By Franklin Lamb, Beirut
Barack v. Hillary isn’t the only Presidential election game in Washington these days. There is also the Samir v. Walid v. Michel (as in Geagea, Jumblatt and Suleiman) campaign underway as each seek through direct contact and surrogates, the US imprimatur in their quests to lead Lebanon.
This week it appears that Walid’s support is dropping faster than Hilary’s and Suleiman may end up like Fred Thompson (« failed to live up to expectations and not enough fire in the belly for the job ») and Geagea is skyrocketing faster than Barack did in February.
Despite months of heaping praises on the head of the Lebanese Army, General Michel Suleiman, the Bush Administration has pretty much decided to dump the general, for reasons noted below by US Congressional sources.
Following successful visits by Druze leader Walid Jumblatt over the winter, the Bush administration is currently hosting and vetting long-shot candidate Dr. Samir Farid Geagea. He is the leader of the Lebanese Forces (the successor to Bashir Gemayel’s Kateib Phalange Militia founded by warlord Pierre Gemayel following his Berlin ‘fascist epiphany’ and declaration that « Lebanon needs some order like in Germany. » Robert Fisk instructs us that Pierre was never really the same when he returned to Beirut following Hitler’s showcase 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Despite Geagea’s public image problem he is looking more promising these days (a photo showing him with his black piercing eyes and moustache with Sharon’s man during the Sabra-Shatila massacre, Elie Hobeika—a very evil looking duo if ever there was one—more realistic one imagines than DreamWorks studio could create, so scary in fact that during Halloween in Lebanon one can find this particularly haunting photo on certain Palestinian Camp utility poles to scare young children).
Why Geagea’s rise and the Jumblatt and Suleiman slippage?
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