Hezbollah Deputy-Secretary General Naim Qassem said last Sunday that Lebanon’s March 14 alliance deserved a “Nobel Prize for disruption,” accusing it of blocking the country’s Cabinet and Parliament. “The March 14 coalition is the pioneer of institutional paralysis in Lebanon,” he added.
It’s not clear whether Qassem is just playing the game of political propaganda, addressing a forgetful audience - or a group of blindly loyal supporters - or if he is actually convinced himself that what he’s saying is the truth.
The deputy-secretary general’s statement first voiced intolerance towards his rivals. He then called on them to accept his extended hand and cooperate, warning that if they don’t, “they will miss the train.” This is how Hezbollah encourages dialogue; threats under the disguise of advice.
Many Lebanese people think it’s enough to just list the rival March 8 alliance’s exploits to shed light on facts. But even if March 14 had committed several mistakes, this does not grant the other party, which is drowning in its sins, the right to hold others accountable.
The group obstructing major state affairs is Hezbollah and its ally the Free Patriotic Movement, which boycott parliamentary sessions held to elect a president, while claiming they care about the state and the yearlong presidential standoff.
After the presidency, the next important issue is a national interest government. There’s no alternative to this amid the presidential vacuum and the absence of a mechanism to appoint a new one. But I believe the government’s work is also being obstructed by Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement.
Lebanese policymakers no longer even have a say over Hezbollah’s fighting in Syria to protect Bashar al-Assad’s regime, upon Iranian orders of course. This disrupts the cabinet’s ability to make any security decisions; it would be incapable of executing them with Hezbollah acting on its own accord anyway. Also, those obstructing any say the policymakers have are working from inside the government, making it even harder to rise above Hezbollah.
This is a simplified explanation of the situation, and there’s no need to bring up the May 2008 Hezbollah attack on Beirut, the July 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel or other events that clearly point the finger at those disrupting the Lebanese state - and who truly deserves “Nobel Prize for disruption.”
This article was first published in al-Nahar on June 15, 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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