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The Kuwaiti Initiative For Lebanon: A Waste of Time, A Squandered Sympathy

The Kuwaiti Initiative For Lebanon: A Waste of Time, A Squandered Sympathy

Tuesday, 1 February, 2022 - 11:00

Nobody in Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates has illusions about Lebanon. No one needed to examine the Lebanese response to the Kuwaiti initiative to understand that Lebanon is an occupied country. There was of course no harm in the assertion of the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister, Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammed, that the paper he presented was a Kuwaiti- Gulf -Arab endeavor.

The initiative conveyed the essence of the declared Gulf position on Lebanon. I have at first particularly focused on Riyadh and Abu Dhabi because they are directly concerned, along with Kuwait, with the security, political and criminal activities of the “Hezbollah” militia.

In fact, the Kuwaiti initiative will have the same fate as the entire endeavors that preceded it, not because of a deficiency in the intentions or efficacy of the initiators, but because it is nothing but a waste of precious time, and a squandering of a unilateral emotion that does not find echo with a capable and responsible authority.

Let’s start from the name of the Gulf visitor.

Sheikh Ahmad is the son of Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al Sabah, the Prime Minister of Kuwait between 2006 and 2011, the Minister of the Emiri Diwan Affairs between 1991 and 2006, and the man through whom Lebanon dealt with the State of Kuwait, throughout the period of the country’s civil peace.

Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed, who is now in his eighties, is considered one of the last figures who share a Gulf affection for Lebanon and nostalgia to its beautiful era. Both affection and nostalgia were seen clearly in the letter of his son, Sheikh Ahmad, the current Kuwaiti Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Kuwaiti empathy and soft attitude towards Lebanon have always characterized its policy, despite the fact that one of the most notorious plots in the history of the country - the attack on the convoy of the Emir of Kuwait - was planned and executed by one of the leaders of the “Hezbollah” militia, Mustafa Badreddine.

The attempt to make a breakthrough in the Lebanese-Gulf relations through Kuwaiti mediation began on the sidelines of the Climate Summit in Glasgow last November, when Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati urged the Kuwaiti Prime Minister, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al Sabah, in the presence of Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmed Al-Nasser, to play a role in the crisis, which at the time was at its peak following foolish statements by former Minister George Kordahi on Yemen.

Mikati succeeded in investing Kuwaiti sentiments and “implicating” Kuwait with a new initiative. However, Lebanon’s response to the endeavor confirmed the certain: Lebanon is an occupied country and none of its political forces have the ability to implement a single letter of an initiative that only defines the concept of the state, the sound conditions for international relations, and the basic obligations of international law.

Here we fall on an amazing paradox: Kuwait’s “entry” into the Lebanese crisis coincided with Saad Rafik Hariri’s “exit” from the political game, even if the man gave the least political explanation about the real reasons that justify his exit and his failure to build the state.

Among the many meanings of Hariri’s departure, and the suspension of his political participation, is that reform from within and through the mechanisms of the political system is almost impossible, regardless of the results of the parliamentary elections and no matter how far one goes in the logic of settlement and reassurances.

As Hariri declares his despair, one wonders how a country like Kuwait does not ditch its hope for the possibility of change, through the political forces themselves and from within the institutions affiliated to them, and by betting on a Lebanese political game, in which the participants are skilled in all kinds of attrition, deception and dishonesty.

This was evident in everything leaked about the Lebanese response, which says that the country “is committed to respecting all resolutions of international legitimacy in a way that guarantees civil peace and national stability for Lebanon,” without any reference to specific United Nations resolutions, nor to steps pertaining to their implementation.

The truth is that no one gives any importance to Lebanon’s respect for UN resolutions. What is required is not respect, but commitment to the wording of decisions and their implementation.

As for linking the commitment to international resolutions to civil peace and national stability, it is nothing but an affirmation that the country is hijacked and that the hostages are demanding, on behalf of the kidnapper, a solution to the kidnapping process, in a way that preserves the safety of the hostages and the morale of the kidnapper at the same time!

Such a response is an early, expected and awaited obituary of the renewed initiative towards Lebanon, and squanders the last forms of sympathy with the country.

The Lebanese may wonder how the Gulf States can negotiate with Syria and Iran, or open up to Iraq and be tough on Lebanon.

The answer is simple:

In Syria, there are five forms of occupation that create a balance on the ground. This is fundamentally different from the reality of the “Hezbollah” militia’s tight grip on Lebanon. Also, in Syria, there are remnants of a state - even if by a slight degree of legality (I do not say legitimacy) - which has some elements that allow dealing with it as such.

The same applies to Iran, where dialogues and agreements take place from state to state.

As for Iraq, there is a clear political front that engages in an open and deliberate battle against the anomaly of Iranian influence in the country. This front includes the Kurdish forces, civil society and the Sadrist movement, and is represented within the state by Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

All of the above are missing in Lebanon. There are neither state forces engaging in a battle, nor authorities capable of abiding by the minimum requirements of a state that deserves to be named as such.

Lebanon is an occupied country, no more, no less. An occupying power is a militia to which none of the standards of international law apply. As for the government, it is as independent from the control of the militia as the Vichy government was from the Nazi occupation of France.

Lebanon is an occupied country, and the response to the occupation is liberation, not striking deals with the occupier.

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