Open Letter to the General Secretary of Hezbollah

February 23, 2016

Dear Reader,
This is an Open letter to General Secretary of Hezbollah
Dear Secretary General,
“Do not let your difficulties fill you with anxiety, after all it is only in the darkest nights that stars shine more brightly.”. Imam Ali ( saaws)
In what follows, and being both of us from the same age generation, I will address you as an eminence intended as intelligence and not as a persona or a chair, hence I will call you Hassan.
Dear Hassan,
Visitors to Lebanon immediately notice the institutional conundrum and crisis that the nation/state is living in. It is about a waste mismanagement and about a political derailment of the collective society.
One need not to be an expert to realize how complex are regional issues reflecting on the tiny land laying on the shores of the Mediterranean this amount of pressure on its tissue and fabric.
Experts and observers might think or be induced in their analysis to emphasize the endorsement of the candidacies of MP. Aoun or MP. Franjieh, as a political dissolution of March 14 and a victory to March 8, but this is partially correct if not entirely wrong. In truth it is Lebanon as an entity that is suffering the stalemate and the lose-lose formula, where even candidates from the same side erase the chances of one another, being both caught between a rock (past failures and the future of Lebanon ) and a hard place ( oil and gas interests).
We all know how to make an omelet from an egg but we ignore how to reverse the process, and in front of the presidential vacuum and the parliamentary illegitimacy one needs to think where the Lebanese constitutional edifice future is?
In the first republic created by colonial France, unlimited powers were concentrated in the executive office of the president; by contrast the second republic sponsored chiefly by Saudi Arabia reduced these powers and transferred much of these to the office of the prime minister. In both republics checks and balances were erased, corruption was rampant, regional agendas superseded the citizen needs and alternative social subsidizing was delivered by non state actors. Considering where we stand today, we can easily affirm that there is no way back to both republics and that what we mostly need is to embrace a new logic and innovative reform which guarantees all players.
As you know the state is almost absent and major issues such as defense and foreign affairs are subject to national divergences. It’s geopolitics you will shortly and promptly reply and nuance and I agree.
The logic of The Lebanese Opposition as stated in the strategic white paper in the following link https://thinkingdice.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/strategic-white-paper/ implies that the geopolitics of the nation/state needs to be oriented to the future, the regional context.

In an effort to keep an intellectual upper hand in the events surrounding Lebanon and in order to avoid any repercussions deriving from the provisional plan between major International powers ( USA & RUSSIA) already announced, and shortly to be applied in the neighboring theater of Syria, I vividly invite you to reflect on the constitutional options in Lebanon.
If it is true that we can’t go back to the first and second republic in Lebanon, it is also true that the third republic in still undefined in its form.
And here are my two pennies. I propose that a transitional phase of one year be the key element of change. A neutral president (preferably a lady from the civil society, Mrs Nadine Moussa) will be elected for one year and afterwards immediately a neutral cabinet of six will be endorsed by the parliament albeit illegitimate, to do the following : form and call on the encompassing national council to convene and negotiate national reforms. The first reform will caress stability and will create the post of vice president of the republic that will be elected in a presidential ticket with the president of the republic by the people directly in a universal suffrage. This post of vice president, will be allotted to a Shiite, considering the Lebanese special formula of coexistence and delicate stratum formation by different sects, creeds, and faiths that unfortunately replace the secular breath, which needs to be essential in any modern state. But politics is also the art of the possible. The president and the vice in tandem will have the joint power to call for general elections and dissolve the parliament, if a schism impedes the parliament from moving forward. And the duo can jointly exert veto on draft legislation approved by the parliament and the cabinet in case of national interest. This joint power will create equilibrium and balance; it will help the executive and legislative branches to have more thoughtfulness and creativity rendered to the populace. The mandate will be for 4 years, renewable only once.
The PM will be Sunni and will keep his office powers intact as they are, with the difference of supervision by the presidential duo on the laws emanated by the cabinet by vetoing these.
The Speaker will be orthodox and can have only two consecutive mandates, a senate will be created of 28 members presided by a Druze for a maximum of two mandates of 4 years each also. The number of Laws needs to be reduced, and bicameral approval is required for laws to become effective.
The electoral law for the general elections for both chambers will be the one proposed by late Fouad Boutros, with all the metrics and regulations for spending, for eligibility, and for the candidates profiling. An independent commission will be monitoring also the municipal elections of course; that we all hope will be held on time.
A Catholic will be the Director of the General Security and a Maronite the army commander with objective to form a powerful army, a Sunni will lead the ISF. A special division called National Guard grouping the resistance brigades in it, will be formed and detached to the Republican Palace joint to the republican guard and it will be under a Shiite commander who will be part of the military council.

وَالَّذِينَ اهْتَدَوْا زَادَهُمْ هُدًى وَآتَاهُمْ تَقْواهُمْ  ”                 سورة محمد      47/17 ”

Dear Hassan,
We most need to move forward and to tackle issues related to education, literacy, refugees, economy, social welfare, juvenile labor, defense, strategy, environmental emergency, health care and so on. So we need a major political breakthrough.
Shall I talk about the connection with the beloved civilization of the Iranian Peoples? You know very well that in 3 days, elections will take place, in the Islamic Republic and there is a call by opposition Leaders to vote en-masse and deflect the radicals of JYM ( Jannati , Mohammad Yazdi and Mesbah Yazdi ) . So how will Lebanese specificity be affected?
It is time that we cross the lines of immobility and walk our regional way to peace with Judaism reformists also.
“Jewish states may rise and fall, as they have risen and fallen in the past, but the people of Israel will continue to minister at the altar of the Most High God in all the lands in which they dwell” A reform rabbi affirmed.
Decrying the growth of fascist tendencies must be the common battle of all faiths and creeds for the best interest of Humanity.
A regional hub of many millions of citizens, is already here to host all of us in peace where we can instate our services, export our products , create our energy auto sufficiency, project justice to the Palestinian and Israeli states and durable , long lasting horizons for many generations to come in the Levant confederation of territories.
Finally as you said in one of your speeches; Lebanon is caught in a cycle of threats. And it is our duty to be strong and capable of defending our country.
Illuminated Reform of the government, and regional synchronous as explained in my open letter,together to the waste management hierarchy as illustrated by environment experts, by the civil society and endorsed by the industrial association, and to the economic recovery , to the republican military capability, and to the regional peaceful hub creation are the best defense.

“Directors make people advance in perfection by performing a great number of acts of virtue, but my Director, who is Jesus Himself, teaches me to do everything through love. … I know now that true charity consists in bearing all our neighbors’ defects–not being surprised at their weakness, but edified at their smallest virtues.” Therese de Lisieux.

Thank you


Strategic White paper

February 19, 2016

The Geopolitics of Lebanon, Strategic White Paper of the Lebanese Opposition
Table of Contents
Summary
Lebanon in History
Modern Lebanon
The first, second and third republics
Geography and Neighbors of Lebanon
Lebanon where to?

Summary
Entrenched as the Lebanese are, between the trash smoke and the electricity darkness, citizens either residents or living abroad, do reiterate a common denominator, the cause of belonging. The beating historic heart stands beyond any liability, to reaffirm a commonality that astounds in its desire to share cultural differences within a context of peaceful existence.
Lebanese resilience is so famous, and it could deliver permeability in very dire moments and eras, yet what expect us at the corner are major decisions and intakes that will affect our future and the future of our families.
Defining the Lebanese national interest and the layer on which this interest will be best achieved and protected is a big question mark. So let us walk this route together in exploring our future anima.
Lebanon in History
Lebanon is commonly known nowadays as a sovereign territory located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Since the beginning of history making, however the population living on the same area had different ethnic origins and appellations. Different civilizations came in and this generated a melting pot of interaction, from Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Canaanites, and Persians to Egyptians, Seljuk’s, Ottomans and Arabs.

Modern Lebanon
Beyond the size, the ethnicity and the geology, what matters most is the evolution of the political organization of the Lebanese state that became member of the league of the nations and afterwards of the United Nations. It is a fact though that even if the nation was declared within recognized yet not finalized boundaries, the state failed miserably in projecting the work of elite to the well being of the populace.

The first, second and third republics
After the declared independence, seventy years already passed, and tumultuous events characterized the state evolution. The first republic witnessed the nascent Lebanese army as a stratum around which to build the institutions, where efforts were done to kick start several monitoring agencies, for check and balance purposes. Yet the regional depth expressed in several conventional wars, and or attrition combat severed the structure of the Lebanese state and this brought us to an internecine civil war, where international chancelleries and foreign intelligence played a major role to foment disorder. The second republic started after the constitutional amendment. In truth the state applied during two republics (1946/1989 and 1990/2016) two different constitutions that rotated the major executive powers from the office of the president to the office of the PM within the observance of a parliamentarian democratic system. Per se’ the rotation could bring benefits if applied with rigor and considering several checks and balances, yet the Lebanese politicians embarked on a corrupt path that erased all the achievements of the first and the second republic. These same politicians didn’t bother to create a commission for truth and reconciliation after years of civil war, at least to investigate the fate of thousands of disappeared citizens. A pardon was granted as per the interests of few, and bad governance roamed the land, where war lords, non-state actors, and local feudal emirs distributed favors to secure the loyalty and enslavement of electors.
Rampant malpractices and foreign allegiances disrupted the national patrimony and accumulated only debt. Economic figures convene that small enterprises, manufacturing and tourism which account for more than 20 % of the general national product are in tatters, and that black trade is the rule of the land, where illicit traffics of arms, money laundering, drugs, and monopolies of Oil, finance, public works and industrial factories cannot meet the needs of modernity and innovation. Although it is evident that the second republic failed, stubbornness is opposing any rational outlook for change that can deliver the longed and reformed Third republic. The nation consists of religious, tribal and factional lines, but the state once again demonstrates it can’t follow that social delineation. What is needed is a national effort to overcome personal weakness which is to be victors in our inner acceptance as citizens not infidels.

Geography and Neighbors of Lebanon
Lebanese geography consists of a coastal line, with an internal plain sitting within two chains of mountains. The eastern chain creates a natural barrier, for the arable plain to ensure an agricultural sufficiency to a minimum of 35 million citizens if managed with a vision of future outlook. The western chain can represent the reservoir of required water resources for years to come whenever it can be powered by irrigation systems and retaining stations. Although there are rivers in Lebanon these do not permit transportation, hence the basic trade is channeled either by route or by sea. Neighbors of Lebanon are Syria which is going a major transformation and Israel which is articulating lose- lose policy with the Palestinian state. Caught in between, Lebanon is expressing for now, a concept of active intervention to be a partner in setting the future dynamics of this area in the Levant.

Most likely it is better to create our own alternative energy , Wind in Akkar, Solar in Bekaa and Recycling in Marjayoun and to exploit our own hydrocarbon resources offshore..

Lebanon where to?
As we know there are three magnets attracting dynamic movements in the Lebanese arena, Iranian, Saudi and to a certain extent International. So far the first two, Iranian and Saudi failed miserably to ensure at least basic services to the citizenry by expressing the failed Lebanese “Tawefuk Democracy”. In fact representatives of all factions differ on the regional affiliation but converge on embezzlement, bad governance, corruption, malpractices, a mafia style that allocates to a physical person subject to errors, as any of other human beings, the role of speaker for more than 25 years without any significant accountability. It is clear that the trash emergency is only the iceberg of the state illnesses that are numerous.
But how can we adjust the fallacy?
Let me start by saying that unless we agree on a future vision for Lebanese geopolitics we can’t transit the second republic to the third. And we may be going through a failed state Scenario.
In a present world where major economies lack a decent growth, and march on flat figures, where deflation is the major risk and passive interest rates are almost pervasive, forecast is that by 2025 cities with over 20 million inhabitants will be more than 20 worldwide, and that urban environments can’t cater indefinitely to the migration from the country side.
National budgets will depend on a multiplicity of angles and the true defense is to deploy a policy of matching markets to resources. Defining the Lebanese national interest is without doubt linked to a closer relation reset, between regional foes, that permit easiness and trade to be pursued, but this will take more time than we imagine. So meantime we can dedicate our resources to evolve the state into the third republic and then find out how this will fit into the regional interplay through confederated states.
While major powers are working to perfect their systems of armaments, and to project their power and alliances, we are lacking any kind of planning, research, development and innovation. While we can all agree that reanimating the second Lebanese republic is not an option, we need also to agree that we don’t have a common vision for the third republic, and here is the missing part. On the surface it seems incoherence or detachment, but the Lebanese people sensed already this and therefore stick to what they hold in hand, strong of the teachings by the civil war. The people want out the second republic, and they want in a third republic, which they are familiar with simultaneously. Nobody wants a revolution that leads nowhere.
While major changes are ongoing in Syria and Iraq the Lebanese Public is concerned by any instability affecting their own destiny, and for this reason they will not commit for imbalances but simply for basic services, from here the silence, the deafening silence.
As the Syrian and Iraqi theaters are irreversibly changed, and until a stable alternative replaces the actual strive, world powers will keep the pace in trying to influence the upcoming.
Because the end game is lacking, where final borders will settle, Lebanon can be engulfed by the regional tempest, maybe not by events but by future agreements for sure.
While many local protest movements are shaking the mud waters of the trash crisis and of the basement of the corrupt politicians, each as per its own specifics and agenda, this tactical richness is a major guarantee of longevity for the civil society vivacity on the short run, but also its major liability on the long run.

WHAT CREATES A COMMON STRATEGY AND AN ALTERNATIVE TO BE OFFERED TO THE POPULACE IS : ANSWERS TO THE FOLLOWING!

In which regional confederation Lebanon will sit in 2020?
What is the form of democratic governance and checks, residents in Lebanese will look for? Presidential or Parliamentarian? Secular or sectarian or both?
What are the main characteristics of the Lebanese market in 2020? An economy of Oil / Gas export, with which sovereign investments? and what are the defense options that the national army will build capabilities on ? Will Lebanon Intellectually lead a Regional entity ?