Lebanon’s new government and Syria

Abdul Wahab Badrakhan

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If what happened last month is not a victory for Lebanon’s March 14 bloc then it is definitely a defeat for the March 8 bloc. The criterion is the lousy performance of the resigning Lebanese government in comparison to the tremendous success of the drastic transformation that moved the majority from one camp to another. At the time, March 14 was undoubtedly the defeated party. Former Lebanese prime minister Najib Mikati must have understood by now who had manipulated him and why he had been unconvincing. It is not related to his character, but rather to the political context.

Some might say that Hezbollah has become wiser and willingly gave up embarking on adventures or reconsidered its position and it always does in order to cater to the needs of its secretary general no matter how unrealistic they might be. No, it is not possible for a party who controls the government to give it up all of a sudden and relegate itself from a “ruling” party to a “participating” one.

Surprise choice

Most importantly, the party and its allies would have to accept what is said about “the return of Saudi to Lebanon,” a matter that Saudi itself did not state, and they shifted from the “one-color government” option to naming Tammam Salam, who was neither its choice nor that of its allies in Tehran and Damascus. This means Hezbollah would agree to, rather insist on, a “consensual” government, which the Lebanese know from experience would turn into the opposite and become “hypocritical” government.

As for the “national interest government” suggested by the new prime minister, it needs to be given a chance and the same applies to him even though the term “national interest” has been subjected to series of insults and manipulations. It could mean that Bashar al-Assad and his regime are to remain in power, or that the Iranian supreme guide would support the “armament of the resistance” or that Michel Aoun is to go back to Baabda Palace as president or the monopoly of oil that is still in the sea. That is why the term “national interest’ needs to be re-defined and re-produced.

Former Lebanese prime minister Najib Mikati must have understood by now who had manipulated him and why he had been unconvincing.

Abdul Wahab Badrakhan

For those who do not know or do not want to know, it is important to point out some basics. First, the Syrian-Iranian camp found itself unable to repeat the game and bring a government with the same criteria as Mikati’s. Second, Iran could not see itself run the country on its own after the end of the Syrian role especially that this makes its responsible for a kind of “stability” it cannot achieve despite its obsession with power and control. Third, the “Saudi sponsorship” with a forced Iranian approval does not mean that Hezbollah will withdraw from al-Qusair and all its strongholds in Syria regardless of what the Baabda Declaration stipulates.

This article was first published in Lebanon-based April 13, 2013.

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.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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