Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Hezbollah's Fingerprints"

There is a heavy gloom in the air in Lebanon, of a government so compromised that it cannot breathe easily. The profound alteration of demographics in the country, once so heavily represented by Christians has seen a marked change. Where just several decades earlier the Palestinian Arabs that settled there, living in squalid refugee camps and looked down upon with disdain and disgust by most Lebanese, there is now a dangerous and powerful militia armed by Lebanon's neighbour Syria whose aspirations to control it have never diminished.

The occupation of Lebanon by Syria, ostensibly to protect the country from further incursions by their Zionist neighbour, and which drained the country of its natural resources, where the rich abundance of foods and consumer goods made its way into Syria, and the government of Lebanon heeded instructions from Syria, is gone, but not forgotten. Syria still hovers possessively over Lebanon, anxious at some future time to resume its overseer role, as a caring neighbour.

It was the assassination of anti-Syrian, pro-Western Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005 that finally saw Lebanon re-assert its independence through a populist backlash. And the censure that emanated from the international community, convinced that Syria was involved in that deed, also convinced Syria to decamp, to withdraw itself back into its own borders, leaving Lebanon to itself. Ah, not quite; leaving Lebanon to Iran's proxy militia, Hezbollah.

The triumvirate of Islamist triumph, where Iran supplies the muscle and the fear-mongering, and the oil-based cash and Syria remains the conduit re-arming Hezbollah far beyond what it lost during the Israeli-Hezbollah war that the world called off far too soon, is alive and well. Hezbollah feeling more cocky than ever, spurring the late Rafiq Hariri's son to visit Iran with the respectfully humble request that it calm down its dogs of war.

It will take quite a bit of reassurance, however, none of which will emanate from Iran, as the Middle East waits upon the anticipated United Nations special tribunal's investigation results into Hariri's murder. Hezbollah, now a significant part of Lebanon's governing elite, has always claimed that Israel was responsible for Rafiq Hariri's assassination. Israel is always responsible for any and all sinister and deadly attacks that occur, Arab upon Arab.

But if and when, as widely expected, the United Nations special tribunal announces its indictment, naming senior Hezbollah officials responsible for the assassination, the entire region could be thrown into volatile chaos. There will be reprisals, there always does lurk the menacing potential of civil war and the country yet again torn asunder in hateful antipathies, Sunni against Shia, Kurds against Arabs, and all savaging Christians.

Should Hezbollah be formally recognized as the force behind that assassination, identified as a terror group striking fellow Muslims and Lebanese, what happens with the uneasy coalition government and the tidy arrangements that have thus far served to ensure that the Lebanese government remains prepared for another war with Israel now that Hezbollah's arms have been strengthened under the watch of UN peacekeepers?

Iran claims it is prepared to strike a death blow at Israel. Syria appears to have informed Iran that it is not capable nor prepared to assist. Hezbollah will provide the second strike, and Hamas the third, hitting Israel, presumably, from three directions, while the Arab world stands by awaiting the outcome.

Or so the scenario reads with some uncertainty.

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