Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun of the Free Patriotic Movement has met with European leaders in Rome and assured journalists that the situation in Lebanon is far more stable than reinstated Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s statements would lead one to believe.
This week, Saad Hariri has indicated that unless Hezbollah “disassociates” from its aid to governments of Syria and Iraq in their war against Takfiri terrorism, that he will resign (for the first or second time, depending on one’s perspective).
Furthermore, Hariri stated that regional actors must help to ‘contain’ Hezbollah, which amounts to little more than a call for foreign powers to intervene in the sovereign political affairs of his own nation.
As I recently wrote in respect of the Lebanese Premier’s antics,
“Hariri’s statements in favour of so-called “disassociation” in respect of Hezbollah are not only misguided, but Hariri is hardly in a position to effect this in one way or the other.
Hezbollah’s function in Lebanon is that of a kind of national-guard which is on the front lines against the threat of Takfiri terrorism as well as the related threat of renewed Israeli invasion and occupation.
Lebanon’s Foreign Minister recently stated the undeniable reality, that Hezbollah has protected Lebanon in ways that the traditional armed forces could no longer do alone.
Furthermore, Hezbollah’s involvement in the anti-terrorist campaigns in Syria and Iraq is fully legal as Hezbollah has acted with the full permission and cooperation of the governments in Damascus and Baghdad and has done so in such a way that mutually benefits the civilian populations in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon who are all under threat from Takfiri terrorists and Israeli aggression.
Furthermore, by implying that foreign rather than domestic actors must work to subdue Hezbollah, Hariri seems to be calling for foreign powers to intervene in the sovereign workings of one of Lebanon’s legal political parties and a highly popular one at that. The remarks betrays Hariri’s shameful disregard for Lebanon’s sovereign political bodies and consequently, his disregard for Lebanon’s own independence and dignity.
Lebanon’s political settlement is based on the acknowledgement that all of the country’s factions must work as cooperatively as possible, in order for the country to be greater than the sum of its parts. This constructive attitude was presented in unison by parties across Lebanon’s political spectrum during Hariri’s almost certain captivity in Saudi Arabia.
Now that Hariri is back, he is attempting to proffer a narrative that some of the parts which make up Lebanon must be exorcised and that this somehow makes Lebanon a healthier country. The opposite is in fact true, which is why Hezbollah and other members of the March 8 Alliance agreed to enter a coalition with parties from the March 14 Alliance, including Hariri’s own pro-Saudi Future Movement.
Hariri’s attempt to scapegoat the weakness in his own leadership, which has been further damaged since his Saudi captivity, is a cheap shot which only threatens to expose Lebanon’s fragile settlement to foreign actors such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, who have always sought to exploit historic tensions to the detriment of all Lebanese.
Even Lebanese who do not vote for Hezbollah, are increasingly recognising its vital importance to the sustained security and stability of the Lebanese nation.
The fact that Hariri has seemingly called for foreign actors to restrain Hezbollah is an insult to the collective spirit implicit in Lebanon’s coalition government, which thanks to the collective efforts of multiple parties, including Hezbollah, has shown that it can survive with or without the duel-Saudi/Lebanese citizen Hariri at its helm”.
The most awkward part of Hariri’s latest threat to resign if Hezbollah is not dealt with at a “regional level”, is that the anti-terrorist conflicts in which Hezbollah has been legally fighting, are winding down and Hezbollah and Lebanon by extrapolation are on the winning side. In this sense, Hariri is begging for foreign powers, whether it be Saudi Arabia or Israel to molest the sovereignty of Lebanon, in spite of the fact that the very “issue” which he has complained about, will soon be a moot issue.
President Michel Aoun calmly explained this by stating that “when the war against terrorism is finished, their (Hezbollah’s) fighters will come back to the country”.
Aoun further explained that in spite of Hariri’s hyperbolic statements,
“We have just finished deliberations with all the political forces in the country. There is a wide agreement”.
Aoun remains confident that the current coalition government which includes Hezbollah, will remain in power and that Hariri will remain the Prime Minister. In this sense Aoun has effectively called Hariri’s bluff by stating obvious facts which stand in the way of the more fantastical claims of the Prime Minister.