Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What's Mikati thinking?

There is a lot of excellent analysis around about Hizbollah's (mis)calculations. What baffles me, though, is what is Mikati thinking?

Mikati is not a stupid man. He could not have achieved his success in business without a generous endowment of grey matter.

He is also not a man desperate for publicity. He can afford to spend his way into having a lot more publicity than he does now.

So, why does he accept to be Hizbollah's Man at the Serail? His decision is very puzzling. Here are a few thoughts on the possibilities:

1. A power trip
This is possible, but it can't fully explain his decision. He can't be seriously expecting to have much power when he does not have the support of his "constituency", the Sunnis. Power will rest with  Nasrallah's armed gangs, and he will be seen as the man who sold out his own sect.

2. A belief that he can do some good
This is also possible, but this also means that he must have an agenda. He has not been very vocal about a particular agenda. He was also thrust into this position rather suddenly, and all we've heard from him is some mushy boilerplate about extending his hand to everyone. He also outrageously said that his nomination does not  commit him to "anything other than protecting the Resistance."

3. He is forcibly taking the position
This is a possibility because of his alleged ties to Rami Makhluf, the profitable arm of Syria's regime. This explanation fits well with idea that there has been some sort of "regional" deal.

4. He does not expect to become Prime Minister
It is possible that he does not expect to actually become PM, but does not want to burn bridges with March 8. He can accept the nomination and then withdraw after meeting Hariri, on the grounds that he does not feel he will have enough support. In this way, he can stay "independent" without taking sides.

5.  He is having a mental breakdown
Shit happens to some of the best and smartest.

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