Yesterday, Walid Jumblatt and Hariri Jr. spoke their minds. The crux of their message was very simple: Hizballah, we acknowledge the victory you claim, and the efforts of your fighters in the face of the Israeli military machine. However, we ask you, for the sake of Lebanon, to "de-commission."
Jumblatt, I believe, for the very first time, used the term "civil war," in the sense that if Hizballah did not act in Lebanon's interest, a new civil war might ensue.
As I watched both press conferences, one thought kept recurring in my mind: "strength through weakness."
It is obvious that the most fragile entity in this mess is Lebanon. Both Hariri and Jumblatt painted the country as being on the brink - and that if Hizballah did not make the right decisions for the sake of the country, Lebanon will crack.
Today, Hizballah needs to weigh two contradictory imperatives. On the one hand, its leadership feel that it is an integral part of the Syrian-Iranian-Hizballahi coalition, and that if it drops out, it will leave its allies weaker and more vulnerable. Let me add that Hizballah is especially crucial to that alliance because it is the only member that (prior to July 12, at least) could physically launch attacks on Israel, and “stir things up” whenever the alliance felt the time was right. On the other hand, Hizballah is also being made to feel that nothing less than the fate of Lebanon as a state and a country is at stake here.
Will this political maneuver work? Will Hizballah respond positively? We cannot but wait and see.