The number-one role of the state; the priority that precedes all others. Indeed, the raison dêtre of the state, in both the theoretical and worldly realms, lies in its effective monopolization of the use of force within the territory it claims as its own.
If that condition cannot be met, then it,, cannot be said that a state exists. Using this logic, it is safe to assert that Lebanon is yet to be governed by a state.
Acting as a "middle-man" for Saudi, European and American money intended for use by Lebanese civilians who seek to rebuild their homes following the Israeli onslaught earlier this year is not enough.
Gaining recognition from other states and international bodies is not even close to enough.
Hosting legislative or ministerial meetings that yield legislation, policies, decrees, panels, committees or programs is not enough.
Not even taxation, the provision of services, subsidies, and the employment of hundreds of thousands of individuals is enough. None of these functions, either in-and-of-themselves or as a combined whole, characterize a state.
Rather, the state distinguishes itself from all other governing institutions, by its exclusive ability and right to use force against – and to kill, if necessary - those deemed by the law of the land as enemies of Lebanon. Every other function is secondary in nature.
Members of Lebanon's political elite... for all their purported finesse and wisdom; for all their rumored insight and prescience; for all their apparent shrewdness and cunning, have, thus far, failed at this most basic of tasks.... This priority of priorities.
Should they be given more time? How much more time? Does the incessant killing push them to redouble their efforts? What progress is there to be seen? As a citizen, I want to know – I demand transparency! Is there any progress at all?
Without a state, no one in Lebanon will be safe – neither the peasant nor the "first-tier" politician. Those who are betting on the international tribunal or some other international development or pressure to protect them only fool themselves.
The clock is ticking.