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.