Friday, January 21, 2011

Jumblatt is digging his own political grave

Whatever the outcome of the current political standoff in Lebanon, one thing is certain: things will never be the same for Jumblatt.

I remember his speech of 14 March 2006 very well.  Who would have thought that it was conceivable that Jumblatt could make a u-turn from those words?  He did. It took a lot of grovelling and pleading for forgiveness. Assad made sure Jumblatt is duly humiliated.  

Now, however you look at the parliamentary arithmetics, Jumblatt is kingmaker. For a normal politician in a normal country, this is a great position.  But Jumblatt is not a normal politician and Lebanon is not a normal country. Jumblatt needs to follow the trend that is least costly to his community, not make decisions that will impact other communities.

There is much anticipation over what he would say this afternoon. Will he support Hizbollah or Hariri?  He  is reported to have told the New York Times:

“I’ve been able to slowly regain the confidence of Hezbollah and Bashar ... I’m not going to commit any more blunders. I cannot afford to.”

That's exactly right. He can't afford any more blunders. He can't afford to anger Syria or Hizbollah.  But can he afford to anger the overwhelming majority of Sunnis and a large portion of the Christians?

Whatever Jumblatt does today he is bound to anger half the Lebanese population. This is not a comfortable position for a small community like the Druze. He is damned if he supports Hariri, and he is damned if he does not support Hariri.  

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