Thursday, May 8, 2008
For the past two days, Hezbollah has been engaging in open warfare with the Western backed Lebanese government. Hezbollah, of course, has boycotted Parliament so a new President cannot be chosen and the country has been without one since November. However, the government just banned Hezbollah's private telecommunications infrastructure on the grounds that it was a threat to its national security (and for that matter it is a threat to Israel's security as well.) Indeed, this telecommunications system was funded by Iran. Hezbollah leader Sheik Nasrallah declared, "Those who try to arrest us, we will arrest them. Those who shoot at us, we will shoot them. The hand raised against us, we will cut if off." Given that the IDF couldn't decisively beat Hezbollah two years ago what chance does the Lebanese government have? Our military isn't available. Even if it was there's always memories of the 1983 attack on the barracks that killed 241 U.S. Marines. Given Lebanon's ties to France, would Sarkozy be prepared to send in the French military to protect the Lebanese government? He might but I can't see his countrymen supporting him on that point. This is the biggest test of the Lebanese government since the end of Syrian occupation in 2005. If they cave and back down on declaring the telecommunications system illegal or they just plain lose the fight in the streets, Lebanon will be under Hezbollah and by extension Iran's control. Should Iran develop a nuclear weapon it might just launch a bomb into Israel from Lebanon. Yes, I don't think it is a surprise that Hezbollah is acting up during Israel's 60th anniversary. It is also not a surprise given Olmert's legal troubles. Unless someone stands up to Hezbollah something awfully bad is going to happen.
Posted by Aaron Goldstein at Thursday, May 08, 2008