الراصد القديم


Fear of war as Beirut leaps into the unknown الخوف من حرب اهلية فيما بيروت تنحدر نحو المجهول

Lebanon's politics are always precarious but the collapse of its national unity government after the departure of Hezbollah and its allies plunges the country into new uncertainty.

That prime minister Saad al-Hariri was away in Washington meeting Barack Obama when the drama unfolded in Beirut underscored the wider significance of the clash between Lebanon's western-backed forces and those supported by Iran.

Hariri will return home as caretaker leader to a country facing fundamental questions about its future and fearful that tensions could again explode into violence. The only surprise was the timing – coming even before the UN-supported special tribunal investigating the assassination of Hariri's father Rafiq in 2005 has delivered indictments that are widely expected to name Hezbollah members.

The Shia movement has always officially denied any involvement in the killing. So did Syria when it was the prime suspect.

Beirut has been on edge for weeks, though fears calmed over the new year as Syria and Saudi Arabia, rival Arab power brokers and patrons of Lebanon's two main political camps, worked on a deal to contain the gathering crisis.

Matters came to a head yesterday with confirmation that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had failed to reach their so-called "SS" agreement. Hariri heard the news from the Saudi monarch, convalescing in New York, and from Nicholas Sarkozy, president of France – traditional friend to Lebanon's Sunni Muslim and Maronite Christian communities.

"It has been revealed that the emperor has no clothes - meaning that the Syrian-Saudi initiative will not deliver what the opposition in Lebanon was expecting it to deliver," said Nadim Shehadi of the Chatham House thinktank in London. "This crisis reaches into the foundations of the Lebanese system. It is a leap into the unknown."

Hezbollah had hoped Hariri would be forced to withdraw state funding for the tribunal, pressure its Lebanese judges to resign and declare the agreement with the UN mandating the court null and void. But supporters argued that the government's fall was a better outcome.

"It's good news that Hariri wasn't humiliated by being forced to back down and commit political suicide," said one. "And it's good that Assad didn't get his way. But it does mean that Lebanon is now in crisis."

Hezbollah has sharpened its tone by openly attacking the US for "sabotaging" the deal it had wanted. Nabih Berri, the Shia speaker of parliament, delivered the same message. "The game played by superpowers is greater than Abdullah's and Assad's sincere willpower," he said.

Again, Lebanese have been reminded that foreigners are often the most influential in their complicated country.

"It took us over five months to form a government last time round," said Shehadi. "The Belgians took six months but I think this time we may beat them."

The collapse of the coalition is a sharp reminder of the poisonous legacy of the Hariri murder, which allowed the western-backed 14 March movement to come to power on the back of Syria's humiliating withdrawal from the country it had occupied for nearly 30 years.

But the events of the last year have shown that Syria has regained much of its influence in Lebanon while maintaining a close alliance with Iran, Hezbollah's principal patron. The US and Israel had both hoped that the change that began in Beirut in 2005 would end with a break between Damascus and Tehran. That has not happened.

Israel has warned Hezbollah not to risk a new attack, signalling that the devastation of the 2006 war would be repeated if it did.
Ian Black, Middle East editor

تناولت الصحيفة الأوضاع فى لبنان وقالت فى تقرير لمحرر شئون الشرق الأوسط بالصحيفة إيان بلاك تحت عنوان "مخاوف من اندلاع حرب مع اتجاه بيروت نحو المجهول" أن انهيار الحكومة الائتلافية تذكر بشدة بالإرث السام الذى خلفه اغتيال رئيس الوزراء الأسبق رفيق الحريرى عام 2005، الذى سمح لحركة 14 آذار الموالية للغرب بالقدوم إلى الحكم بعد الانسحاب المذل لسوريا من البلاد التى "احتلتها" طوال 30 عاماً.

وتمضى الصحيفة فى القول إن السياسة فى لبنان دائماً ما تكون محفوفة بالمخاطر، لكن انهيار حكومتها الوطنية بعد إعلان وزراء حزب الله وحلفائه استقالتهم قد أغرق البلاد فى حالة جديدة من عدم اليقين. وأشارت إلى أن رئيس الحكومة اللبنانية سعد الحريرى كان فى واشنطن للقاء الرئيس الأمريكى باراك أوباما عندما حدثت تلك الدراما فى بيروت لتسلط الضوء على الأهمية الأكبر للاشتباك بين القوات المدعومة من الغرب، وتلك التى تؤيدها إيران.

وتعتقد الصحيفة أن بيروت كانت على حافة الخطر منذ أسابيع، رغم تهدئة المخاوف خلال العام الجديد مع عمل سوريا والسعودية، الوسيطان العربيان المتنافسان، على التوصل إلى اتفاق لاحتواء الأزمة.

وتنقل الجارديان عن نديم شحادة من مركز شاتم هاوس البريطانى قوله إن الأزمة قد وصلت إلى مؤسسات النظام اللبنانى نفسه، واعتبر أن ما حدث يمثل قفزة نحو المجهول. وكان حزب الله يأمل أن يُجبر الحريرى على سحب التمويل الحكومى للمحكمة الدولية الخاصة بمحاكمة قتلة رفيق الحريرى، والضغط على القضاة اللبنانيين فى المحكمة للاستقالة وإعلان التوصل إلى اتفاق مع للأمم المتحدة بأن هذه المحكمة ملغية وباطلة، إلا أن المؤيدين رأوا أن سقوط الحكومة هو نتيجة أفضل. وختمت الصحيفة تقريرها بالقول إن الأحداث التى شهدتها العام الماضى أظهرت أن سوريا استعادت الكثير من نفوذها فى لبنان واحتفظت بتحالفها القوى مع إيران.

4 تعليقات:

غير معرف يقول...

the real actors in this drama are outside Lebanon's borders: Hezbollah is strongly backed by Iran and Syria; Hariri is heavily supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the US and France. Lebanon's latest crisis, like all those before it, is very much a product of broader agendas. The wild card is Israel, which is rattled by the rising tensions over its northern fence and fearful of an Iranian powerplay. In any future conflict between Iran and Israel, Lebanon will almost certainly be a key battleground.

غير معرف يقول...

The dominant player in the opposition ranks, Hezbollah, has been extremely agitated by a UN tribunal the Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, says will soon indict several members of the group for killing the former prime minister, Rafiq Hariri (Saad's father) in 2005. It claims the mooted charges are the product of a western plot to discredit it. If the indictments are proved, such a finding would disintegrate Hezbollah's claims to be a group that acts in Lebanon's interests. Co-operation between the government and opposition has been minimal ever since Nasrallah's MPs rejoined the cabinet, in May 2008, after a brief but bloody showdown that saw Hezbollah overrun Beirut, and Qatar broker a power-sharing deal that stoked tensions for a while.

غير معرف يقول...

delivery of the indictments is imminent; and a key regional attempt, led by Saudi Arabia and Syria, to broker a compromise appears to have collapsed. Hariri, who has been under intense pressure from regional states to disavow the tribunal and stop using government funds to pay half the cost of running it, appears to have fallen in behind a US demand that the indictments be served and justice delivered. The opposition pullout was timed to coincide with Hariri's White House meeting with Obama.

غير معرف يقول...

Hezbollah will try to form a new government that will enable it to veto continuing funding of the UN tribunal and to invalidate the tribunal's findings. Hariri is flying back to Beirut, via Paris, to pick up the pieces. The regional players will make new efforts to quell the crisis, knowing full well that sectarian sparks could easily ignite turmoil within their borders. And everyone will hold their breath.

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