France, Lebanon and the changing

About four weeks after the Explosion in Beirut's port, with more than 180 dead, the President of France Emmanuel Macron has traveled once again in the Lebanon.

France, Lebanon and the changing

About four weeks after the Explosion in Beirut's port, with more than 180 dead, the President of France Emmanuel Macron has traveled once again in the Lebanon. It is the second visit since the disaster. The country has to struggle in addition, not only with a severe economic crisis, but also with a political state of emergency. Already during his first visit to France head of the government had urged, therefore, in-depth reforms, otherwise the funds for the reconstruction remained locked, so the alarm.

So he claimed - similar to the protesters in the country - an end to the religious and political proportional representation system. So far, political Offices were filled according to religious affiliations. The President is always a Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni and the Parliament speaker a Shiite. For many people, the demands to come good, with "Viva la France"-a Call ("long live France") has a Macron cheered at the first visit.

France's appeal heard

The demands of the former colonial power seem to have been. As Lebanon's President, Michel Aoun, actually hate figure for many Lebanese reiterated on Sunday his will to a new Form of governance. Lebanon should be a "secular state," he said in a televised address. Also the chief of the Lebanese, Iranian-backed Shia militia Hezbollah, the military showed and therefore also politically the most powerful force in Lebanon, openly.

"We have heard the appeal by the French President of a new political Pact," said Hassan Nasrallah. His organization is open for any constructive discussion on the subject - "but under the condition that it is a Lebanese dialogue, and it represents the will of all Lebanese parties," said Nasrallah further.

willingness to change

Shortly before the Macrons visit to the Lebanese Parliament also appointed a new Prime Minister: former Lebanese Ambassador to Germany Mustapha Adib, is the successor of Hassan Diab, who resigned a few days after the Explosion.

such A change had brought Macron earlier in the game. He said only a few days ago of the need for a "mission government". Only by decisive changes in the "constraints of a denominational system" could be overcome, which would have led to a Situation, "in the almost no political renewal and not reform is possible is."

"Strong historical and emotional ties"

The Statements and political developments in the run-up to the Macrons visit to suggest that France had a large influence on Lebanon, says Karim Emile Bitar, Director of the Institute for political Sciences of the Saint-Joseph University in Beirut. "If France is not involved in Lebanon, there is a risk that he (Lebanon, editor's note.d.Red.) 'burning up'," said Bitar, opposite the French station France Info.

"It is then the serious risk that the proxy wars in several countries in the Region - in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere - finally, on the Lebanon, skip," said Bitar in the French channel France Info and referred to the "very strong historical and emotional ties" between Lebanon and France.

in fact, France is playing in Lebanon for centuries, a significant role. In the year 1860, the sectarian tension increased at the time of the Ottoman Empire belonging to the Lebanon mountains to be more and more. Finally, it resulted in open violence between Christians and Islam emerged - Druze. In this Situation, step, France, and the Ottomans an autonomy Status for the Region. France was to protect the Christians in power. In 1920, France proclaimed the establishment of greater Lebanon, the predecessor of today's Lebanon. This was in 1943 regardless.

From this time, a political influence that could benefit France in the current crisis, so Bitar resulting. Paris have the Power to mediate between the various national actors as well as their international allies. Only in this way could prevent Lebanon into a battlefield, but at least a zone of influence of the great powers turn.

Nothing more than mere words?

France Is the indispensable pacemaker for Lebanon? "The Lebanese population, through the carelessness of the politicians up to the revolt, driven, has used the visit to Emmanuel Macrons, to their anger about the disaster of 4. August, expressing," it says in an analysis of the French news magazine "L'Express".

It was conceivable, however, that the visit of the French President, have supported the movement morally, to their Protest towards the government, then, came back. Macron have listened to the people, and of "organised corruption", as well as the complete Lack of confidence in speaking. So he did give the concerns of the protesters additional weight.

That words could remain, this is a concern of historians Yann Bouyrat in the magazine "Nouvel Observateur expresses". "Of course, France could one day play a driving role in international aid (in the long-term reconstruction of Beirut, editor's note. d. Red.) to bring in gear. However, the commitment should do it more hardly", takes Bouyrat.

Threatening scenarios

And yet, you are not likely to be in the main European cities are clear about how delicate the Situation in Lebanon is currently. The small state is threatened, and could easily fail. This take all the more so, as many of the larger States in the Region, influence on Lebanon: Iran installed the Hezbollah, Saudi Arabia has about the family of the murdered Prime Minister Rafik close ties to the Lebanon. Turkey under Erdogan ruled, for example, in Syria and in Libya as a major military power. And also the immediate neighborhood to the after nearly ten years of war completely destroyed, remains of Assad and his Iranian-Russian supporters dominated Syria does not contribute to the stabilization of the country.

to Disintegrate Lebanon, would be for Europe, with unpredictable consequences, with a view to the refugees, as well as with a view to the political culture of the Region as a whole: it is likely to develop even further in the direction of the dominant authoritarian systems. All of this suggests that France like the other European countries will not be left with words at the end of it.

author: Kersten Knipp

*The post "France, Lebanon, and change" published by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

Deutsche Welle
Updated Date: 01 September 2020, 00:27

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