Will Lebanon’s army collapse again?

Nayla Tueni
Nayla Tueni
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Earlier this week, our gracious parliament has extended its term for 17 months and although I am not convinced of this move, I do support it given Lebanon’s current circumstances that warn of a dangerous escalation in which the parliament falls into the trap of negotiating unimportant details. Now, we, as Lebanese people, have to focus on issues other than the government. We have to focus on fortifying our path, security and local strength in an attempt to decrease the repercussions of surrounding events.

We all know that isolating Lebanon from its surroundings is impossible. Dissociating Lebanon was, and will remain, a vibrant slogan that parties, especially Western ones, like to hear. We try through this slogan to convince ourselves that we have nothing to do with what’s happening around us and that we will thus be safe from any threats.

The truth is, there is some reality in this logic, that is we if we stir away from foreign influence which has a huge effect domestically. Syrian calculations have gone beyond issues linked to the authority and the opposition. They have reached regional and international calculations. They have also reached calculations linked to oil, arming, minorities’ fate and new divisions - perhaps of the region. Lebanon’s participation in this war is nothing more than an act in which someone throws a stone in the sea to cause ripples its water.

Hezbollah has announced that it is participating, that is it is implicated, in the Syrian war as a party “protecting the resistance’s back.” By doing so, it has provided an excuse for others like extremist salafist categories to announce their joining of other parties which oppose the Syrian regime.

Given these, it does not seem that we are far from the transfer of battles to Lebanon. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s call to fight on Syrian territories will not be met. It is as if there is an island that is not linked to our reality beyond our borders. The land seems as if it is one used to prepare for war. Last night’s renewed tension and clashes in Tripoli are the best proof of that. Divisions are present, sectarian disagreements have deepened, arms are available and sectarian incitement has trespassed all borders in this era of uncontrolled satellite channels that are void of morals, education and professionalism.

All it takes is for someone to spark the situation. We do not know, however, who will spark it at a critical regional timing now that disputes have gone beyond politics and reached what’s sacred, thus turning the fighting in Syria into a jihadist duty.

The situation is currently very dangerous. It is not enough to say that the army intelligence, Internal Security Forces - Information Branch, General Security and State Security are closely monitoring movements and contacts. These apparatuses’ work will remain inefficient if it’s limited to collecting information without pursuing criminals, arresting them and trying them.

The army is carrying out several tasks, perhaps huge ones, but it has begun to lose its prestige and distinction. Calls to strengthen it do not aim to cause tensions between it, as some people like to think. Many like us still bet on the army despite its recent weak image.

Currently, the army has to keep away from politicians’ calculations in order to restore its security position and make decisive decisions to protect the country from disasters. Or it must admit its incapability so we consider resorting to the aid of UN forces. This is something we certainly do not want because they remind us of the Arab Deterrent Forces that transformed into a chronic Syrian occupation which repercussions that last until this day.

This article was first published in Lebanon-based Annahar on June 4, 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

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