The Middle East Tribune

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One of Ali Baba’s Caves of the Middle East

Lebanon's Parliament: photo source:

Lebanon’s Parliament: photo source:

In essence, a sovereign state is a socio-political association of people that has a representative political system, autonomous judiciary, nationally and internationally acknowledged governing body and self-rule over a recognized demarcated geographic area, which is not subject to other authority or state.

Consider a state that could not uphold full sovereignty over its national territories nor could arrange security and serenity for its people since 1969 until now.

Think about a country where its citizens had to endure a devastating fifteen-year civil war during which they mourned the loss of more than 150,000 lives and prayed for the lives of more than two hundred thousands wounded.

Think about an independent state where its people had to overcome the aftermath of three destructive Israeli military invasions and occupations concurrently with twenty-nine years of military rule, suppression and exploitation of the Syrian Baathist regime, let alone the militant rampage and ascendance of the so-called Palestinian revolution.

Look upon a democracy where two elected presidents were assassinated in two horrible massive blasts after a month or so from winning the presidency mainly because of their self-governing political drive and uncompromising predispositions toward Syrian dominance. Likewise, think about a country where two prominent prime ministers were brutally assassinated because they were unwavering and self-directed politicians (add regional and international influence to the case of PM Rafic Hariri), not to name the long list of murdered ministers, MPs, politicians, clerics, journalists and senior military officers.

Look at the so-called democratic republic where its constitution was designedly amended on five occasions to extend the term of office of two presidents, and legalize the election of three army chief commanders to the presidential office, not to discuss how the presiding Speaker of the House still holds his office as of twenty years as yet.

Consider a country that has more than seventeen religious sects and over one hundred political parties most of which are set up to preserve sectarian privileges and geopolitical interests of one particular sect or another, which put the country in continuous political confrontations and severe national discordance.

Think about a state with no constitutional religion, nevertheless officializes some archaic sectarian prerogatives and denominational vantages of which all public offices are allotted as per religion and sect, let alone the ingrained corruption and incompetency of its sectarianized public service administrators and workforce. On top of such ruinous sectarian system, the mainstream politics of the country became so impaired at which government ministers and senior public servants are appointed or promoted to higher positions, irrespective of their qualifications and records of service, only because some political chieftains name them.

Think about a democratic country, which took part in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, yet could not provide around-the-clock electricity and drinking water to its residents, not to speak of the unaffordable cellular communications, feeble internet connections, and the miserable conditions of other civic infrastructures and environmental issues.

Look at a country where the price of fuel derivatives are repriced weekly in which the cost of 20 liters of gasoline or gas-oil, for instance, is around 8% of the minimum monthly wage; and where one medical visit costs at least 20% of the minimum monthly wage, no matter of its catastrophic effects on low-income families.

Consider a small state that has 125% (53 billion dollars) of the country’s GDP in reserve, yet fall short to provide decent public education, real social security coverage and free medical care to 3.7 million citizens, seeing that nongovernmental workforce are stripped of their social security benefits and medical coverage at their retiring age.

Could it be a democratic country or just one of Ali Baba’s caves of the Middle East?

Regrettably, those terrible and destructive misfortunes were the actual course of actions for the last forty years in Lebanon and still coming forth of which the Lebanese are running out of hope, as the country’s state of affairs is deteriorating at every turn. Yet, in view of the severe socioeconomic and political downslope of the last two years, the Lebanese now wonder if Lebanon would become a peaceful self-governing state again.

Lebanese  people gather in a downtown square to form the flag of Lebanon. Photo –

Lebanese people gather in a downtown square to form the flag of Lebanon. Photo –

Since the assassination of PM Rafic Hariri in 2005 up to this time, the country is divided into two major political camps at which each camp denounce and accuse the other with conspiratorial and treasonous allegations. The governing camp (currently 8 March coalition) denounces the opposition camp (14 March Movement) for reflecting the interest of the United States, EU and Arab Gulf countries. Whereas, 8 March coalition is widely condemned for the illicit militarization of Hezbollah and militant practices of their armed Shiite followers, and above all, for the adoption and enforcement of Syrian policies and Iranian strategies at the cost of Lebanon’s interests. And the result is that some hundreds of thousands partisans from each political coalition condemn and criminate the other camp and its supporters for being disloyal, dishonest and self-serving upon which the country is sternly split into two antagonist large blocs.

What about those nonpartisan Lebanese citizens who look ahead for true political change and socioeconomic development, but were pushed aside and marginalized by these self-involved political headmen. Do they have the means to change this disastrous course? Luckily, the Lebanese people have a forthcoming opportunity to bring on a major political change in the incoming parliamentary elections of 2013.

To that end, Lebanese citizens should act on forcefully to comprise two must-haves in the upcoming new electoral law. The first one is about bringing forth of an autonomous permanent constitutional commission or official self-governing electoral body to impartially conduct, supervise and finalize the elections free from any interference or influence. The second is about putting pressure on the official authorities to enact an unvarying electoral law for parliamentary elections, whether it is an absolute majority, proportional representation or one-man-one-vote electoral system, so long as it provides fair chances for independent candidates to join and win the race.

At the election, voters should keep in mind that though coalitions and power sharing are agreeable democratic practices; yet creating of electoral coalitions and alliances among political parties just to win the elections is a monopolistic maneuver, which discourages independent candidates to engage in the electoral process or enter the race with uneven chances. Actually, recent experiences have demonstrated that similar electoral alliances, like those of Hariri-Jumblatt and Hariri-Mikati alliances in 2009, did not prevent Mr. Jumblatt or Mikati and their allied MPs to jump from one political alliance to the other upon which they neutralized the momentum of 14 March movement and nullified its governing majority in favor of 8 March coalition.

Towards a real political change, voters should consider brushing off most—not to say all—sitting members of the parliament in the coming elections and select fresh nonpartisan liberal independent candidates. At the least of it, novel nonpartisan members cannot be worse than those dogmatists we now have.

In so doing, Lebanon might have a peaceful chance to move forward to regain real independence that is free of foreign dominance, corruption, favoritism and extremism of some leading politicians and their pawns. Otherwise, brace for an unforeseen revolt!



Author’s Note:This article is also published at Arabian Gazette


10 comments on “One of Ali Baba’s Caves of the Middle East

  1. Anonymous
    November 16, 2012

    This has always been the case; and unfortunetly will be until we wake up. I never got why everyone has to have an opinion about what we say or do. No one wants to see a Lebanon free of corruption; that won’t be helping their interest in the region- either we, the Lebanese people do it or it won’t be done (didn’t we see how the most powerful countries “help” smaller countries?). Divide and conquer, it’a a sad truth but what everyone wants is just that.


  2. DMS
    November 13, 2012

    Dear M, a well said and structured article has drawn a smile on my face to know that I might be able to go back to work and live in Lebanon one day. Thank you for your article and I hope Lebanese read it in time before elections come about.
    Kind Regards,


    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      November 13, 2012

      Dear Deema,
      Thank you for your kind comment. Though the situation is destabilized these days, still there is hope. This is Lebanon and anything could happen.


  3. Wim Roffel
    November 11, 2012

    For me as a student of ethnic conflicts this kinds of articles is chilling. Coming from a country that was long divided among Protestants, Catholics and secularist groups (see I am convinced that in such divided societies compromise is the way to go and that uncompromising majoritarian policies are a sure ticket to trouble and civil war.

    American propagandists with their hatred for Hezbollah and Iran would like Lebanon to have such majoritarian policies. They only care about their own interests. The Lebanese should be careful to ignore their pressure.


    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      November 11, 2012

      I can understand your view point. Yet I don’ think that compromise is the way to solve conflicts. Probably, you mean a founding settlement. Yes Lebanese have to be very thoughtful and cautious in making their next moves. Thank you


    • Paul "Chip" Hill
      November 11, 2012

      Wim, if your anti-American position were correct, how is the Muslim population living in such peaceful coexistence with both majority protestant and catholic Christian faiths (in fact, all faiths) in America? Alas, there are more Muslims residing in the US, today than exist in most Middle Eastern states. Also, supposing your analogy were correct, how does 50% of last weeks of voting citizens in the US Presidential election allow the other 50% to install a candidate as President – from a racial minority with direct ties to the Muslim world – without turning to civil war and civil protest. These examples exist in the United States because the United States government protects the individual’s right to believe – or not – and practice his/her faith without fear of being targeted by the state that is supposed to protect and defend them.
      I think your assessment of negative American involvement in Lebanon is much too harsh. Hezbollah is little more than just another political philosophy that employs aggressive means to fulfill its goals and objectives and further its political position – which is above everything else, anti-Western and anti-American. Hezbollah is no better or no worse than any other political machine that espouses its position and attracts followers; and, like any political machine, over time, it may become legitimized – or it may not stand the test of time and fade away. However, one should not blame the US for being in an antagonizing position with Hezbollah when Hezbollah has leveraged, packaged, and sold, much of its very existence upon being anti-American.


  4. Paul "Chip" Hill
    November 10, 2012

    Very nicely done, M… you state the ugly facts with a human heart that obviously mourns for those caught in harm’s way. As Linda has stated, I hope you and yours are safe and well. I think of you often and keep you in my prayers. Chip


  5. Linda
    November 9, 2012

    That takes my breath away!! Yet were is all the Humanitarian aid? That is laying the simplistic numerical review that puts all we see in America down in black and white, as well, understandable eloquence of what is truly going on in the Middle East. Dear M, I hope you and your family are safe and weathering such tuff times out of harms way. Everyday early in the A.M. and late in the P.M. BBC world news comes on and I listen intently while I pray for your and your families safety. From the Grand Canyon’s Moglilan rim I send prayers and thoughts for your safety in such times of choatic unrest.


    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      November 9, 2012

      Dear Linda, I ‘m out of words to express my thankfulness to your kind feelings. I believe you got the most precious gift God gave to humans: your kind good heart. I will just say THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU.


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© 2018 Mohammad S. Moussalli; ----------------------- Sharing, reblogging, excerpts and republication of this material, or part thereof, are permissible PROVIDED that it's clearly attributed to the author with reference to the original publication.
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