Syria’s Suspension and the New Reality in Lebanon.

By Ghassan Karam The reaction of the Syrian regime to the recently announced suspension of the Syrian membership by the Arab League reminds me of the story about the proud mother during a military parade
Syrian protesters prevent Abdul-Aziz al-Khair, a member of the Syrian National Coordination Committee, second from left, and other opposition leaders from entering the Arab League headquarters where they were to hold talks with the organization's chief on violence in Syria, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011.

By Ghassan Karam

The reaction of the Syrian regime to the recently announced suspension of the Syrian membership by the Arab League reminds me of the story about the proud mother during a military parade who was jumping up and down with joy and yelling to whoever can hear her: “Please take a look and note how all the brigade is out of step with my Amer, bless his soul”J

A few months ago when the European Union announced a set of measures against Syria and some Syrian oligarchs in conjunction with Washington Mr. Al Moualem, the Syrian foreign affairs minister announced with bravado that Syria will act as if neither the US nor the EU are part of the world map. Two days ago the Syrians decided to erase another part of the world map; this time they said “Toz” to all the Arab countries. Russia and China have, so far, shown some lukewarm support for the Syrian regime although both countries have stressed that they expect Mr. Assad and his Syrian minions to stop the use of force and to implement genuine reforms immediately. Maybe it is time for the Syrians to dismiss another major chunk of the world map. It looks very highly likely that pretty soon the Syrian regime will operate in a shrunk world of its making composed of Iran, Venezuela and North Korea. Obviously they can always count on the unquestioned support of their Lebanese subordinates: Hezbollah, Amal, FPM, Marada, Talal Arslan and Wiam Wahab. The support of Mikati and Safadi will be ambiguousJ

The relatively wide official Lebanese support for the Baath killing machine is problematic at best. The Tower of Babel, better known as the Lebanese cabinet, is one more time trying to take a position and its opposite at the same time. The PM, Najib Mikati, has never tired of telling the world that Lebanon honours all its international obligations and will obviously pay its dues to the STL. Unfortunately he forgot to relay that message to the largest bloc in the cabinet, FPM, and the real power behind the throne Sayed Hassan Nasrallah.  Mr. Nasrallah, an unelected official who acts as the PM, Speaker and President ; all rolled into one; has declared a few days ago that as far as he is concerned the STL does not exist, as if reality is something subjective. (If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it then does it make a sound?) I guess not. If SHN decides not to see something then irrespective of the scientific proof that an entity exists Mr. Nasrallah feels that he can act as if it does not. Does the Emperor have cloths on or is he naked? Ask SHN or Bashar Assad before you answer that one. Their views are what counts, the truth be damned.

Then there is the Lebanese position Vis a Vis the decision of the Arab League to suspend Syrian membership. Lebanon dispatched its foreign minister to support the Syrian position and argue that Syrian demonstrators do not exist, the 3500 deaths of unarmed civilians are the fabrication of Western media, tanks and the full might of the Syrian armed forces have not been used against unarmed civilians in Homs, Hama, Dara, Latakia among numerous other places all across Syria.  But to top it all the Lebanese President, Michael Suleiman, himself elected unconstitutionally, called Bashar Assad to tell him that Lebanon did not vote for Syrian repression but only to protest the punishments being doled to SyriaJ What a joke. When would we ever learn that to take a position and its opposite simultaneously is a logically bankrupt exercise and what is more important that it is an insult to the intelligence of the public.

It is time to shout it from the hill tops. The Emperor has no cloths. This Lebanese cabinet is a sorry excuse for a government. Lebanon is ruled according to the diktats and personal whims of a certain unelected clergyman, Sayed Hassan Nasraalah, who does not recognize the right of Lebanon to sovereignty and independence. No one in this cabinet would dare take a position on important issues without seeking in advance the blessings of SHN. This charade has gone as far as it can. But what is equally clear is that the Syrian Baath has already lost even if, against all odds, it manages to stay in power. The minimum changes coming to Syria are a new constitution that does not recognize the Baath as a special party, free and popularly elected members of the parliament and a freely contested and elected president. Who would have even dared suggest such changes a few months ago? The new reality is that Syria will become more democratic, that all the Baath lackeys in Lebanon will have to adjust their vision to see the new reality including SHN.