Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Berri does it again

Speaker of the house Nabih Berri is considered a sly, political fox by both friends and enemies. To further his reputation, he has pulled off what no one thought possible: get part March 14 on board for another postponement of the parliamentary sessions, get part of March 14's approval of dealing with Hezbollah's weapons "in the long run" and sow division within March 14 at the same time.

So what happened? Yesterday, the Lebanese Parliament was supposed to meet for the fiftieth 18th time to elect a president. However, not enough Members of Parliament showed up to have a two-third vote, among which Saad Hariri. Other MPs were out of the country as well, mostly for security reasons. While this is understandable, it's also quite strange not to even bother to show up for doing your job. Alternatively, why not be "on standby", say in Cyprus, ready to be flown in the moment it would be clear a session would be held?

As a result of the failing quorum, Berri held a side meeting with Druze leader Walid Jumblatt instead , which the latter described as "excellent" afterwards.

Outcome of this meeting was to hold further rounds of dialogue and to deal with Hezbollah's weapons in the long run. Jumblatt, not stupid either, must know that this goes against his previous positions as well as against other March 14 members, such as one of his closest allies Marwan Hamade, also a Druze and considered to be number two right after Jumblatt. Hamade called further dialogue a masquerade and thus clearly opposed Jumblatt on this one. So why did Jumblatt make the promise of dialogue outside Parliament in an "excellent meeting" with the person responsible for closing the House in the first place?

To add salt to injury, a meeting of western and Arab leaders in Kuwait called for the immediate election of general Suleiman. Lebanese often complain that their country is run from abroad. But let's be honest: leaving it up to the Lebanese themselves only results in "excellent meetings" full of promises to postpone crucial questions.

The solution? Sell Lebanon to Kuwait :-)