The Aoun-Murr Divorce and Its Implications

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The Aoun-Murr Divorce and Its Implications

Post by Admin on Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:23 pm

Deputy
Michel Murr's withdrawal from the Change and Reform Bloc is not another
October 13 for General Michel Aoun. At least not yet. Still, it is a
decision that sets the stage for huge consequences for the Rabieh
leader and his movement that stands in the way of electing General
Michel Suleiman as president of the republic outside the "basket of
solutions," the expression coined by Hezbollah and adopted by Aoun
among everything else that he endorsed in his famous "understanding"
with Hezbollah.


The
first consequence lies in the impact of Murr's step on the Christian
street whose sole leadership Aoun had long claimed despite his claim to
be non-sectarian. He has even had no qualms about describing himself as
the political patriarch of the Maronites. It is no easy matter for an
Orthodox leader to stand up and defend the top Maronite position in the
state, while Maronite MPs under Aoun's banner fail to fulfill their
electoral duty and at the same time demand the return of "wasted"
Christian rights, as their repeated statements say.


The
wider impact of Murr's call is now represented by the active popular
movement in various areas where Aoun once bragged about his mass
support, areas such as Keserwan, Jbeil, Zahleh, and all the way to
Metn. While each region has its own electoral calculations, they all
flow into one channel, as they exert popular pressure on their
political representatives who have abused their political will and
interests and associated them with irrelevant foreign parties.


All
this leads to a much more significant implication in Murr's "coup"
inside the area of Metn itself where his family enjoys deeply rooted
influence. The former minister is commendable for expressing his
"regrets" for supporting Aoun's candidate in the by-election against
President Amine Gemayel to fill the parliamentary seat left vacant
following the assassination of Gemayel's young son, Minister Pierre
Gemayel. It may be early to talk about the potential extent reachable
by Murr's stance or its implications on the alliances in Metn. But one
can safely claim that this change will not be in Aoun's favor, an
outsider in the area, especially that it was Murr's base and the
Armenian voices that tipped the balance to ensure his victory in the
last elections.


In
addition, Deputy Michel Murr's stance represents a pressuring factor
that supports General Michel Suleiman, as it helps rally a significant
Christian base behind him, a base that any president must earn as a
prerequisite to bigger national support. In doing so, Murr puts himself
as the primary engine driving Suleiman's wheels to Baabda Palace, which
in turn allows him to be the "godfather" of the new era if the election
takes place. This will enable him to snap an important card out of
Aoun's hands since the latter had occasionally said that the army
commander remains his true candidate if he himself could not become
president.


In
addition to all these implications, the Aoun-Murr divorce has also
revealed Aoun's fragility and lightweight insofar as his
"understanding" with Hezbollah is concerned. Forget about the
"interest" which this alliance could not provide for Aoun's assumed
base, whether on the pure sectarian level or on the national level.
More importantly, at the time when Hezbollah was able to take its
popular base to this "understanding," since it is capable of taking its
base to any understanding it wants anyway, Aoun's position vis-ŕ-vis
this understanding has continuously demanded repeated justification on
a daily basis, mainly because the understanding was alien to Aoun's
base and its background and equally alien to Aoun's famous "precedents"
in defending sovereignty and independence, "precedents" that once
flirted with the dreams of many who truly believed that he was the
"hero" of both slogans.



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