Monday, August 28, 2006

I am worried about Lebanon, I really am.

I have to admit that it is becoming harder and harder to understand or make a prediction of what the situation will be tomorrow.

Every day, politicians, religious leaders and simple people are appearing on TVs and newspapers denouncing Hezbollah and its policy in Lebanon. And I am not just talking about the Druze and Christian voices, on Saturday a Shiite Mufti, Ali Amine, was talking on LBC and he publicly denounced Hezbollah’s ways. Not just that, he also talked about Amal, the other Political party representing the Shiia in Lebanon, on the subject of Amal, he accused them of quitting on the “Moussa Ssadr project”, that project being to provide dignity to the Shiia population in Lebanon. He also refused the winning proclamations of Hezbollah, saying “We left [our homes] holding white flags and then came back raising our fingers in victory”. This same person had declared before, in an interview with the newspaper An-Nahar, he said “we refuse to accuse of treason anyone that demands the disarmament of Hezbollah”.

Of course this man’s words are particularly important because they come from a Shiite figure. He seemed very reasonable and talked in a very rational way. I enjoyed hearing him talk like this on TV. Especially that he preached a less radical Shiism, simply saying that Hezbollah and Amal are not representative of the Shiite public opinion.

But! But, the situation is not really changing, ever since the cease-fire the question of Hezbollah’s armament’s not moving. I am worried that the political Leaders are not insisting on this subject. They should insist, things should be clear once and for all.

The main problem is that the only faction that could make the difference right now is the Sunna. The Druze for example are simply too small, the Christians are traditionally against Hezbollah and Amal, there is little or no connection relating the Christians to the Shiia, except Aoun, and to be honest Aoun is not helping at all in disarming Hezbollah.

The Sunna, on the other hand are historically close to the Shiia (at least in Lebanon), after all they both took the side of the national (Muslim) front along with the Palestinians and the Druze. On the other hand they are now closer to the Christians since the cedar revolution. So the Sunna are the only ones to be capable of any change.

I suppose that the Sunna leaders are concerned they might lose the partial support of the Shiia population if they put too much pressure on Hezbollah. In addition, the Sunna particularly feel their privileged position, as a link between the Lebanese Islam and the Lebanese Christianity, they see this position threatened by Aoun’s Pro-Hezbollah, even though Aoun’s position is not representative of the Christian public opinion, his (rather personal) support to Hezbollah is creating a certain belief among the Shiia that they don’t need to go through the Sunna in order to achieve an alliance that’s not strictly Shiia.

On the other hand I suppose that some still believe that Aoun’s unilateral agreement with Hezbollah was in fact a very wise decision, saying that the political isolation of Hezbollah is a major mistake, recalling the example of the Christian situation before the civil war. The isolation of the Christians was believed to be one of the reasons behind the civil war (yes, it always goes back to that bloody civil war in Lebanon, who can blame us for that?).

However, the situation in Lebanon today is very different from the situation before the civil war. In fact, the concerns about any renewal of any internal military conflict seem exaggerated. In the civil war it was pretty different, nowadays the Lebanese people’s simply too damn sick of any sort of conflict and war. The only party escalating and arming is Hezbollah, before the civil war almost no one was even thinking about peace, every one believed that war was coming, that none can stop it, that the only choice is to fight or die. The difference is huge.

And even if the war will not take place, Hezbollah was never and will never be “isolated”, talks with Hezbollah never stopped, even at the heat of the cedar revolution. No one took any position to cancel Hezbollah from the political panorama. In fact it was Hezbollah that was, and still is, “creating” this feeling of isolation. But you see, as everybody knows, Hezbollah’s loses most, if not all, its influence on the Shiite street. Hezbollah rules with the power of ignorance and fear. But of course, Hezbollah can’t possibly say “I need to keep my weapons because if I lose it I will no longer exist”. So they need to preserve an excuse (Israel) to face the Other Lebanese, but most importantly, Hezbollah needs to keep the Shiia convinced that the current (not excessively Pro-Syrian) government threatens the Shiia rights.

So no matter what anything anyone does, Hezbollah needs to say that the Shiia are threatened. Because, as Mufti Ali Amine said, Hezbollah and Amal are not representing the public opinion of the Shiia, what the Shiia really want is dignifying life, they don’t want war…

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