Monday, November 28, 2005

If politics in what later become Lebanon in the 19th century was defined by a Druze-Maronite conflict, and if the Sunni-Maronite conflict defined modern Lebanon, the Sunni Shi`ite conflict will define the next stage of political conflict in Lebanon. The Christian factor will not be the decisive one on its own. In fact, it will be what third parties are in Germany or in Israel. This is why the Sunnis (through Hariri Inc) are aligned with the Lebanese Forces, while the Shi`ites (through Hizbullah and Amal as a lesser power) are trying very hard to win over Gen. `Awn. `Awn's forces in the last election won more than 75% of the Christian votes, and if an alliance is struck between Hizbullah and `Awn's forces, the Sunni political chances of victory sharply decline. `Awn has changed his tune since his return from DC. His trip was not a success. The US government is unlikely to endorse his presidential candidacy; and many of the people who dealt with him in the 1980s in the Reagan administration are now in this administration. And US officials remember him as a nut from those days. I knew that he would not meet with Hasan Nasrallah before going to DC for frear of disturbing his Zionist friends in US Congress. Today, he spoke in very friendly terms about Hizbullah. I would not be surprised if he now meets with Nasrallah in a matter of days. If those two form a bloc, that is it. They can seal Lebanese politics in their grip. Hariri's attempt to select "Hariri Christians" deeply offends Christians, and remind them of Syrian selection of "Syrian Christians" in the past era of Syrian political domination. You look at the menu of choices, and you don't see anything you like in Lebanonese politics, if you stand for secularism, social justice, and opposition to US-Saudi plans.