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Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Danger of The Divine Victory "Parade"

Friday is the parade "celebrating" the divine victory claimed by Nasralla and his party of God. Everything else aside, the organizers of the parade, as reported by Assafir, are trumpeting the upcoming parade as the biggest in the history of Lebanon. I am writing this post probably hours before the parade itself and I am sure that the danger that lies in such an event is not lost on everyone. In either case, I want to briefly analyze it.

In my view, this might well be a breaking point for March 14. After having lost the initiative when they abandoned their demands for Lahoud's resignation, and then slowed down to a near halt when they acqueisced to HA's blackmail time and time again, the "victory parade" might well do it for them.

Previously, March 8 created March 14 by spurring people on to show that the independence uprising crowd also existed and had a voice that wanted to be heard. There was anger at Hariri's assassination, and resentment at the betrayal of HA.

Now, how do you counter a demonstration of the size projected by HA, and under what pretext? What will mobilize a million Lebanese, many of whom have seen their hopes dashed and their faith in their leadership diminished. What will ensure that their morale will not be crushed when they see hundreds of thousands of HA supporters marching and chanting and celebrating and flaunting their nonchalance to the rule of law and even to the very existance of a state... I say nothing...

On the other hand, and this is a very distant possibility, the demo might fail and few people might show up, in which case this may be an indication that HA's support is on the fall. Like I said, I doubt this possibility, but it has to be included for the sake of completeness I guess.


Jeha said...

in the fight for numbers, Hezb will easily win; all the others are too busy with the infighting...

Such muscle flexing shows that we are moving into a cold-civil war, in which each party wull try to show his force. But in this phase, we are beyond "March 14", which no one actually represents.

Now, money talks... The more cash Hezb shows, the more cash Saudis will dump, with Christians squeezed in the middle.

R said...


You make an excellent point with your last sentence about the Christians being squeezed in the middle. I know it might sound counterintuitive, but probably the best way to preserve the rights of minorities, and to allow them to maintain a separate religious identity is the adoption of a secular state system. But as a first step, HA must be defeated...

Jeha said...

I am no big fan of Taef, but it has some good elements there. It should be tried.

A secular system alone will revert back to a Syrian-like system; nominally secular, effectively in the hands of a single group. The key, I think, is the decentralisation of money and ressources, and therefore power... Also need some effective limits on outside influx of money, which is very upsetting.

Sure, people like Sleiman would rise in such a system, but it would be Zghorta's choice to keep them, or get rid of them. Similarly, Hezb would not be "defeated"; it would maintain some strong local constituencies. In Lebanon's history, this is one of the most effective movement to appear, on par with the old Kataeb and the PSNS.

R said...

I don't think that there is anything particularly bad in Taef. Of course, one option that a secular system would follow is the syrian-type option. That would be bad. But I was thinking along the lines of a gradual secularization of the system. Say next election, 20% of the parliament would get elected on a non-sectarian basis, maybe 30 or 40% the election after... but this has to be coupled with an educational campaign, whereby the people are "taught" to think in a non-sectarian way. Unfortunately, I don't think that any of the present leadership in Lebanon has any interest in that happening, so it simply won't. Which brings us back to Taef...

I am not so convinced that a decentralization of money and resources would do more than strengthen the current sectarian leadership. They are already powerful enough, imagine them with more power. It would just feed into the old feudal system that is just beginning to die.