Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hizballah has declared a state of open warfare against the Lebanese government. In Beirut, Hezballah terrorists have already engaged in two days of fighting with Lebanese troops.
Tony Badran, blogging at Michael Totten’s site offers some trenchant analysis as to what this all means:
“What this has done is lay bare all the charades of the last two years that Hezbollah’s is a “national” opposition, etc. What we saw yesterday is that Christians didn’t budge (Aounists that is), in any region. And so, what you have here is Hezbollah vs. the rest, and Hezbollah vs. the state. Politically this is very bad for them, and obviously for Aoun. In that sense it was a shrewd political move by March 14, because it hit them on a point that they can’t get sympathizers for outside their thugs (i.e., they have no allies, and they’re fighting the state!). Second, it puts them in a corner: they either force the government to capitulate, or they lose themselves. Nasrallah is against the wall.”
Hizballah, even though politically isolated, is a grave danger to the future of a free and democratic Lebanon. With both Syria and Iran providing Hizballah with money and weapons, they could outfight the Lebanese military and potentially take down the Lebanese government.
The Lebanese also have a stake in what happens here in the U.S.:
Second, as Tony conjectures, the Lebanese are watching closely a the US presidential campaign unfolds and are likely concerned what an Obama presidency represents for March 14, especially if Hezbollah starts a war with Israel: it means the pillar of the international alliance supporting a democratic Lebanon is apt to go hat in hand to Hezbollah’s patrons in Tehran and Damascus looking to “engage.” If there is another war, the US impulse will likely be to go over March 14’s head and sue for peace with Iran and Syria, which is precisely what Bush resisted.
“Engagement” with Iran and Syria is futile—they have no intention of giving up their efforts to gain influence in Lebanon and the U.S. offers them nothing that would make them change their mind on that account. There is a good reason why Hamas has endorsed Obama. Obama’s foreign policy team is the same as Jimmy Carter’s, and there is every reason to believe that an Obama Presidency will be as weak on foreign affairs as Carter’s was. His love of meaningless “engagement” presages a U.S. policy of compromise that would allow Damascus and Teheran to take the initiative. The progress that has been made by the Franco-American alliance in the U.N. woule end up stalled as the Obama team naively assumes that they can trust the word of tyrants.
This is a critical time for Lebanon. The world community must unite in support of the democratic Lebanese government and against the thuggery of Hassan Nasrallah. If that means putting diplomatic, political, and even military pressure on Iran and Syria then so be it. The people of Lebanon have suffered enough under the domination of Syria and their Hezballah puppets. It is time for the world to unite to put an end to Hezballah’s games. The great question is whether the U.S. and France will be able to get enough of a coalition together to do something or whether once again the world will fiddle while Beirut burns.