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Lebanon: Lying in the Details - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Fulfilling its threat, the opposition has taken to the streets in Lebanon to overthrow Fouad Siniora’s government by means of a democratic sit-in strike. Aoun and Hezbollah cite the pretext as the illegitimacy of the government; that it is supported by the West, or rather by the US. Thus, by using the method of a sit-in, a democratic action mechanism (the irony here is that democracy is a US demand); opposition seeks to force the Lebanese government out.

The devil is in the details, or so the saying goes, but in the case of Lebanon, ‘lying is in the details’. Fouad Siniora’s internationally backed government is portrayed as an American one and an illegitimate one at that. The first question is: Do the governments have to obtain recognition from Tehran and Damascus, or from the entire international community on top of which is the American superpower?

My second question is if Aoun had not been an ally of Damascus, would he have had the ability to move in Beirut and Damascus, the latter of which advocated manipulating the Lebanese constitution and extended President Lahoud’s term – and surely that’s not all? Can Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah yield to the international legitimacy, whatever he may say, and cast off Tehran’s cloak? Of course not! Sayyed Nasrallah’s legitimacy does not derive from international legislations and electoral votes; rather his ultimate legitimacy is derived in accordance with Hezbollah’s ideology and religious culture, from the submission to ‘the Muslim guardianship’, which is the guide of the Iranian Revolution, namely, ‘Wilayat al Faqih’, or the guardianship of the jurists. Therefore, his legitimacy is linked to Iran and he cannot renounce it.

What is happening in Beirut today is not a continuation of Lebanese history; it is part of a larger picture of the Arab world, and the Middle East in particular. This picture entails groups or organizations swallowing up states; in other words, overthrowing legitimacy under false pretenses. This pattern did not start after the September terrorist attacks or after the fall of the Iraqi regime, but rather it can be traced to the formation of the Al Qaeda network under the Taliban government, with the participation of some oppositional forces in the Arab world. At one point, demands for reform meant renouncing legitimacy – even Arab political disputes were aimed at renouncing legitimacy too.

Back to Lebanon: if the Lebanese government falls, al Hariri’s tribunal will be driven into oblivion and the blood of all the Lebanese martyrs will only be ‘spilt milk.’ What is going on in Lebanon is evidence of the disease of political ‘muzayda’, the act of outbidding in which rivals and opponents make grossly exaggerated claims to undermine one another. This is seriously detrimental to the nation and the citizen.

After weeping for Lebanon during the Israeli war and doing the impossible for the sake of its unity – without even criticizing Hezbollah’s adventure that brought about the war and its cost to Lebanon, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora now tells Hezbollah, “You imposed a war on us and we paid the price … now you want to overthrow us.”

Do you want the truth? Adventurers will succeed, and let’s bid farewell to the wise ones!

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.

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