Saturday, May 10, 2008

Beirut on the Brink

The Opposition's Patience Runs Thin


"“If we wanted to stage a coup, you would have woken up this morning in prison, or in the middle of the sea. We do not want that. It is a political issue, with a political solution through early elections.”

- Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, in comments directed tothe U.S.-backed Lebanese government, Al-ManarTV, 8 May 2008.......

And let us not forgot the actions that this “cabinet,” minus the five ministers, have taken over the past several years.

Ha’aretz correspondent Avi Issacharoff, author of Spider Webs - The Story of the Second Lebanon War writes:

"For the first time, we reveal…that moderate Arab states and the people close to the Lebanese government have conveyed messages to the Israeli government via different sides demanding Israel continue the war until Hezbollah was completely crushed.”.........

Unsurprisingly, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League this week. It is these countries – all monarchies or dictatorships – that feel most threatened by Lebanon’s crisis. The root of their fear is embodied in Nasrallah’s statement quoted at the beginning of this article calling for a political solution: accountability of the government, a check on its actions, and elections. All are anathema to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah of Jordan and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, lest their own people should one day make similar demands.

Although this conflict is often couched in sectarian terms—Sunni versus Shiite—this is just window dressing. It instead involves issues of legitimate political representation and the desire of those who oppose U.S. and Israeli designs on the region to no longer be marginalized.

It would behoove Prime Minister Siniora and the ruling March 14 Coalition, after seeing not only what Hezbollah is capable of but the restraint they are able to exert, to enter into serious and genuine negotiations to form a unity and power-sharing government. Hezbollah and the opposition have restrained their hand, although the manufactured accusations against them have tested their limits and patience and served only to push Beirut to the brink of disaster.

As Nasrallah himself warned: “I said, before Jumblatt, that any hand that reaches for the resistance, its arms will be cut off. Israel tried that in the July War, and we cut its hand off. We do not advise you to try us.”"

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