09 May 2008

Europe's Day and Lebanon Civil War

Dear readers,

It's today Europe's Day (9th May) and it could be a great celebration for me and all other European dreamers like me. We could wave European flags, sing the European anthem, fire blue and gold fireworks, whatever. But I don't feel like rejoicing. First, nobody cares. My fellow French and Dutchmen voted against the EU Constitution and we are now stuck with parliamentary approval of a fig-leaf, watered down Lisbon Treaty. Europe is not more democratic than three years ago, not more transparent and not more social (nor "pro-business", by the way). The No-sayers shot themselves in the foot, but they also back stabbed the pro-European Yes-voters. So I don't see much reason to party.

There is another reason I feel sad today: Lebanon imploded again in Civil War. This unfortunate country is torn between pro-Iranian opposition militias (essentially Shia, with the silent approval of the Aounists) and the pro-Western government (with a divided Army unable to re-establish law and order) and some Sunni militias. The Shias have taken the airport and a TV station, while the Sunni have blocked the Syrian road to cut Hezbollah and Amal from potential Syrian reinforcements. But Shias could benefit from Iranian air bridge if their supplies run out (again unlikely). As usual, the ones suffering are the ordinary Lebanese of all confessions and political views who believe that laws and not thugs should rule the country.

Some people are quick to send both sides back to back with shared responsibilities. I am not one of these. Sure, the government might have mishandled the situation... But everybody should keep in mind that the Lebanese legitimate government has been pushed in its last throes by Hizbollah. A private sectarian militia controls half of the country, decides of war and peace, runs private secret services, a command and control network, secret arm stashes and randomly kills peaceful journalists, politicians or too brave Army officers for their liking. This militia is not even representing domestic interests but the ones of a foreign power (Iran and, to some lesser extent Syria). The Lebanese government and Army might have left things gone too far and have left themselves bullied. But the first responsible for all this violence is a fascist theocratic murderer: Hassan Nasrallah.

So you see, dear reader, there is really nothing to be happy about.


Anonymous said...

Free Europe Constitution is better than the Treaty:
1. You can read it.
2. You can vote about it.
Vote YES or NO at www.FreeEurope.info !

Voltaire said...

Good politics. You have embraced the heritage of 18th century Occidental enlightenment which is what i stand for.

With regard to Lebanon I am of the opinion that the 14th March coalition, despite all its representatitves' imperfections, is the first step in bringing about the foundations of a lasting democracy and thus social stability and secularization in Lebanon. With the acknowledgement that the current Syrian regime is an enemy of Lebanon due to its deep rooted socio-economic and political damages, this coalition managed to unite a multi-confessional crowd under a national cause. This was not a renaissance for modern Lebanon, but the true birth for Lebanon as a Republic. 14th March stuck to democratic principles throughout the recent confrontations and crises, and in my opinion are still intact. I do not blame certain individuals for defending their territory with arms against the recent Hizbollah attempted- coup.

What is your opinion?

Jean-Baptiste Perrin said...

Dear Voltaire,

You have certainly chosen a great pseudo and I command you for that. I indeed chose to follow the road of enlightenment and humanism in politics, rejecting my Catholic heritage to promote secularism at my very modest level. I believe that despite the big words, few countries (including in Western Europe) have embraced real democracy as defined during the Enlightenment era. I also believe that the next step that most Enlightenment people (with a few exceptions) didn't dare to make is the refusal of nationalism to transnational entities.

In regards to March 14th coalition in Lebanon, I agree in part with you, but not completely. Yes, this coalition is a first step in Lebanese History. It is more national than nationalist and less sectarian than any other political movement there before.

This said, I think the problem with M14 is that it is way too much a coalition of old feudal warlords (with the exception of Hariri Junior). These warlords have been guilty of the same crimes they now rightfully reproach Nasrallah. And that erodes their credibility significantly. I also believe the huge mistake of M14 has been to fall in the old traps of corruption and exploitation, particularly in regards with the Shia population.

Last but not least, M14 failed to point officially the true responsibilities at the end of the latest War between Hizbollah and Israel and this made the current crisis possible. Had M14 decided at the end of the War to stick with the disarmament of all militias, including Hizbollah, as was requested by the UN and the rest of the international community, they would have none of the trouble they are now in. I know it is easy to say now, but enough people said it then too so that it can be called a major strategic blunder.