If he becomes President on Monday, what persona will Aoun put on display in Baabda? His history shows two different men: The brute, military, stubborn loser whose impulsiveness and reliance on violence has precipitated his many defeats; and the more sedate, pragmatic politician with a more rational and cold, even unprincipled, calculating mind.
Dr. Jekyll Aoun is the man who led the uncompromising posture of refusing the Syrian occupation, of demanding a fully sovereign Lebanese decision-making, the supremacy of the State over the militias, the use of diplomacy for securing his country's interests despite the fact that his theoretical allies often turned against him and made deals with his (and their) enemies for short tactical objectives. Dr. Jekyll Aoun is also the secularist, the reformist, the defender of human rights, the anti-corruption, the anti-feudal establishment, the anti-clerical intervention in the affairs of the State, the reliance on constitutional texts, etc...
Mr. Hyde Aoun, on the other hand, is the cheap back-stabbing deal maker, who strikes unprincipled alliances with his own worst enemies just to get out of a bad place, the turncoat who overnight fell in love with the same Syrian dictator who had bombed Lebanon and its cities for years and killed and kidnapped and massacred ad libitum, the creator of yet another political family farm after he long promised reform in the Lebanese political system, the promoter of cronyism, the dictator-like decision-maker, the defender of Christian rights (rather than broad human rights) . Hyde Aoun is the man who changed his dictionary overnight: "Terrorism became Resistance. Occupation became Friendly Relations. Neutrality vis-a-vis Israel to Israel as the enemy. Neutrality of Lebanon in Arab and Israeli conflicts to supporting Hezbollah's export of war and terror all over the globe, etc.
Will Aoun be his earlier self - Dr. Jekyll - when he sits in the chair in Baabda, i.e. the national hero, the principled man, the statesman? Or will he continue to be the Mr. Hyde of late - the traitor, the flip-flopper, the cheap politician?
Before we find the answer to this question, he just has to be elected on Monday. And not even that is a sure thing. Lebanese politics is like corporate Mafia politics: You never know who your friends are, and you always know that you have none.
[Check out my other posts on AOUN and the inevitable calamity he and the country are facing:
- http://lebanoniznogood.blogspot.com/2016/08/aoun-between-2002-and-2016-master-of.html ]