A JOKE crossed my mind in view of the long awaited Lebanese government which was formed recently and offers nothing new in terms of political representation.
A Lebanese friend told me about the joke on the civil war between residents of Mount Lebanon in 1860. An armed group succeeded in attacking one of the defense centers of villages on the mountain. Eventually, the group took over the center. One of the members in charge of defending the center fled. When asked why they could not resist the attack, he responded: “We did not see them because they attacked at night.” He was then told that the attack happened again at daytime and he responded: “They saw us.”
This was the rationalization of their inability to resist the attack, which applies to the Lebanese government as it claims to fight against terrorism while the Cabinet consists of ministers listed as terrorists regionally and globally. At the same time, this government oversees the financial system operated outside the frame of the State and world’s financial system, which is in the hands of Hezbollah whose activities include smuggling narcotics and money laundering. Hezbollah is an armed group.
It monopolizes peace and war decisions, so the Lebanese governments have been striving since 2000 to enhance the role of the Lebanese military which is not allowed to challenge the authority of Hezbollah in areas under its control.
When the international community raised this issue in a bid to discuss it with Lebanese officials, their response was: “We did not see them.” When they were surrounded, they said: “They saw us.” This means the group preceded them. In the new government, Hezbollah reaffirmed its grip on State policies through what is known in Lebanon as the ‘broken one-third’ — a precedent that has never been witnessed by any other country.
This time, it happened through the group’s two allies — Free Patriotic Movement and its president. However, the remaining political spectrum rejected this alliance, let alone the fact that the entire issue is crippled by the quota system which came as a result of the political representation in the last election in Lebanon.
This also applies to concessions that the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, makes every time he appears on television regarding the internal situation; his refusal to abide by the State’s decision which is based on the principle, “They saw us, we did not see them;” or his threats to Israel and continuous endeavor to drag Lebanon into the proxy wars of Iran.
From time to time, leaders in Tehran appear with slogans on liberating Palestine and performing ‘Salat’ (prayers) in Jerusalem. Since Khomeini declared Iran’s new regime 40 years ago and his famous slogan on Palestine, Iran has never engaged Israel in a direct war.
Both sides threaten each other behind seas, while Iran pays Nasrallah’s militias and Hamas in Gaza to fight on its behalf or to gradually carry out aggression on Lebanon and Gaza Strip in order to achieve Tehran’s objectives, and to portray Khamenei as the ‘Salah Al-Din’ striving to liberate Jerusalem.
The Lebanese have been living within this comical reality since the end of civil war in 1992, which prompted the international community to shun Lebanon. Lebanon will be shunned further due to the recent formation of the government which, in reality, is literally an Iranian government. No aid comes to solve the choking economic crisis. Gulf countries have forsaken Lebanon and will continue doing so – both officially and nationally – as long as the policy, “They saw us, we did not see them,” controls Lebanon’s decisions.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times