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I fear for the survival of Lebanon

June 19, 2024 at 1:45 pm

Smoke rises as small-scale fires broke out in the Shebaa region as a result of the Israeli attacks on the southeast of Lebanon on June 14, 2024 [Ramiz Dallah – Anadolu Agency]

Let me make it clear: I do not defend any of the warring Lebanese parties, and I examine them solely for the sake of analysis and fact-finding. However, like many Arabs, I fear for the survival of Lebanon and its people and wish them the best.

It is unnatural for the Republic of Lebanon to live with its sterile constitutional system, and in abstract terms it is not possible for the Lebanese parties to live with each other under one sky. Today, they are being forced to choose either another civil war that destroys everything and returns Lebanon to the Stone Age, or an agreement to divide the country federally. It is unnatural to use the term “coexistence” in light of what is happening there.

The reported talk by Druze MP and former minister Ghazi Al-Aridi about the Shia pair “Hezbollah and the Amal Movement” is unacceptable. What is meant by Samir Geagea, the “Lebanese Forces”, searching for another parliament?

The treacherous policy led by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah will inevitably lead to civil war.

The movement is playing with fire.

This position on the Shia pair calls for a strict stance at the leadership level, and a strict response to this innocent implication by the owners of the Iranian project in Lebanon.

Writing about crowd psychology, Gustave Le Bon says that the masses can only be moved and influenced by extreme emotions, so the preacher must use violent slogans and exaggerations, assert his points firmly and repeat them without trying to prove anything through rational argument.

According to Hezbollah, Geagea is obstructing the election of the president, and he accuses the Shia pair of the same thing. They are trading identical accusations. Does obstructing the election of the president mean obstructing Hezbollah’s project because there is no possibility for Geagea and Sami Gemayel of the Phalange to come up with a sovereign president who can or will legitimise Hezbollah’s disastrous actions?

READ: Iran warns Hezbollah about Israel’s attempt to assassinate Nasrallah

The Lebanese parliament is not the private property of the pair of Shia organisations. The people decide with their votes who shall and shall not sit in parliament. Moreover, Amal leader Nabih Berri is the Speaker of Parliament, not president, and his role is governed by clear guidelines, which cannot be bypassed.

The Speaker is tasked with enacting laws and preserving the Constitution, and yet Berri leads an armed militia acting outside the law and the Constitution. He uses armed force to impose his opinions, even though he is meant to be an elder statesman. The “democracy” of arms and militants does not work, though, especially in Lebanon.

There are those who believe that the Hezbollah-Amal duo is on the verge of ending. The Shia community is aware of this, and will remove the façade from the pair, as has been done around the world beyond Lebanon.

The Lebanese economy has been devastated by the theft of deposits, the disintegration of state institutions, and the increase in smuggling and organised crime, as well as the danger of the displaced persons.

The majority of the Lebanese people believe that a new parliamentary election is essential.

For eight months, Israel has threatened Lebanon repeatedly, while Hezbollah has been beating the drums of war. Lebanon has become the likely arena for an Israel-Iran war that its people have nothing to do with except to die for Iranian “Supreme Leader” Ali Khamenei and his nuclear reactors.

The Lebanese now have no choice but to resist provocation and refuse to destroy their country in the service of regional and international agendas. Only the state can protect Lebanon’s future and preserve its sovereignty and dignity.

Furthermore, if war does break out between Hezbollah and Israel, the Gulf states will not rebuild Lebanon, because the US has decreed that they should not spend a single dollar on a country in which there are “terrorist organisations”. Funding for reconstruction will be viewed as support for terrorism, and any individual or state caught doing this will face economic sanctions.

If Hezbollah and the rest of the war merchants in Lebanon are counting on Gulf billions, as happened in 2006, they are wrong; not a single dollar will reach them from the Gulf. The destruction will last for years — look at Syria — and be a witness to their stupidity in destroying their homeland with their own hands until the Iranians are satisfied with them.

The bottom line is that the conflict today either leaves Lebanon hostage to Hezbollah and Iran, which uses Lebanese land and people to wage war instead of using its own land and young people, or the state must restore its authority and sovereignty, including restoring the Lebanese people’s right to self-determination through its legitimate institutions. Iran cannot be allowed to sacrifice the Lebanese and Palestinians in order to expand its own influence. I truly fear for the survival of Lebanon.

READ: IDF approves plan to attack Lebanon as Biden’s envoy meets Netanyahu after Beirut talks

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.