Suffering from Stockholm Syndrome in Lebanon

The soft approach of Fuad Siniora's government toward Hezbollah disarming only prolongs the instability of the country and demonstrates a failure to accept responsibility.

The Lebanese post-conflict scene has revealed a disturbing fact. It is not only the Southerners that suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. It is also happening to the political leadership, otherwise it would be problematic (to say the least) to explain why Hezbollah is still very much in power.

Hassan Nasrallah has been widely reported as the new hero of the Arab and Muslim world. Hezbollah declared its victory and, as expected, said that it will not disarm.

What did Hezbollah win? Did it get anything new that it had not had before? Does Israel have less?

However, Hezbollah did manage to provoke a senseless war resulting in the deaths of over 1,000 Lebanese, as well as widespread destruction of their villages. It also succeeded in undermining Lebanese sovereignty, and proving once again that its objectives do not coincide with those of the country they reside in. This alone should constitute a suitable reason for the Lebanese political leadership to rethink its general policy framework, and find a way of banning the extremist parties.

Those being the circumstances, it is ludicrous to claim that Hezbollah won. Quite the opposite. It lost its monopoly over the South, which in itself is a tremendous blow, followed by the fact that although vulnerable, the Lebanese government did not collapse and the country did not fall into the civil war trap once again.

Moreover, the Lebanese soldiers have returned to a region from which the army has been virtually absent for 40 years. That is a first step in the right direction, but insufficient of itself.

The U.N. is close to organizing a force of 15,000 troops, however doubts remain as to how quickly the first units could be deployed and what their roles would be. What the U.N. troops need, and do not have, is a strong mandate. Meaning that the U.N. troops will do only what the Lebanese government will permit them to do.

The Lebanese government has been so far incapable and unwilling to fulfill U.N. Resolution 1559, and Resolution 1701 risks suffering the same fate. Pierre Maroun, a reputable analyst on Lebanese affairs and the Secretary General of the American Lebanese Coordination Council (ALCC) said that the, "UNSCR 1701 is just another U.N. resolution that is not worth the paper on which it is written. France and other European countries pressured the U.S. for it, and it turned out that Condoleeza Rice was right whe she did not want a resolution or a ceasefire that did not present real solution to the crisis. U.N. Resolution 1701 is only a ceasefire with no real value to resolving the crisis. I believe that there will be another round of fighting that will be much more violent than the one that passed. …Very sad!"

The soft approach of Fuad Siniora's government toward Hezbollah disarming only prolongs the instability of the country and demonstrates a failure to accept responsibility.

Among the shortcomings of this conflict's aftermath are the following:

  • The culpability of Syria and Iran in supplying Hezbollah logistically and with weapons has not been addressed by the U.N. resolution.
  • By refusing to hold Hezbollah accountable for its actions and thus ask its members to lay down their weapons immediately, Lebanon lost its appearance of an independent and sovereign nation.
  • Since Israel has not completely destroyed Hezbollah, it faces the prospect of facing them again in the near future.
  • The issue of Shebaa Farms, the fate of SLA (South Lebanese Army) soldiers who are in Israel, Hezbollah's weapons, possible Israel/Lebanon ties, and the omnipresent Palestinian cause remain largely unresolved.