It’s no secret that Lebanon is currently passing through a deep crisis as expressed by the inability to form a cabinet that can resolve the country’s serious problems. The crisis is open to all possibilities including raising the issue of the current mechanism which basis is the constitution after the Taif Agreement that was reached in 1989 and that stipulated equal sharing of power.
Forming a cabinet is no longer just linked to ministerial shares and the desire to harm Saad Hariri. It has gone beyond this. There is someone who wants to confirm that the party which forms the cabinet and selects the ministers is well-known. It’s the same party that selects who the president is. In the end, the president in Lebanon was not elected unless after everyone agreed that it will be the person whom Hezbollah nominated to hold the post.
What Lebanon is currently witnessing falls within the context of a series of shifts which happened after the Taif Agreement. The first shift was on November 22, 1989 when President Rene Moawad, who expressed the real spirit of the Taif Agreement with its Arab and international covers, was assassinated.
The purpose was to deprive Lebanon of these two covers and to strengthen Syrian tutelage. This is what in fact happened when the Syrian regime directly got rid of Moawad. This rarely happens as most of the time the Syrian regime uses a local tool to carry out a task, like the case was with the assassination of Bachir Gemayel.
Blowing up Moawad’s convoy on Independence Day was one of the few times when the Syrian regime went straight to killing someone through its apparatuses. The Syrian regime did this before with Kamal Jumblatt in 1977 when a well-known Syrian officer named Ibrahim Howaiji and members from his force assumed the task of killing Jumblatt.
There’s no doubt that Lebanon is not an easy bite that Iran, despite everything it did, can smoothly swallow. Lebanon can pay a high price for standing in the face of Iranian ambitions.Khairallah Khairallah
Syria’s complete tutelage over Lebanon passed through several stages of which the most prominent were the assassination of Kamal Jumblatt, Bachir Gemayel and Rene Moawad and the entrance of the Syrian troops to the presidential palace in Baabda and the ministry of defense in Yarze on October 13, 1990.
This happened in well-known circumstances amid a scandalous incapability of many Lebanese figures, especially Christians, to read the balance of regional and international powers.
What seems required in 2018 by forming a cabinet led by Saad Hariri is to perform a final transition of tutelage from Syria to Iran. This is it. Hezbollah, which is a mere brigade in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, did not hide that it wants to build on the explosion of the Rafic Hariri convoy and the assassinations that followed to make the country into what it is today.
Imposing Iranian tutelage
We cannot separate between the assassination of Rafic Hariri – his killing led to halting all the projects that aim to restore life to Lebanon – and the current situation. What’s currently happening aims to dedicate the transition from the Syrian tutelage to the Iranian tutelage. Just like strengthening the Syrian tutelage passed through different phases, the attempt to strengthen the Iranian tutelage is also passing through different stages beginning with the rejection to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1559 in 2004. The Resolution which Syria and Iran rejected calls for disbanding all Lebanese militias. The party meant here is the only remaining militia which is Hezbollah.
The attempts that aim to reach a phase where Hezbollah forms the Lebanese cabinet have been ongoing ever since getting rid of Rafic Hariri. All the Lebanese figures who were targeted were targeted to achieve this purpose. The July 2006 War did not happen by coincidence. The aim of this war was to achieve victory over Lebanon. This is what actually happened. The sit-in in Downtown Beirut only aimed to harm the Lebanese economy and displace whoever is left of Christian youths from Lebanon.
Nothing happened by coincidence in Lebanon. The process of imposing Iranian tutelage, or to be more specific, the process of attempting to impose this tutelage passed through several stages. It’s a process which honorable Lebanese people, of whom Saad Hariri is the most prominent, are still resisting.
Among these stages are the invasion of Beirut and the mountains in May 2008. Getting rid of the first government which Saad Hariri formed to pave way to form the cabinet of Najib Mikati is one of these stages. The aim was to reach a phase where they use a constitutional cover to turn Lebanon into what it is today.
Closing the parliament for over two years also aimed to serve this purpose. Hezbollah never hid that the target of the strange electoral law on which the recent elections were held was the Sunni sect. Hezbollah has achieved what it wants through this law. It actually wanted to achieve much more and it would have done so if it hadn’t been for Saad Hariri who made great efforts during his electoral campaign and subjected his life to danger by being in the streets and mingling with people across Lebanese areas.
Hezbollah has through certain people who accept to be its “political refugees” managed to infiltrate the Sunnis. And now, its current concern is to find the cover which guarantees it that it becomes a guardian, in the name of Iran, over Lebanon.
Lebanon entered the final chapter of the Iranian scenario which aims to control Lebanon in a constitutional way, i.e. by translating the results of the parliamentary elections on the governmental level. Saad Hariri is only needed as a front, nothing more. They want Hariri to today implement the Iranian conditions which he refused when he visited Tehran as premier in November 2010.
Facing Iranian ambitions
What’s certain is that Saad Hariri has not changed. He will not form a cabinet according to Iranian standards and he will not submit in 2018 to what he refused submitting to in 2010. He will not accept opening the banking system for Iran hence inflicting disasters on Lebanon and its people.
There’s no doubt that Lebanon is not an easy bite that Iran, despite everything it did, can smoothly swallow. Lebanon can pay a high price for standing in the face of Iranian ambitions.
However, can we say that Tehran is in a comfortable position that allows it to act the way it behaved in the past? Is Iran after the US sanctions, which will get stricter day after day, the same Iran before the sanctions? This is the main question these days. Iran and its tools can wait.
Lebanon, and Saad Hariri as well, can also wait although this will cost it a high price. However any losses are still less harmful than completely falling under Iranian tutelage.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Khairallah Khairallah is an Arab columnist who was formerly Annahar’s foreign editor (1976-1988) and Al-Hayat’s managing editor (1988-1998).