Naqqash’s solution for Middle East: A Levantine Confederation (Pt. 1)

September 29, 2020

Description: 

In a recent conference held on Zoom and published on YouTube, senior Middle East political analyst Anees Naqqash spoke about his 2014 book titled The Levantine Confederation: The Battle of Identities and Policies.

The book proposes that the solution to the chronic problems of the war-ravaged and tumultuous Middle East region lies in the establishment of a confederation that unites the states of the Levant, or what Naqqash often calls the ‘West Asian region’.

Middle East Observer will gradually be publishing English translations of the author’s online talk over several posts. This is part one, which revolves around Naqqash’s initial motivation for developing the concept of a ‘Levantine Confederation’.

(Read Part Two here)

Source:  Kalam Siyasi (YouTube Channel)

Date:  Aug 26, 2020

(Important Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing as little as $1/month here)

Transcript :

One does not need to be a political or strategic expert in order to know that our (Arab and Islamic) countries are (currently) living through numerous wars, whether internal wars or those of an external (nature); and that international and local powers are participating in these wars; and that the (Arab and Islamic) nation’s capabilities are being exhausted by these wars and violence. Its unity, territorial integrity, potentials, property and civilization are being consumed (as a result).

The worst thing about these wars is that they often tarnish and distort (true) Islamic thought, thus proving that many of those who bear arms (in this region) are in a state of aimlessness regarding the actual and necessary track that they should pursue in order to confront the true enemies of the nation. In other words, it has been proven that many activists and local actors have a weak (level of) awareness. Thus, these topics must be highlighted in order to put things back on track.

Naqqash's solution for Middle East: The Levantine Confederation (Pt. 1) | Middle  East Observer

The idea of a Levantine Confederation stems from two points. First, history shows that for more than 1400 years our region lived in a state of empire, starting from the Umayyads, to the Abbasids, all the way to the Ottoman Sultanate. Apart from some perversions during the Crusades and the Tatar and Mongol wars, the region lived in (a state of imperial) unity. No foreign power was allowed to intervene in its military, intellectual or economic affairs. However, following the two world wars, the (Arab & Muslim) nation was faced with a set of programs, plans and schemes resulting from its military defeat against the Western powers. This defeat enabled these (Western) powers to set up a very dangerous triangle for us: the Sykes-Picot-Balfour triangle.

The Sykes-Picot Agreement (in 1916) divided the Arab states in the region into small(er) states, while the Balfour Declaration (in 1917) fulfilled the promise of giving Palestine to the Jews for the establishment of a (Jewish) entity, one of the most brutal entities that the (Arab and Muslim) nation has ever faced in the modern era in terms of military, conspiratorial and intelligence capabilities. Today, this (Israeli) entity is posing a new danger, penetrating deep into the nation and the minds of its people.

In addition, these geographical divisions (created by Sykes-Picot and Balfour) established two types of regimes. First, there were the regimes that were built for religious-sectarian reasons, such as the Lebanese state established as a favor for the (Christian) Maronites in Lebanon. However, Lebanon has changed due to shifts in different kinds of balances as Maronites are no longer the largest demographic group (in Lebanon), nor do they occupy the main role in the country. Therefore, Lebanon always suffers from political problems because of its system that is based on sectarian identity, while it is demographically changing in relation to its sects, as some sects weaken and others grow stronger, which causes continuous security disturbances.

In fact, a part of Syrian land was cut off during the drawing of the map of Lebanon. The map of Syria was not drawn by the hands of its people. Rather, it was established based on the lines and borders demarcated by the French, who at that time gave Turkey a part of Syrian territory. Turkey was the only country (in the region) to demarcate its own borders via blood (i.e. through the military sacrifices that it made), because it was defending what was left of the Ottoman Empire. In other words, historically, Turkey was the only country whose borders were drawn with the blood of its people. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s borders were determined by the French Commission (the French body that controlled Lebanon). Many parts of Syrian territory were cut off, and what was left became the Syrian state.

Naqqash's solution for Middle East: The Levantine Confederation (Pt. 1) | Middle  East Observer

The good thing about Syria is that it preserved its unity against the four-zone division project that the French were planning for. (The French) wanted to establish (four states): an Alawite state, a Druze state, and two Sunni states, one in the north and another in the center; but this project was foiled by the national unity of the Syrians.

Iraq did not demarcate its (own) borders either. Not one Iraqi was involved in the drawing up of the map of Iraq. It was Miss Gertrude Bell – an advisor at the British Foreign Ministry – who drew up the map (of Iraq) and proclaimed Faisal the King of Iraq, based on a sectarian equation that would satisfy both the Shias and Sunnis, and she added some Kurds to a part of the current Iraqi map because (she deemed them) as fierce fighters who would fight against Turkey if a clash broke out between Iraq and the new Turkey.

(Winston) Churchill established Jordan and drew up its map. There was no country called Jordan. The establishment of Jordan fully complemented the British project to establish the State of Israel, in addition to Iraq which was also a British protectorate.

In conclusion, the Levant was suffering from the delineation of borders that were carried out without consultation with its people. (The Levant) was divided up, and new, quasi-national territorial identities were established alongside the sectarian and religious identities that continued to play an (important) role too.

(Read Part Two here)

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WHAT DOES FRANCE WANT FROM LEBANON AND HEZBOLLAH, AND WILL IT ACHIEVE ITS GOALS? (2/3)

Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

Written by Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

It would be inaccurate to say that the US has given the green light to French President Emmanuel Macron to carry his initiative to Lebanon. In fact, US policy does not coincide with the French goals in all details. In fact, following each of the two French visits an American envoy followed behind to assure his allies that the US had not relinquished the Lebanese theatre to France. The French approach differs from that of the Americans. Macron visited all the heads of parliamentary blocs, while Assistant US Secretary of State David Schenker visited lower echelon Lebanese officials and met via video “civil society representatives,” revealing the faces of those who claim to be revolutionary but receive support and are guided by Washington to promote US policy. If this indicates anything, it indicates the US administration’s lack of experience in dealing with the complex Lebanese file (and others, undoubtedly). As for the French President, he seemed determined to push Lebanon forward, grappling with the thorny issue of Hezbollah’s armaments , while still adopting unavoidable parts of the US-Israeli goals.

Germany had enjoyed a reliable reputation among Hezbollah and Israel following the exchange of prisoners and bodies. This reputation was lost when Germany bowed to Israeli pressure and claimed that Hezbollah, in all its military and political branches, is a terrorist organisation. France, by approaching Hezbollah in its own way is attempting to replace Germany but without any guarantee of success. Thus far Hezbollah is not showing a particularly warm attitude towards the “mother of Lebanon” but neither is it showing (yet) any aggression towards President Macron. 

 French sympathy was always directed towards the Christian community since the declaration of the “Greater State of Lebanon” and continued until the last decade. In 2011, the Maronite Patriarch, Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi, visited Paris, where he met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who “suggested that Christians leave Lebanon – since the number of Christians had decreased to 1.3 million (in 2011) – and come to Europe, since there was no longer a place for them in the Middle East and that Europe could absorb them as it had already absorbed two million Christian Iraqis”!The Shiites of Lebanon have acquired a very powerful social status. Hezbollah had already received several offers to seize power in Lebanon in exchange for giving up its arms: Japan, the US and European countries’ offers were rejected because they did not take into consideration the ideological makeup of Hezbollah. This ideology categorically rejects any peace deal with Israel. Consequently, Hezbollah cannot give up its weapons even if there is an offer to become part of the Lebanese army, merge with it, assume the highest command authority and lead the parliament. This was one of the foreign suggestions turned down by Hezbollah.

Informed sources say, “Israel could destroy the Lebanese army within a few hours if the battle is drawn between two classic armies. Even if France provides anti-aircraft and defensive missiles, the protection of the army’s qualitative capabilities needs an…

Elijah Magnier

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Elijah J. Magnier is a veteran war-zone correspondent and political analyst with over 38 years’ experience in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Extended field work in Lebanon, Bosnia, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya and Syria, created his extensive network of trusted military and political contacts. Magnier specialises in real-time reporting and in-depth analysis of political, strategic and military planning, terrorism and counter-terrorism.

WHAT DOES FRANCE WANT FROM LEBANON AND HEZBOLLAH, AND WILL IT ACHIEVE ITS GOALS? (1/3)

Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

Written by Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

On the first day of September, French President Emmanuel Macron came to Lebanon carrying several explicit and implicit messages to diffuse in various directions. The French President said that Lebanon should establish a government as soon as possible in order to benefit from international financial support. As for the explicit messages, Macron – despite his meeting with a representative of Hezbollah in the Lebanese parliament (13 MPs), MP Muhammad Rand – focused on Hezbollah’s armed presence. In fact, France is attempting to adopt the same approach Hezbollah has used for decades to win the hearts and minds of a large section of the population. Macron is aiming to confirm France’s influence over Lebanon by embracing the soft approach, if he can. Indeed, the French President is benefitting from the failure of US policy in Lebanon to curb the “Axis of the Resistance”. Macron is endeavouring to divert to his country (and away from Turkey, Russia, Iran, China and the United Emirates) Lebanese economic-commercial-energy contracts. And finally, France would like to have its own window to the Mediterranean through the harbour of Beirut and to elbow the Turkish expansionist threat away from Lebanon. Many “birds with one stone”, if Macron is successful.

On the first of September 1920, the French General Henri Gouraud, the military commander and high commissioner for Lebanon and Syria, announced the birth of the “state of Greater Lebanon”. He visited the tomb of the Muslim conqueror Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi adjacent to the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, saying: “Wake up, Saladin, we have returned. My presence here consecrates a victory of the cross over the crescent (Mayer Karl and Brysak Shareen, (2008). King Makers: The Invention of the Modern Middle East, NY: Norton).

President Macron himself landed in Lebanon with an agenda to try to conquer the Muslim Shia, though, in an unprecedented move for a European Leader, he met with Hezbollah twice, separately just after the port explosion and again on the first of September. In the first meeting, Hezbollah considered – according to informed sources – the private dialogue very positive. In fact, merely meeting the French President is a significant recognition, especially since European countries such as Britain, Germany and others consider Hezbollah a terrorist organisation (or at least its military wing). However, France considered that the meeting with Hezbollah, the king-maker in Lebanon, was indispensable for accessing Lebanon and returning to it through a broader and more acceptable door. France is making an exceptional effort especially since the militant wings that joined Hezbollah after the end of the Lebanese civil war (1989) were responsible for the assassination of the French ambassador Louis Delamar in 1981, the bombing of the French embassy in 1982, and the bombing of the French barracks in Beirut in 1983. Macron did not mention Hezbollah’s weapons on his first visit. Rather, he raised the subject on the second visit by way of inquiry without exerting any pressure. He knows that the time …

As for the most important demand that Macron asked of Hezbollah during his last visit, it is the ability to search for and assess Hezbollah’s military capability. The answer came to him that Hezbollah was ready to discuss and put the subject of weapons on the negotiating table. But does Macron know what Hezbollah has up its sleeve and what its intentions are? The answer is in the next article…

Proofread by:   Maurice Brasher and C.G.B.

Between Malek, Shiha, Al-Rahi, and Macron? بين مالك وشيحا والراعي وماكرون؟

By Nasser Kandil

The Patriarch Bishara al-Rahi’s statement that Hizbullah accused him of agency and treachery is most regrettable. Everyone assures that any attempt to learn Hizbullah’s response to the Patriarch’s call for neutrality was met with “No comment.” In her refrain from declaring her opposing perspective to the Patriarch’s stance, Al Mukawama aimed at preventing an interpretation of its position through lenses of sectarian defensiveness, giving lurkers the opportunity of fanning flames, resulting in exchanges of volleys of accusations of agency and treachery.

The invitation is open for the Patriarch to rise above allegations of treachery against him from a Party and a Mukawama, which have a full awareness and appreciation of sensitivities in Lebanon, and who prioritize a diligence about not taking positions, in order to ensure communication respectful of honorifics, including the Bkirki Honorific, and to preserve national unity.

To say that an understanding exists between the Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri and

Al-Sayyed Hassan Nasrullah, to refrain from comments on the Patriarch’s call for neutrality, personally or through their respective party platforms, would not be revealing a secret. In addition, they have both expressed their displeasure towards individual voices and religious, political, and publicity sites which went against their chosen direction.

In view of such diligence and approbation, they would have rightfully expected from Bkirki a reciprocal approach through an invitation for a discussion of her position with all the Lebanese entities, in an effort to promote agreement and harmony, before her declaration. What is occurring today instead, is that the Patriarch’s call transformed into a mudslinging campaign against Al Mukawama and her arms, unjustly relegating to her the responsibilities for and the dire consequences of the multitude of crises Lebanon has been facing.

This declaration provided an opportunity for its exploitation by those lying in wait, through a discourse insinuating that the injurious and demonizing campaign targeting Al Mukawama has gained a solid base through Bkirki’s leadership. The duo’s silence was the utmost they could offer amidst all that, as an expression of care and respect, awaiting reciprocity from the Bkirki Seat, to provide the opportunity for communication about disagreements behind closed doors.

The Patriarch’s call and his speech on the occasion of Lebanon’s Centennial is being presented as a reading about Lebanon’s future and a project for a new contract benefitting from past experiences and present dangers. He refers to a fear that what is meant by a new contract is an invitation to trilateral power sharing, i.e. power sharing on an almost equal basis between Christians, Shias, and Sunnis, rather than current power sharing divided equally between Muslims and Christians in Lebanon. Such expressed fear sounds strange in view of  Speaker Berri’s refusal decades ago of a trilateral power sharing proposal, and Hizbullah’s refusal of  more generous sectarian power-sharing offers as a trade-off for its power which constitutes a major security threat to the Israeli Occupation.

Both parties confirmed and continue to confirm their insistence on the preservation of the position and role of Christians in Lebanon and the region as a fundamental constituency in the Orient, independent of the actual number of Christians in it.  They have repeatedly emphasized the necessity of reassuring this constituent and ensuring all elements of stability for its continued existence. Their belief is that the Orient’s Christians confer an added value to the Orient, and the loss or weakening of this constituent will rob the Orient of its distinctive characteristics.

These two parties who are implied in the “trilateral” accusation have been clear in attaching to every call for the end of sectarianism, another call for a positive Christian partnership which is reassuring to them, on one hand, and provides existential reassurances for Christians, on the other. A discussion is needed among the Lebanese about a new contract on the basic principles held by the duo encapsulated in progress towards a democratic state, unfettered by the federalism of sectarian protectorates, and ensuring guarantees against the transformation of democracy into a tool in the hands of a sectarian majority, shaking the equilibrium between sects or posing an existential threat to them.

The passage of one hundred years on the establishment of the political Lebanon, in the shade of which we stand today, makes it worthwhile to go back to the writings of two great Lebanese Christian thinkers who have had a strong influence on the conceptualization of Lebanon as an entity, and of Lebanese nationalism, and with whom every Christian political speaker affiliates or aligns his or her position with what had been attributed to them. The reference, of course, is to Charles Malek and Michel Chiha, who have drawn the picture for the Lebanese entity and the principles for its political and economic growth, and unequivocally warned of what they considered to be an imminent threat to its being, namely the earth shaking event of the creation of the Occupation State in 1948.

Both Malek and Chiha were terrified for the fate of the Lebanese entity, and called for the Lebanese to be vigilant about a future in an environment of increasing difficulties. They agreed, each from his own perspective, about the dangers associated with that cataclysmic event which made Lebanon a constant target for Zionist expansion, and at risk of structural damage to the culture of coexistence on which it is based. They agreed that this event created nurturing climates for religious prejudices and extremism, which in turn were expected to launch eras of threat to peace between the Lebanese, and geographic locations posing such threats, in the form of consecutive waves.

They stated that the Jewish State, which they described as racist and reliant on the potency of money and power, will constitute an existential threat to a Lebanon weak and helpless by comparison.  They believed that the newly formed entity will pump waves of Palestinian refugees, and as their hopes of return to their homeland became increasingly out of reach, would place at risk the sectarian equilibrium in Lebanon.

Charles Malek, from his position in the United Nations, sent a report in 1949 to Lebanon’s President and Prime Minister in which he went further, pointing out the approach of a Jewish epoch to the area, that Palestine was the mirror for conditions in the Middle East, that the scant influence of the Arabs will result in an increasing “Jewish” influence, and warned against betting on international positions because the West, headed by the Americans, will side with the “Jews.” He stated: “ In every principal conflict between Israeli and Arab interests, America will support  Israeli interests.  I warn strongly against falling blindly into the trap of seductive American construction projects before their full scrutiny and the scrutiny of Jewish connections to them.”  He proposed a countermeasure based on the building up of Arab armies, an Arab renaissance, and a liberation movement led by Lebanon and Syria. He wagered on a role supportive to the Palestinian cause, and aid to Lebanon and the area in the face of the “Jewish” threat, by the Worldwide Catholic Church, led by the Christian Church in the Orient, with Lebanon being its more important base.

Both Malek and Chiha believed, in the first place, that the triad of threats, expansionist, structural, and economic, posed by the Occupation, along with the Palestinian refugee issue, should form an axis for Lebanese policies internally, at the Arab level, and internationally.  Secondly, they pointed to the losing bet on the effectiveness of international interventions without possession of a considerable interest potential and adequate power to enable participation in the big equations, implying that begging for protection from a position of weakness will inevitably result in disappointment. Thirdly, they bet on the leading role of the Church in escalating and reinforcing power resources internally, and moving outward from that position of political, economic, and military strength, to rouse the Worldwide Church, in the hopes of creating a balance protective of Lebanon.  Can anyone say today that the threats no longer exist, or that the effectiveness of the Arab position has increased, or that the laws governing the movement in international relations have changed?

Al Mukawama, capable and competent, liberated and deterred, and became a source of anxiety for the Occupation in regard to its security and existence.  She became one of the manifestations of what Chiha and Malek asked of the Lebanese.  Sage and prudent,

Al Mukawama is the missing link which Bkirki should feel happy to meet halfway, for a complementarity in roles, translated into what should be done for Lebanon’s protection, with differentiation and variation lending strength to positions rather than being problematic. What has come forth instead from Bkirki’s positions only weakens power sources, aborts opportunities for complementarity between politics and power, and whets the appetite of those in wait for the possibility of weakening or isolating Al Mukawama. It fails to attempt seeking guarantees for Lebanon and the Lebanese using the pacification of Al Mukawama as leverage.

The neutrality initiative, even in its “active” form, fails to tell how it will solve the refugee issue in a time of Arab abandonment; how it will protect Lebanon’s economic role in the era of “normalization;” how it will protect Lebanon from the threat of aggression in the times of disintegration of Arab armies; and who will benefit from the weakening of Al Mukawama and from targeting her morale and reputation except lurking Takfeeri Extremism, lying in wait for Lebanon, the Orient, Christians, along with all the other constituents in the area?

Renewal of the Greater Lebanon starts with a dialogue between the Lebanese to form  understandings which address points of defect and invest in power sources.  Bkirki is the first invitee to openness towards Al Mukawama and investment in her sources of power, after Bkirki has clearly seen France coming to acknowledge Al Mukawama as a reality unsusceptible to marginalization or weakening. In making such acknowledgement, France was speaking for herself and on behalf of her allies, whom Bkirki considers as friends and fears Lebanon’s loss of their support.

The French movement confirms that the attention of those friends to Lebanon and lending their aid has come only as a result of the Al Mukawama raising their anxiety about “Israel’s” security and existence. Any reassurance to decrease such anxiety embedded in the  calls for neutrality will only mean that such attention will shift, and any helping hand will be withdrawn and washed from anything related to Lebanon. Perhaps this is the most prominent conclusion Chiha and Malek came to 70 years ago.

بين مالك وشيحا والراعي وماكرون؟

ناصر قنديل

ثوابت يجب عدم نسيانها وأوهام ممنوع السماح بمرورها وتغلغلها في نفوس الناس وعقولهم في النظر للحركة الفرنسيّة التي يقودها الرئيس امانويل ماكرون، حيث يتمّ تمرير كل شيء تحت ضغط الكارثة التي يعيشها اللبنانيون، أولها التوهّم أن فرنسا أم حنون جاءت لتساعد وتسهم في رفع المعاناة عن كاهل اللبنانيين، وثانيها أن إدراك أن السياسة باعتبارها لغة مصالح لا يعني الرفض المطلق لسياسات الآخرين ومصالحهم إذا لم تتعارض مع سياساتنا ومصالحنا، وثالثها أن ما لا يتعارض مع سياساتنا ومصالحنا ويؤسس لنقاط تقاطع لا تجوز إدارته بتساهل واسترخاء لأن المصالح تتراكم وتتغيّر والأطماع لا يردعها إلا حضور الحذر واستحضار القدرة وتحصين القوة. والمشهد اللبناني المقزّز في درجة التهافت أمام الرئيس الفرنسي، وتغيّر المواقف وتبدل الثوابت وتقديم أوراق الاعتماد، أظهر خصال انحطاط ليست حكراً على ما يحلو للبعض وصفه بطبقة سياسية فاسدة، فقد نخر سوس التهافت والانحطاط، صفوف الذين سمّوا أنفسهم ثواراً، والذين قدّموا أنفسهم بدائل، والنخب والكتاب والفنانين، ومن له مصلحة ومن ليس له مصلحة، إلا قلة رفيعة الشأن كبيرة النفس شامخة الأنف، لا عارضت علناً وقدمت الولاء سراً، ولا قاطعت، ولا سوّقت، ولا تهافتت، حالها كحال فيروز التي بقيت تشبه أرز لبنان يحتاجها ماكرون ولا تحتاجه، وتقاطع المصالح يعني لها النديّة، وليس الذل والاسترهان، ولا الزحف والبكاء، والبكاء السياسي والإعلامي، ليس بكاء وجع الناس المفهوم، وبقيت هذه القلة تحفظ سرّ المقام والدور والمسؤوليّة، فشارك بعضها بجدية ومسؤولية واحترام وندية، ولكنه لم يمنع نفسه من متعة التفرج على “الزحفطة” السياسية والإعلامية والاقتصادية و”الثورية” و”المدنية” وغير المدنية”، ولم يكن بعضها موجوداً فتابع عن بُعد وهو يجمع السخرية والألم من درجة هبوط وانحطاط مشهد، هو بالنهاية مشهد وطن لا يفرح محبّوه برؤيته على هذه الحال.

توضح زيارة امانويل ماكرون للعراق وتصريحات وزير الخارجية الأميركية مايك بومبيو، أن الحركة الفرنسيّة محميّة أميركياً، ولا تحظى فقط بالتغطية، بل هي جزء من سياسة أميركية بالوكالة، حيث تحتفظ واشنطن بالخطاب الدعائي ضد إيران والمقاومة، وتتولى فرنسا تبريد جبهات المشرق الملتهبة، بينما تتفرّغ واشنطن لتزخيم حفلات التطبيع العربي “الإسرائيلي” في الخليج، فماكرون المتحمّس لمرفأ بيروت بدا متحمساً لمشروع مترو بغداد، بينما كان الأردن والعراق ومصر يبشرون بمشروع “الشام الجديد” الذي يلاقي نتائج التطبيع الإماراتيّ الإسرائيليّ، بربط العراق عبر الأردن الذي يقيم معاهدة سلام مع كيان الاحتلال، بمرفأ حيفا، أسوة بالإمارات، في زمن خروج مرفأ بيروت من الخدمة، ولا يُخفى أن المشروع الذي قام أصلاً وفقاً لدراسة للبنك الدولي على ضم سورية ولبنان وفلسطين على المشروع قد اعتبر تركيا جزءاً منه، وقد أسقطت سورية ولبنان وفلسطين، واستبعدت تركيا حكماً، وفي زمن التغوّل التركي ورعاية أنقرة للإرهاب وتطبيعها مع الكيان لا اسف على الاستبعاد، وبمثل ما رحبت بالشام الجديد واشنطن وتل أبيب، هرول الرئيس الفرنسي مرحباً باستبعاد تركيا، على قاعدة تناغم مصري فرنسي سيظهر أكثر وأكثر، من ليبيا إلى لبنان، وصولاً للعراق، بحيث تقوم فرنسا بالإمساك بلبنان عن السقوط و”خربطة الحسابات” بانتظار، تبلور المشروع الذي يريد ضم سورية ولبنان معاً في فترة لاحقة، بعد إضعاف قدرتهما التفاوضيّة وعزلهما عن العراق، والمقصود بالقدرة التفاوضيّة حكماً قوى المقاومة وتهديدها لأمن الكيان، وهذا هو معنى التذكير الأميركي بأن المشكلة هي في حزب الله وصواريخه الدقيقة، كما يؤكد بومبيو.

لا مشكلة لدى قوى المقاومة بالمرحلة الانتقالية التي يتمّ خلالها انتشال لبنان من قعر السقوط، ليس حباً ولا منّة ولا مكرمة من أحد، بل خشية انفجار كبير يحول التهديد الإفتراضي للكيان إلى تهديد واقعي، ويأتي بالصين على سكة حديد بغداد دمشق بيروت، هي السكة التي يريدها ماكرون لفرنسا، لكن بعد التفاوض، بحيث تحفظ حدود سايكس بيكو، لكن يتغيّر مضمون التفويض بنقل الوكالة في حوض المتوسط إلى فرنسا، التي منعت من العراق والأردن قبل قرن، لحساب بريطانيا، المتفرّجة اليوم إلى حين. وهذا يكفي للقول إنه بعد فشل الرهان “الإسرائيلي” على نظرية معركة بين حربين كادت تفجّر حرباً، جاءت فرنسا بمشروع تسوية بين حربين، عساها تجعل الحرب الثانية اقتصادية، هدفها إبعاد الصين عن المتوسط، وإبعاد صواريخ المقاومة الدقيقة عن رقبة الإسرائيليين، والمقاومة المدركة للتحديات والاستحقاقات، تعرف ما بين أيديها كما تتقن ذكاء التوقيت.

لا شام جديد بدون الشام الأصلي والقديم، حقيقة يجب أن ينتبه لها ماكرون قبل أن يرتكب الأخطاء القاتلة، فلا ينسى أن التذاكي لا يحل المشكلات الأصلية، وأن روسيا لا تكتفي بالكلمات طويلاً، وأن بريطانيا لا تطيل النوم بعد الظهر.

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مهلاً… السيد الرئيس ماكرون!

د. عدنان منصور

دعني أناديك اولاً بالسيد الرئيس، فأنتم في بلادكم اليوم، لا تعرفون الألقاب التي أدمنّا عليها هنا في لبنان منذ عقود وقرون، فبلادكم العظيمة الآن أكبر من الألقاب، والشكليات والتفاهات التي تعطى وتزيّن في بلدنا جباه الحكام والزعماء النرجسيّين، المغرورين، الفاشلين، التافهين، حيث لم نترك لقباً إلا واستخدمناه واستنبطناه، من بيك إلى أمير إلى شيخ، إلى رئيس وسيادة وفخامة وعطوفة، ودولة، ومعالي، وسعادة، وكلّ الألقاب الطنانة الرنانة، التي تبيّن مدى تعلقنا بالقشور والتصنيفات المريضة التي تعكس العقول المحنّطة الفارغة، لمسؤولين تعاقبوا على الحكم، لم يستطيعوا ان يبنوا دولة إلا على شاكلتهم وطرازهم القبيح.

السيد الرئيس ماكرون!

بعد مائة عام من لبنان الكبير الذي أنشأه مندوب فرنسا السامي هنري غورو عام 1920، سترون الإرث الذي تركتموه للبنان، وأيّ لبنان الذي لا يزال يعاني ونعاني معه من تداعيات قرار فرنسا، الدولة العلمانية التي أطاحت بالسلطة الروحية، لتؤسّس في لبنان أسوأ نظام طائفي بغيض، يفرّق ولا يوحّد، يضعف ولا يقوّي، يؤجّج على الدوام الغرائز والنعرات، ويثير الهواجس والمخاوف والحساسيات، ويدفع بكلّ طائفة ان تجعل من نفسها مقاطعة او دويلة او إمارة هزيلة، تبحث عن ذاتها، ومصالحها الضيقة، ومستقبلها الوهم، وإنْ تعارض ذلك مع مصالح الآخرين. أردتم من انتدابكم ان ينضج لبنان واللبنانيون ليكونوا مؤهّلين لحكم أنفسهم اليس كذلك؟! قولوا، أيها السيد الرئيس، للذين ستلتقون بهم بعد مائة عام على الانتداب، وبعد سبعة وسبعين عاماً على الاستقلال، ما الذي فعلتموه للبنان وشعبه؟! ما الذي حققتموه له من عدالة وعيش كريم! منذ مائة عام كانت بيروت تنعم بالنظافة والكهرباء، وبعد مائة عام تنعم بالتقنين والنفايات. قبل مائة عام، سكة حديد تجوب لبنان، واليوم موظفون في سكة حديد لا قطار لديهم. منذ مائة عام مياه شرب وخدمة تصل للبيوت، واليوم ترى المياه تسقط على رؤوس العطاش! منذ مائة عام كانت للدولة سلطتها وهيبتها، وكان للقوانين وقعها، وللسلطة القضائية مكانتها وقيمها ونزاهتها، وبعد مائة عام، تجد أيها السيد الرئيس، اضمحلال دولة، وترهّل إدارة، وفساد حكام ومسؤولين، وانهيار قضاء، وعبث بالدستور والقوانين دون رادع او محاسبة، وفساد قلّ نظيره في دول العالم، ينخر في جسم الدولة البالية، يطال الكبير والصغير، بلا خجل أو ذرة حياء. بل على العكس، ذهبوا بعيداً في وقاحتهم ليتباروا على الملأ، ببذخهم وإنفاقهم، وبثرواتهم الخيالية التي حققوها على حساب دم وعرق ودموع وجنى عمر اللبنانيين. جعلوا من الإدارات العامة صناديق مال، ونهب، ونفوذ، واستغلال، ومنفعة، وتنفيع، بحيث غابت التراتبية الإدارية والمسؤولية، فلكلّ طائفة موظفيها، ولكلّ أدارة محاسيبها، وحاشيتها وخصوصيتها وصندوقها الأسود، ولكلّ سلك أباطرته وخيوطه ودهاليزه.

بعد مائة عام، السيد الرئيس، ستجدون في لبنان الأعاجيب، وكأنّ الزمن يدور الى الوراء، الجامعات طائفية، المدارس طائفية، المناطق طائفية، المصارف طائفية، المستشفيات طائفية، الفنادق والمطاعم طائفية، السوبرماركات طائفية، الأحزاب والأندية طائفية، المنتزهات طائفية، حتى الأفكار والتوجهات والأحلام والصداقات طائفية!

فأيّ وطن طائفي، السيد الرئيس، هو هذا الوطن الغريب العجيب الذي أرادته فرنسا العلمانية للبنان! هل تكفي نصائحكم اليوم، وتوجيهاتكم وتحذيراتكم، وتنبيهاتكم، وتمنياتكم، ومساعيكم، واهتماماتكم ومساعداتكم، وغيرة الأمّ الحنون على أبنائها، جراء طبقة فاسدة متأصّلة من الزعماء والحكام، لم يكونوا يوماً على مستوى التحسّس الإنساني وتطلعات الوطن وآمال الشعب، ولم يتحلوا بالمسؤولية الوطنية ولو بحدّها الادنى، لبناء دولة عصرية قادرة، توفر فرص العيش الكريم لكلّ أبنائها، وتحقق التنمية المستدامة على كامل التراب اللبناني، بمعزل عن الدين والطائفة والمذهب والإنتماء السياسي والعقائدي!

السيد الرئيس!

لا يمكن للطبقة الفاسدة المستهترة، التي حكمت لبنان منذ عقود، ولوّثت أياديها بالصفقات والاختلاسات والهدر، والسرقات، وتهريب الأموال العائدة لـ «الدولة»، والاستيلاء على أموال المودعين، والتي نشرت الفساد وجعلته عرفاً يتوارثه الفاسدون والمفسدون، وأطاحت بمقوّمات الإدارة والقضاء والمؤسسات، هذه الطبقة لا يمكن لها مطلقاً ان تبني وطناً، أو أن تستمرّ، أو أن تجد بعض الحلول للمشاكل التي أوجدتها، والتي جعلت منها الآمر والناهي في كلّ صغيرة وكبيرة. انه أخطبوط طائفي ولد ووجد من أجل خدمة طبقة متراصّة من كلّ الطوائف، جثمت على صدر اللبنانيين منذ إنشاء لبنان الكبير وحتى اليوم.

ڤأيّ إصلاح ترغبون أن تعتمده هذه الطبقة الفاسدة! انه سلوك أهوج منحرف، تأصّل في عقلها ونهجها وأدائها وممارساتها، ولن تتوقف أبداً عن السير في طريقها.

السيد الرئيس!

عذراً إذا قلت بصراحة، إنّ الحلّ لا يأتي من فرنسا التي نقدّر، ولا من غيرها. الحلّ يأتي من اللبنانيين وحدهم، عندما يدركون جميعاً ببصيرتهم ووعيهم وإدراكهم، أنّ لبنانهم الكبير، على شفير التحلل والانهيار، وأنّ الإطاحة بهذه الطبقة أصبح أمراً ملحاً وضرورياً، وأساساً لأيّ إصلاح أو تغيير، لأنّ الترميم لا ينفع بعد الآن، وأنّ البناء المتداعي الآيل للسقوط، أعمدته متصدّعة لا ينفع معها المهندسون وأدواتهم، إذ لا بدّ من هدمه اليوم قبل الغد حتى لا يسقط على رؤوس الجميع. وما دام التفكير الطائفي يطغى على النفوس، ويتحكم بالعقول، فإنّ خشبة الخلاص لهذا الشعب تبقى بعيدة عنها وان لوّحتم بها من بعيد أو لوّح بها الآخرون عن قريب!

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President Aoun: Confessional System Has Become Hindrance in Face of Any Reform

Source

August 31, 2020

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President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, addressed the Lebanese this evening in a televised speech on the occasion of the Centenary of Greater Lebanon.

President Aoun maintained that the shift of Lebanon from the prevailing confessional system to the modern secular State, the State of the citizen and citizenry, shall rescue it from the heinous legacies and repercussions of confessionalism, and save it from the protectorates, the red lines and the spoil-sharing that curtail any constructive will and curbs any move towards reform.

President Aoun said that the confessional system which is based on the rights of confessions and on quotas between them was valid for a while, but today it has become an obstacle before any progress or recovery in the country, a hindrance for any reform and fight against corruption, and a generator of strife, incitement and division for all those who wanted to undermine the country.”

“Today, Lebanon is facing an unprecedented crisis whereas the decades-old accumulations in politics, economy, finance and livelihood have exploded. So has the time come to discuss a new formula or a new agreement?”

President Aoun stressed that political considerations halted Lebanon’s oil excavation, highlighting continuous commitment to hope in face of all challenges

Source: Al-Manar English Website and NNA

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الكاردينال يسعى لاسترجاع لبنان الكبير مُعدَّلاً

 د. وفيق إبراهيم

تحاول الكنيسة المارونيّة مرة جديدة إعادة إنتاج لبنان الكبير بأقل قدر ممكن من تغييرات طفيفة ليتلاءم مع الزمن المعاصر.

فتذهب للوسائل نفسها التي اعتمدتها عندما ضغط البطريرك الحويك في 1919 على الانتداب الفرنسي لفصل لبنان وسورية وإعلانه دولة مستقلة.

هذا ما يسعى اليه حالياً البطريرك مار بشارة الراعي الذي يحاول الاستفادة من حركتين دوليتين: الاولى إصرار الأميركيين على وقف تراجعهم في الشرق الأوسط والثانية محاولة الفرنسيين العودة الى الشرق من خلال نفوذهم التاريخي في لبنان، لذلك يتلقف رأس الكنيسة المارونية هاتين الحركتين محاولاً استعمالهما لإعادة إنتاج لبنان الكبير مع بعض التعديلات التي تسمح بتحالفات مع أجزاء من طوائف أخرى.

هناك نقاط أخرى يحاول الكاردينال الاستفادة منها، واولها انعكاسات الصراع الإيراني السعودي على لبنان وتشكيله لتناقض سني – شيعي، ووقوف الحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي الجنبلاطي الى جانب السياسات الأميركية بما يؤدي تلقائياً الى انسجامه مع طروحات الكاردينال، علماً ان جنبلاط يحوز على الغالبية الكبرى من الدروز اللبنانيين.

قد لا تعني هذه الاصطفافات تأييداً مطلقاً من الطرفين السني والدرزي الى جانب استعادة لبنان الكبير، لكنها تندرج حكماً في إطار التصدي للدور الكبير لحزب الله في لبنان وعموم الإقليم.

هناك اذاً تصميم من الكاردينال على استعمال «الأميركي والفرنسي» للمحافظة على «لبنان الغربي» الآخذ في الذوبان نتيجة لانتصارات حزب الله في معارك تحرير الجنوب وضرب الإرهاب في سورية وشرقي لبنان.

فهذه الانتصارات تفرض على لبنان التموضع في إطاره العربي والشرق أوسطي، وهذا ما يثير رعب الكنيسة المارونية التي تعتبر نفسها وصيّة تاريخية على لبنان الكيان والدولة والتاريخ. حتى أن الغلاة فيها يتوهّمون أن لبنان متجه لإنتاج دولة يسيطر عليها الشيعة بشكل أساسي ومعهم بعض حلفائهم من الموارنة والسنة والدروز، بما يناقض الفكرة التأسيسية للبنان التي قامت منذ 1920 على اساس الهيمنة الكاملة للموارنة مع حضور فولكلوري للطوائف الأخرى.

لكن دخول لبنان في صراعات منذ سبعينيات القرن الماضي نتيجة التداعيات التي أصابته من المشاريع الخارجية والفلسطينية أدت الى تراجع الدور الماروني مقابل صعود سني تلاه منذ التسعينيات وحتى الآن دور كبير للشيعة من خلال انخراط حزب الله في معارك فلسطينية وسورية مع تأثير ثقافي في العراق واليمن.

كانت الكنيسة المارونيّة تراقب بقلق انهيار الدور المسيحي في لبنان ولم تجد سانحة تدفع بها الى التدخل كما لم تعتقد ان تحالف التيار الوطني الحر مع حزب الله أدى الى تحسن الوضع السياسي للمسيحيين في الدولة على الرغم من أنها تركت له مدة طويلة لتتبين أكثر نتائجه.

وأخيراً تحرّكت الكنيسة على إيقاع الحركة الأميركية الكبيرة التي تحاول تجديد دورها في الإقليم وارتبطت بإصرار الأميركيين على العودة لإمساك لبنان من خلال الانهيار الاقتصادي الذي يهدده كدولة وكيان سياسي، حتى أدركت مرحلة ربط المساعدات والديون من مؤسسات النقد الدولية والخليج واوروبا التي يطلبها لبنان مع إقفال المعابر عند الحدود مع سورية وتوسيع مهام قوات الطوارئ الى ما يزيد من سبعين كيلومتراً داخل لبنان وتقاسم آبار الجنوب من الغاز مع الكيان المحتل وتشكيل حكومة تضم القوى الأساسية المرتبطة بالأميركيين والخليج الى جانب حزب الله وتحالفاته.

هذا ما أعطى الكنيسة فرصة التحرك السياسي المكشوف لتقليص نفوذ حزب الله والعودة الى لبنان الكبير عبر إلغاء الوجود العسكري للحزب في المدن والقرى والحدود مع سورية والضغوط على التيار الوطني الحر لإلغاء تحالفه معه.

بذلك حدّد الكاردينال حزب الله عدواً للكنيسة بأساليب واضحة، فبدا هنا وكأنه يخدم السياسات الأميركية اكثر من إصراره على استعادة لبنان الكبير.

وهذه سياسة لا يريد الكاردينال بالطبع ان تستفيد منها «إسرائيل»، لكنها ومن دون أدنى شك على رأس المستفيدين من استهداف حزب الله الذي يجابهها في اي مشروع احتلالي للبنان.

إلا أن مشروع الكاردينال لم يعثر على معادلة لبنانية داخلية بوزن حزب الله ليتبنّاها مع الأميركيين والفرنسيين، فحزب القوات متواضع الحجم، وكذلك تيار المستقبل والحزب الجنبلاطي، فهؤلاء بإمكانهم افتعال اشكالات يجذبون بواسطتها حزب الله الى الشارع، وليس بوسعهم صناعة حرب طويلة، كما ان حزب الله نجح بمنع جمهوره من استعمال الشارع وضبط أنفاس محازبيه، بصبر لا يعرفه إلا أهل التاريخ وأصحاب المشاريع الوطنية.

هذا ما جعل الكاردينال يعمل على مواقف شديدة التصعيد وصل في إحداها للقول علانية إن «اسرائيل» هاجمت لبنان بعد استفزازات فلسطينيّة من أراضي لبنان في 1982، داعياً وفي تشابه غريب مع مواقف «اسرائيل» الى مصادرة مخابئ الاسلحة والذخائر من مدن لبنان وقراه وعاصمته.

ما الذي يريده نيافة البطريرك؟

يسعى بوضوح لضرب علاقة التيار الوطني الحر بحزب الله وتشكيل حلف مسيحيّ مع السنة والدروز باشتراك مباشر من الأميركيين والفرنسيين لإعادة انتاج لبنان الكبير مع تعديلات طفيفة لمصلحة إيلاء بعض مواقع السلطة لطوائف أخرى، فالمهم بالنسبة اليه، ضرب المشروع الشيعيّ المزعوم لاعتقاده بأنه الاخطر على النفوذ الغربي، وبالتالي على لبنان ذي الوجه الغربي.

فيرتاح لبنان الكبير بذلك من الصراع مع «اسرائيل» على قاعدة أن الأميركيين والفرنسيين قادرون على اتمام مصالحة بين الطرفين تنهي بشكل كامل كل أنواع المخالفات الحدودية في البحر والبر وآبار النفط.

فهل ينجح هذا المشروع؟ يلعب الأميركيون بكل أنواع الأقليات في المنطقة فيستعملونها وسرعان ما يرمونها عند استنفاد الحاجة اليها، وهذا ما يفعلونه في لبنان الذي يؤدي فيه حزب الله دوراً داخلياً وخارجياً لم تتمكن «اسرائيل» والأميركيون من إلغائه منذ 1992 وحتى اليوم ما يعني انهم يعرفون أن حزب الله حقيقة سياسية لبنانية وإقليمية من الصعب إلحاق الهزيمة بها ما يعني ان الهدنة معه هو أقصى ما يطمح اليه الاميركيون والفرنسيون. وهذا لا يكون الا على أنقاض مشاريع السعودية ونيافة الكاردينال في آن معاً.

Lebanon’s future: Lebanon’s Mutasarrifate Take II:

August 10, 2020

A crossroads of civilizations, Lebanon has been often involved in wars, invasions, and sectarian warfare. Image depicts Lebanese soldiers in 1861, right after a big clash between Maronite Christians and Druze muslims.

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

Most of the current instability in the Levant and the whole Middle East is inadvertently and inadvertently a result of the obsession about Israel’s security; both from the Israeli as well as the American sides. That said, many of the region’s problems are deep-rooted and go back to times before Israel was created and before America had any influence.

In the middle part of the Nineteenth Century, and whilst the entire Levant was under Ottoman rule, sectarian strife between Lebanese Maronites (a regional Catholic sect) and Druze (regional esoteric Muslim-based faith) left thousands savagely butchered, towns decimated, and civilians displaced. The strife escalated in 1860-1861, and as it was obvious back then that the Ottoman Empire was not far from its demise, the West was looking for half an opportunity to interfere in the Levant; and under the guise of protecting the Lebanese Maronites, coerced the Ottomans to give Mount Lebanon autonomy, under the auspices of the West.

This all happened prior to WWI, before Sykes Picot, and before any single Western nation could make a claim on Lebanon. The decision had then to be reached by consensus. This is why it was jointly reached by France, Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia. The Ottomans had no choice but to accept and dilute their influence in the region by giving the West a post within the Ottoman Empire.

The French proposed that the ruler should be given the title of Plenipotentriary, and the word was translated to a Turkish word of Arabic origin, Mutasarrif, but that person was appointed by the West; not by Turkey, and the political entity itself was called the Mutasarrifate of Mount Lebanon.

For readers interested in my take and analysis on Lebanon’s recent history in a more detailed but concise narrative, they can go to this reference. In brief, Grand Liban (Greater Lebanon) was created by the French under the demand of the then Maronite Patriarch Howayyek in 1920. It was meant to give Lebanese Christians a sense of security, and to be a neutral country in the Middle East; with a Western outlook.

This article will not discuss the geopolitical changes that have happened since. They are in the link above. That said, with the many changes over the last century, the situation in Lebanon has become untenable.

In summary, and among other things, Lebanon has to find a way to deal with Israel, with Syria which is the heart of the axis of resistance and support of Hezbollah, its Arab neighbours who are predominantly against Syria and Hezbollah, devise a united policy as to the status and level of the presence of Hezbollah, find a way out of the current financial collapse and redefine the country’s position as either a neutral country or a spearhead of resistance.

But this is easier said than done not only because of the political divisions, but also because of the endemic corruption of its Mafia lords; Lebanon’s ruling elite and their cronies.

These are the family lines of the same lords that led Lebanon into the civil war. They all have little armies, real armies; some with tanks and artillery. The Lebanese Army is incapable of crushing them, and even if it attempts to, it will have to attack them all at once; not one at a time without risking being accused of impartiality and giving favours.

Those leaders are accused of having thieved $800 Bn from Lebanon and siphoned it overseas. And in as much as they loathe each other, they equally need each other because the existence of each of them is contingent upon that of the others.

Much has been blamed in the past on the disunity of the Lebanese themselves, but when literally millions took to the streets in October 2019, they were united, they carried the slogan of ‘kellon yani kellon’ (all of them means all of them). But before too long, meddlers and thugs were set up inside their camps wreaking havoc and disunity. The protestors were hoping that the Lebanese Army would make a move and start arresting the leaders and the cronies implanted amongst them, but the army itself is bogged down in the same game of dirty politics and loyalties.

In simple terms, the Lebanese people can become united if they have the will and they have done so in the past. They have learned this lesson the hard way, but they simply do not have the means and the power to dislodge the ruling families who control everything; all the way from daily bread to election results.

The country has been struggling for years with mountains of rubbish that the government has not been able to process, electricity shortages, water shortages, soaring unemployment just to name a few problems. It is little wonder why the economy collapsed and the Lira lost nearly 80% of its value in the last few months. Add to this COVID-19, the Caesar Act, and now the Beirut Sea-Port explosions.

Of interest to note is that the latest events in Lebanon have been capitalized on to raise the level of dissent against Hezbollah. According to some, Hezbollah was blamed for everything; even including the sea-port disaster.

Sometimes however, disasters offer silver linings. The cries of Lebanese citizens in the streets of major cities did not generate any global compassion, but after the massive blast, there seems a change in this respect.

Many nations have come forward and offered to assist the Lebanese people, and their governments are not shying away from stating that they will not entrust this aid to the Lebanese Government for distribution to those in need. This is because the whole world, not only the Lebanese people, no longer trust Lebanese officials.

Thus far, among a list of nations, aid and offers of aid came from Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the USA, and ironically, even from Israel .

But no aid offer has thus far come close to that of France. French President Marcon did not only make a promise, but he also visited Lebanon and walked on Ground Zero (thereby shooting the concept of nuclear attack in the guts) and made a very intriguing yet audacious promise. He promised Lebanon a ‘new political pact’.

What does a ‘new political pact’ exactly mean?

This promise harks back to the days of colonization when France did not only actually draw the map of the new state of Lebanon and gave it a constitution that was shaped on France’s own, but it also goes back to the days when the Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate was created, does it not?

Macron went further and promised to return to Lebanon on the 1st of September 2020, a very ominous date indeed, a date that marks the centenary of the declaration of Grand Liban.

But Lebanon is no longer under French mandate, and France is unable to receive such a mandate without international support. That said, as unbelievable as it may sound, more than fifty thousand Lebanese have signed a petition asking France to take control of Lebanon for the next ten years. And speaking of former colonizers, if such a poll was taken for the return of Turkish rule, perhaps more would sign it as the popularity of Erdogan is growing within the Sunni street.

This is not to say that Lebanese people want to be ruled by a foreign entity. It is simply because they are feeling beaten, robbed, hungry, terrorised, so helpless and have lost total faith in their own leaders and political process and are desperately screaming out for help from outside.

If the events of 1860-1861 have generated enough Western ‘sympathy’ to ‘help’ the people of Lebanon, then the events of 2020 are much more prominent and offer a much bigger opportunity and lure for a new-style intervention.

But once again, France cannot get away with doing this alone. With Russia already on the ground in Syria and America looking for a new role in Lebanon, France would have to get them on board somehow. It is plausible that a new international conference that of course includes Russia but also Turkey, but not Iran, may soon be convened to discuss the political future of Lebanon.

This time, the West will have a significantly larger incentive than the one it had back in 1861, because this time around, it will have one small eye on Lebanon, and the bigger eye on the security of Israel, as well as seeing in this an opportunity they have not been able to achieve by other means in order to reach a deal that stamps out Iranian influence and presence just at the door step of Israel’s borders.

If the international community were serious about helping the Lebanese people and the Lebanese Army, it is quite capable of freezing the assets of the corrupt leaders and repatriating those funds to jump-start the economy again. Lebanon has a huge wealth of highly qualified professionals, many of whom currently are unemployed, and are desperately needing work in a country that desperately needs rebuilding. But would they be trusted, given their miserable track record, and who would they be answerable to if they breached the agreed mandate?

But such a plan, devised by an international conference would not bear fruit unless it puts teeth into the decision, sending troops to disarm the relatively small militia of the corrupt politicians, forcefully if needed. Theoretically, and with good intentions, this is conceivable. However, since when has such an operation ever been genuinely executed and free of abuse and various stakeholder’s pursuing their nefarious agendas. How could we forget Libya? That said, the intervention in Libya was NATO-based, the presence of Russia and possibly China in any international agreement over Lebanon will add more balance.

But no one will be able to disarm the formidable army of the true resistance, Hezbollah, any more than Hezbollah will agree to lay down its weapons.

According to my analysis and predictions, it appears likely that some type of intervention will occur to cleanse the country of the political elite and their private interest militias. The pact will draw a line somewhere in South Lebanon, keep an area under Hezbollah’s control, and have Hezbollah to agree to leave Lebanese politics. This would be the biggest concession that Hezbollah will agree to, if it does. This will not give Israel all of what it wants, because such an outcome will not safeguard it from Hezbollah’s rockets, however Israel cannot expect more than that, if it does.

Russia may use this ‘opportunity’ to reach a way out of the deadlock and find a political settlement with the USA over their differences in Syria. But for this to happen, Syria will also need to agree to remove Iranian influence and presence from Syrian soil, as this fact has caused so much growing divisiveness in the region and provided an excuse for further Israeli aggression and US presence in Syria.

Most ironically in this particular context, even Chairman Nasrallah referred to silver linings in his latest speech on the 8th of August 2020, following the sea-port disaster. He said “from the womb of the tragedy, opportunities are born, and that international discussions emerging from this incident are an opportunity that must be capitalized upon by the Lebanese” I do not profess to know what Chairman Nasrallah meant, but he did add that all of those who are hedging their bets on the failure of the resistance will eventually fail.

Lebanon has probably gone the full circle, and the age of Mutasarrifate Take II is possibly only around the corner.

If Marcon is true to his word, for better or for worse he needs to act fast because he knows that the condition of the Lebanese people is dire. But no doubt, given his country’s history great skepticism prevails.

Tragically, such an outcome will catapult Lebanon right back into the age of Western custodianship. Depending on its fine details, and unless it stipulates the lifting of sanctions on Syria, its outcome may have serious further economic repercussions on Syria. Furthermore, it will take away many of the achievements of the Axis of Resistance, realistically however, such an outcome is not far-fetched.

The murderous, greedy, filthy and corrupt Lebanese political leaders would not have only destroyed Lebanon’s economy, but also returned it to the doldrums of the age of colonization.

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