Foreign Affairs

Lights Out Temporarily in Lebanon

The proverbial lights have gone out in Lebanon: But for those of us having faith in that country’s swelling pro-democracy majority, the lights will only be out temporarily.

For now, however, it’s dark: In the wake of last week’s shameful concessions to the terrorist group, Hizballah, on the part of the Lebanese government and the legitimate army — which barely fired a shot in defense of the Lebanese people — Hizballah has achieved a never-before-realized strengthening of its position in that country.

This upper hand was achieved by force and against the will of most of the Lebanese people: Christians, Druze, and yes, Muslims, both Sunni and many Shiia. What makes it worse is that the international community — which has been warned time-and-again, heard appeals for assistance from various pro-democracy groups, and vowed to support the government, the army, and the will of the majority – did nothing to prevent Hizballah’s thugs from attacking the state and winning.

Let’s boil it down: Hizballah — trained and financed by Iran and operationally supported by Syria — contends it is a legitimate “resistance” against foreign aggression. The group also considers itself to be a fair and viable Shiia political party (it does indeed hold seats in the parliament), and a social movement providing services to Lebanon’s Shiia population (but no one receives social services without pledges of allegiance and promises of service to Hizballah.). In reality, Hizballah is a heavily weaponized, Talibanesque army of terrorists with tremendous global reach and existing as a sub-kingdom within the sovereign state of Lebanon.

Hizballah was ordered into action nearly two weeks ago after the state dismissed the security chief of Beirut International Airport (after discovering he was Hizballah), and attempted to shut down Hizballah’s extensive telecommunications system.

Refusing to accept the government’s decisions, Hizballah launched a series of attacks, May 7, from its stronghold in Beirut’s Dahiyeh, as well as from other so-called “security squares” across the country which the legitimate army and police had previously deemed off-limits to national policing.

Deploying from Dahiyeh, Hizballah fighters retrieved pre-staged weapons and quickly seized most of largely Sunni west Beirut (The group wisely avoided the Christian areas of east Beirut.). Fighting also broke out in the Chouf mountain region — where in several clashes, Hizballah’s forces were mauled by pro-government civilian fighters — the Bekaa Valley, and in-and-near the northern city of Tripoli.

Several of my sources have since independently confirmed that many captured and killed soldiers operating with Hizballah were indeed Syrian and Iranian: One source confirmed many of the captured soldiers “spoke Farsi and were unable to speak Arabic.” Another said Hizballah fighters operating in Beirut were “specifically ordered” not to communicate in the presence of Lebanese civilians because it would be discovered they were foreign (Iranian) soldiers.

“Syrian intelligence officers never quit Lebanon [after Syrian troops were officially kicked out in 2005],” Sami Nader, a political science professor at St. Joseph University in Beirut, tells HUMAN EVENTS. “And all the security and military apparatus put in place is an integrated system equipped and managed by the Iranians.”

After nearly a week of fighting between Hizballah and pro-government forces, the Lebanese government caved. The Lebanese army under the command of probable future-president Gen. Michel Sleiman had refused to engage Hizballah. The government, which had vowed to never surrender, rescinded its earlier decisions against the airport security chief and Hizballah’s telecommunications system. Hizballah and its Iranian and Syrian overlords had won.

But the terrorist group has only won a single-series of battles in a broader campaign against the government. And the pro-democracy majority in Lebanon has no intention of surrendering to Hizballah.

On Saturday, in an international radio broadcast somewhat reminiscent of the London broadcasts to the French resistance during World War II, Middle East terrorism expert (and HUMAN EVENTS contributor) Dr. Walid Phares urged the Lebanese people to continue resisting Hizballah.

Speaking from Washington to listeners of "Cedars Revolution Radio" and airing over radio networks in the Middle East, Phares said:

“Lebanese citizens have the fundamental right to resist Hizballah’s terror and invasion of west Beirut, the mountains and the north. … All efforts by Lebanese citizens to oppose terrorism and to do so in defense of democracy will be endorsed worldwide.”

Resisting terror and oppression is certainly a just cause and an inalienable right. But Hizballah is surely going to fight back. The group will never peacefully give up its weapons as it has been directed to do under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701. And Hizballah fighters have proven they have no qualms about turning those weapons (which the group claims are for defense against foreign aggression) on their fellow Lebanese if Hizballah doesn’t get what it wants politically and militarily.

During Sunday talks in Qatar regarding the Lebanese crisis, Hizballah chief negotiator Mohammed Raad defiantly said, “No one opens the door to a debate about [Hizballah’s weapons]. Weapons and capabilities are beyond any discussion.”

On Sunday evening, sources informed us that members of the pro-democracy movement in Lebanon had, hours earlier, formed a “resistance group against terrorism.” Monday we learned the resistance group — formed in Beirut — was composed of Christians, Druze, and Muslims (both Sunni and Shiia), all “committed to resisting Hizballah.” There also are reports of a like-minded Sunni resistance group forming near Tripoli.

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