Hoss, Hussaini and Licking the Rasp
By: Elias Bejjani & Colonel Charbel Barakat
Maintaining a set of contingency plans for dealing with different political situations is a well-known Syrian practice. In the face of peaceful demonstrations in 2001 against its occupation of Lebanon, the Syrians orchestrated their own notorious demonstration of "daggers, butcher knives and cleavers". Similarly, when they could not ban the "Independence and Sovereignty" demonstration of November 22, 2004, they arranged and organized their infamous but failed "one million" demonstration.
These Syrian deception and containment tactics are well known to everybody. Meanwhile, the Lebanese have become accustomed to, and are fully informed of the source behind the frequent venomous fabrications of acts of destruction and killing in Sidon, Tripoli, Beirut or the Bekaa.
Syrian tactics of scaring the Lebanese people with Hizbollah, the Palestinians and the resumption of civil war are not a secret, while everyone knows that the Syrians were the masterminds behind all the wars on Lebanese soil. The non-refutable fact is that the Syrians have always been the power that ignites and halts wars in Lebanon, only to rekindle them when convenient. Wars that have never been Lebanese at the core, although they were fought continuously by and against them.
Syria has now resorted to its new old strategy that consists in the manipulation of a few Lebanese politicians in an attempt to rebuild the credibility of its regime now damaged in international and national circles. In this context, the Syrian Baathist occupier has now recruited both former Prime Minister Salim Hoss and Parliament Speaker Hussain Husaini who, willingly or under pressure, are actively working to embellish its ruined image. The Syrian Secret Intelligence, "Al-Mukabarat," has instructed both men to appeal publicly to the Syrian president to show mercy on Lebanon by directly interfering in the Lebanese electoral law that is currently in the making, and provide a justification for this dictator - now a hero and a savior - to maintain his occupation army in certain Lebanese regions. Moreover, through their camouflaged criticism of the Mukabarat's meddling in Lebanese affairs, followed by their calls to the Syrian president to put an end to such acts, Hoss and Hussaini help keep Syria's occupation in place.
Parliament Speaker Hussaini says he is part of the opposition, when in fact his opposition is only in name and could be classified as a kind of protest that is motivated by personal gains and interests. His opposition has no patriotic platform whatsoever. By publicly calling on the Syrians to meddle in a purely internal Lebanese affair, he is actually repeating former President Elias Hrawi's bizarre statement that the Lebanese people have not yet reached the age of maturity, and accordingly need the Syrians to be their custodian.
Hrawi's irresponsible statements have inflicted years of oppression on the Lebanese people, and the humiliation and burden of foreign debts currently approximating the sum of 45 billion dollars. This unprecedented debt has mortgaged the future of Lebanon's new generations, while most of it ended in the pockets of high-ranking Syrian and Lebanese officials and politicians.
We ask Mr. Hussaini, "Who is forbidding the Lebanese Parliament from legislating a modern and fair electoral law acceptable to the majority of the Lebanese people?" "Isn't Mr. Hussaini's call on the Syrian President to sponsor a Lebanese electoral law evidence that the main Lebanese problem lies in Syria, and not in Lebanon?" On the other hand, Mr. Hussaini's statement, in which he bragged that there is a Lebanese consensus on no hostility toward Syria, is definitely correct because the Lebanese bear no hostility toward anyone, especially not their neighbors.
Yet Syria always complained before 1970, during that period when Syria's political maturity consisted of changing governments by a succession of military coups, that their neighbor Lebanon was interfering in their domestic affairs by providing a safe refuge for Syrian opposition figures, and by not handing over other unsuccessful coup leaders who sought shelter in Lebanon.
Their sick minds, their ignorance, and their hatred for freedom, human rights and democracy caused Syrian Baathist officials to delude themselves that by inflicting chaos and terrorism on neighboring countries they could solidify their regime and prolong its life. They resorted to this evil strategy with neighboring Turkey through the the KLP, (Kurdish Labor Party), but were later forced to abandon it and evict its leader Abdullah Ocalan, to be arrested by Turkey when the latter massed its troops along the Syrian border. For years they have been using the same tactics with Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinians.
Dr. Salim Hoss is a role model of political cowardice. It matters not whether in office or in the opposition, he continuously endeavors to portray himself as an educated, moderate and technocrat politician. In fact, however, he lives in fear of death at the hands of his Syrian masters, and so utters what he does not mean, or believe when addressing national matters. Hoss anticipates such a fate since there have been many precedents: The late Kamal Jumblatt who met this fate after erroneously believing that the Syrian Baathists could be trusted; Lebanon's Grand Sunni Mufti, Sheik Hassan Khalid, who had the courage to witness for the truth; or the late President-Elect Rene Muawad who was murdered the same day he attempted to say no to the Syrians; or more recently former Minister Marwan Hamadi who miraculously escaped an assassination attempt that, according to him, was engineered by Syrian and Lebanese Mukabarat Services.
Dr. Salim Hoss is not only a role model in political cowardice but also an expert in aborting international resolutions. The Syrians resort to his expertise every now and then, especially when facing mounting international pressure, because he belongs to a political class that is moderate, cautious, and patient. All these traits could be very effective political assets during peaceful times when the country is free and its people are not suffering hardships and the consequences of occupation. But these same assets turn into extremely useless, if not altogether dangerous, during those times when witnessing for the truth becomes a patriotic obligation, and when courage becomes a vehicle of salvation for the nation.
Dr. Salim Hoss is infamous for his official role in aborting UN Resolution 425 in 1978. At the time, the Lebanese Parliament had voted to send the Palestinian guerillas back to their refugee camps, disarm them and give the Lebanese government sole control over the coastal highway, in anticipation of the United Nations taking over the South from Israel and hand it over to the Lebanese authorities, in accordance with UN Resolution 426.
In his capacity as Prime Minister, Dr. Hoss viciously aborted this plan by masterfully playing his role as a slave to the Syrians' destructive instructions. Instead of banning the Palestinian Guerrillas' presence on the coastal highway between Beirut and Tyre, he initially took a laissez-faire stance, then turned around and supported the guerillas in their battle aiming to force the French Army contingent out of the Tyre pocket. In the same treacherous vein, he facilitated the Syrian Army's re-conquest of West Beirut in 1984.
Again, in 1988 when General Michel Aoun was appointed to head a transitional government whose mandate was to prepare for electing a new president, Dr. Hoss, whose government had resigned months earlier to scuttle those elections, acted cowardly and as a Syrian puppet by "reviving" his illegal government in the face of General Aoun's legitimate one. He initially agreed to shut down the illegal ports and open the crossing roads between the two sectors of then-divided Beirut, but promptly backed out, a decision that led the country further in the abyss of the War of Liberation and the destruction of the country.
Based on this background, one wonders if Hoss's bizarre initiative today is not another Syrian ploy aiming to abort UN Resolution 1559. Acting on his own frustration in the aftermath of his humiliating failure in the last parliamentary elections, he publicly declared his intention to stay away from any official position and not take part in any election. So the question now is, why has Hoss suddenly decided to begin publicly glorifying the "heroism" of the late Syrian dictator, Hafez Assad, and vocally expressing his gratitude to the dictator's son Bashar, Syria's president, for his brotherly interference in Lebanon, calling on him to withdraw his troops to the Bekaa Valley and implement the "Taif Accord"? Hoss came up with this chameleon ruse at a time when the whole world has courageously decided though resolution 1559 to put an end to the Syrian rule over Lebanon, and to help the Lebanese people reclaim their stolen independence, oppressed freedoms and confiscated sovereignty.
Hoss's initiative will fall on deaf ears in Lebanese, regional and international circles because the whole world has now recognized that Syria is the evil and instigating force behind all the wars that were inflicted on the Lebanese people during the last 28 years. And accordingly, Syria is accountable for all the consequences of these wars. The free world is now fully aware that Lebanon cannot be again a free and democratic country unless Syria is forced to withdraw all its troops and intelligence apparatus (Mukabarat), and stop meddling in its internal affairs.
During the past thirty years, Syria has never ever fought Israel or confronted any foreign army. Instead, Syria murdered civilian Lebanese by the thousands and butchered its own unarmed Syrian people in Aleppo and Hama. There is no doubt that the Syrian Army is still feeling the humiliation of defeat in its confrontations with the Lebanese Army in Souk Al Gharb, Fiyyadieh, Bhamdoun, Aqoura, Zahle, Beirut, etc., and the Syrian Army has never been victorious in any battle that it has engaged with the Lebanese Army or the Lebanese Resistance militias. Syrian heroism has always been portrayed on the basis of its cold-blooded mass murder and shelling of civilians, Lebanese and Syrian alike.
What Syrian military victories is Hoss exalting?
In case Hoss is terrified of the Syrians and their schemes, and is chicken-hearted in attempting to cajole them, we assure him that the Syrian era of injustice is on its way to vanishing. Like every thing else that is evil, it has to reach an end, no matter what happens. Hoss is a smart, opportunistic politician who should not be subdued by Syrian threats, or be deceived by the fake Syrian grip on power in Lebanon and Syria. He ought to recognize that the Iraqi government, in spite of all that is happening now in Iraq, is more capable than the Baathists in Syria to govern and stay in power.
In case Hoss is planning to return to office, after he was kicked out scandalously by his "brothers" the Syrians and even ripped of his MP title, we advise his Excellency to wake up and stop his daydreaming. Hoss should understand that Lebanon's future officials are not going to come from the rank of cowards, or from amongst those politicians who have not witnessed for the truth, and have declined to struggle and reclaim Lebanon's sovereignty, independence and freedoms.
Lebanon's future officials will be elected freely by the Lebanese people, and not appointed by the Syrian occupier. These officials will authentically represent the hopes, aspirations and wishes of the people. Future Lebanon will be ruled by heroes and dignified politicians because the people will be the actual rulers through the democratic process that is implemented in all the civilized countries of the free world. This democracy is paving its way in Middle Eastern countries, among which Syria is counted, no matter how much time this will take.
Both Hoss and Hussaini should know that the fate of the Syrian Baathist gang of officials is not going to be much different from the fate of all other dictators, from Ceaucescu to Saddam. We advise both of them to immediately join the rank of the Lebanese who are working for Lebanon's liberation and the end of the Syrian occupation. Remaining within earshot of the puppets' applause for Lebanon's occupiers is not going to get them anywhere. These puppets are like the cat that licks a rasp and keeps enjoying the taste of blood until it learns that it has been licking its own blood.
We call on our people, the free and patriotic Lebanese in occupied Lebanon and in the Diaspora, to watch out for political wolves dressed in sheep's clothing and to keep away from their traps. Our people should all be confident that the Syrian occupier is cornered and isolated as well as his Lebanese Trojans. Their options are few and so are their days. The occupier has now resorted to its most effective weapon, the tactic of "divide and conquer." The Syrians are working hard to turn our people against each other while threatening some and appeasing others.
Our faithful people! Syria has exhausted all its evil means. Be calm, hold on to your faith, and look on to Lebanon's future with hope and optimism. Patience is the path to salvation. Lebanon's liberation is on the horizon, and its dawn is rapidly creeping through the darkness into sight.
Long Live Freedom
*Vice President for the (WLO) World Lebanese Organization
* Historian & political commentator
*Author of the book "Madamik"
*Retired Colonel - the Lebanese Army
*Human Rights activist, journalist & political commentator.
*Spokesman for the Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF)
*Media Chairman for the Canadian Lebanese Coordinating Council (LCCC)