Tag Archives: Hizbullah

Middle Eastern Lebanon Scorecard

These days it requires a scorecard to keep track of the situation in Lebanon. Shiites in Iran are influencing Lebanon politics as are Sunni Syrians while Sunni Egypt and Saudi Arabia are supporting the Lebanon government. Arab foreign ministers gathered in Cairo in an attempt to sort out the situation which has paraylzed the Lebanese government. The Arab League issued a statement which implicity is critical of Hizbullah and made clear “the ministers reject the principle of resorting to armed violence to achieve political ends.” The Arab League would like to send a delegation to Lebanon but the Beirut airport is closed since all roads leading out of it are blocked by Hizbullah forces.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt are unable to play key roles because of their close association with the Lebanese government. Syria can not play a part in resolving the situation because it has close ties with Hizbullah and has helped to create the current chaos. Iran hovers in the background attempting to portray itself as being innocent for the conflict even though its support for Hizbullah is a key factor in what has happened.

It is possible the once powerful Arab League can play a role– provided it can even get into the country.

Lebanon Army Restores Calm To Beirut

The Lebanese army moved into action in an effort to restore peace to Beirut before another civil war erupts which could destroy the nation. It is placing itself between the Hizbullah and the government in a crisis that began when a Hizbullah ally who headed security at the airport was fired by the government. Military leaders called upon all concerned parties to be calm. “The army command calls on all parties to (help restore clam) by ending armed protests and withdrawing gunmen from the streets and opening the roads.” The Army pledged to investigate the firing and claims that Hizbullah was running a telecommunications network that endangered peace.

Hizbullah gunmen began evactuating areas in which they were lodged and some sense of calm has been restored although there are still reports of deaths in various parts of the country.

Bush Strikes Out Again In Middle East

If President Bush’s record in the Middle East was compiled in the manner of batting averages, the president would be headed back to the bush leagues for some more seasoning before being allowed to play in the big leagues. Hizbullah gunmen have taken over large parts of Beirut as the US backed government backs away from any confrontation with masked gunmen who roam the streets chanting victory and waving flags. The Iranian supported Hizbullah has firm command of major sectors of the capital while the government bunkers down behind the army. Key leaders such as Walid Jumblatt and Saad Hariri, son of the murdered Lebanese leader, are trapped in west Beirut and unable to move without permission of Hizbullah.

Part of the difficulty in figuring out what is going on in Beirut is that Hizbullah is not overthrowing the government, it is not a coup d’etat, it is something, but, as of this point no one knows exactly what. The army exists and it is not controlled by Hizbullah, the government is trapped within its offices, the streets are being controlled by Hizbullah gunmen, and there is stability amidst a loss of power on the part of the government.

The only certainty is that Bush policies of trying to keep Iran out of Lebanon have failed. The Iranians are in Lebanon, they are in Iraq, and they certainly are refusing to back down to UN demands for nuclear reduction.

Peace Or War For Israel?

Great Britain’s Foreign Minister David Miliband told an audience of his admiration for the establishment of the nation of Israel and said the sixtieth anniversary of the creation of that nation was “an opporunity for all of us to recognize its achievments-in democratic govenance, science, culture and business.” Miliband emphasized the security of Israel was best guaranteed by the creation of an independent Palestinian state. “Israel’s future depends on it having normal relations with its neighbors.” The foreign minister said conflicts in the region stem more from economic inequalities, ethnic tensions and competition for scarce resources.

As he spoke, tensions heightened on the Israel-Syria border as each side claimed the other was preparing an attack. Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Moallem emphasized his nation wanted peace but was prepared for war if attacked by either the United States or Israel. The newspaper, Al-Hayat reported both nations are exchanging messages of peace as they prepare for potential war on the part of the other.

The possibility exists that Syria is concerned of action by Hizbullah which would drag them into a fight with Israel and that might be a major factor in moblizing some of its armed forces. Perhaps, it is time to place a UN force on the heights of Golan to serve as a warning to all sides of the danger of armed conflict.

Vengeance Is Mine Says The Lord

The horrible slaughter of innocent Jewish students in Jerualsam by a deranged Hamas fanatic has sparked feeling among many West Bank settlers to respond by vowing to build additional illegal settlements for each person who was killed. They apparently believe violence must be answered by actions of violence against the Israel government policy of continuing the pursuit of peace via negotiations. Dani Dayan, chairman of the Yesha Council, said the attack was a deliberate blow aimed at the Mercaz Herav Yesha known for its messianic national religious Zionism.

Among the most sad aspects of these killings is the reaction among many Muslims who celebrated in the streets of Gaza at the death of innocent children. Any group of people who express joy at the death of innocent humans are both spiritually and emotionally sick. Even as they dance, the forces of violence are growing stronger in Israel. Will they dance if their own children die in some form of counter-attack?

Iran And Hizbullah Vow Revenge

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps commander, Muhammad Ali Jafari, wrote to Hizbullah leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah to express condolences over the death of Imad Mughnyeh and promised “I am convinced that with every passing day Hizbullah’s might is increasing and in the near future, we will witness the disappearance of this cancerous growth Israel by means of Hizbllah fighters’ radiation therapy.” Hughniyeh was regarded as being very close to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

The US Director of National Intelligence, Mike mcCaonnell said over the weekend there was evidence groups in Syria or within the Hizbullah were responsible for Hughniyeh’s death. If he really believes that version it once again explains the inept condition of American intelligence. The war of killing leaders and those responsible for what each side terms as “acts of terror” will continue until an overall plan for peace and reconciliation is achieved. The problem is for each leader kiilled at least two or more step into his place and the wars go on.

Hizbullah Fox Caught And Killed

Hizbullah militant Imad Mughniyeh, who masterminded several killings in the past twenty five years including the bombing and deaths of hundreds of American soldiers in Lebanon, was blown up and killed in Damascus. It is assumed the Israel intelligence played a role in kiling this notorious Hizbullah leader. The Syrian government denounced his death and cast blame directly upon Israel for the action. Sheik Afif al-Naboulsi, warned there would be an eye for an eye.

Most Arab newspapers that blamed Israel argued the killing was unfair. For some reason, these periodicals never condemn suicide bombers who blow up innocent civillians or children. The killing is merely another example of failure on the part of all sides in the current Middle Eastern conflict between Israel and Arab nations to accept the reality of compromise as the only way in which peace can be achieved. Undoubtedly, Hizbullah will respond with suicide attacks and more people will die. The cycle of death goes on and on.

Lebanon Crisis Meanders On With Name Calling

The ongoing crisis in Lebanon which has left that nation without a president for months continues along the normal course of various groups charging their opponents are at fault. Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prine Saud al-Faisal urged Syria to cease interfering in the internal affairs of Lebanon which secured a retort from Damascus that Saudi Arabia was the culprit which is creating problems in that nation. The Arab League has been attempting to come up with a compromise which might get all sides to work together. The Arab League plan entails electing Lebanon’s army head, General Michel Suleiman as president, creating a national unity government, and drafting a new electoral process which would govern parliamentary elections in 2009. An important issue is what does “national unity sharing power” actually mean. Hizbullah blames the United States for the impasse, President Bush blames Syria and Hizbullah, and accusations go round and round.

Lebanon over the past thirty years has become emeshed in power politics from outside sources ranging from Israel to Syria to Saudi Arabia and the United States. There is now so much mistrust it appears unlikely this nation can remain as a viable entity unless there is dramatic changes in leadership. Historically, Lebanon divided power between Christians and Muslims since it was assumed each faction represented half the population. Since there has been no official census in years, most probably at least 60% of the populationis Muslim. So, Christians prefer living in the past since they do not trust a government in which Islamic fundamentalist groups like Hizbullah would exert power. This problem is also accerbated by divisions within both Christian and Muslim factions resulting in several competing groups each of whom wants power but by themselves are incapable of attaining such power.

Hizbullah Leader Nasrallah-Terrorist Or Politician?

Zaher Mahruqi, writing in the Jerusalem Post, raises the question as to whether or not there has been a fundamental misunderstanding among Israelis about Hizbullah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah. He notes Nasrallah’s comments after the Israel invasion of Lebanon which did not lead to recapture of Israeli soldiers and fierce fighting, “We did not think, even one percent, that the capture 9two soldiers) would lead to at this time and of this level. You ask us, if we had known that the operation would have led to such a war, would we have done it? I say no, absolutely not.” His comments shocked many Arab people who initially regarded him as a hero who had stood up to Israel. According to Mahruqi, Nasrallah was attempting to make the Lebanese people aware he did not wish further war or violence and wanted to play a role in creating a viable Lebanon. He understands the Lebanese people are sick and tired of war. Last week, Nasrallah agreed to an exchange of bodies with Israel. He is a politician who wants power and authority, and, if necessary, he is willing to forgo violence to achieve his ends.

Perhaps, it is time for Israel to discover the extent to which Nasrallah really wants peace by offering to negotiate with Hizbullah on a wide range of issues, including return of the Israeli soldiers. If Nasrallah is a pragmatist, he will engage in negotiation. So far, the continual resort to violence on the part of Israel has not been particularly successful.

Iran Gains Power By Israel Mistakes In Lebanon

Banafshenh Keynoush, former translator for President Ahmadinejaf of Iran said Israel’s invasion of Lebanon last year and inept Saudi Arabian policies have strengthened the hand of Iran in the Middle East. He noted a result of Israel’s failed invasion was to enhance the image of Iran which furnished aid and strengthen the power of Hizbullah which stepped into the void created by Israel’s destruction of homes, roads, and bridges by assuming responsibility for giving aid to people. Keynoush believes Saudi Arabia has lost influence because it gave Saddam Hussein $50 billion to support the invasion of Iran and it continues being connected to American foreign policy. He also noted Hamas and Fatah, two Palestinian groups maintain offices in Iran and work closely with Iranian officials.

The Bush policy of isolating Iran does not move America toward meeting its goals of a stable and peaceful Middle East. The United States has antagonized groups like Hizbullah and Hamas allowing Iran to step in and become a major supplier of money and arms. he is correct that Israel’s invasion of Lebanon only resulted in the death of hundreds without accomplishing the goal of rescuing two soldiers.