Lebanon is heading towards an inevitable vacuum which no amount of speeches, statements and stances can beneficially address or avoid. The incident in which missiles struck Beirut’s southern suburb on Sunday indicated a bad turn in Lebanon’s current situation, the country has not witnessed such a tense occurrence since the day the civil war erupted in 1975.
There is a vacuum in the legislative authority. A parliament which is only concerned about extending its term is not one that works to serve the country’s supreme and general interests.
A state of confusion
Meanwhile, the executive authority is also in state of vacuum and confusion. The country is going through a crisis phase without the presence of a fully functional cabinet. The resigned cabinet has no jurisdictional presence. And the premier-designate awaits a minimal consensus to resume the process of forming a cabinet that is currently being haggled over by Lebanon’s various political parties. The judicial authority also suffers interferences in its work. Additionally, the term of the constitutional council has ended. The monitoring authorities hands are tied on some occasions and Lebanese diplomacy isn’t exactly doing well outside Lebanon.
The situation with regards to security isn't doing any better. The Internal Security Forces General Director retired. His replacement retired in a month. And the one after him retired just months after assuming the post. The army commander is about to retire. The same goes for the intelligence head, whose term has been extended until the summer. The same goes for the head of customs as well as other posts.
Amidst this situation, and the Lebanese surge towards further involvement in Syrian affairs, all eyes are on you, Mr. President. This fateful phase requires more than dispatching an aide or a consultant to meet with a president here or a former president there. The country is on the verge of a fatal vacuum and the destruction of its institutions- that is if it does not engage in a Sunni-Shiite war that wreaks havoc.
To the president
We all know how critical the situation is. It is during such circumstances that great actions and strict stances emerge. To form Lebanon’s history in a dignified manner, so that you don’t resemble those who preceded, you means that you have to decisively object to the status quo, to stubbornly reject violating the constitution, to fight for defending and protecting legitimate institutions and to repeat your rejection, as you repeatedly said via the newspaper an-Nahar, of all talks about extending or renewing or amending a term. You must not submit to blackmail and be silent when it comes to violations of the law. Know that those who preceded you exited power in a state of humiliation and spent a long time struggling with themselves at first, and then with others.
You visited the ministry of defense on Friday and confirmed your support of the army. But we expect you to clearly state that you are with the army and state that the military institution is ready to launch a new “Nahr al-Bared” operation if that’s what it takes to defend the country and prevent it from being dragged into a renewed absurd war.
Do not accept that your term ends with a war resulting from the lax political authority and the security apparatus’ weakness amidst the country’s decent towards demise. This time the end is inevitable.
Confirm to us that you are committed to the oath you made when you assumed your office. Confirm to us that you will protect the country and the constitution until the end of your term and also after that date.
This article was first published in Annahar on May 28, 2013.
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