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Lebanon Crisis Still Not Over

Monday, June 2, 2008

Hassan Hanizadeh 

The Doha agreement, in which the leaders of Lebanon’s political groups reached a consensus on ending the deadlock over the presidential election, has gladdened the hearts of all Lebanese since it seems that the struggle for power has finally given way to rationality and pragmatism.

However, the totalitarian March 14 group’s insistence on nominating Fouad Siniora as prime minister and their demand that they be given key ministerial posts have disappointed the Lebanese nation.

In fact, Lebanon’s problem can not be solved just by electing a president because the major source of the recent tension in the country was the Siniora government, especially its insistence on implementing the policies of the United States, other Western countries, and certain regional Arab states.

Along these lines, the Siniora government paid no heed to the Lebanese people’s desire to maintain the Islamic resistance as a bulwark against Zionist aggression and tried to disarm it.

However, the Lebanese people’s opposition to the government’s illogical decisions thwarted Siniora’s plan to marginalize Hezbollah and drive the Islamic resistance off the political stage.

The Doha conference was a valuable step taken by the Qatari government to solve the Lebanese crisis. However, it seems certain regional Arab states do not want to see the various Lebanese groups settle their differences.

Despite its limited political sway, Qatar tried to encourage all Lebanese political groups to reach a consensus, but the demand that Siniora retain the post of prime minister is a sign that hidden hands are still seeking to sow discord in the Lebanese political arena.

The makeup of Siniora’s cabinet is a major sticking point. The possibility that prominent members of the March 14 group like Samir Geagea, Walid Jumblatt, Saad al-Hariri, and Marwan Hamadeh will attain cabinet posts has raised concerns that the new government will try to accelerate the implementation of U.S. policies in Lebanon.

Surely, President Michel Suleiman, who is accepted by all Lebanese political groups, does not want to see the new cabinet become the center of national tension, but it seems that he is under pressure -- from both domestic and foreign groups -- to accept Siniora as prime minister.

If Siniora gives cabinet posts to contentious figures like Jumblatt, Hamadeh, Geagea, and Saad al-Hariri, the national crisis will surely flare up again in the near future and new conflicts will arise between the followers of the March 14 and March 8 groups.

Moreover, certain regional Arab states, which do not want to see the Doha agreement implemented, will try to impose conditions for the makeup of the new cabinet, and this will surely cause a division between the new administration and the leaders of the March 8 group.

Although it is too soon to predict what will happen in Lebanon, if the new government decides to take action against the Islamic resistance, the crisis will definitely boil over again and it will be difficult for the country’s political groups to bring the situation under control

Source: http://www.tehrantimes.com/Index_view.asp?code=170063

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