Good news in the Levant

189473702_92459a2c32 "Electing a new president was the easy part and it happened within days of Doha.

Both of Lebanon’s political groupings agreed on the former army chief, Michel Suleiman, who is as close to a neutral public figure as you can find in Lebanon at the moment.

He will preside over the first government since November 2006 with representatives from all the major parties.

There will be 30 ministers – 16 of them from the Western-leaning parties, who back the Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora.

Eleven are supporters of what was the opposition grouping, which includes Hezbollah.

With more than a third of the cabinet seats, that party and its allies now have a veto on the major decisions of the government. "  BBC


A veto?  That makes it sound like the Doha agreement contained a provision that allowed Hizbullah as a party to simply deny passage to any action of the Lebanese government that it does not like.  No. That is not the case.  What "veto" really means here is that there is now recognition that the "opposition group" has enough seats in parliament to block passage by the majority of measures which constitutionally require a super-majority.  That is called constitutional democracy.  The "opposition group" won those seats in the last parliamentary election.

The political impasse of the last year and a half resulted from the unwillingness of the Siniora government to apportion cabinet seats in a way that reflected the result of that parliamentary election.

The Lebanese government refused to do so largely because its foreign sponsors (the US, France and Saudi Arabia) encouraged it to do so.  To make a refusal to empower rivals is always tempting in Lebanon where the chance to "screw" other Lebanese who are not members of one’s own community continues to be an urgent psychological imperative.

In the end, common sense and external Arab mediation won the day and peace will descend over the Lebanon for a while.

In a related matter President Sarkozy of France has invited President Bashar Assad to be his guest at the Bastille Day festivities in Paris where Assad will meet with the new Lebanese president, Suleiman.  In the context of continuing German sponsorship of Israeli/Syrian peace talks all of this is good news indeed.

Where is Secretary Rice in all this?  Nowhere.  pl

This entry was posted in Current Affairs. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Good news in the Levant

  1. ServingPatriot says:

    Where is Secretary Rice in all this?
    She’s been busy signing SOFAs with Czech Republic to base our immensely expensive missile defense equipment to defend Europe from the “Iranian threat”! Oh, and provoking the resurgent Russia and dissing the Poles (who, considering their history) are pressing for a more lucrative arrangement to host more missile defense facilities….
    Annapolis? Another sham by the distracted monarch who woke up one day and said we need to so something?
    Nothing like keeping an eye on what matters…

  2. David W. says:

    Very nice summation of the Lebanese situation, PL–it is a refreshing change from the hysterical MSM, who’s sole angle on Lebanon are scare pieces on the ‘eeevil’ Hizb.
    The MSM silence on this news is instructive, and pairs nicely with the faux Iranian missiles, which must be this weeks’ spoon fed talking point–congratulations, you are more of a journalist than 95% of the current MSM stenographers!
    It shows how hollow the cabal’s ‘democracy and freedom’ platform really is, though I have a suspicion that, after a suitable waiting period, the WH will slip Lebanon in as an example of its ‘success’ in the ME.
    The hapless Ms. Rice, much like Dubya, has cemented her dubious place in history. Has there ever been a more clueless and ineffectual Sec of State?

  3. jonst says:

    “Where is Secretary Rice in all this? Nowhere.” And that is good. Very good. She is like a killing frost.

  4. Spider Rider says:

    Not watching the news, at all, anymore, since it functions simply as a frothy propaganda arm of people I find irrelevant, the missile launch didn’t give me a second thought, except for what pl reported.
    What I DID find interesting this last week was the dust up, at the G8, between Britain, and Russia, the Czech missile defense, and again, the Russian response, then the Irani response on the heels of THAT, possibly all leading back to Secretary Rice, and other middle eastern developments.
    A collage, of sorts, forming one picture.
    I have been following the British press, as opposed to the American, in regard to world events, as they still have intelligent reporters, or journalists.
    British reporting allows one to see events in the greater world context, how they relate to one another, as opposed to appearing isolated incidents.
    It hurts our country to have such a useless press full of stupid people, incapable of truthful analysis.

  5. par4 says:

    It looks like the middle east does better when we’re not involved or at least this administrstion.

  6. Jose says:

    “Lead, follow or get the Hell out of the way!” – Unknown but in the Army attributed to Gen. Patton

  7. Jose says:

    Wow, I thought I hit Preview (lol), check out this fair and balance views on the Bush Doctrine:
    Col., you should get a weekly column to share your analysis and comments on the Middle East.
    Way better than anything in New York Times or Wall Street Journal.

  8. SNi says:

    Just so, you’re right on the mark… Every time I would read about how horrible “the blocking third” would be, I couldn’t help but think of the Senate Republicans and how they’ve effected many, many (over a hundred in one piece I read) issues and votes by making legislation they did not like need 60 votes for passage! What’s good for the goose…
    Re the composition of the cabinet, after reading numerous articles I took the list of ministers and their portfolios and added if they were nominated by M14, M8, or President Sleiman, along with confessional info (since that’s how they are divided up). Results can be found at the following url:

  9. mo says:

    Ms Rice is still in the waiting room expecting the “birth of the new Middle East”. What she doesn’t get is that the birth has happened but because it was not the prodigy she was expecting, she has yet to recognise it.
    Out of interest, I have just returned from a short trip to a North African nation run effectively as a dictatorship – I lost count of the number of times I was told by the locals of how they wished they had a Hizballah. The Hizballah effect is slowly rippling out of Lebanon and the many dictaors and kings of the Arab world fear it far more than any Iranian nuke.
    The more “wins” Hizballah have the worse it will get for said leaders. The upcoming prisoner exchange, which the likes of Saniora and Jumblatt are clamouring to attend, will be another “win” – The first Arab country to force Israel to hand back all prisoners. And if, as expected, the opposition wins a majority in next years elections (assuming they are allowed to be held) then that ripple will only increase in speed and magnitude.
    Ms Rice wanted and caused a new Middle East. Not the one she expected and for that we can only thank her as everything she has done has strengthened and empowered those more interested in the welfare of their people than the welfare of their bank accounts.
    This post is yet another excellent example of why it would be a crime if the coming administration did not avail itself of the good Colonel’s knowledge, appraisal and viewpoint on the ME.

  10. linda says:

    laura rozen just coincidentially happens to link to an (lebanese!) article with the funniest and most apt description of her stature i have ever read:
    “US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice – the baseball equivalent of being out in left field ..”

  11. Curious says:

    If I see it correctly. Condi/Bush original plan was promising the Saudi and friends they will fix Israel/Palestinian by 2008. (Annapolis was suppose to be a “real” meeting, instead of puff show case)
    It was a nice plan. Legacy and all. Except Israel is not on board and they know they can get away and Bush has no leverage. (Lame duck, lost control of election, etc) So Israel position is: let Bush sink and deal with the arabs. We’ll do whatever we have to do.
    Saudi and friends of course can read Condi/Bush incompetent.They are giving Bush “oil price”, the run around and zero diplomatic backing in the middle east. (arab league, etc.)
    At this moment. I don’t think anybody in the world take Bush/Condi seriously. As long as everybody can mitigate and control the “Bush military threat”, everybody is out to fuck Bush. (shorting the market, jerking him around, making him pay through his nose, betting on his incompetence, etc)
    Every single guy in the arab world is making money out of Bush and crew screwing up.
    Anybody with few $B to spare can bring down the US now. (ie. just about any player can do it)
    Oil price, stock market, commodity future, Dollar value and global market are all waiting for the “bottom” to fall off.
    The market sharks are swimming in circle. They are definitely waiting. They know US treasury can’t keep manipulating the market that much more with only less than $250B left to spare.

  12. zanzibar says:

    “This post is yet another excellent example of why it would be a crime if the coming administration did not avail itself of the good Colonel’s knowledge, appraisal and viewpoint on the ME.”
    Mo, yes that makes so much sense. Pat has been right on the money.
    But. Generalissimo Obama also suffers from DC bipartisan consensusitis. You know the need to be accepted by the politico-corporate kleptocracy. The consensus of the media-intelligence-financial-military oligarchy. Which is essentially fascist. That’s why the neo-cons have done so well. Their view is rather simple we exist to serve their interests. We are expendable and ready to be fleeced at any time. Just feed as claptrap and we’ll be hiding under shadows afraid of every bogeyman they point to. They know what’s best for us. In the DC culture you move up the ladder by being consistently wrong while spouting inane propaganda.
    Bill Clinton, that boy from Hope, Arkansas had the same affliction as he rode into DC. He gave us NAFTA, financial and media consolidation and plenty of military adventures. Look what it got him – impeachment and Ken Starr on his ass.
    Generalissimo Obama will have to show proper obsequiousness. He’s well on his way with his new position on FISA and his vote to authorize unfettered surveillance of US citizens in their own country. All his key advisors are from the same Wall Street and corporatist pool. Note his pandering to AIPAC immediately on winning the nomination. But. He’s not one of them so he’ll get the same treatment as he’s on his knees begging to be admitted to the club.
    Now its possible that the ongoing collapse of the Wall Street ponzi edifice will force the sheeple to realize that their future incomes are being pledged to bailout billionaires who have invested their meager savings into speculative positions that are highly unlikely to ever recover to their past glory. You have to give credit to the oligarchs. Just look at their sheer mastery. They give the sheeple a free ATM card while they abscond with billions of dollars paid out as bonuses on made-up financial performance. Accounting rules are always modified to give them the appropriate cover. Now they threaten us with perpetual debt slavery and loss of our life’s savings to get us to voluntarily agree to give up a portion of our future incomes for several generations while they get to keep their multi-million dollar pads in Manhattan and the Bahamas and of course their bond holdings which have our backstop.

  13. arthurdecco says:

    Re: zanzibar 14 July 2008 at 11:42 AM
    Whew! A Tour de Force!
    You convinced me.
    …and I’m pretty unconvincible.

  14. Curious says:

    BTW, somebody was asking where is Condi?
    She is busy picking up a fight with Russia. And this time it’s real. And she just signed our georgia puppet death warrant.
    I don’t think the entire Iraq/Iran/Afghanistan are going well if Russia decide to play the great central asia game in earnest.
    Rice adds gasoline to the fire
    The George W Bush administration is adding gasoline to the fire in the Caucasus. In Tbilisi on July 10, Rice told the press, “Russia needs to be a part of resolving the problem and solving the problem and not contributing to it. I have said it to the Russians publicly. I have said it privately.”
    The effect of her comments, blaming Moscow for the escalating tensions, is to signal US support for the Georgia side in their efforts to force Russian troops from South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

  15. Spider Rider says:

    Do you see Russia as an aggressor here, too?
    Given their activities in Britain, Britain considering the Russians the third greatest threat to their security, for any number of reasons, Russia is hardly innocent, here, no matter how many Washington lobbyists try to mindlessly spin Russian victimization.
    Putin is playing a highly aggressive game, perhaps feeling his energy holdings, such as their are, make him an economic and military equal to the west.
    Personally, I think he is mistaken.

  16. Curious says:

    I think this is Russia defending their backyard. Georgia specially. This after chechnya.
    Medvedev is entirely different animal than Putin. He will play harder game than Putin.
    You can really feel Rice is getting frantic, and trying to come up with quickly changing game in Iran too.
    I really think there is small panic inside the states department as the global market is collapsing on them. Iran has reset their trade pattern with Asia, Russia and Africa.
    So now it’s a question how bad the Iranian want their nuke and if they can reconfigure their economy even faster. (so far they are going at C+, high corruption and not very efficient. But if they actually snap out of the funk, they will get the entire game in 2 yrs. They will get their nuclear, Iraq, Pakistan influence, afghanistan, and US away from middle east)
    With Russia closing Georgia. It’s over. we lost everything in central Asia.
    Within central asian game, I get the feeling Afghanistan is lost. We just don’t know it yet. The big power in the region is taking over. Pakistan is flipping quickly and will not look back at us for a long time.
    Georgia will be first Russia big move. This is going to be interesting.
    Watch oil/gas price.

Comments are closed.