Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Crucifix of Siniora

At the end of the day, Fouad Siniora is just a loyal employee of Hariri Inc. (Not to use harsher descriptions thrown his way.) His failed 13+ months experiment as Prime Minister was nothing more than a lesson in the grooming process of his boss. While he was dizzy being pushed around in different directions, Boss was lounging on a Mediterranean island beach doing lines and taking notes on the Dos and Don'ts of Prime ministering. Siniora's usefulness seems to be expiring soon and while his name has been battered in many circles, his non-committal Boss is unscathed.

Welcome to Feudal Leadership 101.

Unfortunately for us, it has been reported the Boss's top advisors do not think he's ready for the job yet. (Insert your favorite expression of astonishment here.) So which loyal employee will be volunteered to be the next lab rat in Boss's educational curriculum?


Doha said...


I usually like your posts, but this one, what can I say, you are unfair to Seniora.

Jamal said...

Doha, i respect your opinion, but which point you think is unfair to Siniora?

The disillusioned said...

Doha and Jamal,

Your starkingly different posts today have one thing in common, deep conviction. When juxtaposed, they are greatly disturbing. I have come to respect both your blogs very highly and it saddens me to see you represent the highly polarized state of Lebanon. How will we get anywhere when two very well versed, well informed young people have such different perspectives. Why is it like that and how can we mend it? I think that unless we can answer these questions, there is no hope for Lebanon.

AM said...

I used to read this blog very often ...

bodhisattva said...


to be fair, sanioura is part of the problem, but not the problem (as you rightfully mentioned)

we all are

we keep electing those bozos for whatever reason, desperation, money, self-hate, i dunno any more

we deserve this political class until we realize that we deserve better

and elect people taht will take this constitution (1943-taef) and tear it up to shreds and instill one where they become CIVIL SERVANTS not Gods, and one where we are all equal as human beings

i cant think of anyone, but Buddha will do, gandhi, the dalai lama, angelina jolie ;)

but we must get them visas to Lebanon 1st ;), the rest will reincarnate there so its not a problem

be happy,

Maya@NYC said...

Hi Jamal. Sanyoura came to office with a heavy weight of having been considered the shadow of Rafik Hariri. What he succeeded in doing, was at least to break free from that image of an uncharismatic financial scrooge. During this war, he succeeded in my opinion, in maintaining a middle voice in the country; had right on the dot replys to israel's savagery, excellent rapports with the international committee and a cool head for negociations with hezballah.
But mostly, I think he succeeded in detaching himself and his political speech from Hariri and the future movement, although only partially.
Him being an honest man and fair player does not however, again in my opinion, justify the inaptitude of the current governement at fixing the country's urgent problems. I mean, what is Nayla Mouawad even still doing there?

Charles Malik said...


Saad is unscathed? I beg to differ.

The man is the laughing stock of Lebanese politics. The only people who take him seriously are Sunni who get their paychecks directly from him (that's quite a few people, but not a pool out of which electoral landslides are made).

Ana Min Beirut said...

Maya@NYC please ma tjibeh sirrit Nayla Mouawad !!!!

Jamal, great posts my friend, just keep on bringing out the sick irony of Lebanese politics....

The disillusioned said...

I agree with Charles. I have not heard anyone, (including my friends who used to LOVE Hariri Sr.) say that they are impressed with Jr. If you see them as Hariri Inc Jamal, other people are a little more objective and can actually differentiate between the two.

I respect your displeasure with how the government is handling things... but this is not a tutorial. Saad needs way more than this to become a fraction of the politician his father was.

Jamal said...

I see i;ve ruffled some feathers. You might think Siniora's cabinet performance over the past 13+ months and the situation in lebanon satisfactory, but I have much higher expectations from the government. You might want to blame certain ministers in the cabinet or certain parties for the shortcomings, but Siniora is the Prime minister and he is ultimately responsible for the overall performance. He might be good at selling dreams, but the lebanese reality today is nightmarish. (I'm still optimistic though, i think we'll hit rock bottom soon and after that there's only up)

Charles and disill, being a laughing stock hasn't stopped people from being lebanese zaeems before. If Saad decides to take a different direction than Siniora's current stance, he will burn Siniora and come in relatively unscathed(in his real base,keep in mind that the post Hariri assassination support that FM enjoyed for electoral landslides was a bit inflated for sentimental reasons and was never gonna hold), Heck he might even be viewed a savior, lebanese politics aren't the most conventional as you well know. I just don't see the FM going away anytime soon, and I strongly believe that Siniora isjust a temporary custodian.

Charles Malik said...


I wrote a post a few weeks ago saying just what you did: Saniora has no base. Saad can take it away any time.

But that doesn't mean that Saad has any respect, wide ranging support (outside of Riyadh), and ability to work within the zaim system.

Of course, being a laughing stock is okay for guys like, your fav, Skaff, but (to generalize) the Sunni are looking for someone with a much firmer base.

I'd speculate that Omar Karami might have a much more loyal base than Hariri (if they're with Karami now, when won't they be). Miqati, Safadi, and Ahdab are waiting to fill the Hariri void from any number of vectors.

And, of course, there's always Osama Saad and the big Beiruti families to deal with. If the Itani or Salam families start veering in another direction, Saad is toast. He becomes the Issam Fares of Saida.

dov_81 said...

dear Jamal,

i thoroughly enjoy your posts, but this one in particular, i really enjoyed.

Ever since the Harriri assassination, its become some sort of unspoken rule , that its forbidden to criticize them...

What you said was not only brave, but spot on and true, Siniora is a harriri tool, a good man though, but one whose actions have to be "okayed" by his employers.

Anonymous said...

Ya Jamal Basha

regardless of your opinion in Saad Hariri (I also share the view that he is an incompetent heir who doesn't deserve the political magnitude he's been given just by virtue of being a Hariri), you're pushing it a little with the Siniora crap. It should be obvious for anyone who puts aside the traditional Lebanese sarcasm to see that Siniora is a statesman of the top caliber. Can you imagine what would have become of Lebanon if, say, Karami was prime minister during the past one and a half year.

Loose the excessive sarcasm man it's not even funny.