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Monday, October 17, 2016

Emperor Aoun has no clothes. Another reversal in the works

After bullshitting credulous Lebanese Christians about how great Lebanon's Shiites are, about Hezbollah being a trusted ally, about how much more dangerous the Sunnis are, about how much better the Shiite fundamentalists are than Sunni fundamentalists, etc.... This long list of idiotic arguments with which Michel Aoun dragged his Christian followers into an alliance with Hassan Nasrallah 10 years ago - notwithstanding his complete reversal on every one of these points (See my post entitled: Aoun between 2002 and 2016: A master of perfidy), here we are today and the Emperor has no clothes.

The only serious obstacle remaining that prevents Aoun from becoming President of the Lemon Republic is his own ally, Hezbollah, which had for years said that Aoun is its only candidate for the presidency, and that Geagea and Hariri are preventing the election of this "strong" (although senile and old) candidate.

Today Geagea has declared his support for Aoun's candidacy, and Hariri is just about to follow suit. Hezbollah and its Berri appendage are back-pedaling and putting sticks in all the wheels to prevent Aoun from becoming President. Why? They say that they don't want the deal of Aoun as President + Hariri as Prime Minister. In other words, they want a "strong" Christian President, but not a "strong" Sunni Prime Minister. Go figure. Whatever arguments they are advancing, it is clear that the Shiites of Lebanon don't want a functioning State with strong people in the Executive. Why? Because a dysfunctional State, such as it is today, is a fertile ground for all their illegal and unlawful enterprises, namely maintaining an illegal militia, fighting Israel against the wishes of the Lebanese people, sending troops to fight in Syria alongside the barbaric regime of Assad, and every illegal smuggling, manufacturing, terrorizing, corrupting.... activity with which the Shiites have made their place in Lebanon's political chess game. On the other hand, a functioning normal State without corruption and filth would mean that Hassan Nasrallah would have to hang his turban for good.

A Sunni-Christian rapprochement is in the works. For Geagea and Hariri to endorse their former enemy Aoun for the Presidency, they must get something in return. Perhaps they are doing this not out of love for Aoun, but to pull the rug from under Hezbollah's feet. In any case, the price Aoun must pay is his turning his coat one more time, i.e. to turn back on his first reversal of 2005 and return to his former self and his erstwhile political platform: Divorce Lebanon from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and deny Syria and its Shiite appendages their platform of keeping Lebanon as a war front against Israel on behalf of Iran.

In fact, he has already begun: Aoun's supposedly "secular" ideology is long gone; he is today defending Christian rights. Aoun's anti-American posturing has receded significantly. He talks sweet, like a statesman, not like a puny politician; he leaves the dirty work for his "mini-me" Gibran Bassil. Pretty soon, as I have predicted long ago, Aoun - especially if he makes it as President  - will become hostile to Hezbollah and its hijacking of the country.

In other words, the realignments that took place after September 11 are being redrawn, yet again. Whatever the outcome, however, it is not looking pretty for Lebanon. Hezbollah is a cancer that has been metastasizing for decades. Its fighters are hardened by years of fighting in Syria. The Lebanese Shiite community's gains were all made under occupation and by unlawful violent means. Regardless of how things turn out in Syria, Lebanon's Shiites will never surrender their arms or power, nor are they interested in returning to the status quo ante. What price will they demand to reintegrate Lebanon as a political community and not as a violent armed militia remains to be seen, but whatever it is, it is bound to be violent.

For Aoun, his chameleonic tactics may work, but he is an old man, and one wonders if Geagea and Hariri didn't wait that long before endorsing him with the express hope that his tangential meeting with death old age might preempt their endorsement of him. But he is stubbornly hanging in there.

I always suspected that the paramount driver of Aoun's politicking was his desire to avenge his 1990 ouster from Baabda. These things are always personal. People often wonder why George W Bush went into Iraq, when Iraq had nothing to do with Sept. 11; it could very well be that he went into Iraq to give his father the gift of ousting Saddam Hussein from power because Bush senior could not do it back in 1991 after the first Gulf War. It is always personal. Aoun, for all I know, might enter Baabda, sit on the presidential chair, give the middle finger to Hariri, Geagea, Hassan Nasrallah, Walid Jumblatt, and just die. He may not give a damn about anything else.

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