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ICC Note: Lebanon stands at the brink as we have been reporting. The opposition circles the prime minister’s government, the prime minister rings his office with troops and combat vehicles. Please keep in prayer. Civil war will be a disaster for everyone, Christians included.

Tough days ahead for beleaguered Lebanon

By Duraid Al Baik, Foreign Editor

For the full story, go to Gulf News. The Lebanese are heading for a full-scale civil war in a week or two, as Hezbollah and the supporters of Michel Aoun have decided to take to the streets, like they had been threatening to do since the collapse of round table negotiations on November 11.

The past 20 months have been extremely tough on all Lebanese. One Lebanese writer called it “the Hariri Curse”, in a reference to the tragic assassination of prime minister, Rafik Hariri and 20 others in an explosion in Central Beirut on February 14, 2005 and events that followed.

Since Hariri’s murder 656 days ago, the country has been going through difficult times and the group of Lebanese who used his death to end a 30-year military presence of Syria are not a happy lot today. They have realised that foreign influences will continue to be major players in the internal politics of Lebanon .

The climate in Lebanon , according to one Lebanese, has become fertile for yet another round of a devastating civil war. “The picture now is quite dramatic and may become a tragic one anytime in the coming weeks,” he said.

“Lebanese worries of another civil war might come true if Arabs did not come to Lebanon ‘s rescue at this stage. The nation has been pushed by its own politicians into a free-fall into the unknown. If conflict starts between two or more competing factions, then no one in Lebanon would be spared,” he said.

The threat of civil war has not been taken seriously in the past 20 months, despite the seriousness of the incidents that have occurred. Some Lebanese commentators used to touch on it shyly while predicting the future course of events. But they generally considered the possibility of a civil war as a baseless exaggeration.

However, the sequence of the events in the past few weeks suggests that the threat of civil war is genuine. Many Lebanese believe the resignation of five Shiite ministers and the assassination of Christian minister Pierre Gemayel – both in November – will be the events that lead to another civil war in Lebanon .


But why did the Lebanese brush away the idea of a civil war earlier? And why have they started thinking it is possible now?

The first question was answered by a Lebanese warlord a year ago in an interview with Gulf News. Samir Geagea, leader of the Christian Lebanese Forces militia, said: “Lebanese factions in the 1975-1989 civil war learnt that war would not eliminate their enemies and coexistence was the only feasible way of living in this country. The generation of leaders who led their sects in the previous war or those who inherited the leadership during the war have learnt the tough lesson of the war.”

Saudi Arabia , although its image was tarnished during Israel ‘s war on Lebanon due to what was seen as a failure to support Hezbollah, is the only party that has links with all factions and could influence them one way or another. Saudi diplomacy must avert another war in Lebanon .