Another divine victory or a PR disaster?

So Hariri and Junblatt, realizing all those messages of support from Bush, Faisal and the lot are not going to be accompanied by any concrete military or even diplomatic support (the Saudi ambassador actually fled to Cyprus on day two or so), have finally given in and around 23:30 last night ‘accepted the proposal of the Arab League delegation’, which is basically a reiteration of Hizbullah’s demands anyway, and have now officially rescinded the two government decisions that sparked this whole crisis off in the first place. Celebratory gunfire was heard all over Beirut and troops of hooting scooters with hollering kids carrying HA flags cruised the streets of appropriate neighbourhoods for hours. Today at 15:30 Nasrallah wil be speeching to announce his response, and is widely believed to announce the reopening of the airport and airport road – at least, Middle East Airlines seems to think so, as it has already announced the ‘likely resumption of incoming flights from Europe from this afternoon onwards’. Another divine victory? Or does HA’s loss of sympathy and perceived integrity for turning its weapons on the Lebanese outweigh this outcome? It’s not like the government would actually have been able to ‘dismantle’ HA’s communication network, so the only thing gained would have been retaining Shuqeir and a surveillance camera or two at the airport. As I heard someone joking in a bar last night: ‘So it was all about a camera? They took over the whole fucking state and then just handed it back, saying: we don’t want your state, just give us back our fucking camera!?’

On the other hand, M14 has lost at least as much credibility, seeing as it not only lacked the military power to stop the opposition anywhere (apart from the druze who managed to defend their Shouf homeland fairly well), which everybody apart from Bush and Welch knew anyway, but didn’t get any concrete support from their allies in the US, Saudi Arabia or Israel either. Both Hariri and Junblatt were reduced to negotiating their very own personal safety in their besieged town houses in Beirut and to eventually backing down from their belligerent position into just accepting whatever the opposition dictated them. For the US & co, it’s another foreign policy defeat. France has seen its influence diminished to the point where it hardly even bothered to make a statement anymore. The christians, both on the side of the opposition and that of the government, were basically irrelevant to the whole proposition (and very wise to accept the fact and just stay out of the conflict). In fact, the only party to come out of all this in a better light is… the Arab League, which can now, probably for the first time since its inception, boast of having solved a (very minor) conflict…

See also Chris Floyd & As’ad Abu-Khalil: ‘The current American strategy in the region is to give arms and money to extremist Sunni groups allied with al Qaeda in order to ward off Shiite factions making trouble in our client regimes.’

5 thoughts on “Another divine victory or a PR disaster?

  1. I think it’s too soon to weight the loot, it all depends on what happens in Doha. But from what i see, the opposition seem to be fairly at ease with the over-inflated representation the other side has at the negotiations table; seriously now, Jawad Boulos and Boutros Harb? Not to mention Siniora and his lackies.

    So the opposition (or hezbollah for that matter) seem to be comfortable for now in terms of negotiating cards. Aoun on the other hand made an excellent point the other day when he said that his constant demand of a 1/3 veto power on any executive decision was to prevent precisely this kind of irresponsible decrees. It is quite interesting to notice that after failing to pass a hostile decree like the dismantlement of Hezbollah’s secure landlines, Hariri could eventually concede to the veto power demand. As if their only concern with passing a unilateral decree was mainly to compromise Nasrallah’s security, which proved to be something very costly.

    Where we go from here? I guess to the drawing board is out of the question, we will still be stuck with the old sectarian distribution of power and balance. My sympathy goes for all the leftist and secular groups who supported the opposition for benign secular reasons only to get the old sectarian system back on track.

  2. “….but didn’t get any concrete support from their allies in the US, Saudi Arabia or Israel either…” ?
    our allies in Israel? Methinks you’ve been watching too much al-Manar!

  3. Actually, Nona, I don’t even have a television. I prefer to watch reality and I advise everybody else to do the same…

  4. though I’m not so naive to believe that there is no contact bt Lebanese and Israeli sectors (most probably by their historical allies rather than those you recently insinuated at in an recent post);I think you are pushing it a bit if you think anybody was actually waiting on the Isrealis to intervene in the latest communal dispute, or was disappointed when they didn’t. In the end the sunni masses (despite all the hizbo propaganda) are still ardently anti-Isreali.

  5. And the Israeli couldn’t care less about Lebanon. Unless Hizbollah actually fires at them (instead of shooting at their fellow Lebanese, a task which they seem to be fairly better at), there is no reason for Israel to intervene in a country where they have lost enough lives already for no real tangible gain. As for the USA, their forces are already stretched to the extreme. They provided support (financial and material) to the Lebanese Army, but as we all know, this “institution” has chickened out from doing its job. To be honest, Suleiman had probably very good reasons to do so (the first one being the safety of himself and his family if he had gone against his Syrian sponsors). But still it must be raging for anyone with a bit of good will and dignity.

    As for the Arab League, it has shown again that it is not even able to safeguard even an illusion of safety for one of his founding members. Arab “leaders” are lacking in quality what they have in personal funds…

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