Sunday, November 13, 2011
By Barry Rubin
Happy New Jumblatt! What’s a Jumblatt? Well, it’s a joke that tells us a lot about Middle East politics. A friend of mine created the “Jumblatt” as a unit of time, one complete rotation in the political maneuvers of Lebanese Druze leader, Walid Jumblatt.
For example, during the previous Jumblatt, he moved from being a stalwart client of Syria to join the March 14 Coalition to push Syrian troops out of Lebanon. At the peak of the last Jumblatt, he gave a rather unforgettable interview which I will paraphrase here (note: this is my wording not a precise quote):
Interviewer: Is it true that you called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a dog?
Jumblatt: Yes, I did. But I want to apologize to all dogs for comparing them to Assad.
But like all Jumblatts the last one came to an end. Threatened with death, facing a powerful Hizballah militia, and knowing full well that he and his coalition allies couldn’t depend on the United States or France, Jumblatt surrendered in August 2009, deserting the pro-democratic alliance and joining Hizballah’s coalition! He made his peace with Syria, going to Damascus and bowing to Bashar al-Assad.
This was not something easy for a man whose father was murdered by Bashar’s father.
I’m not suggesting that Jumblatt is a coward or a buffoon though, certainly, his life has given him a sense of irony. After all, Jumblatt is the feudal hereditary leader of the Progressive Socialist Party. See, names don’t necessarily tell you what’s really going on, a good idea to keep in mind when examining the humanitarian-style slogans of “Moderate Islamists.”
Read it all:
Posted by Rubin Center at 7:42 PM