Time to act like leaders

Lebanese army investigators and citizens gather next to burned and damaged cars at the site of an explosion in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

The terror attack that targeted Beirut’s southern suburbs Tuesday provides yet another grim reminder of the urgent need to move Lebanon toward stability, instead of wasting words on trivial issues.

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri has in recent days signaled a desire to get on with forming a new Cabinet, following months of political paralysis. The response from his March 8 rivals has been less than lackluster, as they continue to talk about the minute details of the Cabinet formation – which ministry “belongs” to whom – instead of getting down to business and taking action.

Hariri based his decision on the country’s higher national interest, while March 8 politicians have been narrowly focused on strict dogma and stale rhetoric that benefit no one. The involvement of some Lebanese groups, led by Hezbollah, in the war in Syria will continue to have only negative repercussions for Lebanon, and some in the March 8 camp are well aware of this. Hezbollah leaders should take into consideration that few people – among them the party’s allies – are satisfied with its flagrant interference in the war in Syria, and that it’s time to set out in a new direction.

Lebanon is simply incapable of tolerating the political and security turbulence associated with the Syrian conflict, irrespective of all the boasting about steadfastness and talk of conspiracies. The failure to consider alternatives to a failed policy is only compounding the misery for Lebanon’s people, economy, society and political order, and it’s time to move forward in order to minimize the damage.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 22, 2014, on page 7.




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