President Bush and the Israeli government insist their policy of non-negotiation with terrorist groups like Hezbollah is working and will prove productive in bringing democracy to the Middle East. During the past few weeks, Hezbollah faced down opponents in Lebanon, including the army, and showed the world it controlled Beirut and could decide if the nation had a functioning government. There are UN peacekeeping vessels off the Lebanese coast supposedly to prevent the influx of arms, but Hezbollah is militarily stronger than ever and ready to take on the Israel army. Hezbollah and its allies, the Shiite Amal Party and the Free Patriotic Movement of Christian General Michel Aoun, will control 11 seats in the new coalition Cabinet and be able to block any legislation.
Intelligence sources believe Hezbollah now has about 27,000 medium range misiles, some of which could even teach Tel Aviv. The group has received extensive funding from Iran and Syria which has enabled the purchase of anti-tank weapons and rocket launchers. Ironically, the main hope of Israel is reaching an agreement with Syria in which that nation ceased arming Hezbollah.
If Israel and the United States had initiated negotiations with Syria or Iran years ago, Hezbollah would be a minor player in the drama of the Middle East. But, Bush thought a get tough policy would work as did Israel. They now are living with the fruits of their mistakes.