An issue of sovereignty

Many Lebanese will no doubt have been concerned by reports of continued violence along their country’s frontier with Syria, especially in light of reports that on Thursday at least five families from the Bekaa village of Joura were getting ready to leave in the face of increasing violence from the Syrian side of the fence.
The state should also tell us where it stands on the issues of territorial integrity. President Michel Sleiman has said that he “will not tolerate any incursions.” This is encouraging, but talk has always been cheap. And as the conflict in Syria morphs from civil disobedience into repression into civil war, more than ever it is incumbent upon the Lebanese state to ensure that our normally porous border with our neighbor be shored up to make sure that Lebanon’s sovereignty and security not be compromised.
But sovereignty and security are moveable feasts in Lebanon. Hezbollah, for example, will boast of its proud tradition of shedding blood to protect its land from foreign aggression. Indeed, as far as the Party of God is concerned, the battle to free Lebanon from Israeli occupation will not end until the Shebaa Farms is liberated. The disputed area is deemed so important to Lebanon’s dignity that Lebanon is apparently ready to endure international approbation for its stubbornness. But that’s how principled we Lebanese are when it comes to protecting our territorial integrity.
Then again, it is strange that the same principled government can adopt such a chilled-out reaction to violence in a border region where Syrian troops can apparently come and go as they wish in their pursuit of rebels and brigands.
There are the issues of security. The Lebanese people, as part of a basic quid pro quo stretching back to the days of Plato, expect a minimum degree of protection. But it appears just how much security we can expect depends on where we live. The South, for example, resembles the Maginot Line. And if so much as one Israeli boot sets foot on Lebanese soil, the residents of the region can be assured of the most vigorous response. In fact, so dedicated is the Party of God to ensuring that the southern border region remains inviolate that it has even shot at (and killed, in the case of Lieutenant Samer Hanna) Lebanese soldiers who have strayed into the area without permission. But better to be safe than sorry, right?
No such stringency exists on the borders with Syria, where gun-running activity, the ebb and flow of refugees and the ongoing conflict carries on unabated and threatens to spill over into Lebanon. Surely, the security forces should ensure that border control is a two-way process.  
Meanwhile, on Wednesday it was reported by Al-Jumhuriya that the Lebanese army arrested ten men – six Syrians and four Lebanese – on possession of two trucks loaded with heavy weapons, also in Joura. The authorities are to be applauded for their hard work. Lebanon should not be a conduit for arms trafficking, while it goes without saying that armed men running around the country willy-nilly are a threat to national security and the safety of the general population.
We just hope that the government embraces this new and encouraging trend and clamps down on all those who carry weapons outside the law, be they Lebanese, Syrian, Iranian, Palestinian or anyone else for that matter. Heaven forbid that the state stand accused of exercising double standards.
But as we have heard, President Sleiman has promised to not let us down. So let’s just wait and see.

  • ali daoud

    i like it when some people want to make a border crossing by syria an excuse for them to take syria as an enemy and israel as a friend, and i like it when some people blame syria for robbing our country at time they are fans of syria`s partners in that robbery starting with Bank al Madina and not ending with the occupied land of Solidere.

    April 17, 2012

  • fawaz

    I like it when some people don`t remember or care about our territorial integrity when syria crosses the border or occupy and robs the country!!!!shame.

    April 13, 2012

  • Hep

    …The majority of people are easily manipulated due to their wholly understandable but nonetheless dangerous ignorance of matters beyond their local sphere. How do you know that this or that out-group is dangerous? How do you know that Syria is a threat to Lebanese sovereignty or that HA is a "terrorist organization"? The vast majority of us know it because our government officials and media spokespersons tell us so. We assume that these people actually know what they are talking about, that they have no hidden agendas, that they do not lie or mislead us. How many of us consider the possibility that they, the officials and spokespersons, have themselves been misled or corrupted by special interest groups and lobbies? Some of us do, but not enough to matter. Most of us assume the honesty of the "experts" or just never really think about this problem at all. And, it is this naive act of faith, that the rest of us have bought into. …….“Playing The Sovereignty Card” - Lawrence Davidson

    April 8, 2012

  • Marco Antonio

    looking at el jazzar and Israel who is worse? Hmmm. Thats is so easy to figure out. You shouldn't even open that subject Shame. I don't know but it seems your are blind and deaf Shame because Israel hasn't ever treated its own people like eljazzar has done. In the past several years Israel has treated the arabs in Gaza a "little" better than jazzar has treated his own people in syria everyone would agree. over 11,000 people dead and tens of thousands prisoners and countless thousands of others refugees within their country, you call eljazzar a true leader? What is a bad leader in your book Shame? How do you define a bad leader Shame? What do you say Shame?

    April 4, 2012

  • ali daoud

    Bashar is the only true Arab Leader, all others are puppets of the west and israel and that`s why they all conspired to oust him, however, they are failure itself and they are good only at paying for the western dirty jobs and for their dirty jobs in the west. Vive Bashar, down israel.

    April 2, 2012

  • Marco Antonio

    Shane on you majd for having supported the occupation of Lebanon by syria and for having aided and abetted the occupiers all along. Now you dare mention the word shame, shame should be your first name, shame is you, for you are being shameful as you are re-inviting occupation of parts or the whole of our country by your evil regime in syria. Shame on you for looking the other way while innocent people and citizens of our country get hurt and their homes get burnt by your bosses in damascus. That seems to cause you no shame, that is why your are shame.

    April 1, 2012

  • ali daoud

    i like it when some people don`t remember or care about our territorial integrity except when syria crosses the border!!!!shame.

    March 30, 2012