Friday, July 14, 2006

Lebanon: Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place - Updated

I was just over at Arabian dissent and read his post retelling of a conversation with a friend he has in Beirut. I think everyone should read this glimpse into the heart of most people in Lebanon. All they want to do is be left alone but seem to find themselves constantly embroiled in war between the hard-line muslim extremists with Syrian and Iranian backing and the State of Israel. By no means is the average Lebanese citizen a friend of Israel, but for the most part they are a secular people who are hard working and who are now willing to let go of the past if they can live in peace. They are a budding democracy that is pro-business and trying to rebuild a country that its people, who earlier fled from violence, can return home to.

I think its a mistake to lump whats happening in the south with the people of Lebanon. The Lebanese government does not have the strength to handle Hesballah or the Syrian government. They are at the mercy of exterior forces from all points of the world and I think its a shame. If Syria and Iran want a war with Israel, then don't use Lebanon as the battleground. If its a war you want, do it in your own backyard. I can understand that Israel wants to defend its people, but I agree with Bush on this one, Israel has to remember who the real enemy is, and its not the people of Lebanon.

Update: check out this email from Michael Russo sent to Glen Reynolds (instapundit) . This paragraph I think is the best way to say what I've been trying to explain in the post and comments...
The Lebanese people seem to be more than turned off by Hizbollah. Their fears are greater, however, that the Lebanese government would turn entirely against Hizbollah. This lies in the fact that they trust the Israelis to hit fewer civilian targets more than they trust a desparate renegade Hizbollah on their soil. There is a lot of fear over another civil war.
h/t Small Dead Animals


Blogger doug said...

So because Lebanon really does not exist as an Independent State due to the presense of Syrian proxies, Israel must simply allow it to export terror from its 'on-the-map' territories ?

I think not.

Lebanon might want to simply be left alone but it is infested with a terrorist group that does not so wish.

Lebanon must declare that its South is not part of the country and therefore not under its control, or choose to expel Hezbollah from Lebanon, or suffer the consequences of allowing it to exist there.

What it can't do is pretend that there are no consequences to not confronting these terrorists.

There are.

10:38 AM  
Blogger "Expert" Tom said...

But if only the south is infested with Hezbollah and the rest of the country does not have the resources to expel Hezbollah, wouldn't it make more sense to attack the south and then target Syria? Is Israel afraid of what would happen if they attacked Syria directly?

I say that because I think most Lebanese fear Hezbollah and the reprisals they would feel if they dealt with Hezbollah and Syria themselves. I don't think you can expect Lebanon to be held to a higher standard when it comes to self preservation than Israel. If Israel attacks Syria, many Israelis will die, if Lebanon attack Hezbollah, many Lebanese will die. Its that simple.

One last point, if the funds for Hezbollah were cut of. I think you would see that terrorist organization quickly removed from Lebanon. The world needs to take a tougher stance with Syria and Iran, not Lebanon.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the place use to be "the jewel of the mediteraninan!"

11:12 AM  
Blogger doug said...

"The world needs to take a tougher stance with Syria and Iran, not Lebanon."

And in which alternative universe can you see that happening? This is not even a remotely credible alternative.

The 'world' is collectively and individually a very unique creature. It is constructed entirely without a 'spine'. It appears to be modelled after France, if truth be told.

Israel is making Lebanon an offer it simply can't refuse. If the Israeli leaders are to be believed, major ground operations are about to commence in Southern Lebanon, with the aim of seriously weakening Hezbollah. Lebanon (the sane part) will then have to decide how to proceed once the lunatic fringe has been brought down a peg or two. As for attacks on Beirut, some of the city is Hezbollahland. Run entirely by Hezbollah. It is and should be on the target list. I don't think most 'other' Lebanese would in their heart-of-hearts really care too much.

As for attacking Syria instead of Lebanon, I think that Israel does not have sufficient 'proximate cause' to do so. But an attack on Syria would be devastating to the Damascus regime as its military would be rolled up in very short order. Israel could if it wished simply rain 'death-from'above' on Syria until it had very few assets left. Syria is not even a paper-tiger.

Frankly I am beginning to believe that all the region really understands is FORCE, and were I running Israel, FORCE is what it would get 24-7-365. There would be no such adjective as 'disproportionate'. It would be replaced by 'effective'.

If we were in Israel's place , I hope my Government would defend me from the nutbars with everything it had.

Without 'nuance' or reservation.

11:42 AM  
Blogger "Expert" Tom said...

Don't you think it is now much harder to get Lebanon onside to help remove Hezbollah now that Israel has bombed non-Hezbollah Lebanese civilian targets (such as airports and highways).

Your arguement is the paper tiger here. Syria would be defeated, but if it was as easy as you say, why haven't they done so yet? Syria supports and houses Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists that are wanted by Israel. Israel has more 'proximate cuase' to attack downtown Damascus than they do downtown Beirut. My arguement still stands, Lebanon does not have the capacity to wage a war with Hezbollah, nor should they be asked to make a bigger sacrifice than Israel is willing to make with its people.

I also agree that nutbars should be dealt with in short order without apology or reserve, but as you state there is a 'sane' element in Lebanon and they are better as allies than enemies.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" Don't you think it is now much harder to get Lebanon onside ..." No, I, at least, do not think that. Lebanon did not put a leash on the genocidal nutbars when Israel withdrew from Lebanese territory and shows no sign of doing so at any point in the future, how could the current events make it more difficult than the impossible it was before?

If I may mix my metaphors, Lebanon turned a blind eye to a cancer in her belly, now she reaps what she has sown.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lebanese people did not care enough about Lebanon to force out a terrorist organization that has been and continues to fire rockets at another country, so no one should feel the least bit sorry for any of them.

Besides that, apparently Hezbollah has the support of 40% of Lebanese - that would be enough for a majority government in Canada.

Lebanon should be bombed into the stone age and starved - they'll stop attacking other countries then.

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