A Maverick’s trip to the hinterland -1
Posted by worriedlebanese on 18/12/2008
Aoun’s visit to Syria has sparked a bush fire in the Lebanese media. It seems like every single editorialist and politician in the country felt the urge to comment on it.
Much of the analysis coming from the aounophobic press was twofold, one one hand geopolitical and on the other electoral. Aoun’s visit was seen as an electoral trick to insure Syrian support during the coming parliamentary elections. It was also presented as a proof of Aoun’s political positioning within the “Syrian-Iranian Axis”.
On the other side of the policial spectrum, journalists and politicians were praising the visit or saying that it was perfectly natural. Aoun’s internet media Tayyar.org emphasised the religious aspect of the visit, and so did his Orange TV.
I personally believe that in practical terms, the visit doesn’t have much sens. By that, I mean that it will not have any immediate result. Syria has very limited influence on the Lebanese elections. It can no longer choose who is allowed to run, and it is no longer a broker in the formation of alliances or the constitution of slates. It can assert its influence through the votes of its nationals that were accorded a Lebanese citizenship in the 1990s, it can try to pressure its allies into making or unmaking alliances, but this is relatively insignificant compared to its influence during its “mandate” over Lebanon. In fact, its influence depends on the will and compliance of its local allies; on their acceptance of its interference, like it was the case in the late 1950s and 1960s with Nasser’s Egypt.
So what’s the fuss about?