Doomed Lebanese political affirmation

I don’t know if you guys realize what’s going on in Lebanon, but the problem isn’t about Hizballah de/militarization in itself. The problem is about pointing fingers at those who killed former prime minister Hariri. Why the insistence on the international court trial? Why this event in particular? Because the ruling of this trial will definitely set solid delineations on available alliances.

If the Syrians are found guilty, then this event will trigger a clear departure from Lebanese foreign policy of the past 20 years or so. “Khalas, it’s the Syrians that definitely did it, and there is a legal verdict on it so we can move on”. The 14th of March camp allied themselves with the Americans only for this scapegoating process. The Americans were happy because they could ask for disarming Hizballah so you had a deal. So initially for the 14th of March, the problem is not the weapons of Hizballah per se.

The search of legitimating rulings like 1559, etc. has always been a Lebanese favorite, a kind of “look it’s the UN saying it so it must be indubitable. This lack of confidence in local legitimating stances is quite revealing. And it marks the way political parties have always functioned in Lebanon.

And let’s assume it’s the Syrians (and Lebanese extensions), then Hizballah will never accept having fingers pointed in that direction. Because the legitimating stance of Hizballah derives from crucial alliances with Syria and Iran. Pointing fingers at Syria is one additional point for the Americans whether the Lebanese like it or not. So for Hizballah (and other temporary allies like Tayyar, and the rest of the heteroclite Christian formations) even if Syria did it, it does not mean we should scream it on the roofs.

The dudes to carefully watch in the coming weeks are the Saudis who may start retrieving some of the cards Saad has in his hands and finally deviate the whole ‘dialogue’ sessions. Maybe that’s why Al-Akhbar has a new found love in the person of the Saudi ambassador. Watch the Saudis carefully, they are up to something, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them getting closer to the Syrians.

To go back to the main point I’m trying to make, notice the subtle difference here I want to arrive at: The country is not divided because the role of the State (and its institutions) is hampered by the presence of a non-state armed actor (Hizballah). The real split is on the choice of foreign alliances. Lebanese internal political struggles have never been about building a strong state (except during Fouad Chehab’s mandate) but about which foreign partner to choose in order to strengthen the confessional stronghold.

Lebanese political parties organizations and leaders have still to find a more mature way to recognize the importance of their regional surroundings and how this creates ethical/strategic/political imperatives, and at the same time to start building a strong state. In both these cases 14th of March dudes really sucked. Hizballah has done very well on the first case, and still has to prove its case in the second, although sometimes, it shows that it is caught up in the confessional blame game.

The problem is that as long as the system is confessional there is absolutely no way you can do both. The minimal public trust required, the “legitimating” institutional-building that will bring these parties closer will never be created.

N.B.: The only people who had an a priori problem with Hizballah’s weapons are unfortunately extreme isolationist of the christian right wing brand like the Kataeb (Gemayel branch of Phalangist) or the Lebanese Forces (Geagea). Now Amin Gemayel represent the Kataeb legacy or its remnants and may have a modicum of a plan for state building. But alas he neglects completely the regional surrounding (first important clause we mentioned for a politically mature Lebanese party). Lebanese Forces have no plan at all and don’t even know what the word “State” means and have no idea of what’s going on in the region.

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12 thoughts on “Doomed Lebanese political affirmation

  1. but bech i mean you cannot deny that the hezb weapons are a strategic tool AND not only against or to coerce Israel!

    The situation I think resembles that of an elephant in a store selling China and nobody sees the damn thing! And this as you suspect I think has not been given justice in your piece, I am sorry mate.

  2. Simply because they are weapons as such ya Bech.

    These weapones are you have to agree different from the wooden kalashnikov I used to play with as a kid (or was it an m-16?)

    It just strikes me as odd that you seem so oblivious on this imbalance at the national scence.

    I really do not want to push my argument any further–and argue that it is unsutainable in the long term for one of the sects in Lebanon to be armed much more than the others and may I am sure technically speaking rule over the country (though this also would be unsustainble in the long run I hope)–because I think what I said is sufficient.

    Having said, I agree with your main message if I undertood it correctly that indeed there is a major cause behind the recent turn in the events, namely a non-alignemnt on the foreign agenda.

  3. you still did not convince me ramzi.

    What can you do with these weapons apart from them having regional dimensions. What can they do locally?

    Judging from how things work in the country, how can these weapons work as a political leverage?

    don’t confuse the means adn the ends. the weapons are a means. In other political circumstances they can become obsolete.

  4. Dear Bechir,
    1. Somehow you don’t seem to understand that Lebanon is able to have its own identity without having to be completely infeodated to Syria, while maintaining good relations with it. 2. Maybe some people do neglect the context in which we are in but you, unfortunately, seem to forget the Lebanese dynamics that need to come first.
    3. I believe that if someone had a serious problem with the Hesbollah weapons, that would first be a “strategic” choice as Ramzi said, and not a “Christian Lebanese” one. I hardly believe that in the Hariri block, Christians are the ones pulling all the strings. I am not going to develop on what is happening between Sunnis and Chias in Lebanon and elsewhere in the ME, because any person with minimal good sense would understand.

    After reading what I just read, I get the feeling that you- like many in Lebanon- will pick the few elements that will construct your analysis and purposely forget the others. You also seem to be holding a lot of anger towards the Lebanese Christians, who, I am sorry to say are not all part of the Lebanese Forces or whatever….That is a syndrom that I am finding frequently among Lebanese Christians lately, probably because they are trying to embrace their arab identity and unfortunately take it for contradictory to keep their Christian identity along the way…I can’t quite compare it to the Stockholm syndrome but that’s what it makes it think of…
    Hope your music is fine.

  5. Hehehe who are you Anonymous finder of syndromes? Good, it’s good to try to look for patterns, to categorize, to simplify the reality you perceive so that it fits your narrow rational frame.

    But let me help you in this because even in this narrow frame i don’t think you get much of what I am saying.

    1. Somehow you don’t seem to understand that Lebanon is able to have its own identity without having to be completely infeodated to Syria, while maintaining good relations with it.

    Really? I did not know that! thank you for the info. hahaha
    I don’t really see where do you find either blessing “infeodation” or any other lebanese party blessing it.

    2. Maybe some people do neglect the context in which we are in but you, unfortunately, seem to forget the Lebanese dynamics that need to come first.

    I beg you to clarify my friend. I am always explaining Lebanese dynamics. And I am always pointing out how they regional dynamics can be finely balanced with local ones (for example by building a strong state). Am I that misunderstood? what’s in my text you don’t understand?

    3. I believe that if someone had a serious problem with the Hesbollah weapons, that would first be a “strategic” choice as Ramzi said, and not a “Christian Lebanese” one.

    Again what do you mean?

    I hardly believe that in the Hariri block, Christians are the ones pulling all the strings.

    Where the hell did you read that?

    I am not going to develop on what is happening between Sunnis and Chias in Lebanon and elsewhere in the ME, because any person with minimal good sense would understand.

    Then don’t it’s good for all of us 😉

    After reading what I just read, I get the feeling that you- like many in Lebanon- will pick the few elements that will construct your analysis and purposely forget the others.

    hahaha know thy self first my friend.

    You also seem to be holding a lot of anger towards the Lebanese Christians, who, I am sorry to say are not all part of the Lebanese Forces or whatever….

    Thank you for this brilliant insight. You are really extraordinary. It’s good you stayed anonymous.
    It’s a shame you don’t understand that i was saying that the only dudes who tried build a strong state were Christians at some point. the proper is the alienation from the environment. But this is too subtle for you.

    That is a syndrom that I am finding frequently among Lebanese Christians lately, probably because they are trying to embrace their arab identity and unfortunately take it for contradictory to keep their Christian identity along the way…

    And here is the gem of your intellectual achievement. Bernard Lewis would be proud of you “christian identiy is in the way” haha good good.. Well go out and find other syndromes of frustrated Christians. It does not change in any way the relevancy of what I am saying that by the way has nothing to do with a judgemental value on either Christians or Muslims or anyone.

    I can’t quite compare it to the Stockholm syndrome but that’s what it makes it think of…

    mm ok

    Hope your music is fine.

    thank you

  6. Dear, very dear Bechir…It is good to know how gracefully you take criticism. By the way, it is Sandrine, and I forgot to precise my name as I am not used to send messages on your blog…And I do no regret it, as it seems to be made only for people who share your opinion. So sorry for angering you by not sharing your believes.
    Your responses are very funny by the way but they don’t quite answer some questions….

  7. Sandrine kifik ya 3ameh!

    I really thought it was some Israeli or someone trying to play tricks on me. I’m sorry for the harshness, but seriously, I just never meant things you said, so I maybe reacted in a hard way.

    Of course I take criticism. I have reformulated my arguments countless times thanks to very useful comments made. But in this case I think I was on the right track. Although I still welcome difference.

    Now please tell me what i did not answer so that I can clarify.

    Khalinnah nchoufik.

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