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Jumblatt’s Tweet and Aoun’s Immunity

Jumblatt’s Tweet and Aoun’s Immunity

Monday, 18 June, 2018 - 07:30
Ghassan Charbel
Ghassan Charbel is the editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper
This is the tweeters’ time. From Donald Trump to Muqtada al-Sadr, Saad al-Hariri and Anwar Gargash. Politicians no longer need a long press interview or a major television appearance. A few attractive words suffice. And if the words are sharp and timely, they will spread like wildfire.

It was not simply that the world’s greatest economy leader and the highest commander of the strongest army in history chose to address the world via Twitter. A few words can worry allies and rivals alike and shake markets and stock exchanges. Trump imposed a method of communication in the global village and many joined it. Twitter is an opportunity to express, promote and distort. It is a typical place to air dirty laundry.

When we reached this thorny profession, the controller had the right to apprehend the newspaper, deny the reader’s access to it, and even prevent it from entering the country because of a phrase, an article or a sentence lining confusion.

The technological revolution has changed the rules of the game, pushing the limits, the scissors and the red pen into mandatory retirement. Every citizen has turned into a journalist, and the corridors of social media outlets welcomed the beautiful and the ugly, the correct and the incorrect. The revolution blew pages and screens away and got rid of information ministers and editors-in-chief.

Walid Jumblatt quickly realized the importance of this incoming weapon. His traditional tendency to brevity and to launching arrows in his words has made his tweets the focus of interest of his friends and nemeses. He knew that a tweet could be tougher than a shell and stronger than a dagger. Jumblatt Bek is already an ingenious player. He is good at stealing the lights. He wisely selects time for silence and time for revelation.

Jumblatt tries in vain to convince his visitors that he has retired or is about to quit. His departure from Parliament in favor of his son Taymur never meant leaving the ring. He cannot live outside of it even if he wished so. His relationship with politics is a state of addiction. He is a professor in anxiety and in reading wind directions. He has both excessive flexibility and extreme rigidity.

He is sometimes driven by bitterness to surpass boldness in the direction of recklessness and losing battles. He is an expert in clashes and truces. A perseverant boxer, who only takes rest during the exchange of punches. He is used to fighting in the adults’ club. If a new boxer harasses him, he is quick to correct the game and hit the big player.

It’s Twitter’s fault. God fight it. Jumblatt was tweeting about the dire situation of the Syrian refugees, especially after Gibran Bassil’s tweets and violations. He concluded by writing: “Our misfortune is in a tenure that has failed since its first moment”.

Sites and platforms went fiery. The Aounists did not tolerate the phrase that targeted the president sitting in the palace. They attacked the Jumblatti leader with the harshest accusations. This is their right on Twitter. But they went further than what the tenure can bear when some of them started digging the “Mountain War” and the ancient times. They ignored the fact that the warrior must keep his wrenching arms to the harshest battles, which would come sooner or later.

Jumblatt cannot deny the fact that Michel Aoun is the legitimate president of the country, and that he represents at least half of the Christians or slightly more based on the last parliamentary elections.

Aoun, on the other hand, cannot deny that Jumblatt is the leader of the overwhelming majority of the Druze. Because the country is a tent of components that do not allow for write-offs and marginalization, it is imperative for the two men to co-exist, even if they are forced to drink the poison and keep dancing.

The truth is that the story between the two men is old. They fought each other over the hills of Souk al-Gharb in the 1980s. Much blood was shed.

Jumblatt has spent most of his political life fighting those who battled over the legacy of Bashir Gemayel in his community, region and republic. These are Amin Gemayel, Samir Geagea, Elie Hobeika and Michel Aoun. He believes that if Bashir entered the palace due to a climate created by the Israeli invasion, Michel Aoun arrived in an atmosphere created by the storm of resistance.

Jumblatt did neither approve Aoun’s ambiguous position in the wake of the assassinations that hit Lebanon in the last decade nor his willingness to manipulate the balance of powers established by the Taif Accord. Jumblatt suspects that Aoun is carrying out a project to confine him. Another reluctant general, Emile Lahoud, tried to implement it, but the wind did not help him.

Months before the election of Aoun as president, Jumblatt made a clear position. If Samir Geagea supports Aoun’s arrival, he will have no choice but to agree to prevent a clash with the Christian bloc and for the sake of the Mountain reconciliation, which was concluded during Aoun’s exile and Geagea’s imprisonment.

Because the palace deserves reconciliation, even with the first enemy and the top competitor, Aoun sipped the poison of the “Maarab agreement” and won the support of Geagea and later Jumblatt, after receiving the backing of Saad al-Hariri.

But the palace is difficult in Lebanon. The apparatus is already disabled. Neither corruption has receded nor has the State’s dream progressed. Those holding power are doing more harm to the tenure than their rivals.

In Lebanon, you have to remember that you are in Lebanon. Michel Aoun dreamt of seeing the hammer of the Lebanese parliament out of the hands of Speaker Nabih Berri. He soon realized that Hezbollah, which offered him many gifts including the presidency, was not prepared to offer a gift of this size.

Berri, who had dreamed of avoiding seeing Aoun in the palace, did not get such a gift from the party. It is the poison season, and Jumblatt has drunk a lot of it, especially on May 7, 2008, from Hezbollah’s hands.

The Lebanese equation is an old atelier of poison making. Poison in the disputes between the components and within them.

More than ever, the immunity of Aoun’s reign appears to be hanging on his agreement with his arch-foe, Samir Geagea, whose parliamentary size has doubled after the recent elections. When divorce occurs between the two men, a battle will actually begin to confine the tenure, because it will not be regarded as a confinement to the community itself. Berri is an expert in time selection, and Jumblatt will not hesitate to tweet.

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