MICHAEL AOUN: MAD POLITICS OF A MAD GENERAL By Pierre Maroun
General Michael Aoun followers, both in Lebanon and abroad have abandoned their principles to become alliance. Thus, for a few million a month, this axis of evil has employed the neo-terrorist Aoun and his followers to be the forefront of their activities. Accordingly, Aoun has been active in manipulating public opinion by providing material support to Hezbollah. This not only allows them to implement their Khomeini style political agenda but also steer their wars against ideological challengers. Similar to the role he assumed during the 1980’s to support Saddam Hussein Baath Regime against others; Aoun has now taken on a parallel role in the Syrio-Iranian war against Arab Moderates and the West. Suffice it to say, he and his followers have in fact become contracted mercenaries in countries that sponsor terrorists and their affiliate groups. This is most certainly terrorism par excellence!
In order for Aoun to live up to his masters’ expectations, he needed to make some adjustments to his character and that of his followers who are also deeply involved in this new cunning and destructive “scheme.” Therefore, we have been witnessing striking similarities between the political speech of Aoun and that of his ally, Hezbollah’s leader Hasan Nasrallah.i For example, not too long ago, we heard Nasrallah vowing to “cut the hands and to chop off the heads of those who oppose him.” Soon after, Aoun recapped Nasrallah’s terror threats and slogans. Earlier, Nasrallah declared his pride to be a part of the Iranian Islamic Welayet. Aoun followed suit when declaring: “we (Free Patriotic Movement) are the defenders of the (Iranian) Revolution.” Moreover, during the Israeli assault on Gaza, Aoun repeated Nasrallah’s threats and insults against moderate Arab leaders and the Western world. He declared that he and Nasrallah “agree on the same principles of the [Islamic] Revolution Principles.”ii
Conversely, Aoun’s followers have been conducting their “business” in a manner similar to that of Hezbollah’s members at home and abroad. Thus, there is solid evidence that Aoun’s followers have been doing Hezbollah’s dirty work. For example, Aoun’s son in law, former Minister of Telecommunications, Jibran Bassil, who acquired his position due to Hezbollah’s influence and support, is a perfect example of how Hezbollah employs the use of new agents (lackeys) to conduct their leery business. Bassil has been hindering the efforts, not to say fighting, the UN International Tribunal’s investigations into the assassinations of PM Rafiq Hariri and other leaders of the Cedar Revolution. He also continues to hamper the criminal investigations, which are being conducted by the Lebanese Army and other security agencies . To add, he was also obstructing such investigations by preventing his ministry personnel from providing essential data and evidence to Lebanese and international investigators. Not only does his action hinder the officials’ efforts to uncover these crimes but it also cripples security agencies from preventing such recurring crimes.iii Recently, Bassil has been playing a similar role in order to harass US officials dealing with Lebanon in an attempt to alienate or even hinder relations between Lebanon and the US. In fact, Hezbollah may have been trying to equate the US with Israel. Thus, Hezbollah and Aoun are trying to make any dealing by Lebanese officials with American ones an act of treason. Therefore, it is clear that Bassil has been acting as a mole within the Lebanese government working for/and on behalf of Hezbollah and the Syrio-Iranian regimes.
Another example of Aoun’s extensive support of Hezbollah is through his followers’ activities abroad. The Daily Star reported previously that the US prepared a list of names of wealthy American Lebanese businessmen known to have various political and religious backgrounds, also identified with partaking in suspicious activities. Accordingly, some of Aoun’s representatives and relatives in the US have been questioned and in some cases arrested by the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and other security agencies on charges related to theft of donations, tax evasion, and /or funneling money to terrorist organizations.
A perfect example of Aoun’s Mafia like work abroad is the case of the FPM representative in the US, Chairman of the Council of Lebanese American Organizations (CLAO), Mr. Nabil Sahlani. Sahlani is from Cleveland, Ohio. He is married to Aoun’s niece. According to the Daily Star and to sources from Ohio, the FBI arrested Sahlani on suspicion of theft of donations made by American-Lebanese citizens to CLAO. Sahlani had purchased land in North Carolina worth more than $10 million. The FBI charged that the salary of Sahlani could not support such expensive real estate and was aiming to find the source of the funds.iv Sources close to Sahlani confirmed that his assets were frozen and that he was out from prison on bail pending investigations. Lebanese American lobbyists believe that part of the money which Sahlani invested came from General Aoun who smuggled millions of dollars outside Lebanon during his reign as Prime Minister of an interim government in 1989-1990. Similarly, the millions, which Aoun was investing, came from donations given to Aoun by Lebanese patriots.v The Lebanese government charged Aoun with theft of public funds. However, Aoun never stood trial due to a deal he brokered with the Syrio- Lebanese regime prior to his return to Lebanon in 2005. The case was dropped and the donated/stolen money vanished into bank accounts belonging to Aoun and his family members. According to a White House official, the FBI move against Aoun’s followers came as a result of the US government’s effort to block property of persons undermining the sovereignty of Lebanon or its democratic process and institutions. Similarly, the UAE government expelled many Lebanese working or collaborating with Hezbollah in that country, some of whom were Aoun followers.
Back to Aoun’s misconduct, it is no secret that Aoun has become a mouthpiece for Hezbollah and to the Iranian Islamic Revolution in its war against the west, mainly the USA, and to the moderate Arab leaders. Aoun went further to even dispatch to Egypt Lebanese lawyer Salim al-Awwa to co-defend Hezbollah spying cell leader Sami Chehab alongside the already assigned lawyer Montaser al-Zayat. vi Thus, it’s been evident that whomever pays “petro-dollars” shall receive Aoun “BASHING” and “MANIPULATING” services. For example, since Qatar was very generous to Aoun during and after the Doha meeting, ($USD 50 Millions) Aoun has been bashing Egypt, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA.) . Syria, in turn, welcomed Aoun and appointed him a Patriarch on the Christians of the Orient. Aoun bought the title and, in return, bashed the TRUE Patriarch of the Orient, along with Syria’s opponents in Lebanon i.e. Future Movement, Saad Hariri, and President Amine Gemayel of the Kataeb Party, Lebanese Forces leader, Dr. Samir Geagea and their colleagues in the Cedar Revolution. Aoun pays special attention to media outlets and their personnel who speak out against Syria and who are critics of his politics and that of Hezbollah. It has become a habit of his to threaten journalists, writers, and media outlets that dare to critique his masters in Tehran and Damascus.
The list of Aoun’s impersonation of his masters’ speeches and stances on issues is a lengthy and diverse one. However, not everything that Aoun says or does is imitation. He shares most, if not all, of Hezbollah’s principles and ideology. Besides, they both fear freedom of speech. They both preach hate and violence. They both use violence to solve their differences with others. On many occasions, they threatened to burn, destroy, and kill their critics and opponents. However, in certain cases, it appears that Aoun and his followers have surpassed Hezbollah in terms of manipulating and terrorizing citizens by adding their own touch and technique to the “art of photo shop” by mix-matching and editing photos.
Having said that, one question lingers in mind: What happened to the young activists who once claimed to be resisting occupation, seeking freedom, and calling for change and reform in order to end corruption? Have they lost their compass? It is time for true FPM to take their party back from this madman and his new culprits. A wise man once said: “The best thing that Aoun has ever done was the founding of the FPM. However, the worst thing in the FPM is Aoun.”
It is ironic that the madman who claimed for years that he was fighting the Syrio-Iranian corrupt lackeys in Lebanon turned out to be a bigger lackey and a greater corrupter. Thus, after decades of struggle and death, the Lebanese people have replaced one criminal with another, a more ruthless one. As a result, Aoun has transferred the once patriotic movement (FPM) into a mafia of cunning experts and terrorist sympathizers who have been cashing in on the sacrifices of the people who fought and died in defense of their country. Furthermore, it has been evident that Aoun and his followers have adopted Hezbollah’s ideologies, speech, and terrorist techniques. Thus, he and his entourage have become the neo-terrorists of the Middle East. It is also evident that Aoun has become the new lackey of the Syrio-Iranian regimes implementing their policies in Lebanon and the Middle East. It is a pity that Aoun and his followers who once referred to themselves as the “civilized resistance” are now engaged in such criminal and terror activities. It is time that the Lebanese people clean their towns and villages in the next municipality elections. It is important to remind the Lebanese voters that these elections are important in the daily life of Lebanon and its people. It is an opportunity to correct the mistakes made in the previous parliamentary elections. Lebanon cannot afford to have Syrio-Iranian lackeys in its parliament, cabinet, or municipalities. It is time to close the door on the traitors, the lackeys and on the corrupt. Hence, the Lebanese voters are urged to VOTE consciously in the upcoming elections! VOTE according to principles. VOTE according to country’s best interest. VOTE according to children’s future. STOP this madman and his culprits by voting them out of public offices before they destroy what is left of this beautiful and once peaceful country and before they turn it into a Mullah state. VOTE LEBANON FIRST!