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More On Walid Jumblatt.

WILLisms.com has noted the comments of Lebanese intifada leader Walid Jumblatt (here and here) in recent days. He said:

"It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world. The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."

Just who is Walid Jumblatt, and why is what he said so significant?

Well, let's put it this way: Jumblatt has been more than a bit skeptical of U.S. actions in Iraq and around the world. The recent statements of Walid Jumblatt, leader of the Progressive Socialist Party in Lebanon, are so meaningful, not because he was pro-U.S. all along, but precisely because he has been so outspokenly cynical about America. That even a man with such a hardened anti-American heart could change his mind should provide hope for freedom spreading to any nation. Jumblatt's conversion is startling and awesome. It is just one example of the astonishing transformative power of freedom.


Back in December of 2004, conservative Front Page magazine profiled Jumblatt:

"Jumblatt is known for his vehement anti-American statements and antagonistic stance toward the U.S. On November, 19, 2003, it was reported that the State Department cancelled Jumblatt’s diplomatic visa following revelations that he expressed regret that Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz was not killed in a missile attack during a visit to Baghdad.

More recently, Jumblatt gave an interview to the Arabic London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat on February 12, 2004, in which he said: 'We are all happy when U.S. soldiers are killed [in Iraq] week in and week out. The killing of U.S. soldiers in Iraq is legitimate and obligatory.' The Progressive Socialist Party leader has also said he felt 'great joy' at the destruction of the U.S. Space Shuttle Columbia in 2002, because it carried an Israeli astronaut.

The Lebanese MP is also known for espousing conspiracy theories against the U.S. On April 28, 2004, he gave an interview to United Arab Emirate-based Al Arabiyya TV, in which he detailed how the U.S. was really behind September 11: 'Who invented Osama bin Laden?! The Americans, the CIA invented him so they could fight the Soviets in Afghanistan together with some of the Arab regimes. Osama bin Laden is like a ghost, popping up when needed. This is my opinion.'

Jumblatt was asked 'Even 9/11?' and answered: 'Even 9/11…Why didn’t the sirens go off when the four hijacked planes took off?…The U.S. always needs an enemy…According to this plan or ideology of the born-again Christians who formed an alliance with Zionism – Islam is the monster, Islam is the target.'

In addition to hating the U.S., Jumblatt has also spoke against the countries which have taken the lead in supporting the U.S. war on terror. Lebanon's Daily Star published a February 3, 2003 article quoting him as saying that the true axis of evil is actually one of 'oil and Jews,' calling President George W. Bush a 'mad emperor,' and insulting British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar: 'The oil axis is present in most of the U.S. administration, beginning with its president, vice-president, and top advisers, including [Condoleezza] Rice, who is oil-colored, while the axis of Jews is present with Paul Wolfowitz.'

In the interview, Jumblatt described U.S. President Bush as someone who 'considers himself God's deputy on Earth, threatening and classifying the world [into different camps], and relying on his imperial power…How dangerous emperors are when they go mad… In the same axis we have the trustworthy servant, the imperial servant…pleased with himself and his idiotic laugh, his peacock appearance, none other than Tony Blair…Also joining this axis is the comprador Mussolini of the 21st century, the prime minister of Italy today, Silvio Berlusconi, who seems to want to renew the empire of the Caesars… To complete the picture, we have Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, the Spanish neo-rightist…Aznar and Blair spend a lot of time in front of the mirror every morning, it seems, so that their hair is parted perfectly…People who pay that much attention to their appearance are fascists by nature. Or they have psychological or sexual complexes.'"

It is interesting to observe liberals, such as the blog at antiwar.com, try to delegitimize Jumblatt. Afterall, if he is right and the "Wall has fallen," then Bush may have been right all along.

From antiwar.com:

"...it's so amusing to watch the neocons, who insist on denying any legitimate motives to the Iraqi resistance, legitimize and even celebrate Lebanese resistance leader Walid Jumblatt."

Other liberals have tried to paint Jumblatt as the next Ahmed Chalabi; he's surely just conning America for his own power.

They just don't get it. Nobody is celebrating Jumblatt as a human being, but his transformation from eternal skeptic to true believer in a "new Arab world" is worth noting.

When the U.S. kept its word, when America didn't just go in and install "our S.O.B." in Iraq, when we didn't just take all the oil, when Iraqis voted in a free election, it became clear to cynics like Jumblatt that the U.S. might actually mean what it has been saying over the past few years.

Today's foreign policy is a profound departure from the past; no longer is the cynical calculus of realpolitik dominant. America now favors free societies over artificial stability.

Only freedom can lead to peace and stability in the long run, and although Bush had been saying that, over and over, very few in the region believed him, given America's past record of Great Power politics.

With freedom on the march, even someone like Walid Jumblatt can see that the U.S. is truly devoted to the cause of freedom in the world. When faced with elections in Iraq and America's reluctance to colonize the region, how could he not change his mind?

And that's why people are excited about his quote. Nobody should make Jumblatt a hero for one comment he made, because he is far from heroic, but he is a relevant observer, and his comments, in the context of his previous seething cynicism so rampant in the region, should be proof of the transformative power of liberty.

Jumblatt alone is not the man on whom freedom's hopes rest. The hopes of a free Lebanon rest on the shoulders of the people of Lebanon:





And if you were thinking WILLisms.com only shows female protesters, here is evidence to the contrary:


Mark Steyn has more:

"In the space of a month, the Iraq election has become the prism through which all other events in the region are seen....

Three years ago, those of us in favour of destabilising the Middle East didn't have to be far-sighted geniuses: it was a win/win proposition. As Sam Goldwyn said, I'm sick of the old clichés, bring me some new clichés. The old clichés - Pan-Arabism, Baathism, Islamism, Arafatism - brought us the sewer that led to September 11. The new clichés could hardly be worse. Even if the old thug-for-life had merely been replaced by a new thug-for-life, the latter would come to power in the wake of the cautionary tale of the former.

But some of us - notably US deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz - thought things would go a lot better than that. Wolfowitz was right, and so was Bush, and the Left, who were wrong about the Berlin Wall, were wrong again."

More pictures here.

Posted by Will Franklin · 2 March 2005 01:29 PM