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    14-Aug-2019

Thwarting a Coup In Lebanon! - By Hazem Saghieh, Alarabiya

 

 

Defending a Lebanese politician is a difficult task. You may support his position, his stance, but his “economics” remains a reason for reservation. You may agree with his current attitude, but his past prevents you from supporting him further.
 
All things considered, there is a gap that is difficult to bridge between defending values and reason, and a system the symbols of which have long ceased to produce such rare goods.
 
In this context, the final compromise – so-called the “reconciliation of Baabda” - belongs to a ruling mentality, commonly described as “tribal”. People die, while those, who were supposed to protect their blood, exchange kisses.
 
But these remedies do not preclude the recognition that what was done - even in its most traditional way - was a thwarting of a coup. The success of such a coup would have made all bad things even worse.
 
Whether the US embassy statement dictated “the reconciliation of Baabda”, or perhaps the deteriorating economic situation, the wisdom of Nabih Berri, the need for Saad Hariri to convene his cabinet, or Hezbollah’s feeling that its pressing priorities are not in Mount Lebanon… the outcome is one: A coup has been thwarted, and the events of the Mountain would have been a prelude to it.
 
The siege imposed on Walid Jumblatt appeared to be haunted by three serious cases of abuse:
 
- Beyond the political, or the rest of it, to the security.
 
- And beyond the democratic, at its annexation, to authoritarianism.
 
- Beyond the personal, to the group to which the concerned person belongs or represents.
 
Regardless of the security details, where we have always faced two narratives, the climate that has enveloped the Mountain has suggested that real blood was creeping under the incident.
 
The identity of the blood was easy to identify considering the history of murder, the identity of the killers and those killed in Lebanon, as well as the balances of known warfare forces, and daily campaigns of political and media incitement on Walid Jumblatt.
 
As the matters surpass the political nature to reach security, and possibly a criminal aspect, it goes beyond the personal to the collective, based on Jumblatt's representative position within his community.
 
The figure, who has been proposed to be his substitute, reaches the parliament through his grant. The grant is a vacant position on Jumblatt’s list. Amendments to the new electoral law, which were aimed at curbing the Druze leader’s authority, could not undermine his sectarian representation.
 
Thus, the “isolation of the Progressive Socialist Party” is, in fact, the isolation of the Druze community; similarly to the “marginalization of the Phalanges” in 1974-5, which was equivalent to the marginalization of the Maronites. Replacing Jumblatt with Talal Arslan is similar to substituting Pierre Gemayel with Youssef al-Ashkar.
 
Here we find a painful paradox in the tragic history of sects. The late politician, Kamal Jumblatt, was the first to call for isolation.
 
But in all cases, as long as the sects, and until further notice, are the active political units, any isolation of a sect, and any "representation" imposed from outside, is as dangerous as authoritarian.
 
This brings us to the third dualism. Jumblatt’s different voice should not be different, according to the "ruling" triad, from the top to the bottom of the pyramid: Bashar al-Assad, Hassan Nasrallah, and Gibran Bassil.
 
Jumblatt is different in the Mountain, in Lebanon, and Syria. In the Mountain, because the slogan of “restoring the rights of the Christians” is dull and revengeful, which can only result in poisoning the Mountain and the relations between its citizens. As we all know, all communities have a weak immunity to this poison.
 
In turn, Bassil, who is aspiring to achieve “what the others couldn’t”, is running for a task that might turn the past tragedies of the Mountain to an open disaster for his future.
 
Jumblatt’s foes and critics have said that he could turn the crisis into a Druze-Maronite dispute. Perhaps it’s true because sects’ leaders are all professionals in fireworks. What about Bassil’s provocative approach to building his leadership and acting as if peace had one language - that of war - and that citizenship had only the language of hostility?
 
After all, it is Bassil, not Jumblatt, who supports both the legitimate and illegitimate weapons.
 
Jumblatt is different in Lebanon. He and his community are affected by Hezbollah’s weapons, which impose a monopoly on the decision of war and peace.
 
Jumblatt is different in Syria. In addition to the lack of cordiality between him and Assad, as well as the issues of domestic and national blood, there are the Druze of Syria, whose Lebanese leader has limited their possibility of being dragged behind a murderous regime, and the Syrians of Lebanon, with whom he expressed solidarity and refrained from keeping up with the prevailing racist wave.
 
This triad may have misjudged the costs of the coup. It was deceived by its calculations.
 
But foiling a coup does not mean preventing an upheaval spirit that might bet on a more economically recovered Iran, a more recessive US role in the region, or a more sinister and brutal Syrian regime.
 

 

 

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