Thursday, June 07, 2007

Palm Beach Gardens, June 5, 2007

Lebanese Consensus or Civil war?

The US has contrasting relations with Syria and Lebanon. For the US, Syria is on the devil’s track, but Lebanon is a darling. This is a scenario for much drama. Syria considers itself Lebanon’s elder sister (Arabic: al shakika al kubra) and it views Beirut’s intimacy with America as anti-Syrian. Lebanon may have to pay a heavy toll for being too close to Uncle Sam.

As a small country, Lebanon can not stand firm against strong political opposition-from inside or outside the country. The international community, particularly the US and France, has cajoled the Lebanese government to discipline a defiant and militarized resistance movement, Hezbollah. To demilitarize Hezbollah, the US led the Security Council last summer to agree to a UN Resolution (1701) that ended the war with Israel and called for liquidation of all militias in Lebanon. Hezbollah has refused to disarm arguing that the Lebanese national defense system is too weak, the Israel military remains belligerent, and the Palestinian camps are not passive.

The US took another bold and controversial diplomatic move last week. Washington successfully lobbied for UN Resolution 1757: formation of a tribunal to investigate the murder of former Prime Minister Harriri. The US has put immense pressure on Lebanon to try to expose Syria legally through a UN sponsored court.

These two US-led diplomatic maneuvers have strengthened the already exiting relations among Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. This trio is a formidable formation of rejection and populism in the region. The failure of the US in Iraq has weakened its influence in the rest of the region.

Nevertheless, America continues to assume the role of the chief foreign architect in the Middle East political landscape. When the US can not fix a country it breaks it. Iraq and Palestine are clear examples of messy US intervention. Within Iraq and the Palestinian communities the US has consistently played one rival side against the other.

Similarly, in Lebanon, the US has supported the government and encouraged it to remain distant from the demands of the opposition. The opposition, led by Hezbollah’s political arm, is not ready to participate in the September presidential elections. The opposition has been demanding political reform and better representation in a “national unity” government.

Domestic tension makes the Lebanon of today resemble Lebanon of 1975, a pre-civil war period. If a smooth election of a new president does not take place in September ‘07 the country may split into two rival entities. This split might easily lead into a new civil outbreak.

Will the Lebanese be smart enough to avoid being the victims of cold war dynamics between two political fronts: Iran/Syria on one side and US/Israel on the other?

When the Lebanese pressured Syria to leave their country in 2005, they achieved unity and experienced liberation. At times, Syria has been helpful to its little-sister state; but more often than not the Syrian regime has exploited Lebanon. While the Lebanese should strive to be politically independent from Syria, they can never afford to treat their immediate Arab neighbor as a stranger, much less as an enemy. Syria and Lebanon are too close, demographically, historically and socially, to function without coordination and civility. Given the realities of the region, has not Syria already paid for its sins by withdrawing from Lebanon? This is the question that divides public opinion sharply.

To Syria, the Lebanese international search for justice for the killing of Harriri appears to be a US political ploy to hurt the Damascus regime. Is it political overkill for Lebanon to try to expose Syria globally through “Western” channels of justice?

Lebanon is appealing to a weak international system to deal with Syria’s hegemony.
The United Nations has already lost much credibility for its incompetence to apply the rule of international law in the Palestinian question. A major regional injustice has been neglected by the international community for 40 years: the 1967 Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Syrian land. Now, when Chapter Seven of the Security Council is invoked to enforce retribution for the Harriri case a double standard stands out.

Even if the UN were consistent and effective in enforcing international law the Harriri tribunal will still face the problem of partnering with a divided and a relatively shady government. The Harriri related regime has dominated the country since the end of the civil war in 1990. It is associated with a national debt that has ransomed the economic future of the country. The Lebanese opposition considers the national debt an “economic assassination”.

The physical security of the Lebanese state is another embarrassment to the current government. The Lebanese national army has never managed to protect the national borders against Israeli intervention. Currently, the Lebanese forces are even having much trouble in handling a few hundred rebels in a Palestinian camp; rebels without a cause, rebels that boast of nauseating heroism. A very weak national army provides room and reason for the formation of ethnic paramilitary groups.

Finally, the Lebanese cabinet’s embrace of the Bush administration is too provocative for a large section of Lebanese society. Critics of the US point out that last summer America partnered with Israel in a devastating war that showed little respect for Lebanese life, ecology or infrastructure.

Neither the Lebanese opposition nor the Lebanese government can win, or should win, the dangerous battle of wills that has been raging since November 2006. Both sides should compromise to avoid dragging the country into a new civil war. To survive, Lebanon should neither embrace the West nor walk in the shadow of any Arab country.


Blogger oakleyses said...

ray ban outlet, prada handbags, tory burch outlet online, christian louboutin, michael kors outlet online, coach purses, coach outlet, christian louboutin outlet, kate spade outlet, burberry outlet online, christian louboutin shoes, longchamp outlet, nike free, michael kors outlet, polo ralph lauren, michael kors outlet store, jordan shoes, red bottom shoes, louis vuitton outlet online, burberry outlet online, longchamp outlet online, coach outlet, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton handbags, oakley vault, oakley sunglasses, gucci handbags, polo ralph lauren outlet, tiffany and co jewelry, prada outlet, louis vuitton outlet, chanel handbags, louis vuitton, kate spade outlet online, nike air max, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, nike outlet, nike air max, true religion, cheap oakley sunglasses, longchamp handbags, louis vuitton outlet, coach outlet store online, michael kors handbags, tiffany jewelry

10:47 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

vans pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, nike air max, air max pas cher, longchamp, louis vuitton pas cher, converse pas cher, hollister, nike free pas cher, nike roshe, nike air max, mulberry, louis vuitton uk, ralph lauren, michael kors canada, air jordan, air max, chaussure louboutin, tn pas cher, lacoste pas cher, true religion jeans, true religion outlet, barbour, sac louis vuitton, ralph lauren pas cher, oakley pas cher, new balance pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, burberry pas cher, michael kors uk, ray ban uk, hermes pas cher, north face pas cher, longchamp pas cher, hollister, nike roshe run, north face, louis vuitton, timberland, nike air force, lululemon, sac vanessa bruno, nike free, guess pas cher, ray ban pas cher, scarpe hogan, sac michael kors

10:49 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

wedding dresses, mac cosmetics, soccer shoes, soccer jerseys, canada goose outlet, insanity workout, canada goose, p90x workout, abercrombie and fitch, longchamp, nfl jerseys, ugg soldes, instyler ionic styler, giuseppe zanotti, canada goose outlet, reebok shoes, ghd, herve leger, nike huarache, ugg outlet, bottega veneta, jimmy choo shoes, celine handbags, ferragamo shoes, ugg, canada goose outlet, babyliss, mcm handbags, uggs outlet, asics shoes, north face jackets, lululemon outlet, north face jackets, hollister, marc jacobs outlet, replica watches, valentino shoes, uggs on sale, birkin bag, uggs outlet, nike roshe, vans outlet, chi flat iron, new balance outlet, nike trainers, beats headphones, ugg boots, mont blanc pens, ugg boots

10:50 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

moncler outlet, wedding dress, supra shoes, uggs canada, louboutin, coach outlet, canada goose, air max, ugg, lancel, moncler, converse, moncler outlet, louis vuitton canada, thomas sabo uk, moncler, pandora charms, canada goose, juicy couture outlet, links of london uk, swarovski uk, replica watches, juicy couture outlet, moncler, nike air max, swarovski jewelry, timberland shoes, montre femme, hollister, oakley, moncler, hollister clothing, ray ban, hollister canada, pandora uk, vans, pandora jewelry, baseball bats, ralph lauren, gucci, parajumpers outlet, converse shoes, moncler, canada goose pas cher, iphone 6 case, karen millen, canada goose, toms outlet

10:51 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

burberry outlet, nike free, oakley sunglasses wholesale, gucci handbags, longchamp outlet, replica watches, oakley sunglasses, nike air max, ray ban sunglasses, christian louboutin uk, ugg boots, nike air max, polo ralph lauren outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, ray ban sunglasses, kate spade outlet, tiffany jewelry, michael kors outlet, uggs outlet, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet, nike outlet, michael kors outlet online, prada handbags, christian louboutin shoes, louis vuitton outlet, christian louboutin, jordan shoes, polo outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, burberry handbags, christian louboutin outlet, tory burch outlet, michael kors outlet online, longchamp outlet, uggs on sale, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet store, tiffany and co, prada outlet, ugg boots, chanel handbags, uggs outlet, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton, louis vuitton outlet, replica watches

12:35 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

michael kors, converse pas cher, new balance, north face uk, true religion outlet, nike roshe, sac hermes, nike tn, true religion jeans, timberland pas cher, vans pas cher, michael kors outlet, mulberry uk, coach purses, nike roshe run uk, nike free uk, lululemon canada, michael kors pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, oakley pas cher, nike air max, polo lacoste, polo ralph lauren, nike air max uk, abercrombie and fitch uk, hollister uk, nike free run, longchamp pas cher, north face, hollister pas cher, hogan outlet, true religion outlet, ralph lauren uk, michael kors, jordan pas cher, air max, sac vanessa bruno, guess pas cher, nike air max uk, kate spade, louboutin pas cher, ray ban uk, ray ban pas cher, burberry pas cher, coach outlet, nike air force, coach outlet store online, sac longchamp pas cher, coach outlet, true religion outlet

12:40 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

vans, ralph lauren, giuseppe zanotti outlet, nike roshe run, ray ban, p90x workout, herve leger, asics running shoes, nike air max, timberland boots, ghd hair, reebok outlet, new balance shoes, north face outlet, iphone 6 cases, mac cosmetics, wedding dresses, nike trainers uk, converse outlet, celine handbags, lululemon, hollister clothing, soccer jerseys, instyler, longchamp uk, converse, soccer shoes, babyliss, insanity workout, beats by dre, gucci, north face outlet, vans outlet, abercrombie and fitch, hermes belt, ferragamo shoes, hollister, bottega veneta, nike huaraches, nike air max, louboutin, jimmy choo outlet, valentino shoes, baseball bats, nfl jerseys, chi flat iron, oakley, mcm handbags, hollister, mont blanc pens

12:45 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

karen millen uk, doudoune moncler, canada goose, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton, moncler, moncler, replica watches, pandora uk, pandora charms, swarovski crystal, ugg uk, coach outlet, michael kors handbags, canada goose outlet, moncler, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, ugg, canada goose outlet, marc jacobs, pandora jewelry, lancel, wedding dresses, moncler, moncler outlet, links of london, moncler outlet, barbour uk, canada goose outlet, canada goose uk, doke gabbana, michael kors outlet, barbour, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, canada goose, supra shoes, juicy couture outlet, louis vuitton, canada goose jackets, canada goose, juicy couture outlet, louis vuitton, swarovski, hollister, toms shoes, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, pandora jewelry, ugg pas cher, thomas sabo, moncler uk, montre pas cher

12:50 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home