Roger Edde’s Paper That Was Presented to The 26th of April 2022 Conference at Library of Congress “for a Free Lebanon”.”ورقة العمل التي قدمها المحامي روجيه اده للمؤتمر الذي عقد في مكتبة الكونغرس الأميركي بتاريخ 26 نيسان تحت عنوان: من أجل لبنان حر
“ورقة العمل التي قدمها المحامي روجيه اده للمؤتمر الذي عقد في مكتبة الكونغرس الأميركي بتاريخ 26 نيسان تحت عنوان “من أجل لبنان حر
Roger Edde’s Paper That Was Presented to The 26th of April 2022 Conference at Library of Congress “for a Free Lebanon”.
Through Hezbollah’s militias, Iran dominates Lebanon, defining its politics, its policies, and its dismal present state of advanced disintegration!
A State within the Failed State of Lebanon, Hezbollah has used Lebanon’s territory, as Iran’s base of operations to dominate the Levant.
After the withdrawal of Syria’s army from Lebanon in the aftermath of the assassination of PM Rafic Hariri in 2005, Hezbollah became the sole occupier of Lebanon. It dramatically consolidated its dominance, after the 2006 war which Israel failed to win at high cost for Lebanon. Today we are just left with the 1701 UNSC Resolution that reiterates the 1559 and 1680 resolutions. All affirm the UN and the International Community’s commitment to help the State of Lebanon to assert its sovereignty over all of its territory.
Hezbollah failed to abide by the Taef agreement that attempted to disarm and end all of Lebanon’s militias. Hezbollah regularly reminded Lebanon and the International Community that it is a political and military organization, at the orders of the Supreme Leader of Iran and its Revolutionary Guard Qods Division. The failure of the International Community to seriously attempt to implement the UNSC resolutions, or to place them under Chapter 7, empowered, de facto, Hezbollah to exercise absolute power. Political parties opposing Hezbollah can’t exist, or survive politically, or participate in Lebanon’s governance in any way or form, without compromising their patriotism and core beliefs and integrity, by partnering with Hezbollah directly or indirectly, openly or in the secrecy of a dark room.
This is how Lebanon’s governance became modeled after Mafiosi organizations worldwide. That governance is now widely called AlManzuma (the organization). It shares sectarian power and spoils of power, under Hezbollah’s leadership and protection. They share full responsibility for the bankruptcy of free enterprise Lebanon which survived, with amazing resilience, decades of civil and regional wars without losing the world’s trust in its banking and business industries, even after the Lebanese currency collapsed from 3 Liras to the dollar, to 1500 Liras to the dollar, between 1982 and 1992.
That is Lebanon’s road to serfdom! What can be the road to freedom, national salvation, and sustainable national and regional, peace? Can we liberate Lebanon from Iran’s Hezbollah dominance step by step? What will it take to Save Lebanon and restore the trust of its people and the world? What are its chances of survival as it was founded in 1920 as Greater Lebanon?
Is civil war inevitable? How can we stop Lebanon’s slide to the abyss of chaos? Could we do it without negotiating a new deal, as we have done every twenty years since 1920? Can we do it without neutralizing Iran’s control of Hezbollah’s militias and that of its allies among the Shiite Lebanese community and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon’s Camps? What are the US policies that can help the Lebanese succeed in the challenging endeavor to liberate Lebanon from occupation through Iran’s proxy militias? Let’s start to attempt answering these questions, one by one!
First: Yes we can liberate Lebanon from Iran’s occupation step by step! We can promote a UNSC Resolution declaring Lebanon as a failed state, under Chapter7, while including in that resolution the previous resolutions 1559/1680/1701 which are related to helping the state of Lebanon disarm all militias, giving the state the monopoly of carrying arms. That de facto requires disarming Hezbollah and the Palestinians in their ghetto Refugee Camps. That in application of Lebanon’s laws and the international community UNCS Resolutions.
We shouldn’t disarm armed Shiite Hezbollah without simultaneously disarming the armed Sunni Palestinians. In fact, when the issue of disarming Hezbollah was discussed in the Iran nuclear negotiations between 2003 and 2005, (negotiations lead under the leadership of President Khatemi), the head of the Iranian negotiations team, was President Rouhani – a prominent successor of President Khatemi. At the time, both issues of nuclear armament and stopping the export of the Islamic Revolution through terror, as well as dismantling, the armed militias of the Qods Forces (a subsidiary of the Revolutionary National Gards of Iran), were indivisible between Iran and the International Community.
A draft agreement was already closed by January 2005, as I was informed by Ambassador Sadek Kharazi in Paris. The deal didn’t materialize because the Supreme Leader Khamenei argued that it’s better to leave the formal closing of the deal to the President who would be elected in June 2005. When Ahmadi Najad was elected, the negotiations were reset to start again from scratch. And Tehran started to insist on the separation of the nuclear issue from the export of the Revolution issue!
A month A month after having received the “GOOD NEWS” of a draft agreement ready to be closed by the President scheduled to be elected in June of the same year 2005, PM Rafic Hariri was assassinated in Beirut by Hezbollah’s operatives. And they still haven’t been delivered to the International Court! In short, I became convinced in the meantime, that Iran’s Islamic Regime would never give up willingly, neither nuclear armament, nor the export of its Islamist revolution, or terror!
That makes me doubtful of betting the fate of occupied Lebanon, on a comprehensive Iran deal. Unless Iran changes course or leadership, we’re stuck with Hezbollah in Lebanon as it is in Syria and Iraq as well as elsewhere in the region and in the world. Especially in Venezuela, Santa Margarita, Brazil, Argentina and US-Mexico borders where all kinds of smuggling of people and lucrative drugs flourish. Until change happens in Tehran with consequences in our part of the world, we have to consider how we can help the Lebanese Army and other security forces, to recover the State of Lebanon’s sovereignty over most of Lebanon, in two to three stages!
We should start by the liberation of Beirut and Mount Lebanon of the 19th Century, as well as North Lebanon, and the western flank of the Bekaa. That’s two thirds of Lebanon that could become fully under the exclusive sovereignty of the state without any armed Hezbollah or Palestinian paramilitary forces. The most challenging place to be liberated is the Airport of Beirut and the neighboring Hezbollah illegal military port facility in Ouzahy as well as Dahieh southern suburb of Beirut. If we’re unable to liberate that critical part of Beirut, then we need to develop the Hamat Military Airport in Batroun region, north of Mount Lebanon. An International Airport privately déveloped, funded, and operated on a BOO or BOT basis!
That would immediately revive the tourist industry that has been suffering from Hezbollah’s control of Beirut Airport, which is problematic to the historic Gulf Arab clientele of Lebanon’s big spending tourists! This would put a dramatic end to the isolation of Lebanon both politically and economically.
As for the Palestinian Camps, tens of thousands of Ain el Helwe (Sidon) inhabitants are applying and signing requests to be given a chance for compensation and asylum in Commonwealth and Arab countries, in application of UN Resolution 194 regarding the right to return or being compensated. The present economic collapse of Lebanon is motivating most of the Palestinian families to make that choice! That would remove a hurdle for regional peace as it would make it easier for the Lebanese army and security forces, to disarm and control the Palestinian Camps, one at a time!
Most, if not all, of the armed Palestinians in the camps in Lebanon are Hezbollah’s allies and Tehran’s clients, like Hamas, Jihad Islami, etc…
As for the region in the South that is on Israel’s boundaries, it is already under the control of UNIFIL and the Lebanese Army, legally denied to Hezbollah since the 2006, 1701 UNSC Resolution that ceased the hostilities!
We have recently witnessed, a Russian military withdrawal from Homs and other positions adjacent to Lebanon’s eastern borders with Syria. Hezbollah’s militias are filling the gap. Russia is keeping and consolidating its military presence in the Alawite region where they have a strategic maritime base in Tartous. Media reports are covering these redeployments of Russia’s military as well as the Hezbollah take over, and building of a munitions manufacturing facility!
Developments that can be interpreted as setting the stage for what is called « The Useful Syria ». In Arabic: «Syria Al Mufida». That is the western part of Syria, stretching from the Alawite province, down to Homs, Hama, Damascus, and further south to the occupied Golan. All of these provinces are along Lebanon’s borders!
Most of the two million plus, Syrian refugees in Lebanon are Sunnis from Homs, Hama, and Damascus provinces.
The Assad Regime isn’t prepared to allow them back! Nor will they allow them to rebuild or recover their properties!
We have many reasons to believe that the Assad Regime is determined to rely on Syria’s minorities – Alawites, Shiites, Christians and Druze – to be dominant in that part of Syria, as a long-term demographic strategy that would not allow a Sunni majority to take over the governance in Damascus in any way or form. That strategy, vital for Syria’s minorities and the Regime’s survival, is in play in Lebanon as much as in Syria. Syria’s successive leadership, objected since the founding of Greater Lebanon in 1920, to the adding to Lebanon of the 19th Century, the so-called four provinces (“Al Akdia al4”) (see attached map), especially Baalbek Province which is overwhelming Shiite, and is now Hezbollah’s fiefdom!
Hafez Assad didn’t make a secret of his willingness to take over those provinces from Greater Lebanon. He threatened often to do it, ever since he invaded Lebanon in 1976, “pretending” to protect Christian Lebanon from being taken over, and governed by the armed Palestinian resistance!
Now that the maps of the region, are under review, taking in consideration facts of civil wars, regional and international wars, what’s happening in Syria will impact what will happen in Lebanon. And vice versa! The demographic change that occurred with Syria’s refugees, added to other demographic growth in Sunni and Shiite communities, that created an unbalance so huge, that it is feeding a sense of anxiety and fear of being squeezed out of Lebanon’s governance through unrest, paralysis of governance, change of culture and quality of life!
That widely spread sentiment is making families think hard about raising their young generations in a country where they don’t belong anymore! It’s quite similar to what happened to minorities that fled the region without being actually massacred or terrorized.
They just felt that they don’t belong anymore to what their home country had become! In addition to the economic exodus that has been caused by Lebanon’s economic collapse, the fear of losing THEIR Lebanon, is becoming existential.
It’s as urgent to deal with Lebanon’s occupation, through proxy militias, as it’s urgent to declare Lebanon as a failed state, by the UNSC, and place all resolutions that are sovereignty-related. Under Chapter7. Especially1559/1680/1701
And we should explore joining the leading Arab countries, on the ROAD TO THE ABRAHAMIC PEACE PROCESS.
An internationally sponsored conference should explore the formal declaration of Lebanon’s Military Neutrality. A well-armed Neutrality that can protect Lebanon from predators trying to use its multi-denominational system of governance, to dominate it or destabilize it, in one way or another!
The Taef Agreement of 1989 didn’t end Lebanon’s civil wars! Nor the withdrawal of Syria’s military forces in the aftermath of PM Hariri’s assassination in 2005. The Taef Agreement negotiated under the pressure of a constitutional crisis with two governments disputing legitimacy. It didn’t address the main issues threatening Greater Lebanon’s chances of survival. Whatever has been agreed wasn’t completed or implemented. The road to abolishing the sectarian system in exchange for a geographic decentralization along the administrative maps of Lebanon’s regions, required a dialogue prepared by a Committee for Abolishing the Confessional System and another Committee for Decentralization!
Not even one step in that direction took place: We could have voted a parliamentary election law acceptable to all communities, inspired by the French majority system, in a geographic district to each parliamentary seat. That, by districting according to the present distribution of seats between Christian and Moslem MPs in Parliament.
One district, one seat, one vote. The candidates are elected at first round if they get 50% of the votes. Otherwise the two candidates who got the highest votes in the first round will go for a runoff in a second round, two weeks later.
That would have liberated the election from being bound by confessional quotas; as is the case now! I have explored that option in a workshop that included leadership of the political parties and the participation of Patriarch Rahi – with unanimous agreement!
None of the participants insisted on the necessity of having a confessional representation in a Senate that is elected by each denominational community; as it is envisioned in the Taef Agreement.
That step forward, combined with a step toward democratic and fiscal decentralization, could have helped us avoid the trap of a Federation of Warlords governing vertically, a highly centralized state! The worst option for a mafiosi kind of governance, with mafiocrats sharing power and the spoils of power, as representing their confessional power base!
It’s that MAFIOCRACY that has destroyed Lebanon’s free enterprise economy, its banking industry, while empowering Hezbollah as the most powerful and feared Organization in the Partnership that is now widely called, AlManzouma. Hezbollah, being a subsidiary of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, its Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah has become Lebanon’s Supreme Leader, representing Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. This state of affairs, should change radically. It’s as vital, as disarming Hezbollah. The armament of Hezbollah in itself can’t prevail by force in multi-denominational Lebanon. Neither militarily nor politically. Hezbollah is governing Lebanon through the manipulation of a failed constitutional system of governance, which is overwhelmingly rejected by the majority of each community, including the suffering Shiite community, that is subjected, exploited and terrorized by Hezbollah! Tackling these issues should be done in one package deal. It can’t be done step by step. Even if we consider expanding the sovereignty of the state though the exclusive power of the army and other security apparatus of the State of Lebanon.
In conclusion: We should evolve the constitution toward a “United Lebanon” that is fully decentralized and fully secular. As is the case of Switzerland.