Potential Danger in Lebanon

  • 17 February 2009

The clashes that broke out between the supporters of the ‘majority’ and the ‘opposition’ following the commemoration ceremonies for the assassinated Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, indicates that the sources of danger still lurk in Lebanon, and that the factors promoting political, religious and sectarian tensions are not resolved yet, despite the Doha Agreement and the security and political calm that engulfs the Lebanese scene in the current phase.

The Lebanese minister of Interior stated that the event was a matter of concern as it does not augur well. He pointed out that it was not natural for clashes to follow every demonstration that takes place in the country.  Again, the clashes were denounced by both the ‘Majority’ and ‘Opposition’ forces alike, and this is a positive indication. The first encouraging sign is that Lebanese, belonging to all factions and forces, are aware of the danger posed by acts of violence—no matter how small, sporadic or localized they might be—and understand the importance of acting quickly to quell them. The second positive sign is the common feeling that the Lebanese arena is still riddled with from many sources of tension and the fact that even a small spark could ignite a major conflagration that would be difficult to extinguish.

The recent acts of violence send out an important message to all forces and movements in Lebanon that the state of political calm and security witnessed by the country in the recent past requires policies and measures that could further enhance it and turn it into a permanent and enduring feature. Perhaps, the first urgent step in this direction should be the reinvigoration of national dialogue, and the importance of making it succeed in achieving the aspired objectives, and to set the framework and mechanism for eliminating the tension between different forces and movements, and to go forward for enhancing the constitutional institutions of the state, and to give it enough strength that will make it the main reference for directions, decisions and policies.

To eliminate the likelihood of tensions that was caused by the complicated political crisis that engulfed the country, requires a lot of work and effort, in addition to will power, and the Lebanese political and religious forces have started to actually follow this path since the Doha agreement, but it is a long road and the key to succeed in reaching this objective would be to build trust between the different sections of the Lebanese society, because the crisis of credibility and trust is the most dangerous crisis that Lebanon currently faces, and it can threaten its security and stability in the future.

Lebanon is awaiting a political event that could determine many issues related to the future of the dialogue process and the prospects of coexistence in it; the event is the parliamentary elections to be held in June. Undoubtedly, carrying out these elections in positive and stable atmosphere would represent a big step to overcome the phase of tension and crisis and to move into a new phase of coexistence and stability. For this reason, it  is important that all Lebanese forces circumvent any attempt to vitiate the atmosphere or exacerbate tensions in Lebanon before the elections, because its success would be in the interest of all forces, and in the interest of Lebanon as a state, country and model.