Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘State of Lebanon

State of Lebanon: (Part 2)

Posted on December 24, 2008

Mind you this essay was posted in 2008. Read the footnotes for current development   

Under the leadership of Hezbollah, the Shias in the south and the Bekaa Valley are basically the main religious caste shouldering the heavy burden of defending Lebanon from the frequent aggressions of Israel. 

Without the Shiaa, south Lebanon would have long been swallowed by Israel and Lebanon divided and scraped from the number of independent States. 

It is the Shiaa who forced Israel to withdraw unconditionally from the south in May 24, 2000.  It is the Shiaa who foiled the strategy of Israel of reconquering the south of Lebanon in July 2006 and installing a Pax Americana in the Greater Middle East.  

Hezbollah split from the main “Amal” Shia movement around 1983 and adopted an ideology tightly linked to the Khomeini hardliners in Iran and is made responsible for the suicide attacks against the US and French headquarters in Beirut. 

Hezbollah was the only resistance movement allowed by Syria to operate against Israel’s occupation in the south of Lebanon since 1991, when the US Administration permitted Syria mandate over Lebanon for over 15 years. 

Syria had prohibited all the other Lebanese nationalistic and progressive parties to resume their liberation resistance during its occupation of Lebanon. 

After the assassination of Rafic Hariri PM in 2005 and the withdrawal of the Syrian troops from Lebanon we have been experiencing a serious void in the legitimacy of the current government

The entente between the Tayyar political party of Michel Aoun (Free Patriotic Movement for Reform and Change) and Hezbollah has allayed the perception that schemes for a recurring civil war in under planning. 

The patient non-violence strategy of Hezbollah in internal affair,s in the conduct of non-cooperation activities of the civil war militia/mafia “leaders” against an unjust and usurping government, has permitted the Lebanese population to gain the assurance and relief that another civil war is not feasible.  

This Seniora PM government and its allies have been plundering the public treasury for the past three years (and Not registering the $11 billions in financial aid and grants from the Gulf Emirates in the ministry of finance) and for the last 15 years under Rafic Hariri.

This continuous regime has been spreading poverty and deepening the indebtedness and ineptness of Lebanon, with the explicit support of the Bush administration, under the guise of empty rhetoric of democracy, security and independence from Syria’s indirect involvement in Lebanon.

Consequently, the Shiaa have proven to be the legitimate sons of an independent Lebanon and have paid the prices of martyrdom, suffering, sacrifice and pain in order to be the guarantor for the emergence of a Nation against all odds. 

It is the sacrifices of the Shia sect and their patience to suffer for the benefit of all Lebanese that is providing them with the leverage of flexibility, intent to change, learn from experience and improve.  The successive unilateral withdrawals of Israel from Lebanon since 1982 without any preconditions have given the Lebanese citizen grounds to standing tall

Our main problem is that the International requirements of Lebanon and our local politics are at odds.  The USA, Europe and Saudi Arabia would like to settle the Palestinian refugees as Lebanese citizens with full rights and thus avoiding the corny problem of their legitimate rights to be repatriated to Israel as stated in the UN resolution of 194. 

The Monarchy in Saudi Kingdom has been viewing the Palestinian question as a major liability since the extremist party of Hamas has taken power in Gaza: supposedly, Saudi kingdom is exhausted of paying the bills every time Israel destroys the infra-structure of Lebanon and covering some of the expenses of the Palestinian refugees and would like an end to this conflict that is hampering the internal stability of the Wahhabi Saudi regime.

Israel pre-emptive six invasions of Lebanon and its genocide tactics against the Palestinians are done at the urging of the USA 

The two main local movements of the Future Party and Hezbollah are more than content for this unconstitutional political dilemma which suits their short-term interests. 

The Future is satisfied with its dominance among the Sunni sect in Beirut and the North and thus, giving the Palestinian refugees citizenship might create an unknown variable that could disrupt the majority of the Sunni allegiance to the Al Moustakbal. 

Consequently, the Hariri clan cannot disobey the Saudi orders but it cannot shoot itself in the foot. 

Externally, the Hariri clan is pro Saudi but in reality it is very cozy with the Syrian position on the Palestinian refugee status as its strongest card during the negotiations with the USA and afterward. 

The unstable constitutional political system in Lebanon may delay indefinitely any serious pressures from Saudi Arabia and the USA to resolving the Palestinian refugees’ question. 

Hezbollah is weary of having to deal with a constitutional government and negotiate returning its arms to the Lebanese army.  Thus, the two main parties in Lebanon are supporting each other pragmatically and just playing the game of opposing forces.

The US of Bush Jr. has decided after the fiasco of the July war in 2006 that no more investment in time on Lebanon is appropriate at this junction.  We have to wait for a new US administration to decide whether it is willing to re-open the file of the Near East problems.

The allies to the two main parties are side shows: they know it and they cannot change camps with the deep mistrust for the other side pledges and dependent policies to foreign powers. 

Thanks to the vehement rhetoric against Syria or its allies in Lebanon by Walid Jumblatt and Samir Geagea, the Future party has been able to give the impression that it is against the Syrian regime while practically it agrees with the Syrian positions and would like to keep the present status quo in Lebanon’s political system of the Taef Constitutional amendments.  

General Michel Aoun has realized that he has been taken by the sweet tender offers of Hezbollah but he cannot shift allegiance or form a third alliance since non resolution of the situation is the name of the game until further agreement among the main Arab states and the main superpowers.

Recently, General Aoun has demonstrated his independence by visiting Syria for 5 days amid a popular welcome to re-establish entente between the two people, if not the regimes.

So far, the polemics among the government’s allies and the opposition political parties are not shy of harboring sectarian allegiances in their charged speeches but somehow they failed to discuss the actual caste, or closed religious system in our social structure, which is the fundamental problem toward a modern state of governance.

I do not believe that any fair and representative electoral law is of utility unless the basic caste system is recognized as a sin and altered accordingly to represent an alternative for the citizen joining a united and free status under one State. 

The first step is to institute a voluntary State marriage law and letting the situation unfold into a more liberal understanding of the need of the people. 

The road is very long and arduous before the beginning of a semblance of trust among the Lebanese is established.  However, I feel that the Shia under the leadership of a wise and disciplined Hezbollah and their corresponding Christian Free Patriotic movement are leading the way for a semi-autonomous Lebanon, at least in its internal restructuring. 

I believe that the necessities of survival would loosen up many stiff ideological and caste roadblocks toward a reformed political system and the institution of a governing body that abide in integrity, accountability and justice for all.

It is a fact that extremist Sunni “salafist” ideology is gaining quickly in all the Arab and Muslim World, out of desperation and the widespread illiteracy and lack of job openings. (See note 3).  Maybe our mix of all kinds of sects might be a rampart to our moderate liberal tendencies.

The spirit of Statehood is coming from an unforeseen quarter; mainly the Shia caste freshly arriving in the social and political scene around 1970. 

This disinherited caste was already a majority when the civil war of 1975 broke out and it suffered from the total ignorance of the central government for infrastructure and social services and had also to suffer the humiliation and atrocities of frequent Israeli air raids and land attacks and bombing of their villages under the disguise of dislodging the Palestinian guerillas.  

The Shia caste is opening up to almost all sects and managed to ally with large sections of many other castes.  This extending arm might be considered as necessary out of the realization that they are a majority in Lebanon and a real minority in the neighboring States of Syria, Jordan, and Egypt.

This necessity is a blessing to Lebanon because the main major caste is encouraging unity against foreign invaders. 

In the event that Hezbollah maintains its strength then it can be forecasted that the economic strategy of Lebanon will shift from tourism and third sector (the Hariri’s clan strategy) into more emphasis on agriculture and small and medium industries, many of it geared toward guerilla warfare. 

This is how the future looks like to me if no overall peace treaty with Israel is realized any time soon.

I used the term “Statehood” for Lebanon in a general sense to convey that a form of unity is developing in the conscious of the Lebanese but this notion of Nation is far from appropriate to Lebanon, simply because experiences since independence could not provide any evidence to a unified people under legitimate and responsible central governments. 

Lebanon is fundamentally an amalgamation of castes that enjoy self-autonomy.  I still believe that the Syrians, Lebanese, Palestinians, and Jordanians naturally form a One Nation and One people and they should generate a common market with separate recognized States.

I am convinced the Taef Constitution was meant to have total entente among the various main three religious castes in Lebanon before starting to elect a new president to the Republic.

The entente should involve everything from election law, to the constitution of the government and other priorities.  This fact translates into agreement among the main “Arab” States and the main superpowers on how Lebanon should be governed during six years. 

Unless the Lebanese leaders and political parties get together to review the Taef Constitution and be willing to pay the price of deciding to have a mind of their own, then Lebanon is de facto under the UN protectorate.

Note 1: the current Dawha agreement translated the spirit of Taef in its temporary execution until the Parliamentary election takes place.

Note 2:  The Future movement of the Hariri clan (Saad Hariri is a Saudi citizen) is practically pro-Syrian but it cannot overtly open up to the Syrian regime as long as Saudi Kingdom is not currently in good term with President Bashar Assad.

Note 3:  The Sunni “salafist” movement expressed its strong arm tendencies in the Palestinian camp of Nahr Al Bared.The Lebanese army managed to destroyed the camp after 6 months of arduous battles, along with the extremist Sunni group and the ramifications are not over in our internal strife.

Note 4:  The social/political structure is held by 19 recognized religious castes or columns that grow at different paces in demography.  Thus, the top of our Temple must be very flexible and changeable when foreign powers decide to destabilize the tacit agreement among the caste political feudal leaders.

Notes 5: In 2020, the State of Lebanon is totally bankrupt, politically, financially and economically. There is no light at the end of the tunnel in 2021.

Farewell, State of Lebanon

Since its pseudo “independence” from mandated France in 1943, Lebanon was unable to create a serious State that can be sustained.

وداعاً يا “الدولة”

نصري الصايغ 09/01/2019

فلتترجل أفكارنا وأمانينا. مئة عام عبرت ولم ننشئ دولة، ولن…

منذ قرن، ولد لبنان الكبير. لم ينجب دولة… رسموا له حدوداً، وظل فائضاً عن حدوده، واستمرت ممراً لكل راغب تلبية دعوة جاءته من الداخل. حدوده محدَّدة على الخريطة. خطوط وهمية فقط. يتسرب منها الداخل والخارج. أي بلا سيادة.

زودوه، بدستور لا يشبهه. فضلوا عليه الميثاق الشفهي، لترضى الطوائف على حصصها، ولم يشبعوا. بات الدستور خزانة تُحفظ فيه التحف البالية. ولا مرة كان دستور لبنان مرجع قياداته. تركوا الشفهي من التصريحات، وعاينوا كيف احتذوا (من حذاء) مواده داسوها، باسم الجماعات الموزعة على طوائفها ومذاهبها.

منحوه استقلالاً سهلاً. عاهة التعظيم لهذا الحدث، تضعه في مصاف فيتنام وكوبا وجنوب افريقيا و… لا أحد ممن رُفِع اسمه عالياً يشبه هوشي منه او كاسترو او نلسون مانديلا… صفقة بريطانيا اخرجت فرنسا من الشباك فقط، وظلت في المفاصل. ويصح السؤال: هل كان لبنان مستقلاً طوال قرن، أم كان مقيماً في عواصم دولية وإقليمية؟ ويصح السؤال الثاني: هل كان واحداً او متعدداً. الجواب: لبنان وجد على قارعة الولاءات الخارجية، وتمزق نسيجه ولا يزال…لا دولة في لبنان.

أعطي اللبنانيون حق أن يحكموا أنفسهم بأنفسهم. ليس. هذه كذبة كبرى. لبنان ظل محكوماً من خارجه. لم يرتدع. يرضع الدعم لطوائفه من صدور سخية، مقابل قبول التبني. فمعظم قادته وسياسييه، لبنانيتهم تأتي في المؤخرة، يتقدم عليها ولاءِهم للجيران، الاقربين والأبعدين. ولأنهم كذلك تحوَّلت مؤسسات الدولة إلى سوق، يتم فيها تأجير الوزارات لسياسيين، لا يكتمون ولاءهم لدول الجوار البعيد والقريب. وأحيانا كثيرة، يستعصي عليهم تأليف وزارة، بما هب ودب من التناقضات والاحقاد والصفقات.

اللبنانيون التعيسون جداً، يصدقون انهم في دولة أو في طور بناء دولة. صدق عبد الحميد كرامي عندما كان رئيساً للوزراء واكتشف أن لبنان ليس دولة. أعلم بشارة الخوري أن هذه مزرعة، يلزم أن نلغيها لبناء دولة. رفض بشارة فاستقال عبد الحميد، وما عاد بعدها إلى النيابة او الوزارة.

منذ 75 عاماً واللبنانيون رعايا في مزرعة موزعة بين الطوائف، التي لها منزلة تعلو منزلة الدولة والدستور والقوانين والانسان. هذه دولة للطوائف. ملكيتها مبرمة، ولا يشترك فيها الا أبناء الذمة من الطوائف كافة. لا أحد، مهما علا شأنه وبلغت قيمته وبدت إنسانيته… لا أحد ابداً أقوى من الطوائف. ولا إصلاح يأتي من جانبها. وكل خراب انما من نتاج عبقريتها، وخدمها المخلصين من القيادات القوَّادة “لشعوبها” المطيعة والمفترسة.

غريب أمر “الجماهير” اللبنانية. انها تطالب بالإصلاح وبناء الدولة. عبث. طوشتنا المطالب. أصوات بلا اصداء. آلا يلاحظ هؤلاء الابرياء أن الطبقة السياسية مشغولة بأمور ذات منفعة خاصة. المطالبون في واد، وأهل “الدولة” في وادٍ آخر… يصح التشبيه: “الجماهير” تخاطب من لا يسمع ولا يكترث ولا يهش…

مسيرة لبنان، منذ ولادته الغلط، تبرهن على أن التقدم اختصاص طوائفي. لقد بلغت الطائفية تمامها. الأقوى في طائفته دليل على نجاح الطوائف وازدياد قوتها، ولا قوة خارجها، ولو كانت اكثرية… ومسيرة لبنان، منذ ولادته، برهنت على أن اللاطائفيين مناضلون فاشلون. احزابهم خراب. منظماتهم مهجورة. قياداتهم يتيمة. كلماتهم خارج النص. الطائفية تتقدم والمدنية تتراجع والعلمانية تنعدم والمواطنة تنقرض.

متعب لبنان الذي يريده الناس الطيبون. لا مجال لضوء. العتمة تامة. الدهماء تسد المنافذ. السياسة تضيِّق الأفق… تعبنا من معركة مكافحة الفساد. خلص. الفساد دين الدولة المقدس. تعبنا من تكرار الشعارات نفسها. وهذا ليس يأساً، بل توصيف لحالة راهنة ومزمنة: لبنان لا يتقدم بل يتراجع. سيبلغ الإفلاس قريباً وطبقته السياسية مشغولة بأتفه وأشنع وأبشع و… مشغولة بتأليف ما يسمى وزارة. وهي ليست إلا صفقة لوراثة “دولتهم”.

لا أعرف طريقاً للإيمان بلبنان الدولة والشعب والدستور. لذلك، وبكل اسف وصفاء ضمير أقول: “وداعاً ايتها الدولة”.

The State of Lebanon: A string of exclamation and question marks (November 11, 2008)

I need to state my position on the socio-political structure of the State of Lebanon.

Isn’t it enough that the individual is living a lie, that I have to swallow a bigger lie concerning my “nationality”?

Lebanon is a State recognized by the UN and it has endured for over 65 years after many civil wars and countless invasions by Israel and a long Syrian mandate for over 20 years.  Is not this fact legitimate enough for us Lebanese to unite and reach an understanding of common denominator that would protect us from further senseless divisions?

Let me recapitulate.  The Lebanese society is structured around 19 self-autonomous religious castes.  The various religious castes may be grouped around three larger religious tribes: the Christians, the Moslem Sunni and the Moslem Shiaa.  Let us expound on the smaller castes.

The small Druze caste is fundamentally in its inception a Shiaa “fatimide” sect but had found it more advantageous to obey the Sunni Caliphates for several reasons.

First, when the “Fatimide” dynasty in Egypt was replaced by the Sunni Ayyubide and later the Mamelouk dynasties, then physical persecution of the Druze and the Shiaa was common place. Thus, to survive, the Druze had to pay allegiance to the Sunni monarchs. Actually, the Sunni Ottoman Caliph empowered the Druze families of Maan and then the Chehab to dominate the political life in Mount Lebanon for over three centuries.

Second, in the State of Lebanon it was far lucrative for the Druze to take umbrage under the larger harmless militarily but powerful politically Sunni tribe since the Shiaa constituted a menacing immediate neighbor for their autonomy as a caste.

The Christian tribe encloses at least a dozen castes.

The Maronite sect is presently barely more numerous than the Greek Orthodox. It is said that the State of Lebanon would not exist without its Christians; that might be true.  But to state that the State exists because of its Maronites then it is incorrect.

The Greek Orthodox are by far the most numerous Christian sect in the Near East region and spread throughout Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine (Syria has more than 5 millions).  If it was not for the heavy presence of Greek Orthodox (and supported by Imperial Russia at the time) then the State of Lebanon could not be imposed no matter how, and the Maronite caste would not have enjoyed the supremacy of its administration for over five decades.  As a matter of fact, the first two Presidents to the Republic since 1920, under the French mandate, were Greek Orthodox.  Presently, Seniora PM is reluctant to define the responsibilities of his Greek Orthodox Vice Premier.

All these civil wars in the State of Lebanon were basically the need of this caste system that viewed the establishing of a strong central government as anathema to survival of its petty interests: their respective free float interests would be jeopardized and those two dozens warlords, small feudal leaders, civilians as well as religious, would lose much of their powers over their subjects.

Sure, the various foreign State interests played a catalytic factor but the civil wars would not have been so frequent or so enduring without our caste system.

Thus, Lebanon is meant to experience a civil war every 25 years or so in order to destroy and exhaust any accumulation of energy and good will for instituting a strong government.  All the foreign powers and regional powers know these facts except the Lebanese citizens who prefer to survive on chimerical dreams of a full fledged “nation”; sometime referred to as Phoenicia, or Canaan or Arabia or Nation of Islam, or even Switzerland of the East.

Lebanon is not a “Nation”; it is a State recognized by the UN.

Can we live and unite within this definition?

Switzerland is not a nation: it is a State and its sovereignty is protected by an agreement among all its strong neighboring nations.  Among the over 190 recognized States in the UN, maybe no more than a dozen could be legitimately considered as full fledged, self-autonomous and independent Nations.

The calls for defining our origins as a “Nation”, (be it Phoenicia, Canaan, Arab, Fertile Crescent, Islam or even Switzerland of the East), benefit only the regional leaders in their respective cantons; simply because they have no viable programs to entice their youthful “subjects” but to offering them chimerical fictitious national sentiments.

Tiny Lebanon needs to unite under a State strong central government in matters of defense, finance, foreign policies, national civil register, and general planning and control.

Tiny Lebanon needs decentralized administration and State economic incentives on performance.

Tiny Lebanon needs a fair and equitable electoral law; variations on the proportional system should be seriously considered for a feasible and lasting electoral law; with minor reforms every now and then as the central government affirms its responsibilities for providing security and opportunities to all its citizens.

The State of Lebanon needs to vigorously obtain the long lasting support of its regional powers to securing its stability, sovereignty and neutrality.

If, and only if the next parliamentary election in May is not rigged to maintain a balance among the opposite political parties, then maybe some kind of hope for reforms of this caste system could be contemplated with the tacit agreement of the regional powers.

Note:  I am Christian by birth but a secular citizen; no, I am not a Greek Orthodox if you are already suspicious.

I really don’t care about all these sects and wouldn’t care one iota about their theological and apologetic differences; all these sects are fundamentally politically motivated by their clergy for closed autonomic institutions and to get a piece of the pie from their naïve co-religionists.




October 2022

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