Betting on Syria conflict thwarts dialogue in Lebanon

Nayla Tueni
Nayla Tueni
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It is not yet clear whether Russia’s military participation in Syria will speed up the process of a political solution in which Moscow and Washington divide interests in our region, where much of the Cold War was fought. Or will Russia seize control of the Syrian situation and limit Iranian influence over the Syrian regime, which has become a captive of the Persian state? Will Russia redraw the map in a way that makes it an indispensible player?

In Lebanon, for example, frequent foreign interventions never paved a way for a solution. Instead, they sparked wars, such as the civil war that lasted 15 years.

Nayla Tueni

It is also unclear whether the different points of view regarding a solution in Syria will simply prolong the crisis. In Lebanon, for example, frequent foreign interventions never paved a way for a solution. Instead, they sparked wars, such as the civil war that lasted 15 years.

We in Lebanon care a lot about the Syrian crisis, considering the geographic link between the two countries. We cannot isolate ourselves from developments on our borders, or from the repercussions of the influx of Syrian refugees and of closing down transit routes.

To add insult to injury, Lebanese party Hezbollah decided to get involved in the Syrian war to serve party and regional interests, turning itself into a key player capable of making decisions on Syrian soil, just like the Syrian intelligence and army did in Lebanon long ago.

We willingly decided to link our fate to the Syrian situation. One Lebanese party bets on the fall of the Syrian regime to enhance the chance of establishing a democratic system that supports Lebanon. Another Lebanese party is fighting in Syria so the regime remains in power, and so it can continue to benefit from Syrian influence. A third party hopes Hezbollah’s intervention will fail, while a fourth party commends its participation as a deterrence against Gulf interference.

Amid all this, Lebanon remains without a president, parliament’s work is obstructed, the cabinet is divided, the trash crisis continues to worsen, and relevant authorities fail to assume their responsibilities toward citizens.

Russian participation in Syria means we will have to wait longer to see how things turn out. It also means we have to halt discussions on all Lebanese affairs that need to be finalized. The result is that Lebanese leaders who are currently engaged in dialogue will not achieve any of their citizens’ demands.

This article was first published in an-Nahar on Oct. 5, 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

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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