Monday, 18 February 2013
That Lebanese Vicar Of Bray, Walid Jumblatt, Supports Syrian Sunnis, But Still Doesn't Dare Challenge Hezbollah At Home

Druse leader -- hereditary, not elected -- Walid Jumblatt is always amusing to watch, as he twists and turns, now with this side and now with that. He wants to protect the Druse, and above all, wants to promote and protect Walid Jumblatt. In Lebanon Hezbollah now possesses the strongest military force. He can't come out against it; he isn't a Sunni fanatic, nor a Christian liberal. He's just Walid Jumblatt, Vicar of Bray, completely untrustworthy as an ally but completely trustworthy as a guide to the crazy-quilt of sectarian policies, and kaleidoscopic rearrangements, to be observed in Lebanon.

He's decided to take the side of the rebels in Syria. But as he is afraid of Hezbollah, and unwilling to join the March 14 group -- made up of Christians and Sunni Muslims -- call for Hezbollah's being disarmed. Jumblatt  puts his opposition to that Shi'a militia's intervention in Syria in the only possibly palatable way: that it would deflect Hezbollah from its true task, as a "resistance" fighter against the Israelis in south Lebanon though the Israelis, of course, are nowhere to be found in South Lebanon and will only enter it if Hezbollah's rockets and missiles -- about 65,000 of them -- need to be put out of action, either after or during or before they are used.

Here is the latest take by, and also on, Walid Jumblatt:

From The Daily Star (Lebanon):

Hezbollah should keep out of Syria: Jumblatt

BEIRUT: Hezbollah needs to cease its activities in Syria in order to preserve its record as a resistance movement in Lebanon, Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt said in his weekly statement to Al-Anbaa newspaper Monday.

“[Hezbollah’s] weapons need to be redirected so that they do not get lost in Qusayr or places other than Qusayr in order to ensure that the honorable sacrifices and struggles of the resistance in south Lebanon are not forgotten,” said Jumblatt, a staunch supporter of the Syrian uprising.

Security sources told The Daily Star Sunday that three Hezbollah fighters and 12 Syrian rebels were killed in the Syrian region of Qusayr across the border with Lebanon.

The fighting, the worst near the border with Lebanon since the uprising erupted in Syria nearly two years ago, raised further questions on whether Hezbollah, an ally of President Bashar Assad, is participating in the fighting there.

Hezbollah has denied involvement in the crisis in Lebanon’s neighbor.

Turning to the longstanding dispute in Lebanon over Hezbollah’s arsenal, Jumblatt said bickering over the contentious subject would not resolve the dispute.

“The constant debate over arms will not solve the problem,” said Jumblatt.

The March 14 coalition has repeatedly called for the disarmament of Hezbollah, arguing that the state alone should have a monopoly on the use of force, while the resistance group says its weapons are a must in order to defend the country against Israeli aggression.

Jumblatt said clear guidelines needed to be set over the use of Hezbollah’s arms, which, he added, required rival political parties to return to the National Dialogue table and reach a consensus on a national defense strategy.

“The sooner Lebanese rivals reach an agreement over a national defense strategy, which allows the state alone to be tasked with defending the country, the sooner Lebanon will be protected,” he added.

In September, President Michel Sleiman put forward a defense strategy for political parties to discuss. However, the all-parties came to a halt following the Oct. 19 assassination of a top security official. The opposition blamed Syria for the killing and also held the Lebanese government responsible.

Jumblatt, who returned Sunday from Saudi Arabia, also said officials in Riyadh had expressed their keenness on preserving Lebanon’s stability.

“I sensed during my trip to the kingdom and my meetings with Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal and intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan their keenness on Lebanon's stability,” he said.

The PSP chief also said that Saudi Arabia “firmly” supports the Syrian people in their uprising against Assad and their "rightful struggle for freedom and independence.”

Posted on 02/18/2013 10:21 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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