According to the latest news from Doha (Naharnet), it seems the opposition and/or the Arabs have managed to bog M14 down into discussions about electoral laws and cabinet allotments, to the point where M14 has clearly lost sight of the main issues at hand and is not negotiating such issues as state sovereignty (which was supposed to be on the agenda, based on the Arab 6 point plan) and HA's weapons (which yours truly believes should be the prerequisite to making any other decisions entirely moot).
Instead, these incompetent and failed leaders have reverted to the old tit for tat sectarian allotment of seats, trying to gerrymander the electoral law to suit them in the next parliamentary elections, scheduled for 2009.
The latest proposal I'm hearing has M14 agreeing to give Hizballah the blocking veto power in the cabinet on the condition that Suleiman gets elected president right away and - drumroll please - BEIRUT IS LEFT OUT OF THE ELECTORAL LAW AMENDEMENT.
Is this what they've devolved to again? Back to the old tricks, selling the nation for a few seats here and there? All HA had to do, apparently, is dangle a few guarantees for the Hariri Sunnis in Beirut, and voila, they get their blocking veto in cabinet.
No one is talking about mechanism for strengthening state institution and spreading sovereignty over all Lebanese territory (which was one of the crucial points in the Arab 6 point plan, if I recall).
Considering when all is said and done, HA will have gotten exactly everything they've been asking for in the past 18 months, and given NOTHING in return with regard to their state-within-state status, and their weapons, I can't help but feel pessimistic.
Let's review, shall we?
1. HA gets a sympathetic president in Michel Suleiman. Who utterly failed as army commander in the country's hour of need.
2. HA gets a blocking third with veto power over cabinet decisions. Which means any future decisions about HA weapons will obviously be vetoed right away. Which means we can forget about any progress on that front.
3. HA and Aoun get the 1960 electoral law they've been asking for, and give Hariri some gerrymandering in Beirut, so he can insure victory for himself in the 2009 parliamentary elections (i do NOT consider this to be a concession for the benefit of Lebanon).
4. The state's institutions remain exactly as they are today, ineffective and useless.
5. HA gets to keep their weapons and their phone networks and security infiltrators. And they get to postpone talking about their weapons to a later date (see point #2).
In return, March 14 gets some gerrymandering of seats in Beirut, and a guarantee that HA won't turn its weapons against Lebanese again (and we all know Hassan Nassrallah's word is worth less than the lint in my pocket).
Conclusion: March 14 has sold us Lebanese for a few seats in Beirut and nothing more. Such complete and utter failure. And to think 65+ people died for absolutely nothing last week (not to count all those who died since 2005).
RIP Free Lebanon. RIP Cedar revolution. RIP any hope of building a modern state before the 25th century.
Samir Geagea seems to be the only one who gets it, or at least who's willing to talk about the real issues here. Some quotes:
Geagea said "situation is difficult during the Doha talks because the problems we have are fundamental and unfortunately some people are trying to link these problems to a parliamentary seat here and another there." This was in reference to the discussions of the electoral law and Aoun's objection to the Arab proposal on the electoral distribution of Beirut region"
Geagea added : We did not come to Qatar to make concessions but because of the security situation in Lebanon which must be solved
Geagea went on to say: : The basic problem is the subject of disarmament and the Arab Committee saw the problem but the other team is trying to evade it. What happened in the seventh and eighth of May is unacceptable , we were in a state and awakened to find ourselves in a jungle.
Geagea said he is hopeful of an agreement in Doha , before he returns tomorrow to Lebanon. But he added " We are going to insist on resolving the issue of the Hezbollah weapons . We will no longer accept verbal assurance"
Geagea also expressed his dissatisfaction with the role the army played during the Hezbollah coup
" The Army Command's attitude during recent clashes is unacceptable " Geagea said.
Geagea said "the Army Should prevent any side from using weapons to attack another side"