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Lebanon: Changing The Nation
Published in AL HAYAT on 24 - 11 - 2013

It is no longer convincing to lament over the deteriorating security situation in Lebanon and to condemn conspiracies and bombings. Indeed, to the same extent as voices are rising to claim concern for calm and stability, the amount of explosives discovered is increasing – explosives aimed at targets in Lebanon. Years could go by while we debate the sources and the beneficiaries, after decades of debating the issue itself. Meanwhile, what is unraveling is what remains of the fragile nervous system of a country which everyone considers to have become a mere instrument in the major changes taking place in the region.
The crisis in Lebanon no longer concerns the issue of political obstinacy doing away with opportunities to form a government cabinet, the problem of political vacuum following the renewal of the parliament's term, or the possibility of reaching the end of the President's term in office without having the ability to elect a new one.
The crisis now concerns the increasingly apparent conviction among part of the Lebanese that consensus with the other side is no longer necessary for coexistence. Most dangerous about such a conviction is that it comes from that part of the Lebanese population that is most armed and most willing to fight in the domestic arena, after having fought in Syria, where the conflict has turned into an openly sectarian one, with the different sides fighting it as such. This party has also made sure to announce having made such advances, in order to assert that the fact that it has been holding back, so far, from making use of force inside Lebanon against members of the other sect, some of whom are fighting in Syria, in a way represents giving others the opportunity to join it willingly and carry out its goals, before later having to force and coerce them to do so.
Such an approach is not the result of local political disputes, but rather one that stands against what is left of the nation and of the state, including its constitutional institutions. Indeed, if there is consensus between this party and the Speaker of Parliament for reasons of confessional agreement, its opposition to the work of this institution has appeared clearly in its efforts to obstruct it, in the past as well as today. As for its opposition to the executive branch of government, and in particular to the head of the executive, the President of the Republic, it requires no evidence, after the numerous campaigns and abundant criticism that have been directed at the President in person. Security services and the judiciary, for their part, work only with the approval of this party, in view of it having infiltrated them or of its indirect influence on them.
The problem now concerns the integrity of the nation and of the state, not just the Lebanese formula of coexistence. And indeed everything that is contributing to maintaining the current crisis of power only feeds the root problem. All claims of taking care to overcome this crisis by providing illusory concessions regarding shares are thus null and void.
The issue now regards political choices, as well as national choices. And to the same extent as one adheres to the Syrian conflict and participates in it, one deepens sectarian alignment in the country and furthers the waning of the basic requirements for the survival of nation and state in Lebanon.
No one denies that the phenomenon of intolerance is a cross-confessional one, and no one denies that confessional fanaticism drives towards mutual hatred and denial, reaching up to infighting. But plans to change a nation require infighting that would by far exceed the mere mutual exchange of acutely confessional stances. They require massacres that would sever the ties of a form of coexistence that has characterized Lebanon, in view of the balance that exists there at this level, and has prevailed in the country ever since its foundation, even if the formula for such a balance does require some change in order to survive.
Engaging in the conflict in Syria and considering it to represent an existential issue can no longer bear a balanced nation in Lebanon. It has become urgent, within the framework of the necessities of this conflict, to hasten the liquidation of the structure of nation and state.
And there is no better justification for asserting such a sense of urgency than the Al-Qaeda brand of terrorism, being confessional in nature, and having been raised by the Syrian regime since the start of the peaceful protest movement as a justification for the ongoing implementation of a military solution. Al-Qaeda's brand of terrorism functions across borders, does not recognize nations and works to destroy existing states. This is why it strikes randomly in any location where the circumstance makes it possible, especially in places where capabilities have been weakened and feelings of confessional frustration are on the rise. That is what has happened to Lebanon, in a very systematic way. Thus Al-Qaeda in Lebanon has become a necessity for plans of changing the nation... and that is what has happened and is happening in Iraq and in Syria.

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