Navigating the Political, Sectarian, and Legal Landmines in Lebanon

Current Events

By Huyam Qusifi

Tuesday 26 October 2021

The event of summoning the head of the Lebanese Forces Party, Dr. Samir Geagea, specifically to the Ministry of Defense, which he left in 2005 after 11 years in prison, constitutes a political juncture, expressed by the allied spiritual and political forces and references, amid the silence of the Progressive Socialist Party and the Future Movement, and the cheers of the Free Patriotic Movement.

Since the Tayouneh incident, the rise in popularity of the forces on its street, and the response of the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to Geagea, attention has turned towards the next step that will affect the Forces and their political consequences. However, the judicial event, in addition to the political regression, bears a more sensitive face after the army became a major party in this thorny file.

The prevailing impression in the army is that there is no going back to the time of 1994. In short, it is not possible to cause a strife between the army and the Lebanese forces or between it and other political forces, based on the calculations that existed in the nineties. The time is not the time of the Syrian presence, and the Army Commander, General Joseph Aoun, who will travel soon to Washington, has been trying since assuming the leadership to find a measured balance between the political forces, including the forces that are keen on frequent visits to Yarze, and the appointment of an envoy to Yarze, which has been formed since Years of permanent connection. But it is certain that the series of paradoxes, since the incident in the port, then the incident of nitrates in the Bekaa Valley, and prompting the army to accuse the forces of it, has doubled the fears of repetition of previous actions.

Although the Intelligence Directorate in the Army was the one that summoned Geagea, the summons is an implementation of a judicial order, and hearing him in the Ministry of Defense will be based on a “clear and transparent” file and not a summons for a cure, as is the case with the Free Patriotic Movement, or a summons that implicates the army in struggle with the forces. At the very least, this is the army’s view of the decision, which is trying to contain its political setbacks and negatives. Note that the Army Command and the Intelligence Directorate have been preoccupied, since Judge Fadi Akiki issued his decision to hear Geagea, examining all the possibilities presented in a political-security case at this level of seriousness and sensitivity. All points of view and the measures to be taken in such a case were flipped, after only the interrogation file was sealed, not the entire file because it was still open. When it was referred to Akiki, the leakage of information began. As for the army, the secrecy was aimed at the smooth conduct of the investigation regarding the detainees, their numbers, those wanted for investigation and the complete narration of the events, and any role of the army in the casualties following the leak of a video of a soldier shooting, and the army leadership’s clarification that he is under investigation.

Monday began with successive meetings to study the options presented, and ended with underlining the memorandum and informing it posted on the Maarab gate with two copies, one for the Mukhtar and the second for the Public Prosecution, after it was not possible to inform Geagea or anyone in his home in person. The incident itself brings back horrific memories to the Forces, about the “phase of fabricating the files.” But the army knows the accuracy and sensitivity of the matter. So, the investigation was all about the file, amid successive questions: What does the army do after Akiki’s decision? He made the decision to listen to him in Yarzeh, what if he did not accept the notification? Geagea did not accept, so what is the next step if he does not attend? Is a military force heading to Maarab to pick him up? What if he accepts attendance despite his refusal to be informed? And how will the army’s role be if the judiciary requests his arrest, and it is obligated to comply with the judiciary? Will he take his time to study the case in which there are deadlines that must be adhered to, or will things take a different turn with Akiki referring the detainees’ file only to the acting military investigative judge, Judge Fadi Sawan, who was removed from the port file, while Akiki will have the final say in the Geagea case, who summoned him in a capacity He watched, and he could hear it.

All of these questions were the subject of research, based on the information that the relevant political forces were briefed on the investigations, which contain everything related to the direction of the demonstrations and where they branched off, and what the demonstrators did in the sub-street and how they were lured to it, and who fired first, and the absence of snipers on the roofs, And the number of those who were shot by gunmen in Ain al-Remmaneh, and those who fell by random bullets fired from al-Tayouneh, and those who were shot by the army, which warned against shooting every gunman, after demonstrators surrounded him. The investigation information coincided with advice given to the concerned political forces about the necessity of lowering the high ceilings until the circumstances of the entire data clarification that would contradict many of what politicians, partisans and media professionals said. But the fireball was beginning to roll, in the direction of the army, which insists that it has, with a judicial mandate, conducted a clear and serious investigation, and that it is committed to the orders of the judiciary as it has done so far, and has nothing to do with the political investment of any party. He is now distancing himself from any suspicion trying to implicate him in internal conflicts.

 

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