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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

Tuesday
Sep 19th
Profile Walid Jumblatt PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 01 May 2007

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Profile Walid Jumblatt

Place & Date of Birth: Born in Moukhtara, Chouf, on August 7, 1949. Son of  Kamal Jumblatt, founder of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP), and May Arslan, daughter of the prominent pan-Arab leader Sahkib Arslan.

Sect: Druze.

Marital Status: Divorced from Jordanian Jirvett Janbolad, remarried to Nora Charabati . Has three children, Taymour, Aslan, and Dalia.

Educational Background: B.A in Political Science, American University of Beirut (1973). Graduate of International College, Beirut, Lebanon.

Career:

- President of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) since his father’s assassination in 1977.

- Leader of the Democratic Gathering Bloc.

- Appointed MP in June 1991.

- Elected MP in 1992, 1996, 2000, reelected in 2005.

- Minister of Tourism,Transport and Public Works in Rashid Karame/Salim Hoss government (April 30, 1984 to November 1989).

- Minister of Public Works in Salim Hoss' government (November 25, 1989 to Decembner 19, 1990); Minister of State in Omar Karame's government ( December 24, 1990 to May 10, 1992).

- Minister of State in Rashid Solh's government (May 16, 1992 to October 30, 1992).

- Minister of Displaced in Rafi Hariri's first government (October 31, 1992 to May 25, 1995).

- Minister of Displaced in Rafic Hariri's second government (May 25, 1995 to November 6, 1996).

- Minister of Displaced in Rafic Hariri's third government (Novemebr 7, 1996 to December 3, 1998).

- Leader of the Parliamentary Democratic Meeting Bloc. Chairman of the Board of Ciment de Cibline S.A.L.

- Shareholder in several lebanese companies, including Chateau Kefraya S.A.L.

Family Background:

The origin of the Jumblat family is Janboulad (meaning "the iron heart" associated with courage). Originally, the family roots come from the Janboulad al Kirdi al Ayoubi, known also as Ibn Arabi, governor of the Maarat Naaman country (Syria). But the first grand father is Janboulad Ibn Kassem al Kirdi al Kaisari, known as Ibn Arabou (1530-1580), governor of Aleppo and owner of Maarat, Kalas and Iizaz. He became famous as he had succeeded in bringing stability and prosperity to his country. He had four sons: Hussein who had Mustafa, Ahmed who had Ali, Habib who had Darwish and Haidar who had Mohamad. After his death, Hussein and Habib disputed over who should take the reign and it was finally decided that it should go to Hussein (Hussein Bacha Janboulad), portrayed later as the wisdom and the courage.

The reign of the country witnessed many descendants of the Janboulad family, among which, Janboulad Bacha Ibn Kassem Bin Ahmad Jamal el Dine Bin el Emir. Arabcha, known as Ibn Arabou, leader of the Kurdes in his country, father of Jaafar Bacha and Hussein Bacha who became the Emir of the Emirs in Aleppo and entered in conflict with his brother Habib and occupied his territory Kalas by force. He was Killed by the order of Ottoman Prime Minister, Sanan Bacha (al sodr al aazam) in 1605… In addition, Ali Bacha Ibn Ahmad, governor of Bekaa Azizi and later of Kalas, Aintab, Maarat, Adana and Anwa (acquired by force), ordered in 1607 a currency with his name and made an alliance with Emir Fakhr el Dine against Ibn Sifa. He was killed in 1611, by the order of the Sultan… and Mustafa Bacha who married one of the Ottoman Sultan daughters, was appointed commander of the Ottoman Navy but was killed in 1636.

After the death of Ali Bacha, the family lost its power grip on the county and some of its members flew the territory and it is said that in 1630, Janboulad Ibn Said Ibn Mustafa Ibn Hussein Bacha Ibn Janboulad with his only son Rabah, decided to settle with some of his men in Beirut. When the news of his arrival spread, he was urged by the people of the Jabal (mountain or actually the Chouf) who visited him, to settle in the area, which he accepted and choose Mazraat el Chouf for this purpose. Upon his arrival, he was greeted by the Emir Fakhr el Dine who allocated him the title of sheikh and appointed him governor and commander of Kiriat Shkif Arnoun… under the command of Sheikh Abou Nader el Khazen (general commander of the army of the Emir). Since then, the Janboulad name became Jumblat. In 1640, he died and his son Rabah took over his father and strengthened, during his reign, the friendly relation between the Jumblat family (druze) and the Khazen family (maronite).

Rabah had 3 sons: Ali, Fares and Sharaf el Dine. Ali married the daughter of Sheikh Kabalan el Kadi al Tannoukhi, one of the grand Sheikh of the Chouf. Upon Sheikh Kabalan death (1712), Ali Jumblat took over his father in law and became the Sheikh of the druzes. He was appreciated by the people for his generosity, fairness and mainly, his tolerance. During his reign he had tolerated the building of many churches and have even contributed with his personal support. In this spirit, he has donated upon the request of the Catholic Patriarch a big piece of land of the Melkite Catholic Church in Iqlim el Kharoub, where a big convent known as the Deir el Moukhales, has been built. Sheikh Ali governed with a lot of nationalism and patriotism and was very keen in helping people in their needs, no matters their religion.

After his death, his son Kassem took over the reign but his days were not as bright as his father’s, due to the presence of the Ottoman Governor Ahmad Bacha al Jazzar who imprisoned him in his jail in Akka. Kassem had 3 sons: Hassan, Bachir and Ismail. After Kassem's death, his son Sheikh Bashir took over and he allied himself with Emir Bashir al Chehabi al Thani. During his reign, he has continued helping people and friends, due to his close ties with the Emir, and used to pay frequently from his pocket, the dues (tax) of the Emir, which granted him with the appreciation of the "Pillar of the Sky". At this time, he has also built in Moukhtara a Khalwe.

Years later, the relation between the two Bashirs worsened and Sheikh Bashir Jumblat was condemned to death at the age of 50 with Sheikh Amine Imad in Aka in 1825. Much of his properties were destroyed and ransaked. After these sad events, Said Ibn Bashir took over the reign of the family who was confronted again with another sad events that took over between the Druzes and the Christians in the Chouf. He died on May 11th 1861, after trying in vain to stop the fighting between the two communities. Said had two sons: Nassib and Negib. Nassib was appointed Caimacam of the Chouf, but he died later and his brother’s son Fouad took over, under the French mandate, the post of Caimacam, since Nassib had no children. Fouad was also assassinated before the beginning of the 1925 revolution and his wife "Sit Nazira" took the full responsibility of her family leadership, and through her wisdom, has avoided further problems to the country. In addition, she has raised in dignity her two children: Kamal and Linda.

In 1942, Kamal took the leadership and was among Lebanon's most remarkable political figures. He founded the Socialist Progressive Party of Lebanon. He also was a renown witer and philosopher, as he has left behind a large selection of books and thesis. He was assassinated in 1977 during the sad events of Lebanon (1975-1990), and his only son Walid (then 27 years old), was unanimously requested to take the full responsibility of his community and of his family.

Related Links:
http://www.psp.org.lb/
http://www.kamal-joumblat.net/

Mountain Man
The leader of Lebanon's Druze talks about the Syrian threat.

BY MICHAEL YOUNG
Saturday, July 29, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

MUKHTARA, Lebanon--I knew Walid Jumblatt had a passion for the history of the Second World War, but I didn't especially relish waiting for our interview under the severe gaze of Marshal Zhukov, atop a steed trampling Nazi standards. I recalled what the novelist Mario Vargas Llosa had written of Mr. Jumblatt's collection of bulky socialist realist canvases, after visiting his mountain palace at Mukhtara, where Lebanon's paramount Druze leader spends much time these days: "It was impossible for me to know if these paintings were there as an exquisite postmodern irony, or as an involuntary homage to kitsch, or because he really liked them."

Doubtless all three, since Mr. Jumblatt maneuvers dialectically, particularly in his politics. Once a prop of Syria's order in Lebanon (though the regime of Hafez Assad had murdered his father, Kamal, in 1977), he became the man most responsible for its overthrow in 2005. This betrayal earned him a sentence of death in Damascus, which is why he rarely leaves Mukhtara, from where he leads the mostly poor, mostly rural 200,000-strong Druze--like a "tribal chieftain," he once told me. It is a tribute to his political skills, but also to his hard-nosedness, that his influence far transcends the microscopic size of his community. At 57, he has been at the center of Lebanese public life for 29 long years.

It takes a good hour and a quarter to reach his home from Beirut, since Israeli aircraft have bombed the shorter route via the southern coastal road. I kill time by asking an aide about the main topic of conversation wafting though the waiting room--how to manage the thousands of Shiite refugees who have escaped south Lebanon to regions controlled by Mr. Jumblatt. The aide tells me that the relief effort is stretched to the limit, and that providing help will become a considerable problem in the coming weeks.
Mr. Jumblatt personifies patronage politics at their most essential. His is a hands-on management style, and there is sophisticated method to what can be mistakenly interpreted as Mukhtara's ambient disorder. The Druze leader runs his life with Germanic precision. His papers are well-organized, as are his publications, his collection of magazine covers, his weapons (I notice a Glock and several clips across the room), his Soviet-era regalia--even the more sinister memorabilia, such as the identity card his father had on him the day he was killed, pierced by a bullet.

As we kick into the interview, Mr. Jumblatt doesn't wait for a question. He describes the visit to Beirut the previous day of Condoleezza Rice, and particularly the international effort to set up an expanded peacekeeping force in South Lebanon to end what, by now, are two weeks of fighting. "At first they said they wanted to create a buffer zone of 20 kilometers to put in an international force. But what does that mean when Hezbollah can fire rockets over your back? Now there is a new formula: the demilitarization of the South."

Mr. Jumblatt is dubious. "Rice didn't clarify how the international force would deploy. As I've told the Americans: As long as Syria can send weapons to Hezbollah, there will be no change in the situation. Not with this regime in Damascus. We need a force that can cover all of Lebanon, like in Kosovo. Monitor the Syrian border, then talk."

The United States is not thinking about such a scheme, Mr. Jumblatt tells me. And that's why he plainly feels that American ambitions are likely to crash against the reality on the ground. If Hezbollah refuses to disarm (and it does), "then we enter a phase of all-out war, endless war, with the possibility that this will weaken the Lebanese state. Let us also remember that the Syrians a few days ago promised the Americans they would help them fight al Qaeda. This was, in fact, a backhanded warning that Syria could use al Qaeda to kill innocents in Lebanon."

(Mr. Jumblatt sounds even less confident a day later. I call him up for a reaction to the early-morning address by Hezbollah's secretary-general, Hassan Nasrallah, in which he promised to bomb deeper inside Israel. Our conversation takes place amid reports that the Israelis have suffered heavy losses in fighting for the town of Bint Jbail. "Even if Nasrallah loses positions, Hezbollah's fierce rearguard is making it increasingly difficult to set up something afterwards. I doubt we will see a multilateral force if this continues. If Nasrallah comes out victorious, he will dictate his conditions to the Lebanese state--if he still accepts the state.")

There is a strong desire for retribution in the Shiite community. Quite a few politicians, including Mr. Jumblatt, have implied that Hezbollah's abduction of two Israelis soldiers was irresponsible, which many of the group's faithful deem to be a stab in the back. This prompted Mr. Nasrallah to declare, ominously, in an Al Jazeera interview last week: "If we succeed in achieving the victory . . . we will never forget all those who supported us. . . . As for those who sinned against us . . . those who let us down, and those who conspired against us . . . this will be left for a day to settle accounts. We might be tolerant with them and we might not."
What does Mr. Jumblatt think of that threat, obviously directed against him and his political comrades? "Nasrallah was talking in the name of the Syrian regime. He thinks he's a demigod. Like [Iran's President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad he's waiting for the 12th Imam, the Mehdi. This aspect of Shiite religious mobilization can be frightening." He pauses. The phone is ringing--one of the countless times this has happened as his men ask for guidance on organizing the aid effort. Before closing, he issues instructions that trash be removed from a certain location. A lady had earlier called complaining about it.

Mr. Jumblatt's relations with Hezbollah are complex. He has been the group's most vociferous critic in recent months, and yet it was he who broke its isolation last year during the "Cedar Revolution," by helping engineer an election law preserving Hezbollah's quota in Parliament. Why? Partly to protect his own electoral stakes, partly because he thought he could profit politically from being the middleman between Hezbollah and the coalition opposed to Syria. But the arrangement later collapsed when the party refused to break with Damascus, and Mr. Jumblatt realized that his own chances of reconciling with the Syrians were negligible. An inveterate calculator, the Druze leader has surely factored easing Hezbollah's anger into his hospitality for the Shiite displaced. He even adds, for good measure: "I don't care if the refugees put up Hezbollah flags and photos. I can understand this emotional reaction." (What he doesn't say is that he's allowed this in order to lessen Shiite frustration to avert tension between Shiites and Druze.)

Given the estimated 500,000 to 700,000 people made refugees, most of them Shiites, will Hezbollah be more flexible on an overall settlement? "It makes no difference to Nasrallah," Mr. Jumblatt says. Nor should one expect much from those critical of Hezbollah's unilateralism. "We need a prominent Shiite to work with us, particularly [Parliament Speaker] Nabih Berri. Nasrallah thinks he's at the peak of his power, but you have to talk to the Shiites; you cannot allow them to be frustrated and humiliated. You have to reason with Nasrallah. The destruction we've suffered is not worth two Israeli captives, having a private army, declaring war and peace. But we need a Shiite to say this to Nasrallah."

It is the Syrians, however, who feed Mr. Jumblatt's anxieties. As he surfs the Internet at night--a pastime for which he is known to depart early from dinner parties--he can read the mounting calls in the U.S. and at the U.N. to bring Syria into a deal to control Hezbollah. For the Druze leader, this has existential implications. It could mean a Lebanese homecoming for an Assad regime that wants his head. "Syria and Iran have strengthened their cards in Lebanon today," he insists. As for the Bush administration, its Syria policy is "confused."

Starting earlier this year, Mr. Jumblatt tried to help refine the administration's strategy. On a trip to the U.S., he actively peddled the idea of regime change in Damascus, telling Ms. Rice: "The U.S. says Syrian behavior must change, but nothing will change for as long as this regime is in power. The U.S. must open a dialogue with the Syrian opposition, including the Muslim Brotherhood, which has accepted pluralism in its political program." However, all the signs from Washington are that Mr. Jumblatt will be disappointed.

Iran's role in starting the latest round of Lebanese violence is a theme Mr. Jumblatt has repeatedly raised in interviews. I play devil's advocate and suggest there is no evidence yet of direct Iranian implication--or does he know something I don't? He doesn't answer directly: "It's enough for Hezbollah to have the famous Fajr-1 and Fajr-3 rockets to show such involvement. The last I heard, these devices were not manufactured in Lebanon!" In that case had he heard that Iranians were fighting alongside Hezbollah? "Yes, we've heard rumors that Iranian Basij militiamen are participating in the fighting. I believe these stories."

In 1976, at the height of the civil war and less than a year before his assassination, Kamal Jumblatt traveled around the region to rally support against Arab endorsement of the Syrian army's presence in Lebanon. Jumblatt and his Palestinian allies were then fighting Syria. His trip started well, and he was received by top officials. But by the end of the tour, the Arab states had reached a consensus on backing a Syrian deployment, and Jumblatt suddenly found doors closing in his face. That isolation led to his eventual elimination. This explains why his son has always been sensitive to the dangers of quixotism, even as he now risks finding himself in a trap similar to his father's.
"I'm afraid that because of the chaos in Lebanon today, Syria might try to assassinate people here." Does that include him? "Yes, me, but also Fuad Siniora," the prime minister. But even if Mr. Siniora does survive, can his government do so, given that it is collaborating with the U.S. to tackle Hezbollah's arms? "Either he survives or we must accept the coup d'état fomented by Syria and Iran. That will determine whether Lebanon remains democratic."

No Jumblatt interview is complete without malicious wittiness. Asked about how the Lebanese conflict will develop in coming weeks, he says Israel's ground war will determine the outcome. "But if Hezbollah's missiles are pushed back, they will soon be here; no, they may soon be on Hamra Street," a shopping drag in the center of Beirut. "It took us a full 24 hours to negotiate the removal of a single missile from near the Pepsi-Cola factory," an enterprise just south of Beirut owned by a wealthy Druze family.

Mr. Jumblatt laughs at the absurdity of the episode, but he is making a serious point. Hezbollah can wage war from wherever it wants, regardless of its countrymen's preferences. Then he stands up and heads for an anteroom. "Let's see what the former minister wants," he sighs.

Mr. Young, a Lebanese national, is opinion editor at the Daily Star newspaper in Beirut and a contributing editor at Reason magazine.

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Walid Jumblatt Presentation recently here in Washington D.C. at the AEI

Event Materials
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Thank you for this invitation to be able to present some ideas.  The premises of the Cedar Revolution started in 2004, with the minority and the Lebanese parliament and somewhere behind us was the late Prime Minister Hariri.  When we refused the orders of the Syrian leadership to renew the mandate of the actual President Lahoud, we were, at that time, 29 members of parliament out of 128, and when we refused the dictates of Syrian regime, it started the bloody events. 

The first victim, he escaped by miracle, was Marwan Hamadeh.  They sent him a car bomb.  Then [U.N. resolution] 1559 was issued, which is a resolution that was applied happily.  Syrian troops later on redeployed or went out of Lebanon, but local militias in Lebanon stayed well armed.  Slowly but surely, with the late Prime Minister Hariri, we succeeded.  We started establishing a wide coalition called the Cedar Revolution. 

And then, the Syrians went out, but the price was terrible because it needed the blood of Prime Minister Hariri for them to get out and at the same time, of course, we were helped by the International Community, by the Bush administration, by Jacques Chirac, by others who got the Syrians out officially.  But from that time on, the sequence of terror has not stopped, and the latest victim was Pierre Gemayel, a prominent member of parliament and minister in Lebanon.  All who refused or questioned Syrian terror were killed. 

But the Lebanese people will not abide by Syrian terror.  Among them was, of course, Samir Kassir, a prominent journalist who was among the first pioneers to say that there will not be democratic stability in Lebanon as long as you have the regime in Damascus.  Among them is prominent politician, George Hawi.  Among them is Gebran Teuni, the Chief Editor of the Nahar Newspaper, the newspaper of the Arab World, the free newspaper of the Arab World.  He was killed because they wanted to -- maybe his killing, his assassination -- to kill the newspaper Al Nahar.  They failed. 

Of course, you have people who escaped, by miracle, death:  May Chidiac, LBC; Elias El Murr, minister of defense, and many other innocents.  When Gebran Teuni was killed, we decided to have the tribunal of an international character.  So to be able to bring those murderers to trial and that day -- it was on the 12th of December 2005.  That day the ministers of Hezbollah and Amal resigned from the government. 

Then we followed the path and we are about to fix up this tribunal with the United Nations and the convention was finally ratified by the United Nations, was sent back to Lebanon to be ratified by the Lebanese parliament.  That day, on the 11th of November last year, 2006, the ministers of Hezbollah and Amal resigned because the main issue they are supporting the Syrian regime against Israel, against questioning, against to stop -- they do not want to stop the Syrian regime, or do not want to challenge the Syrian regime’s dictates and terror in Lebanon.  And from that time on, we are in the big crisis. 

The problem with Syria is they do not even recognize the fact of Lebanon.  When you go back to some ideas on clichés of the Syrian regime, the father of this guy, [indiscernible], he used to say one people in two countries leads automatically to the concept of Anschluss, the concept used by Adolf Hitler when he united, by force, Austria to Germany.  And then as now, we have a new concept by Ahmadinejad, which is much more dangerous also, of course, the same danger like the other that comes with -– when Ahmadinejad says, “We are, in Tehran from Persia and Iran, the same body.”  We are not the same body.  But also, it is a kind of annexation of Lebanon to the Persian Empire. 

We got the Syrians out and officially, the Cedar Revolution started on the 14th of March 2005, 14 days after the killing of Prime Minister Hariri.  From that time on, we were able to resist Syrian terror and occupation and orders.  Of course, the price was terrible.  Losing people, losing prominent journalists, prominent thinkers, and to be always under the threat of being killed, but at the same time it was a success.  A success story for the West, for the US because they did not pay any single blood.  The success story for the whole Middle East, that in the Middle East, we can rule ourselves by ourselves and we can have a democracy in the Middle East.  Lebanon was a democracy, which was hindered by a Syrian presence for the last 50 years. 

Now, they are out.  What is left is, of course, much more difficult because at stake is the model of Lebanon.  Lebanon is a mostly confessional society.  A diverse society.  You have a free press, you have a free economy, free enterprise, free country -- not yet, but on the way. 

We are faced by the allies of Syria, by Hezbollah.  A totalitarian party, with a totalitarian ideology, backed by two totalitarian regimes, the Syrians and the Iranians.  This is the biggest challenge, how to establish, to confront, to establish democracy, to implement democracy faced with totalitarianism next door.  Next door, I'm saying Syria then Iran.  And this is where, of course, I'm seeking support, I have not denied that.  And I have sought support, and I did find support in the States, in France, in Western Europe, because I think it is worth paying the price to have a free Lebanon, democratic Lebanon, faced with others like -– Robert Kaplan calls them “the barbarians at the gate.” 

At stake is the presence of Lebanon, the values of Lebanon, the values of democracy and freedom versus a party and versus states that want to use Lebanon endlessly for their purpose and destroy the whole of Lebanon.  The last war during the summertime was triggered by the Iranians, and the Lebanese government did not have anything to do with it and Hassan Nasrallah said, apologized in one of his famous speeches and said, “Well, if we knew that the consequences could have been that disastrous, we would not have launched at all.”  But the war was there and it cost Lebanon billions of dollars and a thousand or more innocents and so many injured, 100,000 destroyed homes in the south and in Beirut.  He did not care. 

So this is what we are facing, an internal de facto state that will try to overthrow a de jure state.  If we succeed in disarming them peacefully -- we cannot do it but peacefully -- we can have a strong Lebanese State, entire state, if we fail, you will have the model not only in Lebanon, maybe in the whole of the Middle East.  The de jure state and de facto state, a militia somewhere controlling the faith of the citizens, beating Jordan, beating Egypt, beating someone else, and –- or like in Iraq, the de jure state unable to fix up its future. 

So, this is where the challenge is and this is where we do insist upon abiding by all international resolutions -- 1559, the 1701, the Taif.  This is where we insist upon that the state, only the State of Lebanon, should be responsible for holding the weapons, should be the exclusive authority to declare peace and war in summertime.  He declared peace.  He declared peace unilaterally against all Lebanese wishes, and this is where we also insist upon having this tribunal with the international character.  Without this tribunal, there is no way to punish the killers.  Why the international character?  Because when you are ruled by a foreign power for the last 30 years, what is left of your justice is minimal.  You see, we still have good judges, but I mean, we need international support because we are faced by an alliance, very important alliance, and very dangerous alliance, the Syrians and the Iranians. 

This is why we are seeking international support.  We got it, but now, we are on the verge of a very important issue:  Either we can vote in the Lebanese parliaments if the speaker of the parliament decides to open the extraordinary session; either we vote and ratify the convention and send it back to the United Nations, or we fail and if we do fail, well, the whole existence of Lebanon, stability of Lebanon, is at stake and the whole process of justice as at stake. 

So, it is a question of weeks.  It is not a question of months.  It is next week.  On the 20th of March will be the issue of either Nabih Berri, the speaker of parliament, opens the parliament after a majority or he decides to kidnap the parliament. 

The government stays kidnapped and we go into the unknown.  The unknown is very dangerous for everybody.  Some people might say that, well, it is a time like some here senior, some journalist in the New Yorker maybe, that, well, certain community Lebanon is asking for a fair share of power.  That is not true.  We have this fair distribution of power under the auspices of Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Hariri at that time in 1989, between all the various communities of Lebanon, between the Muslims, the Shiites, the Sunnis, the Christians. 

That is not true that now, we are about -- I mean, a certain community is absent from power, not at all.  We would like one day to achieve maybe a secular regime to separate state from religion.  This is far away.  But for the time being, the Taif Agreement is very important and gives all the minorities of Lebanon an equal distribution of power.  So I just –- I totally disagree with the people saying that while the Hezbollah’s aim is to have a better share of power, then a better share of power needs, should I say, to accept to abide by the classical rules of democracy.  I mean, the classical rules of democracy, I do not see, I think, in the States, the democrats or other parties being able to have weapons or rockets to change the rules of the game. 

I mean, there you have -- actually, on the ground, you have enclaves close to the Lebanese State ruled by Hezbollah in all matters and having their rockets, their weapons, and even last week in total violation with the 1701, a tank full of mortars was circulating in Beirut and was, by accident, captured by the Lebanese army.  But it means that, well, now, they can do anything in violating the basic rules of democracy and the international resolutions.  And by the way, the mortars were 60-millimeter mortars having been unfortunately long time ago to war, the 60-millimeter mortars means street warfare.  It is very dangerous.  It is very risky, but this is the case.  So, this is where, if they want a better share in power, they should resign, abide by the rule of law.  They should give their weapons to the Lebanese army.  We should enforce between us and the state of Israel the Armistice Agreement signed in 1949. 

We should allow the United Nation forces now heavily concentrated in the south to do that job and there is a very important issue; we should be able, with international assistance, to control our borders with Syria. If we are not able to control our border with Syria and if the flow of weapons, and our mission, and terrorist is to continue flowing from Syria to Lebanon, we will not ever have stability.  We will not ever have stability in Lebanon and Hezbollah and their allies will be able always to create instability at the price of the independence and democracy of Lebanon. 

As I said, the consequence of failure would be enormous for the whole Middle East if this emerging democracy, thanks to, again, to the free world, is to crumble.  State of instability will rule everywhere.  Who knows?  Everywhere.  It will be the end of the moderates, intellectuals, politicians, rulers, and the whole Middle East will have everywhere rulers [indiscernible], or somebody else [indiscernible].  And also, to the end of this prosperous model of co-existence, multi-confessional system of Lebanon diversity, free market, free press.  I think we deserve to stay alive.  We have to stay alive.  I mean, thanks to your help. 

We deserve to stay in our country not to have to see our young people emigrate going anywhere in this world.  We have equality.  We have elites here, everywhere that should come back to Lebanon, but they need stability.  The ways to achieve success, from the beginning we said, “No,” and we paid the price and the price was blood, and we are ready to pay the price, and the price is going to be blood -– Pierre Gemayel will not be the last victim, but we will continue our path and we proved on the last meeting on the 14th of February, the second commemoration of Rafik Hariri’s death, we prove that we are still there willing to pay the price, political price, willing to defend Lebanon, willing to defend the values of Lebanon, the values of freedom, of democracy.  We intend to defend our pure existence and saying “no” to the Syrian tyrants, no at any price.  We will not ever, ever let him come back, no. 

And also saying no to the Syrian allies because they cannot stay like that, a state within a state within the state and army next to the official army and declaring war and peace whenever they feel like.  We are at odds with them ideologically, economically, politically. 

How to do it?  It is not easy.  How to do it?  You have -- I mean, I have been discussing this issue here time and time again here with the administration.  How to change Syrian behavior?  It is like asking a wolf to be a sheep.  It is not easy.  But the key issue, how to contain the Syrians and how to make them respect Lebanese independence, well, a long time ago I have said it.  It is not a secret.  If there is no changing of kind of regime in Syria, helping the same opposition to change this regime, we will not have peace in Lebanon and nobody will have peace -– the moderates around the world will not have peace either.  So, there is a need to speak with the same opposition.  You have a credible opposition, the Salvation Front.  They need to speak with them.  They might offer another alternative for the Syrian people so to have peace in the Middle East and peace in Lebanon. 

Our parties have long, as I said; the price is going to be enormous.  But after all, we will win.  I mean, I used to like war movies during my childhood.  There is one movie, A Bridge Too Far, I think you have seen it.  A Bridge Too Far, of course, the allies went too far, but finally they took the bridge and they held and they defeated the totalitarians, the fascist regime of Germany.  We will win in Lebanon, thanks to you.



 
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