Lebanon’s Election Debate and the Arab Political Crisis

Article Summary
The debate on the Lebanese election law has crossed a red line and now borders on civil-war discourse, which echoes throughout the entire Arab world and may cause further divisions, argues Talal Salman.

Even before Lebanon became a political entity, its intelligentsia contributed greatly to their fellow Arabs, including — most dangerously of all — making Arabs aware of themselves, of their place in the world and of their right to decide their own fate.

Today, the Lebanese political class — most of whom have nothing to do with thought or literature — is providing the Arabs with a quick and effective recipe for dismantling their states and spreading a civil-war atmosphere using religious, sectarian and even racial affiliations that strike at the cohesiveness of one people within one state.

In the past, the Lebanese elite gave the Arabs a roadmap to liberation and independence, as a prelude to uniting politically behind common goals that would lead them to strength and progress, and would make up for the eras of slavery, occupation and denial of identity.

But today's Lebanese political class is prepared to provide a model that would divide the nation into religious, sectarian and perhaps even racial cantons, after those religions and sects had been successfully united as one people in an entity with a unique sectarian makeup.

The malice and hate-filled squabbling and wrangling is a prelude to sorting out partners and neighbors, who have been so in the past and will remain to be so in the future, in the name of democracy.

The Lebanese political class has been highly visible on local and satellite television, as well as in Arab and international newspapers and magazines, as they try to demonstrate that national unity will harm the “sectarian entity” of Lebanon and as they make the case that each community should independently choose its representatives. But the “language” they and their followers are using has crossed a red line and now sounds like civil-war discourse.

This religious and sectarian discourse is happening in Lebanon, but its echo reaches Egypt, North Africa, Libya — whose people have not united since Moammar Gadhafi's fall — and Sudan. The last was divided by its dictatorship and may experience even more divisions for racial reasons.

The election law controversy has presented the political class with an opportunity to reveal its hatred toward citizens and its desire to do away with their “unity” at any cost — including civil war. The political class sees nothing in common among Lebanese citizens, who were brought together by geographic coincidence as “peoples,” and believe that it is better for each “people” to separate itself into its own canton, which would then prove its superiority to other cantons through war or peace.

To accomplish this, it would be necessary to break religions into sects, which may turn Lebanon into ten or fifteen different entities. And after the sect will come race: Arab, Syriac, Assyrian, Chaldean, Phoenician, Turkish, Turkmen and descendants of the crusaders.

If that plan succeeds in Lebanon, it will definitely become the future of Syria, Iraq and perhaps the Arabian Peninsula — where instead of sects they have tribes — and inevitably result in deadly conflict.

Lebanon has already paid the price for breaking the people's unity. They now want Lebanon to pay the price for breaking its political entity. Syria, whose unity is also threatened, will pay a much bigger price. Then it will be Iraq's turn, where oil wealth may be used as a reason for division, whereby the “rich” entities in the south and north will gain independence, leaving behind the west with parts of the north in poverty.

Is the Lebanese political class aware of this danger, or are they blinded by their own political interests and posts?

The battle waged by the political class is part of a foreign plan to break up the region, its countries and its people, and to keep them busy with civil wars that would end only after the Levant has been broken up into cantons and provinces, which would keep Israel safe.

It is no secret that there are those in Israel, America and Europe who plot based on the belief that Israel is the Levant’s only “country,” with cantons and provinces around it, exactly as was the case with Antioch and Edessa at the time of the crusades.

It is incredible how much damage the progeny of Lebanon’s “democracy” can do. It is incredible how damaging it is to export the Lebanese model to our Arab brothers, who have always been impressed by the fact that Lebanon’s ski centers, nightclubs and cafes are located right next to places of worship — and which make this small nation a microcosm of the entire world.

Found in: syrian crisis, sectarianism, lebanon, lebanese sectarian balance, lebanese politics, lebanese civil war, arab spring, arab

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