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A WILLisms.com(ic), by Ken McCracken
July 14, 2006
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Lebanon: The Return Of Aoun.
Meet Michel Aoun, the latest wave in the political tsunami currently smashing the Lebanese political status quo.
He's Christian. He's fiercely anti-Syrian. And he's been in exile in France for more than a decade.
The international establishment media calls him a "divisive," and "hardliner." His return from exile has inspired jealousy in prominent Lebanese politician Walid Jumblatt:
“The assassination of Hariri secured the Syrian withdrawal, not the man who is returning to us this afternoon like a tsunami,” Jumblatt told reporters earlier Saturday.
Nonetheless, Aoun's return marks an important development in the journey toward Lebanese liberty, and his supporters are thoroughly energized behind him.
Aoun's closest allies even have their own fans:
Beirut is full of energy and ready to move Lebanon into the future:
"Today is a day of happiness and joy," he said at a news conference at Beirut airport. "Lebanon has been under a black cloud that enslaved it for 15 years. Today, there is a sun of freedom."
In an attempt to intimidate Aoun and his supporters, a "bomb killed one woman and wounded seven people in a Christian port town north of Beirut on Friday."
The Pulse of Freedom blog responds:
We know that it is not coincidental that a bomb blast occurred in Jounieh the night before Aoun’s return to Lebanon. Perhaps they believe that all the victories the true Lebanese voices of freedom have achieved over the past couple of months could be overshadowed by new provocations.
Is Michel Aoun the figure Lebanon will rally behind in its drive for true freedom and independence from Syrian meddling? If the Babe Theory is good for anything, Aoun is a lock.
Aoun may have lobbied the international community to get Syria out of Lebanon, but the Cedar Revolution erupted from those within Lebanon, not so much from those without. This dynamic will not be lost on the Lebanese electorate, who may discount that point somewhat with Aoun (who was forced into exile), but will definitely be felt with those who fled Lebanon rather than stick around to work for its freedom. It's a problem we saw with the Iraqi National Congress after the liberation of Baghdad as well.
A unifying leader will emerge in Lebanon. Whether that leader is Aoun certainly remains to be seen.
Posted by Will Franklin · 7 May 2005 03:25 PM
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Posted by: Zsa Zsa at May 8, 2005 01:08 PM
Posted by: lebanon.profile at May 8, 2005 04:53 PM
Lebanon is full of hope and is looking forward to getting freedom and democracy on it's feet. I think they will do it! So far so good.
Posted by: Max at May 9, 2005 09:21 AM
You need a better memory. Aoun is unacceptable to non-Maronite Lebanese. You forgot to mention that as well as being anti-Syrian, he is also against anyone who wants to make Lebanon more representative.
What that means is that Lebanon needs representation to reflect its make up communally (i.e., downgrade the position of the Maronites, no more presidency), or it needs representation that treats all Lebanese equally by population, which will seriously curtail the favourable position of the Maronites (and urban Sunnis and the Druze).
Aoun is not capable of being the type of leader who can lead the Maronites to a more modest position. One does not need to rehash his past to acknowlege this.
Posted by: David M. McClory at May 11, 2005 01:22 PM