Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Middle East, WORLD POLITICS — Rick Moran @ 7:54 am

“Hold fast to dreams. For if dreams die. Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly.”
(James Langston Hughes)

The resolution passed by the United Nations mandating a cease fire between Israel and the terrorists of Hizbullah was approved unanimously by the Lebanese cabinet yesterday with “reservations:”

Lebanon’s Cabinet late Saturday unanimously accepted the UN cease-fire plan to halt fighting between Israel and Hizbullah fighters, moving the deal a step closer to implementation, the prime minister said.

“It was a unanimous decision, with some reservations,” Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said in announcing Lebanon’s acceptance of the resolution after a four-hour Cabinet meeting.

Hizbullah’s Mohammed Fneish, minister of hydraulic resources, said the two Hizbullah members expressed reservations, particularly over an article in the resolution that “gives the impression that it exonerates Israel of responsibility for the crimes” and blames Hizbullah for the month-long war.

“We will deal with the requirements of the resolution with realism in a way that serves the national interest.”

Will they? Will Hizbullah “serve the national interest?” Or do they have something more sinister in mind?

“We believe that the resolution that was taken last night was unfair,” Nasrallah said. “But if there is an agreement on the cessation of hostilities between the Lebanese government and the enemy, we will observe it without delay.”

He said that Hizbullah would support any decision by the Lebanese government to end the war. “We will not be an obstacle to any decision that it finds appropriate, but our ministers will express reservations about articles that we consider unjust and unfair,” he said.

Nasrallah also expressed his support for plans to deploy Lebanese army and additional UNIFIL troops in southern Lebanon. “Regardless of our reservations and political positions, we will cooperate when the Lebanese soldiers and UNIFIL forces are deployed,” he said.

Nasrallah described the decision to dispatch Lebanese soldiers to the south of the country as an “achievement” for Hizbullah and Lebanon, saying it resulted from the steadfastness of the Lebanese people and the “heroes” of his organization.

Nasrallah is pushing himself away from the table and will be able to carry off most of his winnings thanks to the inexplicable timidity of the Israelis and the myopia of the Security Council. If his only reservation to the cease fire is that he is uncomfortable with the idea of being blamed for the war in the first place, he has indeed won a great triumph.

The question on the minds of most Lebanese today is what he will do with this victory. Nasrallah demonstrated by starting the conflict that he not the government controlled the destiny of Lebanon. Indeed, treating Prime Minister Siniora like an errand boy, a middleman in negotiations with the UN, the Hizbullah leader demonstrated that he had veto power over any and all decisions made by the Lebanese cabinet having to do with the cease fire.

He forbade the Prime Minister from accepting any cease fire that would have placed an independent foreign force on Lebanese soil, seeing quite rightly the potential that such a force could force him to accept the stipulations in Resolution 1559 that called for the disarmament of the terrorists and the loss of his autonomy in the south.

Instead, he got exactly what he wished for; an augmented UNIFIL force along with the Hizbullah-friendly and incompetent Lebanese army standing between he and Israel. Nasrallah correctly believes that such a force will not be able to keep him from returning to his bases in the south, much less “disarm” him in any meaningful way. In a few months, he will be able to marginalize this force as easily as he intimidated UNIFIL. At that point, his victory will be complete.

Meanwhile, Lebanon bleeds:

Lebanon today lies ravaged, its inhabitants suffering the consequences of Hezbollah’s hubris and Israel’s terrible, wanton retribution. Since July 12, when party militants abducted two Israeli soldiers and killed three on the Israeli side of the border, Lebanon has been under a virtually complete Israeli blockade. At the time of writing, nearly 1,000 people have been killed, mostly civilians. Predominantly Shiite areas in the south, Beirut’s southern suburbs and the northern Bekaa Valley have been turned into wastelands; Beirut seems empty. Businesses, when they do open, close early; store owners have cleared out their showrooms. The mood is one of ambient disintegration. Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of refugees have moved into the capital, even as many of its residents have headed for the mountains. The economy, already precarious before the conflict started, lies in shambles, as does public confidence in the country’s future.

Michael Young is opinion editor at the Daily Star of Lebanon. His piece quoted above in the New York Times Magazine is an absolute must-read if you wish to understand the history of Hizbullah and the cultural and political reasons it plays such a large role in Lebanese society.

The post war situation in Lebanon looks bleak. Nasrallah ascendant, a massive rebuilding task facing the government, continued Syrian and Iranian meddling that led to the war in the first place, and the unthinkable prospect that once again the factions will take up arms and engage in a ruinous civil war.

The dream of a stable, prosperous, and free Lebanon embodied in the ideas of the “Cedar Revolution” are now shattered, its promises broken on the jagged shoals of cynicism and self interest. It is hard to see how the Lebanese democrats can retrieve the situation given the growing influence of Hizbullah in the councils of government. Because Nasrallah’s men still have their guns and with little or no prospect that anyone will be able to take them away, there is the real possibility that the Hizbullah leader will be able to hold the government hostage indefinitely.

Michael Young sees some signs for hope:

[The] starting point is the assumption that Lebanon really must be governed through mutual concessions and dialogue. Amid the general sectarianism, this may sound absurd. The ideal of Lebanon as a mosaic of separate but collaborating communities has been shattered so many times that it is difficult even to know what collaboration might mean. But it is also true that grounds for hope exist. Over the past half-century, the once-marginalized Shiites have steadily integrated themselves into Lebanese politics and society. While Shiites today largely accept Hezbollah’s claim to be their representative and protector, in the future new forms of Shiite politics and expression may emerge — must emerge.

Even before the war, the cynicism of factionalism reared its ugly head on more than one occasion. As far back as the parliamentary elections last year, Druse leader Walid Jumblatt actually aligned his party with several pro-Syrian politicians in order to counter the strength of Christian leader and former anti-Syrian Prime Minister Michel Aoun. This angered some of his allies in the revolution, especially in Saad Hariri’s Future Party. Aoun himself then showed how cynical politics in Lebanon could get by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Hizbullah about disarmament discussions taking place only in the context of the National Dialogue, a roundtable of Lebanese leaders charged with solving the thorniest problems in Lebanese society.

Aoun allowed his personal ambition to be President to override both his natural anti-Syrian inclinations as well as common sense. Making common cause with Hizbullah - a group who wishes to establish Lebanon as an Iranian style theocracy - seems the height of stupidity for a Christian Maronite like Aoun. But when Lebanon’s parliament was constituted, Aoun found himself on the “outs” with the largest bloc of democratic reformers. By allying himself with the second largest bloc in parliament - the Hizbullah-Amal alliance - he found a vessel for his ambitions.

So in a sense, when the war came along, the leaders of the revolution had already failed in many respects to unite in a meaningful way in order to take on Hizbullah and re-establish Lebanese sovereignty over the entire country. They are now paying for their disunity and weakness. Michael Young explains:

Meanwhile, Siniora also had to handle relations with Hezbollah. Five of the ministers in his cabinet were Shiites, either members of Hezbollah and Amal or named by them. Members of the parliamentary majority affirmed their desire to see Hezbollah integrated into the armed forces and to see the state regain control over all the national territory — meaning Hezbollah must no longer rule over the border with Israel. But desiring Hezbollah’s disarmament was one thing; achieving it, another. When it came to such matters, the parliamentary majority was reluctant to act like a majority. Hariri was especially diffident, probably because his Saudi sponsors advised him to avoid precipitating any Sunni-Shiite showdown that might boomerang in the kingdom. But the chief obstacle, of course, was Hezbollah itself. The militia realized that without its weapons, it would lose its reason to exist as a militant movement, lose its élan and lose its value to Syria — as well as its ties to its main financier and advocate, Iran.

I have pointed out on numerous occasions that Nasrallah simply cannot afford to give up his guns. Without them, he is head of a minority party in a secular government, not a good jumping off position to precipitate his Islamic revolution.

With no one willing to disarm him, Nasrallah could be emboldened to strike back at the Christians, Druse, and Sunnis who heaped criticism on he and his group at the outset of hostilities with Israel. In an interview with al-Jazeera that went largely unnoticed in the west but which sent chills down the spines of several Lebanese politicians, Nasrallah threatened payback against those who didn’t support him:

As the violence continues, retribution is in the air. Israel has focused its attacks on Shiites, leaving Sunni, Christian and Druse areas (though not their long-term welfare) relatively intact. Amid all the destruction, many a representative of the March 14 movement has denounced Hezbollah’s ‘‘adventurism,’’ provoking Shiite resentment. As one Hezbollah combatant recently told The Guardian: ‘‘The real battle is after the end of this war. We will have to settle score with the Lebanese politicians. We also have the best security and intelligence apparatus in this country, and we can reach any of those people who are speaking against us now. Let’s finish with the Israelis, and then we will settle scores later.’’

This essentially repeated what Hassan Nasrallah told Al Jazeera in an interview broadcast a week after the conflict began: ‘‘If we succeed in achieving the victory . . . we will never forget all those who supported us at this stage. . . . As for those who sinned against us . . . those who made mistakes, those who let us down and those who conspired against us . . . this will be left for a day to settle accounts. We might be tolerant with them, and we might not.’’

It goes without saying that the assassination of Mr. Hariri, Mr. Jumblatt or other prominent politicians who opposed Nasrallah’s war could set off another round of sectarian blood letting:

Meanwhile, the country has sunk into deep depression, and countless Lebanese with the means to emigrate are thinking of doing so. The offspring of March 8 and March 14 are in the same boat, and yet still remain very much apart. The fault lines from the days of the Independence Intifada have hardened under Israel’s bombs. Given the present balance of forces, it is difficult to conceive of a resolution to the present fighting that would both satisfy the majority’s desire to disarm Hezbollah and satisfy Hezbollah’s resolve to defend Shiite gains and remain in the vanguard of the struggle against Israel. Something must give, and until the parliamentary majority and Hezbollah can reach a common vision of what Lebanon must become, the rot will set in further.

The continued powerlessness of the government in the face of Hizbullah’s brazen independence does not bode well for the future. And unless the sides are willing to fight it out once again in the streets, it seems unlikely that there will be any attempt to rein in Hizbullah and set a steady course for national reconciliation.

How far the politicians go to avoid a civil war will determine how much power Nasrallah will be able to exercise. And given the trauma the last conflict engendered, it would seem that the current government will go very far indeed before fighting the terrorists in their midst for control of the country.


  1. Nasrallah is refusing to come to the table to even discuss disarming, and this is not a ceasefire. The war continues apace. I listened to the John Bolton podcast with Pajamas Media, and I was reassured. Israel does not seem to be letting up at all, and Nasrallah will be facing his music at some point with some pissed off Lebanese. He has lost most of his infrastructure and his “banks” have been blown up. How is he supposed to help his Hezz supporting population now? I think the war will continue in Southern Lebanon for the forseeable future.

    Comment by Stormy70 — 8/13/2006 @ 10:46 am

  2. In addition, Israel now controls the south of Lebanon, where Nasrallah’s base is located. The Northern areas of Lebanon really hate his guts now, and he will be more exposed than ever, since Israel will be cleaning out Hezzbollah in the South. Israel only has to stop offensive operations, not defensive operations in the South of Lebanon. Nasrallah is losing, which is why the Lebanon meeting has been postponed. Nasrallah is in a precarious position.

    Comment by Stormy70 — 8/13/2006 @ 12:02 pm

  3. Hezbollah Blinks

    So it appears that Israel has called Hezbollah's bluff by accepting the cease fire deal given by the UN:
    A critical Lebanese Cabinet meeting set for Sunday to discuss implementation of the cease-fire between Israel and Hizbullah was postponed, a m…

    Trackback by Flopping Aces — 8/13/2006 @ 12:43 pm

  4. Punto di non ritorno

    Secondo il Jerusalem Post (via Captain’s Quarters), il cessate-il-fuoco negoziato dall’ONU e approvato all’unanimità dal governo israeliano ha provocato una profonda crisi all’interno del governo libanese, che ha rinviato una riunione di gabinetto …

    Trackback by The Right Nation — 8/13/2006 @ 4:57 pm

  5. Just let the hezzies try and fire one rocket on TelAvia and then Isreal will come back with the big mushroom cloud over Lebonan, Syria and Iran. They will be pushed just so far.
    Did yall catch the mike wallace intrview w/ the prez of Iran, he dodged the Holocaust issue and mike only lobbed easy quesions to this jerk-off and I heard mike say he liked the guy and he was a very good interviewee, yeah, right mike.
    Can’t wait for catie cutie to start hosting cbs news, it will be enough to make me hurl.

    Comment by Drewsmom — 8/14/2006 @ 3:19 pm

  6. Hezbollah will take over Lebanon. I believe a great majority there are/were sympathizers,including their “army” and would vote them into a greater part of thier government if given the choice. This is why Lebanon never to inforce the already existing UN resolution. Senorio (sp)several times threatened his forces would fight the Israeli “incursion”, hell he should have offerred to assist them, so his country gets torn up, that can be rebuilt..if they wanted the Hezbo’s out they wouldn’t fence straddle. The Lebanesse hate the Jews too if it comes right down to it, tehy sure would not side with Israel.

    Comment by Bondservant — 8/14/2006 @ 9:59 pm

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