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Michel Aoun, Anti-Syrian.


Back on May 7, WILLisms.com profiled Michel Aoun, the fiercely anti-Syrian Lebanese ex-general who returned to Lebanon after years in exile. The prediction-- an Aoun victory:

"If the Babe Theory is good for anything, Aoun is a lock."

The Babe Theory prevailed. Aoun won.




In a few ways, Aoun was the George W. Bush to Walid Jumblatt's John Kerry:

Mohammad Farchoukh is a member of Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement and is among the remaining few who maintain the small protest at Martyrs' Square....

He says: "He is always on the right path for Lebanon - whereas [Druze leader Walid] Jumblatt is always turning around and changing his policies.


Jumblatt, the aloof, elitist, left-wing (Progressive Socialist) flip-flopper?

Or, perhaps, a better American parallel for Jumblatt is Howard Dean, based on his rash rhetoric:

"Michel Aoun is a small tool" of Syria, Jumblatt told Lebanese television.

More bitterness from Jumblatt:

"The Christian extremists have vanquished the moderates." Jumblatt called Aoun "a dangerous man. He doesn't believe in democracy."

The Pulse of Freedom blog examines the ramifications of Aoun's election triumph:

After March 14th, we all supposed that the ‘Opposition’ Deputies representing us there would subsequently represent us in parliament… The days to follow however proved that they were incapable of reaching a unanimous agreement on anything. Their comings and goings, bickerings, and aberrations from the grand calls for national unity made us skeptical. They told us to hold politicians accountable. Guess what? We held them accountable....

The oppostion candidates failed to instil in us any hope of a tangible future. We wanted change, a radical change from the previous puppet regime, and we wanted it now....

In any case, Aoun made it in Mount Lebanon. Let’s hope this flood will help nourish this barren land, rather than wipe it out.

The Lebanese wanted a true opposition figure, someone representing change, someone willing to transcend the old tribal politics of the country, someone adamant about reform. The so-called "anti-Syrian opposition" rested on their laurels, reverting to oldschool chieftain politics in a modern Lebanon. An entire generation of younger Lebanese want no part of the old sectarian divisions, but only Aoun tapped into the yearning for a true national unity.

The media coverage is decidedly muddled, which is understandable given Lebanon's byzantine politics. Take note of these headlines:

Pro-Syrian veteran wins Lebanon seat (Business Day, South Africa)

Or is Aoun anti-Syrian?

Anti-Syrian Christian leader scores major upset in Lebanese parliamentary elections
(China Post, Taiwan)

Or, could Aoun be a cousin of John McCain?

Christian maverick makes surprise comeback in Lebanese election (Guardian Unlimited, UK)


Or, perhaps, a more ambiguous headline is suitable:

Returning Lebanese General Stuns Anti-Syria Alliance (The New York Times)

The Times lede on the right-leaning Aoun is less than ambiguous, however:

The bright promise of the "Cedar Revolution" in this fractious, bloodied country is dissolving in old vendettas and the unsettling re-emergence of a powerful figure, Gen. Michel Aoun.

Oh, okay.


Sounds exactly like the Times' thesis on President Bush's "divisiveness." Opposing politician Walid Jumblatt goes off the deep end with bizarre and single-minded personal vitriol against Aoun, yet the Times can't help but place blame on the recipient of the angry rhetoric. The word "unsettling" belongs on the editorial page, not the opening paragraph of an ostensibly objective news piece.

Even if the Times has no clue, the Lebanese people saw right through Jumblatt's inflammatory nonsense:

Surely the most deceitful line coming out of the elections in Mount Lebanon on Sunday was the warning by the Druze leader [Jumblatt] that the victory of the Aounist movement placed Lebanon on the threshold of a new civil war.

Indeed, Jumblatt's campaign could be described as "rapacious," displaying "astonishing arrogance," "unmatched conceit," and "bitterness."

Lebanon has one more round of elections to go, and Michel Aoun, the anti-Syrian, is in a great position to lead. Whether he ultimately delivers is a different matter, but it is difficult not to admire Aoun's political craftsmanship, as well as his sincerity of purpose. And don't forget those Aounite babes.

Posted by Will Franklin · 14 June 2005 05:02 AM


Michel Aoun is such an awesome man for the job! Go man go!!!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at June 15, 2005 02:56 PM