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Agenzia Stampa Vicino Oriente




Lebanon's collapsing formula

Both the Christian and Muslim sides should stop escalating their sectarian demands and Hizbollah must stop providing cover for some of its partners who are looting the country.

domenica 8 luglio 2012 19:39

by Ibrahim al Amin - al Akhbar (translation by Mideast Mirror Ltd)

Beirut, 8th of July 2012 - Nena News - The army is banned from entering the areas it decides to enter; the security forces are hijacked by a gang of sectarians who have spread across the country; anarchy rules over the security and political scene; the judiciary is not taken seriously by the public; the ministries and the official departments respond to the whims of whoever happens to be in charge; as for the street, whoever has power is king.

If this continues, the citizen will disappear. Every citizen will have to choose between struggling for the establishment of a state ruled by institutions, or be patient until a real state falls on us from heaven like rain, or accept to march under criminal sectarian banners and consent to a system that turns them into diminished dhimmi, even lowlier than a second- or third-class citizen.

As for public opinion, its tools have been reduced to a media that is undergoing the severest crisis of credibility since the country came into being. This scene ends with a total paralysis that first afflicts the state, and then afflicts individuals, even if they happen to be part of a group. What happened over the past few days was the first - though expected - explosion of the [1989] Ta'if Accord since it was signed and sealed by death in Lebanon and the power of the outside world around a quarter-of-a-century ago. We learnt that the so-called National Covenant of 1943 was in fact a sectarian system that gave the upper hand to the Christians, and was rejected by the Muslims, who waited for the appropriate moment to undermine it. But they replaced that system with the Ta'if Accord, which is in fact a sectarian system that gives the upper hand to the Muslims. And now we have the Christians, rising up again demanding equal rights - though some of them may be dreaming of returning to the old formula.

As for the Muslims, they are behaving in a manner that suggests no greater wisdom than that demonstrated by political Maronitism some four decades ago. We see them clinging to a detestable sectarian system, refusing to discuss or amend it, when as a matter of fact they - like the Christians - are in dire need of a system that bypasses the sectarian formula. They need a system in which the law would replace the rogues who have taken hold of the country and its people in both peace and war.

What happened on Monday, when Lebanon seemed akin to what it was in the 1970s and 1980s, opens the door to a view that will not displease any of those who are lining up for a new round of civil war that emulates or is influenced by what is happening around us: - From the Christian side, we heard some malignant expressions speaking of the need to restore the balance to public sector employment. Quite simply, this means that there are those who want full equality in pure numerical terms, no more and no less. In other words, whenever a Muslim is employed, a Christian must be employed to counterbalance them. This should be true for the security forces, the military, and in the state's bureaucracy.

It should be clear, however, that this has become impossible because the demographic balance in Lebanon is no longer what it was fifty or even thirty years ago. Two- thirds of Lebanon's citizens today are Muslims. If the advocates of this view among the Christians call for equality of employment, they must also accept equality of unemployment. Would that be right? - On the Muslim side, the forces representing the Muslims within the state have revealed their insatiable appetite. These forces range from the warlords who managed to absorb the state instead of vice versa, as in the case of [Shiite Parliamentary Speaker] Nabih Berri and [Druze leader] Walid Jumblatt; to leaders of the 'business world' that was brought into the state by the late [assassinated PM] Rafiq Hariri after the Ta'if Accord, even though the actual benefits of this rotten cheese only reaches ten percent of the Muslim base at most.

All the reactions to the calls to reconsider the Ta'if Accord or redistribute the powers or seriously separate them from each other raise the bogeyman of civil war. In short, the Muslims are saying to the Christians: This is what we have, and you can do whatever you like.

- There is a dreadful sort of impotence on the civilian front. No action is capable of drawing a crowd of any size even from those harmed by these policies. And this is accompanied by a situation where the political parties are in tatters, regardless of how much they may change their colors, switch their positions, or lie on their bellies and backs. It is also accompanied by a unionist movement that is even more rotten as far as its lack of integrity and its readiness to work for its social enemies are concerned.

Meanwhile a band of non-governmental organizations has been set loose amongst us; organizations that soon become a source for looting by individuals involved in matters that are bigger than them, or are mere fronts for foreign security and political activities. And anyone who believes it is possible to break the wall of silence without doing something big is either deluded or mad. But there is another aspect to this pressing crisis. It has to do with the first serious test of the unusual understanding that broke through the traditional political lineups in Lebanon - namely the understanding between Hizbollah and [Maronite leader General Michel 'Aoun's] Free Patriotic Current. This test needs some wise management if it is not to result in a more serious outcome, against the background of the many parties that wish to overturn the table on everyone.

In addition to the need to search for a new formula for ruling the country in discussions with General 'Aoun, Hizbollah must also realize that maintaining its silence towards the corruption of some of its partners within its narrow or broader sectarian [Shiite/Muslim] and political circles is no longer useful. The party also needs to understand that although this test will not harm the resistance because General 'Aoun's choice of reaching an understanding with the party is not the kind of [opportunist] political tactic pursued by Walid Jumblatt, major changes will take us all by storm in the absence of a state. Once that happens, there will not be anything worth sacrificing for. Nena News