The Weak Link is the Lebanese Government

Posted in Other | 18-Aug-06 | Author: Manuela Paraipan

Manuela Paraipan is WSN Correspondent "Broader Middle East".

Lebanon has been paying for its duplicity and complicity regarding Hezbollah's presence and activities since 1982. Hezbollah was welcomed by the Lebanese and considered to be their savior. Soon enough, though, Hezbollah’s agenda and its sponsors were uncovered, but for some reason the Lebanese government decided to keep the Iranian-Syrian proxy close.

Hezbollah's ideology is cohesive and clear beyond any doubt. It is a mixture of socialism, philanthropy and religious dogma. It is clearly designed for acquiring a maximum of power, influence and authority in politics. Hezbollah managed to play its cards well enough to have gained seats in parliament and affiliated ministers in Fuad Siniora’s cabinet.

There are approximately 1 million Shiias in Lebanon. Hezbollah raised its profile and replaced the role of the Lebanese government in the South, Baalbek and the Beqaa Valley. The Lebanese government’s failure to develop these largely Shiia-inhabited areas meant success for Hezbollah.

Whilst Shiias sided with Hezbollah, the Sunnis followed in the steps of Rafiq Hariri, parading their business skills and proudly showing that they are open-minded supporters of democracy, with ties worldwide. The Druze partially joined the Sunnis trend, and those who did not were too occupied with internal clannish fights within their communities.

The Christian community went into fragmentation with a pro-Syrian president. The leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, Michel Aoun, came closer to Hezbollah, while all Christian leaders struggled to hold on to their political prerogatives.

Nadim Freiha, a close aide of General Michel Aoun said that, “General Aoun is trying to avoid the Hezbollah problem as General de Gaulle did with the French communists after the liberation in 1945. The communists remitted their arms avoiding a civil war in the country, and the French did not enter a military alliance with the USA against Russia.” He further added, “General Aoun prefers to fight the Syrians in Lebanon by various ways:

-Gather around him all previous pro-Syrians to avoid that they return again
with Damascus if everybody rejects them
-define with Hezbollah the conditions to disarm the resistance and
-to work with the young Hariri to built up a new state”

The struggles present in the Lebanese society reflect the unstable status quo of all the Arab countries. The division along religious and family lines makes it very difficult for any leader to hold the society united or at least to give that impression.

There are three features that Lebanese society and political leadership lack: Unity, responsibility and vision. The political leaders are without exception putting the interests of their sect or even their own ambitions before the well being of the whole society. This is how each sect has managed to individually survive; they have yet to discover a manner that would allow them to stand together. No doubt, where there is a will, there is also a way.

Years ago, the Lebanese army was supposed to deploy troops on the border to keep Hezbollah from engaging in terrorist acts, but they have repeatedly refused to do so. The Lebanese army may be a weak one, but it is its responsible for protecting Lebanon’s borders. If the government had asked for France or the United States for support to train and equip the military, Hezbollah’s private militia would have had no other choice than to disarm or relocate to Iran or Syria.

Hezbollah does not fight for Lebanon. It never did. They used Lebanon as a mean to an end. That end is their fight for Islam. It is equally true that by doing so they serve the immediate interests of the Iranian Ayatollah Khamenei, and that of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The Lebanese government has chosen not to confront the terrorist group Hezbollah because of a fear of civil war. The inclusion of Hezbollah in the political process raised the hope of some that Hezbollah’s rhetoric and goals could be modified. This was a fatal mistake because Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah believes that he is fulfilling the divine commands of Allah and in his fanaticism, Lebanon’s sufferance is but a small price to be paid for the greater Islamic Umma.

Hezbollah betrayed Lebanon and further destabilized the region when it unilaterally decided to launch war against Israel. It is a terrorist group that has taken advantage of each and every aspect of a quasi democratic, open society while doing everything it can to undermine its sovereignty.

Fuad Siniora’s government will lose all its credibility if it does not act decisively against Hezbollah holding weapons and openly disobeying Lebanese laws as well as the UN Resolutions 1559 and 1680. The fact that errors have been made in the past does not justify the government’s looking-the-other-way policy. The Latin proverb “errare humanum est, perseverare autem diabolicum" describes this situation well.

We have to underline again and as often as necessary that Hezbollah, likes Hamas, is committed to the destruction of the state of Israel and to achieve this goal, they see no moral problem with their tactics.