Arab Commission for Human Rights
5, rue Gambetta
92240-Malakoff- France
Tel 0033140921588 Fax 0033146541913

e. mail

International NGO in special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations




What is ACHR






Guest Book





What Compromise Does Lebanon Seek?* - Dr. Violette Daguerre


Being one of those displaced by the Lebanese wars and as an observer to what happens in this country, I find myself focusing on two points around which the Lebanese crisis is revolving: sectarianism and resistance.


It can be noticed that during crises, there emerge primitive forms of social solidarity based on sects, tribes and clans and other narrower circles of human affiliation. This emerges at the expense of belonging to an inclusive homeland or a trans border identity that sees human beings as partners in humanity without any racial, color or religious discrimination. This problem is still in Lebanon, and although generations followed each other and they get soaked in bloodbaths every several years, it imposes itself persistently according to this compromise formula which was introduced by foreign powers.


A problem is back again nowadays to impose itself through the wording approved in the last May 21st, Doha Agreement. Leaders of this multi ethnic country didn't allow- especially after a destructive war that continued 15 years- even discussing the bases of 1943 pact. What was prepared for the agreement was only a rearrangement of the domestic affairs according to the same inherited wording and to satisfy the disputing political leaders, especially those who are arrogant due to monopoly of inherited power, wealth and leadership at the expense of efficiency and knowledge.


This game of distributing election seats and sectarian quota did not take into consideration the presence of a big group of civil, democratic revivalist powers out of groups and factions that at least refuse to be classified according to the sects identifying them. These people work for the homeland altogether and appear when the government disappears during political crises. But when seats are distributed among leaders of political sects and alliances, they are sidelined and driven out of the narrow circle of interests, although they are better that many in their moral, cultural and academic levels


The sectarian discourse is deep-rooted in Lebanon. It was adopted to involve the social-religious affiliation into politics, and it relied on local leaders and sectarian establishments concerned mainly with affairs of the sect's members. These establishments emerged and were consolidated in the social fabric before building the modern country. They even fought the existence of a strong state founded on national and democratic bases.


Nowadays, as the unionist project is retreating in front of the US–Zionist schemes that aim to hit any possible national state through fragmenting the society on the basis of political and intellectual affiliations in addition to the sectarian and religious identities. This made enlightened social factions adopt primitive forms to confirm identity and affiliation; forms beefed up by the narrow militia mindset. Meanwhile, leaders of the sects continue, in peace as well as in war, monopolizing power spreading their spites and narrow minded views, preferring their sectarian consciousness to the national awareness and building the modern state.


If the breakthrough reached in Doha was to avoid plunging into another civil war through maintaining balances and loyalties and sticking to leaders which were main causes of the past civil wars, there will inevitably a backpedal to previous historical stops in the coming phases. The main concern of those responsible for the Doha Agreement was reaching civil peace and bringing Lebanon out of the months long deadlock, specially after the presidential office became empty for six months, and specially as Israel tried-with a US support- after its failure in the 2006 summer aggression on Lebanon, to cause a schism among the Lebanese line and cause continuous crises between loyalists and opposition. There was even an attempt to stir sectarian and doctrinal feelings through causing a clash between opposition and army in a bid to fight the opposition to stop its resistance to Israel without making Israel withdraw from the remaining occupied Lebanese territories.


At the end of Bush's era that aggravated conflicts in the region, the issue of Hezbollah weapon was met with distrust and incitement from those fearing or supporting it. Tens of millions have been used for a sectarian and religious insinuation in response to other millions spent to update the resistance weapon. There has been a fierce polarization between both parties in terms of the media and elites while there is a continuous armament and training carried out day and night by all parties, presaging a new armed clash and a hot summer.


In this context, the straw the broke the back of the camel was Fouad Siniora's government order to the army- without consulting its command according to the constitution, to stop the resistance communication network and to sack the airport security chief. This issue of the communication network has been known to the government for the past 20 years. This was not the first time in which such measures are taken without any coordination with the army. This happened for example with Fatah Al-Islam group that committed a massacre against the army after security forces detained a number of its elements and the ensuing Nahr Al-Bared camp incidents.


The media heat-up tried to show the issue as a doctrinal conflict between Shiites and Sunnis, hinting at Iranian expansion in Lebanon. The aim was to turn the attention away of the core issue, the political stance from the resistance weapon. This time was through domestic government demands that Israeli invasion of Lebanon didn't mange to achieve in the 2006 summer aggression.


The current US administration has made its main targets disarming Hezbollah and Palestinian organizations in northern borders of Israel, and suffocating, if not eradicating, the Islamic Resistance Movement in Gaza. Therefore, it heavily backed issuing UN resolutions that enable it to curb the Lebanese resistance and isolate Hamas movement. However, as the Zionist entity is still violating Lebanese air space in a nearly daily basis and as its fleet violates territorial waters, and as there is still Lebanese territories which are occupied by Israel which detains Lebanese, how can the resistance be asked to disarm while there is no national strategy to protection Lebanon?.


Some link societies plunging into successive civil wars with the inability of the security services to effectively do their role. The Lebanese state, according to this reading, failed since the civil war erupted, to impose its sovereignty over its lands that become a shelter for various intelligence services. After war stopped, it lost its ability to extend its power over all the country because of the weak military establishment that lost its legal monopoly to use violence.


We find nowadays, six years after the war against terrorism, that the security reading and solution for any social crisis, even if its main source is terrorist organizations, must inevitably be based on consolidating the individual as a free person who takes part in his self-determination. Consequently, any security reinforcements for the state can never be considered the only solution for the crisis. What is paradoxical is that the ones individuals in Lebanon aren’t the state or the army, they are the multi-functioned sectarian structures that have all-inclusive methods (social, cultural, economic and political, but not necessarily civil). They dwarf- sometimes with their unscrupulous methods that play on instinctive and emotional feelings- the role of civil organizations and national parties.


Civil peace can never be attained through adopting a policy of excluding one party for the sake of another in a state which is mainly based on compromises. The exclusion policy that emerged in mutual accusations of treason and the collaboration for foreign powers made the diversity in the Lebanese society an item that may lead to sharp sectarian divisions that may spawn bloody fights. Therefore, it was necessary to define lines between patriotism and treason, not according to traditional political powers which are no longer appropriate for the age or the situation. It is actually according to a renewed view to anew Lebanon that can avoid sectarianism and to consolidate its own immunity against foreign intervention, and to weaken powers that see Lebanon only through subordination and the past.


This requires finding visions and mechanisms for removing hatred and fanaticism from texts before souls, through providing a cultural atmosphere that sees the freedom of speech and conscience as a main right in a state where the number of independent writers who can see people's future from outside the conflict is decreasing. And through accepting the idea of intellectual, religious and political tolerance, and promoting coexistence with the other without any exclusion or marginalization. Tolerance is, according to UNESCO declaration in November 1995, not just a moral duty or a concession or a compliment. It is a key to human rights, multiplicity, democracy and state of the law. It is a political and legal necessity and a virtue that makes peace internationally possible.


There are reforms which need to be gradually, wisely and quickly held. It is time for them to be scheduled for the generations to come and the youth the president spoke about. And to achieve a sustainable human and economic development, to build a state of the law and institutions, with the establishment of equal and sole citizenship. Otherwise, residents of this country will face from time to time what causes more wounds, making them defend themselves and their existence from fellow citizens entrenched in the other party seeking foreign support, especially as the conflict is fed by sectarianism which is used by political leaders to protect their interests. They even seek foreign intervention whenever possible to bolster positions. These foreign powers benefit from them through imposing their interventions and achieve their schemes of fragmentation and divide the region according to their geostrategic targets and economic greed.


In the end, regardless of the anti- or pro-resistance slogans, there should be a Lebanese defense system based on cooperation between army and resistance, as it is the natural response to the superior armament of the southern neighbor that occupied the Palestinian territories and turned the military force into a main determiner to the future of the region. In an age that witnessed the retreat of those supporting creative chaos without the retreat of the possible destructive chaos. This requires the army and resistance to be aware of the idea that weapons is not an element in the internal political conflict and that civil resistance allows all parties to peacefully express and defend their views and programs.


Also, another problem of the sectarian plague that preceded the Lebanese resistance and Civil War is that there are some who try to link between resistance and sectarianism, mainly for shortsighted political purposes. Although what happened and is still happening in Lebanon is not a doctrinal, religiously based conflict between Ja'fari and Sunnis on how to conduct personal affairs. It is rather a political view to the region and the world. As the idea of keeping away from Western powers is felt in a pro-Shiite sect camp, we should remind that this very idea was spearheaded- in the age of Syrian-Egyptian unity by a pro-Sunni sect camp. In both cases, the conflict and the situation exceeded sectarian limits to make clear that we are facing disagreement over situations, not in sects.


Lebanon is today at the crossroads of huge changes and radical options that require rejecting sectarian thought, given that canceling sectarianism does not mean canceling this sect or that doctrine. This requires also agreeing on rational and civil solutions for its future, solutions that exceed legacies of the past and conform to the current stage and challenges of globalization. There is a need- more than any time before- to necessarily build a modern democratic state that sees the Lebanese as equals, regardless of sectarian affiliations. There is a need to stop this regime from remaining sectarian or related to foreign powers.




*Traduced by M. Hamdi MOSA