Can Israel Save Lebanon From Hizballah?
Those in Lebanon who publicly supported Hizballah, criticized Israel or both in the summer's Israeli-Hizballah conflict are about to pay the price for such decisions, as an emboldened Hizballah has been threatening to overthrow the current Lebanese government seeking its own control over Lebanese affairs.
Hezbollah, an ally of Iran and Syria, has been emboldened. The U.S.-backed coalition in control of the government is on the defensive. The outcome of the tug- of-war could have lasting impact on the international order - boosting or slowing Iran's ascent in the region, buttressing or undermining Syria's leadership.
"We are now calling for unity and accord, not for score-settling and vengefulness," Hezbollah's general secretary, Hassan Nasrallah, said in a recent appearance on his party's Al Manar television. "We are suggesting a national unity government in a positive spirit."
But his call has not been received that way. It has been described by the governing coalition as a "coup d'騁at" and has raised fears of possible violence.
"They are making a profit from the strength of their guerrilla force to come into the capital and to pressure the political apparatus, to impose their will on the government," said Amine Gemayel, a former president and leader of the small Christian Phalange party, part of the governing coalition. "I am quite anxious about this meeting."
The Iranian-supported terrorists ultimately seek to assert a Shi'a Islamist theocracy over Lebanon modeled after their Iranian masters. As they are permitted to rebuild their southern infrastructure - including tunnels, rockets and other arms - they are ever more prepared to threaten inwards as outwards.
The Hizballah power play is not subtle, as they have threatened to 'take to the streets' of Lebanon if they do not get their way. But some in Lebanon remain firm, as Saad Hariri criticized Hizballah's latest move and rejected it, proffered by a co-opted Christian leader Michel Auoun. Auoun, a surprising Hizballah ally, called for the entire government to be reshuffled in order to 'broaden representation' in Beirut.
But while the Lebanese government has long under-represented the Shi'a, relying on old census numbers, to adjust now means an influx of Hizballah terrorist leadership among the Lebanese government, the end of the Lebanese Cedar Revolution and the beginning of the imposition of an Iranian-style Islamic 'Republic.'
With the Hizballah threats no longer directed solely at Israel, those within Lebanon who chose to support Hizballah and condemn Israel over the summer may be about to reap the fruits of their labor.
It is with no small measure of irony that perhaps only Israel can save the Lebanese from themselves and the menace they preserved.