Everyone Loves Nasrallah?

Lee Smith, who has lived in Beirut for some time says that the Lebanese aren’t so hot for Hizballah as the media makes them out to believe. Certainly the reporters operating out of Hizballah controlled territory aren’t free to state anything but the Hizballah party line, and what information we’re getting from Lebanon should be looked at with some skepticism.

From what little I know of Lebanon, the truth is probably infinitely more complex than what we know – which seems to be how affairs work in that corner of the world. Certainly Hizballah is experiencing a rally in popularity due to the Israeli bombings, but I don’t think that popularity will be lasting. If Hizballah is defeated, nobody likes to side with a loser, and it’s hard to start a movement when most of your most fervent believers are getting their 75 virgins really nice dates in Paradise Hell. Furthermore, everyone knows that Hizballah is a tool of Syria and Iran, and I rather doubt that those 1.5 million Lebanese who filled the streets of Beirut 18 months ago have suddenly changed course on Syria.

The Lebanese government under Prime Minister Fouad Siniora was still heavily influenced by Iranian interests – if it falls, I’m not sure that’s a net negative for the Cedar Rebellion. If the rest of the world enables the kind of terms that will allow the Lebanese to have some stability – as in a defeated Hizballah and an international security force that will keep them defeated, then there’s a good chance that all of this will not have been for nothing.

The Lebanese people aren’t our enemy, nor are they necessarily enemies of Israel. Hizballah most certain is, and they must be destroyed. However, once Israel accomplishes that, the world must unite to help the Lebanese rewrite the election laws, prevent sectarian violence, and rebuild their country. Leaving Lebanon in tatters will only ensure that the prospect of peace becomes even more dim than it already is – once Hizballah is defeated it is in the interests of the Israelis, the Lebanese, and everyone else (except Syria and Iran) for them to stay defeated.

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