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The Safety Belt - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Any wise or objective individual who is monitoring the Lebanese situation can only be astonished and disgusted by a number of statements and comments made by Lebanese politicians.

A few days ago, a Lebanese television station hosted a political analyst who expressed his anger towards- and “great concern” for- Arab “intervention” in Lebanese affairs considering that it has a direct impact upon the reality in Lebanon and its future.

However the truth of the matter is surprising. The speaker expressed his opinion via a television station that is completely funded by a foreign country. Moreover, he works at a newspaper that is also funded by that same foreign country.

There is odd talk in Lebanon today that Arab countries are interfering in the process of selecting the next Lebanese president. Clearly, this is nonsense since the candidate that the members of the Arab League agreed to support in their last meeting in Cairo was General Michel Suleiman, the same candidate that the Lebanese had unanimously agreed upon. A number of Lebanese set a range of criteria and certain conditions that are highly complex and exaggerated in a way that makes the task an impossible one for the candidate as well as for parliament.

The self-harm that the Lebanese are inflicting upon their own causes is an advanced type of political destruction. Despite the fact that Lebanon appears to be a civilized, democratic and liberal country, the truth is that it suffers a state of tribalism and reactionism and appeals to the spirit of the jungle and the Darwinist theory of natural selection that is governed by the survival of the fittest. The state of infighting and internal conflicts as well as the bequeathal of leaderships is a purely Lebanese situation that begs for intervention from external parties.

Strong attempts are being made to abort and eliminate the current Arab initiative to rescue the political situation in Lebanon. This status is not confined to the fact that there is a political vacuum in the form of a presidential vacuum, but rather it extends to the absence of parties, parliament, premiership and political leaderships in Lebanon. In short, it is a sad and worrying scene. The sustained pressure of one single party that seeks a “single solution” by way of appointing a certain figure to the presidential post in spite of what the results may be cannot continue.

The Maronite political institution now faces an unprecedented turning point of its history. Owing to its sharp fluctuations and its transforming of the political conflict into a personal one in this manner, it will be forced to withdraw to the background in the decision making process in favour of other parties. Therefore, it will lose its traditional status and its significant and eminent weight in the Lebanese political arena.

The Lebanese individual’s attack against the Arab initiative after destroying the French initiative will only result in a deeper lack of trust between Lebanon and its neighbours and friends at a time when Lebanon can neither bear such consequence nor live without it.

Lebanon now faces a serious dilemma that was created by its citizens and politicians. Is there no wise figure who will promote the Arab initiative as a safety belt that will rescue the country from its downward spiral? This may be the last chance.

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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