Thursday, March 09, 2006


Last Thursday, Lebanon's big guns met to discuss the future of their country.

From Beirut to the Beltway covered the first few days of the "National Dialogue" in some depth, reporting on Tuesday that talks have been suspended until next week:
Today, the dialogue was suspended until Monday, allegedly so that the participants can go consult with their leaderships. Many have blamed Walid Jumblatt, in Washington on a visit, of wrecking the dialogue by calling Hizbullah a militia and rejecting any compromise that would allow God's alleged soldiers to keep the country hostage to Iran and Syria.

Being one of the attendees of the Jumblatt event at the Brookings Institution, I made sure to take good notes. Jumblatt gave honest answers and said he was in the US to seek help against the Syrian dictatorship next door. He said he believed that no democracy or freedom movement can survive with a neighbor like Syria sending weapons and blowing up people who speak against its policies. He said the issue of the Shebaa farm cannot be treated separately and that there is no justification for a militia like Hizbullah to keep its weapons, consequently allowing Iran and Syria hold Lebanon hostage.

Jumblatt was right. He said nothing wrong. He admitted he was wrong in the past, which is more than many Lebanese leaders have done. People who accuse him of killing the national dialogue suffer from a great delusion. The best that could have come out of this dialogue was an agreement over a new president. But what good is electing a new president with Lebanese sovereignty still being hijacked by certain parties that subscribe to foreign agendas? Jumblatt had the courage, though late, to say it like it is. He said he believes that there is no time left to waste. Retarded deals such as what Hizbullah was seeking will do the country no good. Iran's proxy leaders and their followers want another Emile Lahoud. Lebanon cannot afford another one.
Rather depressing news really, although these captioned photos of the first day might raise a smile.


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