For several weeks, the drums of war have been beating at a steadily increasing tempo due to developments in Syria. And prior to this recent surge in violence and rhetorical levels, for month after month, many Lebanese officials have warned against the dangers of intervening in the Syrian crisis.
Nevertheless, the wave of comments and statements about the war next door has continued, seemingly without pause. In simple terms, Lebanon is in enough danger already without any group inviting more by either intervening in the war or using the kind of rhetoric that, under the current circumstances, borders on the absurd.
It is particularly important for Hezbollah, as the largest Lebanese group involved in the Syrian conflict, to be aware of the dangers of such an approach. But when one hears the party’s politicians commenting on developments underway in Lebanon’s neighbor, one might think that they represent a superpower. It’s a flagrant divergence from the saying that when giants lock horns, lesser beings should try to take cover and protect themselves.
The overwhelming majority of Lebanese appreciate Hezbollah’s role as a resistance organization protecting the country against the threat posed by Israel. But when Hezbollah veers away from that mission and acts to increase the dangers posed by the outside world, it loses this popular legitimacy. Under the current circumstances, it should be focusing all of its resources and efforts to protect Lebanon and the Lebanese.
If Hezbollah truly wants the public to see it as a defender of Lebanon, its military capabilities should be directed south, and its political and other capabilities should be focused east, not by intervening in Syria, but by doing what it claims to do, namely protect Lebanon from further spillover. Every argument that the Hezbollah camp puts forward about standing against intervention by outsiders in Syria can be taken with a grain of salt, because it has been a leading “interventionist” in the uprising that broke out two-and-a-half years ago.
The turbulent times present a test for everyone, namely the sparing of no efforts to safeguard Lebanon. Over the past few years, a number of people have been martyred in defense of Lebanon and its sovereignty or have fallen victims to aggressive acts against the country. Losing one’s life in support of any other cause is neither patriotic nor justified. The blood of the Lebanese is precious, and all political parties, civil organizations, sects and regions of the country should dedicate themselves to preventing further bloodshed, by every possible means.
It is a time in which Lebanon desperately needs patriotic people and actions and not further attempts to alter regional developments and influence a global tug-of-war. History will record the names of those who acted on the basis of patriotic consideration and those who did not.