In my mind now, I am thinking whether the Hiwar back in Beirut was truely a trap after all, a trap to lure all the players to agree to Hizbullah's terms.
Basically Jumblatt revealed the deal that Hizbullah has put on the negotiating table: They will give up the Presidency, if the March 14 bloc agrees to drop the issue of the Shebaa Farms, and by that agreeing to the continuation of Hizbullah's resistance role.
If that's the deal put on the table, well, Jumblatt has revealed it to all of us. He is here, in DC, invited by the U.S. Administration so they could listen to his point of view. When asked what would he demand of the U.S. Administration, he said that as a free Lebanese citizen, he will ask for support to continue on with the Cedar Revolution, namely support through pressuring the Syrian regime diplomatically and economically in order for its President to recognize that Lebanon is a free, sovereign country and that it should be left alone.
Such tough language towards the Syrian regime would not have come if it wasn't for the Syrian President's talk aired yesterday evening on Lebanese TV. President Assad talked at length about his opinions towards the outcome of the Lebanese dialogue that is taking place right now in Beirut. He said that those at the meeting should come out of the dialogue with "black and white" answers to important issues about the Resistance and about the Lebanese-Syrian relations. Bashar had the audacity to even defend the "lame duck" Lahoud and explain why he has called for renewing his term (because he defends the Resistance and has helped Lebanon not veer away from its Arabist agenda!). But what shocked me the most was when he said that this ongoing dialogue will determine where each party stands. He has already decided that this dialogue will lead to polarization!
أنا لا أرى أن التيار القومي والمقاوم سيذهب باتجاه أن يقول اننا نعم اتفقنا على قبول التدخل وعلى حل سلاح المقاومة وضرب العلاقة مع سوريا. إما أن تأتي الأمور بهذا الاتجاه وإما أن يكون هناك انقسام وفشل كما سميته الفشل الذريع
My question is why is President Assad doing what the Syrian regime always did, namely dictate to us what needs to happen and what needs to be? We say: President Assad: Leave us alone!
But to return to the issue of whether this Lebanese dialogue has been sabotaged, I was thinking how on the first day of the dialogue, Parliament Speaker Berri was quick at publicizing to everyone that all players have agreed that the Shebaa Farms belongs to Lebanon. Yet, Jumblatt, since he left the country, has questioned this premise, including his representative at the dialogue table, Information Minister Ghazi Aridi.
إنه ليس صحيحاً على الإطلاق أن اتفاقاً تم بالإجماع حول لبنانية مزارع شبعا، أبداً
أبداً. هذا الموضوع كان حوله نقاش، لكن لم نصل الى اتفاق حول تثبيت لبنانية مزارع
شبعا بقرار بالإجماع، وهنا لا بد من الانتباه الى هذه المسألة، فالحوار ما يزال
مستمراً بأجواء هادئة وصريحة
Which leads me to believe that in reality, nothing has been agreed on yet.
Publicizing that all have agreed that the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese, was a clear signal to Syria that it can relax about the urgent demand to demarcate its borders with Lebanon and a clear signal that Hizbullah's arms are there to stay. Interestingly, in the newspapers we read today that Syria's Foreign Minister Moallem has reiterated that the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese. We say: Can you please head to the UN and provide the proof once and for all and relieve us of our chagrin?
After I attended the Jumblatt event, I quickly returned to watch the Lebanese news. Already reporters were hailing a flurry of questions on the politicians involved in the national dialogue, asking them whether Jumblatt's request for U.S. help is a blow to the dialogue. The politicians said that they need to read his statements first, others said that all is being discussed on the table...
Jumblatt was clear; he said what many Lebanese are thinking and feeling, what many Lebanese aspire for regarding their country. We want an independent, free, democratic Lebanon, a Lebanon with a Lebanese agenda, and a President with a Lebanese agenda who is the final arbitrator amongst all factions and parties. Lebanon cannot solve the Arab-Israeli conflict; at least it cannot do it through violent means. Lebanon cannot defend any country's nuclear arsenal. Lebanon cannot defend a dictatorship against another. Lebanon needs a state that is sovereign, able to defend its territories when needed, without the need for others' arms on its land.
Naseer As'ad wrote today in Al-Mustaqbal, trying to draft a win-win scenario for this ongoing dialogue. He claimed that perhaps a "road map" can be devised where Hizbullah will disarm gradually, within a certain context of the Taif Accord and UNSCR 1559. I couldn't finish reading!
I'm aware that if this dialogue comes out with positive outcomes, Lebanon will be better off and Lebanese will be better off. Nothing can be solved in day or two; everything takes time. But right now, there is so much going on for me to be able to process at once. I'll wait a day or two...before making up my mind.
"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."