17 Jan 2011

Tunisia: Hopes, Myths and Copycat Revolutions

The success of the Tunisian uprising in forcing President Bin Ali to relinquish power last week has sparked off hopes of change across the Arab world. Considering that most Arab leaders hang on to power till the last day of their lives, this is no mean feat. Bin Ali's departure from office after 23 years of autocratic rule and as a result of a popular uprising seems to have broken the crippling barrier of fear. The question that many are asking now is who's next? Even the BBC has volunteered a few candidates and asked 'will there be a domino effect?' 

16 Jan 2011

The March 8 Paradox: Thoughts on Nasrallah's Speech

On the eve of the parliamentary consultations to determine the next Prime Minister of Lebanon and, as rumour has it, the long-awaited indictment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), the Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered a speech this evening in which he declared March 8's decision not to nominate Hariri again for the post. Hezbollah's ally Michel Aoun, head of the Free Patriotic Movement, had earlier in the day made a similar declaration. Both stressed that their opposition to Hariri's return to the premiership is not solely related to the STL, but also to the shoddy performance of the government and its incompetence.

13 Jan 2011

When Karl Marx quoted Hariri

"He who never destroys what he has built, ever stands

On this terrestrial world, which itself never stands still,"

says Hariri, who is no Frenchman by birth, but an Arab."
(Karl Marx, On Freedom of the Press)

Lebanon's self-induced paralysis

Firstly, the significance of latest ‘crisis’ to hit the Lebanese political system following the resignation of 11 cabinet ministers yesterday, and the de facto resignation of the cabinet that ensued, should be properly understood. The Lebanese confessional system appears to be exhibiting the symptoms of the law of diminishing returns: in the past this system used to function for a couple of decades in between major crises. This cycle how now been shortened to two years. By any objective measure, this system has now completely exhausted itself. Nevertheless, a viable alternative remains conspicuously absent.