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The Bitter Departure - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Emile Lahoud’s presidential term drew to a close recently and will go down as one of the worst periods in Lebanon’s history. He experienced unprecedented international isolation that directly contributed to causing splits between the Lebanese themselves, which never occur during peaceful periods. The manner in which Lahoud decided to end his presidential term contained many theatrical elements and exaggerated and unnecessary excitement as it confirmed that although the appearance and shape of the military rule seem attractive and civilized, its permanent love for authority means that no matter how long it takes, it always resorts to emergency rule.

What is interesting, however, is the politicizing of emergency rule in order to disturb political stability and the possibility of electing a presidential candidate by involving the army as a direct element and party to the political game in Lebanon. How strange was the final statement with which Lahoud ended his presidential term in which he stated that the situation required a state of emergency to deal with it! Why was it then that when former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated and the lives of a number of MPs, leading figures and citizens were claimed in the biggest orchestrated wave of assassinations witnessed by the country, without knowing the perpetrator or their supporters in addition to the international investigation did he not declare a state of emergency amidst this terrifying atmosphere and bloodshed?

The centre of a city is being occupied by a group of mercenaries and beneficiaries that is interrupting people’s means of subsistence without any reasonable or convincing reason; does this not all require declaring a state of emergency?

Emile Lahoud came with an oath that he would make history and would re-write the role of the Lebanese president as he was influenced by the unprecedented exultation of him being likened to the most prominent president of Lebanese history, namely, the eminent military man Fouad Shehab. But the difference [between the presidents] became apparent as time passed by until the compulsory re-election was due against the will of the people. It did not respond to the calls of the people who rejected it. Consequently, the presidency continued to raise questions and doubts.

For some people, Emile Lahoud’s accession to power was a dream but for most people it became a nightmare. He left office and yet the controversy surrounding his term continues. However, Lebanon’s problem remains much greater than Emile Lahoud as the issue lies in a regime that will bring others like him.

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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