By Theodore Shoebat
The president of Lebanon, Michel Aoun, has warned that Lebanon will be going “to hell” if another government is not formed in time. As we read in Al-Jazeera:
Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Monday that his country was going “to hell” if a government is not formed as French efforts to encourage the formation of a new cabinet falter.
Asked where Lebanon was headed if there was no agreement among its fractious leaders, Aoun responded: “Of course – to hell.”
“As the positions have grown harder, there appears no solution on the horizon soon,” he said in a televised address almost a week after the passing of the deadline agreed with France to name a cabinet.
That Lebanon is going “to hell” is neither adventuresome nor far-fetched. Just recently there was a gun battle between Sunni and Shiite militants which lasted for four hours, leaving two people dead. As we read in a report from Reuters:
A deadly battle between Lebanese Sunnis and Shi’ites overnight prompted warnings of more violence as the country is pushed to breaking point by a financial meltdown and political tensions.
Two people – a 13-year-old Lebanese Sunni boy and a Syrian man – were killed in the Khaldeh area south of the capital in the shootout on Thursday night.
Machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades were used in the fighting, which witnesses said lasted four hours.
A Sunni Arab tribe to which the boy belonged accused members of the powerful Iran-backed Shi’ite group Hezbollah of opening fire. Hezbollah categorically denied having anything to do with the incident.
The Lebanese army, which was heavily deployed in the area on Friday, said the problem spiralled out of a row over a poster put up by Shi’ites to commemorate Ashura, the 7th century martyrdom of Imam Hussein.
The army statement said the problem erupted between members of [a community known as the Arab Khaldeh tribes and residents of the area, without identifying them.
The violence triggered a flurry of contacts among Lebanese politicians seeking to contain tensions.
It would not be surprising at all if another civil war broke out in Lebanon. The country is heavily divided by sectarianism, with Christian Maronites (who support the French), Shiites (who back Iran) and Sunnis (who revere Turkey). The atmosphere of division is still very alive in Lebanon, and the country is under the watchful eyes of many outside powers, such as Russia and Iran — who both back Hezbollah –, and NATO countries like the United States and Turkey, and then you have Israel who supported the fascist Phalange paramilitary who committed horrendous atrocities during the Lebanese-Palestinian conflict. It was just a number of decades ago when Lebanon was engulfed in the jaws of the leviathan — the leviathan of war, of cruelty, of sinister aspirations, of the inventors of evil things, of dark machinations and depravity into which lies a boundless spiral downwards to the abyss. One need only to look at the various incidents to comprehend the hell that Lebanon was once in, and to get an idea of what Lebanon could be descending to. Let us briefly describe some of the stories of horror. In 1977, the fascist Phalange — who styled themselves as modern Crusaders, holding up the cross as if they were warrior Catholics — was deepening ties with Israel. Suleiman Franjieh, who was at the end of his rule as president, left the Right-wing Lebanese Front in protest to this relationship. The Phalange wanted to instill terror and dread in the heart of Franjieh, and so a gang of fascist gunmen went to the home of Franjieh’s son, Tony. They murdered thirty-two of Franjieh’s supporters and bodyguards. They then took Tony and forced him to watch as they murdered his baby, and then his wife, and then they executed him.
In December of 1975, four Christians were found dead outside the electricity company headquarters in east Beirut. The Phalangist leader, Bashir Gemayel, wanted retaliation. Phalange officers set roadblocks at the eastern end of the Ring motorway. The first forty Muslim men to be found, were to be murdered. Men, in front of their wives and children, were forced out of their vehicles and their throats were slit. Sunni Muslim militias, upon hearing of this, made their own roadblocks and began to slaughter Christians on the streets. Killings like these would go on for hours. At least 300 Muslims were butchered at these roadblocks, and an equal number of Christians were probably also killed in these butchering sessions. In January of 1976, the Phalange overran the Palestinian slum of Karantina. The inhabitants were either forced out or slaughtered. The PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) joined forces with Muslim and Left-wing militias and together they attacked the Christian village of Damour where they slaughtered the inhabitants. At this point, the Palestinian cause was no longer just about returning to the West Bank, but taking over parts of Lebanon. Salah Khalaf, one of the PLO’s leading strategists, made an announcement in May of 1976, as the Palestinians were making their way to attack the Christians at Mount Sannine, that the road to Palestine should pass through “Uyun Al-Siman, Aintura, and even Jounieh itself to prevent any further threat to the Palestinian presence in Lebanon.” The Palestinian cause was now about conquest and carving a Palestinian state within Lebanon. In the words British journalist Robert Fisk: “the Palestinians regarded their cause, their country — Palestine — as infinitely more holy, more sacred than the nation in which they had been given refuge.” (Pity the Nation, ch, 3, p. 80). The conflict ended up taking the lives of around 120,000 people. The polarization within Lebanon is still there, still lingering, like flammable fumes filling the air, only waiting to be ignited by one match. And if such a match is sparked, the conflagrations of hell will be unleashed.