In an in-depth examination of Lebanon’s history, and the current predicament in which it finds itself, Habib Malik argues that this small nation has the potential to return to its former peace and prosperity. To Malik, the country’s strengths lie in its human capital and its traditions of religious tolerance, its weaknesses in “an ingrained tribal-clannish feudal-like power structure within its sect-based communities.” Lebanon also faces a much more immediate problem:
Standing behind most of [the current economic and political] disintegration and protecting the culprits is Hizballah, which has steadily transformed Lebanon into an advanced military platform serving a country, Iran, with an ideology utterly alien to most Lebanese. In knee-jerk fashion, Hizballah regularly hurls at its critics hollow-ringing accusations of treason and “Zionist collaboration.” At the terrorist group’s hands, Lebanon has been transformed into a failing pariah state. . . . It has persistently prevented . . . governments from instituting any meaningful reforms required by the international community before they can help Lebanon stand on its feet economically and financially.
Hizballah’s strategy is to plunge Lebanon into utter destitution so that China can then throw the exhausted Lebanese people a lifeline, thereby steadily wrenching the collapsed country away from its natural Western-Arab orientation towards Syria, Iran, and China.
For 30 years at least, Lebanon and the Lebanese have been subjected to organized corruption and grand larceny from the very top of the political totem pole. . . . These same culprits . . . stood silent for the past six years as the deadly ammonium nitrate languished in a hangar in Beirut’s port waiting to go off and precipitate utter tragedy for the innocents of the city. . . . Then there are those who first brought in the alleged 2,750 tons of lethal chemicals with the clear intent to have them weaponized in stages over time for their own purposes oblivious of the danger in which this was placing Lebanon’s capital and its people.
To break free of the destructive cycle that has brought it to this point, Malik proposes replacing the present political system with “bottom-up and constitutionally grounded federalism” that protects minorities.