The incomparable Hollywood director, Francis Ford Coppola, could not have dreamed of producing a scene like that which took place in Beirut last week…a scene that would not have looked out of place in the Godfather trilogy.
The former Director General of Lebanese Internal Security, who is wanted by the Lebanese judiciary on charges of threatening Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, landed at Beirut airport only to be immediately surrounded by a group of heavily armed “muscle” who later turned out to be members of Hezbollah. After making statements at an impromptu press conference at the airport in the midst of the Hezbollah guards whose unmarked black SUVs entered the airport runway, Jamil Sayyed was taken to his residence under guard by members of Hezbollah.
Hezbollah, which is part of the Lebanese government, turned against the Lebanese state and announced – along with Jamil Sayyed and Michel Aoun – that while they support “justice and the Lebanese judiciary” they “call for a change of General Prosecutor.”
Lebanon has become what is known in political science as a “soft state” which is a state that has lost its prestige and its institutions and become ineffective and unworthy of respect. As a result of this everybody is suspicious towards its actions, and nobody pays attention to what is happening there. A soft state is a country that is rife with corruption and despotism to the extent that this is the norm and is accepted by everybody.
The game that is being put forward by these three parties; Hezbollah, Michael Aoun, and Jamil Sayyed aims to topple the Lebanese state and its institutions and to show that muscle and force are the only things that matter, not institutions, the judiciary or the law. A closer look at the history of each of these parties would show that they have a rich record – in statements and actions – of aiming to topple the Lebanese state. Hezbollah played the game outside of the institutes of the state for years and was excellent at finding ways of circumventing laws. Michel Aoun “left nothing undone” violating customs and laws, inciting a minor civil war, until he was eventually exiled. Aoun later returned to Lebanon as a “completely different person” and everybody today is trying to interpret what happened to him. As for Jamil Sayyed, he was once a scarecrow, frightening the general public and ordering arrests to the point that at one point he was the true ruler of Lebanon, his decisions being final, regardless of whether they were in accordance with public order and the law or not. However today Jamil Sayyed is issuing threats in a manner that is more akin to a Sicilian Mafioso, rather than a political statesman. Rather than resorting to the judiciary and providing it with evidence and witnesses to back up his claim, Sayyed has sought the protection of Lebanon’s muscle, in a sad and distressing scene in Lebanese history.
If Lebanon is full of such political figures that neither believe in Lebanon’s identity, or its political legitimacy, freedom, sovereignty or independence, why don’t they hand the entire country over to it’s elder sister, Syria? This is an entirely serious proposal and one that I am not making in jest, for Lebanon always needs to be under the protection of somebody stronger than it, capable to giving vent to its anger and relieving its tension. There are numerous elements of integration and harmony between the two countries that would help Lebanon’s countless sects join Syria’s smelting pot [of religious sects] and it’s existing state institutions and stable security. However the Lebanese would vehemently refuse this…saying that they do not accept Baathism. However the question that must be asked is: how much of this Baathist [party] is left in Syria today?
The Baathist party is as extinct as the dinosaurs, and Syria is aware of this and will reach a point where it adopts an open-door policy economic policy and seeks development and progress as it cannot remain detached from what is happening around it. Syrians, either businessman or merchant who have achieved success around the world could contribute to changing their own country. Merging Lebanon and Syria might be the ultimate solution to putting an end to the political nonsense that is taking place in the Lebanese [political] arena, and which is filmed and broadcast to the world at large that watch what is happening there and laugh. It is shameful that the names of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of their homeland are embroiled in the protection of someone who should be brought to justice. We must stop marketing the resistance!