Who will save Lebanon?

July 04, 2020
Tariq Al-Homayed

Lebanon has reached a dead end. All its options are difficult, and the question arises: Who will save it? Will it be the international community? Or the Arab Gulf States? Or, say, Saudi Arabia? Or Iran? I do not think one of the parties mentioned will do so, according to the facts at the moment, and whoever will attempt to do so will fail.

The international community is not prepared to act due to the economic circumstances following the coronavirus pandemic. It wants Lebanon to provide guarantees and carry out economic reforms.

As to the Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, there are no indications, till now, of their desire to act, and this is a correct decision, especially now.

As regards Iran, the cost is high, due to the Iranian circumstances themselves, the American sanctions, and the cost of expansion in Iraq and Syria, in addition to the cost of Hezbollah’s existence in Lebanon. If Iran steps in, then Lebanon’s status will come to an end internationally.

Well, who can save Lebanon then? None, but the Lebanese themselves. If Hezbollah and its allies do not “swallow the poison in the goblet” and give concessions then the Lebanese fire may devour them.

And all indications are present. It is high time for Hezbollah to “stop escaping forward” (preoccupying itself with sideline issues and not tackling the main problems head-on). Furthermore, it must admit that Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government has failed, and a political concession is necessary.

The party, or Iran behind it, may count on Qatari support, but this will implicate Doha internationally and regionally.

It must show commitment to controlling Hezbollah's behavior towards Israel, which has not stopped for a moment in disciplining Hezbollah and Iran, in Syria. The scene is complicated and bigger than the Qatari role.

Therefore, it is inevitable that Hezbollah will declare defeat, and ask its Prime Minister Hassan Diab to resign, leave the scene, and open the way for a Lebanese government that is capable of carrying out a reform, is respected internationally, in the Gulf, and above all within Lebanon itself.

It is true that Lebanon’s situation is bad, and no one wishes to see this, but it is the reality.

As one of Lebanon’s senior officials once said to me, that fixing Lebanon’s fractured bone will not cause it to heal into its proper shape, but it has to be broken and fixed anew into its correct shape.

No rational or reasonable person or anyone who loves Lebanon would wish to see violence or clashes in the country, but there is no hope for resolving the Lebanese crisis without serious solutions.

First among these, is for Hezbollah to swallow the poison in the goblet, the recognition of political defeat, and the demand for Diab to resign, because he is the last person entitled to speak about foreign interference, as his recent statements indicate. He is part of the crisis, and not part of the solution.

Therefore, no one can save Lebanon other than the Lebanese themselves. Lebanon and the Lebanese, must also realize that the trump card in their hands is the self-distancing card. Otherwise, Lebanon will remain in crisis, and it may get worse, and that too very soon.

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