The political debate currently taking place in Lebanon between Fouad Siniora, the former Lebanese Prime Minister and leader of the Future Movement, and Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of Hezbollah and controversial senior political figure, is worthy of analysis.
Hassan Nasrallah is putting forth his hardline political discourse based on the following pillars:
1- The situation in Syria is not a civil war but rather part of a regional conspiracy under international Zionist auspices, seeking to undermine the forces of opposition and resistance.
2- As a result, the responsibility for resistance now lies with Hezbollah, in order to prepare to confront “the conspiracies” surrounding the region.
3- The anti-Islam film with its defamatory references to the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) is an integral part of this conspiracy, and all Arab and Muslim nations must express their outrage against all American and Western interests.
4- The Israeli project to launch a military strike against Iran is also a direct threat against Hezbollah, which will not sit by and watch because it considers a strike on Iran to be a strike against the “powers backing resistance in Lebanon and Palestine.”
5- As for Naeem al-Qasem, the Deputy Secretary General of Hezbollah, he is currently calling upon Arabs and Muslims to boycott Israel and the US, on the grounds of their conspiracy.
On the other hand, Fouad Siniora’s discourse is different in both style and political orientation, and is based on the following:
1- Any reactions to the anti-Islam film must not tarnish the image of the Muslims and the Arabs.
2- The reaction to this film must be centered around diplomacy, and in particular Siniora stresses that Lebanon’s address before the UN General Assembly must include a call to combat religious defamation.
3- Lebanese decision-makers alone must determine the country’s political orientation, and they must not be steered by others towards a different location or a particular reaction.
4- Siniora also demands Hezbollah to declare the “Lebanonization of its weapons”, meaning that Hezbollah’s weapons must be used to serve the legitimacy and interests of Lebanon, not any other country.
5- Hezbollah must also issue an explicit statement confirming that its weaponry will be used to serve Lebanese interests and not for regional purposes, nor will they be used against the Lebanese will.
These two discourses confirm that the country is divided both intellectually and politically, to the extent that we are witnessing the emergence of “two Lebanons”.
Hasan Nasrallah’s discourse is heated and full of escalatory rhetoric, whereas Fouad Siniora’s is practical and pragmatic, and is in touch with reality.
Both discourses reflect a set of domestic, regional and international alliances that are diametrically opposed to those on the other side.
With great fear and concern, I can confirm that Lebanon, as has been the case historically, will be one of the key tools and victims of the upcoming regional clash.