Across the Bay

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Aoun and Nasrallah Show (Yawn)

Another very good editorial from NOW Lebanon:

[W]e were left wondering what that weird encounter was all about.

Here’s our theory. The Aounists have been unable to take to the streets in support of the opposition’s demands – largely because most Christians and, now, the Lebanese army disapprove of such an endeavor. That bothers Hezbollah to no end, because without Christian frontage, the opposition looks exclusively Shia. In many ways, it is, but that’s not the impression Hezbollah wants to create. Instead, the party wants to show that it is part of a broad, multi-confessional movement – one as diverse as the parliamentary majority.

Aoun is unable to confirm this in the streets, but he can confirm it on television. Hence, the joint interview.

And of course, there had to have been an affirmation that the MoU was, as I insist on calling it, mere toilet paper, with each party holding to a completely different interpretation of what that useless piece of sanitary paper is supposed to say:

Or what about the interesting sliver of difference between Nasrallah and Aoun on the future of Hezbollah’s weapons? Nasrallah once again tied Hezbollah’s retaining its weapons to the existence of an Israeli threat. But since that threat is, presumably, everlasting, does that mean that Hezbollah will remain permanently armed? Aoun tentatively ventured out of his shell to offer that the weapons could perhaps be held by the army.

That incoherence was captured by the editorial:

That’s not surprising. Aoun and Nasrallah have no common vision. They do share a deep contempt for traditional Lebanese politics and regard themselves as hovering above the political gutter. They personally dislike the March 14 leaders. They’re willing to look the other way on whatever Syria does in Lebanon. But that’s it. Each man has something of the absolutist in him, and no town is big enough for two absolutists.

And while the Supreme Guide-wannabe gave his usual tiresome show, Aoun looked like the shriveled old useful idiot that he is:

Aoun was a pussycat in Nasrallah’s presence. Virtually everything the Sayyed said, the general agreed with. When Aoun stumbled, Nasrallah came to his rescue, clarifying a vague thought, tightening the script, gently telling Aoun what he should say. ... Without a presidential project guiding him, Aoun is in disarray. ... The old general is being used, and that was again obvious on Wednesday evening.

The whole interview was a tedious yawn seemingly aimed at Aounist followers. The way the General looked and sounded, it was rather counterproductive. He was worn out window dressing; a footnote.

Update: By far the funniest and wittiest trashing of the Aoun-Nasrallah show comes from Walid Jumblat today. Had me in stitches. Here's the original Arabic. Naharnet's translation doesn't do it justice!