Saturday, July 23, 2005


Following yesterday’s explosion in Beirut, a Syrian friend messaged me saying “So its one of your people this time, the opposition is defiantly behind this one!” Immediately I took offense and questioned his rational.

In his typical humorous style he replied: Aih walaw khayo, mou 3alaina hal harakat, at 5:43pm your text message read, “Rice making statements in Beirut against Syria, do you believe it?! Yala watch the car bomb response follow.” Aih mafee two hours and the bomb went off…yala explain this to me la shoof….

He was right! With events unfolding rapidly today, I forgot that I half-jokingly made such a statement! Wala great, now I stood accused of orchestrating bombings in my own country…

On a more serious note, such is the situation today in Lebanon that even exaggerated, half-hearted, jokes about “message bombs” are not far from reality

All this reminds me of a statement that Johnny Abdo recently made. Drawing on his experience as an ex-security chief he explained that “security can never be achieved in Lebanon without a political compromise between the different parties, internal and external. No Lebanese security apparatus can ever achieve it.”

Building on Abdo’s words, one cannot but concede that Lebanon will continue to be the volatile “message box” between Syria and theUS in absence of a political compromise. Unfortunately, this is the reality we must contend with instead of burying our heads in the sand. I don’t like it and certainly won't accept compromising over Lebanon's sovereignty. Yet we must acknowledge some sort of compromise is needed.

More and more I’m feeling like that father in the movie “West Beirut” these days. In face of the attacks leading up to the war he kept reassuring everyone, “It’s just a skirmish and will end, the outside powers will compromise and the bombs will stop, Beirut will be back to normal tomorrow.” Like him I am an optimist, but let’s not put our head in the sand. As much as is being said about reorganizing the security agencies, a solution will only come through political compromise.


Raja said...

Firas, two things:

1. I'm afraid that Syria and the US are not the only two players who have a stake in Lebanon. In other words, the situation may be much more complex.

2. Although there is no way security services can prevent all bombs (look at London, for example), they can definitely make bombing operations much more difficult.

My recommendation, for the moment, would be: lets give ourselves time. We need it to strengthen our negotiating position by strengthening those local political compromises between parties, and by reinvigorating the security services. Otherwise, I'm afraid we'd be forced to concede much more than a few more bombs would justify.

Anonymous said...

Forget west beirut. I am looking to the new Lebanon which is like Dueri's new movie Lila Says :-)

Anonymous said...

“security can never be achieved in Lebanon without a political compromise between the different parties, internal and external. No Lebanese security apparatus can ever achieve it.”

I don't think political compromise is enough. The bombings, gunman, etc are all extremists from all ends of the political spectrum. If the parties compromise the extremists will simply break off from their parties and form a new one. We have seen this replayed throughout the ME.

I think change will only occur once there is a fundamental change in society- once the tenants of majority rule and respect toward the minority are upheld. And once people do not take things into their own hands.

Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

I think Johnny Abdo is an authority on this matter. Stability can be achieved only throuhg an agreement between inside and outside world. This has been the case for centuries.

Anonymous said...

stability... or a precarious balance?

Anonymous said...

Security can be enforce through a strong security system. Why cant we be like other countries? It's just a matter of putting ourself to the task and believing in it. Trying to be nice with the hezbollah and being afraid of entering the palestininan camps is not the way to do it.