Wednesday, November 22, 2006

When a Sign of Power becomes a Sign of Weakness

"The authority team [Lebanon’s 14th of March coalition and ruling majority] today is in a state of weakness.” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, in a speech aired on 19.11.2006

A prophecy that Nasrallah has been telling in a way or another for the last few weeks; and he appears to be right.

So the news that Prime Minister Siniora ordering ministers to move to the Prime Minister’s headquarter did not come as a surprise. The Grand Serial, an impressive Ottoman building used as the PM’s residence and office, is under transformation to host cabinet members as a living and working place. It is a bid by the PM to ensure the safety of his cabinet members and ensure that the cabinet can meet safely to approve the Hariri Tribunal.

There could do not be a better sign of the security anxiety that ministers and politicians of the 14th March Coalition are currently facing in Lebanon. Moving them all together to a fortified building is just a manifestation of the current crisis in Lebanon. It is an irony when the sign of power – politically and spatially – becomes a sign of weakness.

The 14th of March Coalition looks indeed very feeble; the group has –so far- lost a number of its prominent members since the attacks started on Marwan Hemadeh in December 2004. Politicians, Ministers and MPs are under continuous stress of an attack or an assassination. And they are quite right to fear their lives with the list of fallen colleagues growing.

If the ruling majority succeeds in passing the Hariri Tribunal peacefully,
Lebanon would be spared from dire consequences.


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