Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Fifth Anniversary of the Syrian Withdrawal…A Real Withdraw? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In Lebanon, an aggressive political and media heresy is currently prevailing and it is one that was committed previously in the 1990s and is being brought back today. It requires burying the hatchet and putting a stop to any discussions on this matter in the media and in political circles on the pretext of maintaining stability and social cohesion, preserving “the resistance” and protecting the “brotherly” ties with Syria in order to be entirely devoted to confronting Israel.

Once again, Lebanon is entering a tunnel in which meanings and roles intertwine; there is no resurrection of the state, in fact this is forbidden and it must remain fragile and broken until further notice for the sake of “arms and resistance.” All energy should be focused towards this particular goal, otherwise, any other talk would be considered treason of the worst kind and those who are guilty of this should serve the maximum penalty for treason.

Today, this heresy is about to become a norm, especially when it comes to Lebanon’s major and most controversial issues such as Hezbollah’s weapons, the type of relationship that Syria and Lebanon should have and the results the International Criminal Court’s investigations should come up with. Hardly a day goes by without statements reaching the level of warning and threatening the media not to comment on the issue of Hezbollah’s weapons.

The amount of pressure that is being exerted to prevent open discussions is increasing, whilst we are only a few days ahead of the fifth anniversary of the Syrian military withdrawal from Lebanon. Anyone observing the Lebanese media’s coverage of the occasion will definitely see big differences in the way it is dealing with the occasion this year compared to last year. This led to several news media agencies getting caught up in serious inconsistencies thus becoming unconvincing to the people whether inside or outside Lebanon. In media and political circles, a long list of prohibitions is being discussed and this makes the Lebanese feel like they have returned to a period they thought was long gone.

No one can deny the significant and numerous changes that have taken place over the past five years, the most important of which is Syria’s military withdrawal from Lebanon. But has this had an impact on the nature of Syria’s ambitions in Lebanon, especially as the Lebanese internal situation seems to have no immunity at all from such ambitions?

The problem is that the front that should face these escalations now is cracked and is weak. This makes it easy for those who continue to carry the banners of “resistance” and “opposition” to frighten and target the front, and deal with it with only one goal in mind; to undo the changes that have taken place in the past five years and to go backwards. Some people are trying to bring back the Lebanon of the 1990s after the Lebanese thought that they were now in a stage of building, construction and peaceful division, but we are shocked to discover that the situation is totally different. It is true that the level of discussion and expression with regards to serious doubts concerning Lebanon’s destiny is decreasing and that political and cultural figures have been marginalized intentionally. As a result there is little room for optimism. However, since our age is rich in ideas and techniques, we can, at the very least, exert some effort to deceive the new reality in order to avoid repeating a pattern that many Lebanese had to pay a heavy price to confront.