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Arab World

Deadly schemes

The Daily Star

At a time when Lebanon needs everyone to go beyond the call of duty to safeguard the nation’s interests, we are instead witnessing the same old games meant to advance personal interests.

We are, of course, referring to Gebran Bassil and his Free Patriotic Movement’s bid to exploit the Aley incident to besiege Prime Minister Saad Hariri and break Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Joumblatt.

For weeks they have been portraying Talal Arslan as a super party who commands one minister in the 30-member Cabinet, and after other attempts by proxies were exposed and eventually foiled, the presidency is now holding the state budget hostage as a means to attain its goal.

Furthermore, attempts to break Joumblatt risk an upheaval in the mountain that has yet to recover from the scars of the Civil War.

The atmosphere at the top has shown that the president is ready to pull a rabbit out of a hat at every juncture to at least corner Hariri and hold him responsible for Cabinet’s failure to convene, consequently delaying the much-needed aid Lebanon awaits from international donors.

But the country stands on a precipice and can’t afford theatrics by any party, and seeking to politicize every political move with a sectarian twist is a deadly game that could backfire.

Our prime minister has so far demonstrated vast reserves of restraint out of a sense of duty toward Lebanon, but to test his patience by taking advantage of his nationalist convictions in order to weaken his influence is to invite a proportionate response that could see him turn the table on all concerned.

The fact is that there is no alternative to Hariri as prime minister, and attempts by the FPM and Hezbollah to break him and keep him at their mercy are futile.

Furthermore, attempts to break Joumblatt risk an upheaval in the mountain that has yet to recover from the scars of the Civil War.

This is the hour of reckoning, and the path to the abyss is wide open courtesy of the gurus of the FPM and their allies.

What we need from everyone is a change of direction, a sense of nationalism and ethics. More importantly, the hotheads of the FPM need to look into the mirror before they lob stones.

The fact is that there is no alternative to Hariri as prime minister, and attempts by the FPM and Hezbollah to break him and keep him at their mercy are futile. Those who believe otherwise are deluded.

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