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A Lebanese Patriot Against Lebanese Sovereignty By: Dr. Joseph Hitti
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, April 05, 2007

I am in favor of the idea of a Chapter 7 mandate to establish the International Tribunal for Lebanon. The reasons are many, but they all center on the single most obvious fact now in evidence two years after the withdrawal of the Syrian occupation from Lebanon:

The Lebanese political leadership – loyalist and opposition alike – is either incompetent or untrustworthy. There are no statesmen in Lebanon these days, only corrupt politicians.

Months and months of dialogue. Months and months of haggling over ministerial posts in future governments. Street riots and people killed in the streets. The risk of descent into civil anarchy. Paralyzed economy and sit-ins in downtown Beirut. A war between Israel and Hezbollah. Greater emigration and fleeing of financial and intellectual capital now than under the Syrian occupation. The affiliation of the opposition with the Syrian-Iranian axis, and the loyalists with the Saudi-American axis. The return to government of the feudal warlords and criminals who caused much of the war and destruction over the past few decades, who were the collaborators with the Syrian occupation, and who pilfered the Treasury while the Lebanese were being displaced and killed.

All the above is not what the Lebanese people had in mind in their push for a free, independent and sovereign Lebanon.  If the above litany is what a "free, sovereign, and independent Lebanon" means, then I, as an ordinary Lebanese citizen, will support the encroachment of the UN over my country's sovereignty under a chapter 7 mandate only to ensure that the plight of the Lebanese people under the occupation by their own corrupt political rulers is brought to an end.

Neither the opposition nor the loyalist camp is right now the solution to the chronic problems of Lebanon. On one hand, the opposition is sold out to Syria and Iran, it includes a heavily armed militia that rejects the sovereignty of the State and is considered a terrorist organization by most of the world, and is made up of a hodge-podge of organizations and political parties whose only common objective is to prevent the International Tribunal from seeing the light of day, and thus protect Syria from prosecution. This is why Nabih Berri, the chameleon Speaker of Parliament, refuses to call Parliament to session and vote on the international tribunal. A victory by the opposition over the loyalist camp will certainly bring Lebanon to the brink of disaster since Hezbollah will have a greater say in the affairs of the country, including inching it closer to an Islamic Republic with demands for Sharia Law to become integrated into the Lebanese Constitution, and a possible long-term state of war with Israel since Hezbollah says it wants to liberate Jerusalem more so than the Shebaa Farms. This is why Hezbollah considers a Chapter 7 mandate "an act of war" because that will be the end of its blackmail of the country.

On the other hand, the loyalist camp is merely clinging to power on the basis of a very flimsy parliamentary majority, (which is the only reason they have befriended the Bush government), and is itself a hodge-podge of former criminal warlords, political money, and the traditionalists who led the country down into war since the 1970s. A victory by the loyalist camp over the opposition will ensure the return of corruption, a renewed grip by the traditional feudal and religious elites on power and the perpetuation of the structural problems that plague Lebanon's political life. No wonder then that the Maronite Patriarch, who has watched with staggering impotence his own Christian community be reduced to nothing by war and emigration over 35 years, is also against a Chapter 7 mandate. In other words, neither side really wants Chapter 7 because it threatens to actually solve Lebanon's decades-old problem and it also threatens the power base on which both sides rely to maintain their grip on power at the expense of the real needs and wants of the Lebanese people.

Given this state of affairs, the Lebanese people should understand that only an international intervention will save the country from its external foes and from its internal sickness. The focus should be on the Lebanese people themselves and not on their leaders or their government. Political bickering over power and seats in government does nothing to lift the country out of its sickness. Lebanon's history is replete with episodes of troubles (triggered externally but maintained internally) punctuated by peaceful periods that were ushered when the West intervened. The 1830-1860 period was such a period, World Wars I and II saw a similar recurrence, and now is another episode in the making.

We endorse further intervention by the UN and the international community under Chapter 7 in Lebanon: Additional troops to patrol and stabilize the borders with Syria and Israel and deter any further deterioration caused by external enemies; an International Tribunal to prosecute the killers and hopefully also the corrupt, the kidnappers and other war criminals; and to stabilize the country internally sufficiently enough to allow the Lebanese people to elect people they trust and people who will actually do what governments in civilized countries should do: Fix and maintain a decent infrastructure – roads, electricity, telephone, water, schools, police, fight crime, promote employment and the economy. Those are the things that people care about, and not whether Aoun becomes president or whether Hariri becomes prime minister or whether Nasrallah talked to God last night to confirm that his rockets and gonads are bigger the Israelis'.

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