Open letter to Michel Aoun

May 30, 2014

Open letter to Michel Aoun

Dear Reader,
Greetings and Good Day,

“The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance” Benjamin Franklin

Assuming that the period starting today and ending on June 20 will have no significant initiatives in the Lebanese political field, one must think how to invest this time.
Considering where the Lebanese national interest stands, I tend to say that the idea of Michel Aoun about a trinity is not bad after all, if we look at it from a prism of evolving the understanding between FPM and Hezbollah.
This is a unique opportunity for Lebanon to amplify internal convergence, but how can Lebanon benefit from this? So far it is clear that the dilemma of Michel Aoun is that he knows he will be the president maker but not the president. The question is will Aoun be more powerful being a president without powers or by indicating, adopting and sponsoring a president coupled to setting a written framework of internal understanding?.
We all know that all agreements outside Lebanon like Taef and Doha had a bad constitutional shape, so for once we have a way to shape our republic.
Michel Aoun can trade the following written agreement with Hezbollah and the Future 1) a constitutional revision of the three main powers in the country, the president can call once general elections, the speaker can have the same post for maximum 3 times; the PM should have better distribution of powers within more checks and balances. 2) New electoral law based on a mix of 128 plus 48 deputies or 108 plus 20 as per floated ideas on the internet. The mix consists of coupling the actual vote with a national scale vote.3) The assignment to the FPM out of its usual quota of 3 fixed ministries during the next presidential mandate: Foreign Affairs, ENERGY and Administrative development.4) start up of a national security body , within which Lebanese armed forces research center will initiate security literature and will define the Lebanese national interest, humint /sigint will be allotted in conformity with this vision. General Shamel Roukoz will be the founder of this sensitive branch. Joint committees with Hezbollah will finalize drafts of defense doctrine. 5) Devolution and other state reforms in education and research will be explored and finalized.
In view of several regional and international dynamics closing the eye on Syrian refugees and yielding to Israeli strategic pressure, the FPM will have traded for above a great amount of sense to the republic.
This is where Saad Hariri and Michel Aoun can act for Lebanon. Hezbollah and the General are trying to figure out how to evolve the Lebanese equation and the above is the DAO. The Maronite lobby needs to extract the best from talks and we need at any cost to avoid chaos and retard in state institutions.
Helping on all parties involved MICHEL AOUN can visualize that we only have two candidates Mrs. Nadine Moussa, and Mr. Ziad Baroud, so he will propose to let these candidates have two TV debates and go for a democratic vote in the parliament .
Hezbollah , the FPM and the FUTURE having signed an evolved understanding based on above, will support Moussa, based on the common social/strategic/economic/reform platform ( wages, opposition to occupation, water and hydrocarbon resources, constitutional reforms, devolution, electoral law, defense doctrine), while Baroud can be endorsed by the rest.
The trinity alliance would have secured LEBANON a new president and a win win situation will be established for the widest majority of the Lebanese.
It is no coincidence Christians are leaving Lebanon, is it because their leaders are much local and shortsighted? I will end by saying that the approach of the March 14 movement is totally wrong versus the presidential file.
The maxim says “ Majnoun yi7ki w 3akil yif7am “ . March 14 a movement anchored on air, has its time high to move forward.

“O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe. ” Langston Hughes

Thank You ,


NO FLY ZONE

May 28, 2014

Dear Reader,
Greetings and Good Day,

In an introduction to my thought, I say that after the economic crisis in 2008 and the changes
occurring in Europe (UKRAINE, POPULISM) and in the Sea of China, there is a major need for
policy makers to define a link between Euro-Mediterranean issues and the Asian Pivot.

My abstract will initiate from the events of 9/11 that entangled the US in two theaters,
which affected the state budget negatively. Hence the necessity endorsed by actual US administration
to end the drain in resources be these economic or logistics. We know that 2016 is the deadline
for withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Good news is that the FED easing policies managed to successfully transit the world from bankruptcy to renewed construction.

The DAO synthesis was to “TARP “without limits and then “De TARP “to zero.
The tempo was glorious in the markets, where mergers, expansions, housing starts, jobs, start-ups and other indicators are starting to file up in rank for better era.
How can policy makers make their strategy glorious by combining the pivot in Asia to the
EURO-Mediterranean governance /energy?

It is obvious that in the soup of several colored revolutions, the ARAB Spring requires some focus.
We all know that after WWII, major powers instated and helped the rule of dictators, Saddam, Assad and Gaddafi. These Criminals were a miniature of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot.

Since 2010 a so called spring started, then evolved into an autumn of military resurrection, and we can easily expect a winter to come, yet summer is unavoidable.
The masses are coping with open source education, and those still living in the past games such as Mr. Putin will find themselves in the terrain of old geopolitics alas.

While geography is an extremely important factor, research and development are pivotal determinants in wealth and growth. Arab Countries will need to set a new course, led by major intellectual openness coupled to the evolution of defense doctrines (KINGDOM of SAUDI ARABIA just started to apply this after a tremendous hesitation).
The transition in Egypt (where presidential elections had a low turnout), in Yemen (still in trouble), in Bahrain ( trying to walk the right path ), and in Tunis (subject to enormous social tension); will be extremely important for the sake of humanity and to define the link between Asia and the Euro-Med.

Yet to our surprise one nation above all will be the titan’s play yard. It is Syria.

Considering the requirement of the Chinese to generate jobs, the growth indicator had to be 8% for
the last 20 years. A perfect bubble was in the making, and there is a major need now to pilot internal
tensions, maintain growth levels, open alternative energy channels ( Russian gas) , and project naval
power as an aegis of military reach ( space, land and sea) .

But China apparently seems a giant, while in truth it is still much vulnerable carrying in it the
sophisticated Han /Non HAN bipolarity.
If China is swimming in a sea of difficulty to find its peaceful future among the nations, the Iranian
regime in Tehran doesn’t realize how it can contribute to stabilize Asia and the Euro-Med areas alike.
Iran is stretched between rhetoric and isolation as guiding principles, while the state interests
represented in Gas fields development and export to European markets are left without necessary attention.
The route of progress is not only in Iranian defense, but more importantly in Iranian economy.

The supreme leader believes he can play it both ways, nuclear in tandem with Russia, and energetic
in tandem with China. However this light networking can’t endure as a model for world institutions.
The challenge is that the Iranian system evolves peacefully with electoral tools towards a more flexible
entity influencing world affairs positively.
Any Chinese or Iranian projection of power to stabilize and spread human rights will be translated
in acquiring more prestige, yet cooperation with Russia to create a rebirth of an axis (MAO, STALIN, and REZA)
is totally a step backward.
Having understood the advancement of history, the question is how the US deployments in Australia, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, Burma, Diego Garcia and New Zealand can interact with the future Chinese fleet and the Iranian desire for defense?

The answer is Syria and the MEDITERRANEAN BASIN OF ENERGY (MBE).

Syrian refugees and Palestinian state are two big question marks for the world affairs.
In the coming 6 years, China will need to avoid the bubble and balance the figures, Iran will
be moving to become more agile socially and the requirement will be to start exploiting hydrocarbons
in the MBE. We know that Israel and Cyprus already started, but this is not enough in terms of production and investment on the pipelines to INDIA and or to EGYPT OR GREECE to link with the EUROPEAN networks.

Following the chemical stocks destruction in Syria, what will emerge in June will be the need to gain more
time for negotiations and this will be implemented by a de-facto no fly zone in South Syria 30 km deep.
This zone declared from September will represent the check and balance for stability.
Golan will be under control and the south of Lebanon also.
This equilibrium will enable refugees to gain their own land and for a Syrian floating entity to stand by around and north of Damascus waiting for the final arrangement to come in 2016.
Whenever Mr. MALIKI will realize that opening to the Sunnis will be necessary after years of despotism, and Iran will play a positive role in this, then we can envisage that the Iranian/Gulf talks facilitated by Oman will inevitably lead to a breakthrough.
The element of absolute clarity will be the election of Lebanese president that will represent
the embrace to both SUNNI/SHIITE main streams, similar to what POPE FRANCIS did in ISRAEL on the
wall with the Rabbi and the MUFTI.

A Lebanese president capable of embracing both and advancing within the corrupt elite the
project of kick starting hydrocarbon exploitation undoubtedly will be either an economic
personality ( SALAMEH), a military commander ( KAHWAJEH), a modern and young politician (Baroud)
or an active lady ( MOUSSA).
How the intersection in international affairs will display an accord in Lebanon and how the
No Fly Zone in South Syria will play into the hands of negotiators in Vienna in June / September/January
, is yet to be revealed, but it is a certainty that by the end of December and after the
US mid-term elections a Lebanese President will be elected, and will serve all interests involved.
A TV debate might well reveal to us who is the best Lebanese that will play into all this conundrum of interests converging and diverging as per cycles of goals.

From WEST POINT where presidents usually stand and announce military doctrines, I am confident that
the options of economic sanctions/soft deployments coupled to effective diplomacy in UKRAINE as
much as pursuing a SYRIAN NO FLY ZONE coupled to a return of refugees to their land, will
reinforce the cause of peace and of global growth.

The upcoming months will bring us some changes and we most need to impede any major
tension to arise, drifting positive developments from modeling the global environment.

Thank you


The Second Window

May 24, 2014

Dear Reader,

Greetings and Good Day,

It is very common nowadays to read opinions of observers explaining about the systemic changes that occurred in the 19, 20 and still occurring in the 21 century. The old order, the new order, potential chaos, progressive wealth, preamble of different directions, yet extremely representing the essence of world affairs.
The contrast of interests and the conflict in relations are an ever existing dilemma for policy makers to walk through. Where does Lebanon stand in the global community of nations, on the day of the constitutional deadline looming to end? It happens that while the first Lebanese presidential window expires, S& P touches a new record above 1900 and the Turkish state announces the start of exporting Kurdish Oil from Ceyhan.
How can we define a second Lebanese Window of opportunity?

Lebanese Current Affairs: As we all know, the vertical division of the Lebanese political spectrum is impeding the election of a new president. In view of the parliament mandate expiry in November, it is understood that an electoral law must be approved and general elections must be held before November. Therefore a rational second window of opportunity to elect the Lebanese president opens until the end of July. Meanwhile the absence of quorum will guarantee that vacuum will be the Lebanese president.
If it is true that the cabinet collectively can assume the presidential mandate to run current affairs during the vacuum, it is also true that this constitutional nuance can’t be exploited by the parliament to exert its legislative function. The reason is simple and that is the Lebanese president who swears in has the faculty to send back to the chamber of deputies any draft, while it is not clear how the cabinet collectively can exert such faculty. Thus my conviction is that the cabinet even collectively can assume only partially the president mandate, and this encounters even a key issue, that we ignore who translates the accountability of the institutions versus the populace and how. There are major fallacies, yet the run down to a reformed republic is to elect a moderate and reformist president, afterwards to approve a new electoral law with two chambers, and call for general elections. A new cabinet of dialogue will emerge and the president will sponsor an inclusive forum for unity where the horizon of Lebanon will be discussed. Whenever the second window of July will be missed, then; we will be heading to unknown risks. In fact no one can guarantee a quorum will be reached to extend again and again the mandate of the illegitimate parliament in November? Hence the loss of the second window will implicate that the republic will be governed by an oligarchy of losers and a bunch of profiteers from all sides, until a new window opens.

Egyptian elections, it is widely accepted that Mr. Sissi will be elected president and this will pave the way for a new policy to emerge during his mandate, where he will most likely reach out to the opposition and define a home grown option how to generate an effective and peaceful rotation of power in the Nile nation. A very difficult task, yet unavoidable to put back on track the economy.

UKRAINIAN elections, the likely scenario is that a new president will be elected and Russia will recognize the new leader and start bilateral negotiations to normalize the relations. We can envisage more autonomy to be exerted by the eastern provinces. This option will replace the deadly scenario of an unlikely civil war that will drag Russia into a costly attrition. Russia will stand by for a new opportunity to rise where it can exploit the entirety of the Ukrainian theater. Although the Kremlin is a declining power, it has a consequential positioning in terms of geo-strategy. NATO naval reinforcement on the black sea, and other deployments rivet the reality of Europe, a reflection of a struggle that will continue.

SINO-Russian GAS Supply, it is no secret that the Sino-Russian deal on gas supplies as much as the Australian LNG and American /Canadian shale industry will change and alter significantly the energy platform for the years to come. Mediterranean ascertained reserves will contribute to this evolving panorama and we will witness in the coming years vibrant activity to exploit hydrocarbons in the basin between Cyprus/Lebanon and the state of Israel.
The Russian gas supply to China will confer it with an additional access to energy to be added to OIL delivered by maritime routes and coal extracted in situ.
The forecast is that this environment will open a wide array of opportunities for the Iranians to export Gas to Europe considered to be the most important market of consumption, projected to a popular turbulence in its southern nations due to a failed economic model with high unemployment and enormous debt.

P5+1 / IRAN, from above we can guess that the major stakes for a deal with Iran will be for Germany and France in view of energy matters, and for the US considering a global positioning where the troops will require a land route to exit logistics from Afghanistan. Shall we assume a deal possible within the end of June or negotiations will be renewed six months until the Congress mid- term elections will end?
Meanwhile 5 theaters will be tested, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, and Palestine.

5 Theaters, In Iraq Maliki will form a coalition cabinet with Kurds and Sunnis and the mandate will empower further the Oil industry in the northern fields and in Basra. Iranian influence in Iraq for what it matters, will not alter the equation of OIL companies looking for deals to extend technology to Iranian fields and export Gas to Europe. Hence realism will play an immense role in the interests of the nations.
The main factor of strategic change in the Middle East and the alteration of the perception of threat are represented by a flare of social tensions in Iran, and if these will occur then the regime will be suffering a major setback in view of upcoming parliamentary elections.
A cultural clash will be avoided at all costs and the release of the HAPPY VIDEO actors is a signal in that sense. While tourism revenues and oil contracts with India will represent the areas of Iranian income increase, yet insufficient to inundate the Islamic coffer with cash, the steady way forward for the Islamic elite is to play smooth at home and become a regional power that will display stability no matter what the nature of regimes will be.
This nuance will be the new compromise in Syria, brokered by Iran where a major allotment of power sharing will be given to Sunnis in a transition that will prepare for a new system to emerge.
Bahrain is already benefiting from some calm and apparent joint efforts to ease tension in the gulf, supported mainly by the mediation of Oman.
In Palestine/Israel we know that Netanyahu is mediocre in his governance and performance, and the hope is for a new Arab approach that will ease Israeli fears and allay momentum for peace, where the peoples will grasp benefits rather than bullets and settlements and racial divisions.
Are there Israeli leaders ready for peace? Are there Lebanese ones?
This will take us to the essence of the struggle. In Lebanon the election of the new president will necessitate the approval of Hezbollah and the kick start of a new era in politics, where Iran will export GAS to Europe and Lebanon will export GAS to Africa and to INDIA.
Military maneuvers starting tomorrow in Jordan and in Israel will simulate these scenarios, and this will inevitably advance the chances of election of a Lebanese president within the second window.

Considering the above , Lebanon has an immense opportunity with the end of the constitutional deadline today and the fade of traditional candidates chances to be elected, to open the second window and elect a moderate, reformer and why not a female president.
The citizenry has only one option and that is to dig-In and arm itself with the simplest tool, Lebanese patience and desire for the rebirth of the nation. But candidates and policy makers must find the route for salvation from the actual impasse.
The successful Candidate Mrs Nadine Moussa, will recruit and select a skilled team, start fundraising events and presidential festivals, network with the full polity from diplomatic, military, social, political, temporal, national, and professional to the young. Furthermore will create a situation room and generate a leadership that will substantially be accepted by the population de facto, in waiting for the illegitimate parliament to elect her de jure.
The Lebanese are decent people and they can discern properly who will act for the interest of the collectivity.
The new window is until end of July or else if we lose it, then we will go until end of January 2015.
Lebanon is famous to lose every opportunity, but this time the enormous regional risks can be manipulated and stirred for the birth of a new national edifice.
Hope never terminates.

Thank you