22 May 2008

The Doha agreement

Dear readers,

Like all Lebanese crisis before, the latest Beirut coup by Hizbollah has been put into a text by the Doha agreement. The reaction in the various media have been mixed, Western media (and pro-governmental Lebanese ones) underlining the failure of Lebanon and of the Lebanese Army to contain the violent assault of a sectarian armed militia against the majority of its fellow citizens. Other media (basically the ones in Teheran or their allies such as Al Manar TV) claim victory. So imagine my surprise when I read the editorial from Le Monde, French newspaper supposed to be balanced and rather pro-Arab: the article basically congratulates the Arab League members for having found a positive "solution", though a temporary one, to the Lebanese crisis. It goes as far as lauding the role of Qatar's representative who would have used to good his friendly links with Iran.

This is, excuse my French, utter bullshit. Qatar's role was certainly one of a host and must be indeed signalled. But I fail to see in which way this is a success for the Arab League. I fail to see how this would be a positive thing, even less a solution of any kind. The Doha agreement simply freezes a situation obtained by violence against the rule of law or even simple dialogue. It is a good thing, admittedly, that the various Lebanese factions reach some agreement (any agreement) through an exchange of words rather than the exchange of bullets we had been used to in the latest weeks. But in this case, the victory is all on Hizbullah's side. It got everything that it had asked: a veto right in the government (despite the fact that it does not reflects its parliamentary representation), its secret communication system and its control over Beirut airport traffic. In exchange, it does not give anything to the representation of the majority of Lebanese. To save face, the immediate election of Michel Suleiman as President is presented as a concession to the government (through a "temporary modification to the Constitution" which normally forbids the Chief of the Army to take the Presidency). But in fact this very point had always been accepted by Hizbullah (for the simple reason that Suleiman is, like Nasrallah himself, one of Syria's assets in Lebanon). The same is said of the application of the electoral law as is (1960 version), the only demand of Hizbullah that hasn't been accepted.

Let's face it, Doha is just a lesser evil to avoid another catastrophe in Lebanon. But it is not an Arab League success, it is a slap in the face of all Arabs by Iranian proxies. And it is another show of impotence for both French diplomacy (Kouchner proved once more that one can be a great humanitarian worker and an extremely lousy Foreign Minister) and for the French press. Before writing a paper, damn it, try to check your facts first!

09 May 2008

Update: Lebanon

Dear readers,

This is just to tell that Hizbollah has accomplished what it was hoping for all along. After long preparations, exchanges of rebuttals and provocations, ensuring that no power would resist it, the theo-fascists have taken control of Western Beirut by force, killing or capturing anyone who would resist and burning the TV station of pro-government Future Movement. The Lebanese Army, as usual, has done little to oppose the coup. Hizbollah is now again in a strength position, not because it is right, nor because it represents a majority, but simply because of brutal violence and its will to use it against a state that has been emptied of any strength by external powers.

It is a sad day for Lebanon, a sad day for Muslims (who have killed each others the whole last two days) and a sad day for the Middle-East. Nothing new, unfortunately, but I believe it was worth mentioning amongst the general indifference of Western media and the boredom of the chain of news coming from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Europe's Day and Lebanon Civil War

Dear readers,

It's today Europe's Day (9th May) and it could be a great celebration for me and all other European dreamers like me. We could wave European flags, sing the European anthem, fire blue and gold fireworks, whatever. But I don't feel like rejoicing. First, nobody cares. My fellow French and Dutchmen voted against the EU Constitution and we are now stuck with parliamentary approval of a fig-leaf, watered down Lisbon Treaty. Europe is not more democratic than three years ago, not more transparent and not more social (nor "pro-business", by the way). The No-sayers shot themselves in the foot, but they also back stabbed the pro-European Yes-voters. So I don't see much reason to party.

There is another reason I feel sad today: Lebanon imploded again in Civil War. This unfortunate country is torn between pro-Iranian opposition militias (essentially Shia, with the silent approval of the Aounists) and the pro-Western government (with a divided Army unable to re-establish law and order) and some Sunni militias. The Shias have taken the airport and a TV station, while the Sunni have blocked the Syrian road to cut Hezbollah and Amal from potential Syrian reinforcements. But Shias could benefit from Iranian air bridge if their supplies run out (again unlikely). As usual, the ones suffering are the ordinary Lebanese of all confessions and political views who believe that laws and not thugs should rule the country.

Some people are quick to send both sides back to back with shared responsibilities. I am not one of these. Sure, the government might have mishandled the situation... But everybody should keep in mind that the Lebanese legitimate government has been pushed in its last throes by Hizbollah. A private sectarian militia controls half of the country, decides of war and peace, runs private secret services, a command and control network, secret arm stashes and randomly kills peaceful journalists, politicians or too brave Army officers for their liking. This militia is not even representing domestic interests but the ones of a foreign power (Iran and, to some lesser extent Syria). The Lebanese government and Army might have left things gone too far and have left themselves bullied. But the first responsible for all this violence is a fascist theocratic murderer: Hassan Nasrallah.

So you see, dear reader, there is really nothing to be happy about.