Tuesday, May 03, 2005

a second look at developments in Lebanon today.

Please read Tony's "offensive charm" at Across the Bay for a nuanced and complex look at recent developments in Lebanon. Among other things, Tony reminds his readers of the regional and international conflicts that affect the Lebanese political equilibrium - a reality that simply cannot be ignored, especially at this sensitive juncture in Lebanese history.

To all my aspiring Lebanese political analysts, please don't forget that a new regional and international equilibrium is now finally being reflected on the local Lebanese political landscape. In moments like these, it is very dangerous to assume or desire that one side eliminate the other. It is also very ignorant to assume that the local players are independent from international pressure. Almost every one of them is, to a certain degree, executing his assigned role.

The balance of power is shifting (in my opinion, for the better of the country). But it is only shifting. There will be a new balance of power - one in which the only missing component will be those who relied on Syrian money and arm-twisting to get where they got to. For better or worse, all the other players will remain. Iran has not disappeared (and will not anytime soon), neither has Saudi Arabia.... I welcome France's new assertiveness, and the interest that the United States has taken in my country.

I can only watch and hope that the outcome of this new equilibrium will be a better, more prosperous Lebanon. A Lebanon where modernism, meritocracy, economic growth and development, and secularism gain ground against all other opposing forces in the country.


Charles Malik said...

Tony is incredibly optimistic. For more on my pessimism and Jumblatt's guns (and I'm talking about artillery here viewed as recently as February) check out my comment on his site.
Everyone is aware that there are international pressures. I laugh every time the Opposition claims they don't have connections to the West. I've been introduced to their American and European advisers. They accept money and advice.
However, the mualat is far worse. Nasrallah is probably taking orders from Tehran. I know for a fact Berri is still taking orders from Syria (but not necessarily Damascus).
The sad thing is that Syria and Iran have far more presence on the ground. I will post something on Saad soon on my blog.

Doha said...

Just wanted to note, that Jumblatt yesterday actually and perhaps for the first time openly did admit of international influence when he confessed that the reason why he went to visit Berri and Sayyid Nasrallah was because Larsen advised him to do so. And he did admit that despite efforts, the Lebanese question has inevitably been "internationalized."

It's funny, but we hear less criticisms of the American and French influence in Lebanese politics these days; the respective ambassadors are visiting politicians and religious figures every day...of course we cannot escape from the "internationalization" of our Lebanese politics.