The Lebanese people lived a long period characterized by “consensual security” before, during and after the April 13, 1975 war. Recently, there has been a worrisome and infamous growing tendency to challenge the state, with increasing numbers of “security Islands,” the spread of unauthorized arms, creeping security chaos, banditry, attacks on public facilities and the spread of organized crime. This happens to the extent that kidnapping for ransom has become expected, especially with the inability of the state, its institutions, and security organs to put an end to the kidnapping of citizens of other countries, Arabs and others, by backed bandits and as outlaws continue to commit crimes with no one to hold them accountable.
Kidnapping foreigners for ransom in Lebanon has likely appeared as champions of organized crimes, drug trafficking, car thefts, weapons and contraband become emboldened by their financial, legal immunity and moral potentials. They are emboldened as well by the lack of the state’s ability to hold them accountable. This phenomenon also holds an economic, social and class dimension as is the case in several countries in Africa and Latin America and other regions where “banana republics” prosper and where there is no justice and rule of law.
The rise of kidnappings in general, and particularly ransom kidnapping, signals primarily the collapse of the Lebanese state and its symbols and the inability of the muddled and hesitant government to protect the Lebanese people, and the failure of the “consensual security” concept long praised by “traders of politics” for years. Secondly, the trend of kidnapping signals that Arab and foreign tourists and investors will continue to shy away from Lebanon because of the looming and surrounding risks. Thirdly, it raises fear among the wealthy, businessmen and middle class people who will fear for their lives, assets, interests, and the future of their children and consequently become reluctant, presently or in the future, to contribute to the revitalization of the economic and tourism movement. This situation then turns them into passive consumers and prompts them to seek places abroad that are more secure and stable and that offer a return on their investment. It also makes them constantly dreaming about double citizenship and immigration to where they can focus on building their future instead of staying where they would dwell on past conflicts and slogans.
The question is whether the “consensual security” and the disintegration of the Lebanese state structure and the weakness of its symbols, institutions, economy and general budget will lead to and armed conflict, chaos and socio-economic and financial collapse in which the state and the people would lose while funded and armed “mini-states” and their incredible “heroes” would win? Or, are we going to witness, on the contrary, a sudden official awakening that will restore, in deeds not words, to the Lebanese people their security, safety, and the sources of their living, comfort and peace of mind -- a situation that would be different from today’s, which is marked by high-pitched speeches that promise to end kidnappings “completely” in seven days!.