Monday, March 15, 2010

Britain still doesn't get Lebanon

The UK ambassador's latest foray shows just how little Britain understands the Lebanese people's relationship with Hezbollah

Matthew Cassel, Monday 15 March 2010

"One would think that the British government, considering its history in the Middle East of colonising and partitioning the land and overthrowing governments and its support of undemocratic and dictatorial regimes, would be wary of sending its representatives to offer advice to Arab nations on how best to achieve their right to self-determination. But apparently the British ambassador to Lebanon didn't get the memo.

Last month Frances Guy told the Lebanese daily an-Nahar that "the [Lebanese] state cannot enjoy sovereignty if there was one group from within the state that has more weapons than the army". Of course, the group she was referring to was Hezbollah – the shia Islamic political and resistance movement in Lebanon.....

In 2006, after Israel bombed Beirut airport in the first hours of the war, Hezbollah did not have the ability to strike back at more significant Israeli targets. But now, all sides agree that Hezbollah is better trained and better equipped, making it an even more formidable military force than it was four years ago.

Therefore, the question that many have been asking – whether or not Israel will attack Lebanon again – is no longer relevant. How can Israel attack Lebanon again? is now the question. After being handed defeats by a weaker Hezbollah in 2000 and 2006, Israel seems to have few options left.

Another poll conducted recently shows that 84% of Lebanese "trust the resistance's capabilities facing any Israeli attack". This overwhelming confidence in Hezbollah – the resistance – indicates that the Lebanese have a good idea of how to be able to enjoy their sovereignty. But the UK, the US and Israel must also accept that the resistance is real, and abandon the language of bombs if they wish to communicate with the people of Lebanon."

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