Monday, December 30, 2013

Repeating The Past

"We condemn the assassination of former minister Mohammed Chatah and condemn acts of violence and murder, but [hope] they don't lead to more war and devastation damaging our homeland."
Nijib Mikati, [caretaker] Lebanese Prime Minister

"The criminal is the same, he who is thirsty for the blood of Syrians is the same one spilling Lebanese blood ... from Beirut to Tripoli ... in all of Lebanon, the criminal is the same, he and his Lebanese allies, as in Daraa, Aleppo, Damascus and all of Syria."
Fouad Siniora, Lebanese opposition group March 14, former Lebanese prime minister

Lebanon is very well aware of its history. That old adage of those not recognizing history repeating it, is a well-founded one, but not always apt. George Santana may have coined a hugely repeated warning in "those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it", but failure to take into account human nature, tribal antipathies, and religious and sectarian blight may see history repeat itself while those involved remain fully cognizant of the horrors of the recent past.

Those horrors saw Lebanese Christians, Shiites, Sunnis and Druze, and Palestinian refugees all at war with one another, committing horrendous atrocities against one another, and against the intruding UN, US, Israeli and Syrian militaries, there ostensibly to aid Lebanese to refrain from slaughtering one another, and all failing in their self-appointed missions.

During that time of unmitigated chaos in a horrific spiral into ongoing conflict, Iran's Revolutionary Guard guided Hezbollah into creation as Martyrs for Allah. The new martyrdom-inspired militia surprised all with its vehement violence. Mounting well-planned and meticulously-executed mass bombings that shocked its targets, targets that had no idea what or who had hit them.

And it is that Iranian-inspired jihadist mission that has succeeded in driving the rift within Lebanon more deeply, widely and brutally than the inhibiting memory of past massacres that Lebanese inflicted on one another that remains to this day, and which is propelling Lebanon into another wider schism with a cataclysmic upheaval in the offing.

The more determined, better trained and armed Hezbollah with its vast superiority in all the indices reflecting the success of a military campaign, to the Lebanese military capabilities threatens the final imbalance. Lebanon is in a very hard place indeed; incapable of disarming the most powerful non-state militia in the country, and now anticipating what appears inevitable; a final clash between the political religion-driven sects.

With Hezbollah's Iran-encited entry into the Syrian civil war, another civil war is being introduced to Lebanon. The wounds of the civil war that ended in the 1990s are still raw, chafing and barely scabbed over in the past with living ghosts surrounding the entire country, and now it is being threatened by divisions within itself to plunge the country once again into raw and bloody conflict.

The wave of bombings that have struck Lebanon over the past months reflect the tensions rising over the civil war in Syria. Hezbollah arming itself on the border with Israel, again. The bomb blast that took place on Friday taking the life of Mohammed Chatah, once senior aide to both Saad Hariri and his father Rafik Hariri, and which occurred close to where the truck bomb blasted that killed the senior Hariri, wounding over 70 people and killed five.

This is Shiite Hezbollah giving its pay-back to the verbal and political assaults from a Sunni politician. The earlier blasts struck areas of the country held by Hezbollah and its Shia supporters. And now, Saudi Arabia has entered the fray in the most conspicuous manner possible, rushing to the aid of the Sunni Lebanese, offering the caretaker government $3-billion to purchase arms from France for the ill-equipped Lebanese military.

The proxy war between the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Saudi Arabia; Wahhabist Islam countering Shia Islam is being joined. And the complexities of the situation abound; where the United States has defied its own best interests by being pressed in the darkest of dark places by unfortunate decision-making, mental lassitude, inadequate intelligence and confounding realities to work alongside Russia, shoring up Iran's fortunes and that of its satellite, Syria.

Desperately seeking the lesser of two sinister threats; the attempted annihilation of Sunni Islamist terrorists linked to al-Qaeda, determined to mount its dread aspirations into the reality of a Caliphate, as opposed to attempting to stifle the equally threatening and certainly compellingly sinister aspirations of Shia Islam's most controversial and aggressive expression in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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