HomeFeaturesDailyBriefingsRapidReconSpecial ReportsAbout Us

InBrief Archives

Hizballah Mobilizes Masses Into Beirut

Hizballah supporters reportedly numbering in the hundreds of thousands have hit the streets of Beirut in the latest move by Hizballah to unseat the anti-Syrian-majority government of Lebanon. The ultimate goal for Hizballah inside Lebanon is to replace the current democracy with a Shi’a theocracy in the mold of their creators, the Iranian mullah regime. The destruction of Israel is another goal of Hizballah.

The Hizballah Program, originally released in its full form in 1985, states openly that “[T]he Zionist entity is aggressive from its inception, and built on lands wrested from their owners, at the expense of the rights of the Muslim people. Therefore our struggle will end only when this entity is obliterated.” Hizballah is an Iranian creation, formed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods Force, the unit primarily responsible for ‘exporting the revolution’ and maintaining Iran’s international terrorism infrastructure.

Hizballah continues to operate nearly exclusively at the behest of Iranian purse stings, either directly or through Syrian interlocutors. Since the summer war with Israel left Hizballah’s missile and rocket stores largely consumed or destroyed in place, intelligence reports have indicated that, in just the matter of a few short months, Iran and Syria have restored the Lebanese terrorist group’s rocket and missile stocks to levels beyond what they were even before the war began. This is largely believed to be in preparation for resumed conflict within months and has taken place in large part because UNIFIL forces remain indifferent and, by their own admission, do not conduct operations at night. Combined with the Lebanese Army’s refusal to disarm the stronger and emboldened Hizballah terrorist force, the result is little to no internal deterrence and Hizballah indifference toward verbal protests beyond Lebanon’s borders.

At this point, however, Hizballah is not yet ready for open internal confrontation inside Lebanon. Hizballah “disciplinary members” formed a human chain to prevent violent clashes as they stood between the protesting throngs and Lebanese security forces protecting key buildings. Hizballah’s weeks-long public calls for street protests have attracted a wave of predominantly Shi’a protesters into Beirut. As Hizballah provided buses and free gas cards, observers in Beirut say that most of the protesters drove in from the Bekaa Valley along the eastern border with Syria and from southern Lebanon.

The intent is clear: To bring down the current Lebanese government through the intimidation of street protests. “We’re here to bring down the government. We, the resistance, don’t want any influence from the United States,” on street protester declared.

Another Hizballah protester said, “We’re protesting so that the government knows that nobody wants Siniora.” But to that end, there are even some Lebanese Shi’a who want Hizballah even less. Abu Kais, for example, speaks plainly and openly of his fears for Lebanon saying “My emotions are clearly running high. All I see in front me, as a Lebanese Shia, is Nasrallah’s face as he kidnaps my child into the servitude of his dark lords.” Kais has little confidence in the ability of Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora and the “March 14” coalition Anti-Syrian Lebanese politicians to stem the Hizballah tide. But he calls for a like response from the grassroots anti-Syrian & anti-Hizballah citizen base of the Cedar Revolution to form, once again as in 2005, mass citizen protests to match Hizballah, “tit-for-tat.” He is not alone, and the common destination offered is Baabda, the presidential palace of Syrian puppet and Lebanese President, Emil Lahoud.

“March 14, mobilize the masses to Baabda. Resume the Cedar Revolution,” Kais pleads, hoping that relatively peaceful mass counter-marches can avert an all out civil war by demonstrating to Hizballah that they will not go unchallenged.

Hizballah, with three decades of Iranian and Syrian investment and sponsorship, is clearly the most dominant fighting force in Lebanon – and many say the most effective and motivated Arab fighting force in the whole of the Middle East, including the standing armies of regional Arab states. But they have not gone completely unchallenged, as regional Sunni states and Western countries have been funneling support into Lebanon for oppositional forces. The United States, France and various Arab states have contributed money, equipment and weapons to many Lebanese sources, including the Lebanese government’s Internal Security Forces. The Los Angeles Times reports that Lebanon has added over 11,000 troops to its security forces through this support, nearly doubling its size from only three months ago.

Whether the Hizballah protests remain peaceful is an unknown. However, regardless of the support for Lebanese government forces, there is little deterrence preventing Hizballah from sparking the chaos of a civil war that tilts decisively in their violent and well-armed favor should mere protests fail to bring about the fall of the government they have vowed to topple and supplant. They Israeli reaction to an emerging Iranian-client Islamist state in Lebanon (beyond what is accepted currently as ‘Hizballistan’ south of the Litani River) would likely be swift and lack the timidity and/or caution displayed in the summer war in southern Lebanon.


Here we go again! The fate of those who criticize the Syrian presence in Lebanon is rather like the fate of those who oppose Vladimir Putin. The former are shot or blown up, and the latter are victims of exotic poisons. And, as Gen. Strelnikov so rightly said in Doctor Zhivago, it hardly matters whether you burn the right village or the wrong one. The same deterrent point is made in either case.

In Iraq, the terrifying aspect of the violence is its randomness. You have a higher chance of being tortured to death if you are a secularist, a translator working with the coalition, an advocate of women's rights, or a Christian, but the atmosphere is one in which nobody—not even a preacher or practitioner of sectarianism—can feel safe.

In Lebanon, the situation is slightly less volatile. Those targeted for murder have included a former prime, the former chairman of the Communist Party, and most recently the leader of the Maronite Catholic right: a fairly broad spectrum of victims, if, essentially, a predictable one. But in Beirut two decades ago, the situation was more like it is in Baghdad today, with mayhem in almost every part of the city and splits within cracks within fissures of each militia, so that almost every block had its own warlord. So ghastly was this state of affairs that there were enough people to welcome Syrian troops at least grudgingly when they first arrived, on the basis that anything was preferable to anarchy. A similar chaos and misery gave the upper hand to Mullah Omar's forces in Afghanistan, who were able to present Talibanism in the 1990s as providing a measure of stability and who currently hope to repeat the same strategy.

This is the huge advantage that the forces of sectarianism possess in the region. In the short term, it is true, a prudent Syrian or Iranian government would not wish for an implosion in either Lebanon or Iraq. A next-door war of all against all can lead to interethnic and inter-whatever rivalry within their own societies. However, chaos is a tremendous way of waging asymmetrical warfare and canceling the vast military superiority of the United States. It also catches the attention of those locals who are caught in the middle and who know from long and bitter experience how to sniff the wind. Listen to us, say the Ahmadinejads and their proxies, we will always be here. Can you say the same for the Americans? Many considerations, including intense inter-Islamic Shiite-Sunni hatred, divide Ahmadinejad and Assad from the forces of al-Qaida, which would also prefer to see Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan in ruins than have these countries get a chance of modernism and secularism. But on this essential point, they are in agreement, and their wrecking activities tend toward the same objective, namely, the elimination of western influence while they fight for political dominance.

If this indeed proves to be the outcome, the victors will be able to rub their eyes at how easy it was. Barely five years after the eviction of the Taliban, three and a half years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and a year and a half after the Syrian army was forced out of Beirut by a show of mass popular and democratic unity, the memory of those brave fingers marked with the purple ink of the franchise has almost vanished. Tribalism and gangsterism are back, in a big way, with heavy state support from across the frontiers. And the United States, it seems, cannot wait to confirm the impression that it would rather deal with the aggressors. If the latest assassination in Lebanon caused any embarrassment to the enthusiasm of the Baker-Hamilton team for direct talks with Damascus and Tehran, the embarrassment wasn't evident. The Lebanese Cabinet may have bravely voted last week, in spite of a campaign of blackmail by Syria's death squads and religious proxies, to establish a tribunal to investigate the murder of Rafik Hariri, but in Washington, the talk is of getting on better terms with the people who, on all the available evidence, blew up his car. You may have noticed the new habit in the media of referring to the government of Lebanon as "American-backed" or "Western-backed." This is as if to imply that it is not an expression of Lebanon's remaining autonomy. But it is also cruelly ironic: Where exactly is this "backing"? Once again, it is becoming more dangerous to be a friend of the United States than an enemy.

The objectionable thing about the proposed Baker-Hamilton "talks" is not that they are talks but that they give the impression of looking for someone to whom to surrender. And they have, apparently, no preconditions. It would be an excellent thing to have direct negotiations with Iran, for instance, with all matters on the table. But if the mullahs did not have to sacrifice their ongoing nuclear deception in order to get to that table, then all the efforts of the Europeans, the United Nations, and the International Atomic Energy Agency to get them to do so would have been shown to be risible. With Syria, there is an even more intelligible precondition to be announced. Most people are unaware of this fact, but Damascus has always refused to recognize Lebanon as an independent state. There is no Syrian Embassy in Beirut. Implicitly and explicitly, this suggests that the country is regarded as an actual or potential part of a "Greater Syria." Is it really too much to demand that Syria acknowledge the self-determination, or "right to exist," of a fellow member of the Arab League? Without this line of demarcation, for one thing, the "withdrawal" of Syrian soldiers and police is a merely tactical thing; a retreat over the horizon while the Assad dynasty waits for better days. These "better" days may well not be long in coming.

Those who blame the violence in Baghdad on the American presence must have a hard job persuading themselves that the mayhem in Beirut and Afghanistan—and the mayhem that is being planned and is still to come—is attributable to the same cause. But the instigators are the same in all cases: the parties of God and their foreign masters. If we cannot even stand up for Lebanon in this crisis, even rhetorically, then we are close to admitting that these parties have won.

Blackspeare, that's 2-for-2. Another fantastic observation. I particularly appreciate the Gen. Strelnikov reference, as Dr. Zhivago is timeless and one of my favorite films.

You may find John Rosenthal's latest quite interesting:

_Germany Judges the World: 'Universal Jurisdiction,' War Crimes and German Law_

In an email response to John, viewing the German developments as a microcosm of the state of Western society and its psyche, what I said to him may be worth repeating here.

Our societies simply do not want to win. Fear and self-loathing has caused Western intellectuals (and those who fancy themselves as such) to find honor in self-deprecation as well as a parallel empathy for an enemy that would - in power - kill them first.

We will have to lose far more and endure much pain before enough begin to reject the illusory 'brilliance and courage' of destructive self-critique.

But then who am I to criticize? Self-loathing is only courageous and brilliant if you are loathing the proper self.

All animals are created equal.

...but some animals are more equal than others.

It is a matter of will. Nothing more. Nothing less. The score thus far by that measure is lopsided and forebodes dark days ahead.

We can only hope that the West comes to an awakening before it is too late to actually fight and defend ourselves and our civilization for our children's and grandchildren's generations.

Though it would be nice if we understood who we are - as opposed to how we self-loathingly project ourselves - the fact remains that it's not about us, with or without the selfish and arrogant intellectual conclusions of our own evil.