Biased Lebanese politicians in search of a neutral premier

Abdul Wahab Badrakhan

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Efforts are underway to find a “neutral” candidate for the Lebanese premiership who can form a “neutral” ministerial council. Who will find him and who will name him if the president’s consultations are being held with political parties who are not neutral at all? If they do find this unique man, the latter will be holding consultations with opposing political parties for the sake of guiding him towards assigning neutrals like him as ministers. There is no doubt that there are names for the candidacy. After all the country is not void of patriots fit for that position. But the circumstances are not patriotic. Not to mention that if the March 14 coalition suggests a name, the March 8 coalition will voice suspicions regarding him and vice versa.

The situation will be like creating or solving riddles. But what is the definition of “a neutral?” It is not to be a partisan, not to have a history or a role or a tendency towards politics, and it is preferred if he has no political opinion of his own or rather no opinion at all. And as long as he will be chosen based on his religion, like ministers will be chosen, it is also requested that he and the ministers be outside their sects or on its margin since sects nowadays are sunk in the general societal divisions over local issues and the Syrian crisis.

Lebanon’s political situation

Amid Lebanon’s political situation, how can such a cabinet be pictured? And how can such a cabinet work in a state that has lost its prestige and strength? How will the malicious, impudent and immoral respect its neutrality and discipline? We will get to know if the country is heading towards a stalemate during and after the consultations.

But the current atmosphere implies that everyone is frankly speaking of forming a weak formal cabinet that cannot handle any issue - for example the issues of telecommunications, oil and gas - even if the aim is just to develop it or activate it. The atmosphere also implies that this cabinet cannot, or rather does not, even have the right to deal with a parliamentary electoral law. This is the case even though the cabinet is supposed to supervise holding elections that no one knows the timing of with certainty. It also cannot and does not even have the right to be strict in maintaining security because the latter is discretionary, selective and set according to the “ruling party” in the resigned cabinet. This party will continue to rule no matter how the next cabinet acts - that is if a cabinet is born.

But what is the definition of “a neutral?” It is not to be a partisan, not to have a history or a role or a tendency towards politics, and it is preferred if he has no political opinion of his own

Abdul Wahab Badrakhan

The president considers that some of the “neutral cabinet’s” tasks are to limit the repercussions of the Syrian crisis and implement the Baabda Declaration. It is for this sake that he is thinking about reviving “national dialogue” so he can support the cabinet.

One must wonder how and who prevented the resigned cabinet from implementing the Baabda Declaration. If it was not the cabinet that prevented that, then it is the “ruling party” – Hezbollah, who sent its fighters to Syria. As for the repercussions, it is hard to prevent them because the Syrian regime’s allies are the ones behind them. There will not be a new cabinet unless they make sure that it can be used to serve the interest of their ally, the collapsing regime.

This piece was first published in Lebanon-based Annahar on April 4.


Abdul Wahab Badrakhan is a Lebanese journalist, who writes weekly in London's Al-Hayat newspaper among other Arab publications. Badrakhan was a journalist in 'Annahar' (Beirut) until 1979, in 'Annahar Arabic & international' magazine (Paris) up to 1989, in 'Al-Hayat' (London) as managing editor then deputy editor in chief until 2006. At present, Badrakhan is working on two books. The first book is on the roots of the experiences that have motivated young Arab men to go to Afghanistan. The second is devoted to Arab policies to counterterrorism, starting with the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and covering the ensuing wars.

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