Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The end of the Doha truce

For those who were optimistic that the truce reached in Doha last month would put Lebanon back on track, the recent events must have come as a surprise: everybody was so optimistic and didn't we expect a new government to be formed within "a few days"? Berri was certainly right with his analysis a few days ago that the cabinet should have been formed within the first week.

Not that Suleiman seems to be worried. According to the president-elect, he is "not in a hurry to form a cabinet", the reason being that the government is "the doorway to national reconciliation and not to national dispute". In other words, he intends to adhere to that good old Lebanese tradition of no winners, no losers. By pushing forward too rapidly, he might lose the opposition in the process.

Berri in the mean time has suggested to form a transitional government, which is code-speak for having another round of presidential elections a year from now. It sure would be nice for Aoun as it would give him another shot at the presidential seat. Given his high age, waiting another six years for Suleiman to step down will be next to impossible.

Not that such a transitional government is too likely, mind you. The Constitution does not mention any deadline for forming a new government. In theory, Suleiman can be president-elect indefinitely.

One can only wonder what the purpose was of the fighting in Tripoli during the last two days. Was there a purpose or was it just some local resentment boiling over, a possible pay-back for the events in May when pro-Syrian groups in and around Tripoli were attacked by Future movement supporters. Given the fact that it were Hezbollah supporters who started the fighting, it would be logical to assume an invisible hand steering the events.

Hezbollah has gotten under increasing pressure recently to give up their weapons in case the Shebaa farms will be either liberated or placed under UN command. A few years ago, Hezbollah used to state that this liberation was the condition under which they would disarm. However, they have changed their mind. Not only has Hezbollah announced they will keep their weapons regardless of the outcome of the Shebaa issue, it has added a new condition, namely that all the Palestinians should return home; which is code-speak for never ever ever I promise I swear.

Just for good measure, Hezbollah has accused the government to conspiring against Hezbollah. In all reality, it seems the positive atmosphere of Doha is no longer here. Worrisome articles of a mass weapons influx in Lebanon, Hezbollah expanding its territory, possible another round of clashes in the Bekaa and the actual fighting in Tripoli add to the renewed feeling of doom. But please don't tell the tourists.

2 comments:

Francine said...

Quote: "However, they have changed their mind. Not only has Hezbollah announced they will keep their weapons regardless of the outcome of the Shebaa issue, it has added a new condition, namely that all the Palestinians should return home; which is code-speak for never ever ever I promise I swear."

In tune with their saying never ever to turn against the Lebanese.
In one way they have not changed their mind: for never ever I promise I swear will there be peace. We will keep faithfull to (also the Jews') motto: an eye for an eye...

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