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What's Important is What's not Known

Reader comment on item: Arabs Disavow Hizbullah

Submitted by Blackspeare (United States), Jul 28, 2006 at 20:07

To begin to understand Lebanon is to begin to appreciate the muddle of the Middle East. The Lebanon civil war could resume a month after Israel cools its guns.

A democratic Lebanon cannot win a war against Hizballah, not even after Hizballah is weakened by IAF raids. Hizballah is the most effective Arab fighting force in the world, and the Lebanese army is the weakest and most divided. The Israelis beat three Arab armies in six days in 1967, but a month will not be enough for the IDF to take down Hizballah.

The majority of Lebanon's people were wise and civilized enough to take the gun out of politics after the fifteen year war. Lebanon was the only Arab country to do this, the only Arab country that preferred dialogue, elections, compromise, and debate to the rule of the boot and the rifle. But Hizballah remained outside that mainstream consensus and did everything it could, with backing from the Syrian Baath Party and the Iranian Jihad, to strangle Lebanon's democracy in its cradle.

Disarming Hizballah through persuasion and consensus was not possible in the first year of Lebanon's independence. Disarming Hizballah by force wasn't possible either. The Lebanese people have been called irresponsible and cowardly by some of their friends in America for refusing to resume the civil war. Unlike Hizballah, though, most Lebanese know better than to start unwinnable wars. This is wisdom, not cowardice, and it's sadly rare in the Arab world now. They are being punished entirely too much for what they have done and for what they can't do.

Israel and Lebanon (especially Lebanon) will continue to burn as long as Hizballah exists as a terror militia freed from the leash of the state. The punishment for taking on Hizballah is war. The punishment for not taking on Hizballah is war. Lebanese were doomed to suffer war no matter what. Their liberal democratic project could not withstand the threat from within and the assaults from the east, and it could not stave off another assault from the south. War, as it turned out, was inevitable even if the actual shape of it wasn't. Peace was not in the cards for Lebanon. Its democracy turned out to be neither strength nor a weakness. It was irrelevant.

Divided is key, thanks to the religious segregation at the scheming hand of occupying Syria. Consider this important fact when reading news of the IAF bombing the "Lebanese Army." The Shia units of the Lebanese army are rife with Hizballah collaborators and surely host to more than a few full fledged members.

The exit of Hizballah's power will be the real entrance of hope.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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