What Rami Khouri Forgets in the New Lebanon
Rami still seems to believe that Lebanon is the SAME lebanon of the civil war era in the sense that the politicans – the jumblatts, hariris, nasrallahs, etc can totally control or escalate matters (especially if ordered by external backers). If anything the dynamics of armed conflict in syria of the past few months, and the longer trend of the breakdown in the zaim’s ability to control everything, especially at critical moments, are conspiring to push small actors, free radicals, into a position of increasing power, which is but one reason why the danger of a major conflict in Lebanon is now at our door.
Rami should look at Nasrallah’s own, now repeated admission about his growing inability to control matters – whether you think it is a PR move or not…. this is the first time in 30 years that lebanon’s most organized and controlled group (for better or worse is another matter of course!) says that there are new, hard limits on its ability to control ITSELF and its BELIEVERS.
When hizbullah warns of this, and you match it up with the asymmetric power of free radical actors, you have a very dangerous situation indeed.
So actually – in contrast to Rami’s “dont worry” approach – we need perhaps MORE warning about the dangers and about civil war than less. He wrote:
“…In this context, the bottom line from the last week’s events suggests to me that the politicians’ irresponsible emotionalism and the public’s instant worries are both routine developments that have recurred in Lebanon for many decades, unfortunately. Top-level political assassinations and instant street clashes that would shatter most other countries are taken in stride by most Lebanese, who stay home for 36 hours and then resume their normal life routines.
There will not be a return to civil war because the most important new development in Lebanon in recent years – since February 2005 to be exact – is a more determined attitude and enhanced capabilities on the part of the central government in the face of the stresses that often threaten to tear Lebanese society apart. The principal political actors in Lebanon have had numerous opportunities to resume serious fighting in recent years, and every time have pulled back from the brink in order to refrain from the path of civil war. In the past three years, the armed forces and internal security have acted much more forcefully and quickly to stop local clashes from growing or spreading, and the National Dialogue committee presents an opportunity for all parties to seek a route toward stable and sensible governance.”