Pierre A. Maroun: "Hezbollah must be confronted before it completes its coup d'état against the Lebanese state."
WSN: On April 16, you met Sheikh Samy Gemayel in Washington, DC. What was the purpose and result of his visit?
Pierre A. Maroun: Mr. Gemayel is a good friend of mine. His visit to the US was purely academic. He did some work at Harvard University and delivered a speech at Georgetown University.
WSN: Did Mr. Gemayel meet any US officials?
Pierre A. Maroun: Yes, there were many meetings with US officials. Gemayel also met many Lebanese-American leaders and colleagues.
WSN: On the 20th of April, there was an incident that occurred minutes after Gemayel left the Kataeb headquarters in Zahleh. What are your thoughts on what happened?
Pierre A. Maroun: It was a premeditated assassination attempt on the life of Sheikh Samy Gemayel, which failed. The terrorists arrived a little late. Gemayel was gone. It is time for the Lebanese government to spread its authority all over the Lebanese territories. The joke that is called "resistance" must end. Hezbollah must be confronted before it completes its coup d'état against the Lebanese state.
WSN: Who do you think is behind this assassination attempt and why?
Pierre A. Maroun: The Syrian-Iranian March 8 groups. Some like Hezbollah and the Syrian Baath Party participated in planning and executing the plan; others like MP Elias Skaff and General Aoun in covering up the aftermath of the failed crime. As for the reasons, they are determined to break the backbone of the Christians by eliminating the Kataeb Party, which is historically has been known as the party of the Lebanese resistance. It is for this reason that Sheikh Pierre Gemayel and many other leaders have been assassinated.
WSN: In a recent article you said that General Aoun backs Hezbollah worldwide. What is likely to be the result of his policies on both the national and international front?
Pierre A. Maroun: I didn't say it; Aoun did in his press conference. I only commented on it. As for the expected result of his treacherous policies, they will be similar to all of General Aoun's policies since the 1988 death and destruction at home, astonishment and disdain abroad.
WSN: For many, the choices that the Free Patriotic Movement made for the past few years have been disappointing, to say the least. What is your view of the strategy behind the FPM - Hezbollah alliance, and who gains from it?
Pierre A. Maroun: There is no more Free Patriotic Movement, but rather an “Aounist” one, which is comprised of a bunch of individuals who hat March 14 and are blindly following a madman. Most FPM members have resigned or gave up their political activities after the numerous disappointments they experienced. Nowadays, the only ones left are the pro-Syrian ones. As for the Aoun/Hezbollah alliance, Hezbollah is the greatest winner for it received complete political cover from a Christian political entity. The same applies for Syria. As for Aoun and his inner circle (family), they gained tremendous financial wealth but lost credibility. Thus, the biggest loser is Lebanon.
WSN: I read about the Aounist Federal lawsuit against you and other March 14 members in the US Federal court filed by Edward T. Saadi. I am puzzled as to why an individual would be willing to spend money, time and energy for political reasons. Should we stop expressing our views because some may not like them? Who is Mr. Saadi, and what exactly are his claims or allegations?
Pierre A. Maroun: Mr. Saadi is simply one of Aoun's followers in the US. He got the Aounists’ attention after he accompanied me to a town hall meeting with Peter Jennings in Cleveland, Ohio (http://www.clhrf.com/engart/ohio28.5.02.htm .). I would say their lawsuit is politically motivated. They simply want to shut me up. They have been discussing suing me since 2006, after I wrote an article in which I criticized Aoun's politics in Lebanon entitled: The Treacherous Politics of a Madman (http://www.alcc-research.com/perspective/AounTreacherousPolitics.html). In fact, I have received many threats from Aoun through mutual friends as well as foes.
WSN: Do you think General Aoun is sending you or through you a message? If that is the case, what do you think is the message?
Pierre A. Maroun: I'm not the only one who has been sued by Aoun or his followers. They have been suing TV stations, newspapers, writers and even poets. Some even discussed suing the Patriarch to the Vatican. It is actually becoming ridiculous. It is mere abuse of the system. They are wasting the time of courts and judges with silly matters while bigger crimes in the country are in grave need for judicial attention. As for their message to their critics, it is clear and simple: Shut up or we will sue you.
WSN: Prime Minister Siniora and Speaker Berri toured the Arab world to find solutions for the internal problems. What is the difference between the missions of these two men?
Pierre A. Maroun: Prime Minister Siniora toured the Middle East looking for a solution to the Lebanese crisis. However, Berri was touring to mediate fences between Syria and the angry Arab leaders. Thus, he was the Syrian ambassador to the Middle East.
WSN: The doors of the parliament have been sealed by Nabih Berri. How did this affect the very concept of democracy and sovereignty of the state?
Pierre A. Maroun: Nabih Berri is a renowned terrorist. We all remember the AMAL movement's hijacking of airplanes and their kidnapping of foreigners in Lebanon during the war. Thus, it is fair to say that Berri and democracy is an oxymoron.
WSN: Aside from the ongoing bickering between politicians and parties, how is the life of the average citizen influenced by the deadlock?
Pierre A. Maroun: The average Lebanese citizen is gradually dying. The lucky ones are emigrating.
WSN: Will there be a UN resolution that will force Lebanon to elect a president?
Pierre A. Maroun: There's talk about a UN resolution but nothing serious as of yet. Only a war against Iran/Syria will resolve the ongoing crisis in Lebanon.
WSN: Isn't a war with Iran too complicated?
Pierre A. Maroun: Possibly, but when there is international will, nothing is complicated.
WSN: Perhaps, but this would go beyond the Middle East and no one really wants that?
Pierre A. Maroun: No one wants a nuclear Iran. No one can live with that from Saudi Arabia, to Israel, Europe, even Russia and Turkey.
WSN: So you're expecting a war?
Pierre A. Maroun: Yes. The war will start with Hezbollah and spread to Iran and Syria unless Syria pulls itself out of its alliance with Iran.
WSN: I doubt Syria will leave the alliance, although the affair with Imad Mugneyeh was a sign in this direction. Is Syria sending mixed messages?
Pierre A. Maroun: Syria always plays the double agent's role. Their “Mukhabarat” has always been working with the CIA and sometimes with the Israeli Mossad. Israel has been the Assad regime's best friend since 1967. It kept this regime alive and thriving.
WSN: Who do you think is responsible for Imad Mugniyeh's killing? Is it likely that this assassination will influence the relationship between Syria and Hezbollah on the one hand and Syria and Iran on the other?
Pierre A. Maroun: The story of Mugniyeh is a big mystery. Is he really dead? Only time will tell.
WSN: Hezbollah promised to retaliate. How will this affect Lebanon?
Pierre A. Maroun: If Hezbollah acts as irresponsibly as it did last July (2006) when it kidnapped the two Israeli soldiers, the Israeli retaliation will be more ruthless and devastating to the Lebanese people and to Lebanon's infrastructure.
WSN: Do you think Syria can escape the International Tribunal?
Pierre A. Maroun: No. That's why there is all this commotion about the Lebanese presidential elections. Syria wants to trade the election for the tribunal but it is not going to work. The US has its own interests to protect. This is not charity. It is pure politics. President Bush needs a victory in the Middle East. Lebanon is the easiest and best victory for his legacy. Besides, you have to take into consideration the Saudi interest, which is to get rid of Iran's influence in Lebanon.
WSN: Any solution in sight?
Pierre A. Maroun: Not in the near future, but let's hope for the best.
WSN: Thanks Mr. Maroun.
Pierre A. Maroun: My pleasure, Ms. Paraipan.