Thursday, January 27, 2011

Back From Hibernation…

 

 

Quite a few things happened during my extended nap: Wikileaks, after the “Afghan War Diary” and “The Iraq War Logs” opened yet another can of worms with its “Cablegate” release – a collection of more than 60,000 US Embassy cables exposing four decades of US diplomacy, Al Jadeed TV followed suit by airing audio recordings of the secret depositions of Lebanese politicians to International Investigators (Watch here: Interview with Saad Hariri, Interview with Saad Hariri, Mhamed Zuhair Al-Siddiq, and Wissam Al-Hassan, Interview with Elias El Murr), and Al Jazeera not to be outdone released their own “Palestine Papers” exposing the decade long Palestinian-Israeli peace process for the charade it truly is.

In other news, the Tunisian people overthrew their dictator, the Egyptians are attempting to overthrow their own, Lebanese Sunnis celebrated a day of Wrath because Hariri junior is no longer Prime Minister, and Maronite Patriarch Sfeir is being shown the door by non-other than the Holy See.

So many juicy topics…

A Patriarch Sacked…

Back in November, Al-Akhbar broke the news that the Patriarch was asked by the Vatican to resign (The original Al Akhbar article is no longer available hence the link to El Nashra). Of course, at the time the Patriarch denied the news and confirmed he will carry on with his duties. This month, Minister Boutros Harb – who is championing a draft law to deny Lebanese from selling land but to members of their own sects – announced straight from Bkirki that Patriarch Sfeir had submitted his resignation to the Vatican a few months back and is still awaiting an official reply. Alright, let’s just put it as it is: the poor octogenarian has been sacked… 

A Dictator Overthrown…

It took a man to set himself on fire to remind the Tunisians that there was something terribly wrong with their country; that the tyranny they submissively consented to for decades had to end. They revolted and they succeeded in ousting Ben Ali who sought refuge in Saudi Arabia. What happens next is anyone’s guess and it would be interesting to watch whether the Tunisians will be able to forge a viable alternative. I am not optimistic though. What will emerge out of the rubble of Ben Ali’s regime will probably be no different from what the Tunisians have endured for decades.

The Egyptians are now following suit with thousands of protesters taking the streets in defiance of their own tyrant. Ah, the domino effect is starting to take shape, or is it really? The Egyptian revolt while impressive so far will be soon forgotten. Egypt is not Tunisia and neither the US nor Israel will allow the regime to crumble as the Tunisian regime did for the stakes are much higher. If the protest are not quelled within the coming days expect a drastic shift of gears in International and Arab diplomacy to broker a controlled transition of power. The remedy: More of the same…

A Prime Minister Ousted…

The man with the goatee is no longer Prime Minister of Lebanon. In a drastic democratic tour de force Saad Hariri has been ousted from the Lebanese Premiership to be replaced by another Sunni Billionaire Nagib Mikati. The “I Love Life” crowd of March 14 – of the zarqawi persuasion – took the streets on what they dubbed “A day of Wrath”. Watching the vandalism and tire burning of civilized I love lifers is always a memorable sight. It is unclear how the situation will develop from here given what is at stake for all involved. Although March 14 will now be given a taste of its own medicine it is unlikely that the situation will evolve beyond the stalemate of years past. Hezbollah will proceed with its campaign at discrediting the STL now with the official backing of the Lebanese state. Whether this latest gambit will strengthen their hand is questionable at best but what is certain is that – whether by accident or design – the quagmire Hezbollah has been dragged into for the last 5 years has been much more scarring to the party of God than all its previous encounters with the Israeli military might.

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