Thursday, June 29, 2006

hizballah and the national dialogue

Lebanon had been occupied by the Syrian Army for 30 years.
Last year, the assassination of the powerful Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri accelerated the political events in Beirut. Pressure from the Lebanese people and from foreign countries led to the Syrian withdrawal.
For the first time, since 1975 the Lebanese people and politicians were left alone to deal with their disagreements and with their contradictions.
Peacebuilding started in Lebanon. The first concrete step towards conflict transformation was the setting up of a “national dialogue”; which integrated all the main parties, movements and political leaders in the country. The role of the participants in the national dialogue was to discuss all the controversial issues facing the Lebanese after the Syrian withdrawal and to come out with a certain consensus.
This has been considered a first strong step; however it needs a dialogue among the Lebanese from different socio-political and religious backgrounds to strengthen the transformation in Lebanon.

Many controversial issues were tackled during the national dialogue and the participants reached a kind of consensus on many of them except on one important issue which is the disarming of Hizballah.
For those who do not know, Hizballah a Lebanese, Shia militia at its creation in the eighties was supported by Iran and nowadays it is being supported by Iran and Syria. Hizballah was the resistance guerilla during the Israeli occupation of the South of Lebanon that ended in May 2000. Since, the withdrawal, the Lebanese society has been divided to two. One group, supported by the new anti-Syrian government considers that all the Lebanese territories have been freed and therefore there is no longer a need to have Hizballah armed. Another group, mainly Hizballah, another Shia movement called Amal and the Syrian allies, consider that there are still the Shebaa farms under the Israeli occupation and therefore the resistance should continue and Hizballah should not be disarmed. (Some consider the Shebaa farms to be Syrian and not Lebanese.)
Hizballah, the main actor in this conflict was clear in its position: “We refuse to disarm, the Israeli danger has not ended yet, and we can be attacked at any moment. Our arms are to protect the Lebanese sovereignty.”
The government and its allies, the other main actor in the conflict had a different position: “We have to disarm Hizballah. Our land is not occupied and we have no battlefields anymore.”
Syria, the foreign actor is refusing to submit the legal papers that clarify its ownership of the shebaa farms, because it is in its own interest to keep Hizballah’s arms.
Iran, the other foreign actor is still supporting Hizballah in its fight against Israel by providing the arms.
Regardless of the foreign actors in this conflict; there is an important element to the conflict which is that both Lebanese groups have the same need which is security, the homeland security.

The good news is that the participants in the national dialogue did not stick to their positions; instead they looked into the common need for security and started discussing the “Strategic Defense mechanism of Lebanon”.
This means that there is a sincere will to solve this conflict.


Post a Comment

<< Home