Ultimate Price of Political Stalemate in Lebanon

  • 29 January 2008

The confrontation that took place between demonstrators and security forces in Beirut recently, leading to several deaths and injuries, point to the "high price" Lebanon may have to pay for its security, stability, and national unity due to the ongoing political stalemate in the country. All initiatives and parleys to date have apparently failed to settle the crisis. In the wake of this standoff, matters have worsened to the extent that a minor event could trigger off a major conflagration of unforeseeable consequences. The feuding forces are so agitated that they are prone to criticizing even the minor and unintentional of their opponents. The situation is so dangerous that it could explode suddenly and set off a chain of events that could drag the country toward chaos and civil strife, like the one it had to endure through many years of the "Civil War."

Nowadays, a dangerous political vacuum is building up in Lebanon. The "opposition" is unwilling to accept the legitimacy of the existing government, which has led to a stalemate over the election of a new president for the country and has deferred parliamentary sessions for the 13th time on the issue. The next session is scheduled for February 11, 2008. Thus, the country seems to be sitting atop a political volcano, which could erupt at any minute and the only way to save the situation would be to initiate a real and sincere drive toward political reconciliation and the forging of an agreement among different parties. In addition, it is important that Lebanese parties respond positively to international peace initiatives, such as “the Arab Initiative,” which Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Mussa had recently taken to Beirut. His visit, however, was unsuccessful in making any breakthrough.

Any observer of developments taking place in Lebanon would have sensed the rising level of tension and violence that boiled over into the confrontation between security forces and demonstrators last Sunday. The unseemly incident broke out two days after the assassination of an officer of Lebanese security forces Captain Wissam Eid who was killed in an explosion, which also injured several other people. Whatever the political position of Lebanese parties, they should agree that the perpetuation of this crisis in the absence of a solution would have dangerous ramifications and that Lebanon would not be able to preserve its peace indefinitely. Therefore, all well-wishers of Lebanon hope that the upcoming Lebanese parliamentary session, which will be held on February 11, is not deferred further and is concluded only after the election of the president.