An intellectual at work

"His attention span is fairly short, with his mind quickly digesting broad outlines of subjects and racing from one topic to the next. It is rare for him to stay on one topic for more than a few minutes at a time, and he often engages in "multi-tasking" -- flipping through channels on a flat screen TV (which, like so many Hariri possessions, is supersized), clipping cigars, paging aides, all while keeping track of the discussion at hand. Unlike his father, who consistently mantained a poker face that masked his true feelings, the younger Hariri is expressive. Like his father, however, he exudes supreme self-confidence, often saying, in reassuring tones, "Don't worry," when questioned about tactics. Many accuse him of overconfidence, in fact, while others (playing the game of amateur shrinks) argue that his projection of supreme confidence is a mask for insecurity at discovering himself in a political leadership position thrust unexpectedly upon him. 4. (C/NF) We have noticed that Hariri becomes impatient in particular when two general subjects are raised: first, other prominent Sunni figures in Lebanon, and, second, Christian perceptions of excessive Sunni/Hariri power and ambitions. When we suggest, for example, that he have more high-profile consultations with Tripoli MPs like Mohammed Safadi or Mosbah al-Ahdab (two Sunnis who are allied with, but not formally part of, Hariri's Future Movement), he is dismissive. "I am the Sunni leader of Tripoli," he once told us (although whether out of misguided conviction or out of bluster we do not know) when we suggested that his neglect of Tripoli's Sunnis might allow pro-Syrians to fill the vacuum -- as seems now to be happening."

Posted on September 5, 2011 by As'ad