Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Is Reconciliation with Hezbollah Possible? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

To see Saad al Hariri, Michel Aoun, Walid Jumblatt and Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah embrace one another in front of the cameras wouldn’t be a great achievement in comparison to the importance that lies in whether they would be able to work [together] to build a state. Optimism is one thing and reality is another, especially if we look at what unites and what divides the Lebanese factions.

Raising the ceiling of expectations with discussions here and there on interests will only lead to this ceiling caving in on the Lebanese themselves. This is what happened with the May 7 Beirut coup and the July 2006 war with Israel that Lebanon was dragged into by Hezbollah and that has divided the Arab ranks until today.

The degree of danger has increased at present with the deployment of 10,000 Syrian soldiers on the borders of north Lebanon regardless of what Damascus’ explanations for this may be. It is feared that such action is a threat to speed up the acceptance of “a temporary marriage for pleasure” between the Future Movement and Hezbollah.

In order to understand the danger of superficial reconciliation or a “temporary political marriage,” one must ask a number of questions. Is Hezbollah prepared to accept that its weapons would be under the control of the state rather than Nasrallah and Wilayat-e-Faqih? Is it prepared to accept that the decisions over war or peace would be made by the state and that the Lebanese army would have the right to practice its authority over Lebanon in its entirety without the risk of its helicopters being shot down or its soldiers being targeted, which has been the case in the past?

Is Lebanon a state for all Lebanese? Is it independent and free from taking instruction from Syria or Iran and is it based upon a constitution with its own state institutions or is it a resistance state? Is Nasrallah prepared to accept that the airport would be under state authority and that he and Hezbollah will not responsible for everybody’s safety?

Is Iranian-backed Hezbollah prepared to accept that its telecommunications network would be under the responsibility of the ministry of communications and be willing to hand over control of the southern suburb to internal security apparatus to be under its authority like other Lebanese suburbs and districts, or will it remain one of Hezbollah’s protectorates?

Above all, are Hezbollah and the Lebanese factions, and Nabih Berri in particular, willing to conclude the international and internal investigations into [the assassinations of] Lebanon’s martyrs, most notably Rafik al Hariri, and to bring the criminals to justice?

If the answers to the questions above are affirmative, and they are just handful of many, then we would welcome reconciliation. However, we must remember that that does not mean that Nasrallah will forsake his principles and [the concept of] Waliyat-e-Faqih; this would be idealistic.

Therefore, the reality of Lebanon states that it is as far away as it could be from the concept of the state and its current situation is against all political notions.

Politically, Lebanon will either be a state that is protected by a strong neighbor, which means Syrian occupation of Lebanon, which is equivalent to the Lebanese throwing themselves into the ocean, or it will be a neutral demilitarized state, the protection of which remains the responsibility of the state. Of course this will not happen as the Lebanese political mentality is against that. Therefore, any talk of reconciliation is like giving a patient medicine to subdue the pain when in fact he needs to be operated upon!

The battle of the factions, and their agreement, is not for the sake of building the Lebanese state as Lebanon today is subjected to three-way ambitions, which are bigger than it could bear, that is Israeli, Syrian and Iranian ambitions…what a combination!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

More Posts