Friday, March 23, 2007
Another Civil War in Lebanon?
By FRANKLIN LAMB
".....To know for sure, one would want to walk around the Gemezzeh neighborhood in east Beirut around 2 in the morning near the rebuilt Phalange Party HQ.where Baschir Gemeyal was blown up on September 14, 1982 and nose around a bit..
And what's that frenetic activity behind the Walid Jumblatt's estate at El Moukhtara in the Chouf.? It has increased since his long meeting with GW Bush a couple of weeks ago.
And those fine new military style boots and swagger one sees among some of Saad Hariri's March 14 movement young men. Armani or US Army or Israeli issue?.....
Sabra-Shatilla massacre participant Samir Geagea, now the leader of the Lebanese Forces Militia and recently feted in Washington DC, beats his chest and taunts Hezbollah's Secretary-General with threats like "Don't you dare think Hassan Nassrallah that Beirut is Haifa (referring to the July War) or else Lebanon is headed for the worst."
Some in the opposition dismiss the Siniora government as nothing more than 'an organized crime syndicate that wants to turn Lebanon into another Iraq,' as Talal Arslan, an anti-government Druze leader (breaking ranks with Jumblatt) recently roared. Many accuse the government of functioning as agents of Israel and the Bush administration and demand early elections and a greater share of government posts for the growing anti-government coalition.
Other observers are concluding that Israel and the Bush administration must foment a civil war in order not to 'lose' Lebanon and be driven from the region.
Pro-Israel "tink tanks" (Robert Fisk's label) argue that having created a disaster for both the US and Israel in Iraq and Afghanistan, and having failed miserably to destroy, much less seriously damage Hezbollah during the July War, both Olmert and Bush desperately need a Lebanese civil war.
Their reasoning is that if Bush and Olmert can provoke Hezbollah into turning its guns on Lebanese rivals, which it has never done and refuses to do,(Nasrallah recently declaring that "they can kill 1,000 of the opposition and we will still refuse to participate in a civil war") the US and Israel can invade, destroy the Lebanese resistance and set up another 'more sustainable' government, to borrow a pet term from Condoleezza Rice.....
Hezbollah has a habit to defeating Israel on the battle field and increasingly in political circles and they may just prevail in preventing a civil war....."