Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Independence - More Precious Than Ever

The repercussions of the Arab Spring are getting closer to Lebanon with a worrying forecast of heavy clouds and possible storms that can certainly bring in rain, floods and even an “earthquake” that will create havoc among an already divided, confused and brainwashed population.

The timing of a CIA announcement that its members had been captured and possibly executed by Hezbollah is reason to tie things together. Knowing that Hezbollah had already announced the identification and capture of U.S. spies in June 2011, the confirmation now signals a lot more than just the agency’s failure. It could be the sign of a deadlock in negotiations or talks extending much beyond Lebanon’s borders.

From a distance, Lebanon might look unfazed or not directly involved in the Arab Spring movement of 2011. But a closer look reveals that Lebanon remains an extension of Syria, albeit virtually. Things have remained calm so far just because Lebanon’s turn as a card in the hand of the Syrian regime and its allies has not arrived yet. Hezbollah and other pro-Syrian factions have been very vocal about their unwavering support for the Assad regime against Arab and western “conspiracies.” This is the kind of support that can be translated into a military confrontation at any time, without the need for excuses or provocations.

With one simple order, an attack on Israel can commence. With another simple order, Beirut can be taken over by Hezbollah militants. Another order can inflame the borders and bring the conflict all the way in to the heart of every region of Lebanon. The unfortunate fact is that the Lebanese government and army are too weak and too broken to stop any such attempts. What other factions might have in mind and in their power as a response is a whole different story with even more dire consequences!

With political tensions and confrontations rampant among Lebanon’s politicians and citizens alike, one spark can turn things around and change the seemingly inactive landscape to an all-out military confrontation.

The influx of Syrian refugees into Lebanon is another dangerous piece of the puzzle. There is no telling what else crossed the Syrian border along with ordinary citizens fleeing the conflict.

The divisive issue of funding for the Special Tribunal on the Hariri assassination will bring to the surface yet another uncertain political landscape with various possible alliances and scenarios.

Internationally isolated and unable to control the uprising against him at home, President Bashar al-Assad told the Sunday Times newspaper that he will not bow down to the pressure of his street. He also warned of an “earthquake” that will shake the entire Middle East if Syria becomes the subject of a military intervention. By saying so, he confirms his dependence on his allies in general and the support of his neighbor to the West and South to create the perfect storm to help him shake things up regionally and even globally.

Lebanon was infamously known once as the land of other people’s wars. This Independence Day risks resurrecting that description. The truth of the matter is that the wars of others in Lebanon would never happen without the approval and aid of the Lebanese themselves; and history tells us that some “Lebanese” never fail to accommodate!


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