Lebanon’s Ever Looming War
It might not be an all-out war like the one the Lebanese have lived between 1975 and 1990. It might be a political explosion at the national level twenty three years in the making; pitting one coalition against another, or sect against sect until members of the same family fight each other again from opposing aisles or militarized fronts.
Anyone who has lived through the Lebanese war and its aftermath, just like anyone who tried to intellectualize the war’s progression to an audience, knows that none of these scenarios has a clear aim or path. It is simply the way some Lebanese express their patriotism, unable or unwilling to explore more civilized ways to communicate than through disagreement and argument, before resorting to violence and weapons when all else fails.
It will not be a classic all-out war because, unlike what started in 1975, the current power weighs heavily in favor of one side. Any group entering willingly into a military confrontation with the established power of Hezbollah will be committing suicide. This is probably one of the main reasons, if not the only reason, why we did not see a military clash so far.
What is left is a war of intimidation and different kind of blood-letting which the Lebanese are living -- albeit in denial -- on a daily basis while their politicians tap dance at forums while reciting their refrains in front of politically-crowned microphones. Each of them rallying their fans and further alienating the others. The groups have shrunk over the years squeezed into corners with all those that agree with them away from any form of disagreement. Add to that, lawlessness in certain parts of the country, assassinations of those who dare to speak up or call for change, burning tires and closing roads in protest of anything a person with a false sense of empowerment disapproves of, checkpoints here and there, kidnappings (sometimes killing) of foreigners or Lebanese nationals just because they are easy targets or defenseless victims. Who needs classical war when you have a chaotic country, ripe for lawlessness and partition?
This brings us to another scenario that is becoming more realistic by the day and has more supporters today than it did back during the height of the civil war: Partition! If Lebanon is partitioned along sectarian lines, will it still be Lebanon? Can anyone honestly trust the current players to do a fair job at that? If you have always trusted the people more and believed in their power to co-exist and thrive, you have probably lost that faith lately as you witness the group of true change-makers dwindle in number and influence. Between those migrating for jobs and opportunities, and those remaining only because they have no choice, hope is vanishing and the space has become wide open for more chaos and disorientation.
The looming war today is represented in deep tears in the very fabric of Lebanon. They are crossing through skin, muscles and veins. At this rate, there will be nothing left to protect or fight for.