Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lebanon Update

Iran’s militia Hezbollah started a civil war in Lebanon in what appears to have been, from its onset, an attempt at a coup. Within two days, Hezbollah had occupied most of Bierut with ease while the Lebanese military, a weak institution heavily influenced by Syria, stood by and did nothing. Hezbollah has tried to take over Sunni and Druze strongholds elsewhere throughout the country, thus completing their coup, but they have been repulsed. Below is a round-up of news on the situation in Lebanon through today.


The situation in Lebanon is unclear, yet it appears that Hezbollah vastly overplayed its hand. Hezbollah has been unsuccessful in expanding its control outside of the capital. Hezbollah's decision to turn its weapons on the Lebanese will have repercussions long after a shaky peace returns to Lebanon. As Blacksmith’s of Lebanon write:

For Hizballah, the prospect of exiting this most severe of crises with anything resembling a positive [let alone a victory], seems dauntingly distant. As the dust settles, Lebanon’s besieged (literally!) government remains in place, its fortitude continuously reinforced by the common disgust felt across the nation at the fact that the Iranian-backed group turned its weapons on the capital and the mountain.

In its domestic political confrontations, Hizballah’s aggressions have left it completely bankrupt. . . .

Now a week into the assault, occupation, and [partial, if not superficial] delivery of its capital city back to those who should have guarded it in the first place, Lebanon is slowly reawakening to the damage inflicted on it and its institutions by an ordeal who’s end seems nowhere in sight. What remains clear, for now, however, is that Hizballah and its masters have suffered a critical defeat.

Read the entire post. You’ll find much more repeating and amplifying this message in an article at Now Lebanon, discussing a conference of experts convened the other day at the Hudson Institute.

Prof. Walid Phares, a native of Lebanon, gave an overview of the civil war and the hand of Iran in it as he discussed discussed how, in the mountains of north Lebanon, a handful of Druze soldiers were repulsing the Hezbollah attempts to take over their strongholds.

According to arabic news outlet Asharq Alawsat, all major Sunni factions in Lebanon are meeting in Tripoli to unify a military bloc to confront Hezbollah.

Randa Takieddine writes in the Lebanese news outlet Ya Libnan about the Hezbollah takeover of media outlets and sees it as a new phase in the civil war.

Ya Libnan is keeping up live coverage of events as they come in. According to yesterday’s coverage, Hezbollah took the violence to other parts of the country. Yesterday the violence shifted from the Druze strongholds of Mount Lebanon to the Tripoli region in the the north. You can follow today’s coverage here.

This From Bierut to the Beltway yesterday, indicating that the Lebanese cabinet will meet today to roll over on the two decisions that Hezbollah used to justify its insurrection:

Future Movement leader Saad Hariri said that there will be no dialogue under the threat of Hizbullah's weapons, and vowed to never surrender to Iran and Syria. He said all sects are depressed over what happened, including the Shias in the south, who saw Hizbullah invade the very homes that welcomed them during Israeli aggression.

He said the army will be held accountable at a later date, adding that "they" will monitor its commitment to maintaining civil peace through the cabinet. He acknowledged that the military failed to protect citizens, adding it was the citizens themselves who ended up defending its unity.

He said any dialogue should have the security of the country and Hizbullah's weapons as a top item. He also said that Hizbullah's monopoly over "war and peace decisions" will no longer be acceptable. . . .

Read the entire post.

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