Saturday, December 23, 2006

Political Economy Perspective on Lebanon V.2: The Shiite and the Sunni Dance

As I said earlier, more writing is required on this topic.

The current situation is that two greedy reactionary camps are standing head to head against each other. I introduced later the topic of Sectarianism and how Economics and Politics influence each other.

The Sunni leadership during the war remained stagnant; especially they never had a strong military militia to represent their interests. The only party that was a Sunni militia was the Morabitoun Party, which was Arab Nasserite in general, and Sunni in specific; however, this party never represented the Sunni interests in general like the Lebanese Forces or Hezbollah. Harriri Sr. started to expand his base by distributing aids during the war, free books, and some necessities during the war. A lot of “East Beirut” remembers him as doing so.

After the Ta’ef accord, Harriri’s empire started expanding drastically on a national level. Despite the fact he is a Sunni leader, he kept depicting himself as a national secular figure. His businesses, inside Lebanon and outside it, spread through out all sects. His grants; however, focused on the Sunni St. for electoral reasons and pushed the well-being in Saida and Beirut to a bit better income. Yet, business wise, he was ruthless. His Down Project, managed by Solidere, was supposed to be an all-Lebanese project, yet he monopolized it for his own empire. Harriri Sr. was supposed to represent the US-Saudi interest. His cabinet is composed of the economists from the world's greatest free market institutions, World Bank, IMF, Merrill-Lynch, … etc. Naturally, those people, such as Salami, Seniora, the late Fleihan, Azur, and others would advocate the entrance of Lebanon to the World Trade Organization., to Harriri Sr. considered this a wonderful idea to integrate Lebanon within the World Trade Organization to break Syrian Hegemony over Lebanese politics but at the price of Privatization, class indifferences, taxations, and the world of 100% free capitalism which will annihilate the Middle Class of Lebanon.

Meanwhile, the Shiites have been establishing organizational centralism via Hezbollah. Where the government has failed, Hezbollah entered the scene and financed their own people with Hospitals, Schools, and as far as security issues (except for Israeli brutality). Despite the fact that the South suffered due to the operations of Hezbollah, the Shiites supported Hezbollah, and more precisely its general secretary Hassan Nasrallah. He symbolized the Shiites' agony, and not once in history there has been a spokesman well heard like Nasrallah. To be exact, even though Nasrallah speaks on several occasions on Lebanese Nationalism, he is perceived as the Shiite spokesman.

As mentioned in the earlier post, each Sect has its sect defender, Nasrallah evolved to become that representation. This issue has different factors:

1- Nasrallah is a clergy man hence he is automatically regarded as a clean man with political concerns by his audience
2- Nasrallah's successful leadership of Hezbollah and his military victories over Israel
3- Nasrallah's social program to fill in the government
4- Mostly, Nasrallah is the balancer of power against any coalition. Such a posture by Nasrallah as a Shiite gave them the strength
5- The Martyrdom of Nasrallah's son reflected his understanding of the Shiites whether from Capitalism, taxation, or Israeli aggression.

The Shiites worry about Syrian return, but they worry more that they would lose their status as balancer of power in Lebanese politics. Social and political marginalization of the Shiites has been occurring more too often. They are the largest sect in Lebanon, and definitely at the rate of birth rate, as it is the case in all rural areas or sub-urban locations, in 20 years their Sect percentage of Lebanon would be much greater than any sect. Problem is, for other Sect leaders, is their availability as labor but the majority of the Shiites are not as educated as other Sects. This is again due to the problem of money, production location, and the fact that the Shiites historically were in the poorest areas. This of course does not mean that other sects do not live in poor areas. The Sunnis of Akkar and the North are in a large number living in poor areas, but the Shiites on a national level been living so. They tend to regard other sects with partial hatred as other sects, specially the educated, regard the Shiites as unequal to their own.

From here, we can shed some light on the situation between the Sunni-Shiite clashes on the political arena. The Shiites are not willing to return as the marginalized non-spoken for Sect. They pour their support to Nasrallah by all costs because they would be marginalized again, just like prior to the emergence of Hezbollah. Even though AMAL are a Shiite movement, but they do not represent the middle class and the poor. What Hezbollah did to the Shiites is exactly what the Phalange did to the Marada: targeting the poor.

With the Assassination of Rafiq el Harriri, the Sunni sect defender who gave a lot of grants and charity to his street felt threatened. On the other hand, their insistence to give his heir Saad Harriri the continuation and moreover the return of the Sunni supporters to hit the streets (something that has not been witnessed since Salam's supporters in 1958 clashes) would provide threats to the newly emergent organized Sect of the Shiites. The Shiites Nasrallah, Nasrallah adopted the Wali el Faqih religious form (Ali Khamenei) henceforth they respect the Iranian Syrian alliance. Syria benefited largely from the Wali el Faqih connection, since they rely on Hezbollah to be the balancer of power.

Moreover, the Sunnis and the Shiites got external affiliations. The Sunnis have the United States and France to depend on since their own leaders Seniora and Harriri rely on them, while Hezbollah depend on Iran-Syria. The Shiites currently are demonstrating in Down Town in order to safe guard their Sect interest. If Hassan Nasrallah gets marginalized, then as a whole they will be marginalized on the social/political level.

Hezbollah got a large advantage as the Army and Security Forces are made of Shiites, hence 1989 army disintegration can repeat itself. Seniora, the employee of the Harriri Machinary, rely on Finances to remain in power.

14th of March reactionary camp do not understand that in order to win the Shiites to their side, they need to prove to them they are willing to invest in the South, so far they didn't care much while more and more Hezbollah social networks keep expanding.

Whatever is happening in Lebanon is political, but it is also par excellence Sectarian as well. Each Sect is worried they would be marginalized if their Sect defender crumbles down.

MFL

PS: To be continued.

8 comments:

Renegade Eye said...

Seasons Greetings

Liliane said...

That is definitely true. What is happening in Lebanon still can't be categorized as either Political or Sectarian. But I think it is definitely the worst combination that has ever been done between politics and sect.

I can see though from your analysis, that the Christians no longer have a stand. They're mainly just followers.

Also you reminded me about the fact that when the war is over, although the government (march 14) were not consent of this war, they still had to offer aid and financial help to those who have lost their homes, and they should've done so. As they didn't they had offered this "power increase" once again to Nasrallah over his people.

Darko said...

This is a very sectarian reflection on the situation, as in making it seem like the problem today is a stand off between those two sects, witch i don't think it's true. You totally forget the Christian factor that plays into all of this.Cause Christians play a big roll and even tho they're broken up, some of them have there own agenda.(I'm not going to talk about secular movements, cause those no longer have enough representation, like they did before).Then as you said this isn't totally a local Lebanese problem, no, not when you have foreign countries supporting one party against the other. Each side represents a big international player and and a different ideology, and the lose and victory of each side will have bigger consequences on the policies of these countries, and this is something that no body denies.
The truth is that Shiite and Sunni, really has nothing to do with this, those terms were just brought up by the 14 of march movement to tell their people that the other camp are different then us, thus justifying their actions, as just being protective of their own people, witch in return will gain them more support with the stupid sectarian people, witch you'll find many of them up here in the north


The Sunni leadership during the war remained stagnant
That's not true, the Sunni had many factions, only they fought in the north, i can mention the Tawhid, who were headed by sa3id sh3ben, and now his son bilal, they had clashed with the marada and then fought the SSNP and The communists before the syrians entered tripolis, plus the sunnis back then, mostly joined the Palestinians, so there interests were represented, only they didn't have one big political figure, and that what Karamy represented before ja3ja3 assassinated him


And Liliane:
Also you reminded me about the fact that when the war is over, although the government (march 14) were not consent of this war, they still had to offer aid and financial help to those who have lost their homes,
WTH are you talking about, what financial aid is that, they gave them some of the money they got for other countries and stole the rest, they distributed aid coming in from outside among their own people, after they stamped their logos on them, do you really believe that the governments actually helped the people, you really need to watch more news, they sold international aid, and burned the rest in the port to leave no trace.Isn't this the same government that brought all the debt on us, don't expect anything to change, cause none of the key player have changed, The people that were robbing us blind are still there, only they changed cloth



i like your last posts, keep up the good work

Darko said...

This is a very sectarian reflection on the situation, as in making it seem like the problem today is a stand off between those two sects, witch i don't think it's true. You totally forget the Christian factor that plays into all of this.Cause Christians play a big roll and even tho they're broken up, some of them have there own agenda.(I'm not going to talk about secular movements, cause those no longer have enough representation, like they did before).Then as you said this isn't totally a local Lebanese problem, no, not when you have foreign countries supporting one party against the other. Each side represents a big international player and and a different ideology, and the lose and victory of each side will have bigger consequences on the policies of these countries, and this is something that no body denies.
The truth is that Shiite and Sunni, really has nothing to do with this, those terms were just brought up by the 14 of march movement to tell their people that the other camp are different then us, thus justifying their actions, as just being protective of their own people, witch in return will gain them more support with the stupid sectarian people, witch you'll find many of them up here in the north


The Sunni leadership during the war remained stagnant
That's not true, the Sunni had many factions, only they fought in the north, i can mention the Tawhid, who were headed by sa3id sh3ben, and now his son bilal, they had clashed with the marada and then fought the SSNP and The communists before the syrians entered tripolis, plus the sunnis back then, mostly joined the Palestinians, so there interests were represented, only they didn't have one big political figure, and that what Krami represented before ja3ja3 assassinated him


And liliane:
Also you reminded me about the fact that when the war is over, although the government (march 14) were not consent of this war, they still had to offer aid and financial help to those who have lost their homes,
WTH are you talking about, what financial aid is that, they gave them some of the money they got for other countries and stole the rest, they distributed aid coming in from outside among their own people, after they stamped their logos on them, do you really believe that the governments actually helped the people, you really need to watch more news, they sold international aid, and burned the rest in the port to leave no trace.Isn't this the same government that brought all the debt on us, don't expect anything to change, cause none of the key player have changed, The people that were robbing us blind are still there, only they changed cloth




i liked your last posts, keep up the good work, and Merry Xmas

MarxistFromLebanon said...

Dark0!

Thanks for the comments, but I stressed on those rather el Mourabitoun or al-Tawhhiid because they didn't represent the majority of their sects like the current ones do.

Liliane

Well, the point is, our government didnt make an attempt to persecute Olmert as a war criminal, rather they are building a case (Rizk)that Israel used banned weaponry. They didn't even tackled the envirenment impact of Jiyyeh plant bombing.

All, for those who belief, season's greetings :)

Liliane said...

To Darko (donnie darko?)

You actually misread me, I wasn't talking about the financial aid receive from abroad, I meant another point of view, which is the fact that the government could've helped those people and won them on their side, instead they gave Nasrallah another chance of being a hero for his people. (ya3ne I said they didn't offer help)
Concerning stealing, I personally don't have any proof, this is what I heard, and I wouldn't be surprised if they did.
Again, I meant even if the war was all Hezbollah's thing, the government SHOULD help.

Capito?

To MFL:
I see your point, you're right, I haven't looked at it this way. They can seriously raise a case concerning how Israel messed up our sea... And about the depleted uranium that were claimed to be used, I haven't done a lot of research, but last time I heard, that Israel did not use any illegal weapon, know anything about it?

MarxistFromLebanon said...

Dear Liliane,

I checked the authors of Samidoun, they covered a nice archive on Phosphoric bombs. Israel admited it also....

MarxistFromLebanon said...

Oooooooops, I forgot to add the link:

Samidoun