There is no state or authority in Lebanon

Diana Moukalled

THE video of five young men enthusiastically parachuting over the mountains of Jounieh while playing and singing on the anniversary of Lebanon’s independence was widely shared online. Such a celebration was perceived as naïve and inappropriate especially considering its timing. A few hours earlier, the same audience for this video undoubtedly saw images of Hezbollah’s military parade in the Syrian town of Qusayr, which it has occupied for three years. It was a crude visual attempt to differentiate its independence from Lebanese independence by limiting the national day to songs and folk music.
Indeed, the short parade was no more than a provocation and dismissal of the Syrian people as well as marginalization of the Lebanese state and army. It is difficult for the new presidential era in Lebanon, which after a two-year vacuum, to digest this show at which the party exhibited US-made tanks — a show with connotations. This parade came while the Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri geared up to announce his new Cabinet and deliver a ministerial statement. Previous ministerial statements from Lebanese Cabinets have been meaningless when it came to state’s sovereignty and independence. The decision-maker at any time is the bearer of illegal weapons.
Indeed, Hezbollah’s insistence that previous statements include the phrase “supporting the resistance with arms” was a way to legalize those weapons even if that same “resistance” decided to divert from fighting Israel to crossing the border and fighting in Syria. Was this only an internal issue of the party and not a concern for the Lebanese state? Lebanon is embarking on a new phase. Will the Michel Aoun-era show Hezbollah that fighting in Syria is not part of the duties mentioned in the previous ministerial statements that limited the resistance to fighting Israel? Or does the road to Jerusalem run through Qusayr?
Qusayr’s fighters are trained, armed and supplied by Hezbollah as the Lebanese state helplessly watches. It is pitiful enough for the Lebanese Army to release a statement denying that the US-made armored personnel carriers were taken from its barracks. The statement did not even dare say that the tanks were there for all to see in the Hezbollah’s parade. How many times do we have to see with our eyes that our weak state’s role is just a cover that adapts to Hezbollah’s interests? It doesn’t seem that such a role will change with the new era. Not only this, but such am agreement on the presidency would not have otherwise happened.
This is only one example of our complicity in the crime of allowing Hezbollah to fight in Syria. The repercussions of our sin will be seen when our state gets even weaker and further diminished. Since pre-2011, we have been living with the reality that a militant militia controls the actual state in Lebanon unequivocally. Yet, since the moment of Hezbollah crossing the borders to fight alongside Assad, the truth has become harder to hide or conceal. There is no state or authority in Lebanon; there is merely an agreement to coexist quietly, and, most importantly, by turning a blind eye. The writer is a veteran journalist with extensive experience in both traditional and new media. She is also a columnist and freelance documentary producer.
—Courtesy: Arab News

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