A Fractured Nation

I don’t need your civil war, It feeds the rich while it buries the poor
Your power hungry sellin’ soldiers, In a human grocery store. –Civil War, Guns and Roses.

In 1975, a civil war rocked a nation in the Middle East ending the administration of the Ottoman Empire.

The conflict made the conditions worse for the state of Lebanon, the Christians and the inter-religious Muslims. They call it the worse of all the wars any nation has ever faced, more because of the political and social complexity of the state. But they forget the saying that history repeats itself and this time it might be ten times worse.

The stalled political process in Lebanon, combined with the current violence on the streets and the defiant manoeuvres of militias, is leaving the country struggling to function as a sovereign, democratic State. But the past week violence has been graver than that going on in the country for the past years.

The immediate cause of the current crisis was the Lebanese government’s decision to remove Brigadier General Wafiq Shqeir, who is close to Hezbollah. The government also declared Hezbollah’s private communication network that extends throughout Lebanon as “illegal and unconstitutional,” and pledged to remove it in areas where the Lebanese government maintains control. After years of confining themselves to tepid statements of displeasure at Hezbollah’s actions, the government was finally taking a substantive step to change the balance of power in Lebanon. And it provoked a quick and brutal reaction from Hezbollah’s forces.

What has started in Lebanon is a constant political gaining fight between two major power blocs. One of them being the Lebanese government facing the militant group of Hezbollah (army of Allah). Hezbollah, mainly along with the occupants of southern part of Lebanon with the support of Iran, is the most influential and powerful militia.

After defeating the Israeli forces in 2006, the militant organisation is not only having their candidates in the Lebanese parliament but also have their parallel military.

Another reason of this outburst by the government is due to the constant pressure by the US. The growing power of Hezbollah with the help of Iran and Syria may have seemed to threaten the United States and their loosing their grip in the Middle East. Therefore the US has been constantly pressurising the Lebanese government to rein out the Hezbollah tag from their nation’s political situation.

The outrage in the country could only get worse in the future as the Hezbollah has reacted to the suppression done by the government. They have surrounded the parliament in Beirut and have blocked the road leading to Rafik Hariri airport which passes through the neighbourhood dominated by the Shiite militia.

The airport is the sole functional base in Lebanon through which the country is linked with the outer world.

Western Lebanon dominated by the Shias is under the influence of Hezbollah. Sunni areas have been invaded by the Hezbollah’s men. The part that we need to worry about is the probability of Hezbollah toppling the government as they have much more sophisticated equipment and are at an advantage.

Coincidently today is also the day when its neighbouring country was born, which proved to be an additional factor for the complexities going on in the Middle East.

Aakanksha Ahluwalia

[Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/terry_wha/195375594/]