“Mr. President Emmanuel Macron, you met with Mr. Michel Aoun, the president of my country, who a few days ago promoted an officer in the State Security Agency who tortured the Lebanese citizen Ziad Itani, after the Agency fabricated a charge of espionage against him for Israel. The Lebanese judiciary considered Ziad innocent and that the charge was fabricated, and yet he was denied a trial. My President has since rewarded the officer who tortured Ziad, and the State Security Service recently leaked a tape showing Ziad admitting to the crime. Leaking such footage is also a legal offense, Mr. President. You, as the president of a free and law-respecting country, do so in my country, and do not show any concern to correct a flagrant and indisputable violation, like the one I’ve just mentioned?!”
This question was not addressed to the French President during his press conference held in his country’s palace in Beirut, namely, the Residence de Pins, in which he revealed that France was about to carry out a major restoration of the Lebanese political and financial system. The restoration process however, does not include any change in the rules of the government. Michel Aoun and Nabih Berri will keep on suffocating us despite all they’ve committed, and the Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib will be responsible for managing Saad Hariri’s interests, and the rest of the regime’s pillars.
Your mission was to provide a mandate to this political class, at a regional moment when France needed alliances in which Lebanon had no hand. This mandate is exactly the same as the mandate given to Hafez al-Assad in Lebanon, as a reward for his participation in the first Gulf War. The differences between the two mandates are not enough to dismiss the great similarity. Whoever France has authorized this time is none other than Hassan Nasrallah, while merely restricting his ambitions that might lead to his final assault on the republic.
As for Hezbollah’s weapon, their new guardian, President Macron, replied that the Lebanese elected the party and brought it to power and parliament, and therefore we now have to deal with it as a fact. But Macron did not answer the Lebanese journalist who brought up the point that the party’s parliamentary election was held under its arms threat, and that “Free France” should not trust the results of such elections. The president overlooked this “minor” detail, saying: “I could have condemned Hezbollah, left and let you face this fact on your own!” Of course, we do not want Macron to leave us alone with Michel Aoun, Nabih Berri, and Hezbollah’s arms, their smaller partners, nor with the rewarded officer who tortured Ziad Itani. But Macron has already done this, and left us alone with them. Indeed, he came to their rescue, and extended them a lifeline, after they suffocated with us due to what they had committed against us. Michel Aoun, who had committed the gravest of all crimes against his own capital, Beirut, during his reign, while the bodies that he stacked in the Beirut port turned a blind eye, now has regained some hope to get off scot-free. Not only him but his family and his position get off scot-free, and that’s because the French President assured him that he can continue to work, on the condition of reforms.
What reforms are you talking about, Mr. President? You are demanding reform from a man who yesterday, after the port exploded, promoted an officer guilty of torture, guilty with a confirmation through a judicial decision! This is the least that the president has done since then. And you, Mr. Macron, you also have come to tell us that we have elected Hezbollah and that we have to live with its weapons! You, yourself, do not practice what you asked us to do. The whole of Europe has designated Hezbollah’s military wing a terrorist organization while we live under the rule of the party’s military wing. Are you entitled to what we are not entitled to? How can elections that will be held under the supervision of this military faction be fair?
Mr. President, this scene could have gone a little differently. The international tutelage did not invest in the serious deadlock in which this political authority was and still is mired. The conditions could have expanded to include a larger change. This collapse was also an opportunity, because Hezbollah was drowning in it, and the exhausted president, who was sitting next to you at the lunch banquet, will not be a partner in reforming the system that brought him to the presidency. Your mission was to give a mandate to this political class, at a regional moment when France needed alliances in which Lebanon had no hand. This mandate is exactly the same as the mandate given to Hafez al-Assad in Lebanon, as a reward for his participation in the first Gulf War. Some of the differences between the two mandates do not dismiss the great similarity. Whoever France has authorized this time is none other than Hassan Nasrallah, while merely restricting his ambitions that might lead to his final assault on the republic.
Hezbollah’s weapons have returned to participate in new regional projects. The road to Jerusalem may witness a new detour from Damascus to the Tripoli of the West. At that time, the corrupt and criminal Lebanese political class will catch its breath, which will enable it to live more years while waiting for the delayed, but inevitable, collapse.