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Many Syrians have been irritated in the past few years by statements that the leader of the Progressive Socialist Party and prominent leader of the Druze community in Lebanon, Walid Jumblatt, said regarding Syria. Some of the statements were quite provocative to say the least. It is perplexing to many of us how Mr. Jumblatt changes his positions so dramatically and talks about opposite things with the same passion on two different but very close occasions. But let's enjoy the moment for now as the tide in Mr. Jumblatt's thinking these days happens to be in Syria's favor.
The most recent episode started when Mr. Jumblatt declared on Al Jazeera Arabic (in the March 13, 2010 episode [Ar] of the program Hiwar Maftouh, or Open Dialogue) that his previous remarks were "indecent, out of context and go beyond the political manners". About two weeks later, Mr. Jumblatt traveled to Damascus to meet the Syrian President.
Imad Marmal of the Lebanese Arabic-language newspaper As-safir wrote a piece [Ar] today quoting Jumblatt saying that he has regained his "inner peace" by his reconciliation with Damascus. I find some of the other quotes by Jumblatt interesting. Here are some
«A personal and political solicitude has been taken off my shoulders»
«همٌ شخصي وسياسي أزيح عن كاهلي»
«In all honesty I have to say that [President al-Assad] won the battle of the past 5 years with all its Lebanese, regional and international challenges»
«والصراحة تقتضي الاعتراف بأنه انتصر في معركة السنوات الخمس الماضية وتحدياتها اللبنانية والاقليمية والدولية»
«Forget the issue of [Hezbollah's] weapons .. this is not the time»
«يطلعوا منها قصة السلاح.. هذا ليس وقتها»
[Addressing the issue of Hezbollah's weapons, that is]
In his piece [Ar] Marmal alludes to the technical glitch in the brakes of Mr. Jumblatt's car on his way back to Beirut from Damascus and how Mr. Jumblatt was initially worried about it. But his worries dissipated when he remembered that the accompanying car ahead of him was a Hezbollah car. Jumblatt was laughing when he told Marmal about that "technical detail". But the screaming symbolism in this story did not escape Marmal: Hezbollah has become a personal and political "security valve" for Mr. Jumblatt. Marmal also writes that Jumblatt has become ecstatic about his reconciliation with Syria. Jumblatt's reconciliation "was not only with Damascus, but also with himself and with his history."
In the March 13, 2010 episode [Ar] of "Open Dialogue", program host Ghassan bin Jiddo alluded to Mr. Jumblatt's flip-flopping in his introduction using a very politically-correct language: Mr. Jumblatt is "a generator of variable felxibility peculiar to him" «ولّاد مرونةٍ متحولةٍ خاصةٍ به». What is the next position that will come out from Mr. Jumblatt's "variable flexibility"? Your guess is as good as mine.