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||What Lebanon Should Tell Hizbu’Allah
Tarek Heggy [author]
Here is the letter that Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora should send Hizbu’Allah leader Hassan Nassr’Allah:
When you crossed Lebanon's border to attack Israel and kidnap two Israeli soldiers, on July 12, I told our country's cabinet, "The Lebanese government does not endorse this operation." The Saudi and Jordanian monarchs, as well as Egypt's president called it "a hazardous undertaking." When, however, the Israelis responded by attacking Lebanon, I did not repeat this statement, since it was necessary to maintain a unity among Lebanese and avoid internal clashes while the country faced a war.
Today, however, the fighting is over and so I can reiterate what I said before: we as the legally elected government of Lebanon will not and cannot endorse such an operation.
Tarek Heggy- Columnist
No country in the world other than Lebanon has two bodies making the decisions that determine its fate. All political and military decisions are made by a government which, in democracies like Lebanon, has been legally elected by the people. But our luck has dictated that we recognized a "Palestinian state" within Lebanon in the 1970's; then, a "Syrian military and intelligence state" up until recently; and now a "Hizbu’Allah State." Our people and government would like Lebanon to be like the rest of the countries, one with a single government which makes decisions and a single army which takes commands from that government.
Now is the time to implement this system as the only legal and logical option. Don't tell me: "You say this out of fear of Israeli attacks" because we faced Israeli attacks because of your combatants. Military action in Lebanon must remain solidly in the hands of the Lebanese army. Surrender your militia to the single authority, Lebanon's elected government. There is no party in the world which reviews its troops in the streets of our capital without permission from the government, as Hizbu’Allah did.
All Lebanese facilities and infrastructure are property of the Lebanese people. No one may take any steps which may expose them to destruction without the permission of the Lebanese people through its elected representatives, who constitute the government of Lebanon. I can state with certainty that a majority of the Lebanese people have authorized neither you nor Hizbu’Allah to undertake operations like the one you carried out last July 12.
Solving the country's problems and managing its foreign relations is the job of the government. Recovering Lebanese citizens held prisoners abroad is a matter for the government to handle through negotiations. No reasonable person will agree that this is a reason for hundreds of Lebanese citizens to die, for Lebanon to be set back twenty years economically and with regard to her infrastructure, and for a million Lebanese to be driven out of their homes.
I entreat you to grant those who oppose your point of view within Lebanon the right to see the honor inherent in building a state whose inhabitants live under thriving political, economic and social conditions. Our esteem for the value of life is more civilized (in our point of view and that of the world) than your esteem for the value of death.
I entreat you to acquiesce to the point of view of the majority of Lebanese who do not agree with your definition of victory. They disagree with you regarding what constitutes honor and glory. The modern criteria for these values have nothing to do with killing and revenge but rather intellectual, political, economic and social growth and progress. The honor of Japan (a country without an army) has skyrocketed because of the genius of its citizens in their work, progress, success and growth. After being attacked by atomic bombs in 1945, Japan has chosen to establish its power and honor through work and common sense, not through violence.
Lebanon has had enough of "proxy wars," for we are a modern country with an elected government, and not anyone's contractor. Lebanon is "Lebanese" first and foremost. It is true that Lebanon has Arab, Muslim and Christian ties, but these are second to the idea that, "Lebanon is Lebanon before all else."
Hizbu’Allah will be held accountable for any further misguided campaigns. The Lebanese government must be the one to make all political decisions, especially those which involve the military and war. The Lebanese government must decide the shape and form of every aspect of its relations with Israel. If Hizbu’Allah disagrees, there will be another misguided campaign for which Lebanon will have to pay a high price.
I encourage you to enter quickly into talks with the Lebanese government to put an end to Hizbu’Allah taking the form of a state within a state. You will not gain from any attempt to prevent this crisis from ending, and if you try, it will bring unimaginable destruction to Lebanon. I am absolutely certain that any further such misguided calculations (like those behind the July 12, 2006 aggression) will lead either to the partition of Lebanon, or to its occupation, or to both partition and occupation.
I know that it is not easy for you to grant the elected Lebanese government its mandate to manage the future of Lebanon. But without this mandate and the cessation of activity of any sort by those who see themselves as an alternative to an elected government, the future will be even worse (many, many times worse) than the black days which began on Wednesday July 12, 2006. CRO
2006 Tarek Heggy