Lebanese Crisis (I): March 14 Reaps the Benefits

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (www.al-akhbar.com).

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MP Boutros Harb, a prominent member of March 14, was the recent target of an attempted assassination. (Photo: Marwan Tahtah)

Published Monday, July 9, 2012

The past few weeks saw many events that are seemingly causing major changes in the Lebanese political scene. Al-Akhbar takes a look at how some of the major players in Lebanon see the recent events.

The Future Movement seeks to pick up the pieces following the split with its allies in the most recent parliamentary session.

This explains “[Future Bloc head Fouad] Siniora’s initiative to resume contacts with front-row March 14 leaders, guaranteeing that they will not attend any session boycotted by the allies,” according to sources in the movement.

“The movement does not wish for any disagreement with its allies on the issue of the [striking public sector] contract workers, which we consider to be a small detail,” a Future MP said.

Meanwhile, the bloc had recognized “the remarks that led March 14 allies to boycott the [most recent] legislative session, pertaining to the management of parliamentary sessions, the need to enhance transparency, and to adjust the performance of parliamentary work,” the MP continued.

Nevertheless, a Future Movement parliamentary source maintains that there should be “total separation of the contract workers issue and the management of sessions.” He adds that they “acted in a manner which implied that there is no sectarian split on the issue.”

“But our decision to boycott the session under the banner of the contract workers, was untruthful and unsound. It was in the framework of political appeasement which would partially impede the sectarian division,” he explained.

As for the political implications of the legislation concerning the contract workers, which spilled into the March 8 alliance, another Future Bloc MP considers that “the apparent contradiction between the [Free Pariotic Movement (FPM)] and Hezbollah today had occurred several times in the past, without cancelling their agreement.”

He said that the real reason for the problem is “[FPM leader General Michel] Aoun’s incessant compulsion to appease his son-in-law [energy minister Gebran Bassil].”

Members of the Future Movement are trying to reap “the contradictions that appeared on the surface.”

They bet on appearing concerned about the opinion of their Christian partners in the confrontation with Hezbollah and Amal Movement who disagree with their own ally on a sectarian basis.

But this does not stop the Future Movement from pointing fingers at their Christian allies.

What they did in the parliament was “politically foolish as it accorded Aoun a service on a silver platter.”

Contained Rapprochement

“Maximum gloating” summarizes the position of the Lebanese Forces (LF) from the renewed crisis between the FPM and Hezbollah.

Throughout the years that followed the memorandum of understanding between Hezbollah and the FPM, [LF leader] Samir Geagea failed to push even a single wedge between.

But he grabbed at the opportunity provided by the contract workers file, which he had been anticipating for a long time.

The shouting from [Aoun headquarters] in Rabieh reached the parliament.

The “strategic alliance” between the two Shia parties and the “strongest Christian” seemed as brittle as glass when faced with the legislation that sought to fix the status of the daily workers in Electricite Du Liban (EDL).

The echoes reached Geagea in his Mehrab headquarters. He incited his MP Georges Adwan: this is our chance, let us stand by Aoun in form, who cares about the content.

Christian March 14 sources say that Geagea is sending three messages to his adversaries before his allies.

On the legislative and legal level, the LF does not object to meeting with anyone, no matter how far on the left of its politics.

This is on the condition that it conforms with Lebanon’s constitution, laws, the Taif Agreement, and “the alloted distribution between Muslims and Christians.”

On the political level, Geagea is the captain of March 14, its navigator, and the one who holds the political compass.

He marched on and carried on his coattails “the March 14 Sunnis against [Amal Movement leader Nabih] Berri. The only MP to sing out of tune was deputy speaker Farid Makari.

On the sectarian level, Geagea was able to steer March 14 into a unified position, even though it was in support of Aoun.

Who said that the LF and March 14 would not take aim at Berri.

“Speaker Nabih Berri shut down the parliament for two years for his own benefit. He plugged his ears so he would not hear our shouting. Thank you Michel Aoun,” as one inside source put it.


This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


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