The war in Israel's north is not about Palestinians, or about Israel. It's about Lebanon, Syria, Iran and the United States. It will determine who is in charge of Lebanese democracy, and whether or not the US initiative for democracy in the Middle East is going to be totally derailed by Jihadist fanatics and their cynical masters in Damascus and Tehran. The Hezbollah are dumping rockets on Haifa, Nahariya and Safed, but the real targets are Beirut and Washington DC.
points us to Michael Young's perceptive New York Times Op-Ed. Michael Young is not a Zionist. He is Lebanese opinion editor of the Beirut Daily Star. Young writes:
Israel's incursion into Lebanon after the kidnapping on Wednesday of two Israeli soldiers by the militant group Hezbollah is far more than another flare-up on a tense border. It must also be seen as a spinoff of a general counterattack against American and Israeli power in the region by Iran and Syria, operating through sub-state actors like Hezbollah and the Palestinian organization Hamas. [....]
...This week, however, Hezbollah transgressed three political lines.
The first was its expansion of military operations outside the Shebaa area. [....]
A second line that Hezbollah crossed was its evident coordination of strategy with Hamas; this went well beyond its stated aim of simply defending Lebanon and left Israel feeling it was fighting a war on two fronts.
The third line crossed was domestic. By unilaterally taking Lebanon into a conflict with Israel, Hezbollah sought to stage a coup díťtat against the anti-Syrian parliamentary and government majority, which opposes the militant groupís adventurism.
Hezbollah holds seats in the 128-member Parliament but has an uneasy relationship with the majority, which has been on the defensive as Syria has tried to reassert control over Lebanon after its military withdrawal last year. Hezbollah hoped to humiliate the anti-Syrian politicians by forcing them to endorse the kidnappings and showing how little control the government has over the party.
The last point was Hezbollah's real reason for the starting the violence. This also suited its Iranian and Syrian masters, because it foils the US plan, based perhaps on an illusion, that it is building "democracy" in Lebanon. As Israpundit points out, it is really a war between Iran, Syria and the US, a point made by David Twersky" who believes the war with Iran has begun. Actually, the Israeli war with Iran began when the Hamas were elected to head the Palestinian authority.
The influence of foreigners was also noted by Michael Young in the Daily Star. He wrote:
Forever protesting its innocence, Syria is at the heart of a network of destabilizing developments in the Middle East. The Syrian regime hosts Meshaal, arms Hizbullah, ferries combatants into Iraq (even if this is more controlled today than it was), irks the Jordanians, and tries to undercut Lebanese sovereignty. For Assad, exporting instability is compulsory in order to impose domestic quietude. An illegitimate regime like his needs outside volatility to justify repression at home, to keep Syria's regional opponents, or potential opponents, off balance...
In Slate, Lee Smith writing from Beirut explains:
...Several U.N. resolutions, as well as almost every Western diplomatic initiative here, have emphasized the urgent need for the Lebanese government to disarm what the U.S. State Department calls a terrorist organization. Instead, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and other national leaders have insisted that Hezbollah is neither a terrorist group nor a militia, but is rather "the resistance" and nothing but "the resistance." In other words, we side with the Party of God and agree that their arms benefit all of Lebanon! And then, this week, the democratically elected government disclaimed responsibility for the actions of Hezbollah, which is part of the government. The Lebanese are not innocent bystanders; they did not tempt their fate, they ignored it.
Despite nuances, almost everyone seems to understand the general outlines of what is happening and why it is happening, whether they are Republicans or Democrats, Neo-conservatives, rightists, leftists, Zionists or anti-Zionists. Iran and Syria are trying to frustrate US policy in the Middle East. Specifically in Lebanon, they have used the Hezbulla to hi-jack the Lebanese government and subvert the US and French attempt to restore democracy to that country.
Strangely, only the US doesn't seem to understand. While Secretary Rice seems to have understood at least vaguely that the Hezbolla are inimical to US interests, she seems to think that the Seniora government which protects the Hezbolla is still part of the "democracy" experiment and therefore needs protection. At the July 13 press briefing held in Germany, Secretary Rice said:
.. it is, in the case of Lebanon, especially important that Israeli actions not undermine a new, fledgling democratic government, which obviously has its problems in that it has within it Hezbollah, which is the source of these attacks. And we understand that the Siniora government, therefore, has a very complicated situation and nobody wants to make that worse because, ultimately, the best chance for peace is going to be a democracy in Lebanon in which Syrian forces are out and remain out.
How could the situation be worse, then having a government that has placed itself under the control of Hezbollah? What is the advantage of having Syria out of Lebanon, if the Hezbollah is their to represent them instead? How can Israel stop the Hezbollah without the cooperation of the Lebanese government? No force can overcome a guerrilla army that is given aid and sanctuary by a state. The US has given the Hezbollah a screen to hide behind: the Seniora "democratic" government, which must not be harmed.
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