Last Updated: Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:14 pm (KSA) 09:14 am (GMT)

Regarding Michel Samaha’s issue

Hazem Saghieh

If the charges against the former Lebanese deputy and Minister Michel Samaha for plotting terror attacks prove correct, we will fact a number of important facts. Especially if he pleads guilty.

First, it would mean the Syrian regime actually intends to export its crisis to Lebanon. So, if Hezbollah -- the vital ally for the regime -- is against such exports, we can assume that this mission was entrusted to minor allies. Then we can see that the exported product probably does not involve a national public crisis but rather, local security tensions. That does not eliminate the fact that they may lead to serious disasters. In both cases, such intentions revealed the nature of the friendship and care felt by the Syrian regime towards Lebanon and the Lebanese.

Secondly, given the importance of Samaha to President Bashar al-Assad, the arrest may be less embarrassing in a symbolic sense than the recent defection of Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab. But due to Samaha’s practical role in the war efforts and his French and other connections serving this regime, his detention was in fact far more embarrassing. It was a defeat that affected the regime’s defenses and relations.

The third fact in this case is that we are not dealing with Detlev Mehlis and the charges held against him by the parties that are leading the Lebanese government today. We are dealing with an official Lebanese side. This rejects the conspiracy theories and leads us to actual political reality. This would mean that the March 14 alliance was not involved in any violence since the Taef Agreement. As for the March 8 forces, they are mostly juncture cases between the political and security situations. This fact should not go unnoticed in a regime that pretends to be democratic.

The fourth fact is that Samaha’s actions, if they are confirmed, went beyond his authorized power. This is an act that recalls the behavior of the militias and vigilantism that believe that parliamentary regimes cannot achieve required tasks because they are administered by balanced politics. This is somehow an alternative for the “deficit” attributed by fascist and extremist movements to the regimes that are connected to them.

The fifth fact: given Samaha’s appearances on television as a strategic and geopolitical analyst, attention to the knowledge spread certain television programs is required. This is because the “objective” analysis on TV does not eliminate the possibility of regression in real life into a behavior that is not worth “respect.”

Finally, Michel Samaha is not just a normal person. He is a case. The Phalangist young man of yesterday was carried by his deep “convictions” to work for the “stronger” sides and get their support -- perhaps this might hide a vituperative feeling. If it were easy in this transit, to declare his love for “Arabism” and the hostility for the “Jews,” it is for sure easier to rise above millions of people who are as vulnerable as him and who identifies themselves as backing the executioners. This is, as we know, a wide-ranging movement in Lebanon today.

The writer is a columnist at the London-based al-Hayat, where this article was published on August 11, 2012.

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