The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Walid Jumblatt, or the poverty of low expectations

Michael Young fisks Walid Jumblatt:

"It was a coincidence, but doubtless one many would find illuminating, that Walid Jumblatt was recently reading (and may still be) Rebecca West's 'The New Meaning of Treason.' For the prevalent view among many Christian voters today is that the Druze leader is a compulsive turncoat. A title he is far less likely to be caught with, however, is 'Great Expectations.'

Why is that? Because Jumblatt is the rare Lebanese politician who can pretend to national stature, but instead consistently prefers to creep back into the recesses of tribal chieftainship, content with controlling his 200,000-strong Druze community while ensuring that others give him just enough leverage so that he can escape political obliteration. Beyond that, Jumblatt's ambition falters, the oxygen becomes thinner; the man whose talents are unparalleled among the country's politicians turns into a shifting manipulator, someone who in a few jagged phrases can demolish the sympathy he spent months carefully building up."

Read it all. Jumblatt had it coming with his recent weathervane moves.