Nothing but the truth. Even if against me.

Nothing but the truth. Even if against me.



Friday, April 14, 2017

Trump's Clueless Warmongering Doctrine

Like all Republican administrations before him, Donald Trump is calling for wars overseas to mitigate his 30% approval ratings and resounding failures on the home front. Not only do wars rally the imbecilic patriotism of his deplorable dumb American base (whose ignorance of the world is as abysmal as the wasteland wilderness boonies of the American hinterland in which it dwells), but they stimulate the economy by dropping billion dollar bombs, triggering replacement orders placed by the military with the large corporations that feed the industrial-military complex and that are manned by Trump's CEO friends.

Now, as any observer may have noticed over the past few decades, no sooner have the bombs fallen, the heroism of the military lauded, and the wave of stupid patriotism passed, that this very same American dumb base tires quickly with the dead, the body bags, the bad reputation, the cost of the war (because even if Trumps' CEO buddies make their money, it doesn't trickle down to the pig farmers), the counter reactions, and the wave of stupid patriotism starts souring with "What is this war for? Did we have a strategy? Bring the boys home. Who are they dying for? We are not the world's policeman. We don't want the refugees whose displacement and misery we caused ourselves ...etc.." It's been done to death.

Ratcheting up wars and rattling the sabres all over the globe, because of the ego of the White Outhouse occupant who thinks that pouting his lips makes him look like a great man of history, is no sure recipe for solving the world's problems. Why, pray tell, is solving North Korea's 60-year old problem suddenly an urgent matter? Why doesn't the dumbass instead turn his attention to the calamity of what the Jewish European and American colonists have been doing for 70 years to the native Palestinians in the fake country of Israel and solve that problem for a change?

Trump is clueless. His "policies" generally originate from two foci: 1- Either his closet neo-Nazi advisors put some some thinking into some action and he goes along because "as a CEO with a high altitude view of his operations, he can't be bothered with details", or 2- He wakes up on the wrong side of his gold-laced gigantic bed with a yuuuge surge in dopamine levels in his vacuous cerebrum, and impulsively decrees some action that will ensure his greatness in the annals of history, a "doctrine" historian Max Boot says boils down to “the United States reserves the right to use force whenever the president is upset by something he sees on TV”.

Of course, in neither case does Trump actually analyze and think through the consequences of such momentous decisions (cowboy CEOs like him have no time or patience for analysis), and the world has to live with the disasters caused by dropping "the mother of all bombs" and the traditional zillions of mistakes that the mighty American military makes every time it goes to war in foreign countries. Americans go to war with the best of intentions, gigantic amounts of planning and expenditures, rigid systems that lack malleability and nimbleness, and a personnel that is by and large full of itself, proud of its dumbness, and deprecating of the rest of humanity... You know, such grandiose self-declared Manifest Destiny, Greatest Nation on Earth, Most Powerful Empire ever, etc...labels Americans repeat to the rest of the world, while losing every war it fought since WWII. Just as large banks are "too big to fail", large countries are "too rigid and stupid to succeed".

America must couple its technology, its gigantism, its vast capabilities with a bit of smartness about the rest of the world if it is to succeed. Largeness makes the organism a predator and sedates it into losing its alertness and adaptability. Smallness, on the other hand, makes the organism a vulnerable prey which must remain smart and alert. Given its size and slothfulness, the only way for America to increase its smartness about the rest of the world is to be more humble, more modest in thinking about itself versus the rest of the world. Because of its history, American culture lacks the universalism of other cultures. It is too inward looking. It rejects the past and the old world, and sees nothing beyond its own boundaries. American literature rarely transcends its own milieu to encompass the universal human condition; Americans always think that their experiences are unique to them; they rarely see themselves as partakers of the universal human experience. They never put themselves in other people's shoes, and so they never learn from other people. Whenever politics or markets engages them with other people, they often fail because of that psycho-social-cultural isolation in which they shut themselves. Donald Dumb's election was a violent reaction and return to that identity, after Obama had jolted the US out of it for a brief lull.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Trump's Plan for the Middle East

Donald Dumb is too dumb on his own to lay down a coherent plan, but he is well surrounded, and the outlines of a Trump administration plan for the Middle East are beginning to take shape.

1. His about-face against Assad and an involvement in Syria is not a sudden change of mind. It was planned. Trump has repeatedly said that he never announces his next steps ahead. He does rely on the surprise effect.

2. Trump has repeatedly said that he wants to solve the Israeli-Palstinian conflict through an Arab coalition. His excessive gentility (Trump said that Sissi has done a "fantastic" job in Egypt) with the Egyptian dictator is not only driven by his instinctive love for other like-minded strongmen and dictators, it does reflect a burgeoning alliance between a corporate oleophilic US Trump administration (whose State Dept. Secretary is the CEO of Exxon) and the Sunni dinosaurs of the Arabian peninsula including Egypt, Saudi, the Emirates and others.

3. Since Trump rules by deal-making, as he often claims, the deal thus appear to be as follows:
I (US, Trump) will side with you (Sunnis) against Iran (Shiite), as soon as Daesh is defeated (which appears to be imminent), while you (Sunni Arabs) help convince the Palestinians to accept whatever peace deal Israel offers them. In other words, Trump will reverse the Obama administration's rapprochement with Iran, go back to kissing ass to the oil-rich Sunni Arabs of the Peninsula, but this time in exchange for their influence on securing a peace deal in Israel-Palestine.

To do that, Trump will be building a US-Sunni coalition that will, in due time, defeat Assad, crush Hezbollah (which will please the Israelis and the anti-Iranian Lebanese), allow the dismemberment of the Shiite-dominated Syria and Iraq, thus emancipating the Iraqi and Syrian Sunnis from Shiite domination, securing a budding future Kurdistan state, and generally freeing other minorities (Christians, Yazidis, Kurds, and others) from the grip of the fake states that WWI and Sykes-Picot created. This will also enable the US administration to begin reversing what it perceives as a permissive nuclear deal with Iran that lifted the sanctions on the latter and allowed it to resume its weapons-building program.

The effects on the Lebanese stage are likely to be huge: Aoun will be facing a serious problem with his support of Hezbollah, which is already showing cracks in the "understanding" signed in 2006, disagreements over the electoral law in Lebanon's future legislative elections, and the corruption with which Hezbollah has infected the State in Lebanon and which Aoun claims to want to fight, etc... Aoun is likely to be in secret cahoots with the US after his rapprochement with the pro-US Lebanese Forces Party, a rapprochement that has enabled him to accede to the Presidency. That would be consistent with a coordination with Walid Phares, the one-time Lebanese Forces member and currently a Lebanese-American hillbilly adviser to Trump, and who harbors a historic hatred of Hezbollah and Iran.

The evolving situation may also push Hezbollah, prodded by its impending defeat in Syria and by Iran, to nudge Israel into a new war in the south of Lebanon, after the stalemated war between the two sides in 2006.A new war this time will be hellishly bloody for Lebanon and the Aoun administration, because the current configuration of the latter is such that Hezbollah is in the government and the President of the country is openly pro-Hezbollah, which Israel has taken as a justification for targeting all Lebanese State institutions (including the army) which it has avoided in the 2006 war with Hezbollah. Not this time. This might in fact destabilize the dysfunctional and ungovernable Lemon Republic to the point of pushing the constituent parties of the Lemon Republic back to the drawing table and redrawing the entire country and State from the failed Greater Lebanon of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.

Monday, April 3, 2017

أيها اللبناني: لا تشتري من عند السوري ولا تستخدم السوري

أيها اللبناني الذي يدّعي الوطنية ويفضل جيبه على وطنه.

تذكر ما فعله الجيش السوري بلبنان على مدى 30 عاماً ولا يزال يفعله، وتذكر ما فعله اللاجئ الفلسطيني أيضاً بلبنا .

استقبلنا اللاجئين السوريين، متناسيين الماضي ورحمةً بالأطفال وتحسساً منا لآلام الاقتلاع من الأرض والتشريد، فقد عشناها كلها.

ولكن حان الوقت ليبدأ الحساب، فالعد العكسي بدأ على عودة اللاجئين السوريين إلى ديارهم.

إلى اللبنانيين الذين يستخدمون عمالاً وموظفين سوريين: لقد طمع السوري وبدأ يطالب بمعاشات وأجور مماثلة لمعاشات وأجور اللبنانيين.

الوطنية تكون بالفعل وليس بالشعارات والكلام الفارغ والخبيث واللافتات على الطرقات والتضرع إلى الله...

الوطنية هي بالفعل وبتخفيض مستوى الجشع والتكالب على المال. 

الوطنية هي بالتضحية ببعضاً من أرباحك الطامعة والجشعة لكي تساعد أخاك اللبناني الذي من دون عمل. حتى ولو يكلّفك العامل أو المقاول أو الموظف أو التاجر اللبناني أكثر بقليل من مرادفه السوري، إذهب إلى اللبناني ولا تذهب إلى السوري.

طفح الكيل من اللبنانيين الذين يدعون الوطنية وهم يطعنون وطنهم ومواطنيهم يومياً سعياً وراء المال  والأرباح.

السوري شقيقنا. السوري مشرد. وقد تدمر وطنه. ونحن قمنا بواجبنا تجاهه ما يكفي.

فمقاطعة العمالة السورية والمتاجر السورية ليست لمعاقبة السوري، إنما هي لتشجيعه على العودة طوعاً إلى بلاده. بدون حروب، بدون خلافات، بدون مذابح ومشاكل لا تحصى مررنا بها مع اللاجئ الفلسطيني. الآن وقت مناسب إذ أن الأزمة السورية بدأت تلوح معالم حلها على الأفق. فليبدأ اللاجئ السوري بالتحضير لعودته آمناً إلى دياره من دون أي ضغوط وانفعالات وقبل أن تفوت الأوان ونصبح على عتبة حروب أهلية بين اللبنانيين والسوريين

أعذر من أنذر.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

طائرات "سوبر توكانو" البرازيلية إلى لبنان قد تحتوي على أجهزة كمبيوتر إسرائيليةBrazilian Super Tucano Planes to Lebanon may Contain Israeli Computer Systems

Two Super Tucano planes are to be delivered to Lebanon this October. Has anyone in this country verified reports that the computer systems of the Brazilian-made planes are made in Israel? Here is an excerpt from my November 2016 posting on the subject. 


"....I hate to disappoint the Brazilians, the Lebanese, and Hezbollah, but the plane is seriously loaded with Israeli-made equipment, particularly the plane's computer systems.

To wit (from Wikipedia):
"In 1996, Embraer selected the Israeli firm Elbit Systems to supply the mission avionics for the ALX. For this contract, Elbit was chosen over GEC-Marconi and Sextant Avionique. The Israeli company supplies such equipment as the mission computer, head-up displays, and navigation and stores management systems."


Read it all on:

SCANDAL: Brazil sells Lebanon Israeli-made fighter planes


And as reported today by Al-Markaziyya agency:


مروحيتا "سوبر توكانو" في تشرين و12 دبابة "لوكلير" للجيش قريباً


جمع قادة الاجهزة العسكرية والامنية الذين تسلموا مهامهم في اعقاب تعيينهم في جلسة مجلس الوزراء التي انعقدت في 8 الجاري، ونتيجة اطلاعهم على الملفات المتصلة بعمل اجهزتهم، على ان الامن في لبنان مضبوط جدا وتحت السيطرة التامة بفعل العمل الجبّار الذي تقوم به، لا سيما ما يتصل منه بالامن الاستباقي في الشق المتصل بعمليات التعقب والرصد وتوقيف الارهابين والمتعاونين معهم، حتى ان هذه الاجهزة باتت موضع تقدير وثناء من مسؤولين غربيين سياسيين وعسكريين لا يتوانون عن إبداء اعجابهم بأداء المؤسسة العسكرية وسائر القوى الامنية، خصوصاً بعد معاينتهم المواقع القتالية على الحدود الشرقية في عرسال والمحيط.


وتنقل اوساط تسنى لها لقاء القادة اخيراً لـ"المركزية" ارتياحهم الكبير للوضع الامني والاستقرار الذي يتعزز بفعل المساعدات الخارجية التي يقدمها بعض الدول لا سيما الولايات المتحدة الاميركية، اذ يؤكدون انها فعلت فعلها في مجال مواجهة الارهاب ومنع تسلله الى لبنان او نقل شرارة الحرب السورية اليه، اذ ان بعض انواع السلاح والعتاد المتطورالمقدم الى الجيش اللبناني مكّنه من الاضطلاع بدوره على اكمل وجه وتوقيف الكثير من الارهابيين خصوصا ممن يحاولون التسلل الى المخيمات الفلسطينية لاتخاذها مقرا لهم


ويكشف احد القادة وفق الاوساط، عن ان لبنان سيتسلم في تشرين الاول المقبل مروحيتين من نوع "سوبر توكانو"، على ان يتم تزويده باربع اخرى في ربيع العام 2018، على ان تقدم فرنسا ايضا 12 دبابة "لوكلير" من ضمن قرار كان يقضي بتقديم 48 دبابة، الا ان التطورات المتصلة بمحاربة الارهاب في سوريا حملت باريس على التريث في انتظار المستجدات السورية. ولا تخفي الاوساط اهمية بعض المعدات التي تلقتها الاجهزة الامنية في مجال مكافحة الارهاب، اذ تشير الى ان ضبط الحدود بإحكام ومراقبتها لمنع تسلل الارهابيين ما كان على هذا المستوى، لولا ابراج المراقبة التي قدمتها بريطانيا وتم ربطها ببعضها البعض وتزويدها باجهزة مراقبة عن بعد بالغة التطور تتيح رصد اي تحرك للمنظمات الارهابية ،ما وفّر للجيش دقة في التصدي ومواجهة الارهابين ومنع اي محاولة للتحرك في اتجاه الحدود اللبنانية


وتشير الاوساط الى ان مسؤولا عسكريا غربيا رفيعا وإبان تفقده مواقع الجيش في عرسال قال لنظيره اللبناني "انكم في مواجهتكم هذه تدافعون عنا في الغرب، واننا لنقدرالدور البالغ الاهمية الذي تقومون به في هذا السياق، ويتوجب علينا مساعدتكم ودعمكم الى الحد الاقصى لتعزيز قدراتكم القتالية والردعية  


اما ما يتصل بشق التنسيق الامني، فتشدد الاوساط على ان الاجهزة الامنية والعسكرية والمخابراتية اللبنانية تزود مسؤولين امنيين غربيين بالمعلومات حول الارهاب ومخططاته وترفدهم بما يلزم من معطيات دقيقة نتيجة عمليات الرصد والمراقبة الشديدة، خصوصا في الجانب المتعلق بمواطني بعض هذه الدول الذين التحقوا بمنظمات ارهابية، ويخشى المسؤولون الامنيون تداعيات عودتهم من سوريا، ذلك ان لبنان ناشط في مجال جمع المعلومات وبات يملك داتا واسعة عن نشاط وعمل هؤلاء.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

SYRIAN REFUGEES: GO HOME - إلى اللاجئين السوريين: عودوا إلى دياركم

يا أخي اللاجئ السوري: العودة إلى ديارك هي أفضل الحلول لوجودك الكثيف والثقيل على لبنان، وعليك البدء بالتفكير بكيفية عودتك. فلا بقاء لك في لينان على المدى الطويل. مر اللبنانيون بتجربة مرة مع اللاجئين الفلسطينيين واندلعت حروباً أهلية وغير أهلية بينهم. أرجوك أن تعود إلى بلادك في أقرب وقت ممكن، وألا تفكر في البقاء في لبنان، لأنه آجلاً أم عاجلاً سوف ينتفض اللبناني وتبدأ المشاكل وتندلع الحروب وتحصل المذابح كما يحصل غالباً في جميع البلاد العربية وكما حصل في الأردن في 1970 أو في لبنان في 1975.
سوريا بلاد كبيرة وشاسعة تسعك أنت وأسرتك، والحل للأزمة السورية بدأ يلوح في الأفق: سوف تبقى سوريا على المدى المنظور مقسمة إلى مناطق نفوذ مختلفة. فعليك أنت أن ترحل عن لبنان وتستقر في المناطق السورية المتجانسة مع هويتك وتعيد بناء حياتك. لبنان بلد صغير وصبر اللبنانيين ليس متناهي. أدعوك إلى التحرك اليوم قبل الغد لتساعد لبنان وتساعد نفسك على تجنب المشاكل والحروب التي لا بد أن تشتعل قريباً إذا قررت البقاء في لبنان رغماً عن إرادة اللبنانيين. 

How will the incompetent Lebanese government of Aoun and Hariri get the Syrian refugees to return home?

Why is the government of Michel Aoun and Saad Hariri not doing anything to begin deporting at least the illegal/unregistered Syrian refugees back to Syria. Syria has large swaths of territories free of war where they could settle temporarily.

We are at a critical juncture since the onset of the Syrian Civil War in 2011: Syrian refugees in Lebanon number anywhere from 1 million to 2 million, both legal and illegal.

The birth rate among the refugees is so high that the above numbers are likely to be underestimates.

Lebanon has gone through one horrible experience with the Palestinian refugees who waged war against the Lebanese State between the late 1960s and the early 1980s. The Palestinian refugees had tried to topple the Jordanian monarchy in the late 1960s, but then King Hussein crushed their uprising (September 1970) and evicted them from Jordan. They migrated to the chaos of Lebanon and tried to do the same, assisted by Kamal Jumblatt who thought he could restore power from the Maronites to the Druze. Unlike the cohesive and loyal Jordanians who stood firmly together with their king and government against Yasser Arafat, the Lebanese, bereft of any national identity and relying exclusively on sectarian identities, fell in the trap and a wholesale civil war erupted in the early 1970s.

But the Syrian refugees are a whole lot more numerous today relative to the native Lebanese population, than the Palestinian refugees were back in the late 1940s when they arrived.

International organizations generally tend to overlook issues of national sovereignty and demographic convulsions caused by the displacement of large numbers of refugees from one country to another, and focus instead on providing humanitarian assistance. This is fine and commendable. But it carries with it an insidious proposition of encouraging the refugees to stay in their host country, for no other reason than to promote the international organizations raison d'etre. In other words, the moment the refugees return home is the moment the international organizations have also to close shop and go home, and they don't like that. They like anomalous situations and uncertainty because they create conditions that justify the continued operations of international organizations. It's a Munchhausen Syndrome of epic proportions.

WE WANT THE SYRIAN REFUGEES TO RETURN NOW TO THEIR HOMES. Another few years, and the settlement effect changes from temporary to permanent. I talk to Syrian refugees all the time. They are now beginning to express their reluctance to return to Syria because they have settled, married, have jobs, children born in Lebanon, etc. After 5-6 years it becomes difficult to re-uproot yourself psychologically and re-settle somewhere else, even if it is your country of origin.

Michel Aoun and Saad Hariri should act in concert with the international institutions dealing witht the Syrian crisis to ensure the return of the Syrian refugees. The Lebanese government should not wait for the UN and international actors to tell us when the refugees should go home. The Lebanese government should lay down its own programs and plans, and should begin to implement them regardless of any action at the international level.

Failure to act now - not in one year, not in three years because it would be too late - is a recipe for another civil war between Lebanese parties (Christian and Shiite primarily, because the Lebanese Sunnis may not be too eager to see the largely Sunni Syrian refugees return home because any fraction of the refugees who end up staying in Lebanon will swell the demographic ranks of the Sunni sect to the detriment of the declining Christians and the politically aspiring Shiites.

If, however, by some miracle the Lebanese suddenly mutate into a sectarian-free society where people's religions are trashed (as they should be), then the Syrian refugees will no longer be a threat to the delicate demographic acrobatics that define Lebanon's constitutional construct. Their presence will only add economic pressure, since by culture and outlook, the Syrians and the Lebanese are essentially similar.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Aoun's Hypothetical Pyrrhic Victory against Corruption in Lebanon

The prevailing assumption in this country is that, if there is to be reform against the endemic corruption, only Michel Aoun qualifies to be its agent, for no other reason than the fact that, during his exile, after his return, and now at the helm of the Lemon Republic, Aoun has not stopped talking about it. His party leads a parliamentary bloc that calls itself "Change and Reform".

Reform can be tactical, addressing issues of process in the immediate political and administrative realms, or it can be strategic, addressing long term objectives of fundamental change in the constitution, governance, secularism vs. the entrenched religious oligarchies, the relationship of the citizenry with its government, etc.

From the few occasions when Aoun addressed the substance of his reform-laden rhetoric, combined with his performance since his return, the founding of his party, and his re-entry into the politics of the country, it seems that he had neither of the two above aspects of reform in mind.

In fact, his focus seems to be to undo the tenets of the Taef Agreement, which in 1990 sealed his own personal defeat and his eviction from the presidential palace, but which also emasculated the Maronite President by stripping him of his powers and transferring them to the Sunni Prime Minister and the Shiite Speaker of Parliament. Ever since Taef and his eviction from power, Aoun holds a grudge against the events and persons that humiliated him in 1990, a grudge that underpins all his politics.

Although Aoun keeps saying that he will abide by the Taef Agreement and has no intention of abrogating it, what he really means by "reform" is his aim to restore the powers of the Maronite President.  Aoun came of political age in the 1970s and 1980s, when the Maronite supremacy over matters of State was declining after its zenith of the 1950s and 1960s. As a military man and chief of a Lebanese Army that continues to define success by a mere resilience to sectarian fracturing, Aoun oversaw an emasculated force, divided by sectarian politics, and unable to defend the status quo of Maronite supremacy. In fact, to this date, Aoun believes that the army he once led is an incapable one, and has therefore to rely on such paramilitary forces as the Iranian Hezbollah militia. After his 1989-1990 Don Quixotic battles, Aoun was the last Maronite leader to hold the presidential powers enshrined in the Independence Constitution of the 1920-1940 interim.

After Aoun, all Maronite presidents became figureheads by constitution, and were subjected to the dictates of the Syrian occupation. Nowadays, Maronite presidents remain largely ineffectual figureheads, though the Syrian guns are no longer breathing down their necks.

Why do I say that Aoun's "reform" is focused on restoring Maronite supremacy? Because he no longer talks of secularism as he used to do during his exile. He now talks almost exclusively about Christian rights. He in fact became president by claiming that he is the only "strong" Christian politician in the country. He, and his entourage of sons-in-law, nephews and other members of the Aoun clan - or should I say the new royal family - have abandoned all notions of secularism, or pushing religion out of the political arena, and have become (to the chagrin of the more brazen defenders of Christian rights, the Lebanese Forces of Samir Geagea) the vanguard of restoring Christian rights in the affairs of State.

Aoun has been president since October 2016. While this is a relatively short time to judge him on his performance, he has not shown - other than talking - any interest in enacting real reform on the ground, the kind of reform that ordinary Lebanese can feel in their daily lives. Instead, he has elevated his own family to the status of the other political families (I call them farms, because they breed future politicians who inherit political leadership like they inherit genes), and his party no longer criticizes the other "farms", because it has become one of them. From an outsider reformist, Aoun has become an establishment insider. Aoun cavorts to the religious oligarchy, especially the bearded fellows with robes and strange headgear of his own Maronite sect, and engages in devout Christian preaching on occasions. If he was a secular reformist, his sudden re-conversion to religiosity is suspicious and simply is intended to shore up his popularity among the Christian herd of voters and secure future victories for his family and party.

For someone who promised the moon, it is disappointing that Aoun has yet to confront the establishment over a single issue of corruption. Ultimately, Aoun's promised reforms remain simply too hypothetical until such time as a single reform is implemented. But Aoun's problem is that he is now part of the very establishment that embodies the endemic corruption. While he himself may not be corrupt - nepotism being perhaps a mild form of corruption - his corrupt enemies are the very people with whom he sits in government or with whom he shapes alliances and engages in political gamesmanship. If Aoun is to confront his political partners over matters of corruption, his victory, should he succeed, will inevitably be a Pyrrhic, indeed even a Samson-like, victory. For to fight the establishment from within is a very dangerous thing to do. They will fight him tooth and nail to preserve their turfs, and they will drag him (Pyrrhic) and the country (Samson) down with them.

There are days when this country seems like an absolutely hopeless place, a bottomless pit of evil whose noxious venom permeates every pore of the country. Corruption is today etched like a covalent bond in the minds of the Lebanese people. It is practiced without question in every human transaction you can think of, and anyone who challenges or questions it is treated as if he/she were a pathetic idiot and, worse, a potential victim. Honesty in Lebanon is perceived by the vast majority of the Lebanese as a sign of vulnerability and weakness. So I ask: How does one fight cancer, if not by ablation and all-out radioactive and chemical warfare? What would the equivalent of ablation and radioactive and chemical warfare be in the world of politics, if not an all-out bloody and savage war of revolution?

Can Aoun perhaps enlighten us? Just today, he itched a bit in his octogenarian demeanor while attending a mass (maybe he believes, like a Trump deplorable would, that we should leave it to God to punish the corrupt in the afterlife), and promised an upcoming speech in which he will unveil - for the umpteenth time it seems - his plan to fight corruption. Aoun is 82 years old, he does not have all the time in the world. His age precludes him perhaps from even completing his 6-year term in office. If he is the last chance we have to end corruption and implement real reform, he should be doing it NOW instead of attending masses and visiting the Pope. I forget which American politician recently said: Religious bigots pray in church on Sunday, then prey on the rest of us the rest of the week. It's their understanding of God's command to rest on the seventh day.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Anachronisms galore in Lebanon: Medieval Druze Feudalism and People's Revolution on the same day

Yesterday, while Lebanese people took to the streets to protest a decaying political system bent on pilfering them of every penny while enriching itself by theft and corruption, in the Jabal (Mount Lebanon District) the Druze put on display their medieval feudal practices on display.

Where it not for the suits and the ties of some of the participants, the ceremony led yesterday by Walid Jumblatt could easily have been taking place in the 1300s or thereabouts, in the depth of the Dark Middle Ages. Dear Leader Walid Jumblatt Bek of the Druze community was transferring his feudal power to his son Taymour (a name which is reminiscent of one of the bloodiest conquerors in human history, one Tamerlane: Timur (Persian: تیمور‎‎ Timūr, Chagatai: Temür, Uzbek: Temur; 9 April 1336— 18 February 1405), historically known as Tamerlane (Persian: تيمور لنگ‎‎ Timūr(-e) Lang, "Timur the Lame").

Walid himself inherited his leadership from his father, after he spent his youth as a motorcycle riding bad boy, just like that, no sooner had his father being assassinated by Walid's sometime ally, the Syrian dictator Hafez Al-Asad. Typical of the Middle East, where killings and alliances and fratricidal and sectarian barbarity are just commodities to be weighed in the balance of the moment, regardless of any ideology or principle. As a matter of fact, the Druze, whose community territory straddles the Syrian-Lebanese-Israeli border, are ardent Zionists in Israel (making up the infamous Golani Brigades, as the only Arab community to fight alongside Jewish soldiers in the Israeli army), devout Baathists in Syria, and just about anything in Lebanon depending on which way the wind blows. I'll be rich if I have to count the number of times the Jumblatts, Kamal and Walid included, have overnight changed their political allegiances from pro-Syrian, to anti-Syrian, then to anti-American to pro-Saudi and then again pro-American.... 

The funniest thing is how this most feudal and archaic community in Lebanon is in fact the sole proprietor of the "Progressive Socialists" of Lebanon. No one seems to mind the irony. Not even the European socialists who keep inviting Walid Jumblatt to their annual meetings as their token Arab Socialist, ignoring his medieval lordship over his mountain herd.

And there he was yesterday, this Socialist and Progressive enthroning his son as the new feudal Druze LORD, transmitting the mantle to him, and asking the herd to swear allegiance to the new Bek of the community. 

To be fair, the Maronites are equally barbaric in their genetic transmissions of leadership: Gemayel, Chamoun, Frangiyeh.... have been at it for at least 3 or 4 generations. And so today, we have a new crop of wannabe warlords in their 20s and 30s, Christian and Druze, preparing the pitchforks, the machetes, the daggers, and the M16s for their next round of massacres. The last one was between the Gemayels and the Jumblatts in the 1980s, which resulted in the ethnic cleansing of the Christians of the entire southern half of the country. Every time Jumblatt performs one of his primitive ceremonies, he tells us that the "reconciliation" is forever sealed. Yet many Christian villagers have seen their lands and their properties stolen, or are too afraid to return for good, going there during the day or summer, but too fearful to spend the night or stay there for good. 

Now let us hear the exploits and feats of the Jumblatt Lords from the mouth of another Druze. I apologize to the non-Arabic readers, as this open letter is in Arabic and may in due time be translated into English. But the essence of it is a searing critique by a Druze of the Druze Jumblatt, a description of how money is doled out to keep political allegiances, and how that money goes more into the very pocket of the political leader and less to his community.

To the Lebanese people: The more things evolve in Lebanon, the less they change. This country is by its very definition, by its very constitution, an oxymoron. The coexistence of superficial modernity with deep-rooted barbarity is fine for tourists and salon internationalists, but it is a recipe for oppression and exploitation of a people brainwashed to believe in saints, gods, and all manner of supernatural powers embodied in their traditional archaic leaderships whom they worship like gods. The Lebanese know they are abused by their leaders, yet they adore them. They are told to fear the others, and must therefore be blind followers of those who "protect" them. (notice how even the critic elevates his opponent with grandiose titles from the Ottoman era):

(Salim Fakhreddine, March 19, 2017)

كتاب مفتوح الى معالي الاستاذ وليد جنبلاط المحترم.

لم أكن يوما منتسبا لحزب معيّن ولكن انتمائي التقليدي كان لعائلةٍ تصنّف في التقسيم التقليدي السخيف جنبلاطية، وليست يزبكية.
وقد كنت كغيري معجبًا بكمال جنبلاط، ليس بسبب انتمائي التقليدي ولكن لخيارٍ واعٍ لأنه كان بنظري يمثّل التغيير على مستوى الوطن وبديلًا لكل الخيارات العائلية التقليدية السخيفة على مستوى الطائفة وهي في النتيجة احدى افرازات الغزو العثماني لمنطقتنا.
ولا أذيع سرًا اذا قلت لك ان المشاركة في ذكراه هذه السنة تعنيني كما كل سنة، ولكن قبل ذلك تعنيني المكاشفة معك بعد سنين طويلة من التردد في هذه المكاشفة.
قد تكون المكاشفة صريحة وصادمة ولكنها حقيقية واذا كنت مخطئًا فيها بحرفٍ اتمنى ان يقول لي الجميع انت مخطئ. ولكن يجب ان نعلم ان الشعوب لم تتطور بالصدفة ولم تسبقنا بالصدفة بل اتى تطورها نتيجة الوقوف امام اخطائها وتطوير افكارها وليس الاستمرار في تزوير التاريخ وطمس الحقائق.
قبل ان تأتي عائلتكم الجنبلاطية الكريمة الى لبنان يا وليد بك هربًا من حلب وتنزل في ضيافة فخرالدين المعني الثاني الكبير كانت امارة الأمير المعني المميز والاستثنائي والذي لم يحكم لبنان رجلًا اشجع منه منذ مئات السنوات. كان حكمه يمتد من صفد إلى حلب، وشرقًا حتى تدمر، يعني عمليًا كان حكم الدروز ممتدًا في ثلاثة اوطان هي اليوم فلسطين وسوريا ولبنان. وكانت الدولة المعنية منفتحة على الغرب وعلى علاقة طيبة بمسيحيي لبنان ومسلميه الذين كانوا عمليًا يعترفون بفخرالدين المعني الموحّد الدرزي حاكمًا لهم. كان حازمًا لكنه كان في نفس الوقت.
عادلًا. كان مشرقيًا ولكنه استفاد من الحضارة الغربية فجاء الى لبنان بفن العمارة الأوروبية وبالزراعات وطوّر التجارة.
انقرضت العائلة المعنية بقرارٍ إلهي وبقرارٍ عثماني بعد أن أُعدم الأمير ونُفي ابنه وبالنتيجة انتقلت الأمارة إلى الشهابيين، وبدأ يتصاعد دور آل جنبلاط اذ لم يتأخّروا في السعي لأخذ كل السلطة بالتعاون مع بشير الشهابي . ولم يكن بشير جنبلاط في كل حال أفضل من بشير الشهابي بحق الدروز لا بل هو من تولّى الفتك بهم بالإتفاق مع الشهابي على وعدٍ بأن تكون زعامة الدروز له. ففتك بالنكديين وبالعماديين وبأقاربه آل جنبلاط الذين نجا واحد منهم وذهب إلى البرامية وأنت تعرف جيدًا كيف فتك بهم وبأي أسلوب، وكان معتقدًا بتحليله السياسي السطحي والسخيف بأن الجبل سيخلو له وسيكون شريكًا للشهابي ولم يكن يدرك بأن إضعاف العائلات الدرزية سيمهد الطريق للديناصور الشهابي بأن يفتك به في النهاية ويستولي على السلطة كاملة ويخرج من العقدة بأن الجبل الذي يحكمه هو جبل الدروز كما خاطبه نابليون عندما حاصر حيفا.
تسببت حرب البشيرين في اعدام الشيخ بشير جنبلاط على يد والي عكا ورغم النكبات التي ألحقها بشير جنبلاط بالدروز إلّا أنّ النكبة الكبرى حلّت بهم بمقتله بعد أن مهّد الأرض أمام بشير الشهابي ليسيطر على كل شيء، ويومها بدأت الخلافات الدرزية - المسيحية التي لم يكن يعرفها لبنان وأصلًا لبنان هو نتيجة التحالف الدرزي- المسيحي وحاجة لهاتين الطائفتين اللتان تميلان بطبيعتهما إلى الإستقلال عن السلطنة. وبدأ الدروز يعانون آثار الهزيمة المرّة و بدأوا بخسارة نفوذهم نتيجة حرب البشيرين وبدأ التأسيس للصراع الدرزي – المسيحي لفرط لبنان.
وهكذا وصلنا إلى أحداث ١٨٦٠ التي يتحمّل مسؤوليتها الدروز والمسيحيين الذين دفعوا ثمن الصراع الفرنسي الإنجليزي. ولكن كان جدك الشيخ سعيد أحد هذه الأدوات ورغم ما توهمه الدروز انه انتصار في هذه الحرب تحوّل الى كارثة حقيقية فجمعت منهم الاموال وأفرغت جيوبهم لدفع التعويضات واُعدم من اُعدم ونفي سعيد جنبلاط وكثيرين الى البلقان وماتوا هناك بأمراضٍ متنوعة.
وعندها خسر الدروز مزيدًا من النفوذ وأتى نظام المتصرفية ليكرس هذه الهزيمة وليصبح الحاكم تركيًا مسيحيًا، وبذلك لم يعد هناك حاكمٌ درزي.
اتى الإنتداب الفرنسي الى لبنان وكالعادة وككل العائلات اللبنانية نودّع الذاهب ونستقبل الآتي عمل فؤاد جنبلاط قائممقامًا تحت يد الفرنسيين. في هذا الوقت بدأت المناوشات بين الثوار الدروز في جبل العرب بقيادة سلطان الأطرش وبين
الفرنسيين. فأخذ فؤاد جنبلاط والد كمال موقفه إلى جانب الفرنسيين وبدأ بمداهمة منازل الثوار اللبنانيين الذين يساندون الأطرش وتسليمهم إلى الفرنسيين. ولسوء حظه داهم منزل شكيب وهاب في غريفة والذي كان يقاتل في السويداء إلى جانب الأطرش. وقام العساكر حينها بتفتيش المنزل وتفتيش زوجة وهاب والذي كان معروفًا بشجاعته ودوره إلى جانب الأطرش. وعندما وصلته الأنباء إلى السويداء عاد إلى لبنان، ليعمّ خبر عودته، فجهّز جنبلاط حملة لإعتقاله، ليكمن وهاب بمفرده للحملة في وادي عنبال، وكان مشهوراً بدقة اصابته، فاختار رجلًا على ظهر حصانه كان يقود المجموعة، فأطلق رصاصة واحدة كانت كافية لتضع حدًا لحياة فؤاد جنبلاط.
اندفعت الست نظيرة، وهي امرأة قديرة ومميزة، أكثر بإتجاه التعاون مع الفرنسيين، وتعاملت معهم ضد الثوار محاولة الحفاظ على الزعامة التي تسلّمها حكمت جنبلاط ريثما يكبر كمال ويكملها من بعده.
خرج كمال جنبلاط بعدما كبر من بعض التقاليد التي حاولت أن تحيطه بها والدته، تقرّب من الناس العاديين والفقراء وأخذ يتحدث عن ثورة على النظام والتقاليد قبل أن يعود إلى صف النظام ولكن كمشاغب ضمن حدود داخل النظام.
دخل مغامرة الحرب الأهلية في العام 1958 في محاولة لوضع حد لتمدد كميل شمعون داخل العائلات الدرزية بالتحالف مع الأمير مجيد ارسلان، ثم في العام 1975 دخل الحرب الأهلية معتقدًا أنها ستنتهي بهزيمة المسيحيين وبتطويبه حاكمًا على لبنان.
لم يكن يدرك ان هناك خطوطًا حمراء للعبة، فلا أبو عمار يريد تسليمه لبنان ولا صائب سلام وحسن خالد وموسى الصدر وكل القادة المسلمين يسمحون بأن يقودهم كمال جنبلاط.
عندما ذهب كمال جنبلاط إلى سوريا للقاء حافظ الأسد حاول الأسد في البداية تنبيهه إلى الخطوط الحمراء وقال له ممنوع سقوط الكحالة وعينطورة، وممنوع أن تصل القوات المشتركة إلى جونية لأن اسرائيل ستتدخل فلم يستمع له، بل أخد يتحدث عن الحريات في الوطن العربي وقال لحافظ الأسد لديّ فرصة لنأخذ السلطة من الموارنة ولن أوفّرها، طبعًا ضحك حافظ الأسد في سرّه من سذاجة هذا الطرح، وانتهى اللقاء. وذهب جنبلاط في جولة عربية حيث نبهه الجميع لخطورة ما يفعله وأن هناك قرارًا عربيًا بدخول قوات عربية وانهاء الحرب فلم يكن بشهادة أحد مرافقيه ليستمع إلى أية نصيحة بل كان واثقًا بأن انقلابًا سينفّذ على الأسد ويطيح به.
سقط كمال جنبلاط شهيدًا ومظلومًا، ولكن سقط نتيجة حسابات سياسية خاطئة ما كان
لشخصٍ مثله وبحجمه أن يرتكبها.
لم تصمد التسوية السياسية بعد سقوط كمال جنبلاط بسبب ذهاب المسيحيين أكثر بإتجاه الاسرائيلي، فإلتقطت يا وليد بيك الفرصة وذهبت إلى سوريا وهذه الخطوة التي ينتقدك عليها بعض التافهين هي اهم خطوة قمت بها في حياتك السياسية، وفعلًا حتى الآن لا أعرف اذا كانت بقرارٍ منك أو أتاك فيها إيحاءٌ من أحد ، لكن ما أعرفه أنها أهم شيء فعلته وحصلت فيه على أكبر مردودٍ سياسي ما زلت تستهلكه حتى اليوم.
اندفع حافظ الأسد في دعمك إلى حد التضييق على حلفاء آخرين وقد كانت الفرصة الكبيرة هي دخول اسرائيل الى لبنان، وقد اتخذت يومها خطوة لا تقل أهمية عن خطوة ذهابك الى حافظ الأسد. فذهبت إليه وأسست لتحالف استراتيجي أدى الى حرب الجبل وربحتها بسلاح سوفياتي سوري وآلاف المقاتلين الفلسطينيين الموالين لدمشق، فتحولت إلى رقمٍ صعب في المعادلة، حتى أن حافظ الأسد لم يكترث لما نص عليه اتفاق الطائف من اعتماد المحافظات كدائرة انتخابية القانون الانتخابي، فجرت الإنتخابات في العام 1992 على اساس المحافظات في كل لبنان الا الجبل وكان يقول باستمرار "ما تزعلولي وليد".
ورغم كل الصراخ حول ازدواجية المعايير لم يرد حافظ الأسد على أحد وفعلها في المرة الأولى والثانية والثالثة مما ضمن لك كتلة نيابية مقبولة.
ثم فرض على الرئيسين الهراوي والحريري وكل تركيبة مجلس النواب اعطاؤك مليار ونصف مليار دولار لوزارة المهجرين وابلغ الجميع ان بإمكانك أن تحصل على كل ما تريد، حتى بات يمكن القول انك الرئيس الرابع في لبنان.
ولكن المغامرة نفسها التي حصلت مع اسلافك تكررت معك وبدأت تذهب بخطوات غير محسوبة واكبر من حجم الدروز لمواجهة حلفٍ اقليمي كبير.
اغدقت عليك السعودية الأموال وينقل عن لسان سعد الحريري انك حصلت على ٣٧٠ مليون دولار بين عامي ٢٠٠٥ و٢٠٠٩ واندفعت تجاه مواجهة غير محسوبة في حزب الله وسوريا وهددت في ٥ ايار بسحب وزرائك من الحكومة اذا لم تتخذ الحكومة قرارًا بإلغاء شبكة الاتصالات.
فوقعت ٧ ايار وكنت انا ممن حملوا السلاح في منطقة بيصور عاليه لمواجهة حزب الله، لكن لا أخفيك بأن الإنهيار كان أكبر من أن نواجهه رغم أكاذيب البعض عن معارك وهمية نعرف بأنها لم تحصل.
اذلّيتنا يا وليد بك في ٧ ايار وخرجت على التلفزيون مهزومًا تتحدث عن صيانة السلم الأهلي.. ألم تتذكر قبل ثلاثة ايام بأن ما تفعله يهدد السلم الأهلي وبأن ما تفعله
سيجرّنا الى هزيمة وان ما تفعله سيسقط حدود نفوذنا السياسي في الجبل ام ان الملايين يومها افقدتك هذا الحدس؟
ماذا استفاد الدروز من هذه الملايين، فلم تبن مدرسة ولم يبن مستوصف ولم يبن مصنع بل وزع بعض الفتات على بعض شذاذ الأفاق في القرى الذين راحوا يراقبون الدروز في القرى ويفتعلون الزعرنات والمشاكل، وانا اعرف اين ذهبت الأموال.
اشتريت انت منزل باريس الفخم على نهر السين ب٣٠ مليون يورو وقطعة الأرض في وطى المصيطبة لإنشاء السنتر التجاري ب١٢٠ مليون دولار وارض ابو علي بدير ب٣٠ مليون، والمباني التي حول منزلك في كليمنصو بملايين الدولارات.
وهكذا انتهت ٧ ايار بهزيمة مذلة وباستسلام سياسي من قبلك امام حزب الله وهكذا بقي الفقير فقيراً في القرى المنتشرة من حاصبيا الى المتين.
بعد هزيمة مشروعك عدت الى التحالف مع سوريا وعندما بدأت الأحداث السورية لم تنتظر حتى ترى اتجاه الريح، بل ان حساباتك الخاطئة هي هي.. تمسكت بقرارك و حاولت توريط دروز سوريا في مواجهة مع النظام كانت لو حصلت لدمرت السويداء وهجرت اهلها ولكن حسابات الناس المتواضعين والفقراء والمتفهمين لواقع سوريا والمنطقة كانوا اشد ذكاء منك واكثر حكمة ودراية فرفضوا دعوتك المجنونة ووقفوا الى جانب دولتهم ونجت السويداء من مصير مشابه لحمص وحلب.
وبدل ان تتراجع عن الخطأ قمت مؤخرًا بشتم الشيخ جربوع والتحريض عليه لانه كان احد الذين عارضوا مشروعك لتوريط الدروز، وبعد ايام نراك تتحدث عن التوحيد والموحدين لاستثمار العصبيّات وتأمين حشدٍ لإحتفال سياسي.
قبل مصارحتك أكثر، انا اذا شاهدت جبران باسيل على التلفزيون اقفله، لا استطيع ان استمع اليه والى منطقه، لكن لا نستطيع أن نترك الجبل ضائعًا بين خزعبلات باسيل واحقاد بعض جماعتك.
ولأصارحك أكثر، الإنتماء الى طائفة الموحدين الدروز ليس انتماء مصلحيًا عند الحاجة فطالما انت لا تتزوج منّا لأسباب طبقية ولا تسمح لأولادك أن يتزوجوا منا لنفس الأسباب أقول لك وأنا الموحّد المؤمن، أختي وأمي وابنتي قد تكون افضل من امك واختك وابنتك، وكذلك اسبابي الطبقية تمنعني ان ازوجك، ولكن مهما حصل من تحريض وشحن للأجواء هل تعتقد اننا نعلّم اولادنا وابناءنا ليزحفوا لمبايعة تيمور؟
هي سذاجة ان كنت تعتقد ذلك.. وهناك عشرات الاف الشباب والبنات الموجودين في الاغتراب هربًا من انجازاتكم الكبيرة وفرص العمل التي خلقتوها وفساد النظام السياسي الذي انتم جزء كبير منه.
هل بعنا املاك اجدادنا وعلمنا اولادنا لنأتي بهم ونقدمهم لك ولتيمور لتأخذهم باتجاه
معركة جديدة لا نعرف مع من او على من ترسو القرعة فيها؟
اليس الكلام الذي يصدر اليوم بحق باسيل الذي لا احبه هو نفسه الذي كان يصدر بحق عدوان وجعجع واستشهد لأجله المئات من شبابنا في مواجهة مع القوات؟لماذا استشهدوا، لماذا تصالحنا ، لا احد يعرف. المطلوب ان نذهب كالأغنام وننتخب جورج عدوان وفادي الهبر ودوري شمعون .
انتم تحكمون الدروز منذ ثلاثمئة عام. بالله عليم سمِ لي مؤسسة اسستموها منذ ٣٠٠ عام بينما ركضتم للإستيلاء على مؤسسات انشأها الشيخ محمد ابو شقرا لمصلحة الدروز كعين وزين ودار الطائفة الدرزية.
فتحول استعمال دار الطائفة للأغنياء فقط وعين وزين يقف امامها المئات ولا يسمح لهم بالدخول في حال كانت جيوبهم فارغة.
قل لي بربك وانت تدعو الناس للإحتفال في المختارة كم من درزي دخل هذه الدار ولم يتلق الإهانة على يديك. وكم من درزي خرج من هذه الدار بدون شعور بالإهانة.
تتحدث اليوم عن تهديد وجودي للدروز، لقد انقرض رعاة الماعز يا وليد بك ولكن حتى الرعاة الشرفاء الذين يأكلون خبزهم من عرق جبينهم اصبحوا يتابعون الأخبار ويدركون كل شيء.
وعلى فكرة هنا ليست مشكلتنا بالفقراء في الدروز بل بأنصاف المثقفين الجبناء الذين لا يجرأون على قول كلمة حق في وجه السلطان الجائر.
هل تريد ان تقنعنا يا بيك بأن وجود ايلي عون وفؤاد السعد وهنري حلو في المجلس النيابي يضمن نفوذنا وعزتنا وكرامتنا؟ كم درزي خدم هؤلاء؟ ما هي المشاريع التي نفذوها في الجبل طيلة عشرين عاما؟
لماذا تسكت عند تشكيل الحكومة ولا تصر على وزارة اساسية للدروز ولماذا لا تخوض معركة انشاء مجلس الشيوخ عبر تعديل بسيط يلغي ربط الموضوع بإلغاء الطائفية السياسية.
وهنا اقول لك ان الذنب ذنبك في ذلك، لأنك لم تصر يومها وكنت قادرا ان تصر عبر نفوذك على عدم ربطه بإلغاء الطائفية.
لماذا لا تطالب بتصحيح الخلل بالإدارة العامة والذي يسمح لنا بتوظيف مئات الشباب ومنعهم من الهجرة الى المجهول؟
ولماذا تستنفر كل قوتك حول قانون انتخاب لم نفهم بعد أين يستهدف الدروز؟
ولكن ما حصل كشف لنا بأن المسألة تتعلق بنفوذك وليس بنفوذ الدروز، وبمصالحك وليس بمصالح الدروز.
فلنعتبر هذه الطائفة شركة مساهمة وانا عضو في الهيئة العامة اقول لك آن الأوان لتترك ادارة هذه الشركة، لقد شارفت على الإفلاس معك، فنحن جيل يريد أن يطزرها ويعززها ويخلق لها دورًا افتقدته معك والسلام على من اتّبع الهدى.
* المصدر: الجرس

Sunday, March 19, 2017

لم يعد يكفي التظاهر - Protests Won't Do Anymore

There was one glimmer of hope left in this tormented country, rife with corruption, bad governance, feudalism, and barbaric political traditions, and that was Michel Aoun.

For decades, Aoun attacked the establishment and called for self-emancipation in addition to the liberation from the Syrian and Israeli occupations. The latter have gone, for the most part since the Syrians retain tentacles inside the Lebanese body politic in the form of Hezbollah and the Amal movement. The political establishment during the final years of the Lebanese War (1988 - 1990) and beyond through the 1990s and was Aoun's enemy, and Aoun was their enemy. As it struck deal after deal with the Syrian occupation, the establishment brandished Aoun as the party spoiler and the rejectionist of the post-war reconstruction. And so, anyone who wanted to see beyond the end of the Syrian occupation, felt that Aoun will in due time, past the end of the Syrian occupation, reform the rotten Republic of Lebanon. When the Syrian occupation ended in 200, the establishment resurrected itself, mutated from a collaborationist with the occupant to a liberator thirsty for sovereignty and freedom.

Fine, we said, this was an improvement. But what about the reforms? From 2005 to date, the establishment obviously did not want to reform because it had everything to lose. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, it firmly monopolized the state, decimated the middle class, divvied up the state institutions into sectors of influence, pilfered the treasury, raked up bribes and kickbacks for so called programs of reconstruction, aid to the displaced, rebuilding the infrastructure, etc... For 27 years (1990 - 2017), the country kept sinking int debt, no infrastructure was repaired, corruption became so endemic throughout the system that, for example, electricity is still rationed and the Mafias of the establishment filling the gap with private generators at exorbitant fees levied on the Lebanese. There is no running drinking water (in a mountainous country whose rainfall and wealth in water can make the entire Middle East drink), and the Mafias of the establishment run hundreds of tap water filtration companies that they sell in plastic bottles to the Lebanese people. The Internet, phone service, garbage collection, roads, public transportation,.... anything you can think of is deficient when it comes to the State to provide it, but some auxiliary arrangement with privateers beholden to the poles of political power providing it instead.

On his return from exile in 2005, Aoun was the last hope the Lebanese had for some reform, some opposition to his erstwhile enemy, the establishment. Many Lebanese even conceded that his sudden about-face and alliance with the Syrians and their Hezbollah proxies was a temporary tactical move that will ensure his accession to power, which will then give him the platform from which he will begin attacking and dismantling the corruption empire. And so, they bid their time. They put up with Aoun's paralysis of the institutions. They still held out hopes of a man whose energy at fighting the militias and the foreign occupations would one day be channeled to attacking the corrupt establishment and giving the Lebanese people a semblance that things are at least on the right track.

In Early November 2016, Aoun finally became president, and we all wondered how, not whether,he will begin his crusade against corruption. We knew that this was a monumental task that will take years and a lot of grief because the disease is so pervasive both in the institutions and in the minds, and the enemy is so entrenched. But we waited for the first sign of a move by Aoun in the right direction.

By now - March 2017 - the Lebanese people are utterly disappointed. Not only does Aoun sit happily in the big chair in the "Presidential Palace" (here the dinosaurs of politics all live in "palaces", not "houses" ), but he has transformed his movement into a political family farm, just like all his enemies in the establishment whom he fought for decades. He is one of them now. He is just like them. His his sons-in-law - he has no sons, which makes him rely on genetic outsiders who sleep with his daughters in this patriarchal backward male-chauvinistic society -  are all into politics. His nephews and assorted members of the tribe are also members of parliament and ministers.

And he has done nothing to combat corruption. Instead, in its first major action, Aoun's government is proposing to raise taxes on everything in the country (gasoline, alcohol, fees for Ottoman-vintage bureaucratic hair-raising paper procedures like obtaining a birth certificate or a passport or any of the Kafkaesque streams of corruption, real estate transfers etc.) without having done a single thing - not one thing - about corruption.

Just to give you an example: Go to any State or government - local or central - agency to process a request for a simple certification of any kind. First, you enter a decrepit building where filth and odors abound. There are no signs to tell you the who, what and where. Everyone smokes, yet they have large posters declaring the place smoke-free because "we care for your health" (often in English, and not in the local Arabic). Second, assuming you know someone who knows someone there, and you have a name, you have to ask a million assholes before you find the person, who then takes you to the employee who should process your request. He might even offer you coffee, along with the second hand smoking and the filth, because you come recommended by someone who knows someone important. Finally, with all the mercantile black-market smiles and welcome formulas, the man will stare at you, open a drawer in his desk and promise nothing until you drop money in the drawer. Or he will tell you the amount to pay, which you do, and then give you a receipt for less than what you paid.

Another very common example, is the advice that lawyers, notaries public, or anyone in the law will matter-of-factually proffer to you if you happen to be inheriting, buying or selling property: When the time comes for the assessor to come with you to the property to assess its value, on the basis of which your tax due will be demanded, "just slip him a couple of thousand dollars, and he'll lower the assessed value, which will save you tens of thousands of dollars in taxes." Yeah, here in the third world lemon republic of Lebanon, taxes and property values are in the hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars. Why? Because the demand by filthy Gulf Arab sheikhs is high. The Lebanese are selling their country, or perhaps over-building it so they sell it, to Gulf Arabs and stupid descendants of long ago dead expats who want a piece of the filthy water, air and soil. The other things that filthy Arab sheikhs want in Lebanon are whores and alcohol. Yes, the Lebanese are also selling sex and alcohol to sex-starved and alcohol-starved Muslim Arabs fro the Gulf. The Lebanese suddenly forget their devotions to God, saints, messiahs, mullahs, imams, priests, nuns, and prophets to make a quick buck in the sex an alcohol trade.

I digress. Aoun was the last hope for real change in Lebanon. He is now proving he is part and parcel of the corrupt establishment. At least, he is happy that he has "arrived" and joined the establishment, and so is reluctant to fight it. His henchmen, like his son-in-law minister Gebran Bassil, are now defending the establishment - "just give Aoun time", he says, "pay taxes to feed the corruption, and then we will fix the corruption.

Everything in Aoun's performance so far indicates that, just as he has switched political camps to make it to power, he has now switched from his reform-minded campaign of decades to an entrenched political family farm just like his former enemies. For the Lebanese people, Aoun is, like all the rest of them, an enemy.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

فشل عون الذريع: إمعان بسلسلة الهدر والسرقة

(تعليقاً على مقال نشر اليوم على موقع Lebanon Files "ليبانون فايلز" (

حصيلة عهد الرئيس "القوي" الذي طالما وعدونا به:
لا قانون النتخابي
لا سلسلة رتب ورواتب
حرب تلوح في الأفق بسبب دعم عون لحزب الله الرسمي وانتقاده الجيش بأنه غير كفوء للدفاع عن لبنان
الفساد مستشري
المزرعة العونية اكتملت واصبحت مثل سائر المزارع السياسية الأخرى التي بنيت على أنقاض البلد وأرواح المواطنين العاديين واصبح المصلح الكبير الذي كنا موعودين به "واحد منن"، واحد من الطبقة الفاشلة والفاسدة.

ظننا ان خبرته في الجيش قد علمته المناقبية...
ظننا أن منفاه في بلاد الغرب علمته المسالك السياسية العصرية – وليس الدون كيشوتية التي خرّب بها البلد في السابق – لتصحيح واصلاح العفن الذي يفتك بهذه الدولة ويمعن في حياة الشعب
ظننا أن قصر الشعب أصبح فعلاً للشعب، ومع المعذرة يا جنرال، أصبح قصر بعبدا قصر العائلة المالكة مع حشمها وخدمها.

كان لا بد من الجنرال عون وكل المحسوبين الذين يحومون كالذباب حوله أن يفتك أولاً وآخراً بالفساد والمحسوبية قبل فرض الضرائب. من المسلم به أنه لا يمكن إزالة الفساد بين ليلة وضحاها، ولكن يمكن لعون وأزلامه الوزراء والنواب أن يلبطوا بالأرض ويعطوا الناس مثالاً واحداً، لا أكثر، واحداً فقط عن تطبيقهم لشعارهم بمحاربة الفساد على فعلياً، على أرض الواقع. مثال واحد فقط، لكي نؤمن بهذا العهد الذي يبدو وكأنه على طريق نكس كل العهود. ضربة واحدة جدية ضد الفساد قد تجعلنا نقبل بالضرائب الجديدة. ولكن لا شيء سوى المزرعة القابعة في بعبدا، والتي أصبحت مسيحية واقطاعية وطائفية أكثر من سواها من الاحزاب الطائفية والاقطاعية المسيحية والاسلامية التي لا تزال تمعن فساداً وحروباً بدماء هذا الوطن، بينما كان الجنرال قد قال لنا لعقود أنها ستكون علمانية.

أين هو الرئيس المسيحي القوي؟ يبدو أنه من دون جدوى!

السلسلة يقابلها ضرائب... والفساد يمكن البدء بطعنه والقضاء عليه وإعطاء الشعب الإيمان بهذا العهد.

فأيها اللبنانيون، صبوا شتائمكم على هذه الدولة المدعية الاصلاح والتغيير وعلى النواب وعلى الوزراء وكل من له الوقاحة ليفرض ضرائب عليكم لكي يلتهم حصته منها في وقت لاحق. لا، "ليس لدينا بترول نصدره او مواد اولية نضارب بأسعارها في الاسواق العالمية ونجني منها مصادر لتمويل السلسلة، وليس للنواب والوزراء مصادر لتمويل السلسلة" (كما تقول "لبنانون فايلز")، ولكن لديهم  قلة المبادئ والنزاهة التي قد تجعلهم يكفوا عن السرقة والهدر قبل فرض ضرائب على شعب مستعبد منذ عشرات السنين.

ما نفع اعطاء السلسلة من جهة وفرض الضرائب من جهة أخرى تنقص من منفعة السلسلة. يعطون بيدهم اليمنى ويسرقون ما يعطون بيدهم اليسرى. هذا هو "السيستيم" اللبناني الماكر الذي يتباهى به اللبنانيون الأذكياء، فهذا هو الـ"مودوس أبيراندي" (modus operandi)( (أسلوب العمل) المحنك الذي يتباهى به اللبناني في المحافل الدولية والذي يهدف إلى انتهاك القوانين بطريقة سلسة، هذا هو ما يطبقه النواب والوزراء والطبقة السارقة الحاكمة، ظنّاً منها أنه يمكنها خداع اللبنانيين.

تقول "ليبانون فايلز" إن "الفساد تجري محاربته والقاضي المالي يمتلك ملفات كبيرة والمحاكمات بدأت وأخرى ستبدأ قريبا، وملفات ستفضح، وعهد "إستعادة الثقة" سيعمل بجد لإستعادتها." حسناً إذا. انتظرنا سنوات وعقود، فلننتظر سنة واحدة لكي نرى بأم أعيننا نتيجة هذه الحرب ضد الفساد قبل فرض ضرائب. أرونا نتائج لكي نثق بكلماتكم التي طالما كانت حبراً على ورق وكذباً على الدقون.  وتسهب "ليبانون فايلز" بقولها إن "الضرائب تفرض في كل دول العالم، والضرائب في لبنان التي ستفرض والتي تم اقرار بعضها بانتظار استكمال الجلسات لا تمس المواطن سوى بجزء صغير جدا منها". ولكن تلك الدول التي يشبّهون الدولة اللبنانية بها هي دول طبيعية وغير فاسدة وديموقراطية حقة وتحترم شعبها وليس فيها فساد وسرقة وضحك على الناس. فحرام أن نشبّه الدولة اللبنانية بالدول الراقية، حرام وعيب.

فيا جنرال عون: مطلوب منك اتخاذ الإجراءات التي تصصح المسار وتستوفي بالوعود والعهود، وإلا سوف يكون زوالك السياسي أسرع من زوال الدولة والشعب، والتاريخ لن يسامحك.

Friday, March 10, 2017


We are an arrogant and ignorant people. That was the message and the image we broadcasted yesterday on all social media when thousands of violent Lebanese criminals killed tens of thousands of peaceful, beautiful storks flying over this country.

We brag about ourselves even as we live in physical, political and moral filth. There is not one thing right about Lebanon except the land and the nature of the country. Yet, even the land and the nature are being raped by greed for money. Unrestricted extraction of rock and sand for the unregulated construction industry is disfiguring the mountains, killing the forests, polluting the air, water and oceans.

But the wanton killing of birds as a hobby by bloodthirsty violent Lebanese is even worse, and the government and the political class - sinking as they are in corruption - couldn't care less. Out of about 175 countries, Transparency International placed Lebanon at rank 136 on a scale where 1 is least corrupt and 175 is most corrupt. So Lebanon is one of the most corrupt countries on earth.

Yesterday March 9, 2016, storks appeared in the skies over Lebanon traveling from Africa to Europe on their annual migration cycle. Within minutes, violent-minded criminal Lebanese armed with shotguns and machine guns hunted the storks from south to north, chasing them in cars along roads and across every village, town and city, and shooting them down in an orgy of bloodletting reminiscent of the violent wars and massacres and killings that fill the historical record of the Lebanese people.

The storks are not Maronite, Shiite, Catholic, Protestant, Sunni, Orthodox, Druze, or any of the other religious cults that define this country. So killing them does not threaten the heavenly, Godly, precious and delicate sectarian balance of this religiously backward yet "great country". After all, God Almighty told humans that they are more special that all his other creatures, and He authorizes people to kill and murder animals and other creatures. So the Lebanese are being very religious and obedient to God in killing the storks.

But, putting religion aside, the storks are an important part of the land and the nature. They are an element of the biodiversity that preserves this earth and the human species. But the religious Lebanese are scientifically and environmentally ignorant and primitive and backward. They are just too dumb and uneducated to understand the environmental, aesthetic, or moral stakes involved in the massive killing of migratory birds that bring no harm but only benefits to our lives. Just as the Lebanese are too dumb and uneducated because they believe in  religious fairy tales from the Bronze Age. Just this one fact is emblematic of everything that is wrong with a mess of a country that, in this 21st century, and nearly 30 years after the bloody religious wars of the 1970s and 1980s, still is without normal electricity, water, Internet, public transportation, decent roads, sewage disposal systems or any basic infrastructure that would be considered a minimum to have. Lebanon is a jungle in disguise. Notions of collective responsibility, of one citizen's duties and obligations toward his fellow citizens, of the role of humans in protecting their own lives by protecting their environment...are non-existent and are nowhere part of the culture of violence, death, and hatred. Lebanon's forests are in decline. The ocean front is a disaster zone in which untreated sewage and unsorted garbage flows in gigantic volumes every day. Lebanon is among the countries that contribute the most to the pollution and decline of the Mediterranean.

Stork killers do not need the storks for food. Storks and not edible. Killing tens of thousands of storks (and many other migratory birds) that are just flying over, is just a hobby. Forget the storks. Killing is a hobby in  Lebanon. Anything that moves gets shot at.

Lebanon is an uncivilized place for allowing this killing to go on year after year, in the Spring and again in the Fall. International donors who keep propping up this failed state with millions and millions of dollars can - and should - exert pressure and withhold money from this failed lemon republic until it cleans some of its shit, of which the wanton killing of migratory birds against all international regulations.

This orgy of stork killing yesterday is a symptom of the lawlessness that governs this country. The killers and hunters are protected by the political establishment; the killers and hunters are in fact the men of the Mafia bosses who sit in Parliament and in the government.

And so, I ask anyone - tourists or expats who live in countries where nature, birds, animals and trees and forest are worshiped - who is considering to come and visit to refrain from doing so, to boycott this land of savagery, ignorance and barbarity.





AND THE LEBANESE CALL IT THEIR 'JOIE DE VIVRE'. I'D ADD TO IT, 'ET DE TUER LES AUTRES, tous les autres, HUMANS, ANIMALS, PLANTS... Just like Donald Trump's "America First" slogan, the Lebanese have their own individual slogan "Me first" AND "Apres moi le deluge".

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Islamic Paradises of Egypt, Indonesia, Saudi, Malaysia, Morocco, Algeria...

The smart, penetrating, well-thought, astute, and ingenious banning by Donald Dumb of people from Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Libya from travel to the US will definitely put an end to any terror attack on US soil. These hotbeds of Islamic terrorism could send bad guys to America, and since Donald Dumb is intent on America First, he's got to eliminate the threat that terrorism coming from Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Libya poses to the primacy of America. Done. Now he can dismantle Obamacare, build the decaying infrastructure, and prohibit abortions to not only keep America safe and great, but to inch it a bit closer to God.

I believe that countries like Egypt, Indonesia, Saudi, Malaysia, Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon....and others will be jealous because for decades they too had been - unwilling they claim - hotbeds of all manner and varieties of Islamic fundamentalism, religious radicalism, anti-Americanism, anti-western sentiment, not to mention exporters and funders of Islamic madrassas and ideologies, and other forms of virulent third-worldism. You'd think that Donald Dumb might have consulted the CIA, FBI, and NSA leakers before enacting this brilliant ban... but it doesn't seem to be the case.

For one, September 11 hijackers and bombers came from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Lebanon. OOps! None of these countries is on the banned list! Russia and its Chechnya cesspool of Islamic terrorism are not on the list either. Indonesia is currently persecuting its own Christian governor of the capital Jakarta because he decried his election opponents' use of the Koran against him, which prompted the Indonesian government to prosecute him for "blasphemy against Islam". Egypt is battling Islamists everywhere it seems. The Philippines have their own "Moro" Muslim terrorists in Mindanao. China itself has a huge Muslim minority (The Hui, the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, and others) and they are all infected by the Muslim radicalism bug. Lebanon is rife with Sunni radicals who go fight in Syria on the side of ISIS, not to mention the Iran-affiliated Hezbollah which dominates Lebanon's government these days. I mean if Iran is banned, doesn't it stand to reason that its satellites too be banned? Hezbollah's early brilliant career in the 1980s was primarily against America and the West (bombing of US and French barracks, kidnapping dozens of westerners, hijacking of TWA 847 and the murder of Navy serviceman Dean Stethem, etc.... ), though this gradually morphed into killing Sunni Muslim and Christian politicians in Lebanon itself. 

I think the point is made: All it takes is for any one of these terrorists to slip through the not-so-tight security systems in these countries, as for instance finding sympathetic co-religionists or accomplices within any of these States to issue fake passports, and off they go to America... I always knew Donald Dumb to be dumb, but not this dumb.

In fact, as anyone with experience with ecosystems knows, by plugging one route you are basically telling the bad guys where else to go. I remember in the early days of the Lebanese War of 1975, when normal life was slowly blending with wartime life, how one radio announcer by the name of Sharif Akhawi would tell Beirut commuters stuck in heavy traffic at peak hours which roads were dangerous and which were not. For example, "do not take the Charles Helou overpass because kidnapping has been reported there; take the Port connector instead." So, the kidnappers, who had radios and were of course listening too, would quickly undertake a surge to the Port connector where a good harvest of would-be kidnap victims would be converging.

The Donald Dumb ban is like the Sharif Akhawi broadcast. By banning terrorists from taking certain routes, the dumb idiot is telling the terrorists where else to go to make it to America. In fact, we don't need to wait for this cause-effect to occur, we know from history that none of the foreign-plotted terrorist attacks on US soil thus far came from the six banned countries, whereas all of the foreign-plotted terrorist attacks on US soil came from non-banned countries.

But the Donald Dumb show must go on like a good Hollywood movie. Beautifully acted but detached from reality.