9, 2014, 9:16 pm
  143. Massoud,

    What’s your problem?

    Are you anti-Semite?

    Your comment about that comment is nothing short of ridiculous!

    Posted by Mustap | May 9, 2014, 10:23 pm
  144. Akbar Palace,

    I am beginning to think that very few people in this world of ours would like to see Jews and Arabs as friends.

    It looks like such friendship causes too much jealousies and possibly much fear about the rise of an alliance which many perceive as threatening to them.

    Jews and Arabs may have bee their worst enemies so far. We now should work to reverse that trend.

    Posted by Mustap | May 9, 2014, 10:38 pm
  145. We now should work to reverse that trend.

    Yes, of course.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 9, 2014, 11:01 pm
  146. I’m in tears

    Posted by 3issa | May 10, 2014, 5:28 am
  147. Thressa,

    Please sit down and try to relax, because I have some not-so-good news for you…

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4518039,00.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 10, 2014, 10:43 am
  148. Akbar Palace,

    I don’t think Threesa has anything to say. He’s been silent for few hours since you posted. S/He’s probably looking like 😭

    Posted by Mustap | May 10, 2014, 6:11 pm
  149. Mutsap’s MAY 6, 2014, 1:35 PM post=pro genocidal sectarian incitement?:

    “Akbar Palace,

    I believe our common problem with Iran goes much deeper than one could imagine.

    It is a clear case of two races that cannot coexist. I mean we, the Semites (Jews and Arabs, ONLY descendants of the Great Patriarch) and them the Aryans who at one point in time produced the most hated criminal in history seeking to exterminate the Semites for no reason but jealousy and spite…”

    Now must you weep, gnash teeth and rend robes that the sons of the Great Patriarch and the Aryans have been instrumental in helping to broker the deal in Homs. A little self-flagglelation might also be in order.

    http://elijahjm.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/saudi-arabia-and-iran-in-homs/#more-605

    …….

    BTW, Tony agrees with me that HA secretly yearns for General Kahwaji to be chosen as President of Lebanon. Naturalmente…

    https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/commentaryanalysis/546430-no-need-for-compromise

    Posted by lally | May 10, 2014, 7:55 pm
  150. Akbar Palace,

    It looks like Amal Saad Ghorayeb protege, Lolly, is dreaming of Iranian unsubstantiated dealings with the Wise King of the Kingdom, while in truth the Iranians went hay wire following the recent Saudi Military maneuvers dubbed, the Abdullah Sword, in which it was rumoured the Kingdom has deployed nuclear warheads with the capability to deliver right into Qom.

    The claim that this Lolly is Jewish American goes hollower and hollower day by day. The degree of disingeneousness is unprecedented. It’s ASG smell all over the place.

    Posted by Mustap | May 10, 2014, 8:09 pm
  151. Why Mutsap! What a sly rogue you are! How are you so familiar with the scent of Ms ASG? I sense a bitterness born of unrequited love sickness….

    How doubly sad for you…..

    Imaginary nukes cannot make up for lacks in other….areas.

    Posted by lally | May 10, 2014, 8:28 pm
  152. You got both those things wrong Lollypop. ASG has never been and will never be an object of conquest of mine, and the Nukes are very very REAL, and you will feel their bang right in the middle of Hay Essollom where you live next to Hassan’s sewer bunker, when they will fry the taco wraps of the artificially enlarged heads of your mullahs.

    Posted by Mustap | May 10, 2014, 8:48 pm
  153. Silly Mutsap! One hit by a nuke would feel exactly bupkes.

    BTW, “taco wraps” are usually referred to as tortillas. To wit:

    “…..when they will fry the tortilla wrappings of the artificially enlarged heads of the mullahs”.

    Say, do Avigdor Lieberman et al know about the Saudi nukes slated for Lebanon? Sort of messes with the Israeli core defense doctrine as conceived their right to a divine QME in perpetuity.

    Posted by lally | May 10, 2014, 10:06 pm
  154. Mustap,

    Thanks for the heads-up on ASG. Always good to know who the resistance professionals are since they prefer rogue militias acting outside Lebanese authority.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amal_Saad-Ghorayeb

    My thinking is that if you really want “resistance”, be careful what you wish for.

    Amazing how people prefer war and destruction to anything else.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 10, 2014, 11:10 pm
  155. As a Jew impersonator, Lollypop, you don’t need to worry about what Avigdor et all know or don’t know. And are you so SILLY to think that your Hezbollah comrades will ever get to lay a finger on Saudi weaponry?

    Whether you prefer tacos or tortillas, the wraps of the artificially enlraged heads of YOUR mullahs will get nukely fried.

    Akbar Palace,

    Now you who Lollypop truly is. The question remains: why does she choose to impersonate a Jewish American personality on this blog? For that you need to know how resistance viruses operate in the cyber world.

    We’ll deal with that topic later.

    But , your threesa friend is no where to be seen.. I’m so lost without him/her😥

    Posted by Mustap | May 10, 2014, 11:37 pm
  156. Akbar, it should read: Now you know……

    Previous comment i.e.

    Posted by Mustap | May 11, 2014, 12:48 am
  157. Pathetic

    Posted by 3issa | May 11, 2014, 6:22 am
  158. A public servant who accepts bribes is equivalent to a traitor.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m glad there’s one ME state not controlled by a dictator.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4519077,00.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 13, 2014, 6:57 am
  159. Mustap,

    I’m looking at an article stating, “Saudi Arabia moves to ease regional tensions with Iran”.

    Thoughts?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 14, 2014, 7:47 am
  160. Akbar Palace,

    Technically speaking the Kingdom and Iran are not in a state of war. So, they can speak to each other like in the dialog of the deaf. No one in the kingdom believes in the futility of such talks

    I strongly believe the Kingdom will actively support any military effort to remove the mullah regime. It looks like with Obama around this is not currently in the cards.

    So, this could be just filling the gap with dialog of the deaf as mentioned above until the ‘wuss’ is out of the White House and hopefully someone with some spine replaces him (and hopefully not from the Clintons either).

    Posted by Mustap | May 14, 2014, 2:14 pm
  161. I read somewhere or heard on TV that Obama’s meeting with the KSA last month was so short, that they skipped an official dinner. And I bet the food was good. What a waste!

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 14, 2014, 3:12 pm
  162. Akbar Palace,

    Big O was also snubbed by a Saudi woman he was seeking to meet in public, apparently to honor her for some work she did. She told him she is away on a business trip.

    The guy thinks he can fool everyone by empty talk. Saudis don’t buy his kind of nonesense talking.

    His trip was a failure and he knows it. I don’t know why he keeps sending his staff over for endless useless talks. Right now, he sent Chuck Hagel for more talks of the same.

    Just look at how Putin made a fool of him. How do you think Reagan would deal with a guy like Putin?

    Big O never heard of the expression: read my lips.

    Posted by Mustap | May 14, 2014, 6:37 pm
  163. lol he ain’t but a Lockheed Martin sales rep and the house of saud hijackers are not but spoiled kids owning sophisticated toys

    Posted by 3issa | May 15, 2014, 2:57 am
  164. BTW, Tony agrees with me that HA secretly yearns for General Kahwaji to be chosen as President of Lebanon. Naturalmente…

    Lilly,

    In Lebanon, what percentage of Hezbollah voters are Sunni? Since you are an HA supporter, does that mean you are a follower of the Shia muslim faith?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 17, 2014, 1:21 pm
  165. The Lebanon President doesn’t favor 2 armies in one country. Makes sense to me…

    “I appeal for the return to Lebanon and to withdraw from neighboring arenas to avoid future repercussions on Lebanon,” said Suleiman, a critic of Hezbollah backing Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 17, 2014, 7:25 pm
  166. Re voting patterns & sectarian affiliations: in mainly Sunni Sidon the anti-Hariri Sunnis end up by default in the pro-Hizballah camp. So some of Sidon’s older political families are affiliated with an anti-Hariri coalition. This doesn’t mean endorsement of the Hizballah program per se, as much as a way to challenge the Hariris in their home turf. HA rallies that I’ve seen on TV often have Sunni clerics (who are they?) seated prominently in the front row.

    Posted by Jim Reilly | May 18, 2014, 5:08 am
  167. Jim,

    Thanks. I’m wondering if it’s also a “turf war”, whereby southern Lebanon is dominated by HA, therefore other clans are somewhat forced to support them. I still would like to know what percentage of HA votes are sunni.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 18, 2014, 10:26 am
  168. this is what happens when a cool blog gets hijacked by zionists crackpots

    Posted by 3issa | May 19, 2014, 3:36 pm
  169. Threesa,

    Don’t blame me if no one has anything to say or if there is no news in Lebanon.

    How are Hezbollah and Assad doing these days? Will Bashar and Asthma be doing any shopping in London in the near future?

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=A0nASbOg3B8

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 19, 2014, 7:56 pm
  170. When in Hezbostan, do as the Hezbos…

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4521499,00.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 19, 2014, 11:22 pm
  171. Akbar Palace,

    I don’t think threesa likes you.

    Posted by Mustap | May 19, 2014, 11:24 pm
  172. Mustap,

    Why not? I’m a peace-loving Zionist.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 20, 2014, 7:20 am
  173. Akbar Palace,

    I think it has something to do with the Palestinians. Threesa wants to help them. May be you should ask him directly.

    Posted by Mustap | May 20, 2014, 2:06 pm
  174. Threesa,

    The best way to help the Palestinians is to back the wesistance professionals like Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.

    They’ve made great strides over the decades, and I’m sure they’ll do more good work for them.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 20, 2014, 5:06 pm
  175. What a pathetic couple. One is desperately trying to impress the white man while the other is desperately trying to bond with people who don’t like him anyway.

    Posted by 3issa | May 20, 2014, 6:00 pm
  176. Akbar Palace,

    I’m not sure now what threesa wants. He keeps shifting. He’s now using the race card. Not that I really know what color you are and neither do you know which part of the spectrum I fall in.

    Neither does threesa know any of that for that matter.

    Since we started talking to this guy he shifted from communism, to Islamism (apparently), to resistance, to anti-zionism, to Palestine and now to race. He doesn’t seem to make up his mind. Or may be he doesn’t have anything relevant to say.

    What do you think?

    Posted by Mustap | May 20, 2014, 6:51 pm
  177. Tell us, what do you think… Please white man, engage with me, more bridge building please. ..come on have a chat with your fellow semitic brother… remember that we are united against the evil Aryans who produced nothing but Hitlers, Attilas and Shams i tabrizis…

    Posted by 3issa | May 21, 2014, 1:01 am
  178. Threesa,

    Jews aren’t considered “white”, just ask any anti-semite. But I applaud your wesistance accumen, and I hope Iran doesn’t bow to Zionist pressure with respect to their nuclear program. We need to stand firm against spread of Zionism.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 21, 2014, 7:42 pm
  179. Akbar Palace,

    I lost all reasons to try to impress you. You’re not white after all.

    Too bad. We will not know our MLK-to-be new strategy. This was the first time he said something more than a one line.

    Posted by Mustap | May 22, 2014, 7:53 am
  180. Pleaseeeee white man

    Posted by 3issa | May 22, 2014, 12:53 pm
  181. https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/lebanon/548646-resistancewhat-resistance

    I thought I was reading a Press TV article when this author resorted to to perpetuating false and racist stereotypes about Jews in order to justify her warped false historical analysis as to why Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon.

    Did this sorry excuse for a journalist forget about Barak’s 1998 campaign promise to withdraw from Lebanon in less than a year after mounting public pressure because of costly human casualties before she decided to attribute the IDF’s withdrawal in a bid to balance the budget in Israel.

    It begs the question where is editor Hanin Ghaddar? Does she not read this garbage before posting it

    Posted by tamer k | May 25, 2014, 2:14 am
  182. Tamer K,

    Excellent article and conclusions. The best wesistance is a government that responds to the people while allowing people to live in freedom. Hezbollah is just another of a long line of ME oppressors packaged as freedom fighters. Bashar Assad and Saddam Hussein were/are part of the same club.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 25, 2014, 10:50 am
  183. Tamer K.

    Which Jewish ‘stereotype’ in Anna-Maria’s article are you concerned with?

    I searched through the article and couldn’t find any that would be considered a stereotype. So, I assumed you are referring to the phrase ‘typically Jewish’ when it comes to loving money. Is this what you think Hanin should be concerned about, knowing that Hanin has been declared a traitor by the HA, and her family threatened to disown her by the same Iranian agents (in other words traitors of Lebanon) for meeting with Jews and expressing what most Lebanese feel about the organization of Iranian fifth column which calls itself HA?

    I think Hanin in this case would have the more important task of weigning free speech which she defends against HA’s quest to kill such free speech which you seem to imply by asking Hanin to look out for such trivial phrases.

    I would say no one in the free world would object to describing Jews as lovers of money, as we all are. Only difference is that Jews admit it while the rest don’t.

    You attermpt to appear concerned about Jews while defending Iranian agents in Lebanon ( i.e. Traitors) is at best disingenious.

    You need to disown HA and declare so-called resistance defunct to gain some ingenuity.

    Another resistance drum beats the dust.

    Posted by Mustap | May 25, 2014, 10:51 am
  184. Bridge builder, your mate says that you are a money lover.

    Posted by 3issa | May 25, 2014, 12:45 pm
  185. The theocracy in Israel is not cheap, it maintains the most expensive army in the world per capita, with its illegal checkpoints on occupied territory, detention centers, etc, etc, etc
    http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Israel-defense-cost-highest-per-capita

    I’m sorry you appreciate the stereotype that Jews are cheap, money counting people, is the racist stereotype about long noses true too?

    In any case, the IDF didn’t withdraw to save a few shekels, they withdrew because their military adventure was a failure.
    “The increase in Israel’s casualty count in Lebanon over the past few years led to growing domestic pressure for an end to Israel’s military presence in Lebanon. Prime Minister Ehud Barak won a sweeping victory in the May 1999 elections with his pledge to pull Israeli troops out of Lebanon within the year.

    On March 5, 2000, the Israeli cabinet voted unanimously for a full troop withdrawal from Lebanon by July. ”

    http://archive.adl.org/backgrounders/lebanon_withdrawal.html#.U4Io7_ldWT8

    Posted by tamer k | May 25, 2014, 1:50 pm
  186. Tamer K,

    As a jew, I feel my opinion carries some weight. The tone of the article didn’t seem derogatory to me. It almost seemed the author was being sarcastic. I agree with Mustap; no harm done, and the author certainly has the right viewpoint on HA. But I appreciate your sensitivity to anti-jewish comments. I know I am.

    The mythologies about jews are mind-boggling. I’ve seen gentiles pinching pennies on so many levels, but only jews are cheap. I’ve seen jews give lots of their hard earned money so others may benefit. Oh well. And Israel is no theocracy. Every Israeli is allowed to pray to whomever they want, and it incurs no penalty.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 25, 2014, 2:26 pm
  187. Akbar Palace,

    I agree, I don’t think cheapness has a race or religion, I’ve seen cheap Lebanese, asians, indians, americans, etc etc.

    You are right, Israel is not a theocracy, poor choice or words, The Chief Rabbi of Israel doesn’t pull the strings like the Ayatollah in Iran does.

    But Israel is the Jewish State, it is on the spectrum of what I call a “theocratic democracy”, and I believe its still figuring out its identity and the right balance between religion and democracy

    If and when a final settlement comes, I do not have a problem with Israel proper being known as a Jewish country, I don’t believe that means that christian and muslim minorities won’t be protected

    But I have to disagree, the she takes a cheap shot at Jews in order to justify her distorted views as to the main reason of Israels withdrawal. She is not Russel Peters making a funny joke about different ethnicities, she actually believes Israel withdrew to save a few shekels, in line with her view that Jews have long noses and charge high interest rates, in my opinion.

    Posted by tamer k | May 25, 2014, 2:54 pm
  188. Poor little Hanin Ghaddar. Not only does she have to deal with an anti-semite from Romania expressing greedy Jew blood libels for the “Lebanese” publication NOW, but she also has American neocon Michael Weiss’ unseemly obsessive fussing about Tayyip Erdogan supposedly calling (or not) some guy in a grocery store “Israeli sperm”. Ewwwwwwww

    https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/commentaryanalysis/548494-tayyip-the-troubled

    What a circus.

    Posted by lally | May 25, 2014, 3:04 pm
  189. The main issue at hand is not being cheap or the love of money. The issue at hand is the defunctness of so-called resistance.

    So let’s not lose sight of the issue at hand.

    Or as it has been referred to ‘wessistance’.

    Posted by Mustap | May 25, 2014, 3:24 pm
  190. Tamer K,

    I agree with everything you say. Israel IS figuring things out. There have been many changes in israel and in jewish life over the centuries. We, as a people, have to adapt to whatever we face.

    Mustap,

    Yes, it remains to be seen if the wesistance “peters out”, or if they still want to make another go at defeating the zionist entity. I think this type of military action will continue as the wesistance professionals lose their visability.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 25, 2014, 5:18 pm
  191. Dafuq you say? I remember when a quarter used to cost a nickel!

    Regards,
    Milton Berle’s cock 😉

    Posted by Vulcan | May 25, 2014, 6:31 pm
  192. Akbar Palace,

    From Lebanese perspective the issue should be considered one of loyalty.

    A Lebanese must dissociate himself from HA. Otherwise, s/he should be considered as a traitor and in collusion with a fifth column.

    This is the only way Lebanon can be cured from this plague. Otherwise, a Jackass is much more useful and way ‘smarter’ than a Phoenix,

    https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/commentaryanalysis/548484-the-phoenix-is-a-jackass

    Posted by Mustap | May 25, 2014, 9:16 pm
  193. Vulcan,

    I bought a 1887 Indian Head penny for $3 this weekend. Uncle Milty was quite a personality.

    Mustap,

    The term “traitor” is a loaded term. This guy Snowden is considered a hero and I was told this by an company security manager.

    Allowing a militia to operated unfettered without government oversight is indicative of a flawed government.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 25, 2014, 10:38 pm
  194. Akbar Palace,

    There is no other solution.

    Don’t you realize now what the issue was with Hanin that we’ve been talking about?

    Hezbos labelled her as a traitor and forced her family to disown her because she met with Jews in the US. This is the whole reason for Tamer K.’s sly against her, and that’s why I called his bluff. He is not concerned about any so-called Jewish stereotypes. It’s nothing but a cheap HA inspired propaganda cover with the sole purpose of aggrandizing defunct ‘resistance’.

    Believe me Hezbo sympathizers can only be described as traitors and nothing else, and they shpuld be treated as such.

    Snowdon’s case is a completely different ball game. There’s no comparison.

    Posted by Mustap | May 25, 2014, 11:09 pm
  195. Happy Anniversary!

    Posted by lally | May 25, 2014, 11:28 pm
  196. There is a difference between Jews, Zionists, and Israelis (who can be a Palestinian Christian or Muslim). She was accused of being on a panel with an Israeli government representative, and for the record I don’t think that is a big deal., much ado about nothing really

    My problem with nowRacist is that it espouses progressive, democratic, and open minded m14 ideals yet their commentary is laden with racist innuendos and factual inaccuracies.

    Israel was not trying to save a few Shekels in southern Lebanon, cognizant of the fact that Israel can wipe out all of southern Lebanon with their weapons of mass destruction, my point is that the IDF got their a**es handed, or more diplomatically was overwhelmed with the asymmetrical guerrilla war in southern Lebanon.

    Her argument about money is not made any stronger by invoking a racist stereotype, because it is simply not true, it is quite pathetic.

    Posted by tamer k | May 25, 2014, 11:39 pm
  197. OK HA mouthpiece. However, you interpret IDF’s withdrawal from SL does not negate the fact that HA should he considered as an Iranian fifth colmun, and ALL its supporters are acting against the Lebanese state which means traitors. In my H opinion until you dissociate yourself publicly from this organozation that’s exactly what you are. So first work on yourself and don’t lecture us about stereotypes. It is SO disingenious AND pathetic.

    And as for being cheap, how cheap is it for HA to pay Lebanese mercenaries a mere $500 to go and fight in Syria? Looks like they are not getting many buyers and now they need help from mercenaries from Afghanistan also at $500 a piece.

    Talk of cheap again.

    Posted by Mustap | May 26, 2014, 12:05 am

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