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NOW

The end of the affair

While there is still some doubt as to what will happen next Monday, when President Michel Sleiman will call for consultations to form a new government, the likelihood is that Saad Hariri will not return as prime minister. If so, this could represent the end of the experiment of 2005, when the Lebanese came out in droves after the assassination of Rafik Hariri to demand a Syrian withdrawal and a sovereign Lebanon in which the rule of law would prevail.  
 
The numbers don’t look good for Hariri. The Druze leader, Walid Jumblatt, has switched sides, evidently under threat from Hezbollah, which reportedly cut off all contacts with him after he declared earlier this week that he would support a Hariri bid. But even if Jumblatt fails to bring his entire bloc over to the opposition, the race is close enough where even a few abstentions by individuals elected on Hariri lists in 2009 – for example Muhammad Safadi, Najib Mikati, Ahmad Karami, and Qassem Abdul Aziz – would ensure victory for an opposition candidate who will have the advantage of unified support. 
 
Where Hariri’s decision to go to consultations may have an impact is in determining which Sunni stands against him. If Omar Karami is the favorite, the former prime minister may yet hesitate to accept the poisoned apple of a contest against the most legitimate of Sunni politicians. The next head of government will have the unenviable task of ending Lebanon’s ties with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and in that way will be perceived by his coreligionists as covering for Rafik Hariri’s assassins. If Karami decides not to run as a consequence, the opposition would have to bring in an even less credible Sunni figure, which would make even trickier and more contentious the measures taken against the tribunal.
 
The new government, if Hezbollah and its allies win, will be lacking in legitimacy, with a vast majority of Sunnis and a large proportion of Christians opposing it; but it will also enjoy all the advantages that accompany being in power. It will take over state institutions and the army will implement its orders. That this will represent a coup of major magnitude against the Lebanon that had struggled to consolidate itself on the gains of 2005 is obvious. One can also expect that the new team will go a long way toward dismantling what March 14 built up in the years following the Hariri murder.
 
The new government will almost immediately sever ties with the Special Tribunal, precipitating a crisis with the international community. How the United Nations reacts will be important, because this will have a definite echo in Beirut, where Hariri will seek to portray himself as the leader of a principled opposition unwilling to abandon justice on behalf of the victims of political crimes in the past five years. The standard warnings against Syria will not do the trick. Unless there is a concerted international effort to go to the wall on Lebanon, the country will remain an Iranian outpost with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fronting this state of affairs, because his doing otherwise means surrendering Syria’s Lebanese stakes.
 
A key indicator will be the economy. While a run on the banks may not happen soon, or at all, overall confidence in the financial management of the Aounists and Hezbollah will almost certainly decline. We can probably assume that Gulf money to bolster the economy will go down, since Saudi Arabia, above all, will think twice before handing the Hezbollah-controlled government an economic lifeline. Perhaps it’s not a bad thing that Michel Aoun and Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah will finally have to put their money, literally, where their mouth is and manage Lebanon’s accounts, though most people would surely prefer not to become their guinea pigs.   
 
If Hezbollah takes effective control in Beirut, this will represent an essential challenge for the international community, above and beyond what it means for the Special Tribunal. Such a development will make very relative Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip. While the new government will try to sell itself more as a Syrian than an Iranian construct, the fact is that it will be propped up by Hezbollah’s bayonets, with Syria facing the discomfort of being blamed for the behavior of a cabinet actually controlled by Tehran. Can the world’s leading states accept a Hezbollah-dominated administration in Beirut? The unfortunate answer is that there may be little they can do against it, at least enough to shake Nasrallah’s determination.
 
But what about Israel? Can Israel accept a Hezbollah-dominated cabinet in Beirut, whose policy statement will beyond question further reinforce Lebanon’s official endorsement of the party’s weapons? For a time it might if Hezbollah maintains calm along the Lebanese-Israeli border, as the party has an interest in doing. However, we can also expect Israeli military officials to upgrade their contingency plans for Lebanon, this time with American encouragement, so that any future conflict is one that cripples Hezbollah for good.
 
It’s difficult to see how Damascus gains from this situation. The late Syrian president, Hafez al-Assad, sent his soldiers into Lebanon in 1976 to prevent the onset of a Palestine Liberation Organization-ruled Lebanese state, fearing that this would lead to an Israeli-Lebanese war that might draw in a weaker Syria. Yet Bashar al-Assad, unlike his father, is on the verge of consenting to such a situation, and it is Syria, not Iran, that will be in the front lines.  
 
What lies ahead will not be easy for Hezbollah and Syria to manage. Hezbollah’s single-minded focus on undermining the Special Tribunal is compelling it to make mistakes elsewhere. Sponsoring a government against Lebanon’s Sunnis and a large share of the Christians, who despite their decline still represent the economic backbone of the country, is a disaster waiting to happen. Weapons can do many things, but they cannot purchase legitimacy and prosperity.
 
Lebanon is bound to suffer as the irresistible force of Lebanese sectarianism meets the immovable object of Hezbollah’s weapons. My bet is on sectarianism, but the price paid could be prohibitive.

Michael Young is opinion editor of the Daily Star newspaper in Beirut and author of the recent The Ghosts of Martyrs Square: An Eyewitness Account of Lebanon’s Life Struggle (Simon & Schuster).

  • tony Montana

    Mohd Fawaz - ya reit Lebanon can be run like a private company. Logic, accountability, shared goals, meritocracy, and results-oriented. Sadly, I don't think this will ever happen.

    January 29, 2011

  • Sami

    Toni,plz note that David Duke has changed,reformed, a quality we miss in Lebanon. I think we shoul abolish sectarianism as a first step which will allow a Marooni to run in Bint Jbail and a Shiaa to run in Bshirri and whoever is best may be "allowed" to win.The best man for the right job all over Lebanon and all Government institutions.Isnt that what we do in the private section;the best man for the job?

    January 28, 2011

  • maz

    Hi..when u say "evidently" under threat do you have proof for this?or any type of clue?its a big statement my friends (who claim to be a neutral website representing ALL sects sides etc) Please be cautious when sharing your views..have a views section maybe..but this is dangerous..thx

    January 27, 2011

  • tony Montana

    Mohd Fawaz - While I don't agree with your comments most of the time, I respect that your intellect. However, David Duke?! Come on sir, he is a crazy person. What do you think is the solution for Lebanon?

    January 26, 2011

  • Sami

    2- Ya habibi ya Hassan,The Shiaa are the closest to the Christian religion and here is how:1-Mohammad was trained on the hands of the Christian monk (Buhaira).2-The Christian have 12 disciples and the Shiaa have 12 Imams.2-The shiaa are waiting for Al Mahdi to reappear similar to the Christian's waiting for Christ to reappear.4-Virgin Marry is the holiest of all women ,similarly the Shiaa look at Sayyedeh Zainab as the holiest of all women.How closer can two religions get?If you care to go further into theology I suggest you watch this documentary http://vimeo.com/13726978 and if you care to go into politics and interests I suggest you Goggle David Duke.com.If you are interested in honor,pride and independance watch Norman Finkelstein in an interview with Al Mustakbal TV and other lectures by him.Hassan,ya ibni, cuss me out all you can,I am sure this will make you only "feel" better but it will not present your point in a civil manner.

    January 25, 2011

  • SG

    FOUAD: forgot to tell you Shalom my friend. Can I get back to you with more Hebrew words once I've checked with my Zio pals? In the meantime, got any Farsi words for me from your end?

    January 25, 2011

  • SG

    So let me guess this straight: M14 won the elections back in 2009. At the time, to the consternation of many, Hariri and his gang bent over backwards to create a national (dis)unity gov. They did NOT refuse to accept Berri as speaker AND they agreed to give M8 a third of the ministers (+ one friendly one on Sleiman's quota), allowing the latter to sink the govt at their choosing, which is where we are now. Well now that the shoe is on the other foot, I do hope they let Hezb and Co (not forgetting Syria's Pal) get on with it so they can sink themselves all on their own. You can bet there will be rats trying to escape that ship when it does go down, which will be fun to watch.

    January 25, 2011

  • fouad..again

    gee we only have 2 read a couple of comments here 2 know HOW MUCH OF A ZION THIS web is(BUT THEY SPEAK A3RABI INSTEAD OF A3BRI)go aoun god bless you.lol

    January 25, 2011

  • N

    HA says either you are with me or you are dead. Is this how the "the resistance" is supposed to act?

    January 25, 2011

  • Tom

    today hariri makes a statement there is no consesus candidate there is just me??? is this how a statesman speaks?

    January 25, 2011

  • N

    For those of you who think Nasrallah is an honest and honerable man, think again. Nasrallah is a liar and a master of deception. Nasrallah claimed that the HA's arms are to liberate Isreali occupation.He lied. Now they are needed so long as Isrreal exits. Nasrallah said he supports finding the truth in Hariri's murder. This was a lie. Nasrallah promised Hariri and the rest of Leb a calm summer 2006. This was a lie. Nasrallah said "the resistance's" arms will not be pointed at the Lebanese. This was a lie. Nasrallah speaks about consensus. This was a lie. Nasrallah speaks about no victor, no vanquish. This was a lie. Nasrallah, says the STL is a US & Isreali court. Oh yeah? Was the Bosnian Tribunal set up to bing justice to masacred muslims a US & Isreali court? So nice of the US & Isreali's to help muslims (sarcasm)! Nasrallah says HA is not involved in Hariri's assasination. The details of the upcoming indictment may yet unveil Nasrallah's biggest lie yet.

    January 25, 2011

  • Lore

    it is a shame how pro al-Mustabal people like Micheal Young failed to predict Hezbollah maneuver to nominate Najib Miqati... then you remorse how the Cedar revolution is falling apart?!!!!!

    January 25, 2011

  • Tom

    correct me if im wrong here but it seems hariri has dug his own grave...the french saudis qatar and of course syria seem to be peeved with him over something? also the tapes that were leaked have discredited him...the false witness everyone is banging on about was meeting withy hariri?????? im looking from out in and surely there is something not right here???

    January 25, 2011

  • rime

    time to go home and learn how to talk clear , bikafina .....sha3ab ma kharjoo bass yemshi warak kaman lazeem ted3asso bi sermayttak bass yemkeen sermaytak ma te2bal tewaseegh hala bi heik 3alam

    January 25, 2011

  • souheil

    make decisions freely..... was Hariri making his decisions freely? that is a funny argument..... so what? what is the difference between Saudi and Iran? just religion. so it is exactly the same either 8 or 14 rulled, the only difference is that one has proved not being able to manage the country properly and honestly, the others did not get the chance to prove anything yet.

    January 24, 2011

  • N

    How about we have true consensus. How about a national referendum by the people on HA’s arms. HA would never allow such a referendum take place. If a true referendum were to take place on HA’s arms, not even FPM would vote for HA to keep them. I am ready to accept whatever the outcome of a national referendum by the people on HA’s arms.

    January 24, 2011

  • souheil

    michel, this is so sad what you said.

    January 24, 2011

  • souheil

    DEMOCRACY DEMOCRACY DEMOCRACY.... such a hypocrite word... does it really exist? we have been living in corruption, in a mess, in fear, in wars.... can anyone deny this? what is wrong with change? I am nor for 8 nor for 14mm i just believe we need to change. the problem we have as lebanese, is that, even when half our bread is being taken off our plates, we say it ok, but we never cease to complain about the way we are led.... come on, a change is needed, and we all know that, regardless who it is, either AMERICA, FRANCE, SYRIA, IRAN.... FOR NOT NAMING 8 OR 14, let us see what happens. and if anyone claims satisfaction by the way we were leading this country, then the word HYPOCRISY pops in to my mind again. 8 or 14 are all lebanese, and they all have the right to govern as long as they provide the services that they need to provide to their people.... have we seen any of this for the last many years? give a chance for a change and then complain.

    January 24, 2011

  • Mich

    hahaha.. m.fawwaz and alex are the two perfect examples of march8 supporters. one trying to hide his hatred and clear despotism behind far fetched/philosophical words. trying to sound democratic whenever it fits him. the other too ignorant to even recognize hisl ally's sarcastic criticism.. maybe like aoun who still fails to read hizbollah's political acts!! i doubt alot that he's willingfully closing his eyes..he's just too obsessed with the presidency and so short sighted to see the bigger picture.. people go forward in life..no matter what march8 tries to do, it has failed so many times before and it will fail again..time will prove me right!

    January 24, 2011

  • N

    I think Alex's definition of "political" experience is a leader who has blood on his hands. Just look at the caliber of HA supporters, Alex couldnt even grasp that Mohd Fawaz was being sarcastic. Duh? Yes there was corruption, but that extended to Nabih Berri too. I dont see you guys quacking like ducks about corruption when it comes to Berri and gang. Aoun never had a chance to steel being all the way in France. Now he's salavating at the new opportunity. It is difficult to see how corruption will not occur when the Iranian & Smasters of March 8 are kings of corruption. Corruption may have added a couple of billions on the national debt. But so did HA's numerous wreckless adventures against isreal, the crippling of governments ability to execute on matters that benefit the economy, sit-ins, & March 08 armed attack on the people. All of this has added more than a couple of billions in rebuilding infrastucture & opportunity cost in lost tourism, business investment (that create jobs),

    January 24, 2011

  • N

    There is no perfect judicial system. However, that does not mean that justice must not prevail. HA wants us to believe that Syrian & Iranian influanced Judicial systems in Lebanon are the only reliables ones vs their western counterparts. In the west, one is innocent until proven guilty & many criminals have gone free becuase the courts were not able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual committed the crime. In Syria and Iran, you are guilty until proven innocent. Many innocent people have been locked up on the scantest of evidence in unfair & politicized state trials. Iran & Syria judicial systems are the execution arms of the state. Behold fellow Lebanese citizens, this is one of the great perks that we will be seeing in the new Hezbollahstan. I think M Fawaz & his likes are gonna be very bored soon, as they will no longer have the opportunity to wright their ridiculous commentaries on opinions with the eventual freedom speech of speech supression that is to come.

    January 24, 2011

  • N

    So what just happened. Miqati is the new Premier. I have no problems with Miqati. But to seriously think that Miqati will be able to make his decisions freely and not to the exact tune of HA's beat is foolish. Will a HA controlled Suni PM ever gain credibility in the eyes of the Sunni's , especially that he takes steps the abolish th STL which was set up to bring to justice tp the murderers of one of the most important sunni leaders? I think not. Withdrawing from the STL not only is a slap in the face to Sunni's but puts Lebanon at a direct confrontation with the international community. And for all the bafoons that keep on saying "US & Isreali coutrt" and sound like broken records, they must realized that the STL is supported by substantial number of Lebanese and all nations in the world (including russia's statement of support today for STL) except Syria and Iran. So what benefit will Lebanon have shunning the international community and embracing Syria & Iran. Absolutely nothing.

    January 24, 2011

  • N

    HA called for the postponement of parliamentary consultations because they needed more time to intimidate and threaten MPs to change their mind, threatening a “Tunisian style” outcome if Saad is reelected. Except in this “Tunisian style” outcome, they will all be dressed in black and marching like lemmings at the drum beat of Nasrallah as we saw last Tuesday. It’s funny how Nasrallah, the preacher of consensus and “no victor, no vanquish” formula has completely sidelined March 14, when the latter not only re-nominated Berri as speaker of parliament but also gave March 8 veto power. What did they get in return? Saad Hariri deposed as premier through their ability to magically “convince” MPs to switch sides. This black magic is nothing else but a black gun pointed at MPs heads. March 8 have placed an PM that goes against the wishes of the vast majority of Sunnis. He is a HA nomination pure and simple. To make his seem as a consensus candidate is insulting the intelligence of the Lebanese

    January 24, 2011

  • Michel

    well..it looks like march8 will form the new government! im totally against it but if they have a majority of MPs, it is their right to do so.. i expect the government to do a very poor job.. at least they wont be able to accuse the ex-majority of anything.. it would be extremely intersting to see the population's response to that..but i think lebanese have not learned and will never learn the lessons of past failures..unfortunately i think all arabs dont deserve democracy as they dont know what to do with it..maybe we need hizbollah to burn this country to ashes so it can finally be built properly!!i dont care anymore..im leavin lebanon in a few months anyways!

    January 24, 2011

  • CEDAR REVOLUTION / GEBRAN SONS

    Michael, you're wrong. Even if Hariri is not elected as next PM, this is not the end of Cedar Revolution but its real beginning. An M8 one-color government will be a disaster on all grounds. It knows nothing except obstruction and Orwellian speeches by its clowns. Without Saudi and French support it will face 20% interest to refinance our deficit, massive exodus of brain and multinationals, stock market collapse, bankruptcy of most businesses, and worst of all, acceleration of worst type of political corruption as exercised by Hizb, Aoun and Bassil which is to link civil appointment and economic permits to political favors. This is political mafia at its best. M8 government will quickly turn into Syrian/Iranian stooges limiting freedom and adopting Assad tactics. Misery and oppression will awaken an angry silent majority that will march into Cedar Revolution II to liberate the country from Hizb’s arms and its useful idiots and restore freedom, justice and independence once for all.

    January 24, 2011

  • Bill

    Mohammad wasn't Israel the first to stand athwart Bush's regime change in Syria yelling stop.

    January 24, 2011

  • Sami

    Alex, read my comments with a smirk on your face then you will understand my sarcasm. Marx predicted that Germany would be the first proletariat uprising , instead it took place in Russia. In one of my comments I predicted Egypt to be the first to "fall" instead Tunis has the honors. I still think that Egypt is next unless Lebanon can ignore sectarianism,then it will be next. Did anyone notice the West's inaction towards the changes in Tunis? Is it because Tunis is not on the borders with Israel? Any changes in the status quo in any country sharing borders with Israel will not be tolerated by the West, all others do not count.

    January 23, 2011

  • Greentea

    Such a shame there is'nt a third option. What happened to the youth of march 14th? How come there is no-one to represent them? People are fed-up with the same rethoric from both sides. Isn't there progressist voice in Lebanese politics? I haven't heard any. The political debate over the choice between stability or justice with the occasional insults over who is more corrupted? Who cares about that? We need a stability and we have enough prisons for assassins an robbers. The country cannot progress if we don't raise the debate. If not we should not live together.

    January 23, 2011

  • alex

    To mohamad fowaz what planet are u on.....the country is already in debt...the electricity is a mess....corruption is vast just hidden....no daily Israeli incursions....there has been over 6500 ...illegal Israeli overflights into Lebanon since the last war....watt are you talking about?? I'm not defending march 8 and I'm not saying they will do any better but seriously let's look at facts...to now they are still acting under the constitution...last year in Australia they removed the prime minister they didn't carry on with it like we are....and are you telling me that the only person we have capable of running Lebanon is saad hariri? A 40 year old spoilt little kid who has absolutely no political experience at all....we talk of democracy...what democracy.....? R u saying for the next 40 years we should be governed by saad harry because the Sunnis have no1else cable??? Gagae says Lebanon will become another gaza??? Does he forget that Hamas actually won those elections??

    January 23, 2011

  • Beiruti

    I agree strongly with Michael Young's article. Those who think and who have written here that M14 and M8 are cut from the same cloth have not been watching too closely. Sure, all supporters are Lebanese, but when you move up to to the leadership, M8 is controlled and governed by Iran and Syria. M14 is the benefactor of patrons such as the Saudis, the Americans and the French. M14 support from its patrons is economic, political and diplomatic. M8's patronage is military, guns, rockets and military training. M14 let M8 into its government and gave it a veto at the point of a gun. When M8 comes to power, will 14 get into their government with a veto? No, they will be rounded up, arrested on those Syrian warrants marched off to Syria and shot. There is a difference.

    January 22, 2011

  • L. CITIZEN

    unfortunately, we are to read biased articles. what has happened to real journalism? dear pro 14th March flock, supportive of M. Saad Hariri. Please analyse the latter's words and reflect: He says in his speech that his 2 priorities when taking his post are: 1. maintaining the legacy of his father... 2. uncovering the truth... 1. are we a kingdom? 2. personally, i would prefer a PM to say, my priority is to develop the country, create jobs, work on infrastructure, electricity/water etc. regardless where and for which sect. i as a citizen would not want to inject money into a tribunal. there are far more important things for the citizen, for his everyday life. when will there be a real government in this country, one that is by the People and for the People, not for the CLAN, the SECT or PERSONAL gains. sincerely, L. Citizen

    January 22, 2011

  • previous student

    Michael young position is known and we respected. it is not reflective of any majority of lebanese population. 8 march are lebanese , born fed and raised in lebanon march 14th are lebanese bron and fed and raised in lebanon both supports a silly set of politicians who mostly have foreign sponsors usa/france/syria/iran etc... the choise is between two schools one live and let live and corruption is key reward to the politician (this is most of 8 and 14th march politicians) and another one who have more long term strategic thinking and principle to defend in real blood and not just propaganda. HB is mainly the last i am not afriad if HB will be governing, I will be afraid if teh hand of nabih berrir or jumblat or harriri are loose while governing

    January 22, 2011

  • Lebanon never dyes

    Lebanon has made it through toughest times and will make it through this time too. Pray and always believe in Lebanon only.

    January 21, 2011

  • Greentea

    Strictly speaking if they get a majority of the vote the democratic rule is to accept it and for the new opposition to play is role as an opposition and use the veto right strictly when necessary. Deliberate obstruction will only afect hte country negatively. The ball is round and the game is long. Joumblat switched side because he wanted to and notbecause he is not a nice person who is scared for his life. March 14 should be fairplay and let the others succeed or shoot themselves in the foot. an obstructionist behaviour will reflect negatively on them and on the country. Having the Syrians back mainly serves Israel who want them to keep HA on a tight leash. They said it many times. The west will always look at Israel's interest first, will we ever learn?

    January 21, 2011

  • leb patriot

    Jumblatt may very well have been pressured and threatened over his stance but I believe that by siding with March 8, Jumblatt is making a very hard but forward-looking and wise decision. He is giving Hariri – and the country – a way out of the current impasse while respecting the constitution and its requirements. Considering the current balance of power on the ground, his aim is to minimize risks of armed confrontation to favor coexistence and stability at this crucial juncture.

    January 21, 2011

  • Youssef Haddad

    The Syrian regime succeeded in recreating the same scenario of 197, a collapsing paralyzed government with the threat of a takeover by an armed militia, in 1976 it was the Palestinian factions, in 2011 it is Hezbollah. Assad hopes to reenter Lebanon as his father did, as a peace maker to stop the blood shed and to save the republic. Only this time, the monster of Hezbollah is harder to tame because it includes a large section of the Lebanese. The only hope for the Lebanese patriots is in an Iranian melt down or internal feud between the Marsh 8 leaders over their share of the pie. meanwhileLlebanon has to endure another nightmare imposed by others and fed by the lingering political immaturity of the Lebanese

    January 21, 2011

  • FemmeParis

    There is no doubt that there are two camps in Lebanon. But in no way shape or form can you call any camp a small minority. The key isn't to remained unarmed. How does the saying go? 'When in Rome...'. Unfortunately the peaceful nature hasn't resulted in any gains since 2005. Only in Lebanon would you see a party that won the elections place the opposition in key government positions. Damned if you do damned if you don't. So in the case of Lebanon, don't concede and fight for your rights to the teeth! Good luck with the Iranian-Syrian backed government because you're going to need it big time. But who will you blame what it all goes wrong. Let me guess, Hariri, Geagea, Gemayel?

    January 21, 2011

  • Fadi

    Excellent article which I strongly agree with, that why I am going to transfere all my business and capital from Lebanon, who know what's going to happen when 8th march take over the country??

    January 21, 2011

  • ralph

    This article reminds me of the opposition's articles about the STL and the indictment. It's pure crystal-balling. IF the consultations take place, and IF Karami is appointed (which is not guaranteed at all), IF the president accepts to sign on such a one color government, IF M14 and all its int. allies accept all this and IF Israel stands idle, then yes, we'll have an M8 gov. But it's all in the realm of IFs making this article based on fiction not facts. Only a coup would bring M8 to power and nothing else. The constitutional track will lead to void only, even if M8 wins the majority of nominations.

    January 21, 2011

  • Sami

    Young wants us to believe that Lebanon will suffer economically if M8 forms a government.I agree.Lebanon will go into debt to the tune of $65 billion, M8 will ruin the electricity sector,the communication sector will be compromised by Israel,and bribery/corruption will prevail. I agree with Young.Lebanon is healthy,safe,independent(no Israeli daily incursions and no foreign interference)now and if M8 takes over we will lose all what M14 accomplished as shown above. M8 should not take over because the Sunnis and a vast majority of the Christians will oppose it.But if M14 takes ove there will be no Shiaa opposition to it and certainly no Christian or Druze opposition either.The M14 proposed cabinet will muster unanimous approval.

    January 21, 2011

  • samione

    Good article but I disagree with the author, Israel all along is looking and working toward the Lebanese opposition to take control because it suits her like it did with Hamas in Gaza ,Israel is always looking for foes and not looking for moderates to settle the Arab /Israeli conflict cause she has no interest in solving the issues with it’s neigbourgh so Hezbollah and Hamas are doing Israel a great deal of favors ,Israel wants to appear to the world as the only Democracy in the region in order for her to always draw sympathy and money form Jews and none Jews around the world ,and to forget Oslo and a Patestinian state ,we can’t negotiate with terrorists .

    January 21, 2011

  • halim

    Aysha I hope you are not useless in real life as in your comments...

    January 21, 2011

  • harris

    No doubt if scinario like this take place. Lebanon as a state will seize to exiist. Hezbullah undoubtedly has the upperhand when it come to weapons, but within the lebanese mosiac will not do any good for him, on the contrary it may play against him and this could be the end of the real of HZ. Something else let's face it, even politicians do not to admit it publicaly, since 2006 and after israel invasion which HZ was the ultimate benefieciary to that invasion, because it powered him with more legitimacy in the political life and begun imposing his will and philosophy on lebanese. last I honestly believe that israel will not declare war on lebanon on the contrary of what many politicians predict due to the fact that Syria and Iran via HZ will guarantee and secure the border. Syria will not permit HZ from taing action against Israel unless of course it is for the interest of syria and its regime. Having said that the greatest loser is LEBANON and LEBANESE.

    January 21, 2011

  • halim

    NOW Lebanon what did you do with the article: Hariri is not going anywhere, Hariri is here to stay you published this morning!?!?!? Bravo! Bravo!

    January 21, 2011

  • Dan Bertrand

    If there was ever a time to pray for Lebanon, this is it. March 8 is attempting to take control of the country, this should not be allowed.March 14 won a majority in 2009, and that should have been left intact until the next election.Iran has the upper hand here, but how they play there next moves will be decisive. I suspect Jumblatt may not be able to count on all his 11 votes to go to Hizballah, yet he seems to have been cut off by them to make sure he goes along with March 8, on the crucial vote.I sincerely hope his MP's will side mostly with March 14, for the sake of the country.

    January 21, 2011

  • Aysha

    The author's .... what pathetic and uninformed piffle you post. From your comment it is obvious that you know not what you say unlike the respected author of the article and a huge number of Lebanese. Hizzi-fit supporter ... or perhaps Aoun ... methinks

    January 21, 2011

  • Rabih Moukarzel

    Michael Young provides a chilling - and accurate - reading of the Lebanese political situation. With Hezbollah and Aoun at the helm of the state, the Lebanese are in for an endless and horrific nightmare.

    January 21, 2011

  • NK

    Brilliant Article. It is definitely the beginning of the end for Hezbollah if they take control of the government, undermine the tribunal and impose Syria's and Iran's will. Short term gains but long term loss. March 14 should go out in the streets in completely peaceful, unarmed, protests. Make it a huge show of will by the people that they will not tolerate the coup. But the key is to remain peaceful and unarmed, so that any aggression makes Hezbollah look even more illigitimate. Once its all over, kick Michel Aoun out of the country.

    January 21, 2011