Who is to blame for Lebanon’s quagmire?

In Lebanon, affairs easily get mixed up and all logic is lost to the point of where facts become mere opinion

Nayla Tueni

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In Lebanon, affairs easily get mixed up and all logic is lost to the point where facts become mere opinion. I recently read that Nabil Qaouk, deputy chief of the executive council of Hezbollah, called for “strengthening national unity particularly during this phase of hatred (and) because the first party which is responsible for extending the (presidential) vacuum is actually the March 14 alliance.” He added: “Intents and true stances have (now) been revealed. These parties (i.e. March 14’s) are not ready to nominate the president... They cause domestic political crises on purpose in order to exhaust and obstruct the government’s path. Whose interest is it in to drain Lebanon’s unity and power when it’s engaged in the battle of defending its borders and people against takfirist invasions?”

It’s as if Sheikh Qaouk did not read what Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said last week when he called on the Free Patriotic Movement members of parliament – who are certainly not members of the March 14 alliance – to go to the parliament, attend sessions and elect a president instead of accusing others of obstruction. What Berri hasn’t stated in public is his invitation to all those boycotting parliament sessions to go ahead and attend – this involves inviting Hezbollah members of parliament before any others as they are the most important tool in obstructing the process of electing a president. Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah insists that this process is a domestic affair which Iran and the U.S.-Iranian dialogue have nothing to do with. If this is the case, why did Naim Qassem, deputy secretary-general, say last week: “Enough weeping over the presidency and let Saudi Arabia name a president so the country’s wheel can go back to turning normally. The affair (of electing a president) is foreign and they are obstructing it. It’s their problem that they influence the Lebanese reality.”

There’s no need here to analyze the depth of contradictions or to interpret that there’s obvious confusion in views regarding this thorny issue which each party is trying to shirk responsibility for. All that’s clear is that parliament sessions are being obstructed.

In Lebanon, no invaders or occupiers succeeded in extenuating their rule and they were all humiliatingly expelled. Additionally, no domestic party succeeded at imposing its will on others or at cancelling out a group, a party or a sect. The future will teach lessons to those who have not learnt anything from others’ experiences.

This article was first published in al-Nahar on May 4, 2015.


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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