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Opinion: My Dear Lebanon - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A Lebanese friend once asked me, “Why are the Gulf states pressuring us in this manner?” Gazing at him in wonder and amazement, I answered, “Are you serious? Or you are just joking.” He said: “Not at all. I am very serious.” I then told him he could by no means be serious if he only looked at the surface of the problem without digging further.

The member-states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are cautious of their internal security being jeopardized by a terrorist faction with an extensive global network: Hezbollah.

Hijacking their native country under the slogan of resistance, Hezbollah has turned into a mercenary militia defending a foreign tyrant and his criminal regime, as well as spreading terrorism across the world.

It has become a scarecrow threatening tourism. Through its heavily armed militants, Hezbollah is terrifying Lebanese citizens. This is evidenced by the frosty “reception” granted to tourists at the “occupied” airport, which does not represent the real Lebanon.

Additionally, the sights surrounding the airport are full of foreign flags and portraits of foreign leaders. It feels like you are in Qom or Kandahar, not Lebanon.

There are no commemorative plaques or portraits in celebration of renowned Lebanese icons such as Riad Al-Solh, Bishara Al-Khoury, Camille Chamoun, Rafik Hariri or Hussein Al-Husseini.

Lebanon is occupied, and its people have accepted this occupation. The Lebanese people turned a blind eye to Hezbollah’s practices until eventually they established a state within a state in southern Lebanon. Hezbollah became indifferent to the state, its security and military, its government, and its official policy. It impedes the formation of the government and is unresponsive to the instructions of the president or the prime minister regarding the self-distancing policy, let alone other policies. All of this proves that Hezbollah is “determined” to hijack Lebanon once and for all, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Consequently, Saudi Arabia should not be asked to be more for Lebanon than the Lebanese can do for themselves.

Saudi Arabia is displeased with Lebanon’s reaction towards the Kingdom’s policies.

In fact, Saudi Arabia has historically supported Lebanese independence and dignity, contributing to the ending of the Lebanese civil war by brokering the 1989 Ta’if Agreement, which was signed on its soil.

The Kingdom also adopted a policy aimed at rehabilitating Lebanon in cooperation with late Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.

Moreover, Riyadh contributed to forcing the Syrian army out of Lebanon and brought about reconciliation between different Lebanese factions. It also offered generous economic and political support.

I believe it is time the Lebanese paid some attention to their country. Their country deserves their efforts in preventing this malignant cancer from spreading.

Lebanon needs to embrace its own people, rather than accept its role as a political arena for achieving desired goals and objectives of others who would seek to intervene.

If the Lebanese people are willing to accept a country with no sovereignty, a thwarted government, a threatened state, and abandoned policies , it would be a catastrophe for both the country and its people.

However, if they reject this state of affairs, then they must act and do something.

All I know is that Lebanon cannot be nurtured by writing songs and adopting slogans. Madness must not be a policy for governance.

We are still waiting for the Lebanese citizens to reconstruct their own country. Until then, the Gulf will remain highly cautious of Lebanon and the prospects of it returning to its past.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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