Friday, February 10, 2006

A Little Modesty

Lebanon is in a mess of its own making. Overwhelmed by Lebanon’s new found freedom and independence, our political leaders are unable to come up with a united vision of Lebanon.
After 15 years of stability created by a Syro-Western understanding, Lebanon is once again paying the price of regional conflicts that cost us not so long ago 15 years of civil war and 300,000 victims.

The murder of Prime Minister Rafic Hariri was the catalyst that brought the end of Syrian military and political hegemony. However, Lebanon is being pulled apart today by Western regional interests on the one hand and by the Syrian and Iranian bloc on the other, and neutrality is not an option.

The reasons preventing Lebanon from joining the Western alliance are many.

First and foremost is the Hezbollah wall of defiance. Hezbollah’s “raison d’être” is its struggle against Israel and Western “imperialism”. With the financial help of Iran and the political support of Syria, Hezbollah forced the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon, became the unrivalled representative of the Shiite community and asserted its influence on regional anti-Western and anti-Zionist movements.
During the 15 years of pax Syriana, Hezbollah was not involved in any Lebanese government and its sole focus was its struggle. The Syrian hegemony protected it from local Lebanese criticism and Iran’s money made sure that the education, health and social needs of its constituency were taken care of.

When Syria left Lebanon, Hezbollah had to protect its achievements and its ideology and got involved in local politics. Backing Hezbollah’s “no” to the Western camp are its weapon, Syria’s local allies, its vast and committed electorate and the inherent distrust and dislike that many Lebanese hold against the US and its pro-Zionist policies.

Although well intentioned, Saad El Hariri, Walid Jumblat and Samir Geagea have thought that they can pull Lebanon out of Hezbollah’s struggle and alliances and embed it in a neutral position first by engaging the Party of God and then by confronting it.

Both approaches were too chaotic, mediatized and badly planned and therefore have failed miserably.
Furthermore, the Jumblat and Hariri camps, forgetting that their overblown influence during the last 15 years stemmed first from their alliance with the Syrians and then from their alliance with the West, were arrogant enough to appoint themselves the de-facto leaders of the March 14 alliance.

Hariri and Jumblat’s over confidence succeeded in alienating General Michel Aoun and his party which got 70 percent of the Christian vote in last fall’s elections. Their failure to tackle the Hezbollah challenge put civil peace at risk, compelling Aoun, according to his supporters, to engage Hezbollah to protect his electorate from potential dangers.

Sponsored by Hariri’s allies, the Achrafieh demonstration protesting the cartoons defaming the Prophet Mohammed was another Hariri miscalculation. And instead of promoting his credentials as a Sunni leader defending the Prophet, the Sunday riots, dealt the blow of death to the spirit of March 14. Christian public opinion lost its trust in Hariri and in the government that represents him. And his efforts to make amends have so far been futile.

Responsible leadership and a clear vision for Lebanon have been absent from the Hariri and Jumblat governing camp. Indeed their political behaviour seems to rest on their bet that the Syrian regime, which they accuse of killing Rafic Hariri, will soon falter.

Although Jumblat tried to compromise with the Assad regime via Hezbollah and failed, the Hariri camp has refused any kind of concession, whether sponsored by Cairo or Riyadh. The Syrian regime has clearly backed Hariri’s assassination and the Hariri camp knows that. Therefore, “the truth” they are seeking is more of a vendetta that cannot be achieved because the US and Israel have no interest in destabilizing Syria.

Meanwhile, Lebanon’s political stability and its economy are the only losers.

The way out is not simple but a little political modesty from the Hariri and Jumblat camp is essential and can go a long way.
And instead of promoting the US objection over the Aoun and Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah dialogue, the Hariri camp and their allies should join them on a round table, after all it was neither the Free Patriotic Movement nor Hezbollah that killed Rafic Hariri. And they should do it on February 14.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The FM and Fouad Sanioura are a failure. Saad is a failure with no vision. ( He's got Handlers ).
All of the above are just sissies.
Junblatt is and has been a failure all along, a feudal sectarian criminal and a murderer and a thief to topp it all.
Geagea is a monster, a Killer and a thug, a total and utter Failure.
Now you tell me what to expect from these cowards? Nothing but misery. These thugs do not and have never represented the Spirit of March 14th. I was there, the Spirit of March 14th was prostituted by killer mercenaries with no vision and no desire to build a Nation/State for the Lebanese and a respectable Lebanon for our children. These poor stooges are "handled" by miserable
second rate embassy employees for a particular purpose of bringing about choas again onto our streets,
and a new civil war, Hence the assassinations will continue in earnest to bring about a civil war ASAP. Just watch and keep your eyes open !

10 February, 2006 16:45  
Anonymous Bullet Magnet said...

Nice analysis that simplifies a lot of the dynamics but still portray an interesting picture. The problem as you point it is of arrogance. Not only from one side but from others too. Check the commentsabove and you can see how the fans of all parties instead of realizing that they are all lebanese are just letting their instictive side take control and position themselves as wolves fighting other wolves for the carcass of a country. They have not realized yet that they are not wolves, just the carcass.

All of them!

10 February, 2006 19:14  

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