Monday, December 31, 2007

Raid on Crystal: old wine in new bags

According to Lebanese media Saturday evening, the son of the head of the General Security apparatus couldn’t get a table at Crystal, one of the most exclusive nightclubs in Lebanon. No wonder: it was very busy in Beirut and without reservations it was impossible to find a table in any place. Still, the son got angry and called his dad who didn’t hesitate to raid Crystal. Supposedly in search of illegal workers…

What’s making this story even sadder is that his dad, General Wafid Jezzini, was appointed by March 14 to replace Jamil Sayyid who was arrested in connection with the murder of Rafiq Hariri. Supposedly, these appointments were about making a fresh, clean start. If this is how Lebanon deals with rooting out misbehavior, it will never get anywhere.

It will be interesting to see if Siniora will hold son and dad accountable for the loss of revenue for the owners of Crystal and for the inconvenience for the guests. Imagine being searched while having a drink with friends in a nightclub. It would be nice to think that 2008 will bring justice to those that deserve it. More likely, though, Lebanon will remain a place where you can get away with anything as long as your daddy is considered above the law.

One remarkable thing, though: it was covered by most, if not all, TV stations whereas such an incident would not have hit the news in previous years. Somehow, the Cedar Revolution has liberated the Lebanese journalists, albeit it to a limited extent: printed media such as L'Orient-Le Jour, the Daily Star or Naharnet.com do not cover the story. One wonders why...

Update:
To answer the last question: l'Orient did cover it extensively the next day in their Jan 1 newspaper and mentioned that the Minister of Interior will launch an investigation into the matter. My guess was that it happened too late to be included in the edition of Dec 31. The website of the Daily Star, however, still does not have the story.
See also Naharnet.com which has, finally, picked up on the story.

Correction: As readers have mentioned in the Comments section, General Jezzini does not belong to the March 14 camp but was appointed by former president Lahoud. As I understand, this was the first time a non-Christian held the highest post within the General Security department and it was the topic of much debate back then.

And another correction : As Josey Wales has pointed out, General Jezzini was the second non-Maronite officer to hold this post, the first being his predecessor Jamil Sayyed.

And another update: My blog has made it to the LA Times website, check it out here!

7 comments:

Jeha said...

Essentially, They're all re-serving us the same recycled crap, as you so clearly state.

Just one clarification; Jezzini was not really "appointed by March 14"; he is more likely a Hezb'o man. In the context of Hariri's 2005 political deal with Hezb'o, the post was "left" to Shiites rather than reverting back to Maronites. Recall the row/struggle between him and Fatfat? The matter was later "resolved" .

As to the media coverage, it would be interesting to see if Al-Manar covered it.

Anonymous said...

Actually jezzini is berri's man.

Anonymous said...

True, Jezzini is in no way March 14th man, just remember the brawl he had with fatfat and how he refused to follow orders ...

CresceNet said...

Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é http://www.provedorcrescenet.com . Um abraço.

Anonymous said...

jezzini is also the guy who procured sleiman's fake french passport. not exactly a man of sterling ethics and methods.

JoseyWales said...

As I understand, this was the first time a non-Christian held the highest post within the General Security department...

Correction to your correction Riemer: Not the first time. The director general used to be a Maronite Christian post. Things changed post-Taef, but before the current guy was appointed.


His predecessor (now in jail) Jamil Sayyed is a Shia Moslem and was the first non-Maronite in the post.

Good job picking up the story first, Riemer. I just blogged it.

Anonymous said...

Read well everyone...Jezzini is not related to 14 March nor to Berry nor to Hezb nor to Lahoud. When he was first appointed, they all wanted him because he was and is still known for his moderate views. However, during the course of his work Fatfat and his supporters wanted him to do exactly as they ordered assif he has no power. They wanted to take controll of general security with every detail. This is not the idle way to be in cherge of the Ministry of interior. The head of general secury should be empowered in a way to fully controll the general security. So I urge u all to have more knowledge about this issue before just throwing words while having no clue about the truth. Go lookup and get more information because now you look really foolish...