If you haven’t read Barack Obama’s mealy mouthed, pusillanimous statement on the crisis in Lebanon, I would suggest you read it with the fact uppermost in your mind that this is the man who may very well have the responsibility of preventing Iran from achieving its hegemonic aims in the Middle East.
Hezbollah’s power grab in Beirut has once more plunged that city into violence and chaos. This effort to undermine Lebanon’s elected government needs to stop, and all those who have influence with Hezbollah must press them to stand down immediately. It’s time to engage in diplomatic efforts to help build a new Lebanese consensus that focuses on electoral reform, an end to the current corrupt patronage system, and the development of the economy that provides for a fair distribution of services, opportunities and employment. We must support the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions that reinforce Lebanon’s sovereignty, especially resolution 1701 banning the provision of arms to Hezbollah, which is violated by Iran and Syria. As we push for this national consensus, we should continue to support the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Siniora, strengthen the Lebanese army, and insist on the disarming of Hezbollah before it drags Lebanon into another unnecessary war. As we do this, it is vital that the United States continues to work with the international community and the private sector to rebuild Lebanon and get its economy back on its feet.
Yes, the problem with Lebanon is not the militia backed by Damascus and Tehran that who have squared off against almost every US ally in the Middle East. No, in the Obama worldview, the issue is about “the corrupt patronage system.” What is more corrupt than the issues that instigated the current crisis: Hezbollah’s efforts to, a, build a state within a state and, b, undermine the sovereignty of the Lebanese government? And what is a more unfair distribution of services than an armed party at the service of foreign parties?
Obama’s language is derived from those corners of the left that claim Hezbollah is only interested in winning the Shia a larger share of the political process. Never mind the guns, it’s essentially a social welfare movement, with schools and clinics! – and its own foreign policy, intelligence services and terror apparatus, used at the regional, international and now domestic level.
Noah Pollak had the exact same reaction to the part of Obanma’s statement I highlighted above; who in God’s name does he think is running those thugs from Hizbullah?
Does Obama understand that the people who “have influence with Hezbollah” happen to be the same people on whose behalf Hezbollah is rampaging through Lebanon?
Then there is the absurd prescription:
It’s time to engage in diplomatic efforts to help build a new Lebanese consensus that focuses on electoral reform, an end to the current corrupt patronage system, and the development of the economy that provides for a fair distribution of services, opportunities and employment.
So that’s the problem in Lebanon? Economics and the electoral system?
Surely a Lebanese-American like Abu Kais would be grateful to hear such soothing words of peace and reasonableness, yes?
Oh the time we wasted by fighting Hizbullah all those years with rockets, invasions of their homes and shutting down their media outlets. If only we had engaged them and their masters in diplomacy, instead of just sitting with them around discussion tables, welcoming them into our parliament, and letting them veto cabinet decisions. If only Obama had shared his wisdom with us before, back when he was rallying with some of our former friends at pro-Palestinian rallies in Chicago. How stupid we were when, instead of developing national consensus with them, we organized media campaigns against Israel on behalf of the impoverished people who voted for them.
During that time when we bought into the cause against Israel, treating resistance fighters like our brothers, we really should have been building consensus with them. Because what we did back in 1982, 1993, 1996, 2000 and 2006 – all that was plain betrayal and unnecessary antagonism, a product of a corrupt patronage system and unfair distribution of wealth.
We stand today regretting the wasted time that could have been wisely spent talking to them, to the Syrian occupiers who brought them into our system, and the Iranian revolutionary guards who trained them.
Yes, this is change we believe in. Get me a time machine.
This has been the favored gambit of the left when dealing with difficult adversaries; pretend the basis for hostility can be found in some Hegelian historical dialectic or worse, deterministic models of human behavior rather than seeing the thug right in front of you who is about to whack you in the face with a two-by-four. Smith again:
Obama’s language is derived from those corners of the left that claim Hezbollah is only interested in winning the Shia a larger share of the political process. Never mind the guns, it’s essentially a social welfare movement, with schools and clinics! – and its own foreign policy, intelligence services and terror apparatus, used at the regional, international and now domestic level. But the solution, says, Obama, channeling the man he fired for talking to Hamas, is diplomacy.
Indeed, that fired advisor – Robert Malley – was a favored target of my friend Ed Lasky at The American Thinker – and for good reason; Malley consistently demonstrated an anti-Israeli, pro-Syrian bias in his writings such as this piece he did for the LA Times:
Forget Pelosi: What About Syria?: where Malley calls for outreach to Syria, despite its ties to Hezbollah, Hamas, and the terrorists committing murder in Iraq; believes it is unreasonable to call for Syria to cut ties with Hezbollah, break with Hamas, or alienate Iran before negotiations; he believes a return of the Golan Heights and engagement with the West will somehow miraculously lead the Syrian regime to take these steps—after they get all they want.
“All they want” most certainly includes Lebanon – either total freedom to dominate the tiny country as they see fit using their proxies or an actual re-occupation. Given the response – or lack thereof – by the international community and specifically western countries like France and the US to Hizbullah’s current rampage, Syria should feel pretty damn comfortable in doing just about whatever they please with Lebanon.
Indeed, Reason Magazine contributor and editorial editor for the Daily Star Michael Young foresaw this series of events and the possible endgame weeks ago:
Is it really in the U.S. interest to engage Syria in this context, when its major Arab allies are in the midst of a conflict with Iran they view as vital? In fact, I’m not at all convinced that asking Arab states to change Syrian behavior through “more robust interactions and investments in the country” would work. The Arabs have repeatedly tried to change Syrian behavior through more congenial means, most prominently at the Arab League summit in Riyadh last year. The Syrians have ignored this. Why? Because they know the price for their return to the Arab fold would be to give up on a return to Lebanon. They’re not about to do that, because only such a return, one that is total, with soldiers, would give Syria the regional relevance it lost in 2005, when it was forced out of Lebanon.
It would also allow Syria, from Beirut, to undermine the Hariri tribunal, which threatens the future of the Syrian regime and which will probably begin operating next year. In this, Syria has the full support of Hezbollah, which realizes that without a Syrian comeback, the party will continue to face a majority in Lebanon that wants the party to disarm. I find it revealing that Jon failed to mention Lebanon once in his post. That’s because advocates of engaging Syria realize that the only way you can bring about an advantageous dialogue with Damascus is to give it something worthwhile. That something can only be Lebanon, the minimal price Syria would demand to offer positive concessions in return.
Young has identified the number one reason for not establishing dialogue with Syria until some minimal conditions are met such as a halt to their support for the Hizbullah thugs who terrorized Christians, Sunnis, and Druze in Lebanon these past few days. The fact is, Syria will, in the end, agree to a compromise regarding a peace deal with Israel or halting their support for Sunni terrorists and insurgents in Iraq only if their interests in Lebanon are recognized and legitimized.
This is why both Republican and Democratic lawmakers who have made the pilgrimage to Damascus to sit down for a spot of tea with Gangster Assad should be royally chastised for their efforts at “personal diplomacy.” And this is why Obama is ten degrees to starboard off base when he proposes negotiations while Syrian proxy Hizbullah terrorizes Lebanon.
If Obama and his advisors can’t see that it is Hizbullah who is solely responsible for the mayhem taking place in Lebanon or if they cannot grasp that the main obstacle to compromise among the sects with regard to everything from the presidential election to economic reform in Lebanon is Syria working through their proxies then God help us, we are about to elect a lamb who is stupidly willing to lie down with lions.