Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Unifying Theory: Part II

So what differentiates this theory from others floating around? Through this theory, we are finally able to gain an understanding of the deep beliefs that permeate Lebanese society today, and which have defined the political affiliations and outlooks of much of the population. Although the theory was created with the aim of uniting these different outlooks, it is by breaking it apart that we truly understand the driving forces behind them.

The first, and most accepted and supported, element lies in the allegations of Syria’s involvement. These allegations prompted a revolution of the streets following Hariri’s assassination and inevitably led to the withdrawal of the occupying Syrian forces. More than a year on, this element has resulted in a constitutional crisis as the March 14th coalition, now headed by Rafic Hariri’s son – Saad Hariri, has sought to push through a government approval of an International Tribunal setup to try those to be accused of the murder. Parties thought to be loyal to Syria, have attempted to block the government’s approval through resignations and street protests on a large scale.

The second element constitutes a complete return to the classic blame Israel routine, whether done out of sheer conviction, or out of a desire to deflect scrutiny or attention from another suspected party. By blaming Israel (for either of the above reasons), the adherers to this element have tried to accord justifications for their opposition to the ruling coalition’s stance towards Syria and any advancements on the International Tribunal that might harm our ‘sisterly’ country. By taking this route, those adherers are hoping that the Syria question completely can be simply avoided.

The third, and perhaps most interesting element, has been a relatively new one. It is one that recognizes the divergent paths upon which major sections of the Lebanese population envision their country should take following the Syrian withdrawal. On the one hand, you have a clear majority that feel that Hariri was justified in trying to liberate Lebanon (and Syria) from the tyrannical Assad regime. Whether in life or in death, they consider Hariri’s actions to have been heroic, and feel that it is time Lebanon embarked on a new path separate of the Syrian track, and more closely aligned with countries sharing Lebanon’s western outlook. On the other hand, we find a large segment of the populace that feels that Lebanon was properly aligned with Syria before Hariri moved against it, and slung the country into crisis. This group accepts the notion that if it was the Syrians who murdered Hariri, then it was an action taken in self-defense against a man that threatened their very existence. If it was the Israelis who did it, then their desire for a closer alignment with Syria would then be justified in the face of Israel’s continued aggression against Lebanon.

Today, several weeks after this theory was first brought to my attention, the country continues to be deeply divided amongst the different elements embodied in it. There continues to be a drive by one side to rid Lebanon of Syria’s influence, while another continues to receive their orders and instructions from Damascus. Meanwhile, the UN’s investigation into who really killed Hariri continues.


  1. Marc Mikhael10:56 PM

    I found this article to be very interesting. I think that after Hafez el Assad's death, a regime change has been in the works in Syria, supported perhaps by the West, where the late Harriri and former Syrian vice pres. Khaddam were some of the key players in this 'plot'. This is quite significant given the fact that you have a Lebanese player meddling with internal Syrian politics for once! And of course, Harriri's mega fortune made him a threat (or ally) to be reckoned with.

  2. Arabic Coffee Pot2:47 PM

    The question is, was this 'plot' justified from the perspective of Lebanon's liberation?

  3. A while back, a syrian official declared "we paid the price for the killing of hariri by withdrawing our forces from lebanon, what else do the lebanese want?". Therefore, apart from the obvious admission of guilt, the syrians perceive the establishment of the international court as an aggressive attempt to topple the syrian regime. Obviously, if syrian officials are implicated it could lead to the rapid demise of Bashar and co. But more importantly, their friends in lebanon would become extremely vulnerable internally. Hizballah and other members of the opposition (e.g. karami, frangieh) have repeatedly stated that the govt.'s insistence on pursuing an international court will lead to "internal civil strife". Hizballah's weapons are their only gaurantee of political survival, and their allies are banking on this. So basically, syria and it's friends must fight the court no matter what. The aounists have to justify this, and they commonly come up with these fanciful stories of international intrigue. They're fun to read and discuss. Cool post.


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