The Doha Lebanon Agreement: Many Winners and One Loser

The Doha success has winners and a loser.

MP Aoun emerges as the biggest loser.
He insisted on a “transitional government.”
He wanted so bad to become President and thought the juvenile but deadly move of the Lebanese Opposition would lead to his coronation over Lebanon. He comes back from Qatar a broken old man. Good. No President of the Republic title for him -he deserves the title the Don Quixote of Lebanese politics.

Lebanon will have a President and the Camp of shame in Downtown Beirut will be dismantled and the filth left cleaned by Sokleen. I was a witness to what the squatters in the tent city wrote on the walls of the beautiful downtown- filthy words from filthy dark minds and hands. The words and the filth should be pictured and documented so that we do not forget.

As to MP Saad Hariri the success in Qatar shows that militias and street people with guns are not the key to political participation and political influence. MP Saad Hariri emerges from Doha a modern leader with hands unsullied by the dirt of street battles. He promised to rebuild again- he is to be believed, it seems to be the destiny of the Hariris to rebuild what others have destroyed.

As to the Arab world and Qatar- there were too many naysayers. But- Arab positive engagement - from Saudi Arabia , Egypt and Kuwait specifically, was the key to the halt of the descent into civil war and Iraqization.

As to Qatar-The Qataris have shown, again, that despite their country’s tiny size, they can play a big positive role in the Arab world.

They deserve much of the credit for the political agreement reached in Doha.


Marion said…
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Lebanon has given itself a chance to end a miserable, murderous cycle
By The Daily Star


For over 18 months, international efforts to find a solution to Lebanon's harrowing political crisis seemed a lot like searching for a needle in a haystack. Various teams of Arab and international mediators had tried to prod feuding Lebanese leaders toward compromise, but none of these efforts brought about concrete results. It was only after the crisis escalated to the verge of renewed civil war - and after Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani thankfully intervened - that the leaders of rival Lebanese factions managed to secure what once seemed like a permanently elusive deal.

The brilliance of the Doha accord is that it has resurrected the Lebanese agenda on Lebanese terrain. For far too long that agenda had been both strangled by local players and dictated to the Lebanese in the form of unrealistic demands from foreign capitals. But the Qatari emir successfully brokered an accord that makes Lebanon the priority, and resolves all outstanding political issues, while incorporating mechanisms for strengthening the Lebanese state. The responsibility for ensuring the full success of the Doha initiative now rests with Lebanese leaders - every one of them, from Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to Lebanese Forces boss Samir Geagea.

Over the past few days we have witnessed the transformation of the sentiment on the streets from one of tribulation - when Lebanese leaders pushed this nation to the brink - to one of jubilation - when Lebanon's executioners were summoned away to the dialogue in Doha. The prevailing sense of joy has increased exponentially now that an agreement has been reached and the Lebanese can for the first time in over three years begin to envision new and boundless horizons for their homeland. The possibilities that the resolution of the political crisis allow for are infinite. One can easily imagine how it can pave the way toward economic development and political reform, as well as rapprochement with Damascus, and even an eventual peace deal with Israel if that country is willing to be reasonable (a possibility that is even easier to envision in light of the Turkish-brokered talks between Syria and Israel). The return of a Lebanese state that is at peace with its own citizens will also enable Lebanon to return to its role as an incubator of talent and creative energy that benefits, rather than destabilizes, the entire region.

This is not to suggest that the road ahead is not fraught with potential pitfalls. Indeed, the greatest of these is that Lebanon's leaders might be lulled into a false sense of security and fail to follow the path of Lebanon's revival to its inevitable destination: the creation a civil state. Now that we have all (again) seen that the current sectarian-state model serves to stimulate breakdown, failure to complete that journey would be tantamount to committing national suicide. Without a new system of governance, we would no doubt find ourselves back in the same miserable, murderous scenario.

One other potential snare that must be noted - and hopefully avoided - stems from the fact that the outcome of the Doha talks might not meet the unrealistic expectations of foreign parties. None of these has shown a greater propensity to disregard common sense than the administration of US President George W. Bush. The US president has been among the most vocal backers of the governing March 14 coalition, but it must be recalled that his friendship yielded few tangible results for the state of Lebanon. Given the United States' close relationship with Israel, Bush could have easily applied pressure on the Jewish state to desist from its relentless incursions into Lebanese territory, or to withdraw from the Shebaa Farms, for example. He could have also adopted a more reasonable policy toward Syria that would have served to safeguard what he misleadingly hailed as one of his own greatest regional achievements, as opposed to a feat achieved by the Lebanese: the "Cedar Revolution." But none of these gestures, which would have gone a long way toward stabilizing this country and strengthening the Lebanese state, ever materialized.

One would hope that the Americans, along with the Syrians, Iranians and other international actors in the Lebanese crisis, will understand that their time for meddling here has passed. The Lebanese are embarking on a new chapter in their history, one that will hopefully succeed in finally putting Lebanon first. The best thing that all of these foreign actors could do is to step aside, and perhaps even utter the word that was on the lips of millions of Lebanese when they relayed the news from Doha on Wednesday: mabrouk, or congratulations.
Marion said…
How to lose an empire in just 3 years !

On February 14th 2005, Rafic Hariri was assassinated. The reflex of all Lebanon (even those who were against Hariri’s policies) was to gather around the Hariri Family.

I, a Lebanese Christian Aounist, went there, participated to the funeral. I took my kids, my parents, my friends, even the whole village (on demand of General Aoun) in order to maintain daily visits and presence around “Dari7” (Hariri’s tomb). For months, even if we wanted to dine at a restaurant in Beirut Central District, we used to gather at “Dari7”, make the cross sign, say a little prayer, offer a candle, than go out for dinner. More candles were offered by Christians at “Dari7” than at St Charbel’s tomb! It was an incredible sign of solidarity from different communities.

Hariri’s son Saad was appointed by Hariri Family to inherit Rafic Hariri’s political legacy. He inherited a whole empire: money, media, political party, international connections, international support, public sympathy even among Christians and Chiites, blind support from the Sunnites and Druzes, etc… He had everything to succeed!

How comes that by May 2008, i.e. just 3 years after his father’s assassination, Saad Hariri seems to have lost his empire? Why?!...

Let us remember together what he did wrong:

His first political move was to participate into Mikati’s government alone, without his allies.

Then, he concluded the “2itifak rouba3i” between Hariri + Joumblat + Berry + Nasrallah, leaving the Christians out; although the Christians showed him unparalleled sympathy when his father died. You remember that on the same day of Rafic Hariri’s murder, i.e. on February 14th 2005, Michel Aoun visited Nazik Hariri in Paris.

And in order to conclude this “2itifak rouba3i”, he promised the Chiites to keep and preserve the weapons of Hizballah.

He adopted the 2000 electoral law of Ghazi Kanaan, betraying all what his father promised to the Patriarch and to the Christian community. So instead of building on the sympathy that the Christians showed him, he betrayed them by imposing on them an unjust electoral law. Consequently, he lost Christian support.

Saad Hariri promised the Chiites to keep and preserve the weapons of Hizballah. But at the same time, he promised the USA to get rid of these weapons. So how he would manage to keep these 2 contradictory promises?

Instead of opening a new chapter among Lebanese after the Syrian withdrawal, Saad disappointed the Christians and tried to fool the Chiites. A policy built on short-term gains instead of long-term stability.

Then came the elections. He refused to cooperate with the true representative of the Christian community, i.e. Michel Aoun.

When Aoun won in Jbeil, Ksrouen and Maten, Saad went to the North of Lebanon, stayed there, spent millions of US Dollars and encouraged Sunnite extremism in order to fight Aoun + Frangiyeh. He won the elections in the North; but, at the same time, he made the North a fertile land for Sunnite extremism (Later on, the Lebanese Army will suffer greatly from this climate when it will face Fatih il Islam).

Saad didn’t just fight Michel Aoun: he fought all true representative of the Christian community: Elias Skaff in Zahle, Armenian Tachnaq in Beirut, Sleimen Frangiyeh in the North, etc…

Saad needed a clear majority in the parliament: he took it from the Christians. His so-called majority is constituted mainly from Christian deputies elected by the Sunnites, via the 2000 electoral law of Ghazi Kanaan.

He released Samir Geagea and Ka3eda Terrorists form prison:

Samir Geagea in order to affront Michel Aoun in Christian areas
Ka3eda Terrorists in order to fulfill his electoral promises in the North. These same people will fight the Lebanese Army along with Fatih il Islam

Then came the government, Seniora government. Saad again promised to preserve the weapons of Hizballah. He also promised the Chiites that all government decisions will be taken in consensus with them. But Saad again rejected the true representative of the Christians, giving minor ministries to Lebanese Forces and Kataeb.

Then he went to play all kinds of dirty games in Media, distributing money all over the Christian regions in order to assassinate the character of Michel Aoun – in order to discriminate Michel Aoun within the Christian community. You surely remember the articles of Fares Khachan and Nassir el Assaad, the comedy La Yoummal on Future TV, etc...

For 3 years, he refused to cooperate with the Christian President Emile Lahoud. For 3 years, all positions in the Lebanese State (especially the Internal Security Forces) were given to Sunnites and Druzes. The Christians are getting more and more frustrated and angry. He even tried to use the Patriarch as a counter balance to Aoun.

Saad arrested the 4 generals and put them in prison for more than 3 years without any proof linking them to the assassination of his father.

With his tricks and the presumed witnesses (Houssam Houssam, Zouhayr Al Seddik, …), he even discredited the International Investigation in the assassination of his father. The majority of the Lebanese now make jokes about this so-called International Investigation.

Instead of uniting all the Lebanese, Rafic Hariri’s assassination was used to make cheap political gains. So it lost the sacred aspect it had among the majority of Lebanese.

Seniora government failed in all fields, especially in security. A dozen of leaders are assassinated while the government stood helpless.

Then, suddenly, Saad broke his promises to the Shiites: he wanted Hizballah to surrender his arms. So after loosing Christian support, he has now also lost Shiite support. The Shiites withdrew from government and Lebanon was in the middle of a big crisis.

Fearing a civil war like in Iraq, Michel Aoun signed an agreement with Hizballah, an agreement that proposes a solution to Hizballah’s weapons. Both Aoun and Nasrallah invited all Lebanese parties to join this agreement. Instead, Saad fought this agreement accusing Michel Aoun of becoming “Syrian and Iranian” and he went with his media campaign to discredit Aoun among Christians.

Then in 2006 came the war between Israel and Hizballah. The agreement between Aoun and Nasrallah created an internal stability. Meanwhile, the Shiites felt a conspiracy against them from Hariri + Joumblat + Saniora. Just 2 days after the beginning of the war, Hariri wanted to judge Hassan Nasrallah! Then he stole almost all the international aid that came to Lebanon and was supposed to be distributed to the displaced. By now, Hariri lost all kind of support from the Shiites.

He made deals with Nabih Berri, then backed on the deals, then started attacking Nabih Berri and wanted his employee Makary to call for elections without the consent the Head of Parliament, hence over stripping the main Shiites position in the Lebanese state. So he also lost Nabih Berri.

The opposition, although very popular, asked for just a third of the government. Hariri refused. A huge march took place in the heart of Beirut: Hariri + Joumblat + Seniora didn’t even notice!

Then Hariri wanted to have his own military forces in order to make a balance with Hizballah. The same Kanaan Naji who is burning offices today in Tripoli recruited Fati7 el Islam (check the Magazine newspaper) and strengthened them in order to create the Sunni Army in "Bilad el Cham". We all know the results: hundreds of Lebanese soldiers died fighting Sunnite extremism in the North.

Then Saad paid money to bring arms, create security companies (like Security Plus) under the name of the son of Selim Diab. With more than 7000 employees, these security companies quoted to companies for 90$/person/month (i.e. almost free of charge!) just to get the legal cover to his illegal militias. He even created schools in Akar for learning how to become a professional bodyguard!

In 2005, we used to go to Hariri’s tomb willingly. Now Saad is forced to pay money to people to attend the yearly ceremony of 14 February; he distributed Mazout, forced the country to close, put his own people to carry Lebanese Forces flags: just in order to pretend that 1.5 million people answered his call.

Aoun told him in a meeting in Paris: let us make a historical deal between you, Nisrallah and myself; a deal that satisfies all Lebanese communities. Like what happened in 1945 between the Sunnite Riad Solh and the Maronite Bechara EL Khoury. Unfortunately, having spent most of his time in Saudi Arabia, Saad was ignorant of Lebanese history! So he said NO.

Then Aoun withdrew his candidacy to the presidency, but requested a just electoral law – an electoral law long awaited by the Christians. Saad didn’t react positively and insisted on electing a neutral president before reaching an agreement. He forgot that he has lost the confidence of both the Christians and the Shiites who don’t believe him anymore. But he didn’t care as he had the support of USA, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, etc…

Saad is totally ignorant of how Lebanon should be managed: he truly believes that he can disregard both the Christians and the Chiites as long as he enjoys the support of USA, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan. So, he remains completely deaf to the just demands of the Opposition.

What was the result of all the above? The uprising of May 2008!

To conclude:

In 2005, Saad Hariri inherited a whole empire and enjoyed the sympathy of almost all Lebanese. He should have succeeded quite easily. However, due to his ignorance and pride, he thought that he can rule Lebanon as the Saudi King rules Saudi Arabia. But he failed to notice that Lebanon isn’t Saudi Arabia and that he is no king. So he lost his empire in just 3 years!...
Marion said…
Thursday, May 15, 2008
From a Lebanese Shia to a Lebanese Sunni

Eleven innocent, unarmed men were tortured, beaten, and murdered in Halba by Hariri's Mustaqbal militia. They were murdered not because their religious beliefs (they were Sunni SSNP loyalists), but because they held different political views then the "average" Sunni from Lebanon. The PSP militiamen did the same thing to 3 innocent, unarmed, Hezbollah supporters. They stabbed and shot them to death. But I actually have more respect for the PSP than Mustaqbal, wanna know why? At least Jumblatt admitted responsibility for what his militiamen did. Saad Hariri's speech a couple days ago didn't make one mention of this, because he is a coward and he doesn't want people to know about what happened. Well now you know, let's see how you react. You will either push it aside and ignore it because you are too weak to face the fact that your God sent, divine, classy, educated Sunni Mustaqbal brothers did such a horrible act - or you will face the facts, change your views, and realize that the opposition has legitimate concerns, holds itself in a much more civilized way (since you will never find an incident like this from the opposition, I already named 2 from the pro-goverment people), and the pro-government coalition is using its political power to destabilize the country, and create a monopoly over Lebanon's government (you can't fire the head of the airport because he's Shia, of course he's sympathetic to Hezbollah). What you don't realize is, and you will realize it soon because the Shia aren't going anywhere, is that Hezbollah IS Lebanon. The Shia aren't going anywhere my friend, they aren't going to Iran (they don't want to make or live in an Islamic republic like you talk about), and they aren't going to live under a government that continuously ignores them. This isn't the Shia being controlled by the Hezbollah, or Hezbollah being controlled by Iran and Syria. It's the Shia fighting for their cause. If Hezbollah let the government take away their arms and dismantle their communications network, the Shia would look for new leadership. Trust me. They aren’t sheep. Stop ignoring them, realize they are just as Lebanese as you are, and take compromising steps for dialogue, like Michelle Aoun's memorandum of understanding.

When I look at this conflict I don't see Sunni or Shia. I see two powers, one an oppressor and when that is oppressed. One fighting for a just cause, and one fighting for an unjust cause. I cried when I saw those young mustaqbal militiamen in tears when they were captured by Amal (the teenagers that Hariri took out of villages and promised secretary jobs in Beirut). The opposition had mercy on them, and cried WITH them.

"We are prepared to fight for a few hours but not more," said one of the Sunni fighters in the waning moments of the battle. "Where do we get ammunition and weapons from? We are blocked. The roads are blocked. Even Saad Hariri has left us to face our fate alone."

"You can't just spend millions of dollars to build an army in one year," he said. "They have to be motivated and believe in something. They have to be willing to die."

You are my brother in Islam, you are my brother in Lebanon, and you are my brother in humanity.


To watch the video of the pro-government's Sunni men's treatment of the pro-opposition Sunni SSNP loyalists go to:

which is located under the "From a Lebanese Shia to a Lebanese Sunni" post.

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