Special Dispatch - Lebanon/Reform in the Arab & Muslim World
August 25, 2003
Lebanese Daily Decries Hizbullah Activity Against Israel
In an August 14, 2003 editorial in the Lebanese Christian daily Al-Nahar,(1)
Editor Jubran Tweini attacked Hizbullah's renewed activity against Israel in
Southern Lebanon and the inability of the Lebanese government to impose its
military authority there. The following are excerpts from the editorial:
With a Powerless Government, Lebanon is a Jungle
"Who determines military actions in the south [of Lebanon]? We, as Lebanese,
have a right to know how these types of decisions are made, [decisions] that
directly affect all of Lebanon and all Lebanese.
"It is our right to know if Hizbullah alone makes these decisions and on
what basis they do so. Is it Syria who makes the decisions and passes orders
onto the Hizbullah? Is it Iran? Lebanon? And what is the strategy? It is our
right to know and even participate in such critical decisions; otherwise,
Lebanon is a jungle with no central decision-making authority.
"The Lebanese country, and particularly the government of Lebanon, as the
executive authority responsible for policy-making, must be directly
responsible for Hizbullah operations in the south, since it purports to be a
country of laws and institutions that has full sovereignty on the entire
land of Lebanon. However, essentially, we know that it is not the country
that determines the perpetuation of military operations in the south, and
that Lebanon has no strategy in this area...
"It can be said that the government's powerlessness, and the fact that it
does not shoulder its national responsibility, have, in the eyes of the
world, made it chiefly responsible for the breaches of peace in southern
Lebanon - though some of its members attempt, through communiqués and
statements, to conceal Hizbullah and its operations."
Hizbullah: A State Within a State
"We are not saying we must relinquish our right to oppose the enemy [meaning
Israel] in order to liberate the Sheb'a Farms. But the main problem is who
determines the timing and location of operations. Our controversy with
Hizbullah centers on the fact that it has no right to exist as an armed
movement within the state, especially following the Taif agreement. The
Hizbullah has no right to operate as a state within a state, as a fait
accompli, and to carry out its own policies as if there were no government
institutions or people in its midst. It cannot be that the initiative to use
force against Israel lies in Hizbullah's hands. [This initiative] must lie
in the hands of all Lebanese in order to formulate an overall national
decision and clear strategy.
"Who told Hizbullah and its allies in the government and in the country that
all Lebanese agree with its policies, which cause Lebanon serious losses of
life and material? Or, that its strategy is the correct strategy for this
situation? Who gave it the right to make a decision that comes at the
expense of other Lebanese? Is it not clear that war-and-peace decisions are
made at the national level, by a government that represents all the people?
"We want to know, honestly, who supports the exclusive right of Hizbullah to
conduct operations from Lebanese territory, according to its will and the
will of its regional partners. We want to hear a clear position, and not
'diplomatic' declarations supporting the problem but not clarifying if they
actually support the operation, the decision-making [that led to it] and its
implementation - unless the ghost of fear - of whom? - has taken control of
those responsible and put a damper on them and their independent
The Greatest Gift to Israel: Justification for an Attack
"Does the government [of Lebanon] not know we have enough social and
economic problems, and there is no need to add another blow that is likely
to lead to an Israeli response during tourist season, a response that might
harm, for example, the infrastructure and electricity? Or, perhaps the
authorities 'hope' that Israel will strike electrical facilities in order to
justify the shameful rationing of electricity and place the blame on Israel?
"What justification is there in conducting military operations and taking on
the burden of the response they draw, and later complaining to the Security
Council, while the group conducting the operation - Hizbullah - does not
recognize the authority of the UN and personally attacks its
Secretary-General, Kofi Annan? What is the use of turning to the Security
Council at a time when [Lebanon] refuses to fulfill the Security Council's
and Secretary-General's recommendations regarding the deployment of the army
along the border, and at a time when Hizbullah does not recognize
international authority and rejects the 'purple line?'
"Is Hizbullah's rejection of the 'purple line' not mutiny and revolution
against the position of the Lebanese government, which recognizes this
border, and is it not a sign that [Hizbullah] is a state within a state?
What would be the position of the country if the Security Council were to
meet in response to complaints - by Lebanon and Israel - and decide, not
just propose, to deploy the army in the south and cease the illegal armed
"Would Lebanon carry out the decision or oppose it - rebel against a
legitimate international resolution and give Israel the greatest gift and
the best justification for attacking Lebanon and Syria, with international
support? Or would Hizbullah oppose military deployment in the south, as did
the Palestinian resistance in 1977? Everyone knows what happened afterward
and how much it cost Lebanon."
Lebanon - Fated to Be a Negotiating Chip?
"Is it in Lebanon's interest today to forfeit international society, the
entire world, and its credibility because of this policy, which serves not
Lebanon but Hizbullah and those standing directly behind it, not to mention
Israel's interest? Does Lebanon think that we do not need international
support in order to withstand the earthquake striking the region and
threatening to topple one regime after another? Are we always fated to
implement the policy of the 'other' on our land and to give Israel
justification for derailing the road map, as happened as a result of
Palestinian resistance operations on the occupied land?
"Is it merely a coincidence that suicide operations returned to Israel at
the same time the southern front was heating up? How long will we be a
negotiating chip between Syria and America, Iran and America, and America
"We once again stress that resistance to the enemy is a legal right. But the
issue of the Sheb'a Farms must first be settled with Syria in order to gain
international support for its liberation and return. The right of
[resistance] does not belong exclusively to Hizbullah. We object to
political parties and factions holding the weapons of liberation, since
liberation of the land through diplomatic or military means is a national
issue that extends to the country's military and political institutions. We
reject Hizbullah's claim that it alone shall determine the timing of the
operations, since it is not the only landowner."
(1) Al-Nahar (Lebanon), August 14, 2003.
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