No constituent assembly on the horizon in Lebanon

It is unfortunate how politicians are easily dragged into useless controversies that only expose the depth of the crisis facing Lebanon. This is not due to the system or constitution, as some claim, but to the corruption of those who violate the constitution while in government, and who exploit laws to serve their own interests and those of the foreign parties they are affiliated with.

Recent statements about the constituent assembly are a waste of time. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who proposed the idea of establishing the assembly, does not have the power to implement it. The proposal may have been a mere thought, so all these tense responses are uncalled for. Nasrallah abandoned the idea when it garnered negative reactions and led to a new crisis.

Hezbollah, with all its might and increasing power, is not stronger or more organized than the Lebanese Forces was in its heyday during the civil war. The Lebanese Forces could not open Halat airport because a major party opposed the idea. History is repeating itself. Hezbollah cannot establish a constituent assembly amid opposition from most Lebanese powers.

Dividing shares in a constituent assembly would not be easy due to the loss of balance in Lebanon and the region

Nayla Tueni

Civil war?

Establishing this assembly now would lead to a civil war. Hezbollah realizes the threat of this more than anyone else. It knows that a civil war is worse than the traditional war it is used to fighting, and that in this case it would be based on a Sunni-Shiite conflict, as Sunni tensions are currently worse than Christian ones.

Dividing shares in a constituent assembly would not be easy due to the loss of balance in Lebanon and the region. It requires a consensus that is currently not available and cannot be imposed by any party, no matter how bad circumstances get.

Sunni leader Saad Hariri guarantees moderation. However, a small spark could ignite strife by mobilizing around 2 million Syrian and Palestinian Sunni refugees, who would be joined by Lebanese Sunnis to confront and besiege Hezbollah. Military force and security apparatuses’ intervention in gang wars are usually in vain.

Therefore, present circumstances are unsuitable for a constituent assembly. If decisions could be imposed, Hezbollah would have succeeded in assigning its presidential candidate and resolving other issues. Lebanon is at a stalemate, and resolving its affairs is being obstructed as we await consensuses.

This article was first published in an-Nahar on Sept. 12, 2016.
Nayla Tueni is one of the few elected female politicians in Lebanon and of the two youngest. She became a member of parliament in 2009 and following the assassination of her father, Gebran, she is currently a member of the board and Deputy General Manager of Lebanon’s leading daily, Annahar. Prior to her political career, Nayla had trained, written in and managed various sections of Annahar, where she currently has a regular column. She can be followed on Twitter @NaylaTueni

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49
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