Leaving the "banana" nomer to the Latin American realm, and remaining faithful to my Mediterranean - not Arab - identity, I proclaim Lebanon a LEMON REPUBLIC. Lemons are a staple of the Lebanese diet, and I also like the pejorative connotation borrowed from used car dealers' jargon. There are lemon laws out there that protect consumers against car dealers that sell them bad cars which are referred to as "lemons".
Right now in our much beloved Lemon Republic of Lebanon, there is an ongoing chess game in which certain pawns are gradually and slowly being replaced by other pawns.
The Druse are on their way to extinction - both demographically and politically. As heirs to the Mount Lebanon Emirates of the 17th and 18th centuries, the Druse have managed to hold on to political power in Lebanon that is out of proportion with their numbers. But this has now changed. After their "cowardly bravery" between the 1970s and 1990s - during which time they massacred and ethnically cleansed their fellow Christian villagers with whom they share the Lebanese heartland, but never fought any of the invading Syrian or Israeli armies - they were bludgeoned to death by the Shiites of Hezbollah in 2008. Walid Jumblatt's unprincipled and survivalist acrobatics made him walk the tightrope successfully for a couple of decades, changing political principles as if they were underwear. Yet he has now fallen back in the count, and the new powerful minority that is likely to move forcefully on the chessboard is the Alawite minority concentrated in the north and in Tripoli.
The Sunnis of Lebanon, meanwhile, are also losing political ground to the awakened Shiites. The Sunnis managed to wage a war against the Lebanese state between the 1960s and 1980s, using the Palestinian PLO as their militia and with the sedition of Lt. Ahmad Al-Khatib from the national army to start his own militia of the Arab Army of Lebanon. By 1990, they had succeeded in wrestling power from the Maronites, but still lacking a credible militia, they relied on the Shiite Hezbollah to bolster their power base, not realizing that this was a very dangerous strategic mistake. After destroying Lebanon by fighting the State via the PLO, Ahmad Al-Khatib's Arab Army of Lebanon, and Al-Mourabitoun, feu Rafik Hariri was made Prime Minister by the Syrian-Saudi-American alliance in reward for the Taif Accord. To maintain his power base, Hariri and his Sunnis gave Hezbollah the political cover it needed to remain the only operational militia in violation of the same Taif Accord that granted the Sunnis pre-eminence in the Lebanese political chess board. Hariri kept defending Hezbollah as a legitimate "resistance", when we all knew it was a Syrian-Iranian mercenary tool created for the sole purpose of destabilizing Lebanon by "fighting the enemy" and "liberating occupied land" and all that Arabist Baathist jazz. The collaborator agent Rafik Hariri eventually paid the ultimate price of his collusion with the Syrian occupation and with the Shiite terrorist organization, when he decided to part ways with his former masters: Hezbollah bombed him to shreds in downtown Beirut in 2005.
The strategic mistake was not to realize that by granting Hezbollah monopoly over the threat of violence, the Sunnis were nurturing a taste of power in the hands of the Shiites of Lebanon. Now the hens have come home to roost, and the Sunnis are paying the price. While pretending to have become moderates (because they hold the highest office in government), they still back fundamentalist Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia and Al-
Qaeda types and they will again pay another price. This time, the price will be the loss of their current position to the Shiites.
While the Maronites seem to have accepted their Dhimmi status with an emasculated castrated figurehead President, it is hard to imagine transferring power from the Prime Minister (a Sunni in the Executive) to the Speaker of Parliament (a Shiite in the Legislative). Therefore, I predict that within the next 3-5 years, the Shiites will demand the Premiership as the price for putting down their weapons. Therefore, the pecking order in the Lebanese political chessboard will look as follows:
- Shiite Prime Minister with all the powers of the Executive
- Sunni Speaker of Parliament with merely powers of obtsruction, no more
- Maronite President: An impotent figurehead in the Presidency
- An Alawite as Defense Minister or Foreign Minister or some other powerful ministry
- The Orthodox and the Druse will have to be content with lesser posts of some significance etc...
The one thing that will not change is that the Lemon Republic of Lebanon will remain a religious oligarchy, a vestige of its former self as a province of the Ottoman occupation, with all the corruption and dysfunctionality of a Lemon Republic, without any real identity of its own, occasionally Mediterranean, and at times Arab, a schizophrenic paranoid republic of medieval brutes who believe that the world is constantly conspiring against them to prevent them from achieving the self-declared megalomaniacal potential and genius.
Tffhhhh malla balad mehri...
The Lemon will soon sprout a fungus and begin liquifying from within...