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The Biggest Loser - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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As the proceedings of the last Arab summit drew to a close in the Syrian capital of Damascus and after having been evaluated, any objective and fair observer would conclude that the biggest loser of the summit was the Lebanese opposition. Commentators have established that it has no real national and independent program and it is a mouthpiece for others and their tool for disruption. Even the allies relied on the opposition to make the appropriate decisions and to act to salvage the situation instead of completely depending on others.

The Lebanese opposition that has transformed into a “dissenting partner” has no logic or objective except to suspend what is has suspended, destroy what it has destroyed and fragment what is has fragmented. The opposition has succeeded; it alone has succeeded in strengthening the anarchical label attached to Lebanon and confirmed that whilst there exists a party that wants Lebanon to get over the current deadlock, another wants the country to remain captive to itself and its problems and for the symbols of its political institutions to be eliminated one after another.

The opposition could neither contribute to filling the presidential vacuum by supporting the nomination of General Michel Suleiman, the only presidential candidate unanimously agreed upon by all Lebanese parties, nor give weight to the cabinet of ministers since it worked towards invalidating the tools of executive action and maintaining the immense state of paralysis that has afflicted all official sectors.

Of course, what is taking place in the Lebanese parliament, which has been transformed into a wailing wall by the opposition and a dysfunctional institution that entered a state of unconsciousness long ago purely based on a personal decision, cannot be overlooked. The Lebanese opposition is unaware of the fact that it has succeeded par excellence in eliminating what makes Lebanon Lebanon and removing it from its Arab environment, and has isolated it gradually to the extent that it has become a prison for its people.

It seems that the Lebanese have failed to learn or benefit from their history. On 9 May, 1932, Henry Ponsot, the high commissioner in Lebanon, decided to suspend the constitution, dissolve the parliament and postpone the presidential elections sine die. The justification was that the French authorities were not reassured by the behavior of Lebanese politicians since their craftiness in partisan maneuvers and exploitation of political influence exceeded their awareness of the problems that the country was suffering from and their interest in such problems.

Today, this painful stage of Lebanon’s history is being repeated by the opposition that insists on strengthening the spirit of defeatism and division and undermining trust [in the government]. There are numerous suggestions and theories regarding the opposition’s real “goals” in Lebanon; some believe it seeks to rearrange the country by adding a new demographic reality on the political ground by making one party triumph over another. There is also the theory that the real division in Lebanon is based on a detestable sectarian and regional program. Of course, the idea that there are tools sought by the opposition in Lebanon to consolidate its position by any means necessary irrespective of the costs and the nature of the means cannot be ignored.

The opposition in Lebanon has removed the cloak of democratic governance and has shifted to a guardianship that has a strong grip and this bears a resemblance to those who will only play according to their rules and would otherwise ruin the game for everybody else.

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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