What I find interesting but difficult to do is to put myself in the mind frame of a politician so I can catch his logic. When Nasrallah says that he can topple the government any time he wants, I could agree with him on the basis that he has a militia, arms, lot of money, and has been terrorizing inner Lebanon since the July War. Actually any faction that is large enough can deliberately focus on disturbing civil peace and surprise Nasrallah with similar results. By extrapolating on the basis of that same logic, we can conclude that ultimately this faction would have created irreversible damage and is no longer able to coexist with the rest of the Lebanese. What remains to be argued is whether Nasrallah would have anticipated the outcome or would he be surprised (again) by the extent of others’ reaction?
We have seen several parallels to this type of logic among the 8th of March coalition. Indeed Aoun thinks that when you call for a strike you also have the right to close the roads. One day earlier Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and Head of Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea explicitly classified this act as an abuse to the people’s freedom of movement and asked the security forces to ensure that all roads remained open. On the day of the strike, the 8th of March protesters closed the roads and the army stayed put (read: were neutralized). As a consequence, the 14th of March took the initiative to confront the protesters and pressured the army into opening the roads. To that effect, Aoun’s logic goes as follows: he exploded and bitterly criticizing the 14th of March “reaction” while totally forgetting to link it to the “action” and the warnings he received.
Another parallel is when Former Prime Minister Omar Karami, overwhelmed by the amount of shops that closed in Tripoli last Tuesday, convinced himself that his popularity is much larger than was proven on December 1, 2006. The same logic was adopted by Aoun and Hezbollah when Al Manar drew the convincing argument that 90% of the population followed the strike order.
Then comes the issue of who could be behind those who were killed and injured by gunfire. Aoun already knows the answer: it is the Lebanese Forces. He supports his arguments on the basis that 7 FPM supporters were injured by bullets, completely disregarding the fact that the 30 other people from the 14th of March coalition were also killed or injured by bullets. If we contemplate the scene for just a few seconds we realize that, with the exception of Jbeil, the firings were concentrated in the North of Lebanon and not only where the Aoun and Lebanese Forces supporters confronted each others. This area is known to host several armed groups such as the Al Marada, the Syrian Socialist National Party (SSNP), Baath Party, Pro-Syrian Palestinians gangs, and the 200 presumably “Al-Qaeda” members that Bashar Al Assad sent us 2 months ago and renamed as Fateh Al-Islam.
What we are therefore observing is a daily dose of that kind of logical communication that would always make sense to most supporters from the 8th of March coalition. I say most supporters because some are losing patience as a result of this one-sided argumentation that lacks convincing links and is poor in content. People are more intelligent than Aoun and Nasrallah would like to believe. For example, many cannot understand how Hezbollah managed to mobilize the Zeiatriah armed with sticks to support to the extreme the FPM protesters at Naher El Mott. The Zeiatriah were intercepted by supporters from Chamoun’s al-Wataniyeh Ahrar (PNL) and Lebanese Forces and clashes resulted.
We can now safely derive that Aoun’s dominance on the ground is important for Nasrallah’s next step and it seems that Aoun lost it. Aoun and Nasrallah’s press conferences on Wednesday angrily reacted to the ground “reaction” of the 14th of March and particularly the ones carried out by the Lebanese Forces. It seems time for Aoun to leave the political scene.