Don’t the Lebanese people have the right to denounce the non-respect of the constitutional deadlines? Do they not have the right to be surprised that a new president has not been elected at the end of the reign of the occupant of the palace, and to apprehend the long-awaited electoral results, which suddenly suggest a new problem?
Don’t they have the right to condemn the attempts to transform the government formation process into a showdown that awakens all kinds of sectarianism and quotas?
Do the Lebanese have the right to be shocked by the failure of the existing institutions to assume their role of preserving the interests of the country and the people, and by solutions imposed from outside, by the force of the street or weapons?
Don’t they have the right to be surprised to see politicians putting their personal interests above any other consideration?
Is it normal that they see their economy collapsing under thoughtless authority? Is it strange to see the main players in the country indifferent to the figures of unemployment, hunger and the tragedies of those who jump on the “boats of death”?
The Lebanese people certainly do not have the right to condemn or be shocked, because their country is suffering from a national and institutional immunodeficiency disease.
Lebanon has been subjected to a systematic process of destruction, which has struck its institutions, its spirit, its meaning and its role. Some hoped that the colossal devastation of this Arab state would be a deterrent lesson for all countries struggling between a difficult heritage and a very complex present.
The Iraqi politician adheres to hope, betting on young people who descend on the squares to denounce the corrupt and the losers.
But this time, I sensed a bit of desperation in his words.
“They say Russia can only be ruled by a strongman,” he said. “Iraq is the same; but we have tried the strongman’s republic and it has led us to total ruin. Today, we no longer have a strong man in power. The powerful reside outside offices and institutions, weakening the state at home and in the face of outside intervention. I wish we were like Russia. The strong man organized a democracy there according to his own terms and in a thoughtful architecture. But here he is sending his army to Ukraine on a more dangerous adventure than Saddam Hussein sending the army to Kuwait.
The Iraqi politician expressed his deep concern for the coming days, warning of an endless struggle between Nouri al-Maliki and Muqtada al-Sadr, stressing that Iraq would welcome two strong men, in the absence of a culture of respect for institutions and the domination of the mentality of eliminating the other.
Is it true that we learn nothing from our history and the heavy price our countries have paid? Is it true that we pretend to preach and then repeat the dramas under different titles and new slogans?
Iraq cannot house two strong men. It is said by more than one politician, as if it were destined to live to the tunes of a single musician. Otherwise, the country will drown in fear and remain threatened with bloodshed, waiting for something resembling a civil war. Experiences are hard. Abdel-Salam Aref was a full partner in the revolution alongside Abdel-Karim Qasim. The friendship did not last long, because power kills friendships and affection.
The leader did not hesitate to marginalize Aref and humiliate him. In 1963, in the radio house where Qasim was taken, Aref did not accept the losing leader’s trip abroad, nor his survival, so the country fell back into the hands of the only musician.
Iraq knew a republic of strong man in the absence of any institution which delimits the borders, the rights and the capacities. Terror was the only partner of the mighty ruler.
The country’s president, in turn, was afraid of the strongman whose nickname was the deputy, Mr. Saddam Hussein.
Minister Hamid al-Jubouri told me that he once got angry and went to President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr’s office and informed him of his intention to resign. Al-Bakr’s response was strange, as he said, “And who will accept my resignation?” Al-Jubouri concluded that he should ignore the resignation until the president dares to make such a move.
Let’s leave the past and its lessons behind. Would Turkey have attacked targets on Iraqi soil if Iraqi institutions had been allowed to assume their role and if the Iraqi decision had been allowed to be made when needed? The answer is known. The current crisis between Baghdad and Ankara reminds us of geographical fate, which means that Iraq is the weaker side of the Iraqi-Turkish-Iranian triangle. It must of course be kept in mind that Tehran and Ankara did not experience the inability to form a government.
Over the past two years, Iraq has sent promising signs of emerging from an era of failure, violence and destruction. The government of Mustafa Al-Kadhimi gave the impression of having listened to the voice of young people, who called for the fight against corruption, poverty and unemployment, and an end to the militias.
The government has succeeded in inventing a role that qualifies the country to be an actor rather than an arena. Baghdad has hosted a number of regional meetings, including the Saudi-Iranian dialogue.
Al-Kadhimi walked the tightrope of internal balances and regional and international issues. However, the winds that blew in the aftermath of the elections threaten to squander the gains that have been made domestically and internationally.
It is not easy at all for Iraq, ten months after the legislative elections, not to be able to elect a president and form a new government. The disruption of institutions comes in a very difficult situation internationally, regionally and internally.
Just look at the crises: the Russian war in Ukraine, the decline in the prestige of international law and the return of the language of force as a means of communication between states; as well as the Iranian file, with the nuclear agreement and the policy of destabilization.
These come on top of Iraq’s accumulated problems, including unemployment, poverty, food prices, desertification, drought and the failure of development efforts due to battles between the powerful, and following interventions, all of which restore tension in the Iraqi structure. , and raise the specter of a component crisis.
There is no other solution for Iraq than to fortify itself and work under an institutional structure. The country has no interest in dissolving its institutions in a sea of militias, missiles and drones. Chaos will only produce more despair and bloodshed.
I hope the Iraqi forces will carefully understand the story of the Lebanese people killed.