May 23, 2008

Hezbollah’s Victory

by Michael J. Totten

Lebanon

Posted by Michael J. Totten at May 23, 2008 2:11 PM
Comments
I mostly like this writing. It's accurate, without equating these events to the end of Western Civilization.
They can unilaterally start wars with other countries and murder anyone in Lebanon who gets in the way
To pick some nits (maybe not 'nits, but let's be charitable), I think there are limits on who Hizballah can kill in Lebanon without leading to retaliatory Sunni butchering of random Shiites.
That would be consistent with your suggestions of looming sectarian war, wouldn't it? And the Tony Badran - trumpeted slayings in Northern Lebanon. Eh? The agreement prominently featured such promises not to internally use Hizballahi weapons.
Are those agreements trustable? Of course not. But that doesn't mean Hizb can kill whoever they want in Lebanon. Too much of that will bring on civil war. The agreement recognizes the complications therein.
starting wars with foreign countries, though, hard to argue about the green light there.
Posted by: glasnost at May 23, 2008 4:32 pm
But wait. We know, because the left has told us for many years now, that war solves nothing and only international diplomacy, negotiation and compromise can achieve a lasting peace.
In 2006, the war between Israel and Hizbullah was stopped and we indeed had international diplomacy, negotiation and compromise. As I recall, the hapless Bush sent Secretary Rice to the UN to help negotiate a cease-fire and a beefing-up of UN peacekeepers that we were told would prevent Hizbullah from re-arming and lead to a peaceful resolution of this conflict.
But did we get a lasting peace? Did this approach work? What was accomplished?
Well, it's quite clear what this approach has accomplished. Hizbullah is bigger and better armed than before -- which means, the fundamental problem has only grown and gotten worse -- which means the next war will wind up killing even more civilians than the last. And when the shooting begins, the same people that demanded a cease-fire, international diplomacy and negotiations will repeat that demand as if none of this has ever happened before.
Posted by: Michael Smith at May 24, 2008 5:16 am
glasnost -
Hizbullah kills people to achieve policy goals.
Just what is left for them to get in the way of power, or turf, in Lebanon?
They don't want to run the Chamber of Commerce. They wanted unfettered access to the only airport in the country, at-will control and access to the nation's communication infrastructure whenever they want it, and the ability to veto any action of the elected government.
Did I miss anything? Seems like they don't have to kill any Lebanese for the moment. But that's not because they can't, or even won't. They got what they wanted.
Posted by: TmjUtah at May 24, 2008 6:28 am
Maybe Hezbollah's latest actions are Iran (and Russia's) latest "move" in the chess game we've all been playing.
Iran has probably been looking for some way to protect themselves against attack. At the same time, they've been bellowing about how powerful they are, to win friends and influence people, and they learned from Saddam's example that this provokes attacks.
They had to sacrifice their pawn al Sadr, but now Hezbollah has basically taken Lebanon hostage. I wonder if this show of power is Iran's attempt to protect itself from any attack - if we try to do anything about Iran, the implication is, Hezbollah will attack Lebanon.
If so, then it would be a good idea for us to find out what Iran values, and take it/them, whatever, hostage. Make it clear that this 'hostage' is vulnerable, and make it clear that any action by Iran will cause harm for the hostage. As far as hostages go, I'd vote for Syria, but I'm not sure that the Iranians care that much about Syria...
Posted by: maryatexitzero at May 24, 2008 6:39 am
Lebanon truly dumbfounds me.
The only reason that Hizbollah exists is as "resistance" to Israel, yet it seems fairly ironic to me that if hizbollah didn't exist there would be no real danger of Lebanon ever being involved in a war with Israel.
In fact the only way to secure Lebanon against Israel is to minimalize hizbollah.
Surrendering to hizbollah in this last spat has guaranteed that there will be another war between hizbollah and Israel, and everyone knows that the people that will suffer the greatest are the Lebanese people - sunnis, shias, christians and druze alike.
How could anyone possibly feel optimistic about I Lebanon's future? The future is certain war.
I pity both nations.
Posted by: jonorose at May 24, 2008 9:38 am
Pretty fair compromise.
It's not possible for country like Lebanon to function when one major sect is excluded from having a say in the decisions of the government.
Pitty it took so long for march 14 leaders to see this.
Posted by: Joe Rushty at May 24, 2008 12:42 pm
"It's not possible for country like Lebanon to function when one major sect is excluded from having a say in the decisions of the government."
The exact kind of thinking that led to Hindenburg appointing Hitler as Chancellor. Ooooh, now I'll be accused of violating Godwin's Law. But is it really so bad to be compared to the Nazis now that Pat Buchanan has informed us that WWII was Poland's fault?
Posted by: Gary Rosen at May 24, 2008 2:24 pm
Pretty fair compromise.
There is no such thing as a "fair compromise" when one of the parties retains the right to resort to "murder and mayhem" with impunity.
Posted by: Michael Smith at May 24, 2008 2:51 pm
If Hezbollah is just a peaceful faction, wanting nothing more than their fair share of political power in tiny Lebanon, then what the fuck are they doing in *Africa*?
http://www.analyst-network.com/article.php?art_id=2103
Posted by: Gary Rosen at May 25, 2008 12:07 am
Gary - thanks for the link. From the Hezbollah in Africa story:
Posted by: maryatexitzero at May 25, 2008 8:31 am
I guess that the non-Hizb folk in Lebanon are expecting, if not hoping, that Hez will now fight Israel again and leave them alone.
I wonder if Israel, if attacked again, would accept the same kind of cease-fire?
Also, this does allow the Sunnis, Druze, and even Christians, to begin re-arming and preparing for the next Hez assault. Perhaps when the Int'l Tribunal takes more steps against Syria?
Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at May 25, 2008 5:48 pm
Hizbullah kills people to achieve policy goals.
So they do. You're missing my point.
Lebanon is not North Korea: there's no monopoly on violence available to the dominant power. Killing people creates violent problems. That's why Hizb took a relatively status quo agreement, instead of disbanding the parliament and killing the Lebanese political elite.
There are constraints. Not reliable or obvious ones, but apparently still influential.
The danger is of course that over time that the sense of reciprocal threat becomes overwhelming, and the low-level fighters start to stop listening to the bosses.
Posted by: glasnost at May 25, 2008 8:09 pm
If Hezbollah is just a peaceful faction, wanting nothing more than their fair share of political power in tiny Lebanon...
I believe the only person who has said that they're peaceful is you, Gary. Or did I nod off and miss something?
Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 26, 2008 9:52 am
"did I nod off and miss something?"
Constantly.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at May 26, 2008 10:55 am
Constantly.
Then this is your chance to do a good deed and enlighten me. Who said that Hezbollah was just a peaceful faction?
Or are you part of the crowd that just makes up shit when it's convenient to?
Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 26, 2008 12:12 pm
"are you part of the crowd that just makes up shit when it's convenient to?"
Like you? Or don't you know the meaning of the word "if"? Spare us your phony, petty semantic debating points. You know damn well what I was saying.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at May 26, 2008 12:30 pm
You know damn well what I was saying.
Sure do. It's called a straw man argument. Are you always this touchy when you're called on it?
Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 26, 2008 12:35 pm
"straw man argument"
After Rushty's post. You know, DPU, it really doesn't help you to just make baldfaced lies.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at May 26, 2008 1:42 pm
After Rushty's post.
I've reread his short post several times, but I do not see where he says that Hezbollah is just another peaceful faction. As he didn't say that, that makes your comment a straw man argument.
It's possible, Gary, to debate statements like Rushty's without making shit up and putting it in his mouth. For some, anyway.
You know, DPU, it really doesn't help you to just make baldfaced lies.
Yeah, I'm the liar.
Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 26, 2008 1:54 pm
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