1) Begging is becoming of no man.
2) I think I counted three attempts to compare the Syrian regime to the Nazis. His passing reference to the annexation of Austria was my personal fave. The hawkish pro-Israel crowd at AEI must have been delighted to discover that a Lebanese would join Netanyahu in setting the time machines for 1938. I wonder, though, if they would feel as comfortable if they knew what an anti-Semite Jumblatt is. Actually, we know such things don’t matter at all to this crowd (half of whom are anti-Semites, even if they have the good sense not to mention as much in public).
3) Jumblatt sounds more comfortable and more knowledgeable when talking about the role of “mortars” in urban warfare than “rule of law” or “democracy.”
4) For non-Americans, let me say that the comic value of hearing an institution like AEI (where pictures of Ronald Reagan french-kissing Margaret Thatcher adorn every office) introduce someone who heads a party whose name includes the words “progressive” and “socialist” cannot be understated. It is almost as funny as, I dont know, imagine — if you can — a feudal lord adopting a modern revolutionary slogan of social and economic justice.
5) Radio Farda must be stopped.
6) In truth, the questions from the audience were often more ridiculous than anything Walid Bek said (Hizbullah thugs, how did Iran kidnap Lebanon, etc.). When al-Arabiyya is the only news source asking tough questions, we are in a bad place.
7) Jumblatt was smart enough not to speak about Palestine and Iraq before this audience, lest he fall afoul of the party line.
8) It’s fun to hear Jumblatt speak of the “silent” Shia majority, but I am more curious these days about what the silent Druze will say as to his fate. I am serious on this point. If HA finds a way to cut a deal with Hariri, Jumblatt may find himself in a spot so tight that even he, a true master of reversals, cannot back himself out of.
9) Jumblatt knows the window is closing and is perhaps the most desperate of the March 14 crowd (Geagea and what he represents will live on as long as there is intra-Christian feuding, i.e. forever). Why has Jumblatt put himself so far to one side? This stands in direct contravention to most of his political career and may cost him Mukhtara if things go badly (a bit much maybe, but ??). Unwise, strange, and frankly not very Lebanese.
10) AEI is scary.