Amid the deep crisis that Lebanon is suffering from on all levels, some events that are characterized with humor more than anything else happen every now and then. Among these events are for example a protest organized in Beirut by the so-called Sabaa Party in front of the offices of the commission tasked with collecting the Value Added Tax.
Was it a spontaneous protest? Some think so and some doubt that such protests are spontaneous especially if we take into consideration that the activities which happened under the cover of “civil society” were all planned in detail in the presence of Hezbollah behind the curtain. Who remembers these activities during the government of Tammam Salam and the vandalism of public facilities? At the time there was vandalism for the sake of vandalism!
In the presence of the main problem which is Hezbollah’s weapons, the illegitimate sectarian weapons, all other problems are easy at a time when Lebanon is at stake after it became clear that the current Iranian goal is legislating control over the Lebanese stateKhairallah Khairallah
It’s very well-known who mobilized such parties that claim representing the civil society and which suddenly emerge in circumstances that can in the least be described as mysterious, as to not say another word. However, these activities are suspicious because they simply contributed and continue to contribute to covering the main problem which Lebanon suffers from. The main problem lies in the illegitimate arms which allow the presence of a state within the state – a state that’s become bigger and stronger than the Lebanese one.
A state within a state
This problem has been on since 1969, when the unfortunate Cairo agreement which Raymond Edde warned of was signed. Edde was the only Lebanese politician back then to call a spade a spade and the only Maronite leader who did not accept to be president for any price. He put Lebanon’s interest before his own personal interest and above his legitimate desire to be president.
In the presence of the main problem which is Hezbollah’s weapons, the illegitimate sectarian weapons, all other problems are easy at a time when Lebanon is at stake after it became clear that the current Iranian goal is legislating control over the Lebanese state, or whatever is left of it, via forming a new cabinet.
What is certain is that it is definitely not Saad Hariri, the prime minister-designate, who will work on legislating this Iranian tutelage. Hariri cannot provide a cover for Iranian tutelage. It’s as simple as that. What’s more certain is that what is proposed in Lebanon is focused on avoiding the formation of a cabinet under Hezbollah’s control, i.e. under Iran’s control, at a time when there is American insistence, at least visibly, to put an end to Iran’s expansionist project. In clearer words, Lebanon, with whatever live powers it still has, must prevent Iran’s control over it and must prevent Iran from turning the country into a card that Tehran exploits in a game that only brings destruction and misery.
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The American sanctions on Iran are not a joke at all. They are serious and Lebanon cannot lightly deal with them. What’s important is to form a cabinet within certain balances and in accordance with the constitution. What is required is a cabinet that takes into consideration the fact that Lebanon is not an island and that before anything else it must not fall into the trap which Iran, that has begun to lose its temper, is setting for it.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s statement about an Iranian response to American sanctions and that include “drowning the West with drugs and asylum seekers” actually show the extent that Iran has reached these days and how willing it is to go far in confronting these sanctions. Rouhani warned Europe, which strongly opposed the US’ withdrawal from the nuclear deal, that many issues are on stake regarding its efforts to go around the sanctions and continue to trade with it. He expected a “flood” of drugs, refugees and attacks on the West if the sanctions weaken Iran’s ability to contain them. Rouhani said: “I warn those who impose sanctions that if Iran’s ability to fight drugs and terrorism are affected ... you will not be safe from a deluge of drugs, asylum seekers, bombs and terrorism.”
Rouhani made these statements while delivering a speech during a conference on terrorism and regional cooperation attended by Parliament Speakers from Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Russia and Turkey.
If such remarks which are characterized with violence have been made by an Iranian figure that is described as moderate, then what has he left for the extremists who think that Iran is a superpower that can confront the world and not just settle with announcing its control over four Arab capitals including Beirut.
Lebanon’s steadfastness is not in a protest here or there calling for the quick formation of a cabinet. Lebanon’s steadfastness begins with rejecting Hassan Nasrallah’s statements and the “standards” which his party sets to form a cabinet. It is in comprehending that there is a coup attempt implemented on stages in Lebanon. There are parties playing their role within the context of implementing this attempt, some in good faith and others in bad faith.
Forming the government will not solve any problem if what is required is submitting to the desires of Hezbollah and those who stand behind it in Iran or who incite it in Damascus and who carry grudges against Lebanon who still has people who seek to avoid strife. At the core of this strife lies an Iranian desire to achieve Sunni and Druze infiltration through the government which Hariri is trying to form.
It’s useful for those who are currently making efforts to speed up the cabinet formation that’s the size of Hezbollah to remember that Iran, which stands behind this party, is interested in neither Lebanon nor the Lebanese people. All what Iran wants is to gain more cards which it thinks it can use to seal a deal with the American “Great Satan” and the Israeli “Little Satan.” Where was that Iranian fuss and the fuss stirred by the “Axis of Resistance,” and which we usually hear, when Benjamin Netanyahu visited Muscat?
During this phase of the new American sanctions on Iran and on whoever cooperates with it and helps it, the discovery of the tunnels which Hezbollah dug in the international troops’ area of operations in South Lebanon and the Israeli alertness at the Blue Line, the Lebanese people have no other choice other than extreme caution. They must increase this caution due to the European situation, especially the French one where President Emmanuel Macron is confronting a real domestic crisis that will probably push him to reconsider his government along with what this means in terms of paralysis, even if temporary, on the level of French foreign policy.
Logic stipulates that forming a Lebanese cabinet amid the current domestic, regional and international givens is a necessity. However, it also stipulates that the priority is for caution on one hand and not losing the compass on another – and the compass is represented in Hezbollah’s weapons and the threat they pose on every Lebanese and the future of their children and on every Sunni, Shiite, Druze and Christian.
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).