LEBANON AND THE US STATE OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY
By General Monzer El Ayoubi
Translation: Dr. Pierre A. Sarkis
Going back in time to the previous decade, and several months after the “Second Lebanese War”, as described by the military staff of the Israeli enemy, the US administration issued Executive Order 13441 signed on August 1, 2007, by then US President George W. Bush, which required that “Lebanon be included in the state of national emergency relative to the United States of America” based on the reference of the international law for economic forces during states of emergencies (50 USC 1701-1706). As far as objectives, it deals with the unusual and exceptional threat to the national security and foreign policy of the US. As far as reasons and incentives, it is linked in accordance with the version of the ordinance to “the activity and crimes of specific perpetuators working on undermining the legitimate democratically elected government of Lebanon, leading to the deliberate collapse of the rule of law which is politically motivated, through violence and intimidation, to assert Syrian control or contribute to Syrian intervention in Lebanon, or to infringe on its sovereignty and work to undermine it. This leads to political and economic instability in that country and in the region.
Next, the Executive Order mentioned above was renewed year after year with incoming presidents and administrations. In accordance with this continuity and mechanism, the White House announced that President Joe Biden has decided to extend the national emergency towards Lebanon, due to “continued activities that threaten US national security.” In a following statement issued by the administration, it was stressed that the renewal of the resolution was related to sustained hostile activity, stating that “some activities, such as the ongoing arms transfers from Iran to Hizbollah which include sophisticated systems, undermine Lebanese sovereignty, destabilize the region politically and economically, and remain an extraordinary threat to US national security and foreign policy.”
Alternatively, it is clear that the Executive Order issued under Republican President Bush, which remained in force under the democratic administration later, confirms in principle that the strategic decision, whether administrative or military, is not about the person of the president and the policy of his party, but the higher interests of the deep state. From this standpoint, renewing the resolution for an additional year does not mean for Lebanon a new behavior or a different approach in terms of American policy, but rather it serves as a warning to confront Hizbollah’s activities with the same volume and standard adopted earlier.
Alternatively, and with a revised timetable since the decision was taken, and although Hizbollah is involved through its ministers in the Lebanese government without any American objection announced so far, there are no obligations imposed on it nor any consequences to bear any possible effects. On the other hand, Washington considers that Hizbollah controls the political and sovereignty decision-making process imposing its internal agenda, so the measure is linked to limiting its influential role at home in parallel with downsizing its mobility in Syria, allowing albeit relatively, to curb Iran’s expansion in the region.
In the same context, following the collapse of the small country on the verge of a collision course- a word that has recently entered the dictionary of meanings and suffering- this collision has the effect of a crash producing debris, and thus fragmentation and total destruction, which means the difficulty or impossibility of retrieving the fragments and body parts later, and thus, restore the structure of the country politically, economically and socially for the overhaul to become an inevitable comprehensive necessity, especially after the failure of the international community out of despair to excuse the living, or out of disdain for the non-performance of the country’s rulers.
If American strategy in administering the region is not linked to the Lebanese factor, with Lebanon being partially a recipient not a participant player, Hizbollah with its size, movement and military capabilities has imposed itself as an influential factor in US strategy and policy, thwarting the siege approach against it, a siege that has severely damaged the Lebanese people on all levels. The repercussions of the Ceasar Law imposed on Syria have exacerbated smuggling making Lebanon which is suffering from the throes of death, the only lung for Syria to breathe from. The acronym in the Ceaser Law imposes sanctions on anyone who provides financial, technical and material support to the Syrian government, or any senior political figure in the government, as well as, anyone who provides goods, services, technology, information or any support that would expand domestic production in the field of natural gas, oil, and oil derivatives. As for reconstruction, it deters foreign investors from concluding any contracts related to reconstruction.
In the outcome, the US Administration will be mistaken in its isolation and blockade approach in parallel with the military and material support it provides to the Lebanese Army, as there is no surplus value to any faction, and thus, the “Zero Equation” remains the prevailing one. In addition, the government vacuum and the inability to carry on the necessary reforms will make chaos the mainstay of the forthcoming period, and “September is damp with rain” (a Lebanese proverb to indicate the start of autumn or politically, trouble). The demise of Lebanon will make the theorizing experts of the Israeli enemy believe that hegemony and total control over Lebanon are in the hands of Hizbollah and Iran, which means the need and preparation for a third Lebanese war. Here, the equation will become negative, meaning that the price to pay is very high whatever the results, whether it establishes an Israeli defeat, or resilience or a limited victory for the resistance movement (Hizbollah).
As for the government dossier, if US policy after the renewal of the Executive Order, the subject of this article, proves that Washington’s foreign policy is not linked to individuals, the abstaining of President Saad Harriri from forming a government proves the opposite. This is because the majority of our decisions and their publicity and background is related to the identity of the individual and his self-interests, since decision-making on high national interests are scarce.
Next Monday the 26th, the date of the binding parliamentary consultations, followed by naming the Prime Minister-Designate to form a government, and whoever that person is, the speed in which the government is formed drops the margins of abstaining and the current disappointment. Also, the future outlook between the two partners concerned with forming the government, the President and Prime Minister-Designate, in terms of reforms and fighting corruption and recovering looted funds, or regarding the issue of lifting immunities and proceeding with the investigation of the crime of the century, the Beirut Port ammonium nitrate explosion, could mature into circumstances and positives for a government rescue performance similar to a local emergency, noting that the reluctance and waste of time is the result of a blatant voice to crack the bones of the temple after the crash.
Scholar in Security and Strategic Affairs