Tuesday, February 13, 2007
I note this slimy sentence from the BBC's report: "Lebanon's political crisis arose when since six pro-Syrian ministers resigned in November, primarily over the endorsement by the cabinet of a UN tribunal to try suspects in the Hariri bombing." Hezbollah have ties with Syria, Amal is pro-Syrian - but the Free Patriotic Movement? The reason for the resignations, as reported by the BBC at the time I might add, is that the government refused to form even a partially representative national unity government. The seats in Lebanon's parliament are distributed by confession in proportions that everyone knows are based on outdated census data. We're talking about a census taken in 1932. By far the biggest population group in Lebanon at this point is Shi'ite, and on that basis, in a confessionally-based representative system would produce an entirely different coalition government. The more pressing issue last November was of course that the government as then constituted had proven itself utterly incapable of defending the country, and Siniora is held to have collaborated with the Israelis.
Nevertheless, we will undoubtedly hear as we already have from the American government that it is part of a Syrian plot to overthrow the government of Lebanon. There are certainly elements of a simmering sectarian war going on, one involving Washington, Tel Aviv and Damascus, but it is a curious kind of sectarianism that cuts across sects. It is a curious "pro-Syrian" opposition that includes Michel Aoun.
On a side-note, I caught this utter drivel from Michael Totten, an American pro-war liberal, interviewing the sectarian warlord Walid Jumblatt. Jumblatt's party, the PSP, is a member of the Socialist International, and this prompts Totten to assure his bovine readers that Jumblatt's ideas aren't marxist. As if marxism is ubiquitous in an international that includes the British Labour Party, the French PS, PASOK, the SDLP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. What a fool.