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Friday, August 13, 2010

Change coming to Lebanon?

After a stinging rebuke to those Lebanese who fell for Hezbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah's attempt to blame Israel for the Hariri assassination, the Beirut Star's Michael Young comes up with this:
The politics of this message are complicated enough. Prime Minister Saad Hariri is not about to surrender so useful a card as a possible accusation against Hizbullah. From the moment he visited Damascus last December and shook Assad’s hand, Hariri confirmed he was willing to negotiate over the tribunal. That is precisely what Nasrallah seeks to avoid, and his Power Point display was designed to push Hariri into a corner, shift the terms of the debate on the tribunal, and force an end to Lebanese cooperation with the institution.

However, beyond the politics, what does the maneuvering over the tribunal tell us about ourselves as Lebanese? In a system and society committed to the rule of law and justice, Nasrallah’s spectacle would have been impossible, as would have been Hariri’s visit to Damascus and the conflicting statements of Walid Jumblatt about the tribunal (which still holds his affidavit). A system and society committed to the rule of law and justice would not have allowed the second UN commissioner, Serge Brammertz, to waste two years doing next to nothing and conceal this in a battery of evasive reports. Such a system would not have allowed his successor, Daniel Bellemare, to inform us even less about his progress, even though we Lebanese pay a substantial share of the prosecutor’s salary.

In other words, we Lebanese never deserved the tribunal, and I suspect even less the sovereignty and rule of law it was supposed to bolster. Lost in our conspiracy theories and factionalism, we are willing to believe everything ridiculous and reject anything backed up by hard facts. There are those, and they are not few nor are they all Hizbullah followers, who honestly believe Nasrallah made a compelling case this week. When gullibility descends into stupidity, it’s time to admit that Lebanon merits no better than to be run by an armed militia or an autocratic foreign power.

Here is Assad again during his encounter with Ban, offering up this assessment of Lebanese society: “In Lebanon, divisions and confessionalism have been deeply anchored for more than 300 years. Lebanese society is very fragile. [The country’s] most peaceful years were when Syrian forces were present. From 1976 to 2005 Lebanon was stable, whereas now there is great instability.”

If the Lebanese can stomach such disparagement – in fact if they can embrace the man who made that statement – then Assad may have been right to hark back approvingly to the years of Syrian military rule. We’re on the eve of a Syrian comeback, and the Lebanese seem blithely unaware of what this means, so busy are they following the pied pipers who have taken the measure of our society’s foolishness.
Read the whole thing.

Four years ago, a few months after I started writing this blog, Israel went to war with Hezbullah in Lebanon. At the time, I wrote again and again, that we have no territorial disputes with Lebanon (we don't - the Shaba Farms 'dispute' was invented by Hezbullah to justify its continued retention of weapons), and that there was no reason for Lebanon to enter into a war with us. However, if Lebanon continues to support Hezbullah and to allow it to attack Israel from its sovereign territory, Israel cannot hold back and not defend itself. In fact, we started the Second Lebanon War attacking Lebanon's infrastructure, and we let up and fought the war to a draw because we listened to the the Bush administration and tried to limit ourselves to attacks on Hezbullah.

In the next war, which seems to be rapidly approaching, there will be no limitations, and Israel will attack Lebanon - and not just Hezbullah - because Lebanon's leadership has cowardly chosen to throw its lot in with Hezbullah against Israel rather than to stand up and fight for itself. From being the second most enlightened country in the Middle East, and the only country aside from Israel in which multiple forms of religious observance are tolerated, Lebanon is turning itself into yet another 8th century Caliphate which is teaching its youth the glories of martyrdom in the service of a violent, child-molesting 'prophet' and those who would lay claim to his crown.

It's a pity.


At 6:27 AM, Blogger Hatfield said...

Never fear. Blame will always fall on Israel. From my great distance (more forest than trees) the next war is approaching and frankly, the sooner the better, since the longer it is delayed the better armed Hez and Hamas will be.

Three wild cards: Obama's attitude; how the Israeli govt will respond to Obama's pressure; and would Iran try to lob a missile or two Israel's way?


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