by Michael J. Totten
1st part of 2
"This country is like a cake. On the top it is cream. Underneath it is fire." – Hezbollah spokesman
"We don't want the great Syrian prison." – Kamal Jumblatt
I could go on, but you get the drift.
The Druze minority communities in
It's trickier for
More recently, though, he took a step back toward the "March 14" coalition while negotiations are stalled over the formation of
Those who've followed his political trajectory since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri know that many have labeled him a Lebanese "neocon." He does, or at least did, fit the mold in some ways. He's not only the leader of
Earlier this year, Christopher Hitchens, Jonathan Foreman, and I were attacked in
When Arab Nationalism and fervor for the Palestinian cause swept
None of this means every idea in his head is cynically calculated to best represent the "centrist" position. Nor does it mean the rest of the Druze don't sincerely feel what they say they feel. Jumblatt and his people are complicated. He isn't a revolutionary in the usual sense, but he isn't strictly a weathervane either as Lee Smith notes at the Hudson Institute.
He is a leftist, yet a "neoconservative." He's a quasi-feudal warlord who worked with the
I've met him more than once on various trips to
"How can we control our own destiny," he said, "when we have a state-within-the-state called the state of Hezbollah? When we have open borders to all kinds of traffic and weapons and people from
Hezbollah has a tactical alliance with
Hezbollah is doing its damndest to secure veto power in the next government cabinet even though it lost the election in June. If Hezbollah had won that election, two countries in the
"So we work day by day and compromise," Jumblatt said. "After the murder of [former Prime Minister Rafik] Hariri in 2005, and with some international support and pressure at that time from the Americans, from [French President Jacques] Chirac, from
"We went at once, several times, to the [United] States with the one basic political issue, which was the International Tribunal that is supposed to bring the criminals to justice one day. Of course, we have said from the start it was the Syrian regime and their allies and proxies. But I was I think that at that time and up to now we have failed to bring enough pressure to the Syrian regime. As long as we have this Syrian regime next door, we won’t have a sovereign
He could have, and perhaps should have, added that he won't have a sovereign
"You did a good job in
It was a tense time as usual in
"Yesterday," Jumblatt said, "one of our guys was assaulted in
Jumblatt is no friend of
"The other issue is the Shebaa Farms," he said, "which are not Lebanese. Officially, legally, they are not Lebanese. They were taken from the Syrians in the late 1960s, and by pretending that they are Lebanese we are still hooked into the Arab-Israel conflict. The Shebaa Farms are still under UN Resolution 242. And we have nothing to do with the 242 Resolution because in 1967
Some of us in Jumblatt's house hadn't been to
"What tangible interest does
"If you look back to the so-called Baathist theory or ideology," Jumblatt said, "from the Atlantic to the Gulf, they have never accepted the fact that
"At the end of your wonderful speech yesterday," Lee Smith said, "you said 'no compromise.' What did you mean by that?"
"When my father was killed by the Syrians," Jumblatt said, "I was obliged to fix up a cynical compromise because I needed allies and I needed routes for weapons and ammunition. At that time I had an important ally called the
"When was the first time that you publicly accused
"From 1977 until, let’s say, 2000, I had to keep silent," Jumblatt said. "In 2000 I challenged the Syrian president, and the Patriarch of Lebanon said it’s time for the Syrians to get out of
"You said the intervention in
Whether it's true or not, several Lebanese people have told me they think so because it convinced Assad that he might be destroyed if he didn't back down.
"It depends now on the outcome," Jumblatt said, "after
"Do you think the talks going on between
"Assad doesn’t care about the [Israeli-occupied] Golan [Heights]," Jumblatt said. "Suppose we go ultimately to the so-called peace. Then later on, what is the purpose of the Syrian regime? What is he going to tell his people? Especially, mind you, he is a member of the Alawite minority. This minority could be accused of treason. It’s not like
"I had a friend at the time – he is still my friend - when I was in
Michael J. Totten
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