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Michel Aoun and Coming to Terms with Reality
Michel Aoun (Presidency of Lebanon - handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Michel Aoun and Coming to Terms with Reality

Al-Rai, Kuwait, October 22

It’s unclear why the Lebanese leadership is wasting time when we all know that any delay in forming a government makes the task of saving whatever can be saved of Lebanon close to impossible. At the end of the day, time plays against Lebanon’s interest. The foundations on which the Lebanese state has been built have been systematically demolished in recent years, beginning with the decision to allow Hizbullah to continue to arm itself and act as a state within a state. Hizbullah obliterated one state institution after another and filled the political vacuum each one of them left behind. Unfortunately, Lebanon’s next largest enemies are those who refuse to acknowledge the damage to their country caused by Hizbullah. This includes Michel Aoun, who was elected as president four years ago. Lebanon’s downfall began with the assassination of Rafic Hariri on February 14, 2005. Those who assassinated Hariri killed not only Lebanon’s most influential politician but also Lebanon’s hope of ever restoring life to itself. Indeed, they destroyed Beirut in order to block any attempt to rearrange the Lebanese political system. Instead of wasting time and trying to settle scores with others, President Michel Aoun should have acted straight and to the point. Instead of hoping that the last two years of his presidency could save him, he should have taken an early retirement and acknowledged the end of an era in Lebanese politics. Whether Aoun likes it or not, his era already ended when the banks stole the money of the Lebanese people. This era ended with the explosion in the Port of Beirut, which symbolized Lebanon’s openness to the world. Only a president who is so disconnected from the people and detached from reality can deal with small politics at a time when his entire country is sinking. Some simplification of things is more than necessary. Simplifying matters means that the “Shiite duo” (Hizbullah and the Amal Movement) – which took it upon themselves to negotiate with Israel to confirm that they are the only party capable of making big decisions in Lebanon – cannot obstruct the formation of a new government. Simplifying matters also means that Lebanon’s number one priority is to launch a government that would focus all of its resources on negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and a bailout plan for Lebanon. – Kheir Allah Kheir Allah (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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