15/02/2008

Lebanon on the brink of chaos

Following the assassination in Damascus of a important men of the armed wing ofHezbollah, Imad Moughnieh, Hassan Nasrallah publicly declared an « open war » on Israel and accused it of having perpetrated the attack. Yet despite this rising tensions between Israel and Hezbollah, it is now more a matter of internal instability in Lebanon.

Indeed, three years after the assassination of Rafik Hariri, supporters of the majority are still as many to take to the streets to demand the truth about the death of the former Prime Minister and to denounce the Syrian grip on Lebanon. They want a continuation and completion of the Cedar Revolution.

Thursday, two mass demonstrations in Beirut took place in the same time: supporters of the majority gathered on the Place des Martyrs, while Hezbollah organized a march in the south of the city. Significant military devices were in place to prevent a slide of the situation.

Since the assassination of Rafik Hariri and even more since the conflict in July-August 2006 against Israel political balance is broken in Lebanon. The situation is bogging down, the parties cannot agree more with each other. For example, the majority and the opposition are now negotiating for three months without success to reach the appointment of a President. Although Michel Sleimane is recognized as the candidate of consensus, the opposition is still reluctant despite numerous attempts at mediation by the Arab League. According to some, this political paralysis is condemned to continue, perhaps even until next appointment with the parliamentary polls in spring 2009.

Such a scenario of the statu quo seems preferable to the worse, a new civil war in Lebanon.Walid Jumblatt, one of the most radical leaders of the Movement of March 14, has expressed its readyness to war. Let us hope that all political leaders do not react like him and are more willing to appease the belligerent than encourage them.

N.J.O.