Was the battle to establish the Hariri tribunal a battle fought, or a battle won without a real fight? And is the battle for Nahr El Bared the first of many to come, or the only battle current circumstances allow?
LBC viewers Thursday night who watched Saad Hariri's interview with Marcel Ghanem saw a victorious Saad Hariri, inarticulate as ever, extending an olive branch to Hizbullah. Saad, perhaps asked by the Saudis to give Iran a chance, decided Hizbullah was no longer an Iranian tool—but almost a victim, like all other Lebanese, of an Assad regime plot to destroy Lebanon. The son of Rafik Hariri said it was not normal for him not to be meeting with Nasrallah "in a country like Lebanon", calling for "turning a new page". He also called for dialogue between the Future movement and Hizbullah, in a way reminiscent of the calls for dialogue Hizbullah made after they thought they won the Lebanese street, thinking they could impose their way. In fact, the difference between Saad and Hassan Thursday night was little. If you substituted "Syrian" with "American" or "Israeli", you'll get nearly the same discourse, and the same disregard for state institutions.
If Saad cannot articulate his thoughts, and is verbally stuck between the Saudis and Jumblatt, Nasrallah, he must know, has no genuine interest in the state's institutions. For that, Saad Hariri and his March 14 are foolish to pause the fight and pretend they could turn a new page as if nothing had happened, as if the cabinet were not still under siege, and Hizbullah not casting doubt over the army's operation to (partially) root out terrorism.
The reminder came from Berri on Friday: there can be no dialogue until the government resigns. So Saad had better eat his words and remember that the city his father rebuilt is divided and occupied by a militia. And as Rafik realized too late, a country cannot be built on compromises with thugs and pseudo-political parties.
One wonders whether, had the Syrians not killed Rafik Hariri, the Future Movement would be battling the Assad regime today. This is a question to be answered elsewhere, perhaps. However, winning the battle against the Damascus thugs (and Hizbullah, I must add) requires a serious evaluation of past strategies, including those taken by the Hariri father before the assassination. Sadly, Saad has not evolved, politically speaking, to the level that allows him to rise above being a chieftain, and become a visionary. He probably never had the time, but how is that the fault of the country? Lebanon is in dire need of visionaries, and those leading the battle are still not producing real visions for the future. Even if they're called the Future Movement.
Meanwhile, it pains me to see the battle in north yielding only temporary victory. The Lebanese army will likely succeed in controlling the territory that the state, and its so called leaders, gave away and give away every day a decision is made outside the legitimate institutions. I am hoping this will be a lesson that we must work from within these institutions, no matter how faulty they are (which can be fixed). Otherwise, we will fight a different battle every year, without any long-term successes.