Lebanon’s foreign minister on the Syrian side?

Nayla Tueni

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Is it intelligence, shrewdness or dependence? It doesn't matter how stances are analyzed. What matters is the disastrous results our foreign minister Adnan Mansour almost “achieved” for Lebanon and for the cabinet that theoretically adopted the policy of “dissociation” from the ongoing conflict in Syria. We support the cabinet in implementing this policy and adhering to it because Lebanon cannot face sliding into the Syrian swamp and must not pay the price for becoming embroiled in Syrian affairs, as it did during the tutelage phase. During that phase, there was a complete cancellation of our foreign policy due to the “inseparable paths,” and our domestic sovereignty was stepped upon amid the presence of the Aanjar rule. We also paid dearly after the tutelage phase ended as the most hideous of crimes were committed against independent figures in Lebanon, either directly or through a mediator. We do not want to pay further price during the phase of the thunderous fall of Assad's regime.

A painful reality

However, we are currently confronting a reality that is more painful than the tutelage phase. Minister Adnan Mansour’s stance is almost dragging us to it against our will. When MP Michel Aoun spoke about Arab countries, he later realized the enormity of his emotional statements so he retreated and issued a statement justifying what he had wanted to say and clarified that the media had taken his statements out of context. You know it is always the media’s fault whenever an official retracts his stance. But Aoun, although his bloc is widely represented in cabinet, is not the official party to be referred to when the country takes a stance and makes statements.

Adnan Mansour’s divergent view

Adnan Mansour is a different story. He is so carried away by the Syrian-Iranian axis that he effectivley became Syria’s foreign minister in Lebanon. Prime Minister Najib Miqati, perhaps known for his shrewdness and patience, lost his calm last week and called on this minister to resign. Miqati retracted his call the next day, but he went back to square one and wrote to him officially requesting him to commit to Lebanon’s official stance.

Adnan Mansour is a different story. He is so carried away by the Syrian-Iranian axis that he effectively became Syria’s foreign minister in Lebanon

Nayla Tueni

If Lebanon’s foreign minister does not express his country’s stance, then this is a disaster par excellence. Whose stance will he express? On whose behalf will he speak? The party that assigned him to this position? Are Hezbollah and Speaker Nabih Berri to be asked what was meant by that move? Was it for example intended to blow up the cabinet from the inside without taking into consideration the negative repercussions that will befall the country and its people? Repercussions of course will not be a result of the cabinet’s collapse, which is desired today more than ever. They will be the result of bad relations with Arab countries that have always helped Lebanon, contributed to rebuilding it and embraced its sons and its companies for a long time.

The need to visit ‘brotherly countries’

What is currently required from the president is that he makes the initiative of visiting brotherly countries, not African ones, to attempt to end negative repercussions, protect good relations and prevent any negative reactions from targeting Lebanon and its people. The president himself is required to do so because the capabilities of the prime minister to do so will remain limited and the capabilities of all other parties are nonexistent.

What is required today is not requesting the foreign minister to commit to the cabinet’s stance but to sack him for the sake of perhaps redeeming the cabinet and certainly redeeming the country.

This article was first published in Lebanon-based daily Annahar on March 13.

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

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