August 4th will not only be a national occasion or just another day of mourning we commemorate as it passes by. What will happen on this day will be critical. What was tolerated before will no longer be tolerated come August 4th.
It has become clear that the President and his nephew with their ally and shield Hezbollah, along with the Prime Minister designate Najib Mikati, are preparing for this day by blackmailing the people and the families of the martyrs and wounded into passiveness. They continue to manipulate the legal system for their own benefit and convenience, as they continue to prop themselves up as the saviors of the deprived and destitute in Lebanon. When in fact, they are pinning them down deep inside the hell they were promised.
What is likely is that the President will be seeking to demonstrate his strength and reputation as the “Strong President” by naming all the Christian ministers. He knows well that he no longer has the luxury to pursue more meaningful goals after the devastating turn the country has taken during his term. It is also clear that the President and his team are arranging talks with the designate Prime Minister to ensure that goal is achieved.
What follows is another episode of sectarian tug-of-war in which Mikati and Aoun attempt to maximize the number of ministers under their control. This is of course only as long as they do not approach the Shiite piece of the pie, which is the finance ministry. The Shiite duo has only sanctioned a struggle over the rest of the pie while the Shiite portion remains the same and untouched.
The conclusion of this charade which has repeatedly played out ad nauseam, is that the political class maintains the ability to obstruct and ignite sectarian tensions. They do not want solutions that would all lead to a reduction in their influence.
Chosing Mikati as a prime minister was just an expression of their readiness to fight. Ever since Mikati was first Minister of Public Work, having been the one person to hold that position most during the Syrian guardianship, he cemented his position as one of the pillars of the Syrian regime in Lebanon. He preoccupied himself in garnering influence without making any substantial development in his own home town of Tripoli. His infamous housing loans from the Bank of Housing reflect the way he thinks about the institutions and society. For him, being a billionaire and a public servant did not prevent him from competing with small and middle income earners for subsidized housing loans
Mikati’s appointment does not bode well for a solution, but rather another attempt to subdue all public demands for change. After the state attempted to reduce the entirety of the people’s demands to one that is for sufficient fuel to survive, they quickly resumed their efforts of forming a government. This would be the most suitable for Hezbollah who has already established their guarantees of possessing the power of blocking any undesirable decisions.
The current status of suspension remains in effect, and the President and designate Prime Minister are aware of that. The formation of this new government will struggle with obstruction once more. Most analysts are predicting that the formation will stall for an extended period of time, and if it does occur, the new government will have the ability to stall any meaningful activity or reform. As long as the quota system and the same ruling class are in place, it will not be able to dig itself out of the box it was born in.
August 4th will be a test for this political establishment as well as the opposition forces and those affected. On that day, the bet on whether the Beirut Port explosion case will die out will be settled. Meanwhile, the families of the martyrs and the wounded have come to see that it is the course of justice and the outcome of the case that will decide the fate of Lebanon, not who the cabinet formation will comprise of. Mikati, on the other hand, is betting on French as well as Hezbollah’s support in the formation process while Hezbollah are banking on a fragile ineffective government that would suit their agenda. The great unraveling could very well be this August 4th.