Thursday, May 22, 2008

Foreigners decide on Lebanon’s fate

For some reason, Lebanon’s problems are always solved outside Lebanon. After Cairo, Taef or Chateau de la Celle Saint-Cloud, Lebanon’s fate was decided in Doha this time. No wonder, if you realize that Lebanon was build on the famous Pact of 1943, which was possible only after Maronite president Khoury solemnly promised he won’t refer back to France, while Sunni premier Solh wouldn’t ask other Muslim countries for assistance. Quite a way to start the country’s independence!

In all the years since, nothing much has changed. Every time Geagea e.g., accuses Hezbollah of creating a state within a state, one cannot help but think of the mini-state the Lebanese Forces has created back in the Civil War with western support. His militia controlled most of north Lebanon and was even raising taxes.

Likewise, it’s always hilarious to hear Hezbollah accusing Siniora of being the Great Satan’s slave, while accepting millions of dollars from Iran and Syria. Pot, kettle, it’s the usual story in Lebanon.

So why was it that a change of scenery could solve the two year old political problems that brought Lebanon to a stand-still? How come Lebanese politicians are so pathetic when it comes to solving problems in their own House, which has been solidly locked the last two years?

Shrug, who knows what truly motivates Lebanese politicians. What’s more, the regular Lebanese people don’t make much sense either. Why is everybody so desperately happy all of a sudden? If anything, you’d expect people to be angry: waiting for two years while the economy went rapidly downhill and for what, a solution that could have been reached so much earlier. Instead, the country seems to be filled with people thinking happy thoughts. Delusion sure is a solid foundation for resilience.

God only knows how much the true costs have been of the last two years of the politicians’ pride and stubbornness. But that’s all forgotten now. The Lebanese are ready to go out again, or at least those who can still afford it, Solidere stock prices have gone up and the tourist sector is already busy preparing for a huge summer.

So leave it to this foreigner to be worried despite Doha. There’s still this Mughnieh thingy to be revenged and there are still these Syria-Israel peace talks to be torpedoed. Let’s see when one and one becomes two.


LaLebanessa said...

"Why is everybody so desperately happy all of a sudden?"

Because everybody was so desparate to be happy, Riemer. So they grab at any chance, however fleeting.

saving grace said...

nobody's happy really. they are just relieved for not having to go back to shelters again. when one is worried about his life and family, he cares less about Lebanese economic problems. I believe this is exactly what politicians want because they are corrupt. i have a feeling that things won't work out as planned in Doha.

Marillionlb said...

"one and one will become too" very soon I am afraid. All those rejoiceing and putting up giant posters of Michel Suleiman will soon discover how illplaced all that enthousiam was.

R said...

We have to be careful not to oversimplify. If its ok with you, I just want to make a few points

1- The main reason that the Doha agreement was reached was because Hizbulla showed its willingness to turn its guns inwards. That would only have been possible two years ago if Hizbulla had turned its weapons inwards two years ago. In any case, it forced the hand of the Arab supporters of March 14 and...

2- While it is true that many of the March 14 leaders had militias during the civil war, they differ fundamentally from Hizbulla. Their corruption, sectarianism, militancy and so on are purely a product of Lebanese "culture" and history. Hizbulla on the other hand is a creation of Iran that found a place with the Shias of Lebanon because of the huge leadership and representation void that existed with that community. However, Hizbulla remains an Iranian proxy by construction rather than by alliance. The March 14ers and indeed even the rest of the March 8ers, if proxies, are proxies only by alliances of strategy, convenience and political opportunism.

3- You are right. There is no real reason for happiness and plenty of reasons to worry about the future.

Jeha said...

To live well in Lebanon, one needs to suspend belief and exercise his capacity at forgetfulness.

Solomon2 said...

Oooh, that'll be my quote for the month, Jeha!

EV said...

The Doha agreement demonstrates how short-sighted M14 leaders are and that there are worse days to come, after the honeymoon period.
I'm holding comment on Suleiman for now until we see him take action on a relevant issue. But I think the tide is against him and that he will be politically marginalized.

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