Ascribing failure to March 14 at this time is not fair. To say they failed is to say they lost a military battle. They haven’t. The pro-March 14 government did not fail either. They may have, in their own way, backed down, transferring decision making to the Lebanese army, an unheard of measure in a country where the military should be following orders, not making up its own. But the battle for Lebanon is not over yet, although the chances of Lebanon recovering are diminishing.
I know many of you are angry at March 14 and Siniora. You have every right. I am too. They have blown many chances in the past. But in this past episode, something must be said about the decision to not fight back. Hizbullah feeds on violence, and Jumblatt especially, did not want them to have it. He did not want Shia blood on his hands, this I believe. It took him a long time to wash off Christian blood, and if this country is to continue being a nation for all its sects, March 14, a peaceful movement, cannot turn into Hizbullah. That's why there was something tragic about their turning to the state's army, which they knew could not protect them, but turned to it nevertheless because it is a state institution.
Let’s direct our anger at the right people. Hizbullah today, and Amal, stand responsible for stirring an unprecedented amount of hatred towards the Shia community, and widening the sectarian rift. And Michel Suleiman, who watched the masked criminals shoot people and sabotage the media, also stands responsible.
It doesn’t matter if this was a March 14 trap or not. It doesn't seem like one anymore. I don't think there are benefits from a trap that results in a sectarian rift. Hizbullah has made it extremely difficult for the country and for the Shia community to co-exist. This is the tragic consequence of their irresponsible and criminal behavior of the past 4 days. This might not be the end of it. Some people will not forget, or forgive. And Lebanon Shias will have tough times ahead of them. And so will the rest of the population, which now has little faith in the institution March 14, who trusted, whether out of helplessness, shrewdness or even stupidity: the Lebanese military.
I didn’t need to hear it from Samir Geagea today. Suleiman should have the done the most basic thing—protect citizens and their properties. The fracture threat is bogus. It's either already divided or whole. No soldier in this army should desert if asked to protect a citizen. If so, then he does not belong in the army, funded by taxpayers. Hizbullah, and a good number of their followers, don’t even pay this army’s salaries. Those who do deserved a better treatment. The army withdrew from the path of Hizbullah and Amal, watched them from a distance as they erected new borders inside the country and terrorized the population. This is unforgivable behavior.
The events of the last three days not only undermined the military institution, but may have convinced some in March 14 to regret their decision to support the candidacy of Suleiman for president (Even Siniora's address included hints that the army did not fulfill its responsibilities). Sadly, when you partake in circumventing the constitution, you cannot expect the state institutions to protect you, or protect the people. When you expect a pro-Syrian appointee to act against the interests of his former masters, you can’t expect him to protect you. Geagea today stopped short of withdrawing his backing for him, hinting that he had never been enthusiastic about the army commander's candidacy.
The Kalam El Nass interviews with the Future News journalists said it all about the army and Hizbullah. An army officer acted as a messenger for Hizbullah, and accompanied them inside Future TV’s building to cut cables and shut down the station.
Those former colleagues of mine delivered the harshest verdict against the state’s only remaining functioning institution, and against the people they once helped. Future TV is not perfect. They lack a lot, as do other media in the country. But this partiucular station has done more for this “resistance” than any other station in Lebanon. The Hariri Foundation they attacked still funds the education and medical treatment of Qana survivors, and has taken the cause of Lebanese children victims of Israeli violence to the UN more than once.
Here is an excerpt from Sahar Khatib’s interview, a Future TV journalist who went out of her way to represent the point of view of the “opposition” on her show, as she should have, only to be rewarded with terror.