[Marxism] Lebanon: "What do you do if democracies defy you?"

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sat Mar 12 08:57:50 MST 2005

Good item from Informed Comment website citing remarks by relatively
conservative Lebanese Shia leader Nabih Berri.  Lebanon, of course, has
had a parliamentary regime and multiparty elections for many decades.
The most undemocratic aspect of the state setup is the setup which
divides top positions by religious sect. One of Washington's aims is to
shift the balance more toward the Christian minority.  The Christian
political and business elite has long-standing ties with French and US
imperialism. There will, of course, be less democracy -- not more
"political space" -- for the masses of Lebanon if Washington has its

By now, of course, tens of millions in the United States "know" that
Lebanon has a Saddam-style dictatorship imposed by Syria, just as they
know that Saddam's government helped plan the 9/11 attacks (and they
will probably soon "know" that the Syrian government helped plan them
too, even if the administration makes no such charges). Many will wonder
where such ignorance comes from.  It comes primarily from PATRIOTIC DUTY
verified by a quick skimming of news sources which are stacked to create
these impressions, even if they include counter-details for the
intelligentsia. People must believe these things to be good Americans
and support the troops, since the real strategic discussions make no
sense at all from the standpoint of their interests.
Fred Feldman

posted by Juan @ 3/12/2005 06:20:00 AM    

What do you Do if Democracies Defy You?

The US and British support for democratization in the Middle East is a
deeply contradictory policy, since Washington and London also want
friendly regimes that agree with their policies and crack down on

The contradiction was pitched ironically by Lebanese Speaker of the
House Nabih Berri, a Shiite leader of the Amal Party, on Friday. UK
Foreign Minister Jack Straw expressed dismay that the president of
Lebanon, Emile Lahoud, had reappointed Omar Karami as prime minister.
Berri sent a telegram to Straw informing him that the president cannot
unilaterally appoint a prime minister in Lebanon, but must consult with
parliament (to ensure that the PM has enough votes to survive a vote of
no confindence). 

Berri ironically suggested that since Straw disliked parliament's
choice, he should please appoint a prime minister for Lebanon. 

Berri went on to make other suggestions, saying he spoke out because
"the appointment of the prime minister in Lebanon is in the hands of
Parliament, not the president, and second because we hope we would be
able to express our opinion in naming the British prime minister."

The Daily Star notes, ' Berri concluded his telegram by expressing his
"thanks for the planned democracy for our region," in reference to U.S.,
British and European efforts to establish democracy throughout the
Middle East. ' I suppose we now know what some experienced
parliamentarians in the region think of Bush's 'democratization.' 

Newshounds report that democracy is only allowed in Lebanon if it comes
to the right decisions. Otherwise, can you spell J-DAM-ocracy? 

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