Lebanon: ‘The other party lacks freedom of decision’

Dialogues that have been held since 2006 aim to maintain communication between different parties

Nayla Tueni

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There is no need to exchange more accusations about who makes their own decisions and who is linked to foreign parties. The Christian party is the only one that partially has decision-making freedom, not only because it is experienced in practicing freedoms, but also because it has not found a foreign party that is influential domestically and can support it with funds and arms.

Future Movement leader Saad Hariri owes Saudi Arabia a lot for the financial interests between them. The political interests between them are due to his father, former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. However, it is not only about the Hariri family’s interests, as the kingdom has long stood by Lebanon and its state institutions.

On Sunday, Lebanese Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mohammad Fneish said: “Some don’t want to be convinced through logic. All our crises with the other party are due to the fact that it has no freedom over its decisions. Those who don’t have freedom over their decision-making can’t be influenced during dialogue.” Fneish cited statements by officials from the opposing party, adding that its “decisions are made by foreign powers.”


It is as if Fneish has not heard what his party’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said last week when he acknowledged that Iran provides Hezbollah with funds and weapons, and that he does not depend on Lebanon’s banking system for the transfer of funds, as they are smuggled into Lebanon via illegal border crossings.

Dialogues that have been held since 2006 aim to maintain communication between different parties, but have proven to be fruitless

Nayla Tueni

The same applies to weapons that are smuggled via Syria and border crossings that are designed for this purpose, such as military roads in the Beqaa that are not under official supervision. Nasrallah’s statements were broadcast live on TV so he sends a message to those the party targets inside and outside Lebanon. They were a frank confession that Hezbollah’s decisions are in the hands of Iran’s supreme leader and Revolutionary Guard Corps.

What dialogue does Fneish talk about when his own party has established itself outside the Lebanese system? Hezbollah’s decision to participate in the Syrian war was not coordinated with the Lebanese state. Its operations in the Shebaa Farms and in Lebanon are not coordinated with security institutions. Its financial activity does not abide by the legal framework of the state and banks.

Its security does not respect legal standards of a state that has effective security institutions. Its economy is pretty much closed and limited to its own activities. Its military roads are not supervised by the state. It has not implemented any of the decisions agreed upon during former dialogue sessions. It even carried out a security operation on May 7, 2008, to overturn cabinet decisions that did not suit it.

What dialogue is Fneish talking about? A dialogue that Nasrallah always threatens to end? It is as if dialogue - whether national between Lebanon’s different parties, or bilateral between two of its opposing parties - has managed to resolve crises or agree on solutions. Dialogues that have been held since 2006 aim to maintain communication between different parties, but have proven to be fruitless.

This article was first published in an-Nahar on June 20, 2016.

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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