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Lebanese-Armenian Independent Researcher: The Crisis in Lebanon Is Not Over (EXCLUSIVE)


"Armedia" IAA presents an exclusive interview with Lebanese-Armenian independent blogger/researcher and founder of New Eastern Politics Forum, Yeghia Tashjian on the recent developments in the Lebanese domestic politics. 


The Lebanese Prime Minister seems has changed the plans and is not going to resign anymore. According to you, what is it conditioned by?

- It seems the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri tried to take a step back. This does not mean he withdrew from his plans to resign, he is just waiting for the results of the dialogue and meetings that President Michel Aoun conducted during the past days. Both the President and Prime Minister seem optimistic that a new deal will be reached.

Hezbollah’s tone has been softened, too. The general secretary of Hezbollah, Sayyid Hassan Nasralla welcomed any initiative the President would take. Moreover, the Prime Minister’s popularity had increased. During the Independence Day (November 22), he gave a public speech in front of the people, the past few years Hariri avoided contact with the people for security reasons. But now he is in need of their votes in the upcoming parliamentary elections that will be held in May 2018. Hariri will return back only if Hezbollah compromises or does not interfere in Gulf affairs. I would assume, on certain issues Hezbollah can compromise and, for example, it can withdraw certain troops from Syria, as well as soften its tone against Saudi Arabia. But I don’t think Hezbollah can compromise on any domestic issue. The balance of power in Lebanon is still in favor of Hezbollah and its allies.


What further developments to expect? Can we say that the crisis is overcome?

- Let me make it clear, a civil war is out of question. Some media outlets started to draw speculations that Lebanon is on the brink of a civil war. To have a civil war you need two conflicting sides, both armed and there should be a certain balance of power. We don’t have that. Moreover, political elites have huge investments so no one is ready to threaten his financial or political investment in the country. Lebanon is a “consociational democracy” each party which represents a community has a veto power in this shared system. They will do everything to preserve the confessional system, unless there is a regional intervention.

Saudi Arabia is unable to take such military action, given its problems in Yemen. Israel would wage a war unless it is sure it will defeat Hezbollah. The 2006 war proved otherwise. 11 years have passed and during this period Hezbollah fighters have gained military experience in Syria and Iraq.

The crisis in Lebanon is not over, it is a gate that may lead to another crisis. Deals in Lebanon are temporary. Any shift in the regional balance of power is being negatively or positively reflected in Lebanon. And any change in Lebanon’s domestic front is being reflected in the region. Each party now will be holding what it had gained during the past years. We may expect change only if the major players do not have an interest in the current system. At this moment, it seems everyone want to preserve the system.

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