Lebanon’s presidential vacuum is the Maronites’ responsibility
In Lebanon, Maronites’ disagreement pushed us all towards this crisis
The statements of Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam and Army Commander Jean Kahwaji did not reassure the Lebanese people, tourists and those coming to Lebanon for meetings and conferences. What happened with a delegation of participants in an Arab nationalist conference during the era of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the antithesis of Arabism and nationalism, does not bode well. If our security is above all considerations, security work must not exceed the boundaries of law and what is acceptable within respecting the dignity of people, whether those people love here or are visiting. Scenes in which those detained appeared before being released are humiliating and insulting and do not encourage tourists to come to Lebanon and especially if they come from poor countries whose governments do not provide them with proper follow-up attention or immunity.
Reassurances did not prevent the French embassy, then the American embassy, then the Emirati embassy from warning its citizens residing in Lebanon. The Emirati embassy has also warned its citizens against traveling to Lebanon.
A complicated situation
The truth is, the prime minister or heads of security apparatuses cannot assure accurate follow-up. They must confirm they are carrying out their duty of confronting all forms of terrorism. But the situation gets more complicated in the region - from Iraq to Syria and perhaps to Lebanon - and it’s therefore not possible to confirm that security has been restored. There must be initiatives on the political and security levels. One of these initiatives is good and solid security coordination among apparatuses and not their competition over who’s better. These apparatuses must focus more on training their men on quick response actions than focusing on increasing their numbers.
The major and most urgent initiative is not under the jurisdiction of Salam, Kahwaji and others as it comes from within the Maronite arena that’s failing to agree on a presidential candidate. The vacant post leaves the republic without a head, and it also often complicates and paralyzes institutions’ work. Those who are responsible, before any foreign intervention, are the Maronites themselves. If they could agree in Bkirki over one candidate, none of the country’s components would have been capable of objecting to the chosen figure - whether it’s from the March 14 or March 8 alliances. But the Maronites’ disagreement pushed us all towards this crisis.
This article was first published in al-Nahar on June 26, 2014.
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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