Across the Bay

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

After Lahoud... and Jumblat

A couple of days ago I wrote on Jumblat's attempt to dictate who will succeed Lahoud as President. Michael Young explores this further, and with more clarity.

One thing Michael stresses is consensus, which in a country like Lebanon (or any consociational, or consensual democracy) is key. To understand why Jumblat's game is dangerous, one only needs to read this quote by him, which I noted in a previous post: "who said consensus was the rule?"

In the 70's, Walid's father, the late Kamal Jumblat, decided to recruit the "revolutionary" Palestinians (who were more than eager to oblige), and other "progressive" forces, to attempt a coup against the Lebanese system (rather, against the historical object of his hatred, the Maronites). That decision, as Mohsen Ibrahim, a Communist leader of the time who jumped on that bandwagon, recently admitted, proved disastrous. Walid isn't that ambitious, or daring, as his Druze community (let alone his political relevance) is dependent on the consensual system. Nevertheless, as I've been noting on this blog for months (thanks to my friend Elie), he's playing with fire. One hopes, as I and Michael do, that Jumblat's senior political partner, Saad Hariri, will remain in the center, and make sure that the Christians join him there. That center alone will guarantee a stable and consensual Lebanon.