Lebanon’s Revolution Forever Ended Hezbollah’s Domination

Saturday 23 November 201912:00 am
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الثورة اللبنانية تكسر النصاب الطائفي الذي سمح لحزب الله بالهيمنة

It has been over a month since the Lebanese people took to the streets. This is not a short time at all: for the durations of popular uprisings are significantly condensed and concentrated; people cannot allow the country to remain alit for long periods. Yet despite this, the Lebanese people are still assembling in protest and taking the initiative when the situation requires it.

Despite an astounding vibrancy and dynamism exhibited by the Lebanese in attempting to take control of their destiny and force it out of the hands of those who insisted on impoverishing, marginalizing and neglecting them, revolutions are exhausting and weigh heavily on both the revolutionaries as well as those who they revolt against.

Accordingly, it is not strange for many who participated in the uprising to feel depressed and downbeat, while others launch immature initiatives in an effort to keep the flame of the revolution shining bright. It is not strange that others would object to these initiatives which they consider to be a reason for the decline in the people's enthusiasm. But all of these symptoms can not obscure the new Lebanon.

Critical Junctures

It is possible today, following these historic weeks, for one to affix two critical points in the trajectory of Lebanese history, which find consensus amongst both the revolutionaries and their opponents, regardless of discourses that attempt to deny, condemn or patronize the new reality.

Firstly: the disruption of the Lebanese socio-political threshold against Hezbollah's interests, whereby the party and its allies are no longer able to counterbalance their traditional opponents or prevail against them. Up to this point, and after it was able to recruit the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) to its camp, Hezbollah was able to alter the socio-political balance in its favor.

The FPM is directly responsible for enabling Hezbollah, an armed group that is able to threaten its adversaries, to lead the Lebanese political scene and impose its conditions on society and politics alike, after the balance of the country was not in its favor during the period that followed the assassination of the former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri. Hezbollah's security hegemony would not have been translated politically were it not for its reliance on a strong Maronite force in the face of its opponents, which left the country almost split equally in terms of representation and scale of support.

However, the Lebanese revolution, hurt Hezbollah most and in record time as it transformed the FPM from a broad-based popular movement to a semi-closed party, one which cannot face the revolting street with its own base. This was readily evident in the weak counter protest that the ruling coalition called for in Baabda and the environs of the presidential palace.

Overturning the new equation that #Lebanon’s revolution has entrenched will not be possible by torture or arrests, or by directing accusations at those participating in the revolution left and right
Lebanon’s Revolution has won on too many fronts, but the mother of all victories is the futility of any Free Patriotic Movement and Hezbollah alliances or resurrections in any shape or form

Secondly: the collapse of the sectarian settlement that Hezbollah sought to build stone by stone since at least 2015. Throughout the past few years, Hezbollah strived to subjugate the other Lebanese political parties to serve its interests. The party was unable to govern alone, firstly due to the composition of the Lebanese regime which is composed of various sects which have their own weight in the internal political equation, and are able to threaten other sects when they receive external support; furthermore, they naturally control areas that are almost demographically homogenous, and which cannot be easily infiltrated by any other domestic party no matter its strength.

Thus, Hezbollah could find no escape from the necessity of reaching a settlement which entrenches its superiority in the administration of the country and the determination of its sovereign affairs, with the participation of other sects which were tasked with rehabilitating the image of Hezbollah which is rejected internationally – as well as trying to promote a 'necessary settlement' in international fora which can enable Hezbollah to survive the international isolation imposed on it - through an international opening to the other components of the country - in order to avoid a collapse that no international party wants to see happen. This explains Europe’s interest in seeking to reproduce the settlement that heavily favored Hezbollah, sometimes through supporting Hariri's reformist program; at other times through offering to help Lebanon avoid financial and economic collapse; and at other times still through sending delegates to attempt to rebuild the settlement that has collapsed because of the revolution.

The Lebanese revolution has succeeded in shattering the spine of this settlement. Samir Geagea explicitly walked out on it while there is more space now for Walid Jumblatt and Saad al-Hariri to criticize and oppose it. Currently, these three parties are risking all of their gains accrued while in power, without any guarantees, in order to attempt to lead the revolution and speak in its name, in order for it to remain within an inclusive settlement that in reality only seeks to lengthen Hezbollah's hegemony over the country's destiny and capabilities, and leaves Lebanon rejected in its region – for nothing other than the fact that Hezbollah's leaders are unwilling to relinquish their securitized logic in dealing with the affairs of neighboring countries and intervening in the affairs of countries in a way that Lebanon has no interest in, and can no longer afford the ensuing consequences.

Ultimately, the " March 14" alliance is no longer a part of the settlement that brought Michel Aoun to the presidency. Consequently, Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement have today become, both constitutionally and on the street, unable to keep their control of the country's destiny and capabilities, or suspend its future; they are unable to impose their positions on the weak parties in the presidential settlement. The Hezbollah-Aoun alliance is unable to rule according to Lebanon's political pact and charter, and it is likely that the next few days – not least after Mohammed Safadi declined the request to form a government – will prove that this coalition is unable to retain control of the country constitutionally.

The Revolution Challenges Authority

It is not a secret that the crisis that the Lebanese authority is living through today is a direct result of this revolution. These are achievements that no one, not least the Hezbollah-Aoun coalition, should take lightly. Overturning the new equation that this revolution has entrenched will not be possible by torturing or arresting activists, or by directing various accusations at those participating in the revolution left and right. These are measures that cannot enter into politics from any door and are vengeful procedures which will not alter the new political equation and will not succeed in changing public opinion.

It should be noted that these points do not fully summarize the revolution's achievements. For there are other accomplishments that are no less important than those aforementioned. But this article sought to clearly illustrate the dissolution and disintegration of the ruling authority, and has not focused on what the revolution has succeeded in building from the foundations of the country's future.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect Raseef22

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