Stalling in Lebanon can only lead to more chaos
How can the FPM and Hezbollah expect us to go along with a plan for a constituent assembly?
Perhaps Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) leader Michel Aoun is working to meet Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah’s call for a constituent assembly that reformulates the Lebanese system established in 1943 and which many actually agree needs restoration. The policy of obstruction Aoun adopted certainly leads to this path.
The country has been without a president due apparently to Aoun’s insistence to hold on to the slogan of “I or no one else” and Aoun has managed to impose this status quo thanks to the support of his alleged ally, Hezbollah. And now I believe Aoun, with Hezbollah’s support, seeks to obstruct the government’s work perhaps because it did not appoint his son-in-law as army commander. Aoun thinks the parliament, which extended its own ter,m is illegitimate and therefore cannot legislate. It seems that Aoun therefore thinks he should obstruct all state institutions in order to provide a suitable atmosphere to establish a constituent assembly.
The call may be rightful if the suitable circumstances are secured and they are:
- The availability of an atmosphere of dialogue among the Lebanese people in order to formulate a work plan that can pave the way for future amendments for a new republic.
- Reconsidering the Taif Agreement, what has been implemented from it and what hasn’t.
- Guaranteeing that amendments and changes adopted will not lead to shedding blood and will not be the basis for future wars.
- Providing regional and international cover so no amendment is adopted at the expense of another party especially by parties who’ve become part of regional axes.
- Guaranteeing that any adopted changes protect the formula of co-existence in Lebanon – that formula which has become an international need in our world as ethnic, sectarian and racial struggles expand.
However, the circumstances surrounding us and the identity of those making such demands do not inspire confidence due to disrespecting the constitution and laws and due to failure to thoroughly study these laws.
During the Lebanese Civil War, Aoun chose the militant path when he assumed governance of the interim military government and he violated military, financial and administrative laws. I do not believe he has abandoned that path as he now allegedly supports Hezbollah in its wars which it imposed on Lebanon. Aoun also failed to reach a solution with the rival Christian Maronite party, the Lebanese Forces, in regards to the current presidential vacuum. The FPM leader, also a member of parliament, also never attempted to become closer to the Future Movement until the election of a president neared.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah has continuously violated the state laws and its wars in Syria are biggest proof to that. Hezbollah – which rejected all national plans for a defense strategy and which refuses to hand over defendants to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon - has through these wars in Syria become part of the Iranian project in support of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
So how can the FPM and Hezbollah expect us to go along with a plan for a constituent assembly amidst our current circumstances? Aoun’s current acts of mobilizing his supporters, in my mind, seem like the groundwork for a coup. And we must also note that Aoun’s agitation and calls to mobilize the street date back to more than a quarter of a century. This agitation has not at all contributed to building the state as on the contrary, it caused further chaos, wars and fighting.
This article was first published in al-Nahar on July 9, 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