Worried Lebanese

thought crumbs on lebanese and middle eastern politics

Nasrallah’s latest speech -3: Challenges and threats.

Posted by worriedlebanese on 14/11/2007

All those who are familiar with Hassan Nasrallah’s speeches know how he articulates them. He always focuses on very few points, presents his foes with several challenges and adds a couple of threats that he always presents as consequences of the opponent’s actions.The Lebanese media focused on his last threat, the one with which he ends his long speech: the call made to Emile Lahoud asking him take all the necessary measures to save the country. One can quite understand why this call caught the media’s attention. In the last weeks of the election period, the whole political debate is centred on the presidential elections and the different scenarios that are likely to happen. Hassan Nasrallah reminded the analysts of an actor that could disrupt their different schemes: Emile Lahoud. Up to now, he has been generally discarded politically, diplomatically and analytically. Had he not intervened a couple of times in the public debate (with unavoidable mediocrity), one would have thought that Lebanon has been functioning without a President (which in many ways it has). Hassan Nasrallah was inviting him to react to the situation and prevent the worst from happening. He didn’t exactly say how he imagined Emile Lahoud’s intervention (and in what way it could prevent the worst from happening). Some analysts thought that he could be inviting him to act as two outgoing Lebanese Presidents did in 1953 and in 1988. But the Taef accords have ruled out this possibility. It’s actually hard to see what Lahoud could do without contravening to the constitution. I personally don’t find this part of the speech very interesting. And I don’t think the call should be separated from the preceding paragraph. It followed several sentences in which Emile Lahoud was praised. To understand this part of the speech, I believe one should compare it to the (infamous) one he gave on March 8th 2005. Even then, analysts tried to see messages about the future. But all of their analyses in 2005 turned out false. The praise he gave to the Syrian army and Intelligence were not about the future. It was about the past. Hassan Nasrallah was thanking an ally for his loyalty and support. Through this act, he was expressing his loyalty to his allies and his gratitude. As he did with the Syrian army and intelligence in 2005, he did with Emile Lahoud in 2007. It’s not about strategy or tactics, it’s about ethics. This behaviour is certainly atypical in Lebanon. What about the challenges he delved into. How come so little attention was given to them?  They are certainly the most important issues in Lebanon today (even if politicians and analysts hardly mention them). Hassan Nasrallah talked about transparency, accountability, good governance and defence policy (not in these words). He showed that on all these matters, the Siniora government was lagging. Pro-government analysts and politicians usually brush those criticism off by simply saying that Hezbollah is a State within a State (an accusation made to the PLO in the 1970s). What Hassan Nasrallah seems to be saying is that Hezbollah is accomplishing some of the State’s missions because the government seems to have relinquished. In other words, were the government more serious about them, Hezbollah wouldn’t be doing them. These are undeniably challenges that the Hezbollah leader is issuing to the Lebanese government and rest of the Lebanese political class.  Unfortunately, they don’t seem able to rise to them.


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