Will Lebanon Return to the Arab Fold?
Will Lebanon Return to the Arab Fold?
With the perilous living conditions, general sense of frustration and despair, the news of the upcoming elections, reports about a “one third guarantee” and “blocking third” in government, Hezbollahs's horror films about stopping any attempts to limit its arsenal, threats, intimidation tactics and discourses, Lebanon is obviously in a vicious cycle. There is no hope of finding a way out of this dark tunnel which has grown longer and deeper after Hezbollah came to control everything and Iran's meddling, its infringement on Lebanon’s sovereignty, and its hijacking of the country’s political decision.
Yesterday, we received news that, I think, is joyful for the Lebanese and Arabs, with the return of the ambassadors of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to Beirut. The reason I celebrate this news is to stand with the Lebanese people in their plight, and push the political forces, government and moderate national leaders to feel their national responsibility towards the Lebanese citizens and help them in their current crisis.
To many, this announcement came as no surprise, as many are familiar and have experience with our nation and its big heart. Saudi Arabia has long maintained a principled stance towards Lebanon, and sought to rescue it. The Kingdom has stood beside the Lebanese people politically, financially, and morally, evidenced by its most recent response to what were known as the “calls and appeals of moderate national political forces in Lebanon.”
Saudi Arabia reinstated its ambassador in Beirut, especially after the Lebanese prime minister reaffirmed his government’s commitment to “take all needed and required measures to promote cooperation with the Kingdom and GCC countries, and suspend all political, military, and security activities that infringe upon the Kingdom and GCC countries.”
The pages of history speak to the special attention Saudi Arabia has given to Lebanon, continuing for decades to believe that Lebanon cannot be left as potential prey to those aspiring to hijack it. This is especially pertinent as the Kingdom supported all the Lebanese by rebuilding their country, and before then by pushing towards the fulfillment of political interests through the Taif Agreement, and ending the horrors of the civil war that has claimed many innocents.
The demands and aspirations mentioned in the Saudi statement have, unequivocally, revealed the Kingdom’s honest, serious intentions towards the Lebanese people, affirming “the importance that the Republic of Lebanon returns to its Arab depth, i.e. its national institutions and agencies, and that security and peace take root in Lebanon, and its people enjoy stability and safety in their own country.”
Never has Saudi Arabia sought to be in the spotlight or to reiterate lofty rhetoric, and neither does it need to do so. Instead, the Kingdom has maintained an honest belief in the fulfillment of political interests and civil peace in Lebanon, without division or discrimination, and has succeeded in averting the threat of civil war looming over Lebanon. Despite a fierce campaign of slander against it at various stages, Saudi Arabia has met these abuses with patience and prudence, maintaining the same distance from all parties and actors, as it has always pursued to see Lebanon independent and sovereign.
Despite this, a few months ago, some members of the Lebanese government transgressed red lines and fabricated facts. This prompted the Saudi leadership to set the record straight, and suspend courtesies by revealing its cards and making appropriate decisions to push Lebanon to confront its fate, revisit its past, and hold accountable those that have brought the country to its present crisis.
However, with the recent calls and appeals, and the terrible conditions of the Lebanese, as well as assurances by the PM to mend relations and curtail all abuses towards Saudi Arabia and Gulf states – including military, security, and political activities, the Kingdom reinstated its ambassador by holding the interests of the Lebanese people above all other considerations. This means that Lebanon must remain in its Arab environment, and cannot accept or welcome any attempts by regional powers to hijack it politically, culturally, militarily or in terms of its security, as a clear message that is precise in its intent and powerful in its political direction.
Here, we must remind that Riyadh has already been the target of such slander campaigns, but that it has overcome these abuses by ignoring or rising above them, as its goal is to see Lebanon as Arab, independent, secure and sovereign.
Today, Saudi Arabia is reaffirming that it will not abandon the Lebanese people regardless of inciters attempting to sow discord, disasters and crises that the country faces, or transgressions by those with power over its stances towards Gulf states. However, the heart of the Arab Gulf continues to beat solidarity and support for Arab unity, and stands beside its sister country, Lebanon, despite actions by its fifth column.
It is a sad state of affairs today to have to admit that Lebanon has entered into a dangerous, unprecedented trajectory of influence by regional powers, and a sorry state that the country has not endured since its independence. It is true that Lebanon has experienced many crises in the last decades, and that these issues surface from time to time. However, what is even truer is that the fundamental issue today is that Lebanese political decision is subjugated by Hezbollah, which itself takes its marching orders from abroad. It is no longer a secret that the role entrusted to Hezbollah is to sabotage Lebanon’s relations with Arab countries, under Iranian commands, or that the goal of this effort is to abduct Lebanon from its Arab surroundings, create disharmony and discord there and in our Arab world, and to fan the flames of sedition using its militia arms.
The Taif Agreement has already demanded the abolition of political confessionalism. However, since its independence, Lebanon has suffered structural, organic problems in its political composition, rendering it an open arena for regional and international polarization. There may be a reckoning in the middle of next month, and the trepidation in which the Lebanese find themselves today is a continuation of a cycle of “obstruction, terrorization, incitement, and intimidation” overseen by Hezbollah.
Today, the crisis in Lebanon returns us to square one, i.e. its need for its Arab brothers and sisters involved in building Arab politics that are proactive towards issues in the region, such that no non-Arab actor can fill this vacuum by proxy. Vacuum is not created from a vacuum, so to speak; it emerges as a result of the current disorder manifesting from the imbalance of power in the region, not to mention the state of division, dispute, and disintegration among Arabs – all of which are factors tempting for Iran, which does not hesitate to exploit them for its political interests and aims.