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Agenzia Stampa Vicino Oriente




Jumblatt switches again

Lebanon's Druze leader never tires of changing horses depending on the course of events. An adolescent behavior, writes Mohammad Kharroub in Jordanian al-Ra'i.

lunedì 20 agosto 2012 10:25

by Mohammad Kharroub - Al-Ra'i (Jordan)

translation by Mideast Mirror

His constant U-turns and backstabbing are now seen more as adolescent behavior than serious politics. It seems that the man has lost his compass, and is no longer taken seriously - nor indeed trusted - by other Lebanese political leaders. Virtually no Lebanese political leader now relies on Jumblatt, even if his positions serve them in their battles with their opponents. And what applies to Lebanese politicians also applies to regional capitals, all of which have washed their hands of him, no longer seeing him as a credible political leader.

Jumblatt's latest antic was casting doubt on the trilateral equation that has sustained every Lebanese government for the last 15 years, that which says that the army, the people, and the resistance must unite to defend the country against Israeli aggression.

Jumblatt, who has been leader of the 'Socialist Progressive Party' for almost 30 years, rejected what he called 'this vague partnership,' which produced the present government of Najib Miqati. He tried to ingratiate himself with the Lebanese army, which is coming under increasing attack from [former PM] Sa'd al-Hariri's Future current. Hariri wants to use the Lebanese army in his war on Syria, by supporting the Syrian rebels and supplying them with arms, ammunition, and volunteers.

'The proficiency and professionalism of the Lebanese army will not be diminished by gradually absorbing the arms of the resistance according to a plan that takes into consideration the specific security needs of the resistance,' Jumblatt said, explaining the rationale behind his idea to disarm the resistance by integrating it into the Lebanese army. 'This vague partnership,' he declared, 'cannot continue at the expense of the state, the army, security, the economy, and the future of the nation.' At the stroke of pen, Jumblatt disowned an equation that has served him and his sect more than any other, and has helped him restore ties with Damascus after he apologized for attacking the Syrian regime.

So, Walid Jumblatt is back to where he started from, although no one believes that such a paranoid and changeable individual could stay standing still for long. Jumblatt's latest revelations were meant to send a message to regional capitals saying that he is prepared to take his place in the anti-Syrian front, and that he is ready to play a part in the struggle against the Tehran-Damascus-Hizbollah 'axis of evil.'

Interestingly, Jumblatt chose the anniversary of the 2006 war, in which the Lebanese resistance managed to defeat the Israeli army, to announce his latest position. His statements also coincided with a crisis facing the Miqati government brought on by the arrest of former pro-Syrian minister Michel Samaha, who stands accused of plotting to foment sectarian conflict in Lebanon. The government had just recently approved a new election law based on proportional representation - which angered Jumblatt; as such a system would reveal the true size of his support base.

While Jumblatt can unseat the Miqati government now that he has apparently shifted his allegiance once again, and while certain regional capitals might appreciate his change of heart - and show their appreciation financially - there is no doubt that Jumblatt is a spent force. He is politically bankrupt and untrustworthy.

No one will feel sorry for him.