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Syria announced its choice for the Presidential chair in Lebanon

Filed under: Middle East

Surprised? Hardly!

Army Commander General Michel Suleiman expressed his willingness to head a transitional government if parliament failed to elect a new head of state before President Emile Lahoud term in office runs out in November, provided all sides accept his nomination.

A general who for years was a close ally and friend of the Syrian elite that ruled Lebanon groomed for Presidency? That is far from being a solution to the Lebanese political deadlock.

What good could he bring to the country? A military regime? He is not a compromise candidate; he is simply put a bad idea candidate. HizbAllah may very well accept him since he continues to be a distant (due to new circumstances) friend of Syria. He will not try or even bring the question of HizbAllah's weapons so whats not to like about him? Aoun and FPM cornered by its proSyrian (HizbAllah, Marada etc) allies will have little if anything to say about it.

March 14 will not happy at all but under a certain context might be persuaded to go ahead with this alternative because: 1) they would accept almost anyone expect Aoun, 2) HizbAllah proved to be a tough cookie and Sheikh Nasrallah will wittingly say, 'lets face it a military man looks better than two parallel governments' 3) going in circle - if they refuse this alternative and others that HizbAllah and Amal will come up with then it will be an open shooting season on all sides

The truth is that no one wants to go after HizbAllah the hard way as they should. For decades the mantra was - The hell with the laws and constitution! We don't want to upset HizbAllah. Fear of HizbAllah's weapons seem to have paralyzed the minds of March 14

Just to make it clear. If Suleiman will be President that means ALL Lebanese parties pro-Syrian, anti-Syrian or otherwise will trespass the Constitution which stipulates that "should the Presidency become vacant for any reason whatsoever, the Council of Ministers exercises the powers of the President by delegation". (hat tip Beirut Beltway)

And to top it all- Suleiman visited the Maronite Patriarch last week. Of course the visit took hyperbolic significance now that the General said he is the man for a coup d'etat.

Suleiman said that Fatah al Islam is linked only to al Qaeda not with Syria. Of course he failed to back up his comments with profs. Further more he ignored the fact that this terrorist group had a huge amount of heavy weaponry in the camp. Where did the arms come from? I think it is safe for now to rule out: 1) Hizb Allah 2) the army

The only logical conclusion is that the weapons come from Syria. But a good soldier is a loyal soldier. Taken in consideration that he made a career under Syrian occupation guess to whom is he loyal to? In the end, why not let the people choose the President they want? The Constitution has been amended before to suit Syrian interest so why not modify it to suit Lebanese interest for a change?

For more read Michael Young's brilliant piece here

Update: An interesting connection between Suleiman and HizbAllah here.

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