Intrigue and diplomacy in Beirut

December 14, 2006 - 0:0
Finally, after two weeks of public demonstrations against Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, the Arab League has decided to intervene.

Mustafa Othman Ismail, the special envoy of the Arab League secretary general, initiated talks with Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the Lebanese premier, and leaders of the so-called March 14 group.

The plenipotentiary representative of Amr Moussa tabled a four-article proposal for settling the current crisis in Lebanon through diplomatic means.

According to the proposal, an international tribunal would be established to conduct an investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.

Concurrently, early parliamentary and presidential elections would be held in Lebanon in order to form a national unity government.

The suggestion also highlights the need to take into consideration the demands of opposition groups, who believe they should be given one third of the cabinet posts in any new government.

However, Nasrallah has set conditions for accepting the Arab League proposal and at the same time announced that a national unity government should be established before the parliament is dissolved and early elections are held.

Despite the opposition of the Islamic resistance movement and its supporters, the so-called March 14 forces support Siniora’s policies and are insisting that the investigation into the Hariri assassination should be conducted before the formation of a national unity government.

Although the Arab League failed to play a significant role during the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war, Hezbollah has agreed with its proposal to prevent an exacerbation of the situation in Lebanon.

Thus, Amr Moussa traveled to Beirut on Tuesday to resume talks with Lebanese political leaders in order to help end the crisis. But, will the Arab League be able to resist the influence of regional and extra-regional powers and impartially and independently resolve the crisis in Lebanon?

It seems the situation is far too complicated to be settled with a proposal meant to foster unity and convergence among Lebanon’s diverse political groups.

Due to their inclination toward the policies of the United States, the West in general, and some regional Arab countries, many of the leaders of the March 14 forces are reluctant to maintain the achievements of the Lebanese nation during the 33-day war with the Zionist regime.

These forces are trying to implement the policies of the U.S. and some other Western countries in Lebanon in order to pave the way for the complete disarmament of Hezbollah and its gradual marginalization in the Lebanese political and military scenes.

Therefore, the March 14 group does not want the Islamic resistance forces to have any seats in the Lebanese parliament and cabinet so that they can have a free hand in implementing U.S. policies in Lebanon and the region.

However, as long as the current Lebanese government refuses to respond to the demands of over two million Lebanese, no foreign or domestic plan can resolve the current crisis.

Public demonstrations are currently being held in Lebanon within the framework of the Lebanese Constitution because the Lebanese nation wants a government that is not beholden to foreign forces intent on undermining their national achievements.

Clearly, the Siniora cabinet’s threats to use force to end the public demonstrations in Lebanon will create a new crisis, which is not in the best interests of any of Lebanon’s political groups.