A Warning That Must be Taken Seriously

  • 27 February 2007

Despite all efforts at controlling and defusing the Lebanese political crisis to prevent it from descending into a civil war, there are still ominous signs plaguing the situation. The latest warning comes from the Maronite Patriarch, Nasrallah Sfeir, against the proliferation of weapons in Lebanon, and even among its political parties.

As long as the channels for political settlement remain blocked, confidence among various Lebanese parties would remain missing. Sectarian tensions would continue to dominate the Lebanese scene as long as sovereign institutions are divided among themselves and confront each other. Lebanon is looking at the future with fear and anxiety, since the assurance of national security has been replaced by factional and sectarian assurances. Possession of weapons has started giving a sense of security in light of difficult circumstances, the consequences of which cannot be predicted. Hence, different trends and blocs resort to weapons as a means of protection instead of state institutions, laws, and constitution. It is a method for dealing with other parties instead of resorting to dialogue and understanding under one unifying national umbrella. On all the aforementioned counts, the Patriarch's warning must be taken seriously by all concerned parties inside and outside Lebanon, which if ignored may cause a relapse into many years of decline.

The presence of weapons in the hands of the Lebanese and various parties makes the future of Lebanon open to disastrous scenarios. In light of this situation, a small spark would be enough to ignite all of Lebanon and for the commencement of a destructive civil war. If it were that easy to start a war, then finding the way to control it would be equally difficult. The Lebanese, of all people in the region, are well aware of this fact, because they have experienced civil war and have suffered its scourge for many years.

All indicators show that the situation in Lebanon is heading toward an alarming situation and that the fire within merely needs a spark to burn everything without exception. Therefore, the warning sounded by the Maronite Patriarch, Sfeir Nasrallah, is a strong reminder that should be promptly heeded by all Lebanese parties and every true Lebanese, who do not wish Lebanon to remain in a state of internal strife and an arena for settling of regional differences.