| 22 February 2024, Thursday |

Abdullah Bou Habib’s diplomacy does not suit Hezbollah’s strategy

After the Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdallah Bou Habib denounced Russia’s invasion to Ukraine, the gates of hell were opened on him by his allies. Even those who named him to take over the foreign ministry repudiated his position.

Minister Bou Habib’s statement said: “Lebanon condemns Russia’s invasion to Ukraine, calls on Russia to immediately stop military operations, withdraw its forces from it, and return to the logic of dialogue and negotiation as an ideal way to resolve the conflict in a manner that preserves sovereignty, security and concerns of both parties, and sparing the peoples of the two countries, the European continent, and the world from the tragedies and afflictions of wars.”

The Foreign Ministry’s statement was followed directly by a tough tweet from one of Hezbollah’s deputies, Ibrahim al-Moussawi, in which he said: “They distance themselves and claim neutrality whenever they want, and they interfere and condemn whenever want, this is weird. What foreign policy does Lebanon follow, and what is Lebanon’s interest in that?” He also asked the foreign minister to explain what happened to them.

This position was not limited to Hezbollah, as the Amal movement reached the point where it wanted to teach Minister Bou Habib the constitution, so its minister, Muhammad Mortada, wrote: “Article 65 of the constitution entrusts the Council of Ministers with setting the state’s general policy in all fields, so the Minister of Foreign Affairs cannot issue any position on any dispute without referring to the Council of Ministers, otherwise he has decided on his own the general policy of the state, which is a prerogative he does not have.”

It is strange to wake up to some provisions of the constitution, which are appropriate, and to omit articles that are not appropriate, but whatever the case is, what was issued reveals that the foreign policy of Lebanon is one of the policies decided by Hezbollah and implemented by the existing minister.

The “mistake” made by Minister Abdallah Bou Habib was that his statement was issued without the knowledge of Hezbollah, and this is a “violation” that called this campaign against him.

To refresh the memory, it was Hezbollah that “suspended” the sessions of the Council of Ministers, when it demanded dismissing the judicial investigator in the port explosion case. Today, the party demands dismissing the Foreign Minister’s statement. What decision are you talking about? What independent diplomacy do you boast about?

It is not a “journalistic scoop” to say that there is no independent diplomacy in Lebanon, but rather that Hezbollah dominates Lebanon’s foreign policy, and every time Lebanon tries to appear as “the master of itself,” a “slap” reminds him that he doesn’t have the right to have the luxury of independent diplomacy.

If we review the names of the ministers who have taken over the foreign ministry, at least since the “Doha Agreement” in 2008, we will find that they all revolve around Hezbollah, with the exception of Nassif Hitti, who resigned because, apparently, he could not coexist with the prevailing diplomatic environment. Hitti did not even visit Baabda Palace to submit his resignation to the President of the Republic.

Minister Bou Habib is an ancient leader in diplomacy, since he was Lebanon’s ambassador in Washington during the era of President Amin Gemayel, and continued when General Aoun appointed him as head of the military government, and returned to the Lebanese diplomacy under the designation of General Aoun and the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, Gebran Bassil.

Bou Habib was one of the members of the “Saturday Cell”, which General Michel Aoun met every Saturday in Rabieh, before he was elected President of the Republic. It was this association that recommended him to be Minister of Foreign Affairs.

With all this affiliation to President Aoun and FPM leader Gebran Bassil, Hezbollah did not forgive Minister Bou Habib for his diplomacy.

  • Sawt Beirut International