Friday, November 24, 2006

Thoughtful Essay by Nadim Shehadi on the two Lebanons

Riviera vs Citadel: the battle for Lebanon Nadim Shehadi - openDemocracy: "It is also only one skirmish in a lengthy political battle that will far outlast the armed conflict of July-August 2006. In the short term, Hizbollah – representing the Citadel project – has emerged victorious from recent events, not so much because of the military outcome but because of the political messages that flow from it. The Israeli military campaign and the US support for it has – wholly against their professed intentions – certainly vindicated much of the Citadel's argument and dealt a heavy political blow to the Riviera.

At the same time, the political system in Lebanon works by consensus and a complete victory by one or other side is less likely than a new equilibrium between the two visions. A coherent intervention by the international community that offers the equivalent of a Marshall Plan for Lebanon, supporting the country with both military and civil assistance, could help prevent another Israeli adventure impelled by unrealisable goals that produces exactly the opposite of what it sets out to achieve. It could also help shift the internal balance of forces in Lebanon back towards the Riviera camp.

What happens in the coming days and weeks in Lebanon is crucial to the country's long-term future. The real battle for Lebanon has only just begun."

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