Siniora reassured Aoun and his "remote-controlled" pro-Assad friends yesterday that his government will stay as long as it enjoys the support of parliament, reminding them that Lebanon is a democracy. But Aoun won't have it. In one of his most scathing attacks on Siniora to date, he said the prime minister will "pay the price of his stubbornness (to resign) and this could happen any time…then he won't even have time to gather his belongings because he will find himself forced to leave quickly."
"You have to know that you can no longer rely on outside support as your government is weak in all aspects," Aoun told the daily. "We have warned of the dangers of the government's persistence. Since you didn't feel concerned, we now retain the option of choosing the right time to achieve the desired change." The leader of the Free Patriotic Movement also took a jab at the parliamentary majority, which he said it fears a constitutional vacuum in case the current government resigns. "This fictitious majority cannot rule forever," he said. He also described the government as a "government of destruction and economic collapse." "Those who are responsible for devastation cannot build a country and save the economy," he said.
How will Aoun "achieve the desired change?" Obvisouly not through parliament, but through an Assad-favorite technique: treason charges.
Aoun's mouthpiece Tayyar.org has been circulating rumours that Siniora and March 14 cut a deal with the United States even before the war, implying that they may have given concessions and "guarantees" leading to signing a peace treaty with Israel (this is what prompted Siniora yesterday to say that Lebanon would be the last Arab country to sign such a treaty). The site is also citing reports (no source provided) that some of the ministers in the cabinet were "involved" in Israel's war on Lebanon in order to weaken Hizbullah politically and militarily.
Aoun's instability and lust for power aside, his anti-Siniora campaign is consistent with Assad's accusations of March 14 that they are implementing Israeli objectives, and indeed, Aoun re-launched his attacks right after Assad delivered his infamous "half-men" speech.
Aoun is now the spearhead of the renewed Assad-Hizbullah attempt to topple the Siniora government, with Hizbullah and Assad happily letting him lead the way, given the belief that he represents the majority of Christians in the country, and the new fondness his former enemy Bashar Assad has of the "Free Patriotic Movement" leader.
Speaking to reporters before leaving to attend a donor conference in Stockholm, Siniora yesterday made it clear that Aoun and Hizbullah have lost the right to pick and choose from international demands. Those who got us here, he said, have to live with the consequences of their actions.
Update. Well, Siniora has just raised $940m for Lebanon, bringing the total to $1.2 billion.