This is How Bad the Hezbollah-Lebanon Debacle Is

May 17, 2008 Published under Iran, Middle East, Mideast Negotiations, Palestine

How bad is the situation for the Lebanese? This is how bad:

  1. Hezbollah’s militia is destabilizing in and of itself – no State in History has ever been able to call itself a stable State if there is a non-State-controlled militia that challenges the authority of the State;
  2. For years the UN and the world have indicated that all Lebanese militias had to disarm, in order to allow Lebanon to evolve into a vibrant integrated country; Hezbollah is the only militia that refused to turn in their arms and allow re-integration; even though Israel fully evacuated from Lebanese territory according to the UN and all observers, Hezbollah used its "struggle" against Israel as an excuse not to disarm;
  3. Hezbollah continues to smuggle arms from Iran and Syria and send its fighters to train in Iran; it uses the Beirut airport with impunity, and effectively controlled it, along with a separate communications infrastructure;
  4. The Siniora Government sought to prevent the continued smuggling of arms by firing the Airport manager that was following Hezbollah’s guidance.  It also sought to ban the separate communications network
  5. Hezbollah responded with a semi-coup – attacks against other Lebanese and against Government ministries and employees.
  6. The Lebanese Army stood by; now, in which country is it considered normal for the Army to be required to stay "neutral" when a militia initiates attacks against the Government? The Lebanese Army stood by because a) they are too weak against Hezbollah’s passions, training, and weapons; b) they sense in the winds that Hezbollah is becoming stronger and the ruling government is going to fall;
  7. The gutsy Hezbollah shiite fighters give their lives to the Movement and will go to the streets or to wherever their admired leader Nasrallah sends them; the Westernized Sunni and Christian moderates on the other side would like to live a fun life and hang out in bars and restaurants, or pursue greater education in the US or Dubai, and they have no undying allegiances to their leaders;
  8. Now the "compromise" to prevent further fighting cemented Hezbollah’s control of the airports and their communication network, as well as a change in the government laws; General Suleiman, the head of the Lebanese Army, who was once seen as the only possible candidate for President capable of being responsive to both sides, is increasingly seen as tilting to the Hezbollah side;
  9. Iran and Syria have been emboldened by this development and will further invest in their proxy Hezbollah; Saudi Arabia, Egypt, other Arab states and the Unite States, seen as the counterbalance to the Iranians, do not have legitimacy on the street, or the stomach or roadmap to invest themselves into strengthening Lebanese civil society and investing in the people.
  10. Hezbollah’s leader Nasrallah has built a mythical reputation as a direct and straightforward and humble leader (it still confounds me how he achieve this, but he did), seen as a model in the Arab world, not just by Shiites loyal to him, but also by Palestinians and Sunnis across the Arab world;
  11. The epicenter of struggle is now moving from Iraq to Lebanon; Iraq, even if stabilized, is already Shiite-controlled and significantly influenced by Iran; there is still hope the Iraqi Shiites will demand openess, stability, and progressive policies towards the world, in contrast to the Iranian regime’s apocalyptic totalitarian revolutionary zeal; but they are certainly not going to be any counterweight against Iran; now the threat is that Lebanon will become as oppressive and regressive as Iran;
  12. This may be the most alarming development even for Israeli-Palestinian relations; the hope of a two-state agreement between Israel and Palestine is dimmed by the prospects of interference and destabilization from the North and from Iran, via Islamic Jihad and Hamas.  It is now far less likely that Hamas will agree not to to be a spoiler in the negotiations between Abbas and Olmert.  It sees it can become the Hezbollah of Palestine.
  13. Lebanon’s dream, and with it the dream of a peaceful Middle East based on harmony, respect, tolerance, economic liberalization, democracy and openess, is in greater jeopardy than it has ever been.
Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

related posts


  1. Why the World Should Worry About Lebanon… | Daniel Lubetzky said:

    [...] at the time are stark.  I hope Rubin is wrong about the situation, but I am afraid (as indicated earlier) that the writing is on the [...]

  2. The Solution for Zimbabwe’s and Lebanon’s Armies | Daniel Lubetzky said:

    [...] Lebanon’s army stood by as the Hezbollah militia rampaged downtown Beirut and attacked the government’s offices.  Its alleged rationale? The army was not going to take sides – as if "neutrality" is the call of the day when an armed militia tries to bully and dominate (if not yet overthrow) the democratically elected government. [...]

post a new comment