The jubilation of ordinary citizens happy to see the occupation of downtown Beirut ending failed to leave an impression on those who are convinced the Doha agreement was an act of surrender to Hizbullah.
After more than 18 months of occupation and recently, use of force against citizens, some critics are telling Lebanese people that their government has just signed their country away to the Iranian-Syrian axis. The culpable party, March 14, is accused of selling out, whether out of weakness, or sheer stupidity.
In July 2006, this blog was fiercely anti-war, and anti-Hizbullah. When this last war broke out, my first impulse, which remained unpublished, was to call for the resignation of the Siniora cabinet, and holding new elections, in order to avoid an unnecessary and foolish war, and to produce fresh options. Today, I cannot but note March 14's success in steering the country away from the trap that was laid by the warmongers.
Over the past weeks, Jumblatt and Hariri, and others, were driven by a single idea: avoiding war. This country, folks, cannot survive another civil war between its communities. Your commitment to an independent and free Lebanon cannot exist in vacuum. The agreement they signed was not ideal, it was the best possible solution, to paraphrase Geagea. Its perceived weakness may have been in giving in to Hizbullah and giving them veto power. But its strength is in deferring to the state's institutions, and committing parties to never resorting to violence to achieve political gains. Whether or not they will honor this commitment is another story that is worthy of follow up, and also worthy of turning into a fresh starting point.
The battle for Lebanon is not over, but at least it's off the streets. If you subscribe to the notion that Hizbullah suffered political defeat by using their guns domestically, then you have to allow yourself to also believe that they will think long and hard before they venture into another occupation and assault on Lebanese citizens.
March 14 was stuck, as was Lebanon, between regional existential battles (and in its own). This isn't in defense of the politicians who make up the coalition. But going to war was never an option. And if peace isn't achievable, then truce and "coexistence" is good enough, until those around us, friends and foes, figure out their place in this universe, and settle their scores outside our border. We are not alone, nor are we free. Look at Iraq, Syria and Israel, and quit thinking that the world revolves around Lebanon. We're too small, too divided, and too weak to have the kind of superheroes that other, more advanced, cultures sold us in fairy tales. The best we can do, at this time, is to avoid killing each other in the name of a battle that will bring defeat if it ever becomes red in tooth and claw.