At the dawn of the second centenary of the establishment of Greater Lebanon. Paris returns to the nation in an attempt to reclaim its role as the “Caring Mother” as described by the Lebanese. In its return it warns of the possibility of civil war and the collapse of Lebanon while inexplicably bargaining with those who directly use the threat of civil war. Paris proceeds to negotiate for any remaining shared interest between the two, even at the expense of the Lebanon that was or could have been after October 17th.
Read more: A Tempting Final Settlement For Lebanon
The question remains: Is this poor judgement by the French? Or is it a beginning of a renewed form of imperialism. The cataclysm at Beirut Port provided an unexpected opportunity which they decided to snatch promptly. Relying on selective analysis of the Lebanese situation, they decided to make use of Lebanon’s minority alliances and their temptations to grasp a foothold on the Mediterranean and take a bigger role in the region employing a new balance of power.
The poor judgement by the French is no different than that of the Russians in Syria. Under the pretext of preserving its interests and protecting the Syrian state, the latter eradicated all hopes of change. Moreover, in order to oppose Turkish ambitions in the region, they sought the help of the Iranians. This is what the French are repeating in Lebanon this time around. Now at the height of its push against Turkey between Libyan and Lebanese Tripoli, France is imposing on the large proportion of the Lebanese population who took to the streets on October 17th a settlement whose conditions were set by Iran.
At the dawn of the second centenary, Paris and its Iranian benefactors are forcing on Lebanon a new mandate government in vivid contrast to the historic principles of the first independent state of 1943 as well as the 1989 Taif Agreement that ended the civil war. The new government will solidify the rule of the armed militias and will revive a new identity similar to old identities that resulted in hefty prices Lebanon had to incur in the form of internal conflict and external subordination.
When it came to assignment of the Prime Minister and the formation of the cabinet, Paris and Tehran did not hesitate to subdue the foundational principles of Lebanon and bargaining with its ruling principles. They disregarded the societal transformation that took place on October 17th and August 4th. However, their dilemma is best described by Italian Philosopher Antonio Gramsci when he said that: “The crisis is precisely the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born.” They persist in ignoring the reality that the “October Revolution” laid the first centenary to rest, and the Beirut Port explosion ended all chances in a new centenary under their terms. The mandate government, to be formed by Mustafa Adib, following his appointment as PM, exemplifies the reality that is the French disavowal of Lebanon while securing a new opportunity for Tehran to complete its coup against the state. During that, they will absorb the societal repercussions of the revolution which refuses to surrender to the Shiite political will as it prepared to inherit the remains of the Maronite and Sunni Hegemonies.
In Lebanon, its unnecessary to exclude or subjugate other groups in order to establish authority. What Paris and Tehran fail to see is that the structure they are trying to keep afloat in Lebanon needs a new pact to secure some legitimacy. What the Maronites in 1943 conceded cannot be picked up by Shiites; no matter how far their influence has reached in 2020. No matter how often the Shiite influence temporarily succeeds in excluding the most qualified candidate for the position of PM; Nawaf Salam will remain in the hearts and minds of the Lebanese people as the condition for moving forward towards a new Lebanon. The birth of a second Lebanon however, it seems, will require an architect to supervise and sponsor the new social pact– Precisely as Riad Al Solh did in the 1943.