A few Lebanese are daring to tell the truth about who started this war, and whose fault it is. Those who condemn Israel in the name of Arab solidarity, would do well to listen to them. Unfortunately, the puppet government of Fuad Siniora, which garners support from the United States, does not represent the real interests of the Lebanese people.
Druze leader Walid Jumblatt states
the case clearly:
"Will the weapons of Hizbullah be incorporated into the defensive system of the Lebanese army, and I emphasize the word 'defensive?' Or will there be a cease-fire, and then the first article on the agenda will be that we should liberate the prisoners. Then he will say to you: 'We want to liberate the Shab'a Farms, and I need to keep my weapons in order to liberate Shab'a.' Then he will tell you that we should implement Resolution 194 - the return of the refugees to Palestine. In such a case, Lebanon will become an open battlefield for the Syrian and Iranian regimes."
"The question should be directed at Hassan [Nasrallah], and at the Syrians and Iranians with their agenda: Do they really want a Lebanese state, or do they want an open battlefield, which would serve Iran's nuclear interests and expansionist goals in the Gulf? As for Syria, it benefits when Lebanon turns
into rubble. The poorer the Lebanese people gets, the more it is destroyed, the more the elite emigrate. How does [Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad] manage to rule Syria? Through poverty. He rules it through power and intelligence agencies. He rules a people that is wretched, imprisoned. He wants to do the same to Lebanon, because he envies us. He envies our pluralism, our vitality, our culture, and our free press. What did he do to the Syrian intellectuals? He imprisoned them. Why? Because they had the courage to say: 'Let's make some changes.'
We agreed on an agenda with regard to Palestine. If the agenda changes, that will be another matter. The agenda with regard to Palestine, on which we agreed, includes the establishment of a [Palestinian]
state alongside Israel, the right of return, Jerusalem as the capital, the demolition of the wall of humiliation, and the dismantling of the settlements. This is our agenda at this point in time. In his political speeches, [Nasrallah] says: 'I do not recognize the state of Israel, and I want to set out from South Lebanon to liberate Palestine in its entirety.' This is what he is doing. If this is his agenda, I have the right to oppose it."
And in the Spectator, prominent Lebanese journalist Michael Young wrote, The Lebanese really blame Hizbollah
...what has not been so widely reported is that while officials will blame Israel for the misery and chaos, a substantial number of Lebanese - in some cases, ironically, the officials themselves - have a more nuanced view. Of course the people here are angry and anxious about the possibility of a widening of the Israeli attacks, but their rage, as they see the country being taken apart, is often directed against Hizballah.
The Lebanese people have watched as Hizballah has built up a heavily armed state-within-a-state that has now carried the country into a devastating conflict it cannot win and many are fed up. Sunni Muslims, Christians and the Druze have no desire to pay for the martial vanity of the Hizballah leader, Hassan Nasrallah. Nor will they take kindly to his transforming the devastation into a political victory.
Some even welcome Israel's intervention. As one Lebanese politician said to me in private (but would never dare say in public) Israel must not stop now. It sounds cynical, he said, but 'for things to get better in Lebanon, Nasrallah must be weakened further'.
Even some Shiites are beginning to have doubts about Nasrallah. If interviewed on television they will praise Hizballah, but when the cameras are off, there are those who will suddenly become more critical. Many have had to flee, leaving behind their homes and possessions with no hope of recovering anything of any worth.
No doubt there would be other Lebanese who objected to the Hezbollah and its Syrian and Iranian patrons, but differences of opinion with Hezbollah are bad for one's health. For example, Gebran Tueni, the young editor of An-Nahar newspaper, was murdered in an explosion, and journalist May Chidiac was severely wounded in an attempt on her life. Those who want to stay healthy, generally stay silent. That is the Lebanese "democracy" that the US is supporting.
Unfortunately, Lebanon is caught in a tangle:
There is no hope of freeing Lebanon as long as Hezbollah exists, because they will never agree to give up their arms, which are like a pistol pointed at the heads of the Lebanese people.
There is no hope of eliminating Hezbollah as long as the Lebanese state supports them. Even if Israel were to kill every last Hezbollah fighter in the south, the rest will simply melt into the mountains and reappear at the opportune time, rearmed by Iran and Syria, because the Lebanese government permits these arms shipments and allows Hezbollah to operate openly
There is no hope of making the Lebanese state stop supporting Hezbollah, as long as the United States and France continue to support the government of Fuad Seniora, which has openly sided with the Hezbollah.
Secretary of State Rice has repeatedly warned Israel against harming Lebanon's "fragile democracy." Rice says of the Lebanese government that "Hezbollah 'extremists are trying to strangle it in its crib,'" But the "fragile democracy" that the US supports has turned down US efforts to put an end to the unlawful hi-jacking of Lebanon by the Hezbollah. The infant Lebanese "democracy" is a fiction. The Seniora government exists only because of UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1680, which were pushed through by the combined efforts of the US and France, and which brought about Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. Seniora is essentially supposed to be a client of the US and France, and to represent the Lebanese people. Instead, he acts like a client of Syria and Iran and represents the Hezbollah.
According to Al Jazeera:
Rice ... told Fouad Siniora, the Lebanese prime minister, that there could be no ceasefire until Hezbollah released the two Israeli soldiers it captured on July 12.
A Lebanese source quoted Rice as saying that the pair would have to be released unconditionally and Hezbollah forces moved about 20km from the border.
"The tone of the meeting was very negative," the source said.
Siniora has repeatedly called for a ceasefire since fighting began 13 days ago.
He has said only a broad political deal - including a prisoner swap and an Israeli withdrawal from the disputed Shebaa Farms area - will work.
To justify the kidnapping, supporters of Hezbollah have spread a false rumor that Israel holds "thousands" of Lebanese prisoners. Israel holds two prisoners that the Hezbollah claims. One is Samir Kuntar, who murdered three members of a family and an Israeli policeman in 1979. The second is an Israeli national of Lebanese extraction who was caught spying for the Hezbollah. Shebaa farms is a tiny sliver of land in the Israeli occupied Golan heights that belongs to Syria according to the UN, and according to Syria. Hezbollah is not kidnapping any Syrian soldiers or civilians in order to demand the return of Shebaa farms, nor is it firing any rockets on Syria.
Rice also got a flat-out refusal from Nabih Berri, the Shi'a leader and speaker of parliament whom Hezbollah has empowered to speak for them:
An official close to Beri said his talks with Rice failed to "reach an agreement because Rice insisted on one full package to end the fighting."
The package included a cease-fire, simultaneous with the deployment of the Lebanese army and an international force in south Lebanon and the removal of Hezbollah weapons from a buffer zone xtending 30 kilometers from the Israeli border, said the official. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks were private.
Beri rejected the package, proposing instead a two-phased plan. First would come a cease-fire and negotiations for a prisoner swap. Then an inter-Lebanese dialogue would work out a solution to the situation in south Lebanon, said the official.
The United States has insisted that no cease-fire can take place without dealing [with] what it calls the root cause of the violence - Hezbollah's domination of the south along the Israeli border. Israel has rejected any halt in the fighting until two soldiers captured by the guerrillas are freed and the guerrillas are forced back.
Beri's two-phased plan would be better named the "two-faced" plan. The inter-Lebanese dialogue about Hezbollah and other issues has gone on for well over a year, but it is hard to make progress when when side holds a gun to the head of the other side in a "dialogue." So the results of further dialogue will be the same as long as Hezbollah is empowred.
What is alarming is that the reported US conditions represent a cowardly retreat from international law. Withdrawal of Hezbollah from the border without disarming the Hezbollah is a violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1680, which call for disarming militias. The implication of the US proposal, if it is reported correctly, is clear: Lebanon will remain enthralled to Hezbollah even if the "tough" requirements are met.
Hawks who insist that IDF could get the job done if they used more force are missing the point. Israel targets "infrastructure" but guerillas have almost no real "infrastructure" except the civilian infrastructure of a country. Lebanon is acting, against its will, as the host of the Hezbollah. Therefore the only way to destroy the Hezbollah "infrastructure" would be to destroy all the roads, bridges, airports, factories, electric plants, communications facilities in Lebanon. This would be unacceptable, and in any case, the Hezbollah would return to using this infrastructure once it is rebuilt. Even if all 4,000 Hezbollah soldiers were to be captured, an unlikely result of the war, Iran and Syria could train and equip another 4,000 or 8,000 from the Lebanese population. As long as the Lebanese government, supported by the United States and France, is compliant to the wishes of the Hezbollah, Lebanon will never be free and Israel's northern border will not be safe. Implementation of UN resolutions that free Lebanon should not the job of the IDF, but the job of the UN and the Lebanese. Not one Israeli life should be wasted because the UN is unable to meet its commitments and the Lebanese are unwilling to free their own country. The fact is, only the Lebanese can free themselves, and only the Lebanese can make peace with Israel.
The security zone that would be created in south Lebanon would be worthless. From the Lebanese point of view, if the Israelis occupy this zone it is a double disaster, since the Hezbollah would only be pushed northwards. They would continue their attacks on Israel from there, since their rockets have ranges of 150 KM and they would also continue their stranglehold on the Lebanese government, as they would not be disarmed. A peacekeeping force would allow Lebanese to say they are not occupied by Israel, but it would not free their country or help Israel. The last such peacekeeping force left when Hezbollah blew up a few hundred marines. Opposition to the Hezbollah may be hazardous to your health. Any peace keeping force, no matter what the size, will follow the UNIFIL policy of live and let live. The Hezbollah will do what they want, and the peace keepers will entertain themselves in the bars and brothels of Beirut and Nahariya, just as UNIFIL does.
Lebanon will be free only if Lebanese make up their minds that Lebanon must be free, and only when the US and its allies stop supporting a government that sold Lebanon to the Hezbollah.
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