Edited by Gillian Palmer
Can you get half pregnant? Washington does not seem close to adequately broaching the issue. A few years ago, the George W. Bush administration deliberately delivered a misleading pregnancy diagnosis — weapons of mass destruction allegedly held by Saddam Hussein — to induce America to give birth to a war that was as unjust as it was devastating against Iraq. Barack Obama has learned the lesson, perhaps too well.
The current dithering of the United States would be laughable indeed, if it were not a matter of questions as horrendous as whether or not the Assad regime used chemical weapons against the rebels in Syria. To this question, Washington responds for the time being, with foggy probability: a term that objectively leaves much room for doubt and that could have very well replaced our own delicious word “yaani” (so-so). The fact remains that according to U.S. intelligence, the use of toxic gases, including sarin, would only have taken place on a small scale(?), whereby the tolerance threshold that the world’s only superpower set itself has not yet been reached. In order to overcome the red line, will we have to wait for a Syrian reprint of the horror of Halabja, the Kurdish town that Saddam gassed blithely?
But in halting the outbreaks of obstetrics in the game of nations, are we Lebanese truly entitled to take offense to all these semantic niceties while we are unable to abort, in time, the disasters threatening gestation in our own country?
From the point where the war of others took place on Lebanese soil, shipments of combatants in Syria have already managed to lead us, waiting for perhaps worse, to the stage of inter-Lebanese conflicts on foreign soil. Particularly unfortunate — and in addition highly explosive — is the slogan of jihad invoked in such erring ways: a slogan in which field Sunni extremists have come to be pioneers (namely a Hezbollah working heavily alongside the Ba’athist dictatorship), and who, in an attempt to rebuild the virginity of the resistance dedicated to the fight against Israel, undermine national security once more by sending drones to tickle one of the most ticklish enemies, being careful this time not to claim authorship of this operation.
Doubly pernicious is, in a country such as ours, the alibi of jihad. It poorly disguises the priority given to the directive’s foreign powers to the detriment of national interest, and it outrageously violates the multi-communal formula that led to the birth of Lebanon. Ultimately, it concerns loyalty to the motherland, which is just like ordinary maternity: Both are poorly suited to half-measures.